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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.

Yesterday was a Little Surreal

January 26th, 2019 at 09:57 pm

Yesterday was payday and it was the day of our big two week grocery shop. We got started late. Really late. Normally I hate to do things in the late afternoon and evening because the traffic is nasty and the stores are packed. But due to one thing after the other, we didn't make it to do the banking until 4:00.

I noticed how light the traffic was on the way to credit union #1. As we pulled in, there was only one car in drive-thru, but two lanes open so I was able to pull right up and get my cash out and be on our way. It has never been dead like that on a Friday afternoon before.

Then we went to CU #2, which is where I have my medical fund. I keep it separate from regular banking so there is no crossover. It's a little extra running, but it is worth it to me to have the accounts physically separated. So I had to go in, because for some reason they had a $1000 hold on my account and have done for three weeks. Ever since I cashed that big $5000 check from MIL. It should have come off over two weeks ago. They had some kind of glitch. So the teller took it off.

But anyway, we walk in and there is no one visible. This place is always bustling at 4:30 on a Friday. There are several desks that usually have people at them and you can usually see people in the back offices. As we came forward we could see one teller who had been blocked by a pillar and one person at a desk behind a large potted plant, and then a little further there were a couple of women in a walled off office. But at first glance it was like someone had come and abducted all the people.

Back on the road there was still no traffic. We went to store #1, got a front space for parking, in a lot that was 1/3 full. Got in, didn't have to navigate around a ton of people, walked right up to an empty cashier. We were in and out in 15 minutes. This never happens at this time. We hit Safeway right at 5. I kept waiting for a massive traffic back up, but nothing. The lot was only half full and again we got in and out, even with a lot of stuff, quickly. Now normally at 5:30 it takes about 20 minutes to get out of their parking lot. It is usually just atrocious.

We made it to the Food Co-op by 6. No one in the parking lot. Maybe 10 cars when it is usually wall to wall. Only needed 3 things and we were on to Costco. The huge main road was not back upped even a little. Now the Costco parking lot was quite full, but even so, we got a spot right up near the building. A few rows from the door, but still right up front.

We were in and out in another 20 minutes. Never happens. Not ever. Then on to Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's is usually worse than Costco on a Friday, but we were riding the luck. Again, parking right up front and less than 30 minutes in the store.

It took me a while to realize what was even going on. A lot people hadn't been shopping or on the roads to go shopping because they hadn't been getting their paychecks. That has to be it. It is the only thing I can think of that would have made it so easy to travel and shop yesterday. But it felt like a complete Twilight Zone experience.

I did spend right up to my new $500 budget, but I got some really great deals on meat and vegetables. DS and I will be doing more cooking lessons this week and we are both going to be eating a lot more healthy. Some of our go to products have started incorporating soy. These were some of the last few convenience items we were buying, so now we are eliminating the altogether. Sad, but necessary.

I am going to teach him how to make fruit bars and granola bars this week, since they now have soy. They are easy enough to make and then he will have a few safe snack foods on hand. We did find a granola cereal, though, without almonds. It uses pecans instead. I was happy about that. I don't eat granola often because it is not that healthy with the sugar content. This uses maple sugar. Sugar is sugar, so I still won't eat it much, but a little once in a while.

Does anyone have a good club cracker recipe? That's what has soy in it now. I'll take plain, but if there is a multi-grain one, that would be awesome. Just no soy. Even the TJ multi-grain crackers have soy. Soy, last time I checked, is not a grain.

I've got my counters completely cleared off now. I wiped down all the appliances and the knife block. I am just waiting for my husband to get back home so he clean the last two inches in the corner that my fingers are not long enough to reach. There is also a spider there, so there's that. Then everything can go into place and we are going to keep it nice and uncluttered from now on. At least, that is the hope.

I got the pasta shelf and the Asian cooking shelf wiped down and got rid of some soy sauce that was in the back. There were two open bottles, so I dumped those and recycled them. I found out I have more sesame oil and hoison sauce than I thought, so won't need to buy those for a while, but am low on rice vinegar. I don't use it often, though, so probably won't buy more until I run out. I need to get oyster sauce next payday, but I'm good on mirin and coconut aminos for a while yet.

