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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday supper: meatloaf

 Crock pot baked beef-turkey meatloaf
 a variety of organic, boiled potatoes
 leftover acorn squash with maple syrup, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg
 organic Swiss chard stems sauteed first to soften in some butter
 before adding the chiffonades of chard leaves (extra cooked on purpose for Mon's quiche), and finally, a large, mostly organic salad to be served with choice of homemade dressings.

A busy day already!

and it's just barely past 9 a.m.!

 I mixed up a 50-50 ground beef & ground turkey (both Aldi's fzn tubes) meatloaf, using homemade bread crumbs, DT eggs, milk, freshly grated Parmesan, the rest of a small red onion, a medium yellow onion, the reserved celery tops, poultry seasoning, homemade salt free all purpose seasoning. I shaped this in my 2 tier, meatloaf pan that I first Pam* sprayed (actually used a can of Olive oil spray by Bakers choice that I bought at DT as well), then topped it off with the contents of 6 fast food take out packets of ketchup, leftover from the kids. These were extras tossed in the bag, we buy our own ketchup. : )
 Forecast is for yet another, Summer like day so I have one batch of washed in cold water clothes and sheets already out on the line
but I chose to place DS #1's heavy jeans on a clothes horse on the deck, thus saving room on the line
 for the towels that are now in the washer, and to help avoid the dipping of the line towards the ground.


 I spoke with the man who cuts my grass the other day (it was already lightly raining when he showed up) and asked him to cull at least one, forked tree branch (there are a few piles back in the woods) so that I can use it/them to hold the lines up, avoiding the aforementioned dipping issue. Only happens when there are a lot of heavy items on the line.

I even managed to wash and rinse a stack of baggies, hanging them outside to dry as well.

I have some paperwork to get in order, some progress reports that I can do on line, but my main goal for today is to address some mending, including a pair of black dress pants that I recently bought for myself, but are too long, since I mosly wear flats. I also need to vacuum. Bathrooms were done yesterday.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

So what's been cooking?

One major thrifty move we have, is to eat home cooked meals. Tonight's Saturday supper is neither a sandwich nor soup, instead, I am taking a clue from Frugal Queen again, and making a chicken pot pie, using leek, onion, carrot, celery, red bliss potatoe, meat from roasted chicken drums, cream of chicken soup, milk, black pepper, tarragon. Here's the filled pie

 Now assembled and ready to bake off
Done!

Only one piece ended up refrigerated!

 Ripe bananas? no problem, make a banana sheet cake from scratch!
 Top with neufchatel frosting and some festive, Fall jimmies
 No bread baking required, I pulled the last of the loaves of bread I got at 50% off plus coupon
I did also manage to bake off a pan of brownies as I always double up when baking, to conserve energy

Talking trash and watching my pennies some more

Image: http://files.schuminweb.com/journal/2012/full-size/clothing-donation-02.jpg

Up early this morning, I got a load of wash going, and then headed over to the transfer station for my second run of trash and recycling for the month. While I did see that our ratio of trash to recycling has improved since moving here and making more noise 2 weeks ago about reducing actual trash output (today, we had 3 kitchen bags of trash, 6 kitchen bags of recycling plus several cardboard boxes), I still am over what I have been budgeting. I had already over spent 2 weeks ago, and did so once again. So, I will double my trash fees in the budget yet continue to be vigilent about reducing what is tossed into the garbage bin vs getting recycled. Trash costs me $$.  While I naturally expected even this area of our budget to increase somewhat, doubling it, however, is not in my financial cards. We will trudge forward.

This is a (hopefully) non shopping weekend. My car is topped off with fuel from earlier in the week, I twice visited grocery stores, dropping at least $50 in the process. Time to tally the receipts and see where I stand as we move into October. Luckily, my menus are set, the shelves are full. We are on a 2 week hiatus until the Fall CSA starts up, but we still have plenty of fresh vegetables on hand, as well as canned/frozen. I did stop at a local, organic farm and pick up this:

2 gorgeous bunches of organic, literally grown down the road from here, Swiss chard @ $2/bunch. Actually cheaper than what the grocer is getting and is actually available (I find that S & S often is out when I try to buy some). So, this will grace our plates tonight, sauteed in butter and seasoned with some salt/pepper. I plan on making a pot pie for supper.

While at the transfer station, I purused the give away, aka "freebie" sheds and came home with this:

 A huge, metal, retractable (the tubes slide inside, making it narrower), clothes horse. I washed it down, and have removed the sweater drying, mesh piece, hoping it'll come clean in the next batch of white clothes to launder. I only do those once a week, so it'll be a while. I often see similar racks to the one I got, for $65 and up. Nice find. It is the biggest one I own now. It will certainly be put to good use. Nice, unusually warm (skirted 79 today) but DRY day here. My laundry dried in no time.
 I also grabbed these 2 bins. The one on the left has wheels, and the one on the right sits on top of it. I also cleaned these up, let them dry off on the deck, in the sun.
Here they are now, down cellar, storing my white potatoes (red and russets are in baskets of their own to the left, ontop of the orange flour bin), and my Winter squash. Another nice find.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Watching my pennies

