Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February 15 - 28: Buying and Eating

Allotment remaining:  $262.86

At the beginning of this two week period I was bitten by a cold/flu bug so meals were simple and based on freezer leftovers.

What we ate:  Roast beef sandwich and popcorn; leftover roast beef, shrimp cocktail, spinach balls and bread pudding;  pasta and tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwich; leftover sloppy Joe from freezer, corn on the cob, pasta with garlic and oil;  homemade corned beef hash and toast with fruity yogurt; Italian stromboli, garbanzo bean salad with olives, pimento and sun dried tomatoes, steamed green beans; chicken Swiss Casserole from the freezer, peas, applesauce;
lasagna from the freezer, green beans, garlic bread; Asian glazed shrimp, orange rice salad, sesame peas; lentil bacon soup with cheese and crackers; clam chowder with egg and tuna sandwiches; Stromboli with potato medallions and yogurt with applesauce;  leftover soup and sandwiches; spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread and fruit with yogurt

What we bought:

Aldi:  cream cheese, feta cheese, parmesan cheese, Ahi tuna.  $10.96

Erie County Farms:  smoked turkey breast, bologna (2), ham, pepperoni (2), corned beef (2), Swiss cheese, provolone cheese.  $27.03

Save a Lot:  onions (2), Italian sausage (3 lbs)  $7.60

Giant Eagle:  cod fillets, salmon fillet, battered white fish, tilapia, shrimp, canned tuna (6)  $54.41

As you can see, we did our yearly seafood stock up.

Salvage:  low carb tortillas (4), coffee (8), cereal (6), granola bars (10 boxes), organic Mac and cheese (4), flour (10lbs.), crackers (2), craisins (2), croutons, cheeze it's (4), sunflower seeds (36 oz,), sesame seeds (21.5 oz), lime juice, canola oil spray, Ghirardelli chocolate chips (2), Alfredo sauce (2), Thai red curry, tomato paste (6), soft taco boats, pine nuts, poppy seeds, yellow curry lasts, sun dried tomatoes, dill pickles, grey poupon mustard, cream soup (4),broth (2), evaporated milk (2), diced tomatoes (2), tomato sauce (2), Rotel tomatoes (2), green beans, cream style corn, water chestnuts (2), Chinese mixed vegetables, vegall, great northern beans, Italian green beans.   $68.55

CVS:  cereal (3)  $4.97

Aldi:  Worcestershire sauce (2), olives, grapes, pretzels. $8.45

Aldi:  cheese (8), onion powder.  $20.01

CVS:  instant coffee (3)  $8.97

Eating Out:

Ruby Tuesday:    $5.35

This half of the month we spent $210.95 on groceries, including stocking up on fish and doing a big salvage shop.

We also spent $5.35 on a lunch out.  The last of the big time spenders.  :)

That means we get to add $46.56 to our cushion.  It now stands at a total of $498.91, with $172.31 being from this year.

Saturday, February 24, 2018


Chowder is a comfort food for the winter.  Give one or all a try.

Tuna Chowder:

2 shredded carrots.         1 chopped onion.           1 small rib of celery, chopped
1/4 cup butter.                   1/4 cup flour.                 1 can corn     
  1 can tuna, undrained.    1 large potato, diced
2 cups chicken broth.       2 cups milk.                   Salt and pepper to taste

Saute carrots, onion and celery in butter.  Add flour.  Add remaining ingredients. Cook until potatoes are done and soup has thickened.

If you find a good deal, substitute canned salmon for the tuna.

Easy New England Clam Chowder:

1/4 cup diced bacon.           1/4 cup diced onion.           1 can cream of potato soup
3/4 cup milk.                         2 cans diced clams.            1/8 tsp pepper

Cook bacon and onion together.  Stir in soup and milk and heat through.  Stir in clams and their liquid.  Add pepper.
Note:  I add corn to this, too.

Easy Corn Chowder:

1/2 pound diced bacon.         1 medium diced onion.       
2 tablespoons flour.               4 cups milk.                                Salt and pepper
1 can cream style corn.         1 can corn.                   1 can tiny whole potatoes, diced

Cook bacon and onion.  Blend in flour.  Cook until bubbling.  Add milk and heat until boiling, stirring constantly.  Stir in corns and potatoes.  Season as needed.
Heat through.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Spent $17.17 And Saved $30.66 Plus

CVS, Walgreen's, and GNC had some good deals that I paired with some coupons and got some great deals.

I bought 6 Valentine's Day cards, 2 jars of instant coffee, a 25 load bottle of Purex detergent, a 25 load bottle of Tide, a marshmallow treat bar, broad bean crisps , two  34 load bottles of Xtra laundry detergent and a 6 ounce tube of Colgate toothpaste.  My cost for ALL of this was $17.17.

