Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 15 Groceries - $72.96

I had a quick trip to Target all by myself on Monday night.  I only had 20 minutes until closing and I had a headache, but this introvert mama couldn't pass up the opportunity for a few more minutes along doing something I love.  I bought this brown sugar for $1.39 on sale with an MC & oregano for $0.69 on clearance with an MC. 

The girls and I went to Costco on Wednesday.  It's spring break and we're all a little stir crazy.  The carpets were cleaned in the early afternoon and I planned to get out of the house for the rest of the afternoon & early evening so the carpets could be left to dry in peace.

Has anyone else been to Costco with 4 kids?  It's like purgatory except you have a pretty good idea when it will end.  At least it wasn't busy.  We got a primo parking spot and there weren't many witnesses to the bedlam happening in my cart's vicinity.  I spent $54.01 on all this.  I needed more GF flour and Daiya cheese for my GF/DF kiddo.  I also picked up chili powder because I'm going to make my own taco seasoning.  I couldn't believe my old taco season had milk!  Dumb Whey.  I give raspberries in your general direction.  We did discover the veggie straws this trip.  One kid was particulary whiny so I looked for something we could all share.  Hooray for vegan snacks that are kinda potato-chippy! 

Our milk delivery was $12.87 and I bought 2 dozen eggs for $4.00 total.

Total groceries this week: $72.96
Total groceries year-to-date 2014: $966.96
Weekly Average in 2014: $64.46


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Diary-Free Tip: Bacon Grease

How can I do without butter?  My first option was to pick up margarine.  I hated that because margarine is so far from real food.  I just didn't want to use it to make my kids cookies, you know?  And what do I grease a pan with?  How do I keep my eggs from sticking? 

So a seasoned friend with a dairy-free kiddo recommended Earth's Balance.  It's a vegan spread and it does the job nicely.  But it's about $5.00 a pound. 

And it turns out margarine isn't dairy-free.  Doh!

Another friend suggested I just save my bacon grease and use that to grease pans & for non-stick.  It's genius and FREE.  I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier?  I could've saved a lot on shortening, olive oil, & cooking spray. 

A couple days ago I used it to grease my egg pan.  Last night I made the kids french toast and greased the griddle.  Today I'm going to try it for my bread pan.  Will it make the bread taste like bacon?  I'm going to find out!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Small Project - Homeschool Posters

I  know it doesn't seem like much, but even a small goal met is an accomplishment around here!  I got all our homeschool posters reorganized and rehung so I could include fit more on the walls. I wanted to hang:
  • Pledge of Allegiane
  • Cursive Alphabet
  • Days/Week & Months/Year 
  • Biblical Family Tree
  • Government Posters
Here's the old family room/kitchen/schoolroom:
Colors, Manners, & half of Numbers 1 to 10

Alphabet missing OPQ, UVW, & XYZ.

World Map & United States Map
 Here's what it looks like now:

Colors, Alphabet wraparound, Days/Week, Months/Year
Pledge of Allegience, States/Capitals, Goverment, Bible Family Tree
Cursive Alphabet, Manners
 Phew!  It's nice to get some of these posters out of the office and hung up!  I also feel much better have the whole manuscript alphabet up again since my 4 year old is learning her letters. 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gluten-Free Bread #2 - Fail!

Seriously, this dough didn't look good from the start.  I used this recipe from all-recipes.  I chose it because it didn't call for bread flour.  I was wanting to simply substitute the gf flour for all-purpose flour and it mostly failed.

Not enough moisture for sure.

It didn't look any better in the pan and DD#2 declared it looked like a brain and that was the end of that!

It sliced OK, but it wasn't quite done baking down at the bottom of the loaf.  It was just super heavy and dense.

I baked a regular, gluten-filled loaf for the other girls the same day.  It shows just how pathetic this attempt at gluten-free bread was. 
I'm trying again today - this time I read up on baking bread in my new cookbook, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.  Today my focus will be on getting the bread to rise, rise, rise!


Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Menu Plan

So far the Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free has been pretty easy other than lunches.  I'm still working on sandwich bread and I'll share my second disastrous attempt with you tomorrow.

Monday - Beef/Broccoli/Rice (we skipped this dinner last week)
Tuesday - Sloppy Joe (bun optional)
Wednesday - Taco Soup
Thursday - Skewers/Rice
Friday - Potluck
Saturday - Dinner at Aunt's
Sunday - Turkey Bratwurst

Monday - Quesadilla (fake cheese for DD#2)
Tuesday - PBJ
Wednesday - French Toast
Thursday - Chicken Nuggets (Sausage for DD#2)
Friday - PBJ
Saturday - Lunch at Aunt's
Sunday - Lunch Out


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Week 14 Grocery Shopping - $108.91

 I didn't grocery shop all week until Saturday when I did a big trip. 

