Saturday, May 27, 2017

Meal plans - week of May 29 - total cost 18.42

I'm meal planning and taking you along to see my mindset.    The weather here is warm for a few days and then we have cooler  and rain.  Seattle and rain!   LOL.

I have three packages  of hot dogs.  They have far enough expiration dates that we can use them within the next few weeks.   We only eat hot dogs in the summer and only around holidays that trigger the grocers putting them on sale.  
Part of what we eat is based on what was on sale that week;  Part is based on our key ingredients that I try to keep on hand.  

Grocery shopping based on sales and coupons to get the lowest possible price and fill in what your pantry needs leaves you pretty much free to choose any meals you want within dietary and budget guidelines.


  • Pizza - a necessary staple here.  It's cheap.  I make crust for less than a quarter,   Add a fifth of a jar if pizza sauce bought at the DT. ( freeze the rest in ice cube trays ) add cheese - target price close to two dollars a pound and pepperoni that is.50 for a package  with a coupon at the DT.   Total cost 1.20   It also might get any leftover bits hanging around the fridge,   Black olives scarfed from a cassarole, the ends of the sausage or hamburger bag.    Etc 
  • Breakfast 4 dinner.  Another easy dinner that keeps a low profile so we can have a more expensive meal another day.   Eggs are .78 a dozen this week.   I'll dry some, but we still have plenty.   I found a recipe for a pancake mix that mis easy and inexpensive.    Add that package if sausage that keeps falling out of the freezer on my toe, and some scrambled  eggs and berries and we should be set.   .36 for eggs, .21 pancakes , 1.88 berries. Sausage 1.00 total 3.34
  • Pork tenderloin roast , smashed potatoes. Zucchini with some tomato and red pepper  flakes.  I have. A Pork tenderloin ( not a loin ) in the freezer that I got for five dollars.   Zucchini is a dollar a pound at FM this week.   1/2 roast 2.50, potatoes .32, zucchini 1.00 Tomato paste  .16 total 3.98 
  • Tomato soup. cheese biscuits.  2.50 - finish the case of tomato soup.   ( organic roasted red pepper and tomato -Costco at 2.00 each in a case. 
  • Tacos. Spanish rice.   Taco kit was a dollar at Grocery Outlet.   Hamburger    - $1.68  lettuce, tomato, cheese and - cup of rice.  Total 3.58 
  • Tuna casserole uses tuna 1.00, noodles .50, cream soup base, peas .50 total 2.00 dry bread crumbs and a Tbs of parm is too small to count. 
  • Vegetable bean soup , bread sticks.   Bread sticks .15 , soup 1.67 total 1.82 
  • Total 18.42 for 7 days 
How? 
  • Buy when things are on real sale.
  • Use coupons when you can for real food 
  • Buy bulk foods that you use a lot, 
  • Make scratch with efficient recipes.   
  • Buy bulk meat and butcher it yourself 
  • Eat vegetarian a couple of nights a week. 
  • Soup and bread is a good thing. 
  • Plan your meals, but be flexible
  • Remake leftovers .  Leftovers don't have to loom the same as the first time around.   
.

Winco and big lots

Big lots 

Animal crackers (6) 2.00
Ice cream cookies 1.00
Garlic 1.25 


Winco 
When it's hot, the meal plans go out the window and we have a burger, hotdog, or some kind of a sandwich and salads.  Beats the heat in a east faced kitchen. 

Chips 1.98
Salmon burgers 2.48
Buns .78
Bananas .68
Grill seasoning .10
Meatballs 1.98
Dry milk 3.48
Potato salad 2.98 
Lettuce .98
Cucumbers.48
Grapes 3.44
Total 20.10 


Fred Meyer Sunday ad


Sunday and Monday ONLY

Cherries 2.88
Tillamook ice cream 2/5


Regular ad
Zucchini .99
Grapes .99
Cantaloupe 2/4
Eggs .78
Yoplait - 10/5$$
Strawberries 2/5

*******++++
Rotation bulk meat for the week would be b
Boneless 1/2 loin pork roast is 1.69
*****+

Friday, May 26, 2017

QFC haul(s)

QFC haul

Bread 1.25,
Chips-ritz Free

Saved 4.63

Strawberries
Raspberries 1.88
2 doz eggs .78
Blueberry pie 1.99
Maple  extract 2.39 (. Markdown )


I will dehydrate eggs for future use--  I'm almost out of vanilla , so I thought I might stretch what I have by using maple flavor  when it mad sense.  

Total
14.05

Total per week so far this  quarter 54.70 .    Including buying bulk purchases.  




Thursday, May 25, 2017

Friday recipe - mix

Cream soup base,    Cream of xxx soup is running well  over a dollar on sale.    this is much cheaper and doesn't take much more time than opening a can and you aren't eating things you can't pronounce.

Pick amtome when you can get butter for 2.00.  You can't substitute fake or margarine for this, it doesn't work. Store in the fridge for 2-3 months or freeze.  I make small batches.   

White sauce mix there are several variations out there.   Some Use cornstarch.   

4 cups dry milk ( not instant ) 
1 cup flour 
2 sticks butter. 

Cut butter into the dry mixture.   You can use a pastry cutter or your mixer with the wisk attachment. 

Basic white sauce for,white,sauce, add cheese for Mac and cheese etc.   

2/3 cup mix 
1 cup water 

Cook until thick over medium heat stirring with wisk.   

Thick cream soup ( condensed) 
3/4 cup water 
1 tsp better than boullion 
1 cup mix.  

Stir until thick, cooking over medium high heat.   
Add seasonings of choice about a 1/2 tsp each 
Garlic powder 
Onion powder 
Parsley 
Salt and pepper 


Chocolate pudding 

1 cup mix 
1/2 cup sugar
3 T cocoa 
1 cups water 

Measure ingredients in order and wisk on medium heat until combined.   Turn heat up and bring to boil.   Boil about 20 SECONDS until thick,  cover and chill.  

