Sunday, March 31, 2013

Four plus one is five

Four people, one meal, five bucks.

I base my 1/2 price meals on an a typical family of two parents and two school aged kids. I had a budget of fifty dollars a week in the mid nineties when our children were teenagers.  I still maintained a stock.

From what I can gather the typical SNAP allowanceis three hundred a month. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you spend ten dollars a day on dinner, there either is no money left over for breakfast and lunch or you are going to run out of money before you run out of month.  LOL

My goal for this post is to list  20 - 5 dollar dinners.   Assume that if there is  only an entrée listed, you are going to add an appropriate  veggie or a salad and  a starch if needed.  I usually serve a salad and a veggie and a starch with a meat based dinner.

1) tacos with taco meat, lettuce, tomato and cheese. Refried beans salsa and sour cream
2) Spaghetti with meatballs, green salad, hard crusty bread
3) no brainer pasta , French bread, salad
4) Beef, bean and rice burritos
5) sloppy joes, salad or veggie sticks and French fries
6) roast chicken, oven roasted root veggies, salad
7) BBQ chicken legs and thighs, mashed potatoes, green beans
8) chicken pot pie
9) chicken club sandwiches
10) chicken soup
11) pulled pork sandwiches
12) sausage bean soup
13) sausage, eggs, hash browns ,fruit
14) sausage, peppers, red potatoes
15) Pork Loin Roast
16) tomato  basil soup, cheese quesadas.
17) pizza
18) Mac and cheese
19) split pea soup
20) spaghetti with mushrooms, spinach and parm

21) BBq pork sandwiches
22) pork stew

I was reading the family circle magazine.
If you go to and push like,there is a free download for twenty minute meal ideas.  remember, if there is an ingredient that makes the recipe too expensive, try to substitute it for something of like flavor and texture.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm sure you can think of more.

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Happy Easter, technical difficulties no end

 Happy Easter!!  It is a beautiful day and for once in a long time, the kids can hunt eggs without getting wet!  It's a good time to set the table with Granny's china and crystal and a whole set of implements.  When I was wandering through the goodwill (waiting for my husband to get a haircut next door). I happened on to a display of an Easter table setting.  I couldn't help myself, I had to fix it. Whoever set it up didn't know how to set a table.  I hope those formalities of life don't get lost in our hectic fast paced casual world.

Setting the table special sometimes and adding a splurge ingredient makes groceries on the cheap more doable.  My mother economized a lot, but we never knew it,  We always ate good for the times.
The culture of food has become more global and a lot more healthy since the 50 s in some ways.  We didn't  have the junk food that kids are being bombarded with, but we also didn't have the access to all the fresh food and vegetables that we get today.  All I remember is bananas and green peppers.  When my aunt lived with us we got grapefruit  and oranges.  I still have the scar to prove 9 I wasn't to good with the knife...the grapefruit won! LOL. We had Melmack , pink and turquoise, and aluminum glasses.  my kids informed me that Alf came from Melmack.  LOL

One of our favorites is blue cheese.  I take a box of roasted red pepper and tomato soup and add basil, milk or cream and blue cheese.  I only get the soup when Costco has it.  At Costco it is about two dollars a box.  At the grocery store it is upwards of four dollars.  I make Mac and cheese using whatever is in small supply in the cheese drawer.  I grate all the bits and pieces and mix them together and add some blue cheese.  I make a topping of breadcrumbs, parm, and parsley.  I use the word parm loosely, it's usually parm, Romano, or whatever the hard cheese I get at Costco for 12.00 a wedge.  The wedge lasts a long time.  I use a microplane to grate it.  A little goes a  long way.  Never buy parm in a box!

You don't need every gadget they make in your kitchen.  but there are a few that really make life easier and are budget friendly...that is, they pay for themselves in a short period of time.

The microwave pasta cooker passive cooks pasta , no watched or stired pot, and drains it in the same pot.

A microplane stretches cheese a long way and hides onions from an non onion eater! LOL

A food processor. Grates cheese, makes pizza dough, makes breadcrumbs...hacento you priced the bread crumbs in a box?  Not to mention they are free if you use the bread that would otherwise go to waste.  Makes short work of chopping veggies or making olive spread.  All,cheaper than buying it already prepped.

Remember, if you spend more time on the front end of the get the  meals on the table train and less
time on the back end, you will be better off.  You get paid for shopping, not for cooking.

 If you are on snap, Save up, look at garage and estate sales and the goodwill, let it be known to family and friends that you want a particular item.  You never know.  I have found blenders, and mixer parts free before.  I found a free food processor too, but it didn't have any safety features on it.  that could be penny wise and pound foolish.  Buying used or free has to be tempered with  a large dose of common sense.  I wouldn't buy a mattress used or get one from someone that wasn't a family member.  YUK.  it, most of our wood furniture is second hand either from antique stores or hand me downs.  My grandaughter has a table and chair set from old kindergarten chairs and a table I got at the goodwill for five bucks.
I digress.  This is about food ! LOL

I can't say enough about the virtues of a slow cooker.  there is something remarkable about a appliance that costs 25 bucks and with a couple minutes of work in the morning, you can have the
smell of a home cooked meal waiting for you when you walk in the door.

Next time my other catch phrase. 4+1=5 !

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Thanks formsto


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Leftovers and Garbage

I thought that I would talk about leftovers and garbage.  I try really hard not to throw a lot away.  Some garbage is inevitable.  Leftovers can be kept to a minimum by batch cooking meat and portion controlling.  Leftover  dinner usually becomes lunch the next day if there is any.  There are insulated lunch boxes and bowls that are thermal so they keep food hot a long time.At the cost of lunch out,the  cost is more than justified.

Keeping ahead of stock and rotating cans is a little harder.  Most cans have a three to four year shelf life.  Some dry goods are less.  I have a beer box that has been fortified with duct tape for instant mashed potatoes.  I try to put new stock in the back of the box.  Some can goods are not clearly labeled. My mother used to use a grease pencil to label the date she purchased them on top of the can.

There are bags and boxes that are green and keep vegetables fresh longer.  They too are worth the investment.

Chopping more of what you are chopping for a recipe and freezing the rest in a zip lock in the door of the a good way to get a head start on soups and pizza.  ...if your freezer is like mine putting it on a shelf would make it lost forever.  He he .

Vegetable scraps can become vegetable broth.  Chicken bones, chicken soup.  Bananas -- banana bread.  Fruit on the edge can become a smoothie.  It take too much fruit to have smoothies very often on a more  than frugal budget.  Cottage cheese can be in lasagna or stuffed shells.  Milk can be pudding or potato soup.  Baked potato soup is really yummy.  Spinach makes pesto. Top a chicken pizza, fill a flank steak with spinach, cheese and roasted red peppers.  ( thanks. Jan) That's about it.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Frenzie No. 2

As promised I went to Thriftway at Ballinger.  They advertised eggs for .69 if you  purchased 20 worth of food.  It was very hard to buy twenty dollars worth of food and stay with my target prices.  I found coleslaw for a buck and green beans for 1.69.  They were picking the produce when I was there, something I don't see often at some stores.  I wound up splurging on really good cheese for my husband and some jalapeño bread for myself.  The bread wasn't as good as the bread I get at
TOP's , but TOP doesn't always have it.  And, they didn't give me my eggs for .69.  I had to go back.

The eighty eight cent TV dinners  were 1.19.  Butter was 3.39.  the .78 pasta sauce is 1.49.  The tomatoes I have been finding for .48 were 1.69.  Pasta instead of a 1.00 is 2.19 ( I think that's the change I wrote..over two dollars.  
Needless to day, I don't think I'll be making that trip again.

