Friday, May 1, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip---Savings $43.06

WOW!  Hard to believe that it is May already!   I think I have finally figured out what it takes to actually have and keep a grocery budget. Last month, I worked at really watching my spending and trying not to get more than necessary or refilling the stockpile too much so that my hubby would not get upset with all the stockpiling.  I actually stayed within our monthly budget by doing my pantry & freezer spring cleaning so I am going to work at continuing it through the month of May!

This week, I spent a little over $100 out of pocket for items that will get us through the week.  I still need to do up menu plans for the week so hopefully I did not miss anything!  If I did then I will have to choose something different for the menu. 

Here is the breakdown to what I purchased this week:

  • 15.42lbs boneless/skinless chicken breast $27.60
  • 2 bags frozen green beans $2.00
  • 2 bags frozen green peas $2.00
  • 2 lbs butter $3.58
  • 2 gallons milk $3.96
  • 1 box Gortons fish fillets $3.59
  • 6 boxes poptarts $10.00
  • 4 pkgs smoky links $10.00
  • 1 bag breaded chicken tenders $4.00
  • 1 bag breaded chicken fries $4.00
  • 2 bottles Juicy Juice $4.18
  • 2 Speed Stick deodorants $6.25
  • 8ct discounted bakery donuts $2.79(splurge item for the kids' breakfast)
  • 8ct dishcloths $3.99(needed new ones to replace holey ones!)
Total OOP(with tax): $88.60
Total Savings: $38.48
Total without sales or coupons: $127.08

Family Fare: 
  • 4lbs apples $1.98
  • 2 bottles(64oz) apple juice $4.00
  • .75lb sliced deli smoked turkey $3.97
  • 1/2 lb sliced deli ham $1.47
  • 1/4 lb sliced deli oven roasted turkey $1.27
Total OOP: $12.69
Total Savings: $4.58
Total without sales or coupons: $17.27

Also made it to the Aunt Millies' Bakery outlet: 
  • 6 loaves bread $5.34
  • 7 pkgs 8ct buns $5.03
  • 2 loaves texas toast $2.98
Total: $13.35

Grand Total OOP: $114.64
Grand Total Savings: $43.06
Grand Total without sales or coupons: $157.70

Pantry & Freezer Spring Cleaning Challenge UPDATE!

Yesterday was the last day of April which means that my spring cleaning event is officially over!

However, I am finding that I still have several things that were not used up in April!  These things are still good and there are no worries of them expiring even in the month of May but they still need to be used and the amount on the pantry or freezer shelves still needs to be reduced.   So in an effort to use those items up, I am going to continue this spring cleaning and join the fun over at Learning the Frugal Life: Eat from the Pantry Challenge!  

Most of our eating from the pantry will be in the form of desserts!!  Some how I still have 17 boxes of instant pudding and 7 boxes of cake mixes!!  I have several cans of pumpkin and sweet potatoes to make muffins too! As for the freezer there is still lots of browned ground beef to use but not much else in the way of meats!  There is also several packages of english muffins and toaster strudel that need to be eaten as their freezer life is shortening by the day. 

As for April grocery shopping totals:  

Grand Total(food only) was $469.82
Grand Total for the month(food, paper products, toiletries, laundry soap, and cleaners) was $523.37

I have been spending closer to $650/month!!  So I was successful in getting our budget back on track! We have a budget of $525/month. The total also includes my monthly shopping trip to Sam's Club!

Breaking down the grand total spent on food, it translates into $15.67 per day for 3 meals and 2 snacks!!   That is amazing for feeding my family of seven!

So it looks like really taking the time to think throughly about what I have on hand and shopping accordingly is helping me to reduce the grocery food bill and get the budget back on track!  

Now to continue on  keeping my grocery total under $500 for the month of May!!

This post is linked at: 

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna/Casserole

2 pounds ground beef
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies(optional)
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 tablespoons hot salsa(optional)
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese,divided (or mild cheddar cheese)
12 ounces uncooked lasagna noodles or egg noodles
1 jar (16 ounces) mild salsa
2 cups water
2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained(optional)
3 green onions, chopped(optional)
1 medium tomato, chopped, optional

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the beans, chilies, taco seasoning and hot salsa. In a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish, layer a third of the noodles and meat mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layers twice. Combine mild salsa and water; pour over top. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour or until heated through. Top with sour cream, olives, onions, tomatoes if desired and remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes longer. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting.

