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mamasooze 02-27-2012 05:02 PM

The Lenten Primal Challenge Begins..NOW
Sorry I'm late posting this--out of town and sick as a dog. Miserable head cold that tries to go away, yet never seems to. Today the ears are so stopped up, I'm learning to lip read *practically*. Can't hear a thing...please tonite the ears unstopped :aprayer:

To refresh your memories or to get new people on board, here is the explainer link:


A few things before I begin. I have a very well stocked mostly paleo/primal pantry. For % sake, lets say it's an 80/20 pantry. I do sometimes cook for others that don't follow our WOE sooooo, I keep a few things on hand.

Week One

I am wheat/grain/dairy free for a while, and my DH is a "sometimes" guy. Only exception is Greek yogurt and crumbled goat cheese. And yes, we are off cheese. Yes, the yummy gooey stuff (since August!). We use unsweetened Almond breeze (boxed) in place of milk, so no need to make trip to market for fresh milk. My husband does eat oatmeal and organic cereals (on sale 2 for $5) for breakfast. Our sweetener of choice is stevia which I buy at Sam's, a big box. Mondays and Fridays are always meatless meals. Wednesday is optional meatless.

My DH either takes leftovers for lunch or a sandwich with chips and fruit (hasn’t varied in 30 years) but his lunches for the most part are included in the menus. I’m not a stickler when we do a challenge, just careful.

1 or 2 snacks a day for me are as follows :

1 small orange or tangerine, strawberries, trail mix (until it gets too expensive), banana, latte with coconut milk, almonds (or whatever nut is on sale), 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with flax meal, sunflower seeds, pepitas, 1/2 apple.

The menus will be fluid as I may come upon an item too $$ and will have to make a substitution. I'm in good shape for shrimp, pork and beef steak having taken full advantage of Super Bowl sales. I always keep my receipts. Also if I come across an interesting recipe I will link it back to it's origin or a link to my site. My list to shop will be small this week. Mostly veggies and fruit. I will list total spent on groceries purchased at end of the week. Also aiming to only go to chain grocery store 3 times in next 40 days and 2 visits to our local produce farm. And a note--The BA salads are Mark's Big A**--whatever is scrounged in fridge.

Monday 27-Travel Day
B-coffee and Atkins bar
L-lunch salad at airport
D-shrimp, sauteed spinach, curried cauliflower rice

Tuesday 28
B-2 eggs, 3 slices regular bacon for both of us *uncured bacon is $$*
L- BA salad with leftover shrimp
D-Hamburgers (grass fed beef bought on sale at Whole Foods)with sweet potato fries, bun for DH, oopsie for me

Wednesday 29
B- Greek yogurt with nuts, flax for me, cereal for DH
L- Green smoothie
D-French lentil soup (carrots, turnips, leeks...make it veggie-chunky) My husband asked me to make this and yes, I'll soak the lentils overnight

Thursday 1
B- eggs, bacon for me, oatmeal for DH
L- leftover soup and small salad
D- baked chicken with lemon & black olives, green beans, salad

B- yogurt with fruit and flax or me, cereal for husband
L- BA chopped salad-vegetarian
D- 2 grilled Shrimp Po-Boys for DH, BA shrimp salad for me

Saturday 3
B- eggs, bacon, small yogurt smoothie for me, eggs, bacon for DH
L- Chicken salad for me, chicken sandwich for DH
D- pork ribs with coleslaw

Sunday 4
B-at church
L-green smoothie for me, sandwich/fruit for DH
D-Chicken tortilla (less) soup

The pantry staples that are used for whatever reason will be not counted i.e., shredded coconut, various nut flours, oatmeal etc because I could not begin to remember how much they cost. This is a fun *but serious* challenge and I will, to the best of my ability, keep our budget under $12.24 per diem.

mamasooze 02-29-2012 07:27 PM

Checking in mid-week:

1. So far so good. Unfortunately I have been sick and nothing to eat is appealing. Ate soups and salad. Had yogurt for b-fast. Only thing really enjoyed was a dark chocolate something found in back of pantry.

