Grocery Day

Grocery Haul

I was trying to think of a blog post for today and, really, all I’ve done is grocery shopping. So I guess that’s what I’ll write about! I have long enjoyed “grocery haul” posts (going way back to the days when Crystal at Money Saving Mom would post what she bought using her $35/week budget). I have done a post like this once or twice, but certainly not in the last couple of years. 

Maybe it’s because I love food and frugality, or maybe I’m just nosy but I really do enjoy seeing what people buy and how they are able to save! I don’t think this is something I’ll do all the time, but maybe on occasion. Of course, if anyone is really interested let me know and I can post grocery hauls a little more regularly.

So first… how I shop. I am not a one store kind of girl. There are some things I always get at one place, some things at another, and then I will hop from store to store for the sales. All these stores are located on the same strip of road, so over the years I have charted my course and if I’m not taking my time I can get it all done in a morning. So, let’s get on with it, shall we?

First stop… Dollar Tree
Grocery haul

I needed lightbulbs and detangler and also picked up some tortillas, spices, and Awesome cleanser. I also got a few other misc. items not pictured here.
Total: 9.48

Sam’s Club
Grocery haul

I went in just for peanut butter and bananas, but I was really excited to find this cilantro jalapeno hummus! I really enjoy the Panera sandwich that uses this flavor hummus and I’ve never seen it in a store anywhere. I hope the flavor is close. I also purchased this Italiano dip because it sounded really good and sometimes items at Sam’s come and go. Thinking I may save this for a party.
Total: 22.24

Walmart
Grocery haul

I was happy that they still have those 1.98 wire baskets. I wanted a few for our bathrooms to hold extra TP. The rose gold was very coppery so I just went with gold. These baskets are really sturdy and I think the price is a bargain! I also scored on beef. One package will be made into burgers for the freezer and I’ll make some beef jerky with the extra-lean stuff. The whisk was a random purchase because it was 50 cents and my wisk is on its last legs. Rugalach was on the day-old bakery counter, so I snatched that up. Then Go-Gurts for Laura’s school lunches, cottage cheese, onions, and red cabbage.
Total: 35.90

ShopRite
Grocery haulShopRite had our favorite American cheese on sale this week, so that was the main reason I stopped in. Also got some turkey for wraps for lunches, and ground turkey which I’ll divide up for the freezer. We prefer to use ground turkey for tacos, but we also like turkey burgers and in the next week or so I’ll use it for copycat P.F. Chang’s lettuce wraps, which we haven’t had in forever.
Total: 19.26

Aldi
Grocery haul

Aldi is where I purchase most of our staples. You can’t beat their prices on most items and with only a few exceptions, they’re just as good if not better than the name brands. I bought a giant tub of spring mix (we go through this like crazy), tri-colored peppers, zucchini, carrots, avocado (such a deal this week at 69-cents! I’ll enjoy them while I can), gala apples (my favorite – I eat one a day!), Parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella, spinach wraps, bagels, fries, half-and-half, eggs, cream cheese, juice boxes, pretzels, unsalted peanuts (they were out last time so I bought two today).
Total: 36.91

And finally, Tops
Grocery haul

I had to pick up our prescriptions and because Wednesdays tend to be crazy, I decided to get fried chicken for dinner just to make things easy. That and a salad and leftover potato salad or chips will be a supper that no one can argue with! I also grabbed my yogurts because they are on sale (have you tried the Dannon whole milk yogurt? SO good!), and these deli soups were BOGO. 
Total: 17.63

So my grand total for groceries today was: $141.42. Considering we are a family of 5, with one teenage boy and one tween boy, I don’t think that’s horrible. Some of this will last us much longer than a week. And there are always incidentals during the week that get picked up (for example, Drew grabbed milk yesterday on his way home, and this doesn’t take into account the ham and bread I’d purchased earlier in the week for school lunches). But obviously, it’s the bulk of my weekly shopping. Living in New York, prices are definitely higher here than in other parts of the country, and we really don’t go out to eat often so everything is made at home. I don’t have a grocery budget per se, so during the month of February I’m really going to track my spending in this area to make sure I’m not going crazy!

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

thanksgivingdinnerCan you believe that Thanksgiving is in just two days? Time just flies this time of year. Normally, I consider Thanksgiving my favorite holiday but due to the nature of this year I’m not quite as into it as I usually am. Nevertheless, I’m doing my best to make it a good holiday.

As usual, we will be hosting at our house. I don’t find the cooking to be a chore, and honestly we really like not having to drive anywhere on Thanksgiving. (Plus, I can have an extra glass of wine — ha!) Drew’s mom and aunt will be coming up, but that’s all so it will just be seven people.

