“I’m one step closer to the edge & I’m about to break…”

More snow! I swear, I want to scream at Winter, Mother Nature, the climate change, jet stream, Arctic air, whatever. When I got up this morning & checked the weather, we were supposed to get about 2 inches over the course of today.

Now it’s up to 3 inches, and I really wouldn’t be surprised to see it change again and our revised total be upped to 4 or 5 inches.

That just seems to be the case this year. And lest anyone think I’m crazy, KELO (one of the news stations out of Sioux Falls) has a listing of some of the snowfall totals so far this year. Since Brookings is between Watertown & Sioux Falls, I would venture to guess that our snowfall total is closer to what Watertown’s received rather than being below average like Sioux Falls apparently is. Therefore, anyone who wants to tell me to suck it up this winter or laugh at my occasionally crushing Seasonal Affective Disorder can kiss my chalk-white ass.

Along the lines of more things that are making me cranky, grocery prices are going up again. There goes my $40/week budget…Unless I’m super careful. It’s ridiculous, I tell ya. I know it’s just a perfect storm of everything, but still. For those of us po’ folks, it hurts. Big time. What sucks is that Jay & I are in that no-man’s land that gets slammed the hardest…We’re nowhere near the poverty line (thank God), but we make just enough to not qualify for any assistance. Not that I would probably apply for any–I’m too proud, and there are people who are lot worse off than we are. And I know a big part of it too, is budgeting, and just having to learn to make do with less. Plus, I didn’t really need to drop $18 at Hardee’s last night. I very easily could’ve & should’ve made us eat leftovers last night, as was my original intent. But what I’m really sick of is the fact that I get bitten on the behind every time I do decide that we need a little treat. As such, I spent almost double this week’s normal budgetary allotment:

And allow me to show you what $67 will buy you:

Milk’s up to $3.60/gallon. My dad’s jaw about hit the floor when I told him that, since he pays about a dollar less out in Ohio. Butter was actually on the cheaper side–$2.99/lb. Recently I’ve seen it as high as $3.59/lb. Yikes. And yeah, I suppose we could buy cheaper yogurt, but honestly, we’re spoiled on Greek yogurt, and I really don’t think I could go back to eating regular yogurt any more.

I had more ground beef on the list, but opted not to buy it when I realized both that I already had what I need for tomorrow night’s Cincinnati chili, as well as the fact that I don’t have anything else requiring ground beef on the menu for this week. I had to laugh when I read the above-linked story on grocery prices, claiming that chicken is the affordable protein these days. That package of Smart Chicken cost less than some of the store-brand packages. And I had to dig for it, because most of the packages were in the $6-7 range.

Carbon footprint aside, the produce was at least cheap. That cost about $3 (I overheard someone at work claiming fresh produce is so expensive–Not if you get it on sale & you buy in-season). I’ll be making some tomato soup & grilled cheese Monday night.

I probably could’ve trimmed a few things from my pantry re-stock. The caramel sauce was not a necessity, although I’m still planning on trying my hand at the Caramel Crumb Biscuits tomorrow, and it’ll cost me a LOT less to make a batch at home than it would to go buy the same number of biscuits from Hardee’s.

I also didn’t have to buy Wheat Montana Flour, and could’ve just gotten some for about $2 cheaper.

However, I’ve had much better luck since I started using this than I have with regular all-purpose flour. And while it may not be organic, the folks over in Montana know their stuff when it comes to wheat. So I pay the extra for it.

I also probably didn’t need the cracked wheat, but I have a recipe for cracked wheat bread that I’ve been wanting to try baking for awhile, and I like changing up my homemade breads on occasion. Plain old whole wheat gets a little boring after awhile. Plus, a little extra fiber never hurt anyone.

I also could’ve probably waited on buying more cocoa, but I made these brownies Monday night, and they were gone as of Thursday night. These were almost like boxed-mix brownies, but obviously better, since they were homemade. I’ve had good luck with the recipes I’ve tried from the King Arthur Flour website, but the Nestle recipe blew them all away. And I almost never have good luck in making fudgy brownies.

