Week 10 & 11

I’ve been a busy lately..so no posting~sorry. We had a mini-vacation to Ohio to see our newest sweet nephew, the kids have been sick and on the BRAT diet for 3 days now & I’ve started a new role at my stay-at-home job which has me busy. I have spend my “suck in the house with sickies” home time baking homemade snacks and treats for our busy spring.

We love muffins and they are easy to make refined sugar free by subing out the sugar for maple syrup, honey or agave . I always put ground flax seed in every muffin batch I make and I always look for recipes for that include oatmeal. I’m enjoying using my new Pampered Chef mini muffin tin to try all sorts of recipes and not one muffin has stuck yet!

We are loving coconut palm sugar (best deal on it is at Costco) — we gave it a try a few months ago to help our flat cookie dilemma. Coconut palm sugar has a similar texture as brown sugar so it keeps the cookies together and looking like a cookie instead of a pan of squares.

We can’t forget our favorite gluten free chocolate treats;  Greta’s Miracle Brownies & Black Bean Chocolate Cake. All our treat are freezable and I can pull one or two out for Josie’s lunch or a special dessert. It’s better on the budget and the waistline!

Last week’s spend: Longos & Costco  – total spend = $108.69

Argula, 6 lemons, 8 bananas, 16 oranges, 6 apples, 3 mangos, spring mix, 2 broccoli, carrots, green onions, blueberries, strawberries, 4 green peppers,  2 tomatoes,  red onions, cucumbers, 2 bags of Tostitos Scoops, 4 loaves of Dempesters bread, tortillas, Josie’s bread, cinnamon, pork loin roast, deli ham & Montreal Smoked Beef, sliced havarti, 2 pcs of rainbow trout, 18 eggs, 3 tubs of plain greek yogurt, 2 containers of hummus & coconut sugar.

This week’s spend: Longos – total spend = $48.58

5lbs of bananas, 6 tomatoes, ice berg lettuces, grapes, basil, cauliflower, 3 pkgs of blueberries,  jar of applesauce, can of pumpkin puree, 2 pkg of mini chocolate chips, 1 loaf of Dempesters bread,  Josie’s bread, 2 thin crusted pizza, chicken nuggets & mozarella cheese

Sunday – pizza night

Monday – pork chops & fried rice

Tuesday – GF  pasta with argula

Wednesday –  chicken fajitas

Thursday – Rainbow Trout & rice

Friday – Chicken nuggets & sweet potato fries

Saturday – Going away for our church retreat weekend

Emergency Fund: $44.85

Week Nine: The Produce Experiment

Maybe I’m just longing for a good old summer farmer’s market but the produce the last few weeks have been dreadful; from mushy berries, cucumbers that taste like soap and cantaloupes that could pass as cardboard. Last week a momma friend whom I deem to be a health conscious and thrifty momma insisted that I should give the produce at our local Longos store a try. I really do the love this store, it so bright and spacious, you can smell the aroma of Starbucks as you enter the store! Everything is always so neat and tidy, and the staff is always friendly. I took her up on this challenge and I was pleasantly surprised;  admittedly I rarely just shop at one grocery store, even with price matching I just don’t seem to get enough variety of produce on sale to shop all at one store. (our grocery bill is between 50-60% fresh produce each week) So what could it hurt!

One of the blockbuster sale for fruit at No Frills this week was 4 -170g of blueberries for $5 – I purchased 3 @ $3.75 (that’s 510g), to my surprise the first thing I saw when I entered Longos was 551g container for $2.99. I got more blueberries, for less money & they are best blueberries we have had all winter, firm and delicious!

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Check out these cucumbers; for 20 cents I’ll take the bigger one thanks and it didn’t taste like soap! Or the broccoli below, Longos for 99 cents is the one on the left!!  Or the tomatoes below — firm, red and so tasty, the jury is still out on the No Frills ones they are on the counter waiting to ripen.

