Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fred Meyer Sunday ad

Ground sirloin (10%) fat 3.77

Apples 1.49

Eggs .79

Blackberries .99

Sour cream 2/4

Red Barron 2.88. $$

Hebrew National hot dogs 3.49

Pumpkin pie 3.99

Half Pork Loi. 1.99 (top of my target list price )

My vote for the best place to shop this week would be Alberways .   Safeways has a just for you basket coupon for 5 off of 25.  If you stay close to 25, thats 20 percent.

They have diced tomatoes , greenbeans and corn for .49. Which with a basket coupon.makes them .39.   A good time to stock up for the winter.   Diced tomatoes are the most versatile of the tomato products and I saw BPA free cans at Safeways.

Don’t underestimate the close out bin at qfc.   I got pasta sauce for .79.   Our QFC had a 25 percent basket coupon that made it .59.   Add sale Barilla pasta, some parm cheese, and a can of green beans and a loaf of peasant bread and you have a meal for four at a cost of 2.30. TOTAL. Not per plate.
You can still use coupons on the closeout baskets.   One time I got low sodium beans for free.

Using every available means of discounting food is a way to cut your grocery bill dramatically.  We are averaging less than 55.00 a week for the first three quarters of the year/.  Last year it was 72.00.   Since then, I bought a  insta pot and that allowed me to scratch cook rice and beans and make scratch cooking easier.   I spend an hour to an hour and a half on Mondays doing kitchen management . But, I rarely spend more than twenty minutes at dinner time making dinner.  The  55.00 includes maintaining a small stock.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Peasant Bread

3 cups flour
1-3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water. 105-110 degrees

Mix ingredients.  Cover.   Let rest on counter 12-24 hours

Turn onto floured counter.  Fold on itself to shape into a round or loaf

Heat oven safe Dutch oven in 450 degree oven until oven comes up to temp.

With very good oven mitts, remove lid from pan in oven .  Place bread dough in pan.  Cover an bake covered for 30 minutes.   Again, with very good oven mitt, remove lid and cook an additional 10-20 minutes or until bread is 200 degrees.

Extremely easy recipe.  The hardest part is to be every careful and use proper oven mitts so you don’t burn yourself.   Always have a designated safe place to set hot pans.   It’s helps to make a sling out of parchment paper to drop the dough into the pan,

Thursday, October 19, 2017

What to do with what you got.

Leftovers in refrigerator

Part of a veggie tray:
Baby carrots 
Grape tomatoes 
Celery sticks 

Some grapes 
Strawberries 🍓 looking a little old. 
Lettuce, designer and regular 


Cooked turkey bacon 
Cooked sausage including patties 
Refried beans 

  1. Sausage and potatoe stew with carrots 
  2. Penne with chicken and broccolin. Uses the broccoli in the veggie tray  
  3. Salad , with cucumbers, tomato
  4. Dry strawberries 
  5. Pizza with grape tomatoes, sausage
  6. Taco pie uses the leftover refried beans 
  7. Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Safeways and qfc haul

Total savings were a minimum of 53 and 55 percent.  

Basket 20 percent coupon. (5 off 25)
Saltine crackers .97 lb. .77
12 green beans at .49 ea .39
12 corn at .49/.39
24 diced tomatoes, 12 w jalapeño, 12 with Italian at .49/.39
2 lb green grapes .99/.79
 Basket coupon for 5.00

Total 21.41.

Buy 4, save 4
10.00 basket coupon
2 lb pkg bulk sausag 2.40 less .62 nets 1.87
V8 juice (2) 1.99 save 1.00 plus .50 off
6 closeout pasta sauce from 1.29 to .79 plus 20 cents off
Goldfish .99 plus .20 off
Tomatoes 1.14. Less .28
2 lb cheese less 25 percent is 5.49 plus 20 percent 2.05 a lb
Sausage ,on closeout 1.99 or 1.50
Blackberries and raspberries 3/5 or 3/3.75
Brawny paper towels 4.99 or 3.74

Total spent 30.79 less 3.74 for non food is 27.05

Total is 48.46

Total product 121.89

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Chain store ads

I have a ten dollar off basket coupon for qfc, but I cant justify using it with this weeks ad.   

Black and raspberries 3/5

Tomatoes on the vine .88

Progresso soup - buy 8.  .99 there are coupons, but I only have one, need two. 

Nathans hot dogs 3.49

Buy 4, save 4 

Brawny towels 4.99
Goldfish .99
V8 juice 1.99


Grapes .97

Bread .67

With in ad coupons 
Chunky soup .99
Saltines .97

Case lots:  you have to buy the case 

Ragu 12 only 1.19 total 14.28

Diced tomatoes 12 only .49 total 5.88

Green beans/ corn .49. 5.88

Refried beans 24 only .59 total 14.16 

Beans 12 only .49 total 5.88

Taco Pie

This is a taco pie recipe that I used to make all the time.   

I used a round pie type pan with straight sides and a lid.   Almost any baking dish will work   —just cut the tortillas to fit.   

Layer in a  greased baking pan. 
  • Tortilla 
  • Refried beans 
  • Tortilla 
  • Taco meat, cooked 
  • Chees
  • Repeat:   
Top with salsa.   

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until the cassarole is heated through .   

Top with sour cream, salsa, lettuce, tomato, peppers, whatever you have and prefer.   

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Meal Plans week of 10/16

Meal plans are the first start in kitchen management.   They take away a lot of stress and avoid the take out gremlins.  

  1. Soup/ bread 
  2. Pizza
  3. Pork stew/ rolls 
  4. Insta Pot Chicken and Noodles , carrots 
  5. Salmon, rice medley, mixed vegetables 
  6. Tacos re-fried  beans
  7. Breakfast for dinner.   

Notes :    

  • Soup is a good meal when people are coming home at different hours.
  • Pizza is a mainstay and cost 1.04 each 
  • Pork stew is made from the ends of the pork loin where they taper down.   You can get two small roasts, stew, and center cut pork chops from a whole pork loin.   Cost is between 1.49 and 1.79 for RBP.   Its 1.99 for a half loin this week here. 
  • Insta pot chicken and noodles.  - four minutes, thicken the stock after cooking.  
  • Rice medley is a homemade mix with chicken stock and herbs.   
  • Taco shells were purchased on a sale, basket coupon and coupons for .66
  • Eggs have taken a hike, but we have dehydrated eggs.  Alternative is pancakes or waffles, a breakfast meat, and fruit in season.  Strawberries are really cheap here this week.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fred Meyer ad for Sunday

Not much, but some of it is good,

Foster Farms Whole Chicken .87
Grapes .99
Tomatoes on the vine .99
Butter 2.99
Pork Half Loin 1.99

Tri tip steak.4.99

The pork loin is at the top of my RBP amount.
Chicken is a good buy .

Friday, October 13, 2017

The basics

Groceries on the cheap takes a different approach to purchasing food and getting food cooked and on the table.

Assuming we all live busy lives and have a limited amount of time to manage the get meals on the table, the approach is to spend more time planning and shopping, and less time cooking scratch food. It sounds impossible to spend less time scratch cooking, but it is entirely possible.
We call it efficient cooking.

The concept boils down to five segments.  Some are easy fixes and some will take a while.   One step at a time.   The basic concept is rather than going to a store an buying just what you need for one week, you go to the store to replenish a pantry of items you use on a regular basis.   You cook from your pantry.   The simpler the list of ingredients, the better.

