Saturday, May 31, 2008
Albertson's (5/24): $9.77
1 gal 2% milk: 3.99
1 bag pretzels: 2.69
8 oz cool whip: 1.00
1 large pack strawberry gelatin: 0.69
3 red onions: 1.40
Farmer's Market: (5/25): $7.95
2 avocados: 1.00
2 lb potatoes: 1.95
3 pints strawberries: 5.00
Trader Joe's (5/25): $3.98
4-pk veggie burgers: 2.49
1 bag cheese puffs: 1.49
Smart & Final (5/25) $2.99
8 whole wheat hamburger rolls: $2.99
Costco (5/30): $22.17
6 lb frozen mixed fruit: 7.89
6 cans (16oz each) frozen OJ concentrate: 8.69
1.5 lb crumbled blue cheese: 5.59
1 head lettuce
1 bunch beets
1 large bunch turnips
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch radishes
1 pt strawberries
1 lb summer squash
2 small onion
1 bunch kale
Friday, May 30, 2008
But frugality isn't all just about food, there are other things that are involved. Food is certainly easy sometimes... for me, it's all too easy for me to spend money on food. Growing up in the 70s and 80s in a rural area, we just didn't eat out. We went for a soft serve ice cream cone 1 or 2 times per summer, and we did get McDonald's once or twice per year.
Fast forward to my 20's...I am sometimes saddened when I think about how much I spent eating out back then, yikes! So for me, concentrating on food is a no-brainer. I have friends who like to eat out. And boy, we went out twice this weekend...$60 later...(which is more than my weekly food budget). $60/week is $3000/year. For me, in particular, I have to plan for leftovers on Thurs and Fri because I don't feel like cooking.
There are, however, things that I do besides (1) limit eating out and (2) control my grocery bill.
Movies: We do have cable TV and netflix. We do not have premium cable channels. We rarely go to movies (even matinees, when you add babysitting, become cost-prohibitive). What we have done for movies is this - if my husband wants to see an action movie that I don't care to see, he will go with a friend. And vice versa. If we want to see a movie together, we will swap babysitting with other friends OR go on an afternoon while our son is in daycare.
Books: We are voracious readers. I have gradually changed my reading habits from "I read these 10 authors and MUST read their latest book in hardback!" to "let's see what the library has". It does mean that I occasionally find a dud. I also have books on my Amazon wish list (for birthday/Xmas). And we occasionally go to used bookstores or garage sales.
Magazines: I get three. Two were $4 per year, the third was a gift.
Gym: We just switched to a bare bones gym that is 1/3 the price of our previous one. I also run, and I don't skimp on running shoes...but I do look for good sales. I've gotten my last three pair for $50-65 each.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
1 lb ground sirloin (1.99)
2 T diced onion (0.05)
1 egg (0.12)
dry mustard, garlic powder, salt, pepper (0.09)
Total: $2.25 for 4 burgers, or $0.56 each.
The bean and corn salad was 2 cups kidney beans (cooked over the weekend), 1 cup corn from the freezer (froze it last year when it was plentiful), 1/4 cup diced red onion, a little jalapeno, and a vinaigrette with oregano and cumin, canola oil and white vinegar.
Kidney beans (0.40), corn (0.17), onion (0.10), jalapeno (0.03), vinaigrette (0.10), total approx 0.80, maybe a little extra for the spices, for 4 servings, or 0.20 each.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
- Dice potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Place in steamer basket over an inch or so of boiling water.
- Steam 14-16 min or until potatoes are fully cooked. Let cool partially.
- When still a little warm, add in diced onion. Mix olive oil, vinegar, and spices (your own italian dressing), and toss with potatoes and onion. Let marinate at least an hour, several is okay.
- Toss pickle, olive, and eggs with potatoes.
- Mix mayo, sour cream and dijon mustard. Stir into salad.