I also got two free 8x10 pictures of the grandchildren thanks to CVS and Walgreen's.

Another successful shopping trip. I love getting things for nothing, or next to nothing.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Cranberry Orange Muffins from Leftovers

I had about 3/4 cups whole berry cranberry sauce and about a tablespoon of orange juice concentrate languishing in the freezer.

Cranberry orange muffins for breakfast made sense.

I used the basic sweet muffin recipe found in my 40 plus year old Betty Crocker cookbook.  This one uses oil instead of butter which works because I am rationing my butter supply.

 I just didn't see the sales at Christmas on butter to allow my usual stock up for the year.  I only have about half of what I usually buy.  Therefore I need to make what I have go further.


1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. Salt

I used self rising flour I got for 10 cents per pound before Christmas.
 The egg was from a dozen I spent 69 cents on. 
I used the moisture from the cranberry sauce and orange juice in place of most of the milk. 
I did need a little more liquid to get the batter at the right consistency, about 1/4 cup.  I used water and dry milk.

My grandmother's old muffin tin was used.  No mini or maxi muffins here.  Just twelve average ones that were baked at 400 degrees for about twenty minutes.

Result, three breakfasts for us that are quite tasty, if I do say so myself.  :)

And, only about 15 cents, or less, per person per breakfast.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February 1-14: Buying and Eating

Allocation for the month:  $ 344.40.      Cushion:  $ 452.35. ($125.75 from this year.)

What We Ate:

Baked potato, salad, butter beans and homemade apple sauce;  Ham and bean soup with homemade bread; leftover Mexican casserole from the freezer and salad; turkey pieces in gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted beets; leftover nachos from the freezer, cheese/beans and rice, homemade applesauce;  liver and onions for me, meal out for Mike; leftover ham and bean soup and Mike's leftover soft pretzel; pasta with faux meat sauce and garlic bread;  mushroom rice, cranberry sauce, dilled carrots, buttermilk biscuits; pizza; leftover mushoo from the freezer; Philly cheese steak sandwich with homemade French fries and peas;  ham and cheese strata; shrimp cocktail, spinach balls, Delmonico steak, yogurt and strawberries,  heart shaped cinnamon rolls

What We Bought:

Aldi:  pretzels (for chex mix), Swiss cheese (2), bleu cheese. $8.55

Price Rite:  butter (2), eggs (6), frozen pizza (2), kielbasa (4),  Italian sausage (3 lbs), pasta sauce (4), cheese its  crackers (2), peas (2.5 lbs)  $30.79

Bread Store:  bagels, artisans bread (2), hearty rye, English muffins. $3.54

CVS:  Honey Nut Cheerios  (2)  $2.98

Save a Lot:  cider for vinegar. $2.99

CVS:  Maxwell House instant coffee (2)  $5.98

Giant Eagle:  Chobani yogurt. FREE.    Saved $1.79

GNC:  marshmallow treat and broad bean crisps  FREE. Saved $5.98

Tops:  butter, cereal. $3.68

TOTAL:  $58.71

We did a lot of eating out of the cupboards for this two weeks and it shows.  We basically bought only what we needed or what was just too good a deal to pass up.

However, we do need to do a salvage shop.  And that will cost.
Also, I hope to take advantage of some Lenten fish and seafood specials.
The last two weeks of the month will definitely cost more but I'm OK with that.

Eating Out:

Mike Barstool Sailing:  $10.44
Jury duty lunch:  6.25
Arby's 2/1 sandwich. $6.14
Mike breakfast with Rick:  $2.68

TOTAL:  $25.51

Grand Total:  $84.22

Remaining Allotment:  $260.18

Monday, February 12, 2018

Irish Coffee, With Coffee This Time

Recently I met a friend downtown at an Irish Pub and ordered an Irish Coffee.
I was confident what I would receive.
I was terribly, terribly wrong.  Emphasis on terrible.

First, my drink arrived over ice.  Wrong.
Next, there was no whipped cream.  Wrong.
Third, believe it or not, there was no coffee!!!
Wouldn't you think the name might give it away?

I'm not sure what they did give me because one sip did it for me.
But they swore it was Irish Coffee.


Below is a process that is guaranteed to give you a REAL, traditional,  Irish Coffee.

First, brew a pot of Good coffee.
To a mug add a shot of Irish whiskey.  (Regular whiskey will work in a pinch.)
Add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to the whiskey.
Fill the cup with the coffee.
Top with whipped cream.

This is a wonderful ending to a great meal in the cold of winter.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Saving 71 Percent

Yesterday I did a shop at CVS.  Taking advantage of their sales and my coupons I saved 71% and purchased :

4 liters of Pepsi
1 box of Puffs with lotion,
2 Arm and Hammer Detergent with Oxiclean (25 loads each)
6 mega rolls of Scott's paper towels
2 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios (12.25 oz)
1 Dial foaming hand soap (7.5 oz)

I saved $33.11 overall, spending only $13.68.

Not bad, if I do say so myself.  :)

Monday, February 5, 2018

Hourly Rate

It takes too long.  It's not worth my time.  But is that really the truth?  How long does it really take?  What does it "pay" you per hour to do it?  What is your hands on time actually worth?

I can make a large pepperoni pizza in 20 minutes of hands on time:  making the dough, stretching the dough to fit the pan, adding the sauce, cheese and pepperoni and getting it into the oven.  I'm not including the time it takes for the dough to rise or bake because that doesn't take any of my effort.
Theoretically, I could make 3 an hour.  Each pizza costs me less than $3.  To order a large pepperoni pizza, using a coupon, would cost me a bare minimum of $7.  I save $4 per pizza, or $12 per hour. 

Because I can buy my flour for 50 cents a bag, and I buy my yeast in bulk, I can make a loaf of delicious homemade bread in ten minutes for 20 cents. The same quality of bread costs at least $3.50.  I can make 6 loaves an hour, saving $19.80, at a minimum.

I can make two quarts of ham and bean soup, using my homemade broth and meat picked from the ham bone and dry beans bought at the salvage store for a total cost of 55 cents.  I would need to buy 2.5 cans to make the same amount of soup, and I don't think it's as good.  The canned soup, bought on sale, with coupons, would cost me at least $3.75.   Because it only takes me 5 minutes to gather together the ingredients for the crockpot or pressure cooker, I could make 12 batches an hour.  Each batch saves me $3.20 so 12 would save me  $38.40,  $39 an hour. A great wage in my book.

And, besides saving money and making a decent hourly "wage", I have the enjoyment and satisfaction of making something and knowing exactly what's in it.  No small thing.

Then there's my salvage shopping.  I go once a month and the round trip driving and shopping takes about 2  hours.  I estimate, conservatively, that I save an average of $120 each trip.  That comes to $60 an hour.  And, because I go with a friend I get some very enjoyable girl time thrown in for free.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Buying and Eating: January 16-31

I'm reminded of how expensive protein sources are.  The nuts and the protein powder put more stress on my budget than I wanted.

This was to be a month we relied on the freezer and pantry.  We did, but we also bought more than I expected.

And, of course, this would be a month we ate out more.

But, such is life.  One must roll with it.  :)

We began the second half of the month with $ 291.74  left of the monthly allocation and a cushion of $ 326.60 .

My goal was to add a fairly good amount to the cushion.  I added some, but not as much as I had hoped.

What We Ate:  beef stew with red wine;  taco salad with avocado and homemade salsa; pork stir fry with bacon wrapped water chestnuts;  mooshu pork (makeover);  creamed chicken and vegetables over mashed cauliflower;  beef fajitas with Mexican slaw; pork with lemon and caper sauce, balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts, tzatziki cucumber salad ; slow cooker BBQ country style ribs, three bean salad, spinach pancakes; tortilla chicken and pesto and traditional pepperoni tortilla pizza;  cheesy salmon patties, bleu cheese wedge salad, leftover spinach pancakes; sloppy Joe; grilled cheese sandwiches

What We Spent:

Trader Joe's:  soy protein, soy and flax tortilla chips, peanut butter (2), low carb chocolate (2), cheese (2) , low carb flax bread. $37.64

Save a Lot:  Apple cider (to make vinegar), Pam. $7.54

Wal-Mart:  instant coffee, low carb tortillas. $ 5.80

Aldi:  lettuce, nuts ( 6), yogurt, mushrooms. $31.16. Nuts, for low carb, are expensive!

Tops:  goldfish crackers (3)  $3.00

CVS:  Adkins bars (2)  $12.68. Good for an overactive sweet tooth.  If not used now will be good in March.

Price Rite:  butter (2), frozen pizza (2), low carb tortillas, eggs (4)  $13.31

Total of groceries:  $110.53

Eating Out:

Lunch Before a Movie:  $9.58
Breakfast with Dad.  $23.80
Lunch with Joyce. $11.42
Dinner using an $11 coupon from Ruby Tuesday and free sandwich coupon from Arby's   $2.11
Lunch at RV show:  $8.55

Total of eating out:  $55.46

Combined total:  $165.99 for this two weeks.

That left me with $ 125.75 of the allocation for the month to add to the cushion which now stands at $  452.35.

And, February will be a low meat, eat from the pantry month.  I will, however, be taking advantage of the Lenten specials.