Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Grocery Grab Wednesday

Last week my schedule was completely off, so I ended up having to do my grocery shopping on Tuesday instead of Wednesday...and I completely never got around to posting my Grocery Grab post on Wednesday.  So here's a quick photo and total spend from that shopping trip last week.

Groceries from Sprouts totaling $61.70
I spent $61.70 on groceries plus about $10 on milk and eggs from the dairy.  Not bad!  I can't wait until the summer, when our fruit bowl and fridge crisper will be overflowing with fresh (and cheap!) fruits and veggies.  Sprouts always has the best deals on produce!

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but kombucha has slowly but steadily made it's way into my Grocery Grab Wednesday as a weekly staple product that I buy.  When I gave up soda for Lent, I decided to try kombucha.  I've heard that fermented foods and drinks are really healthy and that kombucha is kind of a natural energy drink.  I love the natural fizz of the kombucha, and now I regularly drink 1/3 of a bottle of kombucha in the afternoon.  It is a great treat in the afternoon, and it helps me power through the rest of the day!

Here's what I bought this week:

Grocery Haul from Sprouts

Green Leaf Lettuce - $0.88 (on sale)
3 Lemons - $1.50
4 Organic Red Delicious Apples (1.41 lbs) - $1.38 (on sale)
2 Pints of Raspberries - $3.00 (on sale)
4 Ears of Sweet Corn - $1.00 (on sale)
8 Yellow Bananas (2.34 lbs) - $1.38
2 Yellow Onions (1.17 lbs) - $0.56 (on sale)
3 Boxes of Organic Annie's Whole Wheat Shells and White Cheddar - $3.00 (with rain check)
Honey BBQ Sauce - $2.49 (on sale)
Jumbo Black Olives - $1.69
Sprouts Mayo - 3.99
Organic Black Beans - $1.00 (on sale)
Sprouts Organic Crushed Tomatoes - $1.50 (on sale)
Taco Shells - $1.86 (on sale)
Whole Artichokes - $2.99
2 Bottles of GTS Kombucha  - $5.98 (on sale)
2 Packages Shredded Mozzarella - $6.44
Sliced Muenster - $3.65
California Chili Powder (0.05 lbs of bulk) - $0.55
California Paprika (0.03 lbs of bulk) - $0.33
1.6 lbs of Ground Beef - $6.48 (on sale)
1.5 lbs of Chicken Thighs - $3.00 (on sale)
Sprouts Honey Whole Wheat Bread - $2.99 (on sale)
2 BYO Bag Credits - $0.10 Savings!

Royal Crest Dairy
2 Gallons 1.5% Milk (Local, Hormone-Free) - $8.98
1 Dozen Eggs (Local, Hormone-Free) - $2.29

Total = $68.88

Here are the dinner's I'm planning for this week:

Dinner #1- BBQ Chicken Thighs (in the slow cooker) with sauteed zucchini and squash (bought last week and kept in the crisper)

Dinner #2 - Homemade Pizza (1 pepperoni and 1 supreme with LOTS of veggies)

Dinner #3 - Bison Hot Dogs on the grill with homemade oven potato wedges and grilled corn on the cob

Dinner #4 - Sloppy Joes with salad and green beans (from the freezer)

Dinner #5 - Pasta Salad with shredded chicken, artichokes, black olives, and sliced bell peppers

Dinner #6 - Beef Tacos with lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, and black olives with a side of black beans

Dinner #7 - Leftovers or Breakfast for Dinner (eggs, french toast, fruit, sauteed peppers and onions)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Grocery Grab Wednesay

This has been a crazy week (and I forgot to post my Grocery Grab Wednesday last week), so I'm going to do a quick 2 Grocery Grab post!  Instead of typing up itemized lists of items bought, I just took pictures of my receipts.  Be sure to factor in that I usually spend about $10 per week on local dairy items (milk, eggs, half and half).  It's Grocery Grab Wednesday...lazy edition!

