Jan 9: Hebrew Temptation; 13 Bean Soup


We finished the other half of the Hebrew Temptation for $3.14 per serve.


Foodie Greg found a 13 Bean Mix at Whole Foods, so we made it into soup using a stock made from a Ham Bone we had in the freezer.

  • The Ham Bone was free
  • Add 25c per serve for Bay Leaf, Carrot & Onion
  • The 13 Bean Mix was $5.49 and we used half, or 69c per serve
  • Half Brioche Bagel is 29c.

The Soup was excellent. Thanks to the rich Ham Stock, it had a great unctuousness. The Beans added flavor and a textural variety. Overall a really excellent soup for 94c, or $1.23 with the Bagel, per serve.

Jan 8: Lamb Gyro; Thai-Style Cod à la Nage


Even though we had no errands nearby, we decided it had been long enough, so we drove down to New York Chicken and Gyro for one of our favorite lunches: the Lamb Gyro for $8.17 per serve with tax and tip.


A regular returns: Thai-Style Cod à la Nage although we used Bok Choy instead of Edamame.

  • The cod fillets were six for $12.99 or $2.17 per serve
  • Coconut milk was $1.89 or 95c per serve
  • Limes were 68c or 34c per serve
  • A Onion works out at 21c per serve
  • Add 32c per serve for Baby Bell Peppers
  • Add 55c per serve for fish sauce, garlic, chili, ginger and seasoning.

Always a tasty dish for $4.54 per serve.

Jan 7: Hebrew Temptation; NY Strip Steak, Béarnaise Sauce with Roasted Cauliflower


Today we had some prebaked 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. It makes four generous serves.

  • The bacon was $6.99 for 12 slices, and we used five, or 73c per serve
  • Five pastured eggs at 48c each is $2.40 or 60c per serve
  • A small bag of organic flour is $2.69 and we used about 1/3 or 23c per serve
  • A Butternut Squash was $2.99 and we used half, or about 75c per serve
  • The Smoked Gouda was $2.99 or 75c per serve.
  • An onion adds 8c per serve.

While it might seem odd to have cake for lunch, because this is indeed a savory cake, it is great cold and was a fulfilling lunch for $3.14 per serve.


Tonight we were testing a NY Strip Steak from Aldi that was organic but not dry aged. It would be interesting to compare so we sous vide the Steak and finished with a sear in a hot pan, to treat it as close as we can to our previous supplier.

Served with a simple Asian Inspired Roast Cauliflower it was a pretty good meal.

  • Two Strip Steaks in a single pack were $16.29, and shared one for $4.07 per serve
  • The Cauliflower was $1.35, or 68c per serve
  • Add 30c for other ingredients on the Cauliflower
  • The Béarnaise sauce was $3.29 and we used about ⅓, or 55c per serve..

By way of comparison, each serve of this steak was 6oz for $4.07 per serve, while the dry aged NY Strip from Keller Crafted is a 5oz serve for $10.09 per serve! The Keller Crafted meat was definitely more tender, but these had all the flavor you’d expect, and were not tough. The Cauliflower turned out to be very tasty and a good companion to the Steak. Definitely a good meal for $5.60 per serve.

Jan 6: Beef & Mushroom in Panini Roll; Beer Bratwurst with Pressure-cooked Gigante Beans in Tomato Sauce


We heated the remaining Beef & Mushroom stew and a Panini Roll for a very messy, but tasty, lunch.

  • The Panini Roll is 63c per serve
  • The Beef & Mushroom is $4.48 per serve, or $2.24 per roll.

As I said, messy but very tasty for $2.87 per serve.


While the Beer Bratwurst are a regular item, the Gigante Beans in Tomato Sauce is new.

  • Beer Bratwurst were $4.49 or $2.25 per serve
  • Gigante Beans were $14.85 for one pound, and we used half, or $1.85 per serve
  • Canned Tomatoes were 49c or 12c per serve
  • Add 50c for other ingredients.

The Beans had structure, unlike canned, and the dish had great flavor. A good meal for $4.72 per serve.

Jan 5: Lamb Loin Roast & Hummus in a Hot Panini Roll; Beef and Mushrooms in Red Wine Sauce


We finished some par-baked Panini Rolls, warming the Lamb at the same time. We stuffed the Lamb in the Roll along with Hummus.

  • The Panini Roll is 63c per serve
  • The Lamb Loin Roast was $3.69 per serve, halved to $1.85 per serve
  • Hummus adds 35c per serve
  • Garlic Spread adds 30c per serve.

This turned out really well for $3.15 per serve.


A return to a classic that we can’t call it Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew with Red Wine, Mushrooms and Bacon), but it is a French recipe that we served with Farro. We will get three serves from this meal.

It’s also the first time testing Stew Beef from Aldi, rather than our Keller Crafter Meat Box, which we have temporarily suspended, and will probably not renew.

  • The Beef was $8.95 or $2.98 per serve
  • Carrots were $1.00 or 33c per serve
  • A onion was 50c or 17c per serve
  • The wine is $1.50 for 1.5 cups or 50c per serve
  • Add 50c per serve for seasoning, gelatin, garlic and oils
  • The farro was $1.79 for the pack, but we shared ⅓ or 10c per serve.

We didn’t notice any lack from the change in Beef supplier. In fact, the Mushrooms and Broth are the star in this dish, and we’re contemplating doin a meatless version. Very tasty for $4.58 per serve.

Jan 4: Apple & Smoked Cheddar, Neufchatel & Tuna; Vegetarian Briyani


Today’s shared sandwiches are Apple & Smoked Cheddar on one, and Neufchatel, Capers, Shallot & Sweet & Spicy Tuna on the other.

