Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Another stock up, going back tonight for more!

In our house, I have a never ending race with Gpa P to keep the house stocked in Campbells Tomato Soup.  A go to addition to alot of my recipes, he see's the stockpile and eats several cans as a snack (along with the milk needed to reconstitute it).    Big Y currently has this soup on sale for .66 cents a can.  The lowest sale price I have seen in a while.  UNLIMITED WITH YOUR CARD!

So, I purchased 10 cans yesterday along with 10 of DH's favorite yogurt snack yo-crunch.  Total spent was $12.60.   That's enough for 10 of DH's lunches.

I plan on going back to get 10 more of the Campbells tonight.  I 'hide' a few in different places, leaving some out in the open for Gpa P to enjoy.   I know that there are cheaper house brands, but this is one of my preferences.

Mmm Mmm Good!

Dairy Deals at two different stores!

In honor of the dairy deals I am sharing some of my antique collection.  Here is a milk box from Sealtest Dairy.  Remember when we could have milk delivered right to our door?  As well as cream, butter, and eggs?  Now we can I guess, but with huge delivery fees.  Currently I only have one 'antique' milk bottle in my carrier.  We plan on picking one new one up in our adventures when we can find one.. I would like to have one from each New England State.  The one we recently acquired is from Rutter's Dairy in PA.

Easter time is the time to buy butter!   At Shop Rite this week you can 4 of each variety Land o Lakes (salted/unsalted quarters AND salted/unsalted half sticks!) for 1.97.  Through Saturday.  That is a GREAT price.

You can also get Galbani Ricotta 2 pound container for $2.99 and Galbani Mozzarella for just $1.99 in block form (12 to 16 ounce)  As always, Shop Rite is limit of 4 per variety (that means you can get regular, part skim and low fat four of each)

At Big Y (sale ends today) you can get their brand of butter for $1.98.  Limit of 2.

Time to stock up!

Here we have our big Milk vat and a smaller hand held one (perhaps for bringing on a picnic?)  Now I just need my butter crock/churn and I am all done with this collection.  I cannot decide if I want to search for a stone churn or a wooden one.  Either way it will be the priciest acquirement.  What do you think?  Stone or Wood?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hosting a surprise party for 40 on a budget

Well, we pulled it off.  This event (on top of studio obligations and out of town guests) is what has kept me away from posting.  So, here is what we did.

DH felt we should do something for the milestone birthday that was coming up for my DF (aka Gpa P or Pops) In his family, big events were always a part of big milestones.  His family even threw us a big party after we got married out of state, though we didn't expect one.  So it's what he wanted done! We started brainstorming two months ago.  Since we both work full time (and alternating hours) the only day we could truly pull it off was on our one day off together, a Sunday.

We had to time it with out of town guests before we invited the guest list (gleaned by 'stealing' Gpa P's phone for the night).  We planned for the Sunday four days before his actual birthday.  Ok, date and time chosen, guest list planned.

Now, how much can we conceivably do ourselves, and how much do we have to order in.

Cake for our family is always from in New Haven.  This is the bakery we go to for all sweet creations.  Cookies, Italian Pastries and of course our cakes.  (As you all know, I love to bake, but I would never try to do a cake like this)  We ordered a half sheet Italian Cream cake with chocolate and vanilla cream and whipped cream frosting. No fruit, No Rum.   I still find their cakes to be so reasonably priced.  Just $55.00 for this beauty!

DS picked this up and paid for it. She also provided a crudite tray with delicious dip that she made with plain greek yogurt, dill and other spices and a cheese and cracker plate.  I don't have a price on those items.

Two cases of water from Shop Rite including deposit $8.16

Ten 2 liter bottles of assorted soda from Target, including deposit $10.43

Four bottles of wine (only one partially left) and a case of Corona beer $72.40

We made sausage and peppers, marinated in Kraft Zesty Italian dressing grilled and finished in the oven Chicken drumsticks and thighs (six pounds each), A tossed salad with tomato, cucumber, black sliced olives and assorted dressings already in the house, and four pounds of ziti and sauce (jarred) Total for all of these items at BJ's warehouse $86.84 (I had a $20.00 credit to use to get it down to this).

My favorite produce market where they also get Bread and Chocolate Breads in daily.  5 different loaves purchased for $12.26  (Ok, I misjudged this purchase, and I have frozen two baguettes for future meals)

Ice at Big Y $6.99 for 32 pounds (this was to put the beer and water into a cooler)

We also had three stuffed breads (broccoli/cheese, spinach/cheese, pepperoni/cheese), a Large tray of Broccoli Rabe and Sausage and a Large tray of Eggplant Rollatini and a large tray of roasted vegetables catered by    I will admit, this was not our first choice, however we had to go with a caterer who was available to deliver the time we needed.  I was pleasantly surprised.  On time delivery, more servings for less money, and it was all GOOD!   I would ask for more rabe and less sausage if I ever order this again.  Total spent with caterer $281.00.

