Thrifty Thursday

I made an apple pie from apples that had gotten a little wrinkly looking...Using what I have on hand before it spoils is my favorite thrifty move.


Friday:  Rather than buy luncheon meat last week I splurged on a chicken breast roast.  It required heating for 20 minutes before slicing just to turn it golden brown.  I paid about $3/pound for it and if you've priced luncheon meats you'll realize rather quickly what a bargain that was!  I sliced it thinly and we had sandwiches from it both Thursday night and tonight.  I've three more packets of meat to put in the freezer for future sandwiches. 

Do you ever do something and then, in hindsight, just kick yourself a bit?  I made a new recipe today which called for a spice that I've never had in my spice cabinet, Cardamon.  Now I bought it on sale, with a coupon that allotted me $2 off and felt it a good buy at the time, but I've just recalled that the Mennonite store 30 miles south of here carries bulk herbs and spices for pennies on the price of what the grocery charges...I shall make sure to keep track of any unusual items I need and pick them up there in the future and save the recipe until I make a trip down.

That new recipe, except for the unusual spice, used every day ingredients, commonly on hand.  I did make a few substitutions.  I didn't have a bone in chicken, so used boneless skinless breasts.  No cloves, but had allspice so used that.  I must remember to put cloves on my list!  I reduced the recipe suitable for two rather than 8 as it said it should feed too.  I will say that we were very pleased both with the aroma as it was cooking and with the taste of it when it came from the oven.  Yummy!  That one went into the keepers file with notes.


I'd planned to make rice pilaf with the dish.  I'd made extra rice earlier in the week intending to make pudding but never did.  However, it occurred to me that pilaf could be had very easily from that reheated rice.  I added water to the cold rice, along with a bit of cooked onion and some raisins.  I put this in the oven and about halfway through the chicken baking, took out the rice and fluffed it with a fork and added what Granny used to call a 'knob' of butter (about 2 tbsps).  This worked out very well indeed and when the rice was ready to be served I stirred in some sliced almonds as well. 

I knew John would want a little something sweet after dinner, so I took a roll of cookie dough out of the freezer to thaw.  I baked cookies to go with our afternoon coffee.  John was pleased and surprised to find the 'emtpy' cookie jar was filled so quickly without a trip to the store.

Saturday:  I woke early this morning with what felt like the beginnings of a migraine headache. I was rather surprised but was able to drift back off to sleep until the alarm woke me a bit later.  No headache then but nausea was pretty bad (another symptom of migraine).  I didn't have any ginger ale on hand and so I substituted what I did have: frozen ginger root slices and Sprite.  Not at all the same, I assure you but it helped and when the Sprite was gone, I refilled the bottle with plain water and got even more ginger flavor out of those slices.  It worked rather well with the usual headache remedy pill to kick the ill feeling.

No need to stop for take out today, though John did offer.  I assured him I had a 30 minute meal up my sleeve.  From the freezer: frozen french fries, frozen hot and spicy chicken wings from the deli, and from the fridge crisp fresh celery to cut into sticks.

John commented we were awfully low on Blue Cheese dressing but that wasn't a problem either. I happened to have on hand some blue cheese, and made up a batch of dressing from scratch.  One little trick I learned in the leaner days to stretch the dressing: add a couple heaping tablespoons of cottage cheese.  The texture mimics the blue cheese crumbled into the dressing, tones down the sharpness of the blue cheese so even kids like it and gives us just that much more dressing as well.  It tasted so good I seriously questioned why on earth I'm buying dressing?  I think in the future, I'll buy the blue cheese and skip the dressing!

Late dinner/early supper.  I don't do a third meal most Saturdays and this was no exception.  I do get a bit peckish however, around 8:30.  Cheese and crackers with my evening glass of milk worked just fine for me, and served as a nice snack for my hubby.

