A Year of Savings: 2013

Dec 14:  We stayed home today, the plan being to go to church tomorrow.  I did 'work ahead' yesterday to insure we had a meal to eat with minimal work on my part today.  As it happened, today has been very wet with heavy rain and thunderstorms.  I'm so glad we didn't make that long drive to synagogue!

My son used to be a barrista (he worked in a coffee shop).  He told me that the rate of the flow of water determines the strength of the coffee (as well as the type of grind you use.  Finer coffee makes a stronger coffee).  I have a feature on my coffee pot that allows me to change the rate of water flow.  I've discovered that I can use just 2 scoops of coffee (4 tablespoons) to six cups of water on the BOLD setting and make a very very good pot of coffee for afternoons.  At night I set the pot up with 8 cups of water, 3 scoops of coffee and the bold setting for good morning cups.  I am using 2-4 tablespoons coffee less with each pot.  I've noted that my decaf stash  has been extended by at least 1 bag a month.  Savings $5.99

Our dinner today was heat and eat:  Hamburger sliders, Oven Fries and Pickles.  We had a few sliders leftover. I put those in the freezer for a future supper for John.

Made French Toast for supper using some bread that was dry.

Dec 15:  Boy did I feel silly today.  We planned out our meal for today, John's plan.  He wanted to go to church, and then stop off and pick up the planned meal items.  I happened to have them all in the house/pantry/freezer.  No problem, right?  Well, at some point the topic came back up again and John mentioned just buying fresh items and I agreed and then at some point we discussed it again and apparently we were back to using what we have at home...Too many discussions lead to major confusion!  I didn't thaw anything and we didn't go to church.  So later I suggested we head into town to pick up the needed items and the blank look that greeted my statement put an end to that! lol.  I said "Never mind.  I can come up with something."  And I did.  Savings:  $25 about what our originally proposed purchase would cost.

To be on the safe side, I took meats from the freezer today to thaw for the rest of the week.  It's cold, so I put all the meats in a big Dutch Oven, put on the lid, and set that in the sink overnight.  I'll wager we still have frozen foods in the morning.

Dec 16:  Ow!  Seriously.  I woke with a huge amount of pain, could barely walk across the floor without weeping in agony.  John took over for me today and made meals.  God Bless this good man of the house!  I'm using on hand pain relievers and moist heat. note:  Internet tells me I have sciatica and best course of action at present is to walk or lie down, moist heat and NSAIDS. 

Dec  17:  Agony continues but I'm able to at least sit up a little today.  John is hovering like a hawk, making meals, fetching this or that, offering his strong arms and shoulder to lean on, giving me massages with the HoMedics massage machine Mama gave him years ago when he hurt his back.

John went off to pick up his prescriptions and brought home a few necessities for getting better.  Pills for muscle spasms and pain relievers and chocolate...Can you see why I love him so?  Only he would realize that chocolate is high in magnesium and GOOD for pain!  He also decided pizza would be a suitable dinner, something he felt he could make easily.  Menu plans be hanged.  He cooked for me yesterday, today let's give the man a break.

John made chili using thawed ground beef.  We doubled the vegetables (onions, beans and tomatoes) something I do often to extend the chili still further.  Since we were using an envelope of John's favorite Chili seasoning mix this also works well to tone down the spiciness of  the chili.  For supper we had Nachos and put the rest of the chili aside for further meals later this week.

Dec 18:  Bad night but I felt I simply had to be on my feet a bit more today if I'm to really start to recover.

I used some egg/milk mixture from weekend French toast supper, to make our favorite Butterscotch Oatmeal.  It was a good use of the egg/milk mixture.  No savings in using the microwave, though. It took just as long as stove top...Difference was I could sit down for 3 minutes at a time...Savings:  $.50.

Put a whole chicken in the oven to roast.  I stuffed an apple in the cavity.  That apple was a salvage.  I tossed FOUR of them into the trash as they were no longer any good nor was any portion of them salvageable.  No savings! (-$1.00)

Found Brussels Sprouts in the fridge...added those to my menu plan.  Savings: $1.25

I cooked twice as much rice as we needed for this meal.  I decided to alter my meal plan slightly since I found the Brussels Sprouts.  This also led me to determine that we could actually get four meals from this whole chicken.  Today we had leg quarters with our meal.  One breast went into a container with the leftover rice for Chicken Fried Rice, the other breast set aside for Chicken Pot Pie and the carcass will turn into Chicken Noodle Soup.  That works out to about $.75 per MEAL for the meat portions. Savings $1.25

Dec 19:  Plundering in fridge freezer last night I found frozen waffles.  I decided those were perfect to heat for breakfast this morning.  

Made cornmeal pancakes for our dinner of Tortilla Towers.  While they were cooking to the point of needing to be turned, I sat down and chopped vegetables for chicken fried rice for tomorrow's dinner.  I used carrots, onions, celery and broccoli stems I'd saved in the fridge from our broccoli crowns.  I used the root ends and tops of the celery, carrots and onions to add to the stock pot with the chicken carcass for the proposed Chicken Noodle Soup meal.

I found a Dutch Oven steamer insert pan with wire handles a few months back at the thrift store for $1.  It's perfect to put my chicken carcass and vegetables in when I make broth.  I just lift and drain well and have no need of straining my broth.

I picked over the bones and got about 2 1/2 cups of chicken meat for the soup. I did not expect to get that much meat.  I put the wings and the carcass (back, breast bone) in the pan to simmer.  It's amazing how much meat those 'picked over' carcasses can hold onto!

Put leftovers of Tortilla Towers in the fridge.

