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Saturday, September 1, 2012

August grocery money journal -- month end

Aug. 18 went to the beach for breakfast. We'd talked of stopping at Henry's for donuts on the way, but my girls picked blueberries the evening before and I thought I might as well make blueberry scones to take. I doubled the recipe and made them BIG like Starbucks. They were a hit. I made cocoa and coffee to take to the beach as well.  Yummy, and the only cost was gas to get there.  Henry's donuts would've cost almost $5.

I wasn't feeling well for a couple of days, so took a nap while daughters made lunch. They did a frittata, biscuits and salad. Quite good and helped me to feel somewhat better. Dinner was chicken, tofu gravy, brown rice, apple salad (those squirrels keep getting into the apples trees and knocking off apples -- very annoying!) and carrots. Homemade popsicles and brownies for dessert. Years ago I saw a woman on TV making tofu gravy as a way to add protein to her meatless meals. I just had the one chicken breast to split 5 ways -- hence the tofu gravy. (Tofu gravy is just gravy with small cubes of tofu heated in it.) Yes, my family members are great sports when it comes to eating my creations!

I'm trying a variation on my rice milk. I want a more substantial milk, so have doubled the rice while increasing the water by 50%. We'll see how it turns out. I also just wanted extra of the rice pulp to cook up into cream of rice again. We had that one morning this last week and was it ever good. I had added maple extract and a bit of butter and sugar to the cooking liquid.

I'll be needing some vinegar for flavored vinegar and more salsa and pickles this week. Should make a trip to the wholesaler and produce stand.

Aug. 19  Had to pick up a gallon of white vinegar for herb vinegar. $3.39/gallon at Safeway. If I'd waited till my run to the wholesaler later this month I would've saved a bit on that, maybe 40 cents. But too far to go just for the vinegar.

Aug. 21 At the dollar store today, picking up laundry and dish detergent, dental floss, a greeting card, and found macaroni, 24 oz. package for $1. It's white pasta, which I don't usually buy, with the exception of lasagna and macaroni noodles. The rest I look for whole wheat. There's just something off, in my opinion, with whole wheat macaroni in a dish of baked mac and cheese.

Aug. 25 Yesterday we stopped in at the grocery store to check to see if there were any containers of marked down milk. We picked up 5 gallons of milk for $9.93. We also received some yummy donuts as samples in the bakery! We're now up to $149.07 for the month. I need to make a run to the wholesaler soon, and that will bring us closer to the $200 mark. My budget is $210, and I'd like to bank as much as possible for fall stock-up spending.

Meals this last week -- hot brown rice cereal,  cranberry-orange muffins,  toast for breakfasts
fried rice,  casserole of barley-lentil-pinto beans with green beans and turkey in pasta sauce, baked in the oven,  lentil-rice mexi-sautee,  leftover soup,  eggs,  salads,  yogurt and fruit for lunches
split pea soup, baked beans, hot dogs, sourdough apple deep dish pancake, sausage and veggies in pasta sauce over spaghetti, and always a green salad, sometimes breads

A lot of vegan meals. One of my family made a comment about not very much meat lately. So I made the casserole with grains, beans and added some turkey. I doubled the batch, so we'll have some for lunch after church tomorrow -- easy and hearty.

Aug. 27 Went to Trader Joes for some baking supplies. Great prices on dried fruit, nuts and dairy free chocolate chips. Next stopped at the Cash and Carry. We were low on vegetable oil and wanted a large jar of peanut butter. The hydrogenated kind makes better peanut butter cookies than the natural style. I don't usually buy Skippy or Jiff, but for cookie baking I make an exception. I'll do my scattered cookie batch this afternoon. ("Scattered cookies" are one basic dough with extra goodies added for several variations.) This will give me 4 different types of dough in logs for the freezer, for slice and bake cookies.

Aug. 29 Finally made it to the bakery thrift. I had planned on buying 10 loaves, but the loaves were 64c a piece, and if I spent $10 I could choose some free treats -- cupcakes and donuts. So we would up buying 16 loaves of wheat bread. It's not as good as my homemade, but this will give us enough bread that I don't have to think of baking till the end of September. (We go through 4-5 loaves per week in our house). Also, stopped in at the grocery store for lasagna noodles. I don't care for the dollar store lasagna noodles. So, Albertson's it wwas. And as luck would have it, lasagna noodles were 99c per 1 lb box. So we bought 3 boxes, plus a bunch of whole wheat pasta, also on sale for $1/box. And of course, we always make a pass by the meat dept, the deli/bacon aisle, and the back clearance corner. In the meat dept I found chicken pieces -- legs for 74c /lb and breast for 99c /lb. I bought a fam pack of each. So I added raosted chicken pieces to my big batch plan for the day. Also, bought 1 package of bacon on mark down, and in the clearance corner I found the small Melitta coffee filters that fit our Black and Decker (c. 1990) Cup at a Time coffee maker for 94c a box. Thus coffee maker has it's own reusable filter, but it has torn in a couple of places. Gee, you'd think a coffee filter would last more than 22 years! Anyways, these Melitta filters work great. And they're so sturdily made, I empty the filter out from the day before and reuse them. They are not at all like the flimsy bowl style used in large drip coffee makers. I can get 3 to 4 uses out of one filter.

And I think that's it for spending for the month. I have $2 and change left in the budget for August. I'll roll that into the surplus I'm stashing for fall and holiday sales.

Aug.31 Just when I thought the month was over. . .
Went to the dollar store to get greeting cards for niece and nephew, and found Cheerios there for $1 box. I bought 5 boxes. And stopped in to Walgreens to use my rain check on milk for making yogurt this weekend, another $1.99. Hopefully this is it for August, but we went over by $4.37. So much for staying under. Just did that one month, and now back to overages. I'm hoping next month will be more like last -- where I was under by about $100.

(edited 9/1 -- poor word choice, hydrogenated peanut butter)


  1. I am interested in your comment about using homogenized peanut butter for baking. A couple of months ago, I bought some natural peanut butter that no one likes mostly because it very difficult to blend. I was going to use it for baking. But now maybe not. Do you have any recommendations?

  2. Hi live and learn,
    It's just my preference. I think peanut butter cookies turn out crisper if I use a hydrogenized peanut butter. You can certainly make cookies with the natural style. Are you keeping your peanut butter in the fridge or cupboard. I've found that if I give it a good stirring with a table knife when it's first opened, then store it in the fridge, it holds together better.

    If you want to use it in cooking, natural peanut butter would be great in peanut sauce for Asian/Indian/Thai/Indonesian inspired dishes. It could also be used in homemade granola and peanut butter fudge. I'm sure there are loads of recipes where peanut butter would be yummy.

    Good luck! And if anyone else has ideas for using natural peanut butter, please speak up!


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