Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Make dough when you got no dough

I saw a post on the Facebook buy and sell for our area.   Its is days to payday and the cupboards are bare.    A kind person posted where the food bank was, and when the person said he had to work and didn't get off until 3 o'clock, he posted another that was open in the evening.   That's a quick fix.   But, the answer here is to figure out how to not make it happen again.    Smart choices.   I'm sure there are people that just don't have an option.   But, there are also people that can with some education, find a way to s t r e t c h their money to make it through.   For those people, I write this blog.    I have been writing this blog for over five years.   I would like to think I have helped someone.

Besides helping people spend less and eat better, I post recipes, some old ones that have been remade to be a bit more healthy.   Also, techniques to scratch cook efficiently.   No one these days, especially working parents wants to set out and cook a meal that takes over an hour to prepare after they have worked all day and suffered the ordeal of a long commute.  

I feed three of us on 45.00 a week.   We eat well.   Granted, we are seniors and a small child, but it is indicative of what you can do with a little money.

To answer the person or one like him, here is a list of things at the dollar tree that will take you through a few days for ten bucks.

  • 1 dozen eggs 
  • 1 package pinto beans 
  • 1 package white rice 
  • 1 package pasta 
  • 1 can pasta sauce 
  • 1 carton oatmeal 
  • Pizza crust 
  • cheese
  • Bread 
  • Peanut butter 
Another ten would buy seasonal veggies and fruit.   

This is by no means a steady diet.   Its just keep your tummy happy until payday when you can replenish your food supply with healthy choices.    

Monday, September 18, 2017

Kitchen Management

Meal Plan recap :

  • Chicken stuffed with bacon and feta 
  • Pizza 
  • Pork roast, sweet potatoes, zucchini and tomatoes 
  • Tacos. Refried beans 
  • Pork sandwiches (bbq) oven fries, veggie sticks 
  • Salmon casserole , peas 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

  1. Mark meal pans to remind for thawing roast and chicken 
  2. Wash kitchen floor 
  3. Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀 and note things to be used soon
  4. Clean and disinfect counters, sinks and drains. 
  5. Wash potatoes and veggies
  6. Cut sticks 
  7. Put up some zucchini and eggs. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Fred meyers haul.

Buy 4, save 4

Folgers coffee 6.25
3 ea kens dressing @ 50 - coupons

Foster Farms chicken breast -frozen 4.99
Mayo 1.99
2 nabisco crackers @ 1.79. Less .75 coupon.  

Sour cream 2.00

Total 24.75

Safeways milk 1.79 w coupon

I'm still at 35.00 a week.  

One pot dinners

 Pot dinners save time and energy.


Meal Plans 9/18/17

Meal Plans for week of September 18

Meal plans are a tool that keeps us organized and on track for meals that stave off the "What's for dinner demons.  

  1. Feta cheese and bacon stuffed chicken breasts, rice, salad 
  2. Pizza
  3. Pork Roast, sweet potatoes, zucchini and tomatoes 
  4. Tacos, refried beans 
  5. BBQ Pork sandwiches, Oven fries veggie sticks 
  6. Salmon cassarole. Peas 
  7. Breakfast for dinner 

Notes:   This is for mind techniques --to show how to use mindset to prepare meal plans.  We prep meal plans based on our stock.   We don't plan, then  shop, but rather, shop the sales to replentish a set      Of standard Grocery items. 

An inventory of the fridge netted a carton of feta purchased at a discount at Costco. The pizza and the chicken will help to use it up. 

Our neighbor brought us tomatoes zucchini and garlic out of their garden,   

We will make use of a pork roast in the freezer for two meals:  roast will reinvent itself into BBQ Pork sandwiches.   

Salmon was on sale at Costco for three dollars off a case.....like getting more than a entire can free.   Free is a very good word when you are on a tight budget.   

Sweet potatoes were purchased for .33 at grocery outlet.   

Last years weekly grocery haul was 72.00 average.   Since I started making more scratch food, it is 52.00 and that includes maintaining a small stock.   

At last calculations, that is 40 percent of the USDA stats for poor people.   

Fred Meyer ad for Sunday

First of all, the six quart insta pot is on sale for 79.99.   Just saying .....

Strawberries 3/5

Grapes 1.99

Beans or vegetables .3/2 (66)

Barilla 1.00


Nabisco snack crackers 1.79
Kellogg's cereal 1.99$$
Tide 3,99
Daves Killer bread 3.49
Mayo 1.99
FF chicken patties 4.99
Folgers coffee 6.49
Kens salad dressing 1.49 $$

$$. Means there are coupons out there for these items.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Recipe Friday : vegetable bean soup

Years ago I used to make a hamburger soup.   Years ago, the whole family went to Europe for Christmas so we were alone.   We had Grama and Grampa for Christmas Day Dinner with all the trimmings, but we had hamburger soup and a mix of salads our children brought home from Mc Donald's because they worked Christmas Eve and there was leftovers at closing.

