Monday, July 31, 2017

Kitchen management

Yeserday ,I wrote out five weeks of meal plans.  I hope to go that long without a major grocery haul--basically just perishables.  

Kitchen management is a tool to make your life easier at dinner time.    Setting aside an hour or so during the week to prep your meals saves a lot of time during the hectic meal time.    Its a good way to stave off the take out gremlins because when you are tired, dinner is less of a chore.  

Meal Plans revised

Hot dogs with buns , potato salad, veggie sticks
Chicken nuggets, corn on the cob, fruit
Chicken parm sliders. Spinach salad
Tuna potato salad, cheese biscuits
Breakfast for dinner

1). Wash potatoes and vegetables with vinegar water. 
2) clean refrigerator and note anything that needs to be used up. 
3) put the stove fan vent  screen in the dishwasher.  
4) disinfect the sinks and counter top.   
5)check recipe for choice parm sliders 
6) prepare the coating mix for the chicken nuggets
7) make cream soup base or rice mix if needed 
8)  make lettuce salad 🥗, store in bag with paper towel 
9) straighten pantry.
10) Wash kitchen floor 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Fred Meyers haul

quick haul from fred meyers

1 pkg chicken for 7.50 for five pounds.   That's 1.50 a pound.  Boneless, skinless chicken breasts at fred meyers was 4.50 a pound.   It took me 2 minutes per breast to de bone it.   I have the six quart insta pot on slow cook cooking stock and meat.  

At 8 minute to de bone the chicken, and a savings of 3.00 a pound I virtually made 112.80 an hour.  
And, we get 6 quarts of stock at 2.79 for a quart.   2.79 X 6 is 16.74.  

So for 7.50 I got

4 very large chicken breasts
6 quarts of stock for a retail of 16.74.
And chicken pieces.  

For a total manual outlay of 8 mnutes.  

We also got a large package of English muffins ( equivalent of two packages for 1.67
A gallon of milk for 1.79

Winco Haul with prices

Winco haul with prices

Corn .33
Blueberries lrg 1.98
Grape tomatoes 1.48
Strawberries 1 lb .98
Cake mix .88
Green chillis
Pink ladyaples .98
Bread 1.98
Fries 1.28 2 lbs
Steak fries .99
10 lbs potatoes 1.98

Total 20.37

List of staples

In anticipation of a no spend month , I took inventory and made note of things we were going to need to buy and what we could use for meals.

List of staple shelf ready items.

Dry beans
Canola oil
Olive oil
Bisquick -real or homemade
Popcorn -raw
Brown sugar
Oatmeal -raw
Chicken stock granules
Beef stock granules
Vegetable stock graduates
Dry milk

Pantry items
Diced tomatoes
Pasta sauce
Pizza sauce
Tomato paste or small cans of tomato sauce
Green beans

Rotation meats
Chicken breasts
Pork loins
Ground beef
Pork sirloin in a pinch /ham cubes **
Dry beans

** to replace sausage on the rotation if sausage isn't needed.   Makes a six week rotation, Most stores will have those on a good sale during a six week period.  

Sunday Meal Plan for next week

Using the stock you have on hand is an easy way to meal plan.   Also, incorporating what's on sale any particular week helps too.  

Sausage and bean soup, bread or biscuits
Chicken nuggets, oven fries (homemade ) veggie sticks
Chicken parm sliders , salad, ( make slider buns)
Tuna surprise
Breakfast for dinner

Notes: my grocery expenditures have maintained at less tha 55.00 a week for three of us and we have continued to build a stock.  I made a concentrataed effort this month to replentish any basic necessities that were running dry.   My goal is to go on a no spend August.   No spend means we will buy perishables .    Anything that is end of the season cheap,I might buy in bulk an dehydrate.  

  1. We purachased sausage a 2.50 on sale last week and still have a bag from a bulk purchase in the freezer.  
  2. Pizza is a no brainer.   Everyone eats it and its cheap and an easy way to use leftovers.  
  3. Nachos for movie night.   
  4. Chicken nuggets scratch.   Use parm, ritz crackers, and walnuts.   Walnuts are cheap at winco and they are already chopped.   
  5. Chicken parm sliders need slider buns.  A new adventure to made scratch buns. 
  6. Tuna surprise is a recipe I just found.   Let me know if you want it shared.  
  7. Breakfast for dinner is another no brainer an usually a Sunday night affair with the entire family participating in the cooking.   

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Salad dressings: scratch

Its the time for salads, summer fun and low calories.  

Creamy italian dressing

1 cup Mayonnase or low fat sour cream.
2T parmesean cheese
2 T vinegar
1 T grated onion
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp italian herbs
Salt, garlic powder, pepper
Enough milk to thin dressing

Combine ingredients and chill for a couple of hours to develop seasoning.

Basic vinaigrette

2 T vinegar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
Pinch of salt
Ground pepper to taste
6-8 T olive oil

You can add herbs to your liking
Italian seasoning
Chives or

Fred Meyers ad

Not here yet, but I heard a outstanding story on a grocery haul I would like to share.   The gentleman shopped at the whole paycheck store.   He had a thirty dollar grocery haul.   To put things in perspective, our grocery bill for the last three months averaged under 55.00. .

He had a sparse haul, maybe seven items for thirty dollars.   His remark was that things were displayed nice.    Hey, you cant eat displayed nice.!  When you leave the store, the memory is long gone and its not in your tummy.    Just a reality check!  LOL.

4 day sale SMTW

No bargains

Regular:  not much there, all back to school

Grapes .99
Milk 1.79
Leg cottage cheese /sour cream 1.79
Hillshire farm lunch meat 2/6
Frozen potatoes 1.79 2 lbs
Pie 3.49

Foster Farms split chicken breast 1.49

Red onions .99

Friday, July 28, 2017

Toasted cheese sandiwiches and tomato soup

Who rmemembers toasted cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.   A right of childhood along with watermelon, s'mores, licking the beaters , and ice cream cones.  LOL 

I have long been hunting for a scratch (not canned ) recipe for tomato soup.   Till now I have resorted to the box of tomato and roasted red pepper soup from Costco.   Its a lot more money at other stores, but you can get it at costco for about two dollars when they have it.   

We use it as a base and add cream, basil, and blue cheese.   Yum.   Blue cheese is a ingredient that either you like or you dot like.   You could sub Romano or parm.   

I did find a new recipe that can be adapted to work .  

Tomato soup with basil 

2 cans of diced tomatoes , crushed. ***
1-1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth **
1/2 tsp each of onion powder, garlic powder , sugar 
1Tablespoon dried basil, 
6 Tablespoons of orzo 

1/2 cup cream **
3T parm**

  1. Crush tomatoes by putting in a blender or using a potato masher or stick blender..
  2. In a slow cooker or a stock pot. Place tomatoes broth and seasonings.   Bring to a boil over med high heat and reduce heat to a simmer.   Simmer 15 minutes . 
  3. Add cooked orzo and cream.  
  4. Serve with parmesean for garnish.  

Buying one kind of tomatoes makes your pantry simple and facilitates getting a RBP. 

Scratch broth is best but in a pinch, there is granules and better than bouillon
Substitute milk if you dont have cream.   Whole milk powder is a good substitute and you ca make just what you need.   

I buy any hard cheese that is the cheapest when I needn't to buy it.   Parmesan cheese in a brick is good, buy Romano or another that comes in a wedge at costco is good too.    Its a expense, but will last for a long time.   

Substitute cooked rice if you dont have orzo.   Good way to use leftovers.   

Toasted cheese on 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sausage - two ways

Yesterday , i purchased two chubs of sausage for 5 dollars.   I froze one. And the other one I fried and de-fatted.  

I used 3/4 of the pound in a 'quiche" (impossible pie ). Impossible pie is easy, quick, and almost all protein and dairy.   Very little carbs per serving.   1/8 of a cup of flour base. Not really low fat , however.   Balance the fat with a no fat vegetable bean soup for another meal.   Its all about balances.

Today we are taking the rest of the sausage and making a pizza.  Mozzarella cheese is made with part skim milk.   That lowers the fat and a quarter pound spread between four servings is reducing the amount of meat without sacrificing then protein grams.  

Scratch pizza is a very low cost meal as well as the quiche.   Both are well below the five dollar threshold.   A cheese pizza is a buck and one cent.  My sister made me price the olive cost four cents, thus the penny.    I refuse to price salt.   I got five pounds for four dollarsnten years ago.  Three generations later we will still probably have salt left.   LOL.  

