How Much do You Spend on Groceries?

In the past I’ve created posts explaining the USDA Food Plan Costs so you can get an idea of how much people spend for food individually and as a family. While I do know a few people who spend less than the thrifty food plan, this seems to be spot on most weeks for me.

I do aspire to the thrifty food plan, which was $38.00 February 2019, but sometimes I go above, spending closer to the low-cost plan of $47.20 a week. Mind you, I do buy some organic, non-gmo items, and I’m still learning to do this in the most affordable way possible. I want to point out that I do a stock up trip with my tax refund where I spend an additional $100 to $150 in one trip, but the food lasts a long time.

During years when my parents grow food, my overall average has gone down significantly. When I have a place where I can garden I plan to grow most of my own produce and herbs, but I am not there yet.

Here are some ways I save money on food:

  • I grow some of my own organic herbs and dry or freeze them for later use. Parsley and mint are two of them.
  • I have chives growing out at my mothers. When I visit, I cut some and bring it home to freeze. This is an absolute freebie for me.
  • I make some things from scratch, such as Paleo pizza crusts, muffins, and tortillas, as well as the occasional dessert.
  • I make my own fruit sauces.
  • I coupon minimally. It’s hard to find coupons for most of what I buy.
  • I try to buy when on sale.
  • I accept fresh produce and eggs from anyone who wants to give them to me.
  • I freeze small bits of food to add to smoothies, soups, and other things later on.
  • I snag good buys at farmer’s markets at the end of the day/season.
  • I comparison shop. Sometimes, but not always, I can find better deals online.

What I don’t mind spending extra money on.

  • Organic, Maine-made honey.
  • Organic, Maine or Vermont-made maple syrup and cream.
  • Organic, locally canned pickled beets when my parents don’t make them.
  • Organic olive oil, coconut oil, and ghee.
  • Almond and coconut flours.
  • Enjoy Life chocolate chips.

I don’t buy a lot of these more expensive items, but I do like to have them on hand once in a while. Sometimes I like to make something special.

How does your spending compare to the amounts given for February?

Shannon

Frugal Recipes Happenings Spring 2019

54800212_10157567561062668_8857422805847769088_n

Tuesday was such a nice day. I had so much fun at the Discovery Museum with my grandchildren, my son-in-law Devan, and my daughter Skye and her boyfriend Ryan. My only wish would have been that the kids mother could have been there, rather than at work.

Little Man had a grand time checking things out during our couple of hour visit. He climbed really high, saw what a beaver home looked like, played with magnets and so much more. The joy on his face, as well as the concentration at times, melted my heart. ❤

54514319_10157567556907668_25352290005155840_n

Little Miss also enjoyed the afternoon out. She is only eight months old, but she had so much fun touching things. She’s quite tactile.

The only thing she really didn’t like was the feel of the tree. Other than that, she liked touching different types of leaves and feeling the other textures.

She never cried once, and was just as happy as could be. ❤

 

53839929_10157555858107668_4380051534436630528_n

Earlier this month I learned I had won a $25 gift card for Amazon from my employer for posting in our closed Facebook group.

Perfect timing! On the first I’m going to be doing a detox, and the gift card bought me two bags of protein powder for that purpose. Organic pea powder to go in my juices/smoothies.

I’m doing the Total Wellness Summit this week, and then next month changing things up. My body needs a detox, and I need to fix some gut issues. Plus I’ve got to get back on track with my weight and fitness goals. Who’s with me!?

54522422_10157569895082668_3313424156258729984_n

The last two weeks each saw a day that was simply gorgeous, so I have started to get the longer walks in again. I don’t get to do that in the winter because it’s so hard to breath on the coldest days, and it is not really safe to walk in a lot of areas.

The last couple of weeks I’ve been doing more sitting than normal though, with all the virtual summits and conferences I’ve been taking notes on. It will all pay off in the long run, though.

I’ve added deep breathing a few times a day, I’m walking a bit more and planning to walk even longer distances within another month,I am doing more yoga, and upping the leg, arm, and core exercises. I’ll be tweaking how I go about doing everything, but I am getting there.

20190220_150409

As for nutrition? I’m eating lighter fare more often than not right now, I’m going to do the detox, then 90% of what I eat will be Whole30/Paleo.

It has to be that way if I want this weight gone, and I do!

I hope you’ve been following along on the blog. The newest items are lighter and very nutritious.

I also wanted to remind you about some other types of recipes that will help you to eat and drink lighter this spring.

