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Friday and Saturday (Days 11 and 12)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I bought a medium/large head of cauliflower the other day. It weighed two and a half pounds as purchased, 2 pounds without the big leaves or the core that sticks out the bottom of the head. I paid $1.69 for it, or 85 cents per pound. A pound of frozen cauliflower, if I can find it, is at least $1.29. So it's cheaper to buy fresh (at least this size at this price). Frozen is more convenient for some things, and it keeps longer, though fresh keeps quite a while, too. But fresh is better for a lot of things. You can use fresh for anything you can use frozen for, though the opposite isn't true. I've wondered how fresh and frozen compared but have never bothered to find out before.

You probably know that you can use the core/stems of the cauliflower in cauli-rice, fauxtatoes, fauxtato soup, etc.

Friday's food -
B - yogurt with flaxmeal, sunflower seeds and cinnamon
L - soup of broth, eggs, chives, kale and tomato
Sn - tea with coconut milk4
S - pork roast, creamed spinach
Sn - pork roast
T - tea with coconut milk and gelatin

Estimated cost of Friday's food - $3.25

Saturday's food -
B - eggs scrambled with Veggie Veggie Stuff in the drippings from last night's roast
L - salad of cauliflower, celery, mayo, mustard, and leftover pork
S - bacon and eggs scrambled with tomatoes and onion in bacon grease
T - tea with coconut milk and gelatin

Estimated cost of Saturday's food - $3.65

Average estimated daily cost of food for the week - $3.64


Thursday (Day 10)

Friday, October 26, 2012

They had pork shoulder roasts for 98 cents a pound last week. Half a pound, which makes about a cup, costs 49 cents, which is a lot less than 58 cents for 4 ounces of canned tuna. It makes a great salad, with some cauliflower, celery, mayo and mustard.

Yesterdayís food Ė
B Ė eggs and Veggie Veggie Stuff scrambled in butter
L Ė taco salad, of Taco Veggie Stuffing, shredded cabbage, and sour cream
S Ė tuna salad, of tuna, egg, celery, mayo, sunflower seeds
T Ė tea with gelatin and coconut milk

Estimated cost of the dayís food - $3.71


Wednesday (Day 9)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I've been working at bringing my Food Stamp Challenge records up to date. What with "buying" a lot of what I'm eating out of my pantry/freezer/fridge, I know that not everything has been accounted for in the budget. And I'm not sure how much of what I have in the house is F/S and what isn't. It would be a lot easier in a lot of ways to just lock away what isn't F/S so I know that I can eat what's out. I also need to make a list of what I have. Especially in the fridge, so I can eat it before it goes bad. But also so I don't get in a rut because I've forgotten I have things. This Food Stamp Challenge, at least the way I'm doing it, is a lot of work! It's a good thing I'm not working and/or going to school full time and/or raising a family and/or caring for other people.

Wednesday's food -
B - eggs and Veggie Veggie Stuff scrambled in butter
L - salad of chicken, mayo, celery, sunflower seeds
D - hamburger sauteed with onion, carrot, and cabbage
T - tea with gelatin and coconut milk

Estimated cost of food eaten - $3.85

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUDGETMAW 10/26/2012 3:34PM

  Thanks for your kind words!

The reason that I track what I spend as well as the cost of what I eat each day is because this comes out of the Food Stamp Challenge. If all I was trying to do was to keep my food costs down, then the daily costs would be enough. But the Food Stamp Challenge - seeing how we would do if we had to live on a Food Stamps budget - is different. There is a huge start up cost that isn't reflected in the daily costs. Most things are a lot cheaper if you buy a large quantity. For example, a tablespoon of mayo costs me about 3 cents - but only if I buy a quart jar of it. But even though I may only use part of the jar this month, I still have to buy the whole jar. A whole jar of mayo and a whole jar of mustard and a whole box of splenda and a whole pound of butter and a whole... You get the picture. If a person is starting from zilch, she may have to buy things in smaller quantities (a pint of mayo for $1.50 instead of a quart for $2.00), so the daily costs would be higher. If you are starting with some basics and just have to replace them as they run out, you can buy the larger, cheaper sizes.

So it all comes down to why I'm doing this. I'm trying to do a realistic Food Stamps budget. Is it really realistic? No, it's not. I have the time and transportation to run all over town to buy things on sale or at the cheapest place. I have the time to do the planning and the cooking. I have a working fridge and two working deep freezes so I can store things. I have a working stove and oven and microwave and toaster oven and two crock pots. I have a pressure cooker and pots and pans and utensiles. I have oodles of cookbooks and a computer I can use to find new recipes. And so on. And I'm not working multiple jobs or wondering where next month's rent will come from or raising a family or worrying about whether my family and I are safe or trying to decide whether to pay the electricity bill or the gas bill because I can't pay both. I am extremely blessed in many ways. But that's why I am trying to make it close to accurate from a financial point of view.

