Budget Battle – Mickey D. vs. The Groceries!

First, please welcome . . . world famous Mickey D!

Known far and wide for a big smile, big shoes, and big calories (plus all sorts of other controversial topics), Mickey D has been a winner of big buck$ for many years. But no shame here – if you’ve decided to take Mickey D out for lunch, that’s okay by me (I have done the same now and then, for sure!). *

In this corner we have the classic combo #1, for $7.13.

(This is commonly considered as one meal for one person.)

Picture of a meal at McDonald's, showing hamberger, fries and a drink.

Next, direct your attention to . . . . The Groceries!

A former champion fallen on hard times and scorned by many, The Groceries have recently been making a comeback, one smart dollar at a time.

In this corner, we have groceries purchased for $7.13.

Kroger receipt for $7.13

Yes, that’s right, two receipts for the exact same amount.

(Extra thanks to the self-check-out employees at Kroger on North Street for their kind and patient customer service as they helped me get the onions to exactly the right weight so this post could work out perfectly. )

For the fast food meal, I could not figure out any other photos to take. I bought it, I ate it, (it was yummy!) and that was that. To calculate nutritional info for this meal, or others, please visit their main nutritional website here.

For the buy-groceries-and-cook-at-home meal, read on for more details.

Here’s what I bought!

picture of groceries, potatoes, peppers, onions, and sausage
bag of potatoes for 2.49
green pepper for 59 cents
Yellow peppers with a price for 88 cents

About the kielbasa and onions, I forgot to take a picture of those price tags, but you can see their price in the receipt shown above.

So then I brought home the groceries and made this huge pile of food! I served 4 people today for brunch and had 4 servings leftover, either for second helpings now or for lunches this week = total 8 servings.

table set for four people
serving bowl
plate of food

I sliced the peppers carefully so that each plate could have a decorative topping to add beauty to the plate. The rest of the peppers were chopped up small and added to the pan to cook with the other ingredients.

MATH TIME!

For the fast food meal – $7.13 / 1 serving = $7.13 per serving

For the cook-at-home meal, $7.13 / 8 servings = 89 cents per serving

More cheap meal ideas here:

If you enjoyed this one, you might also like these…

Dollar Tree Dinner – Holiday Picnic
Dollar Tree Dinner – Italian Night
Dollar Tree Dinner – Hot Soup on a Rainy Night

* DISCLAIMERS
This post is purely for my entertainment and encouragement, but it’s okay with me if you want to enjoy it, too. No affiliate links to click and nothing to buy.

All food purchased in Nacogdoches in October 2019. Prices definitely will change. No guarantees.

I don’t hate McDonalds, sometimes it’s just what I want and I eat it right up. Nonetheless, it is both cheaper and healthier to avoid fast food as often as possible, so that’s what I try to do. I encourage you to invite The Groceries into your home, too. πŸ™‚

Free PDF Cookbook download here:

Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4.00 a day

Dollar Tree Dinner – Holiday Picnic

It’s picnic time!
(Lakeside Park, Nacogdoches)

Whether it’s a special holiday or just a pretty day at the park with family and friends, Dollar Tree has you covered for affordable picnicking fun. This meal was all purchased at the awesome Nacogdoches Dollar Tree.*

* This is not an ad or an affiliate link; I get nothing and there’s nothing for you to click, anyway. This “Dollar Tree Dinner” series is purely for my personal entertainment, but it’s okay with me if you enjoy it, too. πŸ™‚

THE MENU

Hot dogs & chips
Peanuts for snack
Pudding for dessert
Soda*

* Dollar Tree Dinners usually have water to drink – save money and eat healthy, two for one! This was a special occasion party meal, though, so I added soda this time.

Hmmmmm, that hotdog looks a little pink! But no worries, this was just for the picture. We cooked the hot dogs all the way through before we ate them (and you definitely should, too!)

The Dollar Tree Dinners are all based on four servings simply for consistency in comparison.

