Albion Basin/Cecret Lake Hike

We did this one last week, after Susan mentioned it on Facebook.  I’m so glad she did!  I am not a skier, so Alta is not somewhere I go.  We drove up once Little Cottonwood Canyon once last year to scope out camping spots, but the gate was closed to go further up where this hike begins.  Apparently this hike and place is a thing.  I had no idea.  It was amazingly beautiful!!  Although the website I was reading about the hike made it sound like a nice stroll up to the lake, it was quite a hike for M and I.  Totally worth it though :)

SAM_0811 SAM_0816 SAM_0817 SAM_0819 SAM_0822 SAM_0825 SAM_0826 SAM_0828 SAM_0833 SAM_0834 SAM_0838 SAM_0841 SAM_0846 SAM_0853 SAM_0859 SAM_0864 SAM_0870 SAM_0878 SAM_0880 SAM_0868 SAM_0877

Camping

I should learn how to chill like this.

View from our last campground

Duschene River

View from halfway up a mountain

We went camping a couple of weeks ago in a new place, and it was quite the experience.  Just know that if you go to Hades in the Ashley National Forest, there is a cabin campground nearby with a bar!  It was good to get some good beer there, but all of the company was not so savory.  I don’t think we’ll go back :lol:  It was beautiful though!

Food & Budget 3.31

We spent about $145 this week, budget is $125.  We shopped at Costco, Harmon’s, Sunflower, and the Co-op.  We made some silly purchases and had to buy some bigger ticket items.  Lara bars were on sale and while we may be able to get them at Costco for cheaper, it is a waste since we don’t like most of the flavors.  We went a little wild though I think.  I have decided to phase out the chicken base and go back to chicken stock, so I bought a few since they were also on sale.  I will make my own too, but it will help to have some in the cupboard.  Anyway, here is what we bought this week:

PRODUCE

  • Organic bananas $2.31
  • Bell peppers $2.34
  • Blackberries $3.75
  • Broccoli $1.14
  • Cauliflower $1.40
  • Celery $2.27
  • Cucumbers $2.00
  • Dates $8.49
  • Basil $4.99
  • Lemons $1.00
  • Org. lettuce $1.50
  • Salad blend $2.99
  • Org. baby spinach $3.89

OTHER STUFF

  • Butter $2.50
  • Bacon $2.50
  • Gallon milk $4.99 plus another half gallon $2.49
  • Almonds $9.79
  • Chicken stock $10.00
  • Olive oil $19.99
  • Frozen berries $10.99
  • Chocolate bars $15.00
  • Lara bars $30.00 – they were on sale :lol:

I hope to do better this coming week.  We shouldn’t need to really buy much of anything except produce and maybe milk.  I am thinking I would really like to try and run down our pantry to use up some of the lesser used items.  I could be doing better in that regard.  It doesn’t really make sense to keep food around and not use it right?!  The fridge is packed right now too.  I like having the fridge stuffed with veggies, but it is a little ridiculous right now.  We seem to use it up fast though.  For a week or two we kept everything to a minimum and it was really nice.  I guess I have to decide if I want to go shopping more often or not.  I also like to have variety in the fridge, but it isn’t completely necessary I think.  We still aren’t really wasting anything either, just really loading up on the fruits and veggies more than usual.  Which I also like, so I don’t intend to stop doing it :lol:  We were at the store 4 times this week already.  Maybe I just need to plan better, or at all ;)

Anyway, we could have done better on the food bill, but the rest of our spending has been up there this month.  We’ve been signing The Kid up for swimming and soccer, and bought a bunch of sports gear too.  She has an aversion to activity, and we are really trying to change it. Hopefully new ‘real’ running shoes will help.  We have spent $500 more than we wanted to this month!  Too much.  I’m going to get serious again and get it back down in April.

Food & Budget 3.17

We checked out the Community Food Co-op’s Market Sale this week on Thursday.  I liked it!  I think I would do this regularly versus ordering, I guess because we don’t really use that much prepared stuff and are pretty picky with our meat.  Anyway, we got a few things and spent $34. Not bad, considering the tamales were $5 for each package.  I also wanted to try the eggs even though they are a little pricey.  I can get a dozen and a half for under $3 at Costco and I mostly use them for baking, sometimes breakfasts.  We’ll see how I like them.  Anyway!  We got:

  • 3 pounds of strawberries for $4.05
  • Cabbage $1.00
  • Celery $.77
  • Red bell peppers $1.72
  • 6 grapefruits $2.22
  • Mushrooms – white and portabello – $2.84
  • 5# bag of potatoes $1.62
  • dozen eggs $3.75
  • 3 packages tamales $16.89

The tamales were not really my idea by the way, but The Boyfriend loves them.  Not bad though, still.

We also bought an organic Bountiful Basket.  It had:

Pineapple, blueberries, apples, oranges, cabbage, green onions, tomatoes, green beans, mushrooms lettuce, bok choy, and carrots.