What matters is what YOU want to get from this. I don't expect you or anyone else to do the whole Food Stamps Challenge bit, but I hope that I can give you some ideas for cutting costs, and I hope that to get some ideas from you, too.

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SAASMITH 10/26/2012 1:20PM

  I agree, don't drive yourself nuts with the F/S costs. Giving yourself a general breakdown of costs of what you are using is good enough. Doesn't matter when you actually purchased it, or with what type of funds. You've set yourself a goal of $130, That's the important part.
I like how you are showing you can do this. I think I might start a similar thing on my blog, maybe we can compare notes?While I don't get food stamps, I seriously would like to get our food budget down as low as possible. We're had some serious financial setbacks this year that have put us way behind on everything. Just on regular trips to the store, not counting all the little side trips for milk etc, we spend between $600 and $800 a month on groceries. It will take me a while to get on an even keel. I'm trying to decide if I want to show costs for myself or for my whole family. I have a lot of carby stuff in my cabinets that my family will need to eat, most of which they can cook on the nights that I work, and that I will still probably purchase for them, like bread for sandwiches for lunchboxes and oatmeal for breakfast. None of them need to lose weight, in fact, all three of my kids really need to gain weight. They look like I'm eating all their food, lol.

Anyway, I like what you're doing!

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BUDGETMAW 10/25/2012 2:24PM

  Only if they happen to have food leftover from previous months to use. And if people on food stamps tend to run out of food by the third week of the month (which research suggests), then they're not likely to have much left in their pantries to use. At least that's the premise I'm operating under - that there isn't food leftover from last month to use this month.

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LIVINMYDREAMS 10/25/2012 12:45PM

    Maw, don't drive your self nuts with the Food/Stamp Challenge. Everyone uses stuff from their pantry, etc. anyway.

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Tuesday (Day8)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Another good day yesterday, though a tad low on calories. I've been scrambling my eggs in 2 tablespoons of butter in the morning to get my calories and fat up (it still amazes me that I'm worried about getting ENOUGH calories and fat instead of TOO MUCH!), but forgot and only used 1 tablespoon. And then forgot that I had only used 1 tablespoon. Calories and fat were still fine, but they could have been a bit finer.

I really really want to get a tub of lard from pastured pigs at the Farmers Market, but it doesn't fit in my budget this month. That's the problem with having a tight budget - there's not as much room for stocking up on things. The lard is $10 for 4 pounds, which is about the same as the butter, but I figure it's healthier since it's almost organic and comes from pastured animals instead of conventionally confined animals. That will definitely be part of next month's budget.

I really took yesterday's post to heart, and took care of some stuff in the fridge that needed to be used. I had two great big zucchini from the Farmers Market, and some peppers that were still good. I "bought" them from myself, the zucchini at the FM price (50 cents each) and the peppers at the Aldi price (3 for $1). I'm not sure they were actually at the FM last week, since we had a freeze, but the paper said they would be there. And we all know that if it's in the paper it has to be true, right?! Anyway, I cooked up a pound of ground beef, half a big zucchini, a pepper, some onion, half a can of tomatoes, and some homemade taco seasoning to make Taco Veggie Stuffing. It can be used to stuff peppers or other veggies, or just eaten plain. It made 4 servings, at about $1.11 each. Then I cooked up the other one and a half zucchini, 2 peppers, one and a half cans of tomatoes, and some onion into Veggie Veggie Stuffing. (That's Vegetarian Veggie Stuffing.) It made 12 cups. I froze most of it, in two four cup containers, one 2 cup container, and one 1 cup container. The other cup and a half or so is in the fridge for immediate use. I cooked it up thinking that I would use it in scrambled eggs (it's delicious that way, by the way!), but didn't have enough smaller containers. The big containers can be used to make more Taco Veggie Stuff, or something similar, by adding meat to them. Mostly it got the zucchini and peppers used up so they don't go bad.

B - eggs and leftover spaghetti squash scrambled in butter
L - salad of chicken, celery, tomatoes (the last of the homegrown cherry tomatoes), mayo, sunflower seeds
S - Taco Veggie Stuffing, broccoli, carrots, butter
T - tea, gelatin, coconut milk

Estimated cost of food eaten - $3.83

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOUNDLOVER1 10/25/2012 11:22AM

    Great job in eating on a budget. I know I could save a lot of money if I ate more meals at home. Something I strive for over the rest of fall and winter. emoticon emoticon

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Waste not, want not

Monday, October 22, 2012

Yesterday I threw out a bunch of peppers I had gotten at the Farmers Market to freeze and never got around to doing anything with. Definitely not a budget-type of thing to do! So I got to thinking about other ways I waste food, and thought Iíd share some of them, or rather ideas for not wasting food. Please jump in with your own ideas about ways to reduce waste!

