Sunday, August 9, 2009

All You Grocery Challenge Week 4

See previous posts here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Week 4 Menus
Monday: chicken tortilla casserole; broccoli; chocolate-cherry pie. A friend of Greta’s stayed for dinner.
Tuesday: marinated chicken; green beans; biscuits leftover from Sunday; watermelon slices
Wednesday: spaghetti; whole grain French bread; romaine salad
Thursday: lemon chicken with snow peas over rice; Caesar salad. Heather and Jared were at his parents’ house; we went over after dinner for birthday cake and snacks. I took crackers and cream cheese spread.
Friday: Chuck, David, and I had taco salad with tortilla chips. Heather and Jared ate at his parents’ house again; Greta made a picnic supper for her boyfriend. She made stroganoff over noodles; fresh cherries; and key lime pie.
Saturday: tarragon chicken salad; watermelon slices. Greta went out to eat with her boyfriend.
Sunday: noon meal-taco salad with homemade tortilla chips. Greta’s boyfriend joined us. Evening meal-baked potato bar with toppings: broccoli, Hollandaise sauce, stroganoff, chili, cheese, sour cream, or gravy

Week 4 Notes
The Publix Mystery Coupon item (penny item) was a six-pack of bottled water.

I bought 2 whole chickens this week so I could pressure cook them and debone them to stock the freezer. I think this is the most cost-effective way to have chunks of chicken meat for recipes.

I made a double batch of our family’s favorite granola. Instead of the wheat germ I didn’t have, I crushed some mini shredded wheat in the blender and added it to the oats. The shredded wheat just was not moving well in this house and I wanted its pantry space for other things. This turned out to be a great way to use it and I plan to use more of it up this way in the future.

Monday’s pie was made from a chocolate crumb crust that has been rattling around in the pantry and generally getting in the way. It was high time I used it. I tried a new recipe using 2 boxes of chocolate pudding mix (also needed to be used), plain yogurt (in the refrigerator), Cool Whip (sitting in the freezer), and a little milk, with a topping of cherries (a single can of tart pie cherries in juice, also rattling around the pantry). I thickened the cherry juice with a little corn starch and sugar, added the cherries, then topped the pie with it. It got rave reviews.

David got another free sandwich and drink at Chick-Fila on Tuesday, using another coupon he got somewhere.

Greta had two friends spend the night Tuesday night. They got home late, so they fixed their own supper of waffles, scrambled eggs, and yogurt. At noon the next day they made grilled cheese sandwiches, yogurt, and fruit.

I found two partial bags of rather hard marshmallows in the pantry. I also spied a box of Rice Krispies I had gotten free at CVS in the spring. Combined, we have Rice Krispies Treats, of course. I made a half batch because I didn’t have enough Rice Krispies for a full batch. I did use up all of the hard marshmallows though. Jared especially loves them.

On Thursday, Greta and David got the most amazing free lunch. Their university had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new, state-of-the-art campus dining hall. As executive members of Student Government, they were both invited. Following the ceremony the dining hall was opened for tours and free food. This wasn’t free samples, but full-size portions, all you can eat, whatever you want, in all 10 dining venues. They came home raving about the new dining facilities and good food.

I made pumpkin muffins this week because I had a can of pumpkin puree that was nearing expiration. We ate some for breakfast and I froze some.

Our neighbor brought over a bag of fresh fruit that someone had given them, but that they couldn’t eat. We got a whole pineapple, apples, oranges, bananas, and carrots.

On Friday I got another free bagel at Einstein’s. This time I froze it, and from now until the coupon expires on Aug 21 I will freeze the free bagels. Then we can enjoy them together at a later time.

For Sunday’s taco salad, we debated over going to the store for some tortilla chips and fresh tomatoes, or doing without those two items in our salad. In the spirit of “using what you have”, I pulled some tortillas from the freezer, cut them in wedges, and fried them in a little oil. Instead of fresh tomatoes, we added a can of drained corn to the salad. Both were very good.

On Sunday afternoon I made a homemade banana spice cake using up some over-ripe bananas and a dab of leftover applesauce.

I made a baked potato bar for Sunday supper to use up little bits of tomato-based sauces, Greta's leftover stroganoff, and an aging Hollandaise sauce mix packet. It all worked out very well.

Week 4 Purchases
I spent $26.60 at Publix. I got the Mystery Coupon item, and then I purchased a beef roast (sale $2.19 lb), 4 cartons sour cream (BOGO made them 50 cents ea), 6 boxes pasta (BOGO and coupons made them 31 cents ea), vegetable oil (BOGO), 2 cans chicken (as part of the “Buy Theirs, Get Ours Free” deal; I got the Publix brand free), 2 brownie mixes (BOGO and coupon made them 85 cents ea), spaghetti sauce (BOGO), a whole watermelon (sale), grapes (sale), and frozen pea pods for a recipe this week (full price). They were out of the peaches on sale. I also used a $5 off $30 coupon I got in the mail.

I was sorry that I never got back to Publix for the 88 cent fresh peaches before the sale ended on Wednesday.

I spent $5.62 at Aldi, buying a frozen whole chicken ($3.93) and 2 pkgs hot dog buns (79 cents ea).

I shopped at Kroger twice. I spent $4.10 the first time, buying only a fresh whole chicken. The second time I spent nothing out of pocket because I had a $25 gift card from transferring a prescription. I spent only a portion of that, buying 5 4-packs of yogurt (sale $1.88 and $1 coupon made them 88 cents ea), French bread ($1.99), 2 pkg whole wheat tortillas ($1.19 ea), and fresh in-season produce. After the senior discount, it used $15.63 on my gift card.

Heather spent 89 cents on a loaf of marked down bread, but she forgot to save the receipt. So here is a photo instead.
Chuck spent $3.87 on a six-pack of romaine lettuce at Costco.

My week’s total spending was $41.08.

This was the last week for the challenge. I'm glad I participated in it because it was very fun for me to do. I learned that I need to really pay attention to what gets shoved to the back of the refrigerator and make sure it gets used up before it goes bad. I learned that it's not the highly desirable leftovers that get shoved to the back of the refrigerator ~ those get eaten quickly! Instead, it's the "little bits": little bits of ingredients such as tomato sauce, or gravy, or shriveled fruits or veggies. If I pay attention to those, think of a way to turn them into something, and then prepare it promptly, I waste far less food. That's what I want to do consistently from now on.

1 comment:

joyce said...

What an amazing journey, Adie! I enjoyed the reading and was humiliated(or rather humbled) and inspired all at once! Isn't it interesting the things we can do when we are good stewards of what God gives us? All to His glory, and you glorify Him so well! I am so thankful that we are sisters in Christ AND family, too! Keep WOWing us! I learn so much from your posts!!