I did go to the dollar store after that for superglue to fix my shoes.  They didn't have superglue, go figure, but I picked up more French fries.  The quality is fine and a lot less than the sale price of French fries and less than scratch.  They have Ore Ida too.

That's about it.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Friday frenzie

I happened on to a new blog.    The " .  She was talking about living for a specific period of time on what food stamps would be and and donating the savings to the food bank.  

And she goes on about her adventures at the goodwill.  She really has a  sense of humor!  I am not totally of her belief system, but I can  relate to a  lot of it.

  I really don't  want to pay a lot for consumables.  I would rather spend money on something with lasting value.  Especially if it will save me more money.  buying a good set of pans means you never have to buy those again.  Buying some labor and time saving appliances means your quality of life is enhanced.  A good slow cooker will outlast several cheap ones.  money and the environment saved.  we do more than our fair share of goodwill, consignment store and antique store shopping.  lots of times, buying old is the same  price or less and a whole lot better quality.   Real china  far less likely to chip than ironstone or  earthenware.  Now, if you flat  out drop  any dish, even plastic and Corelli, it will break. LOL
And Corelle  will shatter in a zillion pieces...ask me how I know LOL.   I am not, however, willing to use broken pans, or unplug my watch every night to save my dollar store watch battery.  LOL.    most of us could do with a lot less than  we have.  I have been slowly decluttering our house and buying a whole lot less non consumables.  I'm trying to buy only what we really need.  

I purchased a new pair of bedroom curtains at the goodwill.  They we're still in the original box.  they go well with my decor and they were five bucks.  I just had to shop at the goodwill because my husband was getting a haircut next door!  

Now that I have completely gotten off the food subject, I digress.  

I found a "new" store , or rather it found me,  They have. Started putting ads in the small local paper.  
last week, they had no real bargains.  This week they have eggs for 69 if you buy twenty dollars worth of food.  their produce seems cheaper than a lot of other stores and their ice cream  is cheaper I think.    Also, there is a rumor that IGA is going in where Petosas used to be.  I sure hope  so, there are a lot of old folks downtown that relied on Petosas for their food.  

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I will post Tommorrow  if we shop.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The meals from the ads

For  anyone new, I usually do meals from the ads. I make my own meal plans after I shop.  Usually I have enough to make a few dinners before I shop.  heck, at this point in time, we could go for several weeks without real milk and fresh veggies, but we could survive.  I plan it that way.  I still spend less than the amount we would get for food about half.  I make meal palms after shopping, because I have been shopping too many times when either the specials weren't there, they weren't fit to eat, or something was on sale cheaper or better.

Our  formula for variety is
2 beef
2 pork or chicken
2 vegetarian
1 shellfish or fish

Your formula may be different.

I 'll try to go through my thought process.  First, I'm looking at the fridge and dumping anything that might have gotten away from me and making a mental note of what needs to be eaten soon.

I have cottage cheese, some fresh berries, some hard rolls, grapes, carrots and celery and assorted peppers.

Ham is a buck a pound all over.  Pork loin is 1.99.  I'll go with ham.
I have pork loin in the freezer.
Ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans ,salad
Ham quiche , mixed berries

Spaghetti and meatballs **meat from last week , salad, hard rolls (garlic bread)
Meat pizza...ham, hamburger crumbles. Peppers etc, salad

vegetable bean soup
Mac and cheese, glazed carrots

Alaska cod baked with herbs, baked potatoes, green salad --Safeways 5 buck Friday.
notes, by buying in bulk last week when 7 percent ground beef was 2.75 a pound, you saved 1-25 q pound.  By making meatballs last week, you save a good twenty minutes off your dinner time cooking.  The meatballs can be heating in a can of sauce while you make a salad and bread and cook the noodles.  I use a pasta cooker in the microwave, it's soo easy.
Vegetable bean soup is just sausage and bean soup without the sausage done in the crockpot.
That's about it.  None of it is too time consuming.

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The ads

here are the ads ..mostly Easter entertaining.  

Note pork loin and cheese prices.  


Ham .99
Strawberries 2/4
Tillamock cheese 5.00***
Radishes .69
Pineapple 2.50

buy 5 save 5

Bread,     ice cream,     nabisco crackers,     morning star "meat"
  1.99.       2.69.              1.79.                            2.99


ham .97
Eggs 2/3 @@@
Butter 1.77@@@
Strawberries 2 lbs 2.99@@@
Crackers 1.88 ***@@@

Ice cream 2.50@@@@

Pineapple 2.49, blackberries 1.99, blues 2.99. Raspberries 3.99
7 percent ground beef 3.99

Notes.  @@@@ means coupon
**** means watch the prices. Information only!


Ham .99
Pork loin 1.99
Apples .99
Strawberries B1G1

Five dollar Fridays

Shredded cheese 2/5. Watch the weight you want 8 ounce bags
Bumble bee tuna 5/5
Alaskan cod
8 pounds oranges


Butter 1.88
Pie 2.99
Ham .99
Potatoes 8 lbs 1.28
Strawberries 4 lbs 7,96

Crackers 1.99
Ice cream 3.00
Black berries

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Terrific Tuesday

Ok, I have a mental block. baby Dear is helping me while her mom is doing her lesson plans,,,not like we wait till the last minute!! on her defense the last kids mom came at 7 o'clock last night. It made for a long day.

Feeding your family on a 1/2 price budget can be a challenge. the rewards are many.

1) there is a smug satisfaction that you have beat the stats.
2) there is a sense of security that you always have food in the house.
3) no child should live with the insecurity of not having food in the house to eat.
4) teaching a child that one doesn't have to eat pudding cups, chips and junk food is a good thing.
You are also teaching your children how to shop wisely and not waste money.

5) If you are lucky enough to have the money you save, you can put that money into something else down the mortgage, the kids education fund, a much needed vacation. The first time I went to Disneyland was when I was 21 years old. LOL. I survived childhood without it, but it would have been a fun memory. We learned to work. It was a good lesson that has carried me through a lot of hard times.

I am always watching for easy crockpot recipes. I found a new book at the TJ Maxx. A good basic slow cooker cookbook is a good friend in the kitchen. I get some business supplies there because they are fractions of the cost of buying them elsewhere.

My mantra of "spend more time on the front of the Get the meals on the table train and less time on the back" holds true here. A few well spent minutes in the morning saves a lot of headache at night if you have hungry kids when you get home or have to help kids with homework after school.
Remember, you get "paid" for shopping, not for cooking.

My other catch phrase is 4+1=5. Four people, one meal, five bucks. To maintain a 1/2 price budget, you need to average 5.00 a dinner. Some meals can be cheaper, to afford some that are more expensive. We want variety and somewhat healthy--avoiding a lot of salt and fat and incorporating whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

Hearty soups and stews are a great mainstay for the economy budget.Kids need to learn that food doesn't come out of a can or box. My daughter used to teach at a school that was mainly low income students, She sat done to eat her lunch of leftover Mac and cheese. the kids wanted to know if that was ( the name of a box mix) When she said it was scratch, her mom made it they couldn't believe it. It takes no more time to make Mac and cheese from scratch than it does from a box. I love recipes that you can put together and shove in the oven and go on to multitask. the chew calls it passive cooking. Whatever you call it, it's efficient.

If I am going to spend time in the kitchen, I want to be saving money by making my own taco seasoning, breadcrumbs or grinding my own hamburger. When good hamburger is upwards of four dollars a pound, I buy a cheaper cut of roast or steak and grind my own. I can control the fat. Batch or marathon cooking saves a lot of time and puts the cooking chore at a more peaceful time than the hectic " I just got home the mail is waiting to be sorted, the kids are cranky and hungry and you want what? Time.