First up was Fred Meyer for a very large list.  I found GF chocolate cereal that I wanted so DD#2 could participate in a special treat planned for the other girls, some GF salad dressing, more DF sour cream & butter (eep! $$$$), lettuce, potatoes, yogurt, etc.  The bargains were the dairy products.  The Activia 4 pack was $1.00 after coupons, the Tillamook Greek were $0.50 each, and the Nancy's organic whole milk yogurt were only $2.00 each!  I got another creamer for $1.00 after coupons, too.  Total spent was $62.56

I got a screaming deal on this cereal at Target.  Some varieties of Kellogg's were on sale for $3.00 and Buy One/Get One.  I didn't want any of the super-sugary junk and was excited to see Smart Start among the sale items.  Yummo!  So these 6 boxes of cereal cost just $9.00 on sale AND I had 2 - $1.00/3 Manufacturer's coupons bringing the price down to just $7.00 for all 6 boxes.  Finally, I noticed the boxes had a "Get $5 rebate" label on them with the purchase of 3 boxes.  So I went the Kellogg's website to enter the codes from the boxes and I am going to get two $5 rebates in the mail!  This cereal was FREE if those checks come.  The chicken was $5.99 regular price with a $2.00 off peelie and I had a $1.00 off printable Target coupon.  So it was $2.99 and I also got 5% off the whole purchase. Total spent $9.49 and I'll take the $10 off when I get the rebate check.
Finally, I stopped at QFC.  They had DF yogurt for $0.99.  It just killed me to pay that much, but it will sure help out when the other girls are having yogurt for snack.  I was excited to find these Turkey bratwurst on clearance for $2.39!  The packages are 18 or 19 oz so it's like $2/pound.  I didn't really want to buy all 5 packages, but how could I Not?  And I bought some coffee beans that I'm hoping to finally try and use my espresso machine with.  We'll see.  I spent $23.89.

 Our milk delivery was $12.87 and I didn't buy eggs from my friend this week.

Total groceries for the week: $108.81
Total year-to-date: $894.00
Average per week: $63.86


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Target Clearance Finds!

I received an extra 5% off coupon from Target a few weeks back and I thought that combined with the 5% off from the Target debit card, I might find some real bargains.

I got lots of great clearance deals.
Remember all these prices had an additional 10% off
Journals - $2.08?  (I took off the tags and now I can't remember)
24 Blank Notecards - $1.78
18 Thanks Notecards - $2.08
10 Fruit Notecards - $1.18
Scrapbook stickers - $1.20
Dr. Grip pen refills - $0.41
Kitchen spoon - $1.98
Mechanical pencils - $0.74
Highlighters - $0.27
Huge paper clips - $0.52
Plastic coin purse - $0.90 (stocking stuffer)
Plastic beads - $0.60 (stocking stuffer)
Glitter shoelaces - $0.60 each (stocking stuffers)

And more clearance deals:
Napkins - $0.60 each
Kitchen bowls - $12.99
Dr. Grip refills - $0.41
Similisan - FREE with coupons & $5 giftcard with purchase of 2
Tool Kits - $7.48 each - We love to give these to high school seniors headed off to college.

I love to shop the clearance deals, but it's still spending and often on stuff we don't really need.  It's hard to be discerning when the bargains are big!


Friday, April 4, 2014

First Try Gluten Free Bread

I attempted gluten-free bread earlier this week.  It wasn't horrible, but I'll keep trying for something better!

I started with this recipe from, but I assembled it like I do when I have baked bread otherwise. 
  • First I warmed 1 & 1/3 cups water to 115 degrees.  I put 1 Tablespoon of yeast and 3 Tablespoons of honey in my mixing bowl and poured the warm water over it. 
  • I let is stand 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  • I mixed in 4 Tablespoons of Earth's Balance vegan spread, 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 cups of GF flour into the bowl.
  • I added two beaten eggs and 2/3 cups additional GF flour.
  • I let this mixture stand for 15 minutes, then added a final 2/3 cups GF flour.
  • I poured the wet mixture into a greased/floured bread pan and covered it with plastic wrap.
  • It took about an hour to rise to the top of the pan.
  • I baked it for 45 minutes at 375 and it didn't rise any more.  In fact, it shrunk a little but the mixture cooked through.
 We all had a slice of toast to try it.  It was OK, but chewy and dense.  It wouldn't work for sandwich bread since it didn't rise very much so we just cooked it up for french toast so it wouldn't go to waste.