I have a different version that is low sodium and low fat.   
Another day, another dollar.     



Thursday bullets - ten thing never to eat

Some of this is  from a registered dietitian, but I also have heard it from multiple sources including my dear mother.    LOL.   It's not good to fool Mother Nature and fake is  fake.     This is my opinion, based on my reading.   I'm not a doctor and you need to use your own judgement.
.
  1. Orange juice from concentrate has  more sugar than a soda.    
  2. Soda pop.     It's full of sugar and the fizz can leach the calcium from your bones, so they say. 
  3. Margarine and fake butter.   Hey, I really want to know why palm oil is supposedly cancer producing and terrible on Nutella, but it's ok in fake butter.     If you want to reduce the bad fat in your butter, try land of lakes butter with olive oil.   Olive oil is supposed to be for good cholesterol.   
  4. Fake sugar.   They are telling us that sugar is bad for you, but fake sugar is worse.    I guess moderation is the key. I've taken to not using sugar at all in my drinks.    
  5. Cheap whole wheat bread.   Not much different than cheap white bread.    Look at the nutrition label.    The more fiber it has, the better.    
  6. Soy milk.    I don't have a clue why, but that's what the nutritionists say. 
  7. Tilipa.   Dirty........that's all I can say. 
  8. Southern grown chicken.    Local is better.   There is more to it.    
  9. Individual packets of microwave oatmeal.    Cost more and have less nutrition.   
  10. Microwave popcorn.   It's not the corn, it's the stuff they put in it.   
  11. Bonus: cheap hot dogs.   There is a difference between Hebrew national and Nathan's vs the other brands.   Some hot dogs 🌭 have mystery ingredients.    There is also a faction out there that is against all processed meats.    We like them, so my answer is moderation. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Grocery outlet and dollar tree

Guess where we went!    LOL

Holiday time  is a good time to stock  picnic supplies.  Prices are about  as low as they get on picnic type fare.  

I got plastic trays for the deck table to make eating out there easier.   Wenwalk threw two rooms to get to the family room door, so it should make life easier carrying our plates.  

I also get a pound cake from DT.  I have strawberries and whip cream already,   We are having Texas stew for dinner,   It's in the slow cooker/ insta pot.  I brought the ingr Donets up to warm woth the sauté feature because so,emofmthem were frozen and then switched to slow cooker.  

Grocery outlet


  • Bluecheese 3.49
  • Wish bone  Italian dressing - good for marinade.   At pull date.25 
  • Lemon snack bars .99
  • Pudding mixes , chocolate caramel  3/1 
  • Tomato paste , hunts. Ind packets .99
  • Challenge butter 1.98
  • Nathan's franks 2/5 
  • Sliced Italian salami 199
  • Total 15.93  - saves 41.65 



Chain store ads

Just a note: some of the condiment and s'mores supplies are cheaper year   round at the dollar tree.  Beware of origins, but some are national brands. 

Alberways 

Five dollar Friday : Pork Tenderloin

Coupon 10 off 50.   I don't find that a good coupon becaise the other prices are so much higher that you aren't saving anything.  

Sweet baby rays BBQ.   .79 @@ if u have the coupon on last Sunday's paper it is cheaper  at FM. 
Hot dog buns 2/1.00@@
Tortilla chips 1.99@@

2 lbs Tillamook cheese brick 7.99-  not a bargain.  It's one of the misquotes that brick cheese is cheaper than grated.    

Sour cream 4/5 


QFC (Kroger ) 

Strawberries 188
Tomatoes .88
Tillamook 2 lb block 5.99 ( still too high ) 
Eggs .78
Butter 2/5 
Tillamook ice cream 2/6 
Hebrew national 2/6 

April-- this ones for you.    Corn 2/1.00


Note : Hebrew national is not my preferred hot dog only because they package them in numbers of one less hot dog than there are buns in a package.   It has nothing to do with the quality.  Another note of a dirty little secret.    Almost always , it doesn't pay  to get the hotdogs and the buns at the same store.   They will use one for a "loss leader " and make up the profit on the other.   




Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday book review

Taste of Home Meals in One Pan


It's always a time saver to cook meals on one pan because you have less things to watch and less pans to wash,   It's especially nice of it os a slow cooker meal that you can set and forget.   Threemcoirse or more meals are time consuming and not always the best if you have children  to watch as well.   I am a advocate of involving children in the dinner process.   Sunday breakfast 4 Dinner  can be a family affair.. even granddaughter can bitter the English muffins or toast.

This cookbook is a soft sided one that I got at a discount at Winco.    I have written for Taste of Home in the past.    I also have been published in Womans  Day.

The book is divided into chapters to include those of protein ,and cooking vessels with the added bonus of deserts.    Yum!  There are a variety of meals woth a variety of basic costs.  Some are more expensive than others, and some can be easily adapted without sacrificing the integrity of the meal.

It's one that you will refer to often to spark up a dull meal week.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday kitchen management

reminder of meal plan

Pizza
Breakfast 4 dinner
Texas stew
Stuffed pasta shells
Asparagus ( green beans ) Angel hair shrimp
Chicken enchaladas
Meditranian  Pork and orzo,


  • Buy green beans, hominy, check shrimp , tomatoes 
  • Texas stew : hamburger, hominy, corn - wash potatoes for slicing 
  • Stuffed pasta shells -ok.    Bought shells for 1.29 
  • Wash veggies 
  • Clean fridge 
  • Take inventory of meat drawer,   Disinfect drain boards and drains 
  • Make a desert 
  • Wash floor 
  • Wax north side of kitchen cupboards








Sunday, May 21, 2017

Grocery hauls

Grocery shopping / Sunday

Wheat bread.   1.45
Hot dog buns .79
Blue bunny ice cream 3.50  less .50 coupon
English cucumber .78
Strawberries 1.98
Green beans 2.98
Red grapes 148 a pound
Total 14.36


Fred Meyers

Chicken breast
Hebrew franks 3.00
Sweet baby rays sauce 100 les .33 cents .67 ( coupon)
Blueberries 299
Tomatoes .88
Total 16.77

Total 31.13


Costco Rebate Haul

Rebate hauls don't hit my total spent list becaise it is a return of money we already spent,  

Non food items are not listed on this list.  We bought soap thatnwas discounted, new pillows, and husband's  beer.  