Precooking means-- I can have

roast beef a jus sandwiches and a salad in 15 minutes flat
BBQ pork sandwiches and coleslaw in 15 minutes or less
tacos and refried beans in 10 minutes

Crockpot meals are less than 15 minutes, I usually cook a brown and serve baguette
Or bread stick. I brush the bread sticks with a little butter and sprinkle them with a little Romano or other finely grated cheese. just a pinch.

Pizza is another when I get crusts for a buck at grocery outlet for two.
I keep toppings chopped and ready to go as I chop something for another dish. We have pepperoni from the dollar store, red and yellow peppers, chicken pieces, black olives, onion, ham cubes, hamburger and sausage crumbles in the freezer. Any number of combinations.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Post note

I always hit the alternative stores when I have to go by them to get to somewhere else. My cutting machine quit cutting some things, After ten years, it just won't cut the edges. I went for a new one, since rollers are not fixable.

Big lots had cooking sauces for fifty cents. The four cheese caught my eye. Thinking that when the baby can't eat what we are eating, she can have a quick Mac and cheese.

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The rest of the story

The above web address is for the USDA stats on food plans: Cost of food at home. It is the latest I can find. Note the bottom notes for the bottom line on your size of family. This is what they base food stamps on.

I have been averaging 56 percent of the thrifty plan and that is building a stock. The actual food eaten would be less. I would have an educated guess of 50 percent.

Some other notes. One of the tricks that was brought to my attention, was that when you buy produce in bags. Weigh a few bags. It is hard for them to get exactly measurement of a produce item in a bag. Often times, there are as much as 25 percent more in a bag.

My benchmark for diner is five bucks. 4+1+5. Four people, 1 meal, 5 bucks. This is an average. Some meals cost more, some cost less. By averaging, you can have some more fancy meals and not feel deprived. To do this, you need to try for as close to 2.00 a meal for meat. That pays for a pound of pork loin, almost a pound of hamburger, Sausage, chicken roasted at home. quiche with cheese, pizza with cheese and pepperoni from the dollar store. tuna cassarole, many soups.
I am sure there are more.

If a meal is low on protein, make a pudding or creme brulee for desert to boost the protein intake.

Planning your grocery trips to coinside with other errands keeps the gas bill down. We try to group stores in a tight circle to minimize gas , even though we get 50 miles per gallon on the highway in our car.

Retailers have tricks to entice you to buy more stuff. Read a previous post for more info.

Rock Bottoms:
This is for the Seattle area, and for the things that my family eats a lot of; your family dynamics may be different.

Diced tomatoes .48 is the lowest, Usually .67 cents is more realistic. I usually can get them for .67 when TOP has a sale. Sometimes, when Big Lots is having their 20 percent sale, I can get .48. Many times the .48 is with added bonus, just be sure the seasoning is what your family will eat. We like spicy; not everytone does. They also have mexican spices and italian.

Beans are also .67 when they are on a good sale at TOP.

Pasta sauce is .79 or so at Winco. I got it for .80 at Albertsons. I use Hunts in a can. They peel their tomatoes with steam, not chemicals. I have got it as low as .50.

Pasta is always .88 to a buck somewhere. I try to buy the good name brands, but sometimes get the store brand if it is cheap enough. Safeways had .75 a few weeks ago. Watch you package sizes, some are 12 ounces.

Refried beans ate anywhere from .50 to .78 on sale.

I want taco shells for under a buck. Ditto green chilies.

Sausage is running 7 bucks for three pounds at costco.

I want to pay 2.50 a pound for cheese or less. Grated cheese is less at business costco. Some at regular costco. Brick is harder to find. If you make sandwiches that are heated, you can use the grated kind and skip the bricks.

I want to pay a buck or under for black olives I got them for .88 at Winco.

Green beans are .33 at Winco. They are a smaller cut than some of the others. I buy fresh when they are in season and are less costly.

I want to pay a buck a pound for frozen mixed veggies.

I get high fiber bread for two bucks a loaf. The brown and serve bagettes are less than a buck at costco. Sometimes I find them at the bakery outlet.

I want to pay .75 or less for soups. I get tomato, cream of mushroom, and chicken noodle.

I want to pay 2.00 or so for the tomato, roasted red pepper soup in a box. It sometimes is about that price at costco when they have it.

Coffee is less than 7 bucks at Grocery Outlet. IT is NOT designer coffee. My husband doesn't like designer coffee.

Grocery Outlet has a wide variety of cheese , some at cheaper prices.

Multi coloured peppers are four bucks almost always at Grocery Outlet.

Catsup is always a buck at the dollar store, ditto mustard.

Salami and pepperoni are a buck at the dollar store. The same package is 3.50 at the regular stores.

Big lots has veggie chips for two dollars....less when they run their twenty per cent sales.

I get chicken for .88 sometimes at QFC. I want to pay a buck a pound or less.

I buy packets of instant mashed potatoes. They come in a variety of flavours. I get them for .80 on sale often. Winco is a good bet some of the time.

Hamburger buns are usually cheaper at winco than even the bakery outlet.

I buy some Nallys chili. I want less than a buck a can. Sometimes I get it for .50.

Tea is usually cheapest at Big Lots.

Green chilies are cheapest at Winco. .69

There is probably more, but its three in the morning and I can't remember any more.

I buy any non perishables when they are cheap. I don't buy them again until I find them cheap. If I underetimate the amounts, we use something else until I fnd a sale. Usually, I dont run out. I start looking when the shelf starts to look depleated.

I can average half price or less on most items. Tomates are 1.59 at the regular store. If I pay .48 I have saved over a buck a can. I use two cans in a soup.
I also use two cans of beans in a soup. Sausage bean soup is on an earlier post.

Please feel free to comment in the comment section as to what is on your target list. IF I can tell you where it is cheaper, I will.

Every store has loss leaders to bring you in the store. The trick is to buy the specials and whatever you have to have that never goes on sale, and get out.

Shopping wisely and keeping adhead of the fridge so things dont go bad are the keys to eating on the cheap.

If you save 75 dollars a week, thats about four THOUSAND dollars a year. What can You do with four thousand dollars. Now, I can remember when saving to buy something else was not an option. Saving meant the difference of whether I made it through the month and paid all the bills or not.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

The nuts and bolts of it.

I usually post the basics around the first of the month. Since its a holiday weekend next weekend, I thought I would do it a little yearly. I feed us on 1/2 the stats for thrifty cooking per the USDA. that's what they base food stamps on. we eat a well rounded normal diet. That is to say, It is not organic, fat, salt and gluten free. I try for the middle of the road on salt and fat.

So, here are the basics.

1/2 price meals takes a three pronged approach.
1) plan and organize
2) shop wisely, I want 1/2 price
3) cook from scratch

1) plan and organize

Like any project you encounter, planning is essential. First, develop a recipe file of main dishes that use inexpensive sources of protein. Tuna, pork, chicken, beans and rice,cheese, hamburger and some cuts of beef. Beef is getting harder since I am seeing double the price since last summer.

Now , identify a list of staple pantry items that you use often. For us it would be cheese, beans, refried beans, pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, some canned veggies, black olives, mashed potatoes, some canned soups.

Start a price book or spread sheet. Label the food, the size of the package, and then track the date, price, and store you got it from. Pretty soon you will have a good idea what the lowest, rock bottom price is.

Plan your meals when you get home from the stores. Nothing too time consuming, just the main dish will do. Plan any easy meal for the days you know are going to be busy.

