Five seconds ago I had one of those “whoa” moments when I realized this is the last budget accountability session for 2015 AND for California.
It also happens to recap be a very NOT NORMAL month.
First off, there’s Thanksgiving. I normally don’t buy 13 lbs of ham. Or pre-packaged pie crusts.
Which leads me to number two – we’re moving. Across the country. And eating the food we already have beats out any deal at the store.
Despite this, I made a lot of trips to the store.
But none of my grocery shopping trips. I’m sorry. My mind has been a bit preoccupied. Forgive me?
Here’s my peace offering: I’ll break up the trips with pictures of what I made from the trips. Deal?
Awesome. Let’s get started!
Food Prices and What We Spent on Groceries: November 2015
Savemart – $7.47
bananas x2, 1.49
This was just a trip for eggs. Until I walked by the produce section and saw bananas marked down. Then it was a trip for eggs and bananas.
I made chocolate banana muffins with zucchini and coconut. The picture is above, and the recipe is coming soon. I didn’t really intend on sharing a zucchini recipe with you in December, but I got 3 that week in the CSA box (see below). Oh well. I guess that happens in California.
CVS – $8.14
vitamin C, x2 7.49
My son was exposed to whooping cough and a friend recommended a High Dose Vitamin C Protocol. I didn’t follow it exactly (since it’s written for adults and there’s little information on vitamin dosage for kids), but since we were fighting this virus naturally, we added a few tablets to his daily diet.
I chose tablets because they were BOGOF and had the least amount of additives. Consumer Beware – if you’re in the market for Vitamin C, don’t get the gummies. I did not find a single container of Vitamin C gummies that did not have some sort of artificial sugar added. Not.A.One.
Side Note: I’m normally not a huge fan of synthetic vitamins and MUCH prefer getting them in food. But every mom has their breaking point, and this was mine.
Costco – $11.48
Another quick trip for feta and spinach for Delicata Squash Salad with Apples and Cranberries. I already had the delicata squash from a previous CSA box, but I had ran out of both feta and spinach during recipe testing & development.
Savemart – $19.85
soy sauce, 1.79
green cabbage, 2.58
We were on the verge of saying yes to Georgia at this point in the month, so all trips to Costco were put on hold. Hence the overpriced (and bad tasting) coffee.
Fettuccine, soy sauce and green cabbage were for testing Kung Fu Panda Soup. Bananas on mark down, again.
cranberries x2, 5
navel oranges, 2.86
Apparently I was on this “gotta make all these recipes in my head STAT” phase because again, these ingredients were specifically for Slow Cooker Potpourri.
A side effect though is that I had extra cranberries on hand. Which led me to learn how to make my own dried cranberries.
And I swear, not every month is so perfectly planned out to use every last ingredient for a blog post. (Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.)
CSA – $21.59
I roasted the acorn squash and stuffed it with Autumn Rice Pilaf for dinner one night. The zucchini went into the chocolate banana muffins pictured above and the kids snacked on the grapes.
I pan-fried the potatoes one night for homemade potato chips, then roasted the broccoli another night with the cauliflower we got the following week (see below).
I think I juiced the lemons for a salad dressing and added the red onions to the garage. The carrots went into the crisper and I honestly don’t remember what we did with the cilantro and chard!
Lucky – $21.64
wing sauce, 2.99
blue cheese, 2.79
pepperoni x2, 3.99
My son requested Buffalo Chicken Pizza for his birthday, so that’s what we had. The eggs and milk are staples and the pepperoni was for those who can’t take the heat of buffalo.
CSA – $21.59
This was officially our last CSA box of the season. I’m sad to see it go, but I know there are CSA’s in Georgia too (which I plan to use with the help of a dear reader who emailed and offered to help me find one!)
The mushrooms went into Kung Fu Panda Soup and Autumn Rice Pilaf. The cauliflower was roasted, the yams became Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges and the grapes were snacked on. I don’t think we had a chance to eat the spinach or celery, but I know we ate the gold potatoes. I just don’t remember how!
Lucky – $19.06
almonds x2, 4.69
sunflower seeds, 2.19
A short trip for ingredients needed to make granola. I still had both oranges and cranberries at this point, so I made Cranberry Orange Granola. The family liked it so much that I made two more batches. We gifted jars to the kids’ teachers and ate the rest for breakfast with milk.
Lucky – $3.79
Ok, so most of the cranberries were gone, but not all. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I bought three oranges. Just in case.
Lo and behold, there was still one orange on the counter the day we moved!
Grocery Outlet – $28.39
cream cheese x2, 1.49
heavy cream x2, 3.29
The week before Thanksgiving, two of our very good friends invited us over for dinner. She requested her favorite Strawberry Pretzel Salad, and since no one else among our group of friends makes it, I happily obliged. Although I did make homemade whipped cream in lieu of cool whip (ew).
