Saturday, March 31, 2018

March: Buying and Eating

We began March with a monthly allocation of  $381.30 and a cushion of  $498.91, with $172.31 of the cushion coming from this year.

After the first 15 days of the month we are left with $218.78 to see us through the end of the month.

What we Ate:

Asian glazed shrimp from the freezer, Asian rice salad from the freezer, peas, cake mix peanut butter cookies from the freezer;  Reuben, potato and cheese slices, Irish Chocolate cake; Stromboli from the freezer and popcorn;  leftover pizza from the freezer and homemade snack mix;  homemade clam chowder from the freezer and leftover sandwich and stromboli from the fridge; cheesy potatoes and ham, salad, corn on the cob;  penne pasta bake, peas and carrots, tomato bread;  Moroccan spiced garbanzo beans with vegetables over couscous, homemade chunky applesauce, toasted tomato bread; venison stroganoff with noodles, asparagus , salad; pork chops, broccoli and rice, strawberries and bananas; red beans and rice with Cajun venison sausage, garlic roasted cabbage wedges; leftover smorgasbord;  Cuban black bean soup, cheesy cornbread and fresh fruit

What we bought:

Aldi:  pretzels, cabbage, onions (3lb.), bananas (1.5lbs), cream cheese, bleu cheese, feta cheese, nectarines (2lbs), strawberries (lb), asparagus (lb), tomato juice, orange juice.  $18.03

Semi boneless ham (11.94 lbs), Folgers, cream cheese, cheese (2), chocolate chips. $21.09

Giant Eagle:  protein bar, breakfast seasoning    Free with coupons

CVS:  instant Maxwell House (3)  $8.97

Aldi:  mushrooms. $1

Save a Lot:  cantaloupe, sweet potatoes (2),  butter (10)    $22.23

Dollar Tree:  vanilla syrup for coffee  $1

Aldi:  butter (6)  $11.94

Giant Eagle:  frozen vegetables. (10),  fresh asparagus,  yogurt ( free)  $13.98

Tops:  cheese (4)    $9.99

Save a Lot:  au gratin potato mix (2), scalloped potato mix (2)  $3.16

Whole Foods:  frozen edemame (2)  $3.98

Total groceries:  $115.37

Eating Out:

Lunch with Angela . $12.49

Mike lunch:  $2.00

Total eating out:  $14.49

Grand Total:  $129.86

We had $218.78 to spend this two week period.  So, we get to transfer $88.92 into the cushion.

A good month.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Dinner for two for $1.00

A container of Moroccan chickpea soup $.49 bought at salvage but you could buy any chunky soup on sale.

Served over Couscous $.25 bought at salvage.  You could use pasta, rice, or potatoes.

Homemade Toasted two ingredient tomato bread $.10 .  Any bread or roll bought on sale would work.

Homemade chunky applesauce  $0.15.  Any fresh or canned fruit bought on sale would work.

You may not hit on $1.00 depending on your choices and your sales, but you can get close.

We even had enough leftover for a lunch.

Do this a few times and your budget will thank you.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Two ingredient Quick and Easy Italian Tomato Bread

This recipe is making the rounds of British food blogs.  I tried it recently.  We liked it out warm out of the oven and even more toasted with butter.

2 cups self rising flour
1 can (15 ounce) tomato sauce

Mix and put in loaf pan.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until it tests done.

Since I am unable to ever follow a recipe exactly, I did add some Italian seasoning and garlic powder to my batter.  But, you don't have to.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Restaurant Copycat Bacon Lentil Soup

A friend and I used to love to meet for lunch on Mondays to enjoy a bowl of bacon lentil soup and a slice of the restaurant's famous cheesecake.

So, when times changed and our visits didn't often occur on Mondays, I started searching for a way to make that tasty soup at home.  This is what I came up with.

Several slices of bacon chopped into small pieces ( or some leftover Easter ham)
2 cups chopped onion
2 carrots diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced or equivalent of garlic powder
12 cups of chicken broth.  I used homemade.  You could use bouillon cubes.
1/2 Tbs. Thyme
1/2 tsp.  ground celery
1 1/2 c. Lentils. (As they cook they will be absorbing some of that broth)

Put all ingredients in your crockpot and cook overnight or all day.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Easy eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict is a wonderful Easter brunch.  And it doesn't have to be hard to make.

First, toast three English muffins and butter.

Heat up thin slices of ham and place on muffin halves.

Poach six eggs (I use a microwave poacher).

Put one egg on each muffin.

Prepare some blender hollandaise sauce.

Blender hollandaise:

3 egg yolks, 1 Tbs lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp cayenne
Combine in a blender, blending until light in color then slowly blend in  10 Tbs of melted butter.

Spoon sauce over each half and serve.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

March 1-15: Buying and Eating

We have $381.30 allocated for the month to cover the cost of groceries and meals eaten out for the two of us.  We also have a cushion of $498.91, with $172.31 being from this year, of money allocated but not yet spent.

What We Ate:  Buffalo chicken dip with homemade toasted tortilla chips, Italian green beans,  Mexican fried cheese and strawberries; tilapia with Parmesan crust, broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce, grilled asparagus;  sausage in sauce, garlic cheese bread, Italian green beans, zucchini pancakes, chocolate-peanut butter protein pancakes;  Mexican hamburgers and leftover vegetables;  Dutch oven roasted chicken, cranberry sauce, fried green beans, salad and homemade chocolate pudding; Chicken Paprikash Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches; leftovers for Sandy; leftover smorgasbord; eggplant Parmesan, asparagus, roasted cauliflower and broccoli; Thai red chili chicken and vegetables curry with Asian onion pancakes and strawberries; venison, spinach and feta pie, salad; boneless pork chops, cheddar and cabbage bake, asparagus, blueberries; ham, green beans, beets, garlic cheese bread; chicken Paprikash Soup from the freezer, cheese bread, frozen strawberries

What We Bought:

Aldi:  eggs (4), Romaine lettuce, cucumber, Bleu cheese, Parmesan cheese, strawberries (2), grape tomatoes, sweet peppers (3)   $18.27

Giant Eagle:  cheese (11pkgs)  $20.68

Price Rite:  Goya beans (3), cabbage, celery (3), hotdogs, roasting chicken (7.5 lbs), cheese (3pkgs)  $15.29

Aldi:  peanuts, almonds, cream (2)   $10.86

Giant Eagle:  Chobani yogurt drink. Free with coupon

 Price Rite:  cheese (10pkgs),  olives, roaster chicken, bacon, corned beef point cut, fresh garlic (2 lbs).  $44.71

Aldi:  Greek yogurt, Pam, cream. $7.17

Whole Foods:  yeast. $1.50

Bread Store:  rye bread, cinnamon raisin bread, English muffins, everything bagels (2)  $4.55

Sam's:  yeast (2#)  $4.78

Total spent on groceries: $123.81

Eating Out:
Lunch with Jim and Robin:  $20.59
Mike Barstool Sailing:  $7.47
Lunch with Girls:  $10.66

Total spent eating out:  $38.71

TOTAL this two week period:  $218.78

We stocked up on cheese, taking advantage of some good sales.  I also invested in quite a bit of meat, including 2 roasting chicken and a corned beef.
Over the next two weeks I will looking to be investing in a ham or two, maybe some butter if it's on special and eggs which are almost always on special around Easter.  Of course, there is always asparagus, the taste of spring.

For the rest of the month I have $218.78 of the monthly allotment remaining.  If necessary, I will go into the cushion of $498.91, $172.31 of which comes from this year.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Low Battery Diet

I inadvertently started a new diet yesterday.

When I stepped on our digital scale it told me I had lost 17 pounds in 24 hours!

Boy did I like the look of that number!

However, I have a feeling I will be gaining it all back very quickly.

Mike is going to replace the batteries today.

I have a sinking feeling the number won't be nearly as nice.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Irish Chocolate Cake: Made Easy With a Mix

I found a recipe for a scrumptious chocolate cake with coffee, Irish whiskey, and dark chocolate chips.  It sounded wonderful but time consuming.  So, I decided to simplify it.

In December, I bought some cake mixes at a great price.  One of them was for a Devil's Food cake.  So, that is where I started.

One chocolate cake mix
1 cup Irish whiskey (to take the place of the liquid called for in the recipe, don't worry, the alcohol cooks out leaving only the flavor)
2 Tbs. Instant coffee granules
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Mix and bake as directed on the box, adding the chocolate chips at the end of the mixing.
Sift confectioners sugar over the top of the cooked cake.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Homemade Asian Feast

Going through the freezer I discovered some peeled halos, an orange and some citrus peels.  My brain immediately went to Asian cuisine.  Using several recipes as a base, this is what I came up with.

Orange Rice Salad:

3 servings cooked rice. ( I had some in the freezer to use up)
1 orange, peel and all, zapped in the food processor
1/4 cup sugar
One fourth onion, chopped fine
Red or orange pepper, chopped fine
Tablespoon of sesame oil
Dash of vinegar
Crushed red pepper to taste
Halo orange sections

Mix all together.  Can be served cold as a salad or heated through to use as a warm side dish.

Orange Glazed Shrimp:

5 halo oranges, with peel, zapped in the food processor
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbs sesame oil
Dash of soy sauce
Crushed red pepper to taste
1 Tbs. Corn starch

Mix all together and cook until thick.

I cooked some battered shrimp and then tossed them in the sauce to coat.
This turned out really well.

Sesame Peas:

Frozen peas
Dash of soy sauce
1 /2 tsp sesame oil

Mix and cook in microwave.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Homemade Snack Mix: All the Taste, Half the Cost

50 ounces of Chez Mix costs about $5 when homemade or about $10 when bought at Wal-Mart.

  And, homemade has no preservatives or other ingredients you can't pronounce.

We also like to tell ourselves it's healthier than other snacks.  (Leave us with our delusion.)

I tweak what I put into it every time I make it, depending on what I have in my cupboards that I manage to get good sale prices on.

Today I used a box of rice chex ($1.50),  a box of cheerios (50 cents), a bag of pretzels (99cents), and a box of cheese crackers ($1.44).  Add some butter, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder, cook slowly in the oven and enjoy.

Get creative with what you use.  Your imagination is your only limit.  Bagel chips?  Goldfish crackers?  Nuts?  Dry roasted edamame or garbanzo beans?  Small size wheat crackers?

I'm already planning the next batch.  :)

Friday, March 2, 2018

$1 Equals celery For A Year

We went out to do some grocery shopping yesterday.  We go through the ads that come every Wednesday and check on the specials.  After that we decide on which specials we will take advantage of. 

But, as we go through the store we keep our eyes open for in store/ manager's specials.

Yesterday we found celery 3/$1.  A great deal.

This morning I used my food processor to help me get it ready to freeze.  That saved me a lot of chopping.

Now, we have one and a half cups of celery leaves and four cups of sliced celery ready for the freezer.

We are also having braised celery with blue cheese as part of our dinner.

Not bad for $1.