Wednesday, November 30, 2016

December Menu

This month, as usual, is all about making use of what we have.  We're grateful to have the opportunity for several community meals this month through church, community, and family to stretch things further.  Our largest expense this month will be on baking items for Christmas goodies and gifting, but we're trying to simplify there too, so we'll try to keep things totally in check at our $100/month budget for groceries.

Breakfasts:  breakfast casserole with eggs and veggies, baked oatmeal with raisins and shredded carrots, winter squash muffins, lemon poppyseed muffins, cranberry oatmeal muffins, steel cut overnight oats with raisins, bagels and smoothies made with frozen fruit, hard boiled eggs and toast with jam or cinnamon sugar, banana oatmeal bars

Lunches:  leftovers, fresh fruit, peanut butter and banana/jelly sandwiches, smoothies

Dinners:  turkey enchiladas with shredded summer squash, salmon hash with leftover Thanksgiving dressing and fried eggs, lentil and sweet potato soup, gifted corn and salmon chowder, veggie stir fry with egg rolls, black bean chili with tomatoes, peppers, and onions from the freezer, crockpot lasagna soup, homemade pizza with sausage, pepperoni, and/or veggies and homemade sauce x 3, pesto pasta with tomato salad, mac and cheese with roasted veggies, tuna casserole with salad or roasted veggies

Holiday baking/gifting:  homemade winter spiced cocoa mix, candied chocolate popcorn with pecans, gingerbread house building, rosemary olive oil french bread

What are you up to in the kitchen this month?  I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Frugal Accomplishments

This past week was particularly frugal for us for several reasons:  we had the stomach bug which was miserable, but resulted in frugality; we didn't travel because we didn't feel well; and we took advantage of community meals.  Here are the details:

  • All meals were made at home including butternut squash and chickpea salad, roasted veggies, turkey with rosemary butter, butternut squash casserole, and apple and cranberry crisp.
  • While we were sick, we were grateful for our stash of homemade popsicles, Cheerios, rice, and a wonderful friend who delivered Gatorade to us.  We were also grateful for my mom who kept little man while we were sick.
  • Friends made soup for us when we were recovering, so it was nice to have a meal we didn't have to prepare.
  • Used peppers, onions, pineapple, and sugar snap peas from the food pantry for a yummy stir fry.  Saved the sesame seeds from a bag of bagels to use as topping for the stir fry.
  • Made shared meals with family for Thanksgiving, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
  • Continued to nurse and pump for baby boy, so thankfully he didn't get the stomach bug
  • Used humidifier to ease baby boy's congestion, saving on a doctor's visit.
  • Composted all appropriate kitchen scraps, paper towels, and brown paper
  • Planted garlic in prepared beds with little man using garlic saved from last year, so not out of pocket cost.  Used gifted straw to mulch beds.
  • Washed all laundry except diapers in cold water and hung to dry.
  • Little man continues to do well with night time underwear, so we're trading disposable diapers for a little more bed linen laundry in the short term, but most nights he is dry.  Yay!
  • Showered every other day to save on hot water and keep my skin from drying out.
  • Used accumulated credit card points as cash to purchase our last Ecobee thermostat for upstairs.  Will install that this weekend, hopefully.  We really like this brand of smart programmable thermostat, especially because we can adjust the temperature from our phones while we're away.
  • Decorated for Christmas using saved items from previous years, so no out of pocket expense.
  • Used a coupon combined with sales to make ornaments with little man for Christmas gifts for his teachers and family.  Spent about $5 for 12 ornaments and used paints we already had for decorating them.
  • Found coupon code for Shutterfly, so ordered Christmas cards and used Ebates on the order, so 2% cashback.
  • Received my annual supplement check, so will put half of that toward paying down home equity line and half toward car repair/replacement fund.
  • Will take advantage of discount offered to public workers this week at optometrists' office to order new glasses for myself.  We've used Zenni in the past, but for my prescription, we feel like going through the office is better, and I like the frame selection better.
  • Began making Christmas gifts and will give three of those this week while family is in town, since we won't see them again before the holidays.  We love this candied popcorn recipe, and its super easy.
I'd love to hear what you did to live and save green this week!  I'll be posting again soon on ways to save on Christmas gifts and decor.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Frugal Accomplishments

This past week was a pretty normal week for us.  We continue to save where we can and try to find new ways to save each week.  Here are last week's highlights:

  • Cooked all meals from scratch at home including chili and corn bread, red lentil curry, winter squash casserole, and winter squash muffins.    
  • Took advantage of a few shared meals with family and friends.
  • Prepared meals to share with families in need two times last week using ingredients we had on hand.  These meals included breakfast casserole, fresh fruit, and bagels and a family size portion of lentil sloppy joes with bread and muffins for dessert/breakfast.
  • Composted all appropriate kitchen scraps, including paper towels, brown paper, and coffee filters/tea bags.
  • Accepted a flat of tomatoes, two watermelons, overripe bananas, yogurt, and asparagus from the food pantry (things that would have otherwise gone to the dumpster).  Roasted the asparagus last night and hope to process the tomatoes for sauce in the crock pot later this week.  The watermelon will be our fruit of choice this week.  The 
  • Washed all laundry on cold, except sheets and towels.  Hung everything to dry inside or on the clothesline (except with it was too smoky from forest fires), except sheets/towels.
  • Used cloth diapers and washed them at home.
  • Little man said he's ready for undies at night time!  So, we're trying it out, and it's going pretty well.  Only a few accidents, which the extra towels have caught, so minimal extra laundry and fewer dollars spent on night time diapers.
  • Said "yes" to some hand-me-downs for the boys and one for me.  Some were not my style, so they went to Goodwill, but most were welcomed additions.
  • Found a pair of fun slippers for little man at the local consignment sale that should last him two seasons.
  • Had fun entertainment at home with existing toys, colored on paper bags, and read books at home on the holiday to save on extra expenses of being out and about.
  • Renewed library books online to save a trip.
  • Worked to prepare the garden beds for winter.  I still need to plant the garlic, but compost and straw are spread in most beds.  
  • Added raked leaves to the compost to try to balance all the green kitchen scraps.  
  • Accepted donated straw for my garden, which saves significantly on winter mulching.  Will use mulched leaves for additional mulch in other beds.
  • Began to update the Christmas gifting list.  We are trying to make almost every gift we give this year, or use gift cards, so that we're not spending out of pocket.  My lack of canning this summer will make this a little more difficult, but I hope to be able to make a batch or two of citrus marmalade to give at the holidays.  Maybe I can do a batch over Thanksgiving.
What did you do to live and save green this week?  I'd love to hear from you!