Monday, April 25, 2011

Full vs. Satisfied

Because it is a skinny tome, and something easy to read before bedtime, my husband is perusing Michael Pollan's "Food Rules".

Here are the ones in particular tonight that he brought to my attention...meaning the point struck well-enough home with him that he was impelled to vocalize it.

#46. Stop eating before you are full.
#53. Serve a proper portion and don't go back for seconds.

Both rules get bandied about a lot these days.  However, it's easier said than done, yes?  I mean, if stopping before I got full was as easy as Pollan's wording seems to indicate, I would be doing it every day, every meal, right?  Same with not going back for seconds.

But...as for rule #46, what is full?  For most of us, full is that uncomfortable, undo-the-top-button-of-the-jeans feeling.  Physically speaking, 'full' is certain.  We know what full is. 

Pollan suggests we stop eating before we get there.  My husband seems to agree with Pollan, but readily admits his own difficulty in this area.  Here's what Brent suggested to help facilitate rules #46 and #53:

Leave the main entree/high calorie dishes on the stovetop.  If someone wants seconds, they physically have to get themselves up to get it. 

Leave any vegetables and fruits on the table, where we can easily take seconds.  Better to load up on green beans than sloppy joes, right?

Use a wait-time of three or so minutes before getting another helping (if the distance thing does not work).  Use that time to engage in conversation, finish a glass of water, etc. to pass the time.  Maybe by the end of it, the desire to eat more will have passed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Preparing For The Final Week Of This Month

First of all, there were no supermarket circulars or coupons in this week's paper, which reinforces my desire to steer clear of grocery stores this week.  Remember, I only have $1.75 left to my $400 goal, and it is for emergencies only!

I do feel, with a great amount of certainty, that with the shopping and stocking I've been doing the last month, living off the contents of my pantry, freezer, and fridge is most definitely doable.  Also, my birthday is this week, and I will spend one night this week (at least) having dinner bought for me by my adoring husband/children/friends/parents.

But, just in case, I've put some safety measures in place:

I prepared three pounds of Sloppy Joes today (thank you for the suggestion, Martha).  I froze two and left one in the fridge.  No excuse for not having some semblance of a meal on the table, no matter how tired I am.

Also, I updated my freezer/pantry inventories as well...and was pleasantly reminded of the 7 four-cup bags of homemade Red sauce I still have at my disposal.  Makes me think it would be a great week for chili and spaghetti and Chicken Parmesan...

I wrote all these notes down on the little dry erase board magnetically attached to the fridge, so that I shan't forget this week's menu in the midst of all the chaos.

Have a great week, all!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Grocery Shopping - April 22: My Disease

Total Spending This Week: $102.64.  Total After Week Four: $398.25
 
I have a sickness.  I am addicted to buying meat.

I tell myself every week that it's not a big deal and that I can stop at any time...but, I can't!

In my own pathetic defense, I will say that it was hard to pass up 10 boxes of Hormel Little Sizzlers sausage patties for a buck each.  And, it was hard to pass up the 3-lb bags of frozen chicken breasts for $3.99.  So, that accounted for about $18 dollars of the $27 I spent on meat this week.  The rest of it was lunchmeat and smoked sausage (for which I had a coupon).  One pound of deli-sliced turkey breast cost me $3.74 - too much money, and so I think it's time to take a lunchmeat hiatus.

I can't, with any shred of credibility, promise not to buy any meat products this last week in April  But I will try.

Some things I'd like to point out as you gaze upon my pie chart.

One-third of the pie chart is devoted to dairy and eggs.  Milk, as is expected, runs me about $3/gallon (bought = one).  I've hit the eggs when I've had a coupon or when they're on sale (two 18-packs).  Two small containers of Fage took up $1.98 (that was before I used my coupon).

But here's the thorn in my side - string cheese.  I like it as a snack for myself and the kids - but, at over six bucks a package, the madness has to stop.  Perhaps I should investigate making my own...or maybe I should comparison shop at Costco.

