Grocery Run: 1/3 – 1/10

Random Husband grocery run where her got lots of random stuff men get from the grocery :::sigh::::

Kroger: $69.06 (steaks, sugary cereal I can’t stand when he buys it, Kombucha)

IGA $33.30 (who knows. He went for milk and FORGOT the milk.)

Kroger: $10.00 (milk, bananas, eggs)

I got a rare opportunity to make a Costco run with JUST my mom. No kids involved. I kinda went crazy! With good reason though. It is hard to buy a lot of groceries with (a.) 3 kids in the cart and (b.) whining kids wondering when we are going to be done. My Costco trip turned into a “Once A Month” shopping trip for me although I have been grocery shopping since then. Another :::sigh::::
Here is what I bought:

Diapers: $38.99 (this should last me until mid-Feb)
Wipes: $19.79 (this should last me about 3 months)
* I used to be a big couponer. Especially for diapers and wipes. I found that buying them in bulk is so much easier on me then running to a different store every week to get the diaper deal. I am probably paying more per diaper then I would using coupons but I am saving gas and a lot of time by buying in bulk.

Total: $64.21


  • Chicken Base: $6.89 (this should last a few months. I like to have this on hand when I can’t thaw my chicken broth quickly)
  • Sugar Snap peas: $5.79 (used this is a stir-fry and ate with a dip. We still have a bunch leftover I need to figure out what to do with.)
  • Black Rice: $$7.29/5lbs (heard this was good.)
  • Kale salad: $4.99 (I really like this salad. This was my first time trying it out.)
  • Raspberries: $5.49 (gone in one meal. My kids LOVE raspberries)
  • Organic baby carrots: $5.79
  • Organic frozen broccoli: $6.49
  • Baby cucumbers: $4.99
  • Organic spinach: $4.49
  • Organic frozen green beans: $6.89
  • KS Chocolate chips: $8.99
  • Egg lands best: $3.39
  • Pepper with grinder: $4.89
  • 2lb sharp cheddar cheese: $5.59
  • 10lb sugar: $3.99
  • 4lbs unsalted butter: $7.49
  • Extra virgin olive oil: $14.99
  • Johnny’s garlic spread: $6.99
  • Heavy whipping cream: $2.99
  • 10lb crushed tomatoes: $2.99
  • KS OJ: $5.99
  • Whole milk: $2.79
  • Himalayan pink sea salt grinder: $4.79
  • Basil: $3.29
  • Vanilla extract: $6.99
  • Clementines: $5.99
  • 8pk corn: $4.99
  • 6.10 lbs ground beef: $19.62
  • Cherry jam spread: $6.39
  • organic maple syrup: $13.49



Total spent on Food: $209.00

KS Toilet Paper: $14.99 (this should last us about 2 months)
KS trash bags: $16.99 (should last about 6 months)
KS dish pack detergent: $9.99 (should last about 4 months)
Oxyclean: $12.99 (should last several months)


Total spent on Household items: $57.00

Grand total spent at Costco: $330.xx

This is a large amount spent but I feel ok knowing that many of these items I will not have to buy for a few months. Much of the frozen food should carry over into February  also.

Weekly total: $442.00

Monthly Total so far: $ 688.00

Janurary monthly goal of spending for groceries/household/personal items/diapering: $750.00 . A new month of spending starts on Jan. 24th for me as I started this on Dec. 27th and I am going by every 2 week increments. If I were just counting the amount spent on actual groceries, it would be about $567.00. I may have some people reading this thinking they spend much much less. This is just what my family spends and I have no intention of trying to have the lowest grocery budget. I am trying to evaluate our food journal!

Cooking all morning!

I woke up this morning and wanted some Blueberry Muffins. I happened to check Facebook and saw one of my favorite Bloggers, The Prudent Homemaker, had posted her frugal accomplishments of the week. Making blueberry muffins was on her list for last week. I decided to try her recipe today.


The Verdict: out of 18 muffins, only 6 are left! They are a lighter muffin which is why we were able to eat more then one. The kids went crazy over them. I will definitely make them again!

