I never thought I’d say this: I miss the commissary

Today was my first day grocery shopping some place other than the commissary. For the past FOUR YEARS I have made a list, searched online for coupons, and planned out my meals according to what was sold/not sold at the commissary. But with the commissaries closed right now, I had to find another place to shop.

Wal-Mart.

J loves Wal-Mart. I’m not kidding you when I say it is by far his favorite store. I, on the other hand, hate it. And love it. Basically I have a high school relationship with this store.

Obviously I love the pricing. Besides the Dollar Store, which I also frequent, it has the best prices on things out side of groceries. They are cheaper than Target *gasp* and they usually have a McDonald’s inside. Winning.

Obviously I hate it because its always crowded, its gigantic, and they don’t have a million cute things to look at like Target. And no Starbucks. Losing.

But, with the commissaries being closed it was my only choice for grocery shopping. I could have gone to a “regular” grocery store but no matter how many coupons I clip I always spend way too much there. It just wasn’t an option for us. I’m cheap, remember?

I knew I had to brace myself.  I stopped at Starbucks (not inside a Target because then I’d be sucked into the web of I NEED ALL THINGS and never leave) and got a nice iced beverage to hold me over. Snacks for the kid were full of sugar and deliciousness. I was armed with my list, coupons, and general attitude of “this is going to blow.”

Guess what?  I was right.

Duh.

It was so stressful. I didn’t know where anything was, everything was so much more expensive, and I was shaking (mostly because of the coffee, but let’s just say it was stress). I ended up walking out of there with $120 less in my *husband’s* pocket. AND THAT WAS ONLY FOR 4 MEALS. For comparison, I usually spend about $80-$90/week at the commissary so I literally felt like someone stabbed me with a shiv made out of a credit card.

I’ll be honest with you here- a few days ago I was thinking, “Eh, no big deal.” For the past 4 years I have been married to my husband, I’ve thought it was kind of silly that state-side military had “special” grocery stores. I thought that with budget cuts, that should be one of the first things to go. Yes, I shopped there every week but mostly because I’m cheap and I’ll shop anywhere if it will save me a few dolla dolla bills ya’ll.

I guess at the end of the day I still don’t think commissaries are totally necessary. I think we’d all survive shopping at Wal-Mart or other grocery stores. But I do understand for those young couples how beneficial they can be, and now I can see with new perspective how drastic the difference in cost can be if you had to shop out in town.

But I miss it. I miss you, commissary. I miss you so damn much.

 

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Meal Plan: September, Week 1

This week’s meal plan is up, complete with a easy crockpot whole chicken recipe from 100 Days of Real Food. And my crazy toddler who loves raw onions…

Onion Eating Baby

Check it out and don’t forget to leave a comment with your own meal plans for this week!

August Week 3 and Week 4 Meal Plan

This week’s meal plan, complete with a yummy pork loin recipe and a delicious taco bowl crockpot meal, is up!

Meal Plan

Happy eating!

Clean Eating: Your gut will thank you

I have never been the type of person to try fad diets. I never did the Atkins (yes, I’m old enough to remember that), the South Beach (yep, old enough for that too), the honey/water/pickle juice only diet, or thethe only-eat-2-beets-and-a-piece-of-chicken diet. I currently live in Hippie Town, USA so there are lots of people out here that spew their only-organic/farmer’s market food in your face when they are trying to tell you what you should eat.

Alas, as my loving husband will tell you, these organic hipsters have gotten the best of me. I cloth diaper my child. I shop at Trader Joe’s and/or the farmer’s market when I can. I use a local CSA our neighborhood organized for organic eggs. I only by organic milk. We extended breastfed and we are extended rear facing E’s carseat. For frick’s sake, she wears an amber teething necklace aka the hippiest of all hippie baby stuff.

Hippie Baby 2

One thing my hippie self couldn’t latch onto like extended breastfeeders is the Paleo diet. Never heard of it? You aren’t crunchy enough, then. The Paleo diet is also known as the caveman diet. You basically don’t eat anything that the cavemen didn’t/couldn’t eat. So no processed foods, no dairy, no sugar, no salt. There are lots of things you can eat on the Paleo diet though. You can eat lots of meat. Eggs. Fruits and veggies. Anything that our ancestors could once hunt and gather is a-ok. Just don’t bring a spiked club to your local Safeway.

Another diet that seems to be pretty big ’round these parts is no so much a diet but a way of eating healthy. It’s known as “clean eating.” It is similiar to the Paleo diet in that you cut out processed foods and refined sugar and white flour, but you can eat ceratin breads (whole wheat only) and you can have dairy. If you would like to learn more about what you can and cannot eat in the clean eating method, click here.

