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Massive Grocery Shop Plus Some Food Rambling

May 4th, 2019 at 02:56 pm

I went and did the two week grocery shop, but I also stocked up on a lot of chicken. I went to four stores in one day and boy is my body telling me I overdid it today. Although it might also have to do with some weeding last night.

Safeway has boneless skinless thighs (and breasts) on sale for $2.99 a pound in my area. I was going to get some bone in skin on chicken elsewhere for 88 cents a pound, but they were all out of it and didn't have more in the back, which was annoying.

It is cheaper to do it myself, but my hands are bugging me and I didn't want to deal with pulling skins off and working the bone out while keeping the most meat possible intact. Since $2.99 is my buy price for boneless/skinless chicken thighs, I bought 8 of them. They were around 4 pounds each. So today we will haul out the Food Saver and divide them up into 8 piece packages and take most of them out to the deep freezer in the garage.

My first stop was Trader Joe's and I spent $96.51. I bought:

2 boxes maple pecan granola cereal
1 chive and onion cream cheese
4 frozen chicken fettuccine Alfredo
4 frozen mac and cheese dinners
2 bags flour tortillas
1 box fish nuggets
3 bags garlic naan bread
1 box peanut butter granola bars
1 bag (of six) large hamburger buns (no soy!)
2 packs Co-Jack cheese sticks
1 4 lb bag organic gold potatoes
1 5 lb bag organic russet potatoes
4 boxes chocolate truffle bars (no soy!)
1 organic Caesar salad kit (they were out of plain romaine)
1 bag organic baby spinach

Our next stop was Fred Meyer were I spent $50.47. I bought:

2 Simply Strawberry lemonades (digital coupon)
2 Simply lemonades (digital coupon)
4 boxes organic fettuccine noodles (cheaper than normal ones on sale)
2 bags English muffins
2 bunches organic green onions
2 organic red onions
6 organic yellow onions
1 bunch organic bananas
4 containers Pringles (on sale 2 for $3)
4 organic lemons
2 organic limes
1 large container cubed watermelon

Then we hustled across the street to Whole Foods where I bought only 4 items, but the meat was expensive. I spent $41.37 and I bought:

1/2 pound of uncured pepperoni
1 pound of uncured sopresatta
1 box organic strawberries
4 strawberry mochi

After that we went to Safeway and spent $145.16 and bought:

4 boxes of organic spaghetti noodles
1 box of organic lasagna noodles
1 big bag of ice
1 1/2 gallon of milk
1 package organic white cheddar cheese slices
1 box of Vital Farms pastured eggs
1 10 count box of cupcakes
8 packages of boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 pounds of wild cod (on sale for $5/lb)
1 pound of Dietz and Watson deli roast beef
1 pound of Dietz and Waston deli homestyle roasted turkey

The total on groceries spent is $333.51. That leaves me with $66.49 in the grocery budget for next week if I need to pick up milk, tortillas, or more deli meat.

I should not have to buy any more noodles for a couple of months as the noodle cupboard is fully stocked. I also don't need to buy any spaghetti sauce for a few months as I finished stocking that up the previous pay period. We eat pasta once a week, because it is fast and easy in the Instant Pot. I have learned how to do penné, bow ties, rotini, spaghetti, and fettuccine all in the Instant Pot and have been pretty pleased with the results.

I like having a three month supply of everything in the house in case of emergency situations. Then of course my extended pantry for six months of food which got us through those 10 months of unemployment a while back. My ultimate goal is a year's supply, but that takes a lot of time to build.

I need to make up a big batch of meatballs again for the freezer and then it will be even easier to just pour and dump the whole thing. I have to get DS to shred the parmesan and romano for me, though. That is the hardest part for my hands. We like it at powder consistency, otherwise I'd use the food processor or salad shooter, but the little cheese mill is all we have for it.

