Here's how we saved this past week:
- Cooked all meals at home from scratch including mac and cheese with broccoli, sweet and sour veggie and chicken stir fry with egg rolls, crock pot cabbage and sausage with corn bread, chocolate whole grain waffles and fruit smoothies, veggie pizza, and crock pot Thai beef (a new recipe that needs some tweaking.. not spicy enough or enough veggies for us!).
- Gratefully accepted six avocados, kiwi, melon, mushrooms, grapes, peppers, onions, and two gallons of milk from the food pantry gleaning. Much of it was processed and frozen, though the fruit is almost gone. We also accepted a whole bag of Panera bread including loaf bread, cinnamon raisin bread, and at least a dozen bagels. I still find it amazing that many of the clients would prefer white sandwich bread to this, but it often goes bad on the food pantry shelves, so they have learned to save it for us.
- Gleaned six packs of Goldfish crackers, two packs of Chex mix, one yogurt, one apple, and four cheese sticks from the school cafeteria.
- Brought home leftovers from Greek Day at school including olives, cheeses, pita chips, and hummus. I will make an olive and sun dried tomato pesto with the olives (tomatoes from CSA last year). The cheeses were used in mac and cheese and will be for snacking, as will the pita chips and hummus.
- Continued with all regular composting and recycling to reduce waste.
- Continued with regular laundry activities including cold water wash, line drying, and cloth diaper use. We're glad the weather is warm enough some days to hang things on the clothes line again.
- Did our usual cloth napkin and rag use to cut down on paper items.
- Benny had put in his notice at work, so he worked his last shift on Saturday. Before he left, we used his employee discount to purchase all the paint and stain we will need for the near future. He is so grateful to not have to work every Saturday now, and we're glad to have a little more flexibility for family time.
- We made a birthday gift for little man to take to a birthday party, our usual tie dyed t-shirt. We included some small things of play dough we had around and some free sticker sheets from the doctor's office. Little man decorated a repurposed store bag as a gift bag with paper punches and colorings. The little boy was thrilled with the gift (especially the Ninja Turtles stickers!).
- Made a bulk spice order from San Francisco Herb Company, combining our order with a friend's to save on shipping a bit. It will be so nice to have some of these things again!
- Made homemade vanilla using vanilla beans from the freezer and vodka we had purchased earlier for this use (we find that making one bottle will get us through about a year). It is MUCH cheaper to make your own than to purchase the tiny bottles in the store, and so easy to make.
- Began using chives from the garden and noticed a little mint coming up. I will begin using up the mint in the freezer for tea so that we have room for more as this season's crop grows.
- Carpooled to work three days, saving on gas.
- Used our medical savings card to pay for a dentist visit and cleaning. Three of us got our teeth cleaned, one had x-rays, so it was nice to be able to use the rest of this card (it resets in April).
What did you do to live and save green last week? I'd love to hear from you!