Brrr Brrr and Brrr!  It turned off very cold while we were out this day.  I was half frozen when we got home and that was with a jacket and sweater on INDOORS at synagogue.  We put on our pajamas, slippers and robes when we got in and I can't think of a thing cozier except being near the propane heater when the wind is roaring outdoors.  We turned on both the little gas heater and the heat pump this afternoon.  Having the propane on allowed the electric heat pump to turn off and rest for ten or fifteen minutes at a time.

It was so cold we turned on the pump house light before it got dark tonight.

Sunday:  My washer allows me to wash a rather large load, so I doubled up and put both sheets and towels in the load this morning.  However, I find they don't dry half so well as a single load when I use the dryer. My trick is to put the sheets in the dryer for 25 minutes and let the towels air dry while the sheets are tumbling.  Then when I remove the sheets, the towels go in the hot dryer and stay in for 35 minutes.  They get perfectly dry in that way and the dryer actually runs 10 minutes less than if I'd dumped them all in at once.

John worked an extra shift today.

I might have hung clothes, but was going out to have dinner at friends' home.  I don't really like to leave clothes on the line when I leave home...Maddie does so like to tug and pull and drag out into the yard  things she thinks I've put out for their benefit.
  I thought the sheets were an expensive temptation to leave on the line while I was gone.

Took off trash when I left home and planned a stop at the dollar store and gas station too while I was out.  You know me.  Make those trips to town and beyond count!

My stop at the dollar store was to pick up needed pain relievers and vitamins.  I know many who say they'd never buy at the dollar store for fear they are buying expired items.  Not true, not true!  These are REXALL brand items, a well respected brand.  They are far less expensive than drugstore or Walmart and I've found the products to be top quality.  If you're just not sure then do as I did: buy the smallest available package and give it a try. Today's stop was to pick up the large economy sized bottles and I still came out for far far less than I'd have done at other stores.

Granny used to tell me that it was best to have the car full when freezing weather came in.  I'm told this has to do with condensation in the tank...I don't know, just repeating.  John didn't stop in town yesterday but I felt it necessary today since I was down to a quarter tank anyway.

Monday: I was determined today to make a meal ahead so I'd have a convenience item in the freezer.  I had ingredients thawing to make lasagna but the house was too cool for them to thaw completely.  This evening I decided to make breakfast casserole, using up those end pieces of bread I've been saving for the past six weeks.  I stretched the sausage (homemade turkey sausage by the way) with onions and mushrooms.  Layered the meat mixture with bread cubes and shredded cheese.  I made two loaf pans full of this mixture, then put one right into the freezer after wrapping tightly with foil.  The second loaf pan, I mixed eggs and milk and poured over to saturate.  This went into the fridge for tomorrow morning's breakfast.

John washed a full load of clothes this morning.  I was right behind him, putting in a load of rugs and doormats to wash.  I wanted to take advantage of the wind and sun today to dry them on the line. 

Ran a full load of dishes after we had our coffee and dessert this afternoon.

Dinner...Sometimes, things just don't thaw as quickly as I'd like.  I really ought to take them out the night before when it's so cool here in the house this time of year.  Well, my lack of planning meant nothing I took out to prepare thawed, except half a packet of ground beef.  I browned the thawed meat with onion and garlic, added spaghetti sauce and cooked down until thick, topped with the broken up leftover mac and cheese from our dinner on Thursday, and then mixed an egg with the cheese sauce leftover when I made the mac and cheese and poured that over the pasta layer.  Baked this in the oven alongside an apple pie.

The apple pie by the way used some apples that John hadn't eaten because they had gotten a little wrinkly looking.  I pared and cored them, saved both those items in the freezer (harvest at home) for making jelly.  And my 'streusel' topping?  Really just crumbled pastry dough leftover after making that bottom crust and  mixed with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Rich and so good!

I planned out meals for the week yesterday so today I was thawing several items at once.  I find I am more likely to prep foods and prepare them if I actually have the ingredients at the ready.

