Sunday, December 31, 2017

Fred Meyers Haul - qfc

Fred Meyer Haul and qfc special purchase

QFC:   2 pg meatballs at 1.50 a lb

Fred Meyers

Gala apples
2 Snap peas. Dry
Grape tomatoes
Turkey lunch meat 3.29. (1/2 price)
3 Classico pasta sauce
Hebrew national franks
2 lean cuisine

Total cost 25.55


Fred Meyer ad

Fred Meyers ad for today.  


Use digital coupon, you can buy up to five.   You do not have to buy more food with this one.  

5 lb clementines 4.49
FF chicken breast 1.77
Lean cuisine entrees 2/3

Honeycrisp apples 1.47
Mission tortilla chips and tortillas 1.88
Oranges .99 lb
Pears .99
4 avocados 2.99
Grape tomatoes 1.99

Buy 5, save 5
Sometimes you can clean up using coupons in addition to the sale.   Its a good time to stock up if the prices are right.  

Kraft boxed mac and cheese .49 (not something I buy, but it is a good price.  The only inference in nutrition between Annies and Kraft is the fat content....annie’s Has more.  

Tide 4.99 :    Coupon at

Goldfish .99

Jiff Peanut butter or Smucker jelly 1.99

Classico pasta sauce .99 (1/2 Price ).

Kellogg’s cereal 1.49 - you can usually find coupons.  

Point of reference:  the reason why buying on rotation makes more sense than buying just what you you need any given week.   20 percent fat hamburger is 3.49 a lb.   by taking a few moments to process your own when really lean meat is on sale, I paid 2.40 a lb and got less fat....a lot less.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

End of the year wrap up.

The USDA stats for ‘Thrifty” aka poor people for our family (November 2017) is 122.15.   Our actual expense this year was an average of 55.05 a month.   That included building a stock of emergency food :  the USDA stats are actual food eaten at home.  

That’s less than 1/2 price.   -about 45 percent of the USDA stats.  
Last years figures were 72 dollars a week.   The difference is that we started making some of our own bread and the insta pot and its efficent way of cooking rice and beans from scratch.   The difference between ready made rice or instant rice and canned beans is remarkable.   The savings are about 90 percent on bread, rice, and beans.   All basics staples.  

No, people, we do not eat a steady diet of rice and beans.   We do eat proper amounts of protein.  Beans are a good source of protein and can augment meat to boost nutrition,   Soup is another good, comforting meal that stretches the dollar and makes for a satisfying meal.   Add homemade bread and you can feed a family of four for well under five dollars.  

Pantry challenges are a fun way to use up something that is close to the pull date.   I have two cans of beans and a can of mandarin oranges to use up that have December 2017 pull dates.   This could be fun anyone have any ideas?  

I won’t say that getting your food 1/2 price is due to non existent effort.   It, like anything worthwhile, takes some planning and some education.   But, the rewards can be remarkable.   You are probably going to eat better (less presrataives, fat, sugar, salt, hydroginated oils, HFCS) , eat a more healthy amount of food, and enjoy a few extra dollars in the budget, or at least reduce the stress of not having enough for other necessities.  

We make up some of the time (probably an additional hour a week) by scratch cooking efficiently.  
Some things don’t take but a few minutes longer than opening that box of whatever.   Simplifying the sources (cuts of meat) you buy can simplify your life.   That’s a good thing.  

A new year, a new life, a new leaf.  

Friday, December 29, 2017

Book Review : How to Insta Pot

My christmas present was a “How to Insta Pot” cookbook by Daniel Shumski .
100 recipes and a lot of information on how to convert your own personal recipes to insta pot recipes.
The price was in the ten dollar range from Amazon.

Those people that think they would never use an insta pot have not tried an insta pot.   I have been on a mission to cut our food costs without sacrificing good basic nutrition .   That didnt mean eati g bans and rice as a steady diet.   It has been a learning experience of many years.  
I digress
My mother always said that everyone pays their dues.   Life is not all peaches and cream.   I planned for our retirement, but both sets of our parents had professions that had their medical pretty much taken care of in retirement.   Neither of us worked in union or government jobs.   That didnt happen.   Our medical takes my entire social security check.   I’m not complaining, I just dont want others to fall into the same trap.  I guess thats a heads up.

My children are the ones that encouraged me to write a blog on economy food.   My daughter has taught children from low income families for years.  She was hearing that some families were having a hard time making it through the month on their SNAP money.   My daughter told a mother that hr mom knew how.   I started this blog to help those people.   It has turned into more and reaches a variety of  people in a variety of circumstances.  

I digress:  the insta is a remarkable tool that can save its cost in less than a year.  The more foods that you can cook from scratch, the better your pocketbook and your health will be.   Cooking from scratch lets you control the amount of sodium and the kinds of fats you are using.  

I just couldn’t manage to get cooking rice down to a science.  Rice and beans do not have a long refrigerator life.  Freezing beans does not produce a great result.   There are four of us in the house tht at beans.   Small batches of scratch beans are a royal pain to cook—not efficient.   Beans in the instapot take less than five minutes hands on time and are a fraction of the cost of canned beans.  
Rice is another less than five minute hands on cooking.  How many times have you forgotten to take meat out of the freezer?  A boneless chicken breast cooks from frozen in 8 minutes if its not too thick.  A thicker one takes a few more minutes .

Recipes in the cookbook:

  • Beef Barbacoa Tacos
  • Beef stew
  • Cumin spiced pork sirloin with avocado salsa 
  • Pork shoulder 
  • Pinto beans with chorizo,
  • Polenta. No stir 
  • Quick chili 
  • Beyond black bean soup 
  • Bacon, corn and potato chowder 
  • Butternut squash
  • Refried beans 
  • Chocolate lava cakes 
  • Korean style short ribs with garlic and ginger
  • Meatloaf 
  • Tomatillo pork stew 
  • Shredded chicken tacos with tomato and lime
  • Chicken soup 
  • Barley mushroom soup
  • White bean soup with panchetta
  • Parmesan brad Pudding with bacon and  broccoli
  • French toast cassarole w maple 
  • Mashed cauliflower with garlic and cream cheese 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thursday Notes:

Every morning, I wake up before my hubby.   I spend that time looking at u tube and facebook , ‘READING” anything that doesn’t take sound to understand.   I see a lot of recipes and grocery hauls.

After I discovered that my readership is not just people from the PNW, I started watching grocery hauls from other parts of the country.    I have discovered that not including Alaska and Hawaii, the PNW has some of the highest prices, even on some things that come from the PNW.   Go figure.   I also see a lot of mistakes of people that are trying to cut their food bill.   I don’t comment because that would be rude and everyone has their own values and circumstances.              

I can, however learn from their choices , what can be done to cut a food bill that needs to wants to be cut.   Everyone has their own priorities.  Ours is to eat well, have fresh fruits and vegetables in the house and stock enough food so that if hard times hit, be it sickness, a government shut down, or snow Apocalypse, we at least can eat for a few days.

I have mastered my goal is to pay off bills and purge 40 years of ‘stuff” accumulation in the storage room.   It would be a good room if granddaughter could play in the winter.

The basics of groceries on the cheap is to never pay full price for anything.   Some things, just never go on sale, some things basically only go on sale seasonally.   Some staples go on sale in cycles.   If you find that cycle, you can clean up.  Some things are almost. always cheaper at certain stores.   Learning what is cheapest where and how to maximize your shopping trips, is a key.
We have two places within reasonable distance from our home that have grocery outlets (discount grocery overstocks) and dollar trees side by side.    We try to hit those places about every month to six weeks.   Dollar Tree is usually pretty stable.  You can bet that they will have pinto beans, pizza sauce, tortillas, and orowheat bread.   The grocery outlet is a lot of here today, gone tomorrow.   You can most generally find sliced cheese for between two and two dollars and thirty nine cents.   Some other prices are more than the RBP I can get other places.   I most generally stick to name brands I can count on.   If there is a good price on something, I might buy one to see if it is a good quality.   I’m not gambling on a lot of money.   Always check pull dates.  Lately, I have found organic Hunts diced tomatoes for 50 cents at both Grocery Outlet and Dollar Tree.   I suspect they were an overstock .   The quality is fine.   Hunts peels their tomatoes with steam, not chemicals, and organic diced tomatoes were 2.29 at safeways and .70 at costco.   That is a prime example of why its not what you buy, or the quality you buy, its how much you pay for what you buy.   I did get tomatoes, not organic from safeways on a case lot sale for .39 net using a basket coupon.  

All of this is manageable because we have simplified our grocery carts.   By buying basics and efficiently scratch cooking, we have less prices to carry around in our heads.   Some people carry a small spiral notebook (3/1.00 at DT) to use instead.   Picking rotation meats that are versatile, and one type of canned tomato that can do double duty helps.

Years ago, we found ourselves, both out of work.   Scary time.   My husband started going with me
to get out of the house.   We we’re building the house and living in the basement.   He passed an end cap with 8  ounce cans of tomato sauce marked a quarter.   He said “ that’s no bargain , you paid a dime last week.”   I about fell over.   I wasn’t aware he was paying attention .

