Monday, September 30, 2013

Menu Plan & Goals

Monday - Soft Tacos
Tuesday - Sausage Soup
Wednesday - Hot Dogs
Thursday - Pancakes
Friday - Company - Sour Cream Chicken?
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Pizza & Smoothies

Monday - Nachos
Tuesday - Finger Food Lunch
Wednesday - Grilled Cheese
Thursday - PBJ
Friday -Nachos
Saturday - Mac'n'Cheese Pie
Sunday - At Church

Goals this week:
  • Movie DD#2's bed downstairs to empty bedroom
  • Get gardening stuff out of office
  • Plum jam

Grocery Shopping $78.82

This week I shopped much less than normal.  I think the repeated trips to Fred Meyer last week stocked us up well.  In fact, when I was taking this first picture I thought, "Did I forget to take a picture?"  It was very strange to not take a photo until Saturday!

I stopped by Trader Joe's for vinegars.  I needed red wine vinegar ($1.99) for a recipe and I wanted apple cider vinegar ($2.49) to trap gross fruit flies.  I spent $4.48. 

I was at Fred Meyer next and spent  $30.44. 
Coffee - $5.89
Coffeemate - $2.00 for 2 & $2.50 for 1 ($1.25/3 MC) =  $1.75 each
Eggs - $1.25 each
Lemon Juice - $2.39 (need for canning)
Sour Cream - $1.25 each ($0.40/1 Store Coupon) = $1.05 each
Cottage Cheese - $1.25 each ($0.40/1 Store Coupon) = $1.05 each
Lunchmeat - $3.49 on clearance for 1 pound
Sea Salt - $4.19
Potatoes - $1.98
Bananas - $0.44/lb

Then I went to QFC today to get cereal and Doritos.  I spent $32.74.
Cereal - $1.99 each ($1.00/2 MC)($1.00/2 MC)($3.00/2 MC with coffee) = $1.16 each
Coffee - $7.99
Doritos - $2.00 each (bought 2 bags)
Organic Yogurt - $1.99 each on clearance
Beef Boullion - $1.50
Lunchmeat - $1.09 each on clearance for 8 oz packages
Apples - $0.99 for 3 on clearance
Bell Peppers - $0.99 for 3 on clearance

My friend's chickens haven't been laying so no fresh eggs this week.  Our milk was $11.16, like usual.

Total Grocery Spending Week 39 - $78.82
Total Grocery Spending Year to Date - $4,068.47
Weekly Grocery Average - $104.32


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Affordable Eggs and Many Ways to Cook Them

Eggs are a staple around here.  We get a lot of "bang for our buck" with eggs and their many uses.  I saw an article yesterday listing (and explaining) 16 different ways to cook eggs!  I thought it was worth sharing here and bonus that this information is timely considering Fred Meyer has a dozen eggs on sale this week for $1.25, limit 4.

The article is published by All You Magazine and says simply, "Next time you buy a carton of eggs, try a different way to cook them."

1. Hard Boiled
2. Soft Boiled
3. Tea Eggs
4. Deviled Eggs
5. Scrambled Eggs
6. Sunny Side Up
7. Omelet
8. Poached
9. Baked Eggs
10. In a Burrito
11. Egg Salad
12. In a Fritatta
13. In a Quiche
14. Curried Eggs
15. Spanish Egg and Potato Tortilla
16. Eggnog

