Home > Archive: July, 2018

Archive for July, 2018

Grocery Shopping Again

July 30th, 2018 at 12:17 am

Grocery shopping again - must be Sunday!

I shop on Sundays because there are no alcohol sales before noon on Sundays so the store is quiet. I go to two stores - Sprouts and Trader Joe's. At Sprouts, I check my receipt in the car before I head home, and 1 out of 3 times there is a mistake! Today I bought ginger, and it was like 39 cents, but then there was another charge for ginger right below it for something like 1.8 POUNDS of ginger for $5.59!!! I went back in the store for my refund. They wanted to give it to me in cash.... nooooo! I asked for it to be put back on the credit card.

Here is this week's menu plan:
S - salmon souvlaki bowls (kalamata, cucumber, red pepper over rice) and tzatziki (fish)
M - pad thai with bok choy (veggie)
T - frittata with spinach and onion (veggie)
W - chili from the freezer with a salad (turkey)
T - ottolenghi red rice/quinoa with pistachios, apricots, rocket (veggie)
F - asian meatballs (turkey mince) with rice (turkey)
S - pan fried hearts of palm with coleslaw and corn on the cob (veggie)

We also bought fruit for snacks (grapes, melon, plums, strawberries) and jicama (a little lime, a little chile powder - yum!). And Trader Joe's bean and seed mix. And we always have dried fruit (dried pears from TJ are our current favorite) and nuts.

Lunches will be artichokes, deviled eggs, tuna wraps, turkey wraps with green chile, salad with avocado and sunflower seeds.

I am also working on cleaning the pantry shelves one shelf at a time, top down. They need cleaning, but it also helps me remember to use things up! And I moved some things around a little (we don't eat a lot of cereal, so it doesn't need to be eye level!).

Other food-related thoughts:
- We are watching Eat Well for Less; there have been a couple of good recipes including one for breakfast tray-baked eggs. We always have veggies that we could dump in there..
- I have had so much work these past two weeks I haven't baked anything, but I want to. Maybe lemon-poppyseed cake? Chocolate seems too heavy right now.
- I bought kebab skewers which was exciting (rather than using the disposable bamboo kind)
- We've been using this recipe but with only a little bit of chicken and mostly veggies (courgette, red pepper, mushrooms)
- We made this Asian Thai salad for lunch last week and it was awesome! except I made half the dressing and used only a tiny pinch of sugar (there is already honey in it)
- We went to my friend's 50th bday last night and it was a BBQ. We brought a salad to share, and they had two types of veggie dogs (this is a good friend so I didn't feel bad digging through her trash to read the labels - one was gluten free and the other wasn't so we had the gf ones!). We were planning on eating a little more when we got home, but we didn't need to!
- Today we went to the "beach" (down by the lake half an hour from here), but we ate before we went. We had TJ tamales instead of going out to eat.

What are you having for dinner this week?

Quiet, frugal weekend

July 22nd, 2018 at 02:31 pm

It's been a quiet and uneventful weekend, which is GOOD! We like quiet!

I've been popping in to take care of an acquaintances dog (she did the same for us, so it's a trade, and free for both of us). Also working on a Nimbus 2000 (for those of you who aren't Harry Potter fans, that is a type of racing broom for Quidditch) for F. I had the perfect piece of scrap wood, cut it yesterday with my jigsaw and now trying to shape it with my orbital sander. We got some reeds with a Michael's coupon.

For frugal fun: we biked to karate yesterday along the river trail, went to the pool. Today we're going down to this cute little village (Cerrillos, NM) where I have a project. This is work/fun because I need to do a photo study before I begin designing this fire station.

And lastly - F is saving us a bunch of money. Instead of doing soccer camp this week, she asked to the do these morning workouts up at school with her soccer team. The workouts are free, 1 1/2 hours (so I can get work done) and saves us $325. Because of that, I'm going to ask a friend to cover my Thursday bodypump class so I can hang out with F more rather than her having to stay home while I teach. That is a loss of $25 in gym payments, but worth it I think considering the savings!

Frugal and Not-Frugal

July 17th, 2018 at 10:59 pm

Frugal: got $94 from the gym. That is probably my largest payment yet!

Not-Frugal: I broke a bowl this morning! We already had very few of those bowls, which I use a lot. Grrr. Bought a set of 6 on Amazon for $17.

Frugal: I got a $10 gift card from Swagbucks.

Not-Frugal: I messed up on an invoice I sent to a client (wrong tax amount! Ack!). It was an excel error on my part. I just sent him the correct invoice. I hope I don't have to eat the tax.

Frugal: I found some yarn I've had for a while, and I'm going to knit a new sweater, but not sure what to knit. I have two patterns I want to do...

Frugal and Not-Frugal: It's only July and I already bought F a Christmas present. But I guess it's good to be ahead.