While in the store, I remembered about my favorite Cranberry Orange Scones, so I picked up an extra pint of heavy cream so I could make some with the last bit of cranberries and oranges.
Lucky – $3.99
A staple for pizza night.
Lucky – $32.40
cinnamon altoids, 1.49
chili verde salsa, 2.99
tortilla chips, 2
sliced pineapple, 1.25
sour cream, 1.29
green bell peppers, .99
spicy guacamole, 3.99
limes x5, .20
yellow onions, 3.67
kombucha x3, .99
One of the last family dinners we had together was tacos, so I went all out with all the fixins: green salsa, tortilla chips, pineapple salsa, cilantro, guacamole and limes for squeezing.
I happened to find 3 bottles of kombucha marked down while there, and picked up apples, onions and clementines for cooking and snacking throughout the week. The cinnamon altoids were for me.
Lucky – $44.33
paper plates, 2.50
crushed pineapple, 1.50
corn tortillas, 1.99
sweetened condensed milk x2, 2.19
tortilla chips, 2
plastic forks, .99
cottage cheese, 1.99
pie crust, 2.50
shredded cheese, 2.79
pie crust in the pan, 3.59
spinach/lettuce blend, 1.49
I normally make my own tortillas, but I was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the time. How was I supposed to make tortillas in my skillet when I needed the skillet for something else? I cried uncle and took the easy route.
Pineapple, milk, pumpkin, cottage cheese and pie crusts were for Thanksgiving. Like the tortillas, I normally make my own pie crusts too. But seriously, I was an emotional wreck. No husband. No furniture. No dishes. No pots and pans. Not even a pie plate to make the pie in.
I totally caved and gave myself a few extra servings of grace. My friends wouldn’t fault me for using a store-bought pie crust so neither should I.
Pears, apples and tangerines for lunches and snacks.
CVS – $14.64 (earned $5 ECB)
ear/nose aspirator, 5.49
I shared with weekly newsletter subscribers that I fully intended on making my own mascara when mine ran out, but given this month of swirling events, that didn’t happen.
Here’s a tip for buying mascara – if you’re not brand loyal, or at least choose between two, see how much is in each tube. I narrowed it down to two brands. One had .24 oz and the other had .40 oz – almost twice as much! Lucky for me, the one with more was cheaper AND it was on sale with an ECB.
The aspirator is for my allergies. My best friend shared that she’d been doing her own saline rinses in the shower with an aspirator… kinda like a mock Netty Pot. I’ve been struggling with my allergies for the past couple of months so I thought I’d give it a try. Guess what – it works!
Expect a post on this one next Spring!
Lucky – $44.16
baking powder, 2.29
BBQ sauce, 2.19
brussels sprouts, 5.32
It’s been scones mania in our house, since it’s one of the few baked goods I can make with a saucepan and a cast iron skillet. The leavening agent is baking powder and at this point in time, it’s a must-have.
BBQ sauce was for pork BBQ sandwiches and BBQ pork pizzas – two of the meals we’ve had recently. Ham, butter, bacon and Brussels sprouts were for Thanksgiving dinner.
Funny that the turkey seems to get the most attention at Thanksgiving, yet our table had lots of pig!
Grocery Outlet – $15.22
annie’s honey bunnies x2, .99
path love crunch granola bars x6, .33
string cheese, 3.99
gum x3, .99
A trip specifically to buy some road trip snacks. Although I rarely buy crackers, the honey bunnies were on sale and are a fun treat for the kids. The granola bars are organic (and low in sugar) and the raisins were once grapes (no added sugar there either). Pretzels for snacking, cheese for lunches and then snacking, and a pack of gum for each of us who will be car-bound for 36 hours. 🙂
Total Monthly Grocery Spending for November 2015: $325.58
You might have noticed, but we didn’t buy much meat this month. That’s because I bought several pork roasts in October and 3 lbs of ground turkey in September. Both were in the freezer at the start of the month, as was a whole chicken that was cooked and shredded. This was more than enough meat for my family for the month, especially when you consider the various gatherings too.
At first glance, the total seems high for not buying much meat AND eating out the kitchen. But this month also had more convenience foods than I normally buy… tortillas, crackers, granola bars, pretzels, pie crusts… It only solidifies the fact that when you buy convenience foods, that’s what you’re paying for – convenience.
Taking the time to make things from scratch is worth it most of the time, but especially if it’s something you eat often or something you can make without having to buy special ingredients (I’m thinking about the tortillas and pie crusts here).
How did you do on your grocery budget for November?
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