Some of my thoughts:
  • I definitely recommend hard-boiled eggs.  My girls love them for a snack and I feel good about giving it to them.  I typically let them use the egg slicer and they will fan the egg on their plate and apply salt and pepper artistically.  
  • I've never heard of tea eggs, and the picture doesn't look particularly appetizing.
  • Deviled eggs are my regular contribution to potlucks/snacks at church.  They cost less than a dollar to make and I almost never have even one egg left.
  • I love egg salad, particularly with a bit of bacon in it.  I've posted my favorite egg salad recipe below.  It's amazing . . . and full of stuff that's not very good for me . . .
  • We make egg casserole from time to time.  It's basically a crustless quiche.  Just whipped eggs in a casserole dish with some meat (sausage, bacon, or ham), potatoes, and cheese.  If I have them I'll put in onion (white, yellow, or green), tomatoes, or broccoli depending.  It's an easy way to use up small amounts of leftover meats & veggies.
  • Finally, I don't see Eggs Benedict.  I like to eat them but don't like to cook them.
  • My grandma also used to hard-cook eggs in a round ring and put them on english muffins with cheese and piece of canadian bacon.
Norman's Egg Salad
Recipe from "Cream Puff Murder" by Joanne Fluke
4 cups hard boiled eggs (about 1 dozen), peeled and chopped
1/2 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 Tbl parsley, chopped
1/4 cup carrots, grated
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or fresh minced)
1/2 tsp onion powder (or 1 tsp fresh minced)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
1. Peel and chop the hard-boiled eggs. Add the crumbled bacon, parsley and grated carrots. Mix well.

Put the cream cheese in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds on HIGH to soften it. If it can be easily stirred with a fork, add the sour cream and mayo. Give the mixture about 10 seconds to settle.

Add the garlic and onion powder (or fresh minced). Stir well.

Add the cream cheese mixture to the bowl with the eggs and incorporate. Add salt and pepper to taste, chill and serve.
The eggs only need a coarse chop. The texture is better that way.

The egg salad can be served traditionally on bread, on a lettuce leaf, or even as the filling in a cream puff!

Yields approx. 12 sandwiches
Sooooo Yummy!  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

More Applesauce

I made more applesauce on Monday.  Remember I bought apples a week or two ago?  Well, over the weekend an old friend said I could stop by and get any apples from her tree or lawn.  I thought I'd combine them because my friend's apples aren't very sweet and the ones I bought were mostly honeycrisp.  I had maybe 30 pounds total and they combined well.

If you've read my blog for long you've seen my applesauce setup before so today is just the highlights.

I use my Kitchenaid to make the process easy.  You can see the skin/stems/and seeds getting pushed out of the end of the strainer.  

They fall into this bowl below, in the sink.  I usually run these bits and pieces through a second time because depending on how clogged the straining cone is, lots of good applesauce sometimes ends up in the bowl.

This time I realized another benefit of running the bits and pieces through.  It usually makes very thick and fibrous sauce that thickens up sauce that might otherwise be runny.  All that fiber probably makes the sauce much healthier, too.  In the photo below you can see the last bit of applesauce from the second run-through of the offal sitting on top of the bowl.

I ended up with 10 quarts and 9 pints.  One quart was a really old Ball jar that a wide-mouth lid fit, but I a wide ring would not!  How strange!  So that quart went into the fridge for immediate eating.  I didn't want to bother sanitizing another jar and transferring the sauce when the other jars were all ready for the water bath.  I put some in pint jars this time to give to my aunt.  We visit her often and she always feeds us so I figured I'd load her up with some of our staples.

I'm up to about 55 quarts.  I think I need about 100 for the whole year so I'm still on the lookout for apples!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

This Week in the Garden

Here's what I picked in the garden last week:

I'm afraid the lettuce was left out overnight and I couldn't spruce it up. 

I sauteed the green beans the very night I picked them with some leftover ham bits and fat with salt, pepper, and fresh garlic and they were delicious!  My 3 year old helped cut the ends off the beans - she was so proud of herself!  And it really was a help to this mama - Yay!

I took 3 zucchini to church to give friends who said they'd be happy to have some.

Most of the tomatoes were chopped up for the freezer:


And some zucchini and crookneck squash were sauteed in olive oil with onions, salt, pepper, & garlic another night. 

There is still one big zucchini and part of another that needs to be used.  I think I might make kebabs with some marinated sirloin in the freezer.  I can use cherry tomatoes and zucchini to fill up the skewers.  But I might just shred the zucchini and make kebabs next week.

I really love when the garden is producing like this.  The sunny days are awesome because I know the plants just pop out with big growth those days! 



Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Menu Plan

As I get busier it's harder to get to the grocery store.  More and more my meals are from what I have in the pantry or in the freezer.