Add 62 cents for sausage to the 1.01 cheese pizza and you have 1.63.   Salad is a dollar at Safeways this week.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The basics ,:scratch cooking

I saved this one for almost the last.  It was one of my last hold outs.    I got our food budget down to 72.00 a week.   The stats  were close to 150.00.   But, I wanted to challenge myself to see just how low are expense can be and still eat well balanced good food.    It was a game by now.   My original object if this blog was to help people on low incomes or snap to stretch their food dollars so they could have good food and still build a small emergency stock.   I started cooking a lot more things from scratch and I cut our budget  to 53.00 a week and we still are building our stock. The USDA stats  are based on actual food eaten at home, they don't count  school lunches or stock .   We are sitting at 45 percent of the USDA stats.   We eat well. We eat fresh fruits and veggies, we portion control,  none of us are overweight.   We try to avoid extra salt,  sugar, trans fats, hydrogenated oils. HFCS and fake food.

The words scratch cooking scares some people and they envision spending all day on the kitchen while the laundry stacks up , the house is a mess and you don't get to work.   The Lucy bread baking episode comes to mind. LOL .   Not so. I set out to scratch cook efficiently,    My mantra is that  if you spend  a little more time planning  and shopping wisely, you can spend less time cooking.   Of course, with a five yo in the house, the neat house doesn't always happen.  

The internet is full of scratch recipes-  some efficient, some not so much.   Developing your personal cookbook  one recipe at a time will take time.  It's totally worth it,   I have my first one from 1970.   I brought a new one up to date with more healthy choices-- times have changed and some things never change.   Grandmas recipes have just got a little more healthy,

Spending a block of time to make your own mixes helps greatly,   You have the convenience of mixes, but not the cost  or preservatives.   Engage your children,   I have been following some people on u tube.   I have learned  a lot.   There is one family of ten that all work together at maintaining their  quality of life.   Children as young as 1.5 years are "helping " in the kitchen. Consequently, their 13 yo can cook remarkable dinners.    It is a good thing to do at home since the schools don't have the same home ec departments they once had.  It is really a necessity if life to learn to cook.    My daughter never wanted to, my son wanted to learn to bake.   My granddaughter wants to do anything she can.   Engage them.    Mixes are good for learning fractions, counting, and children love to stir or push the buttons on the food processor.  My mother used to say that if children were helping, they weren't making a mess for you to clean up afterwords .   How true.

 Making your own spice blends and mixes saves a lot of money,   You can get small amounts of spices in the bulk isle of some grocery stores pretty cheap. I needed dill one time .ot was sox dollars for a tiny one by one inch bottle.   That much dill in the bulk isle was.    W a i t.   For it........   seventeen cents.  

Baking mix, pancake mix, or muffin mix are all cheap especially when you get bulk flour.
Making your own bread can take all day, or you can make easy ones that take ten minutes hand on time,    The time that you let something sit on the counter while you grocery shop, or do the laundry , or take the kids to the park doesn't count ! Lol.

Anything you can throw in the slow cooker or insta pot and walk way from is a good thing.

I don't have stock in insta pot, but I wish I Did! Lol.   It's one of the most versatile work horses in the kitchen.   It's a slow cooker, it's a rice cooker, it is a pressure cooker that is almost fool proof.  Remember to put it on seal to pressure cook , and remember to add enough water.   That s about it.   Don't put more than 1/2 full  when cooking anything that expands like pasta or beans.   Easy peas!  And saves sooo much time!   Scratch soups on five minutes, Pork chops in three,   Chicken from frozen on 8 minutes..   considering that it is three appliances that   all  work well in one footprint, it's a real bargain. It also sautés.

Going out on a limb and trying to do  all this at once is a deal breaker.   Terminal burnout.  Take baby steps and build your talent.   Every little thing will save money.   The snowball effect is a wonderful phenomenon.  It works.   Give it time.

Goodwill and QFC

Fitz and Floyd plates ,  I paid 20.00 for them years ago.   I had 4, now i have 8.  
2 pkgs of unders or granddaughter and a jumper for granddaughter.  Total was 
About the price of the underwear.  23.96 plus tax.   

2 jimmydean sasuages , 2 tillamook ice cream, a box of protei bars, blueberries, tomatoes, 2 bars of soap, and a pint of birthday cake ice cream for .....wait for it.  14.06.
The sausage cost 5.79 each.   Savings 67 percent.   

Extreme couponing

QFC has a buy five save 5 sale for the next two weeks.  This is usually when you can make out with coupons.   I have saved as much as 78 percent.  

I need to plan this trip.  
First , granddaughter needs underwear and new underwear is at goodwill and we get twenty pencent off today.   (Seniors) .  

Tillamook ice cream is 2.99 and I have a coupon for 2.00 off of 2.   Makes it 1.99.
Jimmy dean sausage is 2,49. ( 5.79 reg ) have no coupons
Nature valley fiber bars 1,79 less 1.00 coupon is .79
Free ice cream 3.99 nets 00

Total 9.75

Total cost 26.34 savings 63 percent

Wednesday chain store ads

Wednesday chain store ads


Johnsonville dinner sausage 3.77

Grapes 1.28
Pork Loin. Roast 1.99 limit 2

Coleslaw, garden salad , spinach .99
Eggs .99@@
Cherries 2.99
Leaf lettuce ...88
Walla walla ibuibs .99

Just 4 you coupons
BBQ sauce .99
Lipton tea 2.99

Two weeks ad
Blueberries 2/5
Red tomatoes .88

Buy 5, save 5

Tillamook 2.99. $$
Jimmy dean sausage 2,49
Johnsonville better cheddar 2.49
Nature valley 1.79$$

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ten things that will sabotage your food budget

Ten things that will sabotage your food budget.

  1. Sugary drinks.   No one needs them and they are not good for you.   They also inflate your grocery ticket.   Recommend :  water , milk, tea  coffee.   
  2. Snack foods.   Again, sugar and salt are not the best things for you.   There is sugar hiding in a lot of foods.   Scratch cooking gives you the luxury of knowing exactly what you are eating.   The manufacturers are sneaky and have all kinds of word to hide the amount of sugar you are eating,    Another big budget buster and diet buster . 
  3. Ready made anything.  It just makes sense that the more labor that goes into making something the more its going to cost.   There are a few exceptions.   Pasta sauce is one.   It cost more to buy the tomatoes than it does to buy then sauce.    It might be different if you grown them from seed and have a bumper crop.   A few other things just take too much time to be worth your while.   Most of us have more to do than to cook all day.   Pick your recipes wisely.   
  4. Spice mixes .   The cost is prohibitive for a few teaspoons of a spice blend.  Most spice blends have a recipe somewhere on the internet.  Spices are cheap at the discount stores or you can get small quantities in the bulk isle.    Note to people in the PNW:  winco is cheaper than QFC on their spices.
  5. Cereal and granola.   Again not much bang for your buck.   Oatmeal is one of the cheapest cereals and very nutritious.   Granola is easy to make.   Again, children can learn to cook as you go along.    We started baking at 9.   My granddaughter knows how to make pizza from scratch with supervision.   No hot , not sharp,and no raw meat.   She is 5.   Teaching them at an early age to wash their hands and make things will save you a lot of time later and teach them life skill in the meantime.    Life skills are not taught at school anymore. I hear.   
  6. Small quantities of things that you use almost daily.  Generally, the smaller the package, the more per ounce it is going to cost.   There are always exceptions.    It doesn't pay to buy a huge can of something that will go bad before you will use it all up.   Most families cant use a number 10 can of anything.    Sometimes if you are using a coupon matching it with the smaller package will make it almost free.    I buy popcorn, oatmeal, flour, and rice in bulk.   For the cost of 8-1/2 pounds of rice, I can have 25 pounds.   Almost three times as much.   It will not spoil before we   If  I buy a quantity of fruits or veggies because the  price is beyond right I will plan to dehydrate them.   If something isn't getting used up fast enough, it gets put in the dehydrator.   Carrots come out exactly like they went in after you put them in soup.
  7. Bringing people to the store with you.   Children especially.   If kids are throwing a fit, you can't concentrate on what you are doing.   Spouses are notorious  for adding things to the cart.   
  8. Buying individual packages of meat.  Rotation of meat and buying in quantity ( mega packs) when they are a good prices saves a lot of money.   It only takes a few minutes to break down the packs in portion controlled meal packets and freeze.   Buy enough to cover as many meals of that meat you will eat in a four to six week period of time.  Buy something else the following week.   You are still eating a variety of meats , you are just not paying full price for anything.  
  9. Buying anything at full price.   Buy the things that are on really good sale.   For veggies and fruit that is usually what is in season.  It tastes better and is more healthy because it is fresher.   Meats are usually on sale on a rotation basis in the larger supermarkets.   Take advantage of the mega packs and rotate your meat purchases.   If you only buy what's on sale and buy enough to last you until it goes on sale again you will never pay full price.   Your market basket might not look balanced but your pantry will.   Less money, more food.   
  10. Know your prices.  Don't sweat the price of that can of cranberry sauce that you buy once a year.  Identify the things you use on a regular basis and keep a little notebook if you cant remember.   Little notebooks are 3/1.00 at the Dollar Tree.   Or type an excell spread sheet and put it in your purse or coupon book.   Most shoppers have a list of about 15-20 items.   Things like diced tomatoes, green beans, pasta, pasta sauce, dairy products, chicken, cheese, pork chops, hamburger, diced chillies, tuna, canned salmon and veggies.   I have a rule, I dont buyI dont buy  a vegetable or fruit unless its under a dollar.   In the 70s it was .39, then it went to .69 in the 80s . Now its a dollar.    Rarely do I pay more .  That usually means we dont eat much asparagus LOL.   
Extra thing:   Don't buy your groceries on line unless you are in a pickle or have health issues that don't enable you to go to the store.   Its a convenience and you are paying with higher prices and delivery fees.    