I felt I missed a lot of work opportunity the first two weeks of this month.  My remedy was to make out a daily work list for this week.  As incentive, I planned a Fun Friday for myself.  Little work and lots of play scheduled for that day.  I'll review the new week's grocery list on Wednesday and pick up any items we need while I'm out but I really do mean to have fun this day.  


Tuesday:   Stretching 1/2 pound of lean meat to serve two or three?  Swedish meatballs was my answer.  John likes a heavier meal midday and light suppers.  This dish with noodles, peas with mushrooms and a special Valentine's surprise of raspberry filled sugar cookies was ours today.  The meat is stretched with bread soaked in milk, a bit of onion cooked in butter.  Wonder of wonders my recipe actually called for a bit of cardamon, too!  I was happy to have an extra use for this spice.

I used about 2 ounces of mushrooms in the breakfast casserole I made yesterday evening.  That left about 2 ounces that I just knew would go to waste...until I remembered that peas and mushrooms go together very nicely.

Oh by the way, the loaf pan was NOT a good idea.  An hour of baking didn't keep the middle from being runny.  Yuck.  I popped into the microwave to save that dish, since microwaves cook from the inside out.


Of course, my cookie dough was from the freezer.  I made 14 cookies, enough for 7 sandwich cookies.  I just used raspberry jam as the filling, figuring the cookies were sweet enough to carry it off.  I dressed up the top half of the sandwich cookies by sprinkling on the colored sugar I bought last Christmas for $.45 when the grocery store marked it down.  I mean, seriously, sugar doesn't go bad and red sugar is good for Valentine's and 4th of July, too, right?

I cleaned windows yesterday afternoon and got very frustrated with one panel that pops out for easy cleaning.  The silly thing came apart in my hands and I couldn't get it back together.  It wasn't even one of the window we normally open (habit from the old days when we had 20 cats who'd claw at the screening in that window.  Hooray for my husband, who knew how to repair it.  Must say the frustration I felt over that made me more than aware that he is too right, we must invest in new windows for our home.  This type of repair is rather common for our windows these days.

Mama brought in 'gifts' as she called them.  Most of a rotisserie chicken, ten glazed donuts and most of a package of bagels.  She will often 'share' her groceries with me when she buys items that are too much for her to eat alone because she has no room in her freezers to put items.  Well we were happy enough to accept them.  Doughnuts went into the cookie jar for snacks, we had some of the chicken for supper (the rest will be chicken salad and bones will be saved for broth) and the bagels went into the freezer, handy for breakfast some morning when we need a quick meal.

Wednesday:  Cleaned out the bathroom cabinets.  That's the best way I know to inventory what I have and see what needs to be refilled.  I started a list of needs while I was working, tossing out expired items, cleaning shelves, etc. 

I have a lot of feminine care pads on hand, most of them gotten free a couple or three years ago but I no longer need them.  Why keep them on hand?  They do come in handy if company requires an emergency item, but they also are STERILE which makes them great for using as a bandage over a large wound.  Yep, they sure are, and doctors recommend using them because they are more absorbent, most have a surface that won't stick to a wound.  So two good reasons for holding on to what I have.

The s
trawberries I bought last week were still nice and firm, but I knew it was time to use them or lose them.  I topped the rest of the quart sized package, used 1/2 cup of diced berries in this morning's pancakes and put the rest in the freezer for smoothies, my personal favorite way to use them up.

Great guns that little to do list with the FUN marked bold as brass on Friday is working awfully well for incentive.  This morning before leaving to go to Mama's I scanned the list and found two tasks I could easily do before getting showered and dressed.  This afternoon, another task or two got done, all with FUN in the back of my mind.  I may just have hit on the very thing I need to keep me working steadily through a week!  I've decided that Saturday shall be my day to play with my quilting, since I don't consider that work.

