Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Citrus Preservation

When I purchased my citrus fruit for the month I did not plan on more snow.  My husband normally comes home and helps me snack on it.  I also pack some for him to take with him.  That didn’t happen this time, but I didn’t want to let the fruit go to waste.  I love it, but I knew I couldn’t eat it fast enough to use it up in a good time frame.
I sliced and dried all  the lemons except for one to use in lemon pasta.

I sliced the last of the oranges and dried them.

I peeled and segmented the grapefruit and canned them.

I’ll use these in a couple of ways.
Lemons and Oranges:
1.  Hot teas
2.  Cold iced tea (I add to the pitcher as the bags steep.)
3.  In meat dishes such as lemon or orange chicken or to add a little zing to a grain dish.

The grapefruit can be eaten as is or added to fruit salad.  

Monday, January 22, 2018

Store Sales Papers

I took half an hour to go through all the local stores weekly sales.  (I do this online.). I’m really disappointed in general.  Makes me glad I know we are covered for a bit.

Aldi basically has a lot of processed foods on sale.  Pineapple and white mushrooms are at a pretty good price.  

Foodlion again mostly boxed/bagged items.  A lot of which I can’t use.  Plus their prices tend to be higher and I can usually find the same item less by shopping around.

Harris Teeter has eggs on sale for 97 cents a dozen with a limit of 4 dozen.  This is worth considering, but they don’t have anything else worth making the trip for.  

Publix had a lot of items I don’t use on sale.  They also tend to be on the pricey side.  A second downside with them is that I also have to send someone else in to shop for me at this store. Lidl didn’t have anything grand either.  A few things I would pick up on impulse if I were in the store, but nothing worth making a speical trip for.

Amusingly the best store around over all was Piggly Wiggly.  However, I would drive almost 45 minutes one way to get there....negating any savings since I don’t need to be in that town anyway.

Walmart has their Great Value canned veggies on sale for 38 cents per can.  Not a bad price at all, but I am well stocked. I feel comfortable in saying that I was okay with waiting on all but two of those items and really considered simply not buying anything.

However, my daugther pointed out that she needed cookies or something of the sort to take to school.  I decided if I was going to buy those I would go to Aldi.  When I was at Aldi I saw that their eggs were only 99 cents per dozen, so I picked up 3 dozen.  I also picked up 8 cartons of mushrooms to dehydrate.  

Not bad.  The eggs will carry on into next month, as will the mushrooms.
The cookies will also, but even if she and my husband munch on them I am okay with that.
I’m not sure I could make them for much less and even if I could I just don’t have the time right now.

As for the mushrooms, 8 packages filled the entire dehydrator.

The finished product:


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Frugal Happenings Week 3

Sunday — My brother gave me a bag of venison that I am adding to our freezer inventory list. I think I will probably cook it for a weekend lunch in the next week or two. I washed and hung a load of clothes to dry. I cooked a chicken casserole, using the oven heat to help warm the house.  (We’ve dropped back down to below freezing again at night.)

Monday —  It was a cold day.  I used the oven to bake two cakes and to bake fries.  This helped by providing extra heat.  (I put one cake in the freezer for later.)   I checked the refrigerator to see what needed using up.  I determined the kale needed cooking, and that I had some zucchini that needed cooking.  The kale went in the pressure cooker with 1 cup of water.  I cooked it on high and did a QPR.  (Quick pressure release).  I’ll add this to my meals this week.

The zucchini went in the pressure cooker with dried onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms.  
I added some water, beef bouillon, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, and some Italian seasonings.
I let them pressure cook for 30 minutes on the soup function — basically high for 30 minutes.
When this was done I use the immersion blender to blend it.
I stirred in a can of tomato sauce to thicken it a little more, added some black pepper, and simmered it for a few minutes.
This sauce went into the freezer in bags for future use.

Tuesday —

The man came to put the gutters up.  While he was here he hung my menu board for me.  I’m finding the menu board to be great because I don’t have to think about meals while I am so busy.  At bed time I take out anything I need for the next day and transfer to the refrigerator if need be.  This wasn’t a no spend day but his labor was well worth the expense.

Wednesday —

Home all day working on computer assignments.  I had to order one supplemental textbook.  $28 out the door, but I did put an add-on of pens I needed, which were cheaper on Amazon than locally.  Some good in most things if you look hard enough.  
Ran the dryer in the morning to take care of towels and to help heat up the upstairs some.  I sliced lemons and put them in the dehydrator.  The extra heat won’t hurt, and we love lemon slices added to tea.

Thursday — 
We got up to snow.  I checked the lemons, and they weren’t quite ready so I put them back on.
While I was in the kitchen, I canned 5 pints of grapefruit slices.
When the lemons were finished, I took stock of the last three oranges and decided to dry them, too.

Friday —
We used up the last of some lingering hot dog buns for my daughter’s lunch.

Saturday —
I did what little shopping I was going to do.
I’ll share a post about that called Store Sales Papers.


What We Ate Week 3

Sunday — Breakfast was waffles for the crowd and a protein shake for me.  For lunch everyone fended for themselves with what was available.   Supper was supposed to be chicken pot pie, but I had a box of GF stuffing mix that I wanted to use up.  I made my usual filling and topped it with the stuffing.  (I cooked larger than we needed with plans for leftovers to go with my husband this week.)

Breakfast was cheese toast, eggs, and turkey bacon.  This was the last of my homemade bread from the freezer.  The rest of the loaf was sliced to go with my husband to have with his meals for this week. 