Watching what goes in your cart is paramount in keeping your bottom line down.   

Monday, July 24, 2017

The basics :portion control

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 nontinfeed 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 skirts needs more calories and more meat,   They don't , however, need to eat a whole 2'  pound roast.    Lol.

Monday : kitchen management

Kitchen management is a tool to use once a week ; the results are efficient cooking and a less hectic dinner hour.

A few hour set aside will save many hours later.   It is more efficient prep for dinners.

Based on this week's meal plans. :
Hamburgers, oven fries , fruit
Pork chops, sweet potatoes
Speghetti with meat sauce, bread, salad
Tuna cassarole , peas and carrots
Tacos, Spanish rice
Breakfast for dinner.

  1. Wash potatoes and fruit 
  2. Mark pork chops to be thawed.  
  3. Make bread dough 
  4. Clean fridge 
  5. Take inventory based on your list 
  6. Wash floor 
  7. Clean counters, sinks and disinfect drains. 
  8. Straighten pantry 
  9. Clean oven 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Breakfast for dinner

Breakfast for dinner is a real hit in our family. Because it is much a short order type meal ( where everything gets cooked  at the same time, everyone pitches in. Granddaughter is really good at buttering English muffins or setting tables.  

It isn't always the cheapest menu on the week's menus , it depend on what you choose for protein.  

  • Bacon, pumpkin pancakes, real maple syrup , blueberries 
  • Quiche with sausage and cheese 
  • Eggs,  fruit, English muffins 
  • Waffles , eggs, fruit 
  • Breakfast burrito 
  • Vegetable omelets 
  • Eggs, toast, yogurt parfaits ( yogurt, berries, granola layered, )
  • Sausage and apple puff pancake 
  • Ham and feta omelette 
  • Veggie strata 
  • French toast, bacon or sausage, or ham, fruit 
  • Oatmeal pancakes, fruit 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Meal Plans

Meal Plans for week of July 24, 2017

Meal plans are a real help to facilitate easy meals.
Planning meals and some weekly prep work makes it easy to get the dinner on the table without consulting the pizza delivery demons.   LOL.

  • Hamburgers , oven fries fruit salad 
  • Pizza
  • Pork chops, sweet potatoes, salad 
  • Speghetti with meat sauce , salad , bread 
  • Tuna cassarole , peas and carrots 
  • Tacos , Spanish rice 
  • Breakfast for dinner

Winco haul

I did some kitchen management today.   Noticed that I was running low on some staples.   Some I had already put on a list.  

Strawberries .98
Blueberries large 1.98
Lean ground beef was just at 3.00 for 15 percent
Suddenly salads were .98 and u had a coupon for a dollar on four
5 lbs cornmeal.  3.07
Canola oil 1.98
Olive oil 8.48

Total  29.54

Pork sirloin was 1.69 if i remember right.   Well under two dollars.  

Fred meyer Sunday ad

Fred Meyers ad for Sunday (kroger)

Broccoli .99
Cherries 1.47
Petite sirloin steaks 2.97 - cheaper than good hamburger (grind)
Ground beef - 20 percent fat 3.49.
Milk 1.79
Sour cream/ cottage cheese 1.00
Strawberries 2/5
Zucchini .99

Note:   Costco business has pork loin for 179

Friday, July 21, 2017


Better, cheaper, faster is a series of posts that address the issue of old recipes .  I try to remake them to be better, cheaper and /or faster.   This is about efficient cooking because with a busy schedule, making the best use of your time is essential and spending more time planning meals and shopping trips and less time in the kitchen gives you good food with more bang for your buck.

Our average for this year is 53.00 a week for three of us.   We live in a high COL part of the country.  Our COL is 121 as apposed to 98 for Colorado, and 90 for Idaho.   Twenty% more.  

Anytime you can make a mix in a few minutes instead of buying a  single serving box , you are saving money and ingredients you cannot pronounce..   the time expended is minimal.

Rice mix

6 cups white rice
1/2 cup dried parsley
3 tbls chicken granules **
1 Tbls onion powder
1-1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp thyme

Mix .  To cook use two cups water with 1 cup mix.  UNLESS you are using the insta pot ..  then use equal parts and cover, seal, and push the rice button.

**. You can also add broken pieces of speghetti.
** chicken granules are found in the  spice or bulk food isle.  You can sub vegetable or beef for the chicken .  You can also find low sodium options.  

Chicken BOWL

1 lb cooked chicken in cubes or shredded.
Season with garlic and paprika

Cook 1 cup mix with appropriate water.

Add chicken, cooked rice, and peas, chopped onion, black olives and chopped tomato.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The basics : Coupons, are they worth it?

Coupons these days are for bigger amounts than they were in our mothers days,    There are a lot of dollar coupons , so it doesn't take a lot to add up.  We don't buy a lot of ready made things and I can still save three to six dollars a week usually.  

 Coupons can be found in inserts that come in the mail and in the Sunday paper.    You can also print coupons on   You can print 2 of each,   Of course, if your printer messes up, you are out of luck.    That's what happened this month! Lol

Coupons are on a first come first served basis.  There are limits as to how many coupons can be printed,   Be kind and don't print  any coupons you know you aren't gong to use.

Example,:  I saw a package of sliced sargento cheese that retails for 3.50 an 8 ounce package.   That's 7.00 a pound and over my target price.    But, it was on sale for 2.50 and I had  .55 coupon.  Now it is 1.95.   Now, I got a .50 Ibotta on it and now it is 1.45.  

I keep my coupons in a 3  ring binder in plastic sleeves.    You can also find a coupon envelope at the dollar tree.    Or use a envelope or envelopes from the recycle.

Ibotta is one of the rebate sites.   You sign up, preferably with a friends code, and you can get rebates on many things, sometimes just for buying tomatoes or other generic food.   When you have enough. They will give you a gift card for Amazon or movie tickets or.......

It all adds up.   It only takes a few minutes while you put the food away!

I recently had a Facebook post from years past pop up.   It was on a coupon that I had found.
Rite aid had laundry detergent for 3.99.  I had a three dollar coupon.   That made the  detergent .99.  Now, there was a coupon for a free detergent bottle on the bottle.   The second detergent bottle cost me the price of a stamp.   240 loads of wash for 1.47.    And who says its too time consuming and there are only coupons for stuff you don't need. LOL.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Costco and winco grocery hauls

Costco - business
6 cans chicken 9.99
3# bananas 1.39
Large strawberry. 3.99
Large cornstarch 2.99


Hot dog buns .75
Blue bunny ice scream w coupon 2.75.  Compare to 4.50 at fred Meyer.
Salmon burgers 2.48
 Total 5.92 

Wednesday chain store ads


Johnsonville brats 3.77
Blues 2.77
Extra lean ground beef 3.99
Star kist tuna. .59 @
Walla walla onions .99

Five dollar friday

Corn 10 ea.  - thats fifty cents an ear.  
Salsa 3/5

There are some BOGO things,   But not knowing prices doesn't give me a clue.


Peppers, English cucumbers .99
Milk 4/5
Cottage cheese, sour cream 4/5
Red cherries 2.99

That's about it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The basics ,Finding a RBP.

