Monday, December 28, 2015

Answer to a letter......

Dear groceries on the cheap,

I have a long commute from work.   By the time I get home the last thing I want to do is cook a meal for an hour.   What can I do to escape the drive through.  We want to turn over a new leaf and save money on the new year.   Signed, Janis in Chicago.    

Dear Janis, 

I can totally relate to your problem.    My family arrives home late during the work week.   We have an active three yo to watch while I cook and I'm old.     By that time of day, my get up and go has got up and went.    My solution may help.   

The grocery chains usually offer a loss leader of protein each week.  They usually rotate the kind if meat.   I buy a months supply of that particular meat  when it's on sale. Like if it's chicken, I will buy two chockens.  that's enough to get us to the end of the month.   I batch cook the chockens and seoarate them into eight meal portions and freeze them.    If it is hamburger, I make a meatloaf or meatballs, taco meat, and crumbles.    Pork loin gets cut into pick chops and a roast.   The roast can be roasted off and sliced thin for BBQ pork sandwiches for a weeknight meal.   

I make meal plans ahead for a week.    I have a matrix that suits our family.   Yours can be whatever suits yours.    With a plan, I may deviate from, I at least have a plan.  I don't have to think of the answer to what's for dinner!     

With th protein cooked, the rest of the dinner falls onto place with little effort.   I also keep a stack of pizzas I get on sale cheap to augment a really bad day.   I can add meats and cheese and dinner is virtually a no brainier.   Salad is always on the vegetable bin.   

From a chicken , I get 
  1. BBQ  chicken pieces from the legs, and thighs.  Just thaw and brush with BBQ sauce and stick in  the oven with French fries and make a salad or fruit plate.   
  2. Chicken pot pie using Bisquick crust.   
  3. Roast chicken with mashed potatoes, and mixed veggies.    ( salad) 
  4. Chicken breast sliced over dressing from dry bread cubes, Apple, cranberries, and some chicken stock, poultry seasoning.   
  5. Chicken soup in the crockpot.    
We all know how many thousands of recipes that ground beef or sausage there are.    Keep frozen veggies and a bag of salad on the fridge.    

Hope this helps.   


Budget detail for 2015

it is interesting to nite that we have had the big shakeup in our food chain stores in this part of the country.   Winco opened in our area mid- October.  

1 Q 2015.    Weekly average 74.70
2Q 2015.                                79.75
3Q 2015.                                81 07
4Q 2015.                                76.40
Average per week             77.98

That is up about three dollars from last year.   The third quarter is not a big surprise because that's when the new lack of canned goods hots the warehouses and the previous years pack goes on sale cheap.   It's a good time to stock.    Note we did not eat that much food a week, I have a bigger stock of non oerishavles on the pantry and freezer.    I am still running about half of USDA stats and less than the stats for snap.    We always have fresh fruits and veggies in the house and I mostly also accommodate a vegetarian and a diabetic and two picky eaters.    My daughter and granddaughter mostly eat lunch out of the house on weekdays.  

Soup series no. 4

Betty Crocker chicken gnocchi soup.  

Sunday, December 27, 2015

How to cut your grocery bills in half. And balance

That's a simple answer to that.    Is the same answer to how to loose weight.   To loose weight, you either have to exercise more, or eat less.    To cut your grocery bill in half you either need to eat 1/2 as much, or spend 1/2 the amount for your food.    Since I am already below my target weight, as well as the rest of the family , we spend 1/2 on food.  

