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.

 

 

 

What I Spent, What We Ate

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WHAT I SPENT

I spent at total of $119.81 on groceries during the past week. Primarily on two bulk purchases, one of which is attached to last month’s budget. Of the $100 toward dairy and produce that I am allocating for March, I have spent $19.55.

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I spent $42.27 at Winn-Dixie for beef stew meat and smoked sausage. That purchase went to my February grocery budget, but the rest are all for March.

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I spent $57.99 on Amazon for a 5lb container of chocolate whey protein. My husband is very specific about the brand and the flavor and Amazon has the best price. I also spent $6.40 at Publix for some strawberries and bulk cashews. And finally I spent $13.15 at Aldi on produce and dairy.

WHAT WE ATE

This week was somewhat atypical for us, with my parents being in town. We ate out a few times and combined with my school schedule, I didn’t end up doing a ton of cooking. We ate pretty well, none-the-less.

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Saturday: NY Strip Steaks w/Mushroom Marsala Sauce, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Buttery Green Beans. And cookies for dessert.

Sunday: We had a late lunch out with my parents; for dinner we finished some leftover meatball subs.

Monday: Leftovers again, although truly I have no memory of what either of us ate. Except I did buy myself a bag of cheese puffs and a diet dr. pepper on campus. 😦

Tuesday: We ate out with my parents at a Mexican restaurant they really enjoyed the last time they were here.

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Wednesday: Capellini Pomodoro, Carrot and Cucumber Sticks

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Thursday: We had leftovers for dinner, but I spent the morning before class doing some food prep, which included Oatmeal Molasses Bread. Homemade bread makes leftover soup taste that much better, we find.

Friday: Tonight we’ll have Chicken w/Peppers, Olives & Capers and Sun-Dried Tomato Quinoa.

Looking Back: February Meal Plan & How We Did

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At the beginning of February I posted a list of meals/recipes that were intended to guide my cooking for the month. Here’s how I did (w/notes so you can see 1. how I think and 2. how this works as a guide, not a plan).

Rice and Beans

  • Pintos, Greens, Cornbread
  • Black Beans and Rice  At the very beginning of the month.
  • Cajun Red Beans  At the very end of the month.
  • Mujadarrah

Soup or Stew

  • Potato & Kale Stew w/Corn Dumplings*
  • Rosemary White Bean Soup Kinda, sorta? I had rosemary white beans in the freezer and used them in a soup w/ham and kale. This was a prompt to make soup using my stash of white beans, and in that way it was a success.
  • Vegetable Beef Soup
  • Zuppa Toscana Kinda, sorta, again. Really when I write Zuppa Toscana, I mean some vaguely Italian soup or stew using Italian sausage, potatoes, beans and kale. No matter how many times I use “Zuppa Toscana” as my prompt, I don’t think I have ever actually made the mock-OG recipe. 

General Vegetarian

  • Tofu Spring Rolls*
  • Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Quinoa Burgers*
  • Pasta w/Chickpeas and Hominy
  • Fusilli w/Cauliflower, Tomato Sauce and Olives*
  • Tofu & Pepper Stir Fry  Ended up trying a new recipe here, for sweet and sour tofu.

Chicken

  • Oven Fajitas
  • Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Orzo w/Chicken, Feta and Lemon
  • Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

Fish —No fish based dishes at all, for shame. lately I have just NOT been feeling a seafood vibe.

  • Parmesan Tilapia
  • Horseradish Tilapia
  • White Fish & Veggie Casserole
  • Tuna Noodle Casserole

Eggs/Breakfast

  • Pancakes and Sausage
  • Hashbrown Casserole
  • Ham & Veggie Quiche  Except when I made it I couldn’t find the ham, so it ended up being a bacon and veggie quiche. 
  • Breakfast Burritos (scrambled tofu, black beans)

Open

  • Pot roast Gah, turns out I don’t even have a beef roast in the freezer!
  • Beef empanadas (baked)
  • Korean beef lettuce wraps
  • Eggplant Lasagna (eggplant for noodles, tofu/ricotta) This made enough for one pan to be added to the freezer and used next month.

When I originally posted this list, I speculated that I would make about 1/2 – 2/3 of the items on the list. I ended up making 13 of 29 recipes, so not quite 1/2. I’m pleased with that, actually, as it’s not that I deviated from the list so much as we simply don’t need to cook every night, so a more accurate meal plan for us would probably only have 15-18 ideas. We also ate out a few times, either with my parents or at a friend’s home. The meals I made that were NOT on the original plan included Buffalo Chicken Pizza, Enchilada Casserole and Grilled Steaks w/Mushroom Marsala Sauce (when my parents were here). We also had several dishes made in January that carried over into this month.

Even though we didn’t make everything on the list, I really like this way of meal planning. I’m going to create a similar list for March, pulling heavily from the Pantry Meals and Freezer Meals lists I created after inventorying both of those storage spaces.

What We Spent, What We Ate

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What We Spent

I spent $69.50 on groceries this week. At the actual grocery store (Aldi) I spent $15.42 on a quart of half and half, a half gallon of milk, sour cream, apples, oranges, bananas (we were running v. low on fruit), and green peppers.

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I also spent $54.08 on an order of boneless, skinless chicken breast from Zaycon Fresh. When I originally lined up this purchase, I was going to allocate it straight to the March grocery budget. But I think I will keep purchases in the month they happened and just debit the next month. Other than that, I didn’t spend much money on groceries. There is a sale on beef stew meat at Winn-Dixie over the weekend that I want to take advantage of and then I will be committing myself to a pantry challenge for the month of March. So far my grocery spending in February is $276.72.

What We Ate

We had leftovers on Saturday, and then I completed a freezer inventory over the weekend and pulled out a few things to use in my cooking this week.

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On Sunday we had Chicken Caesar Salads, using a dressing recipe that my sister shared with me. My other sister had made the rub I used on the chicken when I roasted it. I felt close to my sisters that day. 🙂 We also had some of the garlic bread I bought as part of my bookclub shopping.

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I also made ham and bean soup (w/kale…pretend there is kale in this photo, which is an older one…) on Sunday, which we then had on Monday. I had it for lunch, Michael ate it for dinner while I was at class. The ham, the beans, and the broth were all in the freezer.

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Tuesday we had breakfast for dinner — pancakes (using a baking mix from the freezer), sausage (also in the freezer), and applesauce (another freezer gem). This was easy and simple and nice to just throw together after prepping the chicken.

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Wednesday we had cabbage and noodles, with a little bacon. The cabbage and bacon were both from the freezer. I also made ranger cookies in anticipation of my parents visiting over the weekend.

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Thursday we had tamale pie, using black beans and corn from the freezer, two open jars of salsa that were hanging out in the fridge, chicken leftover from roasting it for the salads earlier in the week, a can of pinto beans from the pantry and a homemade cornbread crust.

Friday, tonight, my parents are taking us out for pho. This will be their first time trying Vietnamese food, so I hope they enjoy it! I feel like pho is a pretty approachable food, though, so it should go well.