Finding the best prices on food is not such a hard task.   It can be overwhelming, but not of you break it down to a few steps

You have already--

  • Identified sources of protein  that you will use in your meal plans.    These should be less than two dollars a pound of you are trying for a four dollar a day budget.   (Snap guidelines ) 
  • Identified the items you buy on a regular basis to prepare meals from those protein sources. 
  • Now, gather your ads,    Our Winco doesn't have an ad, so you just have to visit the store. Every Winco has different prices because they work  off of a list to provide prices lower than  the competitors.  It's important to note, that no one store can have the best prices on everything,   
  • Take a short inventory of your fridge,pantry  and freezer.    This will tell you what you are missing.  
  • Now, start circling everything that you need that is a good price.   Check for coupons to  remember what you clipped.   $$.    I usually do that for people on the Seattle area.  There are some sites that work in other areas.   Try favado.   
  • Soon, you might start seeing better prices at one store over another in an item.  
  • Circle, star, or tag any item you intend to buy,   I put a check mark on anything I might have a coupon for,   The best use of coupons is when you find a good buy and can stack a coupon with it.  You can't stack an electronic coupon with a paper one. Most  all stores take them.   
  • I have a meal plan form I made in excell.   It has seven blocks in one side of the landscape sheet and two columns on the other,   In one column I have listed the things we buy on a regular basis that are perishable to fill in meals,    The second column is blank so I can either mark how many we have or note that we need it.   This  makes doing an inventory a couple of minutes. 
  • Now, decide who has the RBP  on what you need.   Here, it is usually Fred Meyers and Winco,    Occasionally, we find a good sale with coupons at Safeways or QFC.   Costco is always go to to for bulk Purchases.    I continue to check prices, but unless something is in a huge sale, you can't beat the few things I get from Costco,   Not everything is a bargain at Costco.   Look for a rotation meat.    My standby if I can't find pork loin cheap is to look at Costco business.    It's in the next town, so I don't go unless I'm out of a few things that they have that regular Costco doesn't carry.  Costco has grains that were not part of our vocabulary in the fifties, and seaweed.   But, they don't carry corn starch, or large canisters of broth granules or some spices.    I bought a larger than large sack of salt and soda.   I will never have to buy them again! Lol.  They were cheap.    They can be used for cleaning as well as food.    
  • Having a target figure ( nothing to do with the store with the red balls ) for your basics list is Germaine in knowing if something is a stick up price.  Try to never lay full price  for your basic needs list.    Canned veggies should be less than fifty cents,   Ditto diced tomatoes, beans of you buy canned.   I want 149-1.69 a pound for pork loins,   I want .88-1.00 a pound for Foster Farms chicken,    (Locally grown ) hamburger  3.28 or less for 7 percent fat.   I want pasta sauce in glass for close to a dollar.   In cans for under a dollar, pasta ( Barilla) should be under a  dollar...preferably .50-.75 cents.    It is always a dollar at the DT. ( dollar tree) as is canned pasta sauce and they take coupons- up to four a  day, and some won't take two  coupoms for two   of the same thing.    That's not the written coupon policy, but best not to argue.  They have the last word.   I want frozen v goes for under a dollar a POUND.   Many vegetables are in 12 ounce pkg.  Cheese  should be less than 2.35 a pound.  Different states have different prices.   
  • If you live where there isn't a variety of stores, you probably have higher prices,because there is no competition.  Consider scoping out the next big town and finding the best priced stores.   You can sometimes get the store to send you the ad, or find it on line.  Or get a family member or friend to take a snapshot of other and Facebook it to you.  Find the best sake week and go once a month,   if it isn't  near other errands you,need to do, consider carpooling with a friend or neighbor.  Split the gas bill, or take turns.    We used to drive ten mikes to Winco once a month before we got one in our town.   I hear Aldi is expanding to almost double stores.  Think outside the box.    
  • The best prices you can get with coupons is when you can find something on a mark down table and have a coupon. ( I got two cans of s and w beans for .08  total.    ) or you have a buy XX things, save XX dollar sale .  Our Kroger has those often,    You have to make your choices carefully, a lot of junk food here sometimes, but with careful planning, you can match coupons and make out.  I saved 78 percent one time.   
  • You can a,so make out with a basket coupon ,   That's where they give you  XX number of dollars off a XX dollar basket of food.   Do the math,    Find the percentage of discount,    A five dollar off of fifty dollar basket is only ten percent,   If the prices are already high, it doesn't  pay.  This is another time when buying what's on sale with a coupon and adding the basket coupon can make you really clean up.   IF.  You stick to buying the maximum of the blanket or basket coupon.  Any amount over will lower your percentage off.   
Why bother, my time is worth more than that!  Is the most heard excuse about coupons and target shopping.    Let's break that down.     The average family our size spends 7800 a year on food.   We are at a pace to spend 2700 dollars his year and maintain a small emergency stock.    That's five THOUSAND dollars.    That's one nice trip to Disneyland or Hawaii.    Or covers the cable and the heat bill.   Or makes a car payment.     

Monday, July 17, 2017

Its a matter of thinking

Saving money and trying not to waste is a  matter of thinking. Its a frame of mind.  
Little things add up.   One attitude leads to another.  


  1. Cut the ends  off a pepper first.  Then slice peppers from the inside out.   It will make slicing easier.   This works for tomatoes too.   Save the ends to chop for cassarole, salads, or pizza.   
  2. Save the ends of your bread (heels) .   Why pay upwards of 2.40 cents a pound for someone elses dry bread?   Use it for meatballs, breading, toppings for mac and cheese or other cassaroles.   
  3. Buy diced tomatoes with seasonings.   Buy the seasonings according to what your family likes. Our family likes to eat italian and Tex mex.   So chillis and italian herbs work.  
  4. If you know you are going to make a recipe with jalapeño in it. Try buying the jalapeño cheese instead of regular.   I added a 1.25 bag of cheese to my order at Safeways because i needed to come up with a 20 dollar market basket to get a 15 percent discount.   I used the cheese in my cornbread instead of adding jalapeños.   That saved me a 66 can of chillies.   It also kept our cost down to the proverbial five dollar dinner.   
  5. When chopping celery for soup or stews, use the top an bottom of the ribs.   Leave the middle for celery sticks.  
  6. Baby carrots are just the culls of the carrots that are cut down and bleached.  It cost a dollar for a pound of carrots.   Five pounds of carrots are less than three dollars.   
  7. Ends of carrots an celery can be used for chicken stock.  
  8. Butchering you own split chicken breast to make boneless , skinless , chicken breast saves about seven dollars a pound.    Throw the rib bones in your slow cooker with water, the ends of carrot and celery and cook on low until the meat falls off the bones.    Pick the meat and freeze the stock.   Now you have not only saved a lot per pound on your chicken, but you have free chicken stock that costs over two dollars a quart.    
  9. Use the bits of chicken that you pick off the bone for taco meat, cassarole, chicken soup, chicken and dumplings. Burritos, chicken chimichangas, chicken salad. Pulled chicken sandwiches. Etc.   
  10. A few meat dripping can make gravy.   No need to buy an expensive gravy mix.   All gravy is is the meat drippings, some flour, and water.    Some cheap flour and the dripping you throw away.    Heat the drippings in a frying pan. While the drippings are on low, shake some flour into the drippings to absorb the fat.   Gradually add water and stir with a wisk until the right consistency.    Add salt to taste.   

Grocery haul 7/16/17

I did the kitchen management today so we could work in the yard later.    Went shopping after we cleaned out the fridge.
Fortunately, we threw very little out.   
A 48 cent cucumber did not get eaten.   

Fred meyers:   Not everything on my list was a good price at Freddies.    There were no bags of real carrots.   The trick is to get the best of to stores.    

Fred Meyers
2 dozen eggs. .89
Cottage cheese 1.25 
Apples 2.80
Tomatoes 1.43

Total 7.25


Pizza snacks 2.18
2 lbs FRIES. .....99
Milk 2.28
Grape tomatoes 1.78
Mild green chilies 66
Carrots 2.28 - five pounds 
Celery 2 heads 1.96
Lettuce .98
Watermelon 3.97

Total 19.42

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Monday: kitchen management

kitchen management is a tool that saves a lot of time during the hectic dinner hour.   Prep work done in mass is a lot more efficient than doing it piecemeal.  

Based on yesterday's meal plans.  

Pizza is a no brainer.  I just have to make the crust the morning of and put it in the fridge.   We already have grated cheese, pepperoni if we want it, peppers are always chopped in the freezer because I save the ends of the peppers for pizza topping.   Ditto any little extras that happen to be hanging around the freezer or fridge.

Mark the meal plan for the day before we have chicken nuggets so the chicken is defrosted.  
The dredging is done the day of.  It can be done in the morning and put in the fridge so that the breading sticks better.  

Wash the potatoes for the nugget meal and the corn chowder, and oven  tries  and dry.   Put in colander to store.  

Wash and cut veggie sticks

Cook chicken in the insta pot from frozen. Dice.

Clean out the fridge , noting anything that neeeds to be used soon and adjust meals accordingly.

Wash the kitchen floor and disinfect the sinks, counters, and drains.

