Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Weekly Dinner Menu Plan $47.00

This week I've planned four meals for under $50.00 but I did have a few things on hand from previous trips. I am aiming for a grocery budget of $350 a month and I think that's reasonable for all food spending. Mostly my husband eats left overs so this is really for a mom on a low-carb and semi low-fat diet and a nearly 3 year old with food allergies and sensitivities. I purchased more things than what's on the list but just shopping for meals this is what I got.

This week I shopped at Wal-Mart since I had some coupons through Ibotta.

1. Sailsbury Steak with Gravy from Skinny Taste (1/2 recipe)
      with mashed potatoes and peas

  • 1.5lb of extra lean ground sirloin from The Fresh Market for $6.49per lb, $9.99
  •  dried breadcrumbs (I have Panko and a gluten-free breadcrumb on hand)
  • 2 cups beef broth (one container of Swanson's contains 4 cups so this can be used for   multiple meals if you work it right.) $1.98
  • tomato paste (on hand, whenever I find Muir Glen Organic's on sale 3/$4 I stock up and swap out something else on my list)
  • mustard powder ( there was no small so I had to buy the big one) $3.38
  • canned peas ($.98)
  • bag of potatoes (on hand)
  • onions (on hand)

2. Cooking Light Chicken Tetrazzini (1/2 recipe) with broccoli

  • 5oz linguini (you can only buy the larger sizes so I got the box of Smart Taste) $1.28
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock $2.68 (will use remaining in a following recipe)
  • 12 oz low-fat evaporated milk $1.28
  • 1 1/4 cup grated parm-reggiano $3.72 (Fresh Market)
  • .5oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese $2.38
  • dry white wine (bought cooking wine, had on hand) 
  • .75lb chicken breast $1.57 (bought a pound that I will split with a following recipe, on special for $2.99 at Fresh Market)
  • breadcrumbs (on hand)
  • frozen broccoli (on hand)

3. One pan chicken bowl (Pinterest)

  • 1lb chicken breast $3.47
  • diced tomatoes (on hand)
  • rice ($2.50 for Uncle Ben's Pouches)
  • 15 oz black beans (on sale at Fresh Market $1.99)
  • chili powder $2.37
  • 2.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth $1.98
  • 2 cups colby jack cheese (on hand)


4. Chicken Fried Rice by Skinny Mom (Pinterest)

  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock (from Tetrazzini recipe)
  • 3/4lb chicken ($1.57 from the other part of the Tetrazzini chicken I bought)
  • Sesame Oil (on hand)
  • rice ( from one pan chicken bowl)
  • reduced sodium soy sauce (on hand)
  • canned peas $.98
  • carrots (I forgot!)

So all this cost me about $47.00 with taxes. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

This Week's Meal Plan: $41.69

This week's meal plan is the following:

[Note: I usually end up with a little left over for those emergency milk trips to the store, but this time there isn't so much wiggle room unless I up the budget]

Monday: Leftovers - Slap Yo Mama Vegetable Beef Soup

Tuesday: Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili 
[This recipe says it serves 10! Imagine how much you'll have with leftovers]

{I prefer to buy the cans with BPA-free lining, so these were on special, usually about $2.00 each}

  • Kidney Beans $1.38 (on sale)
  • Black Beans $1.38 (on sale)
  • 1 onion (on hand)
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce $1.33 (on sale, 15oz can)
  • 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes $1.33 (on sale, each)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning ( I prefer to make my own)
  • 1 TBSP cumin (I was out so had to buy more, but usually on hand $4.38 (on sale)
  • 1 TBSP chili powder (on hand)
  • 3-4 chicken breasts, $ 2.99lb (weekly deal at our local Fresh Market) $5.98

$15.87 which if you do 10 servings, equals $1.57 per serving.

