Friday, January 15, 2010

I have not given up!

No I did not decide this was too much work. No I did not fall off the wagon.  I wish that was the case.
I have not cooked since "Dogs and Tots"

My grandmother has been "at Death's door" for a week now.  She is 94 years old and is dying of cancer. The Hospice nurse is at a loss of words. She said that she has never had a patient that has held on for so long.  She won't give us anymore timelines because she just isn't ready. This woman was one of the best cooks. And her cakes! Oh my God!

I spent the day at my aunt's (that is where she is) yesterday and will be going back tomorrow. (Geaux Saints!) My dad and my sister will each be making a gumbo and we will be eating it there (lately we just make plans and "wait and see" what happens) I'll take pics and post.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 10-- "Dogs and Tots"

The only "after" picture I took did not come out too good.

So here is the only picture that did come out ok...

Hot dogs: $1
Buns: $1.18
Chili: FFP $1.45
Tater tots: FFP I'm guessing but...$3.00?

Total: $6.63  Per serving: $0.95  (split into 7 servings)

Short tonight but American Idol was on tonight so....

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 9-- "Alexis Sloppy Joes"

Uh. Where are the pictures? Well....I didn't get to take any tonight. But I can tell you that it was really tasty!

Buns: left over from last Monday $0.57
Hamburger: left over from last Monday $2.25
Ketchup: $0.25
Onions & peppers: $0.15
Mustard (don't tell Nicolas): $0.08

Total: $3.30
Per Serving: $0.66

Day 8-- ???

Sunday was to be Day 8. The first day of week 2.

We woke up at 6am to find that we had forgotten to leave the water running Saturday night and we had frozen pipes.  That made the day pretty much shot.  We needed to stay home so that when the pipes thawed we would know right away if any pipe had busted.  Thankfully we made it through without a broken pipe.  One of our friends invited us to his house for dinner and we decided to go.  So dinner was pretty much free.

1st Week Wrap Up

Sunday: "My daddy's spaghetti"---Total $12.20    $1.37 per serving
Monday: Hamburgers and Fries---Total $8.21   $2.05 per serving
Tuesday: Oven Fried Pork Chops, Mac & Cheese, Roasted Carrots---Total $9.06   $2.01 per serving
Wednesday: Chicken Fricassee---Total $2.21   $0.55 per serving
Thursday: Tacos---Total $6.18  $1.24 per serving
Friday: White Beans & Sausage---Total $5.38 $0.92 per serving and $.80 for Nick's Nuggets
Saturday: Buffalo's ---Total $37.00 per serving $9.25 if divided evenly by all four of us

Weekly total $43.24 PLUS SATURDAY $37 = $80.24
Per serving $ 8.94 PLUS SATURDAY $9.25 = $18.19
So for under $20.00 I can feed you for a week! And that is going out one night. Had we stayed home and eaten hot dogs, the dinner would have been roughly $6 including chips. That is 1/6 the cost of Saturday's meal.

The total would have been: $49.24
Per serving would have been $10.44

Multiply that by 52 weeks in a year and that is $2560.48
then divide that by 12 months in the year and I should be at $213.37 a month.
So at the end of the year I should be rolling in the dough!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 7--"Hot Dogs w/chips and S'mores" Scratch THAT! :(

Family Game Night!

Ok so remember how on Sunday I said I had forgotten to get the hot dogs and buns? Well since it is sooooo cold here right now, I decided to NOT go to the store and just heat up some gumbo my daddy gave me.

THEN I got a call from Andy saying that our friend's daughter wanted to know if she could come sleep and that gumbo just would not work because that's what he ate for lunch (well we didn't eat gumbo and I think majority rules! But then again Nicolas would be on his side because he doesn't like gumbo so it was a moot point).

