Thrifty Thursday

I posted this photo earlier this week, but look a little closer...Notice all those glass jars?  All salvaged and all re-used multiple times now.  I like glass jars for storage for several reasons: but mostly I like that I can have varied sizes for varied uses and they are I can see through them and that means I'm less likely to forget what is IN them and will use up my leftovers in a timely manner.

Friday:  We traveled to see the kids.  I made my reservations earlier in the week using Priceline and saved a couple of dollars over the hotel's website prices.

Froze bottles of water, a bottle of milk and a bottle of grape juice.  These did double duty.  The frozen bottles kept our insulated bag nice and cold,, replacing the need of taking ice with us.  The milk and juice were a planned ahead savings.  Last trip we had to buy juice for our Shabat kiddush.  I thought it unnecessary when we had a big bottle at home.  I just refilled a well washed soda bottle.  Milk, ditto.  I like milk at night before bed.  Why go out and buy milk when I had to pour milk from the jug I was about to freeze?  I just poured into a well washed re-used soda bottle and froze.

A Budget Stretcher/ Leftover Makeovers

One area that can create a slow and steady leak in the budget is in the kitchen.  Our intent is good.  We buy good foods to feed us several meals and somewhere after the first and perhaps second day, we're faced with leftovers that sit there and spoil because no one will eat them, everyone groans when you announce that it is dinner, and you yourself groan thinking of eating them once more.  That's if you even eat leftovers.  I've talked to many people and I'd say that roughly 75% of those I spoke with tell me the same thing over and over again: "We don't eat leftovers. I just throw away whatever is left."  Seriously?

I confess that I occasionally 'lose' a leftover in the fridge.  Just today I found a cup of cooked summer squash and a half cup of broccoli salad.  I don't like to toss foods but I don't PLAN to toss them!

This is where I hope I can help you to re-think leftovers.

Weekly Menu Plan  Some weeks I look back at the previous week's menus and wonder why I even bother to plan.  I used two meals from that week's menu.  Oh well.  Most of that food is still on hand and will eventually make it into rotation of meals once more.  Thankfully I used or froze the items most likely to spoil, so no waste there.

The week ahead isn't too busy so meals should work out rather well this week.  We bought an 8pc fried chicken this past week at the grocery.  My only excuse is that we were shopping rather late, we were hungry and tired and wanted to be done and home and still had another store to go.  It was not a good way to shop and in future we'll skip it and wait as I'd thought I'd do in the first place.  I should have listened to myself!

Bulk Buying and Warehouse Stores

Ella wrote:  I am curious what you think about warehouse stores like Sams Club. Perhaps you don't have those in your area, but given that you sometimes buy in bulk and try to have stock on hand, just wondered if you belong to one and what you think about it. 

I don't currently have a membership at Sam's Club (nearest to my location).

Mind you, when we had growing kids at home, we shopped routinely at Sam's.  It was more than worth my while to buy six heads of romaine at once when I knew full well we'd eat them in less than two weeks time.

Menu Monday

I haven't thought too hard about meals since last week.  The roast chicken was made Saturday morning.  We had sandwiches from one of the breasts then, a light supper that included the legs (1 each) Saturday evening and then the other breast divided between the two of us for our dinner yesterday and I put the carcass on to boil last night.  With the thighs and wings, plus the pickings of meat from the bones, I have about 3 cups of chicken.  I'll be incorporating that into this week's meals.  I love how meals seem  to just naturally stretch and grow these days. I call it a blessing.

Coffee Chat- Bucket List, Quilt, Guilt, and A Wake Up Call

 Come on in and have some coffee with me.  It's cooler outdoors and coffee seems just the sort of thing I want this time of day.  Decaf of course, or I'd have a harder time than usual sleeping.

"The Bucket List" was on this afternoon.  We didn't get to see it all, but we watched the last hour perhaps of it.  A good film and one of my favorites of the modern day sort.  Which made me think of something I found while clearing out files earlier this week.  I didn't feel well and that was just the sort of piddly job that allowed me to feel I was accomplishing something without expending any energy and feeling worse.  I found my Bucket List from 2005.  I'd crossed off several things in 2005 but I'd put it away, no doubt in January 2006 which is when I'd normally have set aside 2005 things from my notebook.  In the seven intervening  years, I'd only done two things on that list.  TWO.  In SEVEN years! I can't remember but one of the things I'd done now and that was 'Go to an estate sale.'  Two items on the list that I keep harping/repeating I'd like to do are: learn to make real fudge from scratch and make a quilt.

For the Purpose of Clarification...

Arden asked a very good question this past week when I posted my intent to return to more frequent postings on thrift.  Here's her comment:
Something you said stuck out a bit. You said the home is paid for but it is still taking all of a full time income to make it. That seems high to me. We have one income also but we have a large family to provide for (8 children, 2 adults), numerous pets, 2 cars, etc. Plus a dh that commutes almost an hour each way so our gasoline prices are almost equal to our food budget. My dh makes an average salary for our area but our family size is far from average. If it were just the two of us and no mortgage, I would think money wouldn't be a huge issue.

I did reply to this via email, but am not sure that when I reply in that manner you all get my retorts.  And I thought it well to address this.

It is true that our home is paid off.  Why is it still taking a full time income to make ends meet?

Thrifty Thursday

Our folding clothes drying rack doing it's job...We even carry this on vacation with us to hang clothes that need to dry.  It's very handy for damp towels or swimsuits.