My daughter was expressing interest about a guy on the internet eating interesting food on three dollars a day.   I stopped to calculate the amount we spend per person on food on a normal basis.    I spent a whole lot over Christmas, buying more and more expensive items because it was Christmas and we were feeding extended family.   Because if the way we grocery shop, it is hard to break out.   I'm averaging 75-80 a week and that covers having a large stock of food ( non perishables) that is carried over from week to week.   We , I estimate actually eat about soxty five dollars a week-- about two dollars plus change.    A little disclaimer, my daughter and her daughter eat lunch out of the house  five days a week.   My daughter buys their alternative options sources for a few meals.   That could only be done because I almost n e v e r pay full price for food.    If I can get a good brand of food , and get it for 2 or 3 for the price of one, it seems ludicrous buy one and then pay fill like the  next week for another.   🍎
Last night, we had taco pie.   We made two pies, one from real hamburger, and one from TVP.  My daughter ate the TVP, we ate the hamburger, and cooked something  different for granddaughter because she isn't fond  of taco pie.   We put  tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream on the pie.

Now, we are going back to my series on soup.   We like soup, and it is a good way to stretch the dollar and is filling and warm on these cold, blustery days.   Some of the time, it can be cooked in the  crockpot which makes meal  time flexible and a lot less hectic.

We went to Fred Meyers for probably the last grocery shopping trip of the year.    I did buy good
quality grocery bags with Christmas motives on them for .37.   I plan to "wrap" our resents in them next year.   One of the ways you can cut the expense of a lot of household things is to buy things with seasonal icons on them and use them all year.   One time my mother found kitchen towels for a dime.   She each of we girls a dollars worth.    We used them for years.    I don't really care what pattern my kitchen towels are, they just need to dry the dishes.   LOL.

 Eating a well  balanced diet is key to good health, in my opinion.    It has been that way for years.  .  Grandparents are living to be well past their 80's .   So many people are taking whole food groups out of their diets.  Some are at the advice of their doctors because of health issues. Some, I suspect are doing it because it is the "thing" to do.    Taking a food group out of your diet is a big step.  You are upsetting the balances in your body.   If you are not going to a nutrition expert and finding out what you need to put the balance back, you are asking for trouble. You might be trying to fix something that isn't broke. And breaking somethng  else.    It's kinda like not buying makeup to save money, and then going to the big bucks store and buying a five dollar coffee.

We all know that too much fat, sugar and salt are bad for us.   Our bodies need a certain amount of those things  to run properly.   Even a diabetic diet has to have some carbs.   When you take whole food groups out of your diet and you don't get good expert advice on what're eat  in its place, you are laying with fire.    Moderation is the key in my opinion.  Add being a icky eater and .....

The media and Facebook etc. is full of articles everyday about how some food item is causing some disease.   There is almost always a contradictory article.   Now I just  read where we should  be eating  butter because vegetable oil is not good for us.   Don't eat butter because it causes heart disease, don't eat vegetable oils because it causes cancer-- and on it goes.

   I put  well balanced food on the table.   I buy the best quality I can find .   I just buy it in sale.    Almost every basic item in a grocery store goes on sale at sometime.

Now, if the picky eaters ....that's a whole other topic!  

Thanks for stopping by


Sunday, December 20, 2015

New Years coming.......5 easy to do hacks to cut food costs

Five easy steps to start saving money on food.

  1. Start saving the crusts from bread and any leftover buns.  Breadcrumbs can be as much as 2.40 a pound,    Why pay that for someone else's dry bread?    I put bread crusts on a sheet pan and leave them on the counter for a bit.   Then I put them on a cold oven and let get dry.    Break them up and pulse on a food processor.    When I didn't have a food processor, I went outside with a box grater and a sheet pan.   The birds got the flying crumbs left over.  
  2. Make your own pizza sauce.   Until I watched some grocery hauls, I didn't know that there was a thing called pizza sauce.   I buy small cans of tomato sauce when they are about .25.  I use part of one and add Italian seasoning to it.   The remainder I freeze for another pizza or put in meatballs or loaf.   
  3. Put two ( or more ) snack or quart bags in the freezer door.   When you are chopping anything that can go on a pizza. Chop a little more and place in a " vegetable bag".   Ditto  cooked meat.  I put meat on its separate bag.   When you have enough, make individual pizzas.    
  4. Save the little bits and pieces of cheese and make 4 cheese Mac and cheese.   
  5. Research mix recipes ( see older blogs) and start making one mix at a time to replace any mixes you usually buy.   Ranch dressing is the one of the easiest.   
Five easy hacks.     

