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Sunday, December 16, 2012

December grocery money journal -- mid-month

(November's journal is here)

Dec. 4. It always makes me just a little bit happy when I don't have to rush out on the first of the month to buy groceries. I made it to day 4 this month. We were very low on coffee and decaf. Stopped in at a drug store with coffee advertised for $6.99/large can. Bought the coffee and 1 bag of good decaf (I love dark roast coffee, and they had French roast decaf, so I'm a happy elf today!) Total spent, $12.98.

I've been cooking up those pumpkins from last month. We're about done. Just need to run them through my food processor and freeze. I lost one to mold : (  but I am looking at it like this, nine free pumpkins and a handful of compost for the garden. I also cooked up the last of the yams, as they get soft spots quickly in my kitchen. I pureed those and froze to make into a casserole for the New Year's feast.

Dec. 5. Bought one thing at the store today, a quart of eggnog. Expensive stuff, so we dilute it with milk, and add a bit of vanilla and nutmeg. Spent $2.50. Ouch! Total spent for the month -- $15.48.

I'm waiting to do some batch cooking for the freezer, for when it's a bit more empty. Perhaps next week I'll be able to put together some casseroles and freeze.

Dec. 6. Picked up a gallon of milk on the way home from work. Weird thing happened. I had a $2 rebate check from the drug store, which on the check says it can either be cashed at the bank or used for a purchase in their store. So I was planning on using it towards a gallon of milk, retailing for $2.69. Handed my rebate check to the cashier. Her register was refusing to take it for several tries. Then finally, she managed to push the buttons that the check wanted (she wasn't even sure what she'd done). The register accepted the check, but said my milk was paid in full. I told the cashier that I still had to pay 69c, that her drawer would come up short at the end of her shift. She refused the 69c, saying that the register wouldn't accept it, as it thinks it's been paid in full. Anyways, I tried a couple of times to just leave the 69c that I feel I owe, but she wouldn't accept it. So, my 1 gallon of milk cost $2. Not bad! Spent for the month -- $17.48.

Meals around here. Last night made pumpkin soup, eggnog scones and blackberry cobbler. Turns out no one was all that hungry, so the cobbler was left for tonight. Tonight we had a kale and ham quiche from the freezer, baked squash, oven fries and that cobbler.

Breakfast this morning, choice of leftover eggnog scones or gingerbread oatmeal. We're in the holiday spirit with our meals these days.

Dec. 7. Last day of school for daughters. They were having a party at their school, and suggested my son and I do something special for lunch, too. Okay, so Jack in the Box is not exactly special. But we enjoyed it. Two burgers and split an order of onion rings.  $5.22

Dec. 7. The Cash and Carry is down by daughters' school. I thought this would be the last chance for several weeks to pick up things there, so made a stop. Spent $64.50, and got a 6 pack of green peppers, brown rice-25 lb, sugar-50 lb., oats-25 lb. popcorn-12 lb, a large bag (about 3 lb) raw mixed veggies.

Also, down in that area is Trader Joes. Mostly picked up baking supplies -- dried fruit, nuts, cocoa powder, soy milk, plus cherry tomatoes for  $23.42 total for month spent $110.62.

For meals this week -- hot dogs and roasted veggies, leftover turkey in gravy with leftover cornbread stuffing, fried rice with egg, ham, carrots, peppers and kale, veggie lasagna with kale, broccoli, carrots and eggplant, turkey-pizza sandwiches, sourdough pancakes with rhubarb coulis, tex-mex turkey over rice, lentil-veggie soup.

Lunches have been a bit of a challenge this week, with kids home from school. I feel like I need to go to more effort at lunchtime. During school term, I pack sandwiches. And when it's just me at home, I often don't make lunch at all for myself. I'm not a lunch person, I guess.

Still using up apples and pears that were harvested this fall, and harvesting kale and broccoli from the garden. My indoor lettuce is growing well since I gave it some plant food. I'll harvest some of that in another week or so.

Being super busy, getting things done for the holidays has put a cramp in my dinner prep routine. So many of our dinners have been slap-it-together-at-the-last-minute sort of meals. I've been grateful for the leftover turkey in the freezer. And bread baking on a large scale (5 loaves at a time) has fallen by the wayside. I'll get back to that in a couple of weeks.

Dec. 12. Crazy morning shopping for gifts and leotards for my daughters' dance recital this weekend. Happened to be at Fred Meyer (large discount dept store like Target, but has a full grocery section), always cruise by the dairy dept to check for milk. Gallons of 2% on sale for $2.49. Not a super great price, but better than $2.69 I find at my cheapest regular-priced spot in town (Rite Aid, 1% and skim milk). Picked up 4 gallons. Also, chocolate chips were on sale for $1.39/12 oz (got 6), and white chocolate chips for $1.89 (got 1, for our traditional January cookies). Spent $20.19, bringing month to date spending to $130.81

We are still well-stocked on fruit in the fridge and freezer, but are down to kale, broccoli, mustard and turnip greens and beets in the garden for veggies. I'll need to buy more at this point, for variety. We have yet to see a hard frost in the garden. This is unusual for our area. But I'm not complaining!

Dec. 14. A day out shopping and running errands. Stopped by Trader Joes for dried fruit (apricots, cherries, dates), almonds, and bananas. Spent $16.79.

next stop, the Cash and Carry wholesaler. Bought whipped topping, a 5 lb. bag of frozen mixed vegetables, a 5 lb. bag of carrots, and a half gallon of eggnog. Spent $12.03. My month-to-date total then comes to $159.63

You may have noticed that I bought a lot of dried fruit these past couple of weeks. Dried fruit is one of those treats that our family enjoys around the holidays. For me, personally, the dried fruit keeps me from gobbling too many cookies, cakes and pies. Probably the same amount of calories in a handful of dried fruit vs. a handful of cookies, but my body feels so much better with the fruit.  A yummy treat, and only slightly decadent, is dried fruit in chocolate. I microwave some chocolate chips, stir and add some dried cherries and almonds. Allow to harden on waxed paper. If I'm choosing between a candy bar and dried fruit in chocolate, the latter wins, hands down.

In the second half of the month, I'll be spending a fair amount of $$ on supplies for a party, and buying a few extras for New Year's Eve. But I still have a surplus from previous months that I can play with.


  1. What are your turkey-pizza sandwiches?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      sounds like an odd combo, doesn't it? It's a variation of pizza sandwiches (an open face sandwich). Lightly toast (in toaster) a large slice of bread (like bread machine bread). Heat turkey breast slices in pizza sauce in microwave, top toasted bread with turkey and sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella, olives, green peppers, and broil in oven until cheese is bubbly. Our regular pizza sandwiches, are the same except leaving out the turkey.

  2. Dried fruit in chocolate sounds amazing :) Are you having a Christmas party?

    1. Hi Economies,
      It's one of my favorite treats this time of year! We're having an open house between Christmas and New Years. I'm still working on the plans for that.

  3. You never cease to amaze me with how much you get for your money. One thing I realized as I read this is that I forgot to pick up more oatmeal at the store Friday. I knew I forgot something just couldn't remember what it was until now.

    1. Hi Lois,
      Hope you can get out soon to get your oatmeal.
      As far as us not spending much on groceries, you've seen that we eat fairly simply, and we're fortunate to have many inexpensive resources for buying basic food items here.


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