Author Topic: Rein in the grocery spend 2017  (Read 51362 times)

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #550 on: November 09, 2017, 12:08:21 PM »
Like, what is a dairy delivery? Is that raw milk or fresh ricotta or specialty cheeses?

:-)  We have a local farm about an hour or so away that has cows and chickens and meats and fruits/vegs, and which offers delivery for about $5.  I have tried a whole bunch of their products, and my favorites are far and away the milk and the butter (the milk is pasteurized but is like nothing else I've had anywhere) -- they are more expensive, but worth it to me.  The eggs are also delicious, but they aren't worth the 2-3x upcharge compared to Aldi.
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Linda_Norway

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #551 on: November 09, 2017, 02:09:49 PM »
I just made a dish of a whole cabbage, a lot of potatoes and two portions of minced meat. This is cooked/fried and served with curry powder. Nice cheap dish and I made five portions, while we are only two people. The rest will be eaten later.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2017, 07:14:56 AM by Linda_Norway »

Runrooster

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #552 on: November 09, 2017, 02:28:04 PM »
@Runrooster, totally agree about the vlog, but I do enjoy some of his ideas, in a previous series he used raw chickpeas to make a chickpea flour and made panckaes out of them for lunches. This is something I would have never thought of doing!

I also have a habit of pinching pennies in the wrong places...for example, I LOVE pink lady apples, but they are about 2-3x times the cost of cheaper apples....so I haven't bought a pink lady apple in years. Totally reasonable life sacrifice!

You can buy the chickpea flour in ethnic stores, and pancakes is one of three major uses plus tons minor uses in Indian cuisine.  Most blenders won't make flour unless you soak the beans for batter.

I would justify the apples in that I spend that much on raspberries, guavas, lychees. Just buy less. Now I have to pick up one to see what the hype is about.  I just buy the .99/lb Fuji or galas.

Thanks, Laura for the skinny on dairy.  I guess I'll hold off on trying that since we already pay through the nose for lactose-free milk.

kaypinkHH

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #553 on: November 16, 2017, 01:19:44 PM »
Slightly off topic, but in living with my inlaws I can't get over the quantity of food they have at any given time. Their fridge/cupboards are constantly full..including produce! For example just for fruit options right now there is a giant thing of tangerines, a 5 lb bag of apples, grapes, berries, bananas, pears, more clementines, 2 pomegranates. Mr.HH and I would typically have bananas and berries, or clementines and grapes...maybe 2 options of the above mentioned list.

And they don't seem to look in the fridge to plan out what is a must-go and meal plan accordingly. Right now there are quite a few leftovers/produce items that should be used up for dinner tonight but instead my FIL just went to the grocery store and bought a big premade salad with a rotisserie chicken (which sounds delicious so I'm not too mad about that :D)

It boggles my mind. Just the "inventory management" of it all and trying not to waste food would stress me out too much. I wonder what their grocery bill is!! (They rarely eat out, so I guess there overall food spend probably isn't too bad.)

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #554 on: November 20, 2017, 04:57:10 PM »
Slightly off topic, but in living with my inlaws I can't get over the quantity of food they have at any given time. Their fridge/cupboards are constantly full..including produce! For example just for fruit options right now there is a giant thing of tangerines, a 5 lb bag of apples, grapes, berries, bananas, pears, more clementines, 2 pomegranates. Mr.HH and I would typically have bananas and berries, or clementines and grapes...maybe 2 options of the above mentioned list.

And they don't seem to look in the fridge to plan out what is a must-go and meal plan accordingly. Right now there are quite a few leftovers/produce items that should be used up for dinner tonight but instead my FIL just went to the grocery store and bought a big premade salad with a rotisserie chicken (which sounds delicious so I'm not too mad about that :D)

It boggles my mind. Just the "inventory management" of it all and trying not to waste food would stress me out too much. I wonder what their grocery bill is!! (They rarely eat out, so I guess there overall food spend probably isn't too bad.)

