Every Day

It Has Been Crazy Around Here

I am without a cellphone right now so I can’t take pictures. I have a new one coming soon. Hubby and I decided we needed a second line at the same time. So we went to Mint Mobile and ordered a second cellphone and a new line. He is using my old one to monitor his blood sugars and it always has to be right near him. Because of this, I have gone out to run errands a couple of times without the phone. I don’t like doing that in case the car breaks down. I am hoping the new phone will arrive today or tomorrow and we can them activate the service.

The eclipse was not all that we thought it would be. We had an absolutely beautiful day on Sunday and yesterday. But Monday we were overcast and you could not see the sun. However we and all of our neighbors sat outside hoping to catch a glimpse. It never happened. However it was amazing how dark it got here so quickly and then it lightened up just as quick. We had 100% totality here. That was kind of neat. The other thing we noticed was that when it got dark, it got really cold. We had gone outside when it was in the sixties and the temperature dropped so fast. At least it is the first time we saw the sun rise in the West.

Yesterday Hubby got out our chairs for our sitting area in front of the house. It was so nice to be able to sit outside for a few hours yesterday and then have our drink before dinner outside. It was 80 here, sunny, and very low humidity. We enjoyed every minute of that fresh air and sunshine. I even turned off the heat and opened some windows. I left the heat off last night and it is still 71 in here as I write this morning. It is supposed to be in the 50’s and 60’s the rest of the week and storm so I think the heat will be going back on tonight or earlier.

We have new neighbors who moved in across the street from us. They moved here for the same reason we did….grandchildren. So I will be baking them some homemade pumpkin bread this week to welcome them.

I woke up on Sunday with some kind of stomach bug. So I have not eaten much this week. The only thing that has tasted good to me is toast. My sciatica is acting up again so I have not done a lot except put on pain patches all the time. It is hard to get anything done.

Remember I told you a while ago that Hubby was going to wall in the pantry he made me. Well, he moves slowly and is just now getting to it. He and my son are going on Saturday to get the material to do it. He did get all of the wood up to nail the walls to a while ago but that is as far as he got. He carpeted the floor a few years ago with gray carpet squares. He asked me what color I would like the walls. I told him light gray would be great because it would make the space brighter. So they will get everything on Saturday including the paint. Also the majority of my shelving is plastic. I have been lucky that all these years they have not broken under the weight. So we are having delivered all new shelving… sturdy gorilla shelves. I will be tied up for a few days moving everything out of the space. I have not been able to store any canning jars of food on those shelves because I was afraid they would collapse. So I will be very happy to get all of my jars out of my cupboards in the kitchen. It is a lot of work but I will be thrilled when we are all done. Since I plan on canning the majority of our food this year, it will be great to have the proper shelves for it.

I hope to be back blogging sometime next week. I hope you all have a great week and weekend.

Every Day

A Little of This and a Little of That

When I cleaned the chest freezer the other day, I pulled out a couple of bags of frozen bananas. There were 7 total so they made this pan of 2 dozen muffins. The pan is so large that it just barely fits in my big oven so I had to bake it in that instead of the countertop one. We use these for snacks for a week or more. They go fast around here because Hubby loves them.

I pulled strip steaks out of the freezer this morning for Hubby to grill. I baked potatoes and added steamed brussel sprouts to our meal. I also reheated the corn that was leftover from the KFC bowl yesterday for Hubby.

When I got up this morning at 6am, I just had 2 muffins and a cup of coffee. If I am hungry later, I will make eggs and ham. Hubby had muffins also.

I spent about an hour in the basement today but didn’t finish it. It has been so dreary and rainy around here that I am not very motivated.

Hubby’s new Dell computer arrived so has been busy getting ready to transfer all of his data and files to it. This and setting it up will keep him busy for a few days.

Have you done any baking recently?

Every Day

Grocery Hauls Today

It was errand day. Besides picking up a prescription at the drugstore. I stopped at Aldi, Walmart, and Top’s.

