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Saving Money and Eating Good

by Meghann on October 28, 2009

*Sorry for the poor quality of photos. This will be my last post using Blogo. Eww.*

Each week I spend roughly $30 on groceries.

Keep in mind I am only one person and I eat the majority of my meals during the week at home. Still to some this may seem like a little and to some it may be a lot. I grew up in a family of 6 where a weekly trip to the grocery store typically ran about $250 so to me $30 a week is chump change.

I get a lot of e-mails from readers who ask for tips on keeping grocery bills low. I think tonight’s dinner is a good example on how I accomplish this on a weekly basis.

I purchased an Acorn Squash onSunday for $2. That night I cut the squash in three pieces – one half and two quarters – saved two pieces in the fridge and roasted a piece with other veggies for dinner. On Monday those veggies were turned into a pizza that then became lunch for the next twodays. On Tuesday the other quartered piece was sliced then topped with tofu & beets. And finally today the last half was pulled out for a creative stuffed squash.

Basically that $2 acorn squash was stretched through 6 meals!

The trick to keeping grocery bills low when eating fresh, healthy food is to find a few ingredients for the week and then get creative with it. I would have been bored eating just plain acorn squash every night, but since each meal was unique I never got bored of it and enjoyed every bite. ๐Ÿ™‚

Stuffed acorn squash is a seasonal favorite of mine I haven’t been able to enjoy since last fall.

For tonight’s version I simply roasted half of an acorn squash at 420 for 25 minutes.

While the squash was baking I worked on the stuffing

  • 1/4 cup Cous Cous
  • 1/4 Honey Crisp Apple
  • 1/2 Chicken Sausage
  • 1 T Pumpkin Butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Pepper

Everything was mixed in a bowl then stuffed in the acorn squash before going back in the oven for another 25 minutes.

The top got nice and crispy – Yum!

It was actually a bit too much food. I saved about 1/4 of the squash for lunch tomorrow which would bring the total number of meals that were created from the squash to 7. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Dessert was a serving of Pumpkin Ice Cream ( Can you believe I’m almost at the bottom of the container?!?!) with Chocolate Teddy Grahams.

I invented the BEST snack this afternoon.

Brown Rice Cake + Barney Butter + Dried Apricot = A-MA-ZING!

I finished reading the Time Traveler’s Wife after work. Such a great book that I highly recommend! I haven’t seen the movie yet, but its saved in my Netflix queue when it gets released on DVD.

Now I am looking for a new book to sink my teeth in to. Any suggestions?

1 Vanessa (Last Night's Leftovers) October 28, 2009 at 8:37 pm

The Time Traveler’s Wife was an amazing book! I wasn’t thrilled with the movie, but I’m not an Eric Bana OR a Rachel McAdams fan, so that could be why ๐Ÿ˜›

2 verbalriot October 28, 2009 at 8:39 pm

I spend about the same on groceries for one…I do a bi-weekly grocery shop for about $70 and then I buy extra veggies during the week.

3 Mellissa October 28, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Snow Flower and The Secret Fan
Pillars of the Earth
Sarah’s Key
The Entire Sookie Stackhouse Series

Those are just my favorites from 2009!

4 foodieinthecity October 28, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Stuffed acorn squash. What a fabulous idea!

I FINALLY found the pumpkin ice cream yesterday. SO, SO good. Topped with crumbled graham crackers- kind of tastes like pumpkin pie. Now I just need some whipped cream. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you read the new Dan Brown book? The Lost Symbol? My boyfriend read it and now it is waiting for me once I am done with my current book.

5 VeggieGirl October 28, 2009 at 8:45 pm

My favorite author is Stephen King, so I highly recommend any of his novels ๐Ÿ™‚

6 Evan Thomas October 28, 2009 at 8:45 pm

I wanted to buy an acorn squash but I have 92 cents left to make last the week! Yikes!

7 Jessica October 28, 2009 at 8:46 pm

I’m surprised you’re NOT at the bottom of the container. It would have been gone long ago if it was here!

8 Spotty Prep October 28, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Thanks for the thrifty tips! I spend probably about the same, but then get a Publix sub or sushi for lunch about once a week…

I highly recommend Sarah’s Key- it’s a tear jerker, and if you liked the Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol. I just got The Help and have heard amazing things about it. I actually liked The Time Traveler’s Wife movie better than the book! They left out all the drugs and the craziness so I “got” the love story more out of the movie, if that makes sense!

