Thursday, May 31, 2018


Dollar Tree and Winco fill in haul

Dollar Tree:
Ancient Grains salad
Barilla pasta


I checked the Fresh Food Market , the prices were higher.

Tomatoes - grape
Tomatoes - Romas
Bananas at .42 lb
Strawberries 1.78

Total 8.52



Hunts ketchup.88
Blue bunny ice cream 2.50
Grapes 1.48

Total 7.46

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Chain Store Ads

In spite of the fact that it is graduation , there seems to be a preponderance of good buys and some not so good.


Fab 4 Sale:  buy at least 4 I am assuming mix or match

manwich .88
cheese slices 1.99
mayo 2.49
Classico Pasta sauce 1.88
16 ounces peanut butter  1.79
Blue Bunny Ice Cream 2.49
Hunts catsup .88
cascade dishwasher tabs 5.49

Note:  coupons work with these kinds of sales.

grapes 1.48
salad kits 3/10
Petite sirloin steaks or 80/20 hamburger BOGO -buy at your own risk. no way of telling if it is a bargain.   my buy price for 80/20 would be less than 2.99 a pound.  I paid 2.44.

Tillamook yogurt  10/5
grands biscuits 1.00-usually coupons
suddenly salad 1.00

bread .79@@
milk 1.79 gal @@
bacon - 12 ounces 2.99

NOT A BARGAIN: Jimmy Dean Sausage 2/7; nathans 3.99; BSChicken Breast 2.99lb


grapes 1.99
tomatoes on the vine .88
brats 2.99

nature valley bars 1.79
dryers 2.49
Kleenex .99
Hebrew national 2.99
Kroger cheese 2 lbs 4.99(top of the buy list )
Classico pasta sauce 1.99


Strawberries 2/5
milk .99

cheese 4.99
goldfish .99
Classico pasta sauce 1.99
Hebrew national 2.99
nature valley 1.79
dryers 2.49
orowheat bread 2.49

NOT:  ground beef 93/7 4.99lb

NOTE:  Fred Meyers on Saturday 6/2 has a digital , Saturday Only on Large sour cream .99
NOTE:  Fred Meyers senior day is Tues 6/5-- 10 percent on Private Selection foods.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Betty Crocker Ancient Grains Salad

We are making Betty Crocker Ancient Grains Salad for dinner.  It was a dollar at the Dollar Tree.  I am sure it was one of those items that never made it through the trials.   It is hard to cook and takes a long time. ( the actual 18 minutes didnt work) .  It might serve 3 as a side.   I like the fact that it is quino and wild and brown rice, and it has dried cranberries and almonds in it.   If I were to do it again, I would add a 1/2 cup of cooked rice to the salad to stretch the quanity and I would cook the rice as I would pasta with a lot of water.  The water they called for was used up and the grains were not tender yet.   It tastes good , it just needs some tweaking to work better.  

Along with the ancient Grains salad, we had a tomato salad with olive oil and basil. And a hamburger. .

For four people :
1/2 pkg. Hamburger  buns   .88
Ancient grains salad 1.05
Tomato salad 1.04
Hamburger 2.44

Total.  5.41

Monday, May 28, 2018

How did she do that?

I can’t tell you how many times someone says “ya, sure”.

Last night we had  chilli .  I cooked the beans in the insta pot and rinsed and drained them.   (2 cups beans to enough. Water to cover your second knuckle - or at least an inch above the beans.  Never fill the insta pot more than 1/2 full if you are cooking something that will expand.   )
Added them back to the pot and added: Beans 1.5 pounds at DT for a dollar or .67 a lb.

1/2 lb cooked hamburger that had been de-fatted. ( 2.44 a pound at Zaycon
2 Tablespoons of tomato paste ( GO for 6/1.00)
1-1/2 cups of stock made from vegetable boullion ( fractions of cents -Costco Business )
2 cans stewed tomatoes ( GO for 3/1 Organic Hunts -pull date June)
1 T homemade taco seasoning
1 tsp each of garlic powder and onion powder.

I put the instapot back on the slow cooker mode and let it simmer all afternoon.

we served it with choice of sour cream, tortilla chips, and .or cheese.

Total cost of chilli for a 6 quart pot.

Beans:  Pinto cost for 6 cups cooked is .15
Hamburger :  2.44 lb is 1.22
Vegetable boullion. :  too small to calculate
Stewed tomatoes:  .33 a can for a total of .67
Taco seasoning:  : too small to calculate
Tomato paste 6/1 is .16

Total for 6 quarts is 2.20 or .366 a quart or .19 a bowl

Its not necessarily what you buy but when and where you buy it.
Watch for name brands, watch for pull dates.   Some things can go beyond pull dates, but do not trust canned goods that have acidic content.   Dry things like powdered milk etc last pretty much forever.
The pinto beans are grown in USA. Non GMO.   Alternative stores are limited to the variety of product, but a careful eye can find good bargains .

Pizza sauce is half the price of any other store at the Dollar Tree and it is a name brand.   They also carry some Betty Crocker, and Campbells.  Some items at the dollar tree are more expensive than the regular grocery store.  You do have to know your prices.

Grocery Outlet is an overstock store.  A few things are regular items.  There are also great buys on here today, gone tomorrow.   Many have reasonable pull dates.   I got Pillsbury Whole wheat flour for. .25 for 2pounds.   It was gone when I went to the seattle store.  He who tarries is lost.   Check your pull dates, stick to a good brand, and buy accordingly.   I bought six cans of Hunts, Organic stewed tomatoes at 3/1.00.  The pull date was June.   I left the ones in the box that were March.
I just bought what I knew we would eat in the six weeks that were pre pull date.   You can put stewed  or diced tomatoes in the food processer or Leander and make them more like sauce.   Its not a bargain if you cant use them up before the pull date or you dont like the flavor.  If you aren’t picky about only eating seasonal flavors during that “season” you can clean up.   We got “Oreo” type cookies that were pumpkin flavor for .50 a box.   They are perfectly good food with a reasonable pull date, it just isn’t fall.   Honestly, I cant taste the pumpkin.

  A lot of times the merchandise is something that was put out on a test market and didnt fly.   We were getting cassarole starters for free a few years ago just because they put them out for more money than the meat that went in them.   People, surprisingly, didn’t  buy them.  Someone else’s trash is someone’s treasure.   You need to be careful not to overbuy unless you intend to share it with the food bank.

We scratch cook unless the store bought alternative is either cheaper or it is too complicated to make. It doesn’t pay me to make something that takes hours of time.  I figure the money savings.  If im going to make ten cents an hour to make it from scratch, you can forget it.

The chilli cost us a little over two dollars for 12 servings.   12 servings would cost at least 6.00.   It took me maybe 15 minutes  hands on time.

Kitchen Management

Monday is Kitchen Management day here.   You pick you day to fit into your schedule.   Kitchen Management is a tool that saves a lot of time and money.   Time because you set up to do kitchen chores and get more done setting up once instead of several times during the week.   Base your list on things to be cleaned and the recipes you will cook for the week.   Just as with a meal plan, grouping ingredients , especially ones that need to be used up, saves money because you are not wasting and saves time because you set up once. Dinner time is a snap with dinner prep done.  It cuts dinner prep down considerably during that busy, hectic dinner hour.

Reminder of Meal Plans :

  • Hamburgers, ancient grain salad, tomatoes w basil and olive oil 
  • Pizza 
  • Baked potato bar 
  • Pork Roast/sliders; baked potatoes , glazed carrots 
  • Salmon, sweet potatoes,  green beans
  • Salad 
  • Breakfast for dinner. 

  1. Wash kitchen floor 
  2. Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead and clean the ice maker drip pan. 
  3. Put the stove vent filter through the dishwasher. 
  4. Wash and disinfect counters  and sinks and drains.
  5. Wash potatoes and carrots with vinegar water:  designated brush.  
  6. Wash tomatoes 
  7. Straighten pantry. 

On another note, because of the change in the scheduling of ads for Fred Meyer, Saturday blog time is free.   I am trying to fill take three days that aren’t scheduled.  

  • Sunday: meal plans 
  • Monday : Kitchen Management 
  • Tuesday:  How did she do that? 
  • Wednesday:  Chain store ads 
  • Thursday: Grocery Hauls 
  • Friday: recipe 
  • Saturday:  Let’s Talk ???? Hacks, Ingredients in dep

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Meal Plans for week of 5/ 28/18

Meal Plans are a necessary part of groceries on the cheap.  They don't have to be fancy, but a rough draft of one helps keep us on track and organized.

Spring and summer is here and things are more laid back.   Still, staying organized and batch/ prepping (kitchen management) still helps keep things under control .

Incorporating  what you can find on a good sale helps keep costs down and meals interesting.

Taking an quick look at what may need to be eaten soon helps to keep waste down.   Check pull dates.