We almost always have that much fruit in our fridge. Right now we have: grapes, pomegranates, oranges, bananas, pears, plums, apples, a melon & a pineapple. We eat it all. My husband is, admittedly, obsessed with an abundance of produce. I grew up with 1-2 options at any given time, so it's been quite an adjustment. Given that we're eating it all, and it's super healthy, I let it go. I do wish we ate only in season, but that's another battle. ;-)

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #555 on: November 21, 2017, 08:58:24 AM »
New to the thread, but we've shaved 10% off of our spending on food (groceries + dining out) from 2016. I'm hoping to drop this by another 5% in 2018. We have 10 & 11 year old boys, so we'll be doing that while their appetites increase dramatically. Things I've done differently this year:
-Pack more food for days when we'll be out of the house
-Take full meals, snacks & water when going to soccer tournaments
-Making eating out a "special occasion" vs just something we're doing on busy weeknights
-Filling the fridge/freezer with easy options for my husband when I travel
-Minimizing waste
-And, the standard shopping around, making do with ingredients I already have, batch cooking, etc.

I cook full meals 3x/week (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday) & then we eat leftovers during the work week. With the extra day, we either eat a freezer meal, or have a smorgasbord of one serving leftovers, etc.

I hope there will be a similar thread in 2018!

PJ

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #556 on: November 28, 2017, 10:08:36 AM »
Well, one of the ways that I've helped rein in my grocery spend over the last year is by participating in the "Eat All the Food in Your House" thread.  The best way to save money is not to spend it, right?!?

But over the weekend, Shoppers Drug Mart (Cdn Pharmacy, that has been expanding to sell more and more basic groceries) had a "Spend Your Points" Event.  So I spent my points on food!  Now my cupboards, fridge and freezer are again full to overflowing, but I stocked up on a lot of stuff that should leave me only needing occasional dairy and produce purchases for the next couple of months.

Also, Shoppers Drug Mart's Optimum program is merging with President's Choice point program in February, so when that time rolls around, I'll be able to use the excess points still in my account to buy groceries at Loblaw's, No Frills, etc, so even those produce and dairy purchases can be made with points.  Yay!
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rpr

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #557 on: November 28, 2017, 10:24:32 AM »
I have to just say that it's been somewhat of a failure for me to control grocery costs. A large part has been that we do live in a somewhat expensive COL area for groceries. Almost everything is shipped here. For reference, a gallon of milk is $5-6 and a dozen eggs is almost $4. Ended up averaging about $600 for two people ($300 per person) per month thus far.

PJ

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #558 on: November 28, 2017, 10:31:04 AM »
I have to just say that it's been somewhat of a failure for me to control grocery costs. A large part has been that we do live in a somewhat expensive COL area for groceries. Almost everything is shipped here. For reference, a gallon of milk is $5-6 and a dozen eggs is almost $4. Ended up averaging about $600 for two people ($300 per person) per month thus far.

Hey rpr, that's ok, you're not the only one.  A couple of other people also live in places where food costs are out of this world.  Years ago (early 1990's) I spent a couple of months living in Iqaluit, Nunavut.  A bag of milk (4 litres - a little over 1 US gallon?) at that time was $12!  A 24 case of pop was $24.

So you might not be able to hit the lows that people living in other places get to, but you can challenge yourself to shave off here and there in comparison to last year's budget.  I'm guessing that the biggest bang for your buck might be in what items you choose to buy in the first place, and making as much from scratch as possible?  Do feel free to share your best tips and tricks!
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rpr

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #559 on: November 28, 2017, 02:20:10 PM »
PJ -- Thank you. It must have been interesting to have lived up there in Nunavut.

