Category: Household

Well, I did shop a lot this week, but it was all for Easter dinner we hosted at our house.  Three days of non-stop cooking and I made a HUGE amount of food, but we pretty much had to throw the budget and the record-keeping out the window.  I really didn’t do any regular shopping other than picking up a bunch of markdown baking soda and some way on markdown skirt steak at Kroger.   On the plus side, we’re going to be eating leftovers and leftovers and more leftovers this week. Here’s to keeping a better track of things next week.




Looking at our shopping from last week, even I’m kind of blown away by the amount of yogurt!  So how do we use it all up?

Go-Gurt: Autumn wanted this for freezing into “yogurt pops,” so a lot of it went straight into the freezer so she can have cold treats during the summer.  The rest is in the fridge and she’s been working through it for quick breakfasts and snacks.

Greek Parfaits: Matt and I love these and are mainly eating them for breakfasts, especially the ones that happen on the way to early morning tennis lessons or soccer games.  We also served them as part of our Easter “brunch.”  These will not last much longer.

Tub Yogurt: I use yogurt a lot for baking and cooking where I would otherwise use milk or sour cream or half and half.  It’s so versatile!  You just have to take into account what flavor profile you are looking for.  Vanilla yogurt works nicely in baked goods.  Plain can take the place of sour cream.

Creamer: Oh, and all that creamer?  Heading into the freezer! Since this is a dairy creamer where the main ingredients are cream and sugar, it may be making apperances in some homemade ice cream or baked goods as well.

So far I’ve made coffee cake for Easter, muffins, whole wheat pumpkin cranberry bread, and creamed cauliflower soup with yogurt, in addition to eating it plain or with fruit.  What are some of your favorite ways to eat yogurt?


Total for the week: 45.04. Over budget, but considering that this was a major stock-up week, I’m pretty happy with it. Most of this is calculated without tax.

This week was ALL about dairy.  We love yogurt, but we’re stocked up for a while! The Mega Event at Kroger just made it so cheap (or free) that I couldn’t resist. (There will for sure be a couple more dairy trips next week too, though, to finish out the sale.)

1st shopping trip: Annoyed that I wasn’t watching the cashier closely enough.  She missed 2.00 in coupons, but I didn’t notice it until later and it just wasn’t worth it to go back.  Should have been 4.37 with tax, but with the missed coupons total comes to: 6.37

The bread and makeup were all better-than-free after coupons, so offset the cost of the other items.  Bacon .49 per package, juice .53 cents per bottle, veggies 1.00, craisins 1.12


Farmer’s Market

Nine dollar’s worth of local organic produce from the farmer’s market included a giant bundle of collards (two whole plants), radishes, a bag of beautiful spinach, and a bundle of three swiss chard plants.  We ate the outer leaves of the chard and I’m thinking about trying to re-plant the roots and baby leaves.

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3rd trip (three different stores): 18.38

All the go-gurt, dip, and gluten free bread were free after coupons. Yogurt parfaits and tubs and shave gel .49 each.  markdown whole chicken at .85 cents per pound. Everything else normal sale price.


4th Trip: 4.92

Again, free gogurt and super cheap yogurt and shave gel.  The organic oranges were a steal at .99 per bag.


5th trip: 3.43

Free go-gurt and creamer, everything else super cheap after coupons and mega-event.


6th trip (two stores): 2.94

More free go-gurt and creamer. Cheap yogurt parfaits and tubs.


Meal Plan Thursday?

I haven’t been posting meal plans in a while, and I can’t be positive I’ll keep it up, but I’m giving it a shot. Since I’m planning our meals around what produce we have, vs. making a plan and then buying the items, I’m finding it works better to plan after the Farmer’s Market on Thursdays. This is a loose plan based on what’s in the house and could change.



  • oatmeal and fruit
  • gluten free pumpkin blueberry muffins and fruit x2
  • egg & veggie casserole and fruit x2
  • yogurt parfait
  • gluten free waffles from the freezer and fruit


  • salads with protein (snack-style lunches for A) x4
  • vegetable soup x2
  • out x1


  • fruit with peanut butter
  • veggies and dip
  • marinated salad
  • yogurt and berries
  • juice or smoothies


  • crustless veggie quiche, turkey bacon, fruit salad, rolls
  • whole wheat (or GF for A) pizza with swiss chard, balsamic onions, turkey bacon and a marinated vegetable salad
  • beef, bean, and vegetable burritos with all the fixings (make extra for freezer) and homemade baked jalepeno poppers
  • Korean dumpling and rice cake soup with homemade kimchi
  • vegetarian quesadillas with all the fixings
  • collard green dip with veggie dippers, tortilla chips
  • out x1

We have a camera in the house again, so I’m trying to get back on track. As mentioned before, our budget through Lent (at least) had to go up to 40.00 per week. We are going through a huge amount of produce. Thing is, we may need to keep the budget there….we’re liking the changes! Here’s the week. I didn’t keep track of my receipts very well, so this is all without taxes.  Total for the week: 37.73


Huge bundle of mustard greens and spring onions at the farmer’s market: 3.00.