We also went shopping and bought:

  • Avocadoes $4.99
  • Green Beans $1.27
  • Cilantro 1.00
  • Green onions $.50
  • Habaneros $1.44
  • Jalapenos $.69
  • Org. Romaine $1.50
  • Onions $.25
  • Oranges $1.02
  • Mozzarella $7.99
  • Gallon heavy cream $10.99 (Need to make butter again!)
  • Gallon milk $4.99
  • Small Yogurt $1.59 (To make more yogurt)
  • Shredded coconut $6.59
  • Coconut flour $7.68
  • 50 pounds Kamut berries $43.95
  • Dried figs $7.99
  • 8 pack of Hansen’s Soda made with cane sugar $3.99
  • Apple cider vinegar $1.79
  • Vanilla $6.89
  • Whole wheat pasta $9.79
  • Pistachios $14.49
  • Frozen berries $10.99

Ok so this was not great!  But we did do some stocking up so I guess it’s okay, and we spent less the last two weeks.  I did buy some impulse items too.  I need to try harder next week :)  The total we spent on food groceries was about $226.50.  Yikes!

We also now have way too much mushrooms, celery cabbage, apples, oranges, and green beans!  I should have known better than to go to the co-op before the basket pickup :lol:  Oh well!  Time to look for ideas and recipes to get them all gone.  I also don’t think I will do any co-op baskets until we go through some more of our canned fruit.  I don’t want any to go to waste, and we still have some applesauce and peaches left.  So I will probably skip next week and just do the sales flyers.

Food and Budget 2.25

Well folks, this has been another big spending week.  I guess I wasn’t really serious about sticking to the budget this week!  I won’t say that I’m definitely going to this week either.  When I’m ready I’ll do it :lol:  We ended up putting in an order on Nuts.com for some dried fruit and powders, and in the interest of saving on shipping I got 10 pounds of stuff!  I also ordered an organic basket from Bountiful Baskets this week.  I just went to the store(s) too many times, and I couldn’t resist over buying.  Oh well.  We didn’t spend all of our other grocery budget so it evens out.  I still would eventually like to get back to not overspending.

So here is what we got in the basket this week:

Bananas, kiwis, oranges, mangoes, apples, a pear, romaine lettuce, zucchini, fingerling potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes.  I think this was a pretty good basket.  I’m glad I was able to show some restraint with the vegetables at the grocery store :lol:

What we also bought:

PRODUCE:

  • Bell peppers – $3.30 – the yellow and orange were so pretty and on sale!
  • Cabbage $.66
  • Organic celery $1.50
  • Cucumbers $.99
  • Garlic $.94
  • Medjool dates $8.49
  • Grapefruit $2.00
  • Habaneros $1.26
  • Organic romaine $3.00
  • Key limes $.44
  • Yellow onions $2.39
  • Pasilla peppers $.68
  • Organic baby spinach $3.89

DAIRY:

  • Organic butter $4.99
  • Gruyere $11.33
  • Heavy cream $11.32 – a gallon!!

MEAT/EGGS:

  • Organic chicken $22.56
  • Eggs $2.99
  • Organic ground turkey  $15.17

GROCERY:

  • Organic sugar (not that we are out :lol:) $11.49
  • Brown rice noodles $2.99
  • Coconut oil $13.98
  • Masa $6.97
  • Wasabi paste $1.99
  • Crackers $9.98
NUTS.COM
  • 2 pounds dried cranberries
  • 1 pound dried blueberries
  • 2 pounds chlorella powder
  • 1 pound dried plums
  • 2 pounds mesquite powder
  • 1 pound gummy bears
  • 1 pound candy drops
Things to note:
  • I tried the Rancho market this week because they had some irresistible prices on some produce.  I got 20 limes, 5 heads of garlic(!), 6 pasilla peppers, and a dozen really nice habaneros.  I could have also gotten a great deal on oranges and onions but didn’t really need them yet.  I will watch for the next flier and probably go there again.
  • The cream was bought at the Winder Country Store`.  I don’t really like going there since it is an old smelly building :lol:, but I wanted a lot of cream to try making butter with.  Which I did!  It worked great and I figure I saved quite a bit of money doing that.  I can go into that in another post.
  • By the end of the week we finally came close to using up all of our stored onions.  We bought a 50 pound bag of yellow onions and a 10 pound bag of red onions last October, and they lasted us until now!!  We are definitely doing that again this year.  It was kind of weird having to buy them after so long!
  • We bought meat at Costco.  I don’t normally do that, but I thought we’d give the organic chicken a try (it’s been a while) and we found the turkey there as well.  I don’t know if I’m completely down with ground turkey, but we used it for tacos and it was pretty good. The second package and chicken went into the freezer for another day.
  • Nuts.com – The candy!  I know, but it is made with evaporated cane juice and completely natural flavorings, like from fruit.  I guess I was feeling deprived?  I don’t know :lol:  Anyway we are NOT eating any until after our Unprocessed Challenge is over!!

