Saturday, December 15, 2018

Quotes ....

My mother used to say that some people could have a bargain get up and bite them in the butt, and they wouldn’t see it.   Don’t be that person,  

No food  does anyone good if  you are  feeding it to the garbage disposal.

It’s not  what you buy as much as it is when and where you buy it.

Make a plan or plan to fail.

Help to reduce your food costs is everywhere, you just have to be open to it.

The operative word in junk food is junk.

Read labels. Do you want to eat that?    There are wood pulp and caustic soap on s,e of the boxes out there.   Fortunately, there are other choices.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Christmas cookie time.

Since  I wrote today’s blog yesterday and hit the wrong button, you already have read it.   Oops,!

Today is a half day for school....again.

It’s time for chocolate Kringle cookies.   I always enjoy the he,o of granddaughter because rolling cookie dough is not my favorite thing to do and she is sooo good at it.

I usually make the dough, use a portion scoop and hand it off for her to roll and dip.  

What are your favorite cookies to make?  

Involving  children on the cookie making is a good way to keep them busy and make memories.  

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Friday Focus

Basic foods that are versatile and inexpensive are your key to eating well on a budget.   Picking a few cuts if meat and some inexoemsove other origin choices makes life easier and affords you to buy bulk and save time and money.

A pork loin, good hamburger, and chicken breast are all good alternatives.   Add cheese, beans and eggs.   Buy on bulk as inexpensive  as you can find them.  Rotate your expenses to maximize your budget.  

Versatile osmthe key word.  There are zillions, no exaggeration, of recipes out there for chicken and hamburger.  Pork loin can be cut into roasts, pork chops, stew meat, amd stir fry,  

Since protein is one of the most expensive parts of your bidget, saving money on it first is a good idea.

You can have good meals and still keep a very inexpensive budget.

  • Pork chops, bread stuffing with Craisens and apple. Vegetable 
  • Pork roast, mashed potatoes. Fruit salad 
  • Pork sliders. Oven fries, coleslaw 
  • Burritos. Spanish rice, lettuce. Tomatoes
  • Taco soup , tortilla chips. Grated cheese. 
  • Meatballs amd gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans 
  • Tacos. Homemade refried beans, 
  • Chicken pot pie 
  • Roast chicken , rice seasoned with chicken stock and herbs, honey ginger glazed carrots, 
  • Chicken stir fry , rice 
  • French Toast. Maple syrup, yogurt and fruit parfaits, bacon 
  • Egg omlettes, English muffins, fruit
  • Quiche, field greens with strawberries 
  • Chilli, cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream 
  • Enchaladas, salad 
  • Rice and beans 
  • Pork stew, sourdough bread 
  • Pork stir fry , rice 
  • Chicken noodle soup 
  • Pizza: chicken, or sausage and pepperoni, or vegetables  or a combination .also leftover meat. 
  • Breakfast burritos. 

Versatile sources of protein that can be purchased for around two dollars a pound average are a good way to s t r e t c h your food dollar and still eat well.   

Hauls to 12/13

Oatmeal 8.29

Buns  1.19

Grocery outlet
Bacon 5.00 (3 ea)
Cheese 2.29

Total 7.29

2 sugars (8 lbs) @ .99
1 canola oil @ 1.49
Total 3.47

Total 20.24

9.76 left,

Bread 1.00

Total Left

Tips and  tricks.

Oatmeal in bulk at Costco costs .085 a serving,   Add milk and something for flavor and you have a hearty breakfast with fiber and protein.  A little apple chunks, banana, honey, cinnamon sugar, raisins or Craisens go a long way to make it delightful

Buy things like sugar, vegetabke oil and other baking needs at holiday time.  Buy sugar and anything else that doesn’t spoil in bulk and buy enough for the year.   The savings can be remarkable and you don’t have that item on your list for a year.  Simplify.  The less things you oit in your cart, the quicker the checkout and the faster you can get through one of your two stores.    It os also faster to out things away.

I bought a large bag of salt and soda a long long time ago.   They dint go bad and those things are off my list.   The salt  was five dollars and will last my lifetime and my daughters lifetime, and probably into my granddaughters lifetime.  Soda and vinegar are both good inexpensive cleaning  supplies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Chain store ads/ the best of


Digital , buy up to five , Thursday, Friday, Saturday 

Cheese .99

Raspberries or blues 2/4
Oranges .99
Apples .99

Tillamook  ice cream 2/6

More digital all week

American beauty pasta 4/3 (.75)
Yoplait 10/4 $$$$

Tillamook cheese on a brick 5.99
Free ice cream when you buy a 4.99 pie.

