Place: Overland Park, Kansas
Number of people in your household: Four (my husband, myself and our two school age children including one person with celiac disease so we are strictly gluten free in our house)
Occupation: I am a cooking instructor and my husband is a software engineer
Where you shopped: Sprouts Farmer’s Market and Costco
Weekly food budget: $250
Amount spent: $227.63
I only went to Sprouts and Costco this week, although I usually go to Aldi and Trader Joe’s as well. It’s hard to get everything for a gluten-free household in the same store. I look for deals and try to know what’s available at each grocer so I don’t have to visit ALL of them.
What is your shopping strategy?
I try to supplement what I already have at home, and I’m always looking for outlets.
I have an idea of the meals I want to make this week, but adjust them based on what’s on sale and what looks good at the grocery store while I’m shopping (if I’m looking for kale, but end up going with Chard because it looks better for example). I also try to use what I have on hand in my freezer and pantry.
There are not that many restaurants around that can safely feed someone with celiac disease as cross contamination is a major problem so we mostly cook at home and are professional picnickers and snack transporters. 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 prepared foods and frozen foods in supermarkets are also usually quite expensive, so they’re a treat too.
Total: $88.84 (including $7.41 tax)
Total: $138.79 (including $11.36 tax)
Wednesday: gluten-free pancakes and chicken sausage, leftover tacos and pasta with pesto, and pork chops with roasted sweet potatoes
I start this adventure with jet lag from a recent trip, so I start my morning with several cups of coffee. I make a lunch of reheated leftover tacos in a thermal food container for my son who is gluten free. My other son eats school lunch so I don’t pack one for him.
I see a bowl of some kind of wrinkled apples on the counter, so I grate them and add them to gluten-free pancake batter with some cinnamon. I bake the pancakes in the oven on a baking tray so I can shower instead of standing over a baking tray. We all eat apple cinnamon pancakes and chicken sausages and I get the boys to school JUST on time.
I have a lot of recipes to write and paperwork to catch up on so I get to work on that at home, and around 1pm my husband and I eat leftover pasta with pesto for lunch. We’re looking at a replay of scrubs as we eat it, and I notice that my jet lag is seriously catching up with me.
After lunch I go to Sprouts Market. We need a lot of products and they usually have good deals, especially on Wednesdays when the deals for the week before and the week ahead are both valid. I find great deals on fruits and vegetables, buy some soup ingredients – my husband makes incredible soup – and cheap pork chops and chicken legs. I buy additional; we won’t eat it all this week, but I’m freezing half for next week. I’ll get some pasta, corn tortillas, and canned beans. I get everything to my car and realize I forgot to get gluten free flour so I run back in and buy a bag. I think I need another cup of coffee today!
Speaking of coffee, I go to Costco next and that’s one of the first things I buy. Costco’s big bags of coffee last a while and the price per pound is great. I’m lured in by some gluten-free cookies and buy those for the kids along with other staples we’ll be using throughout the month, such as tomato sauce, peanut butter, chicken sausage, and a large package of bacon labeled gluten-free. (Side note: why is bacon so expensive lately?)
I drop everything off at home and pick up the kids from school. We linger and have a conference with one of the teachers.
When I get home, the kids have a banana with peanut butter as a snack, I have a short appointment, cut the sweet potatoes into pieces and roast them. I put some vegetables and part of the chicken in a pot of water to simmer and make stock so my husband can make soup for tomorrow. I bake a pack of pork chops and we eat them with the sweet potatoes for dinner. The other package of chops goes into the freezer.
Later in the evening I cool the broth and my husband shreds the chicken. I fall asleep ridiculously early.
Thursday: leftover pancakes, scrambled eggs and toast, homemade lunch items, and gluten-free bread with my husband’s soup
This morning I have a doctor’s appointment and I’m not allowed to have breakfast or even drink coffee, so things are a bit rough. I feed the kids the other half of the apple cinnamon pancakes and sausage from the day before. I pack homemade Lunchables for school lunch with pretzel crackers, cheese, grapes, carrot sticks, and a gluten-free cookie. I drop the kids off at school, do a little work on a newsletter I’m writing, and bring a frozen ball of gluten-free bread dough to thaw on the counter as I envision soup and bread for dinner.
After my doctor’s appointment, which was rather long, I have a late lunch of scrambled eggs and toast. It’s so late it’s almost time to pick up the kids by the time I’m done. When I pick them up, they remember I brought them a gluten-free Kinder Egg from my trip (the Kinder Eggs in the US aren’t gluten-free), so they’re super excited. They have that and some fruit for a snack.