  • Hamburgers, ancient grains salad, sliced tomatoes with olive oil and basil. 
  • Pizza
  • Baked Potato Bar 
  • Pork Roast , baked potatoes, glazed carrots 
  • Salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans 
  • BBQ Pork sandwiches, salad 
  • Breakfast for Dinner:   Whole wheat pancakes, eggs, fruit 
  1. Memorial Day.   Hamburgers use the buns we got for .88...   ancient Grains salad is from the DT and it is Betty Crocker.   It has quinoa , and other grains.   Tomatoes can be sliced anddressed witholive oil and fresh basil. 
  2. Pizza :  scratch pizza 🍕 costs less than a dollar for a cheese pizza when ingredients are bought  on sale.   Add toppings that you can pull from ingredients used during the week.  
  3. Baked Potato Bar is a good pull together meal when you know you have a hectic out of the house day. 
  4. Pork Roast does double duty with a “sunday “ type meal and a pick up meal that uses the rest of the hamburger buns.   This roast was purchased for a dollar a pound and we played Butcher. 
  5. Salmon was purchased from GO and is wild caught.  Sweet Potatoes are from Betty Crocker and were purchased for .33.  Green beans were .39. 
  6. Breakfast for Dinner is trying whole wheat pancakes with pillsbury whole wheat flour purchase for  .25 in a 2 lb package. Eggs were 1.15 a dozen.  Cantaloupe is 2.00 at Alberways this week. 

Even if you dont have the buys we do, or live in a different part of the country,  or another country, the basics for the meal plan still work.   This isn’t to tell someone what to eatm but rather how to go about a thought process to reduce costs and make best use of resources.   Other parts of the country have lots cheaper prices than we do in the PNW.   We have the 7th largest COL in this area and it does not include housing.  I am seeing prices from the mid west and south that are half the price we are paying.   Potatoes are the exception .   Our close proximity to Idaho I suspect is a key factor in this.   However, they have had cheaper California grapes.  Go Figure.  

Finding basics for the cheapest price in your area is a basic concept to reducing your food costs.  You can have the same good nutrition and eat well too.  Buying your food and avoiding the “faddish” food helps a great deal.  Its like buying a fad piece of clothing vs buying a classic piece that will last for years.   Better to spend money on a applalnce that will save money for years, than buy a fad ingredient that will give you no more food value, but cost double because its a fad.   the difference between buying a can of beans at 1.58 for two cups of beans (scant) and buying dry beans and cooking for three minutes (hands on time) in an insta pot is 1.50.  It doesn’t take long before an insta pot bought on sale is paid for .  Ditto hands on time for rice inthe insta pot vs redi rice or the instant type that doesn’t have the food value.   The cost of a reasonable food processer is also made up in a small amount of time.   

Hope this has helped someone.   I blog everyday and have been for six years.   Please share so I can help more people.   

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Grocery Outlet Haul

Gorcery Outlet Haul from seattle.

Pickles 1.49
Taco dinner:  .99
Pacific Organic Tomato Soup 1.99
Salmon fillets , 2 lb 8.99

Oscar Mayer Bacon 2.47 a full pound

Hummus -medium olive .97

Muenster slice 1.99

X sharp white cheddar slices 1.99

Total 29.54

Savings 61.96

Trim the Sugar

This is a Taste Of Home Book.....One of this that are soft cover and limited access.   It was a splurge at ten dollars.   We are all trying to limit our sugar and carbs mostly because of health reasons.   We all have to have some, but white refined sugar is not supposed to be good for us.   No, I’m not going to turn this into a health nut blog.  That is not what the theme of this blog is about.   We do need to eat in moderation for our health first, and it doesn’t hurt our pocketbook either.

it starts off with a good breakdown of the kinds of sugars -real and fake and hidden sugar in condiments.  

There are a lot of good recipes in the book.   A lot are far above the budget of four dollars a day, but some are believable for a stretch.

Whole wheat pancakes are the first thing  I’m going to try.  I got wheat bread for a quarter at GO.

Least amount of sugar in condiments is mayo and soy sauce, hot sauce and mustard. .   Minimum is ranch dressing, followed by light ranch dressing ( yes, that isn’t a typo.) followed by tartar sauce a d honey mustard.  Organic bbq sauce is the highest along with ketchup and honey bbq sauce.

That’s  a real eye opener. I did now that a lot of things that say LIGHT are light on fat,not sugar.  
Both are important for a diabetic, I guess for all of us.   That’s why we eat beef once a week and try for a 4 ounce portion.   The rest of the week it is pork loin that I cut the fat cover off before I cut roasts ad cops, and boneless, skinless chicken breast.   We supplement eggs, and beans.

The book also has recipes for low sugar and more healthy options , many of which are still economical.   Some seem less than desirable  to me...but you be the judge.

Peanut butter banana oatmeal


Whole wheat pancakes

Mexican omelet

Rustic vegetable frittatas
Sausage tortilla breakfast bake

Grilled jerk shrimp orzo salad
Tuscan turkey soup
Veggies nicoise  sale
Classic Cobb salad
Orzo salad w tomatoes
Grilled veggie sandwiches with cilantro pesto (might try this with reg pesto)
Feta chicken salad
Pesto corn salad with shrimp
Salmon feta wilted shrimp salad
White bean soup with escarole
Grilled salmon wraps
Mexican cabbage roll soup
Salmon dill soup
Pan roasted chicken and vegetables
Stuffed zucchini
Pork Roast
Grilled PorkTelnderloin
Skillet pork chops with apples and onions
Shrimp and corn stir fry
Skillet chicken with. Olives
Juicy and delicious mixed spice burgers
Italian turkey meatloaf
Zucchini crust meatloaf
Mediterranean pot roast dinner
Lemon garlic pork chops
Parmesean jpotato wedges

Grilled Brussels sprouts
Vegetable and barley pilaf
Garlic ssesame green beans
Apricot ginger acorn squash
Garden cucumber salad
Plum crisp with crunchy oat topping

Ginger plum tart
Flourless dark chocolate cake
Berry white ice pops
Chocolate swirled cheesecake
Vegetable and beef stuffed peppers

Layered hummus dip
Waffle sandich
Beef and blue cheese penne with pesto
Mediterranean ozo chicken salad
Honey orange broccoli slaw

Thats a lot of recipes.   Most can be found if you google them.  I dont have permission to republish.  

Friday, May 25, 2018


It’s Freakin Friday

Last night, the meal plan went out the window.   Some days are like that and this week has been full
 of one of those days.  

Because we got .88 buns and 6/100 corn , we had sloppy joes and corn on the cob last night.  
The inexpensive buns are good because we are all trying to limit carbs and the price is right too.
Being flexible is a good thing.  Total cost was .84 a plate.   Bigger , younger families i realize would eat more.   But, at this rate, more would still be cheap. Two sandwiches each plus a whole corn and another veggie would still be less than five dollars.

Its no secret, mothers have been doing it for years, buying things on sale and incorporating them into your meal plan works to cut your food bill.  And, fresh veggies are at their peak.   The corn was really good.

Anything we didn't eat , we will push ahead to the next week.   I haven’t had to cook a lot all week.  
Adjusting for life’s ups and downs still works if you have a stock of food.   If its a cold rainy day, that picnic food can be substituted for a nice hot pot of soup.  

I can’t say enough about bulk cooking hamburger.   It is more efficient. You are washing one pan.  You are de-fating once. And, cooking a dinner is a snap.  There are numerous recipes tried and true that call for hamburger.   Remember the days when you would take a frozen block of hamburger and fight in the pan to cook from frozen, or try to defrost it in the microwave and have hard spots around the edges.   A few minutes in the microwave defrosts cooked hamburger and you are making:

  • Sloppy joes 
  • Spaghetti sauce 
  • Enchiladas 
  • Stuffed peppers 
  • Tacos 
  • Burritos 
  • Taco soup 
  • Lasagna 
  • What did I forget?   

Simplify,  cut costs, always have food in the house.  
Four plus one is five:  Four people, one meal, five bucks. 
Dinner: better, cheaper, faster.   
You are not doing your family any good if you are feeding the food to the garbage disposal.  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Thursday Notes

Good Morning.  

Keeping track of what you are spending on food is an important step in controlling your food budget.  A spread sheet is a good tool.  


Month              store  store  store  store  store  total average  
week 1
week 2
week 3
week 4
week 5

average is the total spent so far divided by the weeks recorded.   ie:  55+50 is 105/2.0  or 52.50 average.  (/ is the code for divide. ) ( * is the code for times )

or you can do it by hand making columns with a ruler.

We are sitting at .42 a week under budget for the year.   However, we still have a week to go.   I can justify that because I have purchased bulk hamburger, chicken and sausage.   Because we don't have to buy protein except for eggs, our remaining budget for a while should be a lot lower.   When you buy your groceries in bulk to replentish stock.  It all averages out and you will spend less in the long run.  

