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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

"What on Earth Do They Eat?"

I made a grocery order just now, and I was wondering if the people who shop my order for me ever wonder how we're surviving on what looks like an imbalance of foods. Then I thought that you friends may also wonder how we're eating (and what we're eating), based on seeing what groceries I bought in January. Given what I posted, it would be reasonable to assume we ate nothing but produce, frozen French fries, ketchup and whipping cream for the whole month.

So, I thought I'd give you a rundown for all of our meals last month.

  • oatmeal (scratch, not instant)
  • toast (homemade bread)
  • Great Value brand of Cheerios
  • semi-homemade donuts (canned biscuit dough formed into donuts and fried)
  • homemade yogurt
  • applesauce
  • fresh fruit (apples, oranges, tangerines, bananas)
  • frozen fruit (foraged blackberries, blueberries)
  • juice
  • dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, prunes)
  • scratch muffins, coffeecake, cornbread
  • eggs
  • sandwiches (using homemade bread, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, homemade hummus)
  • salads and other raw veggies
  • homemade soups
  • eggs
  • cooked dried beans
  • any homemade bread product (leftover cornbread, muffins, flour tortillas, loaf bread)
  • pasta and homemade sauce
  • leftovers from previous night's dinner
  • pretzels, crackers
  • nuts
  • raisins
  • fruit
  • cookies, breads
  • cookies
  • homemade pie
  • scratch cupcakes
  • coffeecake and snack cake
  • ice cream (leftover from December)
  • holiday candy
  • rice pudding
  • homemade milk and cornstarch pudding
  • homemade cheesecake
  • milk
  • juice
  • coffee
  • tea
  • cocoa from homemade mix
  • water
  • sparkling cider (on New Years' day)
  • Hot Dogs, Buns, Sauerkraut, Hoppin' John, French Fries, Brussel Sprouts in Cheese Sauce, Scratch Cheesecake (using hot dogs, homemade buns, canned sauerkraut, dried black-eyed peas, rice, frozen peppers, seasonings, frozen French fries, frozen Brussel sprouts, scratch cheese sauce, homemade cheesecake)
  • Chicken and Dumplings (using canned chicken and canned vegetables, scratch dumplings)
  • Tuna Casserole, canned carrots, and applesauce (using canned tuna, canned soup, frozen and fresh veggies, cheese and onion powder, pasta, jarred applesauce, canned carrots)
  • Chicken Nachos and Canned Corn (using canned chicken, corn tortillas, avocados, cheese, homemade salsa, lettuce, olives)
  • Stir Fry (using rice, canned chicken, TVP, eggs, cabbage, canned carrots, frozen peas, nuts, soy sauce, sesame oil)
  • Pigs in Blankets and carrot sticks, apple wedges, canned corn (using canned biscuit dough, hot dogs, carrots, apples, canned corn)
  • Pizza (homemade crust or homemade French bread as crust, homemade pizza sauce, pepperoni, green pepper, frozen mushrooms, olives, canned pineapple, frozen ham from Christmas, cheese)
  • TVP Meatballs and Marinara over Pasta (using TVP, eggs, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, herbs, seasonings, pasta)
  • Spaghetti and Meat Sauce (using tomato paste, canned tomatoes, herbs, seasonings, onions, celery, ground beef, pasta)
  • Vegetarian Lasagna (using tomato paste, canned tomatoes, herbs, onions, celery, frozen broccoli, TVP, pasta, mozzarella and Parmesan)
  • Chicken Noodle Soup and Italian Bread (using canned chicken, canned and fresh veggies, pasta, herbs)
  • Chicken, Vegetable, and Potato Soup  with Scratch Biscuits (using canned chicken, canned and fresh vegetables, garden potatoes, seasonings)
  • Vegetarian Chili and Cornbread (using several types of beans, green pepper, onions, canned tomatoes, herbs/spices, avocados, cheese, homemade cornbread)
  • Lentil-Vegetable Soup and Homemade Bread (using lentils, canned tomatoes, fresh and frozen vegetables, spices, herbs, Parmesan, homemade bread)
  • Hummus and Italian Bread w/ Raw Veggies, Homemade Apple Cobbler (using dried beans, sesame seeds, olive oil, seasonings, homemade bread, carrots, celery)
  • Tomato Soup and Toasted Cheese Sandwiches (using tomato paste, seasonings, homemade bread, cheese)
  • Spinach Frittata, Muffins, Canned Fruit and Vegetables (using eggs, canned and frozen spinach, cheese, homemade pizza sauce, scratch muffins, canned fruits and vegetables)
  • Burrito Bowls (using pinto beans, seasonings, rice, canned corn, homemade salsa, cheese, olives, avocados)
  • Scrambled Eggs, Hash Browns, Canned Vegetables, Bacon (using eggs, cheese, garden potatoes, canned vegetables, bacon)

Many of these meals we did twice, either as leftovers or just repeated in the month. For side dishes, we used various canned and frozen vegetables, as well as fresh cabbage, lettuce, avocados, celery, carrots, oranges, tangerines, bananas, and apples.