2. Not sure what French lentils cost but 8 ounces soaked makes the most amazingly huge pot of soup. I soaked, drained and rinsed them and made them primal. Though its Wednesday (meat optional) I added a hambone and it was very veggie chunky.

3. I will be gone on a church function on Friday/Saturday. I can smell the catfish now. Have left the meals with my DH so the menu will still stand for the week.

Will be ready to list food amount $ and post next week's menu on Sunday night. So far $ looks ok and am under budget but that may not last long. We shall see.

mamasooze 03-04-2012 07:49 AM

Week One of the Lenten Challenge goes primal....

Had a few curveballs this week: still not feeling well, then having to go out of town unexpectedly overnight (three meals institutional food-bleeuch) The food bill for this week looked thus:

fruits & vegetables (lettuce, apples, spinach, cauliflower, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, tangerines, lemons, cole slaw, sweet potatoes) $20.79
coffee $4.99 (Eight 'Clock on sale)
proteins $20.87 (shrimp, ribs, chicken, lentils)
coconut milk (canned) $4.20
cereal for hubby $2.50
eggs $2.00
bacon $3.97
yogurt $3.99
Total Cost:$63.31
SNAP total:$85.75

Everything else came from the pantry. Only bought what I needed but still have a few things left over for next week-tangerines, bananas, avocados, eggs. But will need to buy nuts for trail $ mix. This time I think I will buy in bulk, and only what I need...3 oz. pecans, 3 oz. walnuts, etc. Have other ingredients for it in the pantry and should last a few more weeks. This weeks looks fairly easy--One of the recipes is on Mark's Daily Apple, The Shepherd's Pie. Counting on asparagus as being on sale....

This week's menu:
Monday 5
B- Greek yogurt with nuts, fruit for me, Oatmeal for DH
L- veggie chopped salad
D- Paleo Dutch Baby with warm berry mix and whipped coconut cream

Tuesday 6
B- eggs, bacon for both of us
L- green smoothie
D- ginger lime chicken, steamed spinach with BA salad

Wednesday 7
B- yogurt with fruit for me, Cereal for DH
L- small smoothie with veggie salad
D- potluck at church-will bring a vegetarian chili (sweet potatoes, lentils, etc)

Thursday 8
B- eggs, bacon for both of us
L- smoothie and salad
D- paleo shepherds pie, epic Greek salad

Friday 9
B- protein smoothie for me Oatmeal for DH
L- BA veggie chopped salad
D- Seafood stew with a bit of whatever is in freezer and on sale (shrimp, catfish, bay scallops, a little o’ this and a little o’ that)

Saturday 10
B- eggs, sausage for both of us
L- green smoothie
D- ribeye steak, grilled asparagus/tomato/goat cheese salad

sunday 11
B- yogurt smoothie for me, oatmeal for DH
L- egg salad
D-italian wedding soup/spinach

Speck333 03-04-2012 11:37 AM

Way to go coming out ahead! Let me know if the paleo shepherd's pie is any good.

mamasooze 03-05-2012 06:38 AM


Originally Posted by Speck333 (Post 15466050)
Way to go coming out ahead! Let me know if the paleo shepherd's pie is any good.

I think I may come out ahead this week, but not to the tune of $20+. Not when nutz are involved :stars: I have 1 oz. of trail mix left. Wonder how I could portion that out--1/20th of an oz. today and 1/20th of an oz. tomorrow, etc Microscopic treats. Had to swap out nuts for strawberries in yogurt this morning. Adapt, adapt.

Have not been to grocery store in a week. I think I can hold out for a while. Will be going to produce farm at some point this week. Those tomatoes on the counter are looking pretty sad. No way can they make it into that Greek salad on Thursday. Will report on the shepherd's pie...can't wait to make it.

mamasooze 03-07-2012 05:53 AM

Midweek Update-Lenten Challenge
Browsed the weekly ads and found only one thing needed/wanted-Kroger brand corned beef brisket for St. Patrick's Day. On sale $1.99 and hope to find a small one. Oh and asparagus is on sale! Haven't been to grocery in 9 days so far and plan to go to produce farm this afternoon. I have a family emergency *nothing serious* but need to be out of town with g-kids from Friday to Monday. That will have an effect on my budget somewhat. It may mean that DH will be eating leftover lentil chili and burgers/sausage from the freezer-he's not a cook. He'll have leafy greens though, some I'll take with me :)

Will be under budget fer-shure for the week.

