Meal Plan for the Week of 1/31/11

Simple menu this week….most everything is from the freezer. All I need for this menu is some tortilla chips and salad fixings.

Monday: Sloppy Joes on Sandwich thins (low carb tortilla for me) with mashed cauliflower

Tuesday: Shredded Chicken tacos with homemade tortillas, beans, chips and salsa

Wednesday: Chicken and Biscuits, broccoli

Thursday: Pizza

Friday: Oatmeal Pancakes, fruit

Saturday: Spaghetti, crazy bread, salad (spaghetti squash for me)

Sunday: BBQ Shredded pork sandwiches, mashed potatoes or squash


The Pantry Challenge is Done!

I spent the month of January on a Pantry Challenge. Challenging myself to limit my grocery spending and using up what we had in the freezer and the pantry. I set a limit of $100 for my family of 3 and I only wanted to purchase produce and dairy for the month. I also ended up changing my rules allowing myself to spend money on items I needed for my doctor ordered diet change as well as any super deals I couldn’t pass up if my funds allowed. Last year I was able to swing it for $50 for the month. Not so much this year, but we had some changes. My diet restrictions placed on me by my doctor right as the challenge started as well as the fact that both Dallas and Lance are taking their lunches this year.

As of last week my total spending for the month was $94.06

I did go and get a few things later this past week:

over 12 lbs tomatoes (Mmmmmm Tomato Soup!)

a container of grape tomatoes



DRUM ROLL PLEASE…………………………………………………………………………………………………………My total for the month $98.78!!! Technically it’s not over until Monday, but our weekend is full and I won’t be shopping!

Can you see me dancing?! So, we still have lots of food. I know I stock up a lot, but if we really needed to we could live off our supply for 3 months easy! I like that peace of mind….or maybe just all the good deals, doesn’t matter I guess! The only thing we completely ran out of was eggs. And that was just yesterday. I will be limiting my spending again in February. I am challenging myself to keep it it $150. We are getting really low on a few essentials like cheese, which I stock up on at Sam’s club. I am increasing my budget a bit to allow for those few stock up items. Let’s see how February goes!

Princess Themed Birthday Cake


Recently, my niece was here visiting and her 6th birthday was a few weeks away. We decided to throw her a spontaneous birthday party while she was in town. So, off I went to the internet for ideas and made this masterpiece out of chocolate cake, chocolate sour cream filling and whipped buttercream frosting. Oh, so good. Too bad I can’t eat it! I love to make cakes for my favorite little people!

Frugal Tip of the Week: Update on Homemade Laundry Detergent

I started making my own laundry soup about a year ago. I wanted to post an update on that topic. I still LOVE LOVE LOVE my homemade laundry soap. I have made one change over the course of the year and that was just in what soap I grate to put in it. I did not like the smell of the Zote soap. I know they make a fragrance free version, but I wanted to go a more natural route. I have switched to using Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap. I like this much better than the Zote and feel that my clothes are cleaner as well. And there is no smell. This girl absolutely loves that….if you haven’t noticed, I am not a fan of smelly things, unless it’s food cooking! Making my laundry detergent with this soap has raised the cost per load a bit since this soap is more expensive than Zote. I had previously calculated it out to be $0.02 per load. With the new soap it comes out to about $0.06 per load. That is still great in my book for a less chemical filled, no smelling laundry soap. No Tide for me….noway!


As far as dryer sheets or fabric softeners…I don’t use those either. If my clothes are static-y I put vinegar in my rinse cycle and use dryer balls.

Grocery Totals….Almost to the End of the Month! Can I Make it Under $100?

We are almost done with the Pantry challenge! Monday will be the end, but I think I may continue to just shop how I have been and only stock up if there is a screamin’ deal and I have the funds! Although, I may increase my budget to $150 to allow for that, I haven’t decided yet…

I made a few short trips the end of last week to the store. I had to go to the Hispanic Market for some good produce deals and I came home with over 7lbs of apples (made homemade applesauce!), 7 nectarines, 3 avocados and a can of peas. My total for this trip was $6.03.