Here's what I bought last week:

groceries from sprouts
Grocery Haul from Sprouts

First half of receipt

2nd half of receipt
 Total (including approx $10 of local dairy items) = $74.21 (and that's including the $7.99 + tax sunscreen on my receipt.  I usually don't include non-food items in my total!)

Here's what I bought this week:

Grocery Haul from Sprouts

1st half of receipt

2nd half of receipt
Total (including approx $10 of local dairy items) = $84.51

My photo this week didn't include the chicken and bacon because Sprouts forgot to put that bag in my shopping cart.  Of course, I didn't realize the meat was missing until I got home, unpacked, and took this photo.  I went back for the meat (no way was I going without that chicken and bacon this week!), but it just didn't get photographed.

Here's what we are planning on having for dinners this week:

Dinner #1 - Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas (using leftover grilled chicken from earlier this week) with lettuce, tomato, sour cream and salsa

Dinner #2 - Homemade Pizza with cheese, veggies and sausage from the freezer

Dinner #3 - Bison Hot Dogs and Chicken Sausages (from the freezer) on the grill with potatoes, peppers and onions in a grill pouch (aluminum foil)

Dinner #4 - Chicken Fajitas (chicken, peppers and onions spiced with taco seasoning, tortillas and toppings)

Dinner #5 - Grilled Cheese and Apple Sandwiches with salad

Dinner #6 - Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya from the freezer

Dinner #7 - Chicken sausages with pasta and veggies (frozen asparagus and frozen peppers) in a cream and herb sauce

I made the enchiladas tonight, and they turned out great!  Even my 5 year old ate them.  They were super easy, so I'll be sure to photograph them and post the recipe the next time I make them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Grocery Grab Wednesday

I'm back with another Grocery Grab Wednesday!  I like getting back to my regular routine.

This week's grocery shopping was a little bit different, because we have a birthday for my little guy (turning 3), a holiday and a minor surgery for my little guy all in one week.  So I won't be planning my regular 7 dinners this week.  Instead, I needed to stock up on ingredients for the special occasions, and we will eat easy, simple dinners the rest of the week.

My little boy is turning 3!  This weekend, we are having a few of his best buddies over for a Polar Express themed get-together...including Crock Pot Hot Chocolate!  I usually don't include things like birthday party items/ingredients in my regular $100 per week grocery budget, so I'm putting an asterisk next to the items for the birthday party.

Here's what I bought this week:

groceries from Sprouts
Grocery Haul from Sprouts

groceries from Target
Grocery Haul from Target

Blackberries - $1.50 (on sale)
2 Green Bell Peppers - $0.96 (on sale)
Green Leaf Lettuce - $0.88 (on sale)
2 Lemons - $0.67 (on sale)
Organic Strawberries - $1.98 (on sale)
3 Red Bell Peppers - $1.00 (on sale)
6 Red Delicious Apples (2.36 lbs) - $2.08 (on sale)
2 Vineripe Tomatoes (1.15 lb) - $1.13 (on sale)
Yellow Bananas (3.37 lbs) - $1.99
2 Yellow Onions (1.81 lbs) - $0.60 (on sale)
Sprouts Organic Apple Cider Vinegar - $3.29
Sprouts Organic White Vinegar - $2.00 (on sale)
2 Bottles Brianna's Poppyseed Dressing - $4.00 (on sale)
Sprouts Lemon Snaps - $1.50 (on sale)
Mountain High rBST-free Vanilla Yogurt - $3.29 (on sale)
Blue Cheese Crumbles - $2.64
Cheddar Cheese (1 lb) - 2.09 (on sale)
Shredded Mozzarella (1 lb) - $6.58
Chicken Drumsticks (2 lb) - $1.97
Sprouts Honey Oat Bran Cereal - $2.99 (on sale)
Sprouts Traditional Tortillas - $1.99 (on sale)
BYO Bag Credits - $0.15 Savings!