It doesn’t make sense to buy one of an item at FULL price one week, and one for a drastically lower price the next.   I’m not saying buy out the store and it is rude to clear the shelf at the store.   Don’t hog.   I usually stick to six of something unless the store is stipulating case lots.   This isn’t about hoarding.  Its about stocking enough to get you to the next sale so you don't have to pay full price—that nasty F word.   LOL.

Some people stock and then when they have an abundance , they go on a maintenance “no spend month” and creatively eat down the stock.   This is especially good if you know you have a high expense month coming.   You could save your money, buy buying food at half price is better return on your money than you can get at any bank.   We all have to eat.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Shopping Haul

Went to another town today and shopped at Grocery Outlet and DT.
Also stopped by the qfc.   
The good price on meatballs is only sunday with a digital coupon.   I must have misread the on line ad.   I do better with the REAL ad, but we didn’t get it on time, again.   

QFC : 5 for 5 
3 Kleenex 
2 snap peas regular 2.99..99
2 raspberries at 2/5 
Total 10.00

Dollar Tree
Oval platter with poinsettias .50
Freeze dried strawberries 
1 loaf orowheat grain bread 
1 Sara Lee large hamburger buns 


Grocery Outlet 
Olives .79
Pkg kind bars oats and honey 1.99
Vermicelli .34
Cheddar cheese slices. 1.99
Pepper jack slices 2.39
Swiss slices 2.39
Orange danish in tube (pillsbury) .75


Total 26.85


Chain store ads for week of 12/27/17



Cantaloupe 2/3
Crackers 2/5 - $$
Cheese 2.50 a lb @@@
Hoagie rolls .79@@

$$ - there is a coupon out there in coupon land
@@@ clip in ad coupon


Berries. 2/5
Apples .99
crackers 3/5


2 BS CHEESE 4.99


Cooked perfect meatballs are 2.99 on sunday only with a digital coupon.   You cant use paper coupons with a digital coupon.   Regular price is 4.99.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Four plus One is FIVE.

One of the basis of Groceries on the cheap is the catch phrase:  Four plus one is FIVE.  Four people, one meal, five bucks.   It is based on the fact that SNAP money is based on a meal costing 1.40 a plate.  You can eat well on that if you shop wisely.   Wether or not you are on SNAP, you can eat well on half the national average for a food budget.   I’m not going to tell you that it takes no effort.   But, like anything worth doing, take reward is good.

Five dollar dinners are attainable because you can average the cost.   One really inexpensive dinner plus one more moderate dinner can cost the same as two average priced dinners.   An inexpensive pizza and a salmon cake can average to stay in budget.  

Fortunately, most children love a lot of inexpensive food.   You can have quality food if you shop right.  

The internet is full of recipes:  the Betty Crocker cookbook and pinterest is free.   Don’t overlook a recipe because it starts with a ready made product or an expensive ingredient.  There is almost always a viable substitutions .   There are recipes for about every mix you could need on the internet.   Google is a good resource.   Many substitutions are as good or better because they dont have preservatives or other chemicals that you don’t need . Eating food in season helps the budget a lot.   Fruits and veggies taste better and cost less—a winning combination .  

Look for recipes that use up leftovers, or have inexpensive ingredients and recipes that your family will eat.   No food will do your family good if you are feeding it to the garbage disposal.  

  • Shredded beef sandwiches (sliders) are popular and there are roll recipes that are simple that bring the cost of the rolls down.   Anytime you can make bread, the cost will be remarkably cheaper.   A three dollar loaf of sour dough, can cost as little as .30 cents.   No misplaced decimal here.  A great recipe for leftover meat .  Leftovers won’t seem like leftovers.   
  • Chicken tortilla soup is another recipe that uses leftovers that disguise the fact that they are leftovers.   
  • Broccolli beer cheese soup is timely because of holiday food leftovers.   
  • Turkey a la king with rice.   Rice cost .03 a serving when buying it in bulk.  
  • Apple chicken quesadillas .  Another inexpensive food that takes in season food (apples) and leftover chicken or turkey and tortillas that can be had at the DT. 
  • Meatloaf muffins.   Its all about portion control 
  • Chicken enchiladas.  Another leftover chicken or turkey dish.   You can cook a chicken breast from frozen in the insta pot in minutes.   Adjust the time for really fat ones. 
  • Burrito bake uses cresent rolls that are on sale this time of year and there are coupons out there too.  
  • Pork roast with cranberry orange relish.   Another in season recipe .  Pork Loin was a dollar a pound last week and oranges are the lowest price in January.   
  • Vanilla french toast 

All recipes are from Taste of Home annual recipes 2018.   Most of the time they can be found on the internet.   Like google “ Burrito Bake/Taste of Home” .

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

We got a surprise snow for Christmas Eve celebrations.   We made spinach dip stuffed mushrooms (scratch). Baby ham and Swiss cheese quiches, and hot poppers.  I made another batch of shortbread. Supposedly ou were supposed to be able to pipe it into swirls.   We broke the bag trying.   I wound up rolling it into balls and flattening it.  It all tastes the same, right?    

Kitchen management is being postponed until tomorrow.  

I hope everayone has a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.    

Merry Christmas 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Meal Plans- Sunday

Merry Christmas Eve

Meal plans are a necessary part of Groceries on the Cheap.  Staying grounded and having a plan keeps you from going astray and winding up ordering take out or pizza.   The difference between ordering a pizza and making a pizza is dramatic in cost.

  • Christmas:  roast turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, homemade cranberry sauce, stuffed celery and olives .
  • Leftovers 
  • Tacos , refried beans, Spanish rice. 
  • Pizza
  • Soup , rolls 
  • Breakfast for dinner 
  • Chicken nuggets (homemade) , oven fries, veggies (movie night ) 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Winco Haul....Hey, its Christmas !

So much to say. Christmas entertaining is not part of our regular grocery budget.  Its a time where we splurge on things that we don’t normally buy.  

4 boxes tissue at .98
Salmon cakes 2.88
Steak fries 1.68
Barilla pasta .98

Mushrooms 2.86
Cresent rolls 2.56
Celery 1.58
Spinach 1.78
Naval orange .80
Poppers 6.98
Pie crust 2.38
Ham 2.62

Cake mix .88
Cranberries 1.98
Swiss cheese 3.22
Lemon lime soda .48

Total 39.44

Friday, December 22, 2017

Ez dinner rolls

On my hunt for ez dinner rolls.  The first few recipes I found convinced me that my MIL was an angel making them for us numerous times through the years.  

1 cup plus 2T warm water
1/3 cup oil
2 Tbls yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3.5 cups flour

Heat oven to 400 degrees

In stand mixer, place water, oil, yeast, and sugar.  Let rest 15 minutes
Mix 2 cups of the flour , salt and egg into the wet mixture with the dough hook.
Add remaining flour until dough is no longer sticky .

Remove dough from mixer bowl and shape into balls.  Place in 9x13 pad and let rise 10 minutes.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes until the tops of the rolls are brown.  

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thursday : Notes

Sometimes, you just have to do what you gotta do.   We have granddaughter for the week because of winter vacation and Costco is a zoo.   We needed a few things and there was no way I was going to drive around for half an hour looking for a parking place and battling the crowds to get the four things we always buy in bulk   So, I dodged the bullet and ordered on line for the first time.  I was pleasantly surprised .   The food prices were close to the price of instore, there was no shipping g charge, and we got our food in 40 minutes. I ordered bacon, oatmeal, and soap....dishwasher tablets, and soft soap.  

Then we went to QFC and I made up any extra I paid with three dollars worth of coupons.  
That made darigold butter 1.50 and meatballs about 2.00 a pound.  I cant make good meatballs for two dollars a pound.   This was an experiment.   The expensive meatballs are bigger and I think ar more dense than the Armor ones that are about 2.00 a lb normally at Winco.   Both taste fine.   I used the new ones for a meatball sub for dinner.   We split and hollowed out a small baguette, I brushed it with olive oil on both sides and toasted it in the oven for a few minutes.   I heated the meatballs with some bbq sauce in the microwave for four minutes.  Then I filled the hollowed out side of the bread with the meatballs and sauce and topped it with mozzarella.   I put both sides of the bread in. The oven and heated it until the cheese had melted.   The bread was not soggy.   I might put some cheese in the bottom of the bread if I did it again.   I also would make my own baguette, but this time w made cookies and shopped and granddaughter and I had popcorn and snuggled and watched the Lorax.   Like I said, sometimes you just have to do what you gotta do.

Overall, we did’nt break the budget too much and spoiling granddaughter is a right of grandmothers.   Right?  LOL

We met  people at the grocery store.  One of which I shared my extra butter coupon with.  Random acts of kindness don’t have to cost anything, and especially in this political climate, they go a long way to make things better.   I first encounterd a coupon angel one day back when all three kids were home.   A lady stopped me in Albertons at James village.   As usual, my cart was getting full.   She had a coupon for FREE milk if you spent like 50.00.  She said she wasnt going to spend that much but at the looks of my cart, I probably was and gave me the coupon.   It made my day.

