Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekly Menu Retrospective #131

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the past week's eats. I prefer to report what we ate in the last week, rather than what we're planning to eat in the coming week. Why? The reason is pretty simple: although I usually have a general idea of what we're going to eat in the next week or so, life often unfolds a little differently than planned, and I adjust my menu plan on a near-daily basis to accommodate leftovers and other not-possible-to-plan-ahead circumstances. I find this is the easiest way to ensure that I minimize our family's food waste. I'm also willing to admit that I'm a rather spontaneous cook, given to preparing foods that strike me as the most appealing thing to eat right here and now!

If you'd like a whole book full of inexpensive, quick and kid-approved recipes, check out my book, Cheap Appétit : The Complete Guide to Feeding Your Family for Less Than $400 a Month (While Eating Better Than You Ever Thought Possible) on Amazon (, and Amazon UK) and Barnes and Noble.  It's gotten multiple 5 star reviews!! I've included page references to recipes that are in the book in my menu plans so you can locate them quickly. For more details about the book, go here. 



Granola (p. 92) with homemade yogurt, Carrot Raisin Bran Muffins (p. 102), scrambled eggs with bacon and toast


leftovers, grilled cheese, sandwiches, salads

Monday: Chickpeas with Potatoes and Peas (p. 138) )

Tuesday: Creamy Tuna Pasta with Peas and Carrots (p. 146)

Wednesday: Sausage & Apple Saute (p. 137) served over rice

Thursday: Chicken Breasts with Garlic & Herbs, Easy Oven Fries (p. 194), Creamy Cucumber Salad (p. 205)

Friday: Black Bean Chili (p. 160) and Cornbread (p. 212)
Saturday: Spaghetti with Creamy Tomato Vegetable & Meat Sauce 

Sunday: Roast Pork, Roasted Root Vegetables, Apple-Raspberry Crisp
In keeping with my local and organic challenge, I'd also like to note the local and/or organic items on this week's menu:

Organic: coconut (in granola), coconut oil, raisins, sunflower and pumpkin seeds (in granola), flax seeds, fresh ginger,  coffee (locally roasted and delivered by bike!), tamari, oregano, basil, parsley, Fairytale tea, peppermint tea
Local: potatoes, onions, carrots, apples, cucumbers, red peppers, salsa (home-canned), honey (unpasteurized), sour cream, whole wheat flour, ground beef (antibiotic and hormone free, pastured), milk, buttermilk
Local AND organic: 
oats, cornmeal, eggs (not "certified organic", but real free range and fed organic feed), apple cider vinegar, arugula*, lettuce*, green onions*, herbs*

*from our backyard garden

Tired of figuring out what to make for dinner? I've completely overhauled my budget menu planning service and the new monthly plans will be available starting in July. Plans include complete menu plans and grocery lists featuring inexpensive, seasonally-focused ingredients. Over 75% of the simple and affordable recipes are NEW and NOT on the blog or in the book. Click HERE to find out more!

For more great meal ideas, check out Menu Plan Monday at 

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Celebrating Local Food Week: Five of My Favourite Local Food Deals

Photo courtesy of

It's the first official Local Food Week here in Ontario! To help celebrate, I figured this would be a great time to share some of my favourite local food deals here in the Hamilton area.

1. Ground beef at VG Meats: You can buy a 30 lb box of their (frozen) regular ground beef for just $60! This is a super awesome deal. Their meat is antibiotic and hormone free and they raise their animals humanely. We've been buying their beef for a couple of years now and anything else just isn't good enough anymore :) They regularly offer great specials on other meats as well, and have excellent freezer packages available if you're looking to buy a LOT of meat at once. Visit their site to find out more.

2. Local, organic rolled oats from Grain Process: For under $25, you can buy a 10 kg bag of organic rolled oats from Grain Process. A school in our neighbourhood purchases their products as a fundraiser so it's really convenient for us to order through them. They also have a retail outlet in Scarborough; it has weird hours though so make sure you check to see when it's open before you go! They have a pretty extensive range of products, both organic and conventionally grown. The prices do fluctuate up and down a bit but are generally very good. If you're wondering what on earth we do with all those oats, our routine consumption of homemade granola, baked oatmeal, muffins and cookies makes pretty short work of that big bag!

3. Bulk honey from Dutchman's Gold Honey Shop: If you bring your own jars to the Honey Shop up in Carlisle, you can purchase bulk honey (either Wildflower or Summer Blossom) for $9.25/kg. This is a fantastic price for local, unpasteurized honey. Their prices do fluctuate from season to season, but are always a good deal.

4. Stirling Creamery butter from Vos Eggs: You can buy locally produced Stirling butter for $4.45/lb at the Vos Eggs stall in the Hamilton Farmers' Market, top level. Stirling has been churning out world-renowned butter since 1925 (Saveur magazine has called it "one of the world's 30 great butters". You can't say no to something that great for such a good price!

5. Produce from smaller, local growers at the Mustard Seed Co-op: The local growing season is just getting underway, and I've already found some very good deals on fresh, local greens from small local producers at the co-op. This is going to be my second stop (after my backyard garden) for produce this year. Members will also be able to order bushels of produce as the season progresses (perfect for canning, can't wait for the tomatoes!) They're having their official grand opening this Saturday, too, from noon-6 p.m., so it's a great time to stop by the store and check it out!

Are there any other great local food deals I should know about? Please share them with us in the comments!
 Love what you read here? Click HERE to see the ways you can help support this blog (many of them won't cost you a thing!) 

Want to stay connected in between blog posts? 

Click HERE to sign up for my Cook with Karen newsletter (max 2 emails a month) 

Click HERE to follow me on Pinterest  

Click HERE to follow me on Twitter

Click HERE to like Abundance on a Dime on Facebook and get updates and tips on living frugally

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