Market Pantry Crackers - $1.85 (5% off with Cartwheel)
Smucker's Natural Strawberry Jelly - $2.55 (on sale and 5% off with Cartwheel)
Classico Pizza Sauce - $1.64
Market Pantry Veggie Pasta - $0.95 (on sale and 5% off with Cartwheel)
Market Pantry Whole Wheat Pasta - $0.95 (on sale and 5% off with Cartwheel)
2 Cans Del Monte Pineapple - $2.50 (on sale)
*McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract - $3.77 (10% off with Cartwheel)
*3 Cans Market Pantry Sweetened Condensed Milk - $5.16 (5% off with Cartwheel)
*2 Large Bags Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chips - $8.89 (on sale)
*Market Pantry Mini Marshmallows - $1.06 (5% off with Cartwheel)
*2 Gallons Market Pantry rBST-free 2% Milk - $4.92 (5% off with Cartwheel)
*3 Pints Market Pantry Whipping Cream - $6.36 (5% off with Cartwheel)

Royal Crest Dairy
2 Gallons 1.5% Milk (Local, Hormone-Free) - $8.98
1 Dozen Eggs (Local, Hormone-Free) - $2.29

Total = $96.85

Even with my extra purchases for the birthday party, I still came in right around my budget for this week.  That's good news, because we will probably be spending some extra money eating out this week.  I'm planning on eating take-out on surgery day (since I'm not  sure what to expect, but I'm guessing I won't be available to cook that day).  

Here are the dinners I'm planning for this week:

Dinner #1 - Baked Chicken Drumsticks with brown rice and salad

Dinner #2 - Homemade Pizza and salad

Dinner #3 - Breakfast for dinner (Banana Pancakes, scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, sauteed peppers and onions, fruit)

Dinner #4 - Easter Dinner of ham (brought by a guest), pineapple casserole, homemade yeast rolls, deviled eggs, salad (brought by a guest) and dessert (brought by a guest)

Dinner #5 - Leftovers or Fish Tacos with sweet apple salsa and black beans

Dinner #6 - Leftovers or take-out

Dinner #7 - Pasta salad with shredded chicken and veggies served over a bed of lettuce

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Weeknight Wow Skillet Pork Chops

I'm always looking for quick and flavorful meals to cook on weeknights, and this recipe doesn't disappoint.  Usually, pork chops aren't my favorite.  I've tried baking pork chops, slow cooking them in the Crock Pot, you name it...they always come out dry and bland.  But this recipe takes pork chops to a whole new level with the brine and the seasonings.

This recipe is one to put into your regular weeknight rotation for sure.  Even my 5 year old declared she "loves pork chops" after she finished an entire pork chop of her own for dinner tonight!

I didn't come up with this recipe out of thin air, so I'll be sure to give credit where credit is due.  This recipe is a modified version of Mama Dip's skillet pork chop recipe.  She doesn't brine her pork chops (that I know of), but the lady sure knows how to cook up a mean skillet pork chop.

Fun fact: I went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and frequently ate at Mama Dip's restaurant when I was in need of some good ole' "home-cookin'" comfort food.  I even waved hello to Mama Dip herself (the legend) as she greeted customers at the entrance to her restaurant.

Here's how I make the pork chops:

pork chops
Skillet Pork Chops

Weeknight Wow Skillet Pork Chops (makes 4 chops)

For the brine:
2 cups of water (divided)
2 tablespoon of sea salt

For the pork chops:
4 thin cut pork chops (I use boneless thin cut chops)
1 teaspoon of sea salt (or less)
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper, or to taste
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

1. Brine: Boil 1 cup of water, and stir in 2 tablespoons of salt until the salt is dissolved.  Add 1 cup of cold water to the saltwater mixture.  Place pork chops in a shallow dish, and pour brine over the pork chops until the chops are covered.  If you need more brine use a 1 cup of water to 1 tablespoon of salt ratio.  Allow the pork chops to sit in the brine in the refrigerator, covered, 30 minutes to 4 hours (or even up to 24 hours).

2. When you're ready to cook the chops, drain the brine and rub both sides of each pork chop with salt, thyme and pepper .  You can use less than 1 tsp of salt if you want less salty pork chops, since the brine already adds a bit of a salty flavor.  Allow pork chops to come to room temperature for 15-30 minutes before cooking.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Place chops in the pan so they don't touch each other, and brown the chops on both sides (about 4-5 minutes per side).  I usually turn down the heat a bit so the chops don't brown too quickly.

