Friday, January 29, 2010

Pie Crust Cookies

A couple of weeks ago I made a chicken pot pie. I had some extra crust left over. I balled up the bits and rolled it back out. I used a small scallopped cookie cutter to cut out rounds. I sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar and baked them at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. My husband declared them to be yummy shortbread type cookies.

Next time I will sprinkle both sides with cinammon/sugar. Other than that I was pleased with how they turned out. My homemade pie crusts are always a bit more than I need, and I had been throwing away the excess. Who knew I was missing out on a tasty treat?!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Weekly Shopping & Meals

I have been trying to do the freezer/pantry challenge for the start of this year. My only problem was I had not been grocery shopping since the beginning of November. We were pretty bare on a few items but still have a large stockpile to work with for another month or so. At the end of December I also placed a rather large spring garden seed/plant order. Since the garden will help with our food budget later, I have opted to take the cost out of the food budget now. That meant cutting back on our grocery spending for a few weeks.

My goal for January is to spend $25 a week on groceries. Here are this week's purchases and my total:

6 cans corn
sliced ham
one package chicken breasts
baby carrots
bagged salad
10 pounds potatoes
fabric softener (free so I could not resist)
2 containers bleach

Total: $24.75

I also picked up a dozen of eggs for free thanks to dh's blood donation. A local store gives each donor a coupon for a free dozen eggs. I often wonder how many donors take advantage of this. Dh would donate blood anyway, but the eggs are a nice perk.

Here are our meals for this week:

shrimp, baked "fries", and salad
grilled ham & cheese, fresh fruit
deer roast, rice, peas
potato cheese soup
stew beef and vegetables
chicken salad sandwiches on homemade rolls
Big salads with chicken

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hot Cocoa on a Cold Day

The temperatures have been unseasonably cold in the south this week. A friend recently shared a review of a homemade hot cocoa mix that she had made. I am not sure that it is cheaper than the store bought versions, but it is definitely better. I made up a batch and am already on my second batch. The recipe comes from the Hillbilly Housewife. She offers recipes for homemade versions of many other convenience foods. Homemade versions allow me to control the amount of salt, sugar, and other additives in the foods I eat.

Enjoying a cup of cocoa and a good book is my favorite way to pass a cold winter's day!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Money Saving Monday: Homemade Fabric Softener

One of the areas I try to be frugal in is laundry. I line dry most of my clothes. I also use homemade laundry detergent for most of the everyday laundry. I had been using plain white vinegar for fabric softener. I found that I missed the scent of conventional fabric softener.

A couple of online friends had been discussing homemade fabric softener. One of them, Rhonda, post the recipe on her blog. I had an empty vinegar jug, a bottle of Garnier Fructis conditioner, and a new container of vinegar. It took just a minute to mix up the homemade fabric softener, and I have plenty of vinegar leftover as well as free conditioner in my stockpile to make more. I am happy to have a frugal alternative to conventional fabric softener and a nice scent to my laundry.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I am going to ignore how lax I was in posting in 2009 as this is a new year and a new start. Moving forward......

Dh and I looked at our finances this morning and set a savings goal. We ended 2009 with 41% of the money we need to start on a new house. Our goal for the end of 2010 is 75%. I have to say that our plan of paying cash to build a new home is not very popular with some people. I must admit that I am not certain how they think we should be concerned about their opinions regarding our finances. We are in a perfectly good home. It will never grace the cover of any home magazines, but it keeps us warm and dry and safe. We are quite content here so I am not concerned.

As we looked at the actual amount we needed to save I realized that I would have to practice creative frugality this year. I was reminded of hearing about the Tightwad Gazette as a child. The one thing that stuck out in my mind was the fact the family did not buy popsicles but made them from leftover juice from canned fruit. To me that is past the point of being frugal. Everyone has a different point where frugality goes too far.

A couple of weeks ago dh and I were visiting with some friends when the husband asked had we seen a particular movie currently in theaters. The wife quickly reminded him that we do not go to the movies. Not going to see a new movie is not an option for them. On the other hand my hubby and I are only calculating how many used DVDs we could buy for the cost of movie tickets and snacks.

This year I am going to walk closely on our personal line of frugal without crossing over into miserable. We have set a lofty savings goal for this year and will be overjoyed if we actually reach it. Let the saving begin!