Fruit and Vegetables are non-negotiables; they're always going to be there.  It's not like I can (or even want to) cut them out...anyway, I took advantage of Braeburns on sale (.69/lb) and bags of oranges (4lb bag/$2.99).

Stock up items this week? $4.77 on 150 oz. jugs of Purex laundry soap! Blue Bonnet packages of stick butter for 48 cents! 

Any other insights here?  Oh wait, yes.  Condiments (ketchup), baking supplies (brown sugar), cleaning products (dish detergent and laundry soap), and paper products (paper towels and tp) are all categories that A.) will more than likely not be on the pie chart next week.  And B.) consisted mostly of items that were either on sale or that I used a coupon for (or...in some cases, both!).

Those of you with a good memory and a head for math now realize that I have one dollar and seventy-five cents with which to spend on groceries next week (keeping under my aforementioned goal of $400/month).

Won't THAT be interesting?!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oh Man - This is Crazy

I have just set my alarm for 5:45 tomorrow morning.

So what, you may ask?  For early-risers like everyone of my dad's generation and backwards, 5:45 is sleeping in...

Normally, I awake about 6:10 in the morning.  Yes, that extra 25 minutes makes a difference.  Tomorrow morning, though, will be different.

I am rising early to take advantage of One-Day sales at one of my local grocery stores!  And here's what's even better - one of the items is on sale AND I just happen to have a coupon for it as well!

Wheeeee! 

I must say, these days, it feels good to be excited about something.  It kinda reminds me of last Sunday when my kids all raved about my homemade barbecue sauce.
 

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Week...No Idea What It May Mean

Remember I'd finished reading Gary Taubes's "Why We Get Fat" over a week ago?  Turns out that meat could be good and bread could be bad?  Well, I needed more info.  So, I skimmed Dr. Arthur Agatston's South Beach for some information and then I bookmarked Nutrition Data for handy reference.

And after all that, I still had no real idea of what exactly I should be eating.  But, to do nothing still makes me part of the problem...

I finally decided to limit my carbohydrate intake to under 100 daily.  Also, I wanted to steer clear of foods high on the glycemic index (high in sugars, even natural ones).  Usually, foods high in carbs are high on the glycemic index...but then you get something like carrots, which are good for you, but high in carbs.  Crazy...

Monday's weigh-in was 132.6 lbs.  Breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal and a half cup of blueberries - 34g carbs.  And just like that, one-third of my carbs were used up for the day.  And, despite the stick-to-your-ribs reputation of oatmeal, I was hungry for a snack about three hours later at 10:00 a.m. (string cheese = 1g carbs).  The rest of the day was low (mostly lunchmeat, cheese slices, and spinach).  A small pastry from the local bakery and an apple ran me a combined 38g carbs.  Day one = I came in at 100g carbohydrates on the nose.  The oatmeal thing was disheartening; after all, I'd eaten the stuff every day for several years.  But, in the name of science, I decided to forgo it for the duration.

Tuesday's breakfast was lighter, carb-wise (Fage yogurt, blueberries = 13g carbs), and again, I was ready for a snack around mid-morning (another stick of string cheese).  One cup of sliced peaches at lunch time for 12g, but I didn't mind the splurge as it satisfied my craving for something sweet.  One slice of whole wheat bread as an after-school snack set me back 14g, whereas a Flatout flatbread I ate later in the evening only cost me 8g.  Day two = 80g carbohydrates.

Wednesday and Thursday, I decided to get crazy and change my breakfast to high protein.  Two scrambled eggs cooked up with one large slice of deli ham and a 1/4 cup shredded cheese for breakfast - 4g carbs.  An 8 oz cup of red grapefruit slices that accompanied this meal went for over double that amount (10g).  Meat and cheese roll-ups for lunch were next to nothing carb-wise, so I felt okay about the 12g on the peaches-and-cottage-cheese combo.  Day three total = 85g carbohydrates.  Day four total = 81g carbs.