9 Danielle October 29, 2009 at 12:44 pm

The Help was a great book! I just finished it ๐Ÿ™‚

10 Jenna October 28, 2009 at 8:51 pm

great ideas on the acorn squash!
i like how you incorporate it into differene meals!
yummu dessert!

11 catiechurch October 28, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Any books by Emily Giffin.

12 Carrie @ I See Monsters October 28, 2009 at 8:55 pm

I am so impressed you only spend $30 per week! Somehow I always end up at around $50, no matter what I try. I’m all about your tips for stretching ingredients — this week I roasted a chicken on Sunday night that I’ve been “transforming” into new lunches and dinners all week. I am going to be really, really sick of chicken by Friday. LOL.

As for books, I’m totally on a vampire kick (how predictable, I know) and am really enjoying the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I also really liked the first Blue Bloods book a lot. (Twilight, not so much.)

13 tracy October 28, 2009 at 8:55 pm

I would definitely recommend Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner. I loved that book!!! Right now, I’m reading My Sister’s Keeper…almost finished reading it and I’m looking forward to seeing the movie when I’m done.

14 weightwatchersforone October 28, 2009 at 9:04 pm

I just spent $26 on grocery for the whole week. I do the same thing and mainly buy just fruits and veggies. I buy other stuff like beans, yogurt when they are on sale.

I agree with tracy Good in Bed is awesome and so is Certain Girls

15 Lauren October 28, 2009 at 9:05 pm

I think you could stuff a squash with just about anything and it would be pretty much fantastic.

I love how savay you are with your meal budgeting. Way to make the buck last! ๐Ÿ™‚

16 Stefanie B. October 28, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Water for Elephants….my favorite book ever! by Sara Gruen

17 sisrocks1996 October 28, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Have you read Julie and Julia yet? The Art of Racing In The Rain is a fun quick read too.

18 Karoline October 28, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Special Topics in Calamity Physics is an awesome book! It’s NOT about physics. Super entertaining and full of pop culture references.

19 Allison (Eat Clean Live Green) October 28, 2009 at 9:19 pm

I can’t believe you only spend $30 a week on groceries! wow! Even with using ingredients for multiple meals, I think that’s super impressive ๐Ÿ™‚

20 Lizzy October 28, 2009 at 9:22 pm

i love acorn squash so much!

21 Matt October 28, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Wow 30 bucks? No way I could spend that little!

22 Amy October 28, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Not sure if you’re into vampires or not, but I read the Sookie Stackhouse series recently and loved it.

23 Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) October 28, 2009 at 9:30 pm

love how you stretched that $2 acorn squash out. Good idea!

24 Jess October 28, 2009 at 9:32 pm

I”m reading Julie and Julia right now and I’m really enjoying it. Being a food blogger and all you might find it fun too!

P.S. Love your squash ideas. Any tips on the best way to get a squash up? I always get in a grueling battle with mine and figure there must be an easier way.

25 Samantha October 28, 2009 at 9:33 pm

I am curious how you know if you are getting enough calories with all of the running you do? do you just rely on hunger cues because you seem to eat all low calorie items. Honestly sometimes keeping track for a day or two might let us know your fueling properly.

26 Jess October 28, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Oops that should say *cut a squash up, not get a squash up!

27 Strawberry @ & October 28, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Okay…if you’re looking for fiction-y non-fiction, anything by David Sedaris is a MUST…my fave is Me Talk Pretty One Day.
The Power of Now and New Earth are really good books, if you’re into that kind of stuff.
I just started Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and it’s good so far…his other book Tipping Point is great and Blink is interesting as well.

28 Jaime October 28, 2009 at 9:38 pm

TTW is my fave book by far!! Just such an interesting story and so well told. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another one I like is The Glass Castle…

I need to learn to shop more like you. I can easily spend $50-$75/week on groceries and I’m here alone much of the time (hubby is Navy and away a lot). Must learn to reel that in!

29 Jessica October 28, 2009 at 9:38 pm

any of his are GREAT…..I own them all!!!!

30 Jaimie October 28, 2009 at 9:39 pm

I am reading “The memory keeper’s daughter”. Very good!

31 homegirlcaneat October 28, 2009 at 9:40 pm

I love acorn squash! Shouldn’t the title be “Saving Money and Eating Well”? haha sorry! I’m a grammar freak!

32 Meghann October 28, 2009 at 9:46 pm

I did it that way on purpose. ๐Ÿ™‚ I know its not proper english, but its what I would say out loud and I always try to put my true voice in the blog even if its not the grammatically correct voice ๐Ÿ˜‰

33 Emily October 28, 2009 at 9:41 pm

I just finished “Heat,” which was pretty interesting. It was all about cooking – the author interned in Mario Batali’s kitchen and even traveled through Italy.

