Sunday, February 1, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments and Blessings to Finish January and Beginning February Menu

Hello, All,

This past week has been a busy - the current one will be even busier, as we prepare to speak at a hearing regarding property rights concerns.  I apologize for the current lack of photos here.  I actually have some, and if/when I find a moment, I will add them.  (So close, and yet so far!)  I also need to figure out our dinner menu for the week.  Much like the photos, there is food's a matter of figuring out what we will eat, and when.  I'll share that when I know it, too. (Done!)  Meanwhile, your prayers and support are appreciated.  I hope to share more about 'what happened' once it's all over.

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I milled corn into a fine corn meal and made a half batch of cornbread mix.  It takes us about 3 months to use a half batch, so that's as much as I make at one time.  I love this book of mixes, (Make A Mix, by Eliason and Harward) because most, if not all of them (all I have used) do not have the fats added until you make a batch of the final product.  This means I can safely store the mixes in the cabinet instead of the fridge.

My mill adjusts from 'coarse' to 'bread' to 'pastry'.  I use 'coarse' to mill corn, and it makes a fine meal, or a really coarse flour, depending on your perspective.  I forgot to adjust it back to the setting I prefer for flour, which is half between 'bread' and 'pastry' when I milled some wheat after milling the corn it was too grainy for flour.  I fixed the adjustment on the mill, and I will save this flour for dog biscuits or graham crackers.

We had warm, pretty weather this week so we played outside every chance we got.  On Monday we went to the library for books and media, then to the 'swamp'.  It is a small area with a little creek and pond, lots of tall cottonwoods and lots of cattails.  We found two wild beehives, saw a few squirrels and some geese!  It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

I air dried our laundry.  It was warm and pretty enough to hang most of it outdoors to dry.  When a shampoo bottle was nearly empty, I filled it half-full of water and then added it to a load of laundry as a booster of sorts.

I learned about a sale at Safeway - Mission whole wheat flour tortillas were on sale for .99, but each package had a $1 off coupon attached.  I purchased 12 packages of 10.  I went to the self-check station, and at the end of the transaction I was given 12 cents.

There were some other good prices I took advantage of, including 99 cents for a head of lettuce, fresh pineapples for $1, 16 oz. sour cream for $1, bunch green onions for .49 each and golden delicious apples for .49/lb.  The end of the month left us with 39 cents in the grocery wallet, which I will roll over into next month's funds.

On omelet night, I made extra hash browns (this is nearly impossible to do here, because we all really like them too much) and ham-onion-pepper mixture.  After supper, I sprayed 9 holes of our muffin tin with nonstick spray and added hash browns, the ham-onion-pepper mixture, some cheddar and egg.  I topped it with the remaining chopped green onion from supper and baked the 'breakfast muffins' in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  This helped me use up the extras in a way that will make breakfasts it used up some eggs from our hens.  We can warm these up for quick breakfasts on busy days.

I made guacamole, salsa, soup, omelets, hash browns, corn muffins, spaghetti sauce and more.  We popped popcorn several times and enjoyed some trail mix I made from ingredients we had on hand.

We took our recycling into the free drop-off site and then went to take some used batteries and other items to the hazardous household materials drop-off center.  At the second site, there are shelves of household items that have been dropped off but are still usable, free for the taking.  We got some household cleaners, 2-cycle engine oil, lamp oil, insect repellent and spray lubricants (for hinges, sticky door locks, etc.).  This saves us the cost of all those things and reduces waste as well.

I cleaned two more of my glass pans, and I think that takes care of all of them for now.  I had to use oven cleaner on the textured glass pan, but I get that free from the household cleaners shelf.

cleaned with the magic eraser type of sponge

cleaned with oven cleaner  (outside, where there is texture) and sponge (inside)  
We dropped off some items at Goodwill and received a 20% off token to use between now and mid-February.  We also donated some clothing items for children to a mission group that will be going to Guatemala.

Husband and I each transferred a prescription, so each of us received a $25 store credit ($50 total) to King Sooper.  Since our monthly grocery budget is $180, this is a big boost!  We will use it in conjunction with sales and coupons and make the most of this blessing.