For months I had been trying to get this orange sauce at Aldi’s. They were out of stock. I used my last bottle which was not a good thing because Hubby really likes orange chicken. Last night my sister told me that it was back in stock at her store downstate. I was so happy to find it today and picked up 3 bottles at $ 2.19 each. When the hams were on sale for $ 1.49 a lb. for Easter, I did not get one. We were kind of sick of ham from having a large one in January. I was hoping that either Aldi or Walmart would reduce them for quick sale. Neither had. So I decided to get one at the $1.49 sale price at Aldi’s today. This one cost me $12.05. It is the best price we have had in this area. I will keep checking to see if they reduce them. If they do, I will get 2 more. Hubby loves ham sandwiches, ham salad, ham on salads, fried ham with eggs for breakfast, etc. Buying chunks of ham or sliced ham when we want it, is very expensive. So I have instead spent the $ 1.49 a lb. and this afternoon I cut it up into meal size portions and froze most of it. I have slices, chunks, and dices ready to use when we need it. I spent $ 18.62 for all at Aldi’s.

Also pictured is a bag of Tyson chicken strips that I purchased at Walmart for $ 8.77. I have been wanting a KFC chicken bowl. But I did not want to spend the $ 5.99 for it at KFC. So instead I purchased the bag of the strips which will make about 8 bowls for about $ 1.10 each. I just add some homemade mashed potatoes( about 1 potato with shelf stable milk and some butter( $ .65), canned corn( a tsp. of corn $ .04), and chicken gravy ($.33). Hubby does not like them. The total cost for the bowl was $ 3.12. It had been years since I had one and it was so delicious.

When I went in to get the chicken strips, the employees at Walmart were just reducing the price of all of the Easter candy down by 50%. I got enough for us, West, and Alexa for an entire year. The candy came out of our gift budget. The $ 8.77 for the chicken strips came out of our grocery budget.

My last stop was at Top’s where I purchased:

2 Steak-Umm’s that were BOGOF = $ 5.79 for both( I love these with eggs and I had finished our last box over a week ago.)

1 Top’s large eggs= Free Instant Win Monopoly coupon( -$ 2.99)

1 Bag of Lay’s chips =$ 1.99 with Monopoly coupon

1 Bag of Top’s cough drops=Free Instant Win Monopoly coupon – ($1.59)

1 Bison Dip on sale for $ 2.49. I needed this for one of our recipes.

It was senior discount day so I got $ .62 off. My total spent at Top’s was $9.65.

For dinner tonight we had all of the leftovers again from our Easter leg of lamb dinner. There is just enough left for Hubby for brunch tomorrow.

Have you found any grocery deals this week?

Every Day

My Plans Today

I hope you all had a great holiday. For those of you with kids home on spring break, enjoy them. They grow up too fast.

While I am sipping on my coffee this morning which I needed desperately after waking up at 4:30am, I am planning out my week. I am going nowhere today so that I can do a number of things around here.

My chest freezer needs to be defrosted. So after my breakfast of eggs over easy and a slice of turkey with a slice of cheese melted on it, I will tackle it. I need to set up some ice chests to put the food in while it is out of the freezer. Then I will set up a table next to it for the overflow. I get the freezer defrosted so quickly that it never has a chance to thaw.

I use my blow dryer and a plastic scraper to melt the ice off. I put the big chunks in a bucket to empty when I am done. When all the ice is out, I dry the freezer really well using some old bath towels. I do all of this when it is unplugged. When I am done, I always remember to turn the freezer back on. Then I put all of the food back: oldest on top. I am hoping I have no freezer burn. I usually don’t. I will take inventory while I am returning each item to the freezer.

While I am doing this, I will pull out all of the frozen bananas. They are everywhere in every freezer. I plan on making some muffins later today using all of them. I will keep some out for breakfasts and snacks this week and freeze the rest for future meals.

We had a wonderful Easter dinner of leg of lamb with a great sauce that I have been making for years, roasted potatoes, broccoli, mashed cauliflower, corn on the cob, and olives for my son who loves them. We topped it all off with Keto peanut butter ice cream for those who wanted it and Tillamook waffle cone ice cream for those who didn’t.

