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Archive for October, 2007

So I went 21 days without grocery shopping

October 17th, 2007 at 07:13 pm

Yippeee! Not bad at all!

My mother and I went grocery shopping today and I made up for it. I spent about $130 on groceries today but I'm okay with that and here's why.

I bought a lot of meat on sale, enough to last at least a month, two if I'm very careful. Almost every item I bought was on sale for a very good price and none of it was unhealthy or something I won't use.

Tomorrow I'll repackage the meat in servings for one or two, label the packets, and pop them in the freezer. Over the next two to four weeks I'll need to buy milk, bread and fresh produce but that should be it.

Since I shouldn't have to spend much more on groceries for the next six weeks or so, all in all I think I did well. Now I just have to come up with menus for the next couple of weeks to make the most of the food I have.

Chicken a la Wings

October 16th, 2007 at 01:08 pm

I've been craving sweet and hot chicken wings for several days and since I don't have any wings and I'm experimenting with just how long I can eat on $50 (this is day 19, by the way) I don't want to buy any. I figured I could improvise and create something halfway palatable but I have to admit this recipe, if you can call it that, is a very tasty alternative that satisfied the craving.

I cut some boneless, skinless chicken breasts into strips, cooked them in a little butter with some Louisiana Hot Sauce and put them in a baking dish with Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce. I stirred them to ensure they were well coated and baked them for about 15 minutes at 300, then turned the oven off and let them sit for another 10 minutes, stirring periodically.

They turned out very well! Slightly hot and slightly sweet, just how I like them. And because I'm a frugal foodie (would that make me a froodie? or a frooglie?) I froze the butter and tiny bits of chicken in it and will use that savory concoction the next time I make chicken soup or casserole.

I had my Chicken a la Wings with steamed brussels sprouts and green beans and it was a fine and frugal dinner. There's enough left for lunch tomorrow and dinner another night this week.

A slightly greener me

October 15th, 2007 at 02:30 pm

Today is Blog Action Day and while I'm not the greenest person, I do try to take the environment into consideration when I drive, shop and cook. I do all I can to run errands one day a week, saving gas and the ozone layer, I limit items in disposable packaging and try not to throw out food so there's less waste to deal with. I have a garden when I can and love the produce from it. When I can afford it, I even buy products of environmentally conscious companies. I wish I could do more of that but most of the products are quite a bit a bit more expensive than their non-green counterparts...at least they are here in my part of the world.

In honor of Blog Action Day this morning I did some little things. It was raining pretty good so I didn't get as much done as I wanted but here are a few things I did:

I organized my seeds and containers for Spring. The more vegetables and herbs I grow, the less I buy and that makes sense financially but it also makes sense on a greater level. No, the few tomato plants I'll have won't make a huge dent in things but what if everyone did it? Well, we wouldn't all be driving to the local grocery for tomatoes now, would we? Things that make ya go hmmmm.

I organized the tiny kitchen cupboard that holds containers and lids I use for the refrigerator and freezer. If I can actually find a container and lid I need, I won't use a plastic bag and that bag won't end up in the trash can and eventually in a landfill. Again, it's a little thing but what if we all did that?

I finished taking myself off a ton of postal mail lists I'd been on and changed several subscriptions from postal to email only. This has been a project that's been going on awhile. What a waste paper flyers and circulars are! I even dislike paper magazines. I just throw most of that stuff in the trash and we know what happens from there. Once again it's a little thing but....well, you get the picture.

There are other things I've done this morning and they're all small and seem to not be important. But they're important to me and in a small way, they're important to our planet. And if we all did just a few things a day and continued to learn a few more new things we could do, wow, what a difference we could make!

Grocery shopping for two weeks - success!

October 14th, 2007 at 11:10 pm

I posted on September 30th that I'd spent most of the $50 I alloted for two weeks of groceries but that I was set on chicken breasts and a few other things.

Well, I'm happy to report that I haven't spent any more money on groceries since that date. And I still have chicken breasts, turkey ham and some other things I bought then! Instead of eating as I'd planned I decided to experiment in the kitchen to see just how frugal I could be.

