Saturday, January 18, 2020

Pantry Challenge Days 8-14

Saturday we had ham, corn (from the freezer) and macaroni and cheese.  I made a huge pot of macaroni and cheese with pantry items and the excess of cheese we had in the fridge.  Supper was snacky stuff again.

Sunday was leftovers from Saturday.  I added salads since we had eaten most of the corn.  I put two containers of macaroni and cheese in the freezer for future meals.  Supper (dinner) was pizza rolls after church.

Monday morning W left for an out of town business trip.  I had planned ahead and put several single serve meal options in the freezer.  For dinner (lunch) I had nachos using taco meat from the freezer and tortilla chips from the pantry along with various toppings from the fridge.  Supper (dinner) was tomato basil soup.

Tuesday I was still on my own.  Dinner (lunch) was Mongolian beef and rice with homemade yum yum sauce.  Supper (dinner) was broccoli cheese soup.

Wednesday, the last day on my own, I had a hamburger and chips from the freezer for dinner (lunch) and ended up eating cheese and crackers with some veggies and dip for supper (dinner) since I had snacked most of the afternoon.

Thursday we ran a few errands which took longer than normal.  Thankfully I had planned ahead.  We came home and ate Swedish meatballs (from the freezer), egg noodles, carrots, and homemade rolls (from the freezer).  Supper was snacky stuff again.

Friday we had pizza for dinner (lunch) and corn dogs with fries for supper.

I should add that breakfasts are a self serve meal here.  W generally eats an egg with either toast or oatmeal.  I have been eating a switch of pop tarts or toaster strudels - not healthy but I am not a breakfast person.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Grocery Spending Week 2

Week two had me spending a bit more at the grocery store although my plan is to stay out of the stores next week so really it is not so bad.  Also added into this is chips and dip making supplies for the first church youth group birthday party of the year.  My class has grown from 4 to 8 so I need to add in a snack to go with the cookie cake which will be two layers this year.  Still overall it is much cheaper than buying a cake and other sides ready made.

This week I spent $35.48 and bought:

gravy mix
half & half
ranch dip mix
crackers
cream cheese
crushed tomatoes
cheese for pizzas
pickles - 2
potatoes (5lb)
yogurt
pretzels - 3
sour cream
plain chips - 2
jam
trail mix
pizza rolls

W likes pickles with his sandwiches which will be on the menu as I have a turkey breast in the feezer to cook.  He and Toby love pretzels.  I found a pile of fruit in the freezer and thought yogurt, fruit, and homemade granola would make a nice snack.  If I stay out of the grocery store next week as planned, I will be under my $20 a week pantry challenge goal.

Grocery Spending 2020:  $52.96

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Garden Week 2

The first round of seeds that I planted are growing nicely.  The yellow and orange peppers are the biggest.  The red ones are lagging behind but should catch up in a week or two.


As you can see I have many more trays than last week.  My seed order finally arrived.  Every year I always say that I am not going to go overboard with peppers.  Just like every other year I fail at that miserably.  In my defense W and my dad are enablers and picked out a couple while encouraging me to choose a new one or three.  I am also trying dwarf tamarillo.  I saw it while looking through the seed catalog, and I love a gardening adventure.  I am also going to try artichokes.  

Truthfully I like to grow things that fall into one of two categories.  First are the things we or the animals really like to eat so growing makes more sense than buying them.  Second are the unusual things that either I cannot find in stores here in the middle of nowhere or that no one around me grows or even knows about.  The garden may be the one place I am truly adventurous!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Goals Update Week 2

1.  Save all of our Change (coins) for the Year

More coins were added to the jar this week.  I decided to wait and do one total at the end of the year. I think it will be more of a big reveal that doing a monthly total. 

2.  Plan Ahead for My Business

I am excited to have already met my earnings goal for the month.  I know that will not happen so early every month, but I am hoping that it balances out over the year.  This week I am going to finish up at least three orders, make more things for the shop, and add flamingo cup cozies to my Etsy shop.  I want to do two more colors and wait for the sun to show up for pictures.


Another lady in the shop is offering candles and bath items.  I approached her about cross marketing some of her items with some handmade cotton spa items of mine - soap saver, facial rounds, and spa slippers.  I hope it will benefit us both.