Compared to last year our Groceries spending did come down from $660 to $614 :)
The unfortunate part is that our Eating Out went up from $260 to $360 :(

The eating out includes at least one fancy pants date night every month ($80-$100 for two with drinks) and getting sandwiches for lunch a couple times per week ($100 for the month). Also part of the difference is due to better tracking. We usually grab lunches to go twice a week from the deli part of our grocery store. Last year I used to label everything from the grocery store as groceries even though it included prepared sandwiches for lunch once or twice a week. This year I'm tracking it better.

Quote
Groceries Spending  Breakdown
                                         Weekly       Monthly
Farmers Market Fruit                $10.00       $43.33
Farmers Market veggies            $20.00       $86.67
Grocery Store Fruits                 $12.00       $52.00
Grocery Store Veggies              $20.00       $86.67
Frozen Products                       $8.00         $34.67
Dairy                                      $10.00       $43.33
Bread products                        $10.00       $43.33
Canned & bottled goods           $15.00       $65.00
Dry goods                               $10.00       $43.33
Liquor                                    $8.00         $34.67
Snacks                                   $8.00         $34.67
Pets                                       $15.00       $65.00

Total                                     $146.00       $632.67

Linda_Norway

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #560 on: November 29, 2017, 12:53:39 AM »
During the last few months my grocery bill has actually been lower. In the first 8 months of the year I was always spending around 4000 NOK (Norwegian crowns) a month. In October I spend 3000. Now in November I am at somewhere like 3300. And we have so much meat and other proteins in the house that I don't need to shop that at all for the rest of the year I think.

I am not sure what made the change. I think I shopped less often than usual. We have making too much food almost daily, freezing in a portion and eating the portions some other day. I have also made an effort to buy cheaper meat and slow-cooked it. Sometimes DH buys food which it not included in my calculations, but I don't think he did this in October when I had the lowest spend.

I hope we can continue this good trend.

kaypinkHH

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #561 on: November 29, 2017, 09:25:42 AM »
November Update! Little higher than usual...
Restaurants were REALLY high this month. I realized every weekend involved some sort of event/travel with friends and family. Only a few times have been just me and Mr.HH (mostly due to travel), and only a few take out lunches.

Coffee and fast food spend is way down...yay no more crap food!

Groceries are low, even though Mr.HH is buying and cooking a lot more for his family, so I thought it would be higher!

Bars and alcohol- high considering I'M NOT DRINKING!  I think some of that was wine for hosting gifts.

We are really looking forward to having our own house soon so we can start hosting people vs going out for food all the time!



Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #562 on: November 30, 2017, 08:09:15 PM »
Yeah, ok, I totally lost my shit the second half of the month.  In a good way:  basically, it seems like the anti-depressants kicked in, and I sort of pendulum-swung the other way and suddenly wanted to do All The Things at once — not quite at the mania level, but I was just so excited to feel happy and joy again that I just wanted to do everything I had been missing over the past year.  And having the entire family at my house for Thanksgiving was the perfect excuse to let ‘er rip.  So the second half of the month was $300 at Wegman’s (stupidest words ever said:  “hey, DH, why don’t you pick up whatever you want at the deli while I get the other stuff?”), plus almost $200 of Thanksgiving-specific stuff I ordered online, plus probably another $40-50 on Thanksgiving Day when I discovered that one of our guests was vegetarian and I sent DH back to the store for stuff to make three additional dishes for her.  And I was too busy running around that I totally stopped tracking in detail (I just had to recreate the past two weeks now, so it is more imprecise than usual).

So the monthly totals appear to be $715 for grocery store stuff plus about $190 for the online food, plus another $135 for household.  The only good thing is that takeout was on the order of $5 (one bagel and one pair of boiled eggs for at the office). :-) And I am still eating the Thanksgiving leftovers!

Anyway, can’t say that I feel particularly bad about it; it’s obviously not something I want to sustain long-term, but my shrink basically told me that the All The Things overcompensation is a pretty standard stage coming out of depression, and the better mental stability makes me not quite so inclined to get down on myself for that kind of blip.  The best news is that I feel much more stable and ready to go back to some version of normal, with work and regular life and such.  So, back on the horse, back on task.

