Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Monday GF Menu Plan

Meals for this week, a day late

Monday - French toast (old loaf of bread in freezer) and leftover GF pizza for DD#2
Tuesday - Little Smokies and green salad
Wednesday - Macaroni & Cheese Pie (GF)
Thursday - Finger Food lunch
Friday - Nachos
Saturday - Family Party!  Crackers & Cheese platter
Sunday - Hamburgers

Monday - Macaronada
Tuesday - Chicken Curry
Wednesday - Beef Stew
Thursday - with friends - taking a meat/cheese platter
Friday - Baked Potato Soup
Saturday - Family Party!  Mexican Dip & Chips
Sunday - Popcorn & Smoothies (unless tent. company, then Mexican)


Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Groceries Week 52 - $113.93

Is it really Week 52? 

That means I should be starting my pantry/freezer challenge this week and I'm not sure I'm ready to start spending next to nothing.  I mean my pantry and my freezer are loaded from the ridiculous shopping I've been doing the last couple of months, but I usually have a lot of fun thinking and planning out how I'll manage my NEW pantry challenge each year.  I've just been busy with my family responsibilities, I guess, but I'll put some thought into it in the next couple of days.  Of course in the next couple of days I also have to:
  • Finish tax planning for 2014 to make sure we aren't in the next tax bracket
  • Prepare the books for our business for 2014 so I can decide what to do for 2014 payroll
  • Maximize the 'stay fit' benefit from my husband's employer
  • Maximize our glasses/contacts benefit from my husband's health insurance
I am always so thankful each year for a 'down week' this week between Christmas and New Year's Day as there is so much for me to accomplish on the running-a-household end of things.

Anyway - Back to Groceries! 

I went to Fred Meyer Monday night because we needed some fruit and I needed some almond flour for a baking projected.  There was Almond Coconut milk on clearance for $1.59 so I bought 6 half-gallons.  It has a long shelf life and I'm doing my first ever detox starting January 12 that will allow almond coconut milk, but not any dairy.  So I'll use this for cooking, in my oatmeal, etc.  Butter was on sale for $2.50/lb and I found some Glutino cookies on clearance.  I spent $31.99.  That almond flour was a whopping $9.99! 

I was at Albertson's Monday, too, during a last-minute fill-in therapy session for a kiddo.   I picked up cottage cheese that was on clearance for $1.00, clearance yogurt and more coconut for baking.  I spent $9.19.

Friday morning I went to Fred Meyer for their 75% off Christmas stuff, an annual tradition. I picked up a gallon of milk for $5.39 and then headed to Safeway for the $5 Friday deals.  I bought chips & GF corndogs and found some cheapie frozen meal things that DH likes for $0.50 each.  I spent $14.01 at Safeway.

I went to QFC because I was sure they had spaghetti sauce on sale, but I was wrong.  I did find some excellent clearance deals though.  I bought 15 packages of ground chicken for $0.99 each.  They were 13.3 oz so it works out to $1.19/lb which is pretty awesome.  And I can eat it during the detox, too.  Yay!  Generic multi-grain cheerios were only $0.99 and I got some spaghetti & a package of GF spaghetti for DD#2.  Marshmallows were also on clearance for $0.79.  I am just now realizing I left a bag at the grocery store!  DH tells me I should just go in with my receipt and explain.  Yeesh.  I left behind a summer sausage roll, 2 of the chicken packages, some cottage cheese, and one can of spaghetti sauce.  Super mad at myself.  It's worth about $7.50 so I'll at least ask.  I spent $36.89 including the stuff I left behind. 

I picked up one big bag of chips at Costco yesterday for $3.59.  I need it for a party this coming weekend. 

Milk was $12.89

Week 52 groceries: $113.93
Total Groceries for the year 2014: $5,075.03
Weekly average for 2014: $97.60

I can't believe I came in under $100 per week!  I guess it made a huge difference NOT to buy a 1/4 cow this summer and to get so many leftovers from our church kitchen early in 2014 when I was helping out so much. 

