Frugal Intelligence


Intelligence is best described as the ability to learn.  While it can be measured to some extent there are no tests which can measure intelligence fully.  Common sense, for instance, is a form of intelligence and can be far more valuable than 'book learning'.  Common sense allows one to draw on knowledge that is not necessarily learned but instinctive.  Experience is a great way to increase knowledge and intelligence.   Experience allows you to expand knowledge by practically applying what has been learned through book learning and intuitive experiences.  Inspiration is the inevitable conclusion of intelligence + application of knowledge + experience.

I was about to toss a zippered blanket bag in the trash the other day when I recalled that Katie, in her new sewing days, repurposed all my comforter bags.  She'd fuse fabric to the clear plastic to make a waterproof tote bag.  Quite honestly, it was a bit of frugal genius on her part and a very clever repurposing of items on hand. 

As I stood there with the bag in my hand, I was wondering where on earth she got the idea...but then where do any of our ideas come from?  We do certain things and then one day there is the next step before us, the thing that moves us  to a higher level of experience.  We didn't begin with these ideas, we grew into them!

In My Home This Week: Second Verse, Same As the First

In my home this week:

It really does look like a repeat of the week just past, with the difference that John will be home all week long.  The flooring was rescheduled to go in on Friday morning...and then rescheduled again for this coming Wednesday.  I cancelled my hair cut to accommodate the first change of plans.  Too late to get that appointment back so I'm scheduled for Friday of this week.  And John, who has spent three weeks doing a Daniel fast has requested that I keep making such meals with just the occasional meat meal thrown in.  I feel like Ground Hog Day (the movie) has hit my home and it's not even February.

Frugal Friday: Another Finished Project

Saturday:  I happily spent hours working on my genealogy notebook, organizing notes in order by date of events.  I also printed off pictures and documents to accompany sets of notes.  It was a lovely day as far as I was concerned.  I love nothing better than walking down the paths of history, watching as a family grows and leaves home, moves into homes of their own.  It's wonderful to see how the cycle of lives goes on and on.

Made Fried Rice for dinner.  Always an inexpensive option for meals.  I had a chicken breast with mine.  I pulled a packet of homemade egg rolls from the freezer to have with this meal and sliced up oranges.

I was mighty disappointed in that chicken.  I haven't had such a tough piece of meat in a long time.  This was  the $.88 pound chicken breasts I bought a few weeks ago.  I think, for my money, it's more than worthwhile to pay the $2.99/pound at the good meat market which has happily resumed those Tuesday specials on breasts and ground beef.  Now if I just had space in the freezer!

Supper tonight was easy: Cream of tomato soup and peanut butter roll ups for John, soup and PBJ for me.

Coffee Chat: Oh My

Come in and have some coffee.  I keep trying to get down deep enough into the freezer to find those Banana Doughnuts I made early in the month but doggone if I can find them.  The freezer continues to burgeon with foodstuffs.  I had hoped to have made some dint in it but I haven't really.  There is a bag of ice in there but every time I take it out, John says "Oh no!  You're not going to toss that gourmet ice are you?"  He means it.  I put it back and shuffle stuff around a bit more and open up a space just about big enough for one jar of something and immediately we have one jar of something to go right into that spot.  So no dint, no doughnuts...but we do have an abundance of ice.

We've had  some weather here abouts.  Nothing touched us.  Indeed we'd never have known it was more than a typical winter rain had it not been for the local weather men and the routine beeps of hazardous weather reports on the TV.  The few branches that blew down were dead ones that had been hanging on for no reason we understood way up in the tops of trees and even so there were few to deal with.  The latest news reports say that the two day storm total was at 18 tornados touching down and they were still investigating areas with damage to try and determine how many more.  They were suspecting we had 22 at least.  There were deaths about 100 miles south of us and a loss of homes.  

