Frugal Friday: Chicken Big

My lettuce and celery ends are producing a little greenery.  I have six more lettuce butts in the house that I mean to plant outdoors this week.

Saturday:  It was an easy enough meal to make today even though I'd done no prep ahead work except to make John's birthday cake.  I roasted the chicken and stuffed the cavity with about half an onion.  I seasoned the outside and put it into a 350f oven.  I wondered how long it would have to cook but it came with a timer just as a turkey does.  Very tender chicken!  There are a ton of leftovers despite feeding five.

I roasted a pan full of potatoes in the same oven.  These were small potatoes and I roasted them whole.  They didn't seem to be getting done very quickly, so I covered them with a piece of foil which helped them both steam and roast.

Taylor does not like green beans, or so her Mama said.  Apparently Taylor DOES like green beans, at least whole fresh ones that are just steamed because she ate the two token ones her Mama put on her plate and then reached over and took more off her Daddy's plate and ate them, lol.

Taylor was most amused by a whipped topping bowl with an empty baby food jar and it's metal lid.  Between that and the four Cork coasters that she and Josh think look like cookies she was perfectly content.  Tell me again why we spend so much time buying toys for kids?  She not only was happy but she imagined things while playing with them.  She 'drank' and 'ate' from her little stash of toys and carried them all over the room playing with them.

Katie brought me this lamp:
It's bleached wood that she felt promoted my farmhouse look.  She suggested I hang it in the back entry where the ceiling is pitched.  I have a light fixture in the back that has never worked due to not having been wired in for whatever reason.  This pendant lamp has a long cord and there is a plug within reach.  Don't be fooled by the photo.  This lamp is 22.5inches wide at the base and 19 inches tall!  It's not terribly heavy or anything, but it's substantial.  I'm still trying to convince John none of our tall boys will knock themselves out if we hang it in the entry.  Katie and I held it up above door jamb level to prove it to ourselves.

The lovely thing about it?  Her neighbor/friend won it in a raffle.  Online it's a $400 lamp!  All I did to receive it was say I thought it was pretty.   Her friend had put it in her garage and just wanted the space back.

We intended to sell our truck but Katie mentioned Matt was looking for a truck.  We had a truck sitting in our yard.  Kind of like that friend of Katie's, our biggest desire was to see it GONE.  Well it's gone.  That's a major piece of decluttering, right?

Gave myself a manicure.

Forgot to mention John did our taxes on Friday.  The cost to us was $0.  I think I only mentioned the tax credit we had to pay back, lol. 

Sunday:   I made a special breakfast for John this morning.  We bought canned cinnamon rolls at Christmas and I'd put extra sausage balls in the freezer then as well.   He seemed to enjoy it.

It was quick to dress this morning.  I just reached in the closet and put on one of the outfits I set up.  It really does save a huge amount of time in getting ready.  When I came home I hung the clothes in their usual place in the closet.  This way I know how soon I need to put more outfits together.

We stopped on our way to church and picked up a newspaper.

Took a step to get involved at church and joined small groups. 

Came home after church and I made John's birthday dinner.  It came together very quickly and he was pleased with it.  Yes we could have gotten burgers and fries out away from home and I can say honestly I'm not sure we saved any money coming home but I know exactly how my meal was cooked and where the meat was sourced etc.  Now mind you, I'm not so terribly picky but homemade does just taste better. 

I used half an onion and made fried onion rings.  This was a splurge as I'd normally not fry something that required that amount of oil.  I don't like to reuse oil in which I've fried onions.  And nope, I didn't fry the French fries.  Those baked in the oven.  I figured we'd have enough fat with the onion rings.

John's had phone calls from 5 of our grandchildren today which made him smile.   It really is the simplest things that make us happy.

Monday:  I was up a little earlier than John.  That is my secret luxury, that tiny space of alone time.  I wrapped myself in the lovely blanket Amie knitted for me for Mother's Day this past year, had my pretty coffee cup from Katie full of coffee and opened the curtains and blinds over the back yard.  There was a red bird next to the bird bath which immediately made me think of Granny.  I turned to look into the kitchen and saw the amaryllis Bess gifted me last Christmas with it's big fat buds.  I settled into my chair and looked at the blooming daffodils and the blue skies and thought about how very happy my lovely family makes me.  I thought over talking to the grandchildren yesterday and how I hope that this year does see me not just older but wiser as well. Then I took time to pray while I was undistracted by other things.  It was a wonderful few minutes to begin the day.