  1. The simplest ever. Go to multiple stores.     If you are going to one store and buying just what you need for a weeks worth of meals, the odds are against you.  The monetary odds are rigged in favor of the house just like when one would go to a casino.   Study the ads and pick 2 chain stores that have the  best prices .  This gives you the advantage of two sets of sale prices and two options for fresh produce.  Don’t overlook overstock stores or the Dollar store.  
  2. Bulk buy what makes sense for your family when the cost is dramatically different.   It just makes sense to buy things you use on a daily or almost daily basis in bulk.   For us , it is oatmeal, flour, rice.  We don’t eat enough beans to use a bulk bag before they go bad. Not everything at the warehouse stores is a great buy  
  3. Know your prices.  Find the rock bottom price on the things you buy on a regular basis.  Most families have a list of ten or so different meals.  List 10 -14  meals your family likes that use inexpensive sources of protein .   Make a list of shelf stable or frozen ingredients that you will use to make these dishes.   Its a project that you only have  to do once.   Now , find the RBP on these things.  Simplify.  The less things you have to buy, the less prices you have to remember.  Use a small spiral bound notebook if you need to.   (They are three in a package at the Dollar Tree). My mother used to say “ Some people could have a bargain get up and bite them in the butt,and not see it”. Don’t be that person.   When something is at a RBP. Buy as much as you can, as much as the store will allow, or as much as you need to fill in your stock, whichever comes first.  Stock a set amount of items.   Base the amount of your stock on how much you need for a particular number of meals .  Say three months, or enough to last you until you think they will go on sale again.   Its easier for me to set a particular amount of shelf space and when I see white shelf, its time to look for a sale.  The object is to NEVER PAY FULL PRICE FOR ANYTHING.  
  4. Every chain store has a ‘loss leader protein” on their ad, usually on the front page.   If you buy enough  bulk ‘meat’ to last you for a month to six weeks of that meat, you will be better off.   In other words, if you eat hamburger once a week, you need enough hamburger to feed your family 4-6 times.   Simplify the cuts of meat you buy.   Pork loin, hamburger or ground turkey, chicken breasts or thighs, or whole chickens are an example.   When you get the months worth at home, portion control per meal portions, and freeze.  Butcher yourself if needed, and cook hamburger, defat, and put in portion controlled bags.  It helps if you put smaller bags in a gallon bag and label with date and description :  GB 10/17 Pick cuts that are cheaper and versatile.  
  5. Waste not, want not.   Keep track of things in your refrigerator.   Use up anything that is going to expire soon.   Cookbooks on the web have search engines that will give you ideas.   
  6. Learn the basics of scratch cooking—making bread, muffins, a white sauce etc.  Having the tools helps too.    Find recipes that take few ingreients and take little hands on time.  Pre-made  things cost money for others time.   There are many appliances and recipes that take little hands on time.  Pinterest is full of them.   
To sum up.  Keep a stock and replentish your stock.  Cook meals from your basic stock on hand.   This allows you to be prepared if the bleep storm happens and you can’t  get to the store.   Its piece of mind.   Waste not.   Scratch cook as much as possible.   A few things are either way too time consuming, or scratch is a lot more money than readymade.   Pasta sauce come to mind.   

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Spaghetti Carbonara

Basic ingredients that we almost always have in the house.   ... a good pantry dish.                  

1 lb thin spaghetti 
8 slices bacon , cut into small pieces 
1/2 cup olive oil 
1/2 Medium onion, chopped 
4 T butter, cut into pieces.  
1/2 cup chicken broth 
Salt , pepper
2 beaten eggs 
1 cup parm

  1. Cook spaghetti. Drain 
  2. Cook the bacon and drain on paper towels.   
  3. With oil, cook the onion until limp.  Add broth, butter, salt and pepper.  Do NOT boil.  Cook 2 minutes until warm. Remove from heat. 
  4. Toss spaghetti with the sauce.   Ad eggs and continue cooking until sauce has thickened.  
  5. Add parsley and cheese and toss. 
  6. Crumble bacon on top.   

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

QFC haul -basket coupon

QFC haul with 10 dollars off of Forty coupon and debut 4 , save 4.

3 - v8 juice. At 1.99.    Nets 1.49

2- shredded cheese @ 4.99 nets 3.74 or 1.87 lb

5 Barilla pasta @ 1.00 - net .75 ea

3.72 pounds apples 6.25  nets 4.93

2 sausage @ 2.49 nets 1.86

1 dijiorno pizza 3.99 nets 2.99

Kind granola bars 1.99 nets 1.50

1 cherry pie 2.99 nets 2.24

Total 31.15

Chain store ads

Notes :
DT is Dollar Tree
FM is Fred  Meyer (kroger)
$$ means there is a coupon on or in a insert
@@ means there is a in ad coupon.  Usually the ad is at the front of the store.

Strawberries 1.37
Milk 1.77 includes chocolate
20 percent ground beef 1.97
Top round 3.99

Yoplait .50 $$. Note .44 at FM
Coffee: maxwell house 5.99
Campbells soup 1.00 $$
Cake mix 1.00
Olives 1.00 - cheaper at Winco

Just 4 you
4 b sugar 2.79
Beans .59
Both of these ar name brands.

Regular prices
Cheese 4.00 lb :  my buy price is less than 2.50
Olives 1.50.  - always cheaper at winco.

QFC (Kroger)

Note :  Westgate mailed 10.00 off of 40.00 coupons to local residence.  If you spend just forty dollar, thats 25 percent off   It pays to plan your trip an use coupons. They register the 10.00 coupon first.

Apples 1.68
DiGiorno 3.99
English Muffins BOGO.  - always 1.68 a dozen at FM
Fruit pie 2.99
Milk 4/5 -safeways is the better buy , includes chocolate
Sour cream 1.25
Orowheat bread 2/5 - note DT is a dollar
Grapes 1.99
Brats 3.99
Barilla 1.00

Progresso soup .99 when you buy 4 $$ for 1.00 off out there

Buy 4, save 4
Mix or match

Cheese 4.99
Sausage 2.49
Bacon 399
Kind bars 4.99
Ice cream 2.49
Apple juice .99
Goldfish .99


LETS break that down.
37 ounces is 2 lbs 5 ounces.
3 lbs is the break even point on whole chickens .  So, at least 18 ounces is bone . That leaves 19 ounces.   19ounces at 8.99 means you are paying .47 an ounce or 7.52 a pound.   Whole chickens are often less than a dollar a pound.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Bullets; When spending money makes sense

It goes without saying, that buying things on sale or being able to find something at a estate sale is a good thing.  

  1. Silicone cupcake liners.  Five dollars buys 12.    Not buying paper saves the planet.   You are’nt greasing the muffin cups and the muffins just slide out.  
  2. Insta pot.   Its three appliances in one.   Just cooking beans from scratch pays for itself in a  year if you buy 2 cans a week.   Add not buying ready rice or instant rice and you probably can pay for it in 1/2 a year with savings and have better nutrition too.  No preservatives  or added salt.  It slow cooks, makes rice, and pressure cooks.   Chicken breast from frozen in 8 minutes.   Not that any of us would forget to defrost.  LOL. 
  3. A good coffee maker.  Big bucks coffee is expensive. 
  4. A good food processor.   Make your own bread crumbs, ground meat from scraps, slice and grate foods.  With the exception of grated cheese, buying processed foods and someone else’s  dry bread is expensive.   In the long run, a food processor with pay for itself.   It makes scratch bread  and pizza dough a snap.   Pizza alone at once a week would be a six month payback.   
  5. If you are buying frozen waffles, a waffle iron will pay for itself in a matter of months.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

Kitchen management

Kitchen management is a useful tool that along with meal plans affords you the luxury of a less hectic dinner hour.  