More analysis to come!

Love, Katie

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014 Groceries Week 51 - $180.06

I finally made the big Costco trip last week.  And would you believe I was in and out in 35 minutes?  It was Monday, Dec 15 about 5:45 to 6:15ish.  I thought it would be packed and was so thankful for no waiting!  I spent $103.62 on: onions, bananas, lettuce, organic gluten free flour, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, salsa, organic olive oil, organic chicken base, sour cream, cottage cheese, fruit leather, 2# block of cheddar, and 2 bags of organic tortilla chips.  It was a good haul.

On Tuesday I popped into Albertsons to get chocolate chips.  They also had butter on sale and string cheese on sale.  I spent $25.89 and also got powdered sugar, frozen corn, a sausage roll, and a dozen markdown donuts (not pictured).

On Wednesday I was at Costco again to buy a group gift and ended up getting more lettuce and the garlic I couldn't find on Monday.  It was gloriously Not Busy again and I spent $9.88 on food.

Finally, I went to Fred Meyer early Saturday morning to help a kiddo pick out Christmas gifts for her siblings.  We found some great clearance items and I am winging it here on the amounts because the receipt is in the car on this stormy night and I am in my PJs.  The cereal was $1.89/box and I had a MC, but I swear the grouchy lady behind me in line stole it.  My kiddo struggles with social niceties and happened to zip across this lady's path as she was entering the line behind us.  Wow, did she give me a look.  I had the coupon near the end of the conveyor and as I hustled my kiddo in front of me (aka. away from the meanie) the coupon disappeared.  A search of the floor didn't turn it up and I was avoiding eye contact so didn't ask the annoyed lady.  Anyway the cereal was $1.89 per box, no coupon, the milk was $5.29, the broccoli was about $2.00, a can of sweetened, condensed milk was a ridiculous $1.89, small coffee was $2.49 and bigger coffee was $3.49.  Turkey sausages were $2.49 each, as well as the glutino pretzels.  Ritz were $1.67 and clearance black tea was $1.39.  The food was $27.80 give or take. 

 I am really sorry for the poor quality photos, folks.  Our camera jack broke a few weeks back so we bought a replacement of a similar model.  Unfortunately the camera charger for the old camera is not charging the new one (gah!) so I'm using the camera in my moderately clever phone until that new charger arrives. 

Total on groceries this week: $180.06
Total groceries year-to-date 2014: $4,961.10
Weekly Average: $97.28

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Free Sample of Twinings Tea

Do you love tea as much as I do? 
Check out Twinings offer for a sample of 3 teas! 
They also have a Tea of the Month club that seems really reasonably priced!  You get 2 boxes of tea each month at an average price of $5.00 per month.  You can order a 6-month or 12-month subscription.

Thanks to Meredith for telling me about this deal!
Love, Katie

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Gluten-Free Menu Plan

My brother is visiting this week and he usually works hard on our slow basement remodel so I like to make bigger, meatier meals to accommodate him.

Monday - Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup
Tuesday - Beef Stroganoff
Wednesday - Sour Cream chicken
Thursday - Turkey
Friday - Green Salad, Cheese tray (potluck)
Saturday - Easy Pot Pie
Sunday - Smoothies & Popcorn

Monday - Chicken Fingers
Tuesday - Nachos
Wednesday - Pizza
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - tortellini (leftover pizza for DD#2)
Saturday - Eggs & Sausage
Sunday - Chili


Sunday, December 14, 2014

2014 Groceries Week 50 - $108.51

This week Albertsons had some good deals on cereal, Kleenex, and Lysol wipes.  Here's the cereal I picked up on Monday night.  Ten boxes were $15.34 after the sale and MC and I got a 16oz tub of sour cream for $1.50 that didn't make it into the picture.  $16.84 total on food.

This was another dash into Albertsons before the cereal sale ended Tuesday.  I had more coupons for this batch of cereal so it was only $13.90 for all ten boxes.  The creamer was on sale for $0.99 and I had $1.00/2 MCs so they were only $0.49 each!  I also got 4 markdown cinnamon rolls for $0.99 and a picked up whipped topping at Dollar Tree and put in the photo here.  It was $17.85 including the Dollar Tree stop.