Not sure if there is an interest here on the blog to follow along with the weightloss and fitness goals. I’m keeping a journal of all I learn and do, if anyone is interested. Just let me know by commenting on this post or emailing me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com and I can start a new category or page. I know the struggle people are going through to get healthy.

Happy Spring!

~ Shannon

Cheese Board for Sharing

Finally bought myself a cheese board! I’ve been wanting to for a while now. At some point I want to have my daughters over for some family time, and this will be a big hit. Who wouldn’t want to share the deliciousness with loved ones?

I love that this board has a place to keep crackers separate from the other foods on each side. I also love that you don’t necessarily need to have cheese on the board, though this arrangement has two goat cheese dips I’m sure you will love. (I’ll be sharing links to a few of these dips below.)

The combinations of foods to be placed on a cheese board seem endless, and I promise you I will be trying many. I might even share some more with you here on the blog. I can’t wait to use this at future get-togethers with family and friends.

Try to use organic foods when possible. Rinse and dry produce before use.

NOTE: I prefer goat cheese over that made from cow’s milk. I have an intolerance to cow’s milk, and am so happy to have an alternative cheese. Regardless, I don’t eat cheese all the time. It’s a real treat for me.

Fruit & Vegetables Cheese Board

1 cucumber, sliced

1 apple, sliced

1 pear, sliced

1 or 2 carrots, cut into sticks

1 or 2 celery stocks, cut into sticks

1 orange, sectioned

grapes

pineapple chunks or tidbits

Paleo crackers

1 or 2 goat cheese dips: Fig & Goat Cheese Dip, Almond & Goat Cheese Dip, Fig & Almond Goat Cheese Dip, Blueberry & Goat Cheese Dip.

All you’re doing is placing the food onto the cheese board in a pleasing manner. You can use my photograph as a guide, and experiment.

Tips

  • Use your favorite fruits and vegetables.
  • Try different types of dips and sauces.
  • Leave the peels on apples, pears, cucumbers, and the like, for added nutritional value.
  • On rare occasion, I order Chinese from a restaurant near work. It’s not the healthiest, but it is convenient. Every time I order, they send me at least four of the spoons that are used in the photo. I finally found a good use for them!
  • Make your own Paleo crackers. Use a recipe you find online. They will be healthier than traditional crackers.
  • If it will be a bit before you eat, dip apple & pear slices in lemon juice for about 30 seconds.
  • Growing grapes, celery, and carrots, or other fruits and vegetables, will save you a good deal of money.
  • Cheese boards would be great for any celebration.

Enjoy your cheese board!

~ Shannon

 

 

 

 

Blueberry & Goat-Cheese Dip

I can’t get enough of these goat cheese dips. I’ve shared three so far, and this will be the last. At least for now. To try making the others:

Almond & Goat Cheese Dip

Fig & Goat Cheese Dip

Fig & Almond Goat Cheese Dip

I bought some blueberries because, well, I love them. What more perfect food to add to one of these dips? And the color is simply beautiful.

The consistency of this dip will depend on how juicy the berries are and how much honey you use. Mine was pretty thick, but great for scooping.

Blueberry & Goat Cheese Dip

(I didn’t measure anything out. I just put some ingredients in a bowl, mixed it up, and called it good. Make this dip by trusting your taste buds!)

blueberries

honey

goat cheese

  1. Put it all in a bowl and mix with a fork, while also smashing it all together to break up the cheese and combine everything. Don’t worry about getting all the little chunks of cheese smoothed out. They add texture and taste great!
  2. Place in a small decorative bowl.
  3. Store leftovers in refrigerator, to have with crackers for a snack.

Easy-peasy!

Tips

  • Look for sales on the cheese to save money.
  • Couple coupons with a sale to save more.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with apple or pear slices.
  • Serve on a cheeseboard with fruits, vegetables, and Paleo friendly crackers.

Enjoy!

Shannon

 

Fig & Almond Goat-Cheese Dip

I’ve written about how I recently came to try goat cheese for the first time, and offered a couple of goat cheese dip recipes for you to enjoy:

fig & goat cheese dip

almond & goat cheese dip

This recipe is the third experiment, and is just a mash-up of what I’ve already done. I like the flavor combinations.

The consistency of this dip will depend on how much liquid you use.