Doing your deep cleaning of the mechanics of the kitchen on a rotation basis makes light work instead of a whole Saturday spent cleaning a really dirty kitchen.  

  1. Clean and disinfect the counters, sinks, and drains. 
  2. Sweep and wash kitchen floor. 
  3. Wax south side cabinets. Howard’s  clean and wax is my favorite.   
  4. Wash drip pans on the stove.  
  5. Bulk cook any meat/protein that you purchased this week. Portion control for the freezer. 
  6. Wash potatoes, and make veggie sticks 
  7. Straighten pantry. If you keep all of one thing in the same spot, you ave time looking and digging for what you need.  It is also easier to take a inventory at a glance when something is on a good sale.   
  8. Premake dinner if possible 
  9. Make a dessert or muffins.   
  10. Mark the meal plan to remind yourself to defrost meat when needed 
  11. Clean the refrigerator and note things to be used up.   

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Winco and Fred Meyers

Alert :  fred meyer is notorious for messing up the sales receipt.  They charged us for our grapes twice this time.    

Fred Meyer total.37.10

Goldfish .99
Grapes 4.40
Chocolate chips 1.79
Sour cream 1.25
Strawberries 1.25
Yoplait yogurt .34
English muffins 1.67
Mini ravioli 1.00
Nathans hot dogs 3.99
Sausage 2.49


Cucumbers 1.18 (2) 
Stove top stuffing 1.98 (20 
Buns .87
Bulk peanuts 1.29

Total 12.65


Meal Plans for week of October

Meal plans are a way of being organized and making life easier at the dinner hour.   

Meal plans 

Breakfast for dinner


Hamburgers, oven fries, salad 

Chicken and noodles in the insta pot 

Out:  steak, baked potatoes, salad, veggie 

Speghetti and meatballs , salad, french baguette 🥖 

Pork chops with apple, cranberry stuffing, sweet potatoes, broccolli 


  1.  Breakfast for dinner is a mainstay here.  Everyone likes it and it is an everyone cooks activity ,
  2. Pizza is another favorite and the cost is low.   A cheese 🧀 pizza 🍕 is 1.04 for a pizza,   
  3. Hamburgers were bought at qfc ( Kroger) for 3.00 a pound.  Winco has buns for under a dollar.  
  4. Chicken and noodles cook in 4 minutes in the insta pot.   So the recipe says.   I intend to make it .   
  5. Parents night out.   YAY>
  6. Speghetti and meatballs .   Bread was purchased at grocery outlet for .75.  You could , of course, make scratch.   
  7. Pork chops are from a pork loin.   1.50-1.79 is a target price.  Sweet potatoes were .33 a package at grocery outlet.   
All thee meals would average less than five dollars a meal for the proveribial family of four.  
My mantra is that if you know how to shop and cook on the cheap, spending more isn’t a hard stretch.    


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Grocery outlet haul

big lots netted pads, a .95 package of marshmallows, 1.00 for applesauce , and 1.00 for pretzel and cheese pots.

Grocery Outlet

Diamond smokehouse almonds 9.99
Roasted garlic and potato soup 1.50
Organic roasted diced tomatoes bogo nets .50
Tomato , grape. 1.00
Yellow onions bag 1.50

Sliced cheeses 2.00
Hummus .99
Pepperoni .99
Smoked Gouda 2.00
Total 28.87
Total saved 51.93

Fred Meyer ad for Sunday

Fred Meyer Sunday

Apples ,99
10 percent fat hamburger 3.99
Strawberries 4/5
Milk 1.79
Buy 4 progresso 1.00 each -check coupons
Yoplait 2/88 coupons out there
Barilla pasts 1.00
Sour cream1.25

Pears .99
Grapes 1.99

Buy 4, save 4
Net prices

Ice cream 2.49
Daves killer 3.29
Jimmy Dean  sausage 2.49
Cheerios  2.49
Goldfish .99
Cheese 5.49 2 lbs

5 things to make instead of buy.

Watching other peoples grocery hauls reminds us of things that we can make easy and save money in the process. 

Five things that take almost no effort and save a lot of money over time. 

  1. Jars of gravy.   Gravy is a thickening agent, water, and beef or chicken stock or drippings from cooking beef or chicken.   Take the drippings off the pan , shake flour into the drippings until the fat is absorbed ( off the hear). Now put back on the heat and start adding water a little at a time until you have the consistency you want.  OR place bouillon in a skillet an add a slurry of. Water and flour or cornstarch into the bouillon until it is the consistency you want.  
  2. Bread crumbs.   Why pay for someone else's dry bread and throw yours away?    Ditto croutons.   
  3. Taco seasoning.   Anything in an individual packet is going to be expensive.    You can tailor your own level of heat when you make it yourself.   Making a bulk batch is quick and easy.   
  4. Muffins: Muffins store bought can cost as much as a dollar a piece.   A few minutes with inexpensive ingredients can make a dozen in a snap.   Add any fruit or veggie .   
  5. Sloppy joe sauce.   Many recipe out there.   Another simple, quick fix.    

Friday, October 6, 2017

Insta pot chicken and pasta

This is a basic recipe.   Its no secret that I am in love with the Insta pot.   I dont have the stamina that I used to have when I was younger.  Gone are the days that I could make pasta from scratch .   I can remember my aunt making noodles from scratch and delicious little pockets of meat and bread dough.  My dad’s sister loved to bake.   Baking day was Thursday.   She lived three doors up from us.  You could only guess where we stopped after school every Thursday.    LOL.

Insta Pot chicken and pasta.

2 medium chicken breasts, raw, cut into about 1 inch or less cubes.
4 cups chicken stock
1 pkg. small pasta....rotini  , medium shells, penne

Place in Insta pot.   Add enough water to cover the pasta.

Pressure cook on high for 4 minutes.
Manually release.
Drain pasta.

At this point you can :

1) Reserve the stock and make a white sauce or a cheese sauce for a casserole.  Add peas or frozen peas and carrots.

2) Drain and add pesto.,homemade or from costco.

3) Pour drained pasta into a casserole and add cream soup or cooked cream soup base and top with bread crumbs, parm and basil or parsley and bake until bubbly.

4) cool the chicken and pasta base and make a pasta salad.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Non food items that save money at the DT

PS:  DT means Dollar Tree

  • Books:   There are hard bound books , some are better than others, but it is always a good place to check .      Recently I got a book on design and one about behind the scenes at the Food Channel.   
  • Children’s learning tools.   Flash cards, maps, workbooks, coloring books.   Why pay more.  
  • Decorations.   A couple of things can liven up the season.   
  • Craft supplies :   Some thing are not cheaper, but a lot are.   Stickers, vases, rocks, pipe cleaner. Etc.
  • Parchment paper.   Lots cheaper and a better size for lining most pans.  
  • Glasses.   All kinds  including stemware.   
  • Steer clear of the linens.   They are not quality and the kitchen towels are basiscally decorations only: they do not absorb water well. 
  • Cleaners.   Outside of dawn that is cheaper at Costco, most cleaners and wall scrubbers are far cheaper and do as good a job.   
  • Liquid hand soap in bulk.   
  • Napkins.   Hey, you use them once, and throw them away.   Huge napkins are a waste for every day.  
  • Toilet paper hack.   I got toilet paper for free at qfc last week.  Next best is costco.  But, its a good idea if you pick up a 4 pack at the DT and put it in the back of the closet.    That way, if no one tell they ar taking th last roll, you will never be stuck without any.   Toilet paper is a bad thing to run out of.   LOL.    
  • Balloons.....cheapest yet!     Need I say more.  
  • Kids sox.   We went through a time when granddaughter would come home from day care with one sox.   There is always the dryer gremlin.   Sometimes you can find six pair for a dollar all the same .  Best sox stretcher.    
  • Gift bags.   About anything that is single use is a good buy.  Why pay more when it isn’t a durable item?    

