Nesting is a funny, funny thing. You see, I’m a “nester” by nature.
Add to that the urge to purge, reorganize, and clean everything that comes with the third trimester of pregnancy, and things get a little crazy around here. So I’ve been busy doing the following:
- Washing, drying, ironing, and starching all of my linens (this is atypical, I assure you… well at least the ironing and starching bit)
- Cleaning everything down to the cleaning supplies themselves
- Reorganizing and labeling my medicine cabinet, cleaning closet, coat and linen closet
- Totally redoing Ben’s room (not planned and more on that later…)
- Setting up the nursery (duh)
- purging, purging, and more purging
- some light yard work (totally digging up my entire front yard to create new flower beds and borders. more on that later too…)
- and lastly, or at least most recently, stocking up on freezer meals for when the baby comes or I’m too big and uncomfortable to feel like cooking.
I’ve been compiling freezer meal recipes for awhile on Pinterest, especially those that I can thaw and put right into the slow cooker, and let me tell you, there are so many great resources out there!
However, Chris doesn’t eat carbs or dairy on his current diet. That combined with my aversion to processed to foods, and there wasn’t too much to choose from.
Luckily, I did stumble upon some great choices. And I’m here to share the wealth with you now.
All in all, I spent under $300 for over 40, yes 40 (!!!) meals. considering that most of my ingredients were local and organic, I think I did pretty well. FYI, I’ve included some of my tips for buying organic on a budget below.
Some great tips on making freezer meals can be found over at Life’s Little Moments.
I love her organization. Click here to read up on her process.
Most of the meals I made came from Loving My Nest.
She has three rounds of recipe round ups, and they were all super helpful, but with Chris’ diet the third was definitely the best for us. TONS of protein+bean+veg meals which is basically what we eat on a daily basis around here. I especially loved that there were a lot of options where I could add a little cheese or serve with tortillas, or the like for Ben and myself while keeping it all carb and dairy free for Chris. She also includes shopping lists which are super helpful if you’re making exactly what she made.
- Meat Stew (I used beef)
- Creamy Farmhouse Chicken and Garden Soup (I omitted the milk here)
- Sloppy Tamale Pie (made without the cornbread for Chris)
- Enchilada Wraps (minus the wrap part for Chris)
- Chunky Chili With Veggies (I used some of our venison here)
- Jambalaya with Cauliflower “Rice” (if you have a food processor, the cauliflower “rice” is totally worth it)
- Stuffed Bell Peppers (again with cauliflower “rice”)
- Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie (Chris won’t eat the sweet potatoes, but it sounded so yummy I couldn’t help myself)
*most of these I made multiples, some of the recipes are also already for multiple meals
For Ben and Me, I also am a huge fan of these smoothie packs from Momables.
I honestly don’t mind making smoothies every morning, but since so much fruit is in season right now, it was a great time to portion these out. Buying my fruits and vegetables at this time of year was definitely how I did so well saving some money in the organic produce department (more on that below).
And honorable mentions go to:
These meals by Six Sisters’ Stuff- I’ve heard they’re good and SUPER easy. I only opted for the recipes above because it was much easier to adapt them to our diets.
These meals from Kojo Designs- also looked super tasty, so I may just do these on my next stock up.
So there you have it! Hope that helps some of y’all out. You can find even more over on my Pinterest board “Freezer Meals”.
Tips for Eating Organic on a Budget
I should most certainly mention that my kitchen is not entirely local and organic, but thanks to these tid bits, I’ve been able to work organic substitutes into our budget pretty easily. :)
- Buy in season! This is obvious, but really! Eating seasonally will not only help you save a lot of money, but it just tastes better! That tomato you buy in the winter has to travel a long way from a warmer clime. You’re paying for that travel. You also pay in the taste department because it has to be picked before it’s ripe.
- Consider “putting up” produce while it’s in season (see above). Even if you’re not into canning and dehydrating and all of that, think about simple methods of putting up like freezing. Example, blueberries are stinkin’ expensive when they’re coming to you from a different locale, but they are SUPER cheap when they are coming from local farms. They are also SUPER easy to freeze and pack in baggies.
- Look for sales (duh). Organic does go on sale, just not as often as conventional foods. Hint: the sale is almost always at the height of that item’s local growing season. Also think sale for canned goods. Bonus: if you’re local to Pittsburgh, Giant Eagle’s “Market Pantry” organic canned goods go on sale ALL THE TIME, so I stock up on those when they are and usually get them for the same price or cheaper than even the off brand conventionals.
- Shop Direct. I have nothing against Whole Foods, but generally speaking, I simply can’t afford to buy there. I’ve mentioned plenty of times that local farmers markets are where it’s at. Buddy up to your local organic farmer! Chances are, it’s cheaper than buying from the super store, not to mention it’s coming to you straight from the ground. I’ve found that it also saves me a lot of money to buy bulk produce from the farmer. Don’t be afraid to ask for a deal! The nice thing about farmers markets is that they usually have control over their prices whereas the cashier at the grocer does not.
- Eat your yard. Grow your own! I generally do, but don’t have space to grow every thing since I live in the city… which brings me to my next tip…
- Consider a CSA. Usually you pay up front for a share, and if you can’t grow your own, this is the next best thing! A cute little box of farm fresh goodness!
- Buy in bulk. I alluded to this above. A couple suggestions here… talk to your local butcher about buying a side or a quarter of beef. Then do the math. Chances are, as long as you have room to store it, it’s going to be cheaper than buying the same weight in specific cuts from the grocer. I also buy in bulk from the warehouse. We have a membership to Costco, and they have a ton of organic options that are the Kirkland brand, often cheaper than the name brand equivalent. This is how I save on a lot of organic dry goods as well as canned and frozen items.
- Spend on the important stuff. Save your money where you can so you can afford to splurge on things are more expensive. For example, organic milk and eggs are pretty much always going to be more expensive than conventional. However, I can afford those by spending smart on everything else.
Alright friends! Lengthy, but I hope worth it! I’m off to put my feet up and eat some chocolate.