Love it when these giant tubs of organic greens go on markdown! Bananas were on markdown as well, and the sorbets worked out to .12 cents each after coupon. Eggs for 1.12 a dozen.  Total: 12.83


Splurged on organic apples.  This photo: 6.37


First time in my life I have ever purchased chicken backs.  They were super cheap and are currently in my great big stock pot on the stove turning into some yummy broth. The tuna salad was way on markdown and the sodas were only in here because they helped lower the overall cost after coupons. The truvia is here for the same reason. Spent more than usual to get Autumn some GF pizza crusts and bagels, but she will really appreciate them.  Total here: 12.53

This is not part of my regular grocery shopping, but butter was way on sale this week and I’m helping with some major cookie baking soon.  I went ahead and bought it while it was on sale.  Two of the packages are for us and the rest are for that project. Total grocery: 3.00.  Total for cookies: 15.00

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Sooooo…changes in the works.  Definitely having to up the budget for Lent! We are not Catholic and our church doesn’t make a point of the season, but we’ve found giving things up to be a really helpful exercise.  Every year looks different and this year is no exception.  I guess really this isn’t a pantry challenge right now, since we are NOT using up what’s in the pantry, but focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables. And a LOT of them.  Believe it or not, we’re just about out of produce after buying all of this over the course of the week.

Besides produce, I picked up a few items to make a dish for a party, a gallon of milk, free GF bread, and free (after store credit) chips for the party and to eat on Fat Tuesday. 😉


First – Eight dollars worth of fresh veggies from the farmer’s market.  It was all local!  The tomatoes and peppers were grown in a hoop house – they were delicious. 🙂


Next – the above two photos came in at about twenty-six dollars.  Got really good deals, but all this produce adds up!


Third – Markdown bananas, potatoes, and onions for 2.66.


FREE chips and dip.

Total: about 37.00.  I want to try to keep our budget around 40.00 per week during Lent, but I’m not sure if I can do it.  My goal is to spend at least 75% of that on fruits and veggies.


Finally broke down and bought butter this week.  We’ve only been without it for a month – lol! We also bought a LOT of produce.  Matt got a juicing machine and we’ve been playing with it.  I’ve been really surprised by how much I have liked the results, but it goes through a huge amount of veggies and fruits. I also picked up a bunch of half&half to try out my new ice cream maker. I know, I know: super healthy vs. super unhealthy.  Oh well.

Free items this week: pudding (money maker), marshmallow bits (will be going on valentines treats), guacamole/salsa, bread (need to drop at food pantry), grapefruit juice, protein bars, breakfast bowl, cream (paid with catalina)


Trip #1  Total: 3.67+tax


Trips #2 and #3 Total: 16.06+tax, after rebate


Trip #4 Total: free (paid with catalina coupon)


Trip #5 Total: 1.56+tax

Total for the week: 21.29  Taking that into account, that leaves me still about 13.00 over budget for the last five weeks.  I think we’ll probably have to increase the budget, as we’re looking at making some major changes as we head into Lent.

Whew!  What a week.  We were on “vacation” this week, which meant we were doing a LOT of daytrips and an overnight in Atlanta.  Autumn and I have been saving up for a trip to Snow Mountain and we had a lot of fun, though I think we all had a better time hiking afterwards. We ate out a lot more than normal, but I still packed a lot of lunches.

I couldn’t keep track of all my receipts this week, so I’m adding everything  up by item – yikes!   We shopped the mega-event a lot.  I usually only do one “event” per transaction, so you can imagine how many stores I hit over the week.  One thing with the sales this week was that it meant buying a lot more processed food than normally.  Some of these items were better than free (i.e. moneymakers), so it made sense to buy them because it cut down on the cost of things I really wanted to stock up on, like dish soap.  So we’ll probably be gathering up a box of stuff for the food pantry once we finish shopping this sale.  Most of the actual money spent was on produce and coffee. Pretty sure we will be way over budget this week…let’s start adding…

Free items this week: Emergen-C (money-maker), pudding cups (money-maker), bread, protein bars, some of the veggie dip, jimmy dean breakfast bowls, egg beaters, instant breakfast mix, guacamole/salsa, pepsi.


Four dollars worth of veggies from the farmer’s market.  This bundle of turnips is bigger than the 13-gallon trash can I tried to stuff them into! Autumn borrowed my sunglasses.




This is 3 shopping trips combined. Total: 13.78 + tax.  Without coupons and sales that would have been ONLY two of the bags of coffee.


Whenever we’re in Atlanta, we stop into our favorite International market. I was picking up ingredients for an experiment with homemade kimchi.  We also got some cheap fruit and some freshly in-store made rice cakes. Autumn asked for purple potatoes, too.  Total: 13.46 + tax.


A couple shopping trips here as well as the ice cream maker and flour I got free thanks to getting a prize in the King Arthur Flour Contest at the GA Nat’l. Fair. Total for these trips: 1.85 + tax. I’m not kidding. Almost every single item was free.


Three more trips: Total 3.28 + tax.  When you consider that one box of dish soap without sales or coupons is 4.69, it’s kind of amazing. 🙂

Not pictured: 1 jar natural peanut butter, 1 jar crushed garlic, 1 bag tortilla chips Total: 6.58+ tax.