This was a big shopping trip at Fred Meyer.  We were getting ready for lots of baking and I was missing one ingredient from our four main recipes.  So we got corn syrup, marshmallow crème, and pecans along with all sorts of other goodies that were a great price.  I also picked up frozen tater tots & fries, and some corn tortillas for some frozen dinners I want to make.  I also got a big bag of Stevia - trying to be healthier.  I spent $60.95. 

I really need to go the store again, but I was out of town all weekend.  Maybe tomorrow. 

milk delivery was $12.87

Total for Week 50: $108.51
Total year-to-date: $4,781.04
Weekly Average 2014: $95.62


Friday, December 12, 2014

Dollar Store Deal - Cellophane Tape 6-Pack

I find some great bargains at Dollar Tree.  Some stuff is great, some stuff is junk, but the gems are what makes it all worthwhile.

Here is my latest favorite:

Cellophane tape!  I have a dispenser and 6 rolls for just a buck is pretty awesome, especially this time of year with all the gift wrapping.  Well, really any time of year with young kids who like to abscond with tape and have zany fun with it in hidden away corners. 

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Gluten-Free Menu Plan


Monday - Fajitas
Tuesday - Pork Loin
Wednesday - Chicken in Sour Cream sauce
Thursday - Chili
Friday - Pot Pie
Saturday - Hamburger Stew
Sunday - Eggs & Sausage


Monday - Sweet Sausages (packed lunch)
Tuesday - leftover Mexican
Wednesday - Mini pizzas (on English muffins)
Thursday -
Friday - Lunch Out
Saturday - Hot dogs
Sunday - Chili


Sunday, December 7, 2014

2014 Groceries Week 49 - $149.12

I spent a lot again this week, but I put lots in the freezer and stocked up the pantry. 

I went to Fred Meyer and found all sorts of clearance stuff in addition to the few things I needed for company.  I can't find my receipt!  But I don't think I bought any paper goods on this trip and my bank/debit card says $26.54.

I stopped at Albertson's late one night after helping with some babysitting at church.  I scored $0.50 relish and $0.99 breakfast sausage!  In total this trip was a meager $10.92.

Another quick stop at Albertson's while 2 littles were at therapy yielded some clearance yogurt & bagels.  I spent a whopping $2.99.

Another quick stop at Safeway when I was out late one night.  I wanted the $0.99 dressing and found some markdown meat, too.  I spent $12.25.
This ended up being a bigger shopping trip than I anticipated.  The biggest score was 1# packages of organic, grass-fed, 10% fat ground beef for $3.99.  I also got some clearance apples for $1.00 each bag.  This time they had 6 apples in them!  Hooray!  I also got white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, coconut, English muffins, tomatoes, onion, bananas and a 2# brick of cheddar.  I spent $70.73.

I was at that Albertsons with the GF corndogs today.  I was buying Lysol wipes and Kleenex and picked up the corndogs and some boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.99/lb.  I spent $12.82 on the food items.

Week 49 Total Groceries: $149.12
Year-to-date Grocercies: $4,672.53
Weekly Average: $95.36

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December Update

Quick December Update:

At November 1 we had grown our emergency fund to 53% of our goal.  On November 8 we attended a charity event and were moved to make a donation, but decided to use our emergency fund. On November 12 my sweet father-in-law went home to Jesus and there were some expenses that came up related to that which were also covered by our emergency fund.  We ended up down to 42% of our goal after those events, but the good news is that we were also still able to save new income and replenished up to 45%.  So we'll keep at it.  I estimate we'll be at least 47% and maybe 48% by the end of December. 

My big goal this month is to get my girls' clothes organized.  I made the switch to fall/winter clothes, but the bins are still out in their rooms and I need to sort them more efficiently by size, season, so it's an easier come summertime.