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

QFC haul

I still have ten dollars off of 40 coupons, but they are not good until next week.

2 tillamook cheese blocks 4.99
Pumpkin pie 2.49
Butter 2.99
Daves killer bread 2.99
Tilllamook ice cream  2.77
Strawberries 3/5

Total 29.98

Chain store ads 10/4

Chain Store ads. 

Every once in a while there is just no rotation protein buy that stands out in the ads.   The best I see is 3.99 for roast at Alberways that allows you to grind your own hamburger.   Pork loin for 1.99 isn’t bad, but that would be the top of the price heap. 


Honey crisp Apple 1.58
Tomatoes .88
Yoplait 3/1@@
Bread .99@@
Old El Paso shells 1.00 $$
Barilla Pasta 1.00 $$
Cream cheese 1.29@@

Note:  @@ means in ad coupon.  You can usually find ads in the front of the store. 

QFC (Kroger) 

QFC:   Westgate only 

Tillamook brick cheese 4.99
Daves bread 2.99
Broccolli .99

Regular ad 
Strawberries 3/5 
Tillamook ice cream 2.77
Perrier water 1.00
Pumpkin pie 3.99

Campbell soups 1.00 -use coupons 
Half pork loin 1.99 

Brats 3.99

Pears .99

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tuesday notes relativity

It is a habit of mine to watch grocery hauls.  Its a matter of studying the shopping habits and prices in other parts of  the country.   Its interesting to note that the same thing can be as low as 28 cents one place and 1.10 another.   Prices can even vary drastically in the same area.   A lot of how much is spent depends on how much money is available and the fact that many people add everything from crock pots to shampoo to their basket.   As a rule of thumb, buying non food items at the grocery store is usually not a good idea.   You are paying a lot more than you need to.   Grocery stores assign a different profit margin to categories of merchandise.   Sundry items are their moneymakers.   

I have seen grocery hauls for as much as 2600 an 942 dollars and as low as 32.00 a week for a family of four.  Setting a budget is the first step.   Kinda like dieting....if you have brownies in the house, you are going to eat them!   LOL.  

There was a time when both my husband and I both lost our jobs within a week or so of each other.  Needless to say, we cut all spending.   We took the mantra that what resources we had might have to last a long time.  We were also building an addition on the house.  Four of u lived in 400 square feet of the basement .  We had a kitchen that was unfinished.   I had a folding table with a microwave and a chopping block on wheels that housed a one burner hot plate.   

One Sunday I started a soup bone in a stock pot on the hot plate.   My son came up to me and asked what was in the pot.   I told him soup.  He took one look and said , well, it doesn’t look like soup.  
Trust me, by dinner it will look like soup.   I proceeded to cook the bone, pull the meat off the bone and add stock and veggies.   By dinner time, it was soup.   

He went to school and told his teacher that he had homemade soup for dinner.   His teacher, bless her heart, told him homemade was sooo much better than anything out of a can.   

Living on a budget and knowing how to stretch a buck is a good thing. Even if you are in a position to live more than comfortably, knowing how is a good skill.   If you know how to live on a dime, living on a dollar isn’t hard to master.   

There are all kinds of recipes out there and u tubers that show you how to do almost everything.  Somethings like making soda crackers, seem fruitless, but knowing how at least would teach children that they just don't come out of a box. Like my son who realized that soup doesn’t necessarily come out of a can. 

I discovered   yesterday how to make sweetened condensed milk.   It is really expensive and you can make it for pennies.   My concern was that you put hot syrup into a blender bowl.   Maybe if you heated the bowl first with hot water.  Or used an emulsion  blender. Its one of those things you usually only use at holiday times.   It is still nice to know how to do in a pinch.   

Needless to say, having basic ingredients in your pantry gives you great flexibility vs having boxes or bags of ready made ...and it does it cheaper as well.  

Buying food efficiently and cooking efficiently has its merits.  

Monday, October 2, 2017

Monday Kitchen management and notes.

Kitchen management is a tool that allows you to prep for the next weeks meals and deep clean the kitchen.   I have a real issue with the new terminology of “clean” food.  If you have a clean disinfected kitchen and you wash your hands didn’t double dip the tasting spoons, don't cross contaminate raw foods, and wash your fruits and veggies in vinegar water, you are  probably clean.   

We have a generation of people that think they need to be special.  Remember the me generation?   This will go down in history for being the “special” generation.    After going through the 70s with double digit inflation and no raises for 3 years as a single parent with no child support, I have little patience for special.   Just eat as healthy as you can and be darn glad you have food to eat.   Not everyone does.    Ps:  I had an ex husband, he just thought playin 36 holes of golf was more important than paying child support.   There is always a reason why we have ex’s.  LOL 

I digress: 

  • Wash kitchen floor 
  • Wash and disinfect countertops, sinks and drains.  Believe it or not, drains get nasty.   Use a dedicated brush.  
  • Wash veggies.  I use a dedicated brush and vinegar water in a dedicated plastic bowl.  
  • Make tonight’s soup.  Make beer bread.   
  • Wash salad greens and store in fresh containers
  • Wash the oven vent screen.  (First of the month) 
  • Wash the bottom vent on the fridge.  Scrumbing bubbles in the sink makes it easy.  
  • Wax north side cabinets.  (Howards) 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Meal Plans for week of Oct 2

Meal plans help assure you use up what perishables you have.  They are a tool to make dinner time less hectic.   You can schedule easy dinners the nights that you know a lot is going on.

  1. Soup, cheezy rolls, 
  2. Pizza 
  3. Hamburgers, oven fries, salad
  4. Chicken enchiladas, rice, beans 
  5. Tuna cassarole, peas and carrots 
  6. Pork stew over noodles, California blend veggies, salad 
  7. Pumpkin pancakes, turkey bacon, fruit plate.  


  • Soup is an easy dinner when family has to eat at different times.   
  • Pizza is always a favorite. 
  • Hamburgers were purchased at qfc for three dollars a pound.  I am anxious to try the applewood smoked ones. 
  • Chicken enchaladas are made with chicken from the ribs of chicken breasts.  Sour cream green sauce is easy and inexpensive.   
  • Tuna cassarole....make with cream soup base . 
  • Pork stew is made from the ends of the pork loin.   Cook noodles once, use twice.   
  • Pumpkin pancakes -a fall favorite.    Turkey bacon bought on sale.   

Costs : 

  1. 3.00
  2. 1.04
  3. 4.22 (4) 
  4. 2.94
  5. 3.15
  6. 3.54
  7. 5.00

Total 22.89

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Fred Meyer Sunday Ad

Some good basics ... the soup and the pasta are always a dollar at the dollar tree.  Sometimes you can find extra product in the soup at the DT.   There are good coupons our there for both.  

honeycrisp apples 1.88
Chuck roast 2.97
Eggs .79
Land of lakes butter 2.97

Campbells soup 1.00 $$
Barilla pasta 1.00 $$

Pears .99
Acorn squash .99

Pumpkin pie 3.99

Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday recipe and blanket coupon analysis.