If you are going to only one store and buying just a weeks worth of groceries, you are not going to save as much as if you buy things at the lowest possible price at a variety of stores.   If you have a good idea of what is on sale that you need and what you need in the dairy and produce department, you can get in and out of two stores as fast as going to one and wandering around isles making decisions.  Decisions on the fly are almost always bad decisions.   Going to the store without a plan almost always results in buying a bunch of junk food.   Junk food is expensive and not the best nutrition usually.

We can get in and out of two stores with travel time in a little over an hour.   We usually hit the Dollar Tree and Grocery Outlet once a month or so.   The DT is a good resource for facial tissue ( 200 ct ) and other incidentals.  With few exceptions, you can find pocket tissues, stick pens, etc cheaper than anywhere else.   There doesn't make much sense to pay big money for something that you throw away.

We all want quality food.   On four dollars a day, we still eat low fat cuts of meat and real food.   Fake is never better.   Avoiding processed foods by efficiently cooking from scratch is a better alternative than fake food.   You control what goes in it.  

Avoid, too much salt, sugar, trans fats, HFCS, GMO, and hydrogenated oil.   Hydrogenated oil , so the experts say, thickens your blood.   That can't be a good thing.  

note: this was written on our big computer.  My tablet has a virus and we are still working on getting it back to normal.  All I can say is to watch carefully where the things on Facebook are coming from. I'm here to tell you this is a pain in the rear when I already have things to cope with.   LOL   I still say that I am going to write a book entitled:  COPE is a four letter word spelled H E L L.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Safeways Haul

We usually group two or more errands together when we go out.  

Safeways Haul

Sweet Baby Rays BBQQ sauce .99
Hamburger buns .79
Cantaloupe 2.00
Corn .34

Total 6.89
Savings 61 percent.  

Chain store ads -WE 5/29/18


4 days -FSSM


Hebrew National BOGO

Draper Valley Boneless chicken breast BOGO

Darigold butter 2/5
Tillamook ice cream 2/6

Strawberries 2/5 -lb

Lean ground beef 5.99lb —-NOT

Cream cheese 1.88


Corn on cob 6/1


Hot Dog or Hamburgr buns .79@@
BBQ sauce.99@@
Johnsonville sausage 2.99@@
Best Foods 2.49@@
Dryers ice cream 1.99@@

80/20 hamburger 2.99

Sugar 1.99@@


B.S. Chicken breast bogo
80/20 hamburger 3.49
Bacon 3.49
Pork shoulder 1.79
Sweet peppers, cucumbers.88
Strawberries 2.49

Fruit Pie 4.00
Cake mix/ jello 1.00

Cottage cheese/ sour cream 4/5

Notes :   Buy price for BS chicken breast is 2.00 tops.   80/20 hamburger I paid 2.44 a lb, but 2.99 doesn’t seem too bad.   Now would be a good time for a bbq sauce, even if there is a limit. .99 is my buyprice.   I have gotitnfor .55 with a coupon  before.   Coupons seem to be few and far between on food items.    Because of flour shortage, I would stock a little for buns if Icould.   They are a pain in the rear to make.    BBQ season is a good time to stock picnic supplies.   Usually better prices at the time of the fourth.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tuesday Notes : motivation

We all get them:   Creative slumps.....writers block....robots heads...whatever you call it , its normal.

Sometimes, just putting on upbeat music and an apron helps.   Sometimes not....

I always get more done if I have a list.   It motivates me to see how many things I can check off the list.   Its a tool to keep yourself on track and doing things in a logical sequence.

I purchased a couple of books at the DT.   One on burgers, and one on chicken.   Both have spice blends and sauce recipes that are not our usual fare and will spice up our meals.   Sometimes it s just fun to try something different .

I remember the first time I has tacos, it was at a friends birthday party.  I was maybe 13.   My mother never did cook tacos.   I made them again when I got married.    My mother cooked pizza in the 50’s, but that was about it for any foods other than the basics. How times change.

Spring is here and summer is not far behind.   One of my tracks for summer is to make a bunch of salads on the weekend or on Kitchen Management day.   Then dinner can be hot dogs ,hamburgers, grilled chicken etc that can be cooked on the grill if it is hot in the kitchen.   Tacos are another meal that you can do in a short amount of time to get out of the hot kitchen.  Precooked ground meat that is in portion controlled bags is a real time and money saver.

Time to get the deck cleaned from the winter and set up to be able to eat outside.


Black and Blue:  blue cheese, salt and pepper
Indian Turkey
Black bean burger
Buffalo chicken burger
Portobello Burger

Curried chicken
Sticky Soy Orange chicken
Chicken with lemon and ginger
Chicken Fajitas
Hosin Chicken with mustard and brown sugar.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Asian Chicken
Chili fried chicken

Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday Kitchen Management

Kitchen management is a tool that makes your kitchen more efficient and saves time and money.  It is easier and takes less time to prep ingredients for a weeks worth than doing it one day at a time.   The last thing I want to do at six o’clock at night is to set in to scrub veggies and wash the kitchen. Floor.  

I picked up two small books at the dollar tree.  Chicken and Burgers.   They have all kinds of recipes for new to me flavors .   Even if you aren't going to make the chicken or ground meat, the sauces are worth the buck.   Liquid and dry measurement equivalents on the back page.  

Reminder of meals

Tacos , refried beans
Chicken pot pie
Hot dogs , salad, veggie sticks
Salmon, rice,
Pork stew, bread
Breakfast for dinner.

  1. Beans can’t  be cooked too far ahead.   Best done the day of eating.  Fortunately, in the insta pot, all you have to do is dump and push buttons.  
  2. Tacos are made from cooked hamburger, so they are a snap. 
  3. Pizza crust is made the day of and takes a few minutes.I have a recipe that is dome in the mixer and you can freeze it. 
  4. Wash carrots and potatoes, celery, peppers 
  5. Check the stock of your rice mix. 
  6. Start refrigerator bread 
  7. Wash kitchen floor 
  8. Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead.  
  9. Clean pantry and take inventory . My meal plan page has a list of perishables so you can check off what you have and list what you need.   
  10. Wash top of stove and drip pans. 

Groceries on the cheap is a different way of buying and cooking food.   Instead of going to the store and buying just what you need for a week or a day, you have a master list and you buy what you need to replace to replenish stock.   You always have an emergency stock of food and by shopping wisely, you actually spend a lot less than others.   We spend four dollars a day per person (SNAP guidelines I hear ) and supplement a grandchild and have built stock.  You can eat well on four dollars a day.  IT takes buying food at RBP and efficiently scratch cooking.  You don't spend any more time, but you have a whole lot of more food for less money.  Simplify, lower your costs, always have food.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Grocery Haul

We had to go to meet a lady to share some egg cartons, so we stopped at dollar tree and grocery outlet.   Spoiler:   Wheat flour is a quarter. -pillsbury.

Pizza sauce -DT
Sun dried tomatoes - DT
Whole wheat flour .25
Planters nut  medley 1.99
Nature valley granola cups with almond butter .99
Taco kit .99
Fake n bake cookies .49
Total 7.75

We are under budget including bulk meat purchases.   

Meal plans

Meal Plans are necessary to be organized and save time and money.

  • Out -mom has a dinner meeting -chicken pot pie 
  • Pizza
  • Tacos, refried beans 
  • Hot dogs, potato salad, vegetable platter 
  • Pork stew , Bread 
  • Salmon, rice, green beans 
  • Breakfast for Dinner. 

  1. Chicken Pot Pie is an impossible pie.   Its easy and less caloric.   (Carbs) 
  2. Pizza is a dollar family favorite.  Add your favorite toppings.   It really helps if you pull a little bit of something you are chopping for another meal and save it for pizza night.  It saves time and money.    We use the tops of the sweet peppers when slicing them for stir fry or peppers and sausage.   Saving a little cook sausage helps too.   Pepperoni is a dollar for oberto  at the DT.  Pizza sauce is a name brand and cheaper than anywhere else, even scratch at the DT.   We put the jar of pizza sauce in an ice cube tray and freeze it.   Dump the cubes into a zip lock and put it in the freezer door.    2 cubes work for a pizza at a cost of .20/   
  3. Taco kits are a dollar at the Grocery Outlet.   When  we can find them for that , I get them because that is the buy price for taco shells.   We have got them for .48 , but that is an aboration .   Refried beans are scratch in the insta pot.   This way they have NO fat.  They do have tomatoes and chillies and scratch beans.   - less salt.   
  4. We cook rice in the insta watched pot and perfect rice every time.   I add chicken stock and some herbs.   
  5. Salmon is cheapest at Winco in a bag of individual portions.   It makes for a quick and easy dinner.   Green beans were .39 a can in a case lot with a basket coupon.    It’s one of those times when you have to strike while the deal is there, but it is worth the savings.   Canned veggies are .50 at winco again.   
  6. Pork stew cooks in the insta pot and is from pork cut from the pork loin.   A case of when life gives you lemons, make lemonade or roll with the punches.   I got a pork loin for 1.29 a pound at Fred Meyers.   It had fat all through the center part of the loin.   I got beautiful chops cut, but ran into fat in a cross section.   I made cubes out of it.   I have had better luck at Costco Business for pork loins.   Whole carrots are much cheaper than the baby ones.   The best price i have found on baby carrots is a dollar a pound.   Whole carrots at winco are 5 pounds for 2.28. Or .46 a pound—less than 1/2 price.   We wash them in vinegar water and cut them for vegetable trays. 
  7. Breakfast for Dinner is a mainstay here.   It can please everyone and everyone cooks.  Its a family affair.   Eggs at winco this week were 1.15.  Buttermilk pancakes are really good.  Buying dried buttermilk is not cheap, but there is no waste and it lasts forever.   


