Saturday, January 23, 2016

Last Weeks Frugal Accomplishments

Tuesday:  I have a habit of going to the bakery on the corner in the morning.  I get myself some iced tea and am often enticed to get a bite to eat.  I am a regular there and have forged relationships with many of the employees and with the other regulars.  It is my own "Cheers" where everybody knows my name.  It is difficult for me to resist going down there but I did resist this morning.  I had a tea in the fridge leftover from yesterday and I ate a souffle that I had been gifted.  Breakfast was a triumph.
I was also triumphant for lunch (which served as Bishop's breakfast.  Maceo went out with a friend who treated him to breakfast).  Bishop and I had chicken bacon ranch quesadillas.  I used the bacon that I brought back from the hotel and some leftover chicken that Bishop had previously cooked up for sandwiches.  I used the last of the ranch dressing that was taking up space in the fridge.  The only bread I had in the bread drawer was tortillas so that worked well for lunch.  The quesadillas were a hit.
 I had several packages of tortillas that were open and partially used.  I used two of those packages and saved the empty tortilla bags for future food storage (they are really just large ziploc baggies).
I left the house in the evening to refill my tea and I purchased a loaf of bread.  I bought a large loaf of sourdough bread for $5.26.  This will give me some options for meal preparation as I try not to go shopping for many reasons (some logistical, some financial, all practical).  I guess I should see if I have everything to make bread to help keep me from going to the store.
I paid our bills.  I did this online which saves us the expense of postage.
I redeemed SwagBucks for a $25 Amazon gift card.
Presently the cold water to our kitchen faucet is turned off which has made it difficult for the boys to stay hydrated without purchasing bottled water.  Before the boys each had gallon jugs that they would refill but they balk at refilling it with the hot water so I have been buying cases of bottled water.  Now we have run out of water, the roads are horribly icy and I will not run to the store so after cleaning out the fridge I filled up there gallon jugs with hot water and put them in the fridge overnight.  Hopefully this will satisfy their thirst and keep them hydrated.
Otherwise I spent the day cleaning and getting organized which is the goal for the week.
I sorted through everything in the fridge, taking an assessment of what I have in there.  Some items had begun to mold but the waste wasn't terribly bad.  However, I do want to work towards zero waste in the area of food.
I also pulled everything out of the metal pantry.  I need to temporarily move that cabinet so that I will be able to have the space necessary to move the new washer and dryer in so I needed to empty it.  This also allowed me to assess what I had stored in there.  Oh my, the contents of that pantry covered the formal dining table.  There was a lot of stuff in there.  I will officially sort through it and organize it tomorrow.  I should also pull out everything in the food storage pantry and assess it as well.  And, of course, the freezer needs some attention, too.

Wednesday:  I made breakfast at home again.  The boys were thrilled to awaken to pancakes.  I found a can of Spam in the pantry that I chose to fry up to add some protein to breakfast.
I made a pasta salad to have for a lunch or just a snack.  I used some wacky shaped pasta that had been in my pantry for a LONG time.  I added a can of artichoke hearts, the last of the Italian dressing, some veggies and salami from the fridge, and some freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Yum!  This is a dish that is fun to make.  I consider it a "dump" dish.  I can put in whatever I find around.  I love to use tortellini but I can use any sort of pasta.  Any vinegar based dressing could be used or I could simply use vinegar and oil.  I used salami this time but I could have added pepperoni or ham or any cheese cut into chunks.  I love marinated artichoke hearts and fresh bell pepper in it but I could have put in roasted bell pepper or sun dried tomatoes in their oil.  It is a very flexible dish and always yummy!
Originally I was going to make a lasagna for dinner.  However, Maceo was offered three roles in a professional theatrical production and I wanted to give him a special treat.  Again because the roads are icky I didn't want to go out so I let him order pizza.  ($29.15).  He was thrilled.  It was worth it.  I, myself, ate the pasta salad.
I made a pan of brownies as a special sweet treat.  I used the last of the sprayable oil to grease the pan for these brownies but it is all good because I had ordered a Misto oil sprayer and it arrived today!  I am very excited about trying this product.
I continued to work on organization.  I organized my clothing.  I have packed away the football jerseys (sadly my Bengals are out of the playoffs) and have put out all my sweaters (I am a little behind on switching around my wardrobe).  I was able to get rid of several more items.  I love how I am able to consistently cull items from my wardrobe.  I am making progress in refining my wardrobe, my life.  I also continued working on assessing my food storage.  Wow, I have a lot of food!
I fed the hens some of the food that I pulled out of the fridge yesterday.  They seemed quite happy with it.  I used eggs laid by my hens to make the pancakes and the brownies.  I crushed those eggshells and put them in the chicken's food for tomorrow.
I did not drive anywhere today.  No money spent on gas!