Its 4 am and I'm writing this in the dark.   I guess fall is here.   LOL

Balsaamic Orange sauce....good for chicken or fish

1 T orange peel
1T balsamic vinegar
1T honey
3/4 tap salt.

I have a basket coupon for QFC.   It is on conjunction with the remoldel grand opening of our local store.   Blanket coupons work best if you can keep close to the limit. ( 10 dollars off of 40) .  September food costs 37.51 per week.

  • Le Croiz water 1.99 (4) 
  • Strawberries 2/3
  • Barilla pasta 2 ea use coupon
  • chicken noodle soup (4) w coupon 
  • Blues 2/5 (4) 
  • Angus beef patties 7.99 (2)

Check back for the results of the haul.  

Total of sales slip is 94.04.  Total spent 34.88

Also got for free

BBQ sauce
Toilet paper
Baby wipes
Power bar

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chain store ads


Bagged salads .99
Refresh water 5/10
Milk 1.79
Radishes,green onions .99
Sour cream 4/5

3 day sale FSS
Broccolli .78
Crackers .88
Chunky soup .99$$
Sirloin 2.98**

$$ coupons out there
** a good time to grind your own hamburger.


Strawberries 2/3.
Pears .77
Draper valley whole chicken .87
Brats 3.49

Digital coupons
Sour cream .99
Chunky soup 4/4 :  note if you have paper coupons you are turnoff getting itfornthesamprie at safeways because you can't double dip coupons.   An electronic coupon and a paper coupon doesn't work.  

Draper valley is not my favorite.   It is washington grown, but their butchers are not the best in my opinion.  Nasty .

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tuesday Notes : No dinner, ten minutes, no problem.

No Dinner, Ten Minutes, No Problem!

  • We are talking actual hands on time.   

Tacos....with rotation meat , hamburger is already cooked and frozen in portion controlled bags.   Take meat from the freezer, place it in a small skillet, add water and taco seasoning.  Place on low.  Meanwhile, gather the grated cheese, lettuce and tomato.  Chop the lettuce and de-seed the tomato and shop.   Heat the tortilla shells.   The meat should be done.   

  •  Pronto pasta speghetti and meatballs.   Pronto pasta is an invention of Barilla pasta.   Follow directions, add a jar of Pasta sauce and microwaved meatballs.   
  • A jus sandwiches:   Place beef broth in small skillet. Bring it to a boil.  Turn off the heat.  .   Add deli roast beef leave it i a stack.   Barely heat it through  layer on split hard rolls.  Mae a salad from a bag of salad.  
  • Toast English muffins in the oven on a sheet pan, or in the toaster if you have a smaller family. Fry eggs.   Make egg muffins.   Fix a bowl of fruit.   

Monday, September 25, 2017

Kitchen management Monday

Kitchen  management is a tool that makes dinner time less hectic.   Anytime you can have dinner partially prepped eliminates time spent in the kitchen at the busy dinner hour.
It makes scratch cooking more manageable.

  1. Sweep and wash the kitchen floor.
  2. Wash and disinfect the counters, sinks, and drains. 
  3. Wash the drip pan for the ice maker.  
  4. Mark the meal plans with times to defrost meat. 
  5. Wash potatoes with vinegar water, enough for fries and baked potatoes 
  6. Make hard cooked eggs **
  7. Make veggie sticks 
  8. Make rice for tonight's dinner 
  9. Wash the microwave. 
  10. Straighten the pantry.
  11. Make pudding for desert.
**. I keep hard cooked eggs, and veggie sticks for snacks.  If they are on the bottom shelf of the fridge, granddaughter can reach them herself with supervision.   

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Holy cow!

I posted on the wrong channel.  

Please use the link.

Ranch dressing mix / one pot pasta

Mix together the following ingredient.  Store in a jar with a tight fitting lid.
Mix with a combination of mayonaise and sour ceam and milk to the desired consistency.

5T onion flakes
2 tsp garlic powder
4 tsp salt
2T dry buttermilk
1T dill
5T parsley

One pan penne pasta

In a large skillet:
Sauté until browned
14 ounces rope sausage , sliced into coins
2T olive oil

1 -15.5 ounce can tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 can diced green chillies, drained.

Bring to boil.
Then add:

1/2 lb ry, uncooked penne
Reduce heat and simmer 10 mnutes or until pasta is tender

Stir in:
4 ounces of cream cheese
Salt and pepper

This is a good basic recipe that you could substitute just about any meat, or pasta and use some milk or sour cream instead of the cream cheese.   Basically, use what you have.   One pot, less dishes and you can serve it right out of the pan.

Add a salad and you have a balanced meal.    Start with veggie sticks if a salad doesn't work for your child's preferences.  

Meal Plans for week of September 25

Note:  I'm still at 35.00 a week and I even bought a three pound package of good hamburger.   What I failed at was to deplete our stock suffeciently.   So we are going to push on with another month.   Most meals are based on five dollars for a proverbial family of four:  two adults and two school aged children.


  1. Orange Pork with rice and carrots 
  2. Pizza
  3. Chicken nuggets and oven fries , veggie sticks 
  4. Enchaladas, beans or rice, fruit for drsrrt 
  5. Split pea soup, beer bread 
  6. Salmon patties, baked potatoes, salad 
  7. Breakfast for dinner.   


I have a form that I made for meal planning.   It has two columns for listing a master list of perishables, and a column for notes of items needed.   It also has boxes for meal plans and the extra box is for our matrix.   it makes meal planning quick and easy..   Proteins are not listed because we always have the same proteins, just sometimes more than others.   

This was done in excel. 

Breakfast for dinner and pizza are real winners at our house and we eat  a variety of them each week. 
Chicken nuggets are homemade as well as oven fries.   They are more healthy and dont take much time.   Enchaladas are made with homemade enchalada sauce an hamburger and cheese.  We also have chicken enchaladas with a sour cream and chili pepper sauce.   Split pea soup is scratch , cheap, and cooks in the slow cooker.  Beer bread is easy...4 ingredients.   Some of us are not fond of corn bread and this is an alternative.   Salmon patties can be purchased at winco , or made from scratch.   I purchased romaine and head lettuce, so we will be using it throughout the week.   

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Dollar Tree and Grocery Outlet haul

Don't have business on the east side anymore, but we did go to Kenmore yesterday.   Its just fun, like a treasure hunt.   

Dollar Tree had two books, one on style that I thought I might get some inspiration from, and one called From Scratch....inside the Food Network.   

I finally found dehydrated peaches.   But, food wise, that was about it.  

Grocery Outlet netted 
  • 2 pkg cheese slices 
  • 1 package barown and serve baguettes. Very large, one would feed us twice and they were 6.00 for four in the package. 
  • Chocolate cookie mix nets three batches and it was 5.00.   At the cost of the chocolate, I thought it was a good buy.  
  • Betty crocker sugar cookie mix was .50.   A good rainy day project for granddaughter.  

Friday, September 22, 2017

5 easy concepts.

I now have new readers.  For a little background, I have always been frugal.   In the 70s I was a single parent that lived through double digit inflation , no raises, no child support.   Enough said.   I started making it my mission to learn more than my mother taught me to s t r e t c h the food budget. Five years ago, my daughter came to me.   She has been teaching children of low income families for years.    The mothers were lamenting that they were running out of grocery money before they ran out of month.   My daughter said, Oh, my mom knows how to fix that.     I started a blog with the help and encouragement of my children.  

Five years later.....

Five basic concepts....  this won't happen overnight.    It has taken me 50 years and I am still evolving.   I got my education .piecemeal.  This is more concise.   One step at a time.  

