Sunday, November 15, 2015

November Grocery Shopping Week 3-Part 2 and Groundbeef Filled Bread Rolls

Today's Groceries

I did a bit more grocery shopping today:

1 gallon milk = $2.59
5 lb. flour = $1.79 (sale price; didn't make a note of regular price)
6 cans of soup, @ $.49 with purchase of 6; regular price $.99@  = $2.94 ($5.94 if I had paid regular price)

Total paid for food = $7.32
Had I paid full price for the canned soup, the total would have been $10.32

(I also bought a bag of cat food for $9.99 + $.90 tax, but that's not included in grocery budget).

Today's Receipt

November grocery totals to date:  $9.36 + $29.48 + $16.47 + $39.81 + $7.32 = $102.44

There seems to be some concern that my grocery budget is inadequate, that I am not getting enough nutrition.  I've set my budget at $75 for myself, going up to $100 when daughter is home for frequent visits, because I make it a point to buy mostly those items that are on sale.  I generally buy only a handful of items at regular prices.  They include milk, eggs if absolutely necessary, my tea of choice, etc.   I believe, if I paid regular prices, my grocery bill will be at least twice or even three times as much.

When I first started keeping a grocery budget, I set up a price book, noting the regular prices of most of the items I'd regularly buy and their regular "sale" prices (the prices at which they'd most often be reduced to).  I also made a note of the "best" sale prices, which are the lowest prices they'd be offered for sale.  Usually, these "best" prices are what are known as "loss leader" offers - when grocery stores put them on sale at a price that will be a loss of profit for them, but they do it to lure shoppers to their stores, in the hopes that while at the store they will also buy other items that are not on sale.  Not everyone will buy only the loss leaders.

This week, several stores are offering grapes on sale.  The sale prices vary from $1.69/lb. to $.89/lb.  I chose to skip the store with the lowest price and go to one where grapes were selling for $.99/lb., because that store also had other items that I wanted on sale, including salmon at $3.49/lb.  It was a good compromise for me.

Today, I cooked the pork chops and the chicken breast I bought on Saturday.  They'll be frozen for later - I am mostly cooking for the freezer, this month, for when I am having treatment and won't be feeling up to cooking much.

I also made bread rolls with a ground beef filling, using one of the packets of frozen bread dough I had bought earlier.  The package held 3 loaves of dough; I cut each loaf into 8 pieces and made 24 rolls:  

Ground Beef Filled Bread Rolls

I ate two of the rolls for my dinner, with apple juice and dates for dessert.  I will take two more to the office for my lunch, tomorrow.  I'll freeze most of the rest (but might keep another 4 or so in the fridge for office lunches).

Brunch was two pieces of cheese toast and a glass of orange juice.   Tangerines for snacks.

Apart from spending $18.21 at the grocery store (for groceries and cat food), I also spent $25.91 for gas for the car (9.5 gallons at $2.72/gal.)

In addition, I vacuumed the house, today, and did a freezer inventory (and cleaned the freezer).  I only have the freezer that comes with my side-by-side fridge/freezer, and it is rather full!  I tossed 2 bags of watermelon chunks I had frozen with the intention of making jam, in order to make room for all the food I am cooking and baking!

Today, I am grateful for:

- The little rain shower (well, it was mostly drizzle, but we'll take what we can get)
- Being well enough to vacuum again
- Bulk cooking and baking
- A full freezer and full cupboards
- Video chatting with daughter

How was your Sunday?   


  1. I am envious of the prices. It's really interesting seeing how it works out. I keep meaning to get a price book going, was it hard? I suggest you keep an eye out for ginger tea. Or root/fresh ginger to steep in hot water (can be frozen and grated straight from the freezer). I have heard many people say that ginger is very good to help with side effects of chemo. Sybil xxx

    1. Sybil, it really wasn't hard to set up my price book. Back then, I just took a note book and wrote everything down by hand, but these days, I believe there are price book forms available on-line, with everything already set up for you! You just need to fill in the prices, etc.

      I sat down with the week's grocery ads and noted down the sale prices and filled in a few blanks when I went to the stores. Then, every time someone advertised something, I double checked with the price in my price book and adjusted the "best" prices, as needed. After awhile, I got to know the sale prices and didn't need to keep a price book.

      The trick is to buy enough to last you until the next time that item goes on sale, if possible. Easier to do with items that have a longer shelf life or can be frozen, etc.

