This week started out a little rough, not because I was struggling with the challenge, but because I cracked two of my teeth. That's what I get for eating fruit and nut bars instead of twizzlers on the way home from St. Louis. Unfortunately my dental problems have yet again left me scrambling for meal ideas — anything other than soft food is off the table for the next three weeks, unless my dentist can get me in earlier. I'm not looking forward to living on a diet of soup, bread, yogurt, and oatmeal so more menu planning is in order. Budget Impact: $2,000+ (which makes me wish I had just eaten the twizzlers.)
Speaking of budgets, since our food budget is so small I've been keeping a close watch on any extra spending I've done during the challenge. This was one of my husband's biggest concerns when I told him what we'd be doing this month. So far I've averaged $20 per week in extra expenses, but for the most part those extra costs have been offset by the things I haven't been buying, such as single serving yogurt cups and tortillas. Overall the impact to our budget has been minimal and if we can increase our grocery budget I feel like the changes would be sustainable in the long run.
Bringing Back Pizza Night
This week my biggest expenses revolved around pizza night. We gave it up for week 1, but I couldn't see us going a whole month without home made pizza and decided to modify my pizza crust recipe. This wasn't difficult, but finding an unprocessed meat proved to be more challenging than I had anticipated. Many of the "natural" meats are still full salt and sugar and I was determined to eliminate as much sugar as possible from my diet this month. I did stumble across one brand of deli roast beef with simple ingredients and no sugar. The meat wasn't as flavorful as I've grown accustomed to, but it did allow us to have cheese steak pizza for dinner. We'll be using the last of the deli meat next week for pizza night and I'll be looking into additional topping ideas for the rest of the month. Ultimately I'd love to find a unprocessed pepperoni, but I'm not sure if such a thing exists.
I'll be experimenting more with the white whole wheat flour I bough for pizza night. I can see a lot of potential uses and still plan on modifying my pita recipe when I have time. Unfortunately the next few days I'll be busy with a number of dentist appointments so my time in the kitchen will be limited. When I have a busy week like this I prefer to pick up a rotiserie chicken and not worry about cooking. I'll need to do some advance planning or pull out my crock-pot so I can continue to focus on staying unprocessed this month.