While John made me a big BIG breakfast, I went through the rooms and picked up and straightened up.  It was a Monday routine on the fly.  It is my birthday and I do not intend to spend all day long working hard, but I like a bit of work in my day.  I like balance between work and fun, quiet time and company.

I cleared up the kitchen...That big breakfast did not leave a big mess. I washed a full load of dishes yesterday and needed to unload so I could reload.  It felt good to look around and see that the house was in shape once more and it took only about an hour.

Made my chicken pot pie for our dinner.  I parboiled the 'hard' vegetables so they'd be good and tender when the pie baked.  I had a portion of breast meat and used one thigh.  I tore the meat into rustic chunks.  That's what some cooks call it.  It's really 'I don't wanna use a knife when my hands are slippery with chicken fat,' but rustic sounds better, 😉

I went right ahead and started my chicken carcass boiling after I removed the legs.  I'd planned to have both legs and wings for another meal but I'd sliced into and used part of one wing for our company dinner.  I decided those legs were hefty enough to count as a meat serving each without the wing added onto the plate. 

I placed the chicken carcass in a steamer big steamer basket I stumbled upon in a thrift store some years ago.  I put the chicken bones and vegetables end pieces (carrot, onion, celery) into the basket and then put that in the Dutch oven.  This allows me to lift and strain, leaving the broth behind.  I don't salt when I'm boiling because I've read that it makes broth cloudy.  And I prefer to season as I want at the time of use.

Tuesday:  We went to The Fresh Market Today.  My goal was to buy hamburger since I used up all I had on Sunday for John's birthday dinner.  I looked at the checkbook before I left home for one express purpose.  To set in my mind what I might spend.  I want money left from this pay check to carry over next pay period which is our short period (shorter still since John took off two days this cycle).  I decided how much was needed for meat and how much more we'd likely to spend because we're always tempted by the very good produce, fancy cheeses and bulk candy.  I did fine.  I came home with 6 packages of ground meat which should do us for about 8 meals.  Yes, I said 8.  A few packets were less than 1 pound.  I'd like to make two dishes up as freezer meals for Bess and Sam's blessed event and that will require at least two packages.  I won't skimp on meat for them since those dishes will feed three to four.

I bought 2 packages of chicken breasts.  I always get two meals off  each whole breast (that's both right and left) packet.  I'll put up a freezer crockpot meal (to be dumped and cooked) from one packet for the two of them and that should serve them twice.

John and I bought and shared a sandwich from the deli.

John encouraged me to try another brand of gelato that was on sale buy one get one free in a flavor he was sure I'd love.  I made the sacrifice, lol.  Seriously I find that gelato is so much richer than ice cream and so satisfying that I don't at all feel deprived eating a smaller portion.  AND most gelato I've found thus far has NO CARAGEENAN which is difficult to bypass in most of today's dairy products.

I bought a pint of half and half that is carrageenan free.  I don't mind using whole milk in my coffee but I prefer half and half.  However, finding an unsweetened carrageenan free variety is hard.

I bought a bulk packet of crushed red pepper.  ALL of this store's bulk packets cost $3.99.  I was undecided if that was a good buy so stepped around the corner to price the bottle of crushed pepper.  It was $5.99.  Ouch!  I grabbed up the packet.  I filled one and a half of my saved glass spice jars so yeah, this is definitely a better price.  Now I'm wondering, however, if I mightn't have found crushed red pepper at Aldi.  I don't recall seeing it but I'll look just for future reference.  Far in the future, lol, since I use crushed red pepper in very small amounts.

My biggest money saver was to resist the temptation to purchase things I knew full well I could make less expensively at home but which are displayed in such a beautiful way at this upscale grocery.

Found some new to me meatless meal ideas to attempt.  Some also fit in with a budget challenge menu which makes me happy as well.  I found these ideas in the Diabetic Living newsletter which I find to be the most helpful of the email sites.  Most of the recipes are BHG tested and approved.  I've seldom hated a BHG recipe.

Had a miss fire this morning with my wardrobe.  I just loathed what I pulled  the outfit to wear and so I went back and put together something fresh.  I like the shirt and other pieces I chose originally but it just fell flat when it was on me.  I knew another shirt had worked in the past so substituted that to wear with the other pieces.  I'll make a note that particular combination was off.

