Friday, June 27, 2014

Menu for the week of 6/29 thru 7/5

Leftover Swiss Onion Quiche
Leftover Seoul Chicken
Leftover Quick Spicy Kimchee
Leftover "Smoked" Brisket
Leftover It's-A-Snap Cheesecake
Cracker Barrel

Egg Salad

Burgers on Sesame Seed Sandwich Buns
Baked Soy Beans

Ham Quiche
Leftover Lasagna with Ham "Pasta" (from freezer)


Quick Asian Pork Stir-Fry


We're going out to the Cracker Barrel for lunch on Sunday where we're going to meet the parents of the transplant donor who's liver saved Jerry's life a few years ago. I'm not sure what to think except that it will be a very unusual, and perhaps awkward, situation. The mother in particular has been wanting to meet Jerry, and the other organ recipients, for a long time. Jerry has spoken to her on the phone so the ice has been broken somewhat at least. She told Jerry the story of how her son died. As far as I know, the only other recipient who will be having dinner with us is the one who had a heart transplant.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Shopping List - Week of June 22 - June 28


HEB (Tuesday):
Nasal strips - $6.88

TOTAL - $6.88

FOOD TOWN (Tuesday):
Napa cabbage @ .78lb - $1.58
Fab detergent - $1.88
12 pk. toilet paper @ 3.66 (minus $1.00 coupon) - $2.66
Onions @ .39lb - $.80
Ground beef @ 1.29lb (marked down) - $4.09
Colgate toothpaste @ 1.19 (minus .75 coupon) - $.44
Green onions - $.34
Ginger root - $.12
12 pack diet Cherry Pepsi - $3.55

TOTAL - $16.21

KROGER (Thursday):
12 pack diet soda @ 2.39 (minus 10% discount) - $2.15
5 x 16-ounce shredded cheese @ 2.99 each (minus 10% discount) - $13.45
Brisket @ 1.99lb (minus $2.00 coupon) - $17.92
8 CARBmaster yogurt @ .40 each (minus 10% discount) - $2.48
American cheese @ 3.69 (minus 10% discount) - $3.32
Peanut butter @ 1.88 (minus 10% discount + .45 coupon) - $1.24

TOTAL - $40.64

WALMART (Thursday):
Shower cleaner - $1.97
Zucchini @ 1.58lb (overcharged) - $1.49
Veggetti - $14.88
Tomato paste - $.44
Coffee - $2.98

TOTAL - $23.15

DOLLAR TREE (Thursday):
9V batteries x 2 - $2.00
Book - $1.00

TOTAL - $3.25

GRAND TOTAL FOR THE WEEK - $89.96 (over budget by $29.96)

I really blew the budget this week, mainly because Kroger had briskets on sale this week and I like to buy one once a year. They were only $1.99 pound but you had to spend at least $20.00 to get the sale price. It helped a little that I had a coupon for $2.00 off a meat purchase and I bought the smallest brisket they had. Well, there was one that was slightly smaller but it had most of the fat trimmed off. I like a brisket with a lot of fat on it. Because I don't have room in the freezer for a huge brisket, I've changed my menu this week a bit and I'll be cooking the brisket tomorrow. I usually buy Woody's Cookin Sauce to give brisket a smoked flavor but I didn't want to spend another $5.00-6.00 to buy the sauce. So, I'm going to try to come up with something similar based on my BBQ sauce recipe. I'll just add less water to the sauce and cook it down so that it's thick enough to rub on the meat. I might also add extra liquid smoke to it because Woody's is very smoky.

Another thing that helped break the budget this week was a new toy called a Veggetti. I'd been keeping an eye out for them at Walmart and they finally had them in stock this week. I thought about waiting and buying one at Bed Bath & Beyond but I don't have a coupon at the moment, it would use a fair amount of gas to drive there and then I wouldn't know until I got there if they had them in stock. So, I just went ahead and got one today at Walmart. And of course, since I was buying a Veggetti, I had to buy some zucchini to try it out on. Once again though, Walmart over charged me. The zucchini was supposed to be $1.18 pound but I was charged $1.58 pound. Ouch! They only had three left in the bin so I bought the two smallest ones. I wasn't sure if the larger one would fit in the Veggetti. I suppose that Walmart had a run on zucchini now that they've got Veggetti's in stock. They did have a lot of yellow squash but they didn't look very nice.

