Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Grocery Report: 29 May 2012

After last week's budget goal fail grocery report, I am considering making this a weekly/biweekly feature to kind of keep track of my spending in a different way, and also to see how we can better use the food items we do buy. Nothing depresses me more than having to throw out produce-gone-bad so I am hoping our grocery shopping will become more intentional and we'll see less waste as a result.

BOGO Items  
(2) BIC Multi-Purpose Lighter $3.49
Oscar Mayer Beef Franks Hot Dogs $2.60
Bush's Grillin' Beans $1.08

ON SALE Items  
(2) Publix Frozen Tuna Steaks $11.98
Banderita Soft Taco Tortillas $1.99
Red Potatoes (5lb bag) $2.99
(2) Strawberries $5.00
(4) Pineapples (only $2.99 each!) $11.96
(2) Asparagus bunches $8.43
Tomato $0.60
(3) Mangoes $3.00
(6) Avocados $6.00
(2) Sweet Vidalia Onions $1.43
Garlic $0.42
Red Bell Pepper $1.65

Santitas White Corn Tortilla Chips $2.00
Blue Diamond Almond Milk - Vanilla $3.09
Boca Burgers $3.89
Philadelphia Cream Cheese (Vegetable) $2.69
Bush's Cannellini Beans 14.5oz can $1.13
Publix Diced Tomatoes 14.5oz can $0.89
(3) Green Chile 4oz cans $3.57
Publix Whole Milk 1 pint $1.79
Cabot Low-Fat Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt $4.29
Publix Heavy Whip Cream $2.89
Publix Black Pepper $2.39
Granny Smith Apples 3lb bag $4.99
Fresh Cut Flowers $4.00
(2) Green Onion bunches $1.19
(6) Bananas $1.83

Total Savings $29.79
Total Spent (after tax) $107.67

With all of these fruits and vegetables being in-season right now it's hard not to take advantage of the price savings.  I know, four pineapples seems a bit much, but these, along with the mangoes, are fruits that can be cut and frozen for later use.  J. and I have been on a pineapple kick lately so we may or may not have to freeze a few of this big guys.  The tuna steaks weren't originally planned purchases (if you read my Weekly Yums post prior to my edit you saw that I was planning on making salmon), but the price was hard to beat (one of the packages of tuna is for future use.)! I kind of splurged on some dairy products with the plan to perhaps make strawberry ice cream this week; we keep a bag of frozen strawberries for smoothies, but I'll usually use fresh strawberries for snacks or salads, and before they go bad I make a batch of ice cream (that's when they taste the sweetest, too!). The cost of green chiles and bell peppers is almost absurd and after seeing the fruits of a friend's labor, I would like to look into growing our own peppers.  The lighters are replacements for those that have gone missing.  We don't usually eat hot dogs at home, but we have leftover hot dog buns from our weekend camping trip and I'd rather try to use them than let the bread go bad.  I think I pay a bit too much for the cream cheese and will consider alternative bagel spreads (butter and jelly? butter and honey?) after I've finished this container off.  Some items that will last a few weeks or more are the apples, Greek yogurt, Boca burgers, and black pepper.  I couldn't help but treat myself to some bright purple mums. (:

Weekly Yums | 28 May - 3 June 2012

Moe's Monday

Tuesday Night Group, hosted by J. and D.

Grilled Tuna, Grilled Asparagus, Double-Baked Mashed Potatoes, Fresh Fruit

Boca Burgers (topped with avocado) and Grilled Pineapple

Pineapple-Red Potato-Asparagus-Red Pepper Kabobs with Fresh Fruit

White Bean and Avocado Enchiladas with Fresh Fruit

Hot Dogs, Baked Beans, Pineapple Smoothies

Travel: Ft. McAllister SP; Tybee Island; Savannah

For Memorial Day weekend we traveled to Georgia to meet up with a group of friends from Florida.  Originally planning to camp at Crooked River SP, we ended up going to Ft. McAllister SP, about 35min south of Savannah. The park is similar to most of Florida/Georgia coastal parks in that it's near a marshy area, is covered with palms and pines, and the campsites are mostly wooded with oak trees.

On Friday we spent time with A. and J. around the campfire, catching up and relaxing.

Saturday morning, E. and K. arrived with magazines and more things to catch up.  After a very short hike and consuming mass amounts of water (it was so hot!), we enjoyed BBQ chicken and pineapple with baked beans for dinner.  Yum!

Sunday morning we all headed to Tybee Island for a day at the beach.  Me, being me, did not check any weather reports before we left.  My mom, aka Dick Fletcher, texted me so I'd know what was up.