Speck333 03-09-2012 10:04 PM

Hope whatever's going on works itself out soon.

mamasooze 03-11-2012 04:17 PM

Lenten challenge update-Week 3

Originally Posted by Speck333 (Post 15466050)
Way to go coming out ahead! Let me know if the paleo shepherd's pie is any good.

Wowza, Speck! Made that Shepherd's Pie the other night and it rocked. Started out with slowly browning 1 lb ground beef and some onions, etc and just started adding veggies as I went through the fridge. Added some red wine, garlic, turnips, carrots, celery, cubed sweet potatoes, leftover lentils and a little quinoa and man...next thing I knew i had OVERFLOW. Topped the whole thing with cauliflower cooked in the slow cooker (mashed it with some butter and coconut milk). Could feed an army with it and may have spent $5 (excluding meat) :dunno: total.
Very rich and good--DH is eating it whilst I'm outta town.

Update to the challenge:
Came in way under this week because…….I’m not home. Called away to San Antonio for Gramma duty. I will eat whatever my DD has for the kids (toddlers who eat pretty darn good-steak, salmon, meatballs) and there is always salad since she is a vegetarian.

No bacon this week either *sigh* We did not eat the steak or have the wedding soup or seafood stew—all higher ticket items. I made a shepherd’s pie on Thursday using one pound grass fed beef. I kept adding veg after veg and before I knew it I had a BUTT LOAD of shepherd’s pie so I made two more huge servings for my DH while I’m away. He’s also eating the church supper leftover lentils and he’s allowed to scrounge in freezer until I get home and he knows where the nearest Wendy’s is located.

At any rate it’s a very cheapo week. Looking at upcoming week it looks like I will make up for that. Proteins alone are almost $40.00. Need to eyeball those lentils again. Note: I soaked the lentils for 24 hours prior to cooking and rinsed and rinsed. My digestive system was whisper quiet. Plan to buy some bulk nuts this week too, but only what I need. When I run out…I run out.

Total for this week…….an astoundingly cheap $42.00 *rounded off because I can’t find my register tape* I made a lot of food with $42.

SNAP Allocation………………..$85.68


Difference to date…………… $66.12 UNDER allotment

Going to a discount produce place here in San Antonio with DD and hope to find those elusive (cheaper) nuts. Have gone 5 days without my paleo diet-friendly trail mix :down:

Menu for week #3

Monday 12

B- protein smoothie for me, oatmeal for DH

L- chopped veggie salad

D- curried cauliflower/carrot soup and asparagus/tomato (marinated) salad

Tuesday 13

B- eggs sausage for both

L- leftover soup

D- slow cooker pork roast, sweet potato/root veg hash

Wednesday 14

B- Greek yogurt for me, oatmeal for DH

L- leftover soup

D- olive oil poached salmon, marinated tomatoes/artichoke hearts *and whatever else is in the fridge*

Thursday 15

B- salmon and eggs, cereal for DH

L- salmon salad

D— bacon burgers *grass fed beef* with homemade sweet potato fries

Friday 16

B- yogurt eggs for both of us

L- (leftover) salmon/hard boiled egg salad

D- grilled wild shrimp, roasted romaine with parmesan ($$shrimp, may have to find cheaper seafood)

Saturday 17

B- banana muffins *hope I have some ripe bananas*

L- Smoothie for me, sandwich for DH

D- slow cooker corned beef brisket, cabbage, *found small brisket for $5.96*

Sunday 18

B- at church

L- green smoothie

D- rib eyes and spinach/strawberry salad (rib eyes on sale during Super Bowl)

Speck333 03-11-2012 04:32 PM

Thanks for the update on the shepherd's pie. Your menu sounds awesome. You're doing great keeping the grocery budget down.