My son and his wife gave me a beautiful plant of mini daffodils. Daffodils are one of my favorite flowers. Hubby has already researched how to plant them in our yard the end of May. They also offered to bring wine for dinner. They brought two bottles: one sweet and one dry. Only the dry got opened. So we have part of that bottle and the other bottle left. I am not crazy about dry wine but will finish it up in my recipes.

Dinner tonight will be all the leftovers from dinner last night. I think we will have enough for another night after that.

What are your plans for today? Feel free to share.

Every Day

Dollar Tree and Family Dollar

There are so many Dollar Trees and Family Dollar stores closing across the U.S. I don’t know how many of you shop either place but I bet you have used them for some products at one time or another. Here is just one of the articles in the news:

You can find many more if you just google for information.

I panicked the other day when someone posted online that our Dollar Tree was one of the ones closing and that it was already permanently closed. However I knew that there was one in the next town south of us. I decided to check it out myself and not take someone else’s word for it. I had a return to drop off at our local Fed Ex place. Dollar Tree is in the same plaza.

I was relieved when I got there to find that it was not only open but jammed with people. So I picked up a few of the items that I regularly buy there. The lines were long but I was patient and chatted with the cashier whose line I usually go to. I asked her if that store was closing. She told me no that it is one of the highest earning stores in the U.S. However she did tell me that the prices would be going up soon to a maximum of $ 7.00. Here is just one of those articles:

Since prices will be going up soon, it would behoove people to stock up on some of the things that they regularly buy there to get a small stockpile of those items.

These are some of the things that I buy there almost all of the time: Scotties tissues, greeting cards, thank you cards, and blank cards, security envelopes, organizing baskets, deodorant, makeup, combs, Q-Tips, gift bags and wrapping paper, plastic forks, spoons, and knives, shelf stable milk, pasta, bags of frozen peppers and onions to make quick omelets, White Rain and VO5 shampoo and conditioner, Plackers, first aid gauze and tape, peroxide, isopropyl alcohol, sticky notes, blank notebooks, pencils, candy for the grandchildren, and reading glasses. Just recently I found out that they carry John Morrell smoked sausage. We used to have that in our grocery stores in Arizona and it was a good brand. So I bought a package to try it. It was just as good as I remember. So we now have a few packages on hand. I use it in red beans and rice but there are many other ways to use it.

If there are things that you buy there on a regular basis that I have not listed, would you please take the time to leave a comment and let us all know.

I will be taking a small amount of money from our savings to pick up a few of these things before the prices go up.

As a side note, we are having family for dinner on Easter Sunday. I will be cooking a leg of lamb that I bought on sale in January. We have a favorite recipe from the 1960’s that we use and love.

I want to wish all of you a Happy Easter. Enjoy your celebration.

Every Day

This Past Weekend

Saturday and Sunday I cooked from what we had in the house. Saturday night I made mandarin orange chicken using orange sauce, mandarin oranges, and chicken over rice. I added a vegetarian egg roll which was delicious.

Last night we had cheeseburgers with sauteed onions and sliced tomato.We had a bag of French fries in the freezer that had just a few in it so we split them. An hour or so after dinner, we had some pistachio pudding that I made in the morning. I like to have SF puddings and jello’s in the refrigerator for a snack or dessert. Tonight we will have leftover hamburgers with some lettuce, onions and tomato.

For breakfasts, we had egg, ham, and cheese McMuffins. I made a couple extra for today’s breakfast. After breakfast today, I will cook up a pound of bacon to use with eggs the rest of the week. I am also going to hard boil some eggs in the instant pot for breakfasts and for Hubby to make some egg salad.

Hubby and I watched a lot of March Madness this weekend. I multi-tasked doing some sewing repairs while I was watching. I also did a bit of work in the basement. And two loads of wash got done and one was hung. The other was towels which I dry in our dryer. We went nowhere which saved on gasoline.

We also got our 32 day utility bill. It was $ 208.81 Last year’s bill was $256.09 for the same period. We used 406 KWH and 110 ccf’s of gas. I have to believe that it was down because of the conservation we do and the warmer winter.