      Thanks for the tip about the ginger tea. I will keep ginger root on hand. The oncology nurse also suggested candied ginger and I already have a container of that. I guess I could even use that for the ginger tea.

  2. I don't know anyone that spends that much on food based on those guidelines.

    It's a really good idea to cook and freeze the food for later. I've thought about doing that, but never have gotten around to it. I just freeze stuff to cook later. I currently have my last thing of beef defrosting in the fridge to make a meatloaf later.

    My Sunday was good. Just relaxed most of the day and went to the in-laws in the evening.

    1. Jess, glad you got to have a relaxed day on Sunday.

      You can get started on cooking for the freezer in a very gradual way, if you like.

      When you cook or bake, double the recipe if possible. The thinking behind that is, once you pull things out to make a dish, it's not much more work to make 2 (or even 3) of it than to make one.

      For example, the next time you make meatloaf, take out enough meat to make 2, if possible. Then, you can have one for that night's dinner and wrap and freeze the other one for another day.

      When you brown ground beef, brown 2 lbs. at once, instead of 1 lb., and freeze half for another day. If you make spaghetti sauce, make double your normal quantity and freeze half. Do this as often as you can and before long, you'll have quite a few meals already cooked and ready in the freezer.

  3. Since you believe your health status and nutrition is in good shape for chemo and radiation, I will refrain from making any more suggestions. Email or PM me if I can help or answer questions as you undergo treatment. Wish you the best outcome.
    Marylynn Caldwell

    1. Marylynn, actually, I know my health status is not in good shape; I have several chronic illnesses, which are being managed with medications, but they present a complication I could have done without.

      And I know my nutrition isn't all that good, either, because I don't eat enough of the right kinds of food and eat too much of the wrong kind. I don't much like vegetables. Even when I buy vegetables, they often languish in the fridge until they spoil and I throw them out. Or, I'll cook and freeze them and they'll stay in the freezer - right now, I have several packages of cooked spinach, kale, eggplant, and asparagus in the freezer. All bought with the best of intentions, and cooked so they won't spoil as quickly, but frozen because I don't want to eat them! Even if I increase my budget by $100 and buy a bunch of vegetables, unless I eat them, it won't do me any good. I am trying to make an effort, but it might be a case of "too little, too late".

      Thank you for saying I can email or PM you if I need help or have questions. I appreciate that offer and the well wishes. And I really mean it.

    2. Thank you for your honesty. I know the diagnosis was a shock and that there is still a sense of unreality and fear. That's normal. I just want to see you go into the treatment in the best possible health and nutrition status. I also know that doctors don't spend much (any) time assessing the nutritional state of their patients. That isn't a focus, or even hardly any, of their training. Yet what we fuel our bodies with is responsible for so many health problems.
      When I was a Home Health RN, I had a patient who was very sick, and keeping his wife up day and night. They were both in their 80's. They had owned a very big, successful business which was a local landmark. When I tried to help the wife find some help to come in to help, her response was that they had the money, lots of it, but that they were saving it for a rainy day. It wasn't until she was near collapse that she finally hired someone to help. You are in the beginning of a rainy day, not as big, granted, but it's sprinkling. Loosen up, a little, and take good care of your body. It's going to go through stress on your nutrition resources.

    3. Thank you, Marylynn. Both my doctor and the oncology nurse have discussed nutrition and diet with me. The oncology nurse recommended a particular brand of meal replacement drink for when I won't have much of an appetite. My doctor told me she wanted me on a different, high protein nutritional drink. I have bought both brands that were recommended to me and have started taking them. Maybe not as good as a well balanced meal, but better than nothing.

      And I will continue to find ways to incorporate more vegetables into my diet (I don't have a problem with eating fruits, because I love fruits, but I need to keep to portion control due to the diabetes).

      Thank you, again, for caring and being a friend. :)

  4. Sybil's tip about the ginger tea reminded me of the wonderful ginger tea bags I found in Jamaica and brought home. Alas, they are long gone. I wish I could get them here and I wish you could find them too!

    1. Bushlady, we often add fresh ginger root to regular tea, which is then drunk black, without milk. I also have some ginger biscuits from the Sri Lankan store (might even make a batch, myself).

