Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday bullets :Five things

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

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

Wednesday chain store ads


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

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

Buy 5, save 5

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

Yoplait 10/5@@
Pie 2.99

Pint blues 2.99
Corn 2/1
Sweet baby rays 1.00

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tuesday Notes : Inventory and meal plans

Groceries on the cheap takes a different approach to grocery shopping.   Instead of going to one grocery store and buying just what you need for a weeks worth of meal plans, you go to two stores and buy basically the perishables you will need and what's on sale that is on a mater list.  Proteins are simplified and you are buying basics that are versatile.    Its probably not much different than our great grandmothers on the farm.  

This plan sometimes necessitates taking inventory of what is in the pantry.    Once a year I usually do that.    We still have residuals of boxed things from before I decided to make a concentrated effort to scratch cook almost everything.   Its time to incorporate these things into meal plans to use them up and pare down the pantry.   Its a pleasant problem.   Beats not having anything in the house to eat and our food bill is about 40 percent of the USDA stats last time I looked.  

Excess to use up

  • Sweet potatoes purchased for .33
  • Belgian waffles purchased for 1.00
  • Cake mixes purchased for .88
  • Mashed potatoes purchased for .86
  • Scalloped potatoes purchased for .50. 
  • Suddenly salad for .75 

There isn't a large abundance to use up, a month or so should do it.    The difference is that suddenly salad is upwards of two dollars at Safeways, and I paid .75 .    I got almost three for the price of one.    

This is how you can feed a family on less than 4.00 a day.    I have been running about 45.00 a week lately.   Considering that those meals delivered people charge 10.00 a plate, its not hard to see the benefit.   

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday kitchen management

Meal Plans for week of July 28, 2017

  • Pizza
  • Breakfast 4 Dinner
  • Pork Roast, sweet potatoes, green beans 
  • BBQ pull pork sandwiches, cucumber salad  , fries 
  • Mac and cheese , peas and carrots 
  • Baked salmon , rice medley, glazed carrots 
  • Tacos, Spanish rice. 

  1. Disinfect counters sinks, drains 
  2. Wash stove 
  3. Wash refrigerater 
  4. Clean ice maker drain 
  5. Put stove vent filter through the dishwasher 
  6. Mark meal plan to thaw the roast tuesday 
  7. Wash carrots, green beans 
  8. Make bread dough 
  9. Make pizza dough***
  10. Make bbq sauce for pulled pork**
  11. Wash floor. 
** new pizza dough recipe can be made in bulk and frozen.   Makes once, eat all month.  
** bbq sauce recipe is on

TIP:   When meal planning, plan to have a couple of really easy meals for those days when bleep happens and you dont have time or enthusiasm to cook dinner. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Meal plans

Meal Plans for week of July 28, 2017

  • Pizza
  • Breakfast 4 Dinner
  • Pork Roast, sweet potatoes, green beans 
  • BBQ pull pork sandwiches, cucumber salad  , fries 
  • Mac and cheese , peas and carrots 
  • Baked salmon , rice medley, glazed carrots 
  • Tacos, Spanish rice. 

Notes : 

  • Pizza is a no brainer here.   Cost of a pepperoni or cheese and pepperoni pizza is 1.04 
  • Breakfast 4 dinner is another family hit.  
  • Pork Roast comes from a pork loin, butchered.   (1.79 a lb) , sweet potatoes were .33.  
  • Pulled Pork sandwiches are "planned overs " 
  • Mac and cheese, peas and carrots, are scratch using cream soup base. Macaroni was purchased for .50 on sale--barrilla with coupon.    
  • Baked salmon, (costco) rice medley is a recipe mix on the blog, glaze carrots with honey and ginger. 
  • Tacos made from precooked hamburger that has been de-fatted and the shells we got for .66 at Safeways with double coupons.    ( you can use a store coupon and a manufacturers coupon at many stores.   Spanish rice is made in the insta pot with tomato boullion.   

Saturday, August 26, 2017

FYI. Ingredients on DT pizza sauce .

Who ever said that there isn't any good food at the Dollar Tree.  

Francesco Ronaldi pizza sauce.   14 ounces for a dollar.   Cheaper than even winco.

Tomato purée (water, tomato paste, salt, extra virgin olive oil, citric acid and garlic and onion .
No sugar, no things you cant pronounce.  

Fred Meyers ad for Sunday

Peaches, or ectarines .99
Blues, small, 2/5

Boneless Loin chops, 3,99****

Strawberries 2/4
Suddenly salad 1.00 **
Hebrew national hot dogs 2/6
Sweet baby rays 1.00
Fruit pie 3.49

** note:   Boneless loin chops at 3.99.   Cut them from a pork loin and pay 1.49-1.79 a pound.   Less than 1/2 price.  

Buy five , save five, mix and match

You can clean up with these promotions if you can match them with a coupon, and find enough things that you normally buy ( not junk food)

Frosted Flakes, Cheerios, 1.79@@
Jiff 2.99
Tide 4.99 - look for coupons
Bounty paper towels 4.99 -look for coupons
Daves killer bread 3.29
Fiber one or nature valley bars 1.99@@
Kens dressing 1.49 @@

Ritz crackers 1.79@@

@@ coupons out there.  

In the paper , there is a coupon for 1.00 off any dressing 16 ounces or larger.   That makes the dressing .50.