Thursday:  I fed the hens laying crumble, some scraps and the crushed eggshells and I collected the two eggs they had left for me.  As I brought the eggs in I thought about how wonderfully economical my hens are.  I buy a 50lb bag of laying crumble for about $10 and supplement that with leftovers and in exchange, more often than not, they give me an egg a day, even in this cold weather.
I walked down the road to the bakery and treated myself to a bagel ($2.56) and they treated me to a complimentary iced tea.  I did a little computer work while sitting by the fire; it was nice.  One of the other regulars gave me their newspaper including the page with the puzzles.  (Yes!)
I returned home to continue cleaning and organizing.  I had to remove things from the laundry room in hopes that the washer and dryer will be delivered tomorrow although the inclement weather may prohibit that.  I finished pulling everything out of the pantries.  Oh my, my, my!!!
This is most of what was in those pantries.  It excludes 20 lbs of flour, lots of oils, many cans of evaporated milk, and a box of baking goods.

I have a lot of food.  Those buckets in the bottom left corner contain rice, pinto beans, and whole grain wheat.  I have a ton of vinegars - white, apple cider, red wine, balsamic and white wine.  I also have a ton of jams, syrups, and honey.  I have pastas and grains, such as, oatmeal and quinoa.  And so much more.  I have to finish inventorying it and get it re-shelved then on to the freezer.
Maceo ate out with friends prior to going to rehearsal.  Bishop and I had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for lunch and salmon (bought as a managers special) rice and frozen corn for dinner.  I used this recipe as inspiration for the salmon.  Instead of using the fresh blackberries and sugar I used the blackberry jam that I have in abundance in my pantry.  I heated it up, thinned it a bit with lemon juice and water and added powdered ginger.  When serving it we added soy sauce.  Next time I would add the soy sauce to the glaze while making it and I would add more ginger and some pepper to it while making it.  Bishop and I are now contemplating other ways in which we might use our large stock of jams as glazes.
I am still filling up the boys gallon jugs with water and keeping them in the fridge.  They are staying hydrated.  Also, I made sure that Maceo had a Nalgene to fill up with water while at rehearsal.
I did a bit on Swagbucks.
I took a survey related to last nights pizza order.  I will receive $10 off of my next order!  Also, I need to remember that I have a $5 credit at Pizza Hut, a $5 credit at Papa Murphy's and a free cheese pizza at Papa Murphy's.