  5. Bless, I think you do very well with your grocery shopping and budget- in fact, that is the main thing that attracted me to your blog when I first discovered it. I always noticed that you buy a nice variety of fruits and vegetables, some that I have never heard of, and I have found myself inspired by you and buying things that I normally didn't think to buy (like pomegranates) because of the way you kindly open up your kitchen and share your grocery shopping posts with us. And as far as a grocery budget, $75 a month is the amount I spend on our household per person, so to me your budget sounds reasonable and I know from experience that you can eat nutritiously and heartily with that amount. It's nice that you have others who read your blog and are so caring and concerned about your health and nutrition. :)
    I am like you in the way that I can control myself enough to go into a store and just walk out with the loss leaders and nothing else. I notice a lot of times the placement of the loss leader items in stores will attract you down certain aisles and for a second I find myself getting sucked in, but I know in order to keep my budget in tact I need to pull back on the reins and get to the checkout line with only the items I came in for. I think if you know your prices and where to shop for certain items, you can pretty much accommodate any budget you set for yourself and still eat in a healthy manner. And all of this I have witnessed in your blog, as well as other blogs that I enjoy reading.
    Those ground beef rolls look delicious. May I ask how you make them? I am thinking that you put the cooked ground beef filling in the dough and close it up and then cook it all until the rolls are done, is that correct? I think my kids would love to have those as a "fun dinner" some night. :)
    I also appreciate the suggestions you gave to Jess. For some reason freezer cooking kind of intimidates me because I find it hard to get that space of time to concentrate on doing it. But the way you explained it to Jess, it really isn't much extra time at all, just kind of doubling up on what you are cooking. That sounds a lot less intimidating! :)

    1. Dawn, thank you. I feel blessed to have concerned friends and I'll agree that I do need to improve my diet to include more veggies. I don't like veggies; I buy them with the best of intentions, then, they stay in the fridge until they spoil and I toss them, or I cook them and freeze them and they stay in the freezer until I toss them! But, I think, even if I increase the budget to buy more veggies, etc., it won't do me any good if I don't eat them!

      I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures when I made the bread rolls. But yes, I bought the frozen bread dough, left it to thaw a bit, cut each loaf into 8 pieces, rolled each piece out to a small circle (about 4-inch diameter), then, filled the middle with about a heaping tablespoon of the groundbeef mixture, moistened the edges of the dough with water and gathered the dough together to seal the filling inside. Then, brushed some milk on top (a beaten egg would be OK, too), and left to rise - took about an hour in a warm place (I turned the oven on to lowest setting for a bit, about 5 minutes and then, turned it off and put the rolls in to rise). Once risen, I took them out of the oven, preheated the oven to 350F and baked them for about 15-20 minutes (until browned on top). You can make the filling out of anything - fish, chicken, even all vegetables. My daughter loves them. Hope your kids would like them, too.

  6. Bless, I'm chuckling at what you wrote about the veggies staying in the fridge until they spoil or staying in the freezer till you toss them! I love kale but a large bunch seems to last forever with two of us and when DH is away, well, I don't even go there. I quite often buy frozen veggies and fruit, especially in winter since we live a long way from the delivery base and that trip, plus air travel from warmer climes doesn't make for perfect fresh foods. Economically it works out well, but the quality is not always so good either. Frozen peas and corn seem to be fine.

    1. Bushlady, there are a handful of vegetables that I actually like, and they include green peas and corn (and I find the frozen ones are just fine). Unfortunately, since I'm diabetic, both peas and corn are considered as "starch", and don't qualify as veggies for me.

      I am just going to have to find more ways of sneaking veggies into various dishes; let's see - there's zucchini bread, carrot cake, and a chocolate cake with green beans in the batter; oh, yes, right, none of them are good for the diabetes.

      I like soup with vegetables in it. And the chicken pot pies tasted great even with broccoli in the mixture; maybe I'll make a batch with spinach and asparagus mixed in and see how they taste.

      If all else fails, I'll eat them coated with chocolate! By the way, there IS something called chocolate covered veggies! I did a search and found pictures of whole platters of them and recipes! :o Who knew?

  7. Hi Bless,
    I to let those veggies sit the refrigerator.. and when I cook them...they sit in my plate and I toss them too and I too have several health problems, and know I should eat better. [I am trying...but I feel your pain]
    The beef rolls sound so good, I am going to try them.. thanks for sharing.
    Praying for you.

    1. Thanks for the prayers, Judy. I'm glad to know that I am not the only one who has problems with veggies. :)


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