Monday - Meatballs
Tuesday - Beef Stroganoff
Wednesday - Costco Pizza
Thursday - Ham/Potato Soup
Friday - Potluck - taking Mexican toppings
Saturday - Sausage Soup
Sunday - Company - Mexican?  Pot Roast?

Monday - Mac'n'Cheese
Tuesday - Cheesy Bread
Wednesday -quesadillas w/chicken
Thursday - French Toast
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - Mac'n'Cheese Pie
Sunday - PBJ

Shopping List: Egg noodles, Tortillas, Avocado, Carrots, Celery, extra Milk


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Grocery Shopping Week - Shameful Junk Food Purchases - $143.20

This week I tragically misplaced my Fred Meyer Rewards card.  I don't have a telephone number associated with it so I couldn't get any of the $0.91 digital deals OR rack up rewards points.  It was very frustrating and even stole some of my shopping joy.  Boo!  Of course then I had some thinking to do on why a silly grocery card/saving a few cents was so important to me . . . hm. 

This was the trip to Fred Meyer when I discovered my card was missing.  I spent $19.40.
Cheese - $3.99 on sale
Coffeemate - $2.50 each on sale ($1.25/3) = $2.08 each
Granola Bars - $0.99 on clearance
Life cereal - $1.29 on clearance
Tomatoes - $0.59 on clearance (big can)
Tomatoes - $0.39 on clearance (small can)
Pasta - $0.39 on clearance
Sour Cream - $1.00 each on sale
Green onion - $0.59
Carrots - $0.99 for 2#
Potatoes - $1.98 - Were supposed to be $0.91

This was another trip to Fred Meyer after I registered a phone number to my card online, hoping to still be able to use my account.  Nope.  I spent $17.49.
 Cheese - $3.99 on sale
Brownie Mix - $1.29 on clearance
Fruit cups - $0.99 on clearance
Butter - 3/$5 on sale
Pears - $0.88/lb
Mike & Ike candy - $0.49 each on clearance
Swedish Fish - $0.99 on clearance
Tootsie Pops - $1.39 on clearance

I had a bit of a rough day on Friday and made the very poor choice of going out for Doritos because I wanted them and after the day I had I just wasn't going to care about the calories.  I am a bit embarrassed to post this photo . . . I spent $26.65 and most of it is junk food!
Doritos - $2.00 each if you buy 2
Bananas - $0.69/lb
Grapes - $`1.69/lb
Donut holes - $0.59 on clearance
Cups of Noodles - $0.50 each on clearance
Candy 8-packs - $1.25 each
Spinach Artichoke dip - $0.99 on clearance
Hummus - $1.99 on clerance
Pita Chips (for hummus & dip) - $4.99 REGULAR PRICE!!!
Pound of Turkey lunchmeat - $3.39 on clearance
Box of Boogers - $1.00 each (funny gift for husband and visiting brother)

I stopped in at grocery outlet because I was in the neighborhood Saturday and spent $17.53.
Coffeemate - $0.50 each!  (2 days from stamped date)
Potatoes - $2.99 for 10#
Ends & Pieces Bacon - $5.99 for 3#
Pepperoni - $5.99 for 3#
Mac & Cheese - $0.39 each

And finally, I stopped at the Yakima Fruit Stand between Bothell & Kenmore on my way home from the Grocery Outlet because I saw that pears were only $0.69/lb.  And even better a box of 28# was $16.99 making the pears only $!  Why did I buy 84 pounds?  For canning of course.  Why did I buy them when I already have about 30# of apples and 20# of plums waiting to be canned?  I don't know.  I wasn't thinking apparently.  Ugh.
$50.97 in pears
Our milk delivery was $11.16 and I didn't get eggs.