Rotate the chores of cleaning the stove filter, icemakaer drip tray, waxing a side of the kitchen cabinets and washing the outside of the fridge (air vent )

Straighten the pantry.  Note low quantities .  

Ham and Corn Chowder

Taking old recipes and making them better, cheaper, and/or faster.

Ham and Corn Chowder

 Two medium potatoes , peeled and diced
1/2 of 16 ounce bag of frozen corn
2 cups ham cubes,diced small.
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2  TSP EACH of garlic and onion powder
Salt, pepper
3 cups chicken broth - homemade and defatted.

Place ingredients into a six quart stock  pot and cook on medium heat until the potatoes are tender.
Make a slurry of 2 T cornstarch , 2 cups milk
Add to the pot and stir.  Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

1 cup cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
Stir unti the cheese is melted.

Insta Pot.
Place all ingredients down to the chicken broth in the pot.   Cover and process 4 minutes.  Quick release.   Check potatoes for doneness.

Turn off the pressure cooker and switch to sauté mode.   If your potatoes weren't soft, cook until they are soft before you make  your slurry .   Add slurry to pot and stir unti soup has thickened.   Add cheese mixture and stir until the cheese has melted.

Sunday meal plans

  1. just a note:  Sunday meal plans will continue to be on this blog.  They will also be on my new blog "Dinner:  Better, Cheaper,Fasster.    The second bog will have content that is strictly related to recipes.   Recipes that are adapted to be cooked in the insta pot and recipes that have been family favorites , but they are adapted to be a bit more healthy .   Less saturated fat, salt, sugar, preservatives, hydroginated oil, transfats, and hfcs and still with less money and efficient cooking.   

Meal plans : 1 beef, 1 fish or seafood, 2 vegeartian, 3 Pork or chicken,

  • Pizza 
  • Breakafast for dinner 
  • Ham corn chowder , loaded cornbread 
  • Nachos loaded 
  • Salmon patties, oven fried potatoes, fruit 
  • Chicken burrito bowl 
  • Chicken nuggets, oven fried french fries, veggie sticks 
Notes : 
Pizza is scratch.   Cost is a little more than a dollar for a 14 inch pizza.   
The last of the pumpkin pancakes, maple syrup, fruit cup, eggs 
Ham corn chowder adapted for the insta pot 
Nachos:  taco meat, tomatoes, black olives,  green chillis , cheese, chips from Costco . 
( 3 lbs for 3 dollars and change and they dont shout grease!)
Salmon patties can be made from a can of salmon or purchased from winco quite inexpensively.   
Cut potatoes in wedges an toss in olive oil and sea salt or garlic pepper.   
Chicken burrito bowl is on the dinner site.   Delish.   
Chicken nuggets are homemade, along with the fries.  New topping will appear on dinners sometime this week.  

Spending more time planning a. Shopping trip and planning your meals and less time in the kitchen is a way to eat well and cut food costs.   

Saturday, July 15, 2017




Blues 377
Peppers 88
Eggs 89
Washington cherries 299 **
Jazz apples 99
Ground turkey 350
Tomatoes 99

Sour cream 125
Frozen potatoes 179 - 2 lbs
Butter 2/5 **

Notes i think it interesting that Washington cherries 🍒 are cheaper in other part of the ountry.   
Frozen potatoes are cheaper at winco, but they arent uniform in size.   
Butter is cheaper at Safeways this week nad even cheaper if you have a just for u basket digital coupon.   

The gal at Safeways loaded the just for you to my phone that will make it a lot easier to use th just for you and you can google an article and see if there is a digita coupon for it and instant add.   

I dont think that turkey is a good buy, it is a buck in other parts of the country.    Just a note.    
Eggs are remarkable.   If I have an abundance i dry them for when they arent as cheap or if we canat get out for some reason.  

Crayons 49 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Recipe ; better, cheaper, faster

Chicken Tetrazzini - serves 4

8 ounces spaghetti, broken
1 frozen chicken breast - at least 6-8-ounces
2 recipes cream soup base **
2 slices red pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 ounces parm cheese for topping

  1. Place frozen chicken breast in insta pot on rack.  Add 2 cups water or chicken broth.   Seal the pot. ( close lid and make sure the vent is on seal) and push the poultry button.   
  2. Cook and drain the spaghetti.   
  3. Make a double batch of cream of ....soup base.   
  4. Grease a two quart cassarole and add the cream soup base, chopped red pepper, peas, and cooked spaghetti .  
  5. When chicken is done with its cycle, finish de-pressuring and remove chicken from pot. 
  6. With two forks, shred the chicken and add to the baking dish.   
  7. Stir gently.       
  8. Cover the dish, bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Uncover and add cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the dish is bubbly on the sides.
Your chicken, spaghetti and cream sauce can cook all at the same time.   I cook thespaghetti in the microwave, so the spaghetti and chicken are self cooking.   All I have to watch closely, stir, is the cream  soup base.   

Toss all ingredients in a covered, greased cassarole and bake in the oven and you are free to make a salad and set the table.    

Thursday bullets - cookbook review.

Taste of home - make and take

A complete book of all kinds of summer recipes from appetizers to deserts and everything in between.

  • Chicken parm sliders  
  • Cheddar veggie appetizer torte-- surprise crust and enough protein  to be a main dish. 
  • Mini BLT - stuffed tomatoes 
  • Texas taco dip platter 
  • Swiss cheese bread 

  • Hawaiian Pork roast (butt) 
  • Beef  and cheese tortilla pie 
  • Greek pasta and beef 
  • Monitire meat pies
  • Sauerkraut cassarole 
  • Beef and veggie sloppy joes 
  • Meatball subs
  •  brocolli slaw 
  • Layered picnic loaves. 
  • Chicken chilli with  black beans  
  • Double butterscotch cookies 
  • Raspberry white chocolate bars. **
  • Berry white ice pops ***

** white chocolate chips are on the bulk isle at  Winco.    Buying just what you need sometimes saves money. 
*** popcicle molds are at the Dollar Tree this time of year.     A lot more healthy than  sugar water.    


Thursday, July 13, 2017

dinner take along.

Made new recipe of bread dough.
King Arthur refrigerater bread makes two loaves. 
The last batch 2nd half is above.   Take it out of the canister, knead it a couple of times on a flour covered  board and set it on parchment paper in a Dutch oven to rise in a warm oven, turned off.   
Parchment paper is cheapest at the dollar treee. 

Meanwhile, I cooked a cup of mixed beans in the insta pot with 8 cups of water. Seal, and push the bean button.   Walk away!  When it was done, I released the pressure, (use a towel and a wooden spoon) and drained the bean juice.    Turned the insta pot off.   

I opened two cans of non bpa lined diced tomatoes I paid 39 and 50 cents respectfully, and a handful 
of dried carrots and celery.   The pic is an old pic because i took pics but forgot to G plus them. We added sausage to that one.     I added 2 quarts of tomato stock and Italian spices.   Put the pressure cooker on slow cook for 8 hours. 

Meantime, i swept the kitchen floor and filled the 5 gallon bucket with flour and put  my dishes to soak.   

After the bread doubles in size, I will bake it for 35 minutes, covered, and another three uncovered so it browns on top at 450 degrees.   

The new bread dough will rise on the counter unti double in size.   It is 2 liters now and will be at the four liter mark when i place it covered in the fridge.   Now, it is partially covered to let the gasses out.

Total time, a little mor than an hour.   That's cooking beans from scratch and taking pictures even though they are lost in cyberspace.      

Ill post them on facebook for anyone on my Facebook.   

In depth ~. Scratch cooking

Scratch cooking...the art of spending all day slaving over a hot stove to produce dinner.   ~~ not any more.   The old days left with the invent of frozen premade meals and components.  Now, the tides have turned and to save money and avoid preservatives, we are going back to scratch cooking.  Everything old is new again, but with a twist.

The invent of countertop appliances and the ingenuity of five ingredient or less cooking. Scratch can be just as efficient and a lot cheaper than using something out of a box or bag.    Buying basic ingredients in bulk is a lot cheaper than buying individual boxes of food.

A box of bread mix is almost three dollars.   A loaf of artisan bread is three dollars at winco.   A loaf of bread made from bulk flour and bulk yeast cost.  Thirty cents and takes ten minutes.  And thee ten minutes doesn't t have to be in the same block of time.   It can be that ten minutes while you wait for something else to be done.   I like to pay a game:  what can I get done before the  microwave finishes.
I can get the floor swept, unload the dishwasher sans the silverware, or throw the ingredients for pizza dough in the food processer.