One day I was shopping at winco.  I ran across a gentlemen that I could tell was adding up the few things in his cart to see how much he had amassed.   He was buying Progresso soups.   I asked him how many he had.  He said “two”.   I had a coupon for buy three, made the third one free.
I handed him the coupon.   He said thank you and we went on our separate ways.   He ran into us in another part of the store.  He thanked me again.   I got the impression that we had just given him another meal.   Little acts of kindness don't have to cost money, but can really make someone’s day.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

QFC haul.

We are still under 55.00 a week this year.  

QFC Haul

Apples , Fuji. 4.11
French baguette 1.99
Meatballs 4.99 less coupon. 3.99 - almost 2 lb.
butter (2) 1.50 ea
Blueberries 2/5

43 percent savings.  
Meal plans are meant to be broken.   We have our grandchild home from school this week and we have been baking christmas cookies all week.  Super no brainer dinner was in order when I got meatballs as cheap as I did.  I cant buy the meat for two dollars a pound.   So we had meatball subs and french fries that were air fried.  

Why it makes sense to do rotation protein .

We all know by now that buying a meat (protein) on sale is a good thing to do.  Buying a bulk quantity of that meat is a better thing.   Buying enough for the family to eat that particular meat for a predisposed amount of meals saves a lot of money when you purchase enough to cover you for four to six weeks.  

Case in point:   Pork loin was .99 a lb this week at our Kroger.   (QFC and Fred Meyers) .  Normally, you could easily spend 2.00 a pound.   I bought two 1/2 loins for a total of 8.5 pounds.   I cut pork chops from most of it. (20) or enough for 10 of our dinners.   I also ground the scraps to provide 1.1/4 pounds of ground pork that was a bit more fatty.  The upshot of that was enough for a stirfry.   Bottom line, I got 11 dinners and enough ground pork to add fat back into two meals of meatballs or meatloaf from 5 percent fat hamburger.   11 meals divided by 8.50 is .77 a meal or 1.54 for 4 people.  Buying pork chops at 3.50 a lb would cost 29.75– twenty dollars more.   They are both from the same cut of meat.  

Boneless skinless chicken breast is as much as 8.00 a lb at the deli and you dont know where it came from.    Breasts can be as low as 1.77 a lb and you can buy local chickens.   The last split chicken breast I purchased was about 1.50 a lb.  It takes a little work, but you get chicken broth and some more small pieces of chicken for soup, or enchaladas , tacos, or casseroles.   Debone the rib portion and cook it in the slow cooker overnight.  Add scraps of veggies—celery, carrot, onion.....pull the meat off the bones and freeze .  Freeze the chicken stock unless you ar going to eat it soon.
The difference between buying a couple of breasts at a everyday low price of 3.49 and paying 1.77 is 1.72 a lb. times 10 pounds is 17.20.   For a family of four, that is ten dinners for 17.70 or 1.77 a meal.  

Hamburger:   The lowest fat is the best quality.   Our price for 10 percent fat hamburger is about four dollars a pound.   I just bought sirloin roasts for 2.40 a pound at safeways with a basket coupon .   By grinding it myself in the food processer, I spent about 1 minute per batch using the pulse button and saved 1.60 a pound.   Ten pounds makes at least ten meals, sometimes more for soup or tacos, or less for meatloaf or hamburgers.   That is 2.40 cents a meal instead of 4.00. Or 16.00 savings.  

Consider 2 meals a week for 5 weeks, your total protein would be 50.40 or 1.68 a meal.   That leaves you 5 meals to fill in with perhaps a vegetarian meal of breakfast for dinner or pizza or mac and cheese.  

Snap guidelines, I just read, are 1.40 per meal, or 5.60 a meal for 4 people.   My meals are based on:  four people, one meal, five bucks.   1.68 leaves you 3.32 for a starch and a vegetable.   Bulk rice is .03 a serving, and vegetable should be less than a dollar a pound.  

Chain store ads

Alberways :

Beef ribeye in a bag.   Use coupon....3.98 lb
Shank ham .99
Spiral ham 1.29
Asparagus 1.88

Butter 1.88@@@
Bacon 12 ounces 2/5@@@]

Turkey .79

Dejiorno pizza 4.99$$

Pillsbury pie crusts and cookie dough 2/5 $$

Cresents and cinnamon rolls 3/6 $$

Note : @@ means that you need to have an in ad coupon
$$ means that there is a coupon out there.  The pillsbury things are both in the coupon inserts and o

QFC this ad is between Dec 13 and Dec 24.

Butter 2/5 :Note has a dollar off coupo and you can print 2 per computer.  

Tillamook cheese 4.99 limit 2

Blueberries 2/5

Cooked to perfection meatballs 18-26 ounces 4.99- look for coupons

Green beans -fresh. 1.29
turkey breast -frozen ready to cook 7.99
Ritz crackers $$ 2/4
Cream cheese 2/4

Note: it is always a good thing to avoid shopping for holiday food at the last minute.   The pries almost always go up.   The weeks leading up to the holiday have better prices and you can avoid that holiday budget crunch.  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tuesday Bullets

I just read an article in our local newspaper that said buying organic adds a third more to your grocery  bill.  My experience has been that the food spoils faster than regular food.  No food is going to do your family well if you are feeding it to the garbage disposal.   

Ways to save money 💰 on your food. 

  • Buy in bulk when it makes sense.   Buying cranberry sauce in bulk when you only eat it at holiday time, would not be a good idea.   Buying a 25 lb bag of rice or flour might be a better Alternative.  Rice is on the does not spoil list and if you make your own mixes and bake your own bread, bulk flour is a good way to go.   We eat oatmeal every day.  Buying it in ten pound boxes makes sense.  Anything you will use up in a three mont period is a good benchmark for the common sense flag. 
  • Lower your consumption of protein.   We eat too muck protein in this country.   It has been linked to health issues .  Check the RDA on protein for your family.   No one needs to eat the better part of a two pound roast in one sitting.   I had a lady inform me her husband did because he was a bodybuilder.   Most of us don’t have bodybuilders for roommates.  LOL 
  • Avoiding junk food is not a bad idea.  One half of the average shopping cart is drinks and snack foods.   Not letting that happen will greatly reduce your food bill and probably a few waistlines too. 
  • Planning a non meat dinner or two a week is a great money saver too.   Pizza when made from scratch and ingredients purchased at RBP make for a buck each meal.   Cheese can be purchased at low costs and frozen ( grated ) .  Mozzarella is made from low fat.  Eggs are still low in cost here at times, and you can dehydrate them with succsss.
  • Buying your meat at RBP and buying in bulk on a rotation basis is a cheaper and more efficient way to stock your freezer, one month at a time.   Buy as much of a particular protein item as you will use for a months worth of that meal.   Pick a basic cut of meat that your family likes and that is versatile.  We use hamburger, cheese, pork loin  and chicken breast.   Add beans and eggs to the mix.   Adding beans to dishes boosts protein at a very low cost. 
  • Don’t be brand an store loyal.   Shopping several stores gives you more choices and lower prices.   Non traditional stores also sometimes have lower prices on some things.   Because they only carry the things they find at a low price, they are a good resource to check occasionally.   Stores like Big Lots, and the Dollar Tree aka DT. Grocery Outlet 
  • No one store has the best prices on everything.   Know your prices.   My mother used to say that some people could have a bargain get up and bite them in the butt and not see it. Don’t be that person.   Buy responsibily.   Set yourself limits as to how much of something you will keep on hand.   That greatly depends on how much of that item you consume on a regular basis.   Reducing the variety of ingredients you use on a regular basis helps keep things in order and efficient.   For example, we only buy diced tomatoes and a few tomato pastes if I find them on sale.   You can manipulate diced tomatoes to do anything you need a tomato for. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday Kitchen Management

Kitchen management is a tool that allows you to spend an hour of leisure time to save hours time during the hectic dinner hour.  Spending a few minutes on a small deep cleaning task. Saves a lot of time when it comes time to deep clean the kitchen.

Recap meal plan :

  1. Oven roasted chicken with root veggies:  potato, carrot, radish 
  2. Pizza:  Buffalo chicken 
  3. Pork Roast, mashed potatoes, green beans with vinegrete seasoning. 
  4. Pork slider, oven fries, vegetable platter 
  5. Salmon cakes, rice medley , Peas, rolls 
  6. Tacos, refried beans or nachos. 
  7. Christmas Eve. Potluck    

Kitchen management 
  • Wash kitchen floor
  • Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead.
  • Wash refrigerator shelves
  • Wash kitchen counters and disinfect counters, sinks, and drains. 
  • Clean stove drip pans. 
  • Wax island cupboards 
  • Wash potatoes with vinegar water for oven fries and roasted potatoes. 
  • Ditto carrots and radishes
  • Pull the roast out to thaw.
  • Make some Christmas cookies.   
Note:  because it is christmas week and things are hectic with extra chores and holiday cheer, the meals are purposely stair step meals.   That is, one meal reinvents itself for a different meal another day—meals aren’t necessarily in chronological order.  Slider rolls take on double duty as dinner rolls with the salmon dinner.   