I am thinking about getting an electric cheese mill, but it is around $100. We do eat a lot of powdered cheese, though, and the only way to get it without the anti-caking agents is to do it ourselves. So it might be worth it. I haven't spent the majority of my allowance in ages so there is quite a bit built up in the allowance envelope. Also we have $100 from MIL that we could use to buy it from our anniversary in March. We hadn't figured out what we wanted, though I was thinking about an electric flatbread press for making tortillas and pita bread easier. I need to watch more videos of people using them and see if they are really worth the price. Does anyone here use one?

A Bunch of Gardening and a Chicken Meat Sale

April 20th, 2019 at 10:57 pm

So last weekend DS and I planted 250 onion plants, turned the compost bin, and topped off 3 garden beds with finished compost.

Today we worked on pulling Morning Glory, which involved digging down two feet in the beds in some cases just to get at the root system. I despise this stuff and I still have great disgust for the neighbor who planted it and allowed it to invade at least six other properties. It has invaded 3 of the raised beds and it is going to be a major pain to dig it all out, but we have to. If we leave it in it will take over any vegetables we plant.

After that I pulled the old strawberry plants out of two of the strawberry beds. I will be planting a tomato in each one and then cucumbers in one and gold rush zucchini in the other. I still have one more strawberry bed to pull.

I did buy 24 new strawberry plants, 12 Sweet Sunrise and 12 Seaside. Both are supposed to be very sweet. Anything will beat the varieties I am pulling, which are Quinalt and Tri-Star. Those are big berries, but they are not very sweet at all. I think they were bred to be stable in shipping, not to taste good. If they are good I will allow them to make runners and propagate new plants. I wasn't going to plant any this year, because I didn't want to take up bed space.

I won't be planting them in the third strawberry bed, but instead we are going to put down 3 or 4 pallets and then put the wading pool we had for the ducks on top of it and use that to grow the strawberries, that way it will be high enough for me to harvest without having to get down on the ground. DH will drill some holes in it. It already has a few small one inch cracks in the bottom, but it needs more drainage than that.

First the weeds in the area need to be pulled. We already pulled about 3 wheelbarrow loads today. It looks so much better already. I think I am going to have to pull everything out of the herb bed. It is one that has Morning Glory in it and a ton of grass. Plus I need to take out the Echinacea and divide it. Also I want to harvest some of the root for making tinctures.

We did pick a quart jar of dandelion flowers which I dehydrated. It is easier to pull the petals out when it is dehydrated. I am then going to use those petals to make dandelion jelly, which if you have never had it, tastes like a lighter version of honey. All you do is make a tea by pouring boiling water over the petals, strain it, add the proper amounts of sugar and pectin, and make the jelly. Much easier than fruit jelly. It is very good and is one of my favorite jellies. So that is on the agenda for later this week, probably when it is raining.

Tomorrow I hope to at least get through the one bed with the Morning Glory. We'll have to get DH to help, too. It's a big job for just two people to muddle through. I'd like to get it done this weekend and the other two done within the next week. May will be here before we know it and I will need to use those beds to plant the warmer weather veggies, especially since I am growing peppers this year.

I just feel a real urgency to grow, can, and freeze as much of my own produce as possible this year. I am expecting grocery prices to skyrocket because of all the flooding and the loss of farm animals in the middle states.

Speaking of skyrocketing grocery prices, I am doing my best to take advantage of meat sales right now, so I can put the meat in food saver bags and freeze for future use. Winco had chicken on sale, both legs and thighs, for 98 cents a pound. I bought 4 packs of thighs and 1 pack of legs. The thighs had 10 pieces in each pack, so I was able to divide them up into 5 bags of 8 thighs, and then the legs had 12 pieces, so I just did one bag for that. Usually I need 8 legs for dinner, but when I go to use this one, I will take four of the legs to make I really hearty chicken meat stock.

Chicken was the only meat I was really low on, so I was quite happy to see this sale. I may go back and get another 5 packs. I wanted to get 10, but didn't have the fridge space to store it until I could get it divided and frozen. But under $25 for 6 meals worth of chicken, plus what will be 4 quarts of chicken broth and some meat for wraps or sandwiches, is hard to beat.

