Monday, February 1, 2016

January Budget Results - $429.42

Well folks, I've been slacking on the listing of exactly what I'm buying, but that's okay, right?

Here's a summary of our grocery totals for January.  Pretty good and frugal (for us), but you'll note that I shop at many different stores to get these deals.

And wow, look at those Costco trips!  $51.83 and $51.93??  How did I do that?


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Food prep and meal plan

Well, this is another week of husband travels.  Here's a little snippet of what I cooked and what we ate:

Salad (radishes, cashews, lettuce, carrots)

Stir-fry vegetables (coconut oil, Bragg's liquid aminos, sesame oil) - I used a mix of Costco frozen mixed cauliflower/broccoli/carrot, and some mixed Italian veg.  I ate this over quinoa

quinoa, chickpea, cucumber, olive salad

deviled eggs

homemade Macaroni & Cheese with pureed pumpkin - homemade bread crumbs on top - loosely based on this recipe

Roasted red pepper and sweet potato soup

Chilled zucchini and cashew soup

Pressure cooker Moroccan lentil soup (search this blog!)

Homemade focaccia

My plan is to rotate eating all these things!! Until we run out, then wing it!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Grocery expenditures, ending January 17, 2016

Food expenses for the week: $107.57
Costco: $75.46
Whole peppercorns: 7.79
Sliced ham: 8.35
Pink lady apples (14): 7.49
2 gal milk: 4.69
Frozen mixed veg (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower), 5 lb: 6.49
Frozen organic blueberries, 3lb: 9.99
Tortilla chips: 4.49
2 loaves bread: 4.59
Guacamole minis: 11.59
6 pk Madras Lentils (impulse buy): 9.99

99 cent only store: 17.06
2 heads cauliflower: 2.00
1 bag radishes: 1.00
Frozen broccoli, 1lb: 1.00
Frozen Italian veggies, 1lb: 1.00
Frozen strawberries and blackberries: 1.00
Bacon: 1.99
1.5 lb sweet potatoes: 1.00
2 dark chocolate bars: 2.00 (I have PMS)
4 bananas: 0.88
5 oz mushrooms: 1.00
4 pk bagels: 1.00
4 pk baby artisan lettuce: 1.00 (smoking deal)
4 oz blueberries: 1.00

Farmer’s Market: 3.25
2 lemons and an avocado

Ralph’s: 11.80
2 lb cheese: 5.98
1 head lettuce: 1.00
1 bunch celery: 1.00
1 eggplant: 0.99
Zucchini, 3: 1.35
Onions: 1.50


Sunday, January 17, 2016

What we ate this week

Welcome to my list: what we ate this week. Where I attempt to remember what we had to eat for dinner and some lunches during the week.  Because I don't write stuff down.

What we ate this week:
Saturday dinner: potato and kale soup, homemade rosemary bread
Sunday breakfast: smoothie, ½ bagel.  Bread, cereal, applesauce.
Sunday lunch: canned salmon salad (me), lettuce with homemade vinaigrette. PB&J (hubs), smoothie (kid), bagel (other kid)
Sunday snacks: cashews, chocolate, orange, homemade bread, wine
Sunday dinner: pinto bean, corn, and pepper enchilada casserole, carrots and cucumber
Monday dinner: more enchiladas!
Tuesday dinner: veggie burgers and ??? I don't remember what the boys ate
Wednesday dinner: frozen pizza
Thursday dinner: crockpot chicken with Island soyaki sauce, broccoli, cashews and rice
Friday dinner: leftover chicken with peas and carrots

Saturday lunch: ham sandwiches, celery, raspberries, apple, tortilla chips

Other random lunches:
Leftover soup
Salad
Costco samples (on salad day, I was still hungry!)
Bean tacos

Monday, January 11, 2016

Grocery Expenditures This Week

Okay, well I've decided to start tracking my grocery expenditures each week. I already do that in an excel sheet, but now I'm thinking I should track individual items.  So, for now, I'm going to try that.

I also thought it would be cool to track what we ate each week (menu) in a separate post, but that may be a bit too much.  In any event, this past week, my husband was out of town.  So, I had smoothies for breakfast.  The kids had bagels.  I had salad or leftovers for lunch, the kids ate at school and daycare.  I ate barley stew from a "survival kit" (from a pouch, just add water) that we bought 7 years ago, with homemade bread.  The kids ate pasta with butter and cheese.  Our veggies this week were carrots and hummus, peppers and hummus, broccoli, and green beans.  Varied each night.

