Sunday, September 16, 2012
My Frugal Week
In My Kitchen:
In the interest of saving time, I spent all day Friday prepping food for our company dinner Friday night and then went right on and prepped as much as I could for our meal on Saturday as well. It certainly was nice to walk into the kitchen, spend five minutes tops putting things together, sliding them into the oven and serving later.
Made a pan of homemade brownies...I can't tell you this is frugal in the sense that I could easily buy a boxed mix far far cheaper than I can make brownies from scratch, BUT it's frugal in that I had all ingredients on hand, bought on sale and I didn't run into town to pick up something ready made. I can mix up this recipe with one hand behind my back and one eye closed, I've used it so many times over the years.
I planned well for the weekend, but I had NO plan for Sunday lunch. Honestly, I thought it would be just John and I for that meal and meant for us to have chicken salad plates. Fortunately, we had a few leftovers and I just set them out but at the last minute I put the chicken salad back in the fridge. We had more than enough food to feed us all well.
And I'm happy to say that chicken salad came in handy as Katie showed up just before suppertime and we had company for supper as well!
One of the dishes I made this past weekend for our guests was a plate of crudite vegetables. I thought twice before using the broccoli which was more pricey than the carrot and celery sticks. I knew the carrot and celery could be diced and frozen for future use, but am no fan of frozen broccoli. Well as expected there were leftovers of the carrot and celery even though I was cautious about putting out too much. I chopped all at once, set some aside to use in Cashew Chicken and then froze the rest.
Mixed up homemade Ranch dressing to dip the vegetables in. I do like the homemade dressings so much better than the bought ones. Can't say all my family is as fond of them, but I find them far more digestible.
Katie always wants to make dip and eat chips when she visits. I had the dry onion soup mix and lots of sour cream. I suggested she just make a cup or so but she used half a packet instead of a couple of tablespoons as I usually do. We had to double the amount of sour cream and that meant we had LOTS of dip. I ate a bit each day, but honestly, I wanted to see the backside of the stuff by the end of this week. I made some mashed potatoes to go with our roast today and dumped in the rest of the dip as my 'wet' ingredient. It was a nice tasty side dish and I happily saw the end of an item I was beginning to think would have to be tossed.
While preparing potatoes today, I cut them in cubes instead of slices. I removed about 1 1/2 cups to make potato salad as a side dish tomorrow, then I mashed the rest.
I had a few leftover mashed potatoes earlier in the week, about 1 cup. I made potato pancakes. I added 1 egg, 2 tbsps flour, a tiny bit of grated onion and a little shredded cheddar, stirred it all together and then fried on my cast iron griddle. I got six nice sized potato cakes from that 1 cup of potatoes. That was enough for three servings, 1 serving more than I'd have gotten if I'd simply reheated and served as was.
I have almost completed my food inventory. I did the back pantry, Friday afternoon, and the baking pantry this morning when I saw an ant sneaking about. I took everything out of the cupboard, wiped it down, sprayed it with a tiny bit of ant spray, put dried fruit and such in jars and then rearranged after the spray had dried. I never let the spray touch my foods, but it is necessary to let it stay in the cabinets or I'll have a full infestation. I caught that cupboard with three or four scouts only in it, so no damage done.
Noted while doing the back pantry that I had Ketchup and cooking oil expiring in the next few weeks, before I could possibly use it up. Asked Samuel today if they could use those items and he happily took them home. I'd so much rather pass them on before they expire than have to toss them out because I failed to pay attention to expiration dates.
Was careful to use all the produce this time around. I have a wee bit of broccoli to use up and a pear and then we'll use our canned fruits and vegetables to piece out the week until we shop again.
I'm out of lettuce, but we've managed salads just fine: Carrot raisin, Coleslaw, and fruit salad stood in well for our 'raw' food quota for the last few days. I'm looking for ideas for salads for the rest of the week but don't expect to find it too much of a challenge. I still have frozen oranges that will make ambrosia, and feel sure I can slip in another coleslaw with a slight variation as well. I confess I rather like the challenge in finding salads that aren't just lettuce based.