When a pizza costs less than driving to little Cesar's, the cost of a food processer just became manageable.   It cost 1.40 with pepperoni and peppers.   A loaf of bread cost between .22 and .30 cents.   That five dollar bag of cooled chicken breast pieces costs about .66 . And takes about four minutes to cook and chop in an insta pot.   You are cooking with steam, no fat.

Before I went to almost all scratch cooking, my weekly average was 72.00 ; after it is about 53.00.   That more than pays for a insta pot and a food processer.   Honestly, I have a kitchenaid mixer, but i don't use it as much as i do the food processer and the insta pot.   I use the meat grinder and the  slicer attachment more.   At twenty dollars a week, it doesn't take long to pay for an insta pot.

When food is going to be wasted because we didn't eat it fast enough, i have been slicing it and dehydrating it.   That 1.39 bag of bananas got ripe too quickly.   I sliced them and dehydrated them.   My granddaughter ate them in two days.  She would not have eaten the bananas that quickly.    We paid 69.00 for the dehydrator and have used it twenty years.  Beef jerky, eggs, carrots, potatoes, fruit. That 40 cents worth of dried bananas would be well over a dollar and took me very few minutes.   My husband opens the banana and leaves  section of skin on it.   Then he can slice it really fast and dump the slices.

No, I'm not getting paid to promote the insta pot,  I just love mine.   Its three appliance in one, does all of them well.  Saves time and money.    Beans don't freeze well.   They don't hold well.  Their refrigerater life is short.   Beans and rice spoil fast and I don't take chances on food poisoning.    Before the insta pot where I can cook beans in a matte of a few ~ like maybe two minutes , we used canned beans,   The difference in sodium and cost is remarkable.   Retail on beans is a dollar a can.  I can usually find them for 50 cents.  The cost of scratch is about 16 cents.

Efficient scratch cooking can save time and money.  Invest in appliances that make sense and are workhorses in the kitchen.   Develop a binder of five ingredients or less recipes that your family will gladly eat.   Take the time to make your own mixes and spice blends.   Even at 50 cents taco seasoning is a rip off.   Cream of xxx soup is more of a rip off.    That hour you spend on a rainy Saturday can save tons of money.  

The average family spends 5000 a year more than we spend and probably don't eat any more nutritious.   .

Thursday bullets : small kitchen tools that save time and/or money

Ten kitchen tools that save time /money that are cheap.

  1. Rubber spatula , get the last bit of product out of a bowl or jar.   Betty Crocker ones are at the DT, buy the best you can afford.   
  2. A potato masher,    Besides mashing potatoes, you can break up hamburger while frying it.  There is a special tool for that, it was over 20.00.    
  3. Jar opener,   I have one from the 1920s that is the best, but there are good ones on the current market too,    
  4. A food thermometer,     Test bread water, the doneness of meat, and baked products (200 degrees) 
  5. A food scale ,   Break down packages like for pasta.   It you cook the whole package and you don't have a large family, the leftovers will go into the fridge and get shoved to the back until it has hair prettier than yours in a typical family.    Portioning out a box of pasta saves a lot of waste.    Saving the landfill also saves money,    
  6. Portion scoops.   Very inexpensive at Costco business, a restraint supply or on Amazon.    Great for making meatballs or cookies uniform size so they all cook at the same time,   Great portion control.    Filling cupcakes or muffin liners.   
  7. Cupcake lines in silicone , They wash and you aren't replacing them over and over. I paid five dollars.    
  8. A non metal wisk.  Saves scratches on pans and bowls.    
  9. Silicone bowl covers save money not buying all that plastic wrap.  
  10. Parchment paper is cheapest at DT especially for smaller jobs.    

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Safeways haul.

Again, we went to take care of another errand, and stopped at Safeways.   I'm still under budget for the week, but I did well with a 3 dollars off of 20 electronic coupon.   The gal there also loaded the Safeway app to my phone for me.   It's a lot easier to post your coupons,

I went for as close to twenty dollars as I could.    Our ending balance was 16.69

Large coffee
Oreo wanta be
2 -12 packs sparkling water
8 oumces shred  cheese
1 lbs butter
I carton ice cream

Chain store ads

There is no QFC ad this week, it was a two week ad last week.  


Butter 199@@
Ice cream 2/5
Grapes 1.28
Radishes .79
Cantaloupe 2/5
Kraft Singles 1.99@@

Iceberg lettuce each .99

Walla walla onions, .99 lb
Tomatoes .99 lb

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Grocery outlet haul

Had to go to a few towns over for the last time for business.    Stopped at dollar tree and grocery outlet   on the way home.  

Chocolate chip cookies l lunchbox size 4/1.00
Hot salsa .99
Kashi bars .98
Designer sausage 2.99

Total 5.96

What tools do you use?

There is a lot of discussion out there about not using a warehouse club and not using coupons to save money on groceries.  

Guaranteed, if you order your groceries on line and pay for delivery, you are going to spend a lot more than of you do
 the work yourself.   I certainly get it that there are disabled people that have no choice because they just can't go to the store, let alone several stores.    It's a convenience, and sometimes necessity to order your food, and yes, you are paying for it just like any other time you pay for convenience.  I wrote in the 80 s that the word convenience starts with $$$$.  

It just makes sense to me that if you use every available tool at your disposal to save money on groceries, you will save more.  The caviat here is to do it in a manner that makes sense.     The business world has an expression, " return on your investment.  

If you use coupons, you can save money,   I average about 300.00 a year.  Your savings is based on how much you spend on food and how many coupons for real food you can find.   If you were to spend 40   hours a week clipping coupons , you would not get much return for your money.  Another way to look at it, is saving 300.00 and spending 160 hours to do it nets you 1.88 an hour.  Not enough in my book.   Spending six hours would mean  I am making  50.00 an hour.  A bit more rewarding,

Warehouse stores,:   First of all, we have a business membership.   It costs 120.00.   Whooo..... we get 2 percent back on our purchases,    Which pays for half if we don't have a major purchase like a television.   Gas is anywhere from .30-.50 a gallon cheaper.   If we use 200 gallons of gas a year, it

pays for the  membership.    That's four gallons a week.

Not everything at Costco is a bargain,    Not all bulk foods make sense to all families.   If you throw away a lot of why you buy, you aren't saving money.   The best way to make your membership work is to buy the things that you use frequently and avoid the marketing blitz.   Buy what is cheaper than anywhere else.   We buy flour, beer, cheese, yeast. Rice, tortilla chips, bananas, bacon, blue cheese, spices and over the counter meds that my doctor has ordered.  The meds save a lot of money,  for the cost of one copay for us, I can have 1/2 a years meds of a particular medication.    As any store, put on blinders for anything you don't have on your list. Get in and get out.    Pick your time to go so you aren't waiting too long in line.  

Shopping two stores saves a lot of money.   You can get your return on your money by using the planning. ,Blinders , in and out theory and planning your trip to maximize your gas,   If your two stores aren't close together, plan to shop in conjunction with other errands.   If you have to go far, plan your trip , do it monthly, and make it worth your while-- stock non perishable foods you use in a
regular basis.   When we had to go ten miles one way to Winco, I would plan what I knew was cheaper, gather coupons, and I always have cooler bags in the trunk.

Ibotta is a rebate site,   It takes a few minutes to download to your phone or tablet one time,   If you go from a referral. You get money and the referral gets money,    Sometimes ten  dollars.  You scroll threw the store you shopped at, click in the thingsmyou bought, "look" at the 30 second video .  Take a snapshot of your receipt and money drops on your account,   You can get credit at Amazon, movie tickets and more credits.   How much you get depends on how much you buy.   It can be anything from tomatoes to wine,    Obviously, the wine has a larger rebate.

One thing that came to mind while writing this , is that children are tech savy at early ages.   A preteen to teenager can "earn his spending money by printing coupons  for what they onowmyou buy and doing the Ibotta thing.  They are learning to save money and you aren't giving them an allowance.   Just a thought.

Scratch cooking,.   This is where I use the return in your money 💰 comcept the most.   If it takes too long time to make, it's not going to happen.   Do the math.   If I'm making .60 an hour unless there is a h u g e health  benefit, I'm not going there. Making mixes saves time and money, and has health benefits.   Making bread is a ten hands on minute chore and saves 90  percent of the cost.   And bread hot out of the oven is sooo good.  If it takes ten minutes and I save 2.70 I am making 16.20 an hour.   Or 32.40  for two loaves that wouldn't take any longer.   No preservatives control the fat. ( there is no fat)

Use time wisely.   We save 5000.00 a year over the average grocery bill .   Being efficient and spending less time cooking, and more time planning and shopping trips makes it happen while eating home made scratch cooking meals.

The basics,:buying in bulk.