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Skinny Salisbury Steak

[This will be made allergy friendly by making the boy hamburgers with the beef]

{The recipe calls for more meat than I need so I usually half the recipe as it makes 8 patties}

  • 1 1/2  tsp oil (I have olive oil on hand)
  • 3/4 cup onions, minced (on hand)
  • 1 lbs 93% lean ground beef 
  • 1 lb lbs 93% lean ground turkey 
  • (I will buy 1.5lbs lean ground beef at The Fresh Market, $5.99lb, making it $8.98)
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (I prefer the Ian's brand but bought another brand of panko) $2.48
  • 1 large egg (I have eggs on hand as I eat one every morning but I bought extra, $2.78
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 cups beef broth $1.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper, to taste $2.98 (sale)
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms(i don't like mushrooms)
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour (on hand)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (from previous recipe)
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar (on hand)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, to taste (on hand)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder (amazingly on hand)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
$18.27 for 4 servings with 1.5lbs of ground beef

$4.56 per person

Saturday: Crock Pot Chicken (recipe calls for hot sauce but I've yet to find one dealing with the boy's allergies)
 {Serves 6}
  • 24 oz boneless skinless chicken breast $5.98
  • 1 celery stalk (naturally you can't just buy one, $1.57
  • 1/2 onion, diced (on hand and will use up my last onion)
  • 1 clove garlic (on hand, I cheat with the already minced stuff)
  • 16 oz fat free low sodium chicken broth (on hand, I buy it often)
  • 1/2 cup hot cayenne pepper sauce (I used Frank's) No sauce

$7.55 for 6 at $1.25 per serving

Grand Total: $41.69 (w/o tax)

My budget is $75.00 but this week I've gone over a bit. This trip ended up being a total of $70.28 and I've yet to purchase my meat at The Fresh Market, will be about $22.00 with taxes. So I've spent $92.28 this week. Fail but at the same time stocked up on a few things that were on sale too.  Also, every day for lunch I eat a sandwich with Boar's Head deli meat. They are safe for the boy and are costly, usually $9.99lb; on low carb bread. We have fresh broccoli left over from last week, and beans I bought on sale this week at 4/$5. Look at your store's circular, plan from there.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Quilting time.

I have finally made the decision on the next quilt. I'm asking for these items for Christmas (a mere 4 months away) and therefore won't be able to start until I (hopefully) have them. This pattern I found on Etsy takes either 6 charm packs or 2 layer cakes and I've decided on the Moda Folklore fabric. I think it will go great with my bedroom color of a very light grey. The quilt pattern can be found on Etsy,  and the Folklore fabric is all over - Amazon, Moda, local shops.

No, I haven't finished the previous quilt yet. The top is completed but I've yet to have it quilted. I'll be doing that for Christmas and I'm going to get a lightly printed fabric for the back. It's definitely not perfect but it's completed.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A little budget update.

A little update on my $75.00 grocery budget.

sacrifice: an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

I've learned that if I want to slowly build up my stockpile (again) I will need to sacrifice some of my wants for my grocery week. This week's shopping trip I found my favorite marinara sauce at buy one get one free, a deal I couldn't pass up since one jar is $5.08. Seriously, what a great deal! Also, butter was on sale for I believe $3.48 at buy one get one as well. (We shop at Ingles and I've come to find that most of these deals are not listed in their weekly store ad so I've decided that it would be most beneficial to go to the store with the weekly ad and see what's on sale before I actually go shopping. This is usually a short trip as the boy gets mighty cranky when the shopping cart isn't moving.) I also write down the prices of things in a price book and therefore know what I am going to spend. I am trying to rid us of BPA in cans, tomatoes are notorious for containing BPA therefore I buy those organic and in a BPA free can by Muir Glen Organics and those are about $2.00 a can, but I am willing to make that sacrifice to be healthy over all.