 Watching my pennies where ever I can: pictured is a Dollar Tree "humidity" bag. I used 2 of these down cellar instead of running the costly dehumidifier. At our last rental, our electric bill jumped $60 a month while using the dehumidifier. $2 is easier on the budget. I couldn't find these exact bags again, but I bought 2 charcoal filter dehumidifier collectors in plastic tubs. Again $2 vs $60.
 Here's my new, Amish style clothesline. Cost more than anticipated, BUT it will come with me when I leave (except for the 2 metal hooks). It's roughly 90 feet long, will hold 2 HE large capacity washer loads on it.
 Here's the other view of Monday afternoon's laundry hanging session. Another load was hung out in the dark, after supper. Came home today (Tues) and it was all nice and dry!
 Here's today's (Tues) afternoon laundry session, another 2 loads. Washed in cold, hung up to dry.
 Sunday supper was from the freezer: marked down, chicken drums that I roasted. Sides were a large tossed salad, baked acorn squash with butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg-YUM! Brownies for dessert.
 Sunday's breakfast was also from the freezer: used a loaf of marked down and frozen Challah bread for a batch of French toast. I use the microwave as a holding oven while cooking. Works great! Scrambeld eggs on the side, OJ, coffee.
 Tonight's supper: beef stew, using my last pkg of fzn beef cubes. It may be some time before we have this again.
What's not so great: food waste. Older "kids" tell me that they want supper, please cook enough for them. Once home from work, they don't eat it-GRR and it becomes a science experiment in the fridge, taking up valuable realty space in the process. Only good thing about this is that we dump it over the stone wall and I am certain that the wild animals (deer, fox, racoons, squirrels etc) are feasting on it. Not in my trash bag so no order, and less weight to pay for. Still, this waste has to end.

Our last Summer CSA share from yesterday: parsley, pint cherry tomaotes, lb tomatoes, leeks, arugula, 2 green peppers, collards, lettuce, 2 lbs potatoes.  In 2 weeks, our Fall CSA will start.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

This weekend's shopping

Image: http://www.coupons.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/shop-loss-leaders.png

This weekend's shopping was to address some voids but also to take advantage of several stock up opportunities and loss leaders.

Sat:
-Aldi's: 2 pie crusts, 2 pkgs 3 ct gum, 2 blocks neufchatel cheese, 1 gallon milk. $11.06
-Dollar Tree: 4 bags fzn vegetables, 2 bags tater tots, 1 pkg Goya chicken bouillon, 4 jars pickles, 4 cartons med eggs, 2 boxes dish washer soap, 2 bottles laundry detergent. $23.36 including 2 bottles windshield washer fluid which I will tally in auto expenses
-Xpect: 1 bottle windshielf washer fluid, 2 pkgs socks (tallied under clothes), 2 cukes, reduced bag of apples, cauliflower 8 lbs sugar, 2 boxes herbal tea, wedge Parmesan, 2 tins sardines, 4 pkgs bacon, 2 cans sloppy joe sauce, coffee thermos (tallied under household), calendar, large tub organic salad greens. $42.71

Sun:
-Aldi: 2 ea: Butternut, Acorn squash, bag bagels. $7.65. Also got credit return (see other post)
-Dollar Tree: Credit for eggs (see other post), 4 boxes oat packets, 1 Goya chicken bouillon, softsoap refill. $5.50, saved 50 cents with cpn.
-Shoprite: 12 pack TP, 6 cans albacore, 9 assorted cans Goya beans, 3 bottles detergent, 3 6 ct pkgs pork chops, 3 bags marked down peppers (see other post), cheese ends, 2 individual Gk yogurts, 2 doz eggs. $49.25, saved $8.95 in coupons
-Stop and Shop: 1 bottle detergent, 17 assorted cans Campbells soups, 3 42 oz jars spaghetti sauce, 4 boxes snack size baggies, bag caramels, Doritos, spice tea, 2 canister Kraft Parmesan cheese,5 lb Russets, OJ, large bottle color care shampoo, hair mousse, body wash, marked down rolls (3). I spent $51.22, saved $32.84 in coupons. Awesome!

I need to finish calculating these figures but feel we're in great shape heading into the new month. The cellar pantry shells are more than full, the freezer is great as well.

Planning ahead

as the new month is just around the corner. Today found me shopping again, coupons and lists in hand, taking advantage of some deals and restocking the house with essentials.

 One task I had: preparing the marked down, multi colored peppers I got at Shoprite. 99/lb for the green, $1.99 for the red/yellow/orange once.
 I prepared 2 bags of what I call "pepper cups," which I use while still frozen, to make Crock Pot stuffed peppers. With the way meat prices are going, any trick to stretch meat for our larger family, is welcomed. I will have 2 meals out of these. Additionally, I trimmed the caps of the peppers and chopped or sliced them, also for the freezer. When produce skyrockets once local gardens are done, I can turn to my freezer for a bright addtion to our Winter meals. I especially like using these multi colored peppers in quiche, a green bean side dish, omelettes, not to mention spaghetti.
 Just a small offering of non American cheese ends this week. No worries, I took what they had to offer.
 Munster, Provolone, 2 types Swiss
Now shredded on my box grater, these piles join other same type cheese shreds in freezer bags. I learned a new technique from Frugal Queen that uses little cheese in quiche, and it's delicious.

One reason I went shopping was to grab some bone in (my preference) center cut pork loin chops @ $1.99. I got 3, 6 ct pkgs for 3 meals these upcoming months. October menus are set, so these chops will most likely be served in Nov, Dec and Jan.

I recently learned that the site thru which I received a new, annual calender is shutting down, I will not be receiving a second calendar (I keep 2: one for appointments, another for dinner plans)so I "splurged" at Dollar Tree this weekend and spent 50 cents plus tax on another one for the upcoming year.