Thrifty Thursday

Daffodils planted this past fall.  A bag of 40 odd cost about $10.  They should multiply and come back for years and years to come.  There's a toxicity about the bulbs and stems that keep deer and moles away from them, and they are somewhat drought tolerant as well.  A very hardy perennial to add to any yard, I think. Even those that Maddie chose to lie down upon have bloomed, albeit while lying flat upon the ground.  I'm happy I finally listened to my inner longing and bought them!

Friday:  John's phone stopped working last night.  We tried all the fixes we knew, but it turned out to be a problem with the ear piece/headphone jack.  Thankfully we've had insurance on his phone and the carrier replaced it for just $45 a savings of nearly $150 to us.

 I spent nearly all day long with Mama at the hospital, getting her admitted to nursing home, etc.  I ended up eating a very late dinner/early supper at a restaurant nearby the nursing home while waiting for her to be transported.  I ate at a place famous for it's lovely gift shop.  I didn't spend a dime extra on gift items.  And I thank goodness I had the last of last pay period's grocery money upon me to use to purchase my meal.

Stopped at Mama's to leave her car (which we'd thought we'd need to do the transfer) and went ahead and 'worked ahead' watering her plants.  The idea was to avoid a stop on Sunday.

It was a pretty rotten day all around for one reason and another and I worked hard when I got back home at 5:30 to have the house completely ready for Shabat at sunset.  I was tired beyond words.  My husband came in later and took over.  He ran a tub of warm water, lit candles and incense, ordered me to get in the tub and soak, put on soothing music, turned out the lights and shut the door, leaving me alone.  Not one of those things cost extra but I'll vouch I'd never have done any of them for myself, simply because I've gotten out of the habit of tending to myself in that manner. My husband made the wheels in my brain turn a bit, wondering just why it is I'd forgotten something so simple and soothing as taking time for myself.  

Saturday:  I decided a day at home was the best Shabat 'rest' I could possibly have.  However, that meant cooking a meal.  There was nothing convenient in the freezer and I just didn't want another bite of fast food, much less to get in my car to go anywhere at all.  I froze ground beef in flat packets, which thaw quickly.  I made a thick meat sauce for spaghetti using leftover sauce from pizza the week before, a bit of onion and bell pepper, and carrot from the fridge.  I set the extra sauce aside and put in the fridge.

Katie came in unexpectedly.  Though she'd said she'd cook, I knew my resources were pretty limited.  I used pizza dough that I'd stored the previous weekend, the thick meat sauce and grated cheese to make a decent homemade pizza.

Sunday:  Katie stayed overnight.  I'd thawed a roast Saturday for Sunday's dinner (thinking Katie was coming in then).  I only had two carrots and a couple of sprouted potatoes for vegetables, but used them all the same. I pared the potatoes deeply.  Saved carrot tops and onion tops and root ends in the freezer for future broth making.

Ran out of half and half yesterday.  Used canned evaporated milk I'd opened last weekend to use over oatmeal.  Will use until I shop on Tuesday.

I meant to make the roast with the homemade Bbq sauce atop but found I had no tomato sauce.  I did have tomato paste frozen in the freezer, so mixed three tablespoons with 1 cup of water and heated in the microwave then added the rest of my seasonings.  This made a reasonably good but thin Bbq sauce to go over the roast and vegetables in the crock pot.

Had to go by Mama's after all, despite my best efforts, to pick up a couple more items.  While there I went over the list of things she'd asked me to do and took care of one or two small jobs, all in the interest of saving time and hassle later.

No temptation to eat out this afternoon with a pot roast waiting on me at home.  Even though it was late, I found the drive was not hard to manage with that comforting warm food ready to eat when I arrived.

Mama had offered me her Sunday paper and all the coupons and sales ads, as well.  I happily took them.

Watched the Dvd ordered from Netflix.  I'm trying to avail myself of my service better.  I only get two discs per month now but often will put off watching until nearly the end of the month.  That means I am billed for two discs and only receiving one.  That old line "It's just $5," still means I've lost half my privilege if I don't watch the movies in a timely fashion.

Monday:  Lots of work to be done this day.  I was so weary and tired not having found the weekend any more restful than the week past.  Decided to give myself incentive to keep working.  If I could finish all my tasks prior to 1:30pm, I'd allow myself to spend the afternoon writing, reading, doing quiet work at my computer.  It worked very well.  I was all done by 1pm.