Thanks. Jane.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Fred Meyers ad

Fred Meyers ad for tomorrow
Just a note that anything that is a typical holiday meal ingredient is price matched at Winco.  

Rib eye roast 5.97.  Limit
Broccoli .99
Butter 2/5@@
Blues 2.99
Starbucks pods 5.49@@
Tillamook ice cream 2.99@@
Bacon 2/7@@
Oranges .88
Green beans 1.79
Ny roast 4.97

That's about it

Tools.- kitchen management

Kitchen management .   Organization is one of the keys to saving money and not wasting food.  
A few forms done  on the computer make it quick and easy to manage shopping and dinner.  

Kitchen management/ meal plans 

  • A spread sheet can track a RBP  of an item and where you got it.    You are not tracking every item you buy, just the ones you buy on  a regular basis.   For most people, that is  about fifteen things.   
  • Analyzing the weekly ads just takes a piece of computer paper divided in sections,  often mine comes from the recycle bin.  
  • Coupon book.   A binder from the goodwill, plastic sheets for baseball cards/ and or photo sleeves , and a package of dividers from the dollar store.     Add a cheap calculator, small scissors and a red pen Ina pencil case from the dollar store.   
  • Meal plan / kitchen management sheet has columns for what's on the fridge that you need  to eat, what you need to buy to fill in, and days of the week to make meal plans.   A matrix tailored to your families likes makes planning easier.    

Coupon book.  

Coupons are found everywhere.   On packages, electronic ones ( harder to manage) I guess mark them in your grocery list.   Newspaper inserts .  Some inserts come on our mail now.   Some are in the Sunday paper.  They don't come in holiday papers and Proctor and Gamble comes the first  Sunday of the month.     You can buy the Sunday paper the saturday before at the dollar tree. You can download coupons from your computer, two per month per coupon at   Filter food only. Pick just the ones you would likely buy and do it early on the month.   The coupons come out 
the first of the month, there is a limited amount of coupons that can be printed, and when they are gone, they are gone.    They will e mail you if more are loaded.   

Ibotta is a rebate tool.   I check the Ibotta list after I get home from the store.   If there are things I bought, I check the item, take a pic of the bar code, and take a picture of the sales slip.    It's an easy way to save a few extra dollars.    I, working towards an Amazon card but you can have Starbucks, movie tickets, wall,art and a host of others.    

Hope this helps.    A little planning can save a lotion time and money.     Once you are set up, it doesn't take much time.   

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Winco and Costco's

Winco had five pounds of French fries for 3.18.   We are having them for dinner.    They don't look bad.    Klondike bars are 2.96, saurkraut 128 in jars,    Costco has finish tabs for the dishwasher for 14.49 less 3.50.   Bananas are 1.39, 3 lbs bacon are 14.99.

That's about it.  

We hav had birthdays and Christmas parties.    Soup thread will continue next week before Christmas ..  

Happy Holdays.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The ads

Safeway and Albertsons

spiral ham 1.68
Rib eye roast or New York  7.77
Mandarines 3.88
Yams .99
Pineapple 2.99
Chuck roast 3.99
Pork loon crown 3.99
Pork loom 3.99

Same food, different prices

Food.                                           Albertsons.                                Safeways
Fresh turkey.                                    1.99.                                        1.99
Butterball.                                         2.19.                                        2.29
Pie.                                                    6.99.                                        7.99
Brown and serve rolls                        2/4.                                          2/4
Brie                                                    9.99.                                       9.99
Pistachios.                                          3.99.                                        2/5

Bottom round 3.99
1/2 ham 1.88
Ground beef 3.99 ( 7 percent)
Salmon 9.99

5 dollar Friday
Chicken tenders
Berries 2/5
Cupcakes (12)

Ground beef 3.69(15percent)
Coupons  -   The same for both stores.  
Cool whip .88
Bc cake mix .99
Campbell's soup .79
Cascade ice .50
Red Barton 3/10

Bottom round 3.99
Shrimp 6.99
Salmon 9.99

Friday only
Berries 2/5
Chicken tenders
Most th

Or-----for anything that is a typical holiday meal check Winco first they will match the best price.    Saves a lot of hassle.  


