Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This "chick" saved some "dough" (cookie dough hummus and groceries)

January 9, 2013

My son started today out on the right track. He packed the rest of the tortellini leftovers for lunch. There was one salmon burger left in the freezer so I had that for lunch. I got my list and coupons ready and then headed to the commissary. Hurray for grocery shopping day!

My pre-challenge weekly average at the commissary was $175. After cleaning out a few of my cupboards this week, it made me realize that I had slacked a little bit with the challenge. I still have quite a bit of stuff at home that needs to be used up. I decided to push myself a little bit harder this week and see what would happen. Most of the meals that I planned revolve around items already in my freezer. Today I spent $11.25 on toiletries/cleaners (ugh and cold medicine). I spent $10.53 on gossip magazines. I spent $1.22 on impulse items. As I walked past the macaroni and cheese, I remembered my daughter saying earlier this week "mom never buys the fun macaroni anymore". So I impulsed and bought the kids some spongebob macaroni. I figured if they had an item like that to look forward to, then maybe they wouldn't complain too much about going harder at the challenge this week. Now for the real awesome part. I spent $43.20 on food! There really was only a few items that we couldn't hold out on anymore. I needed coffee creamer. Kiddos wanted cereal, oatmeal, and milk. The other stuff was mostly filler items (cheese, sour cream, vegetables, yogurt, etc).

I even broke away from a few brands. I bought a canister of quick oats. Of course, out of habit the first one I grabbed was Quaker. Well, right next to it was a store brand. I compared labels. The exact same product! And I got it for about 50 cents cheaper. I needed tomato paste and sauce. I always buy Contadina. I use sauce on pasta for lunch and I really like the taste of Contadina. Well, Hunt's tomato paste was cheaper. It doesn't really matter what brand I buy for paste because I never use it just by itself. I just always grabbed Contadina paste because it was right next to the sauce I liked. Little stuff like that adds up. It is like you used a coupon without having to clip! I was going to buy a can of mixed nuts and dried fruit. They are around $4.50 a can. Ugh. I decided to just look in the dried fruit aisle. I found a package of individual boxes (like raisin boxes) of a mix of dried fruit and nuts for $2.89. I decided to give them a try today.

After adding in their surcharge and taking out my coupons, I spent $67.42 out of pocket. So I saved $107.58! The kids brought lunches to school a few times which saved $5. My pre-challenge weekly restaurant average was $80. This week we spent $43.70. I saved $36.30. This brings my weekly savings total to $148.88! This brings my grand total savings to $1,400.98 in 84 days!! 

After getting groceries, I made a snack for when the kids got home from school. I had found a can of chick peas in the cupboard yesterday. My friend brought over a cookie dough hummus several months ago and I must have bought the chick peas after that planning to make the recipe. Today is the day. Chick peas (rinsed), dash of salt, dash of baking soda, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1/4 cup peanut butter, and 1/4 cup milk. The recipe also called for 2/3 cup brown sugar. However, I made it with only 1/3 cup (didn't want to overload my kids with sugar). The recipe called for 1/3 cup chocolate chips. I didn't have any. Instead, I grabbed some Hershey bars that I had for smores. I chopped one and it was 1/3 cup. After stirring it in, it didn't look like enough so I did one more bar. The result? I had a hard time staying out of it long enough to take the picture! The kids loved it too. I served it with cinnamon graham cracker squares. Yum! I guess I don't have to be leery of chick peas anymore!

I just picked up a rotisserie chicken for dinner. I also made some homemade potato chips and zucchini chips. My next project was trying to cook quinoa for the first time. I read two different ways to cook it (either sautee for a few minutes then simmer or just simmer). I decided to sautee a few onions, then stir in the quinoa and cook for a couple minutes, then add chicken broth and simmer. I topped it with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Oh my. I LOVE quinoa!! I can't believe I have never really gotten into it before (I had it a few times when a friend made it and twice at a restaurant). I have several fun food items planned for the rest of the week. I decided to keep them a surprise from the kids though....and from you.

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