What I Spent, What We Ate

What I Spent

Since my last post I spent $18.82 on groceries. This brings me $1.67 over my goal of spending $100 on groceries for the month of March. There is almost a full week left in the month, but I am closing my grocery budget out a bit early this month because I want to take advantage of some coupons for items at BJs that expire before the end of the month (and that we need to stock up on). I have lots of thoughts about my pantry challenge for the month AND for this exercise in maintaining a $200 grocery budget (on average) throughout the year. The short story is that I really am at the point where I’m annoyed about several things. I do keep reminding myself that this is 50% less than I allocated for groceries last year and the reason I cut so sharply was because I was concerned about food waste. It might have been too much of a cut — but I can always revisit that and make changes if necessary. I want to go six months on this budget as much as possible, just to get an idea. Anyway. I’ll go on (and on) about that in another post, probably. Here is what I actually bought!

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At Aldi I spent $7.94 on peppers (a really good price and I love them), cottage cheese, garlic and oyster crackers. I thought I would make seasoned oyster crackers but I’ve just been snacking on them plain out of the bag. I also picked up a pizza and chips, but that is in the take-out/eating out budget. Which took a beating this month. More on that another day. I was annoyed that they didn’t have a few advertised items, especially Pink Lady apples as we were totally out of fruit for my husband (still plenty of grapefruit for me).

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At Save-A-Lot I picked up a small bag of halos and bananas. We promptly polished these off during our trip to Cumberland Island, so we’re out of fruit again. I spent $4.10 there. And finally, another bag of coffee — this time the brand and roast we prefer (we’re drinking the Aldi coffee and it’s not bad, but we really prefer a dark roast and they did not have any dark roasted beans). I’m not sure if we’ll need to open it before I get to BJs later this week, but it will be a close thing. I also grabbed an avocado as they were $.79 and nice on top of our oven fajitas!

What We Ate

Honestly at this point I don’t remember too much what we ate each day. We did treat the week a bit like a staycation and used the travel budget to underwrite some take-out purchases. Here are some highlights of what I cooked at home.

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Beef Stew and Herbed Popovers 

So good. It was a bit thin in the this photo; for some reason this batch took a long time to really cook down and thicken up, but once it did it was amazing. The recipe I (loosely) follow calls for a box of Knox gelatin to help make a really silky, unctuous broth and it definitely works. Its not a cheap meal, but it’s also not that expensive and it’s SO WORTH IT.

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Cinnamon Streusel Pancakes

This was an experiment using the leftover streusel from making the banana pecan muffins the other week and it worked out so well! I’ll definitely do this again when I have leftover streusel.

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Lentil Sloppy Joes over Roasted Cabbage Steaks

This was my new recipe dish for the week. Another success; I’d been a bit skeptical about the lentil sloppy joes (I’ve tried lentil tacos before and…I was seriously underwhelmed) but this was amazing. Really tasty over the cabbage steaks, too.

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Butternut Squash Soup

This made use of the roasted squash I had in the freezer and some sorrowful looking apples lingering in the fruit bowl. Always one of my favorite soups.

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Pork Chili w/Red Sauce and Kidney Beans

This is my new recipe for this week. And holy cow. Two weeks in a row the recipes have really been great. I didn’t know exactly what to do with the sirloin pork chops I’ve had in the freezer because they had a deeper, gamier flavor that the leaner cuts I’m accustomed to, and that’s why I’d let them hang out in the freezer for so long. This was a fantastic use of that cut, and it was so good that now I’m wishing I had more pork in the freezer!!

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6 thoughts on “What I Spent, What We Ate

  1. I love colored peppers too (much more than green peppers)! Your beef stew and herbed popovers look so yummy! Will you share your recipe or inspiration?!

  2. Congrats, you did so well! We also got the Halos at Save A Lot and they were gone within 24 hours! The cinnamon streusel pancakes sound delicious. Smart use of something that you could have thrown away!

    1. Thanks! I’m pretty pleased to have stayed so close to the $100. Our halos were so tasty! I kind of want another bag.

  3. You did very well to go over your goal by less than $2, Laura. $100 for two people isn’t very much, even with it being a pantry challenge. Even your $200/month average isn’t a lot, but it is more doable, I think. Keep track of what you find annoying and, if there is room in your overall budget, make some adjustments. Would making it $250 a month grocery budget work better? Would your overall budget allow you to do that?

    1. $250 is doable for sure. I think one of the things that really frustrates me about the lower budget is how I have to really pay attention to where every penny goes. There isn’t too much space for impulse buys or to stock up on sale items without constantly thinking about how I’ll make up for that in the rest of the month. To some extent that is good and just a growing pain I think I should adjust to — I want to be aware of my money. But I don’t want to sacrifice one food for another, necessarily. We were always low on fresh fruit during March and that’s kind of my line for “too tight.” But I have a full $200 for June, so I want to just try that out before opening up the budget again. 🙂 Thanks for the suggestions!

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