We covered protein, the most expensive part of your food budget.  To recap, picking bulk meats that are  versatile are your best bet in reducing the cost of protein.  Eating a vegetarian meal once or twice a week helps greatly too.    Buy bulk meat enough to rotate that meal for a month.  In other words, if you want to eat Pork for two nights a week, you will need enough for 8 meals.   Portions should be around four ounces.   The RDA for protein is 45 grams for women and 55 for men, minimum, for low activity people.     There are 61 in a 8 ounce boneless, skinless chicken  breast.

 Knowing the RBP of rotation meats is key,   Chicken breasts should be no more than a dollar a pound.   In most places, you can get them for that.  Seattle is one of the most costly places to live and I can get chicken breasts with ribs for .88 and cut the ribs off for stock, pick the bones for more meals.   Pork loins are between 1.50 and 1.79.   Good (7 percent ) hamburger is 3.28 here.   Ground turkey a dollar  a pound chub  in other parts of the country, frozen,

Buying other things in bulk only Makes sense if you use it regularity,   There are three of us basically.    I can still buy certain things in bulk.  Rice is one.   Rice has a long shelf life.   It is 8.47 for 25 lbs at Costco.   That makes a rice serving pennies.

Oatmeal is close to 8.50 at Costco for ten pounds,   We eat oatmeal everyday for breakfast and I use it for oatmeal, blueberry, banana bread and oarmeal cookies.

Flour is  6.39 for 25 pounds.  25 pounds lasts us about three months,  I make our own  baking mix, cream soup base, muffin mix and bread.   Bread cost about .25-30 cents a loaf.  It takes about ten hands on minutes.    Making your own mixes means you can control the fats and avoid hydroginated  oils and too much sugar.    Cream soup base is a lot less than opening a can of cream of....soup and takes not much more time.

Bulk yeast is a good investment if you are going to make bread.    For little more  the cost of one packet you can have enough for dozens of loaves.

I don't buy pinto beans on bulk because we don't eat enough to use them up before they are hard to cook.     The cost difference is ten cents a pound.  I can  get 1.5 pounds at the dollar tree for a buck and they are non gmo and grown on the USA.

Our Winco has a bulk food isle and some things are cheaper. .   It is especially good for anyone that wants to try something or need just a little bit  - yeast comes to  mind if you just want to try bread baking.  Don't give up, it may take a few loaves to get the hang of it.  
We like the chocolate and white chocolate chips. Dry milk, and spices.    Look on your area forma bulk isle.   Our Kroger has one, but the prices are a lot higher.

Cold cereal in bags are a lot cheaper than in the boxes.   We don't eat a lot of cold cereal.  I buy chocolate rice crispies for rice crispy treats.   Store them in a sealed canister.  

Contrary to some opinions out there, bulk buying can be a money saver.   You need to exercise caution and buy the things that you use a lot of on a regular basis.  One pound  of rice at the dollar  tree is a buck. Twenty five poumds of rice cost 8.47.   For the cost of  8.5 poumds, you can have 25 poumds,    That's a remarkable difference,    That's almost three times as much.

It just makes sense.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Winco haul

Sitting at 45.00 a week this week not including the Costco run of long term bulk.   That total is 59.00.


Foster Farms chicken patties 3.99
Blue bunny ice cream 3.50
Jalapeño poppers 1.78
Cucumbers 2/96
Potato salad 298
Hit dog buns .75
Green chillis 2/132
Black sliced olives 2/188

Total 18.51

Monday kitchen management - July 10, 17

Kitchen management is when you take a block of time once a week and clean and prep for the week's meals.   This hour to two hours saves a lot of time during the hectic dinner hour.  

Start with your meal plans,   Make notes on them the night before you need to defrost meat,  

Recap :

Spareribs, roasted veggies
Salmon ( cook from frozen )
Tacos l Spanish rice
Chicken pot pie
Pork chops, oven roasted root veggies
Breakfast 4 dinner

  •  Straighten pantry 
  • Sweep and wash floor 
  • Make something sweet - muffins and/or peppermint pie.   
  • Clean fridge 
  • Wash veggies to be ised this week with vinegar and water
  • Defrost spareribs for tomorrow 
  • Cook chicken for pot pie tonight 
  • Clean counter under coffee station
  • Post Winco haul and check ibotta .   

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Cleaning out the recipe dump.

I'm not alone !   We all have that binder or box somewhere where we out recipes that we need ormthat we are going to try someday,    Someday may never come,    I just went through mine and dumped 1/2 of them in the recycle.  I did find tue recipes for my  moxes  all on scraps of paper.  
The thought came to me to put them on a vkogmtomsharemandnto out them in my oldest personal cookbook   from the 70's that  has the rest  of my mix recipes.  

Pancake mix.
To make pancakes : Water and mix equal parts.    Add fruit?  
12 cups flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 cups powdered milk
5 Tbls baking powder
1 Tbls salt

Mix and store in airtight container.  

Ranch dressing mix 
1 Tbls EACH
Onion powder

1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp pepper

Baking mix 
3 cups flour
1-1/2 Tbls baking powder
3/4 tsp salt.
3 T oil

Mix and stir in container with tight fitting lid

Self rising flour 

1 cup flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Onion soup mix
3/4 cup  minced onions
1/3cup beef bouillon granules
4 tsp onion  powder
1/4 tsp sugar

5 T equals a 1-1/4 ounce package

Sunday : meal plans

Meal plans based on fruits and veggies in season and a inventory of what's in the pantry and  freezer,   We often purchase  in a small bulk buy, things that are nearing their pull date.   Often , depending on the product, they will be good for months to come.  Still, using them in or beforemthe pull date makes sense.   Case in point, I bought 11 packages of mashed sweet potatoes.   They were .33 instead of 1.25 each.  We have until mid September to use them up.    I plan to have pork chops ormxhixken and sweet potatoes once a week through the summer.    Buying not yet expired foods that are not typical of the season is a way to cut your food bill dramatically,   The food is as good as any other food, it's just not eaten in a traditional way,   I also got a desert mix that has a chocolate Oreo type crust and a peppermint filling-- no doubt for Christmas -- it cost.....wait for it........50.    The Oreo cookies would cost that much.  

Meal plans.   I'm going to be taking you through my mindset, nitmbecaise anyine has to follow me. But, rather, to let you see how I reach my decisions.  

I got country ribs for 1/2 price yesterday.    I will divide the mega pack in three that will allow us three big ribs for two of us.   I doubt that granddaughter will like them.  I will give her a taste of mine so she experiences the taste.   Introducing taste is a way to let children become accustomed to different tastes.    

Our matrix for meals is  1 fish or seafood,  1 beef,  3 chicken or pork,and 2 vegetarian 

  • Spareribs , roasted potatoes and carrots.  
  • Pizza ( homemade crust ) 
  • Breakfast 4 dinner - pumpkin pancakes, bacon, fruit ( the last of the pumpkin bread mix ) 
  • Salmon, Sweet potatoes, broccoli ( mashed sweet potatoes and broccoli got for .78) use 1/2 
  • Tacos. Spanish rice
  • Chicken pot pie ( biscuits were on sale for a dollar. ) - peppermint desert 
  • Pork chops. Oven roasted veggies ( I have large radishs from last week and just bought a bag of potatoes). 

Using the insta pot, none of these meals will take more than 15-20 hands on time to prepare.   

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The basics :meal plans

We have covered the two little things that you can do to cut  your food bill and contribute to better health too.   We have found ways to get your protein at the RBP and start the journey to build a stock for emergencies,    Emergencies can be as little as a snow storm, a sick  child, or the flooding of the main  road so the grocery stores can't get their restock.    Yes that did happen , and it was Christmas to boot.  

Let's talk about meal plans.   Meal plans save you from the pizza delivery demons. Being organized reduces stress.   If things are set up, almost anyone on the family can finish dinner even if you are otherwise occupied.  

Have a plan or plan to fail.    There are no magic surprises if you have  a basic stock of food on hand that you can make meals from .   Having a few aces in your hole doesn't hurt either.  Always have a few easy, cheap meals in your pantry or freezer.   I buy Foster Farms chicken patties when I find them
on sale,   If you have pasta and pasta sauce, you have chicken parm.

We always have ground beef already cooked and in portion controlled bags in the freezer.    It's a versatile base for any number of meals.

The basis for a lot of this organization is making a list of ten to fourteen meals your family will eat. At least, most of your family will eat, there is always that one holdout.    We didn't have that when we were kids,  you ate  or you waited for the next meal,  no snacks there.    I digress

After your list is  complete and you have analyzed it for budget breakers......this list should be economical meats and sides.    A lot of things like asparagus, and water chestnuts are  out of reach for a super economy meal. Stick to basics.


