Thrifty Thursday - The Last of the Pantry/Freezer Month

 My lovely African violet decided to bloom a couple of weeks ago.  Isn't it pretty?  I've been nursing these plants along for quite a long while now and had about given up hope of seeing a bloom but there it is...Now if the others would just follow suit!  Having these lovely blooms made it easier to not buy a bouquet last week when I shopped for groceries.

Friday:  Even though I included Friday on last week's Thrifty Thursday there were a few things I didn't note. We had a simple supper of fresh boiled corn and pan fried steaks.  John is the one who boils corn (I prefer to roast or steam) and he does an excellent job.  His secret is a spoon of sugar and NO salt.  I saved the water he boiled corn in to pour over my plants on the porch.  I know that sugar will not harm them and the water is full of good nutrients that the plants will use.

Once cooled, I put the coffee grounds from our pot of coffee on the hydrangea.

We bought a new cooler bag today while at the meat store.  I use my bags a lot in summer to prevent spoilage of all my food items.  One of my old bags had burst after ten years hard use.  John felt we should have a designated 'meat' bag.  We found a good deal on one of the insulated bags at the meat market.  Appropriately enough it's RED so I won't be confusing that bag with the ones we might use for dairy, produce items.

I forgot our pastry purchase that was left on the counter when we left home.  Normally I'd freeze any leftovers...So they were a little stale.  Nothing that toasting couldn't disguise, however. They were a nice addition to our morning meal.

 A much needed rest for our Shabbat day today.  Simple foods are the order of the day.  I promised John I'd make Creamed Turkey for our dinner.  I cooked the turkey breast Wednesday afternoon in the crock pot to use as sandwich meat for the trip.  However, there's a gracious plenty of that turkey breast leftover.  John likes creamed turkey. I'll dress it up a little and add in some Portabella mushrooms, a splash of sherry and a sprinkling of Parmesan. I'll serve over Fettucini...Yes, it is Tetrazzini minus the baking, but to John it's the same as creamed turkey, lol.

How about a  marriage saver tip?  I took a combination of pain relievers this morning to fight off a migraine that made my blood sugar spike and drop.  I got quite warm while cooking and between the heat and the blood sugar drop, I got testy.  What irritated me?  Petty little annoyances that I've bypassed mentioning for years on end.  Did I tell my husband what they were?   I did NOT.  I've kept a lid on it all this time, why ruin a perfectly nice Saturday alone together? (Our first in YEARS I might mention.)  I confessed that I'd had the headache, medication and heat had made me irritable and begged his pardon for being snippy.  Believe me, I don't always side step these moments, but I did this time and I'm glad I did.  Our Saturday together has been pleasant except for my little snippy episode.

Sat down this afternoon and made a dozen or so greeting cards.  They aren't fancy.  I don't have any special equipment.  I used a combination of scrapbook paper, card stock and pictures cut from  a magazine.

Packed a work lunch for John.

The dishwasher was filled by evening.  I ran the dishwasher this evening and made sure the dry switch was set to air dry (it sometimes gets bumped and is cut on.  Pays to always check it.)

Sunday:  John has gone to work that extra day.  The extra money is a help but it's also why I'm so determined he'll not add more days to his work schedule.

I went off to craft room after he left and made another half dozen cards and laid out matched scrapbook paper and pictures for perhaps a dozen more.  I'll need to buy more card stock before I can make these.  Now I've a dozen and half new cards to add to my basket for birthdays and such.

Forgot all about breakfast.  Since I was so late, I just had a granola bar.

Dinner consisted of Frozen pot pie.  Yes, that's all I had.  I worked right up until dinnertime and then worked while the pot pie baked.  I was in the work zone, lol.  I really enjoy these inexpensive pot pies and stock up on them when they go on sale.  However, I noted at the grocery the other day that I can buy those same little pie tins and could easily make my own.  Considering how much better homemade is than anything, I shall certainly keep this in mind!