The only recorded incident in our county may have been a tornado. I haven't been able to find any reports of it but Mama told me about it.   A 96 year old woman was sitting next to a plate glass window, when the window imploded and part of her roof was ripped off.  She had no injuries.  Her family found her standing in the kitchen.  She told a reporter, "I was a mite shook up for about a minute."   I should guess so.  And I'll just bet you she moved a lot quicker than she normally does, too! The local paper does mention this today and declared it a tornado.  This woman's home and another on the property, as well as a barn, were damaged.

Meatless Monday: Homemade Yogurt

Did you know that yogurt has about 11 grams of protein per 1 cup serving? 

Yes, yogurt has protein!  All milk products contain protein but yogurt has one of the highest grams per 8 ounce measure of the milk products.  That's why many nutritionists include it in breakfast menus.

I have been asked several questions about the yogurt I made at the beginning of this month when I was working on the challenge to feed 2 on $20 for one week.  This was the most successful part of that challenge and certainly has been the nicest.  It's hard to feel deprived if you've a quantity of rich, lovely, creamy yogurt on hand to eat as you choose.  Currently I'm looking forward to an after dinner treat of yogurt with fresh raspberries atop.  Oh YUM!

First I want to reply to Becky who said that her yogurt was always too tart for her family.  The only thing I can suggest is to incubate it for a shorter period of time.  This recipe calls for three hours, I think.  The longer it sits the more tart it becomes.  Letting it sit longer can also make it thicker but you can see from the photo how nice and thick this came out.  That jar sat on it's side for four or five shots since I never get a clear shot at anything that isn't blurry on my first try!

Meatless Mondays: Combining Foods for Optimum Plant Proteins

As I looked over various charts, intent upon studying how certain combined foods will form proteins, I recalled a statement from an earlier post and felt I must share this with you as well.  I feel I would be remiss to continue to call plant proteins as 'complete proteins'.  I was reminded of this in reading another blog's comments on a post that stated peanut butter nor beans and rice were 'complete' proteins and  again this morning as I was studying this matter.  Protein provides amino acids.  Amino acids MUST have protein in order to form.  Plant proteins provide some of the amino acids required by our body but not all.  Keep this in mind if you want to explore eating more plant based protein meals.

Now that said I thought this particular site was the most helpful, mainly because it provided the information in distinct categories.  This site suggested you should start with a BASE for building protein.  Base foods are:

Category 1:  Breads, Cereals, and Grains
You should choose whole grain products.  Rye, wheat, oat, rice, spelt, quinoa, Long Grain Brown Rice, Whole wheat products and Whole grain cereals.    These include; breakfast cereal, pasta, noodles, flour products, etc.

Any item from Category 1 should be combined with any item from any of the next three food groups below.  Often recipes combine several from each category but it's helpful to know that the base will work with just one other food, isn't it?

Meatless Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday...

With John's desire to eat Daniel meals the majority of January, I had to really stretch myself to prepare meatless meals.  I had a few meals I could draw on but nothing to cover 21 meals a week.  It took a lot of creative thinking and attempting some new recipes.   We are and have always been meat eaters.   I don't expect that to change but I will say that the most surprising thing to John has been how satisfying meatless meals can be, even to the point that he's asked me to serve a few each week after we're done with this time of fasting.  I thought perhaps some of you might be interested in what I made and how I made it. 

And just for those of you who are interested, I have, for the most part, been able to eat the same things John did without adding meat.  Only one meal was not the right balance of carbs and non-meat proteins and I paid for it with a spike and hard drop.  The meals that gave me little trouble were almost always the bean based meals. Not one of those meals caused me any problems at all. It is proof, if you are not a hard diabetic, that even those who deal with diabetes can eat a meatless meal plan. 

Dried beans were the mainstay of our proteins, most of them canned.  I made a three bean chili that was very good and served it over rice.  We had that twice during that week then I mixed leftover rice and chili together and made enchiladas.  Mine had cheese.  John's did not. I also made stuffed baked potatoes using that chili, before adding the rice, atop the potatoes.   I used my usual chili recipe and just substituted extra beans for the usual ground meat I'd use.  Not really a recipe to share since I think chili is as individual as those who make it.    Chili is versatile as a protein.  Had John not also sworn off dairy and breads, I'd have used it in more ways than I did. 