I also have to make cinnamon rolls tomorrow night–They’re for a fundraiser for the bambino’s daycare. I was just going to buy frozen ones & let them rise overnight, but frankly, I didn’t have the extra money, and it’ll be a lot cheaper to make them by hand. Plus, I’d be willing to bet they’ll taste better.

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8 Replies to ““I’m one step closer to the edge & I’m about to break…””

  1. As I was reading, I was brought back in time to the years I lived in North Dakota. I quickly recalled the depressive feelings that accompanied each snowy day as the winter drug on. I am not sure if these feelings were intensified, not having lived my whole life in ND, or was that a general feeling that existed?! Maybe, if we could order snow in vivid colors we would feel better?
    As for grocery prices, add to that the irrational increase in gas prices. The price of a barrel of oil has gone high in the past, and has not impacted us at the pump as it is now. Makes no sense.
    Then in Ohio, along with Wisconsin, our rights and our jobs are at risk. I am so glad that retirement is about 14 weeks away. I then only have to worry about our retirement system going bankrupt!
    Not knowing what to cook yesterday, I dug in my freezer and ended up with the makings of a wonderful pot of bean soup with ham. I even had the makings for cinnamon rolls. Good, warm, home-made food on a cold snowy day, perfect.
    The Chewy Brownies look wonderful and I am going to give them a try.
    We just have to hang in there and keep thinking – spring is coming!

    • I have to admit, rainbow-colored snow would be a nice change of pace from the dull white & grey we have blanketing everything right now.
      I have my theory as to why gas prices are going up, and I suspect that it’s due to the same folks in Ohio & Wisconsin who are screwing teachers & other public employees over. Ridiculous. They’re all out of touch with how things are for those of us who have to work for a living!
      Soup sounds excellent right now–I’m glad I decided to put it on the menu this week. And I highly recommend the chewy brownies–I was shocked at how good they were!
      And yeah, you’re right…Spring is close!

  2. $40- bucks a week for groceries. I think we spend about $150!

    The winter in South Dakota has been terrible this year, and I’m so ready for it to be over. However we still have at least a good month of it. February and March are typically the worst for snow fall. Check this link out… http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?Id=104998 This is the same winter that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about in the Long Winter.

    Cute blog…

    • I very easily could spend $150, but we’re trying to save for a new furnace (hopefully in fall), so I’m cutting wherever I can. It’s not easy.
      And yeah, I don’t look forward to March….But thankfully it’s not nearly as bad as the winter of 1880. I think I seriously would’ve cracked by now if it was!
      Thank you for stopping by! :)

  3. Have you tried making your own greek yogurt? I think it would be a lot cheaper, but I haven’t actually done the math to find out for sure. If you don’t want to make your own yogurt from scratch, but buy a quart of “regular” yogurt. Then put a kitchen towel or coffee filter inside a colander. Put the colander over a large bowl. Then dump the yogurt into the colander. The whey will drip through the towel or coffee filter and into the large bowl. After 30 minutes to an hour, it will be a lot thicker. Add it back to the original container that you bought it in, then stick it back in the fridge. You’ll probably have about 1/2 of a quart after it’s done being strained, but I think it will still be a lot cheaper than buying pre-made greek yogurt. You can use the whey (the leftover liquid in the large bowl) in cooking or add to your plants for a quick fertilizer.

    I’ve done this with my homemade yogurt for quite some time. You’re right, strained greek yogurt will spoil you so that you’ll never go back to the “regular” yogurt again!

    • Y’know, I’ve read about doing that on other blogs, but I haven’t yet tried it myself. I should give it a shot, though. Fage has really spoiled me, though! :)

  4. $3.60 a gallon? I’ve noticed our grocery bill has gone up about $25 a week for the past month or so too. I’m not buying anything extra or different, its all just more expensive. But if our milk cost that much I’d water it down for the kids the way I do their juice! Or buy a freakin’ cow!

    • I really don’t get it–We have dairies all over SoDak, so I don’t see why milk is so freakin’ expensive…It’s getting to the point that I might as well start buying organic again. Pretty soon organic will be cheaper than the regular stuff!