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This week’s almost-$60 menu


I'm happy to finally be jumping back into more normal menus, baking, and cooking around here after a few weeks of stepping back from all but the basics for Christmas, New Year's, and traveling. However, I'm still trying to keep things simple since I'm 6 1/2 months pregnant and not usually oozing with energy as a result!

You can see what we bought for $62 at the grocery store this week here. And you can see why we've temporarily raised our grocery budget here (in case you missed it earlier).

One thing I do know I'm going to make a priority this week is to get back on track with having a bi-weekly Baking Day. It helps so tremendously when our freezer is stocked with breakfast, snack, and bread items. My planned Baking Day for this week is tomorrow and I'll be inviting you to join me, if you'd like. Stay tuned for more…

And without further ado, here's what's on the menu this week:

Granola over yogurt with fresh apple/orange juice
Whole-wheat waffles with blackberries, scrambled eggs, orange juice
Oatmeal with brown sugar and apples, orange juice
Peanut butter banana smoothies, toast
Bran muffins, yogurt, fresh apple/orange juice
Whole-wheat pancakes, yogurt, orange juice
Breakfast pita pockets (whole-wheat pita pockets with scrambled eggs and cheese), grapefruit

Spinach brown rice and cheese casserole, oranges
Shrimp, brown rice, steamed veggies
PB&J, yogurt, oranges
Whole-wheat pita pockets with melted cheese, steamed veggies
Annie's Mac and Cheese, applesauce, broccoli
Egg salad sandwiches, oranges

Steak, sweet potatoes (I just cook and mash sweet potatoes and then bake in the oven with a little butter and brown sugar–yum!), homemade bread, steamed veggies
Roast with gravy over noodles, steamed veggies, homemade bread
Turkey burgers with melted cheese, steamed veggies, homemade bread
Steak, green beans, mashed potatoes, grapefruit
Salmon, wild rice, steamed veggies
Beef strips with gravy over noodles, green beans, sweet potatoes
Dinner Out

Bran muffins
Peanut butter toast

See more menu plans for this week .

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  • Jen says:

    Your menus sound yummy. How do you afford so much cheese? I find cheese is more expensive per ounce than meat around here.

    December212012: Aldi cheese prices here are $1.99 for 8 oz. I buy it there unless I can get it for less at Kroger. I typically buy 3 8 oz. packages per week and then that’s what I have to work with. We could go through probably twice that much, if we wanted to. 🙂

  • says:

    Your menu sounds yummy. Okay, here’s my curiosity question: Do you think that you and Jesse will have a hard time readjusting to less meat after you have the baby? Steak twice a week sounds so luxurious, and I know that you’re not going to continue with that plan. Are you going to have to detox? 🙂

    December212012 here: Honestly, I don’t really like much meat. I’d much rather eat carbs any day and I’ve been missing our usual casseroles a lot. But since eating so much meat and taking double iron has made a huge difference in my hemoglobin and platelet levels so far (My hemoglobin has stayed above 10 this whole pregnancy–which is unheard of for me! And my platelet counts have stayed in the normal range–yay!), I’m willing to continue on with it until at least after the baby’s born.

    And since I’ve been buying all of our meat when it’s reduced for quick sale, I’m actually not spending huge amounts on it–more than usual, but usually only about $10-$12 average per week on meat.

    Anyway, all that to say, I’m actually looking forward to going back to more normal eating. And Jesse, bless his heart, will just happily eat whatever I fix for him. He says pretty much all my cooking is very delicious–even when I try out new experiments.

    One thing I have learned through this, though, is that I think we can probably squeeze a little more meat into our budget even on a lower budget. So maybe we’ll end up being able to eat more meat after the baby’s born–even back on our normal budget? Who knows? Only time will tell!

  • says:

    Sounds great! I am always so impressed that you can have such healthy meals on such a small budget. Very motivating!! Thanks for sharing with us:)


  • carole says:

    Hi Crystal 🙂 SO glad to be hearing so much more from you!!
    I’d love to know how you make your spinac, brown rice, and cheese casserole….. pretty please??

    December212012 here: Well, the recipe varies a little each time–depending upon what I have on hand. I’m going to make one up today, though, and I’ll try and post the recipe for everyone who asked.

  • curt says:

    Thanks for all the money saving tips. I have saved so much money reading your blog.

  • Leela says:

    Hello Crystal-

    I know you have posted before how you make the peanutbutter/banana smoothies, I just can’t seem to find it. Could you please tell me where I can find it !! I would really like to try that. Also do you have a place where all your recipes are ( I did click on the recipes, but not all of your things are there). I want to make those yummy Christmas twists too ! Thank you . Have a wonderful week.