I also found the parts to my Kitchen Aid spice grinder that were missing because someone put them away wrong. I like that one for the heavy duty spices like cloves, fennel seeds, cardamom, star anise, and cinnamon sticks and things that scratch because it has a stainless steel chamber and doesn't throw stuff against the lid.

I also found the other spice grinder dedicated to grinding peppers only. If I try to grind anything else in it, it flavors it with pepper flavors. Not fun when you've been making homemade cayenne powder or chili powder. I found the top to the third spice grinder that I use for herbs, but am not sure where the bottom is. Maybe one of the drawers I haven't gotten to yet. I have 3 more drawers to clean out and reorganize. I'll do that tomorrow. Then all the cabinet doors need to be wiped down and the sink and back splash washed down. Then the kitchen should be done.

I threw out the old can opener. We bought a new one a year ago that does the safe rim, instead of the sharp rim. The cutter part was kind of bent out of shape and wasn't opening right anyway, so I don't even know why it was still around. Oh, and I found the toaster tongs. They make it so much easier to get English muffins out of the toaster.

I've only got two more days of Prednisone left, so hopefully I can finish what I want to get done in that time. I know I will crash back down as soon as I go off it, so I am taking advantage of it while I've got it. There are some more shelves that could do with some organizing that are not in the kitchen, but have excess kitchen stuff on them and I hope to get to that tomorrow, too.

I should be exhausted after the last two days, but I'm not. Prednisone is a wonderful invention. I wish I could feel like this all the time. After I am done with my antibiotics, I am going to get my cortisol levels tested. I think there is something wrong with them if steroids will make me feel decent and functional again. I do have a lot of the same symptoms as my daughter when it comes to adrenal issues, so it is worth getting it checked out.

Prednisone Helping Plus Some Grocery Shopping

January 23rd, 2019 at 07:01 pm

I am starting to feel a little difference on the prednisone, quite a bit more energy, which I am taking advantage of, but I made the mistake of eating takeout last night and woke up with a very sore throat. I think someone has changed their recipes and added MSG or soy. Another restaurant to tick off the list of safe restaurants. And yes, I know I was trying to get through the whole month with no eating out. I made it three weeks.

Today I started back on my diet. I bought 2 rotisserie chickens and roast beef slices at Whole Foods to help me with that. The only seasonings they use are salt and pepper, and the beef is a real roast they make onsite, so no fillers. I also got some zucchini. I am going to use my veggie sheet cutter and make some zucchini, roast beef, and cheese roll ups for lunches.

I also got some uncured soppressata and some white cheddar and some sharp cheddar, some soups, and sushi rice (but that was for my daughter, I seldom eat rice). I ended up spending a little over $71.

I have really noticed a change in how my body feels since I quit buying only organic or pasture-raised meat. I was trying to save money to use on paying off debt, but I am not sure it has been worth the trade off to my health. I don't know if anyone else would notice it, but with my auto-immune disease, I think it does make a difference to avoid the chemical fertilizers and GMO fed meat.

I don't think I've been in Whole Foods since we started on Dave Ramsey in April, not that I went there often, anyway. I usually went to Trader Joe's, because it is far less expensive. April is when I started buying conventionally raised meat, too. Now that we don't have to worry so much about medical, since that account is fully funded, I think I am going to raise my grocery budget back to $1000 so we can have organic meat and be fully organic on produce again. That will have us adding $600 a month to the medical account instead of $800. In the long run it is an investment back into my health, which does affect medical.

I have an appointment with the rheumatologist tomorrow. I did finally get the approval for enbrel from my insurance company, but nowhere near enough time for her to see how I am doing on it, because I haven't started it yet. That was the original plan before my insurance company got all stupid. That's going to be fun to explain.

I took DD to the sleep doctor today. Because of the nerve pain medicine, she may not need as high a dose of one of her sleep drugs, so she is going to try to wean down to a half dose of it and see how she does, and if it is okay, then wean off it. Since the nerve pain drug has a sedating effect, the other may no longer be necessary. She'll still have to stay on the other one, though.

