Jan 22: Avocado, Turkey Breast & Sun Dried Tomato Spread; Red Wine and Mushroom Meatloaf with Kabocha Squash and Sugar Snap Peas


With an avocado ready to go the only decision was what to have with it! We paired it with sliced turkey breast and a new discovery, Sun Dried Tomato Spread, which is like a tapenade with sun dried tomatoes.

  • The sprouted rye bread is 32c per serve
  • Two avocados were $1.98 but we shared one, or 50c per serve
  • The turkey breast is $2.99 for 8 oz and two went on the sandwich, or 76c per serve
  • Add 30c for butter and garlic spread.

It could have used a little more salt but otherwise a good sandwich for $1.88 per serve.


With two 1 lb packs of dry aged ground beef in our Keller Crafted meat box this month, we returned to an old favorite: Red Wine and Mushroom Meatloaf. We served with roast kabocha squash and stir fried sugar snap peas.

The secret to success with this meatloaf recipe is to finely dice the onion and mushroom so they don’t break the structural integrity of the meatloaf.

  • The beef was $10.43 per pound and we used two, but served only half the meatloaf, or $5.21 per serve
  • Portobello mushrooms were $2.99 or 75c per serve
  • Onions and garlic add 20c per serve
  • Two large eggs are $1.00 or 25c per serve
  • The butter is $3.99 per block, and we used about 3/8 for four serves, or 38c per serve
  • Red wine adds $1.00 or 25c per serve
  • Add 20c for Worcestershire sauce and other spices per serve
  • Sugar snap peas were $2.99 and we shared 1/2, or 75c per serve
  • The kabocha squash was $1.93 and we shared half, or 48c per serve.

The meatloaf was excellent as always, but unfortunately the Kabocha Squash was dry and very starchy. We won’t be buying them from Ralph’s any more! Otherwise the meal was great for $8.47 per serve.

Jan 21: Rustic Panini Roll with Stir-fry Beef & Mushroom; Roasted Eggplant with Pomegranate and Yogurt


For lunch we used some leftover stir fry beef, which we augmented with some canned mushrooms.

  • We had a half serve left that we shared, or $1.35 per serve
  • The canned mushroom were 50c or 25c per serve
  • The rustic panini roll is 63c per serve.

It was an enjoyable, if messy, roll for $2.23 per serve.


Being “meatless Monday” Foodie Greg found a Roast Eggplant with Pomegranate and Yogurt recipe. We are generally fans of roast or grilled eggplant and anything with pomegranate seeds, so we had high expectations for this dish.

  • The eggplant was 80c at Jon’s or 40c per serve
  • Mint was 89c but we used only half, or 22c per serve
  • The pomegranate was $2.85 but we only used half, or 71c per serve
  • The yoghurt was $1.99 and we used ¼ or 25c per serve
  • Add 50c for tahini and other ingredients.

We were not disappointed. The eggplant became custardy (although the skin provided some fiber) and the balance of sweet tahini, slightly tart yoghurt and some apple cider vinegar was very good. The pomegranate added a tart overlay. A most enjoyable meal for $2.08 per serve.

Jan 20: Baguette, BBQ Chicken & Heirloom Tomato; Gordon Biersch


Before lunch we had a shopping expedition to Jon’s market, during which we collected a still warm baguette, BBQ chicken and Heirloom Tomato. We split the baguette, sliced a chicken breast and shared a tomato for a damned good sandwich.

  • The BBQ Chicken is $5.99 and we shared ¼ or 75c per serve
  • Two heirloom tomatoes were $3.54 and we shared one, or 88c per serve
  • The baguette was $2.79 and we shared half, or 70c per serve
  • Add 20c for garlic spread.

Once again proving that great ingredients make even the simplest sandwich excellent as this one was for $2.53 per serve.


For dinner we had our regular developer meetup at Gordon Biersch where Foodie Philip had the Smokey Chicken Tostadas while Foodie Greg had the California Beach Tacos.

Not a bad meal for an average of $16.59 with tax and tip.

Jan 19: The Country Deli; Pinto Bean & Andouille Stew


The best part of Amazon returns is that they get dropped off near The Country Deli, so naturally we take the opportunity to drop in for lunch. Foodie Greg had a NY Pastrami on Rye, where the pastrami was particularly good this time. Foodie Philip had the marinated skirt steak with eggs over easy and home fries.

Lunch at The Country Deli averaged $22.63 for today’s food with tax and tip.


Because we had such a big lunch we again chose left overs from the freezer. Tonight we had half of the remaining Pinto Bean & Andouille Sausage Stew.

We followed the recipe fairly closely although we substituted a can of fire roasted tomatoes for the fresh in the recipe. We kept it moderately spicy. The recipe makes at least eight serves.

  • The pinto beans were $1.19 or 15c per serve
  • The pepper was $1.12 or 14c per serve
  • The Bell pepper was 99c or 12c per serve
  • The fire roasted tomatoes were $1.29 or 16c per serve
  • The bacon was $7.99 but we used ⅜ or 38c per serve
  • The sausage was $8.99 or $1.25 per serve
  • Add 15c per serve for spices and seasoning.

We treat this dish as a chili, despite being labelled a stew. Despite only half a sausage in each serve (and less bacon) it has a great meaty taste for $2.35 per serve.

Jan 18: Avocado & Smoked Trout; Baked Cod with Beans and Olives and Black Rice


Since today was “fishy Friday” and we had an avocado we returned to the Avocado and Smoked Trout sandwiches.

