Saturday, November 30, 2013

Part 2: shopping

Every month I write the same blog; every month  I write off the top of my head.  Please feel free to read back blogs, some are better than others.

We have talked about identifying the foods that we use often to cook our meals and finding the RBP for them.  Basically, we might buy six cans of pasta sauce this week, because we don't have to buy the pasta that we bought last week.  The difference is that instead of paying 2.19 for pasta, we have paid fifty cents.  You actually have a stock of food, and have paid less than you paid before.m

I would be remiss if I didn't address the issue of not buying boxes and premades .  When you buy ready made and mixes, you are paying for someone else's labor and feeding your family a bunch of chemicals they don't need to eat.  If you are on a very limited budget, you just can't afford it.  There are ways to cook just as fast from scratch.  There Re a few things that are cheaper to buy in a can or box than to make  from scratch, especially of you match a sale with a coupon.

Let's talk about prepping for your shopping trip.  When buying 1/2 price groceries, you are spending more time shopping, and less time cooking.  You get paid for shopping.  When you figure your savings over going to the nearest store and buying food, sometimes the savings divided by the amount of extra time is like earning 75.00 an hour.  LOL.

When you get the ads , take a piece of computer paper and divide it into quarters.  Top each section with the name of a store.  Now go through the ads and write down anything on your stock list that is a RBP.  Write down any produce and dairy that is a good price.  Look for the meat item that is the lowest price that is on your list.  Every week, the stores pick a meat that is their featured  item and give it a RBP.  If you pick one a week, buy enough to cover that meat for a month and rotate the meats, you virtually buy your meat at the lowest price, portion control it for no waste, and cook once, eat many times.

Let me rephrase that to make more sense.  When I plan meals, I use a outline or matrix.

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish or shellfish
Your matrix may be different. This one os what works for us.
One week, if whole chicken is a buck or less a pound, I will buy enough for us to have 2 chicken Meals a week for two weeks.  I usually cut up a chicken into  2 breast portions. dark meat, and soup.
I usually buy ham cubes or a pork loin roast.  You can slice off pork chops from the pork loin and freeze.  We can still get it for 1.79 sometimes.  When good ground beef is under three dollars a pound, I get it and marathon cook crumbles, taco meat, and meatballs enough for the 8 beef meals.  We used to have roast and roast beef a jus sandwiches before beef took a double hike.
Bulk cooking is a way to cook once, divide the meat into meal sized portions with no waste and clean up once.  The meat takes the most time to cook, so precooked meat means that your mealtime os less hectic.

After you have your list of things that are on sale , cross off anything that is more expensive elsewhere, and anything you don't need .  Now pick the TWO best stores.  Check the coupon matching sites on your area for coupons.  I buy ONE paper a week for a buck at the dollar store.  I save the coupon inserts in a binder clip by month. is a good web site to get printable coupons.  There are a lot of premades to weed through, but you can still find coupons for dairy and other necessities.

Plan your trip, bring the ads, your list, your coupons.  Plan your trip to maximize gas.  Of the stores are far apart, break it down to two trips that tag along with other errands.  Maybe one store is near your mother that you visit with every week, the gym, the doctor??? Whatever works.  If you have no big grocery stores on your town. Consider  arranging a carpool with neighbors or family and go once a month, or twice a month.

You don't have to buy your food just at the chain stores.  You so have to avoid the specialty big bucks stores.  If you are on a rock bottom thrifty budget, sorry, there os no room for ready mades unless they are cheaper than scratch, and there is no room for special fancy stores.  You are paying for that fancy store every time   you walk onto it.  LOL.

There are alternative stores to the chain stores.  Warehouse stores like Costco and Winco sell so,e things cheaper.  Over stock s gores like grocery outlet and big lots sell select merchandise cheaper.
The bakery outlet is cheaper on some things unless you happen onto a real sale.  We go every six to eight weeks.  Sometimes  the drug stores have food a lot cheaper.

The biggest thing to remember is to know your prices.  My mother used to have the expression,
Some people could have a bargain get up and bite them in the butt and they wouldn't see it!

It's all about knowing the best prices and. Uh ing on moderation, just enough to last you until the next sale.  It won't happen overnight.  It happens one can at a time.

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Next time cooking


Friday, November 29, 2013

The basics, part one.

Groceries on the cheap takes a three pronged approach at putting food on the table at 1/2 price of retail.

I started this blog when it was brought to my attention that people on snap were running out of money before they ran out of month.  Now, snap has been  cut five percent.  Add the fact that meat pretty much has gone up 30 percent, it is harder to make both ends meet.   I actually found that many people not on snap read my blog.  Some people either want or need to economize on food, some like a way to get out of the kitchen faster, or be more efficient, and some just like trying new recipes.

Groceries on the cheap takes a three pronged approach at cheap grocery shopping.

  • Planning and organizing
  • Savy shopping 
  • Cooking from scratch

Like about anything we do, it's always less stressful of we have a plan.  If you hate to grocery shop, it's  probably because you are short on money, you are bringing two toddlers with you, or you are a indecisive personality.  Break down the problems,and  life will be less stressful.  

  • Planning your trip and maximizing your snap money will make you have food left over at the end of the month.  
  • Leaving the kids at home is a good move.  Of you don't have anyone at home to take care of them,  try to leave them with family, or trade babysitting with a friend.  
  • Having a list, and having guidelines of what to buy, takes the decision making part out of the grocery store, and into the home where you are comfortable and the "rules" make the process easy.  
Everything starts with a plan.  This is only time consuming at first,  some of it is  done once and then you are set.  Some of ot you probably have already done unconsciously.  
  • List the inexpensive sources of protein that your family will eat.  
  • List the main dishes that use these ingredients. 
  • List the food items that you use on a weekly basis to cook these foods.  no boxes or bags of stuff here.  Just scratch food.  ( your stock list) 
For example:  our family likes chicken, pork, some beef, cheese, rice, beans and refried beans and some fish and shellfish.  

We have tacos and burritos often.  Chicken dishes , Mac and cheese, pork roast, sloppy joes, soups .....

Our stock list is beans, refried beans, diced tomatoes, tuna, pasta sauce, pasta, green beans and corn, cheese, some chili and cream of mushroom soup.  

After you have assessed the shelf ready items that you use on a regular basis, you need to track these items for a while and fond the rock bottom price for them on your area.  A rock bottom price is the lowest price you can find.  Stores operate on a 8-12 week cycle.  Maybe beans will be less than .69 once every three months.  Maybe once every four or five months , they will be .50.  You want to assess how often you use them, and how many you need to last you until they go on sale again.  The object is to never pay that nasty f word.  ( full price) .  If we use something once a week, I keep 24.  If I use it once a month, I keep 6.  Things like catsup, mustard, mayo etc, I keep one ahead.  When I open my back up, I start looking for a sale.  Thos is a out buying low and eating when the price is high.  It's stocking, not hoarding.  It's more about being prepared and being self sufficient.  If you have a stock of food and are sick, you don't have to go to the store.  

Not paying full price on your key purchases is the trick to stretching your food dollar.  
Having a personal cookbook of dishes you cook for dinner is good,  7 is nice, 14 is better.  
Planning a weeks worth of meals ahead is a good tool to stay out of the drive  through or off the phone ordering pizza.   You don't have to get real specific, the main dish is fine.  You can deviate from the plan, just have a plan.  

Next time| : Savy shopping

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wicked Wednesday/ recipe addition

It's Wednesday.  I have no ads yet.  I am not sure there are any ads today.

I found a crock pot recipe for chicken thighs.

Mix together

1.5 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1T orange zest

Brown 2 lbs skinned chicken thighs  in oil. 5 minutes per side.
Place in crockpot.

Add 1/2 onion chopped in skillet and sauté until limp.
Add salt and pepper and 2 t flour.  Stir.
Pour in broth mixture and bring to a boil.

Pour over meat on crockpot.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Serve over polenta or rice.
Garnish with blue cheese

That's all for today.

I think that it is interesting that there is a lot of pizza buys in the ads lately.  I think because we are prepping thanksgiving for days and dinner still has to happen.  LOL.  It os a lot easier of we can delegate   dinner to several people/ families and minimize the stress at the last minute.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Is it turkey day yet!?!!!