On Friday, I got a hankering to go out to a restaurant for breakfast, and so I ordered a nice sausage and cheese omelet, which I figured ran me 10g carbs.  I was satisfied until lunch at 11:45 a.m.  A foray into the nut-as-a-snack realm netted me 8g for 1 oz. of cashews, which seemed like a lot for so little...however, I ate these around 3:30 p,m., when I am at my weakest, hungriest self - and those nuts tied me over till dinner time.  My dinner was a Jimmy John's Unwich - 2g carbs.  Check out an unwich here.  They are so good!

Saturday morning, I awoke and weighed in: 131.4.  I'd lost over a pound in five days - and I was eating plenty of eggs, cheese, and meat.  Some vegetables, a little fruit, a little nuts.  But no grains.  And, I'd only done some pretty light exercise (maybe a twenty-minute walk around the block daily).  I didn't feel starved ever, and I didn't feel like I'd spent my entire week on a treadmill.

Of course, you'd need my bloodwork numbers before and after to really have the whole picture here.  I mean, sure I'm eating low-carb, high-fat and I'm losing weight - but could I be increasing my risk for heart disease?  Gary Taubes would tell me no.  But who knows, really?

This past weekend, naturally, was a bit of a botch job.  I stupidly made (and consequently ate) some chocolate chip cookies with my daughter on Saturday, and I also attended a baby shower, which just gave me some kind of license to eat sugary, high-carb crap.  In the end, I indulged, but not in a terrible, gluttonous way.  My weigh-in this morning after a week (kind of) with this eating style: 131.8 - only a half-pound up from Saturday's weigh-in and almost a pound down from the previous Monday.

Of course, I am eating less food, which may account for the loss...but am I eating less because I'm subconsciously depriving myself of food (the diet mentality) OR am I really not hungry for food because I'm satisfied by the high-fat foods I've been consuming?  Huh.  C'est conundrum.  The research shall continue.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Grocery Shopping - April 15: The Realization

My initial challenge was $50 a week, which I achieved easily that first week.  Then, a trip to Costco in the second week set things back considerably.  Now, in week three, I just haven't quite been able to bounce back to my fifty-buck limit.  I have theories, and I realize they'll probably sound like excuses.  :-)

1.  We are in the second full week of spring activities.  Between all three kids, there is soccer six days a week, not to mention board meetings for myself on Mondays, writing group on Tuesdays, and bowling league on Thursdays. 

2.  And, being sort of wiped out from my full-time sub job has left me pretty ineffective in the kitchen.  The CrockPot is underused and my meal planning has gone awry. 

3.  As a result, it feels like many nights' dinners are slapdash, piecemeal affairs.  Case in point, I had a half-pound of leftover ground turkey in the fridge on Tuesday...Kirby suggested she was in the mood for walking tacos.  As I had no other real plans for the meat, walking tacos sounded good to me.  However, a trip to the supermarket was in order - I needed tomatoes, olives, taco sauce, and Doritos.  I was at the mercy of the prices at the moment.  Poor planning on my part.  I spent twelve dollars on about four items needed for just one meal.

Here is the Glorious Pie Chart O' Spending.  I'll include my comments below.




Total Spending This Week: $102.64
Total After Week Three: $287.40
 
An aberration you'll notice this week is nearly a quarter of the expenditures went towards what I call "Junk Food".  This is certainly NOT par for course - but it stems from two things: weakness on my part and more poor planning.

1. A soda for myself after a long day of work.

2. A pack of low-sugar fudge bars (4.39).

3. Two boxes of Little Debbies (3.00).  Kirby informed me the day of that she needed to bring treats for her Girl Scout troop.  *eye roll*

4. 12-pack of Doritos for the aforementioned walking tacos.