My plans this week are to get ready to have our family for Easter. I will be doing some cleaning and making our menu.

What are you doing to save money this week?

Every Day

It Didn’t Take Long To Find A Deal

I did well not shopping this week. However, I heard yesterday that Walmart had their corned beefs on sale for 50% off which brought them down to $ 2.78 a lb. Hubby and I so enjoyed the corned beef we had this week. When I told Hubby about the sale, he asked me to go get two. So I did this afternoon. They did not have very many left.

Since Top’s is just a block away, I stopped there on the way home to pick up my Free Rosina Italian meatballs with the coupon that the company sent. They normally are $ 9.99. I looked last week and since the coupon was only good up to $ 8.99, I did not get them. Today I looked at the ad to see what I missed this week and I saw that they were on sale for $ 6.99. So they are now in my freezer. The corned beefs for now are in my refrigerator because they don’t expire until April 19th and May 1st. As I free up freezer space, they will go in the freezer.

For breakfast’s the last two days, we have had scrambled eggs with breakfast sausage.

Last night we finished up a bag of potstickers that were in the freezer for dinner. I was too tired to do anything else after working in the basement most of the day. Today I shopped for the things above and worked in the basement for 2 and 1/2 hours. So I was craving strip steaks for dinner. Hubby grilled them indoors while I cleaned up some mushrooms and cooked them in butter to go on the steak. I steamed up some corn to go with it.

I am hoping to get the basement done sometime this weekend. Then Hubby has a major project to do down there. My next project is to clean the garage. I am trying to get a head start so all of this is done when the good weather hits.

So instead of saving grocery money this week, I spent $ 17.71.

Every Day

A Little of This and a Little of That

Grilled Reuben sandwiches were our dinner last night. It was made on marble rye bread with sliced corned beef slices, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and homemade Russian dressing. Hubby put them together and grilled them on our indoor grill. They were so good.

Breakfast yesterday was sausage and egg with grilled peppers in it and cheese McMuffins. We love them and have to use up the English muffins before they go bad. Today’s brunch for me was the leftover home fries from our breakfast out on Sunday. I cooked them with some butter to heat them through. That was all I wanted. I had a headache and was not too hungry. Hubby had sausage and eggs.

Dinner tonight was Rastelli’s rib eye pork chops with some Epicurean Herb Butter on top. We had some macaroni and cheese with it and Hubby was making a quick green salad to go with all of it while I was taking this picture.

I have only gone out to the Post Office this week. We had a very busy day yesterday submitting our meter readings to the electric and gas company, getting paperwork all filled out to go to the Post Office, rolling over a large Share Certificate that was expiring to a 5% interest one, doing laundry, calling my sister for our Monday chat and a bunch of other little things. I did get a Free coupon and a $1.00 off one for Ken’s salad dressing in the mail.

Hubby’s computer decided to turn on the day after we thought it had died. However it is 5-6 years old so he purchased one from Dell but they say it will take a month to build what he wants. So hopefully, his will hold up until the new one comes.

We spent the day working in the basement again today. Hopefully it will be done soon. I also cleaned the inside of the refrigerator today. Now I have to fold the load of laundry I did today.

How are you doing keeping your grocery bills down?

Every Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day: Corned Beef and Cabbage

This was our dinner last night and will be tonight. I put a 3.75 lb. round corned beef in my slow cooker along with 2 cans of Yuengling lager. Then I threw in the spice packet that came with the corned beef. The beer tenderizes the beef while it slow cooks. I cooked this a total of 8 hours on low. You couldn’t taste the beer when it was done. I would have preferred Guinness but I already had a case of the Yuengling lager which I use in recipes and Hubby drinks when he wants a beer. So I used what we had.

When the corned beef had 2 hours to go, I threw in 1/2 of a whole cabbage. I wanted to use fresh potatoes but they were too soft to use. They seem to go bad quickly these days. Not wanting to go to the market, I made mashed potatoes from flakes. It was all delicious.

Our brunch yesterday was homemade turkey soup that I had in the freezer.