This is also good with sliced radishes, steamed sugar snap peas or green beans.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Trader Joe's 5/18: $9.66
2 lb tortilla chips: 3.19
organic yogurt, 32 oz: 2.99
raisins, 1 lb: 1.99
eggs, 1 doz: 1.49
Ralph's 5/18: $22.91
pasta sauce, 24 oz: 1.00
salsa, 24 oz: 1.50 (coupon)
dried garbanzos, 1lb: 0.99
whole wheat pasta, 13 oz: free (with double coupon)
cream cheese, 8 oz: 1.00
string cheese, 24 oz: 5.99 (coupon)
ICBNB spread, 2 lb: 3.38 (coupon)
red wine vinegar, 13 oz: 1.99
"chikn patty" morningstar farms: 2.49 (coupon)
whole wheat bread: 1.29 (discount rack)
6 large rolls: 1.29 (discount rack)
Trader Joe's 5/20: $4.98
1 gal skim milk: 3.29
8 oz sour cream: 1.69
28 oz refried beans: 1.50
2 heads garlic: 0.78
1 red onion: 0.50
4 ears corn: 1.00
1 oz cinnamon: 1.99
I made the chicken only:
Chicken (1.3 lbs): $2.20
1/2 bunch scallions: 0.60
1 clove garlic: 0.05
1 tsp fresh grated ginger: 0.10
2 T soy sauce: 0.40
1/2 c water (instead of chicken stock)
total: $3.45 for 4 servings, or $0.86 each
I served this with corn on the cob (0.25 per ear) and sauteed onion, squash, and carrot (probably about 1.00 for two servings). Total per person is about $1.61.
I was so darned hungry by the time dinner was ready (hubby was late, it's IMPOSSIBLE to cook with a 2-year old!!) that I didn't take any pictures.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
1. I am amazingly good at feeding three people in So. Cal for $50/week without a garden or
2. We don't eat any veggies
I thought I'd post our weekly CSA harvest share bounty. It's $20/week.
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch kale
1 large head lettuce
1 bunch radish
4 pt strawberries
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch beets
1 lb mandarins
1 lb summer squash
1 bunch turnips
Oooh, I do have plans to roast that kale...
Seems simple, but hard to do. A little bit here and there...candy bar, soda machine, book to read, gum, pair of shoes...
I have been doing really well at not spending. The problem for me is - if I am in a habit of spending, it's hard to stop. And if I am in a habit of not spending, sometimes I just get the urge. It's all too easy to pick up a book (or two!) at Borders. We've been pretty good at going to the library instead, but sometimes we get tempted by the bakery next door ($15 later for a butter ring...)
Today I am home sick. I made a quick trip up to the store to buy Comet. My husband cleans the toilet with it and reminded me that we are out. (I have a good husband.) I was so tempted up there...by Starbucks, the sandwich shop, the bagel place, the ice cream stand...but I left with just my $1.07 container of cleanser. Starbucks would have been $4. A sandwich or a bagel, $3 or $4 easy. How many pounds of beans or rice could I buy with that? Besides I had a can of soda waiting for me at home.
...then I came home and started baking cookies. I have to have some kind of outlet. And it turns out, I made 46 cookies for only $3.05...less than the price of a frappucino. Which, if we were good, would last us two weeks (one cookie per person per day). But that's not likely, unless I freeze some.
I often try to have some nice "treat" foods in the house. So that I can remind myself I don't need an outside treat. Today was going to be a hotdog day at Costco (hubby and I have a monthly date to buy diapers). It's a pretty cheap "treat" at $1.50. Alas, home sick. Instead I treated myself to some good leftovers, and had some crackers and cream cheese (and of course, the cookies!)
But boy, it's a hot day today (90F!), so maybe that wasn't the best idea.
...on the other hand, I just had one, and they are tasty! And only 7 cents per cookie.
Farmer's Market (5/10)
3 pt organic strawberries: $6.00
4 lb pasta (two 2-lb bags): $3.00
5 lb all purpose flour: $2.39
1.9 lb chicken breast: $3.40
Trader Joe's (5/12)
2% milk, gallon ($3.49)
skim milk, gallon ($3.29)
green onions ($1.19)
Smart & Final (5/14)
5 lb kidney beans ($5.99)
24 whole wheat tortillas ($2.99)
Mesa Produce (5/14)
1 cucumber (0.59)
1 bunch dill (1.50)
1 red onion (0.61)
Strawberry jam (4.99)
2 lb Havarti (7.95)
4 lb bacon (7.99)
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
We had this with some sliced avocado from my friend Yejin's tree.