NOTES: I love this recipe and how I can change it to meet my family's tastes. One can make it with all the toppings or without them! One can use different heats of salsa depending on how hot one desires.

I love using wide egg noodles or even strips of tortilla shells instead of lasagna noodles. I have also used mild cheddar cheese instead of the blend cheese with great results. Also I have only used ground beef but I am sure that one could use chicken or ground turkey in place of the ground beef and get good results as well.

This recipe can also be made ahead.

This post is linked at:

photo courtesy: Taste of Home

Monday, April 27, 2009

Italian Herb Bread(breadmachine)

Italian Herb Bread

1 1/4 cups + 3 tbsp. water, 80°F
4 cups bread flour
1 tbsp. dry milk powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese(I used the green can cheese)
1 1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast(or 2 tsp. breadmachine/fast rise yeast)

Put the ingredients in your bread pan according to your bread machine manual.  Put your machine on "french" setting and let the machine do all the work for you!  This will make a 2lb loaf!

I decided though to set my machine to the "dough" setting and let the machine just do the mixing and rising of the dough.  Once the dough cycle was done, I took the dough out of the machine and divided it into four balls and rolled it out into four small loaves and stuck in my mini loaf pans to rise again for about 1 hour.  After the hour, I baked in the oven at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Once the loaves were done, I cooled on a cooling rack before slicing to make my "spiced garlic bread".  I slice it and then butter each side and place on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with garlic powder and grated parmesan cheese.  Stick back into the oven at 400° for 5-7 minutes until golden brown. 

If you make the dough rather than a loaf of bread, you can also divide it up into 12-16 balls and then roll out into ropes to make breadsticks. 

This bread is a great side addition to a nice spaghetti dinner, or alfredo dish or homemade pizza!

This post is linked at:

Menu Plan Monday 4/26-5/2

Last week's menu planwent pretty smoothly! I tried two new recipes with the crew and neither of them made it to the family favorite list!They did not even make it to the occasional list!So back to the drawing board in finding some new recipes that are picky eater/kid friendly that are not the same old tacos, creamy chicken, or grilled burgers type meals. We had to grab take out on Friday night because hubby worked from home for part of the day which meant we got busy with items around the house and 5:00pm rolled around and dinner was not even started! The meat was thawed ready to cook but it still would have meant a late dinner, which doesn’t settle too good with hubby’s health issues.

For this week’s shopping trip I went to pick up a few sale deals and few items that I needed to complete meals that I forgot to get in my two week run the week before. I wasn’t going to do any more restocking of pantry items until the month was over because of working on my pantry & freezer spring cleaning event but there was a couple items that cycled on sale this week that I needed to snag or wait another 6-8 weeks before they went on sale again! So I snagged them to refill their stock in my pantry.

This week’s menus is the last full week of my planned spring cleaning event however, I will be making a list to post on my fridge of the items that I still need to use so I am using them rather than getting more of them as we head into the month of May. (look for a complete update on my success of my spring cleaning later in the week!)

Lunches listed are for the kids & me. Unless we are having leftovers, our lunches are served with apple slices or baby carrots along with fruit juice or water. Hubby usually takes a dinner leftover along with various snacks for his work lunch.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check the over 400 other delicious meal plans that have been linked at Laura-Organizing Junkie's site or look down in my right sidebar for my menu suggestion lists!

Sunday (4-26)

Breakfast: eggs, sausage or steak, hash browns, and cinnamon rolls

Lunch: sandwiches and chips

Dinner: homemade burgers and fries

Snack: snack basket


Monday (4-27)

Breakfast: cereal, toaster strudel, yogurt

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: creamy chicken served over rice and peas on the side.

Snack: snack basket


Tuesday (4-28)

Breakfast:  waffles and sausage

Lunch: chicken nuggets and hashbrowns

Dinner:  chili served with rice and corn muffins

Snack: snack basket


Wednesday (4-29)

Breakfast: bagels, eggs and yogurt

Lunch: sandwich & chips

Dinner:  homemade oven fried chicken nuggets served with fries and corn

Snack: cookies & milk 

Thursday (4-30)

Breakfast: French Toast and sausage

Lunch: pizza rolls

Dinner:  ??? (inspiration here we come!)

Snack: snack basket


Friday (5-1)

Breakfast: cereal and donuts

Lunch: sandwich & chips

Dinner: ???(inspiration here we come!)

Snack: ice cream night                                          


Saturday (5-2)  

Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”

Lunch:  mini pizzas after soccer games!