When Andy got home he said, "uh Robert said maybe we could go eat at Buffalo's, watch half the game, and then come home. What do you think?"  Hmmmmm.....well that is not in my plans for the week, month, or year. So what do YOU think I think? I'm not too happy about it. Besides I'm trying to plan out my menu and grocery list for next week. Then again, that would give me another example of why you should not eat out. I can get a price listing and compare the cost of eating out to making it at home. I find it quite sickening how much money restaurants make off of us just because its "convenient" to eat out. And I do have 3 extra meals of meat PLUS a night of "My daddy's spaghetti" in the fridge. Besides, its HIS money, not mine. LOL

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 6-- "White Beans & Sausage"

One summer I was a weekday "live in" nanny for my mom's friend. She would fix white beans & sausage and I loved it! I have never liked red beans & rice so I was shocked that I like it so much. Many many years later I saw a box at the store of seasoning mix. I tried it and I liked it. More importantly Andy liked it. So I kept making it.

Although the box mix is a bit expensive, I use only 2 tbsp and so the box lasts me a long time.

No..I don't use cajun sausage.  If I wasn't on a tight budget I would. But since this brand is more than half the cost of the cajun brands, it works for me.

Well I went to the pantry for my box and cornbread mix and realized I used it last week! So I am very glad I had corn meal! I think I just may start making it from scratch from now on. It was a little dry (or so said Andy...I think its because I never measure my milk when I use the blue box kind and this time I measured it). Wasn't dificult at all and tastes just as good!

Nick's dinner

Sausage: regularly $3.97 on sale for $2.27
2 cans white beans: FFP $0.75 each so $1.50
Seasoning: $0.60
Rice: FFP. maybe $0.20 (see Wednesday's post about the BOGOF rice)
Cornbread: $0.40 + 1 egg ($0.11)and 1 cup of milk($0.10)=$0.61

Of course since the main ingredient is beans, Nick does not eat this. So he ate the pizza that Andy had bought for new year's ever.
Pizza: $2.00(?)
Total meal: $7.18   Per serving: $0.87 for the white beans and sausage and $2.00 for Nick's. There is enough white beans for lunch leftovers.

Now someone pass the Beano! It's gonna be a wild night!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 5--"Tacos"

I am prewriting this post in the hopes that this is what we will be eating tomorrow night.  I just received a text from Mama saying that Daddy's mom has just been started on morphine.  While it will be sad that my children will never have gotten to meet my grandparents (who were by the way AWESOME cooks. I miss "Pop's lil cakes" that were always waiting for me when I got there. And we would always wake up from naps in the living room with "The Young and the Restless" playing and a "hobo" on the front stoop eating a plate of food that she had left for him.), I know that she will be in a better place and it has been a long battle for my Aunt Helen who has been taking care of her.

Why use a package of taco seasoning that you purchase for $0.50 when you can make it at home?

Just mix 4 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1tsp of paprika and 1/4 tsp cayenne and add it to the hamburger meat after its been browned.
So they didn't turn out like they do when you make a "run for the border" but I did get the seasoning recipe from an authentic Mexican cook book.

Hamburger meat: 2.25

Lettuce: $0.79
Tomato: $0.69
Tortillas:$2.35 for 20. Used half the pack $1.18
Sour cream: regularly $1.54 on sale for $0.97
Cheese: FFP $1.68 used about $0.30

Total: $6.18 Per Serving: $1.24

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 4--"Chicken Fricassee"

Ok...I apologize for the lack of pictures for this one. I realized I had not taken any pics while I was plating my food!

So tonight will be short and sweet...LOL!

Rice: FFP. I bought it 2 weeks ago when it was "BOGO free" I got 2 med sized bags for about $2. Used maybe .20 worth?
Cream style corn: purchased Sunday. Store brand regularly .82 on sale for .55
Onions and peppers: FFP. Bought 3 weeks ago for $1.60 for the whole bag. I used like .20 worth
Chicken bouillion: 2.65 found in the Mexican section on Sunday. It was cheaper than the one found in the regular section of the store. I used 2 tbsp which comes out to be .14
Chicken thighs: remember I said this was my wonderful buy of .57/lb and tonight I used almost 2 lbs. $1.12

Tonight's total: $2.21      Per serving: $0.55! Yes that is correct! Less than a dollar a serving! I knew I should have bought more of those thighs!

