Sunday, August 30, 2015

USDA July 2015 grocery budget figures.

This is crazy!     The budget plan for the three of us in the household is a whopping $662.60.   My 500 a month goal is way below this.  I cannot do any judging or comparison until the Uncle moves out, but I plan on doing it once our household is 'back to our usual crazy normal'.

Here is a link   http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CostofFoodJul2015.pdf

Starting to try and rein in the men

It has been a struggle these last 30 days.   Uncle is still with us, and I don't forsee  him moving into his own home until at least late September.

He will be traveling out of the country starting on September 4 and we can fo back to our routine for 12 days.   But he told me he intends on returning to our home until he has his house just right.   

DH says you do for family.    I must say I was never a houseguest in anyones house longer than 10 days.   And i certainly tried to not interfere with their household flow.  And I was 16 then!

In our travels to the farmers market today he and I discussed that he cannot keep making requests for meals as if we are a restaurant. I told him I'd be taking meats out of the freezer for future meals this week but that tonight we would be having shrimp.  Not the chicken that he was requesting.

Chicken will be tomorrow (Monday).  Pork loin Wednesday.   He has plans to go out Tuesday.    

I also told him after he caused an avalanche in my kitchen freezer (he was trying to jam a carton of ice cream in it) that I had made space for his ice-cream in the garage freezer.     Never let men over 70 go to the grocery store.     This Is an unreasonable   amount of ice cream for one household.    




City Seed Farmers Market Buys

Two huge bunches of Swiss chard. Organic. Beautiful. Washed and chopped up to be prepared later in the week.  $6



A bag of organic lettuce actually contain two large heads $2.00

4 large cucumbers $2.00 not organic

Dozen tomatoes $4.50 organic

3 Yellow squash. $2.00 organic

6 pretzel rolls $6.00

2 apple cider donuts.    $2.00

1 chocolate croissant from sono bakery for DH.   3.00

Total spent $27.50





Thursday, August 27, 2015

Frugal activities and freebies

Beautiful flowers from a students garden.   


Macintosh apples from my own!



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Deal Finder Radar again working and washing machine funeral


Target has buy 3 get one Free on sixteen count  Starbucks K cups and 12 ounce ground or bean coffee.  Not a cheap brand, so I look for deals whenever I can.  This is enough coffee for 5 - 6 months.  K cups for the morning, ground for me to make cold press.    Not pictured is one French Roast K cup box which DD will take back up north with her.   I am a coffee snob.  I only drink coffee and water (an occasional diet coke, but rarely).  I have tried less expensive brands and have not enjoyed them.  So, DH and I agreed that this is my splurge.  101.91 - 9.00 - 4.65 =  $88.26.   $14.71 a month average. 



I had $18.00 in ECB's to use up before Saturday.   I got DH three twelve packs of Diet Dr. Pepper and a six pack of Scott papertowels.     I paid .79 cents!

And now the bad news.  Washing machine went the way of the dinosaur.   Not a great time with a houseguest, my schedule ramping up and DD home to try and do some laundry.   Of course DH had just splurged and gotten a pair of binoculars (he is a raptor seeker).   Never fails that when you spend some money and unexpected expense crops up, right?

 I did some research as DH was taking the water OUT of the nonworking machine.  I went with the cheapest and least complicated of the top 10 washers of 2015. Whirlpool Duet.  I got free delivery (it's coming today!) used a $50 dollar coupon and interest free for 12 months using our Sears card.  I then went to the energizeCT site and submitted my emailed receipt.  Got a $50.00 rebate from the state of CT which has already been approved and is on it's way in the form of a prepaid Visa card.  

I tried my best. $619.00     How do you think I did?  


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Still can't get my groove back and my DD's life change.

I have resigned myself that I cannot get back into my 'groove' until my Uncle has moved into his own house.  Today I did announce Salmon will be the protein, hopefully they won't pull a last minute change.  I have squash from the farmers market, and we will make rice.

I have done two shopping trips (with a list and coupons) mainly for my daughter who came home for a visit and a list of needs/wants.    So, I will fill you in on her new situation here.

She went up North, had several interviews, got a roommate and moved to NH all on her own!  Got a job in VT! While we were on one of our 4 day jaunts.  It had been discussed, but we didn't think anything would really happen so quickly.  And she is flourishing!

All this happened because a longtime relationship ended suddenly, and it threw her (and us) into a bit of a tailspin.  But she certainly has picked herself up and moved on with her life, and I am so very proud of her.