I was able to make a double batch of breakfast burritos (2 lbs chicken sausage, 24 eggs, 24 tortillas, 2 cups of shredded Mexi-blend cheese) with the help of my son. I taught him how to do the cooking part. He's helped with the assembly since I first started making them. It will be good for the men folk to have those ready in the freezer for breakfasts again.

I also got about half of the counter on the right side of the sink cleared off and deep cleaned. The crockpots are now being stored on the upper shelf of a lower cabinet next to the sink instead of on the counter. I will be able to put my Kitchen Aid stand mixer back over there now. The other half is mostly clutter from plastic containers that have not been stacked together and put away yet. I did get all the lids organized last night. The Costco protein drink boxes (DS drinks these) are the perfect size for that so I used two of them to organize my lids and measuring cups into. I may end up covering them in contact paper to pretty them up, though.

I saw an idea on youtube on using a shallow drawer to store all your spices instead of on a shelf. We use a lot of spices and I was always having to mix the around to find them. Now they are all laid out flat in the drawer with their labels upright and the ones I use the least towards the back. It was big enough to do three full rows, and then a row in the other direction along the ends. I can already see how much it is going to help.

I'd like to eventually just have the mixer, the Keurig, the lid boxes, the knife block and the toaster on that counter. I just have to reorganize the two big drawers and then stack the containers inside each other like they should be. And if I move the knife block over there, I then have room to put the new blender on the left-hand side of the sink. It is too tall to fit under the counter, but there is just enough space for it to fit in the open area next to the sink.

So, yeah, the prednisone is definitely working.

Still So Tired

January 21st, 2019 at 11:56 pm

I have really not been the same since getting so sick at the start of September. So I went back to the doctor today (had to see the on call NP) and I still have a pretty ferocious sinus infection. So she prescribed a double z-pack, plus prednisone. It's been over a year since I've been on steroids. I start them in the morning and I hope I'll get some energy back. It usually takes 24 hours. I wish I could start them tonight. Anyway, it was $13.64 for the meds and it'll be full cost for the visit once it clears insurance because of the deductible. I don't remember how much that is, but it is over $100.

I stopped at the grocery store after that. I picked up enough oranges to get me to payday, along with green onions, two tomatoes, 1 onion, some cilantro, and a lime. I spent under $20, but can't find the receipt. I'm making pico de gallo the day before payday and I wanted two days for the tomatoes to finish ripening. The green onions are for making egg flower soup, which is planned for tomorrow's lunch. I have to make chicken and bone broth in the morning so it is the perfect day to make soup. I will be making it with duck eggs which increases the protein.

I miss the days of it being my own duck eggs, but at least I have a source to buy them from, and I have to admit I do not miss doing the chores associated with keeping ducks, turkeys, and chickens. Or the smell. Well, that was mostly the chickens. I save the duck eggs for baking or egg flower soup, though, as they are $4.59 a half dozen at this time of year. During the regular laying season I can get them for $5 a dozen. Both are pasture raised so they have big orange yolks instead of faded out yellow ones. And they taste a lot better, so they are worth the expense, so long as I don't go overboard on buying them.

Anyway, that is the expenses for the day.

Not Quite Every Day

January 10th, 2019 at 09:30 pm

I had hoped to be blogging every day this month, but that's a little harder than I thought it was going to be. Most of the time I forget until after midnight, but today I remembered.

Tomorrow is payday and so today I sat down with the grocery ads and went through to see what the sales were. They have been awful for the last 3 weeks, but redeemed themselves this week. I was pleasantly surprised by the meat sales. Boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs are both on sale for $2.99 a pound. New York Strip Steaks are on sale for $5.99 a pound. We usually get the sirloin ones, because they go on sale at $4.99, but when strip steak is just $1 more per pound for a far superior cut, I will go for it. They also have grass fed beef on sale for $4.99 a pound so I am going to stock up.

They have a couple of pork sales going on as well, but I need to see how big they are, whether or not they have bones, and figure out what they mean by half cut chops. I have never seen that term before. They are both really cheap, one was $1.69 a pound and the other was $2.49 a pound, but those prices may even out depending on bones and I'd rather have boneless if it is a roast. If there is bone in a chop it needs to be on the edge. So we'll see on that one.