Ham.  1.69
Cooks portion 1.29
Mandarines 3.88
Broccoli. .99
Rib eye.  9.99
Sirloin tip roast bogo. Ref price 6.99
Butter 2/5
Tillamook 5.99
Turkey 179
Berries 2/5
Blues 299
Shrimp 6.99

Beef tenderloin 19.99 a pound   -

That's about it



Monday, December 14, 2015

Soup no 3 Cheezy potato

Cheesy potato soup from thembetty Crocker on line cook book.  
Picks without bacon and parsley garnish.  
Easiest soup I think I ever made.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Soup , no. 2

Tomato basil, Gorgonzola soup and crab cakes.


Soup series - No 1


Soup series no. I

Crockpot soups are a good way to have a hearty, hot dinner on cold, blustery, days.   Especiall when it's the  busy Holiday season.

You,can sign up for e mail at Betty Crocker , or they have an online cookbook.   It is well worth the
effort to download.    You can plug in something that you need to use up and they will give  you a recipe.  

Happy  Holidays.


Fred Meyers and notes

Fed Meyers ad

Milk .99@@
Ribeye 5.97
Turkey breast 149
Shrimp 6.99
Cool whip .79@@
Hills hire sausage 2/5@@

Umpqua  ice cream 2.99
Kraft dressing 1.99
Gold medal flour 1.49
Cheesecake 12.99
Pumpkin pie 3.99
Apples 1.29

Spiral ham coupon 10.00 for flame crafted bone in

That's about it.

Winco has they will meet the lowest price of the chain stores on a select list of holiday fixings.  

I have started a series of soup recipes.   It's that time of year and I downloaded a bunch of recipes from Betty Crocker.  

Last night we had a sausage, bean and potato soup and cheesy biscuits.  
Tonight we are having crab cakes. But I'll start the rest ifmthemstory Sunday.  

Thanks for stopping by

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The ads


Simple truth chickens are .99 a pound,  I can't find anywhere the answer to the question, where are they from?    I did find that they are a brand of Kroger and that they are being sued for mislabeling?  Or something of the nature.  

Grapes 1.68
Milk .99

Buy 4, save 4
Kroger ice cream net 1.8
Sugar .99
Freshetta 4.99
Nathan's 2.99

Sirloin tip roast 3.99

five dollar Friday
Naval oranges
Oatmeal, peanut butter, bars 3/5

Brown or powdered sugar .99@@
Butter 2/5@@
Flour 1.89@@

Buy 5 save 5
Cereal 2.99$$

Buy 4. Save 4

15percent hamburger, bottom round, cross rib 3.99

Coupons the same as Safeways.

That's about it.


Winco haul

Winco haul 36.13 less .25 Ibotta .  

Chicken thighs .68 a pound, grown in the Pacific Northwest.    

stretching your protein dollar.

By far, food is the most expensive discretionary so ending category on a least of the necessities and protein is usually the most expensive category of food.  

Meat prices have risen remarkably in the last year or so.    It is not unusual to pay five dollars a pound or more for what we used to pay two dollars for.    Chicken is still a bargain for a buck a pound for whole chickens.    It takes about ten. Invites to put a whole chicken on the oven to roast and another ten to disinfect the kitchen. Counters and utensils.  Rotisery chicken is at least 1.67 a pound at Costco.   The chicken comes from draper valley.  Chicken breast is the most expensive way to buy chicken..sometimes as costly as beef.   If I want a boneless , skinless chicken breast, I buy a picnic pack when it is 1.25 a pound and break it down into meal portions and debone the breast.   It takes a few tries, but it's not hard to debone a chicken breast.  