Week 38 total: $143.20
Year-to-date total: $3,989.65
Average per week: $104.99


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Article - People Misread "Use By" Label

I read a great article in the Seattle Times site today (originally published a last week in the Los Angeles Times).  It was reporting on how much food Americans waste because we misinterpret the "use by" dates stamped on prepackaged food.  I have been saying this for years.  Here's what I know from personal experience:
  • Milk is usually good for 5-7 days past it's stamped date if it's opened and used in a few days.  The later it's opened, the faster it spoils.  
  • Eggs can last for months.  I picked up clearance eggs visiting my mom one October.   She forgot about them in her outside refrigerator and I used them for baking in February when I visited again.
  • Yogurt can last about a month past the 'best by' date.  I've only had one yogurt cup look/taste bad in years of buying clearance yogurt.  It was a full-of-junk kid yogurt I only bought because it turned out to be free with the clearance price and a coupon.
What have you found in your experience with date-stamped food?

Here's the article in it's entirety:

People misread ‘use by’ label; 40% of U.S. food is tossed

More than 90 percent of Americans prematurely discard edibles because they have misinterpreted the dates stamped on food products, according to a report released Wednesday.
Los Angeles Times

Leah Weinroth can only hope her son Trey’s obsession with expiration dates is a passing phase. If yogurt in the Bethesda, Md., writer’s refrigerator is even a day past the date stamped on top, the 11-year-old “acts like it’s poison” and throws it away. The same goes for packaged snacks.
“I tell him that kind of stuff doesn’t really expire,” she says. “But he just says it doesn’t taste good if it’s past its date.”
Trey isn’t the only one confused by the “sell by,” “use by” and “best before” labels on grocery-store food. So are more than 90 percent of Americans, who prematurely discard edibles because they have misinterpreted the dates stamped on the products, according to a report released Wednesday.
Many consumers read an item’s sell-by date as an indicator of when the food will spoil. But it’s an inaccurate assumption, according to a study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic.
Manufacturers use sell-by dates to help retailers manage their inventory. It encourages stores to sell a product within a specific time frame so that the item still has a shelf life once it’s purchased.
Not even the common “best before” and “use by” labels indicate a deadline after which products go bad, according to researchers. Instead, they are producer estimates of how long the food will be at peak quality.
“Expiration dates are in need of some serious myth-busting because they’re leading us to waste money and throw out perfectly good food, along with all of the resources that went into growing it,” said Dana Gunders, an NRDC staff scientist. “Phrases like ‘sell by,’ ’use by,’ and ‘best before’ are poorly regulated, misinterpreted and leading to a false confidence in food safety.”
The misunderstanding comes at a steep price. Last year, the NRDC found that Americans throw out as much as 40 percent of the country’s food supply each year, adding up to $165 billion in losses.
Food waste makes up the largest portion of solid trash in landfills, according to researchers.
Some $900 million of expired food is dumped from the supply chain annually, much of it a result of confusion. Misinterpreted date labels cause the average American household of four to lose as much as $455 a year on squandered food, according to researchers.
The study attributes consumer reliance on expiration-date labels in part on the gradual shift away from farms over the years. So far removed from direct contact with food production, shoppers’ concerns about food-borne illnesses and freshness gave rise to preoccupation with sourcing and safety.
Researchers also blame an incoherent jumble of state and federal regulations and guidelines for unclear expiration-date labels. The Food and Drug Administration leaves the determination of such dates up to manufacturers.
The NRDC and Harvard study recommends a more standardized system, one that potentially makes sell-by dates visible only to the retailer or employs smart labels and other technologies that can pinpoint the exact moment when food spoils.
Other options include tweaking the label’s language, using “safe if used by” instead of “best by” or abandoning labels on preserved food that doesn’t go bad.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Traveling Tomatoes

I hated to leave my garden for over two weeks, especially when it was loaded down with huge quantities of green tomatoes.

So, I picked every red and slightly red tomato the day we left.  Then I picked every tomato that even had a hint of red.  Then I picked some really big ones that were completely green.

I chopped most of the red ones and we took the rest with us to Yosemite, hoping they would ripen over the course of the trip.

The red and slightly red tomatoes

The 'hint-of-red' and very green tomatoes

After three days some of these green buddies are definitely ripening!
Three more days and they're still turning!  I used everything red in my taco soup that night.