Some thoughts about the ketchup and mustard. I expect most people already have these in their fridge (we certainly did). But I went ahead and bought them new for the meal, just for the sake of the activity having accurate costs. They add not even a whole cent to the per-serving cost (based on the “per serving” notes on the container), but they did add $2.00 to “today’s shopping trip” cost. So, if you already have those in the fridge, you could have saved $2.00 today!

Why peanuts?

These added a little something extra to snack on while people were visiting before and after the main meal. They are also a valuable plant-based protein, for extra nutrition. (Don’t serve if someone in your group is allergic!)

SHOPPING COSTS – BASICS

Buns – $1.00
Hot dogs – $1.00
Chips – $1.00
Peanuts – $1.00
Pudding – $1.00
Soda – $1.00
___________
$6.00 – basic cost today in the store could be as low as $6.00 total

Possible Extra Costs ?
$1.00 Ketchup (if you don’t have some at home already)
$1.00 Mustard (same)
$1.00 Chips (I got two kinds, for variety, but one bag serves 5, so really only needed one to serve this meal)
_____
$3.00 more possible items

Basics + possible extras – $9.00 – still under $10.00

MEAL COSTS – PER SERVING*

.125 – buns
.125 – hot dogs
.025 – ketchup
.008 – mustard
.20 – chips
.166 – peanuts
.083 – soda
.25 – pudding
________
.982 = 98 Cents for this meal for one person

*I’m certainly not an accountant. This is just doing basic division of total price/servings = cost per serving. Remember wondering, “When will I ever use this?” Now you know when!

CALORIE COUNTS*

Bun – 110
Hot dog – 110
Ketchup – 20
Mustard – 0
Chips – 150
Peanuts – 170
Pudding – 100
Soda – 100
(it says 60 on the package, but we had a tall glass, so I added a few extra calories to account for that)

TOTAL FOR THE MEAL – 760 calories

I realize that’s a lot of calories for only one meal, but we decided to go for it anyway.

A party meal once in a while is good for morale!
πŸ™‚

*Definitely I am not a nutritionist or dietician or anything official. These counts are based directly from the consumer-friendly packaging that anyone else can see and use, too.

BONUS FOOD!

The photos show the table set for four people . . . that means there was a lot of food leftover! You can invite more people to the party , or some people can have more than one serving (teenagers, anyone!?)

MORE DOLLAR TREE DINNERS
Italian Night
Hot Soup on a Rainy Night

Dollar Tree Dinner – Italian Night

Tonight was Italian night at the Dollar Tree.
πŸ™‚

The menu was:

Spaghetti with tasty sauce

Veggie balls
Steamed veggies
Almost gelato with almond biscotti

All items were purchased at our awesome Dollar Tree in Nacogdoches.

Where is Italy?
See it on a world map right here!

Total cost = $6.00

(Not $6 β€œeach” but $6 total for this full table of food, with some leftovers not shown in photo!)

First, let’s talk about that spaghetti.

You can see it says “50% More Free” and it was so much spaghetti! I was careful to use only as much as I estimated would be in a regular box, and even doing that, I still had more spaghetti than we needed and put some in the fridge. Plus, there was still a lot left in the box, plenty for another meal later. For the sake of this post, though, we’ll call it “$1.00 worth of” spaghetti, as if it were a regular box.

Next, the sauce!
This was a basic plain sauce, just a “flavor”, not “chunky”. I didn’t add anything to it, but in your real world, I’d recommend chop up anything you might have extra in the fridge, leftover veggies, bits of onion, whatever, and add all that in. Spaghetti sauce is very forgiving that way.

The can said 40 calories per serving, and 5 servings in the can. But I used it all, on four plates, so that puts it at 50 sauce calories per plate.

These veggie balls were delicious! I was happily surprised at how tasty they were and would definitely get them again. That said, they did stay quite soft, even when baked in a hot oven, and they did not keep the ball shape even for a moment once the fork reached them. I broke them up into the sauce on individual plates tonight, but next time, I would just do that right in the pan, which would spread the flavors throughout and also add more texture to the sauce.