My Thanksgiving menu doesn’t change much from year to year. I keep it pretty traditional, though I’ll try a new recipe or two sometimes. Usually one of the appetizers or desserts will be something new.

Here’s my list…

Cheese ball and crackers
Devilled eggs

Roast Turkey with sausage-cranberry stuffing
Gravy
Mashed potatoes
Roasted sweet potatoes
Asparagus (it happens to be on sale this week and Drew requested it)
Cornbread with cranberry honey butter (new recipe)
Tossed salad
Corn
Cranberry sauce

Sugar-free blueberry pie
Pecan pie or sugared pecan topped cheesecake

For wines I have a riesling, a vino verde, and a petit syrah. I also found a non-alcoholic black currant cordial that I thought might be nice either mixed with seltzer or kicked up with vodka. So we will try that, too! 

A couple weeks ago I made a 9-lb. chicken, so this 12.5-lb. turkey won’t be too far off! Of course, I will also have my Crock Pot ready with onions, celery, and carrots to make an overnight turkey stock. I look forward to the soup as much as the roast bird! And of course I also love a turkey sandwich on Thanksgiving night. I always like to have it on white bread with American cheese and lots of mayo. It’s one of those things from my childhood that still just makes me feel all happy and at home!

Today I also started a cranberry fluff, which we will be taking to the “feast” in my daughter’s class tomorrow. If it comes out good I’ll be sure to write about it.

What about you? Are you hosting Thanksgiving or travelling somewhere? Anything new and exciting on your menu or do you also keep things fairly simple and traditional?

Cretons (French-Canadian Pork Pate)

Cretons (French-Canadian Pork Pate)Many years ago, when my husband’s French-Canadian grandmother was still alive, I remember my mother-in-law serving something called cretons at the holidays. Initially, I was put off by this strange pork pate. It was eaten cold, either on crackers or toast, and contained what I (at that time) considered “sweet” spices. I couldn’t wrap my head around how it all worked together.

Flash forward a few years. My husband and our two boys went on a vacation to Quebec while I stayed home with our teeny baby. The hotel served cretons as part of their traditional breakfast and D. fell in love with it all over again. I decided I was going to try making a version.

Over the years I’ve tweaked a bit here and a bit there, and today I’m sharing the version I make. It is authentic? I can’t say — I’ve never tried the real thing! D. assures me, however, that it is pretty darn close. My favorite way to enjoy cretons is spread on top of a buttered, toasted English muffin. Toast will do nicely, too. But you need to have the butter — it just adds a little extra something. So please, just take it from me and try this! I think you’ll agree that it’s a delicious treat.

Cretons (French-Canadian Pork Pate)

Cretons

1 lb. ground pork
1 med. onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs

Brown pork in a large pan along with the chopped onions and garlic. Add the salt, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Transfer pork mixture to a food processor and pulse until the meat reaches an extremely fine consistency.
Return the pork mixture to the pan and add the milk and bread crumbs and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat. Stir well to blend everything together. Reduce the heat to LOW, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is very tender and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 30-40 min. Remove the lid and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and all the liquid is evaporated. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.
Transfer to a bowl and smooth the top with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate until well chilled and firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Sunday Snapshots

daffodil in a teacup

What a beautiful weekend! The weather was seriously perfect. We have had a lot going on since Friday night, so today we opted to just stay home. Even though I was feeling kind of tired, I managed to get quite a bit done.

I started out with laundry, changing sheets, and remaking all the beds. Is it just me, or does that chore exhaust anyone else? Maybe if it’s just one bed it’s not so bad, but four? Whew…

Two of the bananas in the fruit bowl were getting really brown, and since I had a couple in the freezer too I decided to make two loaves of banana-nut bread. I’ll freeze one and we will have the other for breakfast tomorrow.

banana bread

D. made turkey stock the other night so I decided to make creamy turkey soup for supper tonight along with some garlic-cheddar biscuits. Simple & satisfying!

cooking...

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garlic biscuits

soup & biscuits

After everything was cleaned up, it was time to start planning out the week. I love sitting down with my craft punches, washi tape, and stickers and getting everything down on paper. I will probably never be an electronic planner person. I love my iPhone, don’t get me wrong, but I just have to write it down.

planning

The kids and I are all watching a little TV before their bedtime, and quite honestly I’m ready to crawl under the blankets myself! I think I’ll take a cup of tea, maybe a piece of chocolate, and D. and I will probably zone out to a movie or something.

Hope you all have had a wonderful weekend!

