Location: Overland Park, Kansas
Number of people in your household: Four (my husband, myself, and our two school-age children, including one with celiac disease, so we’re strictly gluten-free at home)
cast: I am a cooking instructor and my husband is a software engineer
Where did you shop?: Sprouts Farmers Market and Costco
Weekly food budget: $250
Amount spent: USD 227.63
I only went to Sprouts and Costco this week, although I usually also go to Aldi and Trader Joe’s. It is difficult to find everything for the gluten-free household in the same store. I look for sales and try to know what is available for each food item so I don’t have to visit ALL of them.
What is your food strategy?
I try to complement what I already have at home and always look for sales.
I have an idea of the meals I want to make for the week, but I adjust them based on what’s on sale and what looks delicious at the store when I’m shopping (when I go looking for kale but end up walking away with Swiss chard because it looks better, for example). I also try to use what I have on hand in the freezer and pantry.
There aren’t that many restaurants in the area that can safely feed someone with celiac disease because cross contamination is a huge problem, so we cook mostly at home and are professional picnickers and caterers. Because we’re so careful about where it’s safe for us to eat out, it’s super special when we get the chance. Gluten-free ready meals and frozen meals in grocery stores are usually pretty expensive too, so they are also a treat.
Total: $88.84 (including $7.41 tax)
Total: $138.79 (includes $11.36 tax)
Wednesday: Gluten Free Sheet Pancakes and Chicken Sausage, Leftover Tacos and Pesto Pasta, and Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
I’m starting this adventure very late since a recent trip, so I start the morning with a few cups of coffee. I make lunch from leftover tacos reheated in a thermos for my son who is gluten free. My other son eats school lunches so I don’t pack any for him.
I notice a bowl of wrinkly apples on the counter, so I grate them and add them to the gluten-free pancake batter with a little cinnamon. I bake the pancakes in the oven on a sheet pan so I can take a shower instead of standing over the pan. We all eat apple cinnamon pancakes and chicken sausages and I get the boys to school JUST on time.
I have a lot of writing and paperwork to catch up on, so I’ll get to work on that at home, then around 1pm my husband and I eat leftover pasta with pesto for lunch. We are watching the replay Shrubs when we eat it and I notice my jet lag is really catching up with me.
After lunch I head to Sprouts Market. We need a lot of products and they usually have good deals – especially on Wednesdays when they have sales for the week before and the week ahead. I find great deals on fruits and vegetables, pick up some soup ingredients – my husband makes an incredible soup – and inexpensive pork chops and chicken legs. I buy extra; We won’t eat it all this week, but I will freeze half for next week. I get some pasta, corn tortillas and canned beans. I get everything in the car and realize I forgot to bring my gluten free flour so I run back and buy a bag. I think I need another cup of coffee today!
Speaking of coffee, I head to Costco and that’s one of the first things I buy. The large bags of Costco coffee last me quite a while and the price per pound is great. I’m tempted by some gluten-free cookies and buy them for the kids along with other staples we’ll be using all month, like tomato sauce, peanut butter, chicken sausage, and a large package of bacon labeled gluten-free. (Note: Why is bacon so expensive lately?)
I drop everything off at home and pick up the kids from school. We stick together and have a meeting with one of the teachers.
When I get home, the kids have a banana with peanut butter for a snack, I have a quick meeting, then I cut up the sweet potatoes and roast them. I put some vegetables and some chicken in a pot of water to cook and make stock so my husband can make soup for tomorrow. I sauté a package of pork chops and we have them with sweet potatoes for dinner. The second package of pork chops goes in the freezer.
Later in the evening, I chill the broth and my husband cuts up the chicken. I fall asleep ridiculously early.
Thursday: Leftover pancakes, scrambled eggs and toast, homemade snacks and gluten-free bread with my husband’s soup
I’m at the doctor this morning and I’m not allowed to eat breakfast or even drink coffee so it’s a bit rough. I give the kids the other half of the apple cinnamon pancakes and sausage from the day before. For school lunches, I pack homemade Lunchables with pretzel crackers, cheese, grapes, carrot sticks, and a gluten-free cookie. I take the kids to school, do some work on the newsletter I’m writing, and take out a frozen ball of gluten-free bread dough to thaw on the counter, envisioning soup and bread for dinner.
After a long doctor’s appointment, I have a late lunch of scrambled eggs and toast. It’s so late it’s almost time to pick up the kids before I finish. When I pick them up, they remember that I brought them gluten-free Kinder eggs from the trip (Kinder eggs are not gluten-free in the US), so they are super excited. They have that and some fruit for a snack.
The frozen gluten-free bread dough rose, so I put it in the hot oven while my husband put the soup together. It’s a super chilly day and this dinner really hits the spot. My kids LOVE my husband’s soup and it’s a nice evening.
Friday: Scrambled eggs and toast again, leftover soup and sweet potatoes, and gluten-free pizza
I make scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. The children have their plain, my husband and I add spinach and feta to ours. And of course there is coffee. The boys are at home because it’s a day off from school. They help me make gluten-free pizza dough and let it rise. We’re also going to mix up a chocolate cake to take to a friend’s house for dinner tomorrow. It’s a recipe I need to test for work as well, so a win all around.
I take my older son thrift shopping because he needs some new clothes and he talks me into buying him a donut. I get my coffee from the same shop. We run to the elementary school for the next teacher’s conference and get there just in time.
We all eat leftover soup for lunch when we get home. I think the soup is even better the next day. I also have some leftover baked sweet potatoes.
I take both children to the park; they play and I get to work. Then they run off to a friend’s house for a few hours. That night we make gluten free personal pizzas from the dough we mixed earlier. The two boys shape their hearts into hearts and argue over who thought of it first. We watch a movie together during dinner.
Saturday: Oatmeal with PB and apples, sandwiches and snacks, grilled sausage and shrimp at a friend’s house and chocolate cake
We’re up bright and early this Saturday. I feed them all oatmeal with peanut butter and apples. My youngest son has a Tae Kwon Do tournament, so for lunch I pack sandwiches, fruit, those gluten-free cookies and pretzels, and big bottles of water. It’s held at a high school and they sell a lot of goodies, but I doubt he’ll find food that will be safe for my son unless it’s bagged chips or something. I’m freezing the cake we baked yesterday so we’ll be ready to go when we get back from the tournament.
The tournament takes up most of the day and my son is doing really well for the first time! My older son is also a peach and doesn’t complain about hanging out there all day. He talks me into buying him a candy bar while my husband and I buy coffee and we all eat a packed lunch.
After the tournament we swing by the house and pick up cake and change, then head to a friend’s house. He grills sausages and shrimp and has sweet potatoes and salad for dinner. We all eat cake, hang out by the fire, and drink wine. All the kids are running around in her big backyard. It’s a really beautiful evening.
Sunday: Blueberry bacon apple muffins, leftovers for lunch, chicken tacos and whipped feta for book club
I mix up a double batch of blueberry muffins with the frozen blueberries I bought this week. I freeze some of them for later in the week and some we have for breakfast with bacon and apples. Children leave their apples on the table.
We have a mess of leftovers for lunch. My husband and I have soup; the kids have pizza. I take one of the kids to the go-kart/arcade and the other goes rollerblading with a friend.
In the evening, I take out part of the chicken, cut it into portions and add spices. Served with beans for chicken tacos. I’m also pulling out the feta and making whipped feta with pretzel cookies for the book club meeting I’m having that night.
Monday: More blueberry muffins, yogurt and bacon, leftover chicken tacos, eggs and sautéed spinach and pumpkin risotto
For breakfast we have blueberry muffins, yogurt and bacon. I pack leftover chicken tacos, fruit, and cookies for my son’s lunch. I’m working on a course I’m about to take and I’ll be taking an online course, then meeting up with a friend to catch up and go for a walk.
My husband thinks the baby spinach will go bad if we don’t eat the rest, so he sautés it and serves it with over-easy eggs for lunch for the two of us.
When the kids get home, they go raid the pantry and come up with some random chips that I forgot were there, and then they run off to the kids’ house next door to play. I cut the small pumpkin in half and let it roast while I do other things. When it’s soft, I scoop out the seeds and make a really wonderful pumpkin risotto with the arborio rice I bought. We all enjoy it, except my youngest son who makes gagging noises and “sorry mom” every time during dinner. Sigh.
Tuesday: Peanut Butter Toast, Chicken Sausage and Yogurt, Sandwich and Leftover Risotto and Spaghetti Carbonara for a Rainy Day
For breakfast we have peanut butter toast, chicken sausage, yogurt and coffee. I pack a sandwich, a banana and a cookie for my son for lunch. I meet another friend for a walk around the neighborhood and we chat about our recent travels. It rains a bit on our walk and when we get home it pours in absolute buckets.
For lunch, I heat up leftover risotto for myself and my husband. I still find it delicious, despite the kid review.
By the time I pick up the kids from school, the rain has calmed down, but it’s cold outside. I had planned to use canned chickpeas, tomato sauce and coconut milk to make the chickpea curry, but after I got all the ingredients on the counter, my husband said his stomach wasn’t feeling so great and he wasn’t. i think it will fit well. I’ll turn and make a quick spaghetti carbonara from the gluten-free spaghetti and save the chickpeas for another day. I bake some gluten-free almond cookies for a cooking class I teach and leave the broken ones for my husband and kids to eat for dessert.
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