Thrifty Thursday -Pantry Freezer Challenge Month

I do have more recent photos of frugal work done in the house this week but honestly...My feet are killing me, the camera is in the kitchen and while I have to go back in a few minutes to check the milk cooling for a batch of yogurt, I just cannot bring myself to get up right away.  So this shall have to suffice even though it is last year's photo.  At least it applies to a portion of what I've done today: making yogurt.

Friday:  I bought food for Passover tonight but...I almost gave in to the worry and took along more food.  I decided to supplement my meal with sliced tomatoes.  I had plenty on hand bought Wednesday and it seemed the right touch.  And of course, we had plenty of food after all.  So glad I didn't make lots more to carry along.  As it was we brought home enough rotisserie chicken and salads for a meal for us and no more.

We had a light lunch today to offset what we knew would be a fuller than usual evening meal for us.  

Decided to cut chicken into serving pieces here at home.  I know no one wants to eat the backs, so put those in the freezer for making broth later.

No one thought to bring matches for the candle lighting.  Smart husband offered to walk to the store half a block away and get some.  

Cool evenings mean no AC and using the whole house fan to keep the house cool for sleeping.

Saturday:  After service John asked what we had for dinner.  I was prepared with my leftovers but of course, he wanted something 'special'.  We decided upon steaks since we had grocery money left from our week's shopping.  I couldn't finish my steak, so set half of it aside for a future meal.

I wanted something special, too...One of the lemon meringue pies that were on sale.  I couldn't make one any less expensively than the sales price, although I daresay my homemade is just as good.

We were so tired after our busy week that rest and relaxation were all we thought about.  No cost in that!

Supper: we had none.  Neither of us were hungry after our late dinner so we just skipped the evening meal.

Sunday:  John worked an extra shift.

For a work lunch, I packed leftover chicken, macaroni salad and lemon pie...Sounds pretty good, huh?  I thought so, too.  I had the same meal for my dinner.

I was just longing for a cup of coffee around 2pm but I have to make at least four cups with our coffee maker.  I went ahead and made the coffee, then turned off the burner under the pot and dumped the coffee grounds.  About an hour before John came in, I turned on the burner again.  We both had a cup then and I truly couldn't tell the difference between fresh made and this coffee.

Spent a lot of time this day working on family genealogy.  Used the internet to track family members, census records etc from free sites.

Meant to go into to town to get more cat food (Misu went on a hunger strike when we changed her food this past week) and a Sunday paper.  However, I remembered that there would be no coupons since it was a holiday weekend.  I've seen plenty of rabbits hopping about and knew Misu wouldn't be going completely without food so decided to stay home.

Washed two full loads of clothes and hung to dry.

Monday:  John announced at breakfast that he needed to go into town for mower gas.  Perfect time to go along and get pet food I thought.  John went in to the dollar store and bought dog and cat food (Trudy went on hunger strike,too, sigh).  He fed the cat and Trudy as soon as we got home from town.  Happy kitty and pup.

Washed a full load of dishes.

John bought dinner at the local diner while we were in town.  He used allowance to purchase that meal. I planned to make coleslaw and had the cabbage prepped before we went into town, but John bought full dinners.  I put the chopped cabbage into the freezer.  I mean to buy wontons and make eggrolls and this cabbage will work just fine for that.

Had leftovers today as well...Creative thinking will be a must this week!

I watered plants on porch with water saved over the past couple of days.

I've kept a holiday section in my home notebook for years but it occurred to me this year to add new sheets.  Like one for Chanukah and another for Passover and yes, even a page for the Feast of Unleavened Bread...I've had some pretty good ideas about how to prepare a work lunch without relying on yeast breads.

I did light housework while John was indoors but when he went out to mow, I went to work at more difficult tasks.  I'm learning to get better use of my time during these weeks that he's off and accomplish some necessary jobs when he's busy with one of his own.

It got pretty warm this afternoon.  With privet, pecan and China berry blooming I have to keep windows shut so we can breathe.  Ac ran but thermostat was set a bit higher than usual.

Noticed this evening that fridge is looking a bit more full.  I think I'd better plan a day to go through this week and use what we have to avoid waste.

As I planned meals, I started a shopping list  of the few items I knew we'd need: lettuce, wonton wrappers (for egg rolls), fresh fruit, etc.

Had some ground beef in the fridge that I'd thawed over the weekend.  I planned ahead and cooked it today, but put in the fridge to cool and keep until later in the week.

Tuesday:  We slept in late.  A light breakfast for us.  We were going out to lunch, Mama's treat, today.

Wouldn't you know it?  John nor I could finish our meal.  We brought home more leftovers.   Definitely planning a check the fridge day!

When John went out this evening to finish mowing, I went through the refrigerator and made an amended menu plan to incorporate the leftovers.  Started with his work lunch: A Black and Blue salad (leftover steak, over a tossed salad with blue cheese dressing).