I was disappointed that there were not 12 in the box, which I would have assumed as a standard (3 per serving, 4 servings per box), but oh well, there were only 9, so that was that. You may notice one plate has none – that’s because of allergies. There were more left on the pan, not shown in the picture.


Because there were fewer than an even 4, I’ll call that only 100 veggie ball calories (instead of the 120 shown on the package).

A trip to Italy traditional includes gelato, so “ice cream” it is.
It’s not fancy, I agree, but it seemed to fit the meal. This package said 1/2 cup per serving and 6 servings. I’m not sure how they measured that, because I used a measuring cup on purpose to try to be exact, and I only got 4. Which worked out fine, but still, though you should know. 90 cal on the box, plus a little more, I guess, so 100 cal -ish each ?

The biscotti package had enough cookies for each serving to have 4, but I was confused, and only put 3 in the dishes, and then ate up the rest myself, while wondering why there were these “extra” pieces in the package!

Calorie & Cost Summary

I am definitely not an official nutritionist, or dietary advisor of any sort, so I’m just doing some regular basic math based on the labels and per-serving info, the way those labels are intended to use by regular people.

Calories Per Plate

Spaghetti – 200 calories
Sauce – 50 calories
Veggie balls – 100 cal
Steamed mixed veggies – 50 cal ?
Ice cream – 100 cal
Biscotti – 140
___________

Total Calories – about 650 (ish) (it’s for supper, after all, not a snack)
Total Protein – about 14 g (ish)
____________


(sorry I forgot to take a photo of the veggies, but I think I remember they were 50 calories a serving)

Cost Per Plate

.25 spaghetti (1 box / 4 plates)
.25 sauce (1 can / 4 plates)
.25 veggie balls (1 box / 4 plates)
.25 veggies on the side (1 bag / 4 plates)
.25 dessert (1 ice cream / 4 bowls)
.25 cookies (1 box / 4 servings)

_________________________________________

Total Cost Per Plate – $1.50 (ish….maybe another few cents in tax?)

A good price for a full meal of real food, including dessert!

Learn Italian!

Now try a few words and phrases in Italian! Here are some places to try. (not affiliate links, I’m not selling, just fun places I like for languages.)

Duolingo – popular free language-learning site

Pimsleur – try a free 30-minute conversational lesson today to go along with your meal – it’s fun!

(after that, there is a fee, but the free lesson is really free)

October 31, 2018 Events in Nacogdoches

10 AM – 5:30 PM – Spooky Portraits

https://www.facebook.com/events/274671133376325/

Reserve your spooky spot at
https://houseofphotography.as.me/spookyportraits

A LOT of fun, and just a little bit spooky! A little bit of spooky fun with a heart toward feeding those in need. Spooky Portraits is a 15 minute portrait appointment with immediate same-day viewing, value-packed packages starting at only $25, and super fast turn-around. Along with amazing photos, its one of our many efforts to give back to our great community. With Spooky Portraits, we are collecting canned goods and ask that with each appointment you consider a donation of four or more. Awesome photos AND helping others!

Reserve your spooky spot
https://houseofphotography.as.me/spookyportraits

2:00 p.m. – Costume Contest & Ducks

https://www.facebook.com/events/2217704345222104/

Just $1 to enter the costume contest and $2 per guess for the ducks.

Our 2nd annual costume contest is now official! Come dressed for Halloween in your favorite costume! Your peers will judge your costume and pick a winner at the end of the night.
Guess the number of ducks! How many rubber ducks are in the store? Hmmm… Let’s guess! Just $2 per guess, a winner will be chosen at the end of the night! We also have the adopt a duck. Pick a duck from the store, we will put a number on its butt. Keep your duck and get your number put into a pot. Both guess the number of ducks and adopt a duck will have cool prizes for the winners.

4:00 p.m. – D&D Dungeon Crawl

https://www.facebook.com/events/311789236036564/

Just a $15 per table entry, enter as many tables as you like if you don’t survive the 1st, 2nd or even 3rd!