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In complete fairness, all the produce pictured above was on special at Longos this week, when it came to matching No Frills specials to Longos regular prices it was a bit of different story. The pineapples and cauliflower although much better where more than double the price.

What about meat? – at No Frills I got a massive piece of pork loin. It is wasn’t pretty, the only thing I could think to do with it was make pulled pork, I feed my extended family off 8 plus 2 freezer meals. Where for virtually the same price I got a roast and two pork chop meals for my family.

Bottom line, I will shop the meat & produce sales at our local Longos and even the reduced section produce is better then the cheaper stores, but on regular canned goods & sundry items I’ll have to stick to No Frills or Food Basics.

No Frills – spend $68.10

2-4pkgs of yogurt, 1kg chocolate chips, 2lbs salted butter, Family sized Cheerios, honey djion mustard, 2 4L milk, cottage cheese, 2 pkg potatoe gnocchi, Josie’s bread, tortillas, large pork loin ($10.79)(vacupacked), 8 royal gala apples, 3 170g blueberries ($3.75), brocolli ($1.27), cauliflower ($1.77), cucumber ($1.27), green onion, red onion, 12 navel oranges, pineapple ($1.77) , 2 tomatoes ($1.02)

Longos – spend 33.37

551g -blueberries ($2.99) Broccoli ($.99), pineapple ($3.99), cauliflower ($3.99), 2 tomatoes ($.88), cucumber ($1.49) Pork roast ($6.66) and 6 pork chops ($5.37)

reduced produces, 5 bananas (that we still yellow – just single ones) 6 pears, 20 clementines & 14 limes) $4.27 total

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Sunday: Soft Beef Tacos

Monday:  Leftover Roast Beef (from freezer) & Gravy with Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Salsa

Wednesday: Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Pork Chops with Cider Gravy

Thursday: Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Friday: Going on holidays until Monday

** I will post next Tuesday after we are home & I have the groceries done!**

Emergency Meat Fund: -$2.03

Week Eight – Use all your Resources

Thanks to my momma friends on the Momstown Burlington Message Board there is a whole new way to save money this year IF you have an iphone! Checkout 51 “Get new offers weekly. Buy from any store. Snap a photo of the receipt. Get cash back!”.. sounds to good to be true???   Folks are getting money back all kinds and the best part is that the coupons seems to be on items that we are really use weekly and often the item is on sale.  Here’s an example from this week; there is a coupon for $1.50 Classico Pasta Sauce and it’s on sale at Food Basics for 1.87.. that’s a jar of pasta sauce for 27 cents. The jury is out on what Checkout 51’s end game really is?? My thought is the manufactures of products want to see if we actually shop sales and what store we buy at. In our house is — when will Checkout 51 make an app for the Android?

No Frills & Food Basics $82.43

Pork Tenderloin 3 pkgs, Bananas, Brocolli, red onion, blackberries, blueberries, milk, hot peppers, strawberries, mango, 3 loaves of mulitgrain, sugar-free bread, lime, watermelon, tomatoe, iceberg lettuce, baby spinach, cilantro, sweet potatoe, green onion, mushrooms, red grapes, 5 corn on cob, cantaloupe, 5 avocados, 3lb of extra lean ground beef, tub of yogurt, 4 pkg of yogurt, 2 pkgs of quaker oats , shake n bake, Fruitopa & egg noodles,

Sunday: Dinner out at my parents

Monday: Spaghetti & Meatballs

Tuesday: Poached Chicken Breast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Spinach

Wednesday: Rainbow Trout

Thursday: Chicken Mini Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes

Friday: White Chicken Chili

Saturday: Pasta Bake

Saturday:

Week Seven — Where’s the junk?

Three times in the last week, different mom have commented “where’s the junk in our grocery shopping?”  One mom actually said that “if I had 4 kids I would be buying granola bars and other assorted package snacks for their lunches”, the truth is even if I had 10 kids I wouldn’t.  I want my kids to grow up view food as fuel, learning to make healthy choices, as a mom it’s my job to put healthy food in front of my kids, it’s their job to eat it!  We eat muffins, cookies & the occasionally brownies.. they are just all home made.  You control the ingredients, it tastes better and you do get more bang for your buck! I bake for one afternoon once every 2 weeks and freeze everything!