The bad news is that the fucking pantry moths are back and are now in both pantries.  Ugh!!!  So I will be pitching a whole ‘nother bunch of food again this weekend, which will have to be replaced, which means December won’t get off to a great start.  OTOH, at least I still have Thanksgiving leftovers to eat. . . .  ;-)
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Linda_Norway

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #563 on: December 01, 2017, 01:29:29 AM »
<...>

Anyway, can’t say that I feel particularly bad about it; it’s obviously not something I want to sustain long-term, but my shrink basically told me that the All The Things overcompensation is a pretty standard stage coming out of depression, and the better mental stability makes me not quite so inclined to get down on myself for that kind of blip.  The best news is that I feel much more stable and ready to go back to some version of normal, with work and regular life and such.  So, back on the horse, back on task.

The bad news is that the fucking pantry moths are back and are now in both pantries.  Ugh!!!  So I will be pitching a whole ‘nother bunch of food again this weekend, which will have to be replaced, which means December won’t get off to a great start.  OTOH, at least I still have Thanksgiving leftovers to eat. . . .  ;-)

Focus on curing from your depression. You can probably afford to spend some more if that makes you feel happier.

About these moths... If that cupboard is not safe to keep food in, could you then store the food in extra containers inside that cupboard? Like having flour in it's own container and sugar in another. This way your food won't get spoiled when you find the moths.

pancakes

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #564 on: December 01, 2017, 05:08:19 AM »
Wow just one more month to go.

My grocery spend definitely decreased this year. Particularly due to the generosity of others, namely the family that let is stay with them and who fed us (mostly, we contributed where we could) for the better part of three months.

Now we live basically next door to Aldi and have local walkable farmers’ markets (yes two weekend and midweek!) again so we should be able to keep our spend under control.

The two biggest challenges we face at the moment: a lack of kitchen equipment, namely a wok, and buying lunches instead of packing lunches.

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #565 on: December 01, 2017, 07:58:08 AM »
About these moths... If that cupboard is not safe to keep food in, could you then store the food in extra containers inside that cupboard? Like having flour in it's own container and sugar in another. This way your food won't get spoiled when you find the moths.

I've always kept my flour, sugar, etc. in glass jars as basic critter prevention.  When we had the earlier infestation, I put the other new stuff I bought (Cream of Wheat, pasta, etc.) inside Ziploc bags.  And I swear, the little motherfuckers got through the Ziplocs (I even opened up my brand new canister of oats about a month later, and there they were, underneath the lid and in the oats and all).  I am now considering making it official and buying a bunch of larger plastic storage containers to offload stuff into, or getting a chest freezer for the garage to put things like nuts and flours and dried fruits in before they come into the house (I have learned so, so much gross stuff about where the moths come from as a result of this!) -- but I keep thinking if I can just get rid of the moths, I won't need to spend all that extra money on stuff that I don't really want. 

The good(?) news is that I have finally discovered the moths' secret hiding place:  they like to lay their eggs in the little holes that were drilled in my cabinets to hold the adjustable shelves.*  So I am hoping that a full clean-down of everything this weekend will finally get to the root cause of all of this and get rid of the little bastards once and for all.

And if that doesn't work, then, yeah, I'm buying the canisters or the freezer, or both.

*I am so, so grossed out by this discovery that I cannot even tell you.
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haypug16

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #566 on: December 01, 2017, 07:58:33 AM »
Finished November at $242. Not terrible but my meals out was $253! I need to find some balance here. I shouldn't be spending as much on groceries as I am on eating out of the house. This month I'd like to keep my groceries about the same (maybe hit $200 or less even) but also keeping my meals to $150.

PJ

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #567 on: December 02, 2017, 10:36:49 PM »
About these moths... If that cupboard is not safe to keep food in, could you then store the food in extra containers inside that cupboard? Like having flour in it's own container and sugar in another. This way your food won't get spoiled when you find the moths.

