Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Grocery Spending and Homemade Crackers

Yesterday I went shopping and stuck to my own rules with the addition of buying two items for parties.  I was not sure that I saved money when I first saw the total.  Then I reminded myself that this would last about two weeks.  First up what I purchased.


Half & half (for homemade ice cream  but follows the rules)


Sour cream




Grape tomatoes




Hazelnut spread (party)

Frozen lemonade concentrate (party)


I spent $39.86.  The half and half will make two batches of ice cream.  The buttermilk will last a month.  It will be used along with the sour cream for making ranch dressing.  The cheese will make several pizzas and provide some snacks for W.  The fruit and lettuce will likely not last the entire two weeks, but I will stretch it as far as I can.


Now for the homemade crackers – I wanted crackers, and we did not have any.  On the pantry challenge wanting crackers was not a need so I am not buying any.  I knew that there was a recipe on The Prudent Homemaker website.  I chose to try the saltine crackers.  I think I need to roll them a little thinner before baking them, but they are delicious. 



These were so quick and easy to make.  I would happily make them even after the pantry challenge is over.  I am looking forward to trying out the wheat cracker recipe next.  It is amazing what can be done given the motivation or desire for something.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Past Week's Grocery Challenge

I decided not to make a meal plan in advance this past week.  I decided to just wing it and keep up with my meals to share afterward.  Here is what we ate this past week.

Monday - W was at work.  I had an egg and toast for breakfast and a pizza calzone for lunch.  Dinner was salads with lots of vegetables from the fridge and some diced ham.

Tuesday  - Breakfast was egg and toast again.  W had to go in for a work meeting with lunch provided so I ate chicken tenders and raw veggies.  Supper was a turkey pot pie and slaw using a cabbage from the garden.

Wednesday - Breakfast was the same.  Lunches were eaten at different times but consisted of the same thing.  We had boiled eggs, raw vegetables, cheese, and almonds.  Supper was leftovers from last night.

Thursday - We finally had a normal schedule.  W ate eggs and toast for breakfast while I had muffins from the freezer.  Lunch was cubed steak, baked potatoes, asparagus (garden), and garden peas (garden).  Supper was nachos.

Friday - W had cereal for lunch while I ate an egg and toast.  I still needed to use up potatoes so I planned French fries along with hamburgers on homemade buns.  My supper plans changed when I discovered we had lettuce that needed to be used up.  We had big salads for supper with homemade croutons.  I made ranch dressing. 

Saturday - W was at work.  I ate a hard boiled egg and some almonds for breakfast.  We were having an outdoor event at church so I was in a hurry.  Lunch was served at church.  W and I ate leftovers for supper.

Sunday - W was at work.  I had morning glory muffins from the freezer.  I usually eat lunch at my parents' house.  I long ago gave up planning suppers on Sundays.  This is the middle of W's week, and he is usually tired and not very hungry.  He ate a bowl of cereal.  I had what I call a snacky supper - assorted veggies with homemade ranch, cheese, homemade crackers, and hard boiled egg.

I think we ate very well with what I had on hand.  I did not include the snacks that we ate as those are harder to track.  I am off to do a tiny bit of grocery shopping this afternoon.  I do need to pick up items for a church party and a family party that are coming up soon.  I was asked to take some items that I do not have on hand.  These are minimal so I am going to pick those up now in hopes of avoiding the grocery store for a couple of weeks. Come back tomorrow for a post on what I bought and more about those homemade crackers!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Weekly Savings

I think my biggest weekly savings was not buying any groceries.  I even managed to put together stuff for W's lunch when I thought I was completely out of snacks.  I also made cupcakes using a box mix and leftover frosting I had put in the freezer last month.  Half of them will go to church for the birthday of a boy in my Bible class.  Six were set aside for W to take in his lunch.  The other six went into the freezer for a future lunch/snack.  Meals were all cooked from items on hand.  I got a bit creative to use up some things that we had in the pantry.  Week one of my modified pantry challenge was a success.  I will share what we ate this past week on Monday.

Not buying groceries meant I used very little gas this week.  I only took a short trip to the bank and post office.  This is about 15 minutes round trip.  I also stopped at Dollar General to get a new collar for Leo.  I found a bunch of children's tops to put in the Christmas shoeboxes.  Even though I am trying to do the boxes on a budget.  I like to put quality items.  I ended up with 17 nice tops and 2 pairs of pants for $20.

We ate radishes, garden peas, and asparagus from the garden.  Putting down some netting in the raised beds seems to be keeping the squirrels from digging.  The garden peas looked okay after getting so much water, but I fear I will lose several plants as they are turning a bit yellow.  I took advantage of free shipping to order a few more seeds from Baker Creek

W made some improvements to the chickens' house using items that we already had on hand.  We also have a broody hen (Bubbles) who did not have eggs of her own.  W put a dozen bantam eggs from another hen and gave them to Bubbles.  She has happily been sitting on them ever since.  She is much cheaper than using an incubator to hatch the eggs.

W also ran a new water line to my raised bed area.  He had to purchase a small amount of materials, but this project was also done mainly with items already on hand.  This makes things easier for me.  I do not have as far to drag a water hose to reach my plants. 

The weather was nice enough that we were able to open up the windows to air out the house.  A week of no heat or a/c means savings on the electric bill.  I line dried all of the laundry. 

What have you done to save money this past week?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Feathered/Furry Friday

I often get asked if my animals get along together.  Leo and the cats are not even close to being friends.  Leo quickly learned who would tolerate him (Paris) and who would not (Lucy & JJ).  Leo has never tried to catch a chicken, but he is a bit too rambunctious for their liking.  The cats and the chickens get along quite well though.



I was working in the garden recently and both Paris and the chickens came offer to investigate. 



Lucy loves to hang out while I feed the chickens.  Even the cats and the rabbits will go to their ends of the fence to say hello.  Occasionally there are some squabbles.  After all, what family gets along 100% of the time?  For the most part everyone gets along fine here.