  • Soy sauce 
  • Tortilla chips. 
  • Bananas 
  • Celery 



Meal plans -may 22

Meal  plans save time, effort, and money and a lot of stress.  

Focus....taste of home - Meals on one pan

1 beef
1 fish or shellfish
3 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian


  • Pizza 🍕- a favorite and basic pizza cost little more than a dollar.   A good way to use up bits of leftovers 
  • Breakfast 4 Dimner - another great way to feed family for less.    Eggs are still .10 or less.   
  • Texas stew.: a slow cooker meal with hamburger, hominy, corn , tomatoes, beans, etc.    - Taste of Home 
  • Stuffed pasta shells , broccoli. 
  • Asparagus and shrimp angelhair ( sub green beans ) 
  • Chicken enchaladas woth sour cream sauce.   
  • Mediterranean Pork and orzo 


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fred Meyer Sunday specials

It's  BBQ time.    Now would be the time to buy your YEARs worth of BBQ sauce.   For us, that's not a lot.    Baby Rays is 100 several places. We ncludimg fred Meyers and there ism buy 3, save a dollar coupon in Sunday's paper.   There is also a coupon  for .50 off of Blue Bunny  ice cream cones,    A good treat if you are in a diet or are counting carbs.  

Foster Farms split chicken breast .87 - stock  up rotation alert!
Blueberries 299
Tomatoes .88
Turkey bacon  2/5

Sour cream , cottage cheese, cream cheese 4/5
Hebrew national hot dogs 2/6


Notes : Hebrew national hot dogs as well as Nathan's have no excess animal parts in them.  
Now would be a good time to stock chicken breast for a rotation meat.  
Buying picnic type BBQ sauce, catsup. Mustard etc is a good time,  many times you can find condiments with coupons.really cheap.    Sweet baby rays has taken a price hike from last year so getting it for .67 is a good buy.  ( coupons) .  

They are also pushing s'mores .    I can almost always get Graham crackers and marshmallows at the  DT .   ( Dollar Tree) .  

Hot dog and hamburger buns are always under a dollar for Wincos brand,   The hamburger buns are smaller but suit you well if you are counting carbs or on a diet.  

Freddies wanted five dollars for good hamburger.  I can usually get it for 3.28 at Winco.




Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday remake of a recipe

Herb dip with veggies

Dip :

2 cups reduced fat sour cream
1/4 cup homemade ranch dressing mix
1 T onion flakes ( or dehydrated onions )
2 T dried  parsley

Place in bowl and stir.   Cover to store in refrigerator.

Serve with  carrots, celery, cucumbers, radishes.broccolli






Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thursday bullets -5 basic ingredients

Ten things that are food bargains


  1. Basic oatmeal.   Good old Quaker oatmeal in a bulk box (Costco) or a round carton.  Dover, nutrition.   Takes, I longer than a instant package and is more nutritious,   It takes like three packages of the instant stuff to have the same nutrition as one 1/2 cup portion of "real" oats.   1 cup water, 1/2 cup oats, 1.1/2 minutes in the microwave.    Use a bowl larger than you need,  somerimes  it tends to boil over.    Breakfast, cookies, breakfast cookies, banana bread 
  2. Carrots.   Plan old fashioned carrots.   Most of the time they are 1/2 the price of baby carrots and they use bleach to process the baby carrots.   
  3. Flour.   Bought in bulk it can be as low as .08 a cup.   If you price bisquick, cake mixes, bread, or pancake mixes, flour is a real bargain.    
  4. Eggs.   A powerhouse of protein for a few cents an egg.    Very versatile.   The RDA for protein is 6 ounces that include eggs,    
  5. Potatoes.   Another versatile ingredient that is soo much cheaper than the frozen counterparts.   Potato soup, clam chowder, baked potato bar, oven fries 🍟 (no trans fat) mashed potatoes.    

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wednesday chain store ads - May 17th

Alberways

Fresh whole chicken  .67 ( note this is not marked with origin.   )

Red seedless grapes .77


Five dollar Friday

Sweet baby rays BBQ 5/5
Ragu pasta sauce 4/5 $$$


QFC

Milk .99
Raspberries 2.99
Peppers .88
Sour cream or cottage cheese 2/5


About it.  



Fred Meyers haul

Fred Meyers haul.  

I'm still sitting at less than 45.00 a week this month.

Yogurt - .33 each less .10 coupon.   .23
Butter 1.99
Blueberries 4.99
Yogurt dipper .89 less .50 coupon .39
Eggs .79
Cucumbers 2/.99

Total 14.27

Tuesday musings.

I am bulk cooking three pounds of Jimmy Dean sausage.    While opening the chubs, I was reminded of what I paid of these sausages .  One was free, one was 2.25 purchased with a coupon, and one was full price ( a mistake ) and 5.79.   All were not out of date  and all were the same sized package,   That's a 5.79 difference in price spread.  A good reason to pay attention to prices and not just put the same thing in your cart at the same store every week.

That almost six dollars can buy another two meals if you continue  to look before you leap.

Consider this,  it's called the snowball effect.......only it is  much better  than that snowball the neighbor kid threw at  your picture window.  Lol

I got a free chub of sausage with a coupon,  That saved 5.79.   With that 5.79, I bought 4 ragu pasta sauces with coupons for .75 each.   Now I have 2.79 left.   I bought 4 Barilla pastas for .625 each with two coupons,  that's 2.50.  Now I have .29 left.   Now I have the start of

4 full packages of pasta
4 jars of pasta sauce - 4 pasta dinners plus a hold lit for a pizza
Enough sausage for part of a pizza
The rest of a package of sausage for a quiche for dinner
And the pizza sauce of o snag a little from the pasta dinner.