Mom: R u on the beach
Mom: There is a subtropical storm headed for the coastline of sc ga and florida bad winds and rain
Me: Yeah we're by savannah

Mom: R u camping  the winds r up to 50 mph and rain 5 to 8 inches  rain flash floods warnings and rip tides
Mom: Tropical storm warning center of storm expected to hit sunday dangerous surf from florida to nc with high tides
Right before leaving for the beach, E. checked her news report and the day before 14 people had to be rescued on Tybee Island due to rip currents pulling them far from shore.

Whatevs, we got this.

So we went to Tybee Island and it was actually quite beautiful out -- full sun, in the 70s.  Once we got to the other side of the sand dunes it was another story. Not sure how high the wind gusts were, but I personally have never been at the beach in winds so high. We moved closer to the shore so the sting of the sand flying at us wouldn't hurt so bad.  For four hours we watched the lifeguards patrol up and down the beach telling everyone to get out the water. The surf was crazy and at times was moving parallel to shore instead of away from it.  After three hours, we darted in up to our knees to play in the water. It was fun wrestling the waves! (We are idiots.)

After cleaning up, we headed into Savannah to walk about Forsyth Park and eat dinner at Crystal Beer Parlor. I so love Savannah and it's wonderful to see others learn to love it, too.

The subtropical storm finally caught up with us and that night we tried to stay dry in the tent (E. and K. were the unlucky ones).  It's not often that I wake up around 6:00am on a day off, but sure enough I did Monday.  We cleaned up the site, had a breakfast buffet at Sunshine Restaurant in Richmond Hill, and said our goodbyes.

On our way home, J. and I stopped at Tanger Outlets for some unplanned shopping.  It was actually pretty fun considering neither of us particularly enjoy shopping, especially clothes shopping.  We had our traditional Monday meal at Moe's, and it was while there that the subtropical storm again caught up with us.  We ran back to our cars, unpacked, and showered. Fully medicated with ibuprofen and slathered with equal parts aloe and hydrocortisone, we settled back in our comfy couches and consumed pineapple-strawberry-almond milk smoothies while watching our nightly episode of SVU.

How was your Memorial Day weekend?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Budget Goal: Fail

So less than two hours ago, I updated about my $50 grocery-food budget goal to be used for the next two weeks. Well, I failed. I know, I know -- I'm terrible. Why even make goals if you don't meet them? But I think I did pretty well, considering this the first time I really tried to be prudent. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I am one of those people that shops sans list and throws anything into the basket that looks good, but I definitely am not like a few of our friends that are able to stick to a $50 (usually less!) grocery budget every week. Honestly, I don't know how they do it. J. and I have scrutinized our grocery store spending so many times, but the things we are buying aren't crazy, and generally we aren't very wasteful...

In spirit of one of our friends, T., who blogs weekly with the theme "Thrifty Thursday," I decided to account for our purchases this week similar to her style.

BOGO Items
Whole Fruit Fruit Bars (Black Cherry) $1.80
(2) Publix Oven Roasted Turkey Breast (sliced deli meat) $6.19
(2) Mueller Pasta $1.43 (4) Wishbone Dressing $5.22
(2) Thomas Everything Bagels $4.49
Athenos Crumbled Feta $2.25  

Sargento Shredded Mild Cheddar (2 C) $2.50
Publix 2% Provolone (sliced deli cheese) $2.50
(2) Sweet Vidalia Onions $1.39
(5) Mangoes $5.00
Watermelon $4.99

Publix Spinach $2.49
(5) Bananas $1.50
Arnold Sesame Buns $3.49
Santitas White Corn Tortilla Chips $2.00
4-Grain Eggs (dozen) $2.69
Pineapple $4.99
Red Bell Pepper $2.19
Jalapeno Pepper $0.10
Edys Fruit Bar (Strawberry) $4.65
Arnold Wholegrain Oatnut $2.15  

Total Savings $31.15 
Total Spent (after tax) $64.65 

I was really excited about the Whole Fruit Fruit Bars being BOGO -- I had just mentioned to several coworkers that I have been craving these type of fruit bars. When I got to the store, however, I was disappointed to see that this brand includes high fructose corn syrup in the bars; Edy's brand, albeit more expensive, does not. I splurged and also purchased the more expensive (almost 4x the price!) brand in addition to the BOGO item. On the topic of HFCS, it's very disappointing that so many manufacturers of bread include this ingredient! It seems ridiculous to have to spend almost $4 on buns for our Boca Burgers, but Arnold is the only brand carried at Publix that offers a non-HFCS options. Other areas I splurged in: watermelon, pineapple, and Mueller pasta. I myself am not a melon fan, but I know my husband likes them. It's been so dreadfully hot out that I figured cold fruit would be very refreshing. We always stock up on pasta since it's an easy base ingredient for many recipes. I was planning on only buying one box since our pantry has several others right now from previous BOGO sales, but they had these delightful corkscrew-shaped pasta that I just had to buy. At any rate, I only went about $15 over my budget. And this is our spending for the next two weeks of meals (plus the bagels/bread will last us longer than two weeks). Woohoo!