This morning we went out to breakfast with our son and grandson at our favorite Greek restaurant. Three of us had eggs or an omelet, home fries, toast, and our choice of steak, bacon, sausage or ham. West had 4 of the largest pancakes with maple syrup that I have ever seen with lots of sausage. My son is Keto and since he does not eat starches, he gave his toast to Hubby and I brought his big plate of home fries home to have as a side for dinner tomorrow or breakfasts this week. Breakfast was so expensive. The cost for the food was $ 74. and a $15.00 tip for a total of $89.00. It had really gone up in price since we ate there a few months ago. But it was all delicious and a nice break for me from cooking. The cost was paid out of our cash envelope for Eating Out.

When Hubby got up this morning, he went to print the crossword from his online newspaper subscription on his desktop computer to find it was dead. When we got back from breakfast, my son confirmed that it was truly dead. So he helped Hubby decide what he will order from Dell tomorrow. We are hoping that we can pay extra to get it overnight when it is built. Hubby needs it to monitor some healthcare issues. In the meantime, he can download the software on mine and use it.

I hope all of you are having a nice St. Patrick’s Day. Are you doing anything special today?

Every Day

Reverse Meal Planning

This is the way I meal plan 100% of the time now. Off and on through the years, I have tried to just make a menu of things that we want to eat for the week. I have almost always found that it costs me much more money.

A reason for that is when I have to buy what I don’t have in the house at full price instead of purchasing it on sale it ups my grocery bill. By reverse meal planning, I can buy grocery items when they are on sale at loss leader prices. Then I decide in advance what we will eat from our pantries, refrigerator, and freezer that week. At the same time, I keep an eye on the sale ads to see if there is anything I can use at rock bottom loss leaders in my area. Some weeks there are and some weeks there are none.

We are not fortune enough to live in an area that marks down prices on items that will expire the next day or so. They are far and few in between. For example, when I went into Walmart yesterday to pick up the popcorn that I had a free coupon for, I took the time to look for reduced price food items. The few bakery items they had were two days out of expiration which I would not buy. There was no marked down produce. Most of their on sale produce had seen it’s better days. Then I looked at the meat. They had a few beef steaks and roasts marked down for quick sale. But I don’t consider a markdown of $ .37 to $ .57 enough to make me buy an expensive steak or roast that was going out of date. Lastly, I went to the clearance shelf to see what they had. There were only two items and none of them were food.

At Top’s the last time I was there, they had a couple of meat items marked down. But their markdowns were as lousy as Walmart’s. At Aldi’s yesterday, they had no markdowns.

When I am going to a doctor’s appointment, I try to stop at Niagara Produce when they have sale items I need. I always look for the reduced price meat while I am there. I have found it just 5 times in a year and it is never more than one or two items.

The lack of reduced price items is why I purchase items on rock bottom loss leader. I certainly do miss Fry’s in AZ. It was a Kroger store and the markdowns were plentiful. But I do what you can with the stores that I have.

So starting today, I will be eating from our pantries, refrigerator, and freezer exclusively. I know that most of that food was purchased on sale a while ago when prices were lower. Meanwhile I will keep an eye on the ads but will not buy anything unless it is a price that says to me you need to buy this in bulk. For me to do that. it would have to be a very great price.

Tonight we are eating leftovers that are lingering in the fridge. I hate food waste. I have some fresh asparagus that needs to be cooked. I will do that this afternoon and eat a bit each time with my eggs for breakfast in the coming days.

Tomorrow, I will be cooking a corned beef, cabbage, and potato dinner. That will be leftovers for 3-4 days including the corned beef sandwiches that Hubby loves. I have also thawed a meal of homemade chicken soup for brunch today and tomorrow.

I am hoping to put my menu up every day with pictures when I can.

I also want to correct Hubby’s figures on how much our utility bills have decreased year over year. I finally had time to look at it. From 4/16/22 through 3/16/23, our bills totaled $ 2236.34. From 4/16/23 through 3/16/24, our bills totaled $ 2002.51. So we have saved $ 233.83 over last years bills. I don’t know where Hubby got that figure he told me but I will forgive him and correct my prior post.

Do any of you reverse meal plan?