mamasooze 03-15-2012 06:51 AM

Mid-Week Update for the Lenten Challenge
Couldn't find any cheap nuts. They all cost too much :dunno: but still bought 1/2 lb-4 oz. walnuts, 4 oz. pecans- and had enough odds and ends in the pantry to make my trail mix. Upshot of that is I need to make it last two weeks instead of one. Since proteins are on $ high side this week I'll find the cheapest wild shrimp I can, buying less than a lb., and make okra/shrimp gumbo and add extra greens from my garden such as surrey greens (whatever those are) and spinach. The deal o' the week is avocados. Went with my daughter to a place in San Antonio called "Sprouts". It's not quite Whole Foods but it has a wide selection of organic items. Had large red peppers 3 for $1 as well as medium avocados for the same. Very nice store. The Little Ones ate up my apples, bananas and oranges here at home while I was gone so I will have to go to store to replenish supply. So much for limited store outings :cry:

Speck333 03-15-2012 05:01 PM

I love Sprouts! I love the bulk bins. I get the most gorgeous nuts there.

mamasooze 03-19-2012 07:50 AM

Update for SNAP challenge Week Three
Reviewing week three: Did OK. Proteins $ higher and had to buy expensive nuts but did not break the bank. My Deal O’ the Week was 6 avocados for $2 at “Sprouts” in San Antonio. The plan this week is to make my 1/2 lb nuts *and trail mix* last for at least ten days. We have chicken twice this week…but that’s OK. Haven’t had wings in forever and they are DH’s favorite. One note—I have noticed that prices are much higher this year except on the meat, which I always (repeat ALWAYS) buy on sale.HMMMMM…

My total this week was $71.96

SNAP Allocation………………..$85.68

Difference to date……………..$79.84 under allotment

Menu this week:

Week 4 Monday 19

B- Banana muffins

L- green smoothie

D- Breakfast for dinner *will involve eggs*

Tuesday 20

B- bacon and eggs for both of us

L- banana muffin and smoothie

D- grilled chicken thighs with puttanesca and spaghetti squash, salad

Wednesday 21

B- banana muffins for both

L- small smoothie and salad

D- lentil chili

Thursday 22

B- bacon, eggs for both of us

L- BA salad with leftover quiche

D- grilled chicken wings, coleslaw

Friday 23

B- smoothie for me, cereal for DH

L- Veggie chopped salad

D- Catfish po boy/salad for DH, grilled catfish filet and salad for me

Saturday 24

B- Dutch baby with fruit, sausage for both of us

L- smoothie with salad for me, leftovers for DH

D- grilled pork shoulder, braised greens, sweet potato planks

Sunday 25

B- out at 5K

L- smoothie with small salad for me, leftovers for DH

D- root vegetable and sausage stew OR hamburgers *depending on company coming*

mamasooze 03-26-2012 06:49 AM


The Lenten Challenge Update-Week 5

mamasooze 04-01-2012 04:28 PM

SNAP-Week Six
SNAP Challenge 2012-Week Six

This is coming up the END OF SNAP CHALLENGE 2012. Only five more days to go. Had a busy week and thus, was very, very sloppy. Forgot to put something out to thaw one day and had to buy something at store when I went for the usual: tomatoes, bananas and avocados—the Holy Three. Have not had time to go to local produce farm so have no idea if I could have saved on fruits/veg or not. BUT, for the last few weeks my produce bill at Kroger is virtually the same, $22-$25 even with keeping DH and baby monsters amply supplied with apples and bananas and me with avocados. All have been on sale. Apples $1.35 lb. , organic bananas .49 lb., avocados .88 each. Lettuce on sale and around now Texas 1015 *sweet* onions are on sale and they make a mean pie. And of course eggs are on sale—even the organic ones, still more expensive but I’m ahead on budget so I splurged and bought two dozen ($5.18-ouch) Have gone without my trail mix for 2 weeks, but what the heck. I can have some next week. I have been saving my little hoard of walnuts for a special treat times with my Greek Yogurt. Getting low on “stuff”. Out of protein powder and precariously low on olive oil and coffee. Will I make it to Friday? Stay tuned.