I also bought some batteries and a book at Dollar Tree. I'd seen the movie "Julie & Julia" and I thought it was a nice bargain getting the book for only a dollar.

I won't be using as many coupons from now on because we canceled delivery of the Sunday newspaper. They rarely have useful ones anymore anyway and I'll still get coupons from Kroger occasionally.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday's Shopping


I'm getting a little peeved with Walmart because they haven't been restocking the Clear Passage nasal strips that I use. They only have Breathe Right strips, which are too expensive, and their own store brand. I've tried Walmart's strips and don't like them because they don't stay on well. So, today I thought I'd check to see what HEB has in nasal strips and they have their own brand of them that are 59-cents cheaper than Walmart's. They even look like they might be just like the Clear Passage strips. The wrappers look identical to Clear Passage's.

I tried a sauce recipe the other day that my friend Jeanie recommended. It's called "Comeback Sauce" and it's apparently a staple in many southern restaurants. I haven't tried putting it on anything yet but I think it has possibilities and it's low carb if you use low carb ketchup in it. The original recipe does call for ketchup AND chili sauce but I used all ketchup instead since I don't have any sugar free chili sauce. I don't even think there is such a thing. One thing that I'm not all that crazy about is the lemon flavor in the sauce. I think I'll use vinegar next time for a more neutral flavor. I love the flavor of lemon in desserts but not so much in savory foods.

I did a Google search for "Comeback Sauce" and got quite a few hits. It turns out that the sauce they serve at Outback Steakhouse with the Bloomin' Onion is this sauce or a variation of it. Most of the recipes I found are similar to the one that Jeanie sent me but a few have fresh onion and garlic, etc. instead of dried. Some of them also call for yellow mustard instead of Dijon.

I haven't posted this on my main site so I thought I'd go ahead and post it here. If you're familiar with this sauce, please post something in the comments. I'd love to hear what you think of it and what you use it on. The recipe below is a half batch of the recipe that Jeanie sent me.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar free ketchup
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
2 tablespoon oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Whisk everything together and chill overnight before serving.

Makes 1 cup

Per Tablespoon: 67 Calories; 7g Fat; trace Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Fiber; 1g Net Carb
Per 2 Tablespoons: 134 Calories; 14g Fat; trace Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Fiber; 2g Net Carbs

Here are a few sites that feature this sauce:

I also posted a review of LC Foods White Sandwich bread on my main website HERE.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Menu for the week of 6/22 thru 6/28


Leftover Sausage Quiche
Leftover Chicken Salad with Dried Cranberries
Leftover Cauliflower & Ham Salad
Pizza Toppings Casserole


BBQ Cheeseburger Pie

Seoul Chicken
Quick Spicy Kimchee


Swiss Onion Quiche
Sloppy Dog Casserole (new recipe)

It's-A-Snap Cheesecake

I didn't make the BBQ Cheeseburger Pie because there was still meatloaf left as well as quite a lot left of the two salads that I made on Thursday. Plus, our son took us out to eat last night to celebrate Father's Day and Jerry's birthday. I also didn't make the Frozen Strawberry Dessert because Jerry has all those goodies that I bought for him. I've moved the BBQ Cheeseburger Pie to next Tuesday.

The Sloppy Dog Casserole isn't an actual recipe yet. I'm planning to make some sort of combination of my favorite Sloppy Joes recipe along with some hot dogs that I got really cheap and some cheese. I'll post the final recipe after I've made it next Friday.