Dinner: the last of that spaghetti meat sauce over pasta.

Washed a load of clothes that combined sheets and clothing, including Mama's things I'd brought home.

Watered plants with saved water.

Washed dishes using just half a sink of water. I've made up my mind though:  I'm going to use a dishpan from now on, just as Grandmama and Granny used to do.  That water went right outdoors to be poured over plants that might need watering and it seems more than reasonable to get as much use from that water as possible.

Refilled water bottles and put several in the fridge to cool.  John will drink water in individual bottles from the fridge but avoids it otherwise.

Washed baggies and put in dish drainer for the first drying.  After a few hours, I turn them right side in and dry them more, then store in the original boxes so I always can pull out the size needed.

Mixed a half pound of that good German coffee with half a pound of regular coffee bought on sale.

Balanced my checkbook using online page.  Glad I did.  I'd forgotten to write down a purchase made last week. Caught that mistake in time to correct it in our figures.

Opened curtains and used natural light rather than electricity.

Made out a shopping list for Tuesday.

Made out an errands list for Tuesday.

Tuesday:  John suggested putting off grocery shopping until tomorrow since I had so many errands and an unplanned stop at Mama's house and the nursing home added into my day.  I decided to follow his request but did stop at one store where a sale on some much needed pantry items ended this day.

Added mayonnaise and peanut butter to the pantry, courtesy the sales.

Delivered Mama's freshly washed clothing since I had to be there anyway.

Ran all my errands at once this morning, making the nursing home visit last on the list, as that part is particularly draining for some reason.

Didn't buy half and half today, and didn't want to open another can of evaporated milk.  Instead I used whole milk in my afternoon coffee.

Wednesday:  Had to be creative planning our breakfast as I was out of eggs.  We settled upon cheese toast and cereal as reasonable.

Looked over new week sales ads at my favorite grocery and determined that while a few things were good buys the sales overall would do little to fill our fridge/freezer/pantry.  Offered John option of visiting the grocery in the town in the foothills northwest of us, something we normally reserve for vacations.  It is a little further than driving to our usual towns to shop, but not dramatically so, just about 15 miles.  In light of the gas usage this week alone I didn't think an additional 30 miles would matter overmuch.

We filled the car with gasoline.  This is not unusual, but putting that figure down in our checkbook did throw up a 'caution' flag.  We had additional expenses this pay period and while I had money for groceries and allowance our balance was a bit lower than when we'd started.  I mentally went through my shopping list to decrease costs still further and insure we were well within budget limits.

We did all our in town errands while in our hometown, including going on by Mama's house to drop off the clean clothing and add a few other items to the bag they were in.  I left a note for my brother to please take them when he went to visit, hoping to save myself another trip over for a few days more.

We did well enough on groceries, but I confess I found this store even higher than the regular prices at my favorite grocery...I bought half a gallon of milk for the same price as a full gallon there and 1 pint of half and half for almost the same price as a quart.  Whew!  It took some thinking to drive costs back down to manageable and while I enjoyed this shopping trip and the feeling that we'd had a holiday, I'll have to trim hard to stay well within budget next pay period.  Was much amused at the checker's counter when the girl unloading our buggy commented, "They have a lot of produce..."  It was no more than I typically buy in a pay period and whole food is almost always cheaper in the long run.

Stayed within budget at the grocery despite our deli lunch and treat purchase.  

The apples we bought were HUGE.  So big that I told John we would absolutely eat only 1/2 each. I found that 1/4 was sufficient for myself.

Our 'treat' this week was apple fritters which were on sale (the only sale I'd noted worthy of taking part in, everything else was strictly shopping from my list).

Noticed bulk spices in the produce department and bought those instead of the pricier bottles.  Also noted they sold clear bottles for storage, but I have two of those cute little snap top bottles I bought at Ross for the two herbs I purchased.

We purchased a deli sandwich for our lunch but supplemented with items we'd bought in our regular shopping (chips, soda, fritters for dessert).

We bought premium hot dogs that were on sale.  We never eat a full package, so half of that went into the freezer for a future meal after our supper this evening.

Washed a full load of clothes and a full load of dishes today.  We didn't do dishes until evening, when the rates go down while laundry was put on early this morning, well before peak usage hours.

Thursday:  I had a 'kitchen morning' today.   Started at breakfast when I cooked onions and bell peppers for our western omelet.  I cooked extra onions and peppers to put into a casserole I planned to make today for Oneg on Saturday.