Nature valley bars .50 off of two nets 1.74
Cheerios, 1.00 off of three nets 1.46

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday recipe: Tex mex burritos in the insta pot.

The insta pot is a three in one cooker that saves money and time in the kitchen.  A virtual work horse in the kitchen.  Recipe can be adjusted to work without the insta pot.

3/4 lb boneless, skinless, chicken breasts , cut into cubes.
1-1/2 cups frozen corn
1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes with chillies, undrained
2 cups black beans **
1 T taco seasoning **

**. Beans:   Place 1 cup rinsed and picked black beans in the insta pot.  Cover with water up to your second knuckle.   Lock the lid and set the seal button.   Push the bean button.   When cycle is finished, wait five minutes and quick release.   Carefully open lid away from you.  Drain beans and measure 2 cups.

**. Taco seasoning can be purchased or made from scratch.   Recipes on blog.

Place all ingredients in insta pot including the raw chicken cover, and cook on slow cook mode 4-5 hours or until chicken is done.

Remove chicken from pot and shred .  

Return chicken to pot.
Cut 1 package (8 ounces ) cream cheese into cubes.   Add to pot and cook an additional 15 minutes until the cream cheese is incorporated into the dish.

Fill 8 inch flour tortillas with 3/4 cup filling and roll up.    Garish with sour cream, cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes and/or lettuce.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Beef Enchiladas

Beef Enchiladas

Note :   This is another recipe where cooking your beef in bulk batches saves time and money.

2 cups cooked hamburger (low fat)
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided (1.5 cups )

Slightly warm hamburger in microwave if still frozen.   Add remaining ingredients. Use 1 cup of the cheese .

1 unit of cream soup base
1 can diced green chillies, mild , drained well
1/2 cup of the cheese

Make 1 unit of the cream soup base adding 1/2 of the can of diced chillies, and the cheese at the end.  

8 - 6 inch corn tortillas
Small amount of canola oil

Fry corn tortillas one at a time on both sides for 5 seconds on each side.   Drain on paper towels .


Place corn tortilla on a plate.  Add scant 1/4 cup of meat mixture on each tortilla.  Roll up and place in greased baking pan, seam side down.

Pour sauce over enchaladas.  
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes

Garnish with remaining peppers.  

Thursday : bullets

Hacks to organize your kitchen. Don't let it be overwhelming.   Do it a little at a time.   Clean the cupboard and line the shelves as you go.   I have used shelf paper from the dollar tree, but I have also used wallpaper I got on closeout cheap, and even used wrapping paper.   The dollar tree is full of organizational materials that you can purchase a little at a time.

  1. Set zones in your kitchen.   Even a small kitchen can have a designated area for baking.
  2. Place your pots and pans where they are used first.   If you use a stock pot a lot, put it near the sink.    The first thing you do with it is to add water to boil noodles or pasta.   
  3. Store spices by the stove, but not to close if you have a choice.   The heat isn't the spices best friend.   
  4. Store dishes and silverware / napkins etc to set the table in the same place if possible.  
  5. Coffee and tea bars are easily set up an make a good addition to the kitchen.  
  6. I know some people cant stand clutter, but leaving often used appliances on the counter makes it easier to use them often. 
  7. If necessary, make a pantry in another room or the basement.   Growing up, we always had a pantry in the basement, even if it was only shelves under the stairs.   
  8. Store baking pans near the oven.   Some stoves used to have a drawer under the oven.   
  9. Keep glasses near the sink.  
  10. When unloading the dishwasher, stack like kind dishes ( all the plates, bowls, etc ) on the counter , then bring the stack to the cabinet.   It takes no longer to bring a stack than it does for one plate.  Saves a lot of steps an time. 
  11. If your kitchen is organized, you will be more likely to do more cooking.   Its faster and easier if things are at your fingertips and you aren't racing around the kitchen to find things.  
  12. I have cast iron and ceramic pans.   I leave them on the stove.   They are heavy and I have broken my wrist, so its hard to handle them, but I like the way they hold the heat and that just saves a step not having to put them away.   
  13. A tray with olive oil, salt, pepper, vinegar and a slurry bowl on it saves time and energy too. 
  14. A urn near the stove or your work counter if you have one is another convenience.   Storing rubber spatulas, wooden spoons, ladle , tongs, etc.  
  15. Organizing the pantry and putting food in the same place makes taking inventory a breeze and you can know at a glance when you are running low on something and need to look for a sale. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Chain store ads

Chain store ads 


Raspberries, blackberries 2/4 
Grapes, red 1.48 
Cheese 8 ounce packages : 2.76 a pound if you buy 8 ounce packages **

Buy 5, save 5 sale 
Net prices.   You can mix and match. 

Cheerios or frosted flake 1.79 $$
Nature Valley granola bars 1.99
Tortilla chips .79 (9-13 ounces) 
Daves killr bread 3.49
Jif 28 ounces 3.49
Ritz 2.49$$
Tide 4..99 -probably a coupon 

Peaches nectarines, apples .97
Whole chicken , unknown origin .87

Just for you 
Coupon for bumble bee tuns .59. Limit 6 
Best foods .199

Canned beans .89**

*** I got cheese at business costco for the target price 
***Target price for beans is 50 cents

Tuesday notes

Organizing.....another run screaming from the building word for some people.  Getting ready for fall and school starting is upon us.  

Being organized is important because it makes our lives easier and less stressful.  

School ideas:

  • Make a sign   "Susie's first day of kindergarten 2017"    And take a picture of your child in front of the front door "  its a chronological memory, do it each year.   You can put it in a binder or scrapbook.
  • A magazine holder from the dollar store or goodwill is a good receptial for school papers that need to be gone through and sent back to school.  You can use a different color for each child.  In a pinch, you can cut a cereal box, cover it with paper bag paper and let the child decorate the paper. 
  • Lay out clothes for five days in boot boxes. On a particular hanger in their closet, or in letter boxes from the dollar store. The kids can still pick their clothes, but finding what goes with what is a lot less hectic in the morning rush. 
  • Set up a lunch station.   Non perishables can go in a basket on a shelf the children can reach.  Perishables can be in the refrigerator door or on a shelf in a plastic box or basket.   Some mothers freeze sandwiches for a grab and go.   They don't allow  peanut butter in our school district, so it'll have to be meat and cheese.   
  • Betty Crocker has a muffin recipe that sounds to me like it would be the perfect grab and go breakfast.   Its always better if you can sit and leisurely eat a bowl of oatmeal.  There are probably mothers that can make the pancakes and egg lunches, although I dont know anyone that does.   But, face it, there is always that child that dilly dallies......this muffin is full of protein and fat to stay with them, and just a bit of carbs to get them going.    It's made from bisquick, has an apple, cheese , and bacon filling, 
  • A coat and shoe rack for coats, mittens, boots, hats near the front door helps too.   
  • Load backpacks with as much as you can the night before.    

Monday, August 21, 2017


Recap of meals :
  • Breakfast for Dinner
  • Pizza 
  • Chicken enchaladas 
  • Pork roast 
  • BBQ pork sandwiches. 
  • Split pea soup 
  • Taco bean casserole

  • This is later because I had an emergency appointment this morning and it was the first day of school!

  • Make pizza dough. 
  • Chicken for the chicken enchaladas is already in pieces because it was frozen from the bulk cooking  of  the split chicken breasts.   If you dont have already cut up chicken, cook chicken in the insta pot / or in a skillet and chop.
  • Thaw pork roast.  
  • Make or buy buns. 
  • Chop veggies for split pea soup. 
  • Make refried beans.   Make salsa (or buy if they aren't in your pantry.   
  • Wash kitchen. Floor. 
  • Disinfect countertops, sinks, and drains. 
  • Clean out fridge and dump anything dead /make note of anything that needs to be used up soon.   
  • Make breakfast muffins for back to school ( Betty Crocker ). 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Meal plans for week of August 21

We are sitting at 29.67 a week this month.   That doesn't include the few things that I bought that are stock items.

Meal plans are usually done with a matrix.   My focus this month is to use some of the oldest stock.   Ideally rotating meats means you will maintain enough for a month of rotations.   This will work better if you have a family larger than 2.5 meat eaters.    LOL.  

  • Breakfast for Dinner
  • Pizza 
  • Chicken enchaladas 
  • Pork roast 
  • BBQ pork sandwiches. 
  • Split pea soup 
  • Taco bean cassarole 

Nots : 
  1. Breakfast for dinner is a mainstay here.  It can be inexpensive, it can be vegetarian , and its multi generational participation .(everybody cooks) 
  2. Pizza is a winner.  A cheese and pepperoni pizza costs 1.01.   Doesn't get much cheaper than that.   
  3. Chicken enchaladas are made from the chicken gleamed from the rib bones when de bring chicken breasts.  Green, sour cream enchalada sauce is homemade.   
  4. Pork roast is the last of the last batch of pork loin.   BBQ pork sandwiches are a 'planned over" to quote my 8th grade homeec teacher. 
  5. Split pea soup is a easy on the cook recipe.    Just a note, dont make it in the insta pot on pressure mode.....slow cook mode works best.    Just ask me how I know.   LOL 
  6. Taco bean cassarole is a skillet meal and will appear this week on the "Dinner: Better, cheaper, faster" channel. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Costco haul

cheese, cheap, yah!

I have ample cheese for a while.  It freezes.  

7 lb Pork loin at 1.79 a pound made;
2 pork roasts
2 pkg pork chops
3 pkg (1/2 lb ) pork cubes
1 pkg pork sausage

10 meals easy at 1.24 a meal.   3 people

Pizza cheese at 2.49
Cheddar cheese at 2.39 lb

5 lbs honey at 11,99

Bananas 1.39

Honey is the only perfect food.  It never spoils.   I used the last of my honey I bought wholesale when  I worked for a food distributor.   In 2002,  

Buying a whole pork loin. And spending a few minutes butchering it yourself saves a lot of money.

Your protein is the biggest part of your meal.   Buying good meat in bulk and cutting it yourself is a way to really stretch your budget.   Rotate your bulk meats so you are spending about the same every week.   By simplifying your cuts and buying bulk, you can still have variety and keep your protein cost low.  

Rotate , (assuming your family's eats all of these)

  • Whole pork loin
  • Cheese, beans
  • Hamburger 
  • Chicken split breasts. 
  • Fish , and or canned tuna or salmon, 
Let the market ( RBP or what some people call loss leaders) dictate which protein you buy which 

Here, Fred Meyers (Kroger) puts local chicken on sale about once a month.  It was. .88, but now they want 1.49.   

I can always get beans (pinto) at the Dollar Tree in a l.5 pound bag 

Cheese is sometimes on sale, but usually I can get the best price in a five pound bag at Costco.  I want less than 2.50. 

Pork Loin I have found at winco and costco.   By target price is 1.79.  1.69 of course is better.  

I want 7 -10 percent fat hamburger.   I was getting it at 3.28 a lb at winco.  I haven't bought it for a while because it hasn't been that low.    I paid 3.99 at Fred Meyers last week.  

We have a matrix for meals.   1 beef, 1 fish or shellfish, 2 vegetarian, and 3 pork or chicken.   How much of any one protein that i buy depends on how much we already have and how much we will need for a month to six weeks.  

Easiest whole chicken recipe ever......

Chickens are .87 a pound at Fred Meyers tomorrow.    About as cheap as you can get.  Ever buy a chicken, rotisserie or otherwise under three pounds.

Easy slow cooker whole chicken

  1. Peel and cut one large onion in quarters, or two small onions in halves.   This is important ,you cant substitute any other veggie. You are not eating it, so no matter if you dont like onions. Dump it in the bottom of your slow cooker.  
  2. Open package of chicken.  Dry it with. Paper towel.   Wear gloves or wash your hands frequently as well as your counters.  
  3. Spread the chicken with a dry rub or seasoned salt type mix.  
  4. Put the lid on the slow cooker.  Make sure you plug it in and turn it on high for one hour PER pound of chicken.  
  5. Walk away.

On Dinner : Better, Faster, Cheaper

I am constantly in my spare time, or down-time scouring the web and cookbooks for easy, economical , nutritious recipes.  I post recipes that I find that I can make my own by making them better because they have healthier ingredients, faster because we are all looking for scratch cooking that is efficient.  And cheaper because the COL is high and we are all trying to s t r e t c h a buck.

On food prices

Whenever I go to a store, i am always checking food prices for the things that are on my target list.   At Costco, I noticed that cheese has taken a hike to 3.09 a pound.  The mozzarella was still 2.19, but the other cheese was 3.09.  My target price is less than 2.50.    It was running 2.39.   We have the USDA to thank for that because they bought out millions of dollars worth of cheese to bail out the dairy farmers.    I knew it was coming, but that doesn't help by budget.  

I have seen a trend of rising prices.i used to be able to get chicken for 87 ( split chicken breast) .  Last time it was 1.49. Its 1.49 again.   The whole chicken is still a lot cheaper than deli chicken, but we are not fans of dark meat.

Diced tomatoes and canned beans have a 50 cent target price.   I have been seeing 68 cents for them as well as canned veggies.    I can still get frozen for a buck or less a pound.   Usually in the fall, the new pack of vegetables come into the caners and the prices of the older pack go on sale.  I will be waiting.......

I am still seeing pork loins for under two dollars a pound. 1.79 at winco last week.   Ground beef has taken a hike and I had to pay four dollars last time.    I haven't checked costco business.   The chubs at costco business are not a good texture.   Its more like ground chicken.   We used it, but it isn't my favorite.

I'm still getting pasta for under a dollar, but not finding the .38 prices these days.

I was behind a young fellow in line at Winco .   It was all I could do to not let the Grandmother in me whap him upside the head and tell him he had done it all wrong.!  LOL.  Honestly, he could have spent half of what he spent and not left the store.

He did buy frozen veggies in large bags, but the rest of the cart was full of seasoning packets, deli chicken and Junk food.   Poster boy for How not to save money on food.   LOL.

Watching the prices of what you buy on a regular basis and knowing a target price (RBP) are key in aging money at the grocery store.  Key in no junk food and making as much as you can from scratch and you have a eat winner.

Winco and costco haul. -food only

Note:  I am supposed to be on no spend.   So the hauls are small.  


2 cans pasta sauce .95 (charity)

Nathan's franks 3.30
Peach tea 2.28
Winco olives .68

Total 8.04.  Less 1.90 is 6.14

Costco :

Vinegar 4.29
Tuna 9.79. Case :   3.00 off

Note : vinegar is for multiple uses.   I use it for cleaning vegetables, and household cleaning and for killing weeds.  

Fred Meyer ad for Sunday.

Fred meyers for tomorrow.  Please note that there is a five dollars off of five sale going on.  This usually works with coupons. You do have to pick and choose. A lot of it is junk food.  

Foster Farms whole chicken .87
Foster Farms split chicken breast 1.49.  ***
Also thighs and legs 

Mango or avacodo .77

Cantaloupe 2/3 
Cheese 2.99 a pound 
Zucchini .99
Cottage cheese, sour cream 2/4 large 

Freshetta pizza.     4.99. Coupon in Sunday paper for 1.50 off of two.

Cucumbers, radishes 59

Oranges .99

Buy five, save, five.

Note : ** means there is a coupon somewhere.     Or a good chance there is .

Nature valley bars 1.99
Ritz crackers 1.79**
Gold fish .99
Tide 4.99**
Cheerios, Frosted Flakes 1.79**
Kens salad dressing 1.49.
Jiff peanut butter is 2.99 for the large jar.  

The English muffins are not a bargain. The regular price for English muffins at FM is 1.67 for a veery large bag...i think a dozen.   They are in a basket by the eggs at shoreline.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Smashed potatoes

A good side dish for a potluck.

