21. Sacrificing to be frugal

My friend Jennifer Trafton may be the only person in the world who has two friends named LaVonne, and it is thanks to Jennifer that LaVonne Stratton Carlson and I are now Facebook friends.

Yesterday LaVonne C. sent me a note about how she and her husband and two young boys are bravely facing Lent. She's realistic about what this experiment is going to cost her in time and effort. Frugal eating, like a new puppy, affects Mom more than anyone else.

So, I guess we're a little late getting on board, but my husband and I have decided to try the Lenten Experiment. So far it appears that our sacrifices will come in three major areas:

1. My husband will have to give up restaurants. He tends to eat several lunches and a couple of breakfasts out each week... that will have to stop. However, we will probably not sacrifice our family Sunday dinner habit -- you don't have to sacrifice on Sunday during Lent, right?

2. My kids will have to give up cold cereal and pre-packaged snacks. Fortunately, Jay likes eggs and Colin likes toast. Maybe they'll learn to like oatmeal sometime in the next 40 days.

3. I will have to give up time. My husband eats out because I don't fix his lunch, my kids eat cold cereal because it's easy... I will have to spend more time thinking, planning, and preparing meals besides dinner. Fortunately, my husband has agreed to fix breakfast for the boys on the mornings I run. I don't think I could get up much earlier on those mornings!

According to at least one of the pages you referenced (I admit, I didn't search too exhaustively), we should have $121.40/week for our family of four. My first shopping trip today totaled $50.58. Woohoo! However, I'll be using a lot of food that was on hand from before, and I didn't have to buy any staples this week, so I doubt I'll be able to keep that up. I'll keep you posted...

Yesterday's fare (as described in an e-mail to friends who wondered)

Tonight I used up almost all my leftovers by making a ratatouille of olive oil, onion slices, half an orange bell pepper, a diced zucchini, half a package of grape tomatoes, sliced in half ... I think that was about it. I cooked them lightly, removed them from the pan, then added to the pan maybe about 5 oz. of button mushrooms (stemmed & sliced in half), which I peppered and salted and browned lightly.

Meanwhile I’d been broiling two salmon filets, salted and peppered only. (These are $1 salmon filets I bought at Aldi’s—frozen, wild caught. Smallish but enough. Four filets, $3.99.)

When everything was done, I got out two pasta bowls and loosely filled them with leftover arugula (scoff not: it's $1.99 for a big bag at Trader Joe's, and the bag has provided eight generous servings). I topped this with the ratatouille, then tore the salmon filets into bite-sized pieces and added them to the stack along with the mushrooms. It was odd, but good.

Drank a little leftover Rex Goliath chardonnay. Dessert was a little plain yogurt with honey topped with blackberries ($2.99 for 4 servings at TJ).

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