Saturday, May 19, 2018

QFC Haul

5 Barrilla pasta 2.00/1.00

Betty Crocker cake mix free/1.99

1 sausage roll. 6.49/free

Retail 18.49.  Spent 5.00

73 percent savings.

6 meals under 5.00 -GOC prices -22.01.

The key here is working on a RBP budget.   Ingredients are basic ingredients and no specialty items.
This is 5.00 dinners for the proverbial 4 person family—two adults and two school aged children.
If you spend 1.25 on dinner, and have a bowl of oatmeal and a small addition of fruit ( 35) you have 2.40 left for lunch and staples/ stock.

Pork Stew and Bread 
Carrots, Potatoes, gravy, 1 lb pork cubes. Peasant Bread
Vegetarian Spaghetti 
Noodles, sauce, diced tomatoes, parm cheese 2.53 add a salad, 1.22.   Totals 3.75
Bread .25,   Salad 1.00 is 5.00

Tacos, refried Beans 

Taco kit, 1/2 lb meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese, refried beans 4.41

Chicken Pot Pie
Peas, carrots chicken, gravy biscuit top. Salad 3.70


Sausage,  3/4 pound, mushrooms, celery, bisquick crust, salad. 4.73 


Pizza crust .19, cheese .50, pizza sauce .20. Total .89
Add toppings:   1/4 lb sausage (see quiche). .61 , 1/2 sweet pepper .50, 1/2 pkg pepperoni .50, parsley , cubed ham (1/4 pkg. ) .50.  Pick 2 .   For a 2.00 pizza.   You can make 2 and still have a simple salad.   Total for a cheese pizza and salad 1.89

Winco Haul.

Note:   Apparently there is a flour shortage.  I kinda alluded to that when the price of some bread products went up and flour at Costco.   For a while , the DT has no orowheat bread.


Potatoes 10 bs 1.98
Potato salad 3.98
Eggs 1.15
Hot dog buns .88
Nathans 2.78
Hummus 1.98
Strawberries 1.78
Lettuce .98

Total 16.60

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday Recipe

Chicken and Pasta -serves 2

1 large chicken breast (8 ounces)
1/4 of a box of penne pasta ( or pasta of choice)
2 T butter
2T flour
1-1/4 cups milk
Garlic pepper to taste
1cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line sheet pan with Parchment.   Spray with cooking spray.
Pat chicken dry with a paper towel.  Rub with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a spice mixture.
Brown chicken on both sides in a skillet on the stove for one minute each.
Transfer chicken to baking sheet and cook until done.  Time will depend on its thickness.  5-15 minutes or until juices run clear and it tests done with your meat thermometer.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta and drain.   Pasta cooks in 2 minutes in the insta pot.  1 package needs a quart of water.   Or, boil it on the stove.

In separate pan, heat butter in the pan and whisk in the flour . Cook a minute.   Add milk a little at a time until you have a thickened sauce.   Add cheese.   Stir until melted.  Stir sauce into the noodles.   Garnish with dried parsley.   Add garlic pepper if desired.

Spice mixture:

Equal parts
Garlic pepper
Onion powder

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Grocery Hauls


Oatmeal 8.39
Bananas 1.39

I didnt go last week because I knew this week would be the same ad.

Barilla pasta 1.00
Stoffers Meals ( calculated lunches ) 1.88
Goldfish .99
Jimmy Dean Sausage


Watching my carb level closely.  Some of the frozen entrees are as low as 17.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Book Review : Good and Cheap: eat well on 4.00 a day

I bought “Good and Cheap: eat well on 4.00 a day”. It was 10.00 and I can appreciate the fact that they proceeds went to feed the hungry.   I, however, don’t think that the. Examples of food are too practical.   No food is going to do your family any good if you are feeding it to the garbage disposal.

This woman wrote the book for a graduation project from college for her masters.   I don't think she was too down to earth.   Most people I know would not eat the food she was suggesting and the money just doesn’t add up: it doesn’t sound like she has walked the walk.

Pineapple, fresh pineapple salad
Tomato scrambled eggs 1.80 a serving (half your budget)
Egg sandwiches with mushroom hash.  1.80 a serving
Quinoa....1.25 a serving -have you priced a bag of quinoa.
Broiled grapefruit 1.00
Dal.????? .60

Corn soup....just corn soup...1.25
Squash soup.....1.50
Tomato soup and toasted chees 2.40–more than half your budget
Kale salad 2.25 -the total protein is an egg yolk for a family batch

Broiled eggplant 2.25

None of this has any meat.

Quinoa 1.25
Tomato soup and toasted cheese 2.40
Kale salad -no protein 2.25
Totals is 5.90.  And hardly what would be RDA for a family.   I do know I wouldnt get my husband to eat quinoa or kale salad.   And probably not my granddaughter.

Sounds good, but doesn’t meet the reality check.

The key to four dollars a day is to buy your food at the lowest possible price.  Buy food that is nutritious and versatile.   Buy food at RBP in bulk when it makes sense.   Buy meats that are low fat.  Eating beef once a week gives you variety and the nutrition that you cant get from any other source that is practical.   10 percent fat hamburger is 2.77 this week at Alberways .   If you fry it and de-fat it the fat left will be minimal.   A 4 ounce portion is plenty .

Efficient scratch cooking, buying in bulk and things that are on sale helps.   Stock at low prices and eat when the prices are high.  Not a strange concept. Stockbrokers have used that concept for years.   Our great grandmother on the farms, put up food for the winter.

You can feed your family on four dollars a day, keep a 4-6 week supply of food and cook food that your family will eat.  I don't know many men or children that are adventurous enough to go without meat and be satisfied with a piece of grilled eggplant or a grilled 1/2 grapefruit for a meal.

And....1/2 a raw egg in anything that isn’t going to be cooked is wrong.    You are playing with fire.
The object is to feed your family, not kill it.  LOL.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Alberways ad

QFC was a two week ad.   Fred Meyers doesn’t mail their ads, so we have to get them on line.


Lean ground beef 2.77
Petite Sirloin steaks 2.77

Avacados , tomatoes .88

Bread .99@@
Tuna .59@@
Strawberries 2/5

About it.

Fred Meyers

Avacados .77
Apples .99
Pears .99
Petite Sirloin. 2.68
Ground Beef 3.77 - 10 percent
Tillamook cheese 2# 4.99
FF split chicken breast BOGO- note not sure if thats a bargain. Or not

Milk ;99
Cream cheese 3/5

Barilla Pasta 1.00

FF chicken tenders frozen 4.99
Kraft mayo 1.99

Note all the BOGO are not advertised, there are more tags in the store.

My vote for the rotation protein would be either the 10 percent hamburger at Alberways for 2.77 or
The split chicken breast at Fred Meyers if the price nets 1.50 or less.

Split chicken breast can be advanatageous if you cut the rib portion off, save in a bag. Bag the chicken breast in dollar store quart bags and the quart bags in a zip lock that you mark with the chicken and date.   Before you go to bed, put all the ribs in a slow cooker, fill to within an inch of the top , add vegetable scraps and italian seasoning.  Let cook on low all night.   In the morning, strain the broth into a pan and pick the bones for meat.   Cool the chicken stock in deli cups and when chilled, remove the fat that collects to the top freeze with some headroom.

I have lots of BLANK, what do I do?

Age old question :  I have an abundance of .....what can I do....