Love, Katie

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Menu Plan

Meals this week:

Tuesday - Pizza
Wednesday - Easy Pot Pie
Thursday - Potato Soup
Friday - Pork Loin (crockpot)
Saturday - Mexican
Sunday - Corn Dogs/Fries

Tuesday - Hot Dogs
Wednesday - Macaroni & Cheese pie
Thursday - Bagels
Friday - Hot Dogs
Saturday - Fajitas
Sunday - Leftovers

It's a super-busy week.  Hoping a plan helps keep me sane!

Super excited to get all our Christmas décor up.


Monday, December 1, 2014

2014 Groceries Week 48 - $10.00

Last week we were out of town.  We were home one day, drove 3 days, and were at my in-laws' for 3 days.  I brought along all of our contributions for the Thanksgiving meal.  My sister-in-law went to the store a couple of times and picked up a few groceries that my kids were consuming so I gave her $10 to cover it.  Otherwise I didn't spend anything on groceries.

No milk delivery because we were out of town and no eggs.

Week 48 Total: $10.00
Year to date 2014: $4,523.41
Weekly Average: $94.94


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November Update

I used to publish a monthly update in the first few days of the month.  The exceeding tardiness of this post is perhaps evidence of how busy I am at home lately, but I didn't want to skip it.  We had a little emergency fund progress that I wanted to report.

At the end of September we had 51% of our emergency fund saved and we had a slight increase in October to 53%. 

During November we had to dip a little into the emergency fund, but more on that in next month's update.

Love, Katie

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2014 Groceries Week 47 - $283.84!

Wowee Groceries!  I felt like I shopped constantly this week as I tried to score lots of sale deals.

I went to Albertsons on Tuesday between therapy and well-child appointments for 2 kids.  I found Twinings Tea on clearance for $1.00/box, as well as microwave popcorn for $1.00/box.  Creamer was on sale for $0.99 and microwave dinners were $0.69 each.  DH asked me to buy a few to have on hand when there aren't dinner leftovers.  I also picked up bananas, pears, and  carrots.  I spent $31.89.

I went to QFC with DD#1 on Wednesday.  I wanted to pick up the 2# cheese for $5.99 and I found lots of other great stuff on clearance.  Large organic yogurt was on clearance for $0.99, small cups were $0.29, $0.49, & $0.49.  Neufchatel was only $0.49 each!  12 oz sausage patties were $1.99 each and hummus was $0.99.  The broth was $0.50 each.  I am using so much broth these days with the GF cooking that I decided I should be stocking up at the holiday prices.  I spent $42.13. 

Next I headed to Safeway for the Rice Krispies on sale 3/$5.  We were getting an oil change for the car on Friday so I took all 4 kids shopping at the Safeway next to the Jiffy Lube.  I had lots of coupons to combine with the sale items and decided to spend the $35 to buy the turkey for $0.69/lb.  I bought 6 boxes of cereal in total for an average price of $1.25 each.  4# C& H sugar averaged $1.61, Chex Mixes were $0.75 each, Chicken broth were $0.46 each, evaporated milk was $0.73/each, 3# grapes were $5.00, and Pam were $2.49 each, Ritz crackers (for party trays) were $1.62/each, and I paid regular price for a cucumber and sour cream.  Altogether I spent $55.24 including the turkey.

On Saturday I visited Fred Meyer as I didn't want to miss out on $2 Martinelli's and the International Delight creamer for $2.00 after MC.  I also bought 3/$5 Nabisco crackers and $2.00 ice cream.  I spent $24.50 after coupons. 

I almost never go to Haggen, but I'm sure glad I went this week!  I noticed, hidden on the back page of their ad, that Chex were on sale 4/$6!  Of course I had to go get that deal as GF cereals are so limited.  I scored some amazing clearance deals, too!  Lunchmeat was on sale for $3.00 each (with purchase of 4) so I was delighted to find 4 packages with $2.00 off coupons.  That made each 8 oz. package only $1.00 each!  Next I found lots of dented cans in the markdown bins.  $0.22 for white kidney beans, $0.30 for 5 cans of green beans (hello Thanksgiving casserole!), $0.28 black black beans, and $0.57 each for organic refried beans.  I also got applesauce cups for $0.15 each.  And I didn't get them into the picture, but I bought a dozen cans of olives for $1.00 each.  The cereal was an average of $1.25 after sale & MC.  Altogether I spent $29.89. 