Fig & Almond Goat Cheese Dip

(I didn’t measure anything out. I just put some ingredients in a bowl, mixed it up, and called it good. Make this dip by trusting your taste buds!)

almond butter, and a little of the oil from the top of the jar

2 or 3 figs, processed in the blender

honey

goat cheese

  1. Put it all in a bowl and mix with a fork, while also smashing it all together to break up the cheese and combine everything. Don’t worry about getting all the little chunks of cheese smoothed out. They add texture and taste great!
  2. Place in a small decorative bowl.
  3. Store leftovers in refrigerator, to have with crackers for a snack.

Easy-peasy!

Tips

  • Look for sales on the cheese to save money.
  • Couple coupons with a sale to save more.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with raw cauliflower.
  • Serve on a cheeseboard with fruits, vegetables, and Paleo friendly crackers.

Enjoy!

Shannon

 

Almond & Goat-Cheese Dip

I mentioned the other day that I was experimenting with making flavored goat cheeses. If you missed it, check out how it all came about in that post. Sometimes mistakes turn into good things.

This is the second recipe I tried. I must say I’ve enjoyed creating these recipes. And I’m happy to have something new to share with you here on the blog.

The consistency of this dip will depend on how much liquid you use.

Almond & Goat Cheese Dip

(I didn’t measure anything out. I just put some ingredients in a bowl, mixed it up, and called it good. Make this dip by trusting your taste buds!)

almond butter, and a little of the oil from the top of the jar

honey

goat cheese

  1. Put it all in a bowl and mix with a fork, while also smashing it all together to break up the cheese and combine everything. Don’t worry about getting all the little chunks of cheese smoothed out. They add texture and taste great!
  2. Place in a small decorative bowl.
  3. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Easy-peasy!

Tips

  • Look for sales on the cheese to save money.
  • Couple coupons with a sale to save more.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with cucumber slices.
  • Serve on a cheeseboard with fruits, vegetables, and Paleo friendly crackers.

Enjoy!

Shannon

Fig & Goat-Cheese Dip

While trying to stay away from regular milk products, I’ve been discovering other things to use instead. I was shopping with my daughter Skye one evening, trying to hurry and not really paying attention, when I came across goat cheese. I bought three:

plain

blueberry, lemon, and thyme

cranberry, orange, and cinnamon

Imagine my excitement. I’d been looking for a substitute for the cow’s milk cheeses and decided I would try these. When I got them home I looked more closely at the label.

The ingredients are simple, which is great. However, the flavored cheeses had sugar in them. 😦 Well, I had paid almost $5.00 each, so you know I ate them. And they were delicious! All three of the cheeses were. I don’t know why I never thought to try goat’s milk cheese before.

As much as I would like to take the easy way out and just buy the flavored ones, I decided to be good and do some experimenting. I’m trying not to eat sugar. I went out and bought blueberry’s, figs, nut butter, and honey and started whipping up some of my own flavored goat cheeses to pair with fruits and vegetables.

The results? Three great dips using plain goat cheese as the base.

Fig & Goat Cheese Dip

(I didn’t measure anything out. I just put some ingredients in a bowl, mixed it up, and called it good. Make this dip by trusting your taste buds!)

2 or 3 figs, processed in a blender

a little honey

goat cheese

  1. Put it all in a bowl and mix with a fork, while also smashing it all together to break up the cheese and combine everything. Don’t worry about getting all the little chunks of cheese smoothed out. They add tecture and taste great!
  2. Place in a small decorative bowl.
  3. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Easy-peasy!

Tips

  • Look for sales on the cheese to save money.
  • Coupling an in-store coupon with a sale will save you even more.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with carrot and celery sticks.
  • Serve on a cheeseboard with fruits, vegetables, and Paleo friendly crackers.

Enjoy!

Shannon

Frugal Recipes Happenings: Winter 2018-2019

This winter hasn’t seemed as bad as last winter. Not so far anyway. Last year, the first couple of months were too cold – colder than normal. While we’ve had some of those days this year, there haven’t been as many. It seems like it rains after most snow days, making for very wet weather. I still see patches of lawn, though.

Not that I’m complaining. I’ll take this over two months of freezing cold temperatures. How about you?

I’ve been enjoying having Zowie and Devan in the area, and spending time with my precious grandchildren. Little Man is 3 1/2 and Little Miss is already 6 months old, and they are my hearts joy.

 

Yule (the first day of winter) was a busy, busy day. The bestest picked me up, and we went to my parents home for the family Christmas party. It was a lot of fun. We all exchanged our gifts, and enjoyed some great food. I love my stepfathers homemade baked beans, and he always buys Governor’s rolls to go with them. Yum! When it was time for us to leave, mom packed me 3 meals worth of beans and rolls, as well as treats. She does this for me every year, so I can have the food for my upcoming shifts at The Inn.

