Tag: cooking

Gardening Update 07/05/23

Gardening Update 07/05/23

It’s been a while since my last garden update so I thought I would write up a quick one today even though my garden is in pretty bad shape. It looks like my last garden update was in April of 2022. Every year I think […]

2023 Goals

2023 Goals

My goals for 2023 revolve quite a bit around self-care and doing things that make me happy such as cross-stitching, gardening, puzzles, hanging out with my family and reading. I am also trying to make them pretty open ended so I don’t feel to rigid […]

September 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

September 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

September was an expensive month for us as far as groceries go. All of our stock up trips seemed to happen this September and that caused our grocery total to be higher than usual. We also have been trying to eat healthier which of course costs more in general. Our goal was to keep spending at $600 but we ended up nearly doubling that at $1,185.21. Needless to say, we are going to try and keep our spending as low as possible for October. I am hoping to keep it at $600 for October and so far I think we can be close.

 

Grocery Spending Total
September Grocery Spending Total

Our above numbers for September reflect the stock up trips we took to Franz, Bob’s Red Mill, the large Amazon order of Benefit Bars and the Clif bar order which was actually Luna bars. I am working on getting our kids weaned off of bars as a source of protein but we will always have Luna bars in the house since they are gluten-free and sometimes it is the only thing I eat for breakfast on a busy morning! Having something quick to grab and eat in the car is always a bonus.

This haul was our first one for September at Costco and it was a pretty big one. We were out of a lot of basics and I wanted to buy some prepackaged items for meal prep that we don’t usually buy. Overall we have eaten most of what we bought at the start of the month. We are still working on the snack type items but we definitely had to replenish our fresh items this month. All of my grocery hauls are on my YouTube channel which can be found here. I don’t get everything filmed but I at least try to get the big Costco hauls.

Roast Beef Sandwich
Roast Beef Sandwich

I tried to take more pictures of what we made with the food we bought to show how we were using everything up but I have fallen out of the habit and had a hard time remembering. We found a good deal on chuck roast so my husband made some homemade roast beef this month. I replicated a sandwich I had at Pickles Deli out on Whidbey Island where a gigantic pickle is used instead of bread and it was pretty good. I bought these pickles at Winco a while back and they are just ok.

Egg Bites
Egg Bites

Another strategy I tried this month was to do more batch cooking towards the start of the week and then eat through that and it worked really well. When I was working I never had time to cook on the weekends but now that I am home and child free during the week I can dedicate a couple of hours to cooking on Monday or Tuesday so that I don’t have to worry about breakfasts or lunches for a few days. I loved making these egg bites and now that we have more eggs I will definitely be making more.

Bob's Red Mill
Bob’s Red Mill

We definitely did some bulk buying this month, including a trip to the Bob’s Red Mill store in Oregon while we were down there on a business trip. We bought two 25lb bags of gluten-free oats which will last us about a year. Bob’s Red Mill stopped selling large items on their website right when we were thinking of buying another 25lb bag so since we were down there we bought two. These are the oats we bought and we love them. As someone with Celiac, I have never had a problem with these oats but I do have issues if I eat regular ones.

Pumpkins
Pumpkins

Another item we did go into Costco for but I am not counting as part of our groceries is 300 pumpkins for our fall school event. We called around and local farms were not able to have pumpkins to us in time so we went to Costco and were able to buy them there. We went to two separate stores to get these. I did bake one of the ones we had previously bought for ourselves and it is quite tasty. I have a soup recipe I want to try with another one and I will probably just bake the others after Halloween. I love buying a bunch of pumpkins in the fall to decorate and then eat later. It is such a sustainable way to decorate and I am pretty sad we could not get any of our pumpkins to grow this year because I love including home grown ones as well!

Squash and Beef
Squash and Beef

One of the smaller trips I took at the end of the month was purely for sale items. I bought another pack of chuck roast to be made into roast beef and one gigantic yellow squash. I was not able to grow squash again this year due to the wet spring so I was happy to find it on sale at Fred Meyer. We just bought some zucchini this week at Safeway which I am very excited to eat.

 

That’s it for our September grocery spending recap. Bottom line is that we spent a bunch but we did buy items we won’t need to buy for a while so I am hoping October will be much closer to our goal. What are you spending tips for this fall?

