I was just reading a blog about Halloween candy, what kids like, what kids don't, that famous ???? item every once in a while. For us the yuck item was the Smarties candies. Those little pastel colored tabs in a long cellophane tube. None of my kids liked the mouthful of powder taste, they used to kick around in the cupboard until I got tired of moving them, and tossed them out. I always felt guilty for throwing them away, so I did eat a few first. Which got me thinking about certain items that I have eaten over the years, even tho I really didn't care for it, just so it wouldn't go to waste. Remember the cabbage soup diet? I knew a gentleman who did actually lose quite a bit of weight on this diet, you make up this huge kettle of soup and eat nothing else for like a week at a time. Easy idea, but the soup really sucked! Excuse my french. I made the soup, it was bitter and nasty, and I ate every bite. I didn't lose a pound unfortunately, because I did all kinds of stuff to it to get it down. Put it over noodles, rice, bread, lots of crackers, all helped, but negated the low cal factor. I pureed some and used it for a base for beef soup, marginally better. I poured it over a roast in the crock pot, that was probably the best idea. I still cant look a bowl of cabbage soup in the face, even the good stuff, every time I think of that soup. Yuck. I was quite proud of myself at the time, for figuring out a way not to waste all that stuff, but I was much younger then. I think if it was today I might just feed it to the compost pile. Compost is valuable too!
Viewing the 'Food / Groceries' Category
Something I noticed.....I started cooking only with olive oil, after dabbling with it for years. When I had a house full of people, it was too expensive to use all of the time. But now that there are only two or three of us..... Anyway, I noticed that when I pan fry with olive oil, the pots and pans wash up like a dream! No overnight soaking to get the stuck-on-like-cement bits off the bottom! I suppose that there is some scientific explanation about the different fats and chemical reactions etc. etc., but I don't really care, I just know that it makes my dishwashing a whole lot quicker and easier, I'm up for that!
I have seen several references lately to the $1 a day challenge, feed yourself, or each member of the family for only $1 each day. I think that we did this one time, inadvertently. Hubby used to switch back and forth between 2 part time jobs, one in Fall, one in Spring. The Spring time one was better paying, that is after you actually received a paycheck. The way the payroll was set up, you got paid on the 15th and 30th of each month, but you were always one period behind. So when he would start out, it was an entire month before he got a paycheck. FUN! I remember one year we ate beans and rice for pretty much the whole month. I thought we did pretty well in the creative department. We had Mexican style, stirred a package of taco seasoning in, and some stewed tomatoes. Carribean, green pepper and pineapple chunks (kids really liked that one). Italian, added a little canned spaghetti sauce and grated cheese. Western, chili powder, stewed tomatoes and canned corn. I did use a little meat, but I think that 8 hot dogs could last a week, if you slice them real thin. I don't know that I would want to do it again, but sometimes you don't know what you can do until you have to!
The last seven days have been wild/busy. But not in a bad way. I got several mending jobs in and out, work has been crazy, several new residents at the assisted living, that need a lot of assisting, and talk, talk, talk about wedding plans. They have almost 18 months until the big event, I think that they need to nail down the basics, and relax (and save some money) for a while. This is a no grocery week. There is so much stuff in the chest freezer that I can hardly close it. So, I didn't even open the sale ads this weekend, I don't care how great the price is, we need to empty out the pantry a little. That's a very nice feeling, knowing that I don't have to shop, and we'll have plenty to eat. I do have to refill a couple of prescriptions tho, it's not all good news. The electric bill was about $50 higher this past time. I'm sure its from the cold weather, the furnace ran a lot, and I have a couple of heat lamp bulbs going in the barn to keep the water from freezing. Not much you can do about that. The water heater bill was down though. Our residential electric and water heater are metered separately, and thats handy sometimes. There used to be a radio controlled box on the water heater, so the utility company could shut it down in peak usage times, I'm not sure if they have taken it off, but I haven't seen a shutdown in over ten years, maybe they just don't do that anymore. And, I think that you used to to a cheaper rate too. But the separate meter has come in handy a couple of times, when something