  • Zucchini in this part of the country grows like wild .  There is always an abundance.   Its s good vegetable that is full of nutrients, but how much can you use.  The obvious answer is to grate and freeze it for chocolate zucchini muffins or cake.  It gets veggies into children by magic.  You can also dehydrate grated zucchini. Or dehydrate and grind it into a powder to add to soups.   Another way to hide it.   My mother’s friend used to cook it with tomatoes an d italian seasoning.   We have cut bigger ones, took the seeds out and filled it with a mixture of sausage and tomatoes and cheese.   
  • Tomatoes:  obvious one is pasta sauce, tomato soup, and stuffed tomatoes.   I recently foun d a recipe for roasted tomato, pepper and carrot soup.   You can stuff a tomato with the pulp, breadcrumbs, and some parm.  Top with parm and broil.   We slice tomatoes and cucumbers and use it as a salad. 
  • Eggs:  you can dehydrate eggs.  Its messy and takes f o r e v e r , but it does preserve them.  I did it when they were .78 a dozen.  It is a good thing for emergencies.  You reconstitute them and can make scrambled eggs or use them in baking.  My best trick is to make deviled eggs or just make hard cooked eggs.  The easiest way to make hard cooked eggs is to put one in each section of a muffin pan.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and bake the eggs for 30 minutes.   Have an ice bath ready and immediately dump the eggs into the water.  I use tongs or a large spoon.   They peel really easy and there is no watched pot. 
  • Carrots:  carrot cake or muffins 
  • Milk:  pudding, bread pudding . Clam chowder or potato soup. 
  •  Potatoes:  french fries, baked potato bar.  Loaded baked potato soup. Chilli fries...I made fries last night.   I cut the potato after it was washed in vinegar water, and soaked it in more vinegar water for 30 minutes to get the starch out.   I dried them with a paper towel and put them in a green container with paper towels between two layers.   They were in the refrigerator until we were ready for dinner.   Put the potatoes in a bowl and dry them off with a paper towel.  Drizzle some olive oil on them and sprinkle with your favorite seasoning.  We use garlic pepper.   We cooked them in the hot fryer for 20 minutes.   Start at 15 and add if needed.  Shake half way through.  We set it at 400 degrees:   You could also bake in a 400 degree oven and turn over half way through.   Air baked, or oven baked fries with little good oil and no salt is a good way to eat french fries.   In moderation !!!
  • Bread.  Bread pudding, toasted cheese sandwiches, french toast, stuffing for pork chops.   Make stuffing, add chicken stock, veggies, dried or chopped fine and apple and craisens.  Brown pork chops on both sides and place on stuffing and bake off covered until chops are done.   
Keeping ‘zones” in the refrigerator is a good way to avoid missing something in a ‘black hole” 
  • Condiments, large bottles 
  • Dairy , a plastic basket groups yogurt. 
  • Leftovers 
  • We keep cheese: mozzarella  and Mexican blend, a celery box, and miscellaneous items on one shelf. 
  • The door is set up to take salad dressings, condiments like mustard, and a butter space.  
  • There is a drawer for meat and sliced cheese.
  • A drawer for veggies 
  • And a drawer for back up cheese.   

Terrific Tuesday -what next?

Working on a schedule for the blog.

Sunday:  meal plans
Monday:   Kitchen management
Wednesday:  the best of the chain store ads
Thursday:  Grocery Hauls
Friday:  recipe

Tuesday and Saturday are blank.   With Fred Meyers going to a Wednesday ad, Saturday is changed.  
So, please comment what you want to see.   Hacks?  Dinner Diaries?   Any ideas.  

Monday, May 14, 2018

Kitchen Management Monday

Kitchen Management is a tool that preps food for the week in conjunction with your meal plan.  It saves time and hastle when you reach the hectic dinner hour. 

Reminder of meal plan for the week. 

  1. Quiche , fruit
  2. Pizza
  3. Salmon, seasoned rice, honey gingered carrots 
  4. Tacos, refried beans (scratch) 
  5. Stuffed chicken breast , baked potato, veggies. 
  6. Chicken tenders, oven fries, veggie tray 
  7. Breakfast for Dinner

  1. Wash and wax kitchen floor 
  2. Clean refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀 
  3. Clean and disinfect countertops and sinks.
  4. Straighten pantry 
  5. Make bacon for chicken, ham and bacon quiche. 
  6. Cook a chicken breast in the insta pot.  (Or poach in the microwave. ) 
  7. Wash fruit, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes 
  8. Check the rice mix and make some if needed 
  9. Mark meal plan if something needs to be defrosted.   (Chicken) it takes 2 days.  

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Winco haul

Winco haul for vegetables and fruit

Celery .88
Granny Smith apples .98
Jonigold apples .98
Strawberries 1.98
Lettauce .98
Bar S bacon 2.48
French bread .95

Total 17.43

Real Meal Plans

Meal Plans are a necessary part of groceries on the cheap.  They keep you organized.   We use a protein based matrix.   It just makes for a varied selection of meals and makes meal plans efficiently in a matter of minutes.

  • Quiche, field green salad 
  • Pizza 
  • Salmon, rice, glazed carrots 
  • Tacos, refried beans 
  • Stuffed chicken, baked potatoes ,peas 
  • Chicken tenders, oven fries, vegetable platter 
  • Breakfast for dinner.  
  1. Quiche is a favorite and we need to use up eggs.   
  2. Pizza , another favorite can use up leftovers and costs a dollar a cheese pizza when make from scratch.  Scratch pizza crust takes less than five minutes and cost .19. The cost at safeways and central market was priced at 1.50 and 2.00.
  3. Salmon is frozen.   Note that all salmon we get is frozen. They freeze it on the boat to keep it fresh.   What you buy in the store has been previously frozen.   Rice is a mix made from scratch with chicken stock and herbs.  Carrots glazed with butter, honey, and ginger.  
  4. Tacos are with a kit we got for a dollar. Homemade Insta pot refried beans. These refried beans have no fat.   
  5. Chicken was purchased for a dollar a pound.  Oven fries are made in convection oven and have a spray of oil on them or are tossed with olive oil.   
  6. Chicken tenders are made with a coating of breadcrumbs, nuts, and parm cheese.  
  7. Breakfast for dinner is a family affair.   Everyone contributes.   A healthy family time.   

Meal Plans

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers .  
Yesterday, we went to the GO .  ( a discount grocery store.). I found stewed tomatoes, organic, hunts for 3/1.00.  The pull date was March on some and June on others.   I bought six that had June pull dates.   I researched the cost of them.   Target has them for 1.38 which was cheaper than Wallmart.  
I have been told that you cant eat on four dollars a day.   I have also had people tell me that all they could eat was potato chips and ramen noodles.  You can eat well on four dollars a day.  We eat on less than four dollars a day and we supplement a grandchild and have grown a stock.   We eat well.   Salmon, Pork Loin, Boneless, skinless chicken breast, and supplement eggs, cheese, and beans.  
It can be done and it can take no more time than you are spending now.   It does take a little effort.  

I didn't start out to feed us on four dollars a day.   I just wanted to cut our food costs.  We live in the 7th highest COL place in the US, so I read.   Judging from the food haul I watch on a daily basis, it seems right.   Because I write this blog, I set out to try every cost cutting food hack I could logically do.  Some are not going to be tried here.   Like making stock from already eaten chicken parts.   YUK!  But if it was reasonable, we tried it.   The last ting that I tackled was making bread.   I did find bread recipes that were almost free and easy.....almost no money and almost no time is a good thing.

When you are on a fixed income and social security give us a 132.00 a YEAR raise and. Your taxes and insurances go up 2000., its a good thing that we can eat well on a shoestring.   Buy shopping wisely, we can still have a few luxuries .

By attacking the large food bill on many angles you can collectively lower your food bill dramatically.

  • Shop wisely.   Set rock bottom prices on the things you use on a regular basis.   Don't buy those things until they are at or below the RBP.   When you do, buy in bulk within reason.   I would start at a 4-6 week supply of that particular food.   If you use 2 cans of tomatoes a week, that means you would keep 8-12 cans.   Most cupboards can take that .   The average family has a list of 10-15 items they use on a regular basis.  
  • Buy meat and some staples in bulk.   Rotate meat and buy one thing a week , enough to supply your family for 4-6 weeks.   PorkLoin, chicken breast, and hamburger are good choices.  They are easily purchased at a two dollar a pound average and are versatile to avoid monotonous dinners.  Flour, rice, and oatmeal are items we buy at costco in bulk because they save a lot of money.  Cheese at the business costco is cheapest.   There are sales lately at the chain stores, sometimes with digital coupons and limited times.   I want two dollars a pound.  
  • Meal plan.   Just Meal Plan. 
  • Efficient scratch cook.  Pinterest and the internet are full of recipes.  An insta pot is worth far more than it cost.  Just making beans and rice instead of buying canned or redi rice. Or instant rice will pay for itself in less than a year for the average family.  
  • Make bread and muffins and pancakes from scratch.   A batch of pancakes are less than 30 cents.  They cost five dollars.   A artisan loaf of bread is upwards of three dollars.  It cost a quarter.   Not a quarter of the price—-twenty five cents.   And it takes 10 minutes spread between two days.   
  • Portion control.  No one needs to eat a two pound roast at one sitting.  Nutritionists will tell you that three squares a day is better than waiting until dinner and gorging yourself.   Portion control is good for your waistline and good for your budget.  
Easy,   Nothing is rocket science.   But the savings are remarkable.  Start with one concept.  When that is comfortable, add another.    Hope this helps.   Four dollars a day is attainable.   