In My Home This Week: Quiet Expectations

In my home this week...

...It's been a nice quiet weekend here, despite storms about us.  We've had a few rumbles of thunder but no high winds, no excess of rain.  It's pretty much been a normal rainy winter weekend.  For that I am deeply grateful.

Today, John and I attended church.  I love when the sermon lines up with conversations we've had.  John used a word this morning, "Expectatious"...He was discussing his desire for having prayers answered.  I looked at him in wonder.  "I don't think that is a word, John, but it should be.  It seems to say you've got audacious expectations."  We both laughed at that because it's true.  Our pastor's sermon today was partly about having those high expectations.  After service, I was able to speak to him briefly and shared with him John's word.  He laughed out loud.  "That's it!  I like that a lot!"

Expectatious is what I am about the new administration coming in.  I know there's been a lot of rankle about President Trump.   I will tell you truly that I think the people who protested in violence this past week were mighty foolish folks...and they are, frankly, exactly why this man is president now.  The idea that one might have a 'hissy fit' as we say in the South, show out with actions that are blatantly wrong, and think every one should suddenly give in and do as you want, is a bit like watching a two year old fling himself on the ground in a tantrum because he can't take off his feet.  It ain't gonna change anything...but it does confirm the opinion of many that it's time for some kind of change.


Frugal Friday: Mighty Fine

Saturday:  Rest day in our home.  We had cold cereal for our breakfast.  John used Almond milk.  I had two bananas that were perfectly ripe.  One more day and either one was done for.  Having supplied my freezer with banana pound cakes and baked banana nut doughnuts and made banana cookies this past week I was hardly ready to put more banana anything in the freezer, which wouldn't have held so much as a banana anyway.  So I doled out one a piece and we ate the whole thing.  That would be TWO fruit servings each.  I did find the banana offset any need to add a sweetener to the plain cereal I was eating.  Since 1/2 banana has about 15 carbs and a 1 tsp of sugar has 22 carbs, I came out ahead eating two halves of bananas if it made that cereal palatable without sugar.

We had the second pan of 3 bean chili and rice enchiladas.  It was so yummy, even the second time around.  Cheap eats can so be delicious and flavorful.  And there's a third round of leftovers that I made space for in the freezer.  I'm not sure how but I wiggled it in there!  I'm sure not having to store that last banana in the freezer left me just the right amount of room.

I took a few minutes before bed to set up the coffee pot for John's morning cup and to pre-measure and set out the ingredients for our morning oatmeal.  I store the cracked egg and the milk (almond milk in this case) in the fridge.  The oatmeal, a little sugar and dried cranberries (and a pinch of salt) were put in the saucepan and then capped off with the lid.  Tomorrow morning, when I stumble to the kitchen and my brain is screeching for a morning cup of coffee and is instead going to get tea,  I won't have to worry about measuring wrong and messing up John's work morning breakfast.

Dressed Like a Lady: At Home

I started this series of posts this week because I think how we look is important. I don't mean whether or not we're fashionably up to date or wearing the latest designer styles, but how we present ourselves to the world, whether it's the community outside our doors or to those who see us daily in our own homes.

I do realize that many will say this is shallow and unimportant but I disagree on many scores.  Number one, how we look affects how we perceive ourselves.  It's easier to feel more confident and self-assured  when we take time to tend to our personal care and show it.  I think that looking decent has an effect on our overall sense of how prosperous we are.  Even when I had just two shirts and two pants long ago, knowing that what I put on daily was clean and freshly ironed and starched made a HUGE difference in my concept of NOT feeling poor.

Number two, it's important to our family.  Has your family ever asked you "Where are you going?" when you had no intent of going anywhere but just took the extra time to look presentable?  It might be a sign you've let yourself go if that is a common question just because you put on a clean tee shirt and  pair of jeans or you put on something other than your pajamas when you're at home! 

Dressed Like A Lady: It's Not Just Clothes

Parts of this post are a repeat post from July 2015.  I thought it appropriate to our theme this week of 'Dressed Like A Lady'.  I do not currently use all the brand specific products shown within the original post.  Often it is about the TYPE of product used rather than the brand used, so please note that.  I've also added more  information to the material to round out the post for our purposes here this week.