  • The gambling concept.  If you are buying your groceries at one store and buying just what you need for a weeks worth of meal plans, you are going to loose.   Like when one goes to a casino, the odds are against you.    The house always wins in the end.   No one store has the best prices on everything.   Picking two stores and buying the best of both stores, affords you the best opportunity for low prices and freshest produce.   
  • 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.  Know what your core products are and what the rock bottom price (target price or buy price ) is for those items.   Make a list of the meals you cook on a regular basis.  Most people have a list of 10 or so.  Now list the staple ingredients.   We use a lot of diced tomatoes, pasta, pasta sauce, green beans, .....find the lowest sale price on those items in your area.   Try not to buy those things unless they are at your target price.   When thy are, buy enough to last until they go on sale again.   Usually that is a four to six week cycle.  Things like bbq sauce, pumpkin, catsup, cream of mushroom soup, are seasonal an it's best to get a years supply.   The difference is remarkable.   With coupons, I got bbq sauce for .56 instead of 2.56.   I just got salad dressing for .50 instead of 2.50.  Those savings add up quickly.  
  • Waste not, want not.  Try to buy perishables in quantities that you know you will use up before they go bad.   Note that expiration dates on dairy usually mean that you have some time past that date to use it up.  Let your nose be your guide.   Still, when in doubt, throw it out.   Before that happens, keep track and find recipes that will use it up.   Google it.  I often use sour cream in place of yogurt in some recipes.   Can you dehydrate it?  Freeze it?   Eggs can be dehydrated for future use.   
  • BULK.  Grocery stores have "loss leaders" usually on the front page of the ad.   Some of our grocery stores don't have ads or have ads that you can get on line or in the newspaper.   Protein sales stagger.   If you plan your meals using a set list of meats that are flexible, you will save a bundle.   Rotate your purchases and buy enough of a particular meat for a month to six weeks of that meal.   If you have something with hamburger in it twice a week, you need 8-12 portion controlled meals.   Example: We buy 7 percent fat hamburger, whole pork loin, split chicken breasts, and bulk sausage.   We buy bulk cheese from Costco usually, and dried beans.   Buy one bulk meat a week, portion control it, and cook it if it makes sense to.   I don't cook pork and chicken, but I bulk cook and de-fat hamburger and sausage.  The hamburger is portion controlled in quart bags, then the batch is put into a gallon bag that I mark and date.   I use cheaper quart bags and a more expensive gallon one.   Sausage is in a gallon. Bag.  It makes it easier to pull just a bit for a pizza or to use in a quiche.  Bulk beans I keep in popcorn canisters that I get at Costco. Air popped popcorn is a great healthy cheap  treat.  
  • Use a different concept of grocery shopping.   Instead of going to the grocery store and buying just what you need for a few days or a week worth of food, you buy to replenish your stock.   This affords you the opportunity to only buy most things at a discounted rate.   You are going to buy a rotation protein perishables in season, an what's on sale you need to replentish.  You cook off your stock.   This takes some time to build, but with patience it does happen.   You can do this piecemeal, one week at a time buying double portions of things that are1/2 price. Or you can take a tax return and start a stash.   It will pay you off in the long run in savings.   We eat for 45.00 a week for three of us.   Granted, we are old and not as active as some families.   But, that figure is 40 percent  of the USDA stats for thrifty people.   We eat well, but this concept makes us have most of our food for 1/2 price.   

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thursday: bullets : 5 dollar meals

  • pancakes or waffles:  turkey bacon 
  • Speghetti w pasta sauce - homemade french bread 
  • Vegetable bean soup - cheese biscuits 
  • Hot dogs ( nathans ) buns ( Winco) and vegetable sticks, oven fries 
  • Egg omlettes, fruit compote:  apple and blueberry 
  • Sausage quiche , fruit in season 
  • Chicken pot pie 
  • Tomato soup, Cheese biscuits 
  • Beef and bean burritos 
  • Pizza, green salad 
  • Southern chicken and sausage speghetti dinner 
  • Tuna cassarole. Peas and carrots

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Winco and Safeways haul

Needless to say, I went over budget.  


Romaine 1.98
Meatballs 1,98
Winter frozen veggies .98
Orange pepper .88
Chicken noodle soup .88 less coupon .78
Apples 1.88
Lettuce .98

Total 15.16


Pasta sauce 1.25
Shredded cheese .99
Hamburger 12.59 ( 3.77) a pound
Grapes .97 lb

Total 22.25

Total 37.41

No Spendtember.dinners

  1. Toasted ham and cheese sandiwiches , fruit plate 
  2. Pork roast, mashed sweet potatoes, mixed veggies, sourdough bread 
  3. Hot dogs, pasta salad 
  4. Pizza bread
  5. Tacos, Spanish rice 
  6. Fish and chips 
  7. Pulled pork samndwiches, fries, fruit 
  8. Chicken pronto pasta , green beans 
  9. Leftovers 
  10. BBQ ribs, potatoes, green salad 
  11. Potato soup, cheezy biscuits 
  12. Pizza 
  13. Salmon, broccoli, rice mix. 
  14. Vegetable bean soup, beer bread 
  15. Chicken parm, salad
  16. Leftovers 
  17. Vegetable omlettes, fruit compote.   
  18. Out
  19. Chicken tacos 
  20. Stuffed chicken breasts with bacon and feta, rice, broccoli 
  21. Tuna cassarole, mixed veggies. 
  22. Hamburgers, french fries 
  23. Tacos, refried bean 
  24. Sausage and pepper quiche sliced tomatoes 
  25. Chicken nuggets and oven fries 🍟,vegetable sticks 
  26. Shrimp and salad
  27. Pizza
  28. Split pea soup, beer bread
  29. Sausage and oven roasted root veggies 
  30. Salmon patties, rice, brocolli and cauli 

Chain store ads

qfc was a two week ad.    4 for 4 sale.   By 4, sale 4 .  Fred Meyers has the same idea and you can clean up if you can pair the sales with coupons.    I got salad dressing for .50 instead of 2.50. Getting the best price is all about choices.   Vinegretate is easy and cheap to make.   We picked blue cheese because we like it and its a lot more expensive to make.    The same thing holds true of chunky soups if you buy them.   Beef is more expensive to scratch cook.   You are better off buying beef soup and making the chicken.  


Grapes .99

Extra lean ground beef 3.77

Eggs .78@@

Cheese .99@@

Pasta sauce 4/5.
Note:  I have no idea what the quality is .  Has anyone used it before ?

Jiff 40 ounces 5.00

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Make dough when you got no dough

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

Kitchen Management

Meal Plan recap :

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

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

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Fred meyers haul.

Buy 4, save 4

Folgers coffee 6.25
3 ea kens dressing @ 50 - coupons

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

Sour cream 2.00

Total 24.75

Safeways milk 1.79 w coupon

I'm still at 35.00 a week.  

One pot dinners

 Pot dinners save time and energy.

Meal Plans 9/18/17

Meal Plans for week of September 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet potatoes were purchased for .33 at grocery outlet.   

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

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

Fred Meyer ad for Sunday

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

Strawberries 3/5

Grapes 1.99

Beans or vegetables .3/2 (66)

Barilla 1.00


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

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

Friday, September 15, 2017

Recipe Friday : vegetable bean soup

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

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

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

Serve with a bread

Thursday, September 14, 2017

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


QFC   Note:  this is a two week ad

Buy 4, save 4 - prices are net.  