4. Once the chops are nicely browned on both sides, turn off the heat and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid.  Allow the chops to sit in the covered, hot pan for about 8 minutes (until they are cooked through).

skillet pork chops
In the skillet

And that's all there is to it!  In just about 20 minutes of cooking time, you have a flavorful main course that's tasty enough to serve to company but quick and easy enough for a weeknight.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Grocery Grab Wednesday

How I've missed blogging!

I took an unintentional break from blogging over the holidays and got sorely out of the habit of writing.  I'm sorry to admit that after the holidays I didn't keep up with my budgeting and Wednesday grocery shopping as well as I usually do, and my routine fell by the wayside.  

However, spring has sprung, and I'm ready to be a blogger again.  I'd like to do better with my blogging and my routines, because this blog helps me hold myself accountable for my budget and spending as well as healthy grocery shopping habits!

Also, I've been saving up some good recipes that I want to share.  Let's hope I can get those posted to the blog soon!

Here is what will hopefully be the first of many Grocery Grab Wednesday's in 2015.

Here's what I bought this week:

groceries from Sprouts
Grocery haul from Sprouts

Blackberries - $1.50 (on sale)
Blueberries - $1.50 (on sale)
Organic Celery - $0.98 (on sale)
Cucumber - $0.68 (on sale)
Green Leaf Lettuce - $0.88 (on sale)
2 Lemons - $0.67 (on sale)
1 Lime - $0.25
2 Organic Red Delicious Apples -  (.64 lbs) - $0.63 (on sale)
Organic Strawberries (1 lb) - $1.98 (on sale)
Organic Green Kale - $1,50 (on sale)
3 Red Bell Peppers - $1.00 (on sale)
Red Seedless Grapes (1.27 lb) - $2.51 (on sale)
2 Roma Tomatoes (.59 lbs) - $0.52 (on sale)
Cheddar Bunnies - $2.99 (on sale)
2 Cans Sprouts Chunk Light Tuna - $2.38 (on sale)
2 Boxes Annie's Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese - $2.00 (on sale)
Cascadian Farm Organic Chocolate Os - $2.39 (on clearance)
Brianna's Blue Cheese Dressing - $2.99 (on sale)
Sprouts Secret Stash White Cheddar Puffs - $1.99
Snackimals Cereal - $2.49 (on clearance)
Sprouts Sweet Apple Salsa - $2.00 (on sale)
Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour - $2.99 (on sale)
Lavender Kombucha - $2.61 (on sale)
Sprouts Cream Cheese - $1.50 (on sale)
No Nitrate Chicken Breast Lunch Meat - $3.56 (on sale)
Sprouts Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread - $2.99 (on sale)
Sprouts Raisin English Muffins - $2.29 (on sale)
Sprouts Traditional Tortillas - $1.99 (on sale)
2 Bags Frozen Blueberries - $3.20 (on sale and Frozen Frenzy additional 20% off)
2 Boxes Organic Frozen Waffles - $3.20 (on sale and Frozen Frenzy additional 20% off)
4 BYO Bag Credits - $0.20 Savings!

Royal Crest Dairy
1 Gallon Local, Hormone-Free 1.5% Milk - $4.49

Total = $62.45

I did great this week on the budget because I truly didn't need much.  I didn't need to buy any meats other than lunch meat this week, because I am planning to shop my freezer for meats this week.  We have plenty of steak, chicken, and fish in the freezer.  Also, Sprouts is having a 72-hour sale this weekend, so I may make another trip to the store for ribs and ground beef at really good prices!