Our plan for a $75.00 grocery budget will be raised to $90.00 for three in October, this with watching ingredients due to the food allergies.  Those extra $15.00 are going to be amazing I think and shopping weekly has definitely saved us some major money and it doesn't stress me out that I have to plan for two weeks or one month at a time. I use to be so overwhelmed at that and could never come up with a plan. This way if we happen to have left overs I can use those to stretch into the following week and thus will have built up more of a stock pile. It's really all about sacrafice.

For other household items we still had some before our trip but honestly I use vinegar for cleaning everything. As much as those pretty colored bottles and new items entice me, I step away and remember I can make these for pennies and not only that they are far safer for me and my family to breathe. Since the boy has multiple food allergies I am often extra cautious but I think that's probably common. I don't often try new products in detergent, although I am very tempted, and his shampoo is kept the same or to a secondary one I know that works and is cheaper. We are pretty much running on a no-spending budget. Just food purchases and anything else comes out of a $100.00 back up I have.  That money is for whatever I deem necessary - diapers, wipes, little treats out, dog nail trim (that happened today), post office, etc.

Like I said, sacrifices. It's hard. I've broken down a few times over it and thankfully my husband is always there to pick me up. I have a list of household things I want to buy and sometimes those nag at me and then I say a quick prayer not to be tempted by the "things," and to keep my focus on other things, like donating more to our sponsored children or giving more for the boy's college fund,  Christmas, etc. These things will come, it just takes time. We are not entitled to them by any means and I have to often remind myself of that. It seems easier for men or maybe it's just my husband. He's so self-less and self-sacrificing. 

We have some things coming up that are going to cost us and I think it's best to remember that these small sacrifices are paying off for something larger.  Once those things are paid for then we can loosen the reins a little bit, but not too much. It's so easy to end up where you were.  I'm sure others share my struggles too, don't you?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

$75.00 weekly food budget

At our local Fresh Market they have a fantastic deal on Tuesday's, antibiotic free chicken breasts for $2.99lb and ground chuck for $2.99lb so I took advantage of that this week with my challenge to spend no more than $75.00 on a weekly grocery plan plus a few necessities. That's right, $75.00. It's a fun challenge but also a necessity at this point due to the fact that we recently acquired a new dog. That makes four. This one was pretty sick. I found her with a large mammary tumor hanging from her tummy and it was an open wound. After some back and forth with the "owner," he said she'd just appeared, he verbally relinquished her to us and we had the surgery on the 26th I believe and removed a two pound tumor! It appears that the cancer hasn't spread to any other part of her at all and now we just get to fatten her up (easy enough since corgi #1 is overweight and on a diet!). Oh and I didn't mention she's a CORGI! Seriously and the best part is that she's about 8 or 9 and corgi 1 is 8. Needless to say a surgery plus an extended stay while we were on vacation has resulted in vet bills. So we're scaling way back to the tune of $75.00 weekly budget for everything with maybe a little wiggle room in there for emergencies. So like I said a fun, but necessary challenge! Oh and last night one dog started coughing and was doing so all night about every hour. So he went to the vet this morning with a suspected and now confirmed case of Kennel Cough - very contagious. He's now spending the next week(!) quarantined in our downstairs bathroom since the new corgi absolutely cannot get sick. Did I mention he's a squealer?! Oh boy.

Here's my meal plan for the week:

Wednesday (since I shopped on Tuesday this week): Slap Yo Mama It's So Good Vegetable Beef Soup  (this recipe is a staple in our household these days - you get vegetables, it's hearty and filling and the price is right! This time I used canned carrots, the small cans for I think .75c each, and I always used canned green beans but I add a second since we love green beans. I can never find strained and jarred tomatoes so I used a large can of Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes for about $2.50. Muir Glen Organic is a BPA Free can which is super duper important to me and I'm working on finding those alternatives in other canned goods and eventually canning my own. (My mother is coming up at the end of the month and is going to teach me canning!) I had a can of beef broth on hand (always try to keep chicken/beef broth), as well as the onion and the celery from a tray of vegetables we bought on our vacation that I brought home. But I'd imagine you can omit the celery if you like. I don't much care for it but in this dish I cannot taste it or the tomatoes or onions and that suits me perfectly. The boy LOVES this and devours it heartily but I do have to be careful of the diaper rash it will cause with all the tomatoes. We can eat on this for days and by days I mean 3-4 days for lunch and dinner.

