Monday, January 30, 2017

Meal Plan January 29 - February 13 (living dangerously)

Needing to plan stringently is now out the window for the next two weeks. 
Yesterday (1/29), I made lasagna.  One small one for Gpa P with no meat (he ate half of it) and a larger typical sized one for the house with Meat.  Normally, these would be devoured and gone by Wednesday (if I was lucky)  I plan on freezing half of the meat lasagna. 
Since Gpa is now on his way to Florida with his best friend (who has property down there, so it was an airfare and spending money trip) it is a well anticipated yearly event for ALL OF US.
So, more than likely DH and I will live dangerously and plan meals by the seat of our pants. 
Since we don't have to over plan (meaning just in case Gpa overeats) we can actually save some money. 
So, I will keep you posted weekly on what we ate out of the pantry/freezer

New Freebies

 Pinch me send me an offer to get a free six month subscription with that choice of several magazines. I chose entertainment as my husband used to get it and loved it. That's a weekly magazine. After he reads them I'll bring them to the studio.

Studio family who  knows my love of all things donkeys and you are who are also big Disney fans brought me and Eeyore pitcher that they were going to dispose of. The reason being that when they use it it looks like he's vomiting. I thought that was really funny, and gladly excepted the gift.

Free Breakfast thanks to a myshoprite kick out coupon I had in my purse.  I stopped here after my 2nd eye specialist appointment (doing better, no more headache or eye pain, still double vision) as I hadn't eaten breakfast yet and didn't want to overspend calories or $$.  Yes, that is a starbucks tray on the floor, thanks to students holiday gifts I didn't spend my own cash for this either. 

January Grocery Purchases and a bit of Gpa P humor

Food stuffs only Final spend $548.52.    Lots of chicken breasts purchased and frozen.  Seafood frozen.   Since February will be an easier month (Gpa P now on his way to FL)

1/8 first Shop of the new year.   $127.46

BJ's warehouse.    Gallon of milk, Rye bread, twin pack friehofers white bread, twin pack Panera potato soup, four pack Panera broccoli soup, guacamole, salmon, sirloin tips, pistachios, parsley, bananas, four pack carton egg whites, 2 lbs Hebrew national salami, lb of turkey breast, lb of land o lakes white American cheese.    This trip was requested by DH as he wanted me to pack lunches this week.    I also wanted salmon.

1/9 2nd shop of the new year $49.94

Stop and Shop.  two 35 packs of spring water, 96 ounces of almond milk (DR told me to start drinking it again), Campbell's Why Yes soup (FREE), Natures Promise Organic Turkey cutlets, organic ground turkey breast and organic chicken cutlets (Had a save 5 on 20 purchase of Nature's promise on my customer card) Large Bunch celery, 5 lbs carrots, 4 assorted peppers, 3 advocados, 1 bibb lettuce (the only kind I can eat) Had $2 off of produce.  I thought this was a GREAT haul.

1/12 Shoprite. $49.39 Almost out of Tuna, and wanted to add to the tomato case stockpile.  This time I wanted diced tomatoes.  4 cans Bumble Bee Solid White, 4 Cans Chunk White, 3 Shoprite Organic vegetable Stock, 2 College Inn Vegetable Stock, 3 ChiChi's salsa, 2 cases Tuttoroso diced tomatoes, 1 case Tuttoroso Crushed, 2 lbs of ground pork, 1 lb of broccoli rabe, 4 pack cherry turnovers.

1/12 Ocean State Job Lot, 2 cases of Polar Dry Orange Seltzer, a tube of anchovies and a container of oregano.  $18.48

1/16 Stop and Shop $82.29 before rebate apps
Loaf of Martin's butter bread and Levy's seedless rye (which Gpa P saw the day I bought it and it was down to two slices in less than 48 hours, sigh) Horizon organic mozz sticks and get an equivalent of Natures Promise free (thanks Carol of Ctbargainmom for making me aware to watch for these deals), 3 Breakstone sour cream (because Gpa P ate an entire lb of it like icecream, even with me saying you know that's not yogurt....and then asking him why he bothered to put it all in a bowl?), 1/2 lb of deli roast beef and turkey breast, 4 Progresso French onion (had a paper coupon $1, had a stop and shop personal coupon $1 got $1 back savingstar AND a stop and shop card deal buy 4 pay $3, so they were FREE), 10 green giant veggies (49 cents each when you buy 10), Kens 16 ounce creamy Italian (.75 back checkout51), 4 Ronzoni pastas (.69 each) Hellmann's organic mayo and a natures promise organic free, 4 cans starkist tuna, 2 perdue shortcuts (for DH lunches), Oscar Meyer bacon and got a SS bacon FREE, Natures Promise frozen chicken meatballs, 2.64 lbs of 85% lean (froze in two packages), 1 lb of chili thick grind ground beef and 1 lb of store made meatballs. 