I've always kept my flour, sugar, etc. in glass jars as basic critter prevention.  When we had the earlier infestation, I put the other new stuff I bought (Cream of Wheat, pasta, etc.) inside Ziploc bags.  And I swear, the little motherfuckers got through the Ziplocs (I even opened up my brand new canister of oats about a month later, and there they were, underneath the lid and in the oats and all).  I am now considering making it official and buying a bunch of larger plastic storage containers to offload stuff into, or getting a chest freezer for the garage to put things like nuts and flours and dried fruits in before they come into the house (I have learned so, so much gross stuff about where the moths come from as a result of this!) -- but I keep thinking if I can just get rid of the moths, I won't need to spend all that extra money on stuff that I don't really want. 

The good(?) news is that I have finally discovered the moths' secret hiding place:  they like to lay their eggs in the little holes that were drilled in my cabinets to hold the adjustable shelves.*  So I am hoping that a full clean-down of everything this weekend will finally get to the root cause of all of this and get rid of the little bastards once and for all.

And if that doesn't work, then, yeah, I'm buying the canisters or the freezer, or both.

*I am so, so grossed out by this discovery that I cannot even tell you.

And I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say that we are all so, so sorry you're going through this.

And also, I'm not sure whether I want to know anything more about the moths and where they come from...
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Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #568 on: December 08, 2017, 08:09:29 AM »
And also, I'm not sure whether I want to know anything more about the moths and where they come from...

No, no, you really don't.  :-)  Almost hurled cleaning out the little holes and seeing all the moth detritus in what I had thought was a "clean" pantry.  And then almost cried throwing out so much food.

In related news, I have now dropped @$200 on bug-proof storage containers and moth-prevention cleaning/treatment stuff.*  Put that together with the monthly subscribe & save order, DS' stomach flu, and stocking up on some baking supplies, and my initial awesome $58 ALDI shop has now ballooned into $134 groceries, $287 household, and probably $25 takeout (worked late and authorized kids to get pizza last night -- need to get receipt from DD).

*Life tip:  just like you should never shop for groceries when hungry, do NOT shop for bug-treatment-and-prevention supplies when you have just spent a half-day cleaning and scrubbing and are SO grossed out you cannot stand it.  It's a miracle I didn't order a giant freezer for my garage, too.
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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #569 on: December 08, 2017, 08:23:25 AM »
*Life tip:  just like you should never shop for groceries when hungry, do NOT shop for bug-treatment-and-prevention supplies when you have just spent a half-day cleaning and scrubbing and are SO grossed out you cannot stand it.  It's a miracle I didn't order a giant freezer for my garage, too.

Definitely keeping that in mind but praying that I don't ever have to recall this piece of wisdom. Ever.
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Poundwise

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #570 on: December 11, 2017, 04:54:56 PM »
Yeauggh Laura, pantry moths are so horrid!  My husband can never eat a certain kind of breakfast cereal again ever since he found he had been eating moth larva too...  I do have the chest freezer and usually pre-freeze pantry staples now. I got a little lax about it and recently ended up with a canister of weevils instead of cornmeal (fortunately don't seem to have spread.) The chest freezer cost me $100 over a decade ago but it's been a valuable tool in my frugality arsenal.

Hey, does anybody have a suggestion for the following? Last church coffee hour, I was sent home with a giant bag of pumpkin-flavored coffee cakes. Nobody really liked it (way too sweet) but I was assured it would be thrown out otherwise. Was thinking of making something like a bread pudding but reluctant to spoil good eggs and milk on an experiment. 

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #571 on: December 11, 2017, 05:43:31 PM »
Yeauggh Laura, pantry moths are so horrid!  My husband can never eat a certain kind of breakfast cereal again ever since he found he had been eating moth larva too...  I do have the chest freezer and usually pre-freeze pantry staples now. I got a little lax about it and recently ended up with a canister of weevils instead of cornmeal (fortunately don't seem to have spread.) The chest freezer cost me $100 over a decade ago but it's been a valuable tool in my frugality arsenal.

