Stay Connected

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Shopping and Meals for the Past Week

I haven't done any grocery shopping since April 23, unless you count the road trip candy we bought last week along the way to Arizona. In case you're interested, I bought some black licorice, 2 Snickers bars (King-size), and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (4-pack) to share. As I mentioned earlier this week, my total for the sharing candy was under $15. I made these purchases as little surprises when I'd go in to pay for gas. We did all cash for gas to get the better prices, so I always went inside to pay. With the first candy purchase, my family was somewhat astonished. Mom doesn't usually make impulse purchases. I like to keep my family guessing about me.

A couple of meals on the road:

The first night away: hotdogs and buns that I grabbed from the freezer, with sliced cabbage drizzled with slaw dressing (packed separately so the cabbage wouldn't wilt), canned green beans, applesauce. Yes, we brought paper plates, small paper cups (for the applesauce), and plastic forks (we washed the forks each night to reuse). I also packed small packets of the condiments we had in the fridge -- ketchup, mustard, hot sauce.

Another night: bean and cheese burritos (frozen homemade refried beans, thawed in 2 days), carrot sticks, canned green beans, raisins, applesauce. I didn't shop for anything new for the trip, instead grabbing foods from our pantry, fridge, and freezer.

At one point we found ourselves driving along historic Route 66 for about a mile. Kinda fun. We decided that if we make this trip again, we'll stay in one of the fun motor inns along 66.

I came home to a full pantry and freezer. I had milk in the freezer and milk is a driving ingredient in my need for grocery shopping.

When we walked in the door last Sunday, the first thing I did after unloading the car was grab a partial gallon of milk, loaf of homemade bread, and a quart of cooked pinto beans from the freezer. After starting the laundry I made an easy soup, using the cooked pinto beans, a large can of Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes, some beef bouillon, and olive oil. I let it simmer until the beans began to fall apart and thicken the soup. I served bread and butter with this simple meal. 

Here are the rest of this past week's suppers:


taco meat on cooked rice with refried beans and cheese, topped with salsa and bottom-of-the-bag tortilla chips, plus garden kale bulked up with frozen broccoli


chicken breast cooked in leftover pasta sauce (from my daughters' cooking in April) topped with the last slices of provolone cheese from my daughters' birthday picnic in the park in March, stuffed grape leaves, toast, and rhubarb sauce


bean burger patties, canned carrots, radish green-peanut noodles


eggs, breakfast sausage, canned pineapple chunks, colcannon (using radish greens instead of kale in the potatoes), canned green beans

It rained a lot while we were gone. And we're still stuck in a wet pattern. I'm hoping this next week things turn around. But one of the blessings to a cool week is the Lilies of the Valley didn't all bloom at once during our week away. I picked a handful on Wednesday to enjoy indoors. Mmmm, so fragrant.

How was your week? What was on your menu? Any surprises at your grocery store this week?


  1. I love the picture of the Route 66 motor inn. We've occasionally stayed in mom & pop motels when traveling. It adds an element of fun to a road trip.

    You did a great job with your travel meals. I've developed a list of potential camping meals and travel meals which I keep in a file on our computer. I tend to forget what I have done meal-wise if I don't have a prompt.

    I'm not quite sure what I'll do for dinner tonight but am leaning toward a breakfast casserole. We've had record-breaking heat and humidity this past week so I've been doing a lot of crockpot meals. I finally broke down and turned on the AC last night. The weather is supposed to cool off tomorrow.

    I made BBQ chicken legs/mashed potatoes/salad Monday (taking advantage of the cheaper prices for chicken legs), the taco chicken bowl recipe over rice that I linked earlier this week, King Ranch chicken casserole in the crockpot Wednesday (a recipe from Southern Living--kinda reminds me of lasagna because you layer torn up tortillas, cooked chicken or in our case, cooked turkey, with creamy soups and seasonings, and cheese and let it bake), and goulash last night. I wanted to mention that in the past year I've figured out that if I use cooked sausage in recipes which call for ground beef, it adds nice flavor to the dish and these days it's cheaper than most other ground meats. I used it in the goulash, it's good in spaghetti, and so on.

    The warm weather is pushing the early blooming of our lilacs! I miss having lily of the valley. My mom had them and they make me think of her. Have a good weekend, everyone!

    1. Hi Kris,
      I was checking out Trip Advisor for reviews of some of the motor inns we saw on Route 66 in Williams, AZ and some of them looked pretty nice (updated decor and furnishings) in the photos. Some also looked rather basic. My guess is the R 66 motel experience can vary quite a bit. But we're considering it for the next time.

      Good idea to keep a travel/camp meal file on your computer. It is so easy to forget what you've done in the past and just all of what you need to repeat those meals.

      I'll tell you what, we'll send some of our cool and wet weather your way if you send some heat ours. I hope it does cool off for you soon, though. Too cold and you can always put on layers, but too hot and there's only so much you can decently take off! I'm glad you have A/C to help.

      Thanks for the tip on using sausage in place of other ground meats. I can think of a couple of casseroles that would benefit from the flavor from sausage.

      Have a great weekend, Kris!
      Lili (I still can't figure out why I have to comment under the anonymous heading on my own blog -- arghhh)

  2. First off-i can't comment on blogs on my iPad at all, but it works on my phone.

    I LOVE Lillies of the valley. I had a large bed of them on one side of my house in Iowa and I'd open the windows and fill the house with the scent of that flower bed.

    I haven't been to the store this week so far, well except for a couple sale items I forgot at safeway. I was at costco last nite and grabbed a big bag of potatoes because I'm out, and they were $2 more than last time I bought them there.