1/19 $122.69 BJ's did this trip day after all the Dr's appointments, but did not want to miss out on the 1.69 a lb BSCB sale.  It's still going on, don't miss out!  15 lbs of Chicken, 10 lbs of which I froze in meal sized portions.  Olives, 3 dozen eggs, lettuce, peppers, 4 lbs of shredded cheese, beef jerky, salsa, 2 lbs of Hebrew national salami, 2 lbs of mushrooms, bagel thins and 90 count starbucks k cups (just opened last box and there was a limited time 6 dollar off coupon)

1/24 Stop and Shop  98.27
2 60 calorie low carb wraps (froze one) a lb of turkey breast, 3/4 lb of roast beef, 3/4 lb American cheese, stand and stuff taco shells, fajita boats, b1g1f chi chi fajitas (froze one), 2 bags of potato chips, store brand italian sausage was $2.00 a lb, so I bought a little over 5.5 lbs between sweet and hot.  8 piece fried chicken, 2.5 lbs of prepared fruit, 2 lbs of pistachios, 1.29 lbs of tomatoes, 2 lbs of frozen shrimp.  

I wasn't sure what DH would want to hold his beef taco mix, so I bought some different products.  I will use the remaining to make chicken fajitas in coming weeks, as well as to hold sandwich fixings.  All meat was frozen in meal size packages.  Chicken was packed up for the rest of the week's work lunches for DH.  (He ate the wings when I got home) 

I didn't plan on getting anything other than the Mexican meal items, tomatoes, deli meats/cheese and the fried chicken.  The fruit was for DH to get some healthier lunch options, and the shrimp and sausage were an excellent price.   So, a bit over the January budget, but I am pleased.  I plan on doing a cost comparison with the USDA reports for meal plan costs and what I purchased this month just for a giggle. 


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Meal Plan 1/22 - 1/28

Sunday 1/22 takeout (Uncle over, football and baking wiped me out)
Monday 1/23. DH grilling chicken breasts I put in marinade Sunday, rice and frozen veggies
Tuesday 1/24 leftovers
Wednesday 1/25 something with ground beef
Thursday 1/26 leftovers
Friday 1/27 cod chowder (using salted cod not used for holidays)
Saturday 1/28 homemade pizza

This is what happened

Sunday 1/22 takeout (Uncle over, football and baking wiped me out)
Monday 1/23. DH grilling chicken breasts I put in marinade Sunday, rice and frozen veggies
Tuesday 1/24 leftovers
Wednesday 1/25 tacos
Thursday 1/26 leftovers
Friday 1/27 sausage peppers and onions
Saturday 1/28 leftovers

Sunday, January 22, 2017


I am finding it exhausting to do my usual activity level.   I am assuming it is due to the visual problems.    So I have to sit and close my eyes between tasks.    It is frustrating, but since this is my new normal I need to get used to it.  

I made DH soft pretzels.   I announced it smelled like PA Lancaster County.     He disagreed.    No cow pasture smell.    Made me laugh.    I just make pretzel sticks, here is what is left..... so I assume they were good. 

I also made coconut oil Banana bread with walnuts

Then I made the original toll house cookie recipe from my latest antique cookbook purchase.   I am really enjoying reading it.    Here are photos of the cover and copyright page.   The recipe too!!


I cut the recipe in half and did not add the nuts.    I also didn't use a teaspoon, so I made 24 larger cookies instead of 50 smaller ones.


Two freebies this week.  First one came in the form of a gift card from a music purchasing site.  Apparently as an educator I was earning points when I or students (who entered in my name) purchased music through them.  I received a gift card via email, and it was legit!  So, I got two spiral bound manuscript paper books.  I was pleased with paying 0 to get something I can use.

Then I got an email from Stop and Shop
Not a bad deal.  1/2 gallon free Cashew milk.    I'll take it!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

New medical issue

I hate when people are evasive, so I am going to share the week I have had since I mentioned it was a rough week.     Not asking for sympathies.  

Tuesday I woke up with a horrible pain behind my left eye.   Within 10 minutes of walking it off I was very dizzy and had double vision.    Called my PCP when nothing had changed by time DH came home at 330.   ( I drove to work to turn over keys to other educators and make sub arrangements).  

