Saturday, January 20, 2018

Product review: Aldi's quinoa crunch vegan burger

 Although my cholesterol dropped right back down once I followed the medically prescribed, Portfolio diet a few months ago, the MD left it with me to keep doing what I am doing, and incorporate Vegan/meatfree proteins in my diet to keep it in check. Aldi's started carrying this product line, which I wanted to try
 Pretty good ingredients
Today's lunch: I cooked my burger as instructed, in the mini convection oven but found that it needed longer to brown-fine. Once assembled, I found that the outer edge or coating was crunchy but the inside was very soft, and liked to come apart. As the burger cooled, it seemed to solidify. Taste was good, I like quinoa burgers, having previously had my own.  Good, not AWESOME!. I'll finish the remaining 4 burgers and don't think I'll buy them again-I liked my version better, as it stayed together.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Just a bit of shopping

 This is a very common sight lately: clean Mason jars awaiting being brought back down cellar for storage. We continue to eat down our supplies, as planned. My overflowing recycling bin in the kitchen, which requires much more frequent emptying out into the outside wheeled bin from the trash company also attests to this.
 Although shopping is limited at the moment, as I ran around taking care of errands today, I stopped in at Stop and Shop for these deals: USA grown (most were Mexican which I wouldn't buy) strawberries were on sale, as was the Sargento shredded cheese @ $2/pkg after sale + doubled coupon. Nic.

 Naturally, I checked out the crash n burn sections, grabbing these: a box of granola bars (DS #2 takes them to school on Thurs for an afterschool snack as he has down time between his program/classes and a club), 2 6 ct bagels, 1 qt vanilla Dannon yogurt-a brand we prefer, 1 12 oz? can of sliced mushrooms (fine for casseroles/pizza), a can of organic kidney beans. A small can of cat food for administering cat meds. $13.64 total for grocery, 32 cents for cat.
Aldi's for some needs and wants, including some vegan items from their new product line that I've been wanting to try. Sadly, they didn't have the Asian or Thai burgers (out) nor either of the chickenless tenders/burgers. I finally replenished onions, grabbed some Ital blend cheese for tonight, needed LF milk and 1/2 & 1/2 going into the new week. Total spent: $17.53.
DD asked me to stop at CVS to grab this for her, she would reimburse me. I was able to apply a 32% off CVS coupon loaded to my card on her behalf, bringing the cost down.

I also stopped at Dollar Tree (see next post), spending $6.38.

My household budget allows for $400/month grocery expenditure, $100 of that for take out/restaurant. To date, I have spent $130.28 with the goal of keeping it under $200 this month.

Always know your prices

For quite some time now, I've known that I am about to run out of dish detergent soon. I ordered and subsequently had to reorder a 9 count case of 50 oz lemon scented detergent that I like. Fingers crossed that it won't get cancelled again, and will be delivered this Tuesday for me to pick up at the store. I was out and about running errands today, and made a point to stop in at Dollar Tree to see if this second store (we have 2 here on opposite ends of the city)had any of the dish soap I want. I was in that shopping plaza anyway, so no special trip.

I was hoping that I could pick up 3 of the 50oz bottles, should this store have any. 3 + the 9 count case, would give me a year's worth. Seems that the dish soap is sporadically at the Dollar Tree and then it flies right out! I spotted this sale on 20 oz bottles of Palmolive, a brand I liked to use before I made the switch. If memory serves me correctly, I was buying 28 oz bottles on sale at $2. Like everything else, prices just escalate over time. Still, $2 wasn't bad, compared to the prices of other brands I've seen at the grocer's. DT was out of the dish soap I wanted, but I came across this:

Normally a 12 oz bottle, these "bonus size" bottles of Palmolive are filled with 18 oz-pretty close to the 20 oz bottles at Stop and Shop.

LA's totally Amazing 50 oz bottle $1=2 cents/ounce
Palmolive 20 oz at S & S $2=10 cents/ounce
Palmolive 18 oz at DT $1=5 cents/ounce

You can see why I went with the 18 oz bottles. I am ok for the next few weeks, fingers crossed that the order comes through next week.