Let’s look at the numbers:

Total spent this week: $70.89

SNAP allotment: $85.68

Difference: $14.79

Total difference to date: $115.43 under allotment

I’m woefully behind from last year. Don’t know where I would have cut corners without sacrificing some quality. It’s a short week this week-five days-and it’s the last of the lentils *YEA!* Maybe I can make up some of the ground I lost the past week.


B-Yogurt with walnuts for me, cereal for DH

L-smoothie (out of protein powder so may throw egg in to it)

D- Hamburgers, sweet onion pie


B- eggs, bacon both of us

L- green smoothie

D- wings and slaw




D- lentil stew with sweet potatoes *last of the lentils, thank goodness* :jumpjoy:


B-yogurt me, cereal DH

L- banana smoothie and small salad

D- baked/grilled chicken, giant salad



L- out

D- Shrimp and greens gumbo

Speck333 04-01-2012 04:45 PM

Way to go Mamasooze!

mamasooze 04-01-2012 07:02 PM


Originally Posted by Speck333 (Post 15546510)
Way to go Mamasooze!

:cry: Gah. Wanted to do better but just did merely OK. Many repeat menus but DH doesn't really care as I repeat the things he really, really likes. And that's what is in freezer Like the lamb. Thought it was ground stuff for meatballs. Thawed it out and it was stew meat for almost $3 more :dunno: Sloppy.

Speck333 04-01-2012 08:29 PM

Well, I don't see what's to be disappointed over. You are way, way under SNAP for the life of your challenge. Maybe I'm missing something.

BTW, I went to Sprouts yesterday and loaded up on nuts and seeds from the bulk bins. I noticed for the first time they have almond meal and quinoa in bulk! :clap: I bought the bags of Bob's Red Mill almond flour and rainbow quinoa I already had in my cart though.

mamasooze 04-01-2012 08:48 PM

Last year I was around $170 under at this time. Granted, we weren't eating as well last year as this year (we were eating pasta once or twice a week) but protein and calorie count were a bit higher this year, for the better I guess. And the beef, poultry and eggs this year were much better quality. A year ago, for all I know, we were eating pink slime. Bleeuch!

mamasooze 04-08-2012 12:14 PM

Lenten Challenge 2012 is history
My 40 days are up. Last Friday was the last day for our Lenten challenge. I began to run low or out of "stuff" (coffee, olive oil, cereal, nuts, whey protein, stevia, etc) and had not made my trail mix in three weeks. I only did OK this year and didn't approach what I saved last year...mainly because I used what was already in my freezer rather than waiting for the weekly ads though most of my meat was bought on sale. We also ate more fish this challenge than last year and the shrimp/fish we ate were wild/sustainable (read:more expensive) as was our organic beef and chicken. I tried to stick to primal most of the time (still dairy-free except for yogurt, no cheese whatsoever). Searching for a little variety in my green smoothies I did end up using sugar-free jello to flavor a few of them. Oh, don't hate me cuz I love creamsicles. I found out the bottomless pit I married doesn't like cheap apples...He didn't like Rome apples or Golden Delicious. Have to cough up extra for his favorites. Though food prices have gone up there still seems to be a few good deals around: all winter greens (most in the $1 range), sweet potatoes, avocados (always on sale), organic bananas (.59 lb., ripened ones for banana muffins .49), lemons still 5 for $1, organic cereals 2 for $5, and bag of broccoli slaw is still $2.49, the same I paid a year ago and it's a summer staple around here. I promise to do better next challenge. Promise.

Drum roll please:

Total spent this *short* week: $47.72

SNAP allotment: $61.20

Difference: $13.48

Total difference to date: $128.91 under allotment. Cutting a check to the local food bank...Christian Helping Hands in Pearland, Texas.

Going to go make me some trail mix.

Speck333 04-08-2012 02:08 PM

Well, I think you did super and I'm sure the food bank will be happy to have your check.

BTW, I love creamsicles, too. Or dreamsicles... the orange and vanilla ice cream ones. A good replacement is cream, a spot of vanilla and diet orange soda... mmmmm.

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