Mama was going to doctor and offered to go by the grocery store for any needs. I asked her to bring me bread and eggs, pain relievers. I set aside money from my allowance to repay her. She was so generous and brought along her gently read magazines, coupons from her Sunday papers and a bag of chocolate dipped pretzels, as well.

Washed a full load of dishes.

The kitchen drain was slow.  I plunged and plunged to no avail with no noticeable difference.  I finally put baking soda and vinegar down the drain, followed by a boiling water wash.  The drain cleared up perfectly!

Dec 20:  I am resigned to just being at home this week.  I simply have not felt up to driving anywhere!  Here I'd planned to shop today to bypass the holiday crowds at the grocery, but it's apparent that is not going to happen.  I am better.  I have actually had pain free moments today which is a HUGE improvement over the week, but I confess to being reluctant to leave home just yet.  The purchases will just have to wait.  I may end up just shopping locally, which isn't a horrible thing.

This morning I used the last of the apples to make a batch of Apple Muffins for breakfast.  One apple looked fine but when I cut it open it was rotting from the inside to the outside.  Ugh.  Another apple wasted but at least I used the very last one.  Savings $.50

Determined to eliminate as much waste as possible, I sat at the kitchen desk and segmented the last of the oranges this morning.  I must say that desk has been one handy work station this week when I couldn't stand for long periods!  I put a jelly roll pan on the desk and cut the oranges up on that.  This kept the desk from getting messy.  I made enough Ambrosia for dinner today and had a cup leftover.  Savings: $1.50

Made Chicken Fried Rice today and heated the last of the homemade frozen Egg Rolls to go with it.  I shall have to get more wrappers and make more egg rolls.  There was enough Fried Rice leftover to serve one.  I think we'll have a meal of leftovers for Sunday's meal.

Made the chicken pot pie filling this afternoon.  I chopped up one breast in coarse pieces.  I diced potatoes and carrots, added a bit of minced onion, some green peas.  I melted the fat from the broth I'd poured over the chicken breast and cooked the vegetables lightly in that.  Then I scooped up the vegetables, letting them drain, added in some flour and the broth and made a white sauce to go over the chicken and vegetables.  This will be dinner for tomorrow.  The best pot pies cost $2.50 each at Aldi for individual servings.  I will make mine up into three or four pot pies and Save $7.50 even with the purchase of the pans to put them in!  I'll have enough for dinner tomorrow and extras for a future meal that I will put in the freezer.

I've been using a homemade rice pack for moist heat applications.  I remembered I had a hot water bottle this afternoon and dug it out to use.  It stays warm longer than the rice pack. 

This weeks's total: $42.49


Lena said...

Oh, i hope you are feeling better now.

And your idea of using a steamer for making broth is brilliant! I will totally do it next time!

Louise said...

Oh my Sciatica!!!! Mine lasted for 6 months, maybe longer... that was 3 years ago.. and it still twinges occasionally.. and when it does I am terrified that it will hurt like it did at first... I had to take Percocet and a muscle relaxer in order to sleep. Hopefully yours is on the mend now. Massage will no doubt help.. I had no one to do that for me.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear you have been in such pain. You will be in my prayers. You are right to give your husband praise for the help he gives you. Many men would not understand and lovingly pitch in like that. You sure got a lot done once you could be up even through the pain. Just being able to do some of our home work even for a few short minutes at a time is a moral booster.
I was using a rice pack on my arthritic hands and such. Yes I found it getting cool to soon too so switched to a little heating pad I found. It was a small one that I could wrap around my hand loosely and be able to sleep a little. It felt wonderful! The rice packs I made are so heavy they actually hurt to use them cause of the weight. I am going to try to make a rice pack for use on my shoulder with two layers of left over fleece and stitch segments in it to hold the rice in place. Not making it too thick and heavy though. It is wroth a try. That way I can use it on my shoulder when the heating pad is on my hand . :) Isn't getting old fun! :-) The heavy rice packs I have now I made out of old men's sox.
I am also surprised at how much meat is unattached from the bones of turkeys when it is heated. I got the families thanksgiving turkey and look forward to the bones from the Christmas one too. Between the extra meat and broth to use later, it is a good deal. I heard someplace of people that baked [ ? ] the bones for a while before simmering them saying it gave a better flavor and or released more goodness from the bones later???? Also someplace someone said they cooked the bones maybe in the pressure cooker after taking the meat off and it left the bones so soft they easily broke all up for the garden to use as bone meal. Now if I could find where I read these 2 things and reread it it would be great!! LOL I did remember hearing that to keep frozen chicken pieces tasting their best it is best to freeze it in its own broth or bouillon not just by itself. You sure went above and beyond anything to post and post such a nice long post while hurting so. I appreciate that but do make sure you take time to recuperate. We are not going any where and will be here when you feel up to posting again. :-) Sarah

Kathy said...

So sorry that you haven't been feeling well. Do hope that the pain is easing a bit so that you can enjoy Christmas.

I hope that you have a very blessed Christmas and New Year!

lislyn66 said...

I also am dealing with daily sciatica. Had a MRI done in Oct. 2012 and it showed nerve impingement but not to where I needed to see a neurologist. I was working at Goodwill, on my feet, every day, bending countless times a day, lifting. Had a repeat MRI Oct. 2013 and the doctor immediately called and booked an appointment for me with the neurologist, it's for this Jan. 2nd. The change in the MRI's was drastic. I live on hydrocodone/acet. and ibuprofen during the day and muscle relaxers in the evening. Praising God He presented me with a new job 2 days before I got the diagnosis and I am in an office setting again so some swelling is down but anxious to see what the specialist wants to do. I pray for you on this and that it can resolve with conservative care.


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