One of the perks of having a bit more of a stockpile of food is that I don't need to go to the grocery store as often as I did in the beginning days of this challenge. I wanted to wait to go since there were a couple of Saturday and Sunday only deals this week at Safeway that I was interested in getting. I combined these the Kraft salad dressing money maker to buy the following:

salad dressing

day 57 purchases

The first purchase simply took advantage of a lot of the great deals available this week. I was able to get a package of Peppridge Farm Goldfish, Goldfish Grahams, Ocean Spray Blueberry Cocktail Juice, 3 bottles of Kraft salad dressing and 1 lb of baby carrots (I used a $1 off produce when you buy 2 Kraft salad dressing coupon I found in the produce section last month in addition to the $1 off 1 coupons) for $0.07:

day 57 first run

day 57 first run total

After that, it was simply buy 3 Kraft salad dressings and use the $0.53 overage to buy other stuff:

free banana receipt

free blueberry juice receipt

free tomatoes receipt

Wash. Rinse Repeat. I was able to purchase the following food:

30 bottles of Kraft salad dressing
1 package Peppridge Farm Goldfish
1 package Peppridge Farm Goldfish Grahams
3 bottles Ocean Spray Blueberry cocktail drink
1 package mushrooms
1 one lb package baby carrots
1 package spinach leaves
3 tomatoes
6 bananas

This ended up being $148.47 worth of food for which I paid a grand total of $1.35. I still have enough coupons to do this several more times, so all the salad dressing I have purchased thus far will go to the food bank. Since I will be buying a few more bottles before Tuesday, what salad dressing flavors would be most useful for me to have for my cooking?

It always pays to keep your eyes on the ground when walking the grocery store parking lot. I found a great (well, at least I think so)catalina product coupon for $1 off 1 Ben & Jerry's ice cream mini cup – since these are regularly priced at $1 each, that is a free cup of ice cream:

 ice cream catalina

People often throw away the catalina coupons they get and you can get some great savings if you keep your eyes open for them.

Orange Banana Smoothie

Since the first of the oranges which I was given was so delicious, I decided to try an orange banana smoothie this morning with another one of them. It's pretty hard to go wrong with these fruit smoothies (knock on wood):

orange banana smoothie

Loquat Oatmeal

Since I was able to get enough base food and discovered the fruit smoothies, I haven't been eating oatmeal in the morning which was a standard the first month. I can definitely say that oatmeal is a lot more appetising when you decide that you want to eat it rather than that is the only thing you happen to have. I added three small loquats pitted and chopped on top and it was actually quite delicious:

loquat oatmeal

Veggie Egg Sandwich

I fixed myself a quick veggie and egg sandwich. I toasted two pieces of whole wheat bread, spread on a bit of Thousand Island salad dressing, added, lettuce, onion, tomato and a hard boiled egg, then a bit of salt and pepper:

veggie egg sandwich

I then took a cup of the strawberry yogurt and mixed it with Kashi cereal:

day 57 lunch

Mashed Potatoes, Veggies and Salad

I decided that with the last 3 potatoes from my 10 lb bag (I still have another 10 lb bag), I would attempt to make mashed potatoes. The one issue was that I didn't have any butter, but I decided to try it anyway. I boiled them, added a bit of milk, sour cream, salt and pepper. They actually turned out all right – not the best mashed potatoes I've ever eaten, but not the worse either. I also steamed up a cupful of my frozen vegetables and made a salad (lettuce, onion, tomato, raisins)

mashed potatoes

This is the current list of food I still have
This is the current list of what I have purchased:

Money Spent $40.01
Money left to spend: $20.99 ($5.04 must be spent at CVS)
Retail Value of everything bought: $1171.64


The Beginning :::
Day 58: Should I Be Able To Use Basics That I Have Purchased, But Don't Bring With Me When I Travel?

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  1. Definitely reccomend the zesty italian dressing. It’s great for salads to make pasta salad or even as a marinade. For pasta salad I just take some cooked spiral pasta add some veggies and then the zesty italian dressing chill it in the fridge then serve.

  2. You can try adding the cream cheese minis to the mashed potatoes for a different flavor. Also, you can use ranch dressing.

