Tell you what, March had better be CHEAP because February is turning into an expensive month!

I've run into Walmart for a couple of things and saw some meat on sale so spent a bunch there that I didn't plan to spend, then the same thing happened at Sav-a-Lot. Yikes! But I ended up with 29.5# of meats that I didn't have yesterday, including ham, steaks, ground chuck, 2 pkgs of hot dogs (hubby), turkey, and chicken thighs! The average cost for all that meat was $2.19/lb!!

I also picked up a cabbage and some onions, some canned mushrooms and tuna, 2.5 dozen eggs, coconut oil, 4 quarts of half'n'half, ranch dressing, and some cheeses.

Total of today's food bought was $87.59.

Yesterday I picked up a rotisserie chicken and some frozen sweet potato fries for our only meal of the day, plus a loaf of the bread that my husband and grandson like (I know, I know!...but I really need to get a netrition order in...) that bill was $12.00 exactly.

So adding $99.59 to my previous total of $191.98, February's total to date is $291.57 - and we've still got 6 days to go - YIKES! Hope I don't run out of anything else!
 
 
Did I yet mention that we now have a couple of Aldi supermarkets closer than 90 miles? Very exciting! Last week we went to one of them - next month we'll go to the other.

Of course the timing wasn't right. I needed things but couldn't get to either of the closer (one is 55 miles, one is 70 miles) Aldi during the first week of the month so had to buy some things locally. Small, local trips are more expensive, which I don't like...but for what it's worth, here's what we've spent so far this month.

The first couple of days included a trip to Dollar General for an 11.5 oz can of coffee for $3.50 (!) and a trip to Walmart for assorted things: produce, tomato sauce, olive oil, tuna, half'n'half, dreamfield's spaghetti, etc. for $38.42.

A couple of trips to Sav-a-Lot added $15.81 and $4.97 for some pork rinds, peanuts for hubby ($1.99 for 12 oz - yikes!), eggs, mushrooms, cheese, and so forth.

I finally got a chance to get to Aldi on Saturday and spent $106.88 stocking up on dairy - yogurts (haven't had time to make any), cheeses, butter ($2.25/lb), canned goods, half'n'half ($1.49/qt), cottage cheese, frozen shrimp, snacks for my 3YO grandson that he likes, frozen sausage links, 11.3 oz decaf coffee ($2.79 ea), two of their lovely dark chocolate bars, peanuts for hubby ($1.49 for 16 oz - more like it! bought 5 bags) etc...and I bought about a month's worth of these kinds of food.

Then down the street to GFS for frozen vegetables: (9) 2# packages, plus a 2# bag of cut romaine for $3.99 - not much more than I'd pay for half that amount, but not cut up, locally. My GFS total was $43.18. This also included a tray of sliced cheeses for church fellowship @ $7.99. Normally I'd buy the bricks @ $1.79/8oz and slice it myself, but I knew I wouldn't be able to do it that night, and needed it for the next morning; this is a purchase I wouldn't have typically made. (If you are curious about the frozen vegetables, I bought cauliflower, broccoli, chopped spinach, whole green beans, brussel sprouts, and california blend to add to the half-dozen partial packages I still had from the last trip to GFS.)

So my total for February so far is $191.98.
 
 
I have blogged these before, but was asked for the grain-free breads that I use, so I'm posting them here to make them easily accessible.

The first is my variation on Oopsie Rolls. I like them but they were just a tad too eggy for me. I use the Oopsie recipe but to the yolk mixture I add a tablespoon of either almond flour, or golden flax meal, 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum, a drop of liquid sucralose (you could use the sweetener of your choice - not enough to sweeten, but enough to add another layer of flavor), and 1/8 tsp of salt. These additions are enough for me to get a breadier texture and taste :).