Or, the majority of five dinners.  

My argument for spending a total of ten minutes while I was waiting for my turn at the hair salon on couponing,    This week I got :


  •  Free pound of jimmy dean  sausage 
  • Free sack of frozen peas 
  • Free nacho chips 
  • Free dipper yogurt 
  • 4 jars of pasta sauce 3.00 
  • 4 packages of pasta 250 
  • 2 packages (1 lb) cheese 1.76      7.26
  • 10 lbs potatoes 1.78                     9.04


That is enough to go a long ways to feeding a weeks worth of dinners,    Granted, this works best when you find an equally good week and buy other foods to rotate. But, essentially you can :


  • Pull a few tablespoons of cooked and de-fatted sausage for the pizza.   Add cheese and pepperoni bought with coupons for .50 at the DT.   1/2 a package will do.   
  • Pull half of the remainder for nachos add cheese , the free chips and anything you have to augment - peppers, tomatoes, beans  ....
  • The rest can be for a quiche.   Add eggs, milk, cheese, and bisquick
  • 4 meals of pasta and sauce .   Add parm cheese? A salad? 
  • Baked potato bar- add a dollar can of chilli, cheese. 
  • Potato soup- add biscuits or corn bread, milk and carrots, celery.    
  • Scalloped potatoes, ham cubes, and peas .   Ham cubes are - little more than two dollars at Winco, or you might have some left from Easter.  


Basically, notmcounting bare basics like flour, yeas, milk spices etc.  you would need : 

Pepperoni .50 
Can of chilli 100
Can of beans .50 ( or a 1-1/2 pound of dry beans for 100 at the dollar store.   
Can of doced tomatoes .50 
Milk 149 this week at QFC 
Carrots 100
Ham cubes 2.39 
Celery 100
Salad 100 

Another 10 dollars. 

7 dinners for under twenty dollars. - the price of a take out pizza or two dinners from a meal service.   








Monday, May 15, 2017

Finding time to scratch cook.

Face it, there are only 24 hours in a day.    Running a home, raising kids, holding one or two jobs all takes time,   I had the opportunity to take management courses when I worked at a firmitre factory as a systems administrator,   It was helpful, I learned about tickler files. And priority lists. I iedna tocklermfile for years.  Then I got sick and just getting out of bed was a chore,   The tickler file kinda went by the wayside.

I did learn to schedule.   It's something you do when you work.    It's a way to avoid becoming overwhelmed.    I still make lists.   Somehow, when things are in paper, I'm not laying awake at night wondering if I've forgotten something or of there are going to be enough hours in a day to do what needs to be done.

Our mothers and grandmothers would spring clean,   I can remember my mother loading up a utility cart and move from room to room washing walls, washing curtains, and waxing floors.    O don't think anyone does that anymore.  We have full lives and most of us have a lot on our plates.   The concept of zone cleaning helps reolace the spring cleaning.  Take a day you have free time, or make free time to spend an hour on a particular room or section of the house,   Rotate big jobs and rotate rooms .  That way, eventually , every room gets a deep clean.

I digress.    The kitchen is the focus.   How to find time to scratch cook.....


  • Leave often used appliances out.  Having to drag out a heavy appliance slows you down,   
  • Find easy recipes.   Refrigerator bread, slow cooker meals. One pot suppers (less dishes ) 
  • Delicate - even small children can do some things.  And you know what they are doing while you are cooking,    My sisters and I were baking by the  time we were nine years old.   We also got the wonderful job of washing the dishes by hand and cleaning the kitchen.    LOL.  
  • Spend an hour once a week to Prep.   It's faster to wash all the vegetables at one to,e than it is to wash as you go.   Ditto chopping,   Set up the food processer or your machine of choice .  Saves time and clean up.    
  • Plan meals .  Make notes on a meal plan form when you need to defrost meat.    
  • Invest in appliances  that will hero you be efficient in the kitchen.  If money is tight, prioritize spending and look for them at estate sales and the goodwill.   Bread machines are all over the place and as low as five bucks.  Instead of buying a lot of appliances , consider an Insta   pot even if you have to save up for it.   It's a slow cooker, a rice cooker and a pressure cooker.    Easy, few steps, and a lot safer than the old fashioned kind.  
  • Make your own recipe book of a limited amount of meals that are efficient.   
  • Instead of buying for particular meals, develop a list of foods that you use in a regular basis, and cook from those ingredients.   Having basics in the house means there are no special trips to the store.   The less road blocks you give yourself, the more efficient cooking is.   Many boxed mixes are only a few ingredients if you leave out the added salt and preservatives you don't want for your family anyway. 








,  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

: cookbook review

I have long been a fan of Taste of Home.   I was a contributor in the past.    I was also on woman's day for my budget cooking.   I find that the Taste of Home recipes aren't trying to sell a particular product, they are family tested and sometimes are that recipe grandma  used to make that was sooo yummy.  

I bought The Complete Brunch Cookbook.  It is soft  bound and I bought it discounted  Winco.  We have long been a fan of Breakfast  4 Dinner.   It's a good way to s t r e t c h a dollar .  

Some of the recipes are definitely for a company brunch,   I say that because they are fancy and take a fair amount of work.    I am all about easy and quick. It goes back to sounding more time planning and shopping, and less time cooking, assuming you have a life and it's not being a master cook,

Some  recipes that did intrigue me are :

Sausage quiche squares
Bacon and egg pizza
Tater tot bake
Veggie packed  strada
Sausage from scratch - ( no garbage)
Denver scramble tostada
turkey sage sausage patties
Broccoli brunch skillet
black bean frittata
Chocolate pecan waffles
Banana oat pancakes
Bacon potato  waffles ( leftover mashed potatoes? )

Chocolate chip coffee cake
Chocolate banana muffins
Pumpkin pecan loaves
Ham and green onion biscuits
Orange cranberry bread


Total 108 recipes.  
Some Taste  of home recipes can be found on line.  