All of these meals are Four plus one is five meals.   Four people, one meal, five bucks.  Provided you are buying your groceries at RBP.   They are also quick to make with hands on time .

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Meal Plans

Meal plans are an organizational tool to save time and money.

  • Roast chicken breast with oven roasted root veggies:  potato, carrot, radishes. 
  • Buffalo chicken pizza
  • Pork roast, mashed red potatoes, peas and carrots 
  • Pork sliders, Oven roasted french fries, veggie platter 
  • Salmon cakes, rice medley, peas 
  • Tacos, refried beans or nachos 
  • Christmas Eve potluck 
Notes:  a lot of piggy back here.   One meat makes two dinners.   It saves time and energy when its a busy time of the year.   Salmon cakes are either scratch or they are inexpensive at Winco.   

An interesting note, my observation was that Fred Meyer and Wino were the cheapest prices for food in our area.  My friend sent me an article from the local paper.   Their basket research study validated my observations.   

All of these meals would be a four plus one is five meal.  Four people, one meal, five bucks.   
Some would be cheaper.   Salmon is right there with store bought salmon, less with scratch.  
All are easy and quickly put together.   

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Did someone say Pork Loin ?

QFC and Fred Meyers (Kroger ) have pork loin today only for .99 a lb.  QFC when they at 11 am had 7 cases.   I bought 2 1/2 loins.   You can buy up to five.   You do need to download a coupon and spend an additional ten dollars.

Pork Loin :  8.5 lbs of pork loin
Blueberries 2/5
Turkey breast 7.99
Bread 1.25


Cutting the pork Loin is on

Fred Meyer Sunday ad

NOTE:  the .99 pork loin at qfc and Fred Meyers needs you to download a digital coupon.  

Merry Christmas ad

New York Holiday roast 3.77

Kroger turkey .69

Clementines 5 lbs 4.77

Kroger sliced ham 1.27

Kroger bacon 2.99 lb -3 lb package

Ritz , nabisco crackers 3/5

Canned vegetables bogo

Green beans 1.49

Yams .99

Broccoli, cauliflower .99

Friday, December 15, 2017

Bullets: Things that never spoil

This is from research on the internet, there are a few that I am questionable on (????)

  1. Honey
  2. Salt
  3. Water 
  4. Clarified butter ????
  5. Cornstarch ????
  6. Pasta 
  7. Rice 
  8. Vinegar 
  9. Maple syrup
  10. Sugar 
  11. Alcohol 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Things that are easy in the insta pot.

Things that are easy in the insta pot.   Since I started working harder at getting the lowest possible price for our meals, I started cooking more scratch food.   Basicly, scratch food is cheaper and more healthy because you can control the salt, sugar, trans fats, hydroginated oils and HFCS.   There are no preservatives or anti caking agents.  

I set out to find efficient scratch cooking.  I spend a little more time shopping and planning trips, so I spend less time cooking.    This methodology has to work for working parents too.   The insta pot is a great tool to cook efficiently .   Its efficient in itself :  a slow cooker, rice cooker, and a pressure cooker.   It also sautés and some make yogurt.  

Things to cook in the insta pot.

  • Hard cooked eggs:  I also cook them in the oven.   
  • Chilli:  you can cook the beans, sauté the meat, and cook the chili all in the same pot. 
  • Vegetable bean soup.
  • Chicken breast from frozen for casseroles, nachos, chicken pot pie, enchiladas.  
  • Beef stew 
  • Cumin spiced pork sirloin with avocado salsa.
  • Pork shoulder
  • No stir risotto
  • Bacon, corn and potato chowder 
  • Winter squash soup
  • Stock
  • Roasted rosemary red potatoes 
  • Pot roast 
  • Shredded chicken tacos 
  • Ziti
  • Creamy chipotle tomato soup 
  • Chicken soup
  • Tomato and white bean soup
  • Barley mushroom stew 
  • White rice
  • Tuna casserole 
  • An many more.....

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Grocery Outlet Haul -

Grocery outlet and DT.

DT has chocolate covered. Graham crackers.

Grocery Outlet:

Colored peppers .50
Old El Paso enchaladas kit.   Seasonings, enchaladas sauce, and tortillas .99
La Victoria salsa. .99
2 very large sugar cookie dough=pillsbury  rolls at bogo 1.99
Sliced cheese 1@ 2.00 and 1 @ 2.39

ROCHER diamond candy box.  7.99

Total 18.33 less candy is 10.34

Weekly chain store ads

Holiday ads are not usually the ones that tout great bargains.   The ads leading up to a holiday usually have better prices on the typical incidental items.  The price of the protein is usually the star. In this state, because liquor is purchased at grocery stores and drug stores, there is usually space taken up with liquor.


Spiral ham 1.39
Shank ham .99

Buy 4, save 4
BBQ sauce .99
Marshmallows .99
Puddings, .99

Stove top stuffing 1.25
Coffee 5.99

Bacon 3.99
Cranberries 2/5

Chuck roast  BOGO
Spiral Ham 1.49
Bone in ham 1.29
Apples 1.49
Butter 2/5
3 lb clementines 2.88
Cheese 2 bs 4.99

Spices BOGO
Duncan Hines cake mix BOGO
Pillsbury rolls 2/4$$

WITH ADDITIOAL 10.00 food purchase
Boneless pork 1/2 loin .99 a lb
You can buy up to 5.  

This sale is also at Fred Meyer

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Let’s talk freezers.

Freezers can be a messy catchall if you aren’t careful.   Most of the new refrigerators have a large drawer or door above or below the refrigerator section .   I’m afraid that it would become a dark hole things get lost in.   Looking at the new refrigerators, i am not seeing a lot that isn’t stainless steel and the same style.  Surely, there are other styles.   I did see a couple of side by side refrigerators.   I guess its a trade off—the black hole or a refrigerator that you cant get a large tray into.  

My downstairs upright freezer has crates from the dollar store that organizes foods by category.   Its easy to find what you are looking for if people put things away properly.   LOL.  The side by side upstairs has four drawers.   I labeled the drawers :   Chicken, beef, pork , fish.   The fish drawer gets to share with vegetables.   The door has vegetables and pizza 🍕 toppings and sauce.  

Separating meats into drawers makes it easy to check at a glance if I need to replenish our stock.  
Last month I have :

  • End of November with the last Safeways twenty percent off basket coupon, I purchased 2.99 sirloin roasts.   That made them 2.40.   I cut some for stew meat and ground the rest for hamburger in my food processer.  It took about 20 seconds a batch.   I put stew meat into 1/2 pound bags (2 lb total) and ground 10 bags of 1 cup each of  hamburger that I cooked.   
  • This week, I purchased boneless , skinless chicken breast (foster farms) for 1.77 a lb.  I spent 6.07.   I put the breasts (about 1/2 lb a piece ) in individual bags and put the bags in a gallon bag that I labeled with a date.   I had some split chicken breast from before, or I would have bought a second mega pack.   If split chicken breasts are cheaper, I cut the ribs off, cook the ribs with water in the slow cooker overnight (add a few pieces of onion and carrot, celery) and bag the boneless, skinless chicken breast in quart bags, then a gallon bag.    In the morning , you have chicken stock, and you can pick the bones for more meat—just right for chicken salad, a casserole, or Soup.  
  • Next week, (Saturday) pork loins are .99 at Fred Meyers.  I will probably make stew, roasts, and pork chops out of one.   About 7 lbs or so.   
  • Sausage , cheese, beans, and fish are other rotation proteins.   Pinto beans are cheapest at the DT- 1.5 lbs or a dollar.  They are non gmo and grown in USA.   
  • Sausage has gotten pricey, I have made my own, but you can still get it on sale and there are coupons. 
  • Cheese has also been pricey lately—as much as six dollars a lb.   I want to pay closer to two dollars a pound.   I have been able to do that so far.   
  • There are always coupons for pepperoni.   

Rotating protein allows you the luxury of purchasing your protein at a RBP and always having food in the house.  Buying bulk and sometimes butchering and/or cooking it in mass saves time and money.   With already cooked hamburger, you can make tacos, or taco salad , or spaghetti w meat sauce in minutes.   The insta pot makes cooking meat from frozen in minutes. 


Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday Kitchen Managment and notes

Notes:   I know that often times scratch is better.  Especially when you are a good , experienced scratch cook.   I have been learning how to cook about everything we eat scratch.   The more scratch cooking I do, the more money we save.   Food prices have gone up 45 percent over the past few years, but scratch cooking has reduced our grocery bill by 24 percent.   That being said, if something is cheaper to buy ready made than scratch, I’m going to take advantage of it as long as it is good quality.   Case in point, kroger (Fred Meyer) has buy a Marie Callender Pie and get the ice cream for FREE.  That made out pie 1.00.   I cant make a large pie for a dollar.   Pasta sauce is another thing that is cheaper to buy than make, especially with sales and coupons.    I got sweet potatoes for .33 a package.   Sweet potatoes here are a dollar a pound.   It doesn’t pay .   It is also convenient and we have sweet potatoes with pork or chicken often.  