While this is hardly a fashion blog and not likely to turn into one, it has certainly been my focus of late about how to look my best on a budget.  That being said, it's understandable that as I put on my makeup today I couldn't help but note some basic items that I consider my 'go to' items.  I do have other make up items but they don't stay in my cosmetic bag.  They move in or out depending upon my mood/season/desire for change.  My basics stay pretty much the same.  I thought you might be interested to know what I use and why/how.

I start with a concealer stick.  I prefer one that  is in crayon form.   I have some sun damage to my skin from years of time spent in the sun without sunhats or sunscreen.  While the damage is not horrid, there are some dark spots I like to tone in a bit.  I also have dark outer corners on my eyes which make my eyes appear droopy.  I put this on first before I use foundation.

Dressed Like A Lady - A Challenge for Us This Week

I watched a marathon of several episodes of the six seasons of Downton Abby at the end of December.  I love much about this series: witty repartee, outstanding actors and actresses, beautiful English countryside, gorgeous costuming, and a real live look at history as it was. 

One of the things I noted in several of the last episodes I watched related to the dress of the Ladies of the manor.  I thought,"I could be well dressed, too, if I had a lady's maid!"  Well I can be well dressed without a lady's maid if I just pay attention to the things I noticed while watching the program.

They planned ahead what they would wear the next day.  When the Dowager lady Grantham discovered she'd be having a caller the next day she told her lady's maid Danke that she'd wear something else instead of the dress chosen.  I was less concerned with what was said  after that because I was too busy going "Huh! She'd planned her wardrobe already!" 

A couple of years ago I was desperate to make my wardrobe 'do' for another season when I found myself in tight finances.  One way I insured I didn't wear the same thing over and over again was to take some time to set up an outfit complete with accessories.   I still do this. I base these outfits upon known weather, plans, etc. I always  have one or two outfits for the unexpected things that might come up.  I set up both dressy and casual outfits so I'm always prepared.  The bonus for doing this: I save plenty of time in getting dressed instead of standing there pulling on a dozen things and discarding them.  I also save money.  I found that I wore more of my wardrobe more often and if I find something is seldom used, I soon remove it and place in a giveaway/donation bag.

Eating On A Tight Budget: Mother Hubbard Challenge - Others Join the Challenge

L.E. said...

Very interesting challenge. I live in a fairly high COLA city, but thankfully we have Aldi. I could do this challenge only because we don't eat meat, and because of Aldi. Our Aldi has handheld baskets available for free so I wouldn't need the quarter for the cart.

By us, per pound, potatoes are the cheapest food there is. Aldi sells even cheaper potatoes than I buy.

All Breakfasts: fried potatoes and 8 eggs over the course of the 7 breakfasts.

PB & J - 5 days a week, with a banana on the side
Omelette using eggs and milk, and 1/3 zucchini & cheese; 1 piece toast per person - 1 day
spaghetti with red sauce (no zucchini) - 1 day

Baked potato with butter, and broccoli and melted shredded cheese on top (5 days.) If still hungry can have a second baked potato with butter. 2 days have beets on the side, and 3 days add some black beans for added protein. If don't want the black beans, can either add to the lunch omelette or to spaghetti sauce.
Spaghetti with red sauce, with 1/3 chopped zucchini added (2 days)

Food available for snacks:
1 large banana
a few slices of bread for toast
likely some potatoes
glass of milk

In My Home This Week: I Got Sunshine!

In my home this week...

...I thought I'd do something a little bit different and just share a few random thoughts.  Okay?

...I am watching as my calendar begins to fill up for the last of the month.  I am always amused by these times when the calendar fills and how the days all seem to fall together.  And then I'll go for weeks without any sort of an engagement or appointment at all. 

... I read an interesting passage in my Bible, in Leviticus this past week. It spoke of the Sabbath of rest for farmland.  I know that we often see fields here in the South uncultivated for a year or so after cotton is grown on it but I don't know any farmer that adheres to the Sabbath rest for the farmland.  I would be interested to see how the Sabbath rest would work for a field, because the promise is that if you do this, the sixth year of harvest will be so large and so abundant you will have enough food until harvest time in the eighth year...with foods leftover to toss away!  Now that is abundance!  Wouldn't that be awesome?

...My celery, romaine and cabbage are all doing very well in the pot of soil. I am sure the warm air and sunshine in the mornings is doing them a world of good.  I have three more romaine root ends I hope to set in a pot this next week.  And in Georgia, it's time to plant green peas.  Peas don't seem to mind frost or cold here.  Parsley would do well this time of year, as well, and lettuce but it does need to be protected from frosts.  I have lettuce seed somewhere...Gracious I need to get busy and start planting so I don't miss out on good homegrown foods!

Frugal Friday: Getting Things Done!

I purposely turned  one jar over on it's side so you could see how thick the yogurt turned out.  It's so good!  Not tart, which is something I dislike about many store bought yogurts, nor does it have gelatin or cornstarch to thicken it.  It's just yogurt and milk.  It will keep up to a month unopened and for one week once opened.  I can use this too to make the next batch of yogurt.

Saturday:  Bitter cold with sharp winds today.  John went out this afternoon to insure the pump house light bulb was working so we could plug it in tonight.  It took a few minutes to discover why the light work. The outlet ground switch had to be reset.  So glad he took time to discover that in daylight instead of struggling in the dark to find out what was wrong.

Leftovers today.  My refrigerator is so full I can barely move anything.  I'm not sure just why it's burgeoning.  I've neither done that much cooking nor did I purchase that much fresh produce this last week but  there is the fridge, filled to capacity.  Made for an easy no cook meal...twice!

Interesting reading this morning on blogs and in one of my vintage magazines. 

After the sun appeared this morning, I opened the curtains on the sunny side of the house.  I left them closed on the shady side due to the bitter north wind blowing.   But later in the afternoon, when the sun shone fully on those windows I opened curtains and shades to let in that natural warmth.

I've sworn off coffee for a short time...There are loads of tea bags in the house and I'm finding I enjoy hot tea well enough.  Nice to use some of this particular stash.

I had not received a Shutterfly calendar though I received notice well before Christmas that it was being shipped out.  I contacted customer service and was told they considered it lost at this point so were reprinting and resending at no additional cost to me.  I surely do appreciate that customer service!

I received some free samples of cat food.  Misu is definitely liking that stuff but I don't know that I'll buy it...It should have come with some coupons, lol! 

Washed a full load of dishes last night after dark.

Coffee Chat: ALL the Possibilities!

I am very much a New Year's glass FULL sort of woman and every thing, absolutely every thing is possible.  My Katie, whom I love for her quiet wisdom, tends to be more realistic.  She is prone to remind everyone who spouts off their resolutions that they will be the same person on New Year's day that they are on New Year's Eve.  She's got her point.  We aren't changing a thing if we're so caught up in talking or writing or daydreaming about changes that we aren't doing them.  I've learned to prefer action over day dreams.  I've seen my youngest daughter's wisdom in her too too truthful statement. 

It was action that pushed us last year to get so much accomplished to improve our home.  The decluttering, organizing, refurbishing, sacrificing wants for carpeting and tile and shed, putting in the labor to slowly put in a few feet of mulched flower bed each month, etc. were all positive changes.  I looked about my home on New Year's day this year and said to John, "I LIKE our house now..."  I didn't hate it before, but this past year I learned to move beyond just being grateful for it, and appreciating it, to really LIKING it.  What's more the house itself seems to recognize this fact, though you may think I'm silly for saying so.  There is an atmosphere and energy connected with homes and ours most certainly has responded to the care we put into it this past year and has become a peaceful, positive, upbeat place.

What helped us along this past year, I believe, was my adherence to the sound advice on a scrap of paper torn from a magazine at an unknown point which came to earth one morning as I moved a stack of papers.  "Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can."  It was a motivator for me all year long.  Every time I got discouraged or wanted to quit, thought I couldn't do something because I hadn't any money, I'd say those words over to myself and get busy.  More got done last year than I believed possible.  And so this year, I've looked and looked for an inspiration phrase to motivate me as that one did last year. I have, at this point, most assuredly 'started'.   It's continuing this journey that interests me most. 

January Challenge II: Organize the Kitchen

It hits me every single January: the desire to clean hard, declutter, and organize.  This year it's not nearly as big a task as in the past, thanks to the fruit basket turnover of the whole house late last year.  BUT, there's always room for improvement.  I stumbled upon this calendar for decluttering on Pinterest. 

I am fortunate that I don't need to do a lot of work anyway, but  I love that this is broken down into daily tasks, so the job of organizing is never overwhelming. Yes, I know that I've started a week late on posting this but some days the 'task' is to read about her recommendations and suggestions on organizing and storage.  That's not hard duty and you can quickly catch up to date just by following the suggestions.

And this does tie in with the USE IT UP challenge.  I definitely found some things to USE and some that I need to use up!

Because I am ahead of the game, I was able to sort out my spices today, as well as the dish cupboard, under the sink, and one bank of cabinets where we keep things like snacks, cooking oils and such, and tea/pastas.  Honestly, I did most of this during commercials while I watched The Kitchen on Food channel. 

In My Home This Week: A New Challenge

In my home this week:

It's cold and rainy as I write but meant to be sunny and bitter cold all the weekend.  I love winter for just this sort of weather.  I relish the coziness of my home.  I have warmth, light, food, good books to read and emergency heat and water should I need it.  In other words, I can be safe at home and assured of not having to go anywhere for any need whatever the weather might send my way!  It's a lovely feeling to be secure at home.

The first week of the New Year seems to have flown by.  Did it seem so to you, as well?  I did get busy and do some of those put off tasks, like planting the bulbs and hemming my jeans.  I managed to clean and organize a good section of my shed.  I sorted through a couple of boxes of books and I worked hard at writing posts, preparing foods and tending to the shopping.  I feel prosperous after this past week and I relate that to the Mother Hubbard challenge.  I look forward to my next Eating on a Tight Budget challenge next month. 

In the meantime, I'm ready to face other challenges in this first month of the new year.  Despite my planning ahead the last week of 2016 I have not quite pinned down the phrase that will be my theme for this year, nor have I fully formed all my thoughts for the new year.  I have a fuzzy head from too many pain relievers due to some very real mouth pain I've been having.  It does not seem to be a tooth or teeth but nerve pain in the gums.  It is episodic now rather than the continual pain it was so obviously improving.   However, regular doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen does not promote clear thinking, sigh.  Bear with me and I'll properly introduce a fuller portion of my thoughts about 2017.

Eating on a Tight Budget: Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, Final Post

This will be the final post in the first part of this series.  I was pleased so many of you interacted and commented about this series.  I thank you all for participating. 

Just as a reminder: My challenge this week was to stretch $20 as far as I could to provide meals for TWO. In my scenario, I had no pantry and no freezer to pull foods from and I was in the current season with nothing growing nor able to forage for any foods.  In a perfect world, a neighbor or family member might well have helped out.  Heaven knows Mama was the food angel for our household many times, bringing in a bag of fruit or a grocery sack filled with meat she'd bought on sale to help carry us along.  But in this scenario, it was John and I and $20.

I took note of several things this week:

1. Were it  necessary, I COULD provide for us on $20.  The meals wouldn't be well balanced and nutritionally sound, but they would sustain us and feed us three meals a day. 

2. Second, I recalled why I like some of the recipes used during this challenge.  While I didn't go without proper seasonings, I do recall days when I didn't have the additions I made to the main dishes and that they filled us up.  They still do.  They are good, solid meals.

3. I want to explore a bit further into this realm of eating cheaply and build up a repertoire of recipes to turn to.  I am going to be looking for inexpensive ingredients that will add nutritive value, fiber and protein to replace meat.  I noted today as I made a big pot of vegetable soup that the barley I used has a protein value.  It's low but it does have protein value.  So this is an area to research.