Making a new recipe mixes things up and makes a meal less boring,


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fred Meyers Sunday ad

Happy  Mother's Day!  

Eggs .79

FF boneless, skinless chicken breast 177

Tillamook cheese 5.00 a two pound brick - limit 2

Butter 2.00 - limit 2

BBQ sauce 100
Cake mix 100
Frozen treats 100

Hillshire Farms sausage 1.99
Cucumbers, radishes, green  onions 2/1.00



Meal plans -- not,

Because my   fingers were too fat....I posted meal plans early.   So I thought I would go back to the beginning and talk about why this blog got started on the first place and why I am the person to write it.    Actually, it was a suggestion from my children.  

Growing up, my mother was always careful with money,   She survived the Great Depression and watched her mother make meals from barely anything with great grace.    I'm guessing that had a part in her manta to avoid the Nasty F word -----full price.  

I continued to be thrifty when I moved out on my own: mostly because I was living on minimum wage.   When I was first married, my husband would love to go to my mothers house for Sunday dinner because we always had roast beef and I was cooking a lot of tuna noodle casserole because we were saving for a down payment on a house.

Then the  big /$:): storm happened,   It was the early seventies.   Nixon was in office.   There was a gas shortage,  we had double digit inflation and I found myself suddenly a single mother.   I had 5.12 in the savings account and 2 months of daycare and rent, car repair payment, and utilities to pay for.
-- far more bills than I had money.   I called welfare and was told that it didn't matter how much daycare cost, I earned too much money.  That would be 200 dollars twice a month.   I cried.   Then I put my big girl pants on and got creative.   It was lucky for me that I had stocked some food.  I had remembered how much crap I had got for buying a case of tuna fish because Safeway had put it on sale for .28.   It and liver was our lifesaver: besides the fact that we were enjoying my mothers Sunday dinners.  

Thrifting  our groceries as well as my clothes became a way of life.    I set out to read ( no Internet    those days ) everything I could read.   I tried everything I could.  We made bean sprouts. I tried to cook soy beans. How many ways can me spell rocks.  Lol.  I used tvp.   And I read every book the library on economy cooking.  

Seven years after I became a single mother, I remarried.    By now, feeding us on a budget was a habit.  I continued to read and now I could go to cooking school.    I went to every one I could find that we could afford.

I was published in Taste of Home and Woman's Day for my efforts.   At the time, I was feeding four of us including two teenagers, for fifty dollars a  week.

To five years ago, my daughter has taught low income children for years.  Some parents were lamenting that they couldn't make their SNAP stretch for the whole month.   My daughter said, oh, my mom m knows how to stretch food dollars.    I began to try to think of how I could help and knew  other people that wanted to stretch their food budget too.   My children helped me set up a blog almost five years ago.

Since then I have found more ways to cut corners.   I have grown .   I'm a firm believer that you should never stop learning and growing.   I hope I  have helped others grow too.   I would love to find a way to reach more people.

We spend 40-55 dollars a week for three of us and maintain a small stock.   The USDA statices for my husband and I are about twice that.   We eat well.

We have had the best of times, and the worst of times, all anyone can do is put your big girl pants on and go forward.    One time I said " life's a bitch and then you die.  ". My young son  told me " no, mom it's life's a beach. "   I have a very smart son.






Friday, May 12, 2017

Winco grocery haul - Thursday

First, my daughter tells me that cheese is 3.88 a brick at Safeways.  Pork sirloin  was a really good price at Winco.   Our pork "drawer" is full so I didn't partake,    

I did get 

2 mild green chilies cans to replenish  what we ate last week.    .58 
A bag of California fresh veggies 1.98
A bag of stir fry veggies 1.54
A package of Nathan's hot dogs.   2.88 
Hot dog buns .88
A jar of salsa with a coupon 1.03 
Coffee 5.48 

Total 14.83 

Friday recipe : pronto Mac n cheese

Barilla pasta was on sale at QFC for a dollar.    It's somewhere for a dollar often.   I had a .75 coupon on two boxes that made the boxes (6 servings) .625 each.   Cheese was .88 for 1/2 a pound At Safeways on Friday only and peas were free at QFC.     We made Mac and cheese and peas for dinner.  

Total cost : 1.88

Pronto Mac n cheese from the internet . 


Pour pasta into a large skillet. Add 3 cups of water and turn on high.   Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer.  Set timer for 10 minutes.   Stir frequently.   



After 10 minutes , stir in 1 cup of cream and 1/2 tsp dry mustard .  Bring back to a simmer and stir.   

Remove from heat and add 3/4 cup parmesean cheese, 1-1/2 cups grated cheese, and 2T parsley . 
Stir until combined. Salt and pepper to taste.    






Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thursday bullets : save money on meat

Saving money on meat bullets-- meat or protein is often  the most expensive component of a meal.  

  • Always buy your meat at the RBP.   
  •  Buy in bulk - at least enough for the days of the month that you will eat that meat
  •  Cut up your own meat and portion control it in meal sized packages.   
  •  Pork loin can be as low as 1.50 a pound,   (Costco wholesale) .  Cut up loin chops can be 3.99.  That's a remarkable savings.
  •  Split chicken breast can be as low as .87 , or as high as 1.69.   Cutting the ribs off a breast is easy and you can cook the bones for broth and pick the meat.   Even if you aren't good at de-boning, you still save the chicken pieces for tacos, enchaladas, cassaroles.    Chicken breast that is skinless and boneless can be as much as 8.00 a pound,    Chicken stock is often two dollars a quart.   This way it is virtually free and takes, no time  in the slow cooker.    
  •  Sausage is cheapest on a chub at Costco -Jimmy Dean.   In,was, you have a sale and a coupon.   Safeway had it for a net of 2.25'a pound with coupons.   
  •  Good hamburger with low fat is the best for your health,    The best price I have found is 3.28 at Winco.   You can de-fat it and reduce the fat as much as 17 percent.  Portion control.   




Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Wednesday chain ads

ednesdays chain ads, Alberways and QFC.  

