January 2018: Summary and Observations

January was largely free of major events, and we spent the month at home.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.33 ($2.33 in December)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $9.75 ($9.75)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $7.29 ($7.29)
  • Dinner eaten out: $14.00 ($14.00)

The averages are fairly consistent with previous months, with some averages slightly higher, some lower. There has been a slow trend for our evening meals to be a little more expensive on average, partly because we use mostly Prather Ranch dry aged meat, which is definitely more expensive than supermarket, although comparable to dry aged meat at Whole Foods.

Our most expensive meal was the night at Little Dom’s at around $28.00 per serve. Our most expensive at home meal was the NY Strip Steak with Halloumi and Beet salad at $14.26.

Lunches at home cost just 35% of the cost of eating food prepared outside the home, while dinners average about the same this month.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $209.87 per person in January. We actually spent $50.50 for lunches at home plus $67.85 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $118.15 in total.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $471.20. We actually spent $150.99 for dinners at home and $60.79 for dinners out: $211.78 in total.

We saved $351.14 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 22 (again) different recipes for evening meals.

Nov 29: Silverside & Labné, Chicken Salad Sandwiches; Pizza


More mixed sandwiches. Today a chicken salad (from Trader Joe’s) and silverside and labné. The chicken salad is particularly good.

  • Two slices of bread are 32c per serve
  • The corned beef/silverside was $6.82 for 1 lb, and we used about 3 oz in this sandwich, or 64c per serve
  • Add 20c for the spicy labné
  • The chicken salad was $3.99 and we shared one third, or 67c per serve.

Lunch today was satisfying for $1.93 per serve.


Tonight was the monthly LACPUG meeting, with pizza following, where we each contribute $5.00 toward the pizza.

Oct 30: Double Double; Hebrew Temptation


A convoluted Burbank Monday saw Foodie Philip eating at In and Out later than usual, but still with the regular Double Double Animal Style for $4.27.


A return to a favorite: Hebrew Temptation, otherwise known as Smokey Cheese and Pumpkin Slice. I told the story of how it became known as Hebrew Temptation earlier and the recipe is there too.

The recipe makes four quite generous serves. We served the same baby kale salad kit, augmented with a second bag as we had three for dinner.

  • The bacon was $6.99 for 12 slices, and we used five, or 73c per serve
  • Five pastured eggs at 55c each is $2.70 or 68c per serve
  • A small bag of organic flour is $2.69 and we used about 1/3 or 23c per serve
  • Buying the butternut squash diced saves a lot of angst trying to peel and deseed the squash. The whole $5.99 pack went into the dish, or $1.50 per serve
  • Normally we’d used smoked gouda but today we used a smoked mozzarella that was $5.99 or $1.50 per serve.
  • An onion adds 8c per serve
  • The salad kit came from Ralph’s (Kroger) was $2.99 and we will get three serves from it, or $1.00 per serve.

This savory cake has amazing flavor as the bacon permeates the entire dish. It’s a great meal for $5.72 per serve with the salad.

Oct 13: Tomato & Mayo, Ham, Cheese & Mustard Sandwiches; Sauerkraut Sausage Paprikash


Returning to a couple of good sandwiches, we used more of the (less flavorsome) heirloom tomato from Trader Joe’s.

  • Two slices of bread are 32c per serve
  • The ham was $3.69 for and we used about 1/4 in this sandwich, or 49c per serve
  • The cheese is 40c per slice or 20c per serve
  • Add 25c for spicy mustard
  • The heirloom tomato was $1.30 and we use half, or 33c per serve
  • Add 20c for mayo.

Lunch today was ok for $1.79 per serve, but would be better if the tomato had more flavor.


A new recipe for us, Sauerkraut Sausage Paprikash, is both reminiscent of a choucroute garnie because of the sauerkraut and pork sausage aspect, and completely different because of the paprika and cream.

The recipe makes four serves.

  • The bratwurst are $3.49 for the pack, or 88c per serve
  • The Bubbies (natural) Sauerkraut is expensive at $6.99 or $1.75 per serve, but it is a very superior sauerkraut without the bad odor of most sauerkraut
  • Sour cream cost $3.99 but we used 1/4, or 25c per serve
  • The butter is $3.99 per block, and we used about 1/41/4, or 25c per serve
  • Add 50c per serve for seasoning, although we added 3 times the paprika than the recipe called for.

The sauerkraut still had some crunch, which gave good textural variation, and the flavor combinations worked really well with the bratwurst. All in all a satisfying meal for $3.63 per serve.

Sep 23: Airport and Airline Food; Thai Shrimp Gyoza in Organic Chicken Broth


Before heading to the aircraft for our trip home from Amsterdam, we stopped for a ham and cheese croissant. Approximately $7.15 per serve! Well, it was an airport.

We had two “other lunches” on board the flight home. Some decent chicken stew with rice, coleslaw and the world’s sweetest profiteroles, and our other meal was the most boring piece of “pizza” ever served. Fortunately we didn’t pay directly for these meals.