 

Links:

Benefit Bars

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats

Pickles Deli

 

August 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

 

My Favorite Dystopian Novels

August 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

August 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

We continued to work on our grocery budget for August 2022 with a goal of $600. I wasn’t sure if we could make it this month but we came closer than last month at $709.79. We definitely ate better this month and a large chunk […]

July 2022 Final Grocery Spending

July 2022 Final Grocery Spending

We were out of a lot of staples for July so I knew we would have an expensive month for groceries. We are still working hard at keeping our food budget well under $1,000 by watching prices more carefully, eating up what we have and […]

June 2022 Final Grocery Spending

June 2022 Final Grocery Spending

Our June grocery goal was to eat through our fridge and freezer as much as possible and for the most part we reached this goal. I am super proud of our progress! Up until the last week of June we kept our spending under $300 but we did end up taking a couple of trips to the store the last week to bring our total up to $$470.26. We could have held off another week to make the numbers look amazing but our budget for July would have just been super high so I went the last week because I had the time. My kids were super grateful for the fresh produce and new choices for snack and it helped our son try some new things so I am pretty happy with my decision.

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Our first and only grocery trip to Costco was pretty small for us and included a refresh for staples in our house. We mostly bought fresh vegetables, eggs and some meat. Our freezer is still pretty well stocked with meat from earlier this year so we aren’t buying too much right now. Our kids eat salami and lunch meat when they are at school and camp so we buy them pretty much every month. We kept this Costco haul to $219.70 for groceries which is really good for our only Costco haul in June. We did end up going back later in the month for dog food but that comes out of a separate budget so it isn’t included in our grocery total.

Freezer Cleanout
Freezer Cleanout

We focused on our freezer for June. I was shocked when I did the first freezer check in video (Here) and found that we had tons of free lunch items in there. We spent the month eating through what we could and I donated a couple of gallon Ziploc bags worth to the seniors this month. The top freezer drawer is still pretty full but only because we continued to get free lunch meal packs every week until they were done. We are struggling to participate in free lunches this summer since kids have to eat in person but starting next week they have opened up new sites so we will try to go to a couple of those. Access to free lunches in the summer is difficult for working families and kids in camp. I am hoping the funding for this will be reupped this fall and we will continue to be able to pick up 5 day meal kits again. This really helped our budget the past few months.

Free Lunch Boxes
Free Lunch Boxes

We got a bunch of extra food in the free lunch packs this month, including three whole cheese pizzas. We still have one and a third left from this pickup in the middle of June. It is crazy to me how much the school district we go to is doing for the community on their own. Tons of people rely on these free meal kits that do not qualify for the traditional free and reduced lunch options. We are grateful that they stepped up to help the community out.

Fridge clean out.
Fridge Clean Out

In June I also tried to keep us on track by filming where we were at every Monday with the fridge and freezer. Our latest one can be found here.  It was really helpful to take stock every week and see what we needed to eat up. I highly recommend doing at least a thorough look through weekly to check on the state of your produce and leftovers. This week I will do another on 7/4 and I am going to do a deep clean as well. I wipe down our fridge all the time but we are in and out of it a lot and the cleaning is just never ending. I swear my kids wait until their hands are the stickiest and then try to open it because I have to wipe the handles down multiple times a day.

Target and Grocery Outlet Haul
Target and Grocery Outlet Haul

I ended up going to both Target and Grocery Outlet the last week of the month. Link is here. I had to go to Target for some shorts for my son and I ended up picking up items I had been waiting on buying and stocking up on snacks. One thing I have noticed with not getting the free lunches is that we don’t have as many snacks hanging around the house as we used to. They used to include a few snacks in there and we never had to buy them. My kids definitely need them for summer camp and we were getting low so I stocked up a bunch this week. I probably won’t do another snack run until school starts in the fall, but I can’t always predict how quickly my kids will eat through things. Grocery Outlet is my favorite and I bought some staples such as apples, tortillas and onions there but we also picked up a baking kit for $1.00 that the kids really enjoyed baking. This was my cheap entertainment for a colder day last week and they loved it.

Winco Grocery Haul
Winco Grocery Haul

I also went to Winco last week for some canned goods, fresh produce and basics we were running out of. Link is here. I love Winco and they have excellent prices. I don’t get to go very often because it is just far enough and out of the way that stopping in for a quick trip costs more in gas than I would save on a few grocery items. My daughter had camp about five minutes away though this week and it was on my way home so I made a trip while we were in the area. All of these items could have waited until July but the timing worked out this week so I went. I am trying to consolidate my trips as much as possible since my car does not get very good gas mileage.

 

We also stocked up on some canned goods this trip since Winco has the cheapest canned vegetable prices I have found. It is always good to have a couple of weeks worth of canned goods on hand in case of emergencies and as I have discovered recently I am not good at keeping canned veggies and fruit on hand since we really don’t eat much of it. I do a whole pantry clean out every fall before school starts and in January. I donate anything nearing an expiration date and use up expired foods. It is a great way to be prepared for a long term power outage but also help out the community. I keep all of my cans in one spot so it is easy to go through them in a few minutes. It usually takes me longer to donate them since it is slightly out of my way.