3.  Get Back to Basics


  • We ate mainly from the pantry, and I focused on eating the leftovers.
  • I foraged clover and other greens for the rabbits to eat.  I also picked some extras for the chickens.
  • I watched the weather forecast so I could keep up with line drying laundry.
  • I won a grape leaf ornament in an online instant win game. I plan to use it as a ring holder.  Wins are fewer lately but still fun. It only costs a few minutes of my time.  It is much nicer than the picture appears.  Cloudy days are awful for photos.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday Book Reviews

Two Bites Too Many by Debra H Goldstein in the second book in the Sarah Blair Mystery series.  Sarah has settled into her new home with her inherited cat RahRah while continuing to work as the receptionist at a law firm.  Her mom, Maybelle, drags her to the bank to fight Sarah's sister's loan request rejection.  When the bank manager is later found murdered, Maybelle is the only suspect.  I enjoy the southern setting but have a bit of trouble connecting to the characters.  I realize it is a fictional book, but I still expect them to act moderately reasonable.  Sarah's sister Emily needed to be sat down for a good talking to over many of her actions.  The mystery was strong.  While I had my suspicions, I was not certain until the very end.

The third book in the Beyond the Page mystery series by Lauren Elliot is Murder in the First Edition.  Addie has donated an 1843 copy of A Christmas Carol to the hospital charity auction.  When Addie stops by the hospital to give the authentication paperwork to Teresa, the woman over the auction, Addie finds Teresa dead and the rare book missing.  The mystery was interesting, but Addie comes close to completely ruining the book.  She refuses to act with any ounce of maturity, and I wondered over and over why the two men interested in her just did not cut their loses and move on.  I am confused by a grown woman who crosses her fingers behind her back when lying.  This is the first book in the series that I have read so I will give it at least one more try.

Christmas Cow Bells by Mollie Cox Bryan is the first book in the Buttermilk Creek Mystery series.  Brynn is beginning her new like at Buttermilk Creek with her three cows and a few new friends.  When her dearest friend, Nancy, dies after her home burns under suspicious circumstances, Nancy cannot help but get involved.  It soon begins to feel as if some of her new neighbors dislike not only Nancy but Brynn as well.  I have mixed feelings about the book.  On one hand it was full of various events from fires to mourning cows.  On the other the actions of the characters were a bit "off".  I get that Brynn was crushed by her husband's betrayal, but I was weary of the whole thing before I got halfway through the book.  I will take into account that this is the first book in the series and will give a second book a try before writing off the series.

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Pantry Challenge - Days 1-7

Saturday we had pizza.  I make a Detroit style pizza which we settled on as being our favorite.  I use the crust and sauce recipes from the link.  The sauce makes 4-5 pizzas worth so I freeze the extra.  I mix the dough by hand, in the Kitchen Aid, or in the bread machine, and it turns out great no matter which I use.  I also made two small salads.  Neither one of us was hungry that evening and just had a snack.

Sunday was clean out the fridge day.  We had leftover potato soup and crackers for dinner (lunch).  Supper was the leftover pizza from Saturday.

Monday I needed to cook.  I tried a new to me recipe for Mongolian beef which did not impress W.  I divided the leftovers into single serve portion and froze them for me to eat later.  Our evening meal was Loaded Chicken Salad.  I had a pack of chicken thighs in the freezer so this was a good way to use them up.  We ate it on leftover hamburger buns and had chips on the side.

Tuesday we had sandwiches when we came in from running errands.  I try to have something on hand to eat soon after we walk in the door.  It prevents temptation to stop at a fast food place or grab something extra at the grocery store.  Supper (dinner) was an "on your own" type of meal.

Wednesday I put Brunswick stew in the slow cooker.  We ate it with crackers.  For supper I had a snacky plate of cheese, vegetables and ranch. W ate a ham sandwich.

Thursday was leftover Brunswick stew.  I also put two containers in the freezer for future meals.  W had a sandwich for supper.  I ate another snacky plate.

Friday I took some taco seasoned chicken out of the freezer.  I like nachos while W prefers to eat it as tacos. Supper was snacky again.  We have gotten out of the habit of eating a big supper/dinner.  I guess it really shows this week. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Grocery Spending - Week 1

I thought it might be interesting to keep track of my grocery spending this year.  I try to keep my grocery budget at $50 per week.  January should be much lower since I am doing a pantry challenge.

This week I spent $17.48.  My purchases were:

Half & Half
Coffee Creamer - 2
Bread
Chocolate Chips
Toaster Strudel - 3

The coffee creamer was on sale, and I had a coupon.  That should last me a month or more.  I am slowly getting over the Christmas rush but have yet to get back in the habit of baking bread.  The toaster strudels were cheap with a sale and coupon making an easy (if not healthy breakfast). The chocolate chips are for a birthday cookie cake for one of the youth in my Bible class at church. 

2020 Grocery Spending:  $17.48