Food expenses for the week: $83.45
1/7: Smart & Final – $18.60
32 oz vanilla yogurt: $2.99
Large container basil: $2.99
4 apples @0.59/ lb: $0.93
4 oranges @0.39/ lb: $0.71
2 lb sharp cheddar: $4.99
2 lb mozzarella: $4.99
2 bunches kale: $1.00

1/9: 99 cent only store - $16.99
Instant pumpkin spice oatmeal: $1.00
Frozen sliced peppers, 1lb: $1.00
Frozen broccoli cuts, 1lb: $1.00
4 pk bagels: $1.00
3 pcs Ghirardelli candy: $1.00
6pk organic bell peppers (green/orange): $1.99
2 lb carrots: $1.00
30 corn tortillas: $1.00
1 bunch broccoli: $1.00
1 box cereal: $1.00
1 box hard taco shells: $1.00
2 Romaine hearts: $1.00
7 oz tortilla chips: $1.00
2 boxes blueberries (4.4 oz each): $2.00

1/9: Trader Joe’s - $42.37
Red wine vinegar: $1.99
1L olive oil: $6.99
Blueberry cereal bars: $1.99
Pickles:  $3.49
Sour cream: $1.69
Kalamatas: $2.99
String cheese: $2.99
Chocolate chips: $1.99
Grated parmesan: $4.09
English cucumber, organic: $2.29
Stevia: $6.99
Bananas, 7: $1.33
5 lb whole wheat flour: $2.99

1/10 Ralph’s: $5.49
1 gal milk: $2.49

2 pkg raspberries:  $3.00

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Tips for Reaching your goals

What are your goals for 2016?  Let's not call them resolutions.

No matter what your goals are, there are things we can do to make them happen.  To set yourself up for success, as it were.

I recently watched "In Defense of Food" - a Michael Pollan documentary (based on the book) on PBS.  Apparently many of my friends watched it too, and it made them feel bad.

Well, as someone who read the book awhile ago (as well as many of his others), I've already implemented his suggestions in most areas.  There are things you can do to make it easier.

What is your goal?
1.  Get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Well, assuming that they don't hate them (in which case, you have more work to do), the answer is: serve them.
- And serve them when they are hungry.  "I want a snack" - the response to this is not "do you want...?"  The response to this is to hand them a bowl of carrots and hummus, or sliced up apple.  This can be snack time, after school, or right before dinner as you are prepping.  And while you are cutting and peeling carrots, just go ahead and do the whole bag, okay?
- It's amazing how much easier it is to get your kids to eat vegetables and fruit when you have them.  I admit, it can mess with my meal plan.  Often my kids mow through all the bananas in 3 days, leaving me wondering what I am going to put in my morning smoothie.

2.  Lose weight
- If you are like me, some sort of calorie counting or portion control is going to be needed.  Those "make little changes" do nothing for me.  Figure out what you need to eat ahead of time and stick to it.
- Set rules. "Only 2 cups of coffee and then water".  "Wine only on Friday". "No sweets". "3 vegetables a day".  Simple rules can help.
- Prep ahead.  If you are washing lettuce for a salad, for crying out loud FILL that salad spinner.  You'll be ready for the next 3 days.
- Keep the bad foods out of the house!!
- Don't be "all or nothing".  Any bit of exercise or healthy eating is a positive move.

3. Be healthier - This is the area that small changes really work!
- Go to sleep half an hour earlier
- Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up.  And a glass of water between your 2 cups of coffee.
- Eat one cup of fruit or one cup of vegetable for every meal.
- Take a 30 minute walk on your lunch break
- Do some squats and pushups and crunches
- Cut out processed food

4.  Simplify!
- Buy pre-cut fruits and vegetables, or use frozen
- Prepare meals in bulk and freeze
- Consider a fruit/ veg delivery service, vs. a CSA that you have to go pick up (I am considering this)
- One pot meals!  (Fewer dishes)

5.  Save money
- Give up on pre-cut fruits and veg ;)
- Shop around and make a price book
- Use up EVERYTHING, even if you are tired of it
- Eat in season
- Plan meals so that you don't waste food OR get creative with leftovers
- Increase the frequency in the rotation of cheaper meals

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Grocery Round up

Well folks, the total is in:

2014 Grocery expenditures: $10,261
2015 Grocery expenditures: $5706

Savings: $4555

In 2014, I was predominantly focused on losing baby weight.  And I did.  26 pounds of it.
In 2015, I was focused on saving money.  And I did.  But I still lost 10 pounds.

My year end weight is around 132 pounds (honestly I did not get on the scale yesterday!)  So in two years that is 36 pounds down.

What did I do?
In 2014, I did mostly 21-Day Fix to lose the weight, with a little bit of Chris Powell's Choose to Lose
In 2015, I did a LOT of food prep.  I started shopping at the 99 cent only store for discount produce (they even sometimes have organics!)

Goals for 2016:
Maintain the weight loss and keep exercising!
Keep the same grocery budget, give or take.  Let's just set a goal of $6000, because the boys are growing.