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Grocery outlet and DT haul

We went to amtown a few towns away.  I thought I could get a few more diced chillis and holiday nuts.   There were no more of those items.    I did find taco kits for a dollar.   I have purchased them from grocery outlet before.   These were a different brand.  But getting the taco sauce and seasoning  along with the shells for the same price as the shells is good.

Stewed tomatoes, hunts were 3/1.  Some were dated March, other’s June.  I bought 6.  I know I can use six before June date.

You can score good if you are not season sensitive.   Pumpkin Oreo type cookies are a dollar.   They are not stale dated, just seasonal.  

Dollar tree netted ancient grains suddenly salad , and tortilla chips for taco soup.  

Mexican Chicken casserole......

Gather ingredients,   Diced mild green chillies , diced tomatoes, drained. Pasts and cheese,   
Cook pasta. I used the insta pot with a pound of pasta and a quart plus of water,   
Didn’t wind up adding the pasta because it was good without and I’m trying to avoid some carbs, ,   

Shredded chicken .  I cooked a chicken breast in the instant pot from frozen for 15 minutes. Place on rack and add two cups of water . Sometimes,  I add chicken stock instead of water,   

Layer the chicken, chillies, diced tomatoes, and cheese.  I used a blend of any these I had in the cheese drawer,   Sharp cheddar, white cheddar, and some parm.   

Normally, I would add cooked pasta and top with some reserved cheese,   This would taste good In a quesadilla.  

Friday, May 11, 2018

Cheeseburger macaroni..then and now

I dig out the recipe for cheeseburger macaroni that I priced for channel 5 news , probavly at least six  years ago.  Costs have risen 45 percent. If you add organic upcharges you are adding some 80 percent.  

Prices  are then/ now

1 lb hamburger. 1.66/ 2.44
3 ounces celery .06/.10
1 slice red pepper .10/.08
Garlic, onion
1can diced tomatoes .59/.39
1 8 Oz tomato sauce .33/.33
1 cup grated cheese .38/.50
1/2 lb macaroni .35/.50
Total  3.47/4.34

Serves 6. prorate  4


Still a 5.00 dinner

Add homemade bread and a salad or vegetable

Sauté veggies on a small amount of olive oil.  Add gRkic powder and onion powder to taste. Add cooked hamburger or cook hamburger until no longer pink.  
Add 🍅  products.
Simmer  15 minutes for flavors to blend.
Top with cheese and put a lid on it.  Turn off heat.

Pantry /freezer dinners

we have all had those days.    Those beautiful days when the meal plan has gone out the window.   Thief days when no sick in the bin will satisfy the child, it’s gym day and those aren’t gym socks. Those are valentine socks, see... the have hearts! Those days when a project takes longer than expected, or the meat didn’t thaw.....those days....

Having pantry or freezer meals are a rescue,

  • The obvious one is frozen pizza.   It can be cheap and it is a no brainier,   
  • Frozen salmon comes in shrink wrap individual packages and is also a pull and cook.   Add rice, instant mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes and a frozen veggie or sliced  cucumbers and tomatoes and you have a dinner, 
  • Chicken parm can be made from chicken patties from Foster Farms, tomato sauce and a half package of spaghetti.  Spaghetti can be cooked in TWO minutes in the insta watching the pot.   
  • Tuna cassarole is a pantry item that is a good mainstay if you can’t get out if the house for some reason,   We add frozen peas, 
  • Mac and cheese is a favorite,   White sauce, cheese , and again, elbows in the insta pot.   Don’t buy that Mac and cheese in a box,  most of it has SOAP in it,   TSP or its derivative is the soap or detergent that we sold at the paint store to clean the grease etc off the walls to ready it for paint,  you need to use rubber gloves with it because it eats your hands,   And,,,,you are feeding it to ....
  •  Breakfast for dinner is a good alternative,  pancakes or waffles are made from shelf staples, eggs are a basic , and cheese adds protein.    
  • Tacos are a go to here.   I always keep taco shells when o get them for anywhere between .50 and a dollar.    Taco meat is always in the freezer because we cook hamburger, de fat it, and freeze it in meal sized portions,   You don’t need a lot of hamburger for tacos, because you are adding cheese too to supplement,   You can also add beans to the meat to s t r e t c h it if you need to,   
  • Cheeseburger macaroni is a long favorite,   NOT out of a box,   It’s actualky cheaper than the box and the ingredients are REAL.   When my daughter and I dissected a big mix to prove a point,   It had 1,57 ounces of a cheese sauce mix that had no cheese 🧀 in cholesterol is a clue here, and 4.2 ounces of elbows,   And, ingredients you can’t pronounce. ( the recipe is on the blog, use he search key) if you are interested.   
We are waiting fir the tech guy to install the printer,   I finally got the computer up and running,and data changed over ....three days..long story...our error,   But the WiFi keyboard, mouse and printer are another story,   LOL.  

I am sure there are more pantry ideas, but this is a good start.    

.....tomato soup and toasted cheese or quesadillas.   We also always have tortillas in the fridge,    
Having basics in the house makes it so that you always have food,   And, she; purchased right, you can do it on four dollars a day ,

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Thursday Notes

 Disclaimer: my keyboard has lost its fuzzy logic.   I am  back to using the keyboard with two fingers, 
My recommendation is to never buy a keyboard from amazon.   This is the second one, they replaced it once before,   Ugh.   

Last night the chicken I had planned to cook hadn’t thawed,   So, I improvised,   It’s always good to have a few easy entrees in your back up plan, 

We had salmon cakes, a few french fries to use bits up, green beans with red peppers, tomato and cucumber salad, and some strawberries.   

Previously, we were dealing with a freezer meltdown, so I cooked several pounds of hamburger,   The menu plan went out the window,    

We had: 
Taco salad
Shrimp and salad, 

I think tonight we can go back to normal.   Just an example of sometimes you have to punt, and having food in the house makes it easy,  

We went to grocery outlet this week because we needed coffee and we were already almost there so we could make best use of our trip.    We get e mails telling us what is on sale.   This time they had chocolate yoplait yum....a good way to have a little desert, including protein and low carbs.   

QFC has a special where if you sign up for their e mail, they will give you a basket coupon for five dollars off of twenty five,   I’ll use it next week, they have a two week ad this week,    Barilla pasta is a dollar,  it is also right now at dollar tree,  including spaghetti and elbows,   

Basket coupons work well if you stick to the amount on the coupon ( in this case 25 dollars) and only buy things that are at RBP.   It’s getting the most bang for your buck,    Twenty percent off your food bill is a good thing, but every item you purchase over the dollar amount of the coupon is a loss in percentage.  If I were to buy a box of pasta for a dollar and stay at 25.00 worth of food, I am actually paying .80 for the pasta.   At the prices here, that’s a good deal,  Barilla is up to 2.00 some places. 

It isn’t one thing that makes you be able to eat on four dollars a day, it’s a lot of little things that all add up.  

  • Make good use of any coupons that come your way. 
  • Efficiently scratch  cook whenever possible .  Convenience foods start with $$$
  • Buy in bulk when the price is lowest for any foods that you will use a lot of.   Its a lesson in evaluating how much of a particular product you will use before it can go bad, 
  • Buy basic sources of protein in bulk at the RBP and buy enough to carry you with that meal for four to six weeks,   In other words,  if you eat pork once a week, you will need enough for 4-6 meals. Buy things hat average two dollars a pound,   Here that would be hamburger, pork loin, chicken breast, eggs, cheese, and beans.   These are all versatile enough that you will not get bored with meals.  Buying the meat when it’s on sale and buying one thing a week and portion controlling enough for a meal avoids waste. 
  • Planning meals saves time and money.   It doesn’t have to be fancy or time consuming,   
  • Basically, you are going to the store to replentish your stock and buying a rotation meat and your perishables. By keeping a 4 to 6 week stock of the things you use on  a regular basis that are shelf stable or freezer ready means you never have to pay that nasty f word...full price . You actually spend less and always have food in the house,   
  • We spend less than 4.00per person a day considering that we supplement our granddaughter and add to a stock.   We eat well balanced and don’t eat rice and beans as a steady diet,  we have pork roast, pork chops, pork stew, hamburger meals, boneless , skinless chicken breast locally grown, salmon and supplement cheese, eggs, and beans,   
  • Portion control is good for your budget and your health . Your doctor will tell you that three squares of portion controlled balanced food is better for you than binge eating. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Fred Meyer and DT haul

It’s not what you buy as much as when and where you buy it 

Bread, orowheat, 
BC suddenly salad, ancient grains 
Spaghetti, Bareila x2 
Egg noodles 

Lean cuisine meals 2.00
Baguette 1.00
Foster Farms chicken breast, frozen 4.99
FF Chicken wings 4.99
Strawberries 2.77


Pork loin was .99 a lb. it did not look good.   Full of fat.   
In addition , there was chicken parts for .99 a pound,  

I am 28.75 over so far, but that includes a bulk hamburger buy,   This only means I have to shirt each week for the next three weeks 10.00.   