Friday:  I blew it this morning!  I went to the bakery on the corner for breakfast (that would be two days in a row, not frugal) and I didn't just get a bagel, I ordered a breakfast sandwich (also not frugal) and I got a refill on my tea setting me back $6.54.  I have learned, however, that I can add any or all veggies to my breakfast sandwich for no additional charge.  I added spinach, tomato and onion.
I discovered the blog The Next Chapter in My Life and her February $100 Grocery Budget Challenge.  I find challenges such as this to be very inspirational.  If I didn't have such a crazy February in the making (i.e. having to go to Washington D.C. to help Christian move, Maceo's show opening) I would give this one a shot.  After seeing what I have in the pantries and knowing that I have a ton of stuff in the freezers that I haven't even inventoried yet I am certain that I could do this with little problem.  The problems I would have would involve fighting my own nature to not plan or to not stick with a plan (I am a spontaneous type of gal) and getting Maceo on board (he has very particular tastes that he is used to me accommodating).  I will shoot for spending no more than $25 per week as often as possible.  My start date on that will be this Sunday.
I did grilled cheese and leftover pasta salad for lunch and put a ham in the oven for dinner.  I ended up adding a glaze to the ham comprised of the last bit of strawberry jam that I found in the fridge, lemon juice and mustard.  The ham dinner morphed a bit as I began to put it together.  I decided that I wanted to make little hand-pies for dessert using my homemade biscuit dough and apple butter.  Because I was already making the biscuit dough I decided to bake some of it as biscuits to serve with the ham.  Then, of course, I determined that I should scramble some eggs.  Our dinner ended up being ham and egg biscuit sandwiches with apple butter hand-pies for dessert.  It was warm comfort food.

Maceo went out with a friend to celebrate her birthday.  I gave him $15.  This comes out of the entertainment budget.
I did a bit on Swagbucks.
I worked on reducing the cold weather coming in through the back door.  I made significant progress but I need to focus on putting new seals on both doors.
Bishop and I were going to go to a free reception at our local art museum marking the opening of the new pop art exhibition.  Instead we decided to just spend a quiet warm evening at home, also free.  Our art museum is always free so we will go to this exhibition soon.  Instead I opted to work on finishing up the organizing of my pantries.  I completed those pantries and will now turn my attention to the freezer!

Saturday:  I made a couple more hand pies for my breakfast.  These are truly yummy!

I was originally going to take Maceo and Bishop to Panera as a treat for lunch.  I have a free "pick 2" and a reduced broth bowl awaiting me there.  However, they just preferred frozen pizza for lunch and I treated them to a Monster each ($$$).  I had still intended to treat myself to Panera but decided that I would just eat their pizza leftovers.  Temptation resisted - triumph!
I had to drop Bishop off at a movie theater to meet up with some friends for a friends birthday viewing of Star Wars.  While out and about I decided I would post some show posters at locations I don't normally get to.  I went to a strip mall to post some posters on the community bulletin board of a Panera and noted that there was a Hallmark store and a Dollar General in that strip mall.  I browsed the Hallmark store and found that their Christmas items were marked down 75%.  I bought four items for the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for under $8.  Two dollars per item is more than I usually like to pay but I really like these items.  I am going to try to track my spending for OCC.  I have already purchased many clearance items and I don't think that I can figure out exactly what I spent but from here on out I will do my best to document the spending.  (OCC=$8).  I then went to Dollar General to purchase an aluminum roasting pan that I needed in order to roast my turkey.  While there I checked out the Christmas items and found three nice items for OCC for 25 cents each (OCC=$8.75+$7.45 from last week=$16.19).  I also purchased thirteen gift boxes, those for shirts and robes, for a mere $1.25.  I intend on tracking my gift spending as well and that will include wrapping items.  So to begin the tally I will add the price of these boxes with the cost of the cutting boards I purchased previously (Gifts=$51.25).
I continued to sort through my scrapbook stuff, this time my stickers and other embellishments.  I pulled out some items to include in the OCC shoeboxes and some things got filed away as gift tags.  I added 219 new tags to my stash!
For dinner I made a lasagna.  While shredding the mozzarella cheese for the lasagna I went ahead and shredded extra so that it will be ready for some pizza making later in the week.  Then I figured that while the grater was already cheesy I could go ahead and shred cheddar cheese for tomorrows football game day nachos.  Shredding the cheese all at one time saves me the hassle of shredding the cheese later and I only have one clean up.
Tomorrow are the AFC and NFC Championship games.  Bishop's team, the Broncos, is in the AFC Championship and Maceo's team, the Panthers, is in the NFC Championship so I definitely need to make some football food.  I will set up a nacho bar because I have lots of fixings that will be delightful on nachos.  And to make the day extra special I decided to bake up a football shaped cake this evening.  Just using up the stuff in my pantry and feeling good about it! 

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