Welcome to our annual Halloween D&D Dungeon Crawl One Shot event! This year we are packing Halloween with an amazing tournament for all you role players and some who have never role played! Muuuhhahahhaaa….. Just come and join us for this crazy adventure through dark realms, poisoned rooms, scary monsters and I almost forgot to mention… try to SURVIVE!! That’s right… just survive your DM’s haunting creation and receive amazing prizes at the end! There will be several tables that you could randomly be assigned to. Just a $15 per table entry, enter as many tables as you like if you don’t survive the 1st, 2nd or even 3rd! Premade characters will be assigned to you by the DM of that table. No need to bring your own. Please do bring a pencil and 7-set of dice if you have them or they will be available for purchase. Remember to think outside the box and have fun!

4:00 p.m. – Pauper Commander Tournament

https://www.facebook.com/events/376218779813122/

Pauper commander tournament! Pauper commander has an uncommon creature as your commander and the other 99 must be commons only. Including your lands! There is a small ban list that is posted in store. Make sure to check it out. $10 entry fee. Pods of 4. Starts at 4 pm. We will kick another off at 8 pm for those that do not want to do the dungeon crawl. Prizes will include a playmat, dice and/or booster packs!

5:30 – 8:30 p.m. South Nacogdoches Fire Dept. Trick or Treat

https://www.facebook.com/events/1891866607587788/
Come out to the fire station bring your kids and get candy and also kids can get on our trucks and see us

6 – 9 p.m. – Ghosts of Millard’s Crossing

https://www.facebook.com/events/2180683762156386/
Trick-or-Treat with the Ghosts of Millard’s Crossing!
Halloween night, Wednesday October 31.
6pm to 9pm

$5 per person, age 3 and under free.

Alcohol-Free, Family Friendly.
Parking at the Rebellion Barn property (Formally the Flea Market).
RAIN OR SHINE.

This is sure to be “The Spot” for Halloween! So much fun stuff for the entire family to enjoy: Food from Shali’s Indian Kitchen on Wheels and Chambers Smokehouse BBQ.
Dr Rainbow will be out doing all his amazing things including Balloon Animals and a Fire show. We also have a Pet Costume Contest, Hayrides, Magician, Headless Horseman, Fortune Teller, Face Painting, Caramel Popcorn, Games, and of course Ghosts & CANDY!

6 – 7:30 p.m. – Trunk or Treat

(Perritte Memorial United Methodist Church)
https://www.facebook.com/events/195877014629984/

First UMC and Perritte Memorial UMC partner together to give families a safe place to Trick or Treat on Halloween night. The FREE festivities will last from 6:00 until 7:30 pm on Wednesday, October 31.

6 – 8 p.m. – Fall Fun Night

(University Baptist Church)
https://www.facebook.com/events/274516346506611/

UBC will be hosting a Fall Fun Night on October 31st beginning at 6:00 p.m.
We will have a Chili Cook Off, games, and of course, CANDY!!

6 -8 p.m.– Fall Festival

(Calvary Baptist Church)
https://www.facebook.com/events/1825875607481774/

Join us for this FREE event at Calvary on October 31st. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy games, food, and fun. Come between 6:00pm-8:00pm in the front parking lot of the church. See you there.

6:30 – 8:00 p.m. – Fall Fest

(Fredonia Hill Baptist Church)
https://www.facebook.com/events/561114561008352/

Join us for an evening of family fun! We’ll have games, inflatables, food, and trunk-or-treating. Come dressed up and ready to have a great time! We’ll kick off at 6:30pm. We hope your family can join us! All are welcome! Be sure to invite your friends!

*Free Admission*

Hot Soup on a Rainy Night

(This meal was sourced entirely from Dollar Tree in Nacogdoches.)
(cost per meal = 95 cents)

It was a dark and windy evening and about to rain . . . soup and bread seemed like the perfect meal for a cozy supper tonight.

MENU
Vegetable Beef Soup
French Baguette
Raspberry Sherbet
Fudge Mint Cookie

SOUP
There are many different options for soup. There were at least four brands of things like “beefy vegetable” or “vegetable beef” and I choose this particular brand for no particular reason other than I liked the picture on the can. They also have several chicken options, chicken & veggie, chicken & noodle, hearty chicken, etc, plus our old standby of classic Tomato.