I first became aware of the “clean eating” method via Pinterest. People kept pinning these recipes labeled “Clean Chicken Recipes” or whatever and I was intrigued. In doing some digging for my meal planning, I came across this website called 100 Days of Real Food. Lisa, the creator, and her family made a pledge that they would only eat “real food” for 100 days. They have since completed their pledge but they continue to eat as clean as possible, with an occasional treat here and there.

One of the reasons this website and healthy eating method caught my attention was its adaptability to the military lifestyle. As I mentioned before, I live in an area where organic and all-natural foods are pretty easy to find. Local farmer’s markets are year-round and there are several to choose from. But that isn’t the case with every place, especially some of the no-man’s land places Uncle Sam sometimes decides to send us. However, “clean foods” like fruits, veggies, and meats are found in every grocery store so even if you’re in Armpit, USA, you can eat clean. This method also seems to be budget friendly, as Lisa demonstrates by providing meal plans and weekly budgets that are under $125/week for a family of 4. And Lord knows us military folks like saving money. As a plus, there are more things you CAN eat with this “diet” as opposed to most diets where there are more things you CAN’T eat. Therefore, eating clean seems to be something that anyone can do (for the most part) no matter where you live.

I say SEEMS to be something anyone can do because I haven’t done it yet. But I’m planning to once we get all our sh*t moved across the country (I can’t drive some 3,000 miles without getting me some sugared coffee-water and McDonald’s. Unless you want to see a trail of dead bodies behind me Hanzel and Gretel style).

I’ll be honest with you though, people, I don’t know if I can do this. I have a few staples in my diet and I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to give them up. Of course, there is Starbucks and any coffee creamer I use here at home. And soda. Cookies. Crackers. Chips and guac (so guac’s ok, but not the chips). A bar of dark chocolate. HAMBURGERS. I’m getting the shakes just thinking about the withdrawal. The good news with all of this is that we are moving out to the boonies so the Starbucks and junk food will not be accessed as easily. I will also have more time on my hands to make things from scratch since I won’t be going out as much because WE LIVE IN THE BOONDOCKS.

Luckily, Lisa provides several different pledges for starting your clean eating transformation off slowly, so that’s how I plan to start. We will probably start off with the 10 Day Pledge and then go from there. And I will be honest again, because that’s how I roll- I don’t think I will ever become a 100% clean eater. Its just not in me. I will still drink my morning creamer with a splash of coffee. I will continue to buy our meat from the commissary. Not everything will be organic. I just can’t do it. I’m not that crunchy. I’m only like, part crunchy. Like this:

See, part crunchy/part normal. All-natural, not organic. This is me if I was peanut butter.

Either way, I still think trying to cut out as much processed foods as possible is a good idea. And I think as a military family, its one diet that is actually do-able for the most part because “clean” items are everywhere. Obviously, some refinements to the method have to be refined for those of us that travel to the buttends of the world and don’t have all organic stores and the locally raised meat is skinnier than Nicole Richie, but for the most part its possible.

But for now, I’m going to go enjoy my Coke and store-bought cookies while I begin to sort through all the crap the movers are going to have to pack up in about a week.

Meal Planning: April, Week 2

So last week after we had Friday’s meal, I had a ton of black beans leftover because I’m a noob and made 15 oz of DRY beans instead of realizing the recipe only needed 15 oz of COOKED beans. Needless to say, I had a pleathora of black beans left and nothing to do with them.

A few quick Google searches and I found this recipe from Kitchen Ninja (love the little Lego ninja he has on the top of his page!). You are probably thinking I made some tacos, burritos, enchiladas, or something else of the sort (why so much prejudice against black beans man?….) but go ahead, take a little venture over. I’ll wait for you to pick up your jaw off the floor when you see what I made with BEANS.

Black Bean Cookies

COOKIES.

You would never guess it but they were actually really good. You can’t taste the black beans AT ALL. And I’m fairly certain I forgot to add flour and they still came out great. They honestly taste like peanut butter cookies.

But anyways, below is the meal plan for this week. Let me know if you have any good meals on your menu because-once again- I’m drowning in a sea of Pinterest.

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If this is the first time you are using my meal plan read the notes below. If you have questions, feel free to comment or email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com. If you’ve been here before, you know what to do.