5. Four Lunchables bought as a spur of the moment meal, as my husband realized Thursday night we would all be running hither and thither with no chance to have a real dinner.  I HATE buying Lunchables - for so many reasons that I am remembering right now.

So, yeah, it was the little things that just added up over the week.  It is likely, though, you won't see this aberration again.  At least, I sure hope not.

I can't complain much about the rest of it.  I know I keep saying I'm going to stop buying meat - but 1 lb. chubs of ground beef (90%) were on sale for 2 for $7...which I guess comes out to $3.50/pound, which is maybe not that great of a deal at all, now that I think about it.  Then, I also bought lunchmeat for the week - which always seems to add up no matter what.  Three meat items + nearly another quarter of the spending = kinda ridiculous.  I gotta stop...

Another almost-quarter devoted to fruits and vegetables (canned and frozen) - not going to say much about that.

Breakfast cereal, the bane of my existence.  I bought four boxes, used two coupons, and still spent almost ten percent on what Willy Wonka called "those disgusting little pencil shavings".  *sigh*

Two weeks in April left - must rally!  My goal now is to put my super-duper resourceful pants on and come in under $350 for the entire month.  Now that would actually be a feat I've never achieved - under $400 on groceries for a family of five!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Costco Analysis and Tips

Briefly, here is my warehouse shopping biography.

Oh, about 7, 8, 9 years ago, we were Sam's Club members when we lived in Minnesota.  Because we had little ones in diapers, that comprised most of our bill.  We bought toilet paper, paper towels, etc., as well...however, we never paid much attention to price.  Stupidly, we assumed if we were buying more, it was costing us less.  Eventually we gave up the membership, because we were spending too much, and we were also preparing to move to Iowa.

The next several years passed in relative peace.

Sometime in October of last year, I got the warehouse bug again.  Probably because I was tired of seeing Costco every time I went to a big-city shopping mall and probably because I'd picked up the book Fix, Freeze, Feast.  Things had changed now, our diaper-clad children were now voracious eaters, and so it seemed like as good a time as any to join.

This time around though, things are different.  I've not gone ape crazy, buying every cool thing I see.  I've also done more with price checking and comparing.  Let me tell you, there are good deals to be had at warehouses, but there are also an equal amount of items you're better off just buying at home.

While I'm not the warehouse shopping expert (yet), here's some comparisons from my most recent shopping trip (yesterday).


Many of these probably even out once I figure in gas and driving costs (Costco is about an hour from my home).  So yeah, maybe I should buy my Fage at home...but, I cannot find the 35 oz container size anywhere around here.  *That* is worth the trip.  The pretzels, though, are subject to negotiation - if I come across them on sale around here, I'll buy the big bags and divvy them up myself.

However, items 3 through 6 are interesting.  Sixteen ounces of baby spinach in a nice reusable plastic container at almost half the cost of Walmart's going rate!?  Yes, please!  Of course, if you dislike raw baby spinach leaves, you may not find this discount as exciting as I do.  However, I stretch my salad lettuce with a couple of handfuls of spinach (not to mention a handful of good nutrients).  I also use spinach in my wraps, soups, quiches, etc.  So, yeah, a good deal for our family.  The red grapefruit cups were on sale at Costco this week, and probably something I would not normally buy.  But, I had one this morning, sprinkled with a bit of Truvia, and was quite pleased with the result.  It's funny that despite the "sale price" of $1.00 at Walmart, I still got the better deal at Costco.  The vanilla thing is just staggering.  I do a fair amount of baking, and I don't think I will ever buy vanilla at the grocery store again.  Ever.  The olives were for my mom (she and my dad eat them like jackals) and again, a much, much better deal at Costco.  In fact, the Walmart price I quote above was for the store brand (Great Value)...that was the absolute lowest cost.

Paper plates, though, I could also just suck up and buy here in town.  Yeah, it's nice having 276 paper plates at my disposal, but honestly, I could buy three packages at 3.86 each, have 300 plates, and still spend less than I did at Costco.  Ah, well, you live, you learn.

In the six months I've been a warehouse shopper, here's a couple of things I've learned:

1.  Take any and all previous grocery receipts with you.  Jot down quantities.  Then you'll have something to compare as opposed to trying to remember how much toilet paper is.

2.  Steer clear of the specialty foods (unless it's special occasion).  Yes, the lobster ravioli looks pretty cool, but really, do you need it?

3.  Be reasonable and be realistic.  I almost splurged yesterday on avocados, but then I remembered that I don't use them much anyway, and honestly, they'd probably go bad at the bottom of my crisper.

Hopefully, this list grows.

Grocery Challenge - April 8: EPIC FAIL

First off, I nearly went over my $50 budget by almost three times.  Second off, I'm not going to apologize because I took advantage of some good deals.  Besides, I do have three eaglets here at the nest to feed.

Total grocery expenditures this week = $139.46.  Number of stores visited = 3.

On Thursday I made a quick stop at one of the local shops for .77 cans of fruit (peaches, cocktail).  My primary thought here was to serve these goodies at dinner time, with my cottage cheese at lunch, or as an after-school snack.  I also stocked up on cottage cheese, going for .99 a tub.  Again, cottage cheese works well here as a dinner side dish - all kids like it.  I froze one tub, thinking maybe to thaw it sometime for a lasagna.  Packages of hot dogs were also going for .79 a package - hard to pass that up.  Not that I'm a big wiener fan (well...), but with summer camping around the corner...

Then, today was our monthly trip to the Costco warehouse.  It's hard to walk in there and keep the bill under fifty bucks, but I tried.  I did about $85 dollars' worth of damage, and just $60 of that was food.  Fruit was the major purchase here - a six-pound bag of Anjou pears for 5.99 (.99/lb).   I purchased four pounds of pears on sale at Hy-Vee last week for .88 cents a pound...but they were gone within three days.  I did not even get a one.  I suspect, with twelve pounds of them now in my crisper, my odds increase greatly.  Costco is the place where I buy the three-plus pound assortment of pretzels bags that my kids have as an after-school snack....however, at roughly $2.50 a pound, it's probably time to consider purchasing the giant bags of pretzels and bagging them in individual portions myself.  My biggest zippity-doodah at Costco was a 16 oz. bottle of pure vanilla for $6.79 (.42 cents an oz)...when I checked prices later at Fareway, a 4 oz bottle ran me $7.29 ($1.82/oz)!!  Highway robbery!

The last stop was at the other grocery store in town, Fareway, last night.  The bill was higher than I'd anticipated, especially since I only needed a few items.  Brent threw in two bottles of our favorite Moscato - but he said I could categorize it under "entertainment" instead of "food".  Hahahaha.  Also, I had a $4 off coupon for General Mills cereal - but again, cereal can just be so expensive, sometimes I wonder if I really am getting the great deal.

So, here's the breakdown:


Key Points:

1.  I feel pretty good about a third of my spending this week being devoted to fruits and vegetables - I'm never usually going to regret that.  If I'm lucky, the fresh fruit will last two weeks.

2.  About a quarter of the spending (23%) was on items that aren't usually part of the weekly list: wine, yeast, vanilla (Wine and Baking Items).

3.  True to my word, meat spending was way down.  I took advantage of .99 packages of Little Sizzlers, the previously-mentioned hot dogs, and lunchmeat.  I suspect this trend will continue, some major meat sale notwithstanding.

4.  There's another quarter, though, that's kind of a thorn in my side - the processed food quarter (Cereal and Snacks).  I paid about $28 dollars for refined and processed "grains" and air.  Hmph.  I suspect that is an area that will change in the weeks to come.

