Frugal Grocer – Week #4

I want to start out by saying I am having so much fun with this challenge.  I have been busting out my cookbooks and getting inspired with recipes and the various uses for the same vegetables that meals are not stale or boring.  When I see a recipe now I imagine what I have in the pantry or refrigerator and what would be a good substitute and I have to say I have not been disappointed yet.

Something else has come out of this challenge and that is homemade is better than package even if homemade isn’t great.  I am referring to the fact that I have not bought a loaf of bread in over a month and have instead been making my own bread at home.  First I made bread from all-purpose and whole wheat, then a 100% whole wheat.  Last week I made rye bread and this week I made cinnamon raisin.  No reason to ever buy a loaf of bread again.  As a matter of fact I noticed that after 7 days my bread developed a bit of mold on the last piece and thought to myself how long does bread in the store sit on the counter and then get brought home and used?

I am also no longer purchasing beans in a can but instead using dry beans and cooking them from scratch.  The same goes for oatmeal.  A box of oatmeal in a package is somewhere around $1.50 and have 5 packages in it.  Two pounds of rolled oats is $5.60 and I have had it for nearly two weeks and have made 3 bowls of oatmeal, and Karen made energy bars with it and I still have at least 1 pound left.

Nut butter?  Yup no longer buying that either.  In a food processor some almonds along with either honey or maple syrup and you have something that is so much better than Jif.  I make it in small batches so I know that it is always fresh.  I mentioned in a vlog that I was going to start making jelly/jam and I think this is the week I do that.  I have some leftover blueberries from last week and I am going to try to make a blueberry jam out of them.

So to the nitty gritty of this week.  I wound up spending $57, which is $7 over the limit but coupled with the fact that I only spend $42 last week and I am averaging $50 per week on groceries.  I managed to make 20 meals and snacks out of this $57 so that averages out to $2.85 per meal.  A number I will gladly take along with a very cooperative waist line.  Since I started this process I am down 5 pounds and have been holding a steady weight.  I attribute this to knowing exactly what is going into my food and not wondering what they are using in the kitchen of a restaurant.

Lastly, Frugal Grocer now has a Facebook page as well.  I will be posting at least once or twice a day a recipe that I come across that I can adapt to make it cheaper with a suggestion or a coupon I find.  That page will be dedicated to helping you eat healthy without breaking the bank.

Recipe of the Week:

Quinoa Puttanesca

Ingredients: 1/4c quinoa (washed), 1c water, 1/4c onion (diced), 4 kalamata olives (chopped), 1 tbsp capers (chopped), 1 garlic clove (chopped), 8oz crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp dried tarragon, 1 tsp marjoram, 1 tbsp olive oil

Nutritional Information:



  • Place quinoa in pan and heat for 3-4 minutes to get a toasty flavor.
  • Add water and bring to a boil.
  • After water boils reduce heat and bring it to a simmer and let it sit until steam begins to form.
  • Once steam forms give the quinoa a quick stir and then leave it until all the water is absorbed.
  • While quinoa cooks, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan.
  • After oil heats up add in garlic and onion and cook until fragrant.
  • Once garlic and oil provide the kitchen with a wonderful aroma add in the tomatoes, olives, capers and herbs.
  • Allow puttanesca to heat through stirring occasionally and making sure all the flavors are married.
After the quinoa is cooked add it to a bowl and then pour the puttanesca sauce over the top.  Serve with crusty bread and if so inclined a nice red wine.

Quinoa Puttanesca


[img src=]7420Kale and Kidney Bean Vegetable Soup
[img src=]6880Quinoa Puttanesca
[img src=]6650Rice Cakes With Sliced Banana and Carbohydrate Smoothie
[img src=]6340Banana, Apple and Almond Butter Sandwich
[img src=]6170Eggs With Red Onion, Tomato and Avocado Open Faced Sandwich
[img src=]6030Oatmeal With Cinnamon and Bananas
[img src=]5940Vegetable Sandwich With Celery And Carrots
[img src=]5770Black Bean and Vegetable Tacos
[img src=]5520Pancake Cupcakes
Made with whole wheat flour, almond butter, banana and blueberries
[img src=]5370Vegetable Fried Rice With Homemade Peanut Sauce
[img src=]5180Spanish Stew With Chickpeas (Enough for two meals)
[img src=]5120Bosc Pear and Banana Glazed in Honey Served Over Homemade Rye Bread
[img src=]5050Peanut Butter and Banana With Honey On Homemade Rye Bread
[img src=]4990Bagel and Non(Lox) -- Homemade Rye Bread With Vegan Cream Cheese, Thin Sliced Tomato And Capers
[img src=]4920Jovial Pasta With Sun Dried Tomatoes, Black Olives, Feta Cheese and Kidney Beans
[img src=]4900Vegetable Sandwich with Side Salad and Brussel Sprouts
Sandwich consists of Homemade Rye Bread, Red Bell Pepper, Spinach, Pickles, Mushrooms and Whole Grain Mustard.

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  1. Marlene says:

    I admire you for all of your from-scratch cooking and food prep. I wish could time the time/motivation to do it myself, but I still rely heavily on packaged goods for a lot of things. I try to make small improvements on an ongoing basis… baby steps!

    Thanks fo more great ideas!!!

    Let me know when you plan to move here and become my own personal shelf. I will teach you the language in return. bahahaha
    Marlene recently posted..Boston Training – Week 4… with some ramblesMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      You know it is really not that hard or that long to create these meals. It seems like a lot of work but in reality it is not. The beans are easy b/c as long as you soak overnight you can cook them quickly the next day in 25-30 minutes and while that happens you cook the other items.

      Bread is rather easy too b/c the majority of the time it is proofing or baking. You are only mixing ingredients for maybe 30 minutes total.

      And is Shelf some sort of Canadian way to say chef? What is a shelf? HA HA HA HA!!!!!
      CTER recently posted..Frugal Grocer – Week #4My Profile

  2. Maria Simone says:

    I am so jealous of your grocery bill. I don’t even want to talk about what we spend in groceries each week. And, we make 90% of our food from scratch. Now, I don’t make my own bread or nut butter, but you’ve got me thinking… I’ve never made bread in my life. I’m scared of the yeast. Weird, I know.

    How the heck are you only spending $50 a week? I can’t even get my produce for that cheap. You rock.
    Maria Simone recently posted..Flowing in the ZoneMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      Oh you have to make your own bread. It is so easy to do. Seriously it is very easy. The yeast is the easiest part. Hot water, honey and yeast then leave alone for 10 minutes then get into the rest of it. This week I made cinnamon raisin bread.

      Nut butter is even easier……nuts and honey or maple syrup in a food processor. Blend, scrape, blend, scrape.

      This week I have spent only $30 but I forgot to get eggs and yogurt. I shop the specials so my meals are always different that way. I also always use ingredients that I can use in a minimum of two dishes. So if I come across a recipe that requires something I don’t have I make sure that I can get two meals out of it and find another recipe.

      The last thing to remember is I am cooking for one and that I am not buying any meat. Dried beans are great and always shop seasonal foods. Makes it cheap to do.
      CTER recently posted..Frugal Grocer – Week #4My Profile

  3. Colleen says:

    Following you now on FB! :)

    That Quinoa recipe looks great. Will have to give it a try, as I’m experimenting with Quinoa lately!

  4. adena says:

    you really make me want to cook.. but then I realize, I can just move in with you guys and you can do all the cooking!! hahahahaha seriously love this series Jason.. such great ideas and inspiration.. wtg schmoodge!!
    adena recently posted..Mark Feb 11 on your calendarsMy Profile

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