Sunday, January 26, 2014

Days 12 - 25 {Making Do}

Day 12 - No purchases.

Day 13 - We usually go out for lunch once a week, but this time I packed a picnic lunch and my husband picked up a bag of chips to complete the meal, not for nutrition, but to make it feel like it was a nice, fun lunch instead of deprivation.
King Soopers - $2.50
chips and a free donut

Day 14 - 17
No purchases.

Day 18
We went to a potluck and I made a dish using what we had, not wonderful, but not terrible either.  I also made whole wheat rolls.  We are glad for the blessing of fellowship.  Then we ran by King Soopers to get gas and I ran in for milk.
King Soopers - $7.96
2 gallons milk and....I'm not sure what else as I can't find the receipt.

Day 19
Budget fail! 4 large pizzas on a football Sunday.  We are getting a little weary of the challenge, Mom was tired of cooking and Dad jumped at the chance to fix that situation.
Papa John's - $32.93

Day 20
King Soopers - $6.10
4 boxes of cereal (marked down), loaf of marked down sourdough (to make croutons), 2 donuts (1 was free)

Day 21 - No purchases.  I cooked up some sweet potatoes which needed to be used, then mashed and portioned them from the freezer.  We sometimes get them in our produce co-op basket but no one in our family loves them, so I try to sneak them in to sauces and soups in small quantities.

Day 22 - Unexpected date night.  These days are hard and we need time out to fortify our marriage sometimes.  We used a gift card, but spent $6 out of pocket at Rock Bottom and $5.39 at Kneaders.

Day 23 -25 - No purchases. The fridge is getting empty.  The deep freeze is empty and has been defrosted.  I made pumpkin bread and fruit salad to bring to church tomorrow.

Purchases since Day 11: $16.56 - groceries
                                        $44.32 - dining out and take-in
Month to date: $302.85

We're in the home stretch now, but it'll be a busy week so I may just need to break down and restock.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Menu Plan #2 {Making Do}

Roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed vegetables
Beef fajitas 
Buffalo chicken salad, whole wheat rolls
Swedish meatballs, gravy, mashed potatoes, peas
Vegetable beef soup (with sweet potatoes and yellow squash with lots of other vegetables), biscuits
Mexican chicken casserole
Broccoli cheese soup (chock full of other veggies, too), whole wheat rolls
Poblano Chicken Chowder, quesadillas
Beef tacos
Brat, vegetable, & pasta skillet
Chili, cornbread
Chicken (freezer) sandwiches on homemade buns, fries
Spaghetti & meat sauce (freezer), french bread, 
Homemade pizza topped with pepperoni, sausage and red pepper, tossed salad (x2)

Lunches - served with apples or tangelos
Leftovers (several times)
Chicken salad sandwiches on homemade bread (x2-3)
Almond butter & jam sandwiches on whole wheat homemade bread

Ham sandwiches on sourdough

Breakfasts - served with fruit and/or homemade yogurt
Oatmeal with apples
Steel cut oats with blueberries
Toast using my homemade whole wheat bread
Pumpkin pancakes with homemade apple cinnamon syrup
Sausage, egg, potato bake

Sweets and Treats
cherry pie or cherry bars
date bars
homemade ice cream with toppings
chocolate chip cookies
cream cheese brownies, fruit slush cups (bring to a gathering)

Since I've already spent the whole amount I had budgeted for groceries for this low-spend month, I hope to follow this plan closely and improvise as needed to avoid wasting food. 

Days 1 - 11 {Making Do}

Day 1
Nothing too remarkable, we ate what we had and didn't make any purchases.

Day 2
I cooked a 20lb. turkey. This is one of those kitchen tasks I really do not enjoy, but yields protein for lots of meals and broth for several soups.  It makes a big mess of the kitchen and really takes all day. So I'm glad that is behind me, and that I don't have any more turkeys in the freezer to handle.  :)

Costco - $109.29
2 boxes of diapers (348 diapers), 1 box of wipes (1120 ct.), #10 can tomato sauce, 3 lbs. bananas, 104ct. dishwasher tabs
(Everything non-edible was in their coupon book, saving $19.50 off normal Costco prices. We were down to the last diaper.  I knew this would be a pressing need before this pantry challenge began and it will make the rest of the challenge more difficult, but such is life.)

Albertsons - $12.50
30 lbs. potatoes, 2 lbs. carrots, 1 bunch celery, 3 lbs. onions, 2 gallons milk

Day 3-5
We ate mostly according to the menu plan and did not make any purchases.  I was glad I had planned turkey noodle soup with the homemade broth and noodles I made as the weather has been super cold and a few of us are battling colds.  It was good to stay in and begin on a bunch of simple master bathroom improvements. I'm taking a slow and steady approach this time. 

Day 6
Chick-Fil-A - $3.50 - Four of us had a lunch date and used up a gift card we had received.
Bountiful Baskets - $68.00, to be picked up on Saturday
2 conventional baskets, 38 lb. box Minneola tangelos,  assorted tortilla pack (2 dozen small flour, 1 dozen large flour, 2 dozen small corn, 1 dozen medium whole wheat, 1 dozen medium flour)

Day 7
No purchases, though I did go out alone for dinner with my allowance after fixing dinner for the rest of the family. My kind husband knows I need time away sometimes.

Day 8
No purchases.  We are now getting low on milk, cheese and butter.  And we haven't had yogurt or rice since the challenge began.  The little bits of snack foods we had are gone, too.  Starting to feel the effects of this challenge.  I was working too late into the evening on our bathroom improvements.  Hooray!  Painting is done.  Flooring is now started.

Day 9
We are now deviating more from the menu plan, just to use leftovers up and not let them go to waste.  I also haven't made bread as much as I had planned, so meals involving bread have been switched to something else.  I gave each of the kids a haircut. I'm thankful we have not ever taken our kids for a haircut by a professional so the expectation has not been set.  The little ones really are not cooperative, but I doubt they'd do much better if I was spending $10-15/kid.
To use up the ends of some condiment bottles I made barbecue sauce.  We love the recipe here.

Day 10
I ordered some fun Curious George items from Zulily* for our little boy's birthday next month using a credit I had.  I think he is going to love the stuff and for just a few dollars out of pocket, that'll make us both happy.   I also went through Ebates* so I may get some change back.  I use Ebates all the time when I'm shopping online for cash back. (*referral links)

Costco -  $35.45
4 lbs. butter, 2 gallons milk, 3 dozen extra large eggs, 40 oz. bag organic tortilla chips, 2.5 lbs. Tillamook cheddar, 2 lbs. mozzarella
King Soopers - $13.23
3 gallons milk (1 organic), 32 oz. strawberry yogurt (a treat for the kids), 32 oz. yogurt (I needed a starter so I could make homemade again), loaf of sourdough bread, individual cup of yogurt (free)
Starbucks - used a coupon and gift card

Day 11
No purchases were made, but we picked up our Bountiful Baskets order. This week's conventional basket included yellow squash, broccoli, grape tomatoes, red pepper, onions, romaine, sweet potatoes, apples, grapes, pears, bananas, and mangoes.   And now our fridge is very, very full.
We also had company for dinner. I made shredded barbecue chicken sandwiches on homemade buns and a huge fruit salad.  Our friends offered to bring something and ended up bringing chips, carrots and dip and a chocolate cake.  No one went hungry.

Total spent for Days 1-11: $241.97
Ugh, that was what I had planned on spending for the whole month.  We'll just have to see how long our current provisions hold out. I'm glad to have a packed fridge with loads of produce.