Friday, May 25, 2018


It’s Freakin Friday

Last night, the meal plan went out the window.   Some days are like that and this week has been full
 of one of those days.  

Because we got .88 buns and 6/100 corn , we had sloppy joes and corn on the cob last night.  
The inexpensive buns are good because we are all trying to limit carbs and the price is right too.
Being flexible is a good thing.  Total cost was .84 a plate.   Bigger , younger families i realize would eat more.   But, at this rate, more would still be cheap. Two sandwiches each plus a whole corn and another veggie would still be less than five dollars.

Its no secret, mothers have been doing it for years, buying things on sale and incorporating them into your meal plan works to cut your food bill.  And, fresh veggies are at their peak.   The corn was really good.

Anything we didn't eat , we will push ahead to the next week.   I haven’t had to cook a lot all week.  
Adjusting for life’s ups and downs still works if you have a stock of food.   If its a cold rainy day, that picnic food can be substituted for a nice hot pot of soup.  

I can’t say enough about bulk cooking hamburger.   It is more efficient. You are washing one pan.  You are de-fating once. And, cooking a dinner is a snap.  There are numerous recipes tried and true that call for hamburger.   Remember the days when you would take a frozen block of hamburger and fight in the pan to cook from frozen, or try to defrost it in the microwave and have hard spots around the edges.   A few minutes in the microwave defrosts cooked hamburger and you are making:

  • Sloppy joes 
  • Spaghetti sauce 
  • Enchiladas 
  • Stuffed peppers 
  • Tacos 
  • Burritos 
  • Taco soup 
  • Lasagna 
  • What did I forget?   

Simplify,  cut costs, always have food in the house.  
Four plus one is five:  Four people, one meal, five bucks. 
Dinner: better, cheaper, faster.   
You are not doing your family any good if you are feeding the food to the garbage disposal.  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Thursday Notes

Good Morning.  

Keeping track of what you are spending on food is an important step in controlling your food budget.  A spread sheet is a good tool.  


Month              store  store  store  store  store  total average  
week 1
week 2
week 3
week 4
week 5

average is the total spent so far divided by the weeks recorded.   ie:  55+50 is 105/2.0  or 52.50 average.  (/ is the code for divide. ) ( * is the code for times )

or you can do it by hand making columns with a ruler.

We are sitting at .42 a week under budget for the year.   However, we still have a week to go.   I can justify that because I have purchased bulk hamburger, chicken and sausage.   Because we don't have to buy protein except for eggs, our remaining budget for a while should be a lot lower.   When you buy your groceries in bulk to replentish stock.  It all averages out and you will spend less in the long run.  

If you are going to only one store and buying just a weeks worth of groceries, you are not going to save as much as if you buy things at the lowest possible price at a variety of stores.   If you have a good idea of what is on sale that you need and what you need in the dairy and produce department, you can get in and out of two stores as fast as going to one and wandering around isles making decisions.  Decisions on the fly are almost always bad decisions.   Going to the store without a plan almost always results in buying a bunch of junk food.   Junk food is expensive and not the best nutrition usually.

We can get in and out of two stores with travel time in a little over an hour.   We usually hit the Dollar Tree and Grocery Outlet once a month or so.   The DT is a good resource for facial tissue ( 200 ct ) and other incidentals.  With few exceptions, you can find pocket tissues, stick pens, etc cheaper than anywhere else.   There doesn't make much sense to pay big money for something that you throw away.

We all want quality food.   On four dollars a day, we still eat low fat cuts of meat and real food.   Fake is never better.   Avoiding processed foods by efficiently cooking from scratch is a better alternative than fake food.   You control what goes in it.  

Avoid, too much salt, sugar, trans fats, HFCS, GMO, and hydrogenated oil.   Hydrogenated oil , so the experts say, thickens your blood.   That can't be a good thing.  

note: this was written on our big computer.  My tablet has a virus and we are still working on getting it back to normal.  All I can say is to watch carefully where the things on Facebook are coming from. I'm here to tell you this is a pain in the rear when I already have things to cope with.   LOL   I still say that I am going to write a book entitled:  COPE is a four letter word spelled H E L L.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Safeways Haul

We usually group two or more errands together when we go out.  

Safeways Haul

Sweet Baby Rays BBQQ sauce .99
Hamburger buns .79
Cantaloupe 2.00
Corn .34

Total 6.89
Savings 61 percent.  