Made John's work lunch for tomorrow.

Felt thoroughly happy this morning.  I found more blooming daffodils outdoors and the amaryllis Bess gave me last Christmas has two big blooms and two more waiting to come out.

Well that lovely lamp Katie gifted me just didn't work at all in my small space.  John went to a lot of trouble to figure out how to hang it and everything but then told me he hated how it looked.  I was doubtful but knew it was a huge blessing and really wanted to use it.   We always defer to Katie when we're at odds on style issues, lol, so I sent her a photo and she said "I agree with Dad."  So down the light came.  I offered to return it to her but she said to keep it as she knew I'd come up with someone or somewhere that could use it.  To the shed it goes until that day and time presents itself.  At least in trying it out, John's mind opened to how much nicer a new fixture would look in that spot.

We had leftover chicken pot pie and cranberry sauce for our supper.  That emptied out another little bit of freezer space.  I'll be able to start making a few entrees for Bess and putting them into the freezer.

Wednesday:  I gave myself another manicure.  This time I used all Jamberry wraps.  The truth is that even the hard as gel polish does not stay chip resistant when you're doing dishes and scrubbing toilets.  And I love the look of pretty nails.  It was part of my pampering morning, along with a proper shave (moist skin, shaving gel, fresh razor).  I may be spreading my pampering over several mornings but it felt good to do the two things I did today.   Also used up the last of the shave gel.  Unless I can get more free, I'll switch to using the FREE hair conditioner I have on hand.

Sent John off with a fully packed lunch and his to go cup of coffee.

Again, I pulled something from the closet to wear but it just didn't suit me as well as I'd thought it might.  So I quickly switched up the jewelry and scarf, pulled out a seldom used purse to use and was rather pleased.  I don't think I looked wonderfully well today but I looked like I made effort which is still saying something. 

My turn to treat Mama to lunch.  Instead of our usual ice cream we had free pie with our meal which is the Wednesday special at that particular restaurant.

Went by the local dollar store to pick up a few needed items (and just remembered the ONE thing I should have gotten and didn't, ack) and two gift cards for the Jan/Feb birthdays since the back ordered birthday item was cancelled entirely.  I made a big point of coming back to town to do this spending because I'd read that $50 a month in spending at a local place would help keep the doors open.  Well I was a little put out by the request for cash to purchase the gift cards.  'scuse me?  Since when?  Well apparently it's a new policy.  I told the girl she could set those aside, as I hadn't cash and had planned to do as I usually did and pay with a debit card.  She said "Oh you can come back later today."  I was polite but firm, "No honey.  I made a special point to come here to do this.  I'm not coming back to purchase those cards."  Suddenly the new policy was 'waived' and I was allowed to purchase along with other items.  I know that fraud is a real thing for these stores but honestly I don't know why those who have scammed you in the past shouldn't have their pictures posted on the wall behind the register.  It worked wonderfully well in a few of the stores I used to go into!  I told John, that's truly the death nail though.  I'm giving cash from here on.  I'm over the hoops and obstacles and after finding out at Christmas that gift card thievery is unprotected by the post office, why bother?

Last night after midnight the electricity went out for hours.  My only consolation as I lay there in the dark watching the clock (old fashioned wind up alarm clock) wondering how long it should be out, was that at least those few hours were saving us some money.  Not much, but some.

Oh and I thought how smart I'd been to pick up that alarm clock at the antique mall...$5 and it's worked like a dream now for 6 years though it is old.  Good idea to have an old fashioned wind it up clock in the house.

Thursday:  Woke to pounding rain.  A bit later I woke to pounding wind.  I got up instead of staying abed another hour as I'd liked to have done.  Here's hoping tonight I sleep a lot better.

Made a big breakfast for John who hadn't taken time to eat yesterday despite that packed lunch.  I had about 1 cup Buckwheat pancake mix left and mixed that up even though I knew it was a little too much for us.  I added a little extra milk but kept to one egg and one tbsp. of oil as the box instructions suggested.  I cooked about half the batter and put the remaining batter in the fridge.  I'll use it later to make more pancakes for us or for the freezer if I don't do it in the next day or two.

Heavy breakfast, cold pushy wind call for a lighter meal at dinner but something that feels comforting. I made egg noodles (my first attempt) and put them into chicken soup.

I'd planned two meals off the soup but we might get a bowl each at supper tonight.  Maybe.  Sure was good. 