Since pulse and BP were fine we felt it was a bad migraine.   Usual treatment plan didn't help.   Wednesday AM had me go to PCP, who sent me to eye Dr.   Who sent me to eye specialist, who sent me for blood work and scheduled MRI.    I handled all this on my own.  (DH is still temping for the same company and they have been dangling the carrot of a permenant job........didn't want to rock the boat).   With my left eye closed I see ok.   With both eyes open I cannot move gaze up or to the right without extreme double vision.   I had to spend Thursday mainly in bed as the pain hadn't dissipated and I was (still am) exhausted.     I did go to BJ's when they opened to get a few things and I was never so tired, it was the exhaustion I found worrisome on top of the vision.   There is some concern I may have a new auto immune disease called Myasthenia Gravis.  The blood work will show the markers for that.    We should have those results Monday or Tuesday.  

MRI was yesterday (Friday).  The much mentioned Uncle is a retired neurosurgeon, and he was in contact with eye specialist and radiologist.    The MRI was to look for a tumor or aneurysm.     Good news as it looked just fine.    I joke that no one said they found a brain in there.  

The current diagnosis is that I have an  "isolated cranial nerve VI palsy" possibly caused by migraine syndrome.    Still have headache.   It is constantly there with sporadic increases in pain.    Moving eyes causes more pain.    If I keep head still I can read if book is right in front of me.    I have a follow up appointment with eye specialist this week and we are trying to get me into a nuero-opthomalogist sooner than 4 months.  

As a musician and educator this has been very disconcerting.    I haven't taught since Monday.   All of my special needs students were canceled and typical students I obtained subs.  

The pain is exhausting, but I have tried to do mini projects so that I am not just sitting 24 hours a day.    The plan is to return to teaching Monday with me now always sitting to the right of my student.   No more walking around while playing.  

So, tell me about your week!   Hoping it was better than mine.    And mine could have been a whole lot worse.    I am grateful for how swiftly I was seen for each appointment.    How I was calm (for the most part) and how I was able to handle all the travel on my own.    I am thankful for reliable co-educators and understanding parents.  

Meal Plans 1-15-17 through 1-21-17

Sunday 1/15 chili leftovers or kitchen sink soup

Monday 1/16 Shrimp and Rice

Tuesday 1/17 Bone In Rib Roast, potatoes, brussels sprouts (last of PA haul)

Wednesday Meatballs and Pasta

Thursday leftovers

Friday Beef and Mushroom soup (made with Tuesday

Saturday leftovers

Here is what happened:

Sunday leftovers

Monday shrimp and Rice

Tuesday Rib roast, potatoes, brussell sprouts (I had more shrimp and rice)

Wednesday was takeout as I spent the day at 3 separate doctors and then lab

Thursday sauce and sausage with ziti

Friday leftovers (men went to a fundraising dinner)

Saturday (today) I am making potato leek soup (leeks from freezer, potatoes from 50 lb bag PA)

I froze the bones from the roast for another day.  It's been a rough week.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Meal plan 1/8 - 1/14

So, this is what I have planned for the week (dinners):

1/8 Sirloin tips, mushrooms, rice and Brussels sprouts

1/9 Salmon, broccoli and rice

1/10 leftovers

1/11 chicken cutlets, broccoli rice

1/12 soup made from 1/8 leftovers

1/13 chili with ground turkey breast and ground pork

1/14 leftovers

This what happened

1/8 Sirloin tips, mushrooms, rice and Brussels sprouts

1/9 salmon broccoli and rice

1/10 leftovers

1/11 chicken cutlets peas and mashed potatoes

1/12 takeout (there were no beef of chicken leftovers)

1/13 chili

1/14 chili leftovers

Breakfasts have been turkey sausage links (now out) toast, egg whites, eggs, English muffins and yogurt.

Lunches have been yogurts, turkey and Hebrew national salami sandwiches (on diff days), tuna, leftovers, broccoli/cheddar soup

Freebies, Deals and Steals

it was a great week for freebies, Facebook sales and online deals.

Last Sunday when at BJ's Wholesale the cashier mentioned there was a short dated coupon on my receipt.  $10 off renewal!  Expires in 5 days.  Our membership didn't expire til March, but I used that coupon anyway.  I'll take $10 off my renewal.  We are now good til March 2018.

First, LL BEAN emailed me and it said I had ANOTHER $10 off anything.   I ordered another gun sock!   It has arrived already!!

I spent $30 on some deeply discounted gifts which are packed away with the rest of the previous purchases.    4 Rubbermaid totes filled!

I sold a vintage stereoscope that we enjoyed when we got it years ago but have had it packed away.   We sold it for what we paid for it!  $45

I received a $10 off anything at Best Buy.   I went through Ebates, puta 24 pack of AA batteries in cart with store pickup.   With tax I paid 5.49

I got a free can of soup by using my Stop and Shop card.

