Is the amount I spent on groceries for the month of September! Let me back up a bit… I operate on a grocery budget of $150 per month. As you have seen by previous posts, we are not eating pizza rolls and drinking Mt. Dew everyday (no offense Totino or PepsiCo). Since I have been given the opportunity to go to The Hawaii Tax Institute annual tax CLE (continuing legal education) seminar for work, I have been trying to save some extra money for the vacation part of our trip. I decided that one way to save was for September, October and November I would try to spend less on groceries and save the difference. My soft goal is to spend $100 on groceries and save $50 for the trip. For September I spent $107 and was able to save $43. Not bad, right? Can’t wait to see what kind of deals October brings!
Seattle Restaurant Week comes around twice each year. Once in the spring and then again in the fall. It’s a magical time where you can hit up the swankiest joints in town without completely emptying your wallet. 3 course lunches are $15 and 3 course dinners are $28. I can’t wait to meticulously review the menus and decide which places to try this time. If you try any of the restaurants let me know! http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/seattlerestaurantweek/
Whenever my bananas get past their prime I put them in the freezer for safe keeping then I use them to make banana bread. Earlier this month I bought 5lbs of carrots for $3.49 and since I am always trying to sneak more vegetables into everything, I shredded a few carrots and added them to the batter. You can’t taste the carrots and now the bread is much more moist and higher in fiber than before! Jessica Seinfeld has a cookbook called Deceptively Delicious and this is somewhat of a modified version of her banana bread.
I used the last of my beet greens (tops) this week! Let me remind you that I love beets and they are a pretty much a super food. Beet greens (tops) are a good source of carotenoids, flavonoid anti-oxidants and vitamin A. Also, they keep really well. I got these like 2 weeks ago and I kept them loosely in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and they stayed crisp until Thursday night (look out spinach, there’s a new sheriff in town!) when we had a few friends over and I made baked ziti for dinner. I used a little over a half pound of Okanogan grass fed beef (I buy a 1/4 of a cow from a farmer for which I pay about $2/pound for the entire 1/4), 16 ounces of penne pasta with fiber (about 35 cents), two cans of pasta sauce (59-79 cents each), 24 ounces of cottage cheese ($1.99), 1 egg, shredded Italian cheeses ($2.19), and a few handfuls of rough chopped beet greens. I had everything on hand except the cheeses so $4.18 is what the meal cost me from this month’s grocery budget. Not bad.
Next Saturday and Sunday (Oct 1 and 2) is the NW Tea Festival. It should be delicious and fun, the best part is that it’s free! There is a suggested donation of $10. If anyone is interested in going let me know. My friend, Beth (from Teas Etc), has a friend who is teaching the tea and chocolate pairing workshop. I am going to try to attend that event on Saturday. There is an $8 materials cost for that one. Here is the link for more info. http://www.nwteafestival.com/about11.php
Hold everything, there has been a huge breakthrough in the world of green tea today and it happened at my desk! For those of you who have read my previous posts, you know that I have been on a “Tour de Tea” of sorts since I got back from Palm Beach earlier this summer. For green teas, I typically enjoy one that is blended with fruit or other flavors (especially Jasmine) rather than the vegetal flavor of a “plain” green. This morning I brewed a cup of Coconut Almond Green Tea and it was delicious! This is my new favorite green and at 22 cents per cup, it’s totally budget friendly! http://www.teasetc.com/details.asp?prodid=20900
I have been wanting a cast iron dutch oven that I could use both at home and when we go camping. When I was in MI in July visiting some of my family, my grandparents (dad’s parents) gave me this super cool, old cast iron dutch oven that they had and hadn’t used in years. My father-in-law oiled the outside so it didn’t look so old and rough (thanks, Rick) and I cleaned and re-seasoned the inside this weekend. I used it for the first time tonight and made beef stew for dinner. I can’t wait to take it camping!
$7.29 will get you (1) dozen eggs, (1) roll of paper towels, (1) Scotch Brite sponge, (3) packages of Trident gum and (3) tubes of Blistex Cold and Allergy*.*I am working on some little fall gift bags for the ladies at the Tabitha Shelter, which is a homeless shelter that Bethany Community Church hosts. The ladies at Tabitha always need personal care items so I am adding these tubes of Blistex to the items that I am collecting to make my gift bags. If you are interested in learning more about Tabitha here is a link. http://churchbcc.org/outreach/local-outreach/tabitha-ministries/
When I was visiting S. Florida in August my good friend, Beth Johnston, who is the Founder and CEO of Teas Etc. gave me a very special treat-a Hello Kitty lunchbox filled with tea and two Tea Travelers! I love Hello Kitty and I love Teas Etc loose leaf tea so this was the perfect gift for me! I have been able to try a new tea everyday since I got back and it has been wonderful! A few of my favorites thus far have been Positively Peach (black), Meyer Berry Sencha (green) and Honeybell Orange Blossom (white). Meyer Lemon (black) is probably my new favorite iced tea, no surprise there since it won first place in the 2011 North American Tea Championship, Iced Tea Flavored Black Food Service Category! http://www.teasetc.com/shop.asp
There were orange manufacturer’s rebate stickers on the shampoos and conditioners so I bought (2) shampoos @ $3.99 each and got (2) conditioners for free. I bought each set in its own transaction so I could get two Register Rewards for $3.99 each (remember the numbers from below $3.99-$3.99=$O-except I did it twice). Then I mailed my cash register receipts with my name and address and last week two checks for $3.99 each showed up and since I already got the shampoo and conditioner for free from the in store deals, I made $7.98 (technically $7.10 when you factor in the (2) stamps that I used to mail in the rebates)! Oh yeah, and I still have (2) of the free rebate forms left so next time the shampoo and conditioner goes on sale I’m going to do this again!