Welcome to Frugal Frog Friday: Grocery Store Edition
This upcoming week I am going to take the Frugal Frog Grocery Challenge. The rule of this challenge is to make the groceries I bought yesterday last ALL week. I have a TERRIBLE habit of going to the grocery store multiple times a week. My tendency is to go to the grocery store when I am bored or stressed out. That has been happening a LOT lately.
I went to two different places to get all of the groceries for this week: Price Rite and Wegmans. I can only get the dehydrated coconut flakes (to make coconut butter!) from Wegmans. Also, Wegmans has much better bananas and fresh fruit. Here is my Wegmans bounty:
11 Bananas 2 packages dried coconut 2 cans of no-salt green beans 1 can no-salt chopped carrots Unsweetened Apple Sauce Gum (My addiction) Pecans from the Bulk Food aisle
If you have not checked out the Bulk Food aisle at your grocery store, you are missing some serious frugal frog deals! Pecans are crazy expensive in their pre-packaged state. I saved at least 30% using the bulk bins!
From Price Rite I got LOADS of goodies:
3 GIANT sweet potatoes 3 Baking Potatoes 1 Cabbage 1 Sweet Onion 1 Zucchini squash 1 Bunch of Kale Tomato Juice Crushed Tomatoes Stew Meat 1 dozen eggs Loaf of wheat bread Hamburger Buns Generic Shredded Wheat Generic Rice Krispies Generic Frosted Flakes (Chase will totally go through 3 boxes in a week!)
The Grand total came to....
Total = $44.43
I promise I will confess to the blog if I break the challenge!
How much do you usually spend on groceries each week? Do you love grocery shopping or hate it?
I have officially fallen head-over-heels in love with my crockpot. My sister and I always teased my mom growing up because every dinner came from the crockpot. Now I COMPLETELY understand the reason for her affinity. The crockpot is the best friend every busy girl (and guy!) needs.
Yesterday I decided to make "Jerk Chicken." However, after looking at tons of recipes and making many adaptations and substitutions, I do not think it can actually have this moniker.
Instead, I am calling this recipe:
Thyme on Your Side Crockpot Chicken
3 lbs Chicken leg quarters
1 onion (diced)
7 cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Ground Mustard
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Dash of Ginger
Dash of Rep Pepper Flakes
2 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1) Place chicken into the crockpot
2) Sprinkle everything else on top!
3) Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours (If chicken is frozen, it will be closer to 6 hours)
I bought this giant bag of peeled garlic cloves. It was $4 and the garlic tastes SO fresh. Not to mention the fact that you don't have to smash heads of garlic and spend hours trying to get the papery stuff off. I made this recipe using chicken leg quarters. They looks like this in the store:
And the best part of using bone-in leg quarters is the value:
This cost $3.35. Um, Holy Frugal Frog! That is a STEAL!
Chase absolutely ADORED this recipe. I thought it was good, but when I make it again, I think I will do more oregano and less thyme. Also, I think I would add some Tabasco sauce for a little heat!
With my advent into the Paleo lifestyle, I have curbed my baking quite a bit and increased my “cooking” tenfold. Sweets have been replaced with gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free savories. My stomach and overall health have thrived on this new plan, but my nose misses the smell of pumpkin baked goods.
Chase came home on Friday with a special request for me—to bake “something sweet and pumpkin-ish” for a fellow doctor he has been working with lately. I practically danced to the kitchen. I instantly knew what I was going to bake—PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES!
While these are in no way Paleo-friendly, my non-paleo husband and everyone else has given these babies the seal of pumpkin approval.
I actually had a marvelous helper in the kitchen. Our "little brother" is a dynamite baker!
Without further ado, I present to you:
Sally Anne’s Wicked Whoopies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling.
For the Pies:
1 ¾ cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp soda
¾ tsp baking powder
2 tsps. Cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
½ cup oil
1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin
1)Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray.
2)Pour all ingredients into a bowl and mix on low speed for 30 seconds and then increase to medium speed and mix for 1 minute.
3)Transfer the batter to a pastry bag or a large ziploc bag and cut the corner off.
4)Form the pies using about 2 tbsp of batter for each one. There should be 4 rows of 4 on each cookie sheet.
5)Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes and then CHECK to see if they are done by sticking a toothpick into one pie. If it comes out clean, take them out of the oven. If not check in 3 minutes.