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The Last-Minute, Toss-Together, Wing-and-a-Prayer Dinner Menu:

M - hamburger helper lasagna, salad w/homemade croutons, fresh pineapple
T - chicken-vegetable stir fry, rice, kimchee, sliced oranges
W - barbecue ribs (from the freezer) baked potatoes, sweet corn, apples
R - hearing day, and likely, hearing night.  Husband will take Daughter for dinner.  I will take some fruit and stuff with me.
F - celebration dinner, because no matter how it goes, it's least, for now
S - taco salad made w/ground turkey, apples
S - biscuits w/sausage gravy, eggs, green beans, oranges

That's the plan, as far as I know!  How was your week?  Share your frugal wins in the comments!


  1. That is great about the gift cards at the grocery store!

    It was pretty much a regular old week around here. Savings at the grocery store and by not shopping otherwise. I did get ham steaks for 75 each and chopped and froze them in baggies. Each baggie will go in eggs or omelettes or black beans and cost just 22 cents each. I had $23 of grocery money left in January! We are doing well on not wasting food and only buying what is needed right now. I am still working on eating up 'must goes'.

    A blessing was hubby talking me into eating out Saturday morning and running into and eating with our oldest daughter's in-laws. We really like them and rarely see them. It was fun to swap grandkid stories and videos on the phones. And then as we were leaving we ran into a young couple who are going to the mission field soon and got an update on them. All good! I am afraid that the free coffee all the month of February at Chick fil A will entice us in there way too often. :)

    We have a rotten thresh hold at our front door. A contractor friend is going to replace it for us. I have the cash rounded up from the budget to pay for it when he gets out here to do it. Here's hoping that he does not find anything else when he gets in there. This old house is sometimes full of surprises.

    Hubby's chore list of house maintenance and repairs is finally getting smaller thanks to our neighbor boy's help with yard chores. We are really getting caught up.

    I don't have my menus settled yet but tacos and the black beans did not get eaten last week so they will move to this week and we are still working on the frozen veggies. That occasionally means freezer burnt surprise-ugh.

    Have a good week everyone!

  2. Good luck on your property rights battle. That must be nerve-wrecking.

    I'm so envious of your frugal foods finds. Our food in Florida is much more expensive, even the weekly vegetable sales at Aldi aren't as great as what gets posted on Northern blogs. This month I decided I was going to try and stick to a $50 a week food budget. It should be fairly easy since we're fully stocked on meat and pantry goods, but I keep on reading about good deals on more meat and Nutella... so I might go over budget a little (provided that I have room in my freezer for it!). I can't pass it $1 a jar Nutella! I just finished 2 weeks of dinner menus and will be using ingredients that we already have for about 99% of them. I sold 2 books on which decluttered my house a tiny bit but I'll really only make $2.34 (I think) for both of them. Still, it's $2.34 that I didn't have before :) I made air-popped kettle corn at home and we brought it along to the Civil War battle reenactment that we attended on Saturday and we brought our own water bottles as well. That saved us about $15-$20. I got several freebies too, it's always fun to get things for free!

    1. Sounds like a great week! I was wondering - can you tell us how to make kettle corn from air-popped? It would be a fun change of pace once in a while! :)

    2. Here you go. I have to warn you that I personally think it tastes WAY better with coconut oil that tastes a little coconutty. The first time we made it, I still had coconut oil from Trader Joe's (their brand) and it was out of this world, seriously. Since then I have used LouAna coconut oil and Spectrum organic coconut oil and neither have that coconutty taste. It's still very good but, IMO, not as good. Sadly, Trader Joe's is more than 45 minutes away from my house so I never get to go.


      Use 1/2 cup of popping corn in your air popper (I pop it in 2 batches, 1/4 cup at a time). Use a really big bowl because this will make a lot of popcorn!

      In a small pan, over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil and 1/4 cup of butter (which is 4 tbsp) with 1 tsp of water. If you use salted butter, omit the extra salt. Otherwise, add 1/2 to 1 tsp of salt. Also add 1/4 cup of sugar. Mix well until it's all melted and it begins to bubble up and thicken a little (I have no patience so I usually up the temperature for this to happen!). Pour over your popped corn and mix well. Make sure to bring napkins if you take it out on a trip because your hands will get greasy eating it.