8 medium sized russet  potatoes
1-1/2 cup homemade ranch dressing
1/2 lb shredded Mexican blend cheese
Salt , peppers
Bacon bits

  1. Bake potatoes.  Peel.
  2. Place in a mixing bowl. 
  3. Smash potatoes ( leave a bit chunky) 
  4. Add remaining ingredients 
  5. Pour into greased 9X13 pan 
  6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes 
  7. Garnish with green onion and bacon

Thursday, August 17, 2017

What can you do with cottage cheese

Cottage cheese continues to be a bargain.   Fred meyers has it for a dollar a small carton frequently.
It's a good source of protein and calcium and can be 'hidden" in all kinds of dishes.   Lately, I have been finding all kinds of recipes that you would never dream you could add cottage cheese to.

  1. Cottage cheese and fruit salad was a mainstay for us growing up. 
  2. Cottage cheese biscuits.   
  3. Cottage cheese and rice in hamburger for meatloaf or to stuff peppers, or hamburgers.   
  4. Cottage cheese pancakes 

What can you do with cottage cheese?  


1 cup flour
2 tsp sugar
1-1/8 tsp baling powder
1/4 tsp soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup cottage cheese

IN MEDIUM BOWL, measure dry ingredients.
Mix.   Cut in cold butter.

In separate bowl, beat cottage cheese for 2 minutes until smooth.  Ad egg and milk jutnuntil blended.  Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

Turn out onto flour covered board.   Knead 8-10 times.   Pat out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with biscuit cutter.

Bake at 450 8-12 minutes.                                                                        

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Chain store ad for the week

QFC was a two week ad last week


Kellogg's cereals 1.88. Buy 3

Milk 1.79@
Just for u digital coupons

Suddenly salad .88
Kens salad dressing 1.79


How many quirk sayings are in your childhood?  Everybody grew up wth some.  A lot of them had some insight into life.   Some were just funk.

  1. I'm not as green as I am cabbage looking.   :   Lesson:  retailers have studied the phycology of shopping.   They know how to trick you into spending more at their store.   Bigger carts.  Displays of junk food might be one of the first things you see when you walk in the door.  This is to get you so start putting high priced junk in your large cart.  There is much more.  There is a separate post on the subject. To be informed is your best defense.   
  2. It's a new one.   Alternative facts.  Almost every food you can name has an opinion associated with it.   This is good, or not so good.   I think you have to look at the source and use your common sense. Someone (MSN) just said that the dollar tree was a good source for food.   Try and not so true.   Not all the food is cheapter than the discount grocery stores.   Not all the packages are as big.   Some things are made in China.   Some things are a bargain and some things are what's left from a test market and are outstanding buys.   Like free is good.   
  3. No food will do your family any good if you are feeding it to the garbage disposal.  Kale can be good for you, but if your family won't  eat it , it's not a bargain at any price.   If your high priced organic food rots before you can eat it , its not a bargain.    
  4. He who poops his britches accuses other chap of smelling of it.   Just food for thought.   
  5. Some people would not see a bargain if it got up and bit them in the butt.   Don't be that person.   Knowledge is power.  Know your prices.   Know who has the best price on certain foods.  No one store has the best prices on everything.   If you don't have a clue, ask a lot of people--especially someone with a lot of children to feed.   Get the ads and make it a point to study them for the prices of the things that you buy on a regular basis.   Doing it for a few weeks wil give you a good idea. There are apps like favado, but they aren't always accurate.    

Monday, August 14, 2017


When you are retired, or not, it helps to have a schedule.   Otherwise, I could putts the whole day and accomplish, but it surely wouldn't look like it.....a little thing here and a little thing there.  

Kitchen management is a task that takes about an hour or an hour and a half , but saves a lot more time and stress when it is time for making dinner.

Recap meal plans :

  • Pizza 
  • Breakfast for dinner 
  • Chicken strips, french fries, veggies
  • Sausage and peppers
  • Mac and cheese
  • Tuna casserole 
  • Beef vegetable soup

Management tasks 
  1. Disinfect the counters, sinks, and drains. 
  2. Load the dishwasher.
  3. Clean the fridge and organize.  Dump everything dead.   Revitalize anything on the edge. 
  4. Make bread 
  5. Cook and de fat hamburger I bought yesterday. 
  6. Wash potatoes , carrots, celery.  Save tops for soup 
  7. Wash and cut peppers , freeze 
  8. Sub mac and cheese for cheeseburger macaroni. 
  9. Wax north side cabinets/island 
  10. Wash kitchen  floor. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fred Meyer and winco hauls

Well, so much for no spend.   The meat buys were too good to pass up.   I did pass up a whole pork loin for 1.79 a pound at Winco.    The freezer is supposed to be purging, not filling LOL.  

Fred Meyers

Barrilla pasta -veggie speghetti ( for charity)
Milk 1.99
2 packages popcorn shrimp ( over a pound) 7.99
2 cans silver label solid albacore tuna.  1.09 ( clearance table)
Grapes .99
Zucchini .99
Cucumber -English .99
Peanut butter 1.49
2 pkg ribs 11.99
3 pkg organic, grass fed, 10 percent fat hamburger @ 3,99 a pound
2 strawberries at 1.25

Most of this haul was protein that is stock :  it will last us more than a week.  

Yoplait  8/2,98 with coupon
Hamburger buns .75
Hot dog buns .75
Zucchini .89
Corn .33
Peppers .88

Bag refund.   .06

Lots of protein.   Perishables are minimal.  
I deviated From the menu plan today and made vegetable soup to go with our cheddar bread and rice pudding.  

Last weeks fruit that we had leftover is in the dehydrator.   Head start for tomorrow morning kitchen management.    

Meal Plans for week of 8/14/17

Its a no spend month this month.   I didn't grocery shop this week.   Last week we bought a bunch of veggies and fruit and I picked up a couple of lunch box items for granddaughter and a box of tomato bouillon.because it's was at the overstock store for a quarter of the Costco price and we were almost out.

  • PIZZA 
  • Breakfast for dinner. 
  • Chicken strips, french fries, veggie or fruit 
  • Sausage and peppers 
  • Mac and cheese, peas and carrots. 
  • Tuna casserole, carrot coins with honey ginger sauce 
  • Beef vegetable soup with cheese bread 
Notes for economy 
  1. Breakfast for dinner is a good family activity.   Eggs continue to be less than  a dollar a dozen.   That makes the protein about .12 a serving.  If you are short on eggs, you can put almost any leftover meat and veggie in a pie plate and add a two egg, 1/2 cup bisquick an 1 cup of milk mixture to it and have a quick meal.   (Impossible pie) 
  2. Pizza is a no brainier.    Granddaughter loves to make them and the cost for a pizza is 1.01 . Win , win.  Happy family, happy budget.   
  3. Chicken strips are homemade.  Chicken tenders gleamed from the butchering of the split chicken breasts, breading of homemade breadcrumbs, parm, and walnuts.   French fries are still cheapest at Winco.   
  4. Sausage continues to be cheap (2.00 here ) when its on sale an you can use a coupon.   Peppers are usually cheaper at winco.   I freeze them when I can get them for under a dollar.   Green peppers are cheaper, but not a hit with the family.   Oven roasted is good, but you can also just use a skillet.    
  5. Mac and cheese is scratch and starts with cream soup base.   Cheese was 2.19 a pound at Costco.   
  6. Tuna casserole is an inexpensive meal.  Using cream soup base and tuna makes it inexpensive. I usually buy costco tuna, but tuna goes on sale for as low as fifty cents.   A topping of homemade breadcrumbs (free) and some parm and parsley makes it more appealing.   
  7. Beef vegetable soup is a no brainier and easy too .   Anything you can dump in the slow cooker or insta pot and walk away from is a 😊 meal.   Cheese bread is on a blog at www.janefrugalfood.blogspot,com.  --a resource for recipes, some old remade to be better, cheaper, and/or faster.   
All of these recipes are well under a five dollar dinner for the proverbial family of four-- two adults and two school aged children.   Five dollars is a benchmark for eating on four dollars a day.   

My mantra is that if  someone can shop and cook good meals on a sparse budget, it is  not hard to spend more.   LOL.   Avoid too much salt, sugar, trans fats, hydrogenated oil,HFCS aka natural sugars, and fake anything.   

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fred Meyer Sunday ad

The ad for Sunday.  

Grapes .99
Lean ground beef (10%) 3.97
Milk -reg or chocolate 1.99
Strawberries 4/5
Barrilla pasta .88
Sour cream / cottage cheese small 4/5

Zucchini .99
Blues 4.99
English cucumbers .99

Some meats are bogo, but without the basic prices, its hard to tell if they are a good buy.  
Its worth checking out though.   Know your RBP.  

Heritage farm chicken is southern grown.  
It's my opinion that Draper Valley is good chicken but leaves a lot desired in the butchering department.  
My personal opinion is that Foster Farms is washington , California and Oregon grown and it is processed in the state it is grown.    And, a lot cleaner.    I butcher our split chicken breasts and dont care to be grossed out.  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday recipe : better, faster, cheaper

Sweet and Sour Pork 

1 can pineapple chunks, reserve juice.  
3/4 pound  pork cubes **
1T olive oil 
1/2 cup water 
1/3 cup vinegar 
1/4 cup brown sugar 
1T soy sauce 
2T corn starch 
1/2 cup water 
Green and red peppers, cut into cubes 
2 stalk celery 

Hot cooked rice. 

  • Drain pineapple, reserving juice 
  • Sauté pork cubes in a little olive oil until browned
  • Add reserved juice, water, vinegar, brown sugar and soy sauce to skillet. 
  • Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes
  • Add vegetables and pineapple  and simmer an additional 2 minutes 
  • Make a slurry of cornstarch and water.   Add to skillet and stir until liquids are thickened. 
  • Serve over rice.   
Pineapple comes in low sugar syrup. 
Cut top and bottom off of peppers and reserve for garnish or to top a pizza.   Cut the remaining pepper into wide strips and cross cut into inch long pieces. 
You can add fresh green beans instead of some of the peppers. 
Pork cubes is what happens when you butcher a whole pork loin and cut the tapered ends off an cube the meat.  Cut two pork roasts , one off each end, and cut center loin chops from the center of the loin.    5 meals for four people out of a pork loin that should cost less than ten dollars.   

Total cost about 4.00.    

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thursday bullets: Meals in a hurry list

It's always a good idea to have a few meals you can do that are easy and in a hurry from things you keep on hand in the pantry or freezer.   You never know when life gives you a s);)t storm day,   Meals should consist of a protein, starch and veggie or fruit.