I bought a pack of small eye of round steaks from Winco last week,   They were 9.09.   We had 2 of them that I cooked in the grill pan.   Last night I cut them across the grains very thin and stir fried them with stir fry veggies from Costco in the freezer section.    Add brown roce and dinner was done.   I still have enough for another meal or two.   Four meals for 9.00 is 2.25 a meal.  That is close to my target cost and I can average it with Mac and cheese or breakfast for dinner.  

I have been getting hamburger for about three dollars a pound for the good low fat kind lately.   When I do I make meatballs, meatloaf, taco meat and/or crumbles.   Portion control goes a long ways to stretch your dollar.   There are a lot of recipes for ground beef out there.  The recent information I have read lately says that we need six  ounces of protein a day and some of that should come  from eggs.  Yes, eggs.   I would refer you to an earlier post.   Moderation, in my opinion, is the key on food.  Remember when eggs were bad for you!   Times change and I for one am not going to buy into  all the hoopla.  Of you take a food group out of your diet , you need to replace the nutrients that you would get from that food group with something else.   Unless my doctor tells me something is not good for me to eat and I consult with a nutrition expert( not my cousin or the lady next door) I'm going to eat a variety of things in moderation from the basic food groups.   Just my opinion. I do believe all of us. Should watch our fat, sugar, and salt consumption.  

You can still get pork at a reasonable price.  Sausage is cheapest at Costco.   There are a lot of coupons for sausage and port tenderloins.   I try to limit our processed meat consumption to once a week.   Pepperoni is fifty cents a package for Hormel with coupons at the dollar tree.   A few sliced added to vegetables and olives on a pizza goes a long ways.  Buffalo,chicken pizza so another pizza alternative that stretches a piece of leftover cooked chicken.  

From a whole,chicken I get, 2 chicken breast halves. BBQ chicken from the dark meat, and soup from the bones.  Usually for meals from a five pound, four to five dollar chicken.   The break even ratio for a chicken is three pounds -everything after that is gravy.    In other words, if you buy nature pound chicken  you are paying for half bones, and half meat.  

Using eggs, cheese, and beans and rice for a few meals a week, stretches the protein budget.

If you have a soup or something that is lower on protein tan you want, consider adding a yogurt parfait, ice cream, pudding, custard  or other desert or side dish that boosts the protein.  

Thanks for stopping by

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Notes on drugs.....

I discovered a few things lately that might help people that have to take drugs.    Unless you have fantastic insurance, allergy meds and diabetic test strips can be cheaper over the counter than buying them with copays at the pharmacy.    

The generic Zyrtec was two dollars more than the copay for a month to buy a years supply at Costco.  
Nose sprays are a lot cheaper too. 

Test strips can run a dollar each.   I got 100 test strips for less than 25.00.    Before you fill a prescription, you may want to check Walmart, SAMs club, Costco or Amazon.    

Just a thought.    I'm all about loving well on a small budget.    

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fred Meyers

tomorrow's Fred Meyers ad

Pineapple fresh .99
Apples .99
Ex peel shrimp 5.99

Canned fruit 100
Kroger ice cream, 1.99@@
Sour cream/ cottage cheese .99@@
Fred Meyer coffee 4.99

Mandarins 3.99
Pears .99
Whole fryer .99

About all.   My guess is that  I would lick chicken for our stock meat this week.  

Thanks formatoppingmby

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Reprint...and your food has what in it?

And your food has what in it? 

I'm confused, I'm irritated, I'm full up to my eyeballs of people telling us that this, that and the other thing is bad for us.  If we believed  every unscientific study and persons opinion on food, we wouldn't eat anything and the things that we ate would be on such short supply, most of us could not afford  them.