We were back home for dinner and not wanting anything too heavy, so Foodie Greg picked up some Thai Shrimp Gyoza and organic chicken broth from Trader Joe’s.

Heat the gyoza in the chicken broth with some bok choy and a nutritious and tasty meal was on the table quite quickly. The gyoza were quite lightly flavored but tasty and with good texture.

  • The gyoza were $4.99 and we will get three meals, or $1.67 per serve
  • The chicken broth was $1.99 but we used half, or 33c per serve
  • The bok choy was $1.99 or 33c per serve.

Dinner tonight was quick, tasty and nutritious for $2.33 per serve.

Sep 14: Airline Breakfast; Gorgonzola Steak/Pasta Combo


Still on the aircraft we were served an omelette and single sausage!


Our first night in Amsterdam and we had dinner with friends. Foodie Greg – and most of the table – had a combination pasta while Foodie Philip had a Gorgonzola steak.  The Capri is a regular hang out for us during IBC and the food is always good.

Our meal was payed for.

Sep 2: Afghan Pita Pockets; Greek Style Tuna Salad


We once again enjoyed some Afghan pita pockets from Skewers Halal, who’s servings are huge for $9.80 per serve, including tax.


Tonight we returned to the Greek style tuna salad.

  • A can of yellowfin tuna costs $3.49, or $2.33 per serve
  • Persian cucumber cost 40c or 13c per serve
  • A bell pepper is 99c or 33c per serve
  • Tomatoes were $2.99 and we used about half, or 50c per serve
  • Pitted olives come in $2.99 jars and one quarter was used, or 25c per serve
  • 1 lb of limes we $1.29 and we used 1/4 or 11c per serve
  • Add 25c for the seasonings.

This salad exceeded our expectations. It was much more tasty than the simple ingredients would suggest and it comes in at $3.90 per serve.

Aug 11: Breakfast Crepe; Roast Pork Dinner


Well, brunch really!  Back to the crepe place, so Philip could experience the egg, bacon and cheese crepe for $9.21 with tax and tip.  It was a generous serve and not terrible.


We took the gondola up to the top of the Keystone ski fields and picked up a roast pork meal.  The pig had been roasting for several hours and should have been great, but unfortunately, every element of the meal was average.

The pork was a little dry; the coleslaw average; the corn lacked flavor; and the baked beans got a mixed reaction. Two of our party liked the baked beans but Philip found they had too much cumin to be really enjoyable.

The experience was great, but the food average for $23.98 with tax and tip.

Jul 22: Popeye’s Fried Chicken; Smoked Salmon Cobb


A trip back from a class in Burbank came directly past a Popeye’s, so what were we to do?

  • 10 pieces of dark and spicy chicken is $15.25 or $3.05 a serve with tax
  • Half the Large Red Beans and Rice is $2.17 with tax, per serve.

Lunch today cost $5.22 per serve.


Another in a series of Cobb Salad variations, this time with smoked salmon as the primary protein. Feta cheese seemed like a better combination than blue or cheddar.

This was an excellent salad.

  • Smoked salmon $5.99 for the 4oz pack or $3.00 a serve
  • A pastured egg is 50c (only on special)
  • Bacon end pieces were $3.99 and we used less than 1/4 or 50c per serve
  • The cherry tomatoes were $3.49 and we used about half, or 88c per serve
  • Add 20c for shredded iceberg.
  • The avocado was $1.49 or 75c per serve
  • The feta in brine was $6.50 and 1/4 went into dinner, or 41c per serve.

This is a great variation on a Cobb, and the feta was the right choice. A great mixture of salty, fresh, creamy and egg for $6.24 per serve.

Jun 21: Mixed Sandwiches; Shrimp with Corn and Black Bean Salad


Our experiments continue. Today: pastrami, tomato chutney and cheese; egg with watercress.

  • The sprouted wholemeal is $3.49 a loaf with 18 slices, or 39c per two slice sandwich
  • The sliced pastrami is $4.99 per pack, but we’ll get three sandwiches from that, or 83c per serve
  • The sliced yoghurt cheese is $4.79 a pack of 12 slices, or 80c per slice or 40c per serve
  • The tomato chutney was made by Philip’s brother in Australia
  • Pastured eggs are 50c each and we used labné instead of mayonnaise to create enough to make two sandwiches, or 25c per serve
  • Watercress adds 5c per serve.

The sandwiches today were interesting, although we overdid the labné in the egg a little. Lunch today cost $1.92 with good variety.


Another hot day, and we still had shrimp and salad left over, so tonight was a do-over from two nights ago.

  • 1 lb of shrimp is $6.99 (on special), but we only used half, or $1.75 per serve
  • The fire roasted corn is $2.49 per pound but we used half, or 42c per serve
  • The bell pepper is 99c or 33c per serve
  • Canned black beans, Cuban style, are 99c or 33c per serve
  • A large shallot and seasonings add 30c per serve.

Dinner tonight was fresh, light and tasty for $3.13 per serve.