6)Cool and then fill.
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese (softened)
4 tbsp. butter (softened)
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1)Beat the butter and cream cheese until creamy.
2)Add the cinnamon and 3 cups of sugar. Add more powdered sugar until it reaches the consistency of soft, but stable, filling. You want it to be the glue that holds the pies together, so make sure it is not “drippy.”
3)Pour into a pastry bag or a ziploc bag and cut the corner of to squirt filling in between 2 whoopie pies. I use about 1 tbsp. in each “sandwich.”
Today I found myself with an unexpected free afternoon. After the sheer madness of last week, you would I think I would have been relieved. Instead, I felt SO much pressure to enjoy every single second! (Am I the only when who gets stressed out when I am NOT doing 1000 things at once?)
After a minor freak out, I decided I needed to soak in EVERY second and force myself to relax.
I decided that the best way to set the tone for the day would be to begin with a nap.
I don't even remember the last time I took a nap. To be honest, it felt superb! I woke up feeling very energized. Why can't we still have mandated naptime every day? Those preschoolers totally have the right idea!
I then decided to dive into some relaxing reading.
I really want to carve out time to read daily. I always so enjoy sitting down with a book or a magazine, but I have to be more purposeful in setting time to do so.
While I had planned to go on a run, I decided that it would be more relaxing to take a long walk. So the PaleoRunnerGirl decided to be the PaleoWalkerGirl and I traipsed 5 hilly miles.
Another activity that I delved into was working on paleo-fying recipes from cookbooks and actually HANDWRITING them into my recipe book! I just love the tactile nature of writing a recipe.
Does anyone else FORGET to drink water. I always have a water bottle with me, but I rarely have 10 seconds to think, "Hey, you should finish this water!"
Later, I plan to rope Chase into doing a little Yoga with me; which should be AWESOME (and hilarious).
And last, but certainly not least, we plan to read more from our "book in common." Chase and I are that super dorky couple that has individual books, as well as a "book in common" that we read together. Right now we are reading this book:
Has anyone else read it? We are half-way through it and are on the fence about it still. Hopefully the last half is better than the first!
What would you do on an afternoon off? Are you good at relaxing, or are you a work-in-progress like myself?
I am typically not one to boast or brag, but today, I feel like I have earned a coveted award.
Today marks the happiest day of my frugal frog life! After the Paleo Faileo coconut debacle of last week I have TRIUMPHED!
I found an EASIER and still cheap way to make coconut butter from scratch in the comfort of your own kitchen. All you need is:
A bag of unsweetened dehydrated coconut (I found this in the “special” organic section of Wegmans and I have also seen it at Whole Foods in the Bulk Bins and in the baking aisle). This bag cost me $2.69. Not bad.
Do NOT get the “reduced-fat” option for 2 reasons: 1) It will not successfully turn into butter and 2) Fat is your FRIEND! Do not fear it!
The second thing you need is a BLENDER! Put those food processors away (or at least the mini chops)! The blender is the TICKET!
There are 3 easy-peasy steps to the coconut butter process:
1)Pour the coconut into the blender
2)Blend the coconut (I used the “puree” option) for 10-20 minutes depending on the strength of your blender. Be sure to scrape down the sides OFTEN.
Seriously, I am GLOWING! For less than $3 I made my own jar of coconut goodness! Break out the apples and the sweet potatoes because I am going to town!
If you could find the recipe or the process to make any food at home, what would YOU choose?
I immediately thought that I could try and make this from scratch:
At Whole Foods I pay $13.99 for a jar, and there are no Whole Foods around me so it would also be lots of gas $$. At my local market, I pay $1.50 for a coconut. Thus, when I saw the coconut staring at me, I decided to try and make my own coconut butter.
It started with me poking holes in each of the three soft spots (it is the weakest part of the coconut):
Then I drained the water out. There was quite a bit of dance-shaking to get all of it out.
The third step was my favorite. I selected a giant bath towel and wrapped the coconut up, nice and tight.
Then I got my pink tool box out of the closet and found my hammer and went at it like a kid at a pinata party.
I have had the most stressful few days ever. To be perfectly honest, this was incredibly cathartic! I highly recommend cracking coconuts for stress management. :)
Then I cut up the meat of the coconut and rinsed it.