The frozen gluten-free bread dough has risen, so I pop it in a hot oven while my husband puts the soup together. It’s a super cold day and this dinner really hit the mark. My kids love my husband’s soup and it makes for an enjoyable 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 kids just have theirs, my husband and I add spinach and feta to ours. And of course there is coffee. The boys are home because it’s a day off from school. They help me make gluten free pizza dough and we let it rise. We’re also mixing up a chocolate cake to take to a friend’s house for dinner tomorrow. It’s a recipe I also have to test for work, so it’s a win all around.
I go to the thrift store with my oldest son because he needs new clothes and he persuades me to buy him a donut. I get coffee from the same shop. We race to the elementary school for the other teachers’ conference and arrive just in time.
We all eat leftover soup for lunch when we get home. I think the soup tastes even better the next day. I also have some of the leftover roasted sweet potatoes.
I take both kids to a park; they play and I get caught up in some work. Then they run to a friend’s house for a few hours. That evening we make gluten-free personal pizzas from the dough we mixed earlier. Both boys form theirs as hearts and they fight over who came up with the idea first. We watch a movie together while we eat.
Saturday: oatmeal with OJ and apples, sandwiches and snacks, grilled sausages and shrimps at a friend’s house, and chocolate cake
This Saturday we get up fresh and early. I give everyone oatmeal with peanut butter and apples in it. My youngest son has a Tae Kwon Do tournament, so I pack sandwiches, fruit, those gluten-free cookies and pretzels, and big bottles of water for lunch. It’s held at a high school and they sell a lot of concessions, but I doubt there will be any food safe for my son unless it’s packaged chips or something. I ice the cake we made 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 oldest son is also a peach and doesn’t complain about hanging out there all day. He does persuade me to buy him a candy bar when my husband and I buy coffee and we all eat the packed lunch.
After the tournament, we go by the house, pick up the cake and change our clothes, then go to a friend’s house. She grills sausages and shrimps and has sweet potatoes and salad for dinner. We all eat cake and hang out by the fire pit and drink wine. The kids are all running around in her big backyard. It’s really a lovely evening.
Sunday: blueberry muffins with bacon and apples, leftovers for lunch, chicken tacos and whipped cream for the book club
I mix up a double batch of blueberry muffins with the frozen blueberries I bought this week. I freeze some for later in the week and we eat some with bacon and apples for breakfast. The children leave their apples on the table.
For lunch we have a jumble of leftovers. My husband and I have soup; the kids have pizza. I take one of the kids to a go kart/arcade spot and the other goes roller skating with a friend.
In the evening I take out part of the chicken, shred it and add some spices. I serve it with beans for chicken tacos. I also take out the feta and make whipped feta with pretzel crackers for a book club meeting I have 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 a cookie for my son’s lunch. I’m working on a class I have soon and taking an online class, then meet 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 bakes it and serves it with over-easy eggs for lunch for the two of us.
When the kids get home, they go and search the pantry and come up with some random chips I forgot were there, then run over to a neighbor kid’s house to play. I cut a 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 delicious pumpkin risotto with the arborio rice I bought. We all enjoy it, except for my youngest son, who makes gagging noises during dinner, followed by a “sorry mom” every time. Sigh.
Tuesday: Peanut Butter Toast, Chicken Sausage and Yogurt, Sandwich and Leftover Risotto and Spaghetti Carbonara for a Rainy Day
We have peanut butter toast, chicken sausage, yogurt and coffee for breakfast. I pack a sandwich, a banana and a cookie for my son for lunch. I gather with another friend for a walk in the neighborhood and to talk about our recent travels. It rains a little during our walk and it pours with buckets from the sky when I get home.
For lunch, I reheat leftover risotto for my husband and me. I still love it, despite the child’s review.
The rain clears up by the time I pick the kids up from school, but it’s chilly outside. I was planning to use the canned chickpeas, tomato sauce and coconut milk to make a chickpea curry, but after putting all the ingredients on the counter my husband says his stomach doesn’t feel so good and neither does he. think that will work out fine. I flip and use the gluten-free spaghetti to make a quick spaghetti carbonara and save the chickpeas for the next day. I bake some gluten-free almond biscotti for a cooking class I teach and I let my husband and kids eat the broken biscotti for dessert.
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