2) Shop wisely

you want to pay 1/2 price or less. When the target foods are at rock bottom, buy :
A) as many as you can afford
B) as many as the store allows or
C) as many as you need to replenish your stock.

this is not about hoarding. if I use something once a week, I keep 24. if I use it once a month, I keep six.
Besides not paying top dollar for your food, you have a stock to back you up if an emergency arises. there is a sense of security knowing you always have food in the house.

When the ads come out for your local chain stores, take a piece of computer paper ( or a piece from the recycle bin) divide it into four. List the store on top of your quarter sheet. Now write down anything that is on your target list, and anything that is in the fruit and veggie or meat list that is cheap. now cross off anything you don't need or anything that is higher priced elsewhere. Pick the TWO lowest priced stores. plan your trip, get in and get out of the store. the more time you spend in a store, the more money you will spend. I can hit two stores and maybe the dollar store in a little more than an hour.

Never just hit the chain stores. there are some food items at the dollar store, Big Lots, Grocery Outlet, . n other words, the overstock stores are a good resource. Just always check the pull dates. that is a good bet for any store. one time, every item on the baby food shelf was outdated at a grocery chain store. OOPS!

if you can save a dollar a can on your target items, that adds up fast.

the bread outlet store is a great resource. Ours is two towns away, so we go once every six weeks or so. Also, WinCo is a good staple store, it too is a fair ways away so we go every six to eight weeks. I still made the trip in an hour. One trick is to leave the kids at home. They are a distraction and something's just jump in the cart!LOL.

if you don't have storage on the kitchen for canned goods, improvise. I have known people that store them on flat boxes under the bed. I used to store them in a rattan ottoman in the family room when I had a small apartment.

one of my catch phrases is " if you spend more time on the front end of the get a meal on the table train, and less time on the back end, you will be better off. " you get paid for shopping, not for cooking. it is an abstract that some people can't see. if you spend 75 dollars a week less on food and you spend an additional hour shopping, you have just made 75 dollars an hour. And you have to earn 90 to spend that 75.00.

3) Cooking from scratch

there is no room for mixes and ready made food in the 1/2 price budget.
that being said, there are a few things that are either cheaper, or they take such a long time to make that ready Made items are worth it. Refried beans, taco shells, mashed potatoes are some that come to mind. I buyncannedbeans and rinse them well to reduce the sodium. Beans and rice have a very short fridge life. it's not to practical for me to make scratch.

it doesn't have to take a lot of time to make scratch foods. there are tricks. I cook ground meats soon after they are purchased. I can take the time to cook and defat the hamburger when I'm not rushed. I usually buy it when it is buy one get one for 7 percent hamburger. if I can't find 1/2 price hamburger with low fat, I make my own from a roast or London broil that is on sale for less than hamburger. If you defat a hamburger, it has less fat than a boneless skinless chicken breast. I cook a meatloaf, meatballs,hamburger crumbles for pasta sauce or pizza and taco

I roast a chicken on the weekend and separate it into four bags. Two breasts, the leg portions and the leftover bones for soup. You NEVER want to buy a chicken less than three pounds. The ratio of bone to meat is too great.
deli chicken is usually two or three pounds. At five or six dollars, you are paying 1.66 to 2.00 a pound. I have been getting northwest grown chicken for .88 a pound. that's half price plus if you get a five pound chicken, you are Getting more meat because of the meat to bone ratio. it takes me ten minutes to put a chicken in to roast.
Do the math. 6 pounds of deli chicken is a minimum of 10.00. Six pounds of .88 is 5.44. Almost 1/2 price. if it takes you ten minutes to get it ready to roast, that is 1/6 of an hour. 4.56 savings times six is about 27.00 an hour.

I make a roast of pork loin or beef . Have the roast one night, and slice the rest in meal sized portions for sandwiches. Either bbQ pork or a jus.

Taco seasoning packets are expensive. Taco seasoning mix recipe is on a previous blog as well as almost free pizza, a easy pizza crust recipe in the food processor .

The slow cooker and food processor are youngest friends in the kitchen along with a good sharp knife.
Cooking meat ahead of time makes meal prep on weeknights faster.
The slow cooker is a real life saver when time is short.

Not having a plan is the easiest way to derail your budget. it's too easy to answer the what's for dinner question with order pizza when you have had a long hard day. if dinner is waiting for you, or you can have tacos and refried beans on the table in 15 minutes it makes life so much easier. remember, you can delegate some of dinner. a husband or older child can help a lot. Set the table? Open the can of refried beans. we have a bunny can opener that unseals the can rather than cutting it and leaving sharp edges.

Bread crumbs are easy to make. Dry the heals of your bread loaves in the oven. The oven doesn't have to be turned on. Just put them on the broiler pan to dry. When you have enough, whirl them in the food processor. Even a older child can do that if you deal with the blades. why pay big money for someone else's dry bread? Ditto stuffing mix and croutons.Same with grated cheese, however, I have been finding grated cheese cheaper than the bricks lately.

Check out no brainer pasta on an earlier blog. I dissected a hamburger meal box . The results are remarkable!


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Saturday, March 23, 2013


Before I talk about our shopping trip, I want to talk about oneweb sites.

The one is It is a Washington law enforcement site with pictures of people wanted by the police. The boot bandit I want to catch is on it among others. Everyone thinks that it isn't their problem. But, shoplifting and identity theft is a multimillion dollar " business " that hurts us all with higher prices for our merchandise and higher taxes for police. Some of these perps steal thousands of dollars. The boot bandit has outfitted herself as ms. Got rocks on someone else's money. Diamond bracelets, platinum and diamond rings, Armani purses etc.

Now, on to shopping. Went to Safeways and got 7 percent hamburger for 2 for 1. Also salads and salmon. Grapes and strawberries.

WinCo was a lot more productive. I got pork spareribs and replenished the canned goods. broccoli and tomatoes were cheaper.

Smoked dinner sausage was 2.28
String beans.33
Pasta sauce .88
Cream of mushroom soup .75
Green chillies .69
Applesauce cups 6/1.58--baby's lunch
Mashed potatoes .88
Taco shells .98
String cheese 1.88 -- baby lunch

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

meals from the ads

Yesterday I went to work. Imput chicken soup stock on to cook in the slow cooker. When ingot home Inboiled noodles and veggies and added them to the soup after I pulled out the bones and picked off the meat. We had soup, cheese bread sticks and blueberry pie.

Hamburger is on 1/2 price at Safeways again. Will make meatloaf, Salisbury steaks, meatballs and taco meat. ll save the meatloaf for a weekend meal and the rest I will break down into meal sized portions and freeze for fast dinners.

We had bought chicken sausage last week and taco shells for .65.
Scallops are on sale at Safeways

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish

1- tacos
2-meat ball subs

3- chicken soup
4- chicken and stuffing

5- Mac and cheese
6- spaghetti with mushrooms and spinach

7- seafood chowder

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ill post again after I go shopping

The ads for March 21

I guess I'm not outdated , the "Food on the table app doesn't have any sizes of the merchandise. That makes it a hard task to compare prices.


Round steak, 7 percent beef. Pork shoulder,chicken, breast. they don't give prices, so buyer beware.

Grapes 1.88
Salmon 5.99
Cake mix .99
Flour 5 lbs the label for size of package

5 dollar Fridays
Scallops lb
Cheese 2/ the label, you want 8 ounces


Strawberries 4lbs/ 6.99. Coupon
Apples .88--sometimes a bag is another 1. Off
Salmon 4 ounce portion 1.00 ( quality?)
refried beans and taco shells price listed ????