Mama and I were out shopping today, as I'd mentioned saving my money to spend on Spring/Summer clothes.  "Then you'd better shop NOW," she told me.  "You're forgetting that the stores are a season ahead of the weather.  Indeed.  I found two very nice tops and a couple of necklaces on clearance...oh and a cute green purse, too. All pieces will work well with  more than one item already in my wardrobe.  
Thursday:  Having more leftovers than I'd anticipated, I haven't cooked a thing today.  All three meals will end up being leftover from earlier in the week.  And I still will have a few leftovers to deal with.  
Frustration can be a money waster.  It's true!  I'd been so frustrated this week trying to find lids that fit plastic containers or jars that I was tempted sorely to go out and buy one of those pricey boxed multi piece sets.  Well fifteen minutes is how long it took to clean out the old metal milk crate where I keep my storage pieces.  And do you know, I only had to throw away ONE item?  I saved myself about $20.
Rainy this morning.  It was pleasant temperature outdoors so I set the houseplants out to catch a bit of the nice rain water for their own nourishment.
I wasn't at all pleased with how a throw looked after coming out of the washer as I started to fold it this morning. I think a too full load was washed on a smaller load setting.  I almost, almost, put it in to rewash today but that would have meant doing just one piece...I decided that it would do just fine until the next wash is done.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
Clumsy accident this morning broke off a leaf of one of my African violets.  I'll set it to root in water, hopefully gaining a second plant from that accident.
Have you really read those toilet paper packages?  I've noticed that the DOUBLE rolls don't always have double the amount of paper on them.  In fact, many just have bigger sized tubes in the middle!  Seriously.  Check out those packages and buy the one that truly nets you the most paper.
Spent a half hour this morning sorting through my coupons and getting those up to date.  Very worthwhile as I found two or three matches to items I mean to buy tomorrow, including ECBs from CVS that will expire tomorrow.   
I have to get creative sometimes for salads.  John's lunch tomorrow has a lovely artisan lettuce (red frise and baby romaine), apples, walnuts, and dried cranberries plus some roasted chicken.  I think he'll find it a nice combination overall.
I know I have a deposit to make at the bank today, but it seemed worthwhile to wait until tomorrow to do that errand, combining with other errands I'd already planned to do in the morning while on my way to my fun Friday destination.
Latest recommendations from dermatologists: Use your face cream on your neck, chest and hands.  Well I've been doing that for quite some time now.  My face cream is inexpensive and comes in a big tub that lasts almost a full year anyway. Far less expensive than hand cream or body creams (though I use those too).
Cleaned out the bathroom cabinets yesterday and found nearly a full bottle of perfumed lotion. I remember Mama gave it to me a couple of years ago for Christmas and I was pleased as could be to get it.  I guess it just got lost in the clutter.  I've set it out on the counter so I can remember to use it up.  I'll be postponing buying that body cream I'd thought I'd pick up tomorrow until this is gone.
I love my PC games but have been well and truly bored lately with all of them.  So I started playing my PS2 games again during my late afternoon break.  At night I play a different game on the PC for each evening (there are 7 different games, one for each night of the week).  Now I'm enjoying myself once more.  (John prefers me to play games on my computer as they are less absorbing than a book, lol.  He doesn't have to ask me questions two or three times with a game...).
I like a cup of coffee right after lunch or mid afternoon.  I think because that's when I'm resting for a bit and have time to really enjoy it.  However, on these weeks when John has been working I'd often wait until he was home or just before, to make coffee and have a cup.  Do you know what?  Life is to short to quibble over a few pennies worth of coffee.  I've been making a small pot for myself, often having a cup after lunch and another after supper and then making another small pot for John just before he comes in.  I am enjoying my coffee more now that I'm having it on my schedule.

Even though it was cloudy today it was bright enough for me to work about the house without using lights.
I know Thursday isn't officially over yet, but that wraps up this week's savings.  Have a thrifty week!

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