Yes I Feed My Family Real Food on a Budget

Yesterday I decided to make a comment on the Natural News  Facebook page.   Shane says I should have known better.  Rarely does any comment made, even in complete innocence accomplish anything good.

The question was about the $36 a month decrease in food stamp “benefits”   for a family of 4. (Which, btw, isn’t really a decrease but a return to the original amount)

I’m almost sorry I did.  I don’t understand people who feel that they can make snarky, judgmental comments to people they don’t even know.

As Michelle on the TV show Full House used to say…How Ruuuude!

Here’s the dialogue:

Natural News: As federal food stamp cuts kick in, food banks across the country are bracing for a wave of hungry masses. Some are talking about food riots happening in the near future. But is all this insanity really necessary over a cut that averages just $36 / month? What’s your take?

Me:   I say suck it up folks and learn how to cook! I feed my family of 6 (including 2 teen boys) on less than what a family of 4 receives in food stamps. Seriously, people get free money and want to complain about losing less than $10 a week? The entitlement mentality stinks!

My reply received at least 10 thumbs up and these 2 darling comments.

1.  “Do you have a kitchen to cook in? A freezer to store in? A reliable vehicle to get around in? 2 jobs? Stores with decent food close by?”

 2.  “What kind of food are you feeding your family, exactly? I shudder to think.”

And my reply:

NO junk food! I cook from SCRATCH mostly, I KNOW unheard of in this day and age where a frozen dinner is “homemade” We have Trader Joe’s about an hour away. We do live in the country and have access to raw milk, grass-fed beef and fresh eggs, And (1st commenter) we do it on ONE income, I home educate my children while my husband busts his butt to provide for us; yeah, I know that’s unheard of too in this day!  I’ve NEVER seen an apartment without a kitchen, and never seen a store with that didn’t carry flour and eggs; even in the inner city (and yes, I’ve been there). Any other questions?

Then I decided to add:

But I am so touched that you would give a care about what I’m feeding my children. You might be surprised to know that I know SEVERAL single income families, some bigger than ours, that work their butt off to provide good, healthy food for their families.

(yeah, I admit I was a little snarky back, but seriously it was my opinion on the subject and I don’t know what business either of these people have questioning my food choices for my family. )

Another lady asked for my menu plan.  I’m hoping that she was sincere, and took it as such.  While I’m not going to subject myself to that kind of scrutiny, I am honored that she would ask.  I did write an abbreviated version of what is below.

One of my go to recipe books is Saving Dinner by LeAnne Ely.  Several of our family favorites now come from this book.

However, I don’t really think eating good foods on a budget is about meal plans as much as it is about avoiding expensive processed food by cooking from scratch.

My motto is to “do the best I can with what I have”.

I avoid the dirty dozen when possible, no HFCS.  I buy all my corn products at Trader Joes (it’s supposed to be non GMO), or the local farmers market in season.   We pay $4 a gallon for raw milk-a lot less than in most places.  I grind my own flour and make my own cream of mushroom soup (yes, I do used canned mushrooms). It takes about 5 minutes to make.   We have an Amish community about an hour away, I stock up on spices, oatmeal and other assorted items.   I also utilize Vitacost, for many items and Tropical Traditions for tomato puree and coconut oil by the 5 gallon bucket once a year (they often have free shipping on Mondays).

We also recently started raising our own meat.  Pork and beef.  We’ve butchered our own chickens before and would love to do it again.  I realize a lot of this is not possible for many; but everyone can mix together pancake batter, it really doesn’t take much longer than pouring a boxed mix into a bowl and adding water.   The TV dinner was invented in the 1950’s  and didn’t really become popular in the 70’s.  Everyone cooked from scratch back then, most on one income.

We also don’t have a microwave, and haven’t really missed it except to heat coffee, lol.

we rarely, drink coke.  Water and coffee are the two staple drinks in our house.  Although, I will make lemonade and tea on occassion.

I will sometimes add millet to ground beef to stretch it some

I make my own bone broth

If I remember, I will soak kidney beans for chili instead of using canned beans.

Frozen or fresh vegetables and I haven’t always been good about making them; I’ve always been a meat and potatoes gal.  Although I am getting better. Canned vegetables are NASTY and have little nutritional value.

Aldi’s chicken has no added hormones…sometimes that’s the “best I can do, with what I have”

I LOVE spices!

I make my own spaghetti sauce (and sometimes when I my wonderful neighbor brings me bags of tomatoes, the tomatoes are fresh and not from a jar).

Some of my healthy eating goes out the window when it comes to church fellowship meals, 4th of July and any other large gatherings,

Remember?  I do the best I can with what I have.  Paying 3 times the amount for a items that will be eaten mostly by people that are not as concerned about their eating habits is not worth it to me.

I consider myself a real food snob in my own home, but I would NEVER offend any of my friends or family by refusing to eat what they offer me-I just refuse to think about what I’m eating, lol.  We go out to eat, although I must admit I haven’t missed McDonald’s one bit.

I believe that God is big enough to keep me healthy if I eat junk food every so often. 🙂

And pre-packaged convenience food is NOT cheap!


5 thoughts on “Yes I Feed My Family Real Food on a Budget

  1. Amen! Far too often people have the entitlement mentality or woe is me ideals. Not willing to give up things in life but more than willing to whine and complain about what they don’t have. I have seen far too many friends with hundreds in car payments ( new cars) hundreds in cell phone, satellite tv, new clothes all the time, yet free school lunches for kids, free health insurance for kids and even some food bag thing sent home from school ever tv weekend. I can’t get over how they gawk and laugh over my soaking brands and making scratch broth and dig in the yard for potatoes to feed our family. They would never dream of buying clothes are thrift store, yet i would never dream off getting food free from the school sent home for my kids while pulling up in my brand new 2013 sports car. Yes i am being judgmental..


    • Thank you Rachel! I remember a family when I was growing up that regularly ate steak on their foodstamps…my parents were divorced and Daddy paid child support, but guess how often we ate steak in our home?

      Presently all three of our vehicles have over 200,000 miles on them. And 2 of them closer to 300,000. We’ve had one car payment in the 20 years we’ve been married, and that was a 1 year note on a car my husband needed for work and was sold well under KBB value, it had nearly 250,000 miles on it when it died and we sold it for junk. We have no cable, or satellite tv. Clothes from the thriftstore (been doing that almost my entire life-cannot stand to pay retail for clothes, especially for the children that are going to outgrow them before they get worn out). And unless I was absolutely desperate I would never take “free” food from the government either.


  2. I’m right there with you once again! I am working toward the same goals. My pain issues keep me from doing a lot in the kitchen but I do what I can. Thankfully my 17 year old daughter is doing a lot of the household chores and the cooking. One benefit of my illness is that she is learning how to do all these things too! I grew up on a dairy farm and I would do just about anything for a glass of raw milk!


    • I would BRING you a glass of raw milk if I could 🙂 It’s wonderful to have children that want to cook! I have to share a short story: Shane’s Grandparents lived in the country for the better part of the last 30 years of their lives. When Grandma got so sick she couldn’t be by herself I’d take raw milk and fresh eggs to Aunt Phyllis’s house (where she was living). Then when she got so sick they couldn’t care for her I smuggled raw milk into the nursing home. Her response was always “mmmmm tastes good” She died about 3 years ago.


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