  • Don't drink diet cola
  • Don't eat fish
  • Don't eat chicken
  • Don't eat pork
  • Don't eat beef
  • Don't  eat soy beans, they are chemically engineered
  • Don't drink coffee, drink coffee
  • Don't eat vegetables unless their organic
  • Wait, bananas are a waste to buy organic
  • Don't eat apple sauce, it has arsenic in it
  • Don't eat tuna, it has lead in it
  • Don't eat preserved meats.  
  • Don't drink milk. , wait, drink milk, but it doesn't build bones like we always thought 
  • Don't eat eggs
  • Don't use aluminum foil
  • There is plastic in McDonald's food.  
  • Don't drink water out of a plastic bottle, don't drink tap water, 
  • Don't eat food packed in plastic , cooked in plastic, or packed on a tin can. 
For every opinion, someone has a different one.  I, for  one, am discusted, confused, and sick and tired of people telling me every two minutes that something more is bad for us.  Most of the time, there is no scientific research to back them up and they change their mind weekly.  

The USDA has  a lot of intelligent people working to see that we have safe food.  It probably is true that too much of any one thing can hurt you, we all need balance in our lives.  I can totally understand the concern that we are feeding our children too much refined sugar and salt.  It is hidden on all kinds of things.   Sugar and carbs and salt are a necessary nutrient in our diets--in moderation.  A thrifty diet can still  manage salt and sugar intake.  A thrifty meal plan can also afford a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Wash 
your fruits and vegetables, peel them if it makes sense.  Eat a wide variety of them.  Defat  your meat and use the leanest meat you can afford.  A three to four ounce portion is enough. 

I think what I am saying is that I am going to do what makes sense to me to provide a balanced diet for our family.  If  I can reduce our sugar, salt, and fat content, I will.  But I am not going to react to every sensationalist put there that believes every study, scientific or not about our food supply.

I remember years ago when the city wanted to put a high priced day care in a building and eliminate the no frills affordable one.  The children were getting the same education.  They colored on the back side of used computer paper.  They still colored.  I remembered telling the city council that we would all like to drive sports cars and live on mansions with servants, but the reality is that  most of cant afford them.  A fancy day care is nice, but it will do people no good if it costs more than they earn.
Ahh...reality strikes again.

Enough of a soapbox.

I am trying to teach people how to stretch a buck, because I know how.  Because some people either want or need to.  The interest rates are going up and we are getting a little more interest on our money, but getting your food for 1/2 price is like getting 50 percent interest.  I think I can safely predict that the bank is not going to give us 50 percent on our money in my lifetime.  ! LOL

I am also trying to make it believable in this day and age of soccer practice, dance lessons, work and managing a home .  We all have busy schedules.  It breaks my heart when I hear of children eating corn and watermelon for dinner...can we see pure sugar!   Or top ramen and potato chips.  It is totally doable on food stamps to eat a well balanced diet of good, regular food.  it just takes some food management skills and some effort.

Whether you read my blog to hear me rant and rave....LOL or to get a more efficient way to cook meals, or a new recipe, or you just want to save money, I hope you are getting something  out of this and that you will share so I have a better chance of reaching people that want or need to save money on food.

Thanks for stopping by

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The ads

Ads are here.  


Seasoned chicken breast b1 G3 free.   No origin on meat @@
Round roast 3.88
Apples .99

Five dollar Friday
Pacific cod
Berries 2/5
Pomegranates 3/5
Donuts - a dozen
English muffins 3/5

Milk 2/5@@
Vegetables/tomato sauce 2/1@@
Oranges .79
Limes 4/1

Chili .99

Seasoned chicken breast B1, get 3 @@.   No origin in meant
Apples .99
Limes 4/1

5 dollar Friday
Pomegranates 3/5
Berries 2/5
Dijorno pizza
English muffins 3/5

Milk 2/5@@
Veggies, tom sauce 2/1@@

Chili .99

Oranges .69
Milk .99

Buy 4, save 4
Sugar .99
Cheerios 1.69
Kens dressing 1.99
Salad oil 1.99
Kroger ice cream 1.88
Dryers 2.99

Berries 2/5
Apples .99

Thanks for stopping by

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