New Year's Pantry Challenge, Meal Planning for the new week, Day 7

This week's dinner plans:

Pad Thai Noodles with Broccoli, Carrot and Green peppers
Sliced oranges

Wheat Berry Salad
Potato-Cheese Soup
Cornbread Muffins
Persimmon Cookies

Beef Strogonoff
Brown Rice

Indian-spiced Chicken with Apricot Chutney
Basmati Rice

Veggie Pizza

Salmon Salad
Rosemary Biscuits
Lemon Bars

Meal Planning is an important part of my week. My philosophy is if you plan ahead then you are less likely to get in a pinch or get lazy and opt for takeout food. I'm flexible. I know things come up throughout our week. That's why I make dinner plans with wiggle room if I need to change my mind partway through the week.

I try to plan on the weekends for the week to come so I can go to our Saturday farmer's market, which always promises fresh food and great deals. Since we're doing the New Year's Pantry Challenge, I'm going to forego my usual trip the grocery store on Sunday evening. My hubby and I decided we wanted to save by eating out of the pantry but we were not going to sacrifice on our organic fruits and veggies or our weekly supply of raw milk. We know these are critical to good health and fighting off all the winter cold and flu germs. If it were summer time, I might be braver to live out of the garden but my garden has zilch right now so we headed for the market. (Sadly, I didn't get any lettuce or other winter veggies planted this year since we are selling our house.)

I started this week's meal plan by checking out the fridge, freezer and pantry. Then I got out my go-to recipe binder and a few cookbooks that have special sections for winter vegetable entrees. I also starting perusing this blog and others like Eatingwell.com and the Epicurious iPhone app for winter-inspired meals. AllRecipes.com is also a great resource for figuring out how to use random ingredients. You can use their search tool to add ingredients or put in ingredients you don't have/like.

After I had compiled the grocery list, we prepared for the market. My hubby and oldest daughter volunteered to go on the treasure hunt this week. First stop: Organic Farmer's Market on Barstow and First in Fresno in front of Kristina's Market grocery store. Second stop: Vineyard Farmer's Market on Shaw and Blackstone Avenues at the NW corner.

Here's what they got:
-2 half gallons raw whole milk
-1 bunch purple and orange carrots
-1 head cabbage
-1 head butter lettuce
-1 large bunch green onions
-10 apples
-1 quart fresh-squeezed raw orange juice

They ended up spending $35 total and that will be our "food spending" for this week. Total score! I will add that we have a $20 certificate (LivingSocial coupon that we paid $10 for last month) in our arsenal for more fresh fruits, veggies and eggs. Technically, we're spending $45 this week until Friday. We'll see how it goes!

What are your tricks for getting fresh fruits and veggies into your diet during winter months? We would love to hear your ideas.

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