4. Funnily enough, this scenario and my attempts to  get by on such a low amount, opened my eyes to the numerous spices and herbs I use only occasionally and made me aware of which I use often and often.  It also opened my eyes to how much food we have in this house!  It also made me aware of the many ways I might well stretch out the money I spent this week.  For instance, Debbie's comment about re-growing the green onions made me remember that I could attempt to regrow the celery as well.   That reminder prompted me to set romaine stems, celery root and cabbage end all in water.  Even if only a mere handful of leaves results from those attempts it would essentially be a handful more that I didn't have to pay for.  I plan to pot these items in soil, but not this evening.  It's quite cold and rainy outdoors.  It can wait through the weekend.

Frugal Friday: Use It Up...

Saturday:  John worked last night.  I wanted to make him a big breakfast due to that, rather than our usual light Saturday morning fare.  I had half a steak left from Christmas Day dinner and made hash browns, fried eggs and toast.  He seemed to really enjoy it and said he'd just skip dinner or at least wait until later to eat.

I took a frozen entrĂ©e of Turkey and Dressing with gravy from the freezer intending to have that for today's dinner.  Then Mama called saying she'd like to stop by here around noon.  She then texted to say she was bringing pizza.  I made a salad using the last of the tomatoes and lettuce and took that half carrot cake from the freezer to thaw.  It made a pretty good impromptu dinner and yes, John did eat, lol.  We just had a very light supper for tonight and did eat it a bit later than usual.

There were two slices of pizza left.  That will be part of our supper one night in the early part of this week.

Mama took home the rest of the carrot cake with her.  I was glad to send it with her.

Sunday:  We had eggs and toast for breakfast.  I did this because John planned to go one of the DIY stores following church and this meal holds me longer than bagels and cream cheese will.

John decided after church he'd rather run by Publix and then go home.  I took advantage of this decision to purchase bread for the week ahead and buy the few items I know I cannot get at Aldi: waxed paper, tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce.  John wanted microwaveable soup for his work lunch now that it's cold.  I walked up the soup aisle with him (he has carte blanch for choices like this as it is his work lunch).  I priced the bouillon pastes, which I prefer over bouillon cubes.  The first item I found was $6.99 a tub (about 1 cup total).  I was a bit put off by the price so I walked further up to price the bouillon cubes.  They too were $6.99 a bottle and not oversized containers of it either.  I glanced a little further down the aisle and noticed the Hispanic section of soup and bouillon items.  Just before that started I found  Publix store brand bouillon pastes for $4.99 a jar.  I bought beef, chicken and vegetable.  Those three items went onto my pantry shelf for now.

John decided he needed to purchase water to take to work.  We have such good water here but the water at his workplace is city water and just tastes off.  He was going to buy a couple of 1 liter bottles which are much less expensive than standard soda sized bottles.  Then he spied a real bargain of 3L bottles of water for $1 each.  He got one for himself.  I suggested we get four more and put those on the pantry shelf as well.  I invested $20 in my pantry yesterday (with an extra box of waxed paper) and was glad to be busy stocking it with things we most certainly can use for real emergencies.

After we returned home, I put some sweet potatoes into the microwave and reheated the turkey dressing we were going to have for yesterday's dinner.  It was very good.  I was reminded that I really should return to prepping a crock pot meal to cook while we were gone to church now the weather is cooler.

Eating On A Tight Budget: Mother Hubbard Challenge - Kathy's Menu

I was so pleased that Kathy decided to accept The Mother Hubbard Challenge!  I'll be sharing her shopping list and menu plan very shortly.  I'll follow up with a few replies to comments on this series of posts rather than wait until the end of the month.

Thanks for your challenge! It is much harder than I expected, and I'm glad that you aren't going to follow the menu exactly. Your health is more important, esp with diabetes, but I think it is good to think of what we might do.

