I had an amazing trip to Wyoming, where the only way I could describe the scenery would be to say that it was breathtaking.  Let me show you!

The view from my bedroom’s window

Bison in Yellowstone

Lower Yellowstone falls, with some Mountain Harebell wildflowers. You learn things when you go with a botanist!

Old Faithful

Fishing on Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park

In the theme of words that begin with ‘S’, I’m going to begin a series of posts about what, I guess could be called ‘grocery-acquiring techniques’ that I use to meet my $10 per week grocery budget.  I’m planning on posting on the topics below every Monday for the next month, paired with a delicious recipe of course!

Keep your menus ‘seasonal’

Shop only on ‘sale’

Learn to be an urban ‘scavenger’

‘Save’ everything.

For starters, today’s ‘S’ is ‘Special.’  It was my honey’s birthday this weekend and he requested steak for dinner.  Every now and then an indulgence is nice, and it actually fit into the budget.  I got a great deal on a t-bone, which is a New York Strip steak and a Filet Mignon, and since my fireman doesn’t like bones in his steak, I just separated the two cuts before hand with him getting the man-sized New York, and myself getting a dainty and quite rare filet.  I really liked the combination of sides with a sweet ‘sweet potato’ (go figure) and the spicy hot peppers in the sauteed veggies.

Birthday Peppercorn Steak –with sauteed vegetables and baked sweet potatoes

Serves 2 – cost approx $3.27 per person *note: for my cost calculations I usually include $.25 for the cost of basic ingredients and seasonings used in small amounts.*


  • 1 lb sweet potatoes – actually, I can never keep yams and sweet potatoes straight, whatever the orange ones are is the ones I like. ($.66)
  • 2 oz butter, divided use ($.13)
  • 1 T-bone steak – be sure to pick one with relatively even portions if you’re splitting it into two cuts, some have more NY then Filet Mignon depending on where on the cow it came from ($4.58)
  • black peppercorns
  • 1 large onion, sliced ($.20)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 summer squash, cut into ribbons with a peeler, discard/compost the seedy middle part ($.59)
  • 1-3 hot peppers, roasted and peeled ($.12)
  • 1 tsp green onions, sliced
  • Salt

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Wash the sweet potatoes and poke each with a fork several times.  When the oven comes up to temperature, roast the potatoes until tender, approx 45 min.  I did this first and they were done around the time the other components of the meal were finished.

Melt half the butter over low heat and slowly caramelize the onions, takes about 30 min.  While the onions are cooking, prepare the steaks.  If you’re separating the steaks, save the bone for making stock! Salt the steaks to your liking.  Take a few tablespoons of peppercorns (more or less depending on how peppery you like your steaks) and roughly crush them in a mortar and pestle or smack them with a pan and put them on your happy little steaks. Heat a heavy pan and sear the steaks on each side to your preferred level of done-ness, then let rest for a few minutes while you finish up the vegetables.

No that your onions are brown and your house is smelling amazing, add the garlic, summer squash and roasted peppers to the pan add salt to taste.  Since the squash is so thin and the peppers are already cooked, it should cook up within a few minutes.

Use the remaining butter and the green onions to garnish your sweet potatoes and dig in!