Alberways
Shrimp 4.77 a lb buy 2 lbs.
Lucerne cheese 3.88
Eggs .98@@
Salsa 2/4.   24 ounces



QFC

Milk 4/5
Tillamook ice cream 2/6
Berries 1.88 black, blue, rasp.    
Green beans .99
Tomatoes .99
Strawberries 2.99

About it.  

Eggs were 1.19 atmFM
Berries were 1.50 at GM, not black berries.  




Meal plans for week of May 15

meal plans for week of may 15 based on taste of home brunch cookbook and dining in a dime ideas :l
Dining on a dime  
https://yboutu.be/x3jZP6nnkJA
Quick notes :   Meal plans are basicly a protein, a starch, and a vegetable or two.   Corn, carrots, and squash are starches.  I learned that from the nutritionist when I went to diabetes school.  
Balance color and textures.  


  1. vegetable  bean soup , artisan bread or biscuits. 
  2. Pizza , green salad 
  3. Marinated pork chops, peas, biscuits 
  4. Bean and beef enchaladas, lettuce and tomato 
  5. Homemade chicken nuggets, oven tries, fruit salad 
  6. Shrimp stir fry , rice 
  7. Breakfast 4 dinner : sausage quiche 


Tuesday - how to meal plan and why

Meal planning...why bother.?  

Not  planing your meals can make you plan for disaster.    Running to the store for that  one thing mid week that you forgot exposes you to all the stimulation they retailers want to get you to buy more.   It is also more gas, more time, and usually more money than if you got that thing on sale.  

It's my personal opinion that planning for a month is to extreme.   It might work for some people. But our  planning is constantly adapting for foods that need to be used up or something that I found that was a really really good sale. It's that adapting that saves money.   Weekly plans work better for is,  I got a dry erase magnetic board for the fridge.   It works.   I also have a form that I designed in excel.    It has the days of the week on blocks, my personal matrix in the "extra" block. And two columns: one for a lost of basics we always have on hand and one for things we need to purchase to fill in the meals.

We use a matrix based on proteins.  This gives us a variety of meals and assures everyone gets some of what they like to eat.  It took me a while to come to the conclusion that you can't please  everyone all of the time , but you can please everyone some of the time.   If the meal isn't their favorite, their favorite will come in rotation.   The basic protein, starch and fruit or veggie meal matrix keeps us balanced.

Our matrix is :

  • 1 beef 
  • 3 chicken or Pork
  • 1 fish or shellfish 
  • 2 vegetarian 
Others have a different matrix, say maybe one based on themes, or tuoes of food like Mexican, Chinese, etc.   
Having a outline helps make meal planning fast and easy.   Having a list of entrees that your family likes and that are easy to prepare clinches the deal.  We, like many families have a couple of basic "winners" that we eat every week.  They are open ended so it possibilities are endless.   Those are pizza and breakfast 4 dinner.   Both are very inexpensive meals.   Scratch pizza can be as low as 1.09 a pizza .   Eggs these days are a dollar a dozen.    Having a few really inexpensive meals affords you the luxury of a meal or two that is more of a splurge and still effectively averaging five dollars a meal for the proverbial family of four.  

Having a binder of recipes and forms organized is a great help too.   If you are drawing a blank, it's a good thing to have.   

A plan and recipes that are easy and inexpensive and clean up is minimal is key in keeping the pizza delivery gremilins away.   A delivered pizza can cost twenty dollars.   A handmade one can cost 1.09 .   Scratch lizzamcrust cossts .17 - .25 depending on your cost of flour.   I just purchased pepperoni for .50 a package.    With two dollar a pound cheese and a part of a pizza sauce jar from the DT, a pizza can be 1.12.

Note : groceries on the cheap is a different way to buy groceries.  The emphasis is on replenishing what you have used rather than buying just what you need for a particular week.   This allows you to only buy what's a RBP and means you pay 1/2 price for almost all your food.   

If you spend more time planning your shopping trips ( no impulse  buying ) and making meal plans, and less tome cooking, your budget will be better off.   We spend 1/2 of the amount the USDA estimates oirmfood should cost.  That figure osmcost of food at home: part of our weekly amount is stocking food for future meals.    That figure is 55.00 a week so far this year.   The average family of four can cost as much as 1213.00 a month,   At 75.00 00 a week, that is 315.00.   That's a difference of 898.00 a month or 10.776.00 a year.    






Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday , May 8th kitchen management.

Note: no one expects you to do my kitchen management, it's just an example of the thought process.  Doing some up front work for an hour or so makes mealtime a lot less stressful.



  1. Wash the stove vent  filter ,   ( dishwasher ) indonthis thenfirst ofmthe month as recommended by the installer of the stove.   
  2. Wash potatoes, carrots, celery and peppers in vinegar water and dry,   Put   potatoes in a colander.   
  3. Cook bacon , drain and crumble 
  4. Make pizza dough,   Place in fridge in a container with a lid . 
  5. Make note on the day before having chicken nuggets to thaw the chicken breast.  
  6. Shred parm cheese for the speghetti and meatballs and the chicken nuggets. 
  7. Chop  vegetables for stir fry,   
  8. Clean fridge and reorganize shelves.   
  9. Straighten pantry,  
  10. Wash kitchen floor and disinfect countertops and sinks including drains.   







Sunday, May 7, 2017

Meal plans for week of may 15

meals for week of may 15 with notes


  1. Vegetable soup : beans, diced tomatoes, celery, carrots, peppers, Italian seasoning. Onions if preferred.    Plain biscuit rolled with cheese like a cinnamon roll. Cut and baked.   
  2. Pizza : most pizzas can be made for between a dollar and two dollars based on those of crust and toppings.   A far cry less than buying a pizza.   Even the crust at Safeways is two dollars.    
  3. Chicken enchaladas with sour cream sauce : use pieces of chicken from de- boning the split chicken  breast.   
  4. Sloppy joes (Mexican style.) our favorite sloppy joe scratch recipe called for catsup.   Catsup has HFCS.   I found a simple slow,cooker recipe that calls for enchalada sauce and o got enchalada sauce for ten cents a can.   
  5. Pork chops (from pork loin ) rice medley , peas and carrots.    
  6. Tuna cassarole.with  peas : use homemade cream soup mix.   Start with vegetable plate.   
  7.  Breakfast 4 dinner,    Eggs continue to be cheap.  A sausage quiche is an easy dinner with field greens and /or fruit. 