Day 3--"Oven Fried Pork Chops, Mac & Cheese, & Roasted Carrots"

Who needs shake n' bake when you have bread crumbs?

I know...this was last night's meal. But once dinner was done and the kitchen was clean, it was 8pm and Tuesdays are Family Movie Night so I could not get on. 

I found some seasoned bread crumbs and a box (blecht) of mac & cheese in the pantry.  I'm kinda glad I had a box because I wasn't feeling up to making M&C from scratch.
 Mama made some carrots "last night" and had some left. Since they looked so delish on her site I had to try it out. You'll have to go to her site to find out the details...unless she posts it in the comments....

Here are the pork chops. I dipped them in milk and then dredged them in the bread crumbs that I had added a bit more seasoning. Then I sprayed with vegetable oil nonstick spray. Then I baked them.

So the break down for "tonight's" meal....Mac& Cheese and bread crumbs were in the pantry. The store brand M&C was 1.57 (I remember that price because I argued with Andy that I can buy a block of store brand velveeta cheese and a bag of store brand pasta & make homemade mac&cheese for less per serving and meal!). The bread crumbs were less than $2 (I'm pretty sure). The milk, well I didn't even use a cup so that was probably about .10 (if that). The carrots were FREE!!! Thanks to Mama and Daddy. (LOVE YALL).  The family pack of pork chops cost 8.69 and I split that into 2 meals. So they cost 4.35 for this meal.  Total for this meal: $9.06 (if that!)   Per serving: $2.01. I split it into 4.5 meals because I have leftovers for lunch "tomorrow".

No more using shake and bake when I can make it cheaper!
Oh and check on Monday's post for the edited version with the costs if you haven't already.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 2--"Hamburgers with Zesty Curly Fries"

So I was half way home from work when I realized that my paperwork with my receipt and notes was in my desk.  I'll edit and update the costs on everything tomorrow.

So here is a breakdown on tonight's dinner:

The lettuce, tomato and ground beef was purchased yesterday.  All of which make a comeback on Thursday night in the form of Tacos.  So half the tomato and a third of the lettuce was used tonight.  The package of ground beef was split into 3 meals: Hamburgers tonight, Tacos Thursday, and who knows next week.  Maybe I can get Alexis to make her homemade Sloppy Joe's.  We haven't used a can or jar mix since she first made them.  They are THAT good! (Oh...I formed the patties last night and wrapped them in plastic wrap.)

Realized after the hamburgers were ready that I forgot to put the buns in the "purchased items" pic.
Already had theses items in the FFP.  I will buy store brand items for almost everything.  I tried store brand "Miracle Whip" but I ended up throwing the jar away because I could not get over the first taste.  There was no comparison.

I bought this platter about 5 years ago and have only used it maybe 4 times.  I had to bring it out for some presentation pictures.  If you can't tell, its a hamburger! Cute!
The cost of dinner and the per serving price will have to wait until tomorrow night when I have all my notes and can sit down. 

Every now and then I have a moment of pure genius-ness.  I talked about bagged lettuce cost in comparison to the cost of a head of lettuce. I decided why "throw" money away when I have a food scale? DUH!  So I busted it out and this is what I have so far:

12.5oz of useless lettuce (and that does NOT include the plate).
7.5 oz of usable lettuce (once again not including the bowl)
So the cost of the lettuce was....well I'm not sure because like I said the receipt is at work. Tomorrow I will edit this section to show the cost of the whole head of lettuce and obviously since more 60% of the head was tossed right off the bat, it may be more cost effective to get bagged lettuce.

This is what the platter looks like.