was wrong with the water heater, and the first thing that we noticed was the bill being way up or down. I have been doing well paying off the Dr. bill, the check every week is whittling it down, now I just have to get some stamps, so I can mail them. (that WOULD help) I finally have all the furniture put back from the Christmas re-arangement. I really need a new slipcover for the sofa. Everytime I mumble this to myself in front of Hubby, he starts in on how we REALLY need a new sofa, not the slipcover! (rolling my eyes) That would sure be nice, but we can't afford a sofa right now, and he never sits on it anyway, he has his recliner chair, thats the only place he EVER sits in the living room. I made the cover for the sofa anyway, from a couple of twin size bedspreads, so I don't know what difference it makes to him. Actually, I could probably put a different cover on the sofa, and unless it was PINK, he would'nt notice for a month! (ok, enough ranting) Well, it's a dark foggy morning here, I think I'm going to take a nap, I do work tonight. TTFN
I used to be a rabid couponer. I carried my little file of coupons, clipped to the calculator like a warrior looking to defeat the enemy. The enemy being my grocery bill, I guess. But I kind of got away from that, for a lot of reasons. I still use some coupons, maybe 5 or 6 on average, in a weeks shopping. But things have changed. My Mother and I get 3 Sunday papers between us, and swap the coupon flyers, then I take them to work for the girls there. But there are some weeks that I only clip one or two coupons. It seems like all of the coupons are for things that I just don't buy! So, just for fun, I did a little informal inventory of what exactly was in those 3 circulars this last weekend. Almost 1/3 of the coupons were "personal care items" shampoo, body wash, lotion, razors, shave creme(gel/mousse)and hair color (lots of hair color!) etc. I hardly ever clip those, because they are all for the more expensive brands, and I don't buy them anyway. Even with the coupon, the bargain/store brand tends to be cheaper. Remember, I'm shopping the dollar stores here in rural America, I'm about 20 miles from the nearest big box, or drug chain. Next came what I call household stuff,about 1/4 of the total, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap, floor cleaner, furniture polish, and smelly stuff (or anti-smell stuff)! Good grief, we must be the smelliest nation on the planet! Scented oils, scented candles, air freshner, carpet freshner, pet freshner, furniture , shoes, etc. etc. All that anti-smell stuff was more than 1/2 of the household category. I clipped exactly 2, Tide laundry soap, and Ajax dish liquid. What a waste of a tree. The rest was food. Lots of lunchmeat, boxed dinners, seafood (must be fishing season somewhere), try something new, (everything is new!), but I have noticed that lots of those coupons require you to buy 2 or 3 products to get the discount, especially cold cereal. They have been doing that for a while. I don't have room in my cupboard for 3 or 4 boxes more! Besides, I buy most of my cold cereal at the dollar store, and mostly their store brand. I must say that I am deeply in awe of those shoppers who combine the coupons with sale items (you know, you see them on TV) and come out of the store with $232 worth of stuff, and they only paid $63.42! To me, thats like knowing how to beat the stock market, we all know it can be done, but it's just so darn much work you won't catch me doing it!
Remember the old Ma and Pa Kettle movies? I used to love watching them on a Saturday afternoon. Somedays, I am Ma Kettle. Total chaos every day, but somehow it works out in the end. At least, I hope so. Canned salsa yesterday, pickled beets today, and did a mountain of dishes. One thing about cooking from scratch, it's cheaper, good for you, and makes a pile of dishes every Day! This is night 4 of 7 in a row, and going OK, quiet nights so far. I's supposed to rain tomorrow later, and be cold and windy, so I am going to try to pick the winter squash in the garden when I get home in the morning. That is the last thing out there. Gotta Go, can't be late for work.
Hubby and I went out to eat tonight, it cost $17.70 for the two of us, plus $2 for the tip. We went to the Chinese buffet. We don't go out very often, because I am a hard to please eater outer. I always moan and groan about how much it costs, and how I could make something just as good, and cheaper, at home. But I do admit that I couldn't cook all of the things on the buffet, and don't really want to. So I just have to make up my mind to enjoy, which I did, and I certainly ate enough to get my moneys worth. I freely admit that I am sometimes a whiner, especially about money. And the more nervous I get about money, the tighter I hang onto it. A knee-jerk reaction to too many years being flat broke, I'm sure. Well, time to toddle off to work. TTFN.