Dinner:  grilled chicken club sandwiches served with fries and corn

Snack:  snack basket  or popcorn





Sunday, April 26, 2009

Singing Sunday

**what a great reminder, that no matter where we live EVERYTHING is God's!!!**

by Steven Curtis Chapman

I walk the streets of London
And notice in the faces passing by
Somthing that makes me stop and listen
My heart grows heavy with the cry

Where is the hope for London?
You whisper and my heart begins to soar
As I'm reminded
That every street in London in Yours
Oh, yes it is

I walk the dirt roads of Uganda
I see the scars that war has left behind
Hope like the sun is fading
They're waiting for a cure no one can find

And I hear children's voices singing
Of a God who heals and rescues and restores
And I'm reminded
That every child in Africa is Yours

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky
To the depths of the ocean floor
And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
You're the Maker and Keeper, Father and Ruler of everything
It's all Yours

And I walk the sidewalks of Nashville
Like Singapore, Manila and Shanghai
I rush by the beggar's hand and the wealthy man
And everywhere I look I realize

That just like the streets of London
For every man and woman, boy and girl
All of creation
This is our Father's world

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky
To the depths of the ocean floor
And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
You're the Maker and Keeper, Father and Ruler of everything

It's all Yours, God
It's all Yours, God
It's all Yours, God
It's all Yours, God

The glory is Yours, God
All the honor is Yours, God
The power is Yours, God
The glory is Yours, God

You're the King of Kings
And Lord of Lords

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky
To the depths of the ocean floor
And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
All the greatness and power, the glory and splendor and majesty
Everything is Yours
Yeah, it's all Yours
We are Yours
The glory and honor is Yours, everything is Yours

It's all Yours, God
My life is Yours, my heart is Yours
My hands and my feet are Yours
Every song that I sing
It's all Yours, all is Yours
All belongs to You
Our gifts are Yours, God
All our dreams are Yours, God
All our plans are Yours, God
The whole earth is Yours, God
Everything is Yours

Meijer Deals 4/26-5/2

Just a reminder, that I am using a West Michigan sale ad and my Meijer does NOT double coupons! Also check the two pages of Mealbox coupons there are several cpns that match items in this week's ad! The coupons have had a change in wording, they now say, ONE COUPON PER TRANSACTION. NOT TO BE COMBINED WITH ANY OTHER MEIJER MANUFACTURER DISCOUNT COUPONS. So that means that we can use them with manufactor's cpns!! 

Don't Forget to check out my friend, Kate atCooking During Stolen Moments has posted a few meal ideas based on what is on sale this week, head over and read her meal ideas!!!


~~Buy $20 worth of items identified in this list as Cafe Groove Promo Item and get a custom cpn for a Meijer Cafe Groove CD FREE! Cpn prints at register.

~~Buy any 10 Kelloggs Cereals, Poptarts or Snacks 5.5 oz (includes Kelloggs, Keebler or Sunshine products) get 2 FREE Movie Tickets! Cpn prints at register.

Mix or Match 10 for $10 get the 11th item FREE SALE:

Avocados - each

Blackberries 5.6 oz

M Plastic Spoons, Forks or Combo 48 ct

Meijer 8 ct Pastry Treats

Meijer Bread Crumbs, Gravy or Seasoning & Coating Mix

Meijer Crescent Rolls, Big & Flaky, Cinnamon Rolls or Pizza Crust

Meijer Essentials Paper Towels 1 big roll

Meijer Facial Tissue - each

Meijer Fruit in Juice or Syrup(15oz) or Applesauce(25oz)

Meijer Heat & Serve Sausage Links and Patties 8 oz

Meijer Lemonade, Pink or Raspberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch or Limeade 12 oz

Meijer Liquid Dish Soap 25 oz

Meijer Microwave Popcorn 3 ct

Meijer Pound Cake , Frosting or Brownie Mix

Meijer Premium Chunk White Chicken in Water or Solid White Tuna in Water 5 oz

Meijer Puffed Treats or Pretzels

Meijer Salad Dressing 16 oz

Meijer Croutons 5 oz

Meijer Skillet Basics or Potatoes

Meijer Soft Cookies 10-11 oz

Meijer Spring Water 6 pk

Meijer Vegetables-frozen 16 oz

Kelloggs Cereal - singles
$1/1 cpn 04-05 RP

Purina Alpo Prime Cuts or Chop House 22 oz
B2G1 cpn 04-26 S


Boneless Chuckeye Steaks or Roast, $1.99/lb  

Cooks Butt or Shank Portion Smoked Ham, 99¢/lb

Dole Classic Iceberg Salad 12 oz 98¢

Meijer Butter 16 oz $1.79

Meijer Chipped Meats 2.5 oz  10/$5

Meijer Fresh Grade A Whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, $1.79/lb