I just really wish wings would go on sale. I still remember when you could buy wings for 29 cents a pound, but now they are ridiculously priced for what used to be considered an item only good for making soup. I blame the BBQ chicken wing industry for the increase in price. I will just have to make BBQ chicken legs when I am craving wings instead.

Keep On Keeping On

April 4th, 2019 at 04:51 pm

DH had to pick up some pure maple syrup at Costco last night, so that cost $11.59. That seems to have gone down a good bit since the last time we bought syrup. I think it was around $15 last time, so that was a nice surprise.

The last two days were kind of painful. I think it was the storm. I am sensitive to changes in barometric pressure. I swell up when rainstorms come in. I also get headaches. It's weird. But the sun is back out today and also last night was my second shot of Enbrel and my joints are feeling better again, except my left hip, which is out and my chiropractor is on vacation. He won't be back until the 10th.

It is possible that I may be someone who has to take two shots of Enbrel a week, but I imagine it is too soon to tell. But the joint flare could also have been the medicine wearing off. I don't know. It's too soon to tell on that as well. No nausea or vomiting with this second shot, but I took some Zantac last night to try to prevent it, and it seems like it did.

Tomorrow we have another rain storm coming in, so if my joints hurt again, then I'll assume it was the pressure and not the medicine wearing off, since I just took the shot.

I have been maintaining my weight loss, but have not been very good at losing anymore. I haven't really been trying this week, but I need to get my act together, because I still have a lot to lose. We are going to get our gym membership signed up for this weekend and I can get back in the pool again. I am going to take it easy and only walk in the pool to start, not try to swim laps or use the water weights. I need to build up my stamina. Then maybe after a week or so, I might take a class.

They have Aqua Zumba one day a week and water aerobics the rest of the week days and Saturday. I will start with Aqua Zumba as it is easier on the joints and more fun. I will have to get up earlier for the water aerobics if I decide to start that, but Aqua Zumba is at 10:30. They do have two night time water aerobics classes if I just can't get up early enough. But they are at 6 p.m. and I imagine quite crowded at that time of day.

DS will be using the work out machines and weights while I am in the pool. He isn't really keen on water aerobics, though he did enjoy them when he was younger. I think he is self-conscious to be in a pool full of women, even if most of them are middle aged to old age.

I don't really know if DH or DD will use the membership or not. DD says she will to use the pool, but she is never able to get up, so I don't see it really happening unless she changes her sleeping schedule. I'm not going to drive there twice a day. It is a bad traffic situation later in the day and hard to get in and out.

I think I am going to have to accelerate savings for the computer fund. My computer keeps restarting itself. Every day, sometimes twice a day and it is getting super annoying. It keeps saying my computer has an error and has to shut down. Ugh. I am going to try a few things to see if I can't find the error, but it may not be salvageable.

This computer has quite a few things wrong with it that they never seemed to be able to fix 100% and now it no longer has a service contract, so I just can't see throwing money at it when I can throw money at a new one. I am not sure I will get a laptop this time, though. I think I may just get a desktop instead. We'll see. With my current phone, I don't really need a laptop to take with me anymore. I only write at home these days.

Although I do like taking the laptop into the bathroom while I am taking a long bath and playing a movie, so there's that. I guess I'll figure that out once I have the money saved up. I want to save instead of 18 months same as cash, but will do that if this thing goes belly up before the money is ready.

Quick Grocery Trip and New Drug Regimen Begins

March 28th, 2019 at 11:41 pm

I had to spend DH for milk and ice. He spent $7.99. Yes, I know I can make my own ice. I don't. It's one of the luxuries I allow, since I have trouble cracking ice cube trays with my RA.

Speaking of my RA, I started Enbrel last night. It's a pen type injector. I was really nervous, but it was simple. It hurt a little when the needle went in, but far less than a regular shot. The medicine itself did not hurt.