It isn't always what you eat, but rather, how you buy what you eat.    Center cut loin pork chops can be 1.50 if you buy a loin in your rotation, or they can be 399 a pound.    That's a lot of difference for the same product that you have spent maybe ten minutes cutting yourself,    Develop safe knife skills.   Your hands should be as far away as possible from the knife,    If you can, crest a flat surface on the time to be cut to reduce the chance of it slipping,    Use a good chopping board that is dry. 


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Fred Meyers ad

Sundays ad is here.     The ads are not much about food.   Most of it is Mother's Day .    There are, however, some good deals.


  • Blueberries  and raspberries 2/3 
  • Milk .99 including chocolate 
  • La croix water  1.99
  • Sour cream/cottage cheese 2/4 - larger
  • Ragu 2/3$$
  • FF split chicken breast 1.29
  • Naval oranges .9

My target meat - rotation meat would be themso,otmchickem breast.  It's not as good as the .87 ones we gotma few weeks back, but if you didn't get them, this would be good.    It's still a WHOLE lot cheaper than 8.00 a pound.   

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Friday recipe : vegetable chilli - slowcooker

This is a adaptation of my vegetable soup.   It came as a clean up, use  up refrigerator hack.  


Vegetable chilli.

2 cups dry pinto beans 
1/2 can diced green chilies 
1 cup COOKED hamburger, de-fatted and drained 
Enough water to cover beans to your second knuckle 
Process in insta pot or other cooker on bean cycle or cook until beans are tender 

Drain in colander.    

Switch imsta pot  to sauté mode (or sauté in pan with a little olive oil ) 
Olive oil 
2 carrots, sliced thin. 
2 stalks of celery chopped 

Switch to slow cooker mode and ADD 
Reserved bean mixture. 
2 cans diced tomatoes.  Do not drain 
1 quart stock of choice : vegetable, tomato or beef 
1 T taco seasoning 

Program for desired hours (6-10) 





QFC haul

QFC haul savings 61 percent

Hillshire Farms sausage   1.99
Kroger frozen peas FREE
Classico pasta sauce 1.49
Jimmy Dean sausage FREE
Milk 1/2 gal 1.49
Blue bunny ice cream 2.49
Barilla elbows 2/1.25 or .625 each serves 6

Total 8.71







Thursday bullets : principles

Ten easy ideas to cut your grocery bill in half


  • Know the price of the things you buy in a regular basis : never pay full price.  Look for the RBP ( rock  bottom price ) and buy enough to last you until the next sale.  Keep a limited stick on hand . 
  • Portion control.  Exocets say your dinner  plate should be an eight inch plate and 1/4 of it protein, 1/4 starch, and 1/2 vegetables or salad. 
  • Find sources of protein your family will eat that cost less than two dollars a pound.   Your target price of a meal for 4 people should  be five dollars or less.  Average . ( 2 adults and 2 children ) 
  • Develop a list of dinners that are within the price range that your family likes and can be made easy to cook and take little non- passive time. Make best use of pressure cookers , slow cookers, and your oven and microwave. 
  • Scratch cook ,   Places like pinterest are full of easy recipes.   Adapt recipes that use boxes and cans of ...... 
  • make your own bread.   It seems daunting, but there are recipes that take very little effort and taste divine.   The cost difference is about 90 percent when buying bulk flour.   A loaf of artisan bread takes 10 working minutes and cost about a quarter.   Most of them cost upwards of three dollars to purchase.   
  • Avoid processed foods.   Basically, anytime someone has to handle your food, it's going to cost you more.    With few exceptions.  I can get pasta sauce on sale cheaper than I can make it.    And there are a few items that I either just don't buy or I buy on sale because scratch is too  labor intensive. 
  • Spend more time planning and shopping, and less time  cooking ,   You virtually get paid to shop, you don't get paid to cook.   
  • Plan meals and allow yourself at least two meals back up for those days when a ,?!; storm happens.  It happens to  even the most organized people I know.    Plan for it.   
  • Make mealtime fun and engage the children sometimes.  It teaches them to cook.  Engages them so they aren't making a mess while you cook, and gives them confidence.  Wash their hands , and we avoid anything sharp, hot, or raw meat.    Of course , a teen can learn safe skillsx and a toddler can count, stir, pour some things.   At four my granddaughter could spread pizza sauce with a basting brush, fill a pizza. And roll pizza crust with supervision.   Of course, the pepperoni was on the shape of a happy face, but we lived to tell about it ! Lol.   When they are involved, they are more likely to eat it.  

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Wednesday ads 5/3/17

Alberways ads     QFC was a two week ad


1 day sale 5/5

Ground beef -20 percent fat     1.98
Tomatoes, peppers, avocados, mangos .88
Mission soft flour tortillas. Or corn tortillas or 8 ounces of cheese. .88
Tortilla chips .88

Regular
Pork shoulder roast .99
Strawberries 2.77
Top round roast 2.77
Milk 2/3.- gallon carton




That's about it.  
Good price on milk and cheese.  

Alternative grocery haul. -2.00 over

I decided because we are well stocked for us, I would go on a no spend May.    That means my budget for fresh fruit and veggies etc is thirty dollars.    I spent  thirty two.

Groceey Outlet
Bag of Romas 2.49
Land of lakes butter 2/4
Deli sliced  cheese 2.39


Dollar Tree

4.5 pounds pinto beans 3.00
4 packages hormel pepperoni 2.00 regular wimco price 6.80.  Note: coupons,com coupons.
( Easter candy is 4/1)

Winco

Sour cream 1.18
Idahoan mashed potatoes .38 instead of .89 at FM
Bell peppers .78
Grape tomatoes / large container 5.98
Gala apples .98 a pound
English cucumber .78
Less .12 bag refund


Total 32.00.