  3. I’ve used sour cream instead of butter many times. I’ve heard of people using mayo instead of butter too, but I’m not that brave, lol. Next time, if you’re still out of butter, you might want to add a bit of chicken bouillon to the potatoes. I do that frequently because it adds flavor without adding the calories and fat that butter has.

    Regarding salad dressings:
    I would use Asian Toasted Sesame Light Salad Dressing to add flavor to cooked rice.

    I would buy a bag of dried garbanzo (or chick peas) beans and add Kraft Light Greek Vinaigrette With Oregano and Feta Cheese Salad Dressing after they were cooked. I would also use Roasted Red Pepper Italian Salad Dressing in the same way to flavor dried lentils. Come to think of it, lentils might also taste good with the Feta Cheese Salad dressing and they are super cheap and super easy to cook:

    I agree with everyone about Zesty Italian, it is very versatile. It’s great with pasta, potatoes, and I’ve even thrown a spoon or two into a pot of soup to add flavor.

    When it comes to salad dressing and different flavors, I guess the only limit is, how much experimenting you want to do?

  4. You can use pretty much any salad dressing (except Thousand Island) as a marinade. Chicken is an especially good match for ranch dressing and other cream-based variants. Rinse chicken, marinate in dressing for about 20 minutes, roll dressing-coated chicken in bread crumbs or flour, pan fry in a little oil or shortening.

    Catalina and other French-style dressings make excellent stir-fry sauce. Add after the vegetables get tender, and stir until it heats through. Especially good with broccoli, carrots or sugar snap peas, but tasty on pretty much any stir-fryable veggies.

    Pork goes well with any citrus flavor dressing or vinaigrette, and Italian style dressings are good marinades beef.

  5. Cream cheese is a great addition to mashed potatoes. Makes them very rich and flavorful and eliminates the need for butter. Throw in a couple ounces of cream cheese and some garlic salt with your 3 potatoes and you’ve got awesome garlic mashed potatoes.

  6. @Colleen

    When that happens (and it does to me too), I simply tell the cashier I will go to the service desk and talk with the manager. I do this a lot if there is a slightest hint of a problem. While this doesn’t always work, it seems that the more confidence I have that I am right, the less issues I have with cashiers.

    if I do go to the manager and my coupons are accepted (which happens most of the time), I politely ask that the cashier be retrained on the coupon policy noting that by denying the coupons and having people walk out, the store is losing money.

    While it does take time and patience, I look at it as my good deed for the day — that means the next person trying to save money won’t run into the same problem.

    I do know your frustration and it is sad that shoppers have to train the cashiers on how coupons work.

  7. I know some others have said it but I also think italian dressing should be a staple!
    One of the dishes I make regularly (especially in the summer) is spagetti salad-
    You will need the following-
    A handfull of regular spagetti
    1 tomato
    1/2 cucumber
    salad dressing to taste

    Boil the spagetti according to package instructions, then strain and run some cold water over it to cool the spagetti down (or put a little bit of oil into them and put in the fridge to cool).
    Then, chop the tomato and cucumber into bite sized pieces.
    Combine the spagetti, chopped tomato, and chopped cucumber into a bowl then pour in italian dressing to taste.
    You can keep it in the fridge for at least a few days and it is delicious! Also, you can add whatever veggies you have on hand.

  8. Zesty italian is great for grilled veggies, like squash and zucchini. It’s also great for grilling chicken, if you have some available.

  9. Hi there! Love reading your daily events. You are really inspiring me to search for even better deals in my area (I’m bummed I don’t have a Safeway store!).

    Regarding your mashed potatos, I would add some of your Ranch dressing to them. Just boil and mash as normal, then add the dressing to taste. It is quite yummy!

  10. I totally agree with all the other writers about the salad dressings. I usually add some ranch to my deviled eggs instead of mayo with a bit of mustard, salt, pepper and top with a sprinkle of paprika. Next time you grill, you may want to marinate less expensive cuts of meat in the Italian dressing with a little bit of garlic powder or minced garlic and some red pepper flakes. It adds some zip and nice flavors to the meat. I do this with pork steak or end cut pork chops and its wonderful. The spaghetti salad is very similiar to the one I make and it would be great to take to a potluck or bbq next time. Continue success.