Drained an almost empty bottle of ketchup into a newly opened bottle.
In My Home:
Fact: babies (and toddlers) do NOT require purchased toys to be happy. What made babies and a toddler happy in my home this past weekend? An empty wipes packet (nice crinkly plastic), a little plastic bowl that once contained cheese and has served as storage multiple times, the popsicle mold tops (HUGELY popular as they were bright colored and had the added bonuses of a straw and a handle attached), an empty gallon sized ice cream bucket, and the washcloths drying on the folding laundry rack. No kidding the kids played with those things far more than they did with the books, puzzle, tractor, rattle or stuffed animals provided for their amusement.
Mama and I cruised through Target this week. I love those clearance end caps on the aisles. This week I bought a tablecloth and a set of napkins for under $12. These are huge oversize napkins that have several colors that will go with other tablecloth or place mats I have already. The tablecloth also is a versatile color, which will go well with other napkins I own. I couldn't beat the price.
Not on sale but as versatile as could be: a Teal satchel purse, just the thing to replace a too small turquoise purse I have and a nice punchy color to bring life to my older clothes. I don't do 'investment' purses, because I like to change when I feel like it, instead of feeling obligated to use a pricey bag.
Continued clearing up outdoors. This week I worked on the front yard some more. It's looking much nicer out there now and I note yet again that sometimes cleaning and clearing is a huge savings in itself.
I decided to empty out a bucket that previously held a rose bush that died...Much to my surprise, the thing was full of petunias that had apparently come up from seed that fell from my plants in pots above the rosebush. I scooped them up and re-potted them.
Used one of those 'found' green pots to pot up the purple and white mums I bought last week.
John and I keep finding ants in our cars this week, as well as in our children's car after it sat all weekend in our yard. I spread some granular ant poison in the areas where we normally park. I figure they are coming up on the tires and I could clearly see (the carport has a dirt floor) where we stop, so just put the granules in the tire tracks.
Just to be on the safe side, I sprinkled a few granules around the pump house perimeter as well. Ants like to eat copper and I do not want them to mess up our pump again.
Best money spent last week? Blue Painters tape. Oh the hours of scrubbing that little roll of tape is saving us as we put a coat of Kilz on the bathroom walls.
Talk about inexpensive I made it into the shed to look for fall wreaths. Found them just fine, reached them with only a slight bit of struggle. Thankfully I'd stored them in a nice out of the way spot on a high shelf which kept them from being crushed over the past year. I switched them up and hung them on different doors than I have in the past and subtracted the scarecrows from the one. I like the wreaths very well and they didn't cost me a thing this year.
John has been telling me repeatedly these past two weekends how much he's enjoying his Christmas present. Last year, I changed our Directv package to include local channels. He watched football Saturday, Sunday and Monday last week and has had it tuned to a game all weekend this weekend as well. That package change ended up costing us just $5 a month more after the first six months (which were free). So for $30, I gave him a gift that he's enjoyed repeatedly.
The rate is due to rise here in a month, will cost $10 a month more, but I'll pay for that out of my allowance, so it won't be coming out of the household budget and will be my gift for him for the coming year. No, I'm not a fan, but my husband enjoys this football season tremendously and I can't think of a thing that would give him as much pleasure as this gift.
Hung out clothes to dry all but once this week. That load was for the kiddos pajamas while they visited.
Used saved water to water plants.
Seems the grandson takes bubble baths. I don't keep bubble bath on hand. I did, however, have plenty a huge almost empty bottle of shampoo that had been difficult to empty. I just filled that bottle with water, shook and poured into the tub. Instant bubble bath and he was happy as could be.
I've been slowly accumulating Swagbucks and exchanging them for Amazon gift cards. I had enough this week to buy more of my fave perfume to replace my nearly empty bottle and a book my son mentioned wanting. I'll try to build up points more rapidly now that Christmas is nearing. It was awfully handy last year to have those extra Amazon credits.
Priced our proposed vacation stay last month and decided to wait before booking. After Labor Day the price dropped by nearly $50/night.
Posted by Terri Cheney at 1:31 PM