Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Kitchen weekend

My pantry is looking a little empty.  There are certain foods I try to keep supplied because I use them so often.  One of those is mushrooms.  I eat mushrooms in just about everything.  I was down to my last two jars when I spotted these at Kroger.

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Those became one canner load of half pint jars.  By the way, has anyone noticed that the mushrooms are not in one pound containers anymore?  The large are only 14 oz, the small only 7 oz, and the price is much higher than they have ever been. These were 50 percent off the regular price of $3.38 and $4.78.  Only about a year ago the price would have been $.99 for 8 ounces and $1.99 for a pound.

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I saved a few to freeze for stuffed mushroom when I want them.  Well dang it!  I read the new Meijer ad that came out today.  Their mushrooms are on sale 10 for $10.  Just my luck.

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I found these cauliflower on the discount table of Meijer.  Shelf price for these was $3.99 each.  Or was that per pound?  I forget. Anyway, I got these for one dollar apiece.  Yes, they do have dark spots on them but those are easily cut off.

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I started to put them in the freezer but decided to pickle them instead.  I used the recipe from the Ball blue book which is a sort of sweet-sour taste.  Similar to the sweet-sour of bread and butter pickles. I will use these in place of pickle relish or eat them as is on sandwiches.  I sure hope I can find more.  I still want some for the freezer.  My small water bath canner holds 9 half pint jars.  The red top one was put into the fridge to become refrigerator pickled.

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At Kroger I bought 6 pounds of ground chuck at $6.99 a pound.  I sure hated to spend that much but I haven’t been able to find any on discount lately.  There are just some meals which call for ground beef and nothing else will do.

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I bottled it in half pint jars too.  Its about half a pound per jar before cooking which is just right for me.  I’ll be using these very sparingly.

Everything has gotten so much more expensive lately.  The old standby scrap food items I remember from my youth are now called “delicacy” and sold higher than everything else.  Chicken backs and necks or beef marrow bones which we could pick up for pennies or free are now higher priced than regular pieces of meat.  Pig ears and chicken feet were given to anyone who wanted them back then.  Now there are restaurants specializing in selling those.  Its become very difficult to fix frugal meals.  The times are a changing.  I’ll be glad when I can get back to the food bank again.

*** UPDATE  I looked back through some of my old posts and saw that mushrooms and cauliflower were about the same price back in 2013. They had come down in price for awhile but are back to those high prices again.

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17 comments on “Kitchen weekend

  1. mem37814
    April 4, 2016

    I buy milk by the gallon at Weigel’s and u have a card that lets u get a free gallon after u get so many. I have been making hot potato salad by scrambling 3 eggs in a cup of milk and them microwaving -to keep me having to boil the eggs,peel,chop- then adding the items to make the potato salad. Saves me lots of time and energy

    • Anita
      April 5, 2016

      Thats a good idea, I may try it.

  2. Kathleen Wood
    January 19, 2016

    Good Morning Anita,
    Wow!!! $6.99 for hamburger…Wow! here in New Mexico it runs about $4.50 give or take .25 cents..and that’s on sale. just last week it was $3.89 a pound on sale. lowest it has been since 2014. I don’t know what caused the dip in price , but I am sure that it is back up this week.
    Milk runs about $2.00-$2.50 a gallon on sale. there are some brands that aren’t on sale that run around $4.00.
    Our county is considered one of the poorest counties in the State and the U.S.
    I saw someone one time while I was at the store weigh the 5 pound bags of potatoes……it only weighed a little over 3 pounds. couldn’t believe that.I think someone pulled potatoes out of one bag to FILL their own bag with more leaving one short. Maybe some bags had rotten ones in them and the grocer took them out..who knows.but you just have to watch everything now a days.
    But,40 some years ago when I was a teenager there was a small market in town where the owner was the only employee..he had a broom sitting next to the register and would sell it all day long and if someone noticed that the price was on their ticket…he would say”oh , that’s not yours” , sneakie,sneakie even back then.
    Funny now but sad some people have to be that way.
    Enjoy chatting with you,
    Kathleen

    • Anita
      January 19, 2016

      Maybe where you are is cattle country so the price of beef is going to be less. I’m in a sort of dairy area so the price of dairy is going to be a little cheaper. Yes, its always best to weigh the bagged food yourself. BIG mistakes, if you can call them mistakes, happen often with the pre-bagged items. If the bag says # of pounds per $ then legally it can’t be less. I like your broom story. Thanks.