Using up leftovers
Using up leftovers.

Overall we did well at eating up some of our freezer items. I made a couple of recipes that I will link below and we all got sick of green beans. There are still about 7 pounds of green beans left in my freezer but we are taking a break from them for now…

 

Gluten-free Egg Bake

Tater Tot Casserole (GF)

 

Looking at this picture I realized I forgot to pick up a couple of oranges from the store. We have plenty of other fruit but I may pick some up later this month when we run low. Tortillas have been a great way to use up leftovers. I love having quesadillas for lunch! They are easy to make and don’t make a huge mess.

 

How are you doing on your grocery spending? We are already spending more in July with our first Costco haul linked here. I was hoping we can stay out of the store for a few more weeks but we do need to get more rice since we are out of the kind we like. Costco was out when we went so I am going to make a trip to Business Costco this week on my way to somewhere.

 

 

May 2022 Final Grocery Spending

 

June 2022 Spending Goals and Mid-Year Check In

May 2022 Final Grocery Spending

We are working on our grocery spending for 2022 and our goal for May was to do a low spend month. Unfortunately we ended up a little bit swamped during the middle of the month and we both spent too much money and I did […]

May 2022 Spending Check In

May 2022 Spending Check In

Our goal for May of 2022 was to spend as little money as possible on groceries for the month. We are using our local free lunches and breakfasts for the community as well as eating through our pantry items and just supplementing with items from […]

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

For 2022 we are really expanding our garden and possibly adding in some chickens later in the year. We are garden zone 8b in the Pacific Northwest located in the Seattle area. Our weather is wet a lot of the year and we have been effected by wild fire smoke in the summer. Our last frost date is mid-May so a lot of our summer crops are either planted around Mother’s Day or I baby them with some sort of covering if I get impatient. We did purchase some new supplies as part of our expansion so I thought I would list out what it is we are using. We are not affiliates with all of the companies listed below except for Amazon. Some items were bought at Costco but if I can find a similar one on Amazon I will link it. Enjoy!

 

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

 

Seeds:

I get most of my seeds from Territorial Seeds. They are a PNW company located in Oregon which is close enough to Washington that a lot of their varieties are bred to grow in our climate. I also have bought some of my rarer seeds from Baker Creek.

 

Click the link below to go to their sites:

 

Territorial Seed

 

Baker Creek Seeds

 

Garden Supplies:

This year I bought several large Birdies beds from Epic Gardening as well as some netting, inoculant and frames from Amazon. We bought our fertilizer from Costco I believe a couple of years ago. Epic Gardening and Territorial Seed both have natural fertilizer listed on their sites but I have not tried them so I don’t know how well they work. The best thing to do for fertilizer is to test your soil and check with your local garden store (not a big box one) to see what they recommend.

 

Epic Gardening

 

Click the picture or the name of the product below:

 

Raised Garden Beds – These ones on Amazon are similar to the ones I bought from Epic.

 

 

Hardware Cloth – We bought this to line our beds with to prevent rodents from digging up from the bottom.

 

Row Cover – This is to help fight the cabbage butterflies that decimated our brassica plants last year.

 

Cloche – These are used to cover our summer crops I planted a little early and protect them on cold nights.

 

 

A-frame plant support – We are using these in the beds for our vining plants to extend the space.

 

 

Inoculant – This helps our beans get a head start on growing.

 

 

Craft Sticks – I use these to label plants. They are biodegradable and break down after about a year or so. The kids also use them for crafting.

 

Seed Starting Tray – I needed more of these. I put the pots or cups inside so I can water from the bottom.

 

Grow Bags – I use these as an inexpensive way to add extra garden space where I can’t necessarily put beds in year round.

 

 

Pruning Sheers – I needed another pair of these. I did buy them at Costco but here are the ones I bought at Amazon.

 

 

The only thing missing from this list is soil. We do a mixture of bags of soil from Costco and if we need more than enough to fill a few pots we will either go pick up a truck load or have some delivered. The best thing to do for soil is ask around maybe in your local gardening group on Facebook and see who has the best soil in your area.

 

We are very excited to see how our garden will do this year and look forward to showing everyone our progress. This week I am getting the large beds in and ready for soil hopefully over the weekend. How is your garden coming along this year?

 

Thank you for reading and happy gardening!

Low Spend April 2022 Grocery Spending Mid-Month Check In

Low Spend April 2022 Grocery Spending Mid-Month Check In

Our spending goal for April was to keep our grocery budget under $600. We have been spending between $1000 and $1300 for the past year so cutting our budget down to $600 was quite a stretch. Part of why I wanted to cut our bill […]


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