We have a birthday party to go to this evening so I knew I needed to do a crockpot dinner. I still had my 6 bell peppers from my Aldi’s haul a few weeks ago. Last night I had been thinking about making crockpot stuffed bell peppers and then I saw a friend posted a picture of the crockpot bell peppers she had made from dinner so I was inspired to make them today! Along with my friends instructions, I also used this recipe as a guide. They look wonderful! Even Robert commented on how good they look! Hope they taste just as great as well!


I ended up having a good bit of the leftover stuffing mixture. I knew I had zucchini, celery, carrots and 3/4 of a can of diced tomatoes that needed to be used quickly. I decided to cook up my pepper mixture (because it has raw ground beef in it) and make a veggie soup. We will eat this for either lunch or dinner tomorrow night with some cornbread. I love trying cleaning out the fridge and making a “Everything but the kitchen sink” soup! I plan on doing a post about my last 2 weeks of grocery runs. Yes, runs. This is one reason why I am doing this blog. To track our food purchases and cut down on the bill, if possible. If you like to see Costco hauls, stay tuned. I made the mother-load of one!


Until next cooking adventure!

Knock-off Cracker Barrel lunch

When I woke up this morning it was 1 degree outside. 1 degree! I found it interesting that it was colder in Tennessee then Alaska last night! I had to document it: Image 


For lunch today I wanted something hot. I didn’t want a sandwich or any leftovers. I have so much salad in my fridge I just might turn into lettuce! 😀 I wanted something for lunch that the kids would gobble down and stick to their ribs. That meant I needed to fix some Mac and Cheese! I have been searching for the perfect recipe for awhile. I never make Mac and cheese from the blue Kraft box. Yuck. I used to make it with Velveeta. Although it makes a nice and creamy Mac and Cheese, I don’t like the idea of putting so many chemicals in my kids bodies.  For a few months now, I have been making a cheese sauce to make Mac and cheese. I still haven’t found my perfect recipe but I am getting closer. Today I made a Panera knock off Mac n cheese. This is my third time to make it. Although we really like it, I still think it needs something more.

The kids love to eat at Cracker Barrel and since I am not lugging them out in this frigid weather, I decided to do a Cracker Barrel copy cat lunch! I made Mac and Cheese, Cracker Barrel copy cat carrots, leftover pinto beans, southern cornbread, fresh sweet tea and homemade chocolate chip cookies. I froze extra dough when I made cookies a few days ago so all I had to do was pull them out of the freezer. The lunch was delicious and my kids are stuffed and happy! Time to snuggle by the fire (a dura flame that is safe for my kids) and watch a movie!



Bitter cold day with a hint of snow

Part of our food journey and becoming more self sufficient is raising our own chickens. They aren’t much work and are fun to watch. Our dogs are louder and more of nuisances then the chickens are! Today we are experiencing some of the coldest temperatures in Tennessee in over 20 years. The low this morning was 4 degrees and the wind chill is -15 degrees. As soon as I woke up this morning I went to see if the chickens were still alive. All 4 dogs slept in the house but I wasn’t about to put a bunch of chickens in my laundry room (although I have had to put a rooster in my laundry room before so it wouldn’t crow. HA!) All the chickens were just fine thankfully.

Robert built a fire outside to attempt to give the animals some warmth. It has been so windy I don’t think he accomplished that! It was nice to get rid of some random pieces of wood though. I have to go out every few hours and give the chickens some hot water. Since the temperatures are so cold, their water keeps freezing. I will be glad when it warms up a bit. Here are a few pictures of the day.

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Aspen playing catch with Robert this morning.

Aspen playing catch with Robert this morning.

Fred Jr. protecting his flock.

Fred Jr. protecting his flock.

Fred Jr. appears to be keeping his sister warm.

Fred Jr. appears to be keeping his sister warm.


Bulk Cooking: Tomato sauce and ground beef dishes

I love to read the blog Good Cheap Eats because she is a mom of 6 and makes most of their meals homemade. She always has some great recipes and one that I tried is her homemade “Red Sauce”. A few months ago, I tried this in my crock pot and I have been hooked ever since. I do add other herbs besides the ones she lists in her recipe. The entire batch costs me under $4. You can get a 105 ounce can of crushed tomatoes from Costco for $2.99. Last time I checked, a jar of spaghetti sauce was around that much! I also buy most of my herbs in bulk from Costco and it makes them pennies per use in a dish.  I also made a bulk batch of meatballs and cooked them in the sauce as the sauce was cooking this go around. I will definitely cook my sauce and meatballs that way again. DELICIOUS! It also saves me from turning my oven on and cooking my meatballs. If you would like to check her original recipe out, click here.

