Menu Monday – November 30

Last day of November! Only 25 days until Christmas! And we haven’t done a single bit of Christmas shopping. (Well, I may or may not be ordering something for the husband online today, but we’ll see.)

We went out on Black Friday (ew) and bought ourselves some presents. We found a good deal on a PS4, because he’s been looking forward to getting one. I bought a book I’ve been wanting and we found a cheap salad spinner and some prep bowls. I’m so excited to use my salad spinner to make my spinach last longer.

Onto the menu!

Dinner ingredients were around $23 for the week.

Fitness Friday – Update Nov 27

It’s been about a month since my last fitness post.

The video is still really working for me. I’ve done it almost every weekday so far, less in the beginning of the month and now it’s just about routine. Not that I don’t still put it off as long as possible though.

I’ve graduated to using a dumbbell in one of the exercises, the Sumo Squat Dumbbell Swing, but not for any of the others yet. It’s a bit heavy. I should look for a smaller, lighter one.

The routine has definitely gotten a little bit easier for me. I can do the Crossover Knee Tuck without shaking as much, and I can complete the whole plank depending on how I feel.

If you’re looking for an easy, quick exercise routine to take up, check it out!

Thrifty Thursday – Produce

The best grocery shopping advice anyone has is to stick to the perimeter of the store. These are your basic foods, not food products. They’re all things you would usually find in nature and they all eventually go bad.

I really want to eventually shop way more from the perimeter with only slight detours for things like beans, rice, bread and pasta (whole wheat of course). The ethnic and organic sections are always good stops as well, along with the spices and baking aisle.

This week I actually bought a lot from the produce department though I think I could do better.

  • 5 pounds of potatoes – $2.99; I need to be way more thrifty with these and don’t let them sprout so much before I use them until I have to throw them away.
  • Pomegranate – $2.50; Have you ever seen the stores selling just the pomegranate seeds already taken out for you? What a rip off! Even stores like Trader Joe’s want $5 for the same amount or fewer seeds than you get from buying and deseeding it yourself.
  • Bananas – $0.49/lb; Always a must buy for us. They make a convenient and healthy snack.
  • Lemon – $0.69 each; I just recently started buying these instead of a bottle of lemon juice, what a bargain! Plus you can zest them for extra flavor.
  • Red bell pepper – $1.41; I love bell peppers though they could be cheaper.
  • Mushrooms – $1.59 for 8 oz; I used to buy the already sliced ones (after buying the tiny little cans, yuck) but I feel like I get way more mushroom for my money when I buy them whole.
  • Turnip – $1.49/lb; So these were on sale for $0.59 supposedly but the store had three different varieties and I didn’t know which was which. I’m guessing the cheap ones were the ones as big as my head. I didn’t buy it.
  • Tofu – $1.99; It’s usually around $2.50 so this is a great ongoing deal for now.

Proceeding around the perimeter:

  • Deli ham – $4.23 for half a pound; We eat a ton of sandwiches around here.
  • Turkey sausage – $2.50; Usually around $3-3.50, this is a great deal for brand name.
  • Shrimp – $3.99; Cheaper than I saw in the sale paper, amazing deal!
  • Ground turkey – $4.50; I could have gotten a better deal than that.
  • Orange juice – $2.99
  • Half gallon of milk – $1.99

Then through the center aisles:

  • English muffins – B1G2 again, great deal!
  • Bread – $2.50; Love this 2/$5 deal on Arnold bread, my favorite
  • Canned pumpkin – $1.25 each; For the amazing pumpkin pie I’m making.
  • Canned pineapple – $1.25; I use this in stir fries because it comes in pineapple juice that I use for the sauce. Fresh pineapples have been expensive this year.
  • Whole wheat pasta – $1

We can’t seem to resist our treats. My husband got some barbecue chips and Italian ice, I found some amazing blood orange gelato.

And we got some bathroom cleaner because it was on sale for $0.50 cheaper and I had a rebate through Ibotta for another $0.75. Not a bad deal for grocery store supplies.

I want to stock up a lot on center-aisle items so we can spend more on perimeter items every week. My husband wants me to try cooking lamb for him, which is super expensive, and I’d love to experiment more with fish. I also want to load up on the fruits and veggies for dinners and snacks.