And then, into the food processor it went.
I then processed it for 10 minutes. When nothing seemed to happen, I put the shredded coconut on a cookie sheet and toasted it, thinking that would aid in the process.
I then put it back in the food processor and continued to process it for the last 30 minutes of "Teen Mom" (Try not to judge me...). Then, suddenly, my beloved mini food processor stopped.
It grieves me deeply to announce that on September 15th, 2011 at 6:45 PM, my food processor made its last chop.
It will be dearly missed, as will the coconut butter that was never finished.
I think if I had a regular processor, not a mini, it would have gotten the job done. But alas, the world may never know.
And this my friends was my first, but most definitely not my last, paleo faileo.
Have you ever had a recipe or kitchen failure? Do share!
The Organic Apple Festival was a blast! We had never been to the Rodale Institute and were excited to learn all about their organic agricultural initiative. We were also totally excited to do anything and everything APPLE!
It was such a perfectly crisp autumn day! We looked around and then picked up some baskets to pick our own apples--so fun! It was actually quite a hunt, because without the use of pesticides, worms had gotten to MANY of the apples.
Chase did not fully embrace the proper apple picking posture. :)
The ambiance was incredible. There was a bluegrass band playing and it made the entire experience so rich and memorable!
I felt like we had stepped back in time!
You could also pick your own herbs! How fun is that?!
Before we left, Chase decided that he could not leave without trying an Apple Cider float. He thoroughly enjoyed this autumnal treat!
We had an incredibly fun day and it definitely met our FRUGAL but FUN standards:
Parking = $1
Apples Picked = $1.50 (We picked four...Haha)
Apple Float = $2
Total Cost = $4.50
(We also got some great freebies: coupons, free organic string cheese, free organic chocolate milk, free grocery tote bag, a free temporary tattoo AND a painting/coloring picture!)
While our plans were to go to The Burgery tonight. We decided to do our own burger night at home. The temptation to eat at home, in our snuggies, and spend the evening on the couch was just too much!
Local, Free-Range Bison Burgers are SO yummy!
Eating in PJ's is the BEST. Now on to "House Hunters" and "My First Place."
What is your favorite weekend activity? Have you done anything autumnal this weekend?
This week has been BANANAS. I have been working overtime every single day this week. Consequently, I am dreadfully exhausted, but the house fund is getting lots of extra $crilla this week. However, the unanticipated long hours have left me scrounging for eats at the bottom of the barrel.
Yes, I did in fact steal food from toddlers. Hey, at least it was gluten-free.
Now, onto Frugality Fun 101. This week we went into e-bay overdrive. On my last trip back home to Kentucky, I went down to the basement and went through boxes of old college stuff. It has been four years since I have seen most of this stuff, but I found some gems in the form of a brand-new harp tuner, shoes, and a jewelry box. We have already sold the harp tuner and are $24 richer. Awesome! I heart e-bay!
Chase got inspired and went through some of his stuff and sold his set of P90X DVD’s for $55. This took all of 15 minutes, we made some extra crash to put in the house fund, AND we got rid of things we were not using. If you have not caught the e-bay bug—you really should!
Now for the Frugal Frog weekend game-plan. We have been hit by autumn so our weather is divine. The plan for this weekend is to soak up fall.
Friday night plans:
Either watch a movie on Netflix or rent one from the Redbox. We will also be roasting every vegetable in the house. It will be an autumnal feast!
I am SO excited! I will be sure to take MANY pictures. Even more important, admission is FREE and parking is $1. Um, sign me up!
Saturday night we are actually thinking about going out to eat. We have done SO well at saving and making extra money this week, so we want to do a little something special. Plus, we have just heard about a new-ish restaurant that sounds totally fun, economical, and paleo-friendly. It is called The Burgery. I am pretty sure we can get out of there spending no more than $25.
Saturday Activity Cost: $26
Sunday we are planning on finally taking our little brother on that fall walk we have been trying to coordinate. The weather looks AWESOME, and completely autumnal, so it should be very fun. Our hope is that we can teach him that being active in nature is even MORE fun than watching TV and playing the DS.
We may come back to our apartment and make something apple-filled to celebrate the season!
Sunday Cost: $0
Chase and I are also hoping to carve out time to read and relax on Sunday afternoon. It should be a nice, low-key day!