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

Safeways 1 week ad

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

Five dollar Friday

FF chicken patties 5.00

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tuesday: concepts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday kitchen. Management

Kitchen management takes an hour or so and saves a lot of time during the hectic dinner hour.   You can enjoy your dinner a whole lot more if you arent racing around the kitchen to put  food on the table.   After all, isn't that the reason why one goes out for dinner?

Reminder of meal plans:

  • Chicken Parm, salad 
  • Pizza
  • Chicken nuggets, oven fries, salad or veggie sticks 
  • Ham and Potato soup, toasted cheese, 
  • Tacos, insta pot refried beans, 
  • Salmon, baked.  Rice medley, broccoli 
  • Breakfast for dinner :   Waffles 

  • Go over the meals and note what has to be prepped.   
  • Wash kitchen floor.
  • Disinfect countertops, sinks, and drains. 
  • Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead and pull what is on the edge or needs to be used soon.   
  • Wax the north side of the cupboards 
  • Make muffins 
  • Thaw chicken breast , make breading 
  • Wash potatoes 🥔.
  • Check rice mix .
  • Straighten the pantry. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Meal Plans for week of September 11, 2017

Notes:   Eggs continue to be really inexpensive this week.   Our Kroger stores have 18 eggs for .99 if you buy five of anything on their list.   Fred Meyer had more variety than QFC.   They included eggs, bread, sugar, and some bars, and milk.  .  We are on a no spend Spendtember .   I spent 7.50 this week continuing to rotate down  our stock.

  • Chicken Parm, salad 
  • Pizza
  • Chicken nuggets, oven fries, salad or veggie sticks 
  • Ham and Potato soup, toasted cheese, 
  • Tacos, insta pot refried beans, 
  • Salmon, baked.  Rice medley, broccoli 
  • Breakfast for dinner :   Waffles 
Notes:   Eggs are .99 for 18 or 12 cents a serving of two.  Pizzas cost 1.04 each, chicken parm is made from chicken patties that are 5 dollars a package on sale at Safeways.  Chicken nuggets are homemade and are from 1.50 a pound chicken breast.   Insta pot refried beans are not cheaper than canned, but have more nutrition and less salt.   Taco shells were purchased on sale with coupons  for .60 cents a package of 12.   Hamburger was 4.00 a pound, and precooked and de-fatted.   
Everything but the salmon is less than a five dollar dinner.  Some of the really inexpensive dishes balance out the one expensive one.    

My meal plans are based on a matrix that is based on protein.   Other people base a matrix on themes or kinds of meals --- like a roast, a roast planned over, a soup etc. or Italian, Tex mex,, etc.   

My mother went through a meal plan where we had the same thing every week --  clam chowder or egg omelette every Friday, pizza on Thursday, hamburgers on Saturday, roast on Sunday. Etc.  

Whatever works, make a plan , or plan to fail.   Meal plans stave off the take out demons, and take away the stress of the What's for Dinner question.   The more organized you are, the less stress you will have.  

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Fred Meyer Sunday ad

Buy 4, save 4 sale

Prices are net, must buy 4 mix or match

Johnsonville sausage 2.99
Folders coffee 6.49
Jiff 1.99
Harvest snaps .99
Daves killer bread 3.49
Hamburger patties, frozen 3.99 -2 lb
FF chicken breaded patties 5.00

Peaches .88
Peppers .88
Pears .99

Tillamook cheese 4.99
Yogurt tastes 10/4
Milk 1.79

Stagg chili 1.00
Classico pasta sauce 3/5
Pumpkin pie 3,99
Kroger ground turkey 1.99

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Thursday Bullets: list of basics

This is a list of basics for the pantry and fridge.

  • Milk :  fresh and dried 
  • Sour cream
  • Yogurt when its on sale with a coupon 
  • Carrots 
  • Celery 
  • Potatoes :  real, instant mashed, frozen 
  • Pork loin, butchered into roasts, chops, cubes and sausage 
  • Chicken breast, chicken stock 
  • Hamburger crumbles 
  • Tomato , diced 
  • Pasta sauce 
  • Speghetti 
  • Macaroni 
  • One each of salad dressing, catsup, mayo, mustard
  • Salsa
  • Diced green chillis, mild 
  • Black olives 
  •  Flour 
  • Sugar, reg and brown 
  • Cornstarch 
  • Baking powder 
  • Baking soda 
  • Salt 
  • Cocoa, baking 
  • Buttermilk powder 
  • Maple syrup 
  • Honey 
  • Craisens 
  • Vanilla 
  • Tuna 
  • Salmon, canned 
  • Canned chicken 
  • Dry chicken bouillon 
  • Dry vegetable boullion 
  • Yeast 
  • Canola oil 
  • Olive oil 
  • Eggs
  • Cheeese
  • Frozen mixed vegetable 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wednesday chain store ads

Because of the holiday , the mailman is slower than usual.   These are from the internet. 


Pork Tenderloin, marinated, FRIDAY only 5.00

Gala apples .79

Oranges .99

Eggs .78 dz @@

Jimmy Dean sausage 2.99 @@

Leaf lettuce .99

Pork Loin, 1/2 sliced 1.79 


Apples, pears, .88

Frozen pizza 4.88@@

.99 mix or match, buy 5 
Same as Fred Meyers, but Fred Meyers has more item to buy including sugar.   Holiday baking season is upon us.   

Milk, bread, 18 eggs. 

Old El Paso taco shells, .99 @@ coupons out there for a dollar off three.  

Kroger brats 3.49
Pumpkin pit 2.99

The pizza and taco shells are coupons out there.   
Alberways coupons are on Safeways just for you.   

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tuesday notes

Hey, the washing machine quit.  We knew that it was on borrowed time.   My hubby and his bro took the old one to the recyclers and my hubby bought a new top load maytag.    I finished all the laundry yesterday while I binge watched ion.  My son took granddaughter to the lake with the rowboat.   She was so excited.  I did do the kitchen management.   LOL.  Having a schedule keeps you going when you not have a job to keep you going.    Otherwise, I could putts around all day and not feel like I accomplished anything.   I grew up with the mantra.that the only right we have is the right to be useful.

At nine yo we started doing the dishes.  My sister washed and I dried.   No dishwasher those days.   I was slow drying.    My sister called me a pedestrian .  I thought it was a really nasty word!  LOL.
That's when we learned to bake too.

At thirteen we got her old iron, and she got a new one.   We got to iron our own clothes.    The clothes those day were cotton.   You put them in a plastic bag with a zipper, wet.   If you didnt get to the ironing fasts enough , they molded and you started over.   Gym shorts were navy blue and you wore a white cotton button shirt that had to be ironed.   The rest wasn't bad, I had two dresses, one blue gingham and one green,  Same style.   I asked for clothes for christmas.   Most kids would expect school clothes in September.   We weren't poor my mother just had priorities.   Clothes and entertainment  and toys weren't on the list.

We grew up not to be disappointed if we didnt have tthe world on a silver platter.  And, I learned how to be frugal.   There are times when frugal is necessary, and there are time when it is a window to getting something you want or a better life.  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Ongoing hauls for the month,

3rd haul.

Winco and Safeway

Ice cream cones


2nd haul :   Fred Meyers dollar sale.

Fred Meyers has a buy 5, price .99 mix and match.   Total spent was 14.99.  Which would put me over by 12.00 on my 25.00 a week budget.   My rationalization :   I bought a months worth of dairy.

2 milk
2 -18 count eggs

2 4 lb sugar.   For Christmas baking.
2 packages of bars.
Total 8.00

Eggs, milk, sugar, cookies, bread, water for a treat, and blues.

12 dollar over the 25.00 budget.  