From this batch I was able to yield:

  • 2 dinners worth of meatballs and red sauce topping. I froze one meal in a container for later.
  • A large container of sauce to use for spaghetti
  • 2 small containers of sauce to use on my homemade pizza
  • A medium size container of sauce for whatever
  • Covered the top of 2 meat loafs with red sauce

Here are some pictures of what I made:

027The cast of characters for the sauce.

028 The sauce completed in the crock pot ready to go!


I had 6.10 lbs of ground beef from Costco I needed to use. I got this beef for $3.19/lb. I decided to make a double batch of meatballs, 2 meatloaf and put about a pound of beef each in a freezer bag for later.

030 Double batch of meatballs. I really have no recipe. I use whatever I have. For this batch, I used ground beef, 1/2 onion, a small red, yellow and orange bell pepper, oatmeal, an egg, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.

033 Since I had my hands dirty and the bulk ground beef, I made meat loafs for the freezer as well. I added the same ingredients as the meatballs but I also put mushrooms in as well. This helps bulk up the meatloaf where I can stretch my ground beef further. We also just really love mushrooms.

034 I ended up with 2 meatloaf that went in the freezer. You can see I topped them with the red sauce.

035 Placed about a pound of beef in freezer bags for later. I will use one for spaghetti and bulk the dish up with mushrooms. I will use the other for tacos and bulk that dish up with black beans. I am all about stretching my meat. Feeding 5 people any kind of animal protein is getting pretty expensive these days.

This bulk cooking adventure took me about 30 minutes due to chopping so many vegetables. I will yield 6 dinners worth of meat dishes and enough sauce for 2 pizza’s and a pasta dish. Let’s not forget I only have to clean dishes once now instead of 6 times! Until next bulk cooking adventure!….



Grocery Run: December 27th- Jan 2nd

I decided to start my 2014 food journey on December 27th, 2013. Why? Because that was our first pay day going into the new year! I don’t know much about blogging and photo editing. I plan to teach myself how to be more tech savvy for better posts in the future! One purpose of this blog is to see how much money we are spending on food per month. I also count personal items and diapers in our grocery budget as well.  I am also going to document eating out as well. After all, that is money spent on food.  I am curious to know how much it decreases when our garden is (hopefully) flourishing this spring/summer/fall. My current goal is a $700 food/personal item/diaper budget a month. This is for 5 people- 2 adults and a 5yo, 3yo and 18mo kids. I am also feeding one of Roberts coworkers many times throughout the month. It is something we don’t mind doing. In months past, I know we have spent close to $1000 (gasp!!!!). We like to eat. The $1000 includes eating out as well. We can’t eat out for less then $50 usually. It really adds up! Can I also blame the high number on the holiday season? Yes? ok, good!

I also have plans of including what we ate that particular week and sharing recipes. I will also be documenting our garden journey. Carter is a total garden fanatic at the ripe age of 5. I would love to have all this documented for him one day for when he gets older. Here’s what I bought this week!

Whole Foods: $72.02

  1. Kombucha x 5 @ $2.99 each. (I really need to learn to brew my own. This is a New Year’s goal!)
  2. Ground Mustard Seed $1.99
  3. Mulling Spices $3.99 (total splurge. These will last me all year probably.)
  4. Winter Blend Coffee $10.99
  5. Pasta Shells $1.99 (I never pay this much for pasta but I needed it to make Mac n Cheese at my sis-in-law’s house and didn’t have any in my pantry)
  6. Organic sharp white cheddar cheese x 2 @ $3.29 each
  7. Red wax Gouda cheese $4.71
  8. Organic Heavy Whipping cream $ 3.59
  9. Organic Apple Juice $8.99/gallon (this was a splurge to go along with the mulling spices)
  10. Hatcher Family Dairy whole milk $6.39/gal (ouch. This price hurts but I truly believe it is better for us.)