Hey, does anybody have a suggestion for the following? Last church coffee hour, I was sent home with a giant bag of pumpkin-flavored coffee cakes. Nobody really liked it (way too sweet) but I was assured it would be thrown out otherwise. Was thinking of making something like a bread pudding but reluctant to spoil good eggs and milk on an experiment.

Gagging hard on the idea of eating moth larva. . . *shivers*

Can you describe the pumpkin coffee cakes? Are they small, individual sized? Homemade? I'm having a hard time visualizing them & how they could be used, but I'm sure there's a way!

Poundwise

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #572 on: December 11, 2017, 08:51:52 PM »
Sorry to have brought up that disgusting image! 

The coffee cakes are individual size, about 4" diameter and I think they must be factory made. Not stale yet. We have about a dozen. I'm thinking about making some sort of parfait with one, maybe soaking with heavy cream and adding nuts, to see if that dilutes the sugar a bit. Maybe it's a lost cause.  Even my teen, who is sort of a human plague of locusts (to continue the bugs talk), passed on them after eating half of one. The taste is very cloying.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 08:53:56 PM by Poundwise »

Tuskalusa

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #573 on: December 11, 2017, 11:27:44 PM »
What about making a bread pudding?  Maybe just soak with eggs and milk. Add some raisins and apple and bake it up?  Might work. 😀

Laura33

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #574 on: December 12, 2017, 08:27:45 AM »
Sorry to have brought up that disgusting image! 

The coffee cakes are individual size, about 4" diameter and I think they must be factory made. Not stale yet. We have about a dozen. I'm thinking about making some sort of parfait with one, maybe soaking with heavy cream and adding nuts, to see if that dilutes the sugar a bit. Maybe it's a lost cause.  Even my teen, who is sort of a human plague of locusts (to continue the bugs talk), passed on them after eating half of one. The taste is very cloying.

First, freeze them, so you don't have to use them all right now.  Then use them in small quantities, so you can balance out the sweet with other flavors.  E.g., a bread pudding with part coffee-cake, part bread, with complementary flavors (I like the raisins and apples idea).  Or crumbling some with nuts/raisins to substitute for granola in yogurt, or mix bits with oats and nuts as a pie/crisp topping, or ground up with some nuts or whatever to use as a fall-flavored cheesecake crust.  Etc.  Think accent vs. primary element.
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MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #575 on: December 12, 2017, 03:32:15 PM »
Sorry to have brought up that disgusting image! 

The coffee cakes are individual size, about 4" diameter and I think they must be factory made. Not stale yet. We have about a dozen. I'm thinking about making some sort of parfait with one, maybe soaking with heavy cream and adding nuts, to see if that dilutes the sugar a bit. Maybe it's a lost cause.  Even my teen, who is sort of a human plague of locusts (to continue the bugs talk), passed on them after eating half of one. The taste is very cloying.

First, freeze them, so you don't have to use them all right now.  Then use them in small quantities, so you can balance out the sweet with other flavors.  E.g., a bread pudding with part coffee-cake, part bread, with complementary flavors (I like the raisins and apples idea).  Or crumbling some with nuts/raisins to substitute for granola in yogurt, or mix bits with oats and nuts as a pie/crisp topping, or ground up with some nuts or whatever to use as a fall-flavored cheesecake crust.  Etc.  Think accent vs. primary element.

Yup, really like this recommendation. If they are overly sweet, you'll definitely want to use them sparingly, mixed in with other flavors.

Poundwise

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Re: Rein in the grocery spend 2017
« Reply #576 on: December 17, 2017, 08:44:23 PM »
Great advice! I might try one as a crumb crust. I threw them in the freezer anyway so I don't have to make the decision now. Teen son decided he could manage to choke down a few more so we are down to only about 8.