I'd meant to make muffins, but when I saw the box of apple fritters on the counter, I decided we'd best use those before they dried out.  Muffins will do just as well later in the weekend.

I'd bought a rotisserie chicken yesterday for $4.  I find it well worth while to buy one for convenience whenever they are on sale.  I can't buy and cook one for any less myself.  I stripped meat from the carcass and put that carcass in the freezer for future broth making, along with the root and top of the onion I'd chopped to use in the casserole.  I used the thighs, legs, wings, and pulley bone meat for the casserole dish and saved the top part of the breast meat for sandwiches for us tonight.

I bought just one jar of Alfredo sauce, really needed two...I decided to substitute a can of cream of chicken soup.  The texture won't be noticeably changed and the flavor only slightly altered doing that.

Found I had enough casserole and then some.  I put a small casserole, large enough to serve two, into the freezer for us to have as a convenience meal later in the month.

While I was making the casserole, I also started prepping our dinner: Homemade Chicken Tenders (not the nuggets I'd started to make).  I found the package of tenders had so many  in it that I set aside half of them to use as another entree.  I diced these and cooked them  and then put in the freezer.  I'll use as chicken tacos or in a stir fry dish.

I used the dry/wet/dry method of breading and used crushed potato chips (that bit at the bottom of two bags that is to fiddly to try and eat otherwise) instead of the dry bread crumbs normally called for.  I have to say the tenders were every bit as crispy as if I'd used panko crumbs.

While the chicken tenders were in the oven, I put in my flat cast iron skillet with a bit of oil and frozen french fries.  You really cannot tell the difference in them cooked this way and fried on stove top.  They are less greasy but every bit as crisp and tender.

Saved the tender broccoli stalks to use as broccoli slaw.

This morning I surveyed my front porch.  The pots of pansies there had not done well while the strawberry pot on the back deck had flourished but was beginning to look a bit thin.  As well, the kale in the pots of pansies on the porch had grown more slowly than the leggy looking one on the back deck.  I decided the remedy was to transplant all items to the strawberry pot on the back deck.  I had room for the remaining pansies and the two kales filled out the top of the pot quite nicely (along with a particularly nice pansy plant).  I watered all with saved water from the water bottles.  This should carry me nicely until I can plant the pot with petunias for the late spring/summer season.

Pulled up the last two pea plants from the garden pots.  They kept blooming but were taking a beating from the constant wagging action of Maddie's tail and the hot days, cold nights.  I made note that the coral rosebush is growing back nicely, and there are fresh petunias coming up from seed in that pot as well.  I'll plant that rosebush and transplant the petunias to another planter and use that bucket for planting carrots.  The hydrangea is starting to put out once more.  This year I mean to plant it in the flower bed in front of the porch where it will receive some shade and indirect sunlight.  I pulled out seed packets and made a list of plants I mean to buy this year.  I also need to set out the Chrysanthemums bought last fall for $.50 each.  I didn't lose but one of the eight I purchased and they are all growing beautifully big.

When cleaning up the dishes (late this afternoon) from my morning session in the kitchen, I didn't fill the sink, but filled a large pot I'd used to cook in instead and washed the dishes in that pot.  Dumped the water from the pot over the outdoor plants, then brought it indoors to rinse.

Didn't toss one single item this week from the fridge.  I've stayed atop what needed to be used very well.  Now to just stay vigilant and make every attempt to check that fridge daily.

I felt particularly virtuous this week in my 'harvests':  I saved three glass jars to reuse as storage or for canning.  Put a casserole, half a package of cooked hot dogs and cooked chicken into the freezer for future meals.  Used plants I had in other pots to fill out the strawberry pot.  Clipped the ivy and put the vines in water to root for new plants.  Made my own 'sweet and sour' sauce from the last of the apricot jam and some yellow mustard  for the chicken tenders.   Yes, I consider these 'harvests'.  In every instance I've taken an item meant for one use and managed a second or third use from it.


Anonymous said...

Teri, I've never commented before, but I'd like you to know I really enjoy reading your blog. I like your details!, and I like reading about your life in Georgia. I've never been to Georgia, but I have two brothers who live in Georgia. I live in South Dakota. Pam

Deanna said...

I'd never thought of using a cast iron skillet to cook fries in the oven. I'll have to try that!

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