As always, there are things in the pantry and freezer that I can throw together at the last minute if we run short of leftovers. I also bought two cartons of 18 eggs on sale last week so we can always have eggs for a meal.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Shopping List - Week of June 15 - June 21


HEB (Tuesday):
3 bags pork rinds @ 1.00 each (minus 3/$3.00 coupon) - $3.00
Quart heavy cream - $3.56

TOTAL - $6.56

FOOD TOWN (Tuesday):
Cauliflower - $2.99
Celery - $1.39
Red onion @ .79lb - $.40
Italian sausage - $3.69
2 8-ounce fresh mushrooms @ .39 each - $.78

TOTAL - $9.25

KROGER (Thursday):
Ice cream @ 2.50 (minus 10% discount + .55 coupon) - $1.70
5 cream cheese @ 1.00 each (minus 10% discount) - $4.50
9 CARBmaster yogurt @ .40 each (minus 10% discount) - $3.24
Banana extract @ 2.19 (minus 10% discount) - $1.97
2 sugar free gelatin @ .34 each (minus 10% discount) - $.62
2 x 18 eggs @ 1.88 each (minus 10% discount) - $3.38

TOTAL - $15.41

HEB (Thursday):
3 sugar free Passion Fruit drink mix @ 1.75 each (minus 3 x 75-cent coupons) - $3.00
Small apple pie - $2.99

TOTAL - $6.24

WALMART (Thursday):
Shower cleaner - $1.97
2 stick-on hooks @ 2.67 each - $5.34
2 wash cloths @ 1.77 each - $3.54
Candy - $3.58
8 ounces mushrooms - $1.68
Ice cream sandwiches - $3.50

TOTAL - $20.80



The mushrooms were a steal. Food Town had them on sale for 88-cents but they had a few packages marked down to 39-cents each. Since I'd planned to cook them the same day anyway, I went ahead and got some of the marked down ones even though they didn't look quite as nice and fresh as the others.

Just the other day, I got an indication that one of my color ink cartridges was just about out of ink. I always keep a backup of each cartridge for each of my three printers. I haven't changed that cartridge yet but I wrote down on my "buy soon" list that I should buy a backup cartridge as soon as the old one was replaced. I usually buy them at Walmart and that particular cartridge is just over $41.00 there. Whenever I go to HEB, I check their mark-down bins for goodies and on Tuesday they just happened to have the exact cartridge that I was going to have to replace. Best of all, it was marked down to only $20! It doesn't expire until 2015 but it does expire a few months sooner than the other backup so I'll install that one first. I've actually found quite a few marked down ink cartridges at Kroger over the years. It's one thing that I don't cheap out on by buying refilled ones. I've had a couple of bad experiences with refills so I won't do that again. I rely on my printers for printing renewal letters and membership cards, etc. for the local computer club and I also make greeting cards, calendars and lots of other printed projects. Anyway, I didn't count the $20 in with my grocery budget but I thought I'd brag about my bargain.

I bought several high carb items this week because Saturday is Jerry's birthday. He requested apple pie and chocolate ice cream sandwiches and he insisted that they be "chocolate" ice cream sandwiches. I wasn't even sure that there was such a thing but I found some at Walmart. I also bought him some ice cream because it's on sale this week and I had a coupon. He loves Milky Way Midnight candy bars so I got a bag of minis for him too. Even with all of that stuff, I still came in a little under budget.

The new Sprouts Farmers Market still looks a long way from being ready to open but I noticed today that they now have a sign out front that says "Sprouts Coming Soon". There's still no opening date listed on their site so I think it won't open until this fall or winter.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tuesday's Shopping

No, I didn't deduct the ink cartridge from my grocery budget. I'll explain on Thursday. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Menu for the week of 6/15 thru 6/21

Leftover Cherry-Cherry
Leftover Ham Quiche
Tuna "Rice" Casserole
Buttery Sesame Crackers