Went through a few stacks of magazines and determined to let go of some of the ones I've saved.  I'm going to go through them and tear out any pages of interest to add to my inspiration journal and recipe files. I looked at dates of some of the magazines and they are  more than five years old!  I can't remember the last time I looked at these particular issues, unlike the vintage magazines which I pull out by month of issue.  I can always use the extra bookshelf space.

Watered plants with water saved from last bits in glasses and water bottles.

It was nice and cool today.  AC didn't kick on until late afternoon and soon cycled off again.  I haven't opened windows this weekend despite the cooler air.   I get a headache every time I go outdoors.  No doubt something is blooming that promotes allergies.  This season will soon be over, however.

Noted this evening that Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman,  has a new cookbook out.  I am sure this is old news to many.  Having just discovered this fact, I looked it up.  I found I could order it at Walmart online and get free shipping to the house.  This is far less expensive than my book club and the bookstore as well.    I ordered it right away. 

Monday:  After making waffles for breakfast,  I had a few leftovers.  I put them in the fridge.  These will reheat nicely for a quick breakfast or busy day supper for myself this week.

I worked on the recipe notebook, culling those recipes that have been waiting more than a year to be attempted with only a few exceptions.  Pulled several to try right away, too.  I was hoping to find one to inspire me for our dinner..Not one using hamburger meat made the list!  We ended having hamburgers for our dinner and I used tortillas from the fridge to wrap since we were running low on bread.

Had a burger left over.  I put it in the fridge to use in John's work lunch for Wednesday.

Mixed up a batch of that good bread recipe Rhonda shared sometime ago. I got out of the habit there while we were so busy but time to dust off my more frugal recipes.  This bread is so good and holds up well for sandwiches, unlike other breads I've made.  I can also use this dough for buns for burgers and hot dogs and for cinnamon rolls or dinner rolls. 

Used three overripe bananas to make up a big batch of Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.  I put a dozen muffins in the freezer for future use.

Mixed up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, too.  I promised to make John these cookies over a week ago.  I baked three dozen and put a long roll of dough into the freezer.  I should get about 18 cookies from that roll of dough.

It got downright chilly this morning until the kitchen warmed up with the oven going.  That was my frugal way of dealing with the cold.  Taking time to restock our baking needs and letting the oven warm the room.

Made sure to note all the additions (and subtractions) from our pantry/freezer stock so I can stay current with what I have.

Tuesday:  We went into town earlier to pick up my buffet.  Of course, we bagged up our trash to take off and took a bill into town to mail.  I asked John to go into the grocery and buy a single loaf of bread (he likes to have store bought on hand, too). This saved the temptation of me looking over the sales sheet and picking up more grocery items. 

I couldn't help but note that loaf of bread was right at $2.  One 5# bag of flour cost me just $2 during the Easter season sales.  I don't know how many cups of flour are in that bag but I do know that means any bread I make is much less than $2/loaf! *note: a bag of flour has 13 cups and it takes roughly four to make two loaves of bread.  That's about 6 loaves of bread per 5# of flour...and all of that for $2!

Planned one more meal from the turkey in the fridge: Turkey Fricassee.  I used the gravy packet that 
came with the breast.  I find this 'base' is a bit salty so I served the fricassee over mashed potatoes that I didn't salt quite enough.  This worked out very well indeed.

Put on a half dozen eggs to boil.  I will save this water to water plants, too.  Calcium leaches from the shells when you boil eggs and is excellent nutrition for the plants.

I bought portabella mushrooms last week and it's my habit to 'save' things like this that are a little pricey (although these were just $.79/8 ounces at Aldi's)...Knowing my habit I decided to use some of the last of the mushrooms in today's meal.  I diced them, along with a bit of red onion and a wee bit of minced garlic.  I cooked these until just tender, then added frozen green peas to the pan, popped on the lid and steamed the peas.  Oh those peas tasted so good!

