Tag Archives: Leftovers

Groceries/Menu for Next 2 Weeks

5 Jul

HEB groceries $97.67

Here’s my groceries for the first 2 weeks of July. I went to HEB, Sam’s Club and Albertsons.

How I saved at HEB:

  • Saved $11.41 by buying generic brand
  • Saved $1.36 by buying on sale items
  • Saved $3.75 by using coupons (in store Tabasco coupon,  in store, buy one get one half off make-up brushes, in store, buy Tostitos chips get HEB chips free, and a printed out Newman’s Own coupon)

My total at HEB was $97.67.

My Albertson’s trip I spent $38.20 and saved $31.38!!!! It was all done by buying on sale items. The 2 roasts were buy one get one free (perfect since Cameron requested a roast as his b-day meal). The chicken breasts, whole chicken, grapes, apples and corn were all on sale too.

It seems like HEB’s everyday prices are generally cheaper, but Albertsons has some great sales, especially in meat. So I’m trying to mostly shop at HEB and stop in at Albertsons for any great sales.

Sam's Club and Albertsons Groceries. Saved $31.38 at Albertsons!

And I spent $43.44 at Sam’s club.

My total in food groceries is: $143.50, leaving me with $106.50 for the rest of the month, which I think is do able, especially since I have 1 roast and 1 whole chicken in the freezer that I’m not even planning on using yet, so I can use them later in the month.

My total in non-food items is: $35.81, leaving me $4.19. I bought toilet paper, toothpaste, aluminum foil, laundry detergent and make-up brushes, I don’t think I’ll have to buy much more in this category this month.

Here’s what’s on the menu plan for the next 2 weeks:

Breakfasts: Granola, oatmeal, peanut butter power pucks, toast, smoothies, eggs

Lunches: Leftovers, sandwiches, burritos

Suppers:

  • Roast with carrots, potatoes, gravy and rolls (my mother-in-law brought the rolls). And whole wheat honey carrot cake for dessert. This was Cameron’s birthday meal.
  • Stew or pot pie made from leftover roast and rolls
  • Black bean quesadillas, fresh salsa and chips, grapes
  • Salad with hard boiled or deviled eggs, some sort of fruit
  • Chicken and brown rice made with homemade chicken broth and steamed broccoli
  • Stuffed peppers made with leftover brown rice and black beans, apples and cream cheese dip from Tammy’s Recipes
  • Chicken strips, corn on the cob, millet
  • Ramen noodle stir fry (if there’s any leftover millet, I’ll throw that in too)
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches (with slices of tomato in them if there’s any left), veggies and dip, mangoes
  • Chicken burger sandwiches, homemade oven fries, salad
  • Chicken quesadillas (with any leftover chicken), fresh salsa and chips, apples and dip
  • Leftovers

I’m realizing that planning my meals for 2 weeks, I don’t have to come up with 14 different main meals, between leftovers and eating out I don’t usually end up making every meal I plan.

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Unfrugal Photo Friday – Food Waste

1 Jul

Today instead of a Frugal Photo Friday, I have an UNfrugal photo, actually two. They’re both of some wasted food.

Sour Cream that was left out of the fridge way to long, veggie soup that I got tired of eating as a leftover so I just kept ignoring it, and some leftover oatmeal of Gracia’s that I put in the fridge thinking I could give it to her later and forgot.

And these apples are also Gracia’s. I thought if I put them in a bag in the fridge I could cut off any spots she bit into and use the rest in apple muffins or something…but as you can see they’re not yummy apple muffins, they’re still just half eaten brown apples.

The Frugal Girl every Friday posts pictures of food she’s wasted. Her reason is to help her not waste as much. I’ve thought about doing that, but been putting it off, mostly because I’m scared I’ll be too ashamed of all my wasted food, but then again maybe that shame will encourage me to not waste so much!! So I’m going to try really hard not to waste much this month and to share my results you all (not necessarily on Fridays though). I have to remind myself that wasting food isn’t just plain wasteful, it’s also like throwing money in the trash. After all the food I throw away was bought with money, and I claim to be frugal. I guess I should take my own advice on how to not have so much wasted food.

Problem Solved – A Story About Crumbs

27 Jun

We have a problem at our house, we eat a lot of corn tortilla chips. But the problem isn’t the ones we eat, its the ones we DON’T eat. It always seems like  a quarter of the chips get left behind in the bottom of the bag as crumbs. I like to use the crumbs as a topping on chili or chicken tortilla soup. The only problem is with all this over 100 degree weather, we haven’t been eating chili or soup. So I had this container of chip crumbs:

And I finally did something about them! First I ground them up in my food processor:

Then I used 3/4 cup in making meatloaf. I usually use bread crumbs made from leftover stale bread and crackers, but the tortilla chip crumbs worked just fine too! I put the rest of the crumbs in a bag in the freezer for the next time I need them. Sometime I want to try using them to bread chicken fingers with. Here’s an article I found with 10 ways to use up tortilla chip crumbs.