These are what remain 10 days into our trip
We came home with these two little guys.  They ripened in the back window of the car on the drive home, but we ended up tossing them because they also got a little soft and COOKED back there on the very hot drive.  =) 
My plan of enjoying fresh tomatoes for two weeks worked!  I was so delighted to have them and share them with our family and friends we saw along the way.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Garden After Vacation

Oh my Garden!  After two weeks away it was blooming everywhere, but looked pretty ratty.  September is usually the ugly turning point when leaves get all discolored, some plants stop producing and shrivel up, but others start to shrivel and still produce like crazy! 

Here are photos the day I returned home:
Pumpkin sprawl

Tomatoes need much bigger support this year

Zucchini with more tomatoes behind and bean vines on the right
Beautiful Romas from one farmer's market plant

Lots of cherry tomatoes from the other farmer's market plant

Random lettuce blooming still and the green beans I thought were done producing
I picked all this zucchini and a yellow squash

Lots of tomatoes and green beans (they are definitely not done producing)

I lots many tomatoes to the birds.  Here's just a sample of their damage. 
One gross problem I've run into is this year is fruit flies.  They are just swarming, but I've never had them violate my garden.  The birds peck a hole in the tomatoes and the fruit flies flock to it.  So gross.  There must have been a hundred on that tomato on the right.  I just threw it (and many like it away), but brought it in for a picture.  Fruit flies lay eggs so fast I just couldn't imagine keeping any part of the really well-eaten tomatoes.  The others with just one pecked hole I washed, cut in half and tossed the half with the bite.  I went ahead and chopped the other half of those ones. 

Here are the chopped tomatoes - 18 cups - and we ate plenty on our salads all week, too.

I ended up chopping and freezing the green beans (on left) and after 9, yes 9, batches of zucchini bread I still had enough shredded zucchini for 7 more batches.  And we had sauteed zucchini and crookneck squash one night, too. 
 I love storing up food for the year.  I feel such satisfaction when I see my freezer filling up with tomatoes and green beans.  I love to see my canning pantry with full jars filling the shelves.  I delight in baking for friends and sharing the produce of our garden.  I'm really looking forward to the next couple of weeks.  =)


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fred Meyer - $0.91 deals!

Fred Meyer is having their annual Founder's Day Sale which typically has awesome deals.  My favorites this year are 
  • $3.99 Tillamook Brick
  • $0.33 Tillamook yogurt
  • $4.49 MD toilet tissue
  • $1.67 Darigold butter
Also new and cool this year are the digital deals you can load on your Rewards card each day.  I was too late on the $0.91 pound of Ground Beef Monday and Tuesday was $0.91 for 5 pounds of potatoes.  Today's deal is $0.91 for a dozen eggs.  You can revisit this Fred Meyer page every day for the new deal!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Menu Plan - Brother in town

My brother is here this week working on our basement remodel.  He works hard and eats accordingly so I try and make heartier, meatier meals when he is here.

Monday - Ramen with PBJ
Tuesday - Finger food.  Cheese, crackers, fruit, nuts
Wednesday - Grilled Cheese
Thursday -PBJ
Friday -Nachos
Saturday - Macaronada
Sunday -Taco Bar

Monday - Ham
Tuesday - Sausage Soup
Wednesday - Pasta & Red Sauce
Thursday - Beef Pot Roast
Friday - Freezer Meal
Saturday -Beef Stroganoff
Sunday - Taco Bar


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Grocery Shopping Week 37 - $113.73

So we got home from our two weeks out of town and I immediately had to run to the grocery store because I was asked to bring dessert to a church meeting that evening.  I didn't have enough time to bake - Darn!

I went to Fred Meyer and spent $12.04 on a few things, but forgot to take a picture.  Coffee creamer was $2.50, Cantaloupe was $0.38/lb, Lettuce was $1.29, Cucumber $0.79, Bananas $0.64/lb and the requested dessert: Oreos $2.50 and Chips Ahoy $2.75.