34 chasingthenow October 28, 2009 at 9:55 pm

I love books by Jane Green. She’s a British chick-lit writer. I don’t know if you like light-chick-lit kind of reads, but if so, check her out. The movie “The Holiday” is based on one of her books.

35 shell625 October 28, 2009 at 10:01 pm

30 dollars? wow i’m impressed! I rarely leave the grocery spending that little & I don’t even do full shopping haha.. i need your skills!

I want to find the pumpkin ice cream ๐Ÿ™ jealouss


36 melruns October 28, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Try her next book: Her Fearful Symmetry.

The author did a reading in NYC, and I went and got a copy signed. She’s kind of geeky and quirky in person. It’s so interesting how writers are not who you imagine.

Anyway–the book is very, very good. Just finished it. Couldnt put it down!

37 Melissa S. October 28, 2009 at 10:02 pm

I just finished reading “Almost Moon” by Alice Sebold; awesome book.

and I wish i only spent 30 bucks on groceries a week. i think i spend more like 60…where they heck does it all go?!

38 Emily October 28, 2009 at 10:02 pm

1. The Kite Runner – it was the author’s first book. He not only won an award but they also made a movie about it (which was highly controversial, as was the book). I haven’t seen the movie, but the book is EXCELLENT and one that I continuously go back to.
2. “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver is one of the books at the top of my list. It is amazing – a must read!
3. I also enjoyed “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck. Don’t get thrown off by the author – I initially thought that Steinbeck was only worth reading for classes. This book, however, was one that I picked up because it looked interesting. I never had to read it for class. It is now my comfort book – I’ve read it more times than I can count and still love every page of it!
4. Someone already mentioned “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” which is also a great book. Not very well written, but an interesting story, particularly if you are interested in historical fiction.
5. “Pillars of the Earth” is fantastic but it is a large book. If it took you awhile to get through “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” I’d recommend staying away from this one until you have a week of free time so that you can sit down and enjoy it. It really is better when read in LARGE chunks.
6. If you are looking for an actual memoir, I recommend reading Eugenia Ginzburg’s “Into the Whirlwind.” It covers her experience during Stalin’s Reign of Terror. Excellent work and it is one that you can get totally absorbed in.

If you want more, just ask! I am one of those people who loves books and loves recommending them!

39 Britt October 28, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Great tips and ideas!

Little cheesy but I’m reading The Secret right now, at least its getting me motivated on making my own destiny.

40 Sammi October 28, 2009 at 10:10 pm

I’ve never had stuffed acorn squash which I guess is why I could not figure out what the picture was without reading what you wrote! I was staring at it for quite a while too… lol. I also blame being tired ๐Ÿ™‚ lol. I totally do believe your down to the bottom! That ice cream is addictive! I’m on my second container of it now… it would probably be the third expect I’ve had other desserts to keep my stomach occupied for the past week!

41 Anna October 28, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Ahh I JUST finished eating that EXACT SAME dessert! Deeelicious. I can’t resist choco teddy grahams when they are featured on sale. Just grab a box without thinking.

42 Morgan October 28, 2009 at 10:33 pm

Gone With the Wind
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Marjorie Morningstar
The Kite Runner
A Thousand Splendid Suns

Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my favorite books ever!

43 Susan October 28, 2009 at 10:38 pm

I’m the wrong person to ask for book suggestions… I’m currently reading Twilight for the bazillionth time ๐Ÿ˜›

44 Allison October 28, 2009 at 10:49 pm

My two favorite books are The Poisonwood Bible by Barabara Kingsolver and East of Eden by John Steinbeck. You also might be interested to check out Once a Runner and Again to Carthage. They are really good books about running!!!

45 Whitney @ Lettuce Love October 28, 2009 at 11:04 pm

I always try to stretch my dollar too and make multiple meals with the same ingredients. I haven’t read it yet, but my mom sent me The Shack.

46 Jamie October 28, 2009 at 11:06 pm


A great book is the Art of Racing in the Rain. My mom reads a million books but after reading this one she sent an email to everyone she knows and told them to read it- it was THAT good.

Its told from the perspective of a dog who you will fall in love with!


47 Jennifer October 28, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz was one of my favorites. LOVED it!
P.S. You should people to put in their votes! You’re getting so close!!!!