Buy 5
Ritz or nabisco nets 1.79
Bagels or pan bread nets 1.99
Buyers ice cream 2.69

Milk 2.50
Yo plait .50
Roma's .99


Pork loin 1.97
Ham 1.97
Green chilies 1.00
Hagan cream soups .80
Ground beef 3.00 for 15 percent.

That's all. It's getting harder to find really food buys. Some of the buy one, get one do not tell you the regular price. You have to do the math at the store.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013


It's mid week, time to inventory the fridge and use anything on the edge.

Chicken stock

Cover chicken bones with cold water. Bring slowly to a boil. Remove scum.
Add 1-2 cup each of carrots, celery, and onion. Add Parsley and salt.
Simmer 3 hours. Strain.

Chicken noodle Soup. Bring 1 quart of stock to a boil. Add 1 cup of noodles , and carrots, celery, and cook 10-15 minutes. For a clearer soup, simmer the veggies with the stock and cook the noodles separately. Add the two together. ( leftover noodles from stroganoff or tuna cassarole?)

I am reading a 1950 cookbook. I actually saw lard at Costco. I would serve a cheese biscuit made from low fat bisquick or a apple muffin with chicken soup. Or,perhaps a cheese sandwich using tortillas for bread.S

Some of the meals back then, my mother never made. I don't think that today's family would bot be anamoured with them either.How about spaghetti with Vienna sausage! YUM?!?!
I remember a meal plan in the 70,s of clove-studded bologna.
My, we have come a long way.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Food on the Table

I found a new app. It's free. It gives you the ad for your chain stores. Costco is on there, but they don't have any data. It is supposed to take you through meal plans and a grocery list. it doesn't have any cheap button! LOL

I prefer the hard copy add, but when it's a holiday, it would come in handy.

We went to Costco yesterday. There were a few things that we buy that basically are a years supply. Regular Costco has seaweed, but no cornstarch. We had to go to the restraunt supply Costco.

I got new pizza screens because ours were bent . They really help when baking a pizza because the air circulates around the pizza and you get a nice brown bottom crust. They also have better than boullion and dry mustard and parsley. I use a lot of parsley. It makes white foods more appetizing. The other Costco was ,mostly non food items, meds, razors and soap. I have a Lysol soap dispenser that you don't have to pump. It's great for not cross contanamenting when cooking chicken and beef.

Sausage was 3 pounds for 6.99. It was 6.18 this summer. That's still a good price. You can defat it. Use it in quiche, bean soup, on pizza, in an Omlette. A little goes a long ways. sausage bean soup uses about 2 ounces a person. I get four or five meals from a tube of sausage.
Still well under 5 bucks. 9 percent hamburger was 2.09 a poumd and they had lots of cheese for a little more than 2.00 a pound. Most of it was grated.

With effort, you can still make dollar meals that are healthy.
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday madness

I cooked sweet and sour pork yesterday. I used the pork "chops" that I got at Safeways. They really were more like a steak. I cubed them and browned them in a frying pan and then braised them until they were done and tender.
in a separate pan, I sautéed mushrooms, peppers, ginger and added the sauce that I posted for veggies yesterday.
I drained the meat and combined the two pans. I made brown rice.

I had to use flour as a thickener because I went for my 1/2 gallon of cornstarch that I have had for years and it was GONE! Seems the cornstarch fairy used it for slime for the sensory table at work. I'll bet those kids had a ball! I just wish the cornstarch fairy had told me so I bought a new box. LOL

My granddaughter turned her nose up at rice when I tried to give her a bite. I usually try to give her bites of anything that I have that's new for her to introduce her to a variety of foods. She was sitting next to me eating her turkey. She reached over with her tiny fingers and picked up a couple of grains of rice. She liked it. She then reached for another, I got her a bowl of her own. Apparently, she just has to discover new tastes on her own. LOL
If you have a picky eater, just keep trying.

When you are shopping, ,don't get locked in to a particular meat. When the pork chops weren't what I expected, I improvised. That's why it is a good idea to have a basic idea of what you are going to eat for meals when you go to the store, but don't write it in stone until you are home from the store.

I had been looking for a teriyaki sauce recipe for a long time. I think that I found it yesterday. It is so much cheaper and more convenient to make your own as you need it.Ginger is cheap at grocery outlet; my husband renamed a few small oranges for me. Orange juice in a bottle is expensive and we don't usually drink orange juice.

Sunday, we went to Grocery Outlet and Big Lots.
I found green tea, and facial tissue for 600 sheets for 4.00. Less than 1/2 of the cheapest price I have found--except the .50 that Safeways didn't have!

At grocery outlet I found coffee, sliced smoked Gouda, chicken sausage with Gouda and apple and chicken sausage with motts and artichokes. YUM! peppers are a big bag for 3.99. Pink oranges were cheap.

I still want to try speghetti with mushrooms and spinach. I have to pick my day, its something my daughter and grandaughter will eat, my husband, not so much.

I try to use all of something. So with the leftover pineapple ...
pineapple cilantro rice. Maybe, with chicken.

Cook rice. Add roasted onions and pineapple. Fluff rice and add cilantro.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Life's short--eat desert first

I have pretty much ignored desert. Many people are on diets and we don't have desert everyday.
but, there are special occasions.

Cakes are really expensive in the bakery. cake mixes are sometimes a buck.

Carrot cake

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1.5 cups vegetable oil

2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
.25 tsp salt
.25 tsp nutmeg
2 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup butter
3 ounces of cream cheese
3-3/4 cups confectioners sugar
1. Tsp vanilla
2 T milk
Chopped walnuts

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar and oil. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Beat onto egg mixture a third at a time. Stir on carrots.

pour onto greased and floured cake pans. bake at 350 degrees 35-40 minutes or u til toothpick inserted on center comes out clean. Cool on racks,before removing from pans.


Cream butter and cream cheese. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar and enough milk to make it spreadable. Garnish with nuts. Refrigerate leftovers.


no cook Lasagna noodles
Pasta sauce
6 ounces Cooked ground beef
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1 carton frozen spinach, very well drained and squeezed dry
1 pound of motts, grated
1.5 cups parm

Mix beef with pasta sauce. Warm.
Mix spinach with cottage cheese

Sauce, noodles, cheese mixture, motts, and parm. Repeat until 9X13 pan is full.
Set oven to 350
Cover and bake for 40 minutes, uncover and bake 10 minutes longer.

This can be 1/2 recipe on a 9 inch square pan. it is expemsive, but not as expensive as the frozen version. Probably a good company dish. If you were really frugal with the cheese and use a little fresh spinach cooked and drained for colour, you might cut the cost to a five dollar dinner.

Veggie Stir fry

2 T cornstarch
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp ginger
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce

Stir fry

1 tsp garlic minced
2 carrots, cut into small sticks
1 cup broccoli , bite sized pieces
1 cups cauliflower,bite sized pieces
Olive oil

Add mushrooms
Snow peas

Add sauce until heated through

Serve over rice.

Note You could add leftover pieces of cooked chicken. The sauce recipe CPU
D be used for sweet and sour pork with pineapple and peppers.

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Saturday, March 16, 2013


I only spent 28.00 at the grocery store this week....and part of that was a pie because it was cheaper than I could make it.

It was not a good week for specials.. chicken was on sale cheap at Safeways. It really ticked me off because they offered a seasoning bag for chicken FREE and a liquid crystal light for free. They don't carry the crystal light! What's with that!! Guess they won't be giving away many of those. Kleenex was .50, but they didn't have any of that either. Did get a rain check.