  11. Oh yes the balsamic vineager is great also on tomatoes, cucumbers when chopped and placed on toasted baquette bread or crackers with some mozzarella cheese. If you dont have crackers or bread, make it with any kind of pasta add some other veggies and you have a great pasta salad.

  12. I would agree with others about the Zesty Italian. I just purchased some for the Catalina myself. Speaking of Catalina deals, I read somewhere that there is a Catalina deal now for Minute Maid ($1 wyb 2, $2 wyb 3, $3 wyb 4+). I was wondering if you knew anything about this and if there are limits on the products that can be used with this. Thanks.

  13. Italian dressing can be used as a marinade for lots of things. Blue cheese dressing can be used where you would use blue cheese (like on hamburgers, steak) in moderation, Thousand Island and Russian dressings can be used as condiments on sandwiches.

  14. If you can find some heavy cream, here’s a recipe for cream of mushroom soup with spinach:

    Put a little canola oil (quarter-sized splotch, about a tsp; or better, a few tablespoons of butter, if you find that) in a pot. Add some diced onion and lots of diced mushrooms – the more the better, and cook until they release their juices. (You’ll see it. They’ll turn darker brown and they’ll be swimming, and the onions will get translucent.)

    While those are cooking, put chopped spinach in a bowl with a little water, cover with a paper towel, and microwave for a minute or two. It should steam.

    Add cream to pot, bring to a simmer.

    Add spinach to pot. Simmer until you like the thickness. Stir often to avoid scalding the cream. Add salt and pepper to taste (you’ll probably need more salt than you expect.)

    It’s quite tasty, and very filling. You could also try it with a combination of milk and cream cheese (or sour cream) instead of the heavy cream, but it might take you longer to simmer it down to a soup-like consistency, and the cream cheese/sour cream flavor might dominate the mushroom and spinach. It would still be good, though!

    Veggie frittatas are easy too, and you’ve got plenty of veggies now for those. Frittata recipe:

  15. I just discovered your blog from MetaFilter today.

    And I love it. You’re doing a great job. I’m sure your meals are a lot healthier than what a lot of people eat.

    Keep up the good work and don’t let your sister get you down. I think she’s just jealous of your low, low grocery receipts.

  16. Just found your blog today and read everything to get up-to-date. I just wanted to give you a tip for your pancakes…if/when you run out of fruit to top them and you need a *little something* to perk them up…you can make a cheater syrup by mixing 2 parts brown sugar to 1 part water in a pan and boiling it til it reduces slightly. It will be thin, but ir’s better than nothing.

  17. I’ve used olive oil instead butter in mashed potatoes and its not bad but it definitely changes the flavor, so if you decide to try it, go very light at first. I’ve also used cream cheese that’s really good.

    I’d second all the recomendations for Italian dressing. Catalina dressing is great on taco salads and other mexican dishes.

    Also, salsa is very versatile and you can use that in a lot of dishes (almost as a replacement for canned tomatoes) so if you get extra of those, keep that in mind.

  18. How did you find places to forage? I’ve been looking around here without luck yet. I dumpster dive for food and have found several edible items there, mostly cereal, crackers and juice, but I would love to find fresh fruit that is growing on the trees.

  19. @Melanie

    I take daily walks which are on public land and I simply started to explore that public land. I have it on my list of things to do to get a book on edible plants in my area, but have been finding that the more I look, the more opportunities I see. Of course, it helps that I live in an area where climate allows fruit trees to grow and flourish.

  20. I’ve noticed your boiled eggs are not very even. Some people don’t care, but if you’re looking for an evenly boiled egg, there’s an easier way to do it than just boiling it for a long time. Put the eggs in cold water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes or so, and then cover the pot and remove from heat. Let it sit in the hot water for about 20 minutes, and then drop them into an ice bath (or at least cold water). The ice bath or cold water stops the cooking and prevents it from being overdone. You get a nice evenly done boiled egg by using less gas/electricity.

  21. Always keep Italians of different varieties they can be used to marinade vegetables and meats. Ranch
    can be used in cooking, add to mashed potatoes, add to pasta salads, use to dip meats and vegetables in before dredging with flour when you are going to fry them, and also be used as a dip for your raw vegetables. Thousand Island can be used to replace miracle whip or mayo
    on sandwiches and burgers. Of course they are all good on salads.

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