I can't believe the hype about Christmas spending.  Stores are open on thanksgiving and they are already advertising Black Friday.  I, for one, don't think we need to gloss over thanksgiving.  I couldn't even find a thanksgiving sticker anywhere.  It's all Christmas.

I have already got my store books done this morning, and I am about to undertake making a turkey.
We are going out to family for Thanksgiving, but I like leftovers!   The best part of thanksgiving.  At eight dollars for turkey, we can eat a long time.

Yesterday,  I made snowman soup packets for my daughters class at school. They are a packet sorta like a matchbox that I embossed with snowflakes with a poem.  I filled a bag to go in it with candy cane, hot chocolate packet, and marshmallows.  I also had the pleasure?!??? Of going to the physical therapist.  LOL.  

I digress

Sweet Potato  and apple dish

Olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced onion
1/2 cup rice, raw

1 cup water
2/3 cup sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup cubed Granny Smith apple

1/4 cup frozen peas
2 t raisins
Salt and pepper

Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil.  Add the rice and toast lightly.  Add water and sweet potato and bring to boil, reduce heat and cook until sweet potato is tender.  Add apple , peas and raisens.  Continue cooking about three or four minutes.

Serves two.

Notes, Costco sometimes has sweet potato already cubed.  I made sweet potato soup one time.  Peeling and curbing sweet potato or squash is a royal pain!  

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Let's try FM and rite aid again.

After my husband went and got the real newspaper , here are the rote ado and Fred Meyers ads

Rite aid.  Score!    Toothpaste, Colgate 3.50 with a 3.00 up reward.  .50 coupon in Sundays paper!  Limit 2......

Colgate toothbrush 2.99 less coupon .50. Less up reward, makes .50.  Great stocking stuffer!

Oatmeal cups 2/3, 3.00 up reward.  FREE.  Backpacks?.......

That's about it.

Fred Meyers

Celery .38
5 lbs clementines 4.88 ( when we went Sunday to 185th, they were soggy soft,  )
Cranberry sauce 1.00
Pumpkin 2/3$$
Black olives .99@@
Sweet potatoes .79
Tillamook ice cream, 2/5@@$$
Butter  1.79@@
Country bread 3/4@@

That's about all.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Answer to Susan

I can't seem to make the reply button work in the comment section.  This info is probably good for others too.

My sister was married to a type 1, and she could probably answer you better. But,here goes...
I went to diabetes school and it was probably the smartest thing I have done.  I would recommend it to anyone that is diabetic and their mates if they cook for them.  Insurance paid for it.  

First, find out from the doc or nutritionist, how many carbs he should be eating.  Get a carb book.  I got one from school, but they are on paperback everywhere.  It is better to eat your carbs with protein.  It slows the time stiff gets into your bloodstream.  That bag of potato chips is the worst snack you can have, both for your pocketbook and your A1C.  Learn to read boxes.  Lots of hidden sugar and salt.  I avoid lots of per packaged, but check the carbs on the side of the carton. Subtract the dietary fiber and any sugar alcohol.  What's left is your carbs.  There are really good Russell stover chocolates out there that are free of carbs.  You, however, just don't want to eat more than two at a time even though they say that three is a serving!    There are ways to trick yourself into believing you have had a good treat.  I use a little sugar free syrup in my one cup of coffee in the morning.  The second cup is black.  I am supposed to drink four, but I haven't got that far yet.  I had reduced myself to one, but other health issues suggest four is better for me.  

Some vegetables are high on carbs too.  Lettuce, celery, cucumbers, cabbage are really low.  Most of this   you probably already know from weight watchers.  

I bake myself.  Flour has a little more than 10 carbs per cup.  It's easier to figure carbs.  

The best thing to do is to go together to diabetic school.  You only have one life and taking care of your diabetes can mean you have a more comfortable life.  

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Bogus post : dollar tree sold me the wrong newspaper. None of these are true!

Hands down, Fred Meyer has the best prices on Thanksgiving food around, especially of you didn't wait until the last minute to buy your staples.

Turkey is free if you spend 150.00.  It is better than the if you spend at other stores because Gred Meyer has more than food and you can also get a head start on Christmas or get the other things that you may be missing! like a roasting pan etc.  bakeware is buy one! get one 1/2.

Apples are .98
Canned veggies are 2/1.00@@
Triscuits are 3/5@@@
Truffles 2/5
Cranberries 2/4
Berries 2/5
Ice cream 2/4@@
M And ms 2/5@@$$
Coffee 5.99
Potatoes(boxed) 1.00$$
Yams 2/3@@
Pumpkin 2/4@@$$
Cranberry sauce 1.00

@@ means in ad coupon
$$ means there is a manufacturers coupon also check coupon connections.

Rite Aid

Colgate toothpaste .99 net after up reward and there is a dollar coupon .  I love FREE, it's even better if they pay you a penny to take it out of the store!
Zantac 8.99 less 5.00 coupon in the Sunday paper. ( if you don't get the Sunday paper it's a buck at the dollar store all week and you will still be momey ahead!

Be sure to check coupon commectioms.  Remember a bargain isn't a bargain if it's something you don't use.!   I only take stiff even of ot is free unless I can ise ot or know someone that can.  I don't need 24 tubes of free toothpaste, but the women's shelter or food bank can use it.  It is an easy, inexpensive way to help someone.

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Suddenly Saturday,

My sister reminded me that Betty Crocker has a series to sign up for e mails that are for 25 days of Christmas cookies.  Christmas cookies don't get eaten on thos family, so I'm not buying into it.  Other families, I suspect would enjoy them.

No bake chocolate cookies.

1 cup chocolate chips
5 T butter
14 Large marshmallows
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups Quaker Oat meal
2/3 cup  any combination nuts, raisins, craisens, any dried fruit.

1) melt butter, chocolate and marshmallows in a pan.  When completely melted, remove from heat and add vanilla.  Stir on remaining ingredients.
2) drop by rounded tablespoons onto waxed paper.
3) refrigerate 2-3 hours

From favorite brand name recipes

My daughter makes a cranberry bar akin to the bars at Starbucks.  It's a lot of layers and time consuming, but really yummy!

We have been  eating pumpkin pie a lot.  With eggs, pumpkin and the fact that there is only one crust it is pretty healthy.

we went grocery shopping yesterday.  I'm not quote done and still have to get the things for thanksgiving a little closer to thanksgiving.  But, I saved half.  I am still under budget and I got a cart full of real food.

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Friday, November 22, 2013


I have been thinking about sides for Thanksgiving.  Betty Crocker sent me some really good recipes for an alternative to the green bean casserole and mashed potatoes in the crockpot.  Also corn pudding and I found some salads that sounded good until they got to the cool whip.  I don't think that whip cream would hold up for a substitute, so I think I'll pass.  Has anybody used sour cream sweetened instead?   There was also a recipe for a muffin that used the leftover cranberry sauce.  I thought that was very clever.

I can't seem to find the links, but you can google on the Betty Crocker web site.  I have some of the recipes, but can't publish them.

There is usually not a lot of bargains during the holidays.  They know you are going to buy certain things anyway, so they don't have  to mark them down .   I found the best buys at Fred Meyers a few weeks ago.  If you waited until the last minute, you are pretty much paying full price. Turkey's remain the same price. There are coupons for a total of eight dollars off a butterball, but butterballs are more expensive in the first place-  almost double the mean price of a regular turkey ( .69).

Traditionally, we always eat leftovers several days after thanksgiving.  Probably because we cooked a day and need to rest and there is food left over.  There are a lot of leftover recipes on the same Betty Crocker web sites.

Coupon matchups are making QFC a store of choice.  My next pick would be top.

Free milk when you buy four  General Mills.
Pillsbury pie dough is on their list, and there are coupons for it.
Also cereal and fiber one bars.  I can always find coupons for them.

Betty Crocker potatoes and a buck, and there are coupons for them too.  You can add leftover turkey and a salad and vegetable and have a weeknight meal.

Broccoli is .99 a pound

I guess that's all

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The ads , coupons


Potatoes 10/.97
Coffee 5.99@@
Butter 1,99@@
Milk 2.69


Turkey .59
Butterball 1.89
Broccoli .99
Raspberries, blackberries BOGO nets 2.00 ea
Cheese 4.99
Celery .69
Ice cream 2/5


FREE WITH 150.00 purchase
.49 with 100.00
.69 with 50.00

Cranberries 2/4
Veggies 2/1 @@
Olives 1.00
Butterball 1.29
Cheese 3.99@
Butter 1.77@
Eggs .97@@

Bitterball 1.29
Spend  150.00 free
Spend 100.00. .49
Spend 50.00 .69

Grapes 1.99
11 inch pie 5.99

5.00 Friday
Raspberries 2/5
Bc cake .99@@$$
Pumpkin 1.49@@$$
Sweet potatoes .99
Coffee 6.99

Note @@ means there is a in ad coupon.  $$ means that there is manufacturer coupons , see coupon connections website on line.

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Wicked Wednesday

We still have no ads.  This would normally be the day that I do the ads.  This month they all seem to have a thanksgiving theme and are not really conducive of stocking.  That being said.  Now is the time for you to stock pumpkin of you are a pumpkin eater.  ( no pun intended LOL).

My guess is they next month will be the same.  That's why stocking when prices are low makes sense.,  The trick is to stock in moderation, just enough to last you until the next sale. this won't happen overnight.  It will take a while.  you are building one can or jar at a time.  I am not advocating buying a years worth of food on one shopping trip unless of course, you live where you get to the store once a year!    This isn't about hoarding. Mints about keeping enough of an item you use on a weekly basis to last you until it goes on sale at the RBP again.

I am still getting some things at times at the RBP or lower lately like refried beans, pasta sauce, and vegetables.

Last night was taco Tuesday.  I dissected one as covertly as I could.  There was one T of taco meat, at least a cup of lettuce, and a tablespoon maybe of grated cheese on three tacos with a garnish of about three tomato cubes.  In their defense, they were all you can eat for five bucks.  I think the guys use ot for a contest, how many can you eat!   They certainly don't have to worry about too much fat or cholesterol!  

 We had chicken, potatoes, and mixed vegetables one night last week and chicken,stuffing,and green beans another night.  Both what I would consider a decent dinner that was balanced.  My goal is to feed a family decent, well balanced meals, on a very thrifty budget.

Batch cooking meat is beneficial because it saves time, makes meal time easy when you need it to be, and allows you to portion control and not waste food.  Whether you have a bog family or are cooking for one or two you can break down bulk priced food into meal sized portions.

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Ads later when I get them.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I know, I have been MIA for a couple of days.  I finally got some medical attention for my headaches, bit now have another "headache. ". Seems planned parenthood, yet again, put the wrong fax number on their medical release forms.  I can't tell you how happy I was, even with my happy pills, to get seven phone calls with the obligatory s q u e e ch between five and six o'clock this  morning.
Seems none knows how to make them go away or nobody cares.  How many ways can you spell frustration.

I digress

On to food!  Glorious Food!  

Fred Meyer had pumpkin for a buck.  I have coupons for Libby.  I bought just enough to see of ot os any good.  I don't usually buy off brands of pumpkin.  We also got canned veggies that were Kroger.  They tasted fine.  They were fifty cents...more than RBP.  Cranberry sauce was also on sale as well as blackberries2/5.  Granddaughter loves blackberries--go figure.

Betty Crocker has a couple of  emails out for thanksgiving.  Seems you can put pumpkin in just about everything.  I am not so sure about some of them.  I'll try to figure a link.

There is a coupon out there for three dollars off of butterball turkey, and a coupon in the Sunday paper for another five dollars off coupons, like a rebate.  That's 8 dollars off.  You have to buy any combo of fair sides, the potatoes and the crescent dinner rolls both have coupons to match up.  My daughter says that target has butterballs for a buck a pound.  I haven't seen them advertised this week.

Turkey's are free at ALBERTSONS and Fred Meyer with minimum purchases.  Fred Meyers is a hefty amount, but it covers most everything in the store from the paint for the deck to dishes for the thanksgiving table or the kids Christmas toys.  ALBERTSONS is more generous.

My  mother always cooked the same things for thanksgiving dinner.  It is interesting that none of these recipes are liked by my husbands family, so traditions are replaced.  Such is life.

We had
Dressing with a lot of sage and celery and onion.
Mashed potatoes, gravy
Green beans with bacon
Creamed onions
Sweet potatoes, mashed, formed into a ball with a marshmallow and dipped in corn flakes and baked off to melt the marshmallows.
lime jello salad with green pepper, cucumbers and pineapple.

Of course, pumpkin Pie

YUM.   memories

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Repost: retailers secrets

As I have said before, the retailers have spent considerable money to research our habits and find ways to get us to spend more money.

Advertising multiples, when you can only by one item is one trick they use. Because something is 3/1.00 doesn't mean that you have to buy three.

The longer you spend in a store, the more money you will spend. That's why some retailers change things aroumd frequently. Costco is notorious for it. If you have the mind set that you are on the clock and want to get the most bang for your buck, you'll spend less time. It's a game. I want to save as much as I can in the least amount of time.

Impulse buying is the retailers profit. They figure that 70 percent of what we buy is impulse. Often it is the most expensive things in the store that. you don't really need. We want the retailers to prosper but they can do it on someone else's dime who can afford it more.

Create your own path through the store, if you don't need anything in an isle, don't go there. The true necessities are on the outside perimeter of the store.

Sometimes, what is truly on sale isn't the featured items up front.

Exercise the hands off rule. Studies say that if you touch it, you are most likely going to buy it.

It's a well known trick that if prices have to increase, the manufacturers will reduce the size of the package instead of outwardly increasing the price.

Know your prices, the bulk isle isn t always the cheapest price.

Keep in mind that foods are sold other places other than grocery stores. Many time you can find overstocks at the dollar store, big lots, Bartells and almost anywhere. Keep your eye open, and know your prices.

Pick your grocery store based on the prices, not how friendly the clerks are or how fancy the store is, or how uncrowded it is. think about it, there is a reason why the store is crowded. Either they have just forecasted that dreaded S word, or it's because they have the best prices. You go to the grocery store to purchase your food.

Stores charge manufacturers slotting fees. Basically they charge rent for the eye level shelves. You can just bet they are going to pass on the cost. Look UP and DOWN for the best buys.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fred Meyer ads and coupons.

It's Simday.  Thos week quote a few of the grocery stores have ads on the Sunday paper.

One thing to note.  there are coupons out there, (One is on savings Star) for three dollars off when you buy some sodes.  There are also coupons for some sodes.  In the savings insert this week, there os a mail in rebate for five dollar off coupons for butterball products., T hats eight dollars off your Turkey of you can make all that happen.  I haven't researched the particulars.  I was hoping it would be on couponnconnections.  There is also a coupon for Betty Crocker potatoes, fifty cents on two.  They are at the dollar store.   Nets  .75 each.

Rite Aid has Colgate toothpaste on an up reward, nets .99 unless there is a coupon out there.  My coupon had expired.

Fred Meyers


Free  when you spend 150.00
.49 when you spend 100.00
.69 when you spend 50.00
Note that Fred Meyers sells lots of stuff.  There are some exclusions, mostly the normal stuff ( booze etc plus jewelry and fuel.

Apples .98
Butter 1.79@@
Canned veggies 2/1@@
Pumpkin pie 3.99
Butterball turkey 2.19
Cranberry sauce 2.00
Pills bury crescent rolls 1.88$$
Pie crust 2/5$$
Pumpkin 2/4$$@@
Cranberries 2/4
Raspberries, blackberries 2/5
Ice cream 2/4@@

That's about all.

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Suddenly Saturday: what to do with what you got!

We went shopping Yesterday.  It was a short trip.  I went to the doctor, but the computer messed up my prescription , so I haven't had any relief yet. going to the physical therapist Monday.

 I did no matchups and got what we were out of fresh food wise and 2 chickens because they were .79 a pound.  When stores are gearing up for a holiday, there are not a lot of real food sales.

I don't usually bake a lot for the holidays.  Everyone has made it perfectly clear that they don't want any part of rich deserts.  I don't want food to go to waste.  I do make a "treat " for thanksgiving when I can.

Pilgrim Hats

Chocolate thin wafer cookies
Regular sized Reese's peanut butter cups
Frosting in a bag or put into a zip lock bag with the tip cut off.
Place wafer on a plate.  Place a small dollup of frosting to glue the upside down Reese's to the wafer.
Make a buckle in the center of the side of the hat.  Perpendicular to the plate.

They are really cute.  I found chocolate wafers at SAFEWAYS In the cookie isle.

I digress

What to do with what you have.
I would, obviously pick chicken for my Stock meat for the week.
Don't forget your matrix.   it makes it pretty easy to do meal plans.

Our matrix is

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
1 fish or shellfish

Fruit seems to be relatively inexpensive.  Especially apples, pears, and oranges.
Lettuce seems to have taken a hike, maybe fruit salads and fruit and cottage cheese is in order.
Making a fruit and cottage cheese salad is a good boost to protein if your main dish is falling short.
Dairy seems to still be cheapest at Costco.  Milk, however is a buck at Freddie's often and butter is 3/5.

Again, I can't stress enough that knowing your prices is your best defense against paying too much.m
Jimmy Dean  sausage is 3.99 at TOP for a pound.  It is 2.30 a pound at Costco .  Also, don't make your meal plans etched in concrete before you go to the store,  at SAFEWAYS this week, for instance, the pumpkin pies were boxed too soon and were wet.  The grapes were ugly.  You just can't predict what you are going  to find or what the quality is going to be.  no one grocery store is perfect, and no one grocery store has all the best prices.  Shopping more than one store hedges you for the best prices  and chance at the best produce.

On another note, food stamps have been cut 5 percent.  Add that to the thirty percent increase on meat prices on average, that's a big dent on an already short budget.  I really would like to reach more people that need to cut their food bill and still eat well.  I think itmos the right person at the right time kinda thing.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Let's try apple cake again.

The last recipe I tried was a little crumbly and needed a little whip cream or ice cream on it.
It came out more like a bar than a cake.

I am sure that the original recipe came from the mid west.

New Apple cake

2 c sugar
2 cups flour
1 T cinnamon
1 tsp salt

2 eggs
1 c oil
1 T vanilla

6-8 apples ( 3-4 cups ) chopped apples
Nuts of desired

Mix wet ingredients, beating eggs.
Mix dry ingredients

Mix dry and wet ingredients together.

Add apples.  Mixture will be stiff.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's Thursday, the ads

Here are the ads finally.


Cheese 2 lbs/5.99
Chicken .79, limit 4$&@&$$$$$
Pumpkin pie 5.99
Oranges .99
Butterball turkey breast 12.99

Pudding ring 2.49
Grapes 3/5


Top round roast 2.97
Bottom round  2.97
Pork ribs, chops 1.96
Apples .69
Oranges .77

Baking buy 4 save 2

Cake mix .99$$
Flour 1.99
Pasta 48 ounces 2/4@@


Chicken .99
Tillamook yogurt 10/4
18 count eggs 1.99
Pears .99

Buy 10. Save 5
Milk 1.29
Butter 1.99
Cream of mushroom, green beans .69$$
Ice cream 2.79


Spiral ham 1.98
BOGO with 35.00 extra purchase.  Turkey.  I'm confused as to what that means,

Tomatoes 1.00
Ice cream 2.48
Milk 2.19@@
Cream cheese .88@@

Tillamook yogurt 3/1@@$$
Apples 1.00
Carrots 2/1.00
Pears 1.00

That's about all.
Remember to cross off anything that is higher priced. Check coupon connections for coupons. $$$
@@@means an in ad coupon.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wicked Wednesday/ notes and recipe

I yet again saw another article about What not to eat.  this time I think they were a bit more restrictive.  What was left would take a entire months worth of food budget to eat a week.  If everyone got on that band wagon, there wouldn't be enough food for the nation to eat.

Again, the FDA and the USDA have very well qualified scientists that evaluate our food supply.  America  has some of the most rigid standards for our food in the world.  Both foreign and domestic food has to meet the same standards.  My take is that if all this stuff is so bad for us, the federal government would be finding ways to change our standards.

I ran a medical facility for mental patients many years ago.  We had a patient that was sure that Martians had got a hold of our food supply and tainted everything but the milk and sweet potatoes..

Practically speaking, buying Puritan food is not going to work in most households in America.  no one has convinced the USDA and the FDA that we need to eat Puritan food yet, and it is not produced in mass quantities yet.  I am not sure that organic is the best alternative anyway.  I also saw an article on the Internet that showed organic baby food in pouches with larvae in it.

There are ways to eat healthy without spending all your resources on food alone.  That just wouldn't be prudent.

  • Eat a variety of foods in moderation.
  • Wash veggies and peel them when it makes sense.  
  • Defat your meat and eat a reasonable amount.  (3-4 ounce serving. ) 
  • Make scratch food and avoid using a lot of foods that are processed with added salt, sugar, and preservatives.  
  • Limit the amount of sweets you eat.  When you have sweets, try to have ones that have protein in them too.  
  • Buy fruits with antioxidants often.  Blueberries are inexpensive a lot of the year, when they aren't buy frozen.  Blueberry pancakes, etc., 
  • Grow what you can.  Remember organic veggies can still have five percent pesticides in them. 
That's my best laypersons approach to healthy eating on a limited budget.  

How do you make that soup!  
Dump in a crockpot 
2 cans diced tomatoes ( hunts peels theirs with steam, not chemicals.  Some more expensive brands do it with chemicals) 
2 cans beans ( any kind, but different.) I used kidney and black, drained and rinsed.  ( reduce sodium) 
1 quart stock ( chicken, vegetable,or  beef) 
2 cups diced veggies, sautéed till crisp tender.  
   I use carrot, celery, red can add onion, my hubby doesn't like onion.
1 T Italian seasoning
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp onion powder if you don't add onion.

Stir and cook on low anywhere between 6-12 hours.  I usually make it 8 depending when I leave the house.  

That's about it.  
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's Tuesday

It's Tuesday.  I can just about bet that the ads are going to be late today.  Our mail system leaves a lot to be desired here.

WIC is a women and children assistance program for nutrition for mothers and small children.  ( under 5) It offers breast feeding instruction and nutrition tips too.  There are income guidelines,  an unborn child is counted as a family member.

I started this blog to try to help people on SNAP feed their families good food on a not so good budget.  Best laid plans, it seems I am reaching a lot of other folks.  That's fine, my mission is to help people.  Whether  it is to get out of the kitchen faster, cook more efficiently, or try a new recipe, I hope I am helping people. That being said, I still would like to find a way to reach the people that are running out of money before they run out of month.

Eggs , even at the highest prices, are still a protein that can give you a lot of bang for your buck.  breakfast for dinner works well to stretch the bucks.  Quiche, waffles or pancakes and sausage or bacon.  Remember, you don't have to have a lot of meat if you are having another source of protein too.  In fact, of you are having something like a vegetarian soup with beans,  havin creme brûlée or an egg rich pudding, rich cheesy bread can fill out the meal.  Your main source of orotein doesn't necessarily have to come from the main course.  It doesn't matter how you get the protein into you, just that it gets into you.

Fun desert

Slice of pound cake that has been toasted . ( butter both sodes and toast on frying pan like a toasted

cheese sandwich)
Plain yogurt
1/2 of an apricot.

Looks like sunny side up egg on toast!  

Pudding from scratch ( not a whole lot more work than cooked kind out of a box)
I like that it takes things I usually have around the kitchen.

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups milk
3 eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla extract

1) in saucepan mix together dry ingredients.
2) whisk in milk,mstirring until thickened
3) in small bowl.slightly beat eggs. , add a little of the puddong mixture to them and continue beating.  Add the egg mixture to the pudding mixture and wisk together.  ( this is called tempering)
4) bring to a low boil and cook 2 minutes.
5) remove from hear.  Stir in vanilla.
6) cool 15 minutes,stirring  occasionally.
7) pour into serving dishes.  Cover with plastic wrap  to prevent a skim on top.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Jane vs the Extremmies

I thought I would talk about some things that I haven't talked about lately and clear up some differences  what you see on videos and real life.  ( In Washington anyway) .  Most of the techniques I talk about will work no matter where you live.

The basics of reading an ad.
Three for xxx dollars doesn't mean you have to buy three to get the price.  Buy 10. Save xx., however, means you have to buy a quantity of ten to get the discount.  Usually there is a variety of foods on their list.  Usually I can match them with a coupon to sweeten the deal.  So,eti,es, the things are what I wouldn't buy in the first  place.  I pass on those.

If there is an in ad coupon ( I usually tag those with a @@) you have to have the ad to get the deal.  If you buy multiples to the limit imposed on the coupon, you still only need 1 coupon.  You can also match these coupons with a manufacturers coupon.

Of you see BOGO. You can use a manufacturers coupon for the ONE that you are buying.

Some stores limit the number of a single item that you can use coupons for.  Dollar tree will only take two coupons for the same thing in one transaction.  QFC let me use 4 chili coupons and two cake mix coupons.

It's a joke in the coupon world that young male checkers are more even tempered about coupons.  You can be your own judge on that.

Be sure to check sizes of packages, the fine print, and the expiration date.

Just because a coupon comes out in a paper, doesn't mean that that week is the best week to use the coupon.  Sometimes, later is better.  Checking a coupon matchup site is a good thing.

I don't try to use zillions of coupons at the same time.  It's just a courtesy to the clerk.

Apparently, there is no laws about couponing in any particular state.  I have, however, never seen double coupons in this state in the fifty years I have been buying groceries.  That being said, I have seen ALBERTSONS publish a few double coupons in the Sunday paper once.

I, also have not seen where you get a money maker on purchases.  SAFEWAYS has a coupon policy that states if you have a dollar coupon, and a .99 price on an item, you can't use the coupon.  Rite aid is the only place you can make money.  You can use a coupon and get a reward to use another day.

I cannot, nor do I want to coupon for 40-60 hours a week and buy things that I don't want or use to get a bottom line of a penny.  It doesn't make logical sense to me.  And, most of the deals they use on TV are not real.

With that being said, it is still believable to save money using coupons.  The balance of taking a small amount of time is worth the savings.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thoughts and Sundays ads early.

My husband went to the dollar tree this am and got the newspaper.  He tried to use the hefty coupon, but they did not have the small bags.

Fred Meyers ads were not as fruitful as they have been in the past few weeks.
Oranges are the same .68 that they are at QFC
Milk is a buck, along with chocolate milk and of. @@
Pot roast is 2.97
Pasta sauce is .69@@ ( .50 at top) no coupon
Peanut butter 3/5
Cucumbers .68
Pears 1.00
Pumpkin 2/3$$
Butter 2.00

The smart source has some good coupons.
Chocolate right off the bat!  
Bc baking mixes pair up with the mega at QFC.
A buck on toothpaste

Be sure to check your coupon match ups for the best deals.

Now, I received a comment on yesterday's blog.  I love comments and I love learning something I didn't know.  Sue alerted me to the fact that some states have laws that prohibit stores selling items for less than their cost.  I suspect that the term loss leader can still apply to those items,because the actual cost of a product is comprised of the actual product and the overhead applied to that product.  I was an accountant for many years and my husband was a manufacturing engineer for part of his career.

She also talked about walmarts price matching policy.  It would be simpler to go to Walmart after planning your trip and matching prices if you are in a state that has convenient walmarts.  Ours is not so convenient,.  I, personally have a problem with Walmart because they made a mistake and charged me 8.00 for something I didn't get.  That's a whole hours pay for me, and I don't take too kindly giving money away unless I decide I want to.  I rarely go because it is far away and they left a bad taste in my mouth.

While double coupons are prevalent some places, I have not seen any on Washington except the few limited days that ALBERTSONS offers the coupons in the paper.  That particular time. I had a hard time finding some good matchups.  I know they were prevalent in California when I was theor visiting relatives.

Rite -Aid didn't have a lot this week again,  I am out of roll over dollars.  I still need to check the dollar coupon for toothpaste and see if it works somewhere.  .  Have to support the toothpaste fairy! lol

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I went to the hair cutting place today.  It had been four months...about time!  I discovered that my husband can get a haircut Monday for free.  That's two haircuts for 14.00.  ...not too bad!   I then went  to the GW and found to princess books and a lets go potty book for grandbaby.  Three books that total 24.00 , 2.60 including our almost ten percent tax!  

I went to QFC   ,Mega  deals. With coupons I saved just about 1/2.  Twenty four bucks.  On to Top where their mega deals netted pasta sauce for .50 and refried beans for .50.  Along with fruit and veggies.  Another almost fifty percent savings.  You can eat spaghetti and red sauce for a buck for four people, or you can pay full price and pay 5.00.  That's one meal, or five.  Of you have a very tight budget, five is a lot better than one.  Chili was a buck, , and I had. .55 coupons.  And they had vegetarian and turkey.

We have a variety of foods in the pantry, freezer, and fridge and we are well under budget.
I got a lot accomplished with little gas and time.

Again, my harping point.  Know your prices.  If you can't remember, write them done in a little book, or on a 3X5 index card.  It will serve you well.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Finally Friday

It's finally Friday .

I haven't found chicken for under 1.29 for several weeks now.  Sausage is up from 2.00 to 2.30 and beef, well, it's about double.  I hear that the average SNAP is being cut 35.00.  It's not a good combination.  Our social security raise is only 1.5 percent and all the utilities and food are going up.  Besides taxes, that's our largest expenses.

This isn't  about doomsday.   It's about the fact that I know thrifty shopping is needed more than it was before and I haven't found an avenue to reach more people.  Not that I could have this last week.LOL. That's why stocking helps.  I'm not stuck buying chicken at a thirty percent increase yet.  Maybe I'll find a sale yet.  There is always hope.  There are still a lot of recipes put there for tasty dinners.  I haven't found a good pasta sale lately either.  I have a lot I got for .50.

Chicken pot pie
Chicken enchilada soup
Pesto chicken with bow ties.
White chilli
Buffalo,chicken pizza

My process for making meal plans begins with looking over the fridge and making a note of what needs to be eaten.  I already know what is on the pantry because I keep the same things on a regular basis.  This limits the things I HAVE to remember at the grocery store, which is a good thing when you are over the hill.  LOL
Now, I need to find the cheapest meat that my family will eat, and what I might need to stock.  There are some things that we eat a regular basis.

Safeway has chicken leg quarters 1.29. Country style spareribs  are 1.99.  Butterball turkey is a 1.29 but you have to spend $50 at Safeway to get it.  There is also a three dollar coupon out there.  They want you to buy some other things, but that doesn't exclude you from using your best coupons to get deals on them as well.  I haven't seen a matchup or studied it myself yet to see if it is a good deal.  Of someone sees something before I do, please share.  Skippy peanut butter is 1.99@.betty Crocker cake mix is .99@&$.

Top has loin chops for 1.69.  This is hard because it is hard to control portions and can bounce up the price of meat per serving.  Chicken whole is 1.39 a pound.  Refried beans and hunts pasta sauce are a RBP.  Time to stock.

QFC has pork shoulder roast for 1.79.  Oranges are .68.  Milk is 1.29 on( b10S 5) .  Along with 1.99 butter and 1.79 triskit.  Chili is .99$$, 2#potatoes are 2.49 frozen.  Cake mix .99$$

If I had to pick a batch meat, I would pick the pork shoulder or buy a .69 turkey if I had 50.00 worth of stuff from SAFEWAYS.

I have a coupon for free frozen veggies from QFC.  Otherwise, they are cheapest at the dollar store.  There is a coupon in the insert that came with out RP thos week for hefty slider bags, 1.00 off two.  The dollar store has them and the sandwich bags are a buck, so one is free.  I like free.  LOl. The RP also has a buck off m&m s.  What's not to like about that.

I am bribing my granddaughter to use the potty chair.  My husbands mother used to call peeing, tinkle.  It sounds so much more ladylike.  I told my granddaughter of she tinkled on the potty chair, I would give her an M&M.  She promptly, went in to the bathroom, went tickle, tickle with her fingers on the top of the potty and came to redeem her prize!   Nice try!   LOL

I digress.

Being sick all week, my husband cooked.  His cooking talents are limited to certain things.  Needless to say, we operated off my emergency stash of premades.  I guess that's what premades on stellar sales are for.  I hope weeks like last week are few and far between.  My poor husband had to work my shifts, and keep the house running, somewhat!  

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

What's really a bargain?..

I am yet again still in bed.  Watching too many couponing / grocery hauls. Finally a light bulb went off in my head.  I wonder if the reason some states have higher grocery prices is because they are double coupon states.  The old mark it up to mark it down routine.  Also, I wonder of the lack of competition in the marketplace has something to do with it.  When you have four chains competing for your business, the prices have to be better than if there is one grocery store in town.

I watched a nice lady go through all the steps of couponing this  morning.  She did a really good job.  I, personally would not cut all the coupons  out of the inserts.  The coupon matchup sites usually do a good job of telling you where to find a coupon.  I just binder clip them by month.  She showed a haul from three stores that netted her a 53 percent profit.  I think the percentage of profit is not as important as the percentage off when you are buying things that you really,need.  If you skip the garbage at any price, you will save more money.  She had a lot of juice drinks, expensive veggies, Greek yogurt at a buck a carton.  When it got down to the real food groups, there wasn't a lot there.

I could have cut that over  a hundred dollar net bill probably to half without sacrificing any nutrition.

Part of groceries on the cheap is finding the lowest price, and matching a coupon if possible.  The other part so not buying a bunch of junk food and premades.  Junk food can jack your food bill up fast.  It's not even good for you.

On another note, pasta sauce and refried beans, two things on my basic stocking list are .50 at TOP Foods  this week.  When you can get pasta for as low as .38, that makes for a really cheap meal.
A really cheap meal can mean that you can have a piece of real steak now and then.  LOL

Checking the USDA stats a couple of times a year gives you a baseline to a grocery budget.  The more you can save the closer you are to beat the stats.  Make it a game.  It's a game you can always win

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The ads


Oranges .68

Buy 10
Milk 1.29
Butter 1.99
Veggies, cr soups .69 $$$
Digiorno pizza 4.49
HORMEL chili .99$$$
Frozen potatoes 2.49
Bc cake mix .99$$$


chuck roast 2.99
Apples 5/4.00
Buy 5, save 2
Pasta sauce .50
Snack lack .75
Ketchup .50
Refried beans .50


Salad BOGO
Coffee 5.99@
Eggs 4/5 @@

Cake mix BOGO


Chuck roast 2.49
Roast 2.99
Apples .99

Spend 50.00, turkey .69
Spend 50.00, butterball 1.29$$
Pears .99

 5.00 Friday
Coffee 5.00

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Wednesday, no ads yet.

I do wish my mail-person would get his act together.  Needless to say, I don't have the ads and can only gleen some from the Internet.  Coupon connections have some, but their math with the coupons deducted doesn't make sense  to me.

There is cream of mushroom soup with on ad coupon at FM for .50.  There so also a coupon for 1.00 off 5.  That makes five at .30 each.  It hasn't been .30 for years and years!   I am sure that they know that thanksgiving is coming and they figure that they will make up their profit with the green beans and fried onion rings.  I don't particularly like green bean Casserole, so they missed the boat with me!

We do like tuna noodle on occasion.   I buy the best tuna I can buy.  Also hot dogs.  If we are going to eat cheap food it's going to be good cheap food.  LOL. Hot dogs can have yucky fillers in them and I bought tuna one time that the neigh ours cat wouldn't even eat!   It is still within a budget to get the good stuff.  I buy real butter.  The nutritional it's told me that I was better off with a skim of butter than a regular amount of the alternative.  The more dense the fat, the worse off you are.  No one needs half a stick on their toast on the morning!

One time when I was in the hospital, my husband called me.  " how do you make tuna noodle casserole ?"  I told him, cook the noodles, drain the noodles, add cream of mushroom soup and two cans runs and something green, like peas.  he added chopped pickle!   LOL

I have been surfing the Internet a lot the last four days being stuck in bed.  Re reading couponing and meal planning sites.  I am still taking the information with a grain of salt.  Most of the tactics, ate not doable on Washington state.  We don't have double coupons with the exception of ALBERTSONS I found once!  They only covered one item at a time.  That particular week, the good buys were not so good.  LOL.  It was hard to make a good deal.  We, also can't make money with coupons.  You can't get something marked down to .99 and use a  1.00 coupon.  The only place I can make money buying something is at Rite Aid.  That is because you buy something, use a coupon and pay the balance.  Then , you essentially get store credit to use the next week.  I rolled my up rewards for a good three months.  Two weeks ago I had rewards, I used them last week and didn't get any rewards.  I didn't go this week.  There was nothing that was a good buy that I purchase.

A lot of coupons are for things that I just don't buy.  The simpler you live, the less you are going to spend.  We always had pure Castile shampoo that my mom bought by the gallon cheap!  Period.
Conditioner and such was not happening.  We don't buy a lot of ready made stuff. That's what most of the coupons are for.  I usually have coffee, tea, crystal light in the summer time.  I don't buy pop or other fruit drinks.  The nutritionalist told me that we were better off eating the fruit.  There are a few things that I just don't have patience to make from scratch, like tortillas and refried beans, and I can usually get them on sale with a coupon.  Some things I can get cheaper with a coupon than making them from scratch.  We still like some processed meats (pepperoni), but I try to keep them to once a week or two.  I have been getting pepperoni (3.50) for .50 with a coupon at the Dollar Tree.

I have received comments from people from different parts of the country about higher prices on some things than my RBP.  I get that there are fluctuations in prices.  I can only relate to the prices here.  The basics are still stable.  You find YOUR rock bottom price.  I also suspect that there are places that have a limited amount of grocery stores.  We are lucky to have four chain stores within a five mike radius, either south or north and some are clustered together along with dollar stores.  If you don't, and there is a town a little further away, consider going once a month for the bulk items.  Consider going with a friend or family member to split gas or take turns.  Have the ads mailed to you or get them on line and pick your week.  A lot of times the first of the month is not the best time.  I have found  that holiday time is not the best time to buy staple items either.  I also see that where our dairy may be cheaper, someone else's meat is cheaper.  Ditto veggies.  SNAP is adjusted for the cost of living where you are.

When I didn't work, I scratch cooked more and made the kids and my clothes in my spare time, as much spare time as one can have with a house and two kids under the age of three and a teenager!  LOL. No one should ever have to raise tw kids under the age of three and a teenager at the same time!  LOL what an experience!  

I found recipes that were quick and simple.  I found the apple cake, I used to make a carrot bread that was done on the blender.  I still haven't found it yet.  It was on the blender manual,  I'll bet I tossed it when the blender gave up too.

I guess that's all.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Terrific Tuesday 11/5/13, repost

Repost worth reading!  I've been on bed for three days, something has to give soon! LOL

I watched a u tube seminar last night. It was on couponing and meal plans.  It could have been a boring , but  her sense of humor was delightful.  One thing resonated with me.  She was describing the difference between stockpiling and hoarding.  When you buy low and buy enough to last you until the next sale, you are stockpiling.  When you buy to be buying and buy things you don't use and at a quantity you can't use in your lifetime, that's hoarding.  

Last  night we had Chicken Alfredo and mixed vegetables.  It took me about 15 minutes , non passive time.  I put the pasta in the microwave and went out and talked to the neighbor..  I like quick, tasty meals, especially after I worked the second shift.  Cooking meat ahead makes dinner time cooking a lot less hectic.  Cooking is a lot less stressful  if there are  no time constraints on you.  
Pasta 49
Sauce .50
Chicken 1.50
Mixed veggies .75
Milk .12
Bread .72
Total. 4.58

The basis for 1/2 price groceries is five dollar  dinners. Breakfast and lunch will take care of themselves as long as you keep to scratch cooking and 1/2 price shopping.  breakfast can be 
Banana  bread or muffins, or oatmeal with raisins or craisens, or yogurt and toast, an egg muffin made with biscuits.  Lunch is leftovers, a sandwich...1/2 price cold cuts, or tuna, or egg salad or a salad from the night before with hard boiled eggs.  I like cheese, whole wheat crackers and an apple . 
Basically, you
  • Buy in season.  It tastes better, and it is cheaper.  
  • Buy what is TRULY on sale, Not everything on the grocery ad is really on sale.  
  • Know your prices, what is rock bottom.  Track your main grocery items. 
  • Strive for 1/2 price there is a lot of difference between 2.20 and .38 for pasta.  The same brand. Pasta has a 8 YEAR shelf life.  
  • Stack coupons when it makes sense.  I won't spend a lot of time couponing.  A few minutes a week can make a difference. Any more than that and you aren't getting paid enough.   If I spend ten minutes and save 6 dollars, I am making 36.00 an hour.  Since we don't buy a lot of ready mades and rarely is there a coupon for meat and veggies, any more time than that would be counterproductive.  
  • Sometimes, bread is cheaper at the grocery store, but most of the time it is cheaper at the bakery outlet, especially the specialty items.  I don't have time to make bread.  It would be cheaper.  When I made sour dough bread, it didn't get eaten fast enough, so I quit.  It's not a savings if it goes on the garbage!
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Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Madness 11/4/13

I'm watching curious George! snuggling baby granddaughter and writing a blog.  Is that multi tasking?   LOL.

Multi tasking in the kitchen is hectic and stressful.  I try to find recipes that let me put ingredients together and go on to do other things.  Slow cookers, oven meals and things that cook in the microwave without having to be watched reduce the get everything on the table stress syndrome.
The other way to reduce the stress is to deligate.  When I am trying to make a taco dinner, I chop the condiments, have someone else do the refried beans and heat the meat while I do the rice and cook the chicken, heat the shells.  Premade taco meat is a help as so refried beans out of a can.  It would also be a help if we didn't have semi vegetarians in the group.  I sometimes just do chicken, but dad is not thrilled with chicken.

My husband solves the problem , he just makes the main dish.  If we want balance, we need to add the veggies and starch.

I am still a believer in the food pyramid. In moderation.  The new food pyramid addresses fat and sugar consumption and balance.  We all need some salt and carbs.  Carbs give is energy, and salt keeps our electrolytes in balance.  Moderation is the key.  Anytime, in my opinion,that we go overboard on any one food group, we are asking for trouble.  Our bodies need balance.

This blog so about trying to create balanced, nutritious diets while feeding families on very low income.  It is very easy to spend more on food.  My thought is that if I can show people how to do it at rock bottom budgets, the rest will take care of itself.   Adding more expensive choices in vegetables and meat is easy.  Doing it on the cheap, not so much! LOL

I still buy more expensive ingredients if I am bring to a potluck out of respect for the people that are not on a cheap budget.  ( the foodies). I have no problem with foodies, I just can't do that on less than the poverty level budget.  LOL.   XX!? Happens.  We can all plan for our lives. But sometimes life slips you a curve ball.  It's up to you to pick up the ball and run with it. I have had more than enough curve balls in my 70 years I really can't help picking up the ball!    Leaving it sit on the ground doesn't solve any problems.

Shopping is not my whole life, it is a portion of it.  I essentially get more benefit from shopping wisely than I do the cooking part of dinner.  With health issues, I don't have the energy at the end of the day to set down and do a two hour meal.  I have found ways to get around it.  I suspect that people that have children or children and jobs , or just lead a full life are on the same boat.

I still run two businesses, one of which is labor intensive, fun but time consuming, run a household,
work two days a week and help take care of a baby and belong to a service group for women.  I really don't have a princess life.  LOL. it's worth shopping WISELY to save 4000.00 a year-- especially if you don't have the 4000 in the first place.

I recently heard from a lady who's husband had lost his job and found one after 8 months for a lot less pay.  She picked up the ball and ran with it very effectively.  It's a matter of survival.  I still can't top the lady on the Today show that Matt Lauer  asked what she said to naysayers about her couponing.  She (paraphrasing) said " if you don't understand, you  ain't been broke enough.  Enough said.

I coupon when it makes sense.  There are some coupons out there that are for necessity items.  If you can get your personal items free, it frees up money for food.  There are some things that it doesn't pay to make from scratch unless you are in a position to cook for hours  and like to cook.  Also, I am finding dairy coupons.  Of I can find something free or nearly free, cheaper than scratch, I will get it in moderation.

 We have more than my usual supply of basic food.  We also have a situation looming that could make us loose 25 percent of our income. We will need to pick  up the ball.  I have four mouths to feed.  LOL.  This is not about hoarding.  I am not buying 93 bottles of hot sauce that we will never eat, or cat food when we don't have a cat, or a closet fill of soda pop.  We have a stock of foods I buy on a regular basis.  I just paid 1/2 price or less for them. It would be nice if everything was 1/2 price everyday, but  then the grocery stores would be out of business. LOL. It would also be nice if we could sit with a drink in your hand and dinner would magically appear on the table.  What a fantasy!

Back to reality, coupons work.  I save the inserts in the newspaper.  I buy 1 paper a week.  I keep them in binder clips.  I download the coupons of the things I buy at the first of the month and put them in a binder that I paid a total if three dollars for.  I check coupon connections once a week to find any match ups that make sense to our family.  I tell you about them.  Whether or not you use them is up to you. Not every bargain is a bargain of it doesn't for your lifestyle.  I certainly don't spend hours planning coupon trips.  I don't get my groceries for 1 cent, but I think I do a fair job.

Taking a little time on the front end of a shopping trip, you will spend less time shopping and less money.  Using tips to get out of the kitchen faster and still get well balanced on the table balances the shopping time.  You actually spend less time of you are the person that goes every two or three days to buy one or two days of food. Or of you run out of something and run to the store to get one thing.
Planning  your trips to save gas is a real help.  Gas is expensive in this economy even of you have a car that gets 50 mpg.  If a store is far away, we go less often and I make sure that I can buy enough to save considerably more than the gas money.  We are about due for a bread run.  Finding the cheapest place to buy certain foods is a real help for the budget. If you need to go out of your five mile radius to get cheap food, consider going with another person .  Stock up so you don't have to go often.

Knowing your rock bottom prices, even in this time of drought driven prices, is the best tool you can have. My mother used to have an expression, " some people wouldn't know a bargain if it got up and bit them in the butt".   It PAYS you to know what a bargain is.

Funny story.  I have pointed out when walking through the grocery store with my husband, "look at this , it's 7.99.  We paid 3.20 ." Etc numerous times.  Last week, I had to get something at the fabric store.  Knowing how much my husband LOVES walking through the fabric store, I suggested he go to big lots and get the leaf bags and  a personal product I needed.  He came back with a double package because it was less than double the price.  I got 48 for the price of a small package at the grocery store.  It almost never pays to get Personal products  and paper products at the grocery store.   I must be rubbing off on him.  Or, it was the statement , "if we don't pay full price for necessities, we can afford some luxuries. ". It makes for a more fruitful and fulfilling life.

I guess it's time I get to the mounting laundry pile and the housework.  No little elf does that in this house either, DARN!  LOL

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Casserole, leftover delight

Broccoli Cheese Rice casserole

Www.cinnamonspice and everything

4 t butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt, pepper
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/3 cup parm
3 cups cooked rice
2-1/2 cups brocolli, cooked.

Grease 9 x 13 pan
Oven at 400 degrees

Make white sauce with butter, flour, milk, mustard, salt and pepper.  Stir in parm and 2 cups of the cheese.  .  Stir until cheese is melted.

Stir in and broccoli and rice .

Place in the pan.  Top with cheese.
Bake 30 minutes .  And let set for 5 minutes.


I would use minced garlic.  You could also add chopped chicken, cooked.  A good recipe for leftovers.

Tonight we had BBQ chicken,  rice with cheese and red peppers.  And French green beans with almonds.  The chicken was cooked and frozen ( batch cooked) the rice was leftover from last night, and the green beans were free from QFC.

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Betty Crocker and coupon alerts.

This is a good recipe for stretching a buck.

Good buy alert.  If you are a naysayer, or a non shopper, close your eyes.

Fred Meyer has cream of mushroom soup for .50@@$$$ makes it .30.  Check the coupon at

Also, butter for 1.67.

10 ways to save money on Groceries

I thought I would do something  different.  Ten small ( or huge) ways to save money on groceries.

1) use coupons for the things you already buy at the grocery store.  There are coupons for things that are not boxed, prepared food.  In moderation, some mixes are a boon if you are time crunched.  I got pepperoni for .50 for a regular 3.50 package at the dollar store.  I can most generally get coupons for yogurt and peanut butter.