The bag with seasonings for chicken was 2.59. I wouldn't have bought it. That's over 1/2 what the chicken costs. not a good plan. the pork chops at Safeway were more like steaks. I think I'll make sweet and sour pork on rice instead.

we went to QFC because I needed meds. I picked up some apples and the pie.

I have an ear infection so I wasn't exactly in the mood for shopping.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Meals from the ads

My formula for meal plans is
2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish or seafood

I try to vary our meals so that we have a balanced diet. Then whatever the diet police say is bad for you at the moment, you are pretty much covered! LOL

Corned beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes.
Roast Beef

Sausage, eggs, hash browns fruit
chicken Burritos

Do brainer pasta
cheese quiche


Corned beef is on sale because its St, Pats day. Chuck Roast is 2.77 a poumd.
Chicken is left from last weeks .88 a poumd chicken
I got hash browns on sale at Safeways. They continue to be on sale. also at the dollar store.

Pasta was .80 at big lots. Add .80 for pasta sauce and some cheese (5.12 a 2 pound package. Finely grated cheese goes a long way. Dinner and lunch the next day is 2.85. Add a salad and you are still well under five dollars.

Salmon is on sale at top.

Fruit is still affordable. Bananas are a bargain, full of nutrition and 1.39 at Costco.
You can still get apples for a buck.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

The ads

I just got the ads..


Chuck Roast 2.77
Ground beef 20 2.77


Dryers ice cream. 3/10
Mini carrots 1.00.
Raspberries, blackberries 2.99
Apples .99


Pork cops 1.49
Ribs 2.49
Chicken . 99
Apples .99
Milk 2.59
Yoplait 10/5

5 dollar Friday

Frozen food sale still on.


cantaloupe .38
Yo plait 10/5

Red potatoes 1.99. 5 pounds

Weekend only
Tuna 2/1.00

That's it. Safeways continues to be the best prices. A good week to hit the warehouse stores instead.
Or not shop at all.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The bread store

Yesterday we had an appointment in a town near the bakery outlet. Since we hadn't been for a long time, we left early and stopped by.

We got 3 loaves of double fiber bread for 5.50. I got two loaves of fiber pme bread for two dollars each. A box of baby cinnamon rolls for 3.50. Smaller ones are 5 dollars.

I got bread sticks and hard rolls. The total of all of this was 18.00. They gave us two packages of dinner rolls and
A package of whole wheat English muffins.

This is enough to last us at least six weeks.
it was a good time because we didn't spend all out allotment this week.

Tomorrow, I will make sausage bean soup and we can have bread sticks with it.

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Terrific Tuesday

In my research, I am seeing a lot of comfort foods kicked up a notch.

braised beef with hot peppers, taco seasoning, beans and corn.

Peppers with pork and sweet potatoes and cornbread

Brownie ice cream sandwiches with caramel ice cream topping.

Mac and cheese made with sharp cheese.

meatloaf and mashed potatoes ( my mother would make a oven meal. Her version of wick before microwaves and crockpots. Meatloaf, baked potatoes wrapped on foil and acorn squash cut and seeded , with butter, brown sugar.
All baked in the oven at 400 degrees.

Chicken pot pie
pot roast in the slow cooker
Chicken and dumplings
grilled cheese with tomatoes

All from January Family Circle. Look on line or at the library.

We had chicken pot pie last night. I kept it simple because our grandaughter was eating it.

Sometimes, adding one over the top ingredient can make a big difference. Make the difference between low cost hum drum and special. Presentation makes a real difference too. The difference between a " family " restraunt and an upscale one often isn't the menu, it is the ambiance and the presentation of the food. A few fresh herbs ( grow them yourself) or some capers make a big difference.

We eat very well for well under the USDA guidelines for Thrifty meals. Remember, they count real food, not paper products, magazines, or other stuff you can get at the grocery store.

My mother only bought chips if it was for a particular meal. And she wouldn't allow pop or Kool aid on the house. We had milk, water, or tea. When we were older she bought lemonade frozen in the summer when it was .33 a can.
We had breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snacks were almost nonexistent. If we didn't eat our dinner, there was always breakfast. I didn't miss many dinners! LOL. we weren't poor, we had karastan rugs and real china and sterling silverware. She didn't want to waste money, She always wanted to have something to show for her money. She grew up during the Great Depression, she went to work as a teenager to pay the rent, not to buy herself a car. There was no such thing as food stamps, you just had to forge food as best you could. She just believed in plenty of good basic food. My parents thought junk food, was bad for you, even before someone coined the word junk food.

In the sixties, she spent forty-five dollars week on food for five of us. I don't know what the USDA stats were then, it would be fun to find out.

PS. I wrote the USDA. he got back to me really quick. Our family growing up had stats of 30.00. I am sure that some of difference was because we had basically beef and fish ince a week. my Dad didn't like chicken and my mother was afraid of pork.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday madness

I thought that I would talk about salad dressings. Some salad dressings are just best bought. We use a lot of ranch dressing. There is a recipe for smashed potatoes using ranch dressing. it is really good. Vinaigrette, however is really simple and can be made at the time you make the salad.

Basil Vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil
1 -1/2 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp basil
Pinch of garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Mix. Whisk together before dressing salad.

Pantry deserts...

Lemon Pudding

In a bowl, combine
2/3. cup sugar, 4 tsp flour

Stir in 2/3 cup milk, 4T lemon juice

Separate 2 eggs. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Fold egg white into lemon mixture.

fill four Ungreased custard cups. Place in baking pan, leaving room around sides of custard cups. Fill baking pan 1 inch up. Bake pan in oven at 325 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Serves 4.

I would serve with whipping cream and lemon zest if I had it. Otherwise, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

This is a good go to when you want a really cheap desert. When I was a kid, we girls would do the bakimg.
There were a few cookies that took things that my mother always had the ingredients for. Walnut squares were one. If we didn't have walnuts, we didn't use them. The recipe is in the Betty Crocker cookbook from the 50s. The one with red check cover. The other one was snicker doodles. Sometimes, peanut butter.

When we are having breakfast for dinner, I sometimes make yogurt cups.
Layer plain or lemon yogurt, fruit, and granola if you have it or have recently made it.

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Suddenly Sunday

Don't forget daylight savings ...spring forward !

I purchased the women's day magazine yesterday while grocery shopping. It has 20 meals you can make from pantry items. It is a little misleading because there are fresh ingredients, but most of them I have in my pantry. It would be a good go to if you we're trying to get by with what was in the house at the end of the month.

Also, they have recipes for trifles. The article on money saving has to do with organizational skills in the kitchen,

Yesterday, we went grocery shopping. We hit four stores in a three mile round trip. I dropped off some paperwork at the pharmacy, got groceries, stopped at a store for supplies for my business, and went to another grocery store and checked for supplies at another store. We were gone from home about an hour. I spent 37.00. I spent 95.00 last week because I found a lot of my target foods at a very low price. Stocking your freezer at Safeways is very fruitful and is still going on this week.

One of the things I bought was a bag of lemons. Lemons are a versitile fruit on the kitchen. Besides using them for salad dressings and to liven up sauces , you can make lemon pudding-- a really inexpensive desert that uses a few inexpensive staples you have in your pantry. Lemon bread. A lemon with some salt disinfects a cutting board and cleans a copper pot.

Meals from the ads

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish

1) Spaghetti and meatballs (pasta was .75 on JFU at Safeways )
2) Beef and Bean Burritos
3) roast chicken (.88 at QFC)
4) chicken soup
5) Mac and cheese (use up bits of cheese). Cheese was 5.12 on JFU
6) pasta with mushrooms, spinach and garlic ( mushrooms were on JFU )
7) Dagwood sandwiches (artisan bread on JFU)

I got fruit juice for free at Safeways JFU.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Saturday notes

I finally got my reader up and running, after a grueling week of stomach flu and trouble shooting so I am back in business.