Atkins Meatloaf
Green Beans



Chicken Salad with Dried Cranberries
Cauliflower & Ham Salad

BBQ Cheeseburger Pie
Sausage Quiche

Caesar Salad
Frozen Strawberry Dessert


 I looked over the menu that I posted for this week and I see a few things that I ended up changing. I didn't make the fish until Wednesday and I took the Easy Cheesy Chili Chicken, the pork roast and the Coconut Crisps off the menu. We had/have enough food on hand that I didn't need to make those things. Plus, I didn't like the idea of having a pork roast in the oven for 5 hours when it's so hot outside. I'll save the pork roast for next fall. In any case, we've still got fish, Italian Meatball Burgers and pastrami sandwiches in the fridge. I just made the Cherry-Cherry today so we've got all of that to eat yet. There are also a couple of muffins, a few Brussels sprouts,  coleslaw and some pineapple left. If we run out of options by tomorrow, I can always make the Tuna "Rice" Casserole a day early.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bathroom remodel photos

Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any before pictures to show you how the bathroom used to look. I do have this one taken just after they tore out the old tile in the shower area. You can see all the mildew and rotten wood as well as a bit of the ugly wallpaper.

This is how it looks now:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Shopping List - Week of June 8 - June 14


HEB (Tuesday):
3 pack tissues - $3.57
Sugar free Passion Fruit drink mix - $1.88
16 ounces Italian sausage - $3.86 (too expensive but needed for a recipe)

TOTAL - $9.76

FOOD TOWN (Tuesday):
12 pack diet Cherry Pepsi - $3.55
Boneless chicken thighs @ 1.99lb - $3.14
Onions @ .39lb - $1.08
Jalapeños @ 1.29lb (ouch!) - $1.75

TOTAL - $9.78

KROGER (Wednesday):
7 CARBmaster yogurt @ .40 each (minus 10% discount) - $
16 ounce cottage cheese @ 1.50 (minus 10% discount & .40 coupon) - $.95
2 16-ounce shredded cheddar cheese @ 3.50 each (minus 10% discount) - $6.30
1 can tuna @ .78 (minus 10% discount) - $.70
1 can ground ginger @ 2.99 (minus 10% discount) - $2.69
Napkins @ .97 (minus 10% discount) - $.87
12 ounce frozen Asian veggie blend @ 1.00 (minus 10% discount) - $.90
12 ounce frozen cauliflower @ 1.00 (minus 10% discount) - $.90

TOTAL - $15.90

WALMART (Wednesday):
Vinegar - $.56
Decaf coffee - $2.78
14 ounce ham cubes - $3.74 (will get 2 recipes from the package)

TOTAL - $7.08

ALDI (Wednesday):
12 eggs - $1.19
8 ounces colby cheese - $1.99
3 8-ounce Swiss cheese @ 1.99 each - $5.97
2 8-ounce packages sliced smoked cheese @ 2.69 each - $5.38 (just for snacking - yummy)
Pork rinds - $.99
Pineapple - $.99

TOTAL - $16.51



On the spur of the moment, I decided to do my main weekly shopping today instead of tomorrow. We've been having our bathroom remodeled for the past week and we thought the job was finished as of yesterday. But alas, after the workman left, we found a few things that he'd forgotten to do. Plus, we also discovered that the sink faucet was leaking under the sink. I sent the landlord an email about it but hadn't heard back yet. So, I thought I might as well get the shopping done today in case the guy came back on Thursday to finish the job. Naturally, he turned up while I was at the store but at least I was back before he left and was able to make sure that everything had been done right.

I hadn't planned to go to Aldi this week but they had a pretty good price on eggs. So, I decided to make the trip and stock up on cheese there as well. I was just going to buy two blocks of Swiss cheese and maybe some Colby but I ended up buying quite a few extra items such as the pork rinds, the smoked cheeses and a pineapple. It's been years since I last had fresh pineapple and I couldn't pass it up for 99-cents. The crazy thing is that even with all the extras, I still came in under my $60 budget for the week. I really thought I would be over by at least $10.00. Another thing that wasn't on my list for this week was the ginger from Kroger. I knew that I needed to buy more very soon but I wanted to compare the prices at Walmart and Kroger first to see who had the best price. Well, Kroger's was much cheaper for a larger container than the one at Walmart. Plus, it was on sale so I went ahead and bought it today instead of waiting. Even with that added to what I bought, I was still under budget. I honestly don't know how I do it sometimes because I never add anything up in the store while I'm shopping. I do all the figuring and estimating at home before I go.