We haven't given her any financial help expect for these Mom can you make me, or Mom can you pick up a (colander, tongs).  I enjoy cooking, so making sure she has a cooler full of healthy food options makes me feel better.  She is still learning to cook, and trying to save money to get her own place.

So, I have made my chicken/eggplant concoction for her to take.  A quiche.  Chicken Breast meatloaf.  I have hummus and cheese sticks for her to take home.  Several different coldcuts and cheeses for sandwiches.  I will have fresh produce for her to take, as well as some frozen vegetable steam bags.  I will cook swiss chard before she leaves, and pierogies too.

Monday, August 24, 2015

City Seed Edgewood Farmers market 8/23/15


We are on day 24 of my Uncle who has retired as a house guest.  It is baffling to me, when his house is furnished, but it seems he wants EVERYTHING in it's place before he stays there.  It is trying at times, but I'm trying to be supportive.  Financially it has been a strain, as he is used to being catered to and waited on, and I'm trying to keep things in check.  I actually have STOPPED planning any meals, as I in past visits have ended up throwing out a lot of food as it 'wasn't what he felt like having'.

He visited the farmers market with me yesterday, and I was surprised he didn't add to my purchases.  He was in 'observing' mode.


Whole G Bakery from New Haven Pretzel Rolls (6) and a chocolate croissant.  $8.00

Organic Tomatoes (12) and Swiss Chard (2 huge bunches) $10.50  I already cooked one batch of Swiss Chard in some bacon fat (and though my father said it wasn't good he ate the entire pan....so much for tasting what it was like, lol)

2 Large Zucchini, 3 medium yellow squash, 6 pickling cukes. 8.25

That's all the news that is fit to print!

Friday, August 21, 2015

This and That

Nothing really to share.  Crunch time with getting some students ready for auditions.  Changing studio over from summer (which is actually quite busy for me) to school year (busier).

Still have a house guest, day 21.  Sensing fear of living in a new part of the world (though he says once a New Englander always a New Englander) and in a big new house alone.  I find it baffling, but trying to make the best of it.  I know if I had spent four years getting a new house ready I'd be in it the first day I officially was in the same state.

Only shopping has been to replenish produce and I did purchase some burgers and sausage patties.

Next post probably won't be til Farmers Market (which house
guest will be attending with me).  Guess I'm just feeing a bit blah and overwhelmed.

Hope you are all are having great days!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Amazing Organic and Commercially Farmed Farmers Market Prices

I was amazed at the prices today!   


This eggplant was not organic, but I am not a 'it has to be organic all the time gal'.  I spent $2.50 for these beautiful medium sized eggplants.  

Organic Swiss Chard.  $2.00!   This was a huge bunch, filled my wok full.  I cooked it for Gpa P's dinner tonight, olive oil, fresh garlic and pork sausage locally raised from True Love Farm (this was in the freezer from a Wooster Market Trip)  


Huge head of broccoli.  $2.00!   This was not organic.  I added some to a salad I made, prepped the rest for cooking later in the week and chopped up the stems and froze them to add to a ham/broccoli bake later in the month. 

Gooseberries!  $5.00.   A bit tomatoey/fruity.  Delicious!


They look like chinese lanterns!


These are Mexican sour gherkins.  The size of a thimble (see them in the salad below)  I got a pint of them for $4.00.  Organic.  Delicious!


This salad is made from a head of organic loose leaf lettuce (2.00)  organic zebra tomatoes (a dozen was $4.50) Mexican gherkins and non organic pickling cukes (got 8 for 2.00)

Total spent on produce $21.50

I also spent $15.25 on baked goods.  Two pretzel rolls from G Cafe, a chocolate croissant, small monkey bread, small banana/chocolate chip loaf and a caramelized onion/olive foccaccia from SoNo bakery.    Bought more baked goods then usual as Uncle is still with us, and he has been bugging me to bake, but it's just to darned hot!

Oh, and of course I got my friends of the market card punched!




Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Stoltzfus Meats and the best Pretzels!

Another planned visit was to the store Stoltzfus Meats     We had purchased some of their products from the downtown lancaster farmers market our last trip.   This time we went right to where the products are made.  DH sampled all he could (all of the food based businesses are big on sampling, they want to make sure you like what you purchase)    He chose this Bologna (more like a salami, but all their meats were marked as a style of Bologna).     They also have a Lebanon Sweet Bologna which was truly sweet, so he didn't like it.  $9.30 for a bit over a pound, but he felt was truly worth it. 


I was excited to purchase this pound of Amish made butter.  Oh my, this is the real deal.  It is fantastic (we had it with the corn tonight).   Delish!