How do you save on your grocery shopping? Does anyone do comparison shopping? Buy in bulk? Coupon?

Weekly Yums | 21-27 May 2012

Moe's Monday

Tuesday Night Group, hosted by J. and K.

Boca Burgers, Roasted Red Potatoes, Corn on the Cob

Breakfast for Dinner




Weekly Yums | 14-20 May 2012

Moe's Monday  

Tuesday Night Group, hosted by J. & J.  
chicken/vegetable kabobs with white rice, mashed potatoes and pineapple; chocolate cake for dessert  

A: Which Wich before Town Theatre's showing of Grease
J: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Fresh Fruit  

Avocado/Corn/Zucchini/Tilapia Taco Salad with Fresh Fruit  

Red Sauce/Spinach/Goat Cheese Pasta (a la: this)

Roasted Vegetable Pasta in Goat Cheese with Fresh Fruit

Loaded Baked Potatoes and Salad

Spent some time cleaning out the fridge and pantry yesterday and again wanted to attempt a sort of clean-out challenge like we did last year. In less than fourteen days, I plan to create meals using the smorgasbord of leftover fruits/vegetables/non-perishables that have been taking up space. I didn't create a list for the blog like I did last time, but all of the meals for this week and next week are using fridge/freezer/pantry leftovers from previously planned dinners and lunches. Have you cleaned out your pantry lately? Go for it! I have a slew of new recipes I want to try so this is the best way to motivate me! My other goal? To keep the grocery total less than $50 when I go shopping today. (:

Sunday School Picnic

You probably thought that the only kind of picnics we like are dinner picnics.. Au contraire, we like all types of picnics! A few weeks ago, our Sunday School group planned one at Heathwood Park. We had a great time snacking, playing cornhole (I am terrible at it and I also think that is the stupidest name for a game -- whatever happened to simple bean bag toss?), petting Hope, and throwing the frisbee (well, J. and R. did).


Love this smiling face! We're excited to have a sleepover with her this weekend! (:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekly Yums | 7-13 May 2012

Moe's Monday  

Tuesday Night Group, hosted by us!  
spinach/feta turkey burgers, corn on the cob, fresh pineapple; homemade strawberry ice cream for dessert  

Roasted Vegetable Goat Cheese Pasta with zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, jalapeno, and white corn
(from last week that we never made)  

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria  
The "Lou"  

Weber Grill  
J: "The Farm" KettleBurger 
A: Mixed Green Salad (with candied pecans and orange vinaigrette dressing), Baked Potato and Baked Onion Soup  

Grand Lux Cafe  
J: Santa Barbara Chicken Sandwich 
A: Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich shared Macaroni & Cheese Skillet  

Flat Top Grill  

We just returned from a four day trip to Chicago to see J.'s baby sister graduate from Moody Bible Institute. We're so proud of her! This was an interesting visit to Chitown for a few reasons -- we stayed at a hotel with J.'s parents (usually our city travels include rooming with friends), it was fairly short (got in Thursday evening, returned home Sunday night), and our dining choices were influenced by others' preferences. That being said, we had a wonderful time and I'll make a more inclusive post a bit later... Our favorite restaurant was Grand Lux Cafe (owned by Cheesecake Factory, which, by the way, this girl has never been to!) and the more fun/interesting restaurant was Flat Top Grill. What a great trip! ...I am ready to get back to cooking our own meals. (:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Weekly Yums | 30 April - 6 May 2012

Moe's Monday

Tuesday Night Group, hosted by J. and D.

Cantina 76  
with J.'s coworkers as a going-away dinner

Cajun-Rubbed Salmon in avocado/roasted tomato/walnut/goat cheese Spring salad with homemade pomegranate vinaigrette and a side of sliced kiwis and black plums

Avocado Egg Salad Wraps with Fresh Fruit

Loaded Baked Potatoes with Salad

Roasted Vegetable Pasta with zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, jalapeno, and corn