On to regular stuff.....

Kitchen Management is a tool that takes a hour or so, and saves a lot of time and energy during the hectic dinner hour.    Basically, you prep and rotate deep cleaning chores so that you are more efficient in the kitchen.  

  1. Wash kitchen floor. 
  2. Wash and disinfect countertops, sinks and drains.   
  3. Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead.   
  4. Wax south end cupboards. 
  5. Wash potatoes in vinegar water for baked potatoes, and oven fries, oven roasted veggies.  
  6. Mark meal plan to thaw chicken breast.
  7. Wash carrots for oven roasted veggies.   Buy radishes.  
  8. Straighten the pantry.   

Sunday, December 10, 2017

25.00 Fred Meyer haul

Planning a 25.00 Fred Meyers haul.
The grinch aka Car repair man. Stole christmas......LOL. (We still have a decent food stock)

Chicken Breast (rotation meat) 1.77. Lb - approx 6 lbs.

Milk .99

Blueberries 2/5

Pie and ice cream 4.99

Cranberries or fill out

ACTUAL:   21.52

Marie Callender’s Pie.  4.99
Ice cream FREE. Retail 3.99

Cranberries 2/5

Blue berries, l lb 3.99 frozen vs 12 ounces for 5.00

FF chicken breast 6.07

Milk .99

Hamburger buns , dayold dated 12/15  .69

Meal Plans - week of 12/11

Meal plans are a good tool to save time and money .

  • Baked Potato Bar 
  • Pizza 
  • Chicken nuggets, oven fries, veggie sticks 
  • Baked chicken , mashed potatoes, salad 
  • Tuna cassarole , peas and carrots 
  • Sausage with oven roasted veggies 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

Notes:   We still have ten pounds of potatoes we got for a dollar.   Baked potato bar, oven fries, and oven roasted veggies should be a good thing.   Pizza is a staple around here....making scratch pizza is a really cheap dinner.   Breakfast for dinner is another staple that is more fun than it is inexpensive.   

A finger food dinner is a good thing around Christmas time with Christmas movies.   

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fred Myers Sunday ad

A lot of space is being taken up with ready made trays and booze.

Boneless pork loin .99 -a lot of hoops to go through:   Spend an additional 10.00, SATURDAY, 16TH ONLY, DOWNLOAD DIGITAL COUPON.

Blueberries 2/5

Celery .99

Kroger turkey .69

Del monte veggies BOGO. This is a bargain if they are a dollar or under.

Marie Callender Pie at 4.99 - get a carton of ice cream free.  The ice cream is 3.99 elsewhere in the ad.   I purchased that ice cream for 2.50 last week.   This is how they manipulate the prices.   That’s why knowing the RBP on things is a good idea.  Still, this is a good buy.  

Pillsbury rolls 2/4 $$

Milk .99

Oranges .67
Butter 2/5
FF boneless, skinless chicken breast 1.77

Sirloin. Steaks 2.77 - cheaper than good ground meat

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Recipes

Note:  this week I am not going to shop.   We don’t necessarily need to and I didn’t find anything that reached out to me shouting “buy me” !    I did purchase a box of bisquick at costco.

Today I am making an apple pie  and spareribs along with a pasta salad.   We are using up what we have in stock.  

I will take you along on Dinner: better, cheaper, faster.  
That fits with my mantra:   Spend less time cooking, and more time planning a shopping trip and your pocketbook will love you for it.

Spareribs.  Brown spareribs in a little olive oil in a skillet.  Place in (slow cooker/insta pot) and pour a beer over top.   Set insta pot on slow cook and let cook for 6-8 hours.  

Pasta salad starts with suddenly salad I purchased for .75 last summer.    Add tomatoes, black olives, and any vegetable you have hanging around.  

Apple pie is one my husband’s mother used to make.  Its part custard and part apple pie with a crumb topping.   ( bisquick cookbook).

Sometimes, it is just a good thing to balance dinner with a desert.   Add fruit to the vegetables in the salad and you have well balanced—protein, starch, and fruit and veggies.  

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Staples that don't break the bank .

Buying staples that don’t break the bank on bulk sales is a good way to always have food in the house without a lot of capital outlay.   A good sale, properly planned can save a lot of money.   Its a matter of taking advantage of a good sale.

  • Canned veggies are at best regularly .68 .  They can be more.  They have a good shelf life an are a good go to in the winter when the quality of fresh is not as good and the cost is expensive.                              Safeways had case lot (12) for .49 each.  Cue in a basket coupon for 20 percent and the cost is .39.   A case was less than five dollars, you have a case of green beans.  I only buy canned green beans and corn.  
  • You can almost always find pasta sauce with coupons.   Canned pasta sauce is almost always less than a dollar at Winco.   The sauce in a jar can be close to a dollar with coupons and sales. Don’t use a coupon without matching it with a sale if you can help it.   Pasta sauce is one thing that is cheaper than making it yourself.   You can always add spices and meat if you want.   
  • Pasta has a eight YEAR shelf life.  Buy it when you can get it with coupons and sales.   I usually buy Barilla at less than a dollar.   Never pay more than a dollar.   Its sometimes at the dollar tree.   
  • Dried beans are a lot cheaper than canned.   With the insta pot, they are about as fast to make as opening the can.   (Hands on time) .   I keep a few for emergencies in case out power goes out, but it’s pretty easy to store dried.   The dollar tree is the cheapest for pinto beans I have found.  They are non GMO, and grown in USA.   
  • Flour and rice are cheapest in 20-25 lb bags at costco.  I am assuming that they are comparably priced at Sam's club.   A food safe bucket works best for us and you can sometimes get them at a bakery inexpensive.   
  • Diced tomatoes are a good shelf stable staple.   Instead of buying numerous forms of tomatoes, if you stick to diced tomatoes, you can pretty much make them work for any recipe.   You an always drain them reserving the juice for soup, and processes them in a food processor or food mill to make tomato sauce.  You can also use drained tomatoes for a salad, salsa, or to top nachos when tomatoes are expensive in the winter.   Lately, I have been getting organic diced tomatoes for .50 at Dollar Tree and Grocery Outlet .   I also got them for .39 at safeways on their stock up sale with a basket coupon .   

With those few stock up items, you can do a lot to make a meal in a pinch.  You can also get tortillas at the dollar tree and costco inexpensive.   

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Chain store ads - Alberways

QFC last week was a two week ad


Grapes 1.47
Ice cream 2/5

Cheese 4.99@@
Bread .88 @
Extra lean ground beef 2.99@@.

Oranges /or apples 1.49
Red delicious apples .99

Pillsbury Bisquits 1.00 $$
di Giorgio pizza 5.99 $$

Cookie mix 2/5 $$ still cheaper at DT, but DT only. Has chocolate chip the last time I looked.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tuesday Notes

If you haven’t guessed, I have a “thing” about saving money on food.   I started this blog because my daughter has been teaching children from low income homes for years.  She was hearing from mothers that they were having a hard time making their snap money last the month.   My daughter piped up and said, my mother knows how to do that.   I racked my brain to think of how I could help and my children encouraged me to write a blog.   Not being tech savvy , it was a learning experience.   That was over 5 years ago.

There is nothing more stressful for a mother than to not have food for your children to eat.  Fortunately, I learned a lot from my mother, and when I found myself a single mother with double digit inflation, rarely child support, and a stagnate paycheck , I set out to learn everything I could to stretch a buck.   Those days were before computer 💻 and there wasn’t much on the television when we had one.   Nevertheless, I prevailed.   I had a lot of misses.....soybeans that cooked for hours an were rocks....but there were hits too.

Fast forward 50 years, and I think I got it down.  Now its just a habit.   Even with a limited budget, you can still help those that don't have food.   I’m not sure that I am reaching the audience I set out to reach, but I hope I am helping.   Something as small as a can of pasta sauce ( less than a dollar at winco ) and a package of pasta ( often on sale with coupons) can cost less than that cup of coffe at a coffee shop or drive through.   It can make a meal for a family.

I am always learning.....yesterday I learned that the way to get good ground chicken is to partially freeze chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) and chop them in the food processor.   I have never liked ground chicken because of the fine mushy texture.   I did find that a few pulses in the food processor chopped beef  to make ground beef from a sirloin roast cheaper than buying the ground beef.   I only want extra lean ground beef.

You can have it all.....good quality, low prices, and scratch cooking without a extraordinary amount of time and energy.   It just takes a little learning curve.