Put the rest of the sour dough loaf of bread (from our Shabat Friday evening) into the freezer.  We've had a few slices of it but weren't eating it now that we have loaf bread and homemade bread on hand.  I'll use the rest of the loaf to make croutons.

Made a big bowl of turkey salad for sandwiches for supper and to use in work lunches this next week.

Ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

Wednesday:  Mama called earlier this week and told me she wanted to go to Walmart.  I had a short list of items I've meant to pick up when I went there again.  I made sure to take that list with me.

Mama had changed her mind by the time I picked her up.  Instead she wanted to go to Target.  I knew I could find two of the items on my list there but no more.  I didn't plan to do any real shopping while there and managed to keep my total fairly low.  Not easy!  They had the cutest Mary Englebreit items on the dollar aisle.  I do like Mary Englebreit but I talked myself out of buying even one of the items.  Truth was I couldn't think how I'd display the sweet little buckets, didn't need the journal or cards. 

Bought a box of store brand gallon sized zippered freezer bags which were very well priced.  I knew I was out of gallon bags. 

John said a special bit of prayer the other night about my acquiring new craft items to use on my play days.  Well bless the man, I found two items on the clearance end cap that will just be stellar to use when I want to play.  Glitter glue in 8 different colors and a bottle of rubber cement (perfect for card-making or playing in my inspiration journal).

At another clearance end cap,  I found two beautiful bright green shower curtains (waffle weave cotton fabric) for $4.48 each.  I snapped one of the them up.  I realized a few weeks ago when I hung the gray shower curtain in the guest bath that these 'curtains' would make an inexpensive window covering or even a great 'outdoor' curtain on the porch.  I'll use the green curtain in my guest room for spring/summer. They will block more light than the curtains I made out of white sheets last year.  I'm forming a plan to use those white sheets as a duvet cover or spread.  Just have to work out the details in my mind.

Mama asked if I wanted a bag of paperback books she'd found at home.  She mentioned there were several Grace Livingston Hill novels in the bag.   Of course, I said, "Yes, thank you."  I found five GLH novels.  Of the five I didn't have one of those in my collection of the author's work.  Also discovered a Faith Baldwin novel, and several by Emilie Loring (I only had one of those already).  Treasure for me.  I'll donate or sale the remaining books but am happy to receive the others to add to my shelves.

Thursday:  Washed a full load of sheets and an afghan Mama gave me.

Watered plants with water I saved up over the last couple of days.

Started a batch of chicken broth using carcasses saved over the last couple of months.

Worked in the yard this morning, trimming out dead branches, cutting back branches that are long enough to slap an unwary mower as he zips about the yard.  I can't do a big long job of this yard work, but I can handle small increments.  The savings here is to not overdo so that I can't go out tomorrow and do more work.  I'm rather pleased with what was done today. 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'd decided to try a bottle of the Dollar Store brand toilet bowl cleaner (just $1), similar to the pricier name brand one I liked.  It works very well indeed and so today as I tackled our shower (another big job!) I decided to try it to see if it worked as well on the soap scum buildup.  It does!  Hooray!

Hung the laundry outdoors to dry.  

When the broth and bones had cooled and the broth had been drained into a smaller pot, I put the broth in the fridge to chill so I can skim the fat off the top.  Later I will pour into plastic containers to freeze. I picked over the bones.  Skin and large bones and gristly bits went to into a pile for the dogs.  I got enough to supplement at least three meals for them.  I put the meat in another pile.  I had about four cups, enough for 2-4 casseroles.  I put the meat in two sandwich bags in 2 cup portions, then put those bags into a clearly labeled larger bag and put it in the freezer.   