Fred Meyers

Digital, buy up to 5, Thu, Fri, Sat 
Kroger cheese .99

Progresso soup 1.00
American beauty pasta 4/3
Yoplait .50
Cake mix .79


BOGO - bargain ????
Round steak
Lean ground beef 80/20
New York steak
Pork loin chops

Navisco snack crackers 1.69@@
Milk 1.99@@

Tube biscuits 1.00@@

Coupons, digital or part in ad
Cream soup. .89
Coffee, foldgers 5.99

18 eggs 1.89
Pears and yellow squash .88
Graoes 1.48
Diced tomatoes .58. All of Winco canned foods are BPA free.
BC brownie mix .68

Sandstrom chicken thighs and legs are a good buy.  I can’t re,e,get exact, but around .78.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tuesday Notes

I have been watching a lot of how to save money videos and radio whenever my back is out,   I tend to listen to the radio when I am working in my art room.   Like on the news sometimes, I have heard some whoppers.

First  of all, it is not cheaper to buy a  block of cheese and grate it yourself.   Cheese is cheese.   Check the price per pound.   I have been getting it for under two dollars a pound. Always  check your per pound unit price.   It makes no sense to work any harder than you have to.   Now, if you want a specialty cheese instead of sharp cheddar, Mexican blend or mozzarella, it is probably going   to necessitate your grating it yourself.   But, for what we use for everyday cheese, it just isn’t to your advantage to buy a brick.

We toured the Tillamook cheese factory years ago.  They make a huge block of cheese.  Then it goes to a station here it os out through a giant cheese slicer where it is cut into two pound bricks.  The pieces that are leftover go into what I would describe as a bus boy tray.  These trays go on to the shredder to be made into bags of cheese. In other words, shredded cheese is the leftovers.

Next whopper is that it is cheaper to have your food delivered.  It is just common sense that if you ask someone to do your labor , it is going to cost you more.  If you price check the items, you will find that they are more expensive than you can find elsewhere; or sometimes, even at that particular store.  Even if they wave a delivery charge, you should tip the delivery person.  You loose the control of price comparison, and looking for alternatives if something is priced  too high.  It’s true you avoid impulse buys, but that’s a high price  for not  having self control.   If I only  want a few things and I don’t want to see markdowns or special buys, I send my hubby to do the shopping.  He will usually come home with just what is on the list, and only deviate if he sees the item cheaper.  He has shopped with me long enough to know what’s a bargain.

When we were both out of work, he would go with me to shop.   I truly thought he was just walking around aimlessly and bored. One day we came upon a end can display of 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce marked .25 .  He said, “ that’s not a bargain, they were a dime last week.”
He is a lot more savvy a shopper than he was when we were first married.

The best rule of thumb is of someone  has to extend their labor on a product, it is going to be more expensive.  A bowl of cut up fruit is going to be a lot more expensive  than buying the fruit and cutting it yourself for example.   A rotisserie chicken will be about three times what it cost to buy it and cook it yourself. There are ways to cook a whole chicken that takes less than 10 minutes.   

For the most part, any boxed mix or bag dinner in the freezer section, will be a lot more expensive than making it from scratch. The exception is pasta sauce when you get it on sale.  By the time you buy tomatoes fresh or canned, you have spent more than pasta sauce especially if you get it on sale.  The exception is of you grow your own tomatoes.  And, as I was reminded by a reader, some people are sensitive and can taste metallic from canned food.  You can get pasta sauce in jars.  I got Classico for a dollar not long ago.  It costs .80 for the jar and a canning jar lid works on it.  I don’t think I would can in them,  but I use them for dehydrated food and food storage.  We are trying to avoid plastic when we can.

Virtual paycheck.  It is a concept not everyone can grasp.  If you compare the price of something made from scratch with the ready made product, you will find the price difference. Now, time how long it will take you to make the product from scratch.  Divide the time by the profit.  This will give you the amount per hour that you are saving.  If you make Starbucks lemon pound cake, it is about 212.00 an hour.  If you make tortillas, it’s about  ten cents an hour. I have purchased tortillas for as little as .50 a package.   Use your time wisely.

The concept that using an insta pot takes just as long as making a dish in the stove is a misconception.
It is true that the pot has to come up to pressure, and  then it cooks sometimes in a fraction of the time.  The difference is in the fact that you can take a few minutes to load the pan on an insta pot, and after you program it, you can walk away.  Instead of watching a pot, you can finish the rest of dinner.  In the time it takes to cook spaghetti complete with meat sauce, you can make a salad and butter the French bread.  Maybe even set the table! Lol 😂
Stew cooks on 35 minutes, not two hours.  Chicken breast from frozen on 15 minutes.  If you de frost it on the microwave and cook it, it won’t be as moist  and it will take longer. Now, I, not going to tell you that it will have a crispy skin, but boneless, skinless chicken breast won’t have skin anyway.