Chain store ads -WE 5/29/18


4 days -FSSM


Hebrew National BOGO

Draper Valley Boneless chicken breast BOGO

Darigold butter 2/5
Tillamook ice cream 2/6

Strawberries 2/5 -lb

Lean ground beef 5.99lb —-NOT

Cream cheese 1.88


Corn on cob 6/1


Hot Dog or Hamburgr buns .79@@
BBQ sauce.99@@
Johnsonville sausage 2.99@@
Best Foods 2.49@@
Dryers ice cream 1.99@@

80/20 hamburger 2.99

Sugar 1.99@@


B.S. Chicken breast bogo
80/20 hamburger 3.49
Bacon 3.49
Pork shoulder 1.79
Sweet peppers, cucumbers.88
Strawberries 2.49

Fruit Pie 4.00
Cake mix/ jello 1.00

Cottage cheese/ sour cream 4/5

Notes :   Buy price for BS chicken breast is 2.00 tops.   80/20 hamburger I paid 2.44 a lb, but 2.99 doesn’t seem too bad.   Now would be a good time for a bbq sauce, even if there is a limit. .99 is my buyprice.   I have gotitnfor .55 with a coupon  before.   Coupons seem to be few and far between on food items.    Because of flour shortage, I would stock a little for buns if Icould.   They are a pain in the rear to make.    BBQ season is a good time to stock picnic supplies.   Usually better prices at the time of the fourth.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tuesday Notes : motivation

We all get them:   Creative slumps.....writers block....robots heads...whatever you call it , its normal.

Sometimes, just putting on upbeat music and an apron helps.   Sometimes not....

I always get more done if I have a list.   It motivates me to see how many things I can check off the list.   Its a tool to keep yourself on track and doing things in a logical sequence.

I purchased a couple of books at the DT.   One on burgers, and one on chicken.   Both have spice blends and sauce recipes that are not our usual fare and will spice up our meals.   Sometimes it s just fun to try something different .

I remember the first time I has tacos, it was at a friends birthday party.  I was maybe 13.   My mother never did cook tacos.   I made them again when I got married.    My mother cooked pizza in the 50’s, but that was about it for any foods other than the basics. How times change.

Spring is here and summer is not far behind.   One of my tracks for summer is to make a bunch of salads on the weekend or on Kitchen Management day.   Then dinner can be hot dogs ,hamburgers, grilled chicken etc that can be cooked on the grill if it is hot in the kitchen.   Tacos are another meal that you can do in a short amount of time to get out of the hot kitchen.  Precooked ground meat that is in portion controlled bags is a real time and money saver.

Time to get the deck cleaned from the winter and set up to be able to eat outside.


Black and Blue:  blue cheese, salt and pepper
Indian Turkey
Black bean burger
Buffalo chicken burger
Portobello Burger

Curried chicken
Sticky Soy Orange chicken
Chicken with lemon and ginger
Chicken Fajitas
Hosin Chicken with mustard and brown sugar.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Asian Chicken
Chili fried chicken

Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday Kitchen Management

Kitchen management is a tool that makes your kitchen more efficient and saves time and money.  It is easier and takes less time to prep ingredients for a weeks worth than doing it one day at a time.   The last thing I want to do at six o’clock at night is to set in to scrub veggies and wash the kitchen. Floor.  

I picked up two small books at the dollar tree.  Chicken and Burgers.   They have all kinds of recipes for new to me flavors .   Even if you aren't going to make the chicken or ground meat, the sauces are worth the buck.   Liquid and dry measurement equivalents on the back page.  

Reminder of meals

Tacos , refried beans
Chicken pot pie
Hot dogs , salad, veggie sticks
Salmon, rice,
Pork stew, bread
Breakfast for dinner.

  1. Beans can’t  be cooked too far ahead.   Best done the day of eating.  Fortunately, in the insta pot, all you have to do is dump and push buttons.  
  2. Tacos are made from cooked hamburger, so they are a snap. 
  3. Pizza crust is made the day of and takes a few minutes.I have a recipe that is dome in the mixer and you can freeze it. 
  4. Wash carrots and potatoes, celery, peppers 
  5. Check the stock of your rice mix. 
  6. Start refrigerator bread 
  7. Wash kitchen floor 
  8. Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead.  
  9. Clean pantry and take inventory . My meal plan page has a list of perishables so you can check off what you have and list what you need.   
  10. Wash top of stove and drip pans. 

Groceries on the cheap is a different way of buying and cooking food.   Instead of going to the store and buying just what you need for a week or a day, you have a master list and you buy what you need to replace to replenish stock.   You always have an emergency stock of food and by shopping wisely, you actually spend a lot less than others.   We spend four dollars a day per person (SNAP guidelines I hear ) and supplement a grandchild and have built stock.  You can eat well on four dollars a day.  IT takes buying food at RBP and efficiently scratch cooking.  You don't spend any more time, but you have a whole lot of more food for less money.  Simplify, lower your costs, always have food.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Grocery Haul

We had to go to meet a lady to share some egg cartons, so we stopped at dollar tree and grocery outlet.   Spoiler:   Wheat flour is a quarter. -pillsbury.

Pizza sauce -DT
Sun dried tomatoes - DT
Whole wheat flour .25
Planters nut  medley 1.99
Nature valley granola cups with almond butter .99
Taco kit .99
Fake n bake cookies .49
Total 7.75

We are under budget including bulk meat purchases.   