Total: 44.36  Considering how much I had left over last week, that leaves me around 16.26 over budget this week, but I feel like we got a lot out of it. Hopefully I can make some of that up in the next week. (And this is of course assuming that my math is right which is very questionable considering how late it is and how stuffed up my head is with this cold.)


Lots of produce this week! Let’s start off with my finished homemade sauerkraut.  It is delicious and I will definitely be making more. Thinking about trying a batch of kimchi next…..hmmmmm?


This shopping trip was 2.40.  (The key on my computer with the dollar sign has died, sorry! A couple others are starting to die too.) We hardly EVER have sodas in the house, but Matt had a free 12-pack coupon and we figured we might as well use it. Happy to find these peaches in 100% juice because Autumn loves them in her snack bags and while I’m capable of canning fruit in 4 oz. jars, it’s kind of a pain and I don’t want to lose my jars. 😉


Eleven dollars worth of organic freshly-picked local produce from the farmer’s market. Yum!




This trip ended up at just about 3.00, thanks to overage on the vitamin C and fruit puree. 🙂


Free grapefruit (had a raincheck)

I also grabbed another case of GF flour on Amazon for 5.50 shipped.

Total for the week: 21.90

We did have some eating out this week because DH is on vacation.  We’re basically just doing day trips from home and I’m packing some meals, but we’re finding ourselves eating out a little too. Using coupons or grabbing deals mostly though.

Some of what we used from the “pantry”:  last of the sliced ham in the freezer, some frozen (cooked from dry) chickpeas, lots of produce from the fridge, a random package of little smokies left over from something, a pre-made chicken meal, frozen (batch-cooked from dry) brown rice, the last of my home canned pears, a pasture-raised roast from the freezer, a few partial jars of jam and preserves, frozen strawberries, and more I can’t remember. I have a pasture-raised chicken from the freezer going right now to make chicken salad sandwiches for picnics.  Judging by what’s left in the freezer, this challenge is certainly going to last more than a month!

Okay, gotta say it’s a good thing that avoiding shopping wasn’t one of my goals with this pantry challenge. I shopped like MAD this week. Why? Well, when we’re driving all the way across town three times a week for soccer and passing all the grocery stores along the way, it seems to make the trip a lot more worthwhile if I stop in for couponing deals. So, um, yeah, I shopped probably a dozen times this week total. Came in at just about a dollar over budget at 26.00. There are definitely some items here that I usually wouldn’t buy, but ended up getting for convenience’s sake. We have been sooooooo busy lately and something has to give. If that means “buying” free whole wheat bread instead of making my own from scratch, so be it. I will get back to homemade as soon as feasible. Here’s my shopping:


Not pictured was a package of turkey breast.

Edit: If I had paid regular price/no coupons I could have bought 2 1/2 out of the four boxes of vitamins. NOTHING ELSE.

Free items: snack mix, 8 loaves of bread, salt, breakfast bowls, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit.  Eggs were way on sale, turkey bacon was .50 per package, vitamins for .26 a box, olives .19 per pouch, also splurged and bought Autumn some premium orange juice for about .50 per quart.  She rarely gets juice, so she’s super happy! Markdown GF bread, egg nog, yogurt, and turkey were also great deals. Overall, it was a really good week, but I definitely don’t need to shop that frequently. 🙂

Although it seems completely counterintuitive, I added a lot of items to the pantry/freezer this week, too. I canned small batches of grapefruit and orange segments in citrus juice(mind-numbing work), caramelized balsamic onions (amazing on pizza), and cranberry conserve.


In the interest of saving time and because I am NOT a morning person, I also stocked the freezer with gluten free breakfast items.  How does this fit into the “clean out the freezers” part of my challenge?  I made them with LOTS of frozen produce that really needed to be used up.  I found a dozen bananas (DH’s grandfather only likes them green, so when they get ripe, they freeze them for us instead of throwing them away), two quarts of peaches, a couple partial bags of nuts, and a pint of chopped strawberries during inventory and they went into 6+ dozen muffins (2 varieties) and 11 bags of banana pancakes.  Got an awesome deal on Amazon a while ago for the GF flour and everything else was in the pantry, even used up a bunch of cans of evaporated milk we got for free after coupons over the holidays.  I have a feeling that we’re going to go through this stuff pretty quickly between breakfasts and snacks and our busy schedule.


And while it may look like all we’re doing is adding to the food stores, we’ve been plugging away at using up freezer items.  We are almost out of the surplus of fresh vegetables we started the challenge with though, so that might get interesting. Dairy is getting to be a challenge as well.  We’re out of milk, butter, half&half, etc.  Hoping for some good deals on dairy and veggies next week!

Oh, my first ever batch of sauerkraut is about done too!  I’ll try to post a picture next week when I stick it in the fridge.

And just FYI…fresh kale is AMAZING on pizza. Especially with homemade cheese, caramelized onions, homemade roasted eggplant sauce, whole wheat homemade crust, and pasture-raised pork sausage.