And yes, 4 4.7 oz bags of Jelly Belly "belly flops" were also purchased.

Recent lunches

 Yesterday's lunch: I warmed up a leftover, Salmon cake and served it with lettuce and home made tartar sauce on a marked down, ww roll that I "toasted"
 atop the mini convection oven while some frozen onion rings were baking off. I had these rolls in the fridge and wished to warm them up a bit before making up the sandwich. This worked well.
Today, I had the rest of yesterday's beef-black bean chilli.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Keeping accountable

Image: https://www.quicken.com/sites/default/files/What%20Is%20a%20Spending%20Journal_0.png

My spending up to Jan 18th:

-November PT 2017 bill $713.05-paid w/ check using monthly surplus
-Fall leaf clean up 2017 (delayed due to incorrect billing)$319-budget item
-Dental work $137-paid w/  CC but allocating monthly surplus to cove
-Grocery (food only) $94.86-budget item
-Grocery (taxables) $20.40-budget item
-Cat supplies $13.89-budget item
-Household (soap holder, ceramic non stick pan, spiralizer, metal measuring cups, 2 large cereal keepers-$6.30 due to Christmas gift monies-budget item
-hair appointment $75-budget item
-take out lunch $5.32-budget item
-oil delivery $281.64-budget item

Everything is accounted for, and planned payments for known PT bill and anticipated dental work covered with monthly surplus. I will have a few bills come in within the next few weeks: Internet, electric, bank credit card, HELOC, and I will top up the gas in my car soon (currently at 1/2 tank, last filled up in Dec)

Pantry Challenge 2018

Image: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VVwkqtHCg5Y/Uz17dGIhH7I/AAAAAAAAC1c/qFq3Go4t3Dk/s1600/pantry+challenge.jpg

I recently posted photos of my fridge, taken a few days ago. In addition to what you see, I have a narrow kitchen closet pantry as well as a few cabinets with food stuffs (one is the baking items, another spices, a third holds what I call "staples" such as oil, vinegar, baking soda, specialty ingredients for DD etc) as well as a medium sized chest freezer in the garage (filled mostly with meat), a practically empty spare fridge in the garage, some canned goods (home canned and purchased)and some Winter squash down cellar. There is more than plenty on hand. Every year, come Jan, I challenge myself to eat it down, to raise some cash this year to throw towards remodeling debt, as well as to rotate stock.

I have created and been very faithful in using a separate "spending journal" in addition to my monthly paper/pencil accounting ledger of my household budget. I have separated taxables (personal care, cleaning/laundry, paper/plastic) from the grocery budget to get a handle on expenditures for these items. We are very well stocked in this dept save dish detergent,which I posted about today.I am hyper focused on where my funds are going as I tackle the aforementioned debt as well as raise funds for an E fund and for Summer 2018 projects.

Space is opening up in the freezers, the pantry and kitchen shelves. My recycling bin ever more frequently, needs emptying out to the big recycling bin on wheels. This is good.

My Feb menus are set, once again, we continue the aforementioned challenge moving into the new month.

Normally, my all inclusive (except for pet needs which are tallied separately) grocery budget is $300 plus $100 for take out/restaurant so $400/month for 3 adults. Almost 3 weeks into the month, here is where I stand:

food: $94.86
taxables: $20.40
take out: $5.32 (planned for with a coupon due to hectic schedule)

Pretty good so far.


Crock Pot Thursday

I know that I am starting to "dig deep" as I call it, as the date on the baggie of ground beef used to prepare chilli this morning, hails back to Feb 2017. Yup, moved it here from the condo back in May. Good to use it up. A medium yellow onion(one of my last, although I do have red onions on hand,which I like to reserve for adding color to a Winter salad), a quart of my organic home canned tomatoes, 2 cans of crash n burn black beans, Penzey's chilli seasoning all came together bright and early today, and will simmer in my old Crock pot.





I will make an 8 x 8 pan of corn bread to go alongside, grate some bar cheese, depending upon which type is already open,  either Cheddar or Monterey Jack. Perfect on this cold day.