I think it is interesting when the chew talks about frugal meals, they are talking about 5 bucks a plate, not five bucks a meal. I do realize, that they are in NYC and they don't have the space in their homes that people in the suburbs have. Every house my parents had, no matter how small , had a storage room in the basement for food. Having bench marks for the amount you are going to spend on a meal, or meat and veggies helps you to keep a budget. I spent two bucks a meal in the 60s when we were two adults and 1 small child. It increased when we had two teenagers in the house to three dollars. We are back to about two dollars again. The kind of meat has changed a lot. We don't get much steak nowadays.

Yesterday, they cooked a flattened chicken breast and a fried greens and polenta. This could be doable for close to five dollars shopping wisely. I got couscous cheap at big lots. Boneless chicken breasts are 2.66 per pound this week. And greens are always inexpensive. I don't count basic staples in my meal costs. I do count them in my total food budget. a lot of more sophisticated dishes can be doable by watching prices and substituting some expensive ingredients.

Today, I am cleaning out the fridge, dumping hopefully not much that is dead. ( with all of us with the flu, we have not eaten quite what I planned.) and using up bits and pieces. I think we will have Mac and cheese , carrots, and a fruit and cream dish for desert. It's a lot of fat, but probably not as much as if we ate a beef dish. rationalizing?!? Not all our cheese is high fat content. Portion control.
grocery shopping didn't happen yesterday. We spent the day getting a new reader.

I am seeing a lot of pasta with veggies and a little meat sometimes. I think it is a great way to compensate for the skyrocketing meat costs. I am still finding chicken inexpensive sometimes, but beef is about double.
mushrooms and spinach sounds interesting to me. That wouldn't go over we'll with my husband, however.

soups continue to be a good go to especially if you are going to have a hard day and you know it, or you know the family is going to hit home at different times. They can be hearty, satisfying,and hold well in a slow cooker.

I love salads,and summer is coming. You can still get shrimp for five bucks at Safeways often, vegetables are cheaper and you can plant a garden or pots on the back porch.

Often, traditional winter meats are cheaper in the summer. Just wait for a colder day. That's not hard in the pacific NW some summers!!!LOL

I tend to use parsley a lot. it just seems to make anything with a colorless hue more appetizing. I mix bread crumbs, Parmesan or another hard cheese and parsley to top Mac and cheese. Make your own bread crumbs from your crusts. It's easy and you aren't paying big bucks for someone else's garbage bread.
A older kid can do it if you set up the food processor and deal with the blades. kids like to push buttons. Grating cheese is another job kids can do in the food processor. Just set things up and you deal with the blades.

I learned a lot from watching my mother. How to economize on food is a good life skill. No matter what your lot in life is.

There is a movement out there for people to cut their grocery bill for one week and give the savings to the food bank. I guess to help to end hunger and enlighten us. There are people that can't get food stamps or are temporarily unemployed or taking mandatory days off and that is I am writing this blog. There are also people that don't know how to put good food on the table on snap and still have food at the end of the month. there are, of course, other reasons to want to economize on food and people tell me they get other ideas from the blog. It is my intention to help people.

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Oops forgot Safeways adds


Pot roast 2.69
Blues or blackberries 2.99
Shrimp 5.00

Just for u
Cheese 2/5.12

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I saw a segment yesterday on The Chew. It was about little children eating top ramen and potato chips for breakfast, lunch and dinner because it was all they had. There isn't much I do about that. But, I'll bet those little children are not too worried about the race car drivers having a track. Someone should remind their congress people that they are working for the people, and necessities come before Luxeries.

I can, however, do something about the people that are lucky enough to get food stamps and can't make them last all month. That's what this blog is about. Many other people are reading for time saving kitchen management tricks, or are saving for somethimg they really want, or just don't feel the need to waste money or like beimg reminded of an new recipe to wake up dinner.

No child should be denied a good meal and nomchild should wake up to no food in the house. This plan is doable. All of us run into obstacles, but With some creative problem solving can overcome them. My sister in law and I went to the grocery store together when she onlynhad one car and we both had toddlers. It was easier and more efficient to leave the little ones at home and go together. when I lived in a low rent apartment house, we all banned together and helped each other. We had a community vacume cleaner, the guys took the garbage out so we girls didn't have to deal with the rats. We shared paperbacks, and babysitting.

Spanish Omlette

Potatoes, cooked and sliced
Onion, bell pepper, garlic, green olives, oregano,

Mozzarella cheese, grated

6-8 eggs
Salt, pepper

A good use of leftover potatoes, or stair step them

In a greased skillet, cook the onion, peppers and garlic until wilted. Add the potatoes. Cook until heated through. Add olives and oregano. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese.

Mix together the eggs, salt and pepper. Cook 4 omlettes with the eggs.

Place heated vegetarian mixture inside Omlette.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday notes

This might be a short post. I am still having connectivity issues and it just erased my first post.
There are not a lot of good buys this week. It may be a good week to make a WinCo trip. If you go, wear your walking shoes and bring a buddy and your price list. They don't have weekly specials, but some are really good.
The place is HUGE. My husband swears it is bigger than Costco. And you have to bag your own. Two people means you can watch the register, and bag too.

I'm watching the chew I heard a new word. Passive cooking. I really like that word!

Since our house is sick bay this week, I thought a soup recipe would be in order.

Tomato soup

8 ounces of tomato paste
Onion powder
1 T butter

Mix together and heat in pan.

Add 2 cups milk

Heat through.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Is it Tuesday or Wednesday?

Between me having the flu and the wifi not working, I missed Tuesday altogether.

The ads


Drumsticks .97
Ice-cream 2.99
15 percent beef. 3.00


Oranges .50

Weekend only.
Chunky soup 1.00
Ragusa .99
Milk 2.49. Coupon
Craisens 1.69 coupon


Chicken .88
Grapes 2.49
20 hamburger 2.66
Deli chicken 5.99
Butter 1.88

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday Madness - Alternative shopping

Yesterday we went to breakfast...the cheaper way to go out on a "date" . Breakfast is much cheaper than lunch or dinner. Afterwards we went alternative shopping.

At the Goodwill, I got a new (as in never worn) shirt and a pair of denium shorts with pink roses embroderied on them. for my grandaughter. I also found a
bunny book and a new bunnie cookie cutter set. Magazines are .50. cooking magazines don't go out of date much. All for 6.30 including tax.

We went to Big Lots. They were having their one day only twenty percent off the entire store sale. I got all kinds of canned goods really cheap. Triskit crackers were 1.60. Diced tomatoes that were .80 on sale were .48. Pickles .80. Pineapple, large can was .80. Pineapple and cottage cheese is a good lunch. Also, pineapple teryicki burgers are delicious. We tend to eat burgers in the summer. Ranch Dressing was an extra large bottle, twenty percent off. 2.40. Whole wheat pasta was .80. Also, pasta with servings of veggies in them. They might be a good way to get veggies into pickie eaters.

The Grocery Outlet was less fruitful. I got a box of soup for 1.29. The soup boxes run upwards of three dollars. Tomato red papper is sometimes cheap at Costco, they don't always have it. They had a lot of cheeses, Tillamook cheese slices were 3.50 a pound. They have romano and parmesean for 2.00 a carton usually. Coffee is really cheap always.

I am working on the regular computer, my tablet lost the ability to get an internet connection. Bummer, I do a lot of research and development for my businesses on it. I really miss it. Hope my husband can get it fixed today.