Chain Store ads



Cheese 2 # 4.99
Tilamook ice cream 2/6
Artichokes .99
Butter 1.99 limit 2
Safeways brand pasta .79
Nathan’s 3.99

QFC - THIS IS A TWO WEEK AD -sign up for e mails and get 5.00 off of 25.00

RIBS 1.77

Milk .99
Barilla pasta 1.00

BUY 4, save 4

Pie 4.00
Baguette 1.
Barilla pasta 1.
Chicken thighs . And legs.  99
80/20 beef 2.99

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Grocery Outlet Haul

Grocery Outlet Haul
Note:  they have a cereal sale on.  We dont buy cold cereal, so I didnt pay much attention.

Hills Bros Coffee 6.99
Holiday Nuts. 2.99
Pumpkin Bread .50

Chili’s- Old Ole Paso .50 ( 1.28 at winco and winco brand is .66.

Bacon 198 lb
Cheese, Holland.  2.00

Sliced cheeses 1.99

Chocolate whips - yoplait.  .33

Total for food 24.43 including. Coffee.  

Cost of Meals

It is not what you buy perhaps, but when and where you buy it.   Finding a RBP and buying at that RBP is necessary to keep your costs at a minimum.   If you face the challenge of feeding your family on four dollars a day and you want to feed them good, nutritious food, it is a necessary thing.

Last night we had taco salad.  It was a nice spring day and I had cooked and de fatted four pounds of hamburger.  It was just a natural choice since we bought a bunch of Mexican food on sale for Cinco de Mayo.  

1/2 Pound of hamburger , cooked with taco seasoning,
1/2 bag lettuce
1cup shredded cheese
Sour cream, salsa, chips
Cost two dollars and fifty cents for 2.  

Hamburger at two forty four a pound
Lettuce was a dollar a bag
Cheese at two dollars a pound
Tomato at a dollar a pound
Sour cream was seventy nine cents
Chips were a dollar a bag
Salsa was a dollar a twenty four ounce jar.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Costco Haul

Costco Haul—just then food stuff 

3 REAL whip cream 8.69
Romas   3.49
Kirkland Nut Bars 16.99 minus 3.50....good and only 7 net carbs.   
Chocolate and nuts and only 7 carbs......yeah!

Bananas 1.39

Thats it....

The Plan .....

Groceries on the Cheap is a different way to buy groceries and meal plan.   We all know that someone gets to buy food and get meals on the table.  Fact of life.  How you go about it can save a ton of money and a lot of time.

Normally, we learned in Home Ec to make a meal plan, make a grocery list, check the ads and buy groceries.   All this takes a fair amount of time.    I am not going to pretend that the new way is not going to take any time.   I am going to say that it is more simplified in that you are taking less steps and dealing with less food choices.

  • This is done once.....Identify the sources of protein your family eats. 
  • Identify the entrees that your family likes and you make on a regular basis. 
  • List the shelf stable and freezer foods that you use to make those meals. 
  • Now, find the lowest prices on those foods.  Simplify:   We buy diced tomatoes because they can be used for many things and adapted using a blender or food processor.   
  • Some people have used a price book to facilitate finding lowest prices.   
  • Buy low, eat high.   Just like a stockbroker, you want to buy in bulk when these items are low prices and eat when they are high prices.   Finding the lowest price and buying in bulk saves a ton of money.
  • Rotate your meat.  Buy one meat in bulk at its lowest price a week.   Buy four to six weeks of that ‘protein” .   It is the best way to get your protein at the lowest possible price.   Simplify.  Buy cuts that are versatile and easy to prepare.   Examples would be boneless, skinless, chicken breast, pork loin, and low fat hamburger.  Add eggs, cheese, and beans. 
  • We eat on four dollars a day per person and supplement granddaughter and grow a stock.   
  • It is possible, it just takes some time to get up and running, meanwhile , you are saving money bit by bit. 
  • Efficient scratch cooking is part of the package. 
  • This means you always have food in the house.   Statistics show that when people have to wonder where the next meal is coming from, they reduce their life expectancy.   

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Meal plans

ok, this is going to be short and sweet.  My keyboard isn’t working and I have to type with two fingers,    Just another agrevation in a long l o n g. Day.   Mother told me there would be days like this,,,,  

Menus save time and money.

  • Chicken breast, rice, veggies 
  • Pizza
  • Chicken enchaladas 
  • Salmon cakes, veggies, corn 
  • Tacos, refried beans 
  • Pork stew
  • Breakfast for dinner 

We are cooking a load of chicken and hamburger because the freezer decided to hiccup last night and thaw the ice cream.   It magically  decided to run again,   I thawed as much as I could on the refrigerator to cook and save some.   Now I guess I’m going to cook a lot.    Its still a mystery how the freezer just decided to thaw and the fan didn’t work.    

Chicken and rice is easy and will use up some of the chicken I cook,   

Pizza is a good basic.  Everyone likes it and it’s cheap.   A cheese pizza is about a buck when you buy your ingredients on the cheap.   

Chicken enchiladas take a sauce that is homemade.   Enchiladas sauce can be pricey , 

Salmon cakes are good and stretch salmon,    

Tacos are good and the meat is being cooked in batches.   We have plenty of taco shells because if the sales  this week, 

Pork stew is from the pork loin we got last week.  

Breakfast 4 dinner,   Another meal winner. The whole family cooks.   

This example is to show the mindset of how we go about meal planning.   

Next, why.  .....

Saturday, May 5, 2018


1 large or two small chicken breasts.  , cooked

1 cup ( 4 ounces ) grated cheese

1 can green diced mild chili's, drained.

3 cups white sauce made with chicken stock instead of milk.

1/2 cup sour cream

 6  inch flour tortillas

  • In small bowl, combine shredded chicken, 1/2 the cheese, and just enough sauce to combine.  
  • Spread 2-3 Tbls chicken mixture onto lower third of the tortilla.  Roll up.   
  • Spread a thin layer of sauce in bottom of baking dish 
  • Place rolled , filled, tortillas into baking dish until filled.   
  • To with rest of sauce and the diced green chillis and remaining cheese 

Bake at 350 degrees. Until the sauce is bubbly around the edges and cheese is melted, about. 30 minutes.   

Friday, May 4, 2018

Dinner Diary

This week.....

We had chili on Monday.   A new recipe that has corn in it as well as tomatoes and beans.

Tuesday we ate out with friends.  I had a chicken cordon blue with asparagus.

Wednesday we had stew,  a meal that wasn’t planned.  I happened on to a discounted package of stew meat at Safeways for 4.00 a pound.   I cooked it in the insta pot with veggies (potatoes ad carrots ) and it took 45 minutes.   I had leftovers on Thursday.

Thursday we had rice and planned  over chili.   I garnished it with sharp cheddar cheese.  

Tonight we are having roasted red pepper, tomato, and carrot soup and tuna melts.   We have extra English muffins that we paid 1.67 a dozen for.   I got both the tomatoes and the peppers for under my 1.00 target price.

Saturday we will have pizza.   I have some ham cubes we got for 2.00 a package.  We can also get a quiche and some flavor in a potato soup with the rest of the two dollars.    We will add the tops of the peppers that were cut from the peppers we got for .88.
We can add pineapple and plan for sweet and sour pork or chicken on Monday.

Sunday , we have sausage in the freezer.   A quiche of sausage and cheese sounds good.  We will still have English muffins left, and we have a cantaloupe.

Stretching a piece or package of meat and using all of a vegetable stretches your food dollar.   Every little thing you can do to stretch, and find food for a RBP helps.   Its the little things that add up to make your food bill 4.00 a day.  I have adapted my regular shopping/cooking habits to finally come down to four dollars a day per person.  The theory is that if you can do it for 4.00 a day, spending more isn’t hard.  We have salmon, pork loin, good hamburger, boneless, skinless chicken breast, and fresh fruit always.   I buy what vegetables I can that are 1.00 or nearly a dollar a pound or each, and supplement with frozen or canned.   We eat balanced, we eat well.   Four dollars a day also supplements granddaughter and grows a stock.

Simplify, buy at RBP, and always have food in the house.

4 plus 1 is FIVE.   Four people, 1 meal, 5 bucks.
Keeping guidelines in mind helps to keep you on track.

No food is going to do your family well if you are feeding it to the garage disposal.

