Friday, April 17, 2015
This Week In My Home: Itching to Make a Change
The seasons have fully changed and while we may have a few cool days and possibly even cold nights, it will mostly be warm, warmer and HOT for the next 7 months. And now is the time to begin to juggle the recipe books, gardening implements, glasses of iced water and try and find a fresh viewpoint. The house looks so nice...I want all the outside to join in and the menus to reflect something new as well. The trouble with going outdoors at the moment is the pollen. It's better than it was but boy does it make me itch and burn! Still, I admit the itching to get outdoors and freshen things up is just as bad as the itching that ensues when I do go out.
So here's the deal...There are NOT enough hours in the day to revamp menus, yards, bedrooms, review a book, pick and choose and tag for the booth, peruse cookbooks, every day cleaning, do frugal boot camp, try and pull together new warm weather looks from my poor little supply of clothing. There is not enough money for all the things I need much less want. Yet I am determined to eke out a little something in every. single. area.
Menus first. The lead menu is not something we're having this week. I'm replacing one of John's work/on my own days with this one simply because it was a good use of leftovers and what I had on hand and John raved about how good it was. Always a bonus in a man who prefers and admits to preferring just 10 foods. He always leads his list off with pizza, cheeseburgers, canned peaches and baked beans...sigh. Not much adventure in that lot for a woman who looks at cooking as a creative outlet! So when I can put a new recipe on the table and he tells me repeatedly how good it is, then I know I can safely put that recipe down as Tried and True and into the TNT files it goes!
Beef with Garlic Green Bean, Rice, Fruit Salad
I used cooked steak but marinated the strips just the same, as the recipe called to be done. I used up all the mini yellow bell peppers in the fridge and a bag of green beans from the freezer. The sauce isn't difficult. A bit of crushed red pepper, sugar, soy sauce and lots and lots of garlic, a squeeze of lime juice and that's it. Marinate meat (raw or cooked) in it and then stir fry if using raw meat. Remove meat, add vegetables and stir fry until crisp tender. Add cornstarch to the marinade and pour over meat and vegetables and cook until thickened. It's okay to us the marinade this way...You're cooking it. If you do as I did and use leftover sliced cooked beef or chicken marinate it anyway and then add to the pan after you cook the vegetables until it's just heated through. This really was economical though it listed the cost for the meal as $8. I saw it as economical because I used items on hand, leftovers and such.
Meat Loaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Corn Muffins, Applesauce
I'll double my usual recipe (meaning I'll use 1 pound of meat and not 1/2 pound) to make a larger meatloaf so we can leftovers for sandwich filler for suppers.
Chili, Rice, Pineapple Salad, Corn Bread Cakes
We won't have many more days to have chili and I thought I'd take advantage of the slightly cooler days this week to have one more batch. I may even surprise John and make it Chili Mac instead. And yes, this dish will use just 1/2 pound ground beef. I expect to have enough chili leftover to make another meal with the addition of a single serve portion from the freezer.
Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes, Carrots, Mandarins
Grocery Day is a lot nicer if I have a meal ready when we come in from shopping. I can put the main ingredients in the crock pot. Leftover meat will be sandwich filler and some will go into the freezer for the future.
Chicken Wild Rice Casserole, Roasted Asparagus, Spring Salad Bowl
I'll have to dig out my recipe for this. I haven't made it since Katie lived at home. If asparagus does not look good, I'll get broccoli as my side dish instead.
on my own
Meatless lasagna, Green Salad, Garlic Bread, Easy Tiramisu
I have spinach and zucchini in the freezer I will use to 'beef' this dish up. I hope to get some good mushrooms as well while we're shopping, which always adds a certain meatiness to a meatless dish.
Jobs This Week
I don't want to copy and paste last week's list. I thought I'd just share what I did do over and above routine cleaning:
Swept both porches.
Took new items to the booth and fluffed things a bit.
Pulled weeds around the outside edge of the little flower bed next to the steps, and all along the steps (that's when I found the baby snake...guess who is planning to keep that area weeded very thoroughly?)
Picked up the sticks and Maddie's rugs so that John could mow.
Pulled up the brick and rocks that had marked Trudy's grave.
Put together four 'new' outfits using what I had in the closet.
Spent a full day on Pinterest (Shabat) and looked for ideas to landscape the areas around the house. I also spent quite a bit of time looking for outfits which used pieces that are similar to those in my wardrobe at present. This is being done in the interest of stretching out my wardrobe to last me several more months. I may end replacing some things due to wear but I believe I can multiply my wardrobe simply by using what I have in multiple ways. I got lots of good ideas and a few items that brought to mind pieces I'd forgotten about.
Spent 8 hours in frugal boot camp reading and noting ideas to save time or money. ****For those of you who have asked, Mia at Aspiring Homemaker is one of the blogs whose archives I will be reading. Her archives are listed on the right hand side and you will have to scroll way way down to find them. They are well below the pictures on her sidebar.
I'm also reading Laine's letters. I started out reading them all but for time's sake I'm having to limit myself to those which pertain solely to money/time saving methods.
I plan to read the books on my shelves (at least scan hard) The Tightwad Gazette, Frugal Luxuries and gracious knows how many others I have. I'll share those titles as I go through them. And I'll read archives of blogs I've found helpful at present. I'll share those as I begin them as well.
Finish weeding in new flower bed. Spray weed spray about steps and front of flower bed. Spray animal repellent (good for snakes! and armadillos which are a huge pest in our front yard for some reason) about house as well.
Clean front porch.
Plant daffodils that were in pots this spring; plant Dianthus and begonias.
Purchase two-four bags of mulch, 1 can paint for front porch and 2 cans of spray paint for porch chairs.
Put rock/bricks down for next flower bed border.
Read book for review. Post review.
It's grocery week so that means, bills, grocery shopping must go on as well.
One day out digging in shed for thrift items. I know I have a stash of more stuff for thrifting and I really don't see going out to purchase more when I have so much...besides which I remembered an item in the shed I would really like to use indoors, I think.