    December212012 here:

    Here’s the Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie recipe:


  • says:

    I too would like to see the recipe for the spinach, brown rice, and cheese casserole!

    Also, do you cook up a bunch of brown rice on a certain day and keep it in the fridge to heat up? Or do you make it each time? It always takes so long ;)……….

    December212012 here: Yes, I cook up rice and freeze. I’ll be doing that today as part of my Baking Day series so stay tuned!

  • says:

    Wow — shrimp. You really know how to make $60 stretch! Funny, because I plan on making a shrimp dish this week too — it is in the freezer leftover from Christmas.

    I was wondering if you are also buying more milk while you are pregnant?

    December212012 here:

    Well, I got the shrimp for $3.99/bag which is an unheard of price here. I never buy shrimp, but at that price I couldn’t resist!

    Yes, we’ve been buying more milk since I’m pregnant. I usually am not a milk-drinker at all, but when I’m pregnant, I crave it. And since I know I’m supposed to be getting in at least 4 servings of dairy per day, I go with my cravings if they are something that’s good for me!

    We usually only bought a 1/2 gallon every week; now, we’ve been buying at least a gallon, sometimes more if I find some of the organic milk reduced.

  • Beth Cofer says:

    I am new to couponing and I love this site. I have had fun signing up for a few of these giveaways. Thanks for all the information that you share. I have gotten some fabulous deals already!

  • Lisa says:

    Are we supposed to throw away our peanut butter because of the salmonella recall?
    I love this menu but am confused about the recall.

  • Jennifer Creekkiller says:

    I am a coupon lover; I’ve never bought the magazine, but I’m going to look into it…But to have a free subscription would be great! Thanks so much for your encouraging and informative site.

  • Erin Fontaine says:

    I’m so glad my mom showed me this site. I am currently not working and this is going to make things so much easier!

  • Sarah D says:

    OOOO spinach, brown rice and cheese recipe for me too please!!!!!!!! It sounds SO GOOD!

  • says:

    I just wanted to thankyou for all of the great info you share. I have learned a great deal in the 3 days since I discovered your blog. I too would love to have more of your recipes. God bless you and your family! ~Jill

  • Jenna says:

    If the spinach casserole recipe is the same one from Tammy’s Recipes (yummy), you can up the protein content (and yumminess) by adding a can of tuna. We love this one!!

  • Jessica says:

    I enjoy reading your different menus and they are always so healthy and on a budget! Good job!

  • Erin says:

    I have just found your website! It is one of the most impressive I have come across! In today’s economy we really need a friend like you! Thanks!

  • Michelle says:

    WOW! Thanks for all the great info. that you share. I was away this weekend and did not have access to a computer and I thought I was going to have withdrawl…..I am an avid reader, and enjoy all the freebies and special offers that you share. I have been spreading the word to those I know about this website and all the goodies that I have been able to get!!

  • says:

    The last I read you do not need to throw away peanut butter because of the salmonella outbreaks, just some items (like granola bars, cookies, etc.) that have peanut butter in them.

  • Julie Bird says:

    Your menus always look so good, yet are so simple. I haven’t been able to do simple yet, but we still eat fairly cheap for a family of 6. We’re about to be 7 so I’m sure I’ll have to simplify a little! 😉

    Leela-On the home page of this site on the right hand side is a search button. I found the peanut butter smoothie recipe by typing it in there and the link came up. For the Christmas biscuits, if you go to Crystal’s other blog, , and you click on 2008 from the left side bar, it will come right up to that post with the recipe. It was her last post for the year. I hope that helps!

  • a.k. says:

    I really suggest you create an e-recipe blog. I would love to buy everything you buy and create the same menu items….everything seems sooo healthy but yummy! I think i need to create a weekly plan as well, but hubby dearest loves to eat out randomly, which wastes a LOT of money. the same $15 we spent on lunch today could have bought us a bunch of veggies. We recently bought about 90 pounds of meat (chicken breast, wings, whole chickens, boneless thighs, ground beef, ground chicken, and even goat…) for $200. I am hoping it will last us at least 7-8 months…now we can save weekly by buying fresh fruits and veggies. Now i just need some meat recipes! you are so MOTIVATING! GOD BLESS

    December212012 here: Well, you’re very kind, but I’m afraid at this point I wouldn’t be the greatest person to run a recipe blog. You see, I’m not that adept at using recipes! 🙂 I always tweak them based upon the mood I’m in and what we have in our cupboards.