Grocery Stores: No Frills & Food Basics: $95.40

4 pkgs of single serve oatmeal, 1 lb butter, 2% milk, miracle whip, 8 pots of yogurt, case of 24 bottles of water, 3 loaves of Flax Quinoa Bread, 2 containers of ricotta cheese, 4 large bone-in chicken breast, 2 pkg of x-lean ground chicken, 4 royal gala apples, 2 cantaloupes, 3lb bag of carrots, 4 pkg sweet peppers, 4 granny smith apples, green onions, 4 bartlett pears, 1 lb strawberries, grape tomatoes, 4 pkg of bagels, cucumber, kielbasa, 5 small sweet potatoes, 5 avocados,  mushrooms, 2 pkgs of x-lean ground beef, cauliflower, 2 broccoli, 1 lb of bacon, tortillas, 4 yellow delicious apples, 2 pkg of pretzel goldfish & 2kg pkg of frozen beans & carrots.

Sunday Lunch: Grandma Cooper’s Beef-a-roni

Sunday Dinner: Pizza

Monday: Dinner at the in-laws

Tuesday: Ham & Sweet Potatoe Scalloped Potatoes

Wednesday: Chicken Fajitas

Thursday: Turkey Pot Pie

Friday: Parmesan Chicken Manicotti

Saturday:  Sunday School Entertainment – Dinner out

Emergency /  Meat Fund : $3.50

Week 6 — What’s your number?

If you just started following my blog you might wonder how we came up with $100 for a budget? or how does a family with 2 growing teenage boys manage on $100 — they don’t! You need to work out a budget for your own family, but set a tough budget otherwise you won’t be saving.

Here are my general guidelines;

$50/adult/week, the challenge is when your children eat as much as an adult or possibly the lunch box goodies that you buy for them means that you need the $50/week to make it through the week.  I suggest if you have two school age children you count them as a “combined” adult.

If you have special dietary requirements, set a budget per month, say $100 and try to stick to it. There is endless recipes on the internet to experiment with, you will save more and it often taste better if you make it yourself.

This week’s spend: COSTCO… (first time in 2013) No Frills & Walmart (I used $5 in points to get a free snack for the kids and the salads) $108.05Image

3 bricks of cheese, mini cucumbers,3 cans of soup, 8pkg of yogurt, cheese slices, 4 pkg of frozen fish pieces, applesauce cups, bag of milk, kielbasa, ham hock, banana, 2 containers of blackberries, cantaloupe, cauliflower, 4lbs of apples, 8 sweet peppers, green onions, 6 oranges, strawberries, 3 large sweet potatoes, popcorn twists,DD’s bread, granny smith apple, rainbow salad, broccoli coleslaw, IL maple syrup, 18 eggs, 30 cheese strings, 3 jars of marinara pasta sauce & 8 cans of diced tomatoes.

Sunday – out at our friend’s daughter’s birthday party

Monday – fish cakes (leftover fish in the freezer)

Tuesday –  Chicken Breasts, sweet potato mash, Grilled Cauliflower

Wednesday –  Turkey Noodle Casserole with Peas

Thursday – Shake & Bake Chicken Drumsticks

Friday –  Pasta Bake

Saturday – white chicken chili

Emergency / Meat Fund $ -1.10

Week Five – Are you hospitable or an entertainer?

We are starting a new month this week, at this point I have $200 at least in my pocket that would have been indulgences or food in the garbage (which IMO is way more sad) over last year! There might be some items that you are missing on fixed budget for groceries, whether it’s $100/ week like us or $200 if you have 3 growing  teenage boys, you have to sacrifice somewhere!