I had scrambled or fried eggs a few times for supper, sometimes with a thin slice of turkey ham and a slice of cheese on a low carb english muffin, made beans twice, chili once, made soup twice, had grilled chicken a couple of times, and used the ground beef I had more as a condiment than a main dish. I even managed to turn one pound of ground beef into six meals. No, they weren't meaty meals but I don't need to have a lot of those, anyway, so that worked out well. I ate plenty of fresh and frozen vegetables and even had a little fruit. I think I did really well and the meals, though not perfectly nutritionally balanced, were pretty healthy.

I imagine I'll do some grocery shopping tomorrow or Tuesday as I'm out of milk, peanut butter, and a few other things and am almost out of several more. But I'm sure I can stretch that into three weeks of eating, possibly more with what I still have from the last grocery trip.

Okay, this might be addictive trying to figure out just how long I can eat fairly nutritious meals on a deliberately tight budget. Yeah, it's a new game for me. That's the ticket!

Is everyone ready for Blog Action Day?

October 14th, 2007 at 06:27 pm

October 15th is Blog Action Day and even though I'm not nearly as green as I could be or should be, I have a few things planned to commemorate the day.

I'm going to organize my seed containers and seeds, try to organize my cupboard that holds freezer containers and do a few other little things. I'm also going to blog about what I do! Wink

You can read about the event here:


Do the rest of you have any plans for the day?

What's cookin'? What's for dinner? Yada, yada

October 14th, 2007 at 01:58 pm

::all said in best Grandpa Jones voice:: "Well, we have three bean soup with green onions, garlic, and turkey ham cookin' on the front burner. We'll have 'em with homemade biscuits and butter! We also have boneless, skinless chicken breasts defrosting and those'll be baked in the oven, some with lemon pepper, some with Country Bob's sauce, and some with fajita seasonin'. They'll all be cut into strips and used for salads, stir fries and just eaten with fresh vegetables throughout the week!"

Denise and Bob the Cat reply with "Yummm yumm!"

Okay, so Grandpa Jones wouldn't have cooked the way I do but y'all get the picture. That's my basic cooking for today in preparation for the coming few days. Smile

This week in general

October 14th, 2007 at 07:32 am

I had more no spend days this past week than I've ever had in my adult life, I think. There were four! Why? I planned better than I normally do.

I ran errands one day and took care of whatever I thought might come up during the week and that seemed to do the trick. I know it won't always work but if it works most of the time or even 50% of the time, it will be of benefit. I use less gas, spend less money, and have more free time. That's good all the way around. Smile

I should get paid about $104 for miscellaneous online work I did this week. Most of it goes into the bank for November bills but I'll put $20 in savings. November is quickly approaching and it's time to start the cycle again!

My latest freebies, including a $50 gift card

October 12th, 2007 at 07:37 pm

Let's see. Today was yet another no spend day for me. I've had quite a few of those lately and I love it!

A friend came over tonight and brought dinner. It wasn't anything exciting, just a hamburger, fries, and a drink but it was my second free dinner this week and it was actually very tasty.

In the mail this week I've received numerous shampoo and conditioner samples, mostly Garnier Fructis and Pantene products. I really shouldn't need to buy hair care items for awhile.

I also received some Lipton noodle dinners, several of them. I rarely eat them but they'll be good for one of those times when company shows up unexpectedly or I just don't feel like cooking much.

The best freebie, though, was a $50 Target gift card. The electric company I use offered it as an incentive when I chose them. I'd have picked them, anyway, but it's nice to get the gift card. I don't know what I'll get with it but I'm sure I'll think of something. Smile

I'm not getting any younger..

October 11th, 2007 at 04:41 pm

and I really want to go back to school. Working retail and cleaning houses won't get me where I want to be. Well, it might but a college education would probably do more in that arena.

There are a couple of problems, though. I suck at Math. I mean I really do. Years ago, when my kids were young, I went to college for about two years. A good portion of that time was taken up by what I refer to as the "Developmental Math Disaster". I took that class five times and flunked it five times. I finally gave up and went back to being a full time homemaker and mom.

The other problem is that I don't know what I want to do! I really don't. And that's a major problem.

Now, here I am, on my own, with the kids grown. And I finally have time to go back to school. But now I'm terrified. I'll have to take that blasted DM again. Add to that the new required entrance tests and it makes me one nervous nellie.. no, terrified tammy!

Have any of you been through this? If so, what did you do that helped? There must be a solution but I haven't the foggiest what it is.

A nice dinