Showing posts from January, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

I know!  I'm late again.  I have a very sound excuse though.  We've been out of the house the past two days, going to and fro.  Yesterday was purely pleasure.  We drove to Athens to see Katie and Sam.  Today was purely business: errands, meetings, etc.  Both days we left home in the morning hours and didn't return until sunset hours.  Looonnnggg days!  Needless to say, no meals were prepared except a grab and go sort of breakfast.  We've eaten out two days in a row.  Ack!  Time to rein in the budget.  February is a big birthday month here in our home.

So time to get my frugal on.  There are, as you know, many ways to save, but one of the easiest areas to save is in the kitchen, specifically, food.  Stretching meals, serving a little less meat, increasing fruits and vegetables, baking, but most of all PLANNING.

Tuna Melts, French Fries, Tossed Salad, Tangelos
I was putting away some pantry items (WHOLE chickens in a can, yet, by Sweet Sue packing company), when I spied …

Randomness - Thoughts That Wander Through My Mind

I've been busy of late, hence the majority of the posts have related to food or savings.  It's a normal enough focus for January for me.  I tend to be a bit singleminded in my pursuit of things.  In the home, I've been busy de-cluttering areas that had begun to bother me.  I haven't really begun de-cluttering, have wandered from one area to another and tackled those areas that were the most irritating.  My writing time usually comes at the end of a long busy day and I'm still super-focused on household things then.

Earlier this week I began to feel a bit irritable and antsy.  Nothing seemed to satisfy me, everything was a source of frustration in some way.  I came to the blog three, four, eight times to post and went away without writing so much as a word.  And then it occurred to me the source of the trouble:  I was out of balance again.  I hadn't had a coffee chat or written a post on my spiritual observations.  I was all one thing and one thing only.  That&…

A Year of Savings:2013

January 15:  I had a kitchen prep day today.  That's when I take time out of my schedule to spend extra time in the kitchen.  When I chop vegetables, I chop double the amount needed.   When I pre-cook meat for one dish, I go ahead and pre-cook extra meat for a second dish, etc.  Today, I made Sweet And Sour Chicken for our dinner.  I diced a second chicken breast for another meal and stir fried it, since my second dish starts with cooked chicken.  Chopped broccoli to steam for our dinner and chopped extra to go in that second chicken dish.  Chopped onions for three meals, chopped carrots, peppers, etc.  There isn't a monetary savings in this but there is a time savings.  I may be a full time homemaker but I stay full time occupied and where I can save time, I've saved myself a little stress or created a little room for reading, spending time with John, or watching a favorite show without multi-tasking.

January 16:   Sold the last of the pecans.  I had 13 pounds.  I've a…

Are Coupons Worth It?

I had a question from Karla this week:  

I notice from your menu plan that most of the foods you prepare/cook/plan are not processed foods (which is very helpfully inspiring). What percentage of coupons do you say you actually use from the paper since so much of it is processed foods? That's the only reason I stopped getting the paper but I'm thinking of signing back up for it to use the savings. 

You're perfectly right that we eat more whole foods/basics than we do processed.  That's because I like knowing how to pronounce the majority of what I eat, prefer to control our sodium and sugar (I'd rather have a handful of homemade cookies or a handful of chips than sugar/salt I hadn't planned to eat).  But make no mistake there are many ways to save with coupons besides food, like those other things that tend to get lumped into our grocery budget (pet food, cleaning, paper products, personal care items, etc.).

I confess that my current interest in c…

Menu Plan This Week

I have been so happy to spend so much of my time at home this week.  I've accomplished something every day except Wednesday when I was out with Mama and that was just sheer 'I don't wanna', because I had plenty of energy and time to have done anything I wanted.  January to me is the perfect month to declutter and re-organize and re-think what isn't working.  So far I've cleaned out more stuff than I thought possible, considering I pretty much have de-cluttered twice a year at least.  I'm not a pack rat, but...well, things do accumulate and now and then it's good to see what you have, discover what you'd forgotten, think about what you own and what you're letting own you, etc.