My facebook friend, Maggie asked me about entertaining/ having guest for dinner last week and there has been several blogs going around lately about the subject, my favorite is called “Thoughts on Hospitality”. It’s a great read and help me re-focus on allowing visitors to see us how we are everyday. I am no entertainer.. and certainly know that if I had to have everything perfect in a tiny townhouse with a 4 & 2 yr old, we would never have anyone over. We have our great  friend “Auntie” Sarah over most Tuesday nights before Bible Class, some weeks she comes in and there is a calm, nicely tidied house with a great meal on the table. BUT most weeks, I’m sure she thinks a bomb has gone off in our home for all the rumble she has to climb through to make it our dinning room table, the kid’s are not at their best right before our evening meal and the dinner is less than stellar… but she never complains, she’s happy to have a meal and I am happy for the night out at church and her company.

I truly love having people over to make a meal for them, to allow my kids to get to know our/their friends in a less formal setting is priceless, BUT it can be expensive. So here’s my thoughts on hospitality.

1. Bring back the potluck! – No where was it written that you have to do all the prep, cooking and clean up especially if it’s a larger group. If someone offers to bring, take them up on it. I’m always happy to bring when I go to someone else’s home. Pick a theme or a main dish and take it from there.

2. If “entertaining” is something that you are in too, maybe your husband’s boss comes over for dinner frequently, maybe you are a budding Martha Stewart or maybe you husband loves to grill steaks every time you have your in-laws over? Why not set a monthly budget just for that – we have a line in our household budget for “entertainment” and in the summer months – I’ve been known to throw a $25 steak purchase into that category!

3. Everyone loves a home cooked meal — in the fast-pasted world we live in you might be surprised by what someone deems as great food. My brother as an example loves meatloaf and even orders it from a menu in a restaurant  mostly because my sister-in-law never makes it!  Don’t forget if there is kids coming for dinner, pasta is always a great hit and is reasonable affordable. If I do make just a regular family dinner for guests I do try to make something nice for dessert, because dessert is a big treat for my family!

This week I found a bit of challenge, we were out of several things all at once!

Grocery Stores: No Frills, Zarky’s, Fortinos & Food Basics – total spend $107.89

36 large eggs, 2 small packs of Lipton’s soup, Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles, white sugar, 12 BS/SS Chicken Breast (3 meals), green cabbage, 2 cucumbers, green onion, pineapple, 2 pkgs of strawberries, 2 sweet potatoes, mini watermelon, 2 green zuchinni, 2 pkgs of frozen pasta, 18 jumbo frozen croissants, 2% milk,  3 lbs of ground beef, Josie’s pancake mix, coconut sugar, pkg of granola bars, 2 cantolupe, 12 bananas, 750ml cottage cheese, tortillas, reduced produce lemons & limes, Josie’s bread, 4 pkg of sweet peppers, fresh ginger, 4 Delissio thin crust pizzas, white mushrooms & 8 royal gala apples.

Menu

Sunday: Pesto Pasta

Monday: Shrimp Fajitas

Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin

Wednesday: Lasagna

Thursday: crustless quiche

Friday: meatloaf & mashed potatoes

Saturday: Pizza Night for Daddy & Sam, Josie & Mommy are out at Little Disciples Day!

Taking my emergency/meat fund down to: $6.95

Week 4 Update

My whole cooked Salmon that I bought last week was a big hit.. for $3.46 we had a tasty salmon dinner and had plenty to freeze for fish cakes in a couple of weeks. I did forget to buy wine white which I used up last week on the stroganoff meatballs. We are not wine white drinks but I always keep a tetra-pak or a screw-top bottle of a cheap local Pinot Grigio ($9.49) in the fridge for cooking purposes. This week’s emergency trip involved a trip to my beloved Fortinos to pick up some of their pre-packed Ziggy meats. 5 packs @ $11.33 later – we will be stocked up for awhile. I used to buy lunch meats in separate 100 gram lots and freeze it but I was finding it freezer burnt or just plain soggy when it dethawed!

Emergency/Meat Fund: $14.84