The 2nd is my variation on similar grain-free breads:
Beat 1 large egg in a buttered bowl; the bowl should be the shape you want your bread; mix in well 1 Tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt.
In another dish, whisk together 1 Tbsp golden flax meal and 1 Tbsp almond flour, plus 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp salt.
Combine the two; add enough very warm water to make a thick (barely pourable) batter; let stand for about 5 minutes; microwave for 60-90 seconds, depending on your machine. Let cool a bit, then tip out of bowl; cut horizontally to make 2 slices.
I love these when they are toasted! Sort of like a very light english muffin :).

Either of the above can be made sweeter, add cinnamon, or have other variations of your choice. If you do a search on Oopsies you find forums where numerous variations are described.

The other recipe that I make on occasion, also grain-free, is Maria's "Healthified" Sub buns, which I've made in various shapes and sizes. (When I make these, I simultaneously make a nice custard with all of those yolks, just by mixing in a whole egg or 2, some cream, a dash of salt, some cinnamon, and sweetener, then baking in a water bath alongside the pans of buns until just set.)

The other bread that I sometimes use (but which isn't grain-free and are eaten more by my husband than by me) is my Lovely Loaf - it is amazingly delicious, but does have wheat in it so I don't make it as much.

Hopefully one of these will satisfy your desire for a sandwich or a piece of toast now and again :).
 
 
As I've mentioned, I try to eat real most of the time and avoid processed foods for the most part. But I'm not particularly zealous about it. If you are then you won't like this recipe.

This came about because Sav-a-Lot had the Veggie Ranch dip for 50¢ on its sell-by date. I normally wouldn't have bought it but knew I could make some sort of sauce with it, and this is what I ended up with.

I've been buying those 20 oz packages of ham and turkey when they go on sale for $1.49/pkg. They're good to have in the freezer for something fast; we eat 1-2 of these packages a month, usually on sandwiches or I fry some in bacon fat to serve with a couple of sides, or whatever. This is the first time I've used it in a casserole. While any leftover turkey or chicken will work, this is just what I had and what I used; you will want to alter this recipe to add liquid and salt if you use (cooked) fresh.

Filling:
20 oz pkg turkey breast meat (as described above)
1# frozen broccoli/cauliflower/carrot blend
10 oz box chopped spinach
16 oz carton Veggie Ranch dip

Thaw veggies; chop turkey and vegetables into bite-sized chunks; toss all above ingredients in large mixing bowl until thoroughly mixed; spread into greased 9x12 baking dish; set aside.

Topping:
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp olive oil (or melted butter, coconut oil, bacon fat, or other fat; I just used the olive         oil because it was sitting right there on the counter within reach)
1/2c half'n'half (I would have used cream if I'd had it)
1c Carbquik
1/4c Parmesan Cheese (from the can)

In SAME MIXING BOWL, without cleaning first, beat eggs; add olive oil (or fat of choice) and cream; beat until mixed well, incorporating as much of the filling leftovers from the sides of the bowl as you can; mix in CarbQuik. This will be a bit thinner than biscuit dough but not nearly as thin as pancake batter - should be spreadable.

Drop by spoonfuls on top of filling, then lightly spread to cover. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top; bake @ 350 for 20-25 minutes until top is browned.

NOTES:
- No salt is needed, there is plenty in the meat; you will need to add salt if you are using fresh meat rather than processed. I don't use pepper, but by all means add it if you like it. There is also a lot of liquid in the turkey I used, which mixed with the dip to thin it out a bit; you may need to compensate if you use real meat.
- Using the leftovers in the mixing bowl in the topping will add some acid (from sour cream in the dip) which will work with the baking powder in the CarbQuik to give some rise to it. The finished topping won't be thick or heavy (like dumplings) but rather a light tasty crust.
- This isn't the healthiest of the meals I prepare due to the processed turkey, dip, canned parm, and CarbQuik - but it is cheap, and it is easy, and it is low carb, which is what this blog is about....and it is SUPER SUPER delicious, hubby and I really loved it, I will probably prepare it once a month although not in a weekly rotation.