Okay, so I've been absent for a bit.
I got discouraged.
And I had to do taxes.
These two are unrelated, and yet....
Quick summary: I discovered that I could purchase groceries to feed the four of us for ~$50/week. However, teens being teens and wanting pizza, sodas, dates, candy at the movies, bring a dish to the potluck and so forth, I could not claim to "feed the family for fifty bucks". I mean, I suppose I COULD have, but it would've meant saying No a great deal more often, not going to parties where a bottle of wine and/or a dish to share was the "done" thing, and birthday meals would've been meager and cakeless.
Doing taxes is unrelated to food purchases, but related to fiscal responsibility. I do my own, or rather, I do OUR own, as both Mr. Gomez and I are and have been self-employed, and (in my case) self-un-employed. Taxes with two Schedule Cs is not a task for the faint-of-heart. Mr. Gomez's filing system is random receipts stuffed in tissue boxes (no separation of categories) and a stack of logbook sheets, which he's inclined (after a month of reminding) to thrust into my arms on April 11th saying, I think this is everything.
I have dropped the ball on some of the years, but have caught up and only 2010 is outstanding. I intend to rectify that.
I also dropped the ball on budgeted grocery purchases, and we were spending ~$80-120/week on food supplies, plus "extras" like our Stupid Costco Dates (total: ~$8-12, not bad for a family date, but seriously? 25% of our total food budget?) These spendings, I am sad and embarrassed to report, included Sofa Merge snacks. Sofa Merge snacks are akin to Snowceries, only there doesn't need to be any weather warning. Yes, every year (partly due to SAD, but also depression in general- it's a constant wrestle with the Black Dog) I wear an ass-shaped hole into the sofa, eating cookies, drinking cocoa, and staining my fingers with orange cheezy dust.
The sub-adults were damaged by this, and Mr. Gomez doesn't eat very well anyway, which led to our June Family Diet. Mr. Gomez and I used to go on this diet every several years, until we had children. It's too hard to do a diet this restrictive while still preparing regular kid food. The one we use isn't in any significant way different from any other 'fad' diet, except that we can stick with it and it works for us. He usually loses 12-15 pounds in a week, and I usually drop about 5. It's called the Sacred Heart Hospital Diet, though Sacred Heart hospital disavows any association with it. It's been around for the longest time, though... I used it a few times as far back as 1980, and I know the Mr. and I were on it before our wedding in '89, and at least once again before '95, which is when Pugsley was born.
The basic plan: Day 1: fruits, except bananas, especially melons
Day 2: vegetables- no legumes, and one potato for dinner- with butter
Day 3: fruits & vegetables, no bananas or potato
Day 4: milk and bananas
Day 5: beef and tomatoes
Day 6: beef and vegetables
Day 7: vegetables and rice
There is a vegetable soup to go along with this- any time you wish, as much as you like. The trick is to feel full all the time on these high-water, low-calorie foods. Nutritionally, it seems sound. Drink plenty of water. No alcohol, no carbonated beverages, but fruit juice and unsweetened tea and coffee are fine.
Notice that this eating plan includes NO pasta, NO bread, NO beans, NO eggs and NO cheese. Whoa.
It's not cheap, either. But it's effective. As a family, we are down 38 pounds. And we are making an effort to not revert to old habits- easier in the summer, when a smoothie for dinner feels just fine, and delicious melon is plentiful. Salads feel almost filling, and a broth-based soup is filling enough.
Wednesday designed an eating plan that weds this diet into our weekly Meal Plan. It required some creativity on my part, but I came up with at least two dinner options for each day. Some of the recipes are as yet untested, like the fruit strata- I floated the idea of fruit quiche past Wednesday. It was received with skepticism and a hairy eyeball.
But here's the basic plan:
Thursday: Fruits & Vegetables
Friday: Vegetables & Starch
Saturday: Meats & Rice
Sunday: Fish & Leaves
Here are my meal ideas (I'm'a leave them right here, as I've lost Wednesday's notebook twice already).
T: fruit smoothie, fruit strata, tomato soup & fruit salad
W: steamed veggies, giant salad, harvest soup
R: tropical salad, veggie soup, super smoothies
F: Veggie mac, CornYamBeans, White Pasta, Spaghetti
S: Green & Yellow Chicken, Fajitas & rice, Jambalayah
N: salmon steak & collard greens, tuna salad salad, salmon cake & Brussels sprouts
As I've mentioned, I don't object to rearranging. But it's so much easier to eat well, and cheaply, if you have a Plan, a Budget, a List and INGREDIENTS.