Linked at Kitchen Tip Tuesday’s at Tammy’s Recipes. Check out her site for more great kitchen tips. And check out her recipes too! I’ve tried several of them, so far I think my favorite has been her White Chili. Too bad it’s kinda hot weather for it. =(

Do you have any creative ways of using up chip crumbs?

My Personal Strategies for Saving – and How I’m Doing

8 Jun

If you were to ask people if they were wanting to save money, most would say, “yes.” But if you were to look into their bank accounts and see how much they’ve actually saved in the last month or two, it may not reflect that. I think the problem is we WANT to save, but we don’t decide HOW we’ll save. So several months ago I can up with some personal strategies that I wanted to try to save money. They were all either things I wasn’t doing, or wasn’t doing as faithfully as I wanted. Most of them are really small ways of saving, but every little bit counts! I thought I’d share them with you and also update you on how I’ve actually been doing on them.

  • Make a price book– I have it started, but haven’t finished it. The information I’ve already gathered has proved to be very helpful though!

    My jeans and belt and Gracia's jacket were all Goodwill purchases.

  • Shop more at thrift shops – I have been doing this more! And I’ve gotten some good, but cheap purchases!
  • Cook more with cheap ingredients – The only way I can think of that I’ve increased the amount of cheap ingredients we use, is that we eat oatmeal a lot for breakfast (and when I say “we” I really mean my husband and daughter. I only eat it about once a week, I prefer toast or a smoothie). A big container of oatmeal makes for some really frugal breakfasts, but since Cameron and Gracia are the ones that eat it the most, I guess they should get the credit! =)
  • Use up 99% of leftovers – Yeah, I think this is the area that I’ve failed the most in. Just yesterday I threw out a bunch of bad smelling beans from the fridge. =(
  • Learn how to not waste food “scraps”– This sounds similar to the last one, but what I mean by it is trying to come up with ways to use up things like veggie peelings and things that I normally toss without any thought. I keep the skins on potatoes for most recipes and the other day I cooked a whole chicken and made broth from it, and the only veggies I used were “scrap” pieces! I may post about it. I also made

    Cook with cheap ingredients

    some stir fry a couple days ago and decided to just scrub the carrots instead of peeling them.

  • Make and use postcards – Post cards can be fairly cheap to buy and are cheap to mail. I read in the Tightwad Gazette that you can even make your own using the front side of old cards. I’ve been really scared they wouldn’t let me mail a homemade postcard, but I finally asked the lady at the post office and she said I can. Just need to make sure it’s the right size and the picture can only be on one side….but I haven’t done it yet…
  • Make more gifts and buy less – I feel like I’ve done pretty good in this area. I still buy most of the gifts I give, but I have made several. I made 3 hats as Christmas gifts last year and recently made a baby blanket for my cousin’s new baby. Making gifts isn’t always cheaper, you have to be careful. But, for example, I’ve found a kind of yarn that is inexpensive, but still soft and comes in pretty colors for baby blankets, so I can make a baby blanket as a gift for about $6. It does take a lot of time, but I don’t mind that since I enjoy crocheting.
  • Save butter wrappers to grease baking pans– I’ve been doing this! When I use up a stick of butter I just fold the wrapper up and stick

    Homemade Salad Dressing

    it in the butter drawer until I need it! Works great!

  • Do more from scratch  (like: salad dressing, yogurt, dip, Bisquick, Worcestershire sauce) – I have made salad dressing, but have bought some too. I’ve only made yogurt once and that was quite a while ago. I’ve started making my own veggie dip with sour cream and it’s super easy, I need to share the recipe. I’ve made a Bisquick mix, but I haven’t attempted Worcestershire sauce and don’t know if I will. And me and hubby made some energy bars this weekend.
  • Buy no gift wrapping materials – I feel very successful in this area. The other day I was trying to remember when I last bought wrapping paper or gift bags, and I can’t remember. It’s probably been about a year. I reuse gift bags and tissue paper (or if I don’t have any tissue paper I just skip it).  And I still have wrapping paper from the last time I bought it. I’ve also used an old flight map to wrap a present.
  • Reuse aluminum foil – I’ve always reused ziploc bags, but only recently started reusing aluminum foil. If it’s a piece that’s small, torn or really hard to clean I toss it, but other than that I wipe it down, fold it up, and tuck it away for next time.
  • Rent less from Redbox – I’m a big fan of Redbox, it’s way cheaper than movie rental stores, but I figure we have plenty of other ways to entertain ourselves right now(netflix, games, hulu.com, etc…) . We used to go about 2-3 times a month, now it’s more like once.