I took a pound of ground beef this morning and browned it with onions and garlic and added tomato paste, cumin and oregano.  Ta Da!  1 pound of taco meat resulted.  I put half of that meat up in a freezer container for taco salads later on.  The remaining beef was mixed with 1 can of kidney beans that I'd 'fried' and mashed.  I made beef and bean burritos with that portion of beef.  I had enough for six generous burritos.  I wrapped and froze these to use in John's work lunch or as a quick to microwave meal for busy days. 

Since this is the last of the Pantry/Freezer Thrifty Thursday I thought I'd share what I put into my freezer this month.  I'll start with today's foods:

4 Beef and Bean Burritos
1/2 pound prepared Taco meat
2 2cup pkgs of cooked chicken bits
3-4 quarts of broth (will go into freezer as soon as cooled) 
1 dozen banana chocolate chip muffins
1 roll chocolate chip cookie dough
1 loaf homemade bread
1 cooked chicken breast half
1 entree sized portion chicken fried rice
20 egg rolls
6 Cornish pasties
zest, juice and slices of 6 lemons
zest, juice and slices of 3 limes
segments of 6 oranges
1/2 a pound cake that Mama gave us after I'd bought Angel food cake  

The above list does not include grocery items bought or homemade items not put in the freezer.  These were just all the 'extra' things I had leftover after making a meal.  I count easily a week's worth of main entrees just on that list alone.  Not bad for a month when I used what I had on hand (minus egg roll wrappers and tortillas).


Rhonda said...

Hi Terri
5 pounds of flour is about 20 cups. You could make at least 6 or 7 loaves.

Always fun to see myself mentioned on your wonderful blog

Shirley in Washington said...

Hi Terri - Thanks for sharing your frugal "tricks" for the week! It is inspiring and thought provoking. I appreciate your blog. Shirley in Washington

a8383 said...

Terri, Your new header is beautiful! Angela

Grandma D said...

Love the picture. from your porch? I want to come and sit and sit and sit and just read!! Do you throw strange old women off if you see them there just enjoying the view? LOL. My violets are just starting to bloom to. Of course, I did finally remember to feed them a couple of weeks ago, so sure that has something to do with it. Let them have a vacation and then decided it was time for them to get back to work again. Enjoyed your post. I too am trying to get my freezer down to bare bottom and then perhaps get a new one. I am sure it costs more in electric in the summer than it is worth, but it is in the garage so in the winter it hardly runs so I hope it balances out. Grandma D.

Anonymous said...

I went to Target and saw those darling Mary E. buckets as well. I bought four and one will be used on my desk for pens and the others I will use for holding plastic cutlery separately when eating outdoors. Not to play "devil's advocate" or anything :)


Kathy said...

I feel so wasteful when I read your blog. Thank you for inspiring me to do better!

Love picture too! What a beautiful view.

Kim S said...

Miss Terri:

Good evening! You don't know me as I've never commented on any of your posts, though, I've been following you since your Penny Ann Poundwise blog, which I loved and I'm so glad you've kept a post about your thrift/frugalness! Anyway, I know this is a bit out of left field, but I was going through my bins of books and I came across a book that might be your cup of tea. The title is Jenny Walton's Packing for a Woman's Journey by Nancy Lindemeyer (editor-in-chief of Victoria Magazine). Have you read it? If not, would you be interested in reading it? I'd love to pass it on to you. You can reach me at kim . schade @ gmail . com (spaces taken out of course) if you wish.

Thank you for taking the time to write! I enjoy your posts very much and as look forward to seeing you pop up in my Google Reader! :)

teresa said...

Hi there - my days sound very similar to your days! We water plants and container garden with veggie water, but also with the bathwater too...I had an idea about your pot pies - start saving the tins from the pies you buy in order to use them for the pies you make (then you don't have to purchase the tins!). I also reuse them to give little pies as gifts and then I don't have to expect my pie plate back! - all the best, teresa

Spicy Apple Cake - I FOUND IT!

While sorting though Mama's cookbooks the other day I came across a Family Circle magazine cookbook that looked familiar.  I brought...