I normally would never dream of paying $1.29 pound for jalapeños but Jerry and I have gotten hooked on Charski's Bread & Butter Pickled Jalapeños and I wanted to make some more. If you recall, I only paid .69 pound for jalapeños at Food Town last week. The trouble with bargain shopping is that it's a bit of a gamble. You don't always know what the prices will be on some items until you get to the store. Well, after I bought the chiles from Food Town, I went to HEB for a few things and noticed that they were selling them for just .88 pound. I could have kicked myself but, oh well. We've got enough pickled peppers now to last a couple of weeks and I won't make more unless the price is well under a dollar per pound from now on.

I actually spent a lot more at Walmart today than I posted above but it was all stuff for the "new" bathroom. It had been many, many years (about 20) since we've had new towels and such for that bathroom so this was the perfect time to do it. You see, for the more than 20 years we've lived in this house, that bathroom had horrible, ugly blue and pink wallpaper that severely limited my color choices. When they did this remodel, they removed the wallpaper and the bathroom is a totally neutral off white now. I was free to choose ANY colors that I liked for a change. In case you think that our landlord is so nice that they paid to redecorate our bathroom for no reason, that's not the case. There were two major repairs that needed to be done and it made sense for them to do a few other things while everything was torn apart. The bathroom vanity was collapsing on one side as a result of water damage several years ago. And, the back wall of the shower was also collapsing due to rotting wood inside the wall. The whole tub/shower area was re-tiled and they also put new tile on the floor. We got a new vanity and mirror and the whole bathroom was painted. We still have the old tub, toilet, light fixtures and medicine cabinet as well as all the towel racks. It just looks all new and fresh with the walls freshly painted and a brand new vanity and sink.

Anyway, I spent around $80-90 on towels, wash cloths, a shower curtain and rings, waste basket, soap dish, soap and lotion dispensers, cup, rug and a hand mirror. Although I didn't add this stuff to my weekly budget posted here, I am going to deduct it from my grocery "account" in the bank. I've accumulated enough extra money in that virtual account, by staying under my budget most weeks, to more than cover it. At $60 per week, that works out to a monthly grocery budget of $260. But, I actually put $300 into that account each month which gives me about a $10 leeway per week for times when I do go over budget. I've now got just over $700 in the account which easily covers the extra I spent this week on stuff for the bathroom.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday's Shopping

Not much in the way of bargains today except for the boneless chicken thighs at $1.99 pound and the onions were only 39-cents pound. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

New Recipe: Mexican Stuffed Peppers


I just added a new recipe to my main site HERE.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Menu for the week of 6/8 thru 6/14

Leftover Swiss Onion Quiche
Leftover Quick Asian Pork Stir-Fry
Leftover Mexican Stuffed Peppers
Oven Fried Fish
Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter
Leftover Pound Cake

Pastrami Sandwiches on Dark Onion Rye Bread
My Favorite Coleslaw

Easy Cheesy Chili Chicken
Pastrami Sandwiches
My Favorite Coleslaw

Eggplant Lasagna OR Italian Meatball Burgers

Ham Quiche

Pork Roast

Coconut Crisps


I don't have a link to the Mexican Stuffed Peppers yet because I'll be making them for the first time tomorrow. I'll add the link later. Wednesday's menu will depend on the price of eggplant on Tuesday. If it's not on sale, I'll make the Italian Meatball Burgers instead.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Shopping List - Week of June 1 - June 7

HEB (Tuesday):
Passion fruit drink mix - $1.88
Quart heavy cream - $3.56
Pork rinds - $1.49

TOTAL - $7.09

FOOD TOWN (Tuesday):
4 packages marked down ground beef @ 1.49lb (about 7 1/2 pounds) - $10.99
Jalapeños @ .69lb - $.63
1 pound fresh bean sprouts - $.99