I also went to Albertsons because they had butter on sale for $2.49.  Finally, some butter on sale!  They also had sales of $0.99 for 10# potatoes and $0.99 for 2# brown sugar.  I also got 3/$5 crackers again and clearance donuts & cinnamon rolls (see photo below).  I spent $18.69 at Albertsons.  I also put $6.00 veggies in this photo that I got a Target. 

Here is a photo of the olives, donuts, and cinnamon rolls that didn't make it into earlier photos.
The sales were so good at Albertsons I played hooky from church on Sunday morning to go to the Albertsons next door.  I have only found the GF corndogs at this particular Albertsons so I bought two boxes, along with the $0.99 brown sugar, 3/$5 crackers, and $2.49 butter.  I also got Coffeemate for $2.00 each after MC.  I spent $34.95.
 Finally, I made one more trip to QFC.  I was looking for a certain type of Pull-Up I'd seen on clearance earlier in the weekend and I found a package!  Foodwise I bought a pomegranate, some more cheese, ground beef on clearance, and some lollipops for $0.49.  Lollipops are such a good car snack because it keeps the kids occupied for a few glorious minutes.  =)  I spent $22.68 on food.
Milk was $12.87
Eggs were $5.00
Total Week 47 Groceries: $283.84!!!
Total Year to date 2014: $4,513.41
Weekly Average: $96.03 - a big leap from $91.95 last week!
I hope I spend far less this coming week.  I think the sales were just so spectacular approaching Thanksgiving I wanted to stock up.  In particular, we use so much brown sugar, butter, and coffee creamer that I felt it would be prudent to stock up. 
So expect a much smaller week next week! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Neat Home Improvement Ideas

I  am not much of a Pinterest girl, but I sure like home improvement ideas.  I clicked through something on Facebook last week and found a cool page with lots of neat ideas, some of which I'd never seen before.

Click Here to see the page.

This was my favorite:

In particular I liked where some of the electrical outlets were tucked away and some ideas on using space between studs for storage.

Some were impractical and NOT resourceful, but for the most part were interesting.


Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Groceries Week 46 - $123.86

I went to Albertson's Monday when I had a half hour to kill.  I spent $12.46 on food including sprinkles for $0.25 each in black and orange, 2 bell peppers, 6 8-packs of Juicy Juice for $1.00 each, a dozen day-old donuts, and some day-old baguette rounds.

Tuesday night I ran down to QFC for lice shampoo (more on that another day) because DH was flying out early Wednesday morning.   While there I found lots of clearance Halloween candy - 5 bags for $6.45, a couple of pomegranates, and 4 packs of pepperoni.  I spent $16.45.

Friday I finally made it to Champion Foods in Issaquah.  Hooray!  I bought a 25# bag of GF Oatmeal.  It was $39.50, but I have been desperate for certified GF oatmeal so I splurged.  I also picked up 6 small bags of chips for a total of $2.00, some box mixed quinoa for $2.00 each, a new GF cracker for $1.50, and something else for $2.55 that I can't remember because I didn't take a picture.  I spent $51.55. 

And finally, I had an emergency run to the store on Sunday after church.  I had baked a pan of brownies for a potluck dinner, but found out at 10:30 the dinner was actually a lunch!  So I hauled 4 kids into the store and bought ice cream, whipped cream, and 2 toppings for our dessert contribution.  I picked up a loaf of GF bread (for DD#2 to use instead of a bun at the potluck) and I also got GF corndogs there because they're the only store I've found that carries them!  I spent $30.53. 

Milk delivery was $12.87

Total spending for week 46: $123.86
Year-to-date total: $4,229.57
Weekly Average: $91.95


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2014 Week 45 Groceries - $128.49

I've been having trouble getting my camera to connect to my computer so no photos.  Rats!