Rule Number 1 Ė If you buy it, use it!
2. If you donít know for sure that youíre going to use it, donít buy it! (When I buy stuff because it looks good or it looks interesting, but havenít thought about how Iím going to use it, it is more likely to go bad.)
3. Know whatís in your fridge and use it before it goes bad.
4. If you canít (or wonít) use it right away, freeze it.
5. Know whatís in your freezer.

(Pretty obvious stuff so far. But how many of these basic rules of not wasting are you breaking right now?)

6. Save your drippings and use them for frying or sautťing. Bacon grease is obvious, but all drippings can be used. I poured off the drippings from when I baked a bunch of chicken a couple of days ago, and stuck it in the fridge. After it had solidified, I took the fat off the top, melted it, and ran it through a fine-meshed tea strainer. I have used the fat for the chicken dishes I have made, and put the non-fat juices in the bone broth Iím making. When I cook a pork chop or a pork steak, I usually leave the drippings in the pan and use them to cook my eggs in the next morning. Either pork or beef drippings are good in eggs, chicken not so much so.
7. Save your bones for making broth. Iíve got a big pot of chicken bone broth cooking now, since I had a bunch of bones from the 10 pounds of leg quarters. Usually I just accumulate bones of any kind in the freezer, and make a big batch of mixed broth.
8. Lots of cookbooks and so forth say to save the vegetable trimmings to make vegetable broth, but Iíve never been able to come up with any that tasted good. If you can, thatís great! I did pull off some onion skins to go in this batch of bone broth, and may start saving the onion skins in with bones in the freezer. If nothing else, they make the broth look darker and richer.
9. Use the bit of butter on the butter wrappers. We used to use them for greasing cooking sheets, but thatís out now, of course. But you can put one over a bowl of vegetables and let the heat melt it off. Or put it over chicken for a few minutes while you roast it. Or at least scrape it all off with a knife or spatula. True, thereís not much there, but you might as well get it all.
10. Keep a carton of soup makings in the freezer. Put in any dabs of stuff that you arenít going to use, including skimmed drippings (save the fat for other uses), bits of leftovers, the water from cooking veggies, etc. When it gets full, use it as the base for a pot of soup. Depending on whatís in it, it might be the broth part of the soup or it may be chunky enough that you donít need to add much more to it.
11. Rinse out cans and add the rinse water to the freezer soup carton, too.

How about it? What are your favorite ways to avoid wasting food? Or at least ideas for not wasting food, whether you actually do it or not.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUDGETMAW 10/27/2012 8:35AM

  I have seen instructions for freezing eggs, but I don't remember what they were. I think you have to "scramble" them rather than freezing them just out of the shell. Have you checked online?

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SAASMITH 10/26/2012 1:05PM

  I'm the worst at forgetting veggies in the bottom of the fridge. Things that are starting to go bad,but not quite there yet, I usually end up feeding to the chickens instead of cooking, if I'm not going to have the time I thought when I bought them to actually use them.
Speaking of chickens, I rarely have to buy eggs, since we have 7 producers of them. A few times a year they stop producing and we might buy a couple dozen before they start back up. When they are all producing regularly, we usually end up with too many, and I end up throwing them away, which is stupid. Can you freeze raw eggs if you take them out of the shell? Anyone know?

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BUDGETMAW 10/23/2012 8:55AM

  I think your celery trimmings are fine, Naypooie. Be sure that there isn't any grit or dirt in the bottom piece. The brown parts should be ok if you cut both ends of them, but I'd throw out the initial pieces that cut off the brown parts that were exposed when you bought it.

My broth yesterday turned out a bit bitter. I'm not sure if it was the onion peels, the parsley root (I just pulled up a whole small plant and put it all in), or what. I think it may be the onion peels, because I vaguely remember the taste from when I tried making veggie stock.

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NAYPOOIE 10/22/2012 12:39PM

    I'd like to hear from other people about vegetable trimmings that have worked for them in soup stock. I'd hate to waste a batch by adding something that tastes bad.

Glad to hear about onion skins. I was thinking of using celery trimmings. I chop off the end of the bunch to free up the stalks, and also anything with leaves, and the ends that have gone brown. I think the ends are probably discards, but what about the rest? Anyone?

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LIVINMYDREAMS 10/22/2012 11:59AM

    Very good thoughts, Maw! I know that I tend to forget some of the veggies down in my veggie drawer of the fridge and I also threw away part of a pepper this weekend. I also end up with green onions that are kind of slimy and throw away. I think I should chop some of these veggies and put in a plastic container in the fridge and it would be easier to grab and throw a handful into eggs or soup or sauce or whatever.

I do usually use all of my cabbage but sometimes if I have lettuce it doesn't always get used. I am kind of lazy about making salads at home. Maybe I should bring the head of lettuce to work and just pull off what I need for a lumch salad. I do have a fridge in my office.

Thanks again for the ideas:)

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