It's not supposed to take effect for a month, but some people have had it take effect immediately. I think I am one of those people, because I slept all night on one side. Usually I wake up a couple times a night to switch sides because of the pain. I'm not saying I am pain free, because I am not, but it was easier to get out of bed this morning than any time in recent memory.

I did have one side effect, though. I threw up this morning out of nowhere. I was perfectly fine, then ate a string cheese, and 30 seconds later got all the signs I was going to throw up and then did. There was a lot of bile, but fortunately I had drunk a lot of water, so it wasn't as nasty as it could have been. Vomiting is a side effect of the drug, as it has been with almost every RA drug I have tried. However, I've been fine the rest of the day.

Also I had more energy today than I have had in ages. I am still a little sick, but I had enough energy to do two loads of dishes and 4 loads of laundry. I have not had the energy to do that since I was on steroids for that really bad sinus infection. I also made dinner, including slicing an onion. Some days I can't cut things up. This was not one of those days.

So I am cautiously optimistic. We will see. Even if I still hurt, if I am not tired all the time that will be a drastic improvement. I am used to living in pain. Having the energy to get through a day is worth more to me than being pain free. But hopefully that pain will get better each day with this drug. And I won't get any of the scary bad side effects.

Figuring Out the New Budget

March 22nd, 2019 at 01:55 am

The paycheck hit the account early. Usually it isn't in there until eight a.m. So I went ahead and did the budget for the end of March (and what I didn't do out of last time's paycheck because I was sick) and then closed out the budget for the month. After that, since this paycheck did have the new amount with the raise on it, I changed my budget template to account for the increased money and then I set up the April budget.

So it looks like we will have $1177.54 more in each paycheck. Now some of that will go to increasing the tithe amount to keep it at 10%, but the rest is all going to be thrown at the monster mom loan. If we are careful, I should be able to make payments of $700 the first payday of each month and $1300 the second payday of each month. At least barring any unforeseen circumstances.

I would have actually been able to make a $1000 payment this time, but I doubled the clothing budget as DH ripped out yet another pair of pants. He does this by getting down on one knee and then stretching forward to pick something up. I tell him not to do it, but he keeps doing it. And it always rips outside the seam so it can't be repaired. So he needs to get a couple of pairs of pants, DD needs a new cardigan (she gets called so easily even when it is warm out), I need a new cardigan and possibly a couple t-shirts. I need to go through my closet to be sure, but I think I need at least two.

I paid off the credit card (which I do monthly), but it was high this time because of all the take out while I was super ill. So if not for that I would have been able to make a $1300 loan payment this payday.

I am feeling a lot better. I still have a runny nose and a cough, but I have been able to sit up all day for 2 days running, and I was able to make dinner three days in a row now, so there should not be anymore take out, except for the weekly meal that MIL pays for if we choose to have it.

I am still not super hungry. The flu really killed my appetite. I've lost 17.4 pounds total since the 6th. Not on purpose, but I'll take it. I am up to one meal and one snack a day, but will try to get up to one meal and two snacks tomorrow. But eating is still a chore. But I really need to make sure I am eating at least 1200 calories.

I went grocery shopping today. Just one store and I used up the rest of last payday's grocery budget. I will do more shopping tomorrow with the new grocery budget. I figured it would be easier on me to just do one store today and one store tomorrow, than try to do two or more stores in one day. I don't have the stamina for it. I did make it through the shopping without having to use my inhaler, so I've vastly improved since the last shopping trip.

So at Haggen I spent $192.43 and bought:

Aspargus
Green cabbage
Scarlet carrots
Daikon
Red grapes
Oranges
Green bell pepper
Red bell pepper
Strawberries
2 beef chuck roasts
3 family sized packages of sirloin steaks
1 pork shoulder roast
1 package chorizo sausage
1 sliced ham chub
1 sliced turkey chub
Popcorn
1 loaf of Naked bread
1 package of Naked hamburger buns
4 jars of Classico Alfredo sauce
4 jars of Miracle Whip

The last two items were on super good sales, but you had to buy 4 to get the sale price. That's okay, though. The MW will last us until the next big sale and at $2.99 it was half price. The Alfredo sauce I use at least twice a month for Chicken Fettucine Alfredo and at least twice a month for the kids' pizzas (DD can't eat tomato sauce anymore). I make them a chicken parmesan bacon pizza with Alfredo sauce. It's honestly just like the one from Pizza Hut only no tomatoes. The kids say it is actually better. Probably because I cook my crust to crispy, unlike PH.

