What I Spent, What We Ate

What I Spent

I went to the grocery store twice this week, once was more of a random trip to check out the grocery outlet/salvage type of store in town and the other was my regular trip to Aldi. I spent a total of $51.75 — WAY more than what I spent the previous two weeks. This brings my total to $82.85 and leaves me just $17 for the rest of the month. While I hadn’t planned, exactly, on this scenario, I AM glad that I went to the grocery outlet. I did purchase a few things that were unnecessary and fall outside of the dairy and produce categories. But…I don’t plan on hitting this store up more than once a month at most and wanted to take advantage of what I found. And the Aldi trip just reflected our need for produce. We’ll see how I do!

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At the grocery outlet I picked up a case of organic plain yogurt, two containers of organic cottage cheese, a jar of organic peanut butter, a bottle of chocolate sauce, two boxes of chocolate Moravian cookies (to use for a pie crust although Michael found them…) and a bag of cinnamon imperials which I can NEVER find here during Valentine’s day and they are one of my favorite candies. Obviously not everything was required, but for $10 I am okay with the splurges.

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At Aldi, I bought a bit more than I expected because of some sale prices and I picked up corned beef and coffee beans. Eggs were $.69/dozen, so I grabbed the limit of six dozen. I also picked up two bags of carrots ($.69/2lb bag), onions, a cabbage, bananas, strawberries, 2 pounds of asparagus, romaine lettuce, a large container of organic mixed salad greens, frozen raspberries, half & half, 2% milk, fake club crackers and tortilla chips. I also grabbed a pack of hamburger buns, which aren’t pictured. I  spent $41.75. Usually I get coffee beans at BJs, but the bag is expensive because it’s huge and I knew I would probably be tempted to purchase more than I needed. So we’re trying Aldi whole coffee beans, which are also organic and fair trade. We’ll see. You know I’m picky about coffee. 🙂 The raspberries were not strictly necessary, but I wanted to make smoothies using that yogurt and I don’t like blueberry only smoothies (cry me a river, right?). The corned beef was also not a necessary purchase, but Michael really likes it and it’s not easy to find at other times of the year, so…I indulged. And then the prices on carrots, eggs, onions, and asparagus had me stocking up. I noticed that quite a few items have reduced prices through 4/11, so I’ll be back next month to take advantage of those (cream cheese is $.85/pack). Anyway, without the coffee, raspberries and corned beef I would have been closer to just $20 for the week.

What We Ate

This week was not one for culinary wonders. We ate out quite a bit — a combination of birthday treats for Michael and then me just being totally off-kilter with my school schedule. It was mid-term and projects and exams took up most of my time. Our eating and my cooking was definitely kind of sad. As an FYI, our eating out budget is NOT the same as the grocery budget, although I do look at those numbers together.

Saturday: Vietnamese (out)

Sunday: Pizza (take out)

Monday: Tacos (take out)

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Tuesday: Cabbage Fried Rice

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Wednesday: Spaghetti with Sausage & Peppers Sauce, Green Salad, Garlic Bread

Thursday: Leftovers (Laura at class)

Friday: Bookclub (Laura), Soup & Salad (Michael)

One thing I realized this week was that prepping just a bit on the weekend really saves me during the week. This coming week is spring break and while it won’t be as busy as a normal school week, I’m really looking forward to getting some projects around here taken care of. That means that prepping over the weekend is going to be just as important as it would be during a regular school week. Also, you’ll also notice that my posted meal plan and the actual meals cooked bear little to no resemblance to each other. Ah, well. It was mostly an exercise to spark my interest and motivation. There’s a reason I usually post what we’ve eaten after the fact, not what we’re going to eat.




Banana Pecan Muffins

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I made these initially to thank my neighbor for his generous gift of grapefruit. But I think this will be a recipe that ends up in our regular rotation — it was really delicious! I have streusel left over and the recipe was only supposed to make 10 muffins, but as you can see I was able to get a dozen out of the batter. I think I may actually make pancakes using the streusel this weekend — that sounds like it might be interesting.

The original recipe is from The Bread Bible, by Beth Hensperger. I’ve made several yeast breads, rolls, quick breads and muffins from this cookbook and have generally always been pleased. They are definitely best warm out of the oven or, if you have leftovers, reheated for just a short time.

Banana Pecan Muffins

Makes 10 – 12 muffins


  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces


  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 c. pecans, finely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease or line 10 – 12 standard muffin cups. If you only need 10, fill the other two cups with water.
  2. To prepare the streusel: In a large bowl with a whisk, combine the sugar and flour until blended. Using a pastry blender cut in the cold butter until coarse crumbs are formed. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a whisk or electric mixer, combine the flour, oil, and eggs until light colored and foamy. Add mashed banana and beat well. the banana will be incorporated but will still be chunky.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the pecans and the banana mixture and stir with a large spatula until just moistened, about 10 strokes (or more…).
  5. Spoon into the cups until level with the top of the cup. Place 1 Tablespoon streusel on top of each muffin. Place the pan on a rack in the center of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the tops feel dry and springy. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

They were really delicious, the only thing I’ll do differently next time is make a half batch because 12 muffins to too many for two people. 🙂

This year I am joining The Frugal Girl in trying one new recipe each week. You can check them all out here.






I am in such a crabby funk today. Ugh. I think it’s probably due to the change in time and my sleep being off. SO. In an effort to change my mood, I’m going to share a few positive things from yesterday and today:

  • I caught up with some former co-workers and made plans to do so again soon.
  • I was able to attend the funeral for a former co-worker (my first boss!) and while I was certainly sad that she is no longer a part of our lives, I was glad to be able to participate in this ritual. It was a beautiful service.
  • I talked to my grandmother on the phone and had a nice chat. She is almost 90 and while she won’t use a computer herself, she loves seeing pictures that my sisters and I post to facebook or text to my mom and aunt (her daughters).
  • I made a meal plan and am set to get back on track with my cooking after a weekend of eating out.
  • I painted my nails and have resisted chipping the polish off (terrible habit I have). I don’t usually paint my nails, but I am trying to break a bad habit of picking at my nails and the skin around them when I am anxious (so…right now, as mid-terms approach…it’s amazing I have fingertips at all).
  • I saw a really big, really beautiful red-headed woodpecker while I was walking on campus today. It flew off before I could take a picture, but it was really lovely to see.
  • My husband was giving out extra hugs to help make my bad mood go away. 🙂

Meal Plan: March 14 – 17


We ate out a ton this weekend, partly for Michael’s birthday, partly because we had some things come up and weren’t at home. So that’s all well and good but now I’m off-track and have not so many things on hand for us to eat PLUS we’ve hit that point in the pantry challenge where very few ready-made food is on hand. It’s a bit late for a formal meal plan, but this is what I plan to cook for us over the next couple of days.

  • Ham & Cheese Pie (for Pi Day!)
    • ham from freezer
    • cheese in fridge
    • make pie crust (all ingredients on hand)
  • Beef Stew
    • thaw beef
    • potatoes in pantry
    • carrots, celery, etc. in fridge
    • all other ingredients on hand
  • Eggplant Lasagna (from freezer), garlic bread
    • get out Wednesday to thaw
  • Lentil Sloppy Joes, coleslaw
    • pick up hamburger buns OR sweet potatoes
    • slice cabbage ahead of time