TOTAL - $12.61

KROGER (Thursday):
2 CARBmaster yogurt @ .40 each (minus 10% discount) - $.72
Lemon tea mix @ 1.79 (minus 10% discount) - $1.61
Peanut butter @ 2.19 (minus 10% discount) - $1.97
Diet cherry gelatin mix @ .34 (minus 10% discount) - $.31
12-pack diet soda @ 2.39 (minus 10% discount) - $2.15
18 eggs @ 2.79 (minus 10% discount) - $2.51
8 ounce Colby-Jack cheese @ 2.59 (minus 10% discount) - $2.33
8 ounce shredded mozzarella @ 2.59 (minus 10% discount) - $2.33
6 ounces sliced Swiss cheese @ 2.59 (minus 10% discount) - $2.33
Coleslaw mix @ 1.50 (minus 10% discount) - $1.35
3 green peppers @ .77 each - $2.31

TOTAL - $20.10

WALMART (Thursday):
2 rolls pork sausage @ 2.48 each - $4.96
Turkey pastrami - $2.50
Bath mat - $4.96
Vinegar - $.56

TOTAL - $13.38


I was surprised to see raspberry white chocolate CARBmaster yogurt at my regular Kroger store today. I wasn't planning to buy yogurt but I picked up two of them because I'm sure it was a fluke and they won't have that flavor next week. I usually have to go to a different Kroger store to get that flavor.

I bought an ink cartridge for my printer at Walmart today but I didn't count that into my grocery budget. However, I did count the bath mat that I also bought and I still came in under budget for the week. That's also taking into account the two rolls of pork sausage that I bought that weren't on my list as well as the sliced Swiss cheese that I'd forgotten to put on my list. I'm making pastrami sandwiches next week so I was buying pastrami and slaw mix today but somehow forgot all about the Swiss cheese until I got to the store.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, something else that I got that wasn't on my list, were the jalapeños. I used them to make Charski's Bread & Butter Pickled Jalapeños which are delicious. I will definitely make them again. Jerry loves them too. They're better than any canned pickled jalapeños I've ever had. The chiles I got are extremely hot though so they're a little dangerous to eat!

As you can see, I did buy some green peppers today which means that the "Kicken Chicken" is off the menu and "Mexican Stuffed Peppers" are on for Saturday. They were expensive but at least they weren't a dollar each. If they'd been cheaper, I would have gotten four of them. I decided to make do with three for my stuffed peppers. I'll just pile them high with the meat and cheese. I'll get six servings out of them in any case because we usually each only eat half of a pepper.

I was a little ticked off with Walmart but they do this sort of thing all the time. I wasn't planning to buy any pork sausage today but I had in the back of my mind that I'd need to get some soon. When I saw that they had some for only $2.29 per roll, I grabbed two of them. But, when I got home, and looked at my receipt, they had charged me $2.48 each. Walmart is notorious for marking their shelves with the wrong prices. It's not worth the trouble and gas to go back for a 38-cent refund and the price is still pretty good. It's hard to find pork sausage for less than $4.00 anymore.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tuesday's Shopping

As usual, I've had to shift a few things around on my menu for this week and I removed at least one meal. We keep ending up with so many leftovers in the fridge that it would be silly for me to cook more food until the old food is almost gone. The pizza I was going to make yesterday got moved to Wednesday and the Asian Pork Stir-Fry got moved to Thursday. I'll make the Kicken Chicken on Saturday and the Tuna Muffins and the Mexican Stuffed Peppers are off the menu. There was no way that I was going to make stuffed peppers with green peppers costing 99-cents each today. I'll take a look at them at Walmart on Thursday and see if they've got a better price on them there. If they do then I might make the stuffed peppers instead of the chicken on Saturday. I'd rather make the peppers than the chicken because I've got so much ground beef in the freezer.

HEB still didn't have any Steak-Umms in stock today but I've still got my raincheck. I did get a good deal on some ground beef at Food Town though at $1.49 pound. I wasn't originally planning to buy jalapeños until I saw Char's "Bread & Butter Pickled Jalapeños" recipe at Low Carb Friends yesterday. I will make them this afternoon. I had everything on hand to make them except the chiles and those only cost me 63-cents. I'm going to make half a batch of Char's recipe so I only needed a pound of them.