Meal plans

Meal Plans are necessary to be organized and save time and money.

  • Out -mom has a dinner meeting -chicken pot pie 
  • Pizza
  • Tacos, refried beans 
  • Hot dogs, potato salad, vegetable platter 
  • Pork stew , Bread 
  • Salmon, rice, green beans 
  • Breakfast for Dinner. 

  1. Chicken Pot Pie is an impossible pie.   Its easy and less caloric.   (Carbs) 
  2. Pizza is a dollar family favorite.  Add your favorite toppings.   It really helps if you pull a little bit of something you are chopping for another meal and save it for pizza night.  It saves time and money.    We use the tops of the sweet peppers when slicing them for stir fry or peppers and sausage.   Saving a little cook sausage helps too.   Pepperoni is a dollar for oberto  at the DT.  Pizza sauce is a name brand and cheaper than anywhere else, even scratch at the DT.   We put the jar of pizza sauce in an ice cube tray and freeze it.   Dump the cubes into a zip lock and put it in the freezer door.    2 cubes work for a pizza at a cost of .20/   
  3. Taco kits are a dollar at the Grocery Outlet.   When  we can find them for that , I get them because that is the buy price for taco shells.   We have got them for .48 , but that is an aboration .   Refried beans are scratch in the insta pot.   This way they have NO fat.  They do have tomatoes and chillies and scratch beans.   - less salt.   
  4. We cook rice in the insta watched pot and perfect rice every time.   I add chicken stock and some herbs.   
  5. Salmon is cheapest at Winco in a bag of individual portions.   It makes for a quick and easy dinner.   Green beans were .39 a can in a case lot with a basket coupon.    It’s one of those times when you have to strike while the deal is there, but it is worth the savings.   Canned veggies are .50 at winco again.   
  6. Pork stew cooks in the insta pot and is from pork cut from the pork loin.   A case of when life gives you lemons, make lemonade or roll with the punches.   I got a pork loin for 1.29 a pound at Fred Meyers.   It had fat all through the center part of the loin.   I got beautiful chops cut, but ran into fat in a cross section.   I made cubes out of it.   I have had better luck at Costco Business for pork loins.   Whole carrots are much cheaper than the baby ones.   The best price i have found on baby carrots is a dollar a pound.   Whole carrots at winco are 5 pounds for 2.28. Or .46 a pound—less than 1/2 price.   We wash them in vinegar water and cut them for vegetable trays. 
  7. Breakfast for Dinner is a mainstay here.   It can please everyone and everyone cooks.  Its a family affair.   Eggs at winco this week were 1.15.  Buttermilk pancakes are really good.  Buying dried buttermilk is not cheap, but there is no waste and it lasts forever.   


Saturday, May 19, 2018

QFC Haul

5 Barrilla pasta 2.00/1.00

Betty Crocker cake mix free/1.99

1 sausage roll. 6.49/free

Retail 18.49.  Spent 5.00

73 percent savings.

6 meals under 5.00 -GOC prices -22.01.

The key here is working on a RBP budget.   Ingredients are basic ingredients and no specialty items.
This is 5.00 dinners for the proverbial 4 person family—two adults and two school aged children.
If you spend 1.25 on dinner, and have a bowl of oatmeal and a small addition of fruit ( 35) you have 2.40 left for lunch and staples/ stock.

Pork Stew and Bread 
Carrots, Potatoes, gravy, 1 lb pork cubes. Peasant Bread
Vegetarian Spaghetti 
Noodles, sauce, diced tomatoes, parm cheese 2.53 add a salad, 1.22.   Totals 3.75
Bread .25,   Salad 1.00 is 5.00

Tacos, refried Beans 

Taco kit, 1/2 lb meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese, refried beans 4.41

Chicken Pot Pie
Peas, carrots chicken, gravy biscuit top. Salad 3.70


Sausage,  3/4 pound, mushrooms, celery, bisquick crust, salad. 4.73 


Pizza crust .19, cheese .50, pizza sauce .20. Total .89
Add toppings:   1/4 lb sausage (see quiche). .61 , 1/2 sweet pepper .50, 1/2 pkg pepperoni .50, parsley , cubed ham (1/4 pkg. ) .50.  Pick 2 .   For a 2.00 pizza.   You can make 2 and still have a simple salad.   Total for a cheese pizza and salad 1.89

Winco Haul.

Note:   Apparently there is a flour shortage.  I kinda alluded to that when the price of some bread products went up and flour at Costco.   For a while , the DT has no orowheat bread.


Potatoes 10 bs 1.98
Potato salad 3.98
Eggs 1.15
Hot dog buns .88
Nathans 2.78
Hummus 1.98
Strawberries 1.78
Lettuce .98

Total 16.60