We already had enough plasticware and sturdy disposable dishware from previous events as well as wine cups and napkins.

Total spent from my funds $478.08.  Our max to spend was $500.00.  What was left over?

Half the cake.  Half of the chicken.  Most of the salad, One tray of ziti.  Most of the vegetables.  Half of the broccoli rabe/sausage. A quarter of the eggplant.  Two loaves of bread.  Our sausage and peppers was completely eaten. The stuffed breads completely eaten.   I have been loving having a big salad made (it's now in gallon ziploc bags) and my DS took half of the roasted vegetables home leaving me the other half.  I'm a veggie gal first!

Not that we plan on having another party soon, but I will remember that we totally over cooked/bought food.  Even with 40 people, they didn't eat as much as we thought.  They also didn't eat the healthier options, LOL.  The beer and wine went however.

As mentioned earlier, I froze two loaves of bread.  Whatever chicken is left when I get home tonight will be frozen for a future meal.  The eggplant rollatini has been eaten by the house (we have an out of town guest til the end of the month) and half of the rabe which I anticipate will be gone by time I get home tonight.  There is still ziti which might be gone.  So no cooking Monday or Tuesday this week!

How does one plan on how much food to purchase for such a large gathering?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A rare trip to Big Y

I seem to be doing all my shopping now at either Shop Rite or the Connecticut Natural Food Mart.  Looking forward to farmers markets on Sundays again too (seems like ages).

Last week I was about to throw out the flyers and that Big Y had Goya canned beans on sale for .69 a can (or almost a pound).  I know, I know, dried is better, and almost as easy, and I do use dry on occasion, but usually throw together something last minute with canned beans.  Why the interest in Goya?  I like their products, and SavingStar had a $5.00 back on $20.00 of any Goya.  So, I made an early morning trip yesterday to both Big Y and the Natural Foods store.  Money was in my account within 12 years.

Spent 20 at the CT Natural.  A treat sub for DH, some pickling cukes (1.79 a pound ouch), 5 pounds of carrots (4.99, not a great price either, but will get .25 back from Checkout 51) and 4 pounds of onions 1.78.  A bag of chips rounded out that total.  Not much in the bag.    Kicking myself for not buying .25 a pound onions when we were away last  weekend.  We meant to get them, then got sidetracked by a clock and forgot to go to the shop that was advertising them.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

3 cans Canned salmon for only a $1.87

Big shout out to CTMOM  for advising me to watch the Walgreens flyer for coupons on canned salmon.

These are large cans of pink salmon wild Alaska 14.75 ounces each.

You could buy up to three cans for $2.29 each. I had a five dollar balance rewards as well as the flier coupons, so I only paid $1.87 total!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Another snow day means I bake!

I had picked up a few pounds of Zucchini at the local produce market Connecticut Natural Food Mart    I tend to get most of my produce here unless one of the supermarkets have a great deal and it looks fresh. Though this was marked down, they were all in excellent condition.  

This means quiche!  One quiche used the last of a carton of egg whites and just two eggs (that's the less yellow one) and the other I put four eggs in as we seem to not be going through eggs as quickly as usual.  This could be as we are 'breakfasting' on the gifted farm eggs.   A squash each, half a chopped onion a splash of vegetable oil, half a cup of the heart smart bisquick mix (almost out, and I plan on creating my own and storing it in a glass container in the fridge from now on) and a quarter of a cup of shredded cheese.  

Beer Bread!  I had been gifted from a family some mixes.  DH just asked me over the phone who put a can of beer in the house fridge?  (LOL, he was wondering who was starting to drink I think).  This mix was so easy, the packaged mix, a can of beer and a few tablespoons melted butter.  I have to say, it smells lovely!

The last Immaculate Brownie Mix.  This easy mix is my husbands favorite, but now that I've learned so much more in my baking studies I know I can recreate this on my own.

Did you have a baking day today?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Christmas Gift Redeemed (after a frustration update)

Today I had to take DD for some medical tests.  We talked about my frustrations from yesterday (remember, she bought me the chocolates and wanted one and we found them all gone)  An added update Gpa P came to me this morning to justify his eating them, letting me know no one was touching them and that DH said I was throwing them away.  I told him, it is what it is, it has happened before, it will happen again, I know that when you see quantity you just have to eat them.  He thought I was ridiculous in thinking that the box would have lasted me months....

But again, it is what it is.  I can only try to get deals on food and feed my family healthy meals without breaking the bank.  Which brings me back to the Christmas Gift Redeemed.

As also mentioned yesterday, 2/3rds of the bagels purchased as a treat on Tuesday were gone by Tuesday night....