Meijer Fresh Whole Chicken, 98¢/lb

Meijer Gallon Milk (excludes chocolate and organics) $1.98

Meijer Grade A Large Eggs - dozen  98¢

Meijer Ketchup 24 oz or Mustard 20 oz btl 99¢

Meijer Pasta 16 oz 2/$1

Nabisco Ritz Crackers or Bits, Honey Maid Stix or Grahams or Toasted Chips $2.19
$1/2 cpn 03-01 S(cpn for Ritz Bits only - hurry cpn expires 4/30!)

Kelloggs Sweet & Salty Bars or Rice Krispies Treats 5/$10
$1/2 cpn 03-15 RP(cpn for Rice Krispies Treats only)

Kelloggs Cereal - Raisin Bran Crunch, Crispix, Corn Flakes, Cereal Straws or Grab n Go 2/$4
$1/1 cpn 04-05 RP

Kelloggs Cereal - Rice Krispies, Raisin Bran, Frosted Mini Wheats, Frosted Flakes, Strawberry Blueberry Harvest, Apple Jacks, Froot Loops, Corn Pops or Raisin Bran Extra $2.75
$1/1 cpn 04-05 RP

Kelloggs Poptarts 8 ct 3/$5
$1/2 cpn 04-05 RP

Aunt Millies Deluxe White Hot Dog or Hamburger Buns 8 ct $1.39
35/1 cpn 04-26 RP


Afrin Product ~~ save $3

Almay 1 coat Mascara, Smart Shade Cosmetics, Eye Makeup Remover ~~ save 50%

Meijer Allergy or Nasal Decongestant ~~ save 50%

Meijer Cetirizine All Day Allergy or Allergy Relief Loratadine ~~ save 50%

Meijer Cotton Swabs, Balls, Rounds or Squares ~~ buy 1 get 1 FREE!

Meijer First Aid Creams and Ointments ~~ buy 2 get 1 FREE!

Meijer Oral Care Products ~~ buy 1 get 1 FREE!

Meijer Supplements ~~ buy 1 get 1 FREE!

Purina Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food 3 oz can 10/$5
$1/6 cpn 01-11 S (hurry cpn expires 4/30!)

Dixie Plates, Ultra Plates, Bowls, Cold Cups, Grab n Go Cups 2/$4
35/1 cpn 03-15 RP(cpn for plates only)

Purina Cat Chow 3.5 lbs $3.99
$1/1 cpn 03-15 RP

Crest Toothpaste 8.2 oz 2/$4
75/1 cpn 04-05 PG(hurry cpn expires 4/30!)

Oral B Advantage Plus Toothbrush 1 ct 2/$4
$1/2 cpn 04-05 PG(hurry cpn expires 4/30!)

Oral B Advantage Sensitive Toothpaste 1 ct 2/$4
$1/2 cpn 04-05 PG(hurry cpn expires 4/30!)

Loreal Eye Makeup ~~ buy 1 get 1 FREE!
$1/1 cpn 04-19 RP

Schick Quattro Trimmer Razor or Intuition Plus Razor $7.99
$4/1 cpn 04-19 RP(cpn for Quattro only)

Loreal Excellence Hair Color $6.99
$3/1 cpn 04-19 S

Johnsons Baby Products (excludes bedtime or vapor) 2/$6
$1/1 cpn 04-26 RP

Colgate Max White or 360 Toothbrush 1 ct 2/$5
$1/1 cpn 04-26 S

Colgate Max White, Fresh, Total Advanced, Liquid Gel Toothpaste 2/$5
$1/1 cpn 04-26 S

Colgate Wisp or Total Professional or Wave Wisp 1-4 ct 3/$5
50/1 cpn 04-26 S

Purina Friskies or Whicker Lickins Cat Treats 99¢
$1/15 cpn 04-26 S

Schick Quattro or Intuition Razor Refills 6-8 ct ~~ save $2
$4/1 cpn 04-26 S

***Please take the time to check out your local ad, which you can find here!! IF Meijer is not your store of choice, head over to BeCentsAble's Grocery Gathering!!***