$114.51 worth of groceries this week. $10.49 under budget!
I came home tonight rather proud of myself. My husband looks at me like I've gone looney as I put all my groceries on the table to take a photograph. "What the hell are you doing?" he says. "I need to photograph it for my blog silly" I say as if I've been doing the same for years. "Yeah, but when are we eating? I'm hungry!" ... Men.

I told him I was under budget again. $10.49 to be exact, I although I did forget to buy some cooking onions, but still - pretty darn good if you ask me!  I spent a total of $114.51! "That's good honey!, But you have incentive." "I know! Mexico in September!" and it's true - saving my pennies on groceries is going to help pay the way for this girl to have a vacation somewhere hot and with cabana boys and drinks with umbrellas...oh the very thought makes my heart pitter patter. But back to today's achievement. I wanted my husband to jump up and down and say 'Awesome honey! I can't believe you did that!" Well, on second thought if he started jumping up and down like a kid I'd want to take him to the doctor.,A little more enthusiasm though would have been nice. Instead, "Where's dinner?"

I thought this week was going to be way more difficult than it was. I was out of rice, oatmeal, olive oil and maple syrup. Those are pretty big ticket items and I didn't know how I was going to get all of that plus meals for the week. I've learned a few things in the last while and I do think that they are helping.

There are few things that I like to measure. My waist is certainly not one of them. I decided some time during last week that if I was gong to take this using everything that I have wisely mantra for real then I was going to need to start measuring and weighing things. I've been cooking a long time. I can eyeball a cup, a tsp and a Tbsp pretty well. But where I fall short is in weight....both when it comes to my body and to the meat that I eat. If a recipe calls for a pound of meat and I have a little over a pound I'll use it. When it calls for 227g of pasta and I have a 340g box of pasta I use the whole box, and so on and so forth. I wondered last week what type of difference it would make if I began weighing the meat etc. of things I was using for recipes. I decided to give it a try.

Sunday's Dinner Shepherds Pie with measured ingredients and Julia Child's Beet Salad. Yummo! Delicious.
I went to the dollar store and purchased batteries for my trusty weigh scale ($2.50.). My first try was with the Shepherd's Pie I made for Sunday's dinner. It called for 1.5lbs of ground beef. I purchase grain fed beef and its worth the extra price, but I don't want to waste it. So I measured out 1.5lbs exactly. I used exactly one cup of onions etc. etc., the recipe called for 8oz of butternut squash and I gave it just that along with exactly 2lbs of potatoes. Most of this was organic so there is extra cost attached to these items. Waste not want not. As it turned out I had 1/2lb left of ground beef. What was I going to use that for? I thought long and hard, and realized that I could make a spaghetti sauce for my man and me, it may be a little thin on the meat portion, but it will still taste good. Extra meal right there. I figure an extra few oz of chicken breast from a well endowed free range chicken is great for a lunch. Extra pasta over time will add up to another meal eventually. It just made sense. So that's my latest change - and I like it!

Super Cook is turning out to be a Godsend! You have to check it out. I do believe that it is the key ingredient to me being able to stay under budget. Case in point, I had a can of artichokes that I wanted to use this week. Had no idea what to use it for. I went to Super Cook and it found recipes for me based on ingredients I already had in my pantry. I chose one that looks pretty good. Meal done - no groceries purchased, we're eating it on Saturday. Another perk is I'm trying new recipes and some of them are great! Last week's Moroccan Stew was awesome! A definite keeper. So are the Veggie Burgers. And Julia Child? There's a reason why she became so famous. Her coleslaw is completely different than what I normally make and absolutely delicious and her beet salad, although simplistic, is lovely. I finished it yesterday, but I want some more! Beware though, when you visit the bathroom after eating beets you're not actually dieing, its just beet juice.

It's because of Super Cook and weighing my food that I was able to purchase those bigger ticket items without causing an issue. Again this week I stocked up on some sale items. Rogers Oats were on for 2 bags for $6 at Save-on Foods. I bought two. I love Rogers Foods, not Rogers Cable. Rogers Foods don't add things to their foods, unlike Rogers Cable who seems to add all sorts of things to their bill. What you see is what you get with Rogers Foods. It may not be organic, but it's real. I like that. Large canned tomatoes, which if I had my druthers I would buy them in a glass container, were on sale for $1. I just couldn't pass it up and they're single ingredient cans....as in tomatoes. We're having a bit of a Mexican themed week because avocados and tomatoes were cheap. I got avocado's 3 for $2.50 and local tomatoes on the vine for .79lb! So I'm trying to cook based on the sales when I can, and on what I have in my pantry already. Measure and weigh and only use what I need. Use the rest in another meal. The savings start to add up. After all ... my cabana boy is calling.

This week's menu for under $115 is as follows -

Dinners -

Lunches - Leftovers, Mexican Quinoa Salad (with avocados, cilantro, black beans, red onion etc), Moroccan Soup (Made on Sunday)

Breakfasts - Oatmeal with blueberries and maple syrup. Eggs, Toast and Orange, Cornmeal Buttermilk Pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup.

Snacks - Breakfast Oat Cookies, fresh fruit and baby carrots with hummus.

There you have it! Week Deux of Challenge Deux is off and running!


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