The bottom line is that you can’t always believe everything you hear and common sense has to prevail.   When buying food, do the math.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Kitchen Management aka meal prep

Kitchen management is setting aside an hour when things are less hectic can save a lot of time when they aren’t, namely dinner  time.  

By prepping for dinner and using a meal plan, you save time and money and reduce your stress.   If you clean one thing towards a deep clean a week , your kitchen deep clean  is a lot less work.

Meal plans are a plan, and plans can change, but you are a step ahead of no plan. I was sick last night and didn’t feel like cooking.  I defrosted a bag of fajitas and added diced tomatoes and we had fajitas.  
Now that have part of a can of diced tomatoes.   Tonight we will  have spaghetti in the insta pot so I can use the rest of the can of tomatoes.  

Spaghetti in the insta pot—

1 ) Cooked hamburger, about 1/2 a pound.  Or, cook it on sauté and drain of fatty hamburger,  
2) Add 1/2 pound of spaghetti noodles, broken in half, and placed in a circle around the meat,   Like a birds nest.  This is to prevent noodles sticking together.
3) pour a jar or can of pasta sauce over the noodles and hamburger.
4) pour 2 cups of broth of your choice AROUND the outside of the noodles.  You don’t want to disturb the noodles and pasta sauce.
5) put the lid on the pot and make sure it is set to the seal position.
6) process on manual for 8 minutes.
7) when it is done, manually release the pressure.  Letting the pot release its own pressure will result in water logged noodles.  
8) while the pot is coming to pressure and cooking, you can make the rest of dinner without tending to a pot.

Meal plans

  • Chicken pot pie 
  • Fajitas 
  • Chicken noodle soup 
  • Shrimp and noodles 
  • Christmas party out
  • Pizza 
  • Breakfast  for dinner 
Kitchen management 
  1. Put the stove vent screen in the dishwasher 
  2. Change the lightbulbs on the task lights 
  3. Wash kitchen floor 
  4. Clean and disinfect countertops and sinks and drains. 
  5. Clean out the refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀.
  6. Note things on refrigerator that need to be used up soon 
  7. Cook chicken for the chicken pot pie and soup 
  8. Wash vegetables for the soup and pot pie.
  9. Check the mixes and replentish any that need  to be added to.
Rice mix 
Taco seasoning 
Ranch dressing mix 
Cream soup base 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Meal plans for week of 12/10 no spend

No spend December with  a 30.00 budget .

Meal plans arema way to make life easier and save time and money .

We use a protein based matrix.

  • Chicken pot pie 
  • Dinner party out 
  • Pizza - buffalo chicken 
  • Chicken noodle soup. Biscuits 
  • Breakfast for dinner 
  •  Fajitas, rice 
  • Shrimp and noodles 

  1. Chicken pot pie uses chicken breast purchased on bulk for a  dollar a pound.   Mixed veggies were .88.  Cream of chicken soup was .49.   
  2. Buffalo chicken pizza uses some chicken from the chicken breast, hot sauce. White cheese, parm, blue cheese dressing.   Blue cheese if you have it. 
  3. Fajitas are leftover from a previous meal in the freezer. 
  4. Chicken noodle soup is a good cold weather meal. Comfort food is always good. 
  5. Shrimp and noodles uses the rest of the noodles from the soup. 
  6. Breakfast for dinner is a mainstay here, everyone participates.   Eggs continue to be cheap, one dozen of ours was free.   Keeping a controlled supply gives you the luxury of waiting for cheap prices.  We also have dehydrated eggs in a mason jar that has been food saver processed.  They were .78 a dozen and a good back up for emergencies.   
Buying food as inexpensive as you can keeps your food budget down.  Bulk buying some things inexpensive is a good tool.  Anticipating your needs and buying multiples to last you until the next sale is another way to cut your costs.   Relate it to a stockbroker.  They want to buy low and sell high.   You want to buy low and eat then food when the price is high. Not too different than when our great grandmothers on the farm, bought fruit and veggies when they were plentiful in the summer and canned for the winter.   

Start saving for bulk purchases.  Soon the new crop will be filling stores warehouses.  Last years crop  will be put on case sales.   Last year I lucked out and the case sales coincided with a basket  coupon.  
Still half price food is never something to pass up if you can help it.   

Planning to use leftovers is a good way to stretch your meals.  It saves time and money.  One study says tha we throw out 40 percent of our food.   That seems high to me, but with the fad of buying organic food, it is not surprising.   Most pesticides are water based.  They wash off.  We use vinegar in the water.   Organic food spoils almost as soon as you get it on the house.   At least, that is my experience.  The cost is  almost always twice that of regular food.  The farmers  aren’t making as much money.   That tells me that it just might be a marketing ploy to make higher profits.   Just my opinion .