Friday:  I was busy in the house this morning.  I followed my home-keeping routine yesterday but didn't quite finish the tasks.  Today I cleaned bathrooms and vacuumed, planned weekend meals and prepared food for today.

There was more leftover rice than I'd anticipated.  This changed my meal plan slightly.  Chicken Fried Rice seemed a nice way to use it up (with half the chicken I'd set aside last night after stripping the carcass).  I use what I have on hand for vegetables in the fried rice.  Today that was: julienned carrots, frozen Green peas, celery, onion, broccoli stems (and a few of the florets cut into small pieces).  I found that cooking my scrambled egg in the microwave took only 20 seconds and made it much easier on the cook.  One less pan to clean up (or if I'd used the same skillet as for the rice, the sticky residue left behind would have necessitated hard scrubbing).  I served simply with chilled orange wedges on the side.

Thrifty Thursday

Buying a new slipcover instead of a new chair...I saved us about $450 on the conservative side.  This chair was perfectly sound, but the old blue cover was worn, stained and torn.  My new slipcover covers those defects and matches the color of our other recliner perfectly.

 Saturday:  Planning ahead really paid off this past week.  I had a feeling...and I've learned to go with those feelings when I have them...that John would want to attend service somewhere this weekend.  So I planned a meal that might easily be reheated in the microwave.  I made a simple salad to go with it and when we left home this morning, I was assured of a quick and easy meal for us whenever we got back home.  As it happened, that was around 2:30 since John wanted to run to town for mower gas after we got back.  I had dinner on the table in about 9 minutes from start to finish.  Not bad!

Weekly Menu: Making Meals Stretch

When we didn't visit the meat market this past week but chose to visit another Butcher shop instead, I was a bit wary.  I didn't find the prices the best nor the state of the meat either but opted to buy a sirloin steak and four cryopacked ground beef packages.  John was a bit concerned that wouldn't be enough meat but I reminded him that we had chicken breasts and chickens in the freezer at home.  Considering how our meals have gone lately, there was little reason to worry we wouldn't have enough meat for the pay period, indeed for a month!  That's one advantage to being aware of what you have on hand and how to introduce it as a new meal if you happen to have leftovers.  I think I'll re-introduce the Leftover Makeover feature I'd begun on Penny Ann Poundwise a couple of years ago.  It is, truly, a huge help in knowing how to make your meals go a bit further without spending a great deal more money.  I'll start with yesterday's meal.

And Now a Public Service Announcement...

                                  An optimistic couple looking over their ration book.

A bit over a year ago I dropped the Penny Ann Poundwise persona.  I did so for very good reasons and I still think they are good reasons.  I also dropped a great many of the thrifty postings I'd been drumming out for twelve years.  I enjoyed the break from it and liked being able to focus on other things. I still do.  However, of late, you've seen more of my thrifty postings.

There's a reason for this.  More and more, I've had reason to polish up some of the old frugal skills I'd let drop.  I guess about everyone has been doing what I've been doing,  digging back down to past experiences, checking out blogs where money savings are the focus and looking for any new ideas I might not have known before in order to make money flow a bit better in our household.

Thrifty Thursday

Basil growing in a pot handy to the backdoor...there's peppermint there too and a gnome.

Friday:  I've been preparing a fuller breakfast these days with John home.  I find that breakfast rarely sits so heavy on the stomach that he can't sleep a few hours each morning and will hold him until he can eat a later and lighter dinner, then a sandwich for supper suits him just fine.

Made a Shepherd's Pie from leftover roast beef hash and half a package of frozen mixed vegetables.  Topped with mashed potatoes and cheese. I used the oven to bake the pie so it seemed a good idea to thaw and pat a roll of chocolate chip cookies into a 7x11 pan and make bar cookies too.

Cookies and Milk Chat

Hello there!  It's been a fairly long week behind me and a busy two weeks.  I'm so glad I took the time to sit down and write a 'chat' post when I had the time then!

So come on in...It's getting a bit late.  I don't have coffee or tea at this hour, but there are cookies and milk.  Have some? I took the last roll of chocolate chip cookie dough from the freezer yesterday and patted into a pan after it had thawed.  It seemed to be more thrifty to make them that way, since I had a casserole in the oven already.  Two birds/one stone and all that good sort of stuff.   Help yourself and let's have a bit of a talk before this new week gets started.

Molten Lava Cake - Two Ways

This is not my photo but one I found on the web.  There was no source named...

Molten Lava Cake - Older                        Molten Lava Cake -New 

1/3 cup butter                                                                    4 tbsps butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips                                  1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips(or semi)
1/2 cup sugar                                                                     2 tbsps sugar
3 tbsp all purpose flour                                                      1 tbsp all purpose flour
2 eggs                                                                                 l lg. egg plus 1 egg yolk

July Grocery Challenge Week IV/Final Thoughts

July 23-31
Monday:  breakfast-John: Scrambled cheese eggs with turkey bacon, toast
me: boiled egg toast 1/3 of an orange
John work lunch: Sliced deli roasted chicken breast, homemade potato salad, fig bars, cottage cheese and pineapple, wheat crackers
dinner: Roast deli chicken breast, potato salad, fried green tomato*
supper:  soda, 1/2 peanut butter jelly sandwich, grapes, fig bar, coffee
snack: milk, fig bars, cashews

In My Home This Week: All Routine