48 Megan October 29, 2009 at 12:55 am

Hey Meghann!

Long time reader, first time commenter – loved your advice about stretching ingredients across meals! Very practical and easy to follow, especially for a struggling student like me. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also made a version of that stuffed squash: using an acorn squash as the “base”, but with actual holiday stuffing ingredients inside! I always put whole grain bread, celery, apples, pecans, cranberries, all the good stuff! If you’re ever looking for another version, definitely try it!

49 JuicyJessy October 29, 2009 at 2:53 am

you should really read the millennium trilogy by stieg larsson; it is awesome!

50 Diana October 29, 2009 at 3:17 am

That’s pretty awesome that you got 7 meals out of one veggie. 30 dollars seems like a decent amount for one person. ๐Ÿ™‚

51 intheskinny October 29, 2009 at 5:19 am

I just read Enchanted, Inc. by Shanna Swendson. It is the first book in a serious of four. I found it at the library so it didn’t cost me a dime!

52 Runningwriter October 29, 2009 at 5:59 am

Anything by Anita Shreve or Amy Tan (from memory The Kitchen God’s Wife was my favourite). And thinking about it The Pilot’s Wife was the first Anita Shreve book I read. So I recommend anything with Wife in the title it would seem.

53 Jessica October 29, 2009 at 7:42 am

I recommend:
Shanghai girls by Lisa See
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

both great books, Jhumpa Lahiri is one of my favorite authors ๐Ÿ™‚

54 Amanda October 29, 2009 at 7:44 am

Here are 2 (of many)…
Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan
Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire by Margot Berwin

55 geegs23 October 29, 2009 at 8:01 am

I agree with those that recommended “The Art of Racing in the Rain” – one of my favorite books! I own two dogs and I look at them every day now and wonder what they are thinking.. I could not put this book down and cried like a baby through many spots.. a MUST read if you are a dog lover!

56 Brandi October 29, 2009 at 9:08 am

leftovers / reusing ingredients is the best way to stretch your money and not waste food/cash!

Hmm…if you like murder mystery type books, the Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson is good and addicting. There are 7 books in the series.

I loved The Lovely Bones – very different, but good.

And I’m in love the Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle lately – all mysteries set in a coffee shop. Makes me want to be a detective AND own my own coffee shop ๐Ÿ™‚

57 Paige October 29, 2009 at 9:54 am

For books, try: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire (2 in a series). They are mystery/thriller novels. I don’t usually enjoy that type of book, but these were GREAT and the last half of both had me on my toes! So GOOD!

58 RunToTheFinish October 29, 2009 at 10:05 am

I always love posts like this because I think they are so helpful and prove to people you can eat well without spending a ton.

I have a boat load of books that I’ve been recommending…one i really loved was Winter Rose

59 RJ October 29, 2009 at 10:07 am

I have just torn though (my husband’s copy) of Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. I cannot say enough about it but as a runner I highly recommend you read it. Let us all know if you decide to make any changes to your running after you have read it! we have already started……..will say no more if you haven’t already read it….

60 Ashley October 29, 2009 at 10:28 am

I am AMAZED that you only spend $30!!! I can’t get my bill under $80 and it is just me! Wow. I guess being a good cook (and being creative is key). Looks I have a new goal!

Water for Elephants and I Know this Much is True are excellent books.

61 Erin October 29, 2009 at 11:09 am

So many good book ideas!

And love the money saving tips – I agree that you can really stretch the yummy veggies into multiple meals!

I thought about the title as eating good – as in good, yummy eats!

62 Stephanie October 29, 2009 at 11:34 am

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer. Seriously. It is amazing.

63 Allison October 29, 2009 at 11:50 am

The Help – you can get it at Costco because it is only out in hardback. It is wonderful.

64 Casey Leigh October 29, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Just wanted to say that I love this post! Its great to see your time line of how you used the squash over a few days. ๐Ÿ™‚

65 Ali October 29, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I recently have read and LOVED
Jodi Piccoult – Handle with Care and Nineteen Minutes
Diana Calbraldon (spelling?) – Outlander

They are all so good I couldn’t pick just one! I was wondering how much do you think you would spend if you didn’t get as many blog freebies? I live by myself too and even with coupons and frozen veggies – I still usually spend about $60 a week!

66 Brenna October 29, 2009 at 6:19 pm

The author who wrote Time Traveller’s Wife has a second book out- it’s very quirky but soooooo good! It’s in hardcover right now, but I found a copy on sale at a local bookstore and it was worth the splurge- it’s great!

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