Our 30 Day Grocery Challenge - Week Two

(Revisit week one here)

I went over budget this week by a whopping $4.31. Let’s start with the grocery shop shall we?

As you can see, my downfall was most definitely the family pack of lean ground beef because it was on super-sale and 10 bell peppers – easily the most expensive of vegetables. However, I have had my mind and heart set on making Spicy Stuffed Bell Peppers from Everyday Paleo all week. Believe it or not, I have never had a stuffed bell pepper before and have been feeling the draw towards making some for myself!

Here’s how they turned out:

Yum! And the best part? I had so much stuffing leftover that didn’t fit into the peppers that we now also have “sauce” for a spaghetti squash next week! I also had so much ground beef from the family pack leftover that I was able to put ~2lbs into the freezer and prepared a weeks worth of meals for us!

-10 stuffed bell peppers - 7 of which made it into the freezer for future meals,
-4 cups of “spicy speedy stuffed bell pepper” sauce,
-1 large Shepherd’s Pie (waiting for potatoes to boil in this photo), and
-3 small Shepherd’s Pie dishes that went straight into the freezer!

For these meals I dove into the fridge and pantry and used up 1lb of ground pork sausage and frozen mixed vegetables from the freezer, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 package of instant mashed potatoes, the final bulb of garlic, and a whole lot of habanera hot sauce we never touch from the fridge.

Can I get a heck yea? $4.31 well justified!

Earlier this week I also made a batch of my Paleo Banana Bread, using up the remaining bananas that were starting to turn and the final 1/2C of almond butter from the pantry – bringing us down to only one jar now!

Another huge challenge overcame involved a potluck with my run training clinic on Sunday. I scraped through the pantry and decided to bring the last of our mini chocolate bars (which I’ve been trying to get rid of for months now – I’m just not a sweets gal!), a package of dried figs, and a mason jar of roasted almonds. Everything was eaten!

But the piece de resistance from the potluck? People. Left. Food. I’m not talking about ¼ cups of dip or straggling crackers or muffins, I’m talking about unopened food! I came home with a few cookies and a bag of Salt and Vinegar chips for Ryan and a whole unopened vegetable platter!

Now that’s what I call an upgrade on some unwanted chocolate and dried figs!

Ryan is now camping for three days with friend’s of his before resuming his shift work on Friday, so I am set to feast on freezer meals between parenting and the gym ☺

The bad news? We’re running low on the milk, cheese and eggs front! We’ll see what next week has in store…

Monthly grocery bill total thus far: $54.39

posted by Sarah-Mae @ 2:51 PM, ,

Our 30 Day Grocery Challenge

Can we spend only $25 on groceries a week, using up the pantry and freezer “staples” that are so often overlooked?

This challenge is not about budgeting, food cost or food frugality. Nor is it about seeing how “little” we can live on for a month. Rather, it’s about taking stock of just how much food surrounds us in our household already, the overlooked cans of diced tomatoes, the jar of almond butter, the random box of powdered coconut milk.

While I follow a primal/ancestral based diet, Ryan, my husband, does not. Just a heads up as I will be foraging the cupboards of our pantry for nuts and seeds while Ryan continues to munch on his cereal in the morning!

A few ground rules:

1. Spend only $25 per week on groceries for four weeks, making due with the pre-existing items in our pantry, fridge and freezer.
2. This is not about $25 per week on MEALS, only food incoming into the household.
3. No coupons, gift cards, or store reward points. The $25 a week is the cost of the groceries at check out, not the final payment.
4. Sale items totally count as they apply to everyone!
5. We don’t plan on restricting eating out, however, that being said, we usually eat outside of the household once every two weeks, so we are not going to suddenly eat out more due to a lack of groceries!
6. If we run out of food, we quit early. We’re going to try to go four weeks, but if the food only lasts three, well, all the better!
Okay, now that that’s all out in the open. Here’s our starting point:

The pantry:

The spices and oils:
The freezer:
The fridge:

My first grocery trip: $25.08 total

Week one:

Week one isn’t going to be the challenge, I can tell already. We have eggs, bacon, cheese, meats in the freezer and an abundance of pantry staples. I did the groceries and topped us up using $25.08, however, besides the milk and few fresh produce items, we didn’t have a need for the cereal or the soup. However, since this challenge isn’t about living at the bare minimum, Ryan requested I find some cereal on sale, and so I did. And his favorite Campbell’s Chunky soups on sale for $0.99 a can at Shopper’s Drug Mart could not be passed up – especially not when he is currently working the night shifts (6pm-6am) and finds it more difficult to be motivated to cook or feed himself!