Then the bestest and I went to her house for our baking day. We made so many things! I made peanut butter and chocolate no-bakes, and three flavors of popcorn. She made breads and chocolate dipped pretzel logs. I’m sure there was more. We packaged all of the goodies, and handed them out to loved ones as part of their holiday gifts.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright December 22, 2018.

Christmas Eve was spent at my aunts for another Christmas party, and then some of us met up at my daughter’s on Christmas. After everyone left, I stayed behind for further bonding with the grandchildren.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright December 24, 2018.

I took a vacation from The Inn after the holidays, and spent some time Zowie’s family again, as well as with my daughter Skye and her boyfriend. Play dates with the kiddos are always fun. I babysat one night, so their parents could go on a date, and then bought us all food from Angelo’s another night. Expensive, but well worth it for the family time and a treat.

So how was your holiday? Did you set any resolutions for the new year? I set some goals. Wanna learn about them? Read these posts here on the blog to find out what I’m concentrating on this year:

New Year Goal: A New “Kitchen”

New Year Goal: Be Healthy

New Year Goal: Try New Recipes (Mostly Paleo)

You may also enjoy reading about one of the ways I am building memories with my grandson.  ❤

Winters are long. If you’re looking for a project to keep you busy, I suggest reading Joni Meyer’s book Extreme Couponing, and setting up your own coupon system.

You might also enjoy checking out my new site, Fabulous Frugal Life. In particular, you might enjoy reading my post on how you can save on groceries. There are many articles already posted to the site, and I’ll be adding more throughout the winter months. Let me know what you think of the new site.

Have you read my fiction blog yet? It’s another great way to pass the winter, telling you all about my writing life and sharing about the short stories I have published. Head on over today to check it out!

Warmest Wishes

~ Shannon

Building Memories: Baking with My Grandson

Oh how I love this Little Man. ❤ My grandson is a big helper, and he has mad stirring skills! Just look at him. Little Man likes to help in the kitchen sometimes, so I asked him if he would want to help me bake some chocolate zucchini cake.

I needed to make some for my coworkers, and told him I’d leave a cake at his house as well. He was good with helping so, while his mom was looking for a job not long after they moved to the area, Little Man and I baked.

He was so good about washing his hands. I measured out all of the ingredients and he showed me his crazy good dumping skills.

Little Man was very impatient while spreading the cream cheese frosting. I’d put a scoop on the cake, he’d move the butter knife over it once, then stick his hand through the frosting and into the cake to taste it. What a goober! I had to finish that part on my own.

We chatted about a lot of things while we were making this cake, and we laughed so much. I’ll always cherish our baking time. The memories will, hopefully, stay with me forever.

Little Man is a hoot to bake with. We’ll be making a chocolate mayonnaise cake with peanut butter frosting next. I know these things are not healthy, but they are a nice treat once-in-a-while, and my coworkers appreciate a treat on occasion.

Shannon

I’m Picky about Cooked Veggies, But I Love them Raw!

Okay, I do like some vegetables cooked. Mainly things like peas and potatoes – of course, I like white potatoes raw as well as cooked. I’m aware that it is said to be, nutrient-wise, better to eat certain vegetables cooked, but I just can’t stomach most of them that way.

I can only eat carrots cooked if they are mashed in with white or sweet potato, or shredded into chili or meatloaf.

So, you see, I really am picky. But…

…I eat a lot of raw veggies. I do different things with them, so I’m not always eating the same things.

  • I make veggie jars.
  • I love salads.
  • I make wraps, veggie and otherwise.
  • I always get or make vegetable platters for parties.
  • I have always loved stuffed celery. My sister makes it for me, stuffed with peanut butter, for get-togethers – because she loves me. I also like them stuffed with almond butter.
  • I like to snack on raw cabbage. Just raw cabbage. Yum.
  • Pickled beats are amazing.
  • I like to add vegetables to smoothies. Not just greens. I’ve also put carrots, broccoli, celery, and cucumber in them. I’ll likely try other veggies in them as well.
  • I like to add extra vegetables to meals as well, such as shredded sweet potato to meat loaf or chili. Or making a shepherd’s pie by layering beef or chicken, peas, white potato, sweet potato, and squash. Sometimes I use fruits and vegetables interchangeably. They’re both so good for you!

I am aware that some of my tactics are a form of manipulation, and I think it is funny that I can do that to myself successfully. What can I say? I am good! LOL

Are you a picky eater? How are you getting your vegetables in?

Shannon