Now I do have to warn you: not all posts will be as long as last night's (thank God right?) and not all will be as short as tomorrow's (Tuesdays are Family Movie Night). But I will promise you this: I will try my hardest to post something.    Stay tuned!

Ground beef: $2.25
Hamburger buns: $1.13 but we only used half the pack so it comes to $0.57
Cheese: FPP. Andy bought brand name last week (shame on him!) so it was probably over $3 for 24 slices. I used 4 slices. I will estimate it to be $0.50.
Tomato: $1.39 and I used half so $0.70
Onion: FFP. Maybe $0.40
Fries: FFP. I'll estimate $3
Lettuce: $1.58. Now remember I tossed 60% of it away. I only kept 7 oz and split that between tonight and Thursday so for 3.5oz $0.79

Total: $8.21.  Per Serving: $2.05.  That is for hamburger and fries. How long as it been since you've paid that at the King's or Ronald's place?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 1--"My daddy's spaghetti"

Ok so next time I'll work on my presentation a little bit. Truth is that Andy took the best looking plate before I could take a picture.
So I used the half the box of garlic bread (1.98 for the whole box), the 2lbs of stew meat, and the mushroom pieces I bought today.  I added some chopped onions and bell pepper from the freezer and some pantry items:
 Gotta love the store brand!

My total (and I'm estimating the cost of the pantry items that were purchased 2 weeks ago sorry...I'll start writing the cost on the packages from now on) was roughly $12.20.  This gave us 4 servings (since Nick eats half a serving and Andy eats 1 and a half) plus lunch for Andy and I tomorrow and a whole meal of leftovers for the freezer. Add the remaining half box of bread and more pasta and it comes to a whopping cost of $1.37 per serving. Again I had to estimate the cost of the pantry items but I know even if it was more than I estimated there is no way that it was more than $2 per serving. Try to get that at an Italian restuarant!

YAY ME!!!!!!

Getting Started....

The mission today was to grocery shop (while having vertigo---not a good idea!) for the next week. To purchase enough groceries for 5 days so as not to have to go to the store during the week.  I have come to realize that if you set a menu for the week and purchase everything at once then you will spend less than stopping at the store on the way home from work.

Setting a menu for the week is quite difficult when you have 1 and 1/2 picky eaters to feed.  So I thought what would be the easiest things to cook this week (remember I have vertigo) and would satisfy everyone. First thing I did was check the freezer. Yep surplus of chicken nuggets in the freezer ready for that last minute "I don't like that." Then I set pen to paper:

Sunday-- "My daddy's spaghetti" (no he did not cook it...that would be is instead MY version of the spaghetti my daddy cooked when I was little...even though my parents and siblings say it doesn't taste the same I KNOW BETTER! LOL)
Monday-- Hamburger & Fries (remember Nick will eat potatoes disguised as fries)
Tuesday-- Oven fried Pork Chops w/Mac & Cheese
Wednesday-- Chicken Fricassee w/Cream Style Corn
Thursday-- Tacos (using left over veggies from Monday's hamburgers)
Friday-- White Beans & Sausage
Saturday-- Hot Dogs for Family Game Night

Next I made a list of all ingredients needed for each night.  I checked the FFP (freezer, fridge, and pantry) and marked through anything I had enough to last through the week. I also added items like coffee that I knew I needed. My revised list looked a little like this:
Corn-cream style & whole kernel
Kitchen Bouquet ( lectures remember I'm a working mom of 2 and I need things quickly)
Chicken Bouillon Cubes ( lectures)
Chicken thighs
Pork Chops
Ground Beef
Stew Meat
Sour Cream
Hamburger buns
(notice missing items from the list TIP: When you have vertigo, do not plan on having a mental list of things to get. Because they will slip your mind while you are trying to stand and walk straight without getting sick)

I decided that I did not want to spend anymore than $80. Not only because I want to try to stay on budget but also because that is about all I had to spend. (Necessity truly is the mother of invention!)