5.  Why is string cheese so damn expensive?!  Five dollars for a 24-pack?  Well, I guess it does come to about .20 cents a piece...maybe that's not so bad....but string cheese is so little.  Also, $5.79 of the dairy spending came from a 35-oz. container of Fage yogurt, the really thick Greek style stuff.  It breaks down to .17 cents an ounce, and I simply can't find it in bigger containers anywhere.

So yeah - I waaaaay overshot my $50 this week.  But still, $139 dollars on a week's worth of groceries is significantly less than what I've paid before. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We Overeat...Because We're Getting Fatter?

Well, if that just doesn't flip conventional medical wisdom on its head, I don't know what will.

So I'm reading "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes, right?

Chapter 9 is titled "Laws of Adiposity" - much of the first section discusses an experiment conducted by George Wade.  After removing the ovaries from three sets of female lab rats, this is what he found:

1. The rats who were allowed to eat whatever, whenever gained weight and became obese.
2. The rats who were put on a strict post-surgery diet still gained weight and became obese.
3. The rats who were injected with estrogen and left to whatever eating pattern they chose did not grow obese.

Obviously, this experiment (with further explanation in the book) linked the presence of estrogen to weight loss/gain.  Taubes goes on to say "estrogen influences an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL)".  These enzymes pull fat into cells that express a need for it (91).  When there is no estrogen, the LPLs go crazy, pulling fat into cells everywhere...then, the animal (in this case, the rat) wants to eat more and more because calories and fat are being snatched by the LPL (92).  If the animal can't get the food it wants, the body compensates by slowing down: metabolism, expending energy, etc.

Laboratory rats is one thing, humans are another altogether.  I'm paraphrasing Taubes here, but, we've all believed that overeating and underexercising have been the obesity culprit; maybe these lab rats are the key to understanding that obesity is not just a simple matter of eating less and moving more.  Perhaps we need to get it through our heads that obesity is its own complex system and network of enzymes and partnerships that have nothing to do with being on the treadmill or eating a salad.  He suggests that "when we pay attention to the regulation of our fat tissue, we arrive at an explanation for why we get fat and what to do about it (93)".

I must, of course, keep reading, but this is pretty intriguing stuff, yes?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

If You're Not a Sloth, You're a Glutton. And Vice Versa.

Okay, I'll admit (don't lose respect for me), I've stopped reading Gary Taubes's "Good Calories, Bad Calories".  While it was a very impressive body of work, it was also very dense, hard to sift through, and just too darn scientific and data-based.  That stuff is important to me, but I already accept the premise...I kept waiting for Taubes to give advice.  And I waited...and waited...

However, this girl's got a Plan B.  I picked up Taubes's "Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It",  a recently-published text that I suspect he put out in response to readers like myself who just wanted a super-duper condensed version of GCBC and more tips and advice.

Thirty pages in, my expectation is met so far.  Taubes has summarized rather handily the tomes of research that exist regarding obesity, etc...both positive and negative outcomes.  Early on, it's clear that science, public health, government have made mistakes...ones they seem reluctant to fix.

Anyway, there are several older studies that indicate obesity was once a "disease of malnutrition" instead of overnutrition (29).  Taubes then goes to explain that most doctors, parents, nutritionists, dietitians, consumers, etc. have believed in the calories in-calories out process (that we gain weight when we consume more cals than we burn).  Thus, if one was obese, it was either because s/he was inactive or was an overeater (either s/he was a sloth (lazy) or a glutton).  However, Taubes highlights study after study that indicates obesity had nothing to do with activity. After all, according to the conventional knowledge, poverty-level sharecroppers in 1950's South Carolina should have been thin (because they couldn't afford much food and worked physically demanding jobs)...but they weren't (26).  An unusual number of those folks (and many others) were overweight.

Taubes suggests that we forget about labels (sloth or glutton?) and judgments (lazy or a pig?) and instead, consider that something is wrong with our food supply.

It doesn't seem like a wholly revolutionary idea, but essentially: stop worrying about how much we eat, and worry more about what we eat.