      Another recipe I have just tried (from Weight Watchers) is: Use 2 cups of popped corn. Melt 1 tsp of coconut oil, 2 tsp of cocoa powder (it says to use unsweetened but all I have is baking cocoa which is sweetened), 2 tsp of sweetened shredded coconut and 1 tsp of (powdered) sugar and pour it over your popped corn. I use regular sugar. Yum, yum!


  3. Praying for all to go well for you on Thursday.

    1. Thanks, Lana. It means a lot to me. :)

  4. Your muffins look yummy. :-)

    I used the Chik-fil-A calendar card my sister gave me for Christmas to get a free grilled chicken deluxe sandwich and large Diet Coke. I paid $1.78 for a medium waffle fry and they threw in a free regular chicken sandwich, so I got to eat twice for $1.78.

    I added water to the laundry detergent bottles to get the last vestiges of the detergent out (my sister had given me the detergent for free after she bought a bunch of it on sale).

    The guy I’m dating took me to our favorite Asian buffet as a treat.

    I gave a friend of mine a really nice book that I bought years ago. She and I are both generally non consumers and we don’t mind regifting or giving each other items we know we will like that we’ve bought at thrift stores.

    The weather was really nice on Saturday and I was able to clean out one of my larger flower beds and bag two large bags of leaves -- only about a million more to go!!! LOL. I’d rather do it myself than pay the ridiculous quotes that I’ve gotten for leaf removal. Plus, I need the exercise.

    I gave the guy I’m dating some fish food and aquarium drops for his aquarium since my fish died awhile back and I wasn’t using it.

    Years ago a friend of mine gave me two really nicely potted philodendrons that I didn’t want to keep. So, I gave them away. One of my friends I gave one of the planters to has done an amazing job caring for it and had to trim the tendrils because they had gotten extremely long. I took the tendrils and put them into a vase of flowers another friend gave me and will root and replant them. In the meantime, they look beautiful as they are -- there were literally enough clippings to eventually fill several planters, and the tendrils are from different varieties that had been planted in the same planter.

    I clipped coupons and went through online sales circulars for stores in my area. A new, really low-priced grocery store just opened within walking distance of my house and I just started shopping there for produce. I was able to buy produce at prices unheard of around here!

    I also baked a loaf of bread, made Indian Butter Chicken from scratch as well as homemade granola, baked two pies and made a big batch of homemade laundry detergent.

    1. Ohmigosh, I LOVE butter chicken! There is an Indian restaurant here that has it for part of their lunch buffet, and it is SO good. Mmmmm.....

      Yay for your new store! We have a place here called Sprouts and they have amazing produce prices. It helps a lot with our budget too! I also love the idea of the greenery with flowers - it's just so pretty. :)

  5. Laura I read every week and love the blog have been following since the other blog. I will be praying for you. We had a frugal week which is a blessing last week I was given 20 pounds of oranges,5 pounds of onions 5 pounds of diced onions.,3lbs carrots, 2 lg plain yogurts,1 1/2 gallon grape juice and 3 kinds of bread and 5 lbs tomatoes.I have been using these fresh things to add in and make our meals.We do not have an oven so i can not bake bread,. So the bread was a welcome surprise. We have a hot plate and a microwave and manage to make fairly frugal meals with that.At first I did not think I could do real meals but we have learned to make simpler meals. Last week we had steak sammys,Stew with the veggies given to us veggie burger and pasta salad, Falafels and rice and salad,potatoe soup with cheese , split pea soup with Christmas ham from the freezer,yogurt,fruit,oatmeal,and cereal and carrot sticks for snacks and breakfast.
    Patti from San Diego

    1. First, thank you for your prayers. :) What a lovely bunch of produce and stuff! Sounds like a real blessing. You know...I have a friend who has a bread machine and she makes bread in it (of course) but other things jam, and I think maybe soups and stews. I had no idea about all the ways you could use small appliances to do things besides the original purposes for them. :)

  6. That is a great idea.I think I will look into that .

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