Grocery outlet and DT are three towns over from us, but I needed to go there for an appointment so we stopped.  I can usually make up the cost of gas with savings.  

Monday, May 1, 2017

Phycology of shopping

There was a bleep on Facebook lately  about the phycology  of shopping, grocery shopping in particular.  It didn't  tell me anything I didn't already know, but it was a good reminder.    I worked for a food wholesaler non profit that helped small producers get their product into grocery stores,   Its not an easy task for the little guy.    Big corporations pay slotting fees.   Basically, they pay rent for the middle eye level shelves.   People naturally gravitate  for easy.  Looking up and down can save you money because those products are not paying slotting fees to pass on and they usually have a smaller profit margin.  

Retailers bombard you with visual and stimulate your senses.   They try to cloud your sense of need and want.  The trick is to have a good picture in your mind of what you are going to the  store to buy, and not to give on to the "want" .    It helps that you are buying to replentish  your stock rather than to put  together meals on the fly.   It keeps you more in focus,    It also helps to avoid taking children or husband's shopping with you.  

It's no accident that the junk foods are the first thing you see .   It's designed to get you to start putting things on your cart.   It's also no accident that there are huge carts these days.   I get the huge carts at Costco, otherwise when you buy toilet paper there would be no room for anything else.   LOL

Knowing their dirty little tricks to get you to buy more is your first defense in avoiding the pitfalls and staying on budget.    The more time you spend on a store, the more you are going to spend.  The more people you bring with you, the more you are going to spend.  It helps if you do have a family member with you to divide and conquer . divide and conquer-- giving part of the list or something you don't know where to find it to that person.  It saves time and creates focus rather than let that pickle, candy, beer.....fall into the cart!     Men are hunters, women are gatherers.

Because of the slotting fees, the item  you need may be in the front of the store or on the impulse isle, but it very well might be cheaper in the regular isles.     Case in point,   The more carb loaded hamburger bins were 2.40 in the impulse isle one day , the smaller more sensible ones were on a regular isle for .68.    A big difference when you are in a limited budget.    That 1.70 would pay for  the rest of the meal-- or at least the meat to fill the hamburger.  

The perimeter of the store has the basics.   This is virtually every store you go into.   It's because they are more perishable and need stocking more frequently.   Produce, dairy, meat, and bakery. All have more stocking or require handling that is done behind closed doors.    Don't go down isles unless you  need to.   The isles are marked almost everywhere but Costco.    You can save time and avoid impulses if you just avoid the isles.   That candy can't just jump onto your cart!    Studies show of you touch a product, you are more likely to buy that product.

The big one .....

Stores have big sales to get you in the store.   Their premise is to get you in the store and get you to buy all your groceries at that store.   Beat them at their own game.  Buy the things that are on sale and don't buy the things that are over priced.   Have you ever noticed that if hamburger buns are on sale, the hamburger to go with them is not ?     It's a trick.   You don't have to buy into it.   That's why spending the time to go to two stores is to your advantage.  Pick two stores that are close to each other.  Next best thing is to pick two stores that are close to other places you have to go on a regular basis -- the gym, the kids soccer practice, the doctor, work, grandmas house.......whatever works.  

Two stores give you the best sales of two stores and the best selection of produce.   Produce has the
biggest mark up of the necessity foods.    Pick it carefully and don't overbuy.   You can blanch and
freeze or dry some things that are not going to be used up fast enough.

Do some research.  In our area , Fred Meyers and Winco have the best prices normally.   But, it's not good to be complacent , sometimes other stores have good sales.    Find your two best stores based on price.   Don't base your grocery stores on the friendliest clerks, or the most fancy, or the variety of specialty foods.   You want your store to be clean and have the best prices.

Big packages aren't always the best thing.   The price is good sometimes, but sometimes it is not.   Bring a small calculator or see if you have one in your phone.   Many times they have a price per ounce and it's hard to compare bulk to a can or package.  The biggest difference you can make in budget savings is to know the  lowest price  for the things you buy on a regular basis.  Paying a premium price for that can of cranberry sauce you use once a year won't hurt too much; but, overpaying for that can of diced tomatoes you use every week, can really hurt.

Our average ticket is 30.00 or less.   I can get in and out of a store in 30 minutes or less.   I shop for three of us.    Naturally, of you are shopping for a big family, you will spend more time.    I watch a lot of grocery hauls.   The majority of the hauls that have h u g e tickets, have a lot of liquids and junk food and individual packages.  It's a good thing to avoid, it jacks up your bottom line a lot.   I can't wrap myself around a three hundred dollar grocery haul.   Everything you need will eventually be on sale sometime.   Rarely does a necessary item not ever go on sale.  Picking the right time to buy enough product to last until the next sale is paramount in keeping your food bill the lowest possible.
If chicken is .88 his week and it's a very low price, forgo something else and buy two.  Next week, buy more of the thing that you didn't buy.   You will be money ahead.    You spend less because you don't ever pay that dreaded F word...    full price.













Kitchen management

Week of may 8th

Looks like this week will be using up most of the remaining potatoes.   It's hard for us to use a whole bag of russets, it takes a concentrated effort to finish a bag before it goes bad.    Ten pounds of potatoes cost barely anything more than the five pound bag.

  • Clean fridge, dump  anything dead and salvage anything that needs to be salvaged: cook it, freeze it, dry it, incorporate it onto a meal.   
  • Wash and clean veggies for stir fry and peppers, chop and put on jars .  
  • Wash potatoes with vinegar water.   Dry and place in a colander.  - potato soup,sausage and peppers. , fries 
  •  Disinfect countertops and sink including drains.   
  •  Wash refrigerator vent.   
  • Wash kitchen floor
  •  Make pizza dough
  •  Make bread, and bread dough if necessary