Ready for the grand total?  With the online stuff we spent just over $175.  Way too much.  But we got all of that bulk stuff so I guess considering that it isn’t too bad.  Can only go up from here!

 

Food and Budget 2.18

Not a stellar week as far as the budget goes!  I overspent a lot.  The food items total a whopping $184!!  I did buy a few bulk items which helped spike the total.  We also took a trip to Kitchen Kneads for baking items.  Here is what we spent:

Organic Co-op produce $26.50

Produce

  • Asparagus $.94
  • Bell Peppers $1.61
  • Cilantro $.69
  • Dates $8.49
  • Ginger $1.11
  • Asst. herbs $5.18

Dairy

  • Buttermilk $3.69
  • Cotija cheese $4.99
  • Cream $3.79
  • Milk $6.00
  • Sour Cream $2.69
  • Yogurt (to make my own) $1.59

Grocery

  • Oat flour $3.51
  • Vital wheat gluten $3.06
  • Barley Malt (for fun) $7.82
  • Balsamic vinegar (Costco) $10.99
  • Cashews $6.10
  • Baker’s chocolate $3.79
  • Shredded Coconut $5.38
  • Chipotle Tabasco $3.79 – I want buffalo pizza lol
  • Peanut butter (online special, this was for 6 jars) $32.55
  • Poppy seeds $6.99
  • Sesame seeds $4.85
  • Canned tomatoes $7.69
  • White vinegar $3.59
  • Walnuts $16.89

I guess I should figure out just how cost effective it is or isn’t to make my own yogurt.  I don’t know if it matters though, since I love the yogurt I make.  We spent quite a bit on dairy – I wouldn’t normally be buying buttermilk but I did want to make some ranch dressing.  Worth it to me :lol:  We’ve had plenty of produce, heck we even had some this week left from 2 weeks ago!  The peanut butter I got through Open Sky, there was free shipping and I’ve gotten the peanut butter before and we really liked it.  I don’t normally buy from Open Sky but when something seems like a good deal I will take it.  I don’t like having overspent so much :(  I will really try to do better this week.  I think it is time to focus more on the pantry and move through some things without buying new for a while.  I’ve planned out all of my prospective grocery items for the weekend already, and I ordered an organic basket from Bountiful Baskets for Saturday.  I hope to keep the grand total under $120 next week!!

Food and Budget 1.22

Things are not going well this month :lol:  While I have done my best to be a tightwad in all other areas of spending, groceries are all out of whack.  I have made myself just stay away from online circulars.  It seems like I start looking and the seed is planted – I want to go and BUY!  Anyway, our veggies have lasted us well, we still have one drawer full of veggies.  So we haven’t needed to get produce, but we did head out this past weekend to get some pantry staples.  The Boyfriend also felt the need to smoke some brisket, so in the interest of a cheaper price per pound we got a big old hunk of beef.  Good thing we sort of know how to butcher.  We got 3 big briskets out of it.  I will probably end up going for more veggies and dairy within the next few days so I will add another update if/when I do.  Here’s what we’ve bought so far:

  • Raw milk $7.00
  • Chicken $8.38
  • Cane sugar $26.37
  • Assorted cocoa powders $31.34
  • Cornmeal $4.26
  • Coconut $1.75
  • Sorghum flour $5.10
  • Beef brisket $55.65

So that $139.85 without tax, way over what I wanted to spend!  Oh well, the pantry stuff will last us for a long time, and I guess that’s why we charge ourselves for the pantry each week!

 

Meat CSA

We are trying something new.  I’ve wanted to do this for a couple of months now but finally got up the courage to put my order in (last month) for this month.  It is a CSA share for meat raised by Christiansen Family Farms in Vernon.  They offer all natural, grass-fed, pasture raised beef, pork, and poultry.  With the CSA you can choose whether you want ground beef, beef, pork, or a combo of beef and pork.  We picked the combo to give the beef and pork both a try.  It is 30 pounds in total, half and half.  I like that you can choose both, and you can get a smaller amount but good variety without buying a whole pig or half of a cow!  We got a variety of cuts, some steaks and a big sirloin roast, along with stew meat and a few pounds of ground beef.  On the pork side was a few packages of pork chops, bacon, a ham hock, ham, and a big roast.  It took up more space in the freezer than I thought it would, a little more than one whole shelf.  Luckily I have been preparing for it and trying to move some things out of the freezer and into our bellies :)  We also got four pounds of lard that is in the freezer too.

We just picked up our share this morning, there are 2 sites in Salt Lake, one being just around the corner from us!  We didn’t use that one today but would in the future I think.  So we haven’t tried anything yet, but we left out some ham that we’ll try out tomorrow.  I’ll let you know how it is!  I’m super excited :D