 (He took homemade yogurt, some waffles, fruit, casserole, and a variety of other things.)   Because of the freezing weather we decided my husband would leave early.  We opted to do the burgers we had planned for supper for lunch instead.  (Burgers, fries, buns, and baked beans). Supper was a kind of a fend for yourself — CORD — meal.  We baked a cake using a GF mix I had in my cabinet.

Sorry for the sideways photo.  I baked two GF cakes — mini bundt pans that equal about the equivalent of one layer each of a two layer cake.  One for this week — split into slices to go with lunches — and one for the freezer for later.


Breakfast — protein shake for me and an egg/bacon sandwich for my daughter.

(Somehow I only ended up with an in process photo.)

Lunch — daugther was on campus and took a protein bar. 
I had homemade yogurt.

Supper was Cajun Dirty Rice.
I altered a recipe in this book to suit our tastes.Soooooo good!

(I cut the recipe in half thinking we would still have leftovers, but there is barely any left.)

More snow in the forecast so I am glad I have chili on the menu.
Breakfast — coffee for me and an egg/sausage/cheese roll for my daughter.
(I used up two lingering buns over the last two days.)


Baked potatoes with Chili and the last of the kale

Thursday — We got up to snow.
We went with waffles for breakfast. 
Daughter was on campus for lunch, and I had leftover chili.
Tacos were on the menu for supper.
I had a little leftover turkey that I mixed in with the beef.
I sent some with my sister for an easy supper for them and put some aside in the freezer for my husband for next week.
We had fresh fruit later in the evening as a snack rather than having a side with our tacos.
I had intended to cook rice, but didn’t.

Friday — 
Breakfast was waffles.
For lunch my daughter wanted “just a sandwich” and nothing else.
I had two hot dog buns lingering.
They served as the base for bacon and cheese sandwiches.
I ate bacon, fruit, and cheese.

Supper was vegetarian — baked lemon pasta with veggies for sides.
(Menu change since my husband wasn’t going to be home.)

In general I’ve accomplished a couple of things this week.
We have finished off two partial bags of coffee, finished off two partial bags of buns, taken and used some items from the freezer, used up some pantry goods, and preserved some citrus foods.  We’ve stuck to the menu in spirit with the exception of one night, and life has to be flexible some times.  I’ll just move that meal forward or have it one day for a lunch when my husband is home.
As of Friday night, I literally had no leftovers in the refrigerator other than a couple of waffles that we will have for breakfast Saturday morning, which is a really good feeling.

(Saturday update -- 
Breakfast was waffles, lunch was a protein shake because we were on the road, and supper was cereal.  We had company and got side tracked.  However, they had all snacked on doughnuts so I just settled for a bowl of Cheerios.)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Utility Bills — Good, Bad, and Downright Ugly

Last month I was very frustrated to see that my utility bill had crept up to $212.  My target goal for this bill is $200.  It includes electricity, water, sewer, and trash pick up.  (None of which I can opt out of.)  My electric bill arrived in yesterday’s mail.  


I’m excited to say I’ve managed to get it back down a lot closer to my target.
I did this through a combination of turning down the heat another two degrees, using the pressure cooker whenever possible, and only running the dryer for towels and bedding.  I’ve also limited my baking except for on days when the temperatures made it advantageous to bake.  (Running my stove uses less electricity than my heating system simply because we have an open floor plan, and I cannot shut off rooms.)

Now for 


The bill for where my husband stays during the week came.
It went up $74...almost doubling.  
This doesn’t include his water or sewer.
(Trash pick up is not available.)
His comparable total would be $218.  
He’s agreed to keep a better eye on it.


We have had snow twice and colder than normal temperatures for all of this month.
While I have been monitoring things here, I am still expecting a higher than normal bill.
I’m pretty sure he hasn’t been watching things carefully there so I have no clue what to expect from that bill.

I know it is a balancing game because there are spring and fall months where I can keep it lower, but I just hate to see them creep up.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Link to 18 Ways to Use Whey

18 Ways to Use Whey

Just sharing in case anyone decides to try making their own yogurt.  I like that this showcases ways to avoid wasting the whey.

Baked Lemon Pasta

Friday night found us staring at the menu.  The meal had been planned around something my husband really likes, something I am okay with, and something my daughter isn’t crazy about.  When we found out — thanks to snow and temps — that he wasn’t coming home, we opted to change the menu.  My self imposed rule was that I had to use things I had on hand, but not detract from other planned meals. We decided to try Pioneer Woman’s Baked Lemon Pasta.  The original recipe is here.   Of course, I made quite a few changes because I am using what is on hand, using ingredients we like/can eat, and because some of the ingredients were pricey. So my changes were:
  1. I cut the recipe in half right from the start.
  2. I used gluten free rotini pasta from Aldi.
  3. I used my homemade (thick) Greek yogurt instead of sour cream -- the experiment part of the meal.
  4. I used the bottled sprinkle parm.  (I know, but it is what I had on hand and shredded parm is pricey so I don’t keep it on hand.)
  5. I added margarine, garlic powder and a touch of onion powder — per daughter’s preferences.
  6. I sprinkled dried parsley on before I baked it.
The results were a lemony, fresh tasting pasta.  Reminds me of an Alfredo sauce.  This is actually very good.  

Citrus Preservation

When I purchased my citrus fruit for the month I did not plan on more snow.  My husband normally comes home and helps me snack on it.  I als...