Here are the dinners I'm planning for this week:

Dinner #1 - Pork Chops (from the freezer) with roasted brussels sprouts (in the fridge, bought last week) and kale salad

Dinner #2 - Fish Tacos (with tilapia from the freezer) with Sweet Apple Salsa and Black Beans (from the pantry)

Dinner #3 - Grilled Steak (from the freezer) with kale salad and fresh baked bread

Dinner #4 - Chicken Salad (made with chicken from the freezer) with strawberries, grapes, walnuts and poppy seeds and a honey mustard/mayo dressing served over a green leaf lettuce salad

Dinner #5 - Pasta (from the pantry) with homemade tomato sauce (using canned tomatoes from the pantry) and salad

Dinner #6 - Breakfast for dinner (probably eggs with peppers and onions, pancakes or toast, chorizo from the freezer, and fruit)

Dinner #7 - Leftovers

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Grocery Grab Wednesday

After a MONTH off of blogging, I'm back!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

We took a 2 week vacation for Thanksgiving to visit family, and before that I was not doing my regular grocery shopping and cooking because I was trying to use up the food in the house before our vacation.  So I'm finally attempting to get back into a routine.

I'll be honest.  I like to splurge during the holidays.  Cookies, candy, egg nog, all of it!  I try not to go overboard, but all of the treats feel so festive!  I'm trying to teach my kids that you can splurge and indulge occasionally over the holidays as long as you continue to eat mostly healthy meals overall.  We still serve fruits and veggies at every meal, and we try to keep healthy snacks in the house like dried fruit, whole grain crackers, yogurt and ingredients for smoothies.

I'm happy to share my first Grocery Grab Wednesday post in over a month.

Here's what I bought this week:

groceries from Sprouts
Grocery haul from Sprouts

Black Seedless Grapes (1.59 b) - $1.56 (on sale)
Celery - $0.98 (on sale)
1 Tomato - $0.53 (on sale)
Fresh Pineapple - $1.98 (on sale)
Green Bell Pepper - $0.48 (on sale)
Green Leaf Lettuce - $0.98 (on sale)
Red Radishes - $0.48(on sale)
Yellow Bananas (3.05 lb) - $1.46 (on sale)
2 Bags Boulder Potato Chips - $3.00 (on sale)
Organic Tortilla Chips - $2.49
Organic Baked Beans - $2.99
Mozzarella - $3.53
Mozzarella - $2.94
rBST-Free Sliced Swiss Cheese - $3.59 (on sale)
Hormone-Free Turkey Breast - $3.36 (on sale)
Pork Sirloin Roast (approx 2 lb)- $5.17 (on sale)
Xtra Lean Ground Beef (approx 1 lb) - $3.83 (on sale)
Chicken Breast Tenders (approx .75 lb) - $2.05
6" Flour Tortillas - $1.79
Raisin English Muffins - $2.29 (on sale)
Whole Grain Hamburger Buns - $2.99
BYO Bag Credits - $0.15 Savings!

2 Bags M&Ms - $5.48 (on sale and 5% off with Cartwheel)
Sweetnature Candy Canes - $2.49
Market Pantry Cookies - $1.77 (5% off with Cartwheel)
Cheerios - $3.54
Cascadian Farm Graham Cereal - $2.73 (on sale)
Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix - $1.89 (on sale)
Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix - $1.89 (on sale)
Market Pantry Chocolate Chips - $1.98 (5% off with Cartwheel)
Mountain High Plain Yogurt - $2.54
Tillamook Cheese (.5 lb) - $3.24
Market Pantry Cream Cheese - $1.18 (on sale and 5% off with Cartwheel)
Market Pantry Natural Peanut Butter - $2.55 (5% off with Cartwheel)
Smuckers All Fruit Spread - $2.12 (on sale)
Vlasic Farmer's Garden Pickles - $2.59
Simply Balanced Organic Ranch Dressing - $2.84 (5% off with Cartwheel)

Royal Crest Dairy
1 Gallon Local, Hormone-Free 1.5% Milk - $4.49

Total = $91.87

As you can tell, I bought a lot more "junk food" type items than I usually do.  Many of the cookie-related items are for making Christmas cookies with my kids.  These are certainly special occasion treats for the holidays, but we do enjoy making them and enjoying them together.  I'd love to make everything from scratch, but with 2 kids I just don't always have time.  I have a great "Fix-With-A-Mix Desserts" cookbook that's perfect for the busy holiday season.  The recipes use mixes instead of making everything from scratch.  I certainly have a few favorite cookie recipes that are made from scratch, but it's great to mix in some easier recipes that the kids can help with too!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Grocery Grab Wednesday

It's time for Grocery Grab Wednesday!  Halloween is coming up on Friday, so I added a few fall treats to my grocery cart today.