I had to go to target to pick up my new glasses and while I was wondering around the store I grabbed a couple things I needed for my altered diet like all natural peanut butter, whole fruit jam (no sugar) and salad dressing. Since I have been eating so many salads, I ran out of my favorite and all we had left was ranch and I only like ranch from a restaurant, not out of the bottle! I tried to make a few dressings, but I just didn’t like them! My total for Target was $6.23.

Then yesterday I made a quick trip to Food 4 Less to get a few items, both produce and dairy, but also a couple things for my diet. I purchased:

3.5 lbs apples

1 spaghetti squash

4 tomatoes



6 cans of tuna


ricotta cheese



Foil (I had run out. I was going to wait to buy this, but I really could have used some the other day, so I broke down and bought it.)

Can of green beans on clearance.

My total for here was $30.50

I spent $42.76 all together. Add that to my previous weeks and I am at $94.06. Just squeaking under my $100 budget! I may need another head of lettuce later in the week, but other than that we should make it!

Entering Week 4 of the Pantry Challenge….Menu Plan

I am entering the fourth week of my pantry challenge. It really hasn’t been all that challenging for me surprisingly. I had a lot more things in the freezer than I thought I did! I have only planned out our dinners for the week. Going to be winging it for lunches and breakfasts since Lance has only 4 days of school due to an inservice day. Things with an (F) are from the freezer.


Monday: Spaghetti with red sauce(F) and seasoned beef (F), crazy bread, salad (I will be eating spaghetti squash and no breadsticks)

Tuesday: Steak(F), mashed potatoes(F), bread machine french bread (For me, mashed cauliflower “potatoes” and salad instead of bread)

Wednesday: Turkey(F) enchiladas (sauce in freezer), beans(F)

Thursday: Whole Wheat thin crust pepperoni(F) pizza (going to make this one whole wheat)

Friday: Turkey(F) burgers on sandwich thins(F) with bacon(F), salad, smiley potatoes(F)

Saturday: Leftovers or turkey

Sunday: We are going to Disneyland and will probably eat dinner on the road on the way home.


If you noticed all the turkey this week, it’s because I have one defrosting in the fridge right now. I had gotten 2 on sale for $0.37/lb around the holidays. I plan on grinding the meat in my meat attachment for my kitchen aid to make ground turkey. Then I will make some turkey meatballs and turkey sausage (for spaghetti) to cook up to put back in the freezer. I may be searching for other turkey recipes as well depending on how much meat I have. I didn’t get the red sauce made last week, but I will have to do it this week if we want pizza on thursday since we are using the last bit in the freezer for dinner tonight. I will be updating my grocery totals tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that.

Grocery Trip…

I ran to Fresh and Easy today to pick up some milk, yogurt and a bit of produce for the week. While there I scoped out the clearance section like usual. They had ground beef marked down to $1.29/lb, so I had to snatch it up for the freezer. I just couldn’t refuse at that price since we were down to our last pound in the freezer. I bought 6 pounds. Yep, another rule broken…I am amending my rules! If it’s too good a deal to pass up, and my budget allows, I am buying (although this is my normal shopping routine anyway!).

I spent a total of $16.42 for the items in the picture bringing my total for the month to $51.30. I set my budget at $100 for the month. I was hoping to stay at $50 like last year, but with Dallas taking his lunch everyday and my dietary restrictions and my inability to pass up a good deal, it looks like we will be closer to that $100 mark than I had hoped. I still think $100 for a family of 3 is a great deal for the month though! According to the USDA average food costs we are doing amazing. For a family of 4 in November 2010 (remember we are a family of 3) the “thrifty” plan says average is $506 per month and the “liberal” plan is $986 per month. I don’t know that I have ever spent that much in a month on groceries…even when I was planning my big birthday bash! A normal month of grocery shopping for me is under $200, I guess we fall under the super duper thrifty category….

If you would like to try this in your house, the first thing you need is a well stocked pantry/freezer in the first place. If you are wondering how to do that on a budget, read THIS.

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