And I'm behind in posting because we've been having internet trouble again, but I think it's finally fixed.  Yay! 

So weekly groceries:

I didn't shop until the weekend because I was waiting for my weekly household allowance that I usually give myself on Fridays.  So I went to QFC on Friday while I had a sitter for the younger 3 and found lots on clearance.  We got 4 packages of breakfast sausage links for $1.99 each, hummus for $1.99, a big organic greek yogurt for $3.49, an Adam's peanut butter for $2.19 and 8 bags of apples for $0.99 each.  I also got a pomegranate because my oldest daughter just loves them and a package of lunch meat for $3.49.  I spent $21.05 total.  I also noticed GF spice cake mix on clearance and it was a kind I already had at home, but hadn't tried so I didn't buy it.

Friday afternoon we made up the cake mix at home and it was delicious!  So I went back late that night and bought the remaining 4 packages for $1.99 each - really a bargain considering the cost of GF flour and how fast it is to whip up some cupcakes from a mix!  I also happened upon deli pizzas for just $2.99 each.  Whoohoo!  I bought 6 so DH would have easy dinners with the kids.  I also bought 4 containers of GF pizza dough (makes 4 servings each for DD#2) at $2.49 each, some naturally colored jelly beans for $1.99, and bananas at $0.69/lb.  I spent $39.13.

On Sunday I stopped at Fred Meyer for a couple things.  We were expecting company for dinner and I needed a couple things.  I ended up spending $51.48!  EEP!  I always find so many great things at Fred Meyer.  I bought ground sausage, brown sugar, a loaf of bread, parsley, 3 boxes of cereal, coffee, garlic, 2 creamers, a gallon of organic milk, 4 cans of olives, sour cream, clearance star pasta, and 2# shredded cheese.

I stopped at another QFC to see if there were more GF spice cake mixes on clearance.  No luck, but I did get clearance tomatoes.  4 bags at $0.99 each and about 9# total.  It was $3.96.
No eggs
Milk was $12.87
Week 45 total groceries: $128.49
Total year-to-date 2014: $4,105.71
Weekly Average: $91.24

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Resourceful Project - Washing the Lego Bin

A couple months ago one of the kids knocked my mug of coffee into our Lego bin.  After a few weeks I thought I should try to figure out how to clean up that mess, so I starting systematically cleaning the Legos in a lingerie bag in the dishwasher. 

Here's my bin when it was nearly empty.  I realized as I got down to the bottom that an occasional wash might be a good idea just because of all the gunk I saw had collected.  And NOT just due to the spilled coffee.  Ewww.

I used a laundry bag for the Legos in the top rack of the dishwasher.  Initially I had the kids fill the bag every day, but after a mishap with crayons melting onto clean dishes I decided to fill the bag myself.  Incidentally, it takes way more time to clean crayon wax off dishes than to fill a bag with Legos. 
I dumped each batch of clean Legos into another bin while I slowly emptied the regular bin.

It was really satisfying to see this sparkling bin though.  And nice to finally put the Legos back in their home!
Love, Katie 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Gluten Free Menu Plan

Oi - I'm a day late in my menu planning.  And wouldn't you know it we had dollar hamburgers for dinner last night (chili for my GF kiddo).  Time to get back on the horse!

Tuesday - Scrambled eggs
Wednesday - Sausages, veggies, nuts
Thursday - Roasted Beet & Potato Soup (didn't make it last week)
Friday - potluck dessert
Saturday - Macaroni & Cheese Pie
Sunday - Mexican

Tuesday - Hot Dogs
Wednesday - Macaroni & Cheese Pie (GF Noodles)
Thursday - Chicken, cucumber, walnuts/almonds (packed lunch)
Friday - Nachos/Quesadillas
Saturday - Crockpot Taco Soup
Sunday - Leftovers


Monday, November 3, 2014

2014 Groceries Week 44 - $216.69

What is it about fall and spending a ton on groceries?  My aunt and I had a conversation last week about this.  She shared that in her parents' generation it was common to have fall stock-up sales and lots of "case" prices on canned goods for people to load up in preparation for winter.  We speculated that it was a holdover from our agricultural roots when food is harvested and stored to last throughout the year.  When storms that stranded people at home were more common and we weren't so spoiled with a visit to the grocery store every couple of days.  It was fun to speculate, but of course I don't really know why I keep spending so much.  I think I just like to be prepared! 

