Sunday, October 7, 2012
My Frugal Week
In My Kitchen:
Used this recipe for Banana Peanut Butter muffins to use the last banana from our previous pay period. I made them on Sunday and the cooking time really is as short as it says. I was certain it was a typo. Be sure to check them for doneness at the given time range if you attempt this recipe. After cooling I bagged these up in groups of 3 and put in the freezer for easy breakfast bread or snacks.
Made a pizza for Sunday dinner. I decided that we should go for smaller portions. John and I agreed that we were plenty satisfied and so we had half the pizza left instead of the usual two slices. That will make another meal for us. I put in the freezer so we can heat and eat for a quick dinner on a busy day or for supper on a night when I have no clue what we will eat.
I had graham cracker crumbs near expiration and used this recipe to make Blueberry Graham pancakes for breakfast. I had to add a bit more milk. This recipe makes a very dense, heavy pancake, so one or two is more than enough for a serving. I put the remainder in the freezer for another breakfast.
It's pure love of leisure that drives me...A half day spent in the kitchen preparing three or four entrees at once usually means I get a few free hours each day to do something else while dinner cooks or heats.
Ran out of dog food two days prior to shopping. Local stores don't carry the brand my dogs will eat. I used saved table scraps for one meal for them.
Oddly, the dogs think cat food is a huge treat. I fed the dogs a meal of cat food. The cat was unimpressed with their eating her food. It meant she had to go without the few pieces of dog food she likes in her bowl.
Made croutons from bread end pieces I'd stored in the freezer. I had a variety of breads which gave us a variety of textures.
Made soup from leftovers that simply didn't appear to be worth saving due to their appearance. Soup masks a variety of faults. I posted my recipe here . We had leftovers of the soup, too. John didn't want it for dinner on Friday because it was warmer outdoors than it had been. I heated them up Saturday evening while Samuel was visiting and served with the leftover pizza slices. They had football on and would have eaten just about anything put in front of them, lol.
Another weekend without baking prior to the Sabbath. I whipped up a pan of brownies once I was sure that Samuel was indeed coming to visit.
When we visited the meat market this week, I asked for part of my ground beef order to be packaged in bulk (I think it was 5 pounds). I made up burgers and meatballs from that bulk amount. I ended up with 14 burger patties and 2 dozen or so meatballs.
I used bread end pieces I'd saved in the freezer as crumbs to stretch the meatballs. Because I wanted to use them in various recipes (Swedish, spaghetti, etc.) I seasoned simply with grated onion, salt and pepper. I can add other seasonings appropriate to the dish when I prepare them for a meal.
We wanted steak. I bought the Chuck steaks last time we visited the meat market and it was good but not so tender. We looked over our options: Ribeye, T-Bone, New York Strip, Chuck Steaks, Sirloin. We opted for Sirloin. It's just one price step above Chuck Steak but as tender as Ribeye. We could cut that steak with our forks.
One sirloin steak is sufficient for three generous servings.
I noted that meat prices were up at the market, but they were not scary higher. I opted to buy more of the lesser priced meats: ground beef (80/20) and Chuck roast and fewer of the higher priced ones.
This meat market also carries 5 pound bags of many frozen vegetables. I bought green peas, French fries, and breaded okra this time. Next visit (in about six weeks) I'll buy three more vegetables. I find it handy to have these larger bags in the freezer. I can use just what we want for a meal, keeping waste to a minimum.
Fruits that were especially good buys this week: pears, apples, and grapes. All were right at $1a pound.
In My Home:
Washed two full loads of sheets/curtains this week. John tends to use the small load wash most often, about every other day or so, but I like to do the sheets, towels and other items myself. I waited to wash sheets and curtains until the misty rainy weather was over and the sun was shining so I could hang clothes to dry outdoors.
We seem to be using too much laundry detergent. I noted that there were five separate markings inside the lid, but you know I had to carry it over to the window in full sunlight to see them. No wonder it seemed it had gone fast! We were using large load level amounts on our small wash loads. I marked the cap and hopefully we'll be better able to see what levels we need to use.
Washed full loads of dishes each time I did them. Am I using my dishwasher more? Yes, I am, but I make it a habit to use the short wash load (since I rinse before loading) and air dry. I attribute this usage to lowering my electric bill somewhat this past month. I have a bad habit of tending to hand wash dishes with the water running. I know, shame on me. My pump actually runs less with the current mode of washing so I think I'll stick to it.
Remember my new motto, "Give it a good clearing up"? Used that method on the back deck Tuesday evening after I saw John off to work. Result: the deck looks 95% better. All the plants were grouped at one end of the deck and suddenly our usual point of entry looks less like a pathway through clutter and more like an intentional arrangement.
Spent an hour clipping, sorting and organizing coupons.
We shopped on Thursday. First to the meat market and then to just one grocery after that. I could have saved a little more money going to Aldi and Publix but Publix had everything I needed. We'd been on the road for 3 hours at that point and honestly sometimes not pushing so hard is far better than saving an extra $10. I shopped with care at Publix, picked up all we needed and we were headed home.
I've never had much luck washing pillows. They lump or break apart and are never the same again. I've been slowly replacing our pillows but in the meantime, a good dose of air and sunshine on the line does no harm. I spritzed a fabric freshener on them before I hung them out. This should freshen them nicely.
John stopped at a local flea market Friday on our way home from our autumn morning ride. I found a suitable 'dog house' for Maddie for winter/rainy weather. Have yet to see her in it. For $5 I got the house, a doggie blanket and a cat toy. So far the blanket is the favorite item.
The hardware store had buckets with the gasket inside the lid that seals tightly. My repurposed bucket that I've been storing dog food in had a lid that cracked in several places and was about to break apart. I bought a new bucket and lid for $12. John asked if that was a bit high, but I pointed out that 17 pounds of food costs us that much and if ants or rain got into the food, it was a loss. Keeping just one bag of food from spoilage recoups our expense. I think I'm going to get a few more of these to use for rice, beans, etc. I have two of these in use already and they are certainly handy.
Some of the second batch of rescued petunia seedlings are big enough to bloom. They are a lovely deep purple.
It was John who noticed the display at the grocery of discounted hardback best selling books. I found one I'd been interested in through my book club flyer but hadn't ordered. So glad...The discounted book was just $3 and the book club version $13.