NEW STRATEGIES (I thought I’d add to my money saving strategies)

  • Start trying to let Gracia take her naps without a diaper – Gracia wears 2 diapers a day (unless we’re traveling or something). She wears one at nap time and one at night. I’m gonna try to see if she can make it through nap time without one, she’s done it a few times and so far so good. This will cut our diaper use in half and at about 25 cents per diaper we could save $7.50 a month.
  • See how low I can get our grocery bill – This has it’s own strategies in and of it’s self. You can check out this post for them. And follow along on my grocery journey.

Using Up Some Random Leftovers

31 May

This is a kind of random post, but I thought I’d share a couple ways I used up some leftovers. First of all we had a whole bunch of hot dogs leftover

Cameron eating our leftover hotdog-chili concoction.

from Gracia’s birthday party. And other than just eating hotdogs as they are, I decided to chop them up small and combine them with the leftover chili also from the party. With the hotdogs choped up so small, you hardly noticed them in the chili.

I also had some spinach. I like to buy big things of spinach at Sam’s Club. We eat it in salads and in sandwiches in place of lettuce, but when it starts to get a little wilty, it’s just not as good. So then I like to steam or saute it. My mom gave me the sauteing idea, she had some at my cousins house once. It’s super easy, just heat up some olive oil in a pan and saute the spinach until wilted. You can saute onions and garlic in it too if you want. When it’s done add salt, pepper and garlic powder (if you didn’t use fresh garlic). It’s really quick, healthy and yummy! And best of all, keeps you from throwing out the spinach! =)

A Grocery Challenge!

30 May

So, this past month has been hard (if you wanna know why click here)and I haven’t kept track of our purchases. And it was very interesting, because when I decided I had other things to worry about other than adding up all our expenses, I started to see myself not caring. I’d think, “it doesn’t matter if I spend a lot on groceries, after all I’m not going to add it all up this month.” What a reminder that it really does help to keep track of where our money goes!

So this month I’m starting all over again, but I’m going to try to a challenge. The lowest I’ve had our grocery bill has been about $250 a month. So I’m going to try to see how low I can get it this month. I really want it to be under $250, and hopefully a lot under! I’m going to keep track of all the food I buy and I’ll keep you posted. This is only for food items and does not count toiletry items or eating out, however I’ll keep track of those things too and maybe show you the results.

Here’s my strategies for keeping our grocery bill low:

  • Buy mostly generic brand.
  • Shop at Sam’s Club (using my price book to make sure what I’m buying there is actually cheaper than other stores).
  • Buy sale items (checking out sales online before hand).
  • Stocking up on good deals that won’t go bad before we can eat them.
  • Going to multiple stores when there’s really good deals.
  • Cooking with cheap ingredients (beans, potatoes, oatmeal, rice, in season produce etc…).
  • Wasting as little food as possible. I’m even thinking of maybe keeping track of all wasted food. A lot of other blogs do that.
  • Going grocery shopping every other week instead of every week (if I plan well enough hopefully I won’t even need to run to the store for milk or produce in between my regular trips).
  • Cook with food I already have (pantry and freezer).
  • Use any coupons I find on internet, get in the mail or see in the store (but only if it’s something I actually use).
  • Cooking from scratch, rather than buying already made meals.
  • Plan, using what I already have, sale items and coupons to help me.

So in conclusion I want to keep our food groceries well under $250. It’s my personal challenge for the month of June. Anyone else want to join me in a grocery budget challenge? How much do you plan on spending for you or your family? How do you plan on keeping under the budget?

Butterfly Cake

24 May

It would have cost us at the very least $20 to buy an already made cake for Gracia’s birthday. But instead we made a butterfly cake, which we didn’t have to buy any fancy cake

Just need to decorate it now!

pan for or anything. The cake mix for the cupcakes, the icing and sprinkles were all free. My older brother sent them to me for my b-day, but I didn’t get around to making them, so I got to use them for Gracia’s birthday! The wings were a wacky cake recipe. And the jelly beans we used to decorate the cake with were leftover from Easter. Here’s the site we used to guide us.

  1. I simply made a round cake and made some cupcakes. I actually made a cake that didn’t come out of the pan right, so I had to make another one. I buttered and floured the pan really good then let it cool quite a bit before taking it out of the pan. Then let it cool all the way before we cut it.
  2. Once cool, cut the cake in half and place on whatever you’re going to be keeping it on (I used a big cookie sheet). Put the circle halves facing out for the wings, with cupcakes in the middle for the body of the butterfly.
  3. Then ice the cake and cupcakes.
  4. Then decorate! We used pipe cleaners for the antennas.

The finished cake!

Shared at Tammy’s Recipes for Kitchen Tip Tuesday.