The very next day I took all 4 littles on errands and we stopped by QFC.  I spent $17.85.
Cheerios were $1.50/box
Cottage cheese - $1.25
Cottage cheese - $0.59 on clearance
Creamer - $2.50
Sour cream - $1.25
Bananas - $0.49/lb
Cucumbers - $0.68 each
Bell pepper - $0.68
Sausage - $1.99 on clearance

I went to Fred Meyer later in the week and scored on produce markdowns.  I spent $25.33.
 Eggs - $1.25/dozen
Cream - $2.50 each ($0.75/2 e-coupon) = $2.13 each
Lunchmeat - $3.50 each ($2.00/2 MC) = $2.50 each
Bananas - $0.44/lb
Salt - $0.53
Apples - $1.00 per bag - each bag had at least 2 pounds and most of them Honeycrisp!  This is going to make some amazing applesauce!

I also picked up smoked paprika at Trader Joe's for just $1.99.

Costco was necessary for flour and lettuce.  I spent $41.36.
25 lbs flour - $8.29
Romaine - $3.28
Pears - $5.49 or $0.91/lb
Feta - $9.46
Garlic - $4.99

Milk delivery was $11.16 and Eggs were $4.00.

I am super excited for Fred Meyer's Founder's Day Sale this coming week!  Hoping for awesome deals!

Total spending this week: $113.73
Total spending year-to-date on groceries: $3,846.45
Average spending per week: $103.96


Friday, September 13, 2013

Digital Coupons - First Try!

OK - I'm taking the plunge with digital coupons.

Today I visited the Kroger coupon site and downloaded a coupon for a free Emerald Breakfast on the Go.  I wouldn't normally buy this product, but I'll give it a try for free.   I also shop primarily at Fred Meyer and QFC which are both Kroger stores so I will have opportunity to use the coupon several times in the next two weeks.

I also went to the Safeway website and loaded some digital coupons to my shopping card.  We'll see if I end up getting better deals.  I think I won't remember what I loaded.  I just clicked everything I usually buy.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Zucchini Overload - Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps were a big hit with my family!  We tried them out on one of our cooking nights with the extended family and these were gobbled up.  The recipe came from a Facebook friend, but I think it originated on a page called Gregg's Skinny Friends - Health & Weight Control.

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
1 lb. zucchini or squash (about 2 medium-sized)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan (heaping)
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (heaping)
... 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray lightly with vegetable spray.

Slice zucchini or squash into 1/4 inch-thick rounds. Toss rounds with oil, coating well.

In a wide bowl or plate, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.

Place rounds in parmesan-breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides of each round, pressing to adhere. The mixture will not completely cover each round, but provides a light coating on each side.

Place rounds in a single layer on baking sheets. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumb mixture over the rounds.

Bake for about 22 to 27 minutes, until golden brown. (There is no need to flip them during baking -- they crisp up on both sides as is.)

DH as already asked for these again - so I'll probably make up a tray this weekend.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Menu Plan

OK - super late, but I have almost no 'fresh' food so I have to plan for the rest of the week.  The last couple of nights have been stressful trying to figure out what to make.

Monday - Chicken La Viva (I pulled it out of the freezer)
Tuesday - Macaronada (garlic still OK after our trip, feta traveled nearly 3,000 miles with us)
Wednesday - Costco food stand
Thursday - At a friend's house - PHEW!
Friday - Potluck (Phew again) - Take a big salad
Saturday -Tapas Party - Making a sort of deviled egg
Sunday - Chili Beef Casserole (tortilllas & beef from freezer)
Monday - Burgers on the road
Tuesday - leftover croissants, crackers, and fruit from Bible study refreshments.  Yes, I know that's sad.
Wednesday - quesadillas (four tortillas came home with us from vacation)
Thursday - PBJ (I made bread today with pantry ingredients)
Friday - Grilled cheese (bread again)
Saturday - Smoothies & Finger Food (olives, cheese & crackers, almonds)
Sunday - PBJ

OK - this will get me through with no new shopping.