Spaghetti and meatballs
Mac n cheese
Pork chops and dressing
Vegetable bean soup
Chicken roasted with garlic bread and oven roasted root veggies
Chicken soup
Chicken pot pie - one crust or Biscuit topping
Chicken stir fry
Breakfast for dinner
Quiche - impossible pie
Sloppy  joes
Chicken chimichangas

Now, make a list of ingredients that you need to make these dishes.   Note the things that you can buy in bulk and use for several dishes.

In our house that would be diced tomatoes. Other than tomato paste, i don't buy a lot of tomato products. Simplifying your grocery list for things that are versatile makes life and budgets a lot easier.   

Pasta sauce and pasta are items you can find coupons for and are often on stock up sales.   Being able to match a good sale with coupons, doubles your savings.   Planning a buy 5 save 5 type sale can take some time, but it can make remarkable purchases.   One time I saved 78 percent.    So much for not wanting to use coupons to save .25 cents.    Lol.

Potatoes, celery and carrots are a staple here.
I keep one ahead of things like catsup, mustard, and mayo.
Canned green beans, beans ( some) and corn 🌽.
I get dry beans in bulk, not too many they do go bad.  And also rice and flour.   You can make all kinds of things in a pinch with flour-  anywhere from noodles to crackers, tortillas, biscuits.....

Instant mashed potatoes and dry milk are nice t have on a pinch,
Tortillas are versatile, cheapest usually at dollar tree or Costco.    You can use them for quesadas , enchiladas, chimichangas, tacos, taco chips for nachos.  

It's a lie that shredded cheese is more expensive than  brick. A pound of cheese is a pound of cheese.   Watch those small bags, they can be a budget killer.  If you use a lot of,here's, buy five pound bags at Costco.   It does freeze.without harm.    I pay close to two dollars a pound.   It can be up to seven.  

Diced green mild  chilies and sliced black olives male things special.    Cheapest at Winco here.

All of this is bought at discount, of course, and over time.

Pit groceries for three of us has been less than 55.00 a week.  That is about 45 percent of the usda stats for poor people.    They call it thrifty.    Lol.    We eat well. And we don't eat rice and beans,  
We also don't get our groceries on line and pay full price with a delivery charge,   We don't buy junk food for the most part.   We scratch cook efficiently.   I rarely spend more ham fifteen  minutes hands on time cooking dinner at dinner time.  So,e bulk cooking and the insta pot helps remarkably,

Fred Meyers ad for tomorrow

First, today big lots  has 20 percent off everything,    6 pads and 12 toilet tissue were ten bucks.

Freddies tomorrow

Pork loin 1.99 - that's at the top of my rotation cost.
Cherries 1.77
Tomatoes .88 lb
Berries 3.99
Parsley 2/.99
Green onions / radishes 2/.99

Tillamook ice cream 2/6$$
Milk 1.79 gallon
Yogurt 10/5 $$
Sour cream leg 1.99


That's about it.  

Friday, July 7, 2017

Country style ribs in the insta pot.

It ts no secret that I love my insta pot and no, I'm not sponsored.  .   It's just a very versatile appliance that gives you a lot of bang for your buck.  You can slow cook, brown, make rice, and pressure cook, Some of them have yogurt features.

Wednesday, I got country ribs for 1/2 price and then I got another 16 percent off of that aa enough for two of us to have four meals for less than 8.00.   I'm not fond of baby back robs because you are paying for a lot of bone and not much meat.    This blog is all about. S t r e t c h i n g  your dollar.  
Of course, you can do the same recipe in a traditional slow cooker.  

Country ribs in the insta pot.

1) turn on the sauté feature .   Dry the ribs with a paper towel and salt and pepper both sides.   Brown the ribs in olive oil .   Try to keep a single layer of ribs.  
2) turn the Sauté feature off and add 2 cups of broth : chicken or tomato. ( tomato bullion is in a jar- add to water, )!
3) cover, shut vent, process on meat for 30 minutes.
4) de- pressurize naturally. Place ribs on a broiler pan, spread with BBQ sauce and cook at 400 degrees in the oven for 10 minutes or until the sauce has caramelized.

Rice :

Put equal parts of rice and water or broth in the insta pot.    Add a pat of butter  or a drizzle of olive oil.   Stir.    Place lid with the vent on seal and hit the rice button.    Done.  Let it de pressurize naturally.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Costco haul for the month.

Hopefully the last Costco run for the month for food.   Gas is  sooo much cheaper that it pays for the membership.  

25 lbs flour.  6.29
Bananas 1.39
Sour cream 3.99
4 lbs butter 10.99 2.75 lb 
Mozzarella -5 lbs 10.99 - 2.20 lb 
3 lbs tortilla chips 3.59
Blueberries 6.99

Total 44.23
Most of this was bulk that can be split over two weeks to three months.   

Twenty loaves of bread at 3.00  per loaf would be 60.00. 
A sack of flour costs 6.39 
Difference is 53.60

Yeast and salt when bought in bulk are mere pennies.    
The savings on  bread alone would feed us for over a week.   

Hands on time for a loaf of bread is about ten minutes.    

Thursday : basics - little steps

Back to basics.  Groceries on the cheap takes a different  look at traditional grocery shopping.   Instead of going to a store and buying a weeks worth of groceries and coming home and planning meals, you go to two stores and buy :  a rotation protein, what's in sale that you can make meals from, and replentish   dairy and fresh veggies hopefully on sale / and/or in season.

This takes a little time, but the rewards are amazing,   You eat better and have enough to take you through the month,   No one , especially children , should suffer the anxiety, stress, or insecurity of having no food in the house.  

The thought of doing this is a bit overwhelming to some people.    Basically, its not  hard and not impossible ,     You think you don't have enough money to do that,   But, in actuality you have more than you think.    If you buy 1 chicken a week for 1.68 a pound, you get 1 chicken,   If you don't buy one this week, and buy 2 chickens for .88 a pound next week, you have 2 chickens,    If you know how to stretch that chicken, you can have 8 dinners from those 2 chickens.   That's a quarter of the month  covered for dinners.    Do that will all your food, and you have meals plus a stock built to cover you if you can't get to the store for some reason or an  other mishap happens.

In this series, we will take one step at a time. Baby steps. Habits.   For many people making a drastic change that takes a lot of time, doesn't work because it isn't sustainable.   We eat for a small amount of money and have a back up small stock.  It didn't happen in a day; rather, it's been an ongoing mantra for fifty years.  I just kept perfecting the concept  and adjusting to fluctuating  prices and new revelations of foods that can effect your health .   Baby steps.   They all save. One year and your savings will grow.

  • Write down and gather recipes if you need to for 10-14 meals your family likes to eat,   These meals should be made from low cost sources of protein.  
  • In our house that would be 1) pork loin that can become chops, roast, or stew cubes; home butchered boneless, skinless, chicken breast; 7 percent hamburger, or home ground  low fat hamburger; cheese, beans, and some tuna, shrimp, or salmon. 
  • Now, find two stores in your area that consistently  have the lowest prices.
  •  Research the prices in your area for those sources of protein.  You are looking for the RBP ( rock bottom price ) .  In the PNW, I can get split chicken breast , locally grown, for .88 a pound. This turns into boneless, skinless, chicken  breast and chicken stick and loose meat. Pork loin is 149-1.69 a pound,  this turns out to be roast, chops, and stew meat. Hamburger is 3.28 a pound for 7 percent fat,   If a roast or steak is cheaper and has little fat, we will grind our own. Cheese can be purchased for 2.35 a pound or less, and sausage with coupons or at Costco in a chub is around two dollars a  pound.  I just got rope sausage for two dollars a pound, fry it and de-fat it, and freeze it. 
  • Protein is probably the most expensive group of foods you buy, starting with it gives you more return on your time,   
  • Next : what to go with the protein  .   Remember, baby steps,    

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Safeway haul

Safeway haul using a four dollars off of 25.00 coupon.  

3 speghetti @ .58
2 cans coffee @ 4.20
10 yoplait @ .34
Country ribs 1/2 price 7.36 ( 3 meals )
10 lbs russet potatoes 2.09

Saved about 46 percent

Wednesday chain store ads

Alberways - a compilation of Safeways and Albertsons because the two stores have identical ads.  

Cherries 1.88

Pork shoulder blade roast .99
Eye of round roast.   3.99

Lucerne yogurt 4/1.00@@
Coffee 5.00

5 dollar Friday
Pork loin tenderloins
40 oz jig peanut butter

QFC ( Kroger) two week ad

Buy 3, save 3

Grands biscuits .99. - sometimes coupons
Coffee .99
Jimmy Dean sausage 2.49
Free download - BBQ sauce usually fridays,

Green beans 1.99