  • Scrambled eggs, hash browns, fruit .   
  • Quiche ( impossible pie ) fruit 
  • Waffles. Fruit,  bacon or sausage 
  • Tacos, Mexican rice, lettuce , tomato, cheese, ( rice in insta pot or microwave, frozen, batch cooked  taco meat ,  in freezer ) 
  • Roast chicken , oven roasted veggies.   ( veggies are pre-washed  chicken precooked ) 
  • Chicken parm , ( use chicken patties when they are on sale ) 
  • Spaghetti and meatballs ( meatballs frozen homemade or store bought ) Armour 
  • Nachos 
  • Slow cooker vegetable bean soup.   

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Wednesday chain store ads

Just  a heads up fred Meyers is better than all this week.

QFC is a two week ad

Personal watermelon 2/4
Milk 4/5
Peaches 1,28
Strawberries 2/5


Cherries 1.79
Ice cream 2/5
Lettuce .99

I'm not seeing much.    Fred Meyers ad is good til next Sunday, and peaches, strawberries,and cantaloupe are cheaper than either of these stores.  

It's all a state of mind.......

Ten easy hacks to save  little bits,

  1. Cut the top and bottom off a sweet pepper when slicing  for stir  fry or another dish,    Chop the top and bottom for pizza or salads.   
  2. Bake multiple things  in the oven to get the most use of your  power.  My mother used to make baked potatoes, baked squash and meatloaf together,  putting muffins in 1/2 dozen pans instead of full dozen pans makes it more flexible.
  3. Save the heels of your bread for bread crumbs,  why pay someone else for their dry bread. 
  4. If you have no eggs, you can still bake muffins by adding a can of pumpkin to a cake mix and baking muffins at 350 degrees  for 20 minutes. .   
  5. Fridge full of bits of leftovers?   A quick simple meal is baked potato bar.  Bake medium sized potatoes and out out anything in the fridge that would go on a baked potato.    Broccoli, cheese, chilli, taco meat, sour cream, bacon,        
  6. Bits of meat and any salad ingredients that go on a pizza can be frozen in a bag  to save for pizza night.  We call this almost free pizza.   
  7. Freeze the pizza sauce ( Dollar Tree) in ice cube tray and after it is frozen, place it in a zip lock in the freezer door.   We get at least four pizzas out of it.   
  8. You can also freeze herbs or small amounts of lemon or lime juice too. 
  9. You can dehydrate almost anything that is not going to get eaten before it goes bad.   Eggs, potatoes, carrots, parsley, berries.   
  10. Leftover tomato paste can be used for pizza sauce, or watered down and used anywhere you would  use diced tomatoes or tomato sauce.     

Monday, August 7, 2017

Fred meyers and grocery outlet haul

We are on no spend,   However, I did find a couple of things that I had been looking for and with graocery outlet its you snooze , you loose.   Here today, gone tomorrow.   Treats are always coming out of a entertainment budget .   That way expenses are separate and less is spent.

Fred meyers

Eggs 79
Cheese slices 1.99
Cantaloupe .99
Cottage cheese
Sour cream

All perishables.   YAY!

Grocery outlet ( AN OVERSTOCK STORE )

Fruit snacks for granddaughter lunch
Tomato stock 3.99 - this is closer to ten dollars at costco,
Split peas
Pudding pops kit....24 servings with the forms 1.29 (granddaughter)

Kitchen management

Recap meals

  • Cube steaks , baked potatoes 🥔 loaded, and salad 
  • Pizza
  • Chicken in rosemary butter sauce, rice medley, veggie 
  • Salmon patties, rice, vegetable 
  • Toasadas 
  • Sausage quiche 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

  1. Disinfect counters, sinks, and drains.  
  2. Clean fridge and dump anything dead.    LOL 
  3. Note and take action on anything that can be saved.   Cook?  Dehydrate?   Freeze?
  4. Prep:  wash potatoes in. Vinegar water.   
  5. Wash salad greens if necessary an salad ingredients.  
  6. Check to be sure you have enough rice mix.  If not, make some.  
  7. Cook and de-fat sausage
  8. Sweep and wash floor.   

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Meal Plans for week of 8/7/17

Meal Plans for week 2 of no spend.   Yesterday I bought tomatoes and strawberries.  6.99

  1. Cube steaks, loaded baked potatoes,salad 
  2. Pizza
  3. Breakfast for dinner 
  4. Chicken in rosemary butter sauce , rice mix, veggies 
  5. Salmon patties. Rice, veggies 
  6. Tostadas 
  7. Sausage quiche 

  1. Cube steaks were bought on a bogo. 
  2. Pizza continues to be a favorite and is 1.03 to make .
  3. Breakfast for dinner opens up many possibilities , 
  4. Chicken breasts were 1.50 last time.   Sometimes they are as low as .88
  5. Salmon -patties from costco canned salmon
  6. Meat, cheese, tomato,lettuce, olives 
  7. Sausage quiche is a favorite here and the sausage was free.    That makes the dish 53 cents.   
Averaging a few really cheap dinners with some that are a bit more expensive makes for a variety of meals and means you can have some meals that are a little more pricy.   

Our sausage was free with a digital coupon.   It took me all of ten seconds to click a box on an e mail.   It gave us a 5.79 chub of sausage.   I usually only pay around two dollars for sausage.   The price went up , but I ave still been able to find sales and coupons to keep my RBP.   If it gets to high, we will make our own.    With proper equipment , things are easy to make from scratch.   It doesn't happen overnight but buying one thing at a time and buying quality pays.  My insta pot and food processsr are workhorses in the  kitchen.  