So depending on how much is left or how sick of it I am is when the next meal will be planned and by doing this I should have food into the next week.

I'm going to attempt a recipe I found on Pinterest for Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos. To save on the cost I cut out the green onions and the pepper jack cheese since I already have a Mexican blend of cheese in my refrigerator. I have rice that I can add for this and that's something the boy can eat too (if you didn't know my son has food allergies) but I can also cook him a chicken breast or give him part of the chicken breast I will use for this and just decrease my consumption. Not a terrible thing. (It's helped me loose 30lbs!)

For lunches I'm doing peanut butter and jelly on a low-carb bread (or leftovers) and for breakfasts I do a serving of Simply Potatoes with an egg. I've actually eaten this breakfast since January and haven't gotten sick of it. A HUGE surprise. But it's got everything I need for a filling breakfast and the boy gets a side of potatoes as well.

Part of my budget was spent on a few personal care items at Walgreens for $35.00 so I only had $40.00 to work with and then when I buy the boy's milk (Almond Milk Plus Protein and Fiber) that's nearly $8.00 for two. Chicken and beef and eggs were on sale at Fresh Market so that took $10.00 away, leaving $30.00 and I came in under budget with $5.00 to spare and that's a safety if I need another milk for the boy. (He guzzles it!) I realize that there are no more real "planned" meals but I actually have chicken from two weeks before in my freezer so it's a back up but this week I wanted to try and eat on these two meals.

I'm already thinking of next week's plan because I have to buy some of the boy's shampoo/body wash which isn't cheap so that will need to be adjusted to my overall budget.

Any questions?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The next quilt....

Does anyone else think about the next quilting pattern before they've completed the one they're currently working on? I am already there. Maybe since this pattern has been difficult as I kind of made it up as I went since I lost the original pattern. It's ended up as a 65x65 so more a lap quilt than the original king size I was going for, for my rather tall brother. But with the fabric issue (crap fabric = not getting the same shade each time and thus making me insane), and my less than ideal cutting skills this will be the largest quilt I've ever completed. It also helps that it won't cost quite so much to have it quilted which is great news since I've still got to buy batting, binding and the backing fabric.

Next Spring we are hoping to buy a new mattress, a king size, so I'm contemplating a king size in a 12x12 beginner pattern in my favorite colors - blues, greens, turquoise. I found this on Pinterest and I think it really identifies the colors I have in my bedroom already.

My bedroom is a lighter shade of grey than the one above but my drapes are almost the color of the third teal color. So this is a rough comparison. I can't find the original image I pinned. Boo. I hate when that happens. I'm a little nervous about fabric hunting and I'd prefer a charm pack or jelly roll for this but I can't find one in these colors - anyone else out there have a similar problem? Or maybe can direct me to something?

I'm not sure if this is still available, but I think these would work beautifully since I don't have any patterns in our room, the drapes are just a solid color.

The "Framed Pinwheel," is a beginner pattern although it is an 8x8. My cutting skills are pretty wack so the triangles may lead to tears. But I keep coming back to this pattern. 

On Monday I received a call from my cabinet maker and installer that he wanted to get pictures of my cabinets to feature on his website(!!), I'm gonna be famous. I'm not quite ready for that. ;-) So onto the cleaning!

Friday, May 9, 2014


I'm finally back to working on my Zig-Zag Quilt, but I'm thinking of the future. Here's the front:

For the back, I'm thinking something a little simple and less busy. Here's my sad attempt at Photoshop.

Black binding, that's thin. It's based on the football team for the University of Alabama.
Thoughts by so very charming. All rights reserved.
Blog design by Labina Kirby.