My toddler really liked both the patties (ate 1/2 one, with a little ketchup) and the carrots. As always, he's an avocado lover, and he had a bunch of strawberries as an appetizer.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
My original plan was to have the leftover salmon, roasted turnips (with onions and garlic, same way I do beets), and salad. But then I saw the bunch of kale. I usually just steam, freeze, and use like frozen spinach. But I was going to roast turnips anyway.
I googled to find recipes for roasted kale. They are mostly the same. So I used this one:
Except for I had the oven at 400F for the turnips.
Dinner therefore was:
Roasted turnips with onions and garlic
Roasted kale chips
Salad with radishes, olives, blue cheese, and avocado
Nicholas (my 2-year old) happily ate the salmon, kale chips, olives, avocado, and blue cheese. He spit out the turnip. He'd already snacked on strawberries, so we let him finish up dinner with a few tortilla chips.
Every once in awhile I have a meal where I think my family members would just go "eww, gross" and would be surprised at what Nick will eat. This was one of those days. Most of my family members don't particularly care for kale, turnips, or avocado.
No pictures. I thought about it after taking a few bites, decided just to eat instead.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
1 lb rice stick noodles: $1.25
chili garlic sauce: $1.95
24 oz salsa: $2.50
2 boxes wheat saltines: $3.98
1 avocado: $0.89
1 loaf whole grain bread from discount rack: $1.19
Bag refund: -$0.05
Trader Joe's trip #1
1 qt organic yogurt: $2.99
8 oz sliced mushrooms: $1.99
gallon skim milk: 3.29
gallon 2% milk: 3.49
3 green bell peppers: 1.99
4 bananas: 0.77
Trader Joe's trip#2
1 lb limes: $1.99
jar green olives: $2.29
4 bananas: 0.76
2 lb cheddar: 5.49
16 oz unsalted peanuts: 1.99
4 onions: 0.76
2 zucchini: 1.42
1 head cauliflower (discount bin): 0.49
2 stalks broccoli (discount bin): 0.19
1.65 lbs rolled oats: 1.47
3 c. oatmeal, about 10 oz (0.56)
3 T wheat germ (0.35)
3 T sesame seeds (0.15)
1/3 c. sweetened, shredded coconut (0.17)
1/4 c. sunflower seeds (0.10)
1/4 c. almonds, chopped, about 1.25 oz (0.35)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 T brown sugar (0.06)
1 banana (0.19)
1 T honey (0.06)
2 T canola oil (0.04)
Total: $2.03 for 4 cups (8 1/2-cup servings), or 0.25 per serving
Optional: Add 1/2 c. raisins (after cooling) for an additional 0.22, or 0.28 per serving.
Heat oil, honey, mashed ripe banana, and brown sugar in sauce pan until sugar dissolves.
Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour wet over dry. Stir.
Spread in flat rimmed baking dish. Bake at 300F for 30-35 min, stirring once or twice, until desired golden brown-ness.
Keeps for a couple of weeks at room temperature.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
I have made some "working mom" adjustments...making the same flavors but turning it into a "fried" rice style Spanish rice. It's a pretty flexible recipe. Generally I don't use bell pepper or carrot, but today I had them.
"Fried" Spanish rice
1/2 small onion, diced (0.05)
1 green bell pepper, diced (0.66)
1 small carrot, diced (0.10)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (0.10)
1 cup brown rice (0.31)
1 3/4 cup water
1 T canola oil (0.02)
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp parsley flakes
3/4 tsp salt
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, drained (save the juice!) (0.60)
Total: $1.84, about 0.46 per cup.
For the busy woman: cook brown rice ahead of time. I throw it in the rice cooker the night before. Leave in fridge.
Saute onion, carrots, green bells in oil until soft. Add rice, spices, garlic, drained tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir fry a few minutes until warm.
I served this with:
Cooked black beans (in crockpot): 0.10 per half cup, 0.20 per cup
Sauteed bok choy (from the farm)
Shredded cheddar cheese (about 0.09 per half ounce)
Salsa (0.25 per 1/4 cup)
Sour cream (0.11 per 2 T)
My meal was then:
0.46 (rice) + 0.15 (beans) + 0.25 (salsa) + 0.11 (sour cream) + 0.09 (cheese) plus bok choy.
Or $1.06 plus bok choy.
Plus the cost of the 1.5 glasses of wine :)
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I have been trying to work more veggies into my toddler's diet. He likes eggs, so this was a method.