Christmas 2013 057 Christmas 2013 069Christmas 2013 076

Publix: $55.07

  1. Romaine lettuce $ 1.99
  2. Zucchini x2 packages $3.76
  3. Stoneyfield Plain whole milk yogurt $3 (I needed a yogurt starter since my last one went bad.)
  4. Cucumber $.75
  5. Carrots $.99
  6. Mini sweet peppers $1.99
  7. Bananas (6.01lbs) $3.55
  8. Organic Balsamic vinaigrette $3.49
  9. Publix extra virgin olive oil $4.29
  10. OJ (not from concentrate) X 2 = $5
  11. EB eggs 18ct $3.99 (we are only getting 1 egg a day now. This should increase when the weather gets warmer)
  12. ground sirloin $5.14 (just over 1lb)
  13. Dijon Mustard $ 1.89
  14. Greenwise Organic Milk $5.99
  15. Stoneyfield strawberry/banana kids yogurt $3 (a lunch treat for the kids since I didn’t have any made)
  16. Publix unbleached flour $2.29

Christmas 2013 073 She said “Mommy, I want to be in the picture!)

Kroger: 46.20 (I just needed milk. Funny how it turns into an expensive shopping trip!)

  1. Organic apples 3lbs $6.99
  2. bananas 3.34lbs $ 1.97
  3. Rotisseri chicken x 2 $11.98 (for dinner that night. I was feeding 6 people. I had worked the whole day and got off early. This was easy.)
  4. Horizon Organic milk x 4 gallons on MANAGERS SPECIAL! $3.49 each! = $13.96
  5. Marie Callender Turtle Pie $7.75 (I never buy this kind of stuff but my mom was babysitting and she wanted some chocolate. This is one of her favorite desserts so I wanted to make her happy! good daughter, right?!)

006 This is the only photo I got of this trip!

Aldi’Ss $72.57  (This was the mother-load of fresh fruits trip!)

  1. Cantaloupe  .99 cents
  2. Mushrooms x 2 = $2.38
  3. Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza $3.99 (an unhealthy splurge when we needs a fast, unhealthy meal. right, makes sense?? ha!)
  4. garlic x 3 count = .99 cents
  5. Navel Oranges 3lbs (I think?!) $2.99
  6. cucumber .49 cents
  7. 10lb Russet Potatoes $2.99
  8. celery .69 cents
  9. Multi-color peppers 3 pack x 2 = $2.98
  10. grapefruit x 4= 1.16 (I actually only bought 3 and just noticed they over charged me. They were only .29 cents each so I won’t fret this one!)
  11. strawberries x 2 = 4.98
  12. blueberries x 3 = $4.47
  13. blackberries x 6 = 5.94 (I bought so many because blackberries are like candy for my kids. They can’t get enough of them! and I have been paying $3.99 for a tiny carton to appease them.)
  14. organic apples 3lb bags x 2 = $6.98  (remember how I paid $6.99 at Kroger yesterday for the same bag of apples???)
  15. carrots .99 cents
  16. smoked ham @ .99 cents/lb = $9.23 (threw in the freezer for Easter. I am hammed out at the moment!)
  17. Polska Kielbasa x 2 = $4.58 (I am not wild about the ingredient label in these. I usually buy my kielbasa from a local butcher that doesn’t  add crap in him. I needed these for chili tonight.)
  18. fresh whole chicken .95 cents/lb = $4.70 (not organic. My freezer will be full of our own free range organic chickens real soon though)
  19. crushed tomatoes x 2 = 1.98
  20. organic diced tomatoes $1.49
  21. Chili beans x 2 = $1.18 (after reading the ingredient label after I got home I was thoroughly disappointed. Why does corn syrup need to be in this?? wont buy again)
  22. Kidney beans x 2 = $1.18 (once again, why does corn syrup need to be in these??? won’t buy again)

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Grand Total: $245.86

The good news is I have a TON of food. I don’t plan on going grocery shopping for awhile! I do think I will drop in Aldi next Tuesday and get more blackberries at their great sale price (the new ad starts on Wednesday’s here.) I need to make a Sam’s run. Until next week!