2) think outside neighbourhood convenience store.  Many stores carry food.  The dollar store takes coupons and many times  can make something free or nearly free.  Soap, toothpaste and deodorant are frequently free.  What you save on personal necessities you can spend on food.  Warehouse stores like Costco and Winco are cheaper on some things.  Alternative overstock stores are cheaper on some things.  NO one store has the best prices for everything.

3) if your family is large especially, buying on bulk for things like rice, beans and oatmeal so a good investment.

4) buying produce in season is a good thing.  The prices are lower and the quality is higher., the produce can be more local many times.

5) buying bagged produce,weigh the bags.  There can be a lot of difference on a two pound bag of carrots.  Buying whole carrots are much cheaper than buying baby carrots., baby carrots are just big carrots that  have been cut down to size.

6) buying your meat on a rotating basis and buying and cooking in bulk saves a lot.  You cook less, clean up less, and can portion control meal sized portions to reduce waste.  Most grocery store chains have a loss leader on a rotating basis.

7) avoid pre-packaged ready made items.  Someone has to pay for the labor to make this stuff.  That someone is you.  It takes the same amount of time to make a hamburger meal box from scratch as it does from a box.  The scratch tasts better, is more nutritious, and looks better too.  Ditto boxed pudding.

8) learn to read labels.  This gives you a real eye opener of what you are eating.

9) invest some time in knowing the prices of the things that you  use on a regular basis.  Buy at the lowest price in quantity.  Enough quantity to last you til the next sale.  you never have to pay full price and you don't get stuck with nothing on the house to eat.  Don't hoard, but base your quantity on how often you use that item per week.  We use tomatoes at least once a week.  Ditto beans.

10)  clean the fridge once a week about mid week.  Assess what is left and use up things that need to be used up before they hit the compost or garbage disposal.  Vegetable soup?  Banana bread?  Stuff shells or lasagna for the cottage cheese.  Cottage cheese can be a sub for sour cream.  Sour cream can be a good addition to cake or cookie recipes.  Yogurt can become a fruit parfait with granola for an addition to a breakfast for dinner meal.

11) bonus. Make your own bread crumbs.  Why pay more momey per pound for someone  else's dry bread than you do meat?  Ditto croutons.  Get your bread heels out of the plastic and into the oven before they go mould.  When they are dry, process them in the food processor ,or grate them on a box grater.  I used to do that outside so I didn't have to clean up the mess.  LOL

12) learn to make soup.  It's inexpensive, it's good ( especially on a cold winter day) and of you make it in a slow cooker, you can have dinner ready when you are.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013


We went shopping yesterday.  I spent 26.00 and another buck at the dollar store for Two  packages of pepperoni.

Yesterday we had spaghetti and garlic bread and salad in the vegetable Bin.

About mid week, it is time to clean the fridge and take note of what needs to be eaten soon.  Maybe it is time for a vegetable soup or stock, or banana bread.  Betty Crocker has a good recipe for banana blueberry bread.  It takes oatmeal and so really good and good for you.

There are a lot of good and good for you recipes out there.  Most take the simplest of ingredients.  The more processed the food, the more expensive it is and the more preservatives it may have in it.

Remember, the more someone does the cooking for you, the more it's going to cost.  They want to get paid like the rest of us.  LOL.  With few exceptions, ready made and boxed dinners are really expensive in terms of cost, and nutrition.  If you can cook as fast as making the trip to the store, or the mix takes just as long to cook scratch , the box mixes are pointless.

Cooking some meats ahead and using instant mashed potatoes makes sense to me.  Making mashed potatoes is time consuming both in making the dish and cleaning up afterwards.  For a weeknight dinner, instant mashed is good .   I find them for little money.  There is a coupon for Betty Crocker a gratin or scalloped potatoes on the net.  ( check .  They are a buck at the dollar store.  With the coupon they are BOGO.  You don't get many potatoes for fifty cents.  I also got pepperoni for fifty cents.  I haven't got toothpaste for free lately, but I'm still watching and building my stock for the women's shelter.  I did find gloves for granddaughter.  I don't want to spend more than a buck for the , kids loose their gloves and I don't know if she will even wear them.  It's certainly not worth my time to knit them at her age and the yarn would cost more than a buck!  

My average for meals has been going down, which is remarkable  since the drought is still rearing it's ugly head on food prices.  The USDA projects that they will be occurring well into 2014.  In addition, the SNAP program is taking a hit.  My sister says that it is going to be 35.00 a month average.  The combination is not a good one for people on a thrifty budget.  The people with six digit incomes won't notice as much, but higher prices and less money hits the poor hard.  Making scratch good food on the cheap is a way to get through without sacrificing nutrition or having no food in the pantry at the end of the month.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

The basics, part three, scratch cooking

Oh, that dreaded word, " scratch" cooking.  Really, scratch cooking can be quick and easy.  The thrifty budget doesn't have a lot of wiggle room for ready made foods.  Most pre- made , or semi pre-made foods are too expensive.  They also have ingredients that you can't pronounce.  LOL Learn to read sides of boxes.  It is really enlightening.

I did  a series of blogs  on a hamburger meal box. It is very revealing.  Most same people won't buy another one after reading the blog.  LOL.  That being  said, they have changed the box and added  some real food.

Buying a deli chicken is a real mistake.  I have seen deli  chickens for six dollars for two pounds!  That's three dollars a pound.  There are three good reasons why you don't want a deli chicken.

1) three pounds is the break even point on buying a chicken.  Less than three pounds you are paying for too much bone and not enough meat.  The more weight after three pounds the better.

2) I can still get chicken for a dollar a pound.  Northwest grown, no antibiotic, no hormone chicken.
    I can get a chicken ready to roast in about ten minutes.  The savings are remarkable.

3) you don't know where that chicken from the deli comes from!

There are styles of cooking that get  dinner on the table as fast and as easy as processed, ready made food.  They make scratch cooking doable for the busiest of cooks.

1) the slow cooker can be your best friend in the kitchen.  There so something very therapeutic about coming home to dinner cooked and waiting for you.  The Betty Crocker web site is full of ideas.  Some of them call for  ready made expensive ingredients.  Remember you can always make substitutions or adjustments to a recipe.  Remember, same bulk and same texture when substituting.  Celery makes a good substitute for onion, for example.

2) anything you can get together and shove on the oven to cook is a good thing.  Oven time so non-passive cooking. You can go about your business and get something else done.  Foil packet dinners are easy and provide for no cleanup.  They also allow each person to build their own and make their own combinations .

3) skillet meals don't have to come out of a box.  Pasta is easily cooked on a microwave pan.  My daughter got hers from big lots for five bucks.  It is  well worth the money.  Pasta becomes a passive cooking venue.

4) making meats ahead and doing prep work ahead of time saves a lot of work at dinner time and makes the dinner  hour less hectic.  The grocery chains rotate their meat specials weekly.  Take advantage of it and buy the special in bulk.  Buy enough to have a meal or two a week for a month.  When you get home, cook the meat and divide it into meal portions and bag and freeze it.  I would leave pork chops off the pork loin raw.

This maximizes your savings, minimizes your work at dinner time, and affords you a variety of meals.

I can still get
Pork loin for 2.00 a pound
Good ground beef under 3.00 per pound
Pork sausage for 2.30 a pound (Costco)
Chicken whole or grill packs for a dollar a pound.
Beef roast for 3.00 per pound or less.

If beef roasts ( chuck) are under three dollars and cheaper than good burger, I grind my own, or ,, rather my husband grinds it  for us.

I have a matrix ( outline) for meal plans to afford us balance and variety. ours is based on my families wants.  Yours may be different.  A plan  makes meal planning easier.

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

I have written a lot of ideas in the past three days.  What you do with them and how much of them make sense to you is your call.  The more you do, the more you will save.  It's up to you.  I am not going to tell you that food will magically appear on your dining table. It takes work.  Spending a little time prepping for your shopping trip and shopping and less time in the kitchen can be very rewarding in your pocket book. If you have a lot of time to cook, go for it.  Everyone loves a gourmet meal !  It's just not always practical with our schedules!

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