  • Dave’s Killer Bread is 74c per serve
  • Smoked Cheddar is 34c per serve
  • Neufchatel is 10c per serve
  • Apple adds 20c per serve
  • Tuna packet is 50c per serve
  • Add 10c for Capers & Shallot.

Decent sandwiches for $1.98 per serve.


Tonight we had Vegetarian Briyani from Trader Joe’s for $2.69 per serve. It had a lot of flavor and a non-heat spiciness that was appealing.

Jan 3: Corned Beef Hash on Toast with Fried Egg; Lamb Loin Roast with Raspberry Feta Salad


Sunday lunches we often do something with Eggs and today we fried off some canned Corn Beef Hash, and served it on Toast and topped with a Fried Egg.

  • The Aldi Bread is 53c per serve
  • The Corned Beef Hash was $1.89 or 95c per serve
  • Two Pastured Eggs add 96c per serve.

The Corned Beef Hash wasn’t terrible and the Egg bought it all together for $2.44 per serve.


We had a rolled Lamb Loin Roast we purchased from one of Aldi’s Special Buys and were keen to try it. We sous vide it and seared, like we do with the Rack of Lamb.

  • The Lamb Loin Roast was $11.87 and we will get three serves, or $3.96 per serve
  • Raspberries were $1.50 and we used ½ of the punnet, or 37c per serve
  • The Mixed Greens were $1.49 and we used half, or 38c each
  • Mint was from our garden
  • The French (Valbreso) Feta was $10.99 but we used 1/6 or 92c per serve
  • Add 15c for Dressing ingredients
  • Dolmas from Whole Foods were $3.41 (on special) or $1.70 per serve
  • Add 30c for Hummus.

The Lamb Loin Roast wasn’t as successful as we hoped. It was hard to render the fat without over cooking the meat. For us, the slightly more expensive Rack of Lamb is a better choice. Still, a very good meal for $7.78 per serve.

Jan 2: Ham & Coleslaw, Apple, Mustard & Smokey Cheddar; Japanese Bento Box with Ahi Tuna


We shared two sandwiches today. One using the remaining Coleslaw & Ham, and an Apple, Mustard and Smokey Cheddar for the other.

  • Dave’s Killer Bread is 74c per serve
  • Ham adds 10c per serve
  • Smokey Cheddar adds 34c per serve
  • The Apple was 79c or 20c per serve
  • Add 20c for Mustard.

Decent sandwiches for $1.58 per serve.


We ‘hacked’ a Bento Box from our local Japanese Restaurant by searing some Ahi Tuna (from Aldi) and adding it to the Bento Box.

  • 12 oz Tuna was $5.19, or $2.60 per serve
  • The Bento Box was $17.84 with tax and tip.

A very indulgent and flavorsome meal for $20.44 per serve.

Jan 1: Ham & Coleslaw in a Panini Roll; Bacon Wrapped Scallops on Japanese Fried Rice


For lunch we finished cooking the par-baked Roll while heating some of our sous Vide Ham, and finishing by adding some Coleslaw.

  • The Panini Roll is 63c per serve
  • The Coleslaw is 56c per serve
  • The Ham is about 20c per serve.

A pretty decent sandwich for $1.39 per serve.


After the excesses of the last few days, a simple meal of Bacon Wrapped Scallops on Japanese Fried Rice, as an homage to a meal we had in Scamander (Tasmania) in December of 2018.

  • Japanese Style Fried rice comes from Trader Joe’s and is $3.29 or $1.65 per very generous serve
  • The Bacon Wrapped Scallop is $6.99 or $3.50 per serve.

An easy-to-prepare meal that tastes pretty good for $5.15 per serve.

December 2020: Summary and Observations

Pandemic isolation continues, and has significantly changed our shopping pattens. Foodie Greg used to shop Ralph’s a couple of days a week, Trader Joe’s once a week or more, and an occasional trip to Whole Foods. Our primary weekly shop is now at Aldi, where we have (mostly) had great value proteins, particularly their special buys and “Specially Selected” brand. That primary shopping trip is supplemented with a trip to either Trader Joes or Whole Foods. Trips to Ralphs are rare, in part because there is not good adherence to mask or distancing rules in that store. Aldi is in Simi Valley with a lower incidence of Covid19 infection.

The other change in our purchase habits, is that we likely dropping our Keller Crafted mostly meat box and supplementing with Whole Foods and Aldi special buys. We will miss the Heritage Pork.

This month we did two take-out evening meals. Early in the month we had a Chapli Kebab meal from Skewers Halaal and in the middle of the month our ‘hack’ of The Country Deli’s Steak Dinner.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.95 ($3.06 in November)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $9.48 ($9.49)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.81 ($5.40)
  • Dinner prepared in a restaurant $15.44 ($19.67)

The variations month by month are quite small.

We ate six lunches and two dinners, of 62 meals in the month, that were prepared outside the home. 

Our most expensive meal of the month was the Steak Dinner for $16.65 per serve, sharing a meal for one augmented with some Eggs

This month, lunches at home cost 31% of the cost of eating lunches prepared outside the home. Our evening meals prepared in the home are 38% of the cost take-out meals.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $293.88 per person in December. We actually spent $73.69 for lunches at home plus $56.86 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $208.17 in total.

If every evening meal cost us the same as our one this month, it would be $478.64 We actually spent $162.76 for dinners at home and $30.87 for dinners out, or $193.63 in total.

We saved about $371 by mostly eating at home, and we have a lot more control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 19 different recipes for evening meals.