Last but not least, make sure you visit Immergut Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels in Intercourse.  Even though I try not to eat wheat products, I make an exception for these.  So good.  

Mennonite and Amish farm buys







These three items (Pepper & Onion Relish, Bread & Butter pickles and Bacon Dressing) were all from the Intercourse Canning Company.  You can participate in FREE canning demonstrations Wednesday through Saturday here.  Not pictured is the Amish Meatloaf Sauce that I used today on a ground Chicken Meatloaf.  Delish!  Visiting this location was on our 'to do' list.   Total spent was $23.00











Last time we were in PA Hubs wanted to get Root Beer from an Amish family's home, but we didn't time it right.  This time it was on our to do list.  It was our first stop on Monday morning.  I snagged the last Peach jam they had (oh yes!) and DH got a cold pint bottle of Root Beer which he enjoyed right then and there (as I played with their baby goats) and we also took home a gallon jug that is now waiting in the fridge for another day.  Can't forget the freshly made potato chips!  Total for these items $13.50









We also stopped at a Mennonite farmers market.  A Half Bushel of tomatoes for $5.25.  15 tomatoes


A dozen ears of corn (I cooked 6 today to go with the meatloaf) for 2.50.  It was the sign for the corn that got us to turn around!


Our last mini vacation for a while




A photo of the beautiful quilt on our bed at the Inn at Kettle Kitchen in Intercourse PA.   This was our last mini vacation for probably a year. It was our third long weekend trip to Amish Country in PA. We paid cash for the entire trip, and I was proud that we stayed within budget and did everything we set out to do.

Kitchen Kettle Village is a quaint (yes, a bit touristy, but not too much) group of stores, petting zoo, restaurants and 17 guest rooms hidden among all the shoppes.  We had a beautiful room, that included two travel coffee mugs that we could have filled at three locations in the village for free, chocolates in the room, a dozen cookies that we could pick from the bakery in the village and breakfast in the main restaurant each morning (not Sunday, hence the cookies).  We stayed in room 905 which is above the quilt shop.

We also had crackers and Kitchen Kettle jam 
with a nice welcome card signed by the staff.  Every day there was also bottles of water replenished in our in room refrigerator.

All of these were included in the price of our room.  With tax we paid $349.54 for three nights.  With all the extras included we were quite happy with the price.  Since we usually only eat twice a day when away our budget was quite stretched with the free breakfast.  The choices for the breakfast were french toast with your choice of bacon or sausage or two eggs with choice of toast and hash browned potatoes or baked oatmeal with fresh fruit.  (Don't forget the unlimited coffee/tea in our reusable mugs.  We could also choose to get anything else off their menu and take $3.00 off.

We also enjoyed one almost free dinner at Shady Maples smorgasbord.  On our last trip to PA we had lunch here, and DH filled out a raffle ticket.  We won a gift card!  Came in the mail months after our last visit, and we used it on this trip.  Dinner on a Saturday was 21.99 per adult (all inclusive...including tip)  We paid 13.98 out of pocket after the gift card.  I had several different tastes of baked/broiled fish for my protein, as well as a crab cake and a cod cake.  The best pierogies I have ever had as well as raw broccoli and mushrooms rounded out my dinner.    DH had some ny strip, cucumbers, mashed potatoes, and two pieces of broasted chicken.  He finished it off with some fresh fruit.

Another meal was at Wimpy and Dee's 50's style diner.  A fun place, the entire meal with tip was $21.00.   DH had a chocolate shake, hotdog and fries with pickles.  I had a BLT on rye with chips and pickles.  I always have water as my beverage.

Sunday was the hardest to find a dinner meal (as nothing is really open in the area we always stay in)  We went antiquing in Adamstown and ended up having a nice meal at a locally owned franchise (they have three locations)   I had tomato soup and an open faced tuna melt.  DH had wings and a steak Caesar wrap and a beer.  This was the most expensive OOP meal, with tip $54.00.

Snacks of pretzels (hard and fresh baked soft) were a MUST!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New recipe



This is my new favorite poultry dish.  

Ground chicken breast
fairy tale eggplant
chopped onion
can of diced tomatoes
garlic

Delicious!

Farmers Market Finds

Didn't spend much this week.  Did make sure to get my Friends of Edgewood Market stamped!

2 bunches swiss chard            6.00
fairytale eggplant                    4.00
6 donuts (we have guests)       5.00
DH sono pastry                        6.25
Basil (huge bunch)                   2.00
                                                23.25

That's all I have spent this week!