      • mem37814
        April 4, 2016

        I saw on the frugal site where the lady peeled her bananas before weighing them. She was getting lots of looks but I guess it worked for her.

        • Anita
          April 5, 2016

          😉 Thats a good one.

  3. KAYTHEGARDENER
    January 19, 2016

    One of my “beefs” is how ethnically named meats cuts aren’t labeled with the primal cut they come from, like the regular meat is…
    I would like to know what kind of cut (chuck, loin, etc) is used for the carnitas meats, so then I would know if I should braise it or stew it…
    Another is how so many non-food items in the grocery store, eg paper goods, don’t have unit pricing any longer, so it is tough to compare between brands counting sheets & those counting square feet of product!!
    I remember how it took years of consumer agitation & lobbying to get Congress to pass those consumer protection laws in the first place in the 1960s & 1970s. It really made a difference for sharp consumers like us readers, but nowadays, corporations who ignore the laws are not punished in any way.
    As your readers say, Na-Na, it is a battle of the wits, 24-7-365!!
    And 2016 is a Leap Year,,,

    • Anita
      January 19, 2016

      The laws have changed and its no longer required to show unit pricing in some states. The laws vary from state to state. Most stores here in Kentucky still use the unit price though they are slowly getting away from it.

      Those carnitas may be put together with transglutaminase, aka Meat Glue which would explain why it doesn’t say what the meat cut is. If you don’t know what that is do an internet search for meat glue. You’ll get lots of sites to read or videos to watch. Meat glue is used all the time in restraunts but I wouldn’t rule it out being used in the meat packing industry. It’s kin to pink slime. That’s just one of the reasons I don’t eat in restraunts anymore.

      • mem37814
        April 4, 2016

        never heard of it but will research it. thanks

  4. boblosan
    January 18, 2016

    I have been wondering about product sizing as well. Ice Cream used to be sold by half gallon containers. Now it is in ounces and they don’t add up to 1/2 gallon, but the prices are higher. Cereal packaging hasn’t changed, but the weight of the cereal inside sure has. Even frozen vegetables have switched to the “steam it” kind and they come in smaller packages for more money. I’m sorry about the ground beef prices. My husband shops for us in the military commissary and the ground beef from the government (although it uses filler) is up to over $6 a pound, too. It wasn’t all that long ago it was $2.00 a pound. Glad you get the powdered milk. I live in the northeast (Connecticut) and everything is high priced here.

    • Anita
      January 18, 2016

      The short sizing tricks are everywhere. As long as nobody actually pays attention to size then “they” win. Have you noticed the heavier weight foam trays? Its to fool people into believing the meat is heavier than what it is. Hold onto your hat, they’ve found a way of raising the price of turkey again. There is supposedly a new outbreak of bird flu in Indiana. Thousands of turkeys to be destroyed. This was on the evening news today. Since many meats now contain turkey that means everything with it will cost more.

      • mem37814
        April 4, 2016

        The To Go stryfoam box at some places has a charge on it.

        • Anita
          April 5, 2016

          Only in some places. Others have not started charging yet.

  5. Frugalwarrior2
    January 18, 2016

    wtg on the cauliflower. It is $3. at Aldis and not even looking at at Kroger. I was in Big Lot yesterday and they are more than Kroger on many things. This is going to be a stay sharp year!!

    • Anita
      January 18, 2016

      Hey, I like that… a stay sharp year. The dollar stores here are as high or higher than Kroger on many things. I haven’t been to Big Lots in a long time. Yes, we are definitely going to need to stay sharp.

  6. Linda Smith
    January 18, 2016

    What’s happened to butter? In Idaho our milk is $1.89 a gallon but butter is $5 to $6 a pound! Until recently butter was often on sale for $2.50 but no more. Guess I’ll be using Crisco for pie crust & cookies like Mom did.

    • Anita
      January 18, 2016

      Here milk is $2.50 gallon and butter is on sale for $2.99 this week. I stopped buying liquid milk a long time ago and started using only the powdered milk from the senior commodity program. I’m lucky that people give theirs to me because they don’t use it.

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