What I Read Wednesday – The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris


This book was released on November 24, 2015. I received a copy through NetGalley.

A young girl is missing from Alcatraz island. What does one of the convicts have to do with it?

Shanley Keagan was a young boy performing comedy routines in Irish pubs when his entire life changed. His money-hungry uncle moves them to America but doesn’t survive the trip, so Shan finds himself in a new country all alone. Befriending an Italian family, they take him in and show him kindness.

We follow Shan and the Capellos over several decades as he tries to make it in vaudeville and possibly repay the Capellos. As Nick, the oldest son, gets involved in smuggling during the Prohibition, he gets deeper and deeper in with some dangerous people.

When Shan is called to talk Nick off a ledge, he finds himself in the middle of a bank robbery and ultimately gets sent to prison, ending up in Alcatraz. He uses his personality and comedy skills to gain privileges that ultimately change his circumstances.

The book begins in a search for the young girl but once you meet Shan, you almost forget the future and you can’t imagine he has anything to do with it. His story instantly captivates you and you need to see it through to the end.

Tasty Tuesday – Smoked Sausage and Potatoes

Today I want to feature my newest favorite dish, it’s so delicious and easy to throw together on a busy day.

Chop up about 5 potatoes and slice the sausage.

Toss with olive oil and your choice of seasonings. I used salt and pepper, plus onion powder, paprika and thyme.

Spread out on a baking sheet covered with foil and cooking spray. Spray it well because it sticks.

Bake at 400 for around 45 minutes, stirring every once in a while. You can do something else while it’s in the oven and then dinner is done. I spent most of it opening a pomegranate.

This would be nice served with a side salad for some greens.

Menu Monday – November 23

It’s almost Thanksgiving! This year we’re spending it up at my aunt and uncle’s house and I’m making pumpkin pie. Yum! The one disappointing thing is that I won’t be having my mom’s special dressing recipe, it’s one of the main things I look forward to eating around the holidays. I’ve yet to perfect making it myself.

I have a project I’m working on that I hope to reveal soon if it goes well. Nothing special but kinda cool at least.

On to the menu!

  • Smoked Sausage and Potatoes – This is definitely one of my favorite dishes to make when I don’t want to make a lot of effort.
  • Skillet Lasagna – So delicious.
  • Shrimp Pasta – A new dish this week, shrimp in rice or orzo is delightful but I thought I’d try a new pasta dish.
  • Meatless Stir Fry – Stir fries are always a winner, tofu makes this a really cheap dish.
  • Lemon Garlic Tilapia with Roasted Turnip – I’ve never eaten turnips, so I really hope this goes well. I’m trying to expand my palate when it comes to new produce.

Dinner ingredients came to about $24 for the week.

Thrifty Thursday – A Lot of Stocking Up

Another week, another shopping trip. I was out of some stuff so I had to buy some staples this week.

  • Orzo – $1, this is something I always try to keep on hand.
  • Granola bars – $2.99 down from $3.79, plus a $.20 rebate on Ibotta.
  • Brown rice – $5.99 for a large bag. I hate having to pay full price.
  • Balsamic vinegar – $2.99; I’ve never bought this before and I needed it for one recipe so I’ll have to find other uses for it.
  • Olive oil – $4.99 down from 6.99.
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes – $1.29 down from $1.49; I don’t usually buy this large of a can, it was called for in a recipe.
  • Jelly – $2.49; This week it was on sale for $1.88 if we bought 6 of them. This seems like a lot of jelly to buy at one time, but that’s a great deal.
  • Orange juice – $2.99 down from $3.29, plus $.95 rebate on Ibotta.
  • Butter – $2.50 down from $4.99, I’ve been grabbing as much as possible to get ready for Christmas baking.
  • Frozen broccoli – $1.25 down from $1.50.
  • Frozen edamame – $2.50; I could probably find a better deal.
  • Shrimp – $4.99 down from $6.99; I want to stock up more when it’s $3-4.
  • Pomegranate – $2.50 down from $2.99; so glad these are in season!
  • Spinach – 1 large bag for $1.
  • Green pepper – $1; this was a terrible deal as they’re $1.69 per pound regularly, so buying one would have been less than a dollar.
  • Tofu – regularly $2.50, down to $1.99
  • Turkey sausage – $3 down from $3.99