OK, I'm aware that I will go over this week from my 25.00 budget.   Freddies has stock items that are too good a price to pass up and will aid in spending less the following week.   18 eggs for a dollar is like getting three meals of protein for a buck.  You cant beat that with a stick, so a little over will just mean I will spend less the following week.

Hunt , no HFCS catsup 1.96
Green chillies .66
Olives .68
Roma tomatoes .98
Baby tomatoes .98
Strawberries 1.88
Diced ham 2.58
Corn 3/1
Grapes .98
Raspberry yogurt .25
Watermelon 3. 97. Seedless 

Watermelon was the least of summer.  Some of these things are more expensive at FM.   The yogurt is in a case down the front isle.    A quarter a tub is a case price.    Good for back to school breakfasts.   

Kitchen management

Meal Planss for month of no spend.   This is a second attempt.   I took inventory and I am convinced we an do it.    It's a challenge.  

  • Chicken Pot Pie 
  • Pizza
  • Chicken and cheese sandwiches , tomato soup 
  • Taco soup 
  • Pork chops, sweet potatoes, green beans 
  • Salmon, rice mix, veggie 
  • Waffles, eggs, fruit 
Meals are not necessarily in chronological order. 

  1. Disinfect all counters, sinks, and drains.   
  2. Clean out refrigerator and dump anything beyond its useful life, take out anything. The edge and incorporate it into your prep.  
  3. Clean the ice maker drain.   
  4. It's the first of the month, put the stove fan screen through the dishwasher.   
  5. Soak the stove drip pans if necessary. 
  6. Mark the meal plan for the day before you intend to use the pork chops so they are put in the refrigerator to thaw. 
  7. Cook enough chicken for the chicken and cheese sandwiches and the chicken pot pie in the insta pot.  
  8. Wash fresh fruit and veggies with vinegar water.   Don't forget carrots for the chicken pot pie. 
  9. Straighten the pantry.  
  10. Make muffins for next weeks breakfasts 
  11. Organize school lunch basket. 
  12. Wash kitchen floor.  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Meal Plans for week of September 3, 2017

Meal Planss for month of no spend.   This is a second attempt.   I took inventory and I am convinced we an do it.    It's a challenge.  

  • Chicken Pot Pie 
  • Pizza
  • Chicken and cheese sandwiches , tomato soup 
  • Taco soup 
  • Pork chops, sweet potatoes, green beans 
  • Salmon, rice mix, veggie 
  • Waffles, eggs, fruit 
Notes:  some of this plan is based on things we have an abundance ( more than one) of that needton be used up.   We are now trying to use a minimum of packaged mixes .   There will still be some things because they are either cheaper than scratch, or they are just too labor intensive to make it worth my attention to make from scratch.   

Rice mix is on the blog --a far cheaper alternative than the box with no preservatives.  

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Winco haul - no spend - 22.00

Fred Meyers (kroger ) Sunday ad

Sunday ad for Freddies 

2 day sale :    

Hebrew national 2/5 
Watermelon 3.99
Tillamook ice cream 2/5
Corn 2/1
Blues 2/5


Oscar Mayer lunch meat 2/6
String cheese 2/5
Dole fruit bowls 2/4

Ground turkey 3.49
Gala apple .88
Foster farms, boneless, skinless chicken breast 1.97

Kroger cheese , 2.99 lb. watch the size of the bag.   Some are smaller

Grapes 1.99

Buy 5 -must by 5 to get the price , mix or match
Milk .99
18 count eggs, .99
Goldfish .99
Bread .99
Sugar .99

Pumpkin pie 3.99
Zucchini. .99
Cantaloupe 2/4
Pears .99

Brats 3.79
Sour cream 1.25

Note:  one retailer trick is to make the hot dogs cheap, but make it up with the cost of the buns.   The bus are 2/4.   Buns at winco are .75 .   That's a remarkable difference.   It always pays to shop at two stores a week.   Its a basic, easy step to save money.  Pretty much a no brainer.    Sturdy the ads and make a list .   Check your fridge and pantry and go for it.    Don't take children to the store unless they are old enough to help.   I used to give them seek and find game or set them to find which brand was the cheapest.  They are learning to read the per ounce labels and do the math.   In other words, engage them and make it a learning experience.  

Friday, September 1, 2017

2700.00 Grocery Haul....a lesson in contrast.

Honest, no typo.....this's lady on u tube made a 2700.00 grocery haul. I couldnt imagine how much 2700.00 worth of food looked like.     Quite a contrast to our 45.00 a week!  She bought a lot of regular inexpensive food on sale, but also bought designer lunch meat I have never heard of , fancy cheeses, a lot of fast, frozen, ready made food and whole beef loins.   Here regular grocery haul for the week was like 500, the rest was stock up at Sams club and Trader Joe's.  

On to contrast.....I tried to go no spend in August, but found myself buying bulk because the prices are going up and I hate to get stuck with the larger prices before I really have to.    Its the secret to eating well on less money.   So, we are going to try for No Spendtember.   I have stocked the things like honey and vanilla that we were out of and bought a pork loin.   So, I should be able to pull this one off.    I'm trying for less than 30.00 a week worth of perishables.   We do live in one of the highest COL areas of the US.   

There is actually a lady in South Carolina that feeds four of them, including a husband and 2 teenagers for close to thirty dollars a week.   She has a discount grocery store that has outrageous prices.   They also eat a lot of processed and chicken.   She also has to be gluten free for her son.   All things considered, she is remarkable.   

Whatever your budget, this blog is committed to showing people how to eat better for less.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday bullets :Five things

Five things you can make ahead that save time and money .  Its no secret that if there is labor involved its going to cost money.  

  • Bread crumbs.   I never understood why someone would throw their bread heels away an then pay upwards of 2.40 a pound for someone else's dry bread.   I used to go out to the deck and grate the dry bread on a box grater on top of a sheet pan.  No mess to clean up.    Now I use a food processor.   No mess, no money, no preservatives.   
  • Spice mixes.   You can tailor the spices to fit your families taste and its a lot cheaper than paying up to a dollar a packet for a few minutes of work.   Sometimes spice mixes and sauces for meats can cost more than the meat they go on or in.  
  • Drinks:   Cold drinks are expensive.   Iced tea can be well over a dollar for something that can cost as little as a nickel.   The savings are remarkable, and the time it takes to make the tea is minimal.  
  • Taco crumbles or sausage crumbles. I saw a little ( like 4-6 ounces ) bag of crumbles at the tore.   It cost more for that bag than making an entire pan full of meat.   Its not rocket science to  put meat in a pan and stir it every so often.   Break it up with a potato masher.    There's a tool for that, but the one I saw was 22.00.    A bit pricey in my book. 
  • Muffins :   You can make muffins from just about anything.   Muffin mix is easy to make and take minutes.   That makes muffins literally minutes hands on time.  The cost of some muffins can be up to a dollar EACH.   The cost of making them--about fifty cents a DOZEN.   

Wednesday chain store ads


Extra lean (7) ground beef 3.97
Salad .79
Johnsonville dinner sausage 2.99 - just for you coupon
Refresher soda .99 - just for you coupon

QFC  (kroger )
Red, orange or yellow peppers .88
Tillamook ice cream 2/5
Kind bars 1.00

Buy 5, save 5

Ritz crackers 1.79 @@
Cheerios 2.49@@
Jiff 3.49
Goldfish, tortilla chips .99

Yoplait 10/5@@
Pie 2.99

Pint blues 2.99
Corn 2/1
Sweet baby rays 1.00