Goals: Already having an excellent homeschool week.  Must buy an airline ticket!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Weekly Shopping Out of Town - $81.19

I just am getting home from a 17 day road trip.  Here's how it went:

Day 1 - Travel
Day 2 - Oregon
Day 3 to 9 - Yosemite National Park with my side of the family
Day 10 to 15 - Anaheim visiting DH's side of the family
Day 16 - Travel (including lunch with friends from San Jose)
Day 17 - Travel home

I tried to plan carefully for our trip to Yosemite knowing we were in a timeshare unit and would only have the food we brought with us.  I did pretty well, I thought, only spending $70 for several reasons.
1. I had to buy chicken TWICE
2. I bought Bisquick, bread, and spice packets that I would normally make from ingredients already on hand.
3. I bought 2# of shredded cheese for $6.99.  That kills me

For our trip to DH's family I knew my Mother-in-Love would have all the staples in her kitchen and I would just need to buy groceries to supplement what she is always willing to share.  I was so surprised and delighted when she revealed a budget set aside for grocery shopping!  I had to spend very little all week, but even so we shopped together and found some screaming deals.  I also tried to shop carefully so as not to take advantage of her generosity.
  • We found 20 oz. packages of taco seasoned ground turkey marked down to $1.49 each!  We bought all three for our big family party at the end of the week and I cooked it up that night and tossed it in the freezer.
  • I bought only one quart of creamer for DH and he used it all week.
  • We found clearance vanilla yogurt cups (my kids' favs) for $1.11 per 4-pack
  • We found organic milk for half price - which reduced it to the same price as regular milk
  • MIL got some great additional discounts because of her JustForU rewards.  Combined with an email nudge from a friend, I think I'm convinced I should try some of the digital coupons.
Here's what I DID spend all week: $ 3.60 at Wal-Mart on hot dog buns and macaroni & cheese.  We didn't even eat the mac'n'cheese and it's still at MIL's house.  I also went the FIL one day for diapers and ice.   I bought the ice for $3.99 since I hadn't bought anything else all week!  I also ordered my 40# box of chicken from Zaycon Foods for October delivery.  It cost $73.60.

Total Grocery Cost for Week 36: $81.19
Total Grocery Cost YTD for 2013: $3,732.72
Average grocery spending per week in 2013: $103.69

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Weekly Shopping Out of Town - $70.43

This week we were on vacation near Yosemite National Park.  We had a full kitchen so I planned ahead with lots of meals we could bring from home.  I also had to cook dinner for 21 one night (Beef Stew) and 23 another night (Chicken Taco Soup) so I planned around affordable ingredients & items I already had on hand.  Our cooler space was limited because we decided to drive our smaller, fuel efficient car so I had to choose carefully what to bring along.

The closest town had a Von's which is the equivalent of Safeway and a Dollar Tree.  I needed fresh fruit, chicken for the taco soup, bread & snacks to pack lunches, and biscuits to serve with the stew.  I spent $28.73.
 Milk - $5.69
Bisquick - $4.39 (cheaper than buying enough biscuits in a can)
Cheese Crackers - $1.00
Microwave Popcorn - $1.00
Red Bell Pepper - $1.00
Mangos - $1.00 each
Cucumber - $0.99
Bananas - $0.69/lb
Chicken - $2.99/lb
Bread - $0.99
Pears - $0.99/lb

We went back after the sales had changed.  I was hoping the cheese and sour cream would go on sale.  No luck on the cheese, but the sour cream was cheaper later in the week. I spent $32.05.

Milk - $5.69
Crackers - $1.00 each
Pepperoni - $1.00
Microwave Popcorn - $1.00
Creamer - $2.99
Sour Cream - $1.50 each
Bananas - $0.69/lb
Lettuce - $1.49/head
Pears - $0.99/lb
Onion - $1.49/lb (OUCH!)
Cheddar - $6.99 for 2 lbx (OUCH Again!)
Capri Sun - $2.00 on sale ($1.50 off clearance tag) = $0.50

Tragedy struck late in the week when DH didn't notice the cooked chicken on top of stove and it sat out ALL day while the moms were out thrift store shopping.  So off to the store we went for more chicken and taco seasoning.  I thought I might be able to find some spices among my family members and/or in the provided envelopes but no luck for Mexican spices.  I spent $9.65.
Chicken - $2.99/lb
Taco Seasoning packets - $0.75 each

Total cash spent this week was only $70.43 - no milk deliver or eggs due to being out of town
Total cash spent year to date: $3,651.53
Weekly Average: $104.33