First up Fred Meyer to pick up eggs & bread.  My mama was coming to visit and she likes her breakfast.  I found some GF crackers and cookies on clearance to try.  I spent $27.95.

Next I went to Albertsons to pick up GM cereal that was on sale and included Chex - finally!  They were out of Rice, but I was happy with Corn & Apple Cinnamon.  I found shortening and a sugar-free apple pie on clearance.  I picked up bacon and Greek yogurt on sale.  I spent $27.33 altogether.

I popped into QFC for tortilla chips one day and found some dressing and sausage links on clearance.  I spent $6.66.

A different QFC yielded more clearance apples, another bottle of clearance dressing and clearance bacon.  I also bought a bunch of pepperoni, and spent $14.93.

The cord that connects my camera to my laptop disappeared about this point.  So while I have photos on my camera, you don't get to enjoy them on the blog.

DH and I had a big discussion about bulk buying chicken that resulting in my heading to Albertson's to ask about buying a case of boneless, skinless chicken breast.  They agreed so I spent over half of my grocery money on 40# of chicken at $1.79/lb.  I also picked up creamer, yogurt, nitrate free hot dogs for $1.49 each, 3 packages of chocolate chips in preparation for holiday baking and got a sweet deal on popcorn: Buy 1 3-pack of microwave popcorn, get a second and 2 - 2 liters of 7-up for free.  I spent $96.43!

I also spent $2 at Dollar Tree on imitation vanilla (I know, I know) and green tea bags.

I was at Fred Meyer later that day because I realized I had forgotten to pick up Pull-ups and coffee filters.  Gah!  And of course, another trip to the store means another $16.35 on groceries.

Finally, one more stop at Albertsons on my way to book club because I didn't allow enough time make an hors d'oevre and I ended up spending $11.17 on more chocolate chips and several items off the clearance bakery rack.  Seriously, how could I resist 4 croissants for $0.99?  Or 4 cinnamon rolls for that matter? 

Milk delivery was $12.87 and I finally hooked up with my friend for eggs (hooray!) and spent $10.00.  I also am reducing my spending by $7.00 because I made a math error last week.

Total spending week 44: $216.69
Total year-to-date Groceries: $3,977.22
Weekly Average 2014: $90.39


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Canning Plums - Sweet Plum Sauce

Is there something special about plums that makes them more runny than other fruit?  For the second year in a row my attempt at plum jam has made plum sauce instead.  It's super yummy and folks loved it last year so I guess it will do this year, too.

First I put 1/3 of the plums in the crockpot with about a cup of water.  I counted them as I put them in so I would be sure to fish out all of the pits.  DD#3 is an awesome little kitchen helper so as I scooped out each plum, she did all the pit picking.  We dumped the next 1/3 of plums into the juice, let it cook about 6 hours and repeated the pitting.  One more round and we were done.

This is the plum pulp.  I always think it looks gross, but whatever.

It sat in my fridge for a week before I was ready to make the jam.  I measure out 6 cups and it looked like I could double the batch.  Sure enough, it was just over 12 cups.

My pot was pretty full as I warmed it up.  I added 2 boxes of pectin.  I didn't like the look of the few skin bits floating around so I got out the immersion blender.

The immersion blender is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.  See how much more smooth it looks after blending up the bits? 

Uh-oh.  Time to add 8 cups of sugar.  Will it fit in my pot? 

Nope.  I had to get out my next-size-up pot.