An example of a packed meal for Ryan’s night watch, 3 April 2014:
- 2 homemade paleo morning glory muffins
- Dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds
- Homemade butternut squash and sage soup
- Pickles
- 3 hardboiled eggs
- Swiss cheese

I think it's also important to note that I don't plan on blogging about this challenge the whole way through. What with a 3 week old baby and a complete lack of internet connectivity at our house, I'll update if/when I feel compelled too, but am not planning anything!

If you're interested in reading more about the 30 day grocery challenge, google it! There are some other great bloggers who have done this for various reasons!

- SingleMindedWomen.com

- WeGotReal.com

- Today.com/Money

- FrugalityGal.com

- LearningTheFrugalLife.com

posted by Sarah-Mae @ 2:46 PM, ,

Where In The World...

is Sarah-Mae Pyndus?!

Running. A lot.

Updating my race log!

Doing a little bit of knitting.

And a whole lot of walking/training for the 2012 Nijmegen Marches!

I'm always amazed when I pop over here and realize just how long it's been since I wrote a blog post. I would apologize, but that would just be foolish, since I'm not really sorry at all :) The weather has definitely been feeling like spring, I am spending my days in the sunshine, and my hands have hardly been idle!

For a race report of Boston, check out this post, written by a fellow runner Michele, and which features little old me towards the end, as I cheered her on and we pulled each other to the finish line. Runners are a phenomenal group of people, and for such an individual sport, I have never felt so much comradery and support. I am already anticipating the 2013 Boston Marathon and have my qualifying time ready to rumble!

As for the Nijmegen Marches; whew! The MARPAC Nijmegen Team hopefuls (which includes myself) is now up to 35km marches, only 5km shy of our "full distance" and everyone is carrying full weight - an average of around 30lbs. The training has been ramping up and everyone is meeting the challenge with gusto! I'm not going to lie, it's tough to be on your feet for 6+ hours with 1/4 of your body weight added on, but my goodness has it been fun!!! The team will be cut mid-June from the survivors of back-to-back 40km marches and I will be sure to let you all know the results!

posted by Sarah-Mae @ 7:50 AM, ,

My Stash

Today, while marching around in circles at work, I got to thinking about my stash - you mean most military members don't think about yarn to pass the time?!

So here it is, my stash laid out and all nicely put away in it's home. Because I know knitters really like to check out each other's stash ;)

[The stash - does not include W.I.P. yarn!]

[Random yarn closeup, this is primarily leftover single skein yarn]

[Fingering weight leftovers]

[Various leftovers]

My "craft nook" in the lounge room. Yarn stash contained in the "snake charmers basket".

So, I showed you mine, will you show me yours?

posted by Sarah-Mae @ 10:21 PM, ,

Have you had enough snow yet?

It's been a fairly eventful week here in Sooke, BC. Between losing hydro for 10 hours due to fallen trees, getting a tow truck stuck on our property while it tried to rescue our car (which did not have the capability to leave the 45 degree incline of a road on our own), losing Westfalia keys in the snow (thank God we found them), and having to walk the hour into town in order to get to the gym because our vehicles were buried for four days, well, there's been a lot of sitting and knitting, baking, and long snowy walks.

While I was trapped, I finished knitting my Ugly Rotten Fish Socks for the Skew knit-along going on over at nook.

Knitting a toe up sock was on my knitting New Years resolutions, so I'm very glad to have cranked these out so early in the year.

Ry says they’re ugly, I say they remind me of rotten fruit, and one of the boys I look after says that they look like fish. Sometimes thale knitting Gods smile down on me, other times not so much. These socks, while definitely a fun knit and quirky on my toes, were not smiled upon. I can’t blame the pattern, as a self striping yarn with shorter pattern repeats looks amazing when Skewed; and I can’t blame the yarn, because it is beautiful, soft and wonderful to knit with. No, it was simply my prerogative to combine the two.

As for the pattern, I can't say I'm a huge fan of the way these socks fit; they are tight across the top of the ankle, don't fit my toes properly, and the heel "origami" sits awkwardly below my ankle bone. Nope, not converted to the Skews, I'm still a die-hard top-down, heel flap, DPN girl. I'll be giving toe up socks another chance in the form of Anastasia Socks later in the year, but for now... I've cast-on for my second pair of Hermione's Everyday Socks :)

So, are you top-down, toe-up, or Skewed?

posted by Sarah-Mae @ 6:50 PM, ,