Some people wouldn’t see a bargain if it got up and bit them in the butt, Don’t be that person.

Friday Recipe

Roasted red pepper, tomato and carrot soup

Line sheet pan with parchment paper

1/2 red pepper , sliced and cored.
2 pounds Roma romatoes, quartered and seeded
1 Lb  carrots, scrubbed and cut into uniform pieces, small coins would work best.
Olive oil

Roast at 400 degrees for  55 minutes or until carrots are tender. You should have some carmelizing.

Cool slightly,

Place 1/2 of the veggies in a food processer and add 1 cup water to process.
Transfer to a bowl and process the remaining veggies with another cup of water or just enough to process.

At this point, you can put the purée in a covered container and place in fridge.

When ready to eat. Place purée in sauce pan and add enough milk to soup to make it the desired consistency.  Garnish with parsley and salt and pepper.  

In cooked the carrots for 75 minters.   I would either cut the carrots smaller, or zap them a few ministers in the microwave first.

Carrots, peppers, tomatoes ready for roasting.   

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Thursday Notes

Yesterday, we had stew for dinner.   It wasn’t planned.   I shopped three stores yesterday.   I am over budget for the week, but became of the quantities I purchased, we won’t have to have much next week.  I got stew meat for 4.00 a pound because it had today as a pull date.   I just cooked it yesterday.  Tomato paste, broth, meat, carrots and potatoes in the insta pot for 45 minutes.   I actually threw  it together, started the pot and went and watched the news.  

Because of cinco de Mayo, there was a lot of Mexican inspired foods on sale.  Really really really cheap.   A lot of 4 day sales that end Saturday.   We got 24 ounce salsa for a dollar, as well as flour tortillas for .49.  It is easy to make a ‘toasted cheese’ sandwich with tortillas instead of bread.  Using smaller ones for enchiladas keeps the carbs down.  

In addition, dairy was on sale, so I got enough to last the rest of the month.   Most of it was 1/2 price Or at least discounted drastically.  I am not finding coupons for much of anything, and the yogurt was no exception.    Sour cream and cottage cheese was greatly reduced, as well as 1/2 price milk.  

Buying things when they are a good price saves a lot of money.   It is what affords you good meals for a small budget.  

We still have chili leftover from Monday.  Tuesday we went out with friends, and yesterday we had stew.   I think we will have chili over rice tonight.   Its not what is planned, but it works and we wot waste.  

Sausage was 1.99 .   That’s  enough for the month’s worth of breakfast for dinners.  

Because we have a new pork loin, and hamburger and chicken, we wont have to buy meat the rest of the month.   That cuts a lot off of the food bill.   The dairy is bought also, so that leaves fresh fruits and veggies.   When you are in that position, it is a good time to take stock in the stales and see if you have enough .   Certain things have a very very long shelf life, like some never spoil.   Buying in bulk just means that you don't have that thing on your list for a long time.   It simplifies things.  

  •  Salt 
  • Honey
  • Rice 
  • Sugar 
  • Beans 
  • Pasta - 8 years 
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Dry milk 
  • Soy sauce 

Some of those things can be really really inexpensive.   I bought a bag of salt for 5.00.  Swear we have enough salt for my lifetime, my daughters lifetime, and probably into my granddaughters. LOL 
I also buy soda in bulk.   Ditto vinegar.   Soda and vinegar make for good cleaning agents.   They are not caustic and cheap when bought in bulk. 

Buying quantities, just means you don't have to put them on your shopping list, and the simpler  the list, the easier and faster you can get in and out of the store.   We went to 3 stores yesterday, we were gone 1.5 hours and I didn't hurry.  I was also checking prices so I know where to find the cheapest .  I actually get inquiries from people asking that question. Safeways overcharged for the milk and we had to go back.  That took an additional ten minutes from the 1.5 hours.   

The more you can stock at RBP , especially things that don't go bad or will last the month at least, the more you can get to the point where some weeks you can just shop the perimeter of the store.   That is the fastest trip you can make.   

Spending more time planning a trip and shopping will save a lot of money.   Making cooking scratch efficient will balance the amount of time spent.   Most meals take me less than 20 minutes.   Stew last night took 15 minutes.  That was mostly browning the meat and making gravy. 

Having the right tools, as with any job, makes a big difference.   My insta pot and food processor are my workhorses in the kitchen.   I rarely use the mixer.   It does knead bread well and is good for Christmas cookies.   I hear you can shred meat, but I dont know anyone that has done it.     Before I discovered that you can grind meat in the food processor, I used the kitchen aid to do that.  I think it does a better job, but the food processor is a lot more  efficient.   
Yesterday, because I knew we were going to three stores and it was going to be a big haul because of the prices, I made a list and used a piece of copy paper out of the recycle.   I marked off columns and identified them by store.   We always have a cooler bag in the car for cold things so we ca go t multiple stores or errands.   Monday’s winco run was in conjunction with my doctors appointment.   The three stores we went to were located in a circle of about 3 miles from the house.   Before we got a winco, we made a once a month  trip to winco in a town three towns away - about 20 miles round trip.   

By next week, I should be on target for the 4.00 a day challenge.   

Pasta sauce and pasta are .88 each at winco this week.   It is a good time to buy for the needy.   It is quite remarkable that you can spend 1.76 for a package of spaghetti and a can of pasta sauce and feed a family dinner.  That is probably less than a cup of coffee .   Random acts of kindness can be as simple as taking your clean paper bags to the food bank, giving someone a coupon for something they have in their carts, or stopping on you walk to help  someone with their weed eater.   It doesn’t have to cost you money, but you can still make a difference in someone’s life.   

Thanks for visiting.   

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Multi grocery haul

Part of the Haul. ...

Salsa 24 ounces .  2.49 paid .99
Lettuce .99
Cole slaw .99
Sour cream .79
Yoplait .50
Peppers .88
La Victoria salsa bogo 3.29/2
Cream cheese 1.50
Tortillas .49
Turkey breast, beef sliced 2.50
Hard taco shells 1.00
Taco seasoning FREE
Sausage links 1.99



Tortilla chips .98
Spaghetti .88
Beans, canned .48
Roma tomatoes 1.51
Taco shells .98

Total 7.09


Milk .88
Muffins .99  (4)
Beef stew -markdown 1.5 bs 6.54
Shrimp 7.96 2 lbs 

Total 16.37 

Total 53.69

Chain store ads

I have to get FM electronically.   QFC and Alberways are not much there.   It may be a good time to alternative shop.


Peppers, cucumbers, .88

There is some discussion on whether you can use a paper coupon with a digital coupon.   My source says you can use both a Kroger stores, coming from corporate Kroger.   I’m not sure that you can.  It wouldnt hurt to try.

You must buy 4, but not necessarily the same thing.   Use your store card

Ritz 1.79 -$$
Land of Lakes Butter 2.49





Breyers ice cream 2/5
Bread .78@@
Milk .88 @@
Raw shrimp 2.98@@

Pork shoulder blade 1.59
Taco shells, 1.00
Sour cream 1.00
Tortillas 1.00
Note sour cream and tortillas are cheaper at qfc

About it.

Fred Meyers

Milk .99
18 ounces blues 2.99
Lettuce .99
Taco shells 1.00

Digital coupons
Cheerios, 1.49
Cr cheese 1.49
Pastas .49
Marie. C dinners 4/7

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


Yesterday I made chili .  We had stopped by winco for a few things.   I got tortilla chips and beans were on sale for .50.   That was my target price.  I usually make scratch beans because they are so much cheaper.  But, I also want to keep a few on hand because if we have an emergency, dry beans won’t work.  

1/2 pound cooked hamburger
2 cans or 4 cups cooked beans , kidney
2 cans diced tomatoes with chillies
1 quart vegetable broth
1 cup corn ( I used frozen)
1 T TACO seasoning

I used the insta pot.   The hamburger was frozen, so I put the pot on sauté until the soup came to a boil and switched the pot off and then to slow cook.  

We served it with grated cheese, and chips.

1/2 lb hamburger 1.22
2 cans beans 1.00 ( or .10 for 4 cups scratch)
Diced tomatoes .78
Corn .25
Taco seasoning and vegetable broth (bouillon ) are too small to cost.
3.29 or 2.39 for scratch

The chips were .98.  We used maybe .25 worth .
This chili  would have served 4.  We had a lot left.  It made the six quart almost full.

It isn’t necessarily what you buy, its more when and where you buy it.

Beans in the insta pot.   Wash beans and pick for any rocks etc.   place in insta pot.   Cover with water    Up to 2 inches above the beans.  Always be sure to not fill the pot more than 1/2 full when you are cooking something that expands—like beans or pasta.  
Close lid and turn the lever to seal.   Push the “bean” button.
Walk away.  Open the pot when it is finished depressurizing by itself.

Drain beans in a colander over the sink.