After DD's tests she was starving, and I made suggestions.  Even said let's go get some more bagels at BJ's (not knowing if there were any left at home by this time).  She asked for a Coolata from Dunkin' Donuts.   I remembered that a student have given me a gift card (with their picture on it, how adorable) for Christmas.  I am a Starbucks gal, so I had tucked this away in my wallet for a donut attack (or a post medical test attack in this case)

Can I have a turkey bacon cheddar sandwich?  Sure!  We have a gift card. 

And what did I buy with the balance?  Can you guess?

That's right, 6 more bagels!  Which I have hidden.  Hee hee.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I wanted (needed) to share some food related frustrations.

My Father lives with us.  I grew up hearing stories that my Maternal Grandfather used to say he would rather cloth my father (when my parents were dating) then feed him.  I have learned the hard way what that means.

He binge eats.  He hides what he eats.  Nothing is sacred, nothing can be made to last.  Everything is for him only.  He actually has said how am I supposed to eat all this if no one else lives here.  He has given away bags of food in the past too.

My DD gave me a huge box of Belgian chocolates for Valentines Day.  Not something that I would ever buy for myself, and certainly not something that I would eat in one sitting (or even one month)  When I saw that the contents were going way down (and I had only had two) I threw out the box at the studio and hid the candies in a Ziploc bag.    There were 50 chocolates.  I ate 4.  They are now all gone (DD wanted one and when I went to the hiding place discovered them gone) In my silly brain, these candies should have lasted for 3 or 4 months.  I just asked him if he ate them, and he laughs and says that's why they were there.

Today I did a long overdue shopping trip.  Milk, lots of yogurts, fresh cod, frozen shrimp, goldfish crackers, egg whites, baby wipes, 10 pounds of potatoes, celery, tomatoes, iceburg lettuce, herb spring mix, eggplant cutlets, carrots, and a treat of 9 bagels.  After coupons I spent $129.81.   Yes the shrimp was a splurge too.

There are 3 bagels left.  DH had one, daughter had one, I had one.  Pops ate 3.  This was after he had a bowl of oatmeal covered in maple syrup.  His breakfast bowl is what most of us consider a pyrex MIXING bowl. He also had some leftover stew today for lunch, and for dinner he had Cod, Corn, Rice and tossed salad.

To me, those bagels should have lasted for a few days.  At this rate they will be all gone by tomorrow.

Yes, it's only $3.99.  Yes I can buy more bagels.  Yes, I can afford to buy myself expensive chocolates.  I am just giving you two examples of things that happen every day.  My father sees  food and he has to eat it before it goes bad.  He doesn't consider that there are other people that I provide this food for, and that my wallet is not a bottomless pit.  I would be more patient if he didn't do it with a smug grin on his face.   Sometimes I get so angry at his selfish greed.  There are times he truly doesn't remember he has eaten.  But there are times he is very aware of what he's doing.  I pray for patience.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Why I have been blog silent............

I really haven't had much to report.   We have been living out of the pantry/freezer.  I have been making my usual standby's.  

The only monies I have spent are for fish, dairy and fresh produce.  Even that hasn't been much as nothing is really in season.

I did splurge for some Broccoli Rabe at 2.99 a pound.  A horrible price, but I really wanted it, and I felt it was a justifiable splurge to have some fresh greens on the table.

We have had salmon four times in February with several lunches out of those dinners.  We have been eating canned tuna, homemade pizza, roasted whole chicken and various soup creations.

I baked a cake and made a delicious nutella/coconut flour bread.

Today I took a smoked ham hock (from our half of a pig purchase) out of the freezer and threw it in the crockpot on high with water, a limp celery stalk, some carrot ends and onion skins.  I let it go for 5 hours, I strained it, took the little bit of meat off the bones and added a can of kidney, pinto and cannellini beans with some chopped onion.  I added the last of the amore tomato paste from a tube.  It smells amazing. 

The only great deals for shopping I have done is to stock up at CVS with my and DH's CVS cards.  I purchased three 12 packs of Scott's Toilet Paper on each card spending 20.98 and getting $5.00 back.  I also bought three Campbell's Tomato Soup for $2.10 and got $.50 back.  I did this with both cards.  Scott is our favorite toilet paper, and I only buy it when I get a good deal.  The price for each roll came out to .45 each.

I also did another stock up at Target of Starbucks K cups.  We weren't out, but now I think we have enough for at least six months.  We drink alot of coffee in our house, mainly coffee and water for three of us (DH is the sweet beverage drinker).  We make pots of coffee (both drip and french press) as well as using K cups.    After coupons, giftcards back and using my target card for an additional 5% off (always pay this off within the week, NEVER let a balance carry) I paid .54 cents per K cup.

That was really it for major shopping in February.  I haven't even gone to Shoprite in three weeks!

I do plan on hitting some stores in March, we have a party to throw, the Uncle is coming and I have no yogurt for DH's lunch box.