As you probably know, I do try to shop healthy and feed healthy foods to my family.  However, I live by the philosophy of everything in moderation, so I do allow my kids to eat candy in moderation.  I also make an exception to buy candy at Halloween.  Though I don't include this in my Grocery Grab Wednesday total (because I don't consider special occasion items, like candy we hand out to trick or treaters on Halloween, part of my weekly grocery spend for my family), it certainly affects our monthly budget when we buy extra items.

In the spirit of transparency with my blog readers, I'll share that I bought 3 bags of candy for Halloween trick or treating: 2 bags of Reese's Pumpkins and 1 bag of Kit Kats.  I spent approximately $10 total on the candy at Target (buying on sale and using coupons).  I've considered buying healthier natural and/or organic treats to hand out to trick or treaters, but I haven't quite made that leap yet.  Do any of you hand out organic items or other non-junk food treats?  What is the response from trick or treaters?  I'd love to hear more about this.  Maybe next year, I'll jump on that band wagon!

Anyway, on to Grocery Grab Wednesday!

Here's what I bought this week:

groceries from Sprouts
Grocery Haul from Sprouts

3 Bartlett Pears (1.19 lbs) - $1.18 (on sale)
Black Seedless Grapes (1.40 lbs) - $1.39 (on sale)
4 Jonathan Apples (1.51 lbs) - $1.49 (on sale)
Organic Celery Stalk - $1.49
Organic Green Kale - $1.50 (on sale)
5 Yellow Bananas (1.56 lbs) - $0.92
1 Can Large Black Olives - $1.69
Pumpkin Cider - $2.99
Pumpkin Spice Salsa - $2.79
Brianna's Poppy Seed Salad Dressing - $3.49
Sweet Apple Salsa - $2.79
Sweet Potato Chips - $2.99
Taco Shells - $2.49
Mozzarella - $3.23
Mozzarella - $3.41
Sliced Wisconsin Provolone - $3.50 (on sale)
Freshly Ground Peanut Butter (0.44 lbs) - $1.76
Roasted Salted Blanched Peanuts (0.93 lbs) - $3.25
Extra Lean Ground Beef (0.90 lbs) - $4.00 (on sale)
Chicken Drumsticks - $2.05 (on sale)
Honey Whole Wheat Bread - $3.29 (on sale)
Sprouts Traditional Tortillas - $1.99 (on sale)
BYO Bag Credits - $0.25 savings!

Royal Crest Dairy
2 Gallons of 1.5% Milk (Local, Hormone-Free) - $8.98
1 Dozen Eggs (Local, Hormone-Free) - $2.29
1/2 Gallon 100% Talbott's Apple Juice - $3.49 (on sale and $0.50 off coupon)

Total = $68.31

Since it's Halloween week, I bought a few treats to snack on for before and after trick or treating: Sparkling Pumpkin Apple Cider and fall salsas (Pumpkin Spice Salsa and Sweet Apple Salsa) with Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips!

Here are the dinners I am planning for this week:

Dinner #1 - Breakfast for Dinner.  Eggs, breakfast potatoes with peppers and onions, toast and fruit.

Dinner #2 - Tacos.  Crunchy and soft taco shells, ground beef filling with cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, salsa and black olives.  Canned refried beans (without questionable ingredients) from the pantry on the side.

Dinner #3 - Homemade Pizzas.  One cheese pizza and one sausage, pepper, onion and olive pizza.

Dinner #4 - Baked Chicken Legs with sauteed brussels sprouts (from the freezer).

Dinner #5 - Zuppa Bastarda made with frozen homemade chicken broth and beans from the pantry.  Served with kale salad and homemade bread.

Dinners #6 and #7 - Leftovers (mixed in throughout the week)