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Fred Meyers ad for Sunday

Fred Meyers (Kroger ) Sunday ad

Foster Farms chicken breasts 1.88
Eggs .79
Cantaloupe .99

Fred Meyer sour cream - 2.00 lrg

About it.  

Sausage is 2.99 with a digital coupon....i got it for free with a digital coupon at qfc (also Kroger )

Friday, August 4, 2017

Visuals .....making the best use of free.

Celery from the end of the celery stalk..--just add clean water to the bowl daily.  

Grated zuccchini draining.   Zucchini has a lot of water.   
Ready to squeeze the water out and bag for zucchini muffins or bread .  
Chocolate, did someone say chocolate.   

Our old but still working dehydrator.   

Sliced zucchini in the food processer .   All the trays ful made 1/2 a quart.    I can rehydrate them, or pulse them in the blender and sneak them into sauces.   

Good nutrition ,  no money .  
It all ads up.   

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Ten pantry dinners

Five pantry dinners for those brain fart days when you didn't thaw anything.
Foods from a basic pantry and fridge

  1. Tuna potato chowder ( all basic pantry ) 
  2. Speghetti and red sauce 
  3. Nachos 
  4. Frittata 
  5. Veggie bean burger 
  6. Vegetable bean soup 
  7. Mac n cheese
  8. Salmon patties 
  9. Tomato soup and toasted cheese -or cheezy biscuits if you are out of bread 
  10. Omlettes or impossible pie ( takes only 2 eggs.) 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chain store ad

Last weeks qfc ad was a two week ad.  

Milk 1.79
Watermelon. 3.99
Best foods mayo 2.99

Friday only

Ragu pasta sauce 4/5

Pork loin asst chops. 1.99. **

** not my favorite buy.   This way you get nasty chops hiding below the good ones a lot of the time no mattter where you get them/.  

There may be coupons out there for best foods.   I saw a coupon on , but my printer was not in a good mood today.  LOL.   The question would be that this mayo is listed as organic so the coupon might not match up.  

The basics: making riotation work.

The biggest hurdle to get over is the transition between buying your food on a weekly basis at one store and buying rotation at two stores.

If you buy your groceries at one store and you are buying just what you need for a week, the odds are against you , about the same as winning at the casino.    One of the easiest change  for most people is to investigate which two stores in your area have the best prices.    If you only have one store, think about going to a neighbouring town once or twice a month and either getting them to mail you their flyers or finding them on line.    If it's too far, group them with other errands or carpool with a neighbor or family member.    Buying the real specials that you will eat at two stores cuts your grocery bill a lot.    Here, Winco and Fred Meyers have the best prices , but that can change.  

The biggest difference you can make is to know your prices.

My mother used to say that some people could have a bargain get up and bite them on the butt and they wouldn't see it.   Don't be that person.   

You don't have to know the prices of everything in the store, but you need to know the RBP of the things you use in a regular  basis.    That can of cranberry sauce that you buy once a year won't make much difference in the overall scheme of things, but the can of diced tomatoes you use twice a week will.

Make a list , one item per sheet on a small spiral pad.  They are three for a dollar at the dollar tree.   Write the prices off the sale ads for those products and the dates.   You will soon see a pattern and can predict when things will go on a good sale.

Take little steps.   Start with the first thing you find that you use on a regular basis that is on a RBP.   Buy two instead of one ( probably no more capital outlay) .  Ditch  one on the back of the pantry.   Keep doing it.   Just plug away at it.   Soon you will have a stock built and instead of buying a weeks worth at a time, you can only buy what needs to be replanted and you will be shopping your  pantry  instead of shopping  the stores.    That six pack of green beans you bought this week, will be replaced by a six pack of corn next week, and so on.    This will be easier if you get your budget amount in one lump sum.    Buy your basics and set aside a certain amount a week for the perishables.  When you buy your food 1/2 price, it doesn't take long to realize the profit.

Being in a position of not having to buy things gives you the upper hand.   You can wait until the price is the lowest to buy your food.   This won't work for produce. But it will work for a lot of staples.   Watch for dairy sales.   I can almost  always get milk for 2.00 a gallon.  Sour cream for a dollar for 8 ounces,  butter for 2.50 a pound. And yogurt for .40 or less.    I only buy yoplait light because I watch my carbs and they are the lowest I have found.  

Stocking is a good thing of you know your limits.   Have a good idea and a limit set in your mind of how much you use and how much of a supply you are stocking,   I have shelves in my pantry and a certain amount of shelf  space is allocated to a particular food.   I can tell at a glance when I need to watch for a sale.    Moderation is the key.    Watching pull  dates is key.    No one needs a whole closet full of pop, or anything else for that matter.

Two major things you can do to cut your food budget drastically and grow a stock is to
1) don't buy snack foods and drinks,   1/2 the average grocery cart is snacks and drinks,   Stick to coffee, tea and milk.  Give your children the RDA of milk a day I'm kidding what they get in their cereal and in pudding etc,   And, don't buy chips and snack foods, especially the individual packages
We buy tortilla chips in the big sack at Costco. Anything else has to come out of a entertainment

2) shop two stores and shop the RBP..  Let your meal plans be dictated by the produce in season
And the foods that are on a good sale.    It everything listed on the "sale " ad is really on sale.