I can't say I'm anywhere near done, because I've only done a bit here and bit there, not even finished one entire room yet (scarey thought!) but I can say that what has left the house hasn't hurt my feelings one little bit.  I look forward to continuing thi…

A Year Of Savings: 2013

January 8:  Pancakes from scratch are easy peasy to make.  I do keep pancake mix on hand (nice to have for those emergency mornings when I have no milk or eggs) but for the most part I make them myself.  I freeze extras for other mornings when time and hunger command a super fast breakfast.  I can  microwave or toast as I choose.  A box of frozen pancakes costs about $2.50 on sale.  From scratch pancakes cost less than $.75 to make.  That's a savings of $1.25.  And note that $.75 price nets us TWO meals.

January 9:  I really don't remember doing it but I did and I'm glad, because my husband decided it proved how very smart I am.  What did I do?  Last spring we had to replace the tires on the Honda.  John was working at the time and I was alone when the purchase was made.  Apparently I opted to purchase a warranty/insurance on the tires.  Normally I wouldn't do any such thing.

Just before my roadtrip I asked John to check air in the tires on my car.  While he was doing s…

Weekly Menu Plan

I felt like such a slackard last week coming up with a menu plan so late...and then we barely even followed it.  I don't think we ate more than one or possibly two of those meals.  Some weeks it is just that way.  This week I've put more time and thought into it and I hope that indeed we do stick to the menu plan.

I didn't get to make my potato soup, but Patsy asked especially if I'd post my recipe.  It's really not a recipe per se, just my tossing things into a pan, but here goes:
Potato Soup:
 Boil four cups diced raw potato in chicken broth to cover until tender.  Salt well.  Add a little minced garlic (1tsp or so), 1/2 cup diced onion (or skip and add in green onions later) to the potatoes while they are cooking.  When potatoes are tender, add 1 can of evaporated milk and four ounces of cream cheese.  Smush and mash potatoes around in the liquid as the cheese melts.  Depending on how thin the mixture is you can add instant potatoes to thicken slightly.  Serve a…

Leftover Makeover- Lasagna Rolls

I haven't done a Leftover Makeover post in a while.  This was not my idea, but one I found on Pinterest and in the interest of not just pinning but DOING, I realized this would be a great way to use up a bit of homemade spaghetti sauce.

A few weeks ago, I made spaghetti sauce while John was sick. It was cold and blustery outdoors and he was sick with a cold and what is better than homemade spaghetti, loaded with vitamin C and the good carbs and rich sauce that make a hearty meal?  So while the sauce was simmering, I was pinning...and I saw this pin on a friend's board.  It occurred to me that I had a partial box of lasagna noodles in the cabinet (a leftover from a previous meal) and that I'd definitely have leftover sauce because I always do.

When I boiled my spaghetti for the meal, I let inspiration lead me to a 'savings'.  I laid out the lasagna noodles in a 9 X 13 pan.  When I drained the spaghetti, I set the colander in the pan with the lasagna noodles, remove…

My Frugal Week/ A return to A Year Of Savings

A few years ago, when I was still Penny Ann Poundwise, I spent a full year totting up the savings I made.  I did this for two reasons.  First, I was inspired by a January magazine article that said if I followed every single step I could save $5000 in a year's time.  I discovered that I already DID do everything on their list.  And second, I was doubting my value as a homemaker at the time. I had to see on paper exactly what my being at home meant to our household.  There were some huge savings that year, once in a lifetime type savings, but also lots of little things that I didn't even count as a daily or weekly occurrence but as a one time only thing.  Still, the figure at the end of the year surprised and delighted me and really boosted my confidence in my skills as a homemaker and a frugalite.  I saved  about $27,000 by my skewed figuring back in 2008.

Menu Plan? Oh Dear

I've been missing in action here and at home this week.  Gone for two days and spent today recovering (and catching up on the bare basics).  It wasn't until John mentioned grocery shopping that I realized I hadn't even made out a list...and that's when it hit me that I hadn't even made out a menu!  I'm three days behind and I feel every single bit of it.

Well, no problem menu wise at least. I can manage meals just fine, only need fruit and salad makings for those.  In fact, my pantry/freezer situation at present is such that I no longer plan  meals around the grocery list,  I just go by the pantry/freezer inventory lists.  It's only when I'm trying a new or seldom used recipe that calls for a special ingredient that I make out a grocery list that is meal specific.  I really like this way of planning meals!  There's seldom a panic as I gaze at our basic ingredients and goods because all of them translate right into meals.

I cooked a roast Saturday i…