4 eggs (0.50)
1.5 cups broccoli florets (0.19, from discount rack)
1/4 cup chopped onion (0.10)
1/2 Tbsp olive oil (0.05)
1 slice American cheese (0.15)
salt and pepper
Chop and steam broccoli in microwave for 3 min. Meanwhile, chop and saute onion in olive oil until beginning to brown. Add broccoli and mash up with a fork (you don't want the kiddo to be able to pick it out!) Stir fry a few minutes until broccoli begins to carmelize a bit.
Beat eggs in a bowl with salt and pepper. Add a little milk (optional). Add eggs to broccoli and onion, cook until eggs are set. Break up American cheese and stir in to melt.
We served this meal with some homemade bread (2 slices, 0.06 each), 1 T light margarine (0.03), and an avocado, sliced (free from a friend's tree).
Dinner total: $1.14 for three people.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Lasagna (makes two 9x13 pans)
12 cooked lasagna noodles (0.70)
4 cups cottage cheese (3.49, on sale)
2.5 oz grated parmesan (0.60)
2 eggs (0.25)
1 bunch kale (1.00)
1 bunch chard (1.00)
1 lb ground sirloin (2.00 on sale)
2 small zucchini, diced (1.00)
2 carrots, diced (0.15)
2 green bell peppers, diced (1.33)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (2.00)
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (0.70)
About 1-2 cups tomato paste, I eyeballed it (1.00)
italian seasoning, basil, salt, pepper, oregano (0.25)
2 T dried parsley (0.05)
1 large onion, diced (0.25)
3 cloves garlic, pressed (0.10)
3/4 lb mozzarella, shredded (2.25 on sale)
Total: 18.13 for two pans, $9.07 per pan, $0.60 per piece (15 pieces per pan).
1. Steam kale and chard. Cool. Squeeze dry. Puree in food processor. Move to bowl.
2. Puree cottage cheese in food processor. Add to kale and chard.
3. Beat eggs. Add to bowl. Add 1/2 cup grated parmesan and 2 T parsley. Stir together.
1. Brown ground sirloin. When beef is almost no longer pink, add onions.
2. When beef is fully cooked, add diced mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, and garlic. Add spices to taste.
3. Cook well until vegetables are cooked and the water has mostly evaporated. Add diced tomatoes and paste. Mix well.
4. Add water to the mixture until the right sauce consistency evolves. Should look like spaghetti sauce with a lot of stuff in it. Taste & adjust seasoning as necessary.
Heat oven to 375.
Put a small amount of sauce in the bottom of each pan. Layer 3 noodles on top of sauce in each pan.
Layer 1/4 of the cheese mixture on each of the two noodle layers.
Top with 1/4 of the sauce mixture on each of the two noodle layers.
Top with 1/4 of the mozzarella on each sauce layer. Add a little bit of parmesan.
Repeat layers (cheese, sauce, cheese).
Bake at 375 for 30 min covered with foil and 20 min uncovered. You can refrigerate the lasagna before cooking. If so, bake 35 min covered and 20 min uncovered.
We had this with cauliflower found at the produce store in the discounted section. $0.49 for a large head!
2 T olive oil: 0.21
Total: 0.70 for about 8 servings (1/2 cup each)
I also made a loaf of part whole wheat no-knead bread, about 6 cents per slice, with 3 cents for butter.
Grand total per serving: $0.87 per adult
0.18 for cauliflower
0.60 for lasagna
0.09 for bread
If I had any energy at all after cooking, dishes, toddler, I would post pictures of my food. Maybe someday.
Friday, May 2, 2008
This weekend we are making a couple of pans of lasagna...one for friends with a new baby. I found a good deal on cheese, and it saved me a trip to Costco: Yesterday's trip:
$5.00: 3 pkgs of 6-pk applesauce cups (18 4-oz cups)
$2.00: two 24-oz applesauce (2 for $3, with a $1 off coupon)
(applesauce is important when you have a toddler!)
$3.08: 1/2 lb deli ham and 1/2 lb turkey($3/lb, this was part of an amazing 8 hr sale, we rarely buy this)
$3.49: 32 oz cottage cheese (for the lasagna)
$2.49: lemon cookies (not on sale, just a treat for dh)
$3.00: two 8-oz packages of mozzarella