And that is what I am in the middle of trying to figure out.  What should I eat?  Who's right?  The USDA (Meat & Beans are just a sliver on the current food pyramid)?  Michael Pollan (Eat more.  Mostly plants.)?  Gary Taubes/Dr. Atkins/Arthur Agatston (Meat is good.  Stay away from high-carb...even if it's a fruit or vegetable)?

The answers are out there.  They have to be.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm No Top Chef

But I'm pretty darned pleased with my Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes this morning.

2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar

These I combined in a large bowl.  Then I stirred in:

2 cups of buttermilk and a 1/2 tsp. of baking soda.

After that, I added and combined until just all dry ingredients were wet:

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups of flour (I s'pose it would be best to use all-purpose, but I used what I had, so I went with a cup of King Arthur Whole Wheat and a cup of rye flour.  Crazy!)

Then it was griddle time!  

Smiles and second helpings all around today!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Grocery Challenge - April 1

Not since September when our family went off restaurant eating have I been faced with any kind of monetary-food challenge...so what better time than now?

I subscribe to a blog here that is mostly about being frugal.  The author spends $25 a week on groceries for herself, her husband, and their teenage son.  She reviews all mailings and coupons to get the best deals and stocks up whenever things are dirt-cheap.

So, why not this same challenge for me?  I grant you, $25 a week with three growing kids might be an impossible stretch...I'm not looking to deprive anybody of valuable nutrients here.  But...imposing a reasonable dollar amount might be kinda fun.

In preparation, I updated my pantry and freezer inventories.  Upon doing this, I discovered that meat is one thing I will probably not need to purchase much of in the month to come - unless, of course, there's a great bargain to be had.  It does appear, though, that frozen vegetables will make the grocery list this week.  There is not much dairy I will need to purchase this week - milk consumption has tapered off a little since we've slowed down on cereal eating.  Yogurt and cheese are adequate.  Fruit is holding firm, which leaves me free to buy only what's on sale (pears, as it turns out, much to Brent's joy).

There was, I'll admit, a frugal pleasure in perusing the weekly circular for the grocery ads.  I'll be shopping at Fareway this week, as opposed to Hy-Vee, simply because many of the items I need this week are on sale at the former.

Hopefully, my receipt here shortly will prove to be as satisfying as researching the shopping trip.

UPDATE:  Two hours later...

I've put my expenditures for the week here into this nice little Excel pie chart.  My total came to $45.30 (leaving me a total of $4.70 for any incidentals in the week to come).  I know I said I wasn't going to buy much meat, but it was on sale, and since there wasn't much else I needed - I stocked up.

$22.25 - Chicken breasts and butterfly pork chops

And joy, frozen vegetables were on sale!  Isn't it fortuitous that I needed them?
$5.94 - Six 16 oz bags of corn and peas & carrots

Yes, I took advantage of pears and onions being on sale.  However, I "splurged" on cucumbers (.99 a piece) so that I could reuse the leftover pickle juice in the fridge.  Also, I like cutting up carrots and celery for snacks during the week.

$10.86 - Fresh produce (pears, onions, carrots, celery, cucumbers, lettuce)

My dairy shopping wins the most bang-for-the-buck award - three items at .99 each.

$2.97 - Dairy (two dozen eggs and a pint of half and half)

Now, let me follow that up with the most ridiculous thing ever.  As a real "splurge", I purchased a Diet Coke for myself and a Mountain Dew for my son, Spencer.  You know, as an end-of-week treat.  The two 20 oz. bottles of pop (with deposit) ran me $3.08...eleven cents more than the two dozen eggs and h&h!  The eggs alone will provide four mornings' worth of breakfast (or more) for my family - and I paid more money for two beverages which will be gone by early evening.

Unbelievable, right?

Anyway, recap.

Week 1 Total: $45.30 (-$3.08 of utter stupidity)
Number of Reuseable Bags Filled: Three