I started in the produce department and walked past the bagged lettuce. Because everyone knows that a head of lettuce costs less than a bag of lettuce. But then when you think about how much of the head is usable as compared to how much is in a bag it probably comes out to be the same. I never use the first 2 layers and the center is tossed away (if you have ideas let me know...of course Picky and Pickier wouldn't eat it).  Maybe one week when I have money to throw away (yeah right) I will test out this theory and buy several heads and weigh out what is usable and compare the cost of the heads used to that of a bag. May be quite interesting. But I digress.

My next stop was the Mexican section.  More just to look and see what they had to offer.  I noticed chicken and tomato bouillion cubes. Then I saw that an 8oz jar of granulles cost $2.65 (.34/oz) (next tip: always compare cost per unit whether it be oz, piece, etc) so I put the jar in my basket just in case (didn't wanna have to back track). I went around the store and purchased the items on my list and even thought of a few not on the list (however those darn hot dogs and buns did not want to stay and play in my thoughts). My most proudest find was chicken thighs for .57/lb. I was planning on getting boneless skinless but then when I saw these babies I decided that deboning and skinning thighs isn't too hard.

I wrote down the cost of each item and added them up while I was in line to check out. My pretax total came to $56.37. WHAT?!?! You mean I could have gotten more items? Well its a good thing my items were already on the counter because this is a budget after all! I told the girl that if I was close to her total then shopping for an hour (by myself--what mom doesn't want that?!!!) would have been worth it. She asked for my total and I told her. I said "but that's before taxes so I'm expecting it to be higher". When she hit total s he laughed and said "your total for today is $57.68. Before taxes it was $56.34." Well I was very happy to enter my pin# for that transaction.

So what does $57.68 buy you?

Doesn't look like alot but for a family of 4 to eat 5 plus meals and notice I did get coffee, filters, and freezer bags which technically shouldn't be included because those are things for me and not dinner items.

A little bit about us

I will start off by introducing us to you:

This is Nick. He is almost 8 and one of the MOST pickiest eaters ever known to moms. No vegetables. Won't eat rice or potatoes (except for french fries). Has serious texture issues. Fall back food: Chicken Nuggets. And just when you think "he won't eat that", he surprises everyone and does. But it will probably only be that once. When I can get him to eat gravy or any type of sauce, I have to pick out every seasoning, onion, or any other vegetable that may be in it.

This is Alexis. She is 11 going on 16! She claims she is not a "girly" girl but we all know the truth. As much as Nick is a picky eater, Alexis is the COMPLETE  opposite. There is nothing that has ever been put in front of her that she has not tried. She first ate sushi  and calamari at 6, lobster at 7, sardines and alligator at 10. The only thing that she will not eat if placed in front of her is cauliflower. Raw or cooked. She claims it is "the most disgusting thing God ever created." She LOVES broccoli and asparagus and also eats brussel sprouts. So if she is ever at your house she will eat whatever you cook....unless its cauliflower.

This is Andy. He is picky also but definitely not as bad as Nick. He does not eat leftovers so he will be the main reason for any failure in my mission. Nothing is every spicy enough. One good thing is that he will usually say "its good" but the next time I cook it he says "I didn't like it the first time you made it." He always wants variety but rarely likes anything I try new. Tried and true fallback option: buffalo wings.

You didn't think I'd actually put a picture of me on here did you? I wanted you to be able to see yourself in me when you read this blog (maybe at the end of the year I will be ready to post a pic of me and all the money I've saved). I would say that my eating preferences lie closer to Alexis's than to Andy's and definitely no where near Nick's. I am all for leftovers or "repurposing" some of Monday's leftovers for dinner on Friday. I miss most of the meals that my family ate during my childhood (except for SOS blecht!) but only Alexis would eat most of them.

And there you have it! Hope you enjoy your visit!