I made half a recipe of the egg noodles since it was my first attempt and first recipe.  I saved half for another meal.  I'm letting them complete drying out before I put them away.

I read a really good article here.  I've done this in my own way using a digital camera to 'see' but it is most helpful however you do it.  The key is to take your list and then start tackling those things you can.  I made up a list this morning.  I went a step further though.  Before I started my list, I went ahead and did general picking up and putting away.  Clearing the immediate clutter helped me see more clearly what areas needed help.  Result of my list: I'm super determined to get those six boxes of books donated and out of the kitchen sitting area and I have a complete list of small fixes to work on for the rest of this month.  I find I am more and more bothered by unnecessary clutter and unwanted items.

Packed up Valentine treats for the grands.  Nothing heavy or pricey just a little something.  I held on to Josh's since he is supposed to be coming to see me this weekend.

Friday:  Mama wanted to take us out for our birthdays.  I packed up a bag of books to go to the library to donate for sale, got the trash all bagged up and took along the out-going mail.  On our way home we made a stop at the grocery to pick up needed items plus pharmacy items, then stopped at the hardware store and picked up mail. 

We all enjoyed our meals and all of us brought home leftovers.  We'll be having ours for supper tonight.

I still don't know exactly when my guests are supposed to come in.  At this point I'm assuming I'll need to provide lunch tomorrow for everyone and I'm honestly thinking of making that pizza I'd planned and maybe one more for good measure using yeast.  I thought it would be interesting to toss that into my challenge: unplanned company and the effects on the budget and food stock.  Keep an eye out for that.

In the meantime, it's been another week in the Blue House...I've tried to save a bit more.  What about you?  How did your savings week go?

I'm off to watch  a sunset and celebrate Shabat coming in.  Have a terrific weekend.


Lana said...

I'm with you on children and toys. All five of our grandchildren opened piles of gifts on Christmas here and then abandoned them to go outside and play with swings, slide and sticks, and the grand dog. They had such a wonderful time and it was such a nice day that we moved Christmas dinner outside to the deck. They ate all in a row and then were back out in the yard without a thought to all those carefully chosen gifts. My husband has no recollection of the nice day we had.

We did do better on the eating out this week. My husband began cardiac rehab and has been released by the cardiologist to return to work. His appointment to the health center with his employer this afternoon resulted in a plan to start working two half days a week a week from Monday and then go back and see the PA again for the next step. They are so good to their employees. We have wanted for nothing.

My Mom is in the hospital and my sister is the only one who lives nearby. She is often really tight for money so I was going to send a gift card for gas until I remembered your words about gift cards in the mail. I sent her a check instead. That will give her more flexibility anyway. Mom is fuming to go home since they can't figure out what is wrong but I think she is skipping meds. Sister and I do not know what to do about our parents. They are so stubborn and will not allow help to come in.

I am have allowed myself to run out of dry mustard. I doubt there is a good price for that so I just have to bite the bullet and pay the big price for it. I wish I had realized I needed it when BiLo had BOGO spices week after week at Christmas time.I looked at spices at Aldi today and now cannot even remember what all they carry. I need to take a picture with my phone for future reference.

We are looking forward to three grandchildren visiting this weekend. Breakfast is all in readiness and we plan to get pizza from Dominoes for lunch. I am all about easy and would rather spend time with the family than cooking this weekend.

Enjoy your weekend!

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Terri,, it is so funny. we spend all this money on toys , only to see the grands love to play with the old bowls/spoons/sticks etc.. Thank you for sharing your tips and daily doings..So enjoy them.. Belated happy birthday to you and hubby.. Proud you two had such good days.
Lana.. so happy your husband is improving, With God all things are possible. Praying for you both.

beckyathome said...

I think that having company is definitely going to have an impact on your food budget. I suppose, for your fictious situation, the person who had no other food would probably make soup and add water, parsley, onion powder if they had it, and salt to give it more flavor. In most home, I'll bet some kind of food could be found to stretch a soup--leftovers, a can of veggies, bullion, etc., and some cornbread, wheat bread, biscuits, or something could be made with minimal ingredients. Or, if white rice was on hand, a large pot of that with whatever meat stretched into a gravy or sauce.

Lots of good food for thought:)

This Week In My Home: Light Ahead

In my home this week... ... there is light up ahead of us.  I feel it more than I can see it.  That same sense of something changing tha...