Frugal: We went to the library yesterday and got a ton of books and ran into friends. Free books and social gathering in one!

Not-Frugal: One of F's friends is leaving for a ballet camp for 3 weeks on Saturday and when the mom suggested we have lunch before she leaves, I said ok. Should have suggested a picnic.

Frugal: I am playing the free Harry Potter Mystery game on my phone; yes, it's a time-waster, but I am a bit of a Harry Potter fan (just a bit).

Meal Plan - Lots of Veggies!

July 16th, 2018 at 02:24 pm

We spent $117 on groceries this week.

S - Friends over - spaghetti with courgettes and bread (and my friend brought a salad) - vegetarian dinner
S - asian cauliflower stirfry with rice - vegetarian dinner
M - kimchi quesadillas - vegetarian dinner
T - chili with cornbread (has turkey in the chili)
W - potatoes with rosemary, kale salad with avocado and other veggies - vegetarian dinner
T - crustless quiche (with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, broccoli) - vegetarian dinner
F - elote pasta - vegetarian dinner
S - not sure...

We are eating more vegetarian meals, but trying to make sure they are packed with good protein and good fats, especially on soccer practice nights! Kimchi quesadillas has beans and cheese, crustless quiche is eggs/cheese. Soccer is T/Th this week.

I went to my friend A's house yesterday - she's going away and her garden is producing a ton, so she gave me a huge pile of vegetables! Yay!!!

We invested in a bowl shaped thermos for F's lunches after seeing a really cool vending machine called Farmer's Fridge in the Chicago Airport. We're inspired to try different grain bowls and salads for her lunch (I realized - duh - that I can set the rice cooker overnight and have rice or other grains in the morning to use in a bowl). Check out their website. I looked it up for inspiration for different things to put in the bowl.

They have a greek salad, a cobb salad, a peanut sauce thai salad. Southwest salad, napa salad (F says - "I want that one!"). There are bowls, too, with rice or noodles or quinoa. Lots of good veggies, avocado, etc.

All of this is super easy to make at home! Need to look up some dressing recipes.

Back from Holiday

July 15th, 2018 at 06:21 pm

We had an amazing 3 week holiday, and are now back! It's nice to be back (as we were landing, my daughter said excitedly "Look at the brown grass!" - this is what happens when you grow up in New Mexico - you think grass is supposed to be brown).

Here are the highs and lows of the holiday spending:

- We bought only one souvenir (a plate to use for olives with two sections - one for olives and one for pits, from Portugal) - 12 euro. We usually buy one useful thing (in France several years ago it was salad tongs that we use all the time) that are a great reminder of our wonderful trip every time it's used. F bought some things at the Harry Potter Studios with her money.

- We did not check any bags, so no bag fees.

- We stayed in apartments, so we were able to cook a lot of our meals.

- We did eat out a fair amount, probably more than previous trips. Eating out in Portugal was not expensive. We took D's dad out to dinner in Gloucester (UK). That wasn't cheap. But we had a lot of picnics. Carrots are super inexpensive, and butter and cheese. A lot of our picnics were of the cheese/olive/bread/fruit variety. Cherries were in season in Portugal and they were huge, yummy and cheap! We were taken out to dinner by family a few times (who I think were appreciative that we spent the money to come see them rather than them having to buy plane tickets to the US).

- We used public transport exclusively. They were having a "kids ride free" promotion in Ireland, so F was free there. We bought Leap cards in Ireland; any unused amount on the Leap card is refundable later if you register the cards online (including the deposit for the card).

- Some of the experiences that were so worth the money: Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour, Palacio de Pena/Quinta de Regaleira/Moorish Castle in Portugal, pedalo and stand up paddleboarding rental in Cascais Portugal, kayaking on the Liffey in Dublin, Powerscourt gardens outside of Dublin, rented bikes in the Phoenix Park in Dublin, played footgolf in Howth outside of Dublin. We used the money in our Irish account to pay for all of this; I have not been transferring any money from this account to our US account for several months.

- We had what I think was a lot of spending on experiences (which I far prefer to stuff), but had some big savings, too:
-In Cambridge, we paid only 16 pounds to punt on the River Cam because D has his alumni card and has punted before so we didn't need to do a tour (which is like 150 pounds - yikes!).
-In Dublin we got in to see the Book of Kells for free because D is an alumnus of Trinity. That would have been 28 euro.
-Visit to an English park with a little zipline that kept all three of us amused for a long time. A lot of English parks have ziplines!

- We brought home some gf food we can't get in the US or cost a lot to get online (Irish brown bread, crumpets).

- Free souvenir from Ireland - a rock from Killiney beach and lots and lots of photos.

I hope your summer travels are also amazing! Have you been to Lisbon/Cascais/Sintra? Incredible, right?