Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Steps Toward Financial Fitness (Lasts Week Frugal Accomplishments) Volume Five

Sunday I cleaned out the food storage pantry.  It is amazing just how quickly all can go awry in that pantry.  While I am cleaning and reorganizing I inventory all that is stored there.  I find the whole process to be satisfying and inspirational.  I see eight cans of pumpkin and decide that I must make pumpkin bread and the refried beans and tortilla chips will be served as the best bean dip ever.  I have boxes of cake mix, three containers of frosting and a ton of sprinkles so fun cupcakes go on the menu.  There are eight boxes of cornbread mix.  I will serve pinto beans, fried potatoes and cornbread this week.  I have sourdough bread that will become french toast casserole and still plenty of blueberries to make another blueberry crumb cake.  I have peanut butter and mini chocolate chips that will be yummy made into a dip to be served with the pretzels that are in the bread drawer.  When I see the box of stuffing I recall that I have a whole chicken in the freezer so I determine that roast chicken should go on the menu.  I have so much hot chocolate that I know I need to set up my hot chocolate bar again.  And I have a plethora of waffle bowls and ice cream toppings.  I will set up an ice cream bar soon, as well.  This inspiration is particularly important right now as I await the arrival of my guests during a busy time.  (Family is coming in from out of town to watch Maceo perform in My Son Pinocchio!)

Menus include:
Monday:  Pumpkin bread for breakfast (make extra loaves for our guests breakfasts)
Leftovers for dinner.  I want the refrigerator cleaned out so that foods that I am preparing ahead of time will fit in the fridge.
Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday to be exact:  French toast casserole, blueberry crumb cake, bacon and sausage, fruit, chocolate covered pretzel rods, juice and kool-aid for dinner.
Wednesday:  Pinto beans, ham steaks, fried potatoes, and cornbread for dinner.
Thursday:  We will go to a Chinese restaurant to celebrate Lunar New Year.
Friday and Saturday:  A lot of family will be here and Maceo will be having a lot of performances so I intend to have food that is easy and good for grazing and I expect other family members to bring food as well  Here are my contributions for the two days of feasting:  ham sliders with bean dip and chips; chili with baked potatoes; a green salad with homemade italian and ranch dressings or potato salad; peanut butter dip with pretzels, cupcakes and sugar-free jello (for my niece who has special dietary considerations).
Next week I will likely serve roast chicken with stuffing, quiche and biscuits, bbq chicken or pork and cole slaw and potato salad.
Lunches will largely be leftovers and breakfasts will be quick breads, eggs and oranges.

As the week comes to its conclusion I can say that I am really quite proud of myself.  Despite the fact that things have been so very busy around here I have not eaten out all that much.  I had breakfast out at Panera on Tuesday just as my mom and sister were arriving.  Then we had dinner out just before the opening night performance of My Son Pinocchio but my dad paid for that (Thanks, Papa, it was yummy).  I did bring home a sizable container full of hummus that was leftover from that meal and will enjoy it this next week.  I imagine I will set it out with meat, cheese, crackers and fruit and just graze while playing games.  My menus were very effective.  They allowed me to serve large numbers of people consistently over several days.  I was serving seven to fifteen people for more meals then I had even imagined I would.  (While we were watching Maceo's opening performance ice was falling from the sky.  The roads became very messy and I ended up with eight additional people camped out at my house.)

Other frugal accomplishments would include:
-volunteering to usher the preview performance of My Son Pinocchio allowing me to watch the show for free.
-reorganizing and inventorying the closet that contains my stash of household and hygiene items.
-washing and reusing lightly used ziploc baggies.
-reusing aluminum foil.
-hand washing all dishes.  I didn't run the dishwasher all week.

I am sure that there were other little things but my week was full and now I cannot recall.  However, the triumph of the week was the menu planning and meal preparation!  I am satisfied with that and inspired to press myself to continue with meal planning.
Over the next couple of weeks I will focus on reviewing my subscription services and will return to household projects - decluttering and improvements.

Christmas Jar of Change:  To the previous balance of $60.02 I added $7.28  for a new grand total of $67.30  .
Home Emergency Fund:  $80.  Cool!
52 Week Savings Plan:  I have already made all my deposits for January and February so the balance remains at $152.00. 

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