They have a pasta sauce I like but don't usually buy because of price on sale for 3 for $5, so I am going to check out the ingredients and see whether or not it has soy in it. If it doesn't, than I will go ahead and get some tomato based ones and some Alfredo ones. While I can make Alfredo sauce, it requires having cream on hand, and it is just easier to have jars on hand.

My son's special peanut butter is on a very cheap Friday only sale, so I will probably get four jars of that, too.

We are very low on cheese, so I will have to go to Winco. They have the best cheese prices in town. Since I'll be over there I'll stop at the Dollar Tree and stock up on soup, too. Fortunately all the grocery stores I shop at are on a pretty close loop. Two miles unless I include Costco and the Food Co-op, which is an additional mile, but still easily on that loop.

DH is taking the truck over to get an estimate on repairs tomorrow. They are a body shop that will bill my mother's insurance directly, but also one that is highly recommended in this town. He'll get an estimate on how much it would cost to paint the whole truck, too, since I want to start saving for that and I have not got a clue on how much that will cost. He also has a dentist appointment tomorrow for a cleaning. Good thing he only has to work until 11 a.m.

Still sticking to the meal plan really well. I don't really like the tater tot casserole my family loves, though, so I had tuna fish spread (no bread), a big salad, and finished off the canned pineapple from earlier in the week. Normally I'll make myself fish and chips on a night like this, but I didn't want to put forth the effort after all the cleaning I did today.

I'll clean out the fridge tomorrow before I go shopping. It's not bad, but someone spilled something in there that looks like juice and didn't tell me and it will need a bit of scrubbing and it is easier to do that before all the new stuff goes in and gets in the way.

I'm not sure if I'll do a one day shop or a two day shop. It really just depends on how well my body is doing. My joints have been hurting the last two days so I may not be able to do it all in one go.

Two Week Grocery Spend

December 30th, 2018 at 10:08 pm

So we got stuff from every store this time. First time I have had the energy to do so. Not all in one day. We did this in two days, Friday and Sunday. There is still a limit to what my body can tolerate even on a good day with the rheumatiod arthritis.

Our first stop was Winco where I spent $143.60 and purchased the following:

1 bag of hamburger patties (20 ct)
1 bag frozen corn on the cob (4 ct)
1 5 lb bag of French fries
1 5 lb bag of Tater Tots
1 quart of Strawberry Yogurt (Zoi Greek)
1 bag of baby spinach
2 pounds of shredded cheddar cheese
1 box Eggo Strawberry waffles
3 packages of chicken legs (14 ct per package)
1 lb of bacon
2 packages of ribeye steaks (2 ct per package)
1 8.8 lb pork shoulder roast (will cut into 3 roasts)
2 bags of Funyuns
1 party size bag of Lays Potato Chips
2 Mrs. Grass Noodle Soup (2 ct per package)
1 package Dave's Bagels (5 ct)
1 package Oroweat English Muffins (6 ct)
1 loaf Naked bread
1 quart minced garlic
2 jars Miracle Whip
12 oz granulated garlic
1 can Winco French cut green beans
1 red bell pepper
2 lbs fresh green beans
2 yellow squash
2 zucchini
1 green cabbage
2 cucumbers

The pork roast was .98/lb, but they were all 8 to 10 pounds, so I got one that was almost 9 pounds, so we will cut it up and get 3 roasts out of it. I got the canned green beans to try out. Winco brands have been about 75% hit and 25% miss for us, so I only ever get one new item of a type to try. We are almost out of what I canned this summer, so if we like these I'll get a few cases. They are only 50 cents each.

Next up was Trader Joe's where I spent $114.57 and I bought:

2 reusable grocery bags
8 bags of chicken fried rice
2 bags of roasted potatoes and peppers
6 bags of frozen chicken Alfredo Fettucine
1 bag of frozen sliced leeks
2 packages uncured beef hot dogs
1 box cod fish nuggets
1 bag organic string cheese
1 2 lb bag of organic colorful carrots
1 tube of ginger paste
1 chunk of St. Andre triple cream Brie
1 iceberg lettuce
3 lb bag of Mandarin oranges
5 lbs of organic red potatoes
8 lbs of organic gold potatoes

Next stop was Haggen, where I spent $30.55 and bought:

1 bottle of Wok Mai Hoison sauce
1 log of chevré (soft goat cheese)
1 chunk of Merlot Parmesan cheese
1 bottle of ground ginger
1 1/2 gallon of milk

Then today we went to Costco first and bought some household stuff but that comes out of the household budget, and only one food item that came to $8.49.