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Notes

Carrots continue to be an inexpeñsive vegetable. One of the ways I found to cook them is to add red or new potatoes and any other root veggies I have and roast them in the oven with olive oil and salt and pepper, or rosemary or parmesean.

Carrot Soup

1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cups chopped carrots
3cups vegetable broth
2T uncooked rice
1/2 cup cream
2T tomato paste
Salt, pepper

Cook onion in butter. Add carrots, stock and rice.
Cover, and simmer until carrots and rice are tender.
Cool. Process in food processor.

Return to pan. Add cream, tomato paste, salt and pepper.

Back in the 80s, compound butters were popular. I think the recipes are on an earlier post. It seems that they are coming back. It is a easy way to add life to a sandwich. Bump up the old Dagwood. My children used to love Dagwood sandwiches. Make them a little more sophisticated.

With the goings on with the drought and congress, it seems to me that a whole lot more people are going to get on the cheap bandwagon. It sounds like a whole lot of people are going to loose funding which translates to less jobs. Just what we need. ( I'm being sarcastic. ).

Eating on the cheap doesn't have to be unhealthy or time consuming.

I do this blog for free. Many others have made millions, yes, millions telling people to cut their toilet paper in half and feed their kids cheap hotdogs and cheese pizza. I am doing this blog so that people in the same boat I was years ago can feed their kids adequate meals on a disastrous budget. I wasn't lazy, I went to work everyday. Day care took 1/2 my wages, and housing took the other 1/2. I was not on welfare. Something good came out of it. I took what I had learned from my mother and read everything I could to learn more. I'm trying to pass on what I learned to people in need. It is not good for child's sense of security to not have food in the house at the end of the month. Anyone can live on the food stamp allotment if they shop wisely. They can't do it buying sodium potato chips and cheese sauce for 13.28 a pound that doesn't have any cheese in it.

That being said, I have found that some people read this blog for the time saving tips, or for a new idea for dinner. Or, just because they don't believe in wasting money. Face it, who can't use an extra few thousand dollars in the bank??

Back when I was first divorced in the mid seventies, I had twenty five dollars left one month for food. Desperate times called for desperate measures. I bought .35 worth of liver and cooked it with tomato sauce and peppers like my mother had. I called my three year old to dinner. I cut it up in small pieces so he could eat it himself. he looked at it and said " what's this?". Not wanting to sway his opinion by any rumors he had heard at daycare, I looked him straight in the eye and said " meat.". He took a bite, and chewed it, and looked at me and said " well, it ain't hamburger! Years later, We had liver once a week, because he liked it. Back in the 70s it was good for you!! LOL

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Another blog

I ran on to another blog where they selling their ideas in a book. They say that they paid off their first house and paid cash foe their cars. On thirty five thousand dollars a year with five kids.I did notice that the kids work too.

The only thing that I notice that I had forgotten about was that ifmyou are buying packaged veggies, weigh them. Some are heavier than others. Also, look carefully especially at Costco. they don't pick over their produce. If one apple is spoiled, you haven't saved anything.

Getting Inspiration.

My daughter brought a take out menu home from a bistro. I thought I would analyze it for inspiration.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Having varied menu plan keeps things interesting and makes you not even realize that you are eating on the cheap.

Nicoise salad, I totally forgot about. with salmon and balsamic vinegar dressing.

Shrimp salad with field greens, shrimp, corn, tomatoes, jack cheese

Blue cheese and Pear salad. With candied pecans and dried cherries.

Vegetable pizza. Roasted artichokes, baby spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, mozzarella, provolone,Parmesan and basil.

Chicken and angel hair pasta with garlic pasta sauce, spinach, mushrooms and rosemary butter.

Most of these are doable on a budget with some variations, watching for sales. They sound yummy to me without the 10 plus dollar price tag per serving.

inspiration can come from anywhere, your favorite bistro, magazines, the Internet, the back of boxes or even the back of a candle!

When my children were young, they were more likely to eat the same familiar things like pizza, burritos, tacos, spaghetti etc. Someone asked the school one time why there was not a lot of variety on the menus. The answer they got was that they could tell by how much was left in the garbage can what the kids ate and they cooked accordingly . you can encourage children at home to try just one bite of new foods often. Eventually, they will eat a more varied diet. Often it is the texture and sometimes they outgrow it. Just keep trying. Don't make ot a power struggle. I offered my granddaughter mashed potatoes the other night. She Buttoned up her mouth and turned her head. I put a little on my finger and put it on her pouting lip. She ate it. I gave her the bowl, and before long, she was eating it out of the bowl. She needed a bath after that, but she ate it. LOL.

Often, when my husband and I were having spicy food, I would make the preschool age kids Mac and cheese and green beans. They wanted to taste our food.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

The other meals

It was brought to my attention (thank you my one commenter ) that I don't talk avout breakfast and lunch much. breakfast in most families is not a sit down together affair. We are all rushing somewhere in the morning, and are separate places for lunch.

I take a more casual approach ot the other meals. I usually have whole wheat toast and fruit, or banana bread, or yogurt, sometimes with pumpkin seed granola.

Muffins work well. They can be madenand frozen when you have time, and pulled out of the freezer the night before or defrosted in the microwave. You can put all kinds of nutritious stuff in them and the kids will eat it!!! I have a muffin cookbook that has a formula for muffins, and and a whole lot of variations.Any basic muffin recipe will work. Just substitute what you have for the bananas or whatever. Bare in mind what texture and consistency your new ingredient is and match itmwith the old one.

I tend to use bisquick, it's cheap and easy. The banana blueberry one is so nutritious, I usually use it. Making a quick bread is easier and more efficient.

Thinking about the ingredients.

Low fat bisquick
Oatmeal ( lowers colosterol)
sugar ( I use fake because I am diabetic, but it is not a lot)

Bananas ( they are super ripe, good for anti cancer)
Blueberries (antioxidants)
Eggs, you can use fake eggs
Low fat milk

A lot of good nutrition.

Lunch for us is either a sandwich and a piece of fruit, leftovers, or a salad. I especially like whole wheat crackers, cheese, and a piece of fruit like an apple.

The answer to another question! How do I keep a budget and fill my teenage kids hollow legs!
When my kids were teenagers, I had a fifty dollar a week budget. I posted the weeks menus on the fridge so they knew not to eat the rice I had double batched for another meal etc. I also had a list of things that they knew were FREE stuff. Things they could eat all they wanted of if they hungry.
It was top ramen, beef and bean burritos, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and popcorn.

I get the which is cheaper, WinCo or Costco question often. The answer is no one grocery store is cheapest.
The best way to beat the system is to pick the two cheapest per week. Then go to the overstocked stores, the bakery outlet, WinCo and Costco on a need basis for the things that are cheaper there. We hit Costco once a month or when we are running out of meds or TP. WinCo we once every six weeks or so. Grocery Outlet and big lots we hit when we are in that section of town for something else. I plan our trips so we can make the beat use of our time. Thankfully these stores, except WinCo and the bread outlet, are clustered together. I have learned where the food is and can get in and out quickly.

If you just hate to shop and record keeping is not your bag, don't hestitate to deligate the job to a trusted family member. Even an older child sometimes can research prices and fill in a spread sheet.

That being said, I remember putting a grocery list on the fridge, hoping when someone noticed we were almost out of something, they would write it down, and not put the empty box back in the cupboard. I got snicker bars in the list. Like I was going to buy snicker bars. Nice try. LOL

I remember sending my husband to the store to grocery shop because I had had an operation and couldn't go. He came back with a pomegranate and a case of beer! I sent my college age daughter with a budget to Costco. We got a weeks worth of good food.

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