    But I *will* try to make a concerted effort to share more of my “tweaked and redone” recipes around here–since a number of you seem interested.

    And I’ll be hosting another Baking Day series today and posting some recipes along with that, which you might enjoy!

  • Glenda W says:

    Thank you for sharing your weekly grocery budget. My DH and I have recently begun sticking to a budget for EVERYTHING and it helps to know the ballpark that others shoot for. I hope you’re blessed with an even more healthy pregnancy this time. Thank you for all your help… =)

  • Becky R says:

    I’m working very hard to save money so that I can be a stay at home mom to my two children. This site is helping me make that a reality. The meal plans and tips that I get are so realistic for my family. I look forward every day to reading new ways to save my family money. Thanks for all that you do.

  • says:

    How much steak do you serve as your portions? I can only afford steak once/month or so on our grocery budget…

    December212012 here: We usually serve two steaks–the girls eat a really tiny serving of them and then Jesse and I eat the rest. I only buy them when they are reduced at least half price at the store and I don’t buy the really expensive cuts, so it usually works out to be about $1.50/steak.

    Hope that helps!

  • says:

    What is something easy that I can make for superbowl sunday? We are having a potluck at work!

  • Jenn says:

    I want the spin/brown rice & cheese casserole recipe! Looks like I’m not the only one. 🙂

  • says:

    I’m planning a Make-Ahead day for Wednesday. Are you planning to do a Mr. Linky for Baking Day?

  • kat says:

    Crystal, I am always amazed at your bargains! But I have to say that I also find it disheartening. We have 2 grocery stores in our town, and neither double their coupons. I always check the reduced meats and dairy and sometimes find bargains there. But try as I might I can not find deals like you do. I’m saying this not to discourage you, but perhaps to encourage other women who live in rural areas where there isn’t much choice in shopping. “Do the best you can with what you have.” Don’t compare your shopping to people who live near Walgreens, CVS, Aldi, etc… God has placed us where we are and He expects us to do our best but don’t set yourself up for failure if you can’t keep up with people like Crystal. Do your best, let God do the rest.

    December212012 here: Absolutely! I hope to inspire people, not to discourage them. Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are!

  • Beth says:


    I am wondering how you are cooking your steaks, what kind of cut and any more details(i.e. marinade, etc.)

    Thanks and many blessings for your great blogs!

    December212012 here: I’ve bought a variety of cuts–mostly whatever is $1.50/steak or less when reduced. We’re pretty willing to try whatever at least once. 🙂

    I usually use Italian dressing for a marinade. I’m not sure where I came up with that in the first place, but we really like it. Just pop partially-thawed steaks into a glass baking pan, pour over about 1/4 cup dressing per steak and let them thaw in the refrigerator all day. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until browned or grill.

  • Leigh says:

    Great deals!!! Can you tell me what you put into your peanut butter banana smoothies?

    December212012 here: Scroll up in the comments here just a bit and there’s a link to the recipe. Hope that helps!

  • Dawn Groves says:

    Does anyone have the recipe for the brown rice, broccoli and cheese casserole? Thanks in advance. 🙂

  • Andrea Haegele says:

    I love that granola, I gotta find the recipe. I hope when things get settled here ( I just moved to CO from FL on Dec 22) I will achieve the baking and making of food to keep things well stocked. Thank you for all you do.

  • Bethany says:

    Your Menus always give me great ideas! I have recently reduced my grocery budget from 100 dollars a week to 50-60 mainly using your site. I cook most nights and we out out once a week and after church Sunday. (Since my hubby is deploying this week, we are eating out a ton since he won’t be eating out for the next 7 months) 🙂
    I also have two girls, 2 and 1…..and my question is when I cook, I usually only make 3 maybe 4 meals a week and that lasts us all week, including leftovers for my husbands lunch. Usually one of the meals is a big pot of soup or chili, but it just makes more sense to make bigger meals and eat on them all week. Do you make just enough for that meal or do you freeze leftovers? I hate throwing out food, so we usually eat most of my meals twice, or at least for dinner and then lunch.
    Thanks so much for your site, It truely is a blessing from the Lord in my life!

    December212012 here: Since I’ve been pregnant, I’ve been eating more and cooking less which means that we don’t have as many leftovers–which is a good thing since I don’t seem to have an appetite for day-old food! If we do have leftovers right now, I re-make them or use them for lunches. However, once I get back to my normal eating and cooking, I’ll go back to making bigger meals and freezing the extras or using it for two dinners that weeks.

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