My new version of Hamburger Soup has morfed into Vegetable Bean Soup.

  • 4 cups beans ( scratch cooked, or 2 different cans of beans) 
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained - with italian seasoning if possible 
  • 4 carrots, chopped 
  • 2 celer ribs, chopped 
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock 
  • Italian seasoning, garlic, onion powder 
  1. Cook the beans in the insta pot or open the cans 
  2. Sauté the carrots and celery in a little olive oil until the celery is limp. 
  3. Add beans, tomatoes, stock, vegetables and seasoning to the slow cooker. 
  4. Cook on low for 6-10 hours.   ( however long you have until dinner time ) 
  5. Garish with a choice of sour cream, parmesean, croutons, 

Serve with a bread

Thursday, September 14, 2017

QFC haul: 4 off of 4 sale - 51 percent off

Of all the grocery stores we have at our disposal, QFC and Safeways are the highest priced
That being said, we did save 51 percent .    Using a sale and coupons, saves more money.  

  •  2 bags of dried snap peas 
  • 1 case chunky yogurt 
  • 1 box crackers
  • 2 Sargento sharp cheese w coupon 
  • 1 pkg turkey bacon 
  • Folgers coffee 
  • Lunch meat 
20.00 budget, spent 20.82 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


QFC   Note:  this is a two week ad

Buy 4, save 4 - prices are net.  

Daves Killer Bread 2,99
Folgers coffee 6.49
Turkey bacon 1.99
Jiff 1.99
2 pack cream cheese 2.99
Cheerios 2.49 $$
Harvest snaps .99
Freshetta pizza 4.99
2 lbs beef patties 7.99
Keurig cups BOGO
Oscar Mayer deli lunch meat 2/6$$

Safeways 1 week ad

Milk 1.79@@
Barilla .99
Pace salsa 2/5

Five dollar Friday

FF chicken patties 5.00

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tuesday: concepts

The word scratch cooking conjures up all kinds of memories and scares some people.   I've heard I cant do it from many.   You can do.it.   One  s t e p at a time.  

The internet and Pinterest are full of easy scratch recipes.   Even some of the recipes that are not scratch can be made pretty much scratch by making your own mixes and substitutions.   

Dump cake is really popular.  Cake mixes are as low as .88 when they are on sale.   The thing that bumps up the price is when they use a can of pie filling.  Pie filling is only water, cornstarch, sugar, and the fruit .    Cut the fruit if necessary, add water and corn starch to thicken a sauce and sugar to taste.   Mix water and cornstarch so it looks like thin milk. Add to the fruit and sugar in a saucepan.   Cook just until thickened.   Remember, you are going to cook it again  when you bake the cake.  

Bread is easy with the advent of no knead breads.  The only problem you can run into is making sure the water is warm enough, but not too warm. And sometimes its hard to get it to rise if it is cold in the kitchen.   I solve the problem by turning on the oven for two minutes on 250 degrees.   Turn the oven off and set your dough in the oven.   Do not cover with plastic.   A wet towel works.  Refrigerater bread is on the King Arthur Flour web site. 

Muffins are one of the quickest , easiest things to make--no need for a mix.   There are mix recipes out there, but really, they are easy.   Mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients and fold the two together.   Don't over mix or your muffins will be tough.   No problem, they are still edible.  

The invent of the insta pot makes cooking savory sooo much easier.   Beans are a snap!  No more soaking, rinsing and cooking for hours.    Beans and rice have a very short refrigerator life.   They are one of the things that spoils the fastest.   Beans don't freeze well.  They loose their consistency.   The insta pot cooks them with almost no hands on time.   Measure, sort to make sure there is not rocks, etc in them, rinse in a strainer, dump in the insta pot and cover with water up to your second knuckle. Water should more than cover the beans.  Close the lid, put the lever to seal and push the bean button. 
Walk away.   The new pressure cookers are a lot more safe and have safety features that our great grandmother's didn't have.   The second best method is using the slow cooker.  

There are recipes abound for ez efficient cooking of main dishes.   We explore them everyday here.  I want cheap, easy, and nutritious.   I want it all.   And, most of the time, we succeed.   LOL.  I don't have the stamina anymore to stand in front of a stove for hours.   When I did have the stamina, I had sometimes two or three jobs and a home and children to take care of.   Learning how to cook the things your family likes to eat efficiently, is a deal maker.     Picking meats /proteins that are versatile and limiting the cuts of meats simplify the shopping routine and allow you to make bulk purchases and save money and time.