I still have to make up a meal plan for next week. I will be making pizzas tomorrow, burgers and jo-jos on Saturday, and pot roast on Sunday. I'll work on next week's meal plan after I've finished all the grocery shopping.

Cleaned the Fridge

March 3rd, 2019 at 03:10 pm

I didn't fall asleep last night until around 3 a.m. Ugh. But I cleaned the fridge since I was so awake. And I was very pleased that I didn't have to throw anything out. I have been focusing on getting leftovers used up to reduce our food waste and it seems to be paying off. I do have all the leftovers sitting on one shelf, though, so that they are easy to be aware of and don't get shoved to the back of the fridge.

Between this and eating down the freezer, I have been able to not spend the entire grocery budget for the last two paydays. Admittedly, there are still 5 days left until the next payday, but I think there will still be a little left. I'm not talking a ton. The first payday it was only $15, but usually I spend right up to the line. This time it looks like it will be closer to $50. It would be more, but we are out of ketchup and since they are on sale I am going to stock up and get 3. DH eats a lot of ketchup.

So far I have not decided what to do with any extra money. Maybe just throw it in a jar to save up for a side of beef. That way it is still going towards food.

Snow Keeps Falling, Snow Keeps Falling, Down, Down

February 10th, 2019 at 09:00 pm

...to paraphrase one of my favorite songs from the 80's. The snow started around 3:00 this afternoon and we already have six inches. It's supposed to snow non-stop for the next few days, too. DH and I were out doing our grocery shop. We went to five stores, but the second to last one had closed early due to the weather. We only missed it by about a half an hour, but fortunately that was Whole Foods, which was just a want, not a need, run for sopprasetta.

Usually I will spread out the shopping over a couple of days, but not when the weather is only going to get worse. So here's what I bought at Safeway:

1 Pepsi Throwback (sugar kind, and bad)
2 Pirates Booty
1 Tostitos Lime
2 Classico Alfredo Sauce
2 packages O Organics Popcorn
2 1/2 gallons of O Organics Milk
1 bag of spinach
2 limes
1 box organic blackberries
1 organic red onion
4 organic roma tomatoes
1 lb deli roast beef
1 lb deli roast chicken

I spent $64.86 there. Next we went to Costco and I got:

1 box shredded parmesan cheese
2 4 packs frozen broccoli
1 bag of six bell peppers
1 box of Kodiak Power Waffles
1 bag of sausage patties
1 2 pack of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 packages of Yangtze pork
1 4 pack Kerrygold Irish butter
2 24 packs of organic eggs
2 3 packs of organic chicken sausage links
1 bag of peeled garlic
1 2 pack of prosciutto

I spent $172.99 there. Our next stop was the food co-op. We were looking for tortillas without soy in them, but there's had soybean oil so I only ended up buying:

1 head of organic lettuce

I spent $2.99. Next we went to Trader Joe's and I bought:

3 5 lb bags of Russet potatoes
2 packages of uncured beef hot dogs
4 packages of flour tortillas (no soy!)
2 containers of sunflower oil
1 box pita crackers (no soy!)
1 box rosemary crackers (no soy!)

I spent $43.97 there. So total grocery spending was $284.81, well under my $400 two week grocery budget.

We did pickup some household items as well. At Safeway we got 2 bottles of body wash for DH for $6.51. At Costco we picked up a case of toilet paper and 2 4 packs of Zyrtec for $98.99 for a total of $105.50. TP and body wash came out of the Household Envelope and Zyrtec came out of the Medical Fund Account.

Now I shouldn't have to budge from the house until the Snowpocalypse is over.