    Our meals were simple this week. We had a roast one night and then a couple nites later I used the leftovers for shredded beef enchiladas. I made chili dogs one night and then some oven baked cube steaks in mushroom gravy. Last nite dh and went out for dinner for our anniversary.

    1. Hi Diane,
      First of all, happy anniversary! I hope you and your husband had a nice dinner out.

      Ugh on the potato price increase. $2 is a big hike on a bag of potatoes. I'm using boxed instant mashed right now. They don't have all of the nutrients of whole potatoes, due to the skins removed. But for right now (until I can get down to the restaurant supply), they're cheaper than whole potatoes.

      Yum, your cube steaks in a mushroom gravy sounds so delicious! I love mushrooms. Chili dogs also sound tasty. I'll have to add that to our meals, soon.

      Wishing you a great weekend, Diane!


  3. I am in kind of a blur of what we ate. Everything was pulled from the freezer in the last 12 weeks so we've made a huge dent in using frozen stuff.

    Some of the things we had was a frozen rotisserie chicken I bought about 8 weeks ago and put it in the freezer. We had hamburgers, scalloped potatoes, baked potatoes, fried chicken, roasted veggies, stir fry with brown rice and frozen onions, peppers and broccoli. Pretzel raspberry dessert, chocolate pudding, green beans, green smoothies, pancakes with bacon and bananas mixed in, homemade chive/sour cream bread.

    1. Hi Alice,
      You continue to be in my prayers. Your meals sound delicious. It's understandable that your meals would seem to be a blur right now. I'm glad that your freezer could serve as a blessing to you during this difficult time.

      Have a good weekend, Alice.


  4. Our lilies of the valley are blooming now too, but I don't bring them inside because they are very poisonous to cats. However, I enjoy seeing the little white flowers peeking out from under the green leaves in the corner of the yard where they are growing.

    We have done a bit a travel along Rt. 66 and stayed in one motel along it. While it was interesting, it wasn't a great place to stay. But it was okay for one night.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      In reading reviews on Route 66 motels, I could see that some looked updated to reflect modern travelers' desires while others looked just so-so. I've made my share of blunders in choosing places to stay in the past. We had one place where I hardly slept, fearing we'd be murdered in our sleep. The bathroom had a window (no fan) which opened, but there was no lock on that window to secure it. There was some sort of bonfire and party going on in the parking lot just outside our room which got a bit raucous at one point. This was the last time we ever prioritized cheap stay over modernized accommodations. All that said, I'd be open to trying one of the motels in the Arizona town we drove through on R 66. I'll just read the reviews more closely before booking.

      Have a good weekend, Live and Learn.

  5. We've stayed in some funky cheap motels. In Vegas, we once booked in a motel off the strip in an industrial area. The description sounded great, but it was just unbelievable. We walked in the lobby and the first thing the check in gal said was they can refund our stay. It was the weekend and last minute booking would have been very expensive so we opted to stay. Would you believe they didn't have keys for any of the rooms! We found hair on the towel that didn't smell fresh, so we asked for new towels. Fortunately the bedding seemed ok. We always check for bed bugs first thing in a new room, stripping the bedding to look for telltale signs on the mattress and headboard. No keys so we decided not to leave the room and camp inside for two days and nights. Not a problem to "rest" since our trips were long, and we had enough Vegas fun, food and adventure. We always bring groceries and snacks to eat breakfast and late night dinner, so we were prepared with food at check in. I always bring my crochet needles and buy something crafty to do on trips, and my husband didn't mind binge watching TV. I recall a documentary about penguin habitat and really enjoyed that. I didn't watch much TV programming daily back then so found it enjoyable for a change. I think the hotel was under new management, but what could be worse than having no keys, however I think we were able to double lock from the inside. Now I think about it, many other things could have gone wrong, like a fire, since it was not operating with the usual security.

    Lili, your meals are always unique, not the usual kind. I like that kind of cooking. I would really be interested in learning more. Do you tweak or combine recipes? Or is it your own recipe? My husband does his own, hardly ever following a recipe. I always follow or tweak recipes.

    Have a nice day!!

  6. Hi Laura,
    Oh that motel sounds just awful! How can they rent rooms without keys? I hope you got a great deal on the stay at least.

    I follow recipes for baking but not so much for general cooking. My usual approach is I have a group of ingredients, so I brainstorm ways to use those ingredients and what flavors would be compatible. For instance, I know I like peanut sauces that have garlic and soy sauce, so if my main protein is peanut butter and peanuts, I'll flavor to taste with garlic, soy sauce, red pepper flakes. Or I could go in a different direction and mix peanut butter with curry, and maybe scallions and celery dices. Just foods that I know I like together. And sometimes our meals are more a selection of unrelated foods, when I know I have some specific ingredients that need using but I can't find common flavorings to combine them. So I just try to make various dishes that I like the taste of, but that are unrelated (if that makes sense). Our family has some basic flavors that we enjoy. We like Italian, Mexican, Asian, and some homestyle (meatloaf, roasted chicken and gravy, etc) meals. So I'm often using the same seasonings just with different basic ingredients. I hope this explains my approach to cooking.

    Have a great evening, Laura.


    1. Thank you for sharing your process. I sort of do it that way but of course for me I start with a recipe then tweak it with substututions. The recipe has to be easy, simple ingredients, and not heavy on salt, sugar ot fat. I compare recipes to find the lightest use of these "unhealthy" ingredients, then try that recipe. I never just eyeball measurements, which shows my lack of culinary experience.



Thank you for joining the discussion today. Here at creative savv, we strive to maintain a respectful community centered around frugal living. Creative savv would like to continue to be a welcoming and safe place for discussion, and as such reserves the right to remove comments that are inappropriate for the conversation.


Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post