Blueberry Dutch Baby Pancake

Blueberry Dutch Baby

I first read about Dutch Babies years ago. I am pretty sure I clipped a recipe out of a very old “Taste of Home” magazine and filed it away. I never got around to making it. Last weekend we were watching an episode of “Bob’s Burgers” and somehow Dutch Babies were involved. My husband laughed  and thought that a Dutch Baby was some sort of joke. I explained that it was for sure a real thing! There was no no question: I was finally going to make my Dutch Baby. I looked through several recipes and finally settled on one to use as a base.

A Dutch Baby is sort of like a pancake, sort of like a clafoutis. It’s light and custardy and (as I would soon learn from my family) is not for everyone. While I thought it was heavenly, the kids were not as impressed. They probably would have preferred regular pancakes or a blueberry coffee cake. Nevertheless, I thought it was delicious and will make it again — even if it means I have to eat it all by myself!

Blueberry Dutch Baby
Inspired by: Everyday Food Magazine

  • 3 Tbsp. room-temperature unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium-sized cast iron skillet. (I did this by simply putting the skillet in the oven while it heated up. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn!)

In a blender (or large Magic Bullet cup), combine eggs, milk, flower, vanilla, salt, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Blend until the ingredients are well-combined and the batter is slightly foamy.  Remove the skillet from oven and add the blueberries. Then pour the batter into the skillet. Bake for about 20 minutes until the panacake is puffy, slightly browned, and the sides have slightly pulled away from the pan.

Dot the last tablespoon of butter onto the top of the Dutch Baby and sprinkle with the tablespoon of sugar. Slice into wedges and serve.

Blueberry Dutch Baby

{Recipe} Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers with Cumin-Yogurt Sauce

Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers

The summer is winding down, but there is still plenty of time to grill up a great burger! While I love a big, meaty cheeseburger, sometimes it’s fun to change things up a bit. Today I’m sharing with you a recipe for chicken burgers with an Indian twist. Don’t skip making the Cumin-Yogurt sauce — it’s what really makes the burgers stand out!

Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers with Cumin-Yogurt Sauce
A delicious alternative to traditional burgers
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Burgers
  1. 1 package of ground chicken breast (approx. 1 lb.)
  2. 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  3. 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  4. 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  5. 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  6. 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  7. 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  8. 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  9. 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  10. salt and pepper
  11. mini pitas
  12. chopped onions and tomato
Cumin-yogurt sauce
  1. 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  2. 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  3. handful of chopped cilantro
  4. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Prepare the cumin-yogurt sauce first by combining the yogurt, cumin, and cilantro in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to allow the flavors to intensify.
For the chicken burgers
  1. Combine the ground chicken, scallions, jalapenos, ginger, lemon juice, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir everything together really well then let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. Gently form burger patties. I made mine more oblong in shape to better fit inside the pitas. Season the patties with a little salt and pepper if you desire and then grill until the ground chicken is opaque throughout the burger. Do NOT undercook the burgers.
  3. Cut four pitas in half and warm them either on the top rack of your grill or in a toaster oven. Don’t overheat them or else they’ll get too crispy. Place two patties in each pita half along with diced onion and tomato. Add a healthy dollop of the cumin yogurt sauce and serve.
Notes
  1. You can grill these outdoors, but they also are delicious broiled or cooked in a frying pan. Use whatever method is most convenient for you.
Pure Sugar http://puresugar.net/

 I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM

because it’s Cooking Thursday!
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{Recipe} Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

Oh my, it’s been a while since I shared a recipe with you. Well, I’m jumping right back and and I have a delicious appetizer today! I brought this dish to “girls’ night” type thing last night and they were a hit. My husband also raved about the samples I left for him. The best part? You can whip this up in no time at all.

Now, when I think of stuffed mushrooms I think of a sausage and breadcrumb filling, or even a crabmeat filling. I love how they taste, but I’ve never attempted making my own because… well, I’m not really sure. It just seemed like a labor-intensive process. Not so with this recipe. In fact, you can make the filling ahead of time to let the flavors develop, then stuff your mushrooms later, broil, and enjoy.

 

Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms
Juicy mushroom caps stuffed with a creamy mixture of bacon and cheese.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  2. 1/2 cup crumbled bacon (or real bacon bits)
  3. 1 Tbsp. chopped scallions
  4. 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  5. 1 lb. whole, fresh white mushrooms, stems removed
Instructions
  1. In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth. Add the bacon bits, garlic powder, and green onion. Stir to combine. Spoon mixture into mushroom caps. Arrange mushrooms on a cookie sheet or broiler plan. Broil for 5-8 minutes until mushrooms are heated through and the tops have slightly browned. Serve warm.
Pure Sugar http://puresugar.net/