Since there are 2 adults and 2 teens here, I wasn't able to come up with a menu plan for $20 for a week. I tried to do a dollar a day per person which would have been $28, but I was still having trouble with that I think I could feed us for $37. I would have some of the same meals:

oatmeal with apple or banana
eggs/toast, french toast

pb&j or pb&banana, chicken salad with apple and ranch dressing, hard boiled eggs

taco soup x2(prudent homemaker recipe)
spaghetti, lettuce salad, bread
baked chicken legs with rice and salad
chicken fried rice with carrots and onions
chicken soup
chicken and gravy over rice

Eating On A Tight Budget: Challenge #1 Mother Hubbard UPDATE

I knew when I set a budget of $20 it was going to be a stretch and a tough one at that.  I knew it would mean some deprivation and yet I was convinced I could feed two enough to keep us going a full week. 

I gave my proposed menu plan and shopping list here.  I thought I'd update on how it's going thus far and my findings regarding what I thought things cost, etc.

I'll start first with a revised grocery list.  Prices varied a lot from those I posted using my last receipts.  Not all of them rose post holiday either.  Some actually went down  I learned that some things were actually better priced at Publix and some were the same as Publix, which is a surprise to me as I thought Aldi surely was lower than Publix!  I checked prices online at Kroger and there's no need to even consider adding those prices to compare because they were pretty much the same.  So here's how my final shopping list looked:

15 ounces peanut butter $1.49
Grape Jelly $1.49
salt $.49/container
green onions $.79
bread $.85
Grits $1.29
milk $1.65/gal
eggs $1.19
8 oz. cheddar cheese $1.49

Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My!

Although this particular comment isn't from a December post, I must address Anonymous who seemed mighty upset that my blog now has ads.  YES it is the blog, not your device.

I am desperately trying to add a small amount of income to my household through various venues and since I spend a good many hours weekly working on this blog it would be nice to make a small bit of money from it.  I hope to get an Amazon affiliate link up as well if I can figure out how to activate the old one.  The revenue from ads is small but it does add up.  I don't ask anyone to click on anything they aren't interested in but if you do click on an ad for something that you'd like to know more about I'll receive a pittance for it and appreciate it greatly.

Now on to last month's comments and to answer any questions asked on those posts.

Gracious!  Lana commented on the first post of December (a Frugal Friday) that she was making Cranberry orange relish and Sweet Potato Casserole.  YUM!  I think holiday foods just sound good almost any time of the year, even when the year is new and the holidays only just past!

I didn't make Cranberry orange relish this year as I have some in the freezer from last year.  I also have a lot of cranberries in the freezer.  Those are on my USE IT UP list.  I have a recipe for a cranberry cake that sounds really good I thought I'd try, and another for an upside down cake that I know is good that I haven't made in years.  Since I have two or three pounds of cranberries, I am sure I'll be able to make a variety of things with them.  I also need to cook up those last little (oh so little!) sweet potatoes I bought at Aldi.  I think a sweet potato casserole for the freezer would be a god thing.

Eating On a Tight Budget: Challenge #1 Mother Hubbard

Over the holidays I spent more than the usual amount of time on Pinterest.  I find it a great resource for a brain jog.  On this particular evening, I'd been looking for inexpensive meals one might make.  I stumbled upon this list on which listed 35 foods to purchase when you're broke.  I think the list a very good one and a frugal one but I couldn't help but think back to my Food for Thought post.  What if I had no pantry, no freezer filled with food, and a very limited budget?  How well could I manage?

I went online and read hundreds of posts about various food budget amounts ($27, $37, $50, $75) for a week's worth of groceries.  I read posts to see what was purchased, how it was meted out, what menus were used, etc. 

Well, here's my take away: a great many of those posting didn't adhere to a hard and fast  "this is all we have and no more" budget.  They freely drew from a pantry, cabinet, fridge and just supplemented with items that fit their assumed budget for that week.  Some had gardens, and a few suggested foraging which is a good way to stretch a thin budget as I well know.  My current foraging would be limited to the wild green onions that grow here and yes, you can use them.  John isn't keen but I should think the green tops would be rather nice.

In My Home This Week: All Routine