This soup was indeed very thick – it would work fine to add a little more water and maybe an extra can of of beans or corn, if you’d like to extend it even further.

BREAD

French Baguettes – such a fancy name adds a special fancy feeling to the meal, and I think meal time is about a lot more than just re-fueling the tank (at least most of the time, anyway). Emotional connection and a pleasant experience matter a lot.

These breads were the item that inspired this whole meal. They caught my eye and I thought they looked perfect to cut into four pieces and then it was a quick jump to add soup with them.

These needed about 6 minutes in a hot oven and they were great just like that, right out of the package. You might also add a bit of butter or garlic powder, perhaps?

I think they will also work beautifully sliced in half again, longways, and used like garlic bread with spaghetti or lasagna, or perhaps sliced in rounds, to make dipper chips for hummus, pimiento cheese or tuna salad? So many options to try!

SHERBET
I have always loved sherbet and still do.
πŸ™‚

I used raspberry tonight, but Dollar Tree also has orange sherbet available.
(We have both in the freezer right now!)

FUDGE MINT COOKIE

I added the cookie just as a little bonus at the side of the sherbet, to look pretty and add another special touch to the dessert.

These cookies tasted just like their packaging implies they might. I think they would work just fine in any recipe that calls for a different brand of similar cookies in similar packaging.

Visit Shangriladoches on Facebook, too.
See you there!

2018 Halloween Options Nacogdoches

Trick or Treat?
That’s a spooky prospect indeed!

Sending your children off to stand at long lines so they can take candy from strangers? Or even worse, driving all over town, so you can visit the homes of people you know?

Try these other options on Halloween night instead!

GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST
Event Page Here.
Millard’s Crossing Historic Village
Target audience: Families with younger children
Experience: Traditional trick-or-treat experience, walking house-to-house in the village, but with the fun twist of meeting a “ghost” from the past (story teller wearing facepaint) who will share some history from their real life and also give you a candy treat. This is a great event every year and a fun time to visit the village.

Alcohol-Free, Family Friendly. RAIN OR SHINE.
Parking at the Rebellion Barn property (Formally the Flea Market).
$5 per person, age 3 and under free.

Ghosts, Candy, Headless Horseman, Hayrides, Magician, Food Trucks, Fae Painting, Bounce house, Photo Area, Games, Popcorn
Dr Rainbow will be out doing all his amazing things including Balloon Animals and a Fire show, a Doggy Costume contest with prizes,
and so much more!

HALLOWEEN DUNGEON CRAWL
Event Page Here.
Gamer’s Hollow Game Store
Target audience: D&D players, and their friends
Experience:
Try to survive while you adventure through dark realms, poisoned rooms, scary monsters and more. There will be several tables that you could randomly be assigned to. Just a $15 per table entry, enter as many tables as you like if you don’t survive the 1st, 2nd or even 3rd! Premade characters will be assigned to you by the DM of that table. No need to bring your own. Please do bring a pencil and 7-set of dice if you have them or they will be available for purchase. Amazing prizes all night long!

Event Page Here.

Pythian Poster Contest 2018

Since 1960, the Pythians have had a poster contest for students grade 9 to 12, in the past mostly with public schools. This contest is now open to students of similar ages and experience who are in private schools and home schooled students. Great cash prizes, too!

Deadline is April 24, 2019

Rules on the images below.
Contact local Pythias lodge for more information.
Lanana Lodge, Knights of Pythias in Nacogdoches

Pythian main site here.
The Order of Knights of Pythias is an international, non-sectarian fraternal order, established in 1864 in Washington, DC, by Justus H. Rathbone and was the first fraternal order to be chartered by an Act of Congress. The Order bases its lessons and builds it ritual largely on the familiar story of the friendship of Damon and Pythias, who were historical characters living about four hundred or more years before the beginning of the Christian era.

Cancer Research at SFA

Click the link below to see interesting article about exciting cancer research at SFA

Li Article

 

 

(Credit to The Daily Sentinel for this great article.)