For our supper, we chose a light meal: cheese, crackers and sliced apples.

Noticed the AC running non-stop though it wasn't that warm outdoors.  Remembering John's AC check earlier last week, I turned off the unit entirely and let it stay off about an hour or so.  This allows the system to reset.  We turned on again at bedtime just to move the air about briefly.

Washed a full load of dishes.

We'd found a clothing item soaked by motor oil when we were cleaning out the truck a couple of months ago.  I'd planned to dab GoJo all over it and wash, but forgot to do so.  John found it this morning and set it to soak with good old blue Dawn dish detergent, our favorite stain treatment.  I was surprised when we came back home to find the container filled with dirty water and what appeared to be a clean item...John washed with a small load of clothes (all things we normally wear around the house so nothing would be ruined, a good bit of forethought).

Wednesday:  Another day away from home for me.  Mama had a doctor's appointment and errands to run.  I checked my shopping list and made sure to put it in my purse.  Also grabbed up my shopping bags as I headed out the door.

Failure on my part:  I didn't stick strictly to my shopping list.  While I normally would just spend the money anyway, I'm determined this month to stick hard to my budget...So I had two choices: put back items or pay for them using the last of the grocery money and all of my allowance.  There wasn't anything frivolous in the buggy but I bit the bullet and used my allowance to pay for what I'd put in the buggy.

Buying those extra items for the pantry/freezer put an end to my plans for a thrift shop day on Friday...but that was a compromise I was willing to make this week.  I've been out so much over the past week that an extra day at home suits me fine.  And I'll make my own fun...I have ideas.

Employed more leftovers to make John's work lunch:  Chicken wraps using the leftovers from our dinner on Monday.  

Light supper for me this night after our heavy lunch out.  

Weather much cooler today.  The house stayed fairly nice until about 6pm when the heat had built up in the attic of the house.  I turned on the AC then to cool things down a little bit, but only set it a couple of degrees cooler than the indoor temperature.  That was enough to knock off the stuffy feeling.

Thursday:  Kitchen day...Do you have a kitchen day once a week?  I find it very helpful to attend to all those little things I'd thought of all week long.  Here's what I did in my kitchen today:

Made 3 pints yogurt using 4 cups of milk and 7 ounces of plain yogurt.  I really only needed 4 ounces of the yogurt but was short small containers for freezing the other three ounces.  Once it's opened to use as starter it's best to freeze immediately or use.  I just couldn't think how I'd use the remainder at the time.

Used John's old lunch cooler for an insulated container to hold the yogurt at temperature while it sets up.

Zested, sliced, juiced the bag of limes I bought last week.  I'd meant to do that last week and just plain forgot them.  Fortunately they held up well.  I lost one to what was apparently old age, but that was packaging and not fault of consumer.  I froze 4 ice cube slots of juice/zest and had over half a sheet of slices to freeze.

Mixed up enough pastry for a double pie crust, then used the pastry sheets to make Cornish pasties.  The filling was the ground beef and potato mixture I cooked Monday evening.  Packaged some of the baked pasties for John's work lunch tomorrow and put enough in the freezer for a meal for the two of us.  I made 8 pasties.

Used the pastry bowl to mix up a batch of biscuits.

Cooked the chopped cabbage, some broccoli stems, carrot and onions and bell peppers for egg roll filling.  I let it steam and then set it to drain.  I put a bowl in the bottom of my dutch oven, set the strainer on top of that and filled with my cabbage.  That will allow it to drain and I can keep it covered and chill it in the container.

Used leftovers from our dinner out on Tuesday to make dinner for today.  Fish tacos!  I've never had them before but it seemed a good time to try them.  I fried corn tortillas, used some of the shredded cabbage, diced tomato, shredded cheese and Thousand Island dressing.  I liked this for a change as a fish dinner and will probably do this again.

Baked two chicken breasts while the Cornish pasties were baking.

When I prepped the carrot for the egg roll filling I grated carrot to make carrot cake.  I scraped one carrot too many and since I know John prefers celery over carrot sticks, I put in the freezer with the chicken backs I put in on Friday.

Carrot cake...I've been wanting carrot cake for months now and meant to make cupcakes, but found a recipe for a single layer cake which also called for 8 ounces crushed pineapple.  I happen to have a can of pineapple slices that expires this week.  I figure the recipe is a win on two scores for me.

Filled water bottles with tap water.  These will travel with us as we go to work, run errands, etc.  Much less expensive than buying the bottles at convenience store.

It has been a full day in The Blue House and I've done all I could to save money.  It's a good note to end the week on...

By the way, I hadn't yet made my deposit to our vacation fund so took time today to count it.  I'll be adding $28 to the fund this week when I make my deposit.

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