2010 is officially underway for me. My husband went back to work today after our 3 week vacation back east, and I feel like the slate is clear, goals ahead, and we're venturing into the cool, clean waters of a new year. Perhaps it's because I've almost always lived in a warm state since moving to the States for good when I was 10 (the exception would be Missouri, which, to some may be southern, but it can have some BRUTAL winters), but I've always loved the crispness of January. It feels so clear and new. We have cool weather here (40s), but I do not have to deal with snow for the most part. The perpetually sunny days make my spirits bright and ready for planning. I have to register for my classes that start next week, have much sewing to do, want to organize my house, and get the kids back into a routine of "school first, play later".
One thing I want to plan well is our food menu and grocery budget. Having a family of 8 is not cost prohibitive when you live simply for the most part, but when it comes to food, there can be quite a cost involved, especially when nutrition is high on your priority list. We have tried to go bare bones and do $600 a month for groceries, but we just could not pull it off. So we are at a more sensible $900 a month for food and it works pretty well. I still have to make compromises on what to buy organic and what not to, but all in all this works well and, when I plan, we make budget. When I do not, it is a disaster of epic porportions and we can end up spending $700 or more in one payday! So, in the spirit of planning great, affordable food, I am using my new cookbook that I got for Christmas. It's "The Pioneer Woman Cooks", by Ree Drummond, and I think it's great! I read her blog occasionally (it's in my side bar), but am not a devoted, die hard fan like many people who read her blog. I think she's hilarious and love that she lives in the country and homeschools, but don't have the time to read blogs all the time! I am so glad my mom got me this cookbook, though! Maybe I am not a typical American cook in that I do not have most of these recipes in my repertoire already, but I think the food is real and gut sticking. I saw shortening used in two recipes, but other than that, it seems like real, healthy food, especially when you use organic and/or grassfed. She already uses lots of butter, which I am all for! The pictures in the book are beautiful, and she uses MANY pictures for all her recipes. Be aware that most of the recipes in the book are already on her blog for free, but I have a hard time following and finding recipes online. I'd SO much rather have a cookbook on my counter to follow.
So there ya go, a cookbook option to explore. The next one I'd like to get a look at is "Make it Fast, Cook it Slow", by Stephanie O'Dea. Anyone read it?