  • The smoked trout is $3.49 per can or $1.75 per serve
  • Sprouted Rye bread is 32c per serve
  • Two avocados were $1.98 but we shared one, or 50c per serve
  • Add 30c for butter.

A good sandwich for $2.87 per serve.


Sticking with the ‘fishy Friday’ theme tonight was a return to the Baked Cod with Beans and Olives recipe.

  • The beans were $1.00 per can or 50c per serve
  • The cod fillets were six for $12.99 or $2.17 per serve
  • The jalapeño was five cents, or 3c per serve
  • The olives come in a $4.49 jar, and we used half, or $1.25 per serve
  • The lemons were $1.78 or 89c per serve
  • Add 30c per serve for seasoning and oil
  • Black rice adds 44c per serve.

Largely because of the olives and lemon, this gets Foodie Greg’s approval because it doesn’t taste strongly of fish. A decent meal for $5.14 per serve. The baked/roasted lemon was particularly good as it still retained it’s citrus freshness but had become quite sweet from the roasting.

Jan 17: Cauliflower Cheddar Soup; Rib Eye with Stir Fry Bok Choy with Mushrooms


For lunch we had a bowl of the remaining Cauliflower Cheddar Soup for $2.27 per serve plus the roll, or $2.90 per serve.


Thursday night is traditionally our “meat” night where we have a steak or pork chop. Tonight we had a pack of rib eye from Keller Crafted, which we served with stir fry Bok Choy and Mushrooms. Both the steak and stir fry were cooked in our new high tech wok on the induction cooktop.

  • At 10 oz the rib eye is a little smaller than previously (12 oz) but $8.10 per serve
  • The mushrooms were $2.99 or $1.50 per serve
  • The bok choy was $1.07 or 54c per serve
  • Add 40c per serve for seasonings and saucing.

Because it is dry aged, and cooked perfectly for us, the steak had great flavor and the stir fry was a good balance for $10.54 per serve

Jan 16: Bahn Mi; Ham and Spinach Crustless Quiche


Since Foodie Greg was shopping nearby we had a Bahn Mi from our favorite local for $8.27 per serve with tax.


We had defrosted a large portion of last year’s Baked Ham and chopped it into fine pieces, added some wilted spinach and eggs and 45 minutes later had a great crustless quiche.

  • The ham is 88c per serve
  • Spinach was $1.49 or 75c per serve
  • Five eggs are $2.50 or $1.25 per serve

An excellent ‘quiche’ for $2.88 per serve.

Jan 15: Smoked Trout & Avocado; Stir Fried Beef with Oyster Sauce and Sugar Snap Peas


Although the weather made toasted sandwiches appealing, we didn’t want a simple repeat of the last two days. Since we had an avocado ready to eat, we paired it with canned smoked tuna for a pair of darned good sandwiches.

  • The smoked trout is $3.49 per can or $1.75 per serve
  • Sprouted Rye bread is 32c per serve
  • Two avocados were $1.98 but we shared one, or 50c per serve
  • Add 30c for butter.
  • We both enjoyed the sandwiches for $2.87 per serve.


    As we had “meat for fajita” in the freezer and a new wok to try, so we returned to a favorite: Stir-Fried Beef With Snap Peas and Oyster Sauce with brown rice. We have some leftovers for sandwiches.

    • The ‘fajita’ beef cost $13.5 for a full pound of beef, or $5.40 per very generous serve
    • Snow peas add $1.00 per serve
    • The various sauce and marinade ingredients add $1.00 per serve
    • Brown rice is 33c per serve.

    The stir fry is a good weeknight meal, for $7.73, mostly because we get all our beef aged from Keller Crafted, which is definitely more expensive than conventionally sourced beef.

December 2018 Summary and Observations

We spent the second half of December in Australia where the time was split between our home town of Newcastle where we still have family, and Tasmania where Foodie Philip was born, but has not explored as a tourist as his family left Tasmania before he was 10.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.77 ($2.71 in November)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $8.13 ($11.62)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.13 ($6.63)
  • Dinner eaten out: $22.39 ($22.13).

Our lunches at home average in a fairly narrow band and this month is only a few cents per serve up from last month. Lunches prepared outside the home are also lower.

Our most expensive meal for the month was at the Mud Bar and Restaurant in Launceston where we had some excellent sushi as a starter and an Asian flavored braised lamb for $42.00 per person.

Our most expensive at home meal was Prime Rib with Garlic Butter Mushrooms and Asparagus for Foodie Philip’s birthday at at $11.46 per serve. This month’s meals at home are slightly lower than our long term averages.

Lunches at home cost 34% of the cost of eating food prepared outside the home, while dinners at home cost 23% the average of dinner out this month.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $252.03 per person in December. We actually spent $49.91 for lunches at home plus $73.16 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $123.07 in total.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $694.09 per person. We actually spent $107.77 for dinners at home and $89.56 for dinners out: $197.33  in total.

We saved $625.72 by preparing and eating most meals at home, even when traveling, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 17 different recipes for evening meals.

Sep 17: Cheese & Meats on Village Bread; de Curtis Italian Restaurant


Because we were eating ahead of the trade show meetings we delved into our supply of Salami, liverwurst, Smokey and blue cheeses on village bread.  A little hard to calculate an exact proportion, but it would be around US$5.00 per serve.


Since we last stayed in this area of Jordaan a new Italian restaurant has opened around the corner: cafe de Curtis. Between the three of us we had some excellent asparagus ravioli, a perfectly cooked fillet with arugula and Parmesan salad, and some amazing nut crusted lamb chops.

We will definitely come back again. Our friend paid for the meal.