1 quart of Strawberry Jam

Since we were on that side of town we swung by the Food Co-op and spent $21.97. I bought:

1 8 oz jar of minced ginger
1 1/2 gallon of eggnog (only DH drinks this)
1 dozen duck eggs

The eggnog has $1.75 bottle deposit which we will get back when we return the bottle to the store. It is from a local dairy that does all of its milk, buttermilk, and cream in glass bottles. DH just likes that brand of eggnog better than anything that comes in a carton. If he hadn't been with me, I wouldn't have bought it. Duck eggs are due to me having a chicken egg allergy. They are expensive, but they are so big I generally only eat one at a time, not two.

Finally, we went to Safeway and spent $37.64 on:

2 lbs Dietz and Watson London Broil deli meat
1 lb Dietz and Watson Homestyle turkey deli meat
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper

The deli meat is pricey, but it doesn't have additives and preservatives and it was on sale for half price. I stock up and freeze some when it goes on sale because the normal price is $13.99 a pound, so $7.99 a pound is a much preferred price. Fortunately it goes on sale about twice a month.

So that is everything I purchased and I spent a total of $348.33. That leaves me with $51.67 to buy milk, bread, lettuce, and spinach next week. Now I need to sit down and make up my meal plan.

Grocery Spending Tracking

August 27th, 2018 at 05:50 pm

I did my big shop on Friday and Saturday. Usually I do it all in one day, but my mother's car is in the shop and I had to ferry her around on Friday and I am not going to grocery shop at the same time as her because it drives me crazy. It is also a nice time for my son and I to have alone together. My mother has a way of aggravating my son (she baits him) and also of making every conversation about politics even though I have a no discussing politics rule. I'm just sick of it.

Plus she has to comment on everything I put in my cart. She eats a very bland diet so there is a lot of "I could never eat that," and "How can you eat that stuff?" Sorry, Mom, we can't all live on a diet of processed sweet carbs and cube steak. Some of us need fruits, veggies, and meat that requires actual chewing. So basically I drove her around and waited in the parking lot. Then I went back with my son on Friday and did two stores and on Saturday I did one store with my husband.

This is our second two week shop and it went well and I came away with $31 left in the grocery envelope, which is $14 from this time and $17 from last pay period.

Our first stop was at Safeway where I bought mostly loss leaders and pantry stock-up because there were some good condiment sales. Everything I bought was on sale. I spent $124.74 and I saved $88.23 off the total.

4 BBQ sauce
2 Miracle Whip
2 bags potato chips
4 jars picante sauce
6 bottles of ketchup
4 jars spaghetti sauce
2 loaves wheat bread
2 packages of 4 sirloin steaks
1 package with 2 London broil roasts
4 lbs of black forest ham (on sale for $5/lb)

Next I went to Trader Joe's and spent $130.54. I bought:

4 bags of chicken fried rice
4 bags of roasted potatoes with pepeprs
4 bags of fettucine alfredo
4 bags of chicken fettucine alfredo
2 bags of potstickers
2 bags of gold potatoes
2 boxes of fish nuggets
2 Strawberry bars
2 mac and cheese
1 peanut butter granola bars
2 iceberg lettuces
1 box hashbrowns
4 packs of hot dogs
2 spray olive oil

Next was Costco where I spent $127.48.

2 bags of steamer broccoli
1 jumbo package of tortillas
1 bag beef mandu
4 boxes of Kerrygold butter
1 container cashews
1 container parmesan cheese
1 box fruit snacks

There was one more thing on there but it isn't listed in a way that identifies the item and I can't remember what it was.

Anyway, I think this two week shopping thing is going to go fairly well for me. I feel like we are getting everything we need and stocking up on staples without too much trouble at all. And I get to stay out of the stores because more trips always equals more money spent.