I noticed something in the grocery store today. Potatoes were on sale $2.59 a bag, whites or bakers. So I picked up a bag of white potatoes, and it felt a little lite. The white potatoes were only 8# to a bag, and the bakers were 10#. Now they usually come in standard sizes, 5#, 10# sometimes you can find 20# bags. I wonder how many shoppers didn't realize until later, if ever, that the whites were a smaller bag. They were both in the same display, although I did notice that someone had crossed off the line on the sale tag that gave the weight. I know that many other products have downsized the amount of product, while still keeping the same packaging and price, but these are locally grown potatoes, so they had to have come right from the grower like that. Good Grief!
I saw that on an old movie last night, and it's been floating around in my head ever since. I was just clicking thru a few other finance related blogs that I check most every day, and I relaized that I think about money all of the time, and very seldom write about it. I don't come here and list all of my expenses for the day, or how much I still owe to whom, but I think those things are always lurking around in my brain. And, I know for sure that they effect every decision that I make, and most conversations that I have with you all, and myself. I don't know how NOT to think about money. I believe that everyone must think about money all of the time, unless you happen to come from a fabulously wealthy family. And the few wealthy people that I've known, probably thought about money even more than I do. So, whatever my silly topic of the day is, see those dollar signs floating around it. Sure, the cattle will eat old zucchini, but only after I can't face another mouthfull, and everyone at work is tired of seeing me walk in with my pail 4 nights a week, at least it's still benfitting me somehow. I draw the line at massaging the cattle for more tender steaks like they do for the Kobe beef! A girl has to have standards you know! TTFN
Wasn't there a piece of music with that title? No, maybe that was popcorn? Whatever. I have about 30 ears of ripe corn that need something done with them, I would like to be frugal and freeze them, but I think I am going to chicken out, and take them to work. I put them in the break room for lucky non-gardeners to take. I am on the guilty train today, I have a mountain of garden produce ready NOW, and just not enough time to can/freeze it all. So, I console myself with the thought that someone is benfitting, even if I give it away, at least its not going to waste. This happens every year. I am always agonizing over whether my time is better spent working on some paying project, or spending time, canning/freezing, or some other money saving activity. Because, in the end, there is only so much of me, and 24 hours in every day to go around. Lots of questions, and no good answers. I have many friends who don't do any canning anymore, it is just about as cheap to get the veggies on sale at the discount store, and so much less work. Very true, I know. I guess that I just really LIKE the idea of providing for our family this way. There were many years that I was a SAHM, and this was just what I did, my contribution to the family economy. I did finally draw the line at butchering our own meat tho. It was too much of a pain with 4 little kids running around. So anyway, there will be more sweet corn, maybe next time (like tomorrow) I will get some in the freezer. I really like to can it better, but it takes way more time to process it, than to tuck it into a bag and into the freezer. Uh Oh, Hubby is listening to the oldies channel on the stereo, and YMCA just came on. I am hiding before I end up dancing that (bleep,bleep) dance! Bye.
My hubby would be so jealous... I had to run to the grocery store this afternoon. I hate making the trip (5 miles to town for me) for just a few items, but tomorrow is DD#1 birthday dinner, and she wants lasagna. I didn't have noodles or cheese. The noodles I could have fudged on, but not the cheese. So since I was going anyway, I picked up a pkg of breakfast sausage, and hot dogs, both on sale, and buns for the dogs. Quick supper of hot dogs and carrot sticks for tonight. Anyway, it cost me $30 and change at the checkout for 5 items! It's no wonder my grocery budget is always giving me fits! I have basically the same amount to spend each week, and the stores are not cooperating! Now granted, I bought the big pkg of hot dogs, so there are lots left, but I have to hide them in the freezer, or they will be all snacked away, and I won't get another meal out of them anyway. Well, at least the BD cake is a mix already in my cupboard, carrot is her fav and I got it on sale weeks ago 10/$10. You win some, you lose some.