We eat a variety of good food and keep a small stock for emergencies by:

  • Listing the foods that we need to cook healthy meals.  Avoid excess salt, sugar, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, HFCS , and limit processed meats. 
  • Finding the lowest prices and buying quantity of anything that is shelf or freezer stable.  
  • Buying a limited variety of meats and buying them in bulk when they are at a RBP. 
  • Finding scratch recipes that are 5 ingredients or less and making time to make your own mixes.  
  • Using every available means to cut your costs:  ibotta, coupons, digital signups for coupons.  Freebies.   We pass up unhealthy freebies, but if there is one that we don't eat and is shelf stable, its a good thing to put it in the food bank barrel.   
  • Portion control.   Its good for your waistline and good for your budget.   If you have children with hollow legs, buy certain foods that they know they are allowed to eat as much as they want for snacks.   Providing they don't have a weight issue.   When our children were teens, that was peanut butter sandwiches, beef an bean burritos, top ramen (no one knew it was bad then.) veggie sticks, and popcorn (air popped) 

Hope I helped somebody somewhere.   

Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Kitchen Management

Kitchen management is a tool that enables you to prep for the weeks dinners and rotate deep cleaning chores to make life easier and cut stress during the dinner hour.    Anything you can do ahead for dinneer preparation, makes less work at the end of the day when quite possibly you are tired.  

Nutty chicken strips
Oven baked fries
Vegetable platter


Pasta salad

Minestroni with chicken

Beef stew,
Potatoes, carrots, celery

Salmon patties
Oven baked fries
Stuffed tomatoes

Breakfast for Dinner

  1. Wash kitchen floor 
  2. Wash and disinfect counters, sinks, and drains.
  3. Wax north side cabinets. 
  4. Wash potatoes with vinegar water.  3 days 
  5. Wash carrots with vinegar water 
  6. Make pumpkin breads 
  7. Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead
  8. Straighten pantry.

Winco and FM hauls

Winco vegetable run

Cucumbers .48
Lettuce .98
Winco green chillis ..66 ( about 1/2 the price of the name brand )
Peas, carrots,  white corn, green beans, frozen, .88 a lb bag
Roma tomatoes 1.25
Grape. Tomatoes 3.98

Fred Meyer

.99 sale for bulk

3 cream cheese
4 cake mix ( fail:  winco has them for 88)
2 four pound sugars
1. Peanut butter

Taco shells .99
Peppermint ice cream 2.50
Ham 4.99

Raspberries 1.50

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Meals eaten last week.

  1. Turkey cassarole 
  2. Pizza 
  3. Shrimp stir fry :  shrimp , stir fry veggies, rice 
  4. Tacos 
  5. Pork Roast, sweet potatoes, green beans. 
  6. Pork roast, bread dressing , peas and carrots. 
  7. Salmon patties oven fries, stuffed tomatoes 

Meal plans week of th 4th of December

Meal plans for week of December 4 - 10th

  • Nutty chicken strips, oven baked fries, veggie sticks - Movie night 
  • Pizza
  • Ribs, pasta salad, rolls 
  • Minestroni with chicken , rolls 
  • Salmon patties, seasoned potato wedges, peas and carrots 
  • Beef stew with potatoes, carrots, celery - rolls 
  • Out : children breakfast for dinner.   

2 meatless
1 beef
1 fish 
3 chicken or pork.   This week is heavier on the chicken because last week we had pork roast and planned overs .


  1. Nutty chicken strips are a Taste of Home recipe.   Oven fries are cut, soaked in vinegar water and dried before seasoning with olive oil and garlic pepper and baked in the convection  oven.   split chicken breast is on sale this week at FM. 
  2. Pizza with the deals I got on cheese is still about a dollar a pizza . 
  3. Ribs are from a bulk package on sale.  Pasta salad is from bulk purchases in the summer -like .75 .
  4. Minestrone is from Taste of Home.  Add cube cooked chicken.  Serve with real parm an bra.   Peasant Bread is .25 a loaf and easy to make. No kneading, no second rise.   
  5. Salmon patties from canned salmon (costco-3.00 off a ‘case” . 
  6. Beef stew is from the roast bought for 2.40 a lb at Alberways this week.  (2.99 less 20 percent coupon) 
  7. Parents out....children:  breakfast for dinner.    

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Fred Meyer Sunday ad

Sunday ad....

Roast sale:  bogo : when they don't give prices , it’s difficult to tell if it’s a bargain or not.

Blackberries or raspberries 2/3

Apples 1.49

Milk 1.79

Ritz 3/5

Mix or Match - must buy 5ea at .99
Cream cheese
18 count eggs
Sugar 4 lbs
Cake mix
Peanut butter

Friday, December 1, 2017

Insta pot frozen pork roast

As usual, we forgot to take the pork roast out of the freezer.   Too. Many appointments these days.    LOL . 

I put a cup of water in the Insta Pot , added a few drops of apple cider vinegar, and a chopped apple.   I put my 1.5 lb roast on the rack and cooked it on meat for 40 minutes.   After 40 minutes, it wasnt done yet.  So, I put it on a rack in the oven and baked it 15 minutes on 375.  That finished it off.   I think that 45 minutes in the insta pot would have finished it, but this way we got the outside crispy.   

We should have a roast dinner (two of us ) and enough for a bbq pork sandwich Saturday. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thursday notes

Just a few notes on bargains found this week.   This was the last week that Alberways  has a twenty percent off basket coupon.   We got them in the mail.   This is the first week that it made sense to use it.   If the prices are too high, it doesn’t make sense to use the coupon.  You need to look at the bottom line price to see if it is a RBP.   I got roast that I made stew meat and hamburger out of for 2.40 a lb.  it was really lean : probably 2 per cent fat.   When you grind your own, you can control the fat.   Sirloin is one of the least fat cuts there is.   We also got coffee for 4.80 cents a ‘three pound ‘ can.
Sour cream for 1.00 as well as cottage cheese.   Eggs were .78 a dozen.   Apples were 1.18 a lb.  
Conversly, a cake mix was 1.79. I did t buy it.  I paid .79 for the same cake mix a few weeks ago.  

Buying food just as you need it at full price is one of the worst mistakes you can make if you want to keep your food budget down.  The difference between finding the RBP and using all the tools you have at your disposal ( ibotta, coupons, basket coupons, stacking coupons, checking the scratch and dent shelves) makes your grocery bill drastically different.   We operate on about 40 percent of the USDA. Stats for poor people.   We eat normal food.   The last 3 nights , we had a turkey casserole with the last of the Thanksgiving  turkey , pizza, and shrimp stir fry with vegetables, shrimp, and rice.  

Organic, Hunts brand, diced tomatoes 🍅 are .50 at the dollar tree.   I found them at the same price at Grocery Outlet.   We have used them, they are fine and have a far out pull date.   Organic tomatoes are more than twice that price.   We use diced tomatoes for everything.   If you need them to be more the consistency of tomato sauce, just drain them , save the ‘water” for soup stock (freeze) and put the pulp through the food processor, blender, or ricer.  

Simplify your food.  By picking a basic cut of meat and buying it in bulk , you save a lot of time and money.   Pick cuts that are versatile.  The same concept works for tomato’s and basic veggies.  
Less means more.  

The food prices this week were beyond expensive.   Five dollar a pound for cheese and they ride to get you to believe that was 2.00 less than regular price.   I had just paid .99 for 8 ounces.   1.98 is a far cry from 7.00.   At a dollar for 8 ounces, you don't buy just what you need for the week.   You can freeze cheese.   When you consider that you are getting your food at at least 50 percent off, you can justify buying a 139.00 freezer at costco.   I had an extra refrigerator in my small 2 bedroom apartment.   I also used an ottoman to store extra canned goods.   My 4yo kept busy while i cooked dinner looking for the green beans !  

This is the time to stock the foods that are traditional for the holidays.   They will probably never bee cheaper.   Things like cream of mushroom soup, cream cheese, green beans, were the thing to buy in bulk for thanksgiving and beyond.   Baking supplies are the thing to look for in thee coming weeks.  Anything that can be frozen or is shelf stable with a good shelf life should be bought in enough quantity to last you at least six months.  

Anything that you use on a regular basis that you can purchase for a dollar or more less, or at least 50 percent off a realistic base price is a good thing to buy in bulk.  

Think of it this way.   I was getting 2/10 of a percent on my retirement CD at Chase and I was paying  for the privilege of having it.   Nowhere that I know of can you get 50 percent on your money.   At least not somewhere that is safe and legal.  LOL.  An added bonus is that you have the  luxury of always having food in the house.  

Studies have shown that the poor people have more stress during their lives just getting the necessities of living and it contributes to their life expectancy.   Always having food in the cupboards, reduces that stress.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Making best use of the Safeways basket coupon .

We have a basket coupon for the month of December.  Twenty percent off of fifty.   

Apples 1.47 
Eggs 98
Milk 1.77

Bacon 2.99 lb 

Sirloin roast (hamburger ) 2.99 lb 
Sour cream/ cottage cheese 1.25

I plan to get what I can and fill in to 50.00 with the roast.    At 2.99 less twenty percent , you are getting 10 percent hamburger for 2.39 a lb.    You stretch your meat dollar more with hamburger than you do with roast.    

The trick is to spend as close to 50.00 as possible to get the most bang for your buck.    