January is a month when I take it easy on myself and don't expect anything spectacular. I used a lot of canned chicken this past month, as it's easy. We also ate eggs for several dinners and used dried beans a few times per week.  These are all easy foods, in my mind. I'll likely make more of an effort this next month, now that I've had a month of easier cooking as a break.

We ate every meal cooked from home, with exception to a single meal that my husband's office provided for him for a meeting one evening. One afternoon, a meal in a bag showed up on our doorstep. My husband's work seemed to feel they had to bribe their employees to all attend a Zoom meeting. Otherwise, all from home. 

Sometimes, it feels a bit boring to only eat our own cooking. But, for the most part, it's working, and no one is going hungry.


  1. Your pantry and freezer are always well stocked to supplement the groceries you buy, so there was no doubt in my mind that you and your family were eating well. And from your list of meals, that looks to be true. As always you provided varied and nutritious meals for your family. They are lucky to have you and your talents.

    1. Thank you, Live and Learn. I really do rely on what's in the pantry and freezers.

  2. I have also wondered if people look at my grocery cart and wonder what we eat. In our area, many people garden as well as supplement their food supply by hunting and fishing, so I suspect it's not unusual to see carts like mine that don't have a lot of fresh produce or meat products in them.

    Your picture of the donuts looks dangerously good! :) How nice that your husband's workplace provided dinner. Both my husband's workplace and my workplace will occasionally provide meals when we attend a meeting or workshop, so there is probably funding available for that sort of thing where your husband works and they were finding a creative way of using it. It seems silly, perhaps, not to funnel the money elsewhere but switching up budgets in a workplace can be a hassle and it was possibly easier to use the money the way they did (and it's funny how employees can view rewards differently--a meal may seem like more of a reward than straight-up cash, but that's a different discussion).

    1. Hi Kris,
      What you said about folks hunting/fishing and gardening and their grocery carts is a very good reminder to me not to "judge" other people's carts when I'm standing in line at the store. One just never knows other folks' circumstances.

      My son has worked in an industry where it's common for the company to bring in lunch several times per week. They see it as a cheaper perk to offer employees than paying them more. You're right, my husband's office probably had a budget that they needed to use or lose, so opted to provide a delivered meal for their employees to go along with the Zoom meeting.

      (Those donuts were pretty good. I melted chocolate chips to drizzle over them -- just the right amount of sweet and chocolate.)

  3. I usually shop the same way so I get it. I have tried to meal plan a week or two ahead, but after a couple of dinners, I prepare meals that use up what is left over or has been in the freezer or fridge for awhile. When my daughter in law comes over I have to black out the expiration dates. She is a bit finicky about dates and I don't feel that the expiration date means that the food has gone bad. There are just some ingredients that don't get used up as quickly. We haven't gotten sick so I'm pretty lenient. I'm curious about your biscuit donuts. Are they deep fried or baked? I haven't used canned biscuits much.

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      I'm fairly lax on some of the stamped dates on packages, too. There are usually a few items in our fridge that are past the sell-by date, too, but are still "good." Some of these dates are best-by dates, so I think of them as "suggestions" not rules. I do wonder what people outside our household think, though. I sometimes have jugs of milk that I previously froze, now thawed in the fridge. The stamped dates would indicate that the milk expired several months ago.

      Those donuts are fried in about 2 inches of oil. Here's an old post that explains how I make them:
      Easy Peasy Donuts

  4. Really enjoy and am inspired w hen you list what you've eaten. Thanks much!
    We, too, raise a large garden, preserve food, fish and purchase bulk meat from a farmer. So, my grocery cart doesn't reflect our whole menu.

    1. Hi Linda,
      I'm now beginning to think that there isn't a "normal" shopping cart, as so many of us procure food outside of grocery stores.
      I'm really glad that my menus are helpful. Thanks for the feedback!

  5. I would say an "unbalanced" grocery cart is a sign of well balanced home meal plan. Sometimes we just have to fill in the empty places as we use up things. My grocery cart probably looks a lot like yours!

    1. Well said, Alice!
      I think you and I do shop similarly, guessing what what you've said in the past. So, yes, your and my grocery carts probably do look a lot alike!


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