Weston and I don't eat out a lot. We both would rather buy "things" (like, yarn, bullets, washers, DVDs, etc) with our money than fancy meals. Along with that, often when we eat out, we feel that it wasn't worth the money because we could have made it ourselves for far less AND better. So, eating out hasn't been a large part of our life for at least a year. When we do eat out, it is at Bear's Tooth, Spenard Roadhouse, or some other local joint.
Lately, I have been trying to plan dinner. While we often have been cooking at home, dinner has been this THING where we both open cabinets, him and haw, and then determine there is "nothing to eat" and wind up with something disappointing. Plus, even when W suggests things that I normally like, sometimes I'm in a whiny mood and don't WANT that and get cranky. Especially when that is what we wind up having anyway... So, I have taken it upon myself to sit down once a week, make a menu, write a grocery list, go grocery shopping, and cook. Yeah, that's right, I have been cooking dinner. I think last week I cooked 3/5 nights during the week. That is pretty much unheard of. This has improved dinner time in our house ten fold... I know what I am going to eat, I can get it ready when I'm hungry (and not have to wait until W wants to eat), and I go to the grocery store once a week instead of multiple times.... which saves us $$. Every time I go to the grocery store, I buy things I don't intend to, so the fewer times I go, the less money I spend!
Another thing this has helped is our meat intake. We have been trying to eat less meat for a while, for a few reasons.
*It is better for the environment. A lot of the greenhouse gases are caused by meat production.... plus, shipping it a far way, etc. etc.
*It is better for us.... If you aren't eating meat, you replace that with something else in your meal, such as a hearty vegetable...
*It is cheaper. For example, today when I went to the store and bought 34 items and I spent $58.69 (I saved $29.91 with coupons and stuff) and $14 of that was meat! I bought a pack of chicken breasts for two meals this week and a tube of sausage so I can cook it up and have sausage biscuits for breakfast. That is crazy. And I spent more $$ than I normally would for a week of groceries because I had to buy popsicles and other snacks to take to the birth center, which I normally wouldn't buy... and that was probably about $10-$12 total as well. Blows my mind how much meat costs... and I find that I don't actually miss it... I'm not a huge meat fan, mostly because we always have leftovers and I have a big THING about leftover meat. I HATE it. If I wasn't forced to eat leftovers, I probably would be more pro-meat... but as it stands, gross.
W has a hard time coming up with dinner ideas that don't include meat, so I'm glad that I have taken over this task.
I have a ton of cookbooks, but I have found that the best and easiest place for me to find recipes to use is a site called allrecipes.com. You can store recipes you like, add recipes to a grocery list, and change the quantities of recipes, so that it yields more or less than the original. Amazing. I love it. OH! And almost everything has pictures... I need that. This week we are really branching out and I'm trying 4 new recipes. On the menu this week: Black bean burgers, chicken and dumplings, spinach and black bean pasta, buffalo chicken sandwiches, and spaghetti. Oh, and I might be making cheesecake, chocolate cake, or pumpkin bars... still undecided on which one (or all) of those I will be making.
So, that is our new dinner plan. Of course, now that I am in the groove of this, Baby is going to come and things are going to go crazy again. :) Oh well.... maybe I can convince family members to come over and cook....