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Chain store ads

Not much here.    Note Safeways has a 20 percent coupon that they sent out for sales of 50.00/


Milk 1.79
Honeycrisp apples 1.47
Eggs .98@@
Top round or sirloin tip roast 2.99 ( makes for good ground beef )


4 days only
Sirloin tip roast 2.99 ( makes for good ground beef )

Buy 4, save 4

Johnsonville breakfast sausage 1.99
Brownies mix 1.49
Cream cheese 1.49 $$
Kleenex 160 count .99
NOTE: orowheat bread is at the dollar tree with coupon for .45

QFC regular
Berries 2/4
Avacados 1.00
Pie 3.99
Ritz 2/4
Mangos 1.00
Pars .99

Bullet list : Easy steps

Groceries on the cheap is not a one day process.   It takes time and a commitment.   The good news is that any one thing that you do will help you get to your goal—whatever that goal is.  

  • The easiest change you can make is to go over the ads and mark things that are a good buy—the ones that are healthy and are ingredients for a meal.   Pay special attention to any stock up items that are an extra special price.   This week, I found kroger cheese for .99 an 8 ounce package.   The same Kroger cheese was on a buy 4 , save 4 for 2.50.(the net price).  That’s the same as getting 2.5 lbs of cheese instead of 1 lb of cheese.    Cheese is a basic in our house.  There is a lot you can do with cheese and its a good source of protein and calcium.   
  • Installing a good basic cookbook to your computer or tablet helps too.   Betty Crocker has basic recipes and a search engine that allows you to put in an ingredient that you need to us up and receipts appear...LOL. They also send you a calander every year if you ask for it and occasionally have coupons.  Many times I adapt recipes to include scratch instead of prepackaged items, but the basis is there.   Not all their recipes start with a mix.   
  • When a muffin mix calls for yogurt, I have been known to substitute sour cream without a problem.   
  • Often times, when you hear about recipe from Taste of Home, you can google it and the words taste of home and you can print it off the computer.   Taste of Home magazines and books are a good resource for home made recipies.   They are discounted at Winco and sometimes I find them at the Goodwill for .50.   I read them, download the recipes I might want to keep, an give the magazine back to the Goodwill to sell again.  A win, win situation.   
  • If your family eats oatmeal, the box of oatmeal (10 lbs) is around 8.00 at costco. It makes a serving of oatmeal around .08 and takes 1.5 minutes in the microwave.   A serving of the regular oatmeal has FOUR times the nutrition as the little packets that are at least .10.   
  • Watch your brands.   Some brands on the BUYXX, SAVEXX sales are not good quality.   If your family won’t eat something, its not a bargain.   Nothing is a bargain if you are feeding it to the garbage disposal.   Ditto Organic foods that spoil before you can use them.   I bought ten pounds of organic carrots one time at costco.   It was the second day when I discovered they were rotting.   I should have taken them back , but I set out and blanched and froze the ten pounds.   If you spend a little time planning a buyxx, savexx sale, you can clean up.   Buy matching coupons with the sale, I have saved as much as 78 percent, especially when there is a basket coupon running at the same time.   
  • Eating a no meat dinner once or twice a week saves money.   
  • Learning one scratch item a month makes a lot of difference.   The difference between a take and bake pizza can be 10.00 or 1.00.   And the time is probably no more than driving to the store to pick it up or making it.   Our 5yo can make it with supervision .   Its not hard.   Ditto something like peasant bread.  A loaf of sourdough costs 3.00 here at the lowest price I can find.   A loaf of peasant bread takes about 10 minutes if you are slow (hands on time ) an d costs under a quarter.   No preservatives.   Muffins are another item that takes almost no time, but saves a bundle.   Muffins can cost up to a dollar each.   
  • Rotisserie chicken is a rip off......just saying....   another 10 minutes hands on time.   

Monday, November 27, 2017

This weeks haul 32.00

This week , we took inventory and bought just what I could fill in with that was a good price.

25 lb flour
20 lbs rice

2.5 lbs of cheese
5 lbs butter

2 doz eggs.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Kitchen Management

Kitchen management along with meal plans just takes a few minutes, but saves a lot of time and stress come dinnertime.   Also incorporated is rotating chores that keep the kitchen clean.

  1. Wash and disinfect countertops, sinks, and drains.  
  2. Wash kitchen floor. 
  3. Wash refrigerator and ‘dump anything dead” and note things that need to be used up soon. 
  4. First of the month:   Put the stove vent screen through the dishwasher.   
  5. Wash potatoes and carrots with vinegar water 
  6. Cut stir fry veggies 
  7. Make rolls for sliders. 
  8. Straighten pantry
  9. Wax north side cabinets. 

Meal plans for week of 11/27/17

Meal plans are a necessary tool to efficiently put dinner on the table.  The holiday time can be stressful with extra projects added to our already full lives.   Making double batches of dinner and freezing 1/2 is a good way to reduce some of the stress.   Having a few ‘dinners on the shelf” is another.   Teaching a teen or preteen how to cook a meal is a good thing.  It gives them confidence and teaches tem a life skill that apparently they are not getting at school.  

Note:  when making meal plans, take an inventory of the food you already have, especially the perishables.    If you do rotation protein, you already know what is in your freeezer.    This weeks rotation. Protein would be the 87 cent a pound chicken at FM.  

Meal Plans

  • Turkey Cassarole , peas and carrots 
  • Pizza
  • Pork Roast, potatoes, carrots, celery, rolls 
  • Tourtieres (meat pie) 
  • Shrimp stir fry 
  • BBQ Pork sliders, oven fries, salad 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

  1. Turkey leftover from Thanksgiving 
  2. Pizza is a staple, a cheese pizza cost less than 1.04 considering I got cheese for as low as 1.86 an 2.00 a lb lately. 
  3. Pork roast is from a whole pork loin.  It is easy to butcher, an cuts the cost dramatically.   
  4. Pork slides are planned overs from the roast
  5. Shrimp stir fry.   Rice 
  6. Breakfast for dinner.
  7. Tourtieres ( Meat pie) make double batch - a taste of home recipe.   Google it. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Fred Meyer SUNDAY ad

This is a prime expample why I preach KNOW YOUR PRICES.  

FM has a buy four, save 4, promotion.   Most of it is either cheap quality, junk food, or over priced even with the discount.   I found :

Tide: 4.99 - probably coupons out there 
Ghirardelli brownie mix 1.49. ——just say YUMM
Johnsonville bratts 1.99
Tillamook ice cream 2.99

Kroger cheese is 2.49-that makes it 5.00 a lb.   I just got it for 1.98 a pound at qfc.   It was a friday coupon.   There is also a coupon for sunday for 2.00 butter.  

Orowheat bread is 2.50....It is a dollar at the dollar store and there is a .55 coupon out three.  Makes it .45 centts.   That’s a 2.05 savings.  

Now, to the good stuff.......

Foster Farms chicken parts or whole chicken .87 a lb 
Hamburger, 10 percent fat....3.99 with an added note that it is 10 on Tuesday for seniors with the in ad coupon .   Nets 3.60 a lb. 

Avacados .77
Berries 2/5
Pears .99
Cucumbers. 2/1 

Note: canned tomatoes have shrunk to 14.5 ounce cans.   They are a dollar.   I have been getting tomatoes for as low as.39 cents.   That’s a big thing.

Friday, November 24, 2017


The best part of Thanksgiving besides friends and family is the leftovers.  

I did see a lady that added chicken broth and leftover vegetables to leftover mashed potatoes and called it soup.  

Just about anything you can do with chicken , you can do with turkey.  

Turkey and noodles comes to mind.
How about a turkey and cheese quesadilla.

Turkey in a Cobb salad.

Pesto chicken (turkey) Tacos

Wild rice chicken dinner.  

Crustless chicken  quiche (taste of home) -eggs, whipping cream, chicken , cheese , bacon

Just warming a plate of leftovers is good too.  I gauged pretty close this year and we dont have a lot of leftovers.   Maybe one meal.   I bought a turkey breast because there were.only three adults and a child eating meat.  

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving....

Last night I finished making sweet dinner rolls.   The easiest recipe I could find.   Thanksgiving is for all to enjoy.....even the cook.......

I found a recipe for rolls that start in the bread machine and you finish them off by hand.    

The cranberry sauce is scratch, but it was only cranberries, water, honey and orange peel.   Granddaughter helped by stirring and licking the honey measuring cup.   LOL

I will make pumpkin pies this morning.   

Clean up the house is to be a family affair.   Uncle is working.   

My goal is to make this a relaxing holiday.   No stress.     

Basics: Part 10 : review

The main mantra of Groceries on the cheap is to never pay full price for your groceries.  Obviously, paying 1/2 price affords you the luxury of having a built stock for emergencies.   It’s no secret that bleep happens to us all.   Being prepared is just a good thing. Paying half price for your food makes that happen without breaking the smallest of budgets.

Basically, there are small steps to take to make this happen.  One step at a time, inch by inch, this can happen even with the smallest of budgets.   The USDA has stats on how much it should cost for a variety of sizes of families and for a variety of budgets.  Google : USDA cost of food at home. 
Be sure to read the notes , there is a formula for additional monies for smaller families.   