Once it was all cooked and boiled hard for a minute I poured it into hot jars, and sealed with boiled lids and rings.  Finally, I ran them through the water bath with a 15 minute boil.  After every jar had sealed with a satisfying pop (best part of canning) I labeled them with the date and "sweet plum sauce" since it was definitely too runny for jam. 
It made a little over a gallon.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Menu Plan

My mom is visiting this week - Hooray! 

Monday - Pizza
Tuesday - Italian sausage & veggie soup
Wednesday - Packed dinner (sausages, carrots, almonds)
Thursday - Skillet
Friday - Roasted beet & potato soup
Saturday - Beef stew
Sunday - Smoothies & Popcorn

Monday - out
Tuesday - scrambled eggs
Wednesday - nachos
Thursday - sandwiches
Friday - French toast
Saturday -Leftovers
Sunday - Tuna Melts


Sunday, October 26, 2014

2014 Week 43 Groceries - $103.73

This week was pretty average on the grocery shopping front. 

I went to Fred Meyer on Monday.  I wanted to get some certified gluten-free hot cereal for DD#2.  We have standard oatmeal & I think the trace gluten has been having a negative effect.  At least I'm hoping that's what the problem is!  The GF cereal was $3.99 but I consoled myself with knowing it's so very much cheaper than cold cereal.  Other notable items - the 10# bag of potatoes was $2.48.  I only needed a 5# bag, but it was $2.99!  Of course I'll buy the 10# instead.  Altogether I spent $36.29 at Fred Meyer.
 I stopped at Albertsons just to look for clearance deals on Tuesday when I was nearby.  I'd been scoring some great deals on meat lately, but not this Tuesday.  Rats.  We got candy free with 5 cans of sale soup and decided to try a couple new GF snacks.  The lettuce was $.99 on clearance.  I spent $7.99 altogether. 
 I went to QFC Wednesday on my way home from a kid activity.  I scored major clearance produce - hooray!  There were 3 bags of clementine oranges (8-9 each) for $0.99.  I got red band bananas for $0.49/lb.  And I got 9 bags of apples for $0.99 each.  DD#1 and I weighed every bag to be sure it was over 2# so I know at most I spent $0.50/lb.  We also found clearance bagels ($0.99), clearance frosting ($0.99) just in time for Christmas cookies, and clearance Caesar salad (for me).  We also got taffy for $0.50 just to try it (GF).  I spent $25.58 altogether.
Finally, I picked up some carrots and beets as part of my bulk buy group.  I spent $21.00.  It was $7.00 for 5# organic carrots and $7.00 each for organic regular beets and Chioggia beets.    
I still haven't met my friend for eggs.  Sad!
Milk was $12.87
Total for 2014 week 43:  $103.73 
Year-to-date 2014: $3,760.53
Weekly Average: $87.45
Love, Katie

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Huge Batch of Applesauce

I had a mountain of apples to can last week and kept putting it off because it was a huge job.  It was just about 100 pounds altogether.

We started at 5PM and all the girls were helping. 

This was our most common set-up: 2 youngest washed and passed apples to me, I cut apples and filled pots, 2 oldest took turns grinding apples as each pot was soft enough.

The two youngest also filled the dishwasher with jars to be sanitized.  One unloaded the jars from a box and rolled them to her sister to be put into the dishwasher.  They were having a great time.

Even a 4 year old can make applesauce!  She was so excited to be up so late!  This was about 9:30 pm.  They were such good little helpers I let them stay up as long as they kept a good attitude. 

We listened to worship, the Frozen soundtrack, and classical hits while we worked.  One girlie took a round of photos.  Here I am in a rare photo appearance. 

My kitchen is a huge mess after canning this much applesauce.  This is the trivet where the hot pots of cooked apples sit while being loaded into the grinder.

This is one burner on my poor stove.  The apple juices just make a huge mess.  Bleh.

But the finished product is always pretty impressive.  We made 42 quarts! 

Our total for the year is now just over 100 quarts.  We went through that by February last year so I'm hoping to get to make even more - depends on if I get any more apples for free or affordable enough.

Love, Katie