Notes

  • I linked the recipes I found online. Most are on my Pinterest page, so click the button to the right to follow me. If you have questions about any of the recipes, feel free to email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com.
  • If you’re using my grocery list, I only put things on there that *I* need. So be sure to double check it for things that you need. And some stuff has nothing to do with the recipes, just stuff our family needs. Just double check it, ok?
  • Feel free to leave any of your meal ideas or yummy recipes you’ve found in the comments section. Its like high-school, we all just want to copy someone else!

Menu/Meal Plan

ThursdaySavory yogurt chicken breasts with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies

FridayTeriyaki chicken with sticky coconut rice (leftover)/potatoes for J with edamame

SaturdayCarne asada tacos with refried beans and Spanish rice

Sunday- Baked chicken with perioges and glazed carrots

Monday- Meatloaf with potatoes and broccoli

Tuesday- Chicken pad thai (peas for E)

Wednesday- Baked sweet and sour chicken with fried rice

Thursday- Lasagna with garlic bread (green beans for E)

Grocery List

Click on the image below to access the editable and printable grocery list for this week. April- Week 2

Meal Planning: April, Week 1

We had a great Easter this past weekend, and I hope all you did too. What better way to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus by eating ham and drinking wine. Its What Jesus Would Do. I asked.

I totally rocked it with my Easter dish creativity this weekend too. I had a really hard time coming up with what to bring to dinner at my cousin’s house but I got all creative and shiz, and I did something awesome. Brace yourselves….

Easter

BAM! Yea, that’s what’s up man.

What is this wonderful Easter-laden concotion you might ask? Well, its coconut cheesecake heaven that is masterfully decorated to look like Easter Eggs on grass. I know, genius.

Basically I made a no-bake cheesecake and added coconut flakes to the mixture. I added green dyed coconut flakes to the top to mimic grass and then got a bunch of little Easter malt eggs to put on top. Again, genius.

I also made this warm potato salad (delish by the way, although I could have done without the hardboiled eggs). I used Chobani fat-free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and fat-free mayo to make it a little more fat-friendly. And then I ate like 12 pieces of cheesecake and had 3 glasses of wine, so I guess it equals out.

In addition to my amazing food, we also had ham (duh, Jesus says so), turkey, awesome green beans with mushrooms, and delicious balsamic glazed beets, carrots, and squash (courtesy of my cousin). So good. And now I’m hungry again. Damn, where’s that left over cheesecake…I know J hid it here somewhere…

But we can’t dwell on the past, can we? Here is the menu and grocery list you all have probably scrolled down past my rambling to see. Happy Eating!

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If this is the first time you are using my meal plan read the notes below. If you have questions, feel free to comment or email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com. If you’ve been here before, you know what to do.

Notes

  • I linked the recipes I found online. Most are on my Pinterest page, so click the button to the right to follow me. If you have questions about any of the recipes, feel free to email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com.
  • If you’re using my grocery list, I only put things on there that *I* need. So be sure to double check it for things that you need. And some stuff has nothing to do with the recipes, just stuff our family needs. Just double check it, ok?
  • Feel free to leave any of your meal ideas or yummy recipes you’ve found in the comments section. Its like high-school, we all just want to copy someone else!

Menu/Meal Plan

ThursdayRoasted veggie mac n cheese with BBQ chicken breasts

FridayChicken and black bean casserole

SaturdayChicken gyros with corn on the cob

Sunday- Island pork with sticky coconut rice and broccoli

Monday- Ravioli with spicy meat sauce (extra veggies for E)

Tuesday- Avocado chicken parmesan with quinoa and balsamic glazed tomatoes/carrots

Wednesday- Slow cooker cream cheese chicken chili

Thursday- Ham with roasted potatoes and mixed veggies

Click here to view the editable and printable grocery list for this week: April-Week 1

Meal Planning: March, Week 4

Ok, so this is actually the 4th week of March. I guess. I have mom brain; sue me.

Anyways, some of the menu items this week are repeats from last week because I didn’t get a chance to make them. We had a potluck col-de-sac party on Friday (whoop, whoop!) so I didn’t cook anything except this appetizer to bring along, so things got pushed back/moved around. Hopefully this week’s menu will still give you some ideas.

Sunday is Easter and we are headed to my cousin’s house for dinner, so again I get to skip out on cooking. I’m going to bring something to share but I’m not sure what yet. Do you have any traditional Easter dishes that you love? Leave a comment below so I can cheat off of you!

If this is the first time you are using my meal plan read the notes below. If you have questions, feel free to comment or email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com. If you’ve been here before, you know what to do.