  • Find the TWO stores that are cheaper and shop the cheapest prices on the things you need.  This is a biggie.   Its the easiest way to cut your food budget.   No one store has the best prices on everything.   Shopping two stores gives you the best chance of good produce, and a double chance of getting the lowest prices on the other things you need. 
  • 1/2 the average grocery cart is filled with drinks and snack foods.   Avoiding the snack food an pop etc will drastically lower your food bill and make you more healthy at the same time. 
  • Simplify your choice of protein.  Pick cuts of meats that you can buy for a RBP of about two dollars a pound.   Beef and salmon are an exception.   Buying cuts of meat that are versatile will make buying easier and buying them in bulk on a rotation basis will make them cheaper.   Buy as much as you will use in a month to six weeks.   Portion control it before you freeze it.  Cook ground meats and portion control them.   Putting the portion controlled packets in a gallon freezer bag will make retrieving more efficient.   It will also make it easy to see when you need to look for a sale more efficient.  Stores put a so called loss leader on the front page of their ad frequently.   
  • My mother used to say :  some people could have a bargain get up and bite them in thee butt, and they wouldn’t see it.  Don’t be that person.   Know the RBP of the things you buy on a regular basis. When they go on sale at that price, buy:  a) as much as you can (store limits), b) as much as you can afford , or c) as much as you need to meet your self imposed stock limit.   Whichever comes first.  Six weeks works for a lot of families.   If the item is a popular staple, they usually go on sale with that frequency.   If you use diced tomatoes, for example, at a rate of 4 cans a week, you need to keep 24 cans.   That’s a lot easier to do if you pay 39 or 49 cents a can instead of .68 to 1.00.   
  • Look for dairy sale and buy a months worth.  Check pull dates and check the verbage on reading them.   A lot of times, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt and eggs will be out a month.   Dairy usually goes on sale at least once a month. Cheaper at costco if you use that much quanity.   
  • Buy veggies in season at the lowest price.   
  • Portion control.   If you don’t put the entire roast on the table , you won’t eat the entire roast o the table.    America has an obesity problem....all I’m saying. 
  • Learn to scratch cook efficiently.   If you can, get the kitchen tools to help you.  A insta pot, blender or food processer, and kitchen aid mixer are all good tools.   There are all kinds of recipes on the internet that call for less than five ingredients.   Avoid buying too much ready made food.   One of the biggest mistakes you can make is buying a rotisserie chicken.   Chickens are often .88 a lb.   Check out the recipe for “easiest chicken ever” on the blog.   When you buy ready made mixes etc. you are paying for someone elses labor and many times it is just as easy to make the thing from scratch.   

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Basics : part 9: Retailers dirty little secrets.

Retailers (stores) have studied our shopping habits.   They have used what they found to their benefit to get us to spend more.   Knowing their dirty little secrets will enable you to not fall into their traps.
We have all heard the trick of to gong to the store hungry.   Not going with children or mates that would be likely to sneer garbage into the cart is a help also.

  1. It is no accident that there are drinks and chips and fancy crackers and bakery items when you first walk into a store.  The object is to tempt you and get you to start putting things into the cart.   
  2. It is also no accident that carts are getting bigger and bigger..  It is a natural tendency to fill your basket.   
  3. 1/2 the average grocery cart is made up of drinks and junk food.   Avoiding that statistic will save you a lot of money.   Set a separate budget for drinks and junk food.  When you see a separate ticket for them, you will spend less.  Considering that pop and chips are bad for a diet and your health, its a good thing. 
  4. Not all the items on an end cap is a special buy.   Know your prices 
  5. Have a good idea of what you are going to the store for.   Idly throwing things in the cart will bump up your bill. I don't have  a list, but I have a clear idea of the things I need.   Leaving it open to dairy, veggies and fruit, and our rotation protein is enough.  Also, I only buy things that are a good buy.   If it isn’t close to my target price, we don't buy it.   My short inventory of perishable list on our meal plan form tells me what we have to purchase.
  6. Manufacturers pay a slotting fee to the stores.   Basically they rent the desirable shelf space—the eye level ones.   Looking up and down will help you find the cheapest prices.
  7. The store brand is usually cheaper than the name brand.   Often times, it is the same product.   Those stores don't have factories.   They buy the merchandise and have the factories put a store label on them. 
  8. The music playing is to keep you in the store.  The longer you spend in a store, the more you are going to buy. Get in and get out.  
  9. The buy 10 , save 5 type sales are to get you to buy in bulk.  Often times there are a lot of junk food on their mix an match list.   Avoid the junk.   If there are shelf stable things that are at a RBP, try to find a coupon to go with them.   You can clean up if you study the list a bit.   Sometimes its just a “ We’ll pass event.”  If you can use a buy 10, save 5 type sale, coupons, and a basket coupon at the same time, you can clean up.  
  10. Many times 10 for 10 type verb-age doesn’t mean you have to buy 10. 
  11. Do the math.   Pricing smaller packages can be a bargain ....or NOT.   Check the package size.  Some of that small package cheese is 6 or 8 dollars a pound.   Buying a five pound bag at costco or on sale with coupons or not is usually a better buy.   Grated cheese freezes well.   
  12. Small packets of microwave oatmeal are not a bargain.   Even at a dollar, they are 10 cents a packet.   It takes four packets to equal 1 serving of bulk oatmeal.   A serving of bulk oatmeal is .08 an takes no more time.   Use a larger bowl than necessary.   Put 1 cup water, 1/ 2 cup oatmeal, and cook it for 1.5 minutes.   We like some cinnamon sugar and a banana or some raisins.  
  13. Retailers sell convenience at a high price.  Many things can be efficiently replicated with little hand on time and a whole lot less money.   Rotisserie chicken can cost 5.50 a lb for the meat you are going to eat.   A recent article states there are nasty preservatives in the as well.   Check out “easiest chicken ever” on the blog.   Especially if you just want cooked chicken for soup or a casserole or burrito.   

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Basics: part 8: are we eating too much?

Basics: Part 8 : Are we eating too much?

Portion control is important for several reasons, namely maintaining a good body weight and keeping a budget.    This information is from the best source on the internet I could find,  nothing can take the place of an consultation of your own nutritionist.    These are basic guidelines and should be taken as such.  I'm am not a nutritionist and you have to make your own decisions  regarding your nutrition. 

Dairy : 2-3 servings a day ( some of this doubles for protein )
A serving of dairy is
8 ounces of milk for an adult, six for  a child
1cup  yogurt
2 cups of cottage  cheese
1/2 cup  non fat milk
1 cup frozen yogurt

Vegetables - 5 servings a day

The basic guideline are for .08 grams per kilograms of weight.   In American language, that's .65 grams per pound of body weight.
Average is 56-91 grams for a male, depending in activity levels.
Average for a woman is 46-75 grams depending on activity level.   The 75 is if you are an athlete or do heavy manual labor at work. 

Animal protein provides all essential amino acids for the right ratio for us to make full use of them.    This only makes sense because animal fossils are like our own.   

In obese men, protein at 25 percent of total calories makes you feel full and helps you to loose weight.

Beef has 7 grams per ounce of protein
Chicken has 21 grams in three ounces of cooked chicken breast
Chicken thighs have 10 grams in a average thigh, 
Eggs have 6 grams - and good fat
Yogurt has 5 grams per serving average. . Greek yogurt has more.   Check the label.   
Note  bread and peanut butter.  - 15 grams of protein

My daughters nutritionalist when she was a toddler said not to give her juices.   She was better off eating the fruit.  Fruit juice from concentrate has more sugar than pop. 

Sugar, beer, and too much meat will cause your kidneys to go bad a I just read that and have some doctors info to assume it is true. 

It goes without saying, if you let your kid fill up on snack garbage, they won't have room for good food, especially if they are picky or light eaters. 

Personally, we stick to three to four ounces per person for meat for a dinner,   By the time we add breakfast, dairy, and lunch, we have more than enough to meet the RDA for seniors.   Obviously, a teen age boy in sports needs more calories and more meat,   They don't , however, need to eat a whole 2 pound roast.    Lol. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Kitchen Managment

Kitchen management is a tool to save time and stress at the dinner hour and deep clean the kitchen a little at a time.  

Recap of meals :

  1. Hamburger soup, bread 
  2. Pizza
  3. Pork stew rolls : cranberry sauce, rolls for tomorrow 
  4. Thankgiving:  turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans, relish tray , cranberry sauce , salad 
  5. Salmon and rice with peas 
  6. Leftovers 
  7. Breakfast for dinner 
Things to do : 

  • Make soup and bread
  • Wash potatoes and carrots 
  • Put thanksgiving serving dishes through the dishwasher. 
  • Gather special ingredients on tray. 
  • Make list and timeline for thanksgiving 
  • Wash kitchen floor 
  • Clean and disinfect counters, sinks, and drains.   
  • Wax east side cabinets.   
  • Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead. 
  • Gather recipes. 
  • Fill the flour and rice canisters/ bucket 
  • Breathe.