A pinchme box with dog treats, lots of coupons.    One for a FREE Barilla Pesto.  Another for a FREE photobook  Not sure how I feel about the lubricant.   😳

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Meals January 1-7

This is what I planned

January 1, leftovers from December 31st (hopefully there will be)
January 2 roasted turkey, stuffing, squash, mushrooms
January 3 leftovers make stock and freeze
January 4 baked ziti/stuffed shells homemade bread
January 5 leftover pasta
January 6 chili (beef or ground turkey) homemade cornbread
January 7 turkey soup

This is what you can see, that darned turkey didn't want to thaw out!

January 1, leftovers for Gpa P (we were out and had two meals, one cash, one giftcards)
January 2, takeout leftovers, New Years leftovers and Potpies from the freezer for the men
January 3, baked stuffed shells store bought crusty bread (DH picked up)  I shredded a block of Mozz, I made a quick sauce with canned tomatoes, I took 1/2 lb of ground beef out of the freezer and browned it.  Ricotta and Parmesan and spices all here.

January 4,  "Fake Baked Potato Soup" with PA cauliflower, last of Hormel real bacon bits, onion, butter, chicken stock.

January 5 Japanese takeout cash. $33

Friday January 6 FINALLY roasted turkey, mushrooms and mashed potatoes.

Saturday January 7th leftovers for lunch and I made one batch of soup with the carcass.  I froze another batch of stock from the neck.   Turkey, onion, celery, last of the cabbage that I didn't use I the stuffed cabbage soup. Last of the organic carrots from my share.

Snowstorm day.  I did teach, but a performance at a local church was postponed.    DH and I did go to local cafe for lunch.   $22.

I think I followed what I planned pretty closely.

Freebies this week

 Not really free since I pay for my own health insurance, but I did have a full physical today. All of it should be covered except for the EKG is I had one in April. Some medications were changed, but as I fully funded my HSA account for 2016 I have funds to cover  The new medications came to $847.00 for a 90 day supply.    Ugh.

Then I went to Kohls as it was in the same town as my physician.  I had a $10 Kohls cash and I wanted to get it used up before I forgot about it. I ended up spending out of pocket an entire $.51. I now have a very nice stocking for the Uncle, and a package  tissue paper.

Then I went to Bob's as I had a $10 reward certificate. It's amazing how high priced things are. If I had bought these three items, which were the ingredients to make a pot of chai it would've been $30. They still owe me a few cents. No money came out of my pocket.

Then I went to Panera. I had a reward that was going to expire tomorrow. Have you been on Panera's website? They have challenge games and if you complete them you get rewards added to your my Panera account. I had three dollars off of the salad and after discussing with  physician some of my Crohn's disease issues we decided I am going to go back to the way that I preferred to eat until I see my gastroenterologist in February. I explained to her how following the approved diet actually made me be in more pain and have more bleeding. So we're going to try eating my way and see what the Gastro says. So  I got a full Cobb salad and a large coffee and a bagel to bring home for a little less than eight dollars. But I had a very old gift card in my purse, so old that everyone commented on how old it was with a dollar in change on it and I had the $10 bonus gift card that I received when I purchased my daughters holiday gift card back in December.  So the entire meal was free to me and grandpa P got to have a bagel with his tomato soup.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


I really am grateful that we have such a beautiful yard. 

After the big snow on Saturday DH blew a path to the birdfeeder for me.  Of course I still slid and spilled some sunflowers, can you see the dark patch? 
Here are the four bucks before the snow fell, earlier this week.  

Yes, the bully below was trying to push the smaller buck aside


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Planning for December 2017 already!

Christmas is the big holiday in our family.   It is the one time we do things truly to excess.  But that doesn't mean we spend a lot of money.    I don't know what we like more, unwrapping what is under the tree, or telling what we spent for it!

So, I have already started for next year.  I had some Kohl's Cash ready for use on the 24th of December, was able to use some coupon codes (percentage off and free shipping) PLUS a student gift card to get started on the advent box for my Grandmother.  Yes, my darling Grandmother is still with us at age 98.  I started this tradition this year, and she loved it.  She also loved I only did it for her.  24 small gifts one for each day.  I pray she can enjoy her box in 2017.  

I also had a LL Bean $10 back gift card that expired on 1/7 to use.  I purchased a gun sock for my DH stocking for next year.  No cost to me at all!

Order Summary
Total Before Savings:$9.99
Promotional Gift Card:-$9.99
1 Item Ordered:$0.00
Shipping and Handling:FREE
Balance Applied:$0.00


I will be visiting Kohls in person this week as I received a bonus $10 back (again) as well as a Bobs Surplus $10.  Going to see what I can get for free. 

I already have three bins with gifts for next year packed away!