Notes

  • I linked the recipes I found online. Most are on my Pinterest page, so click the button to the right to follow me. If you have questions about any of the recipes, feel free to email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com.
  • If you’re using my grocery list, I only put things on there that *I* need. So be sure to double check it for things that you need. And some stuff has nothing to do with the recipes, just stuff our family needs. Just double check it, ok?
  • Feel free to leave any of your meal ideas or yummy recipes you’ve found in the comments section. Its like high-school, we all just want to copy someone else!

Menu/Meal Plan

ThursdaySlow cooker cabbage rolls with roasted potatoes and carrots (I use rice in the meat mixture instead of saltines)

Friday“Ultimate” chicken fingers with corn and cheesy potatoes

Saturday– Carobonara

Sunday- Easter dinner at M&S’s house-

Monday- Chicken rollatini with garlic bread and spinach salad- this pin isn’t working but for the mixture I’m just mixing ricotta with parmasean cheese, shredded mozarella, an egg, and cooked spinach

Tuesday- Maple glazed chicken breasts with green beans and mashed potatoes

Wednesday- Slow cooker honey sesame chicken with quinoa and peas

Thursday- Roasted veggie mac n cheese with BBQ chicken breasts

To see, edit, and print this week’s grocery list, click here: March- Week 4

Meal Planning: March, Week…4?

I’m  not sure what week it is because we’ve been gone. So I’m guessing 3 or 4…Anyways, we are so happy to be home and to be back to some warmer weather! I am not so happy, however, that I am back to the daily grind of stay-at-home mom work. I mean, I love being able to stay home with E every day (ok, most days. Some days. Every other day at least) but for the past 18 days I didn’t have to cook or clean or I had ready-made babysitters at any given moment (thanks Mom and Dad!). It was glorious!!!

The good news for you is that I’m back to meal planning. You’re welcome.

If this is the first time you are using my meal plan read the notes below. If you have questions, feel free to comment or email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com. If you’ve been here before, you know what to do.

Notes

  • I linked the recipes I found online. Most are on my Pinterest page, so click the button to the right to follow me. If you have questions about any of the recipes, feel free to email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com.
  • If you’re using my grocery list, I only put things on there that *I* need. So be sure to double check it for things that you need. And some stuff has nothing to do with the recipes, just stuff our family needs. Just double check it, ok?
  • Feel free to leave any of your meal ideas or yummy recipes you’ve found in the comments section. Its like high-school, we all just want to copy someone else!

Menu/Meal Plan

ThursdayChicken with mushrooms and asparagus and roasted potatoes

FridayCrunchy coconut chicken with rice and broccoli

Saturday– Slow cooker cabbage rolls with roasted potatoes and asparagus

Sunday- Basil and tomato chicken with pasta and peas

Monday- Spicy bean, rice and chicken burritos with corn- This recipe doesn’t call for chicken but I’m adding it to the burritos

Tuesday- Carobonara

Wednesday- BBQ chicken with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables

Thursday- Apple cranberry stuffed pork loin with cheesy scalloped potatoes and carrots

Grocery List

Click the link to see the editable and printable grocery list that goes with this week: March- Week 4

Meal Planning: March, Week 1

So there’s good news and bad news. Good news is that this week was kind of easy to plan. Bad news (for you anyways) is that you’re pretty much on your own for the next 2 weeks. We will be traveling so I didn’t and won’t be posting meal plans since I won’t be meal planning (whoop whoop!). What you will get is probably a jumbled post or two about traveling with a 16-month old and house hunting. SWEET.

If this is the first time you are using my meal plan read the notes below. If you have questions, feel free to comment or email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com. If you’ve been here before, you know what to do.

Notes

  • I linked the recipes I found online. Most are on my Pinterest page, so click the button to the right to follow me. If you have questions about any of the recipes, feel free to email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com.
  • If you’re using my grocery list, I only put things on there that *I* need. So be sure to double check it for things that you need. And some stuff has nothing to do with the recipes, just stuff our family needs. Just double check it, ok?
  • Feel free to leave any of your meal ideas or yummy recipes you’ve found in the comments section. Its like high-school, we all just want to copy someone else!

Menu/Meal Plan

Thursday– Tuscan ravioli with chicken **this is not a crockpot meal like I orginally thought. Sorry!**

FridayLemon chicken scallopini with spinach and pasta

SaturdayLime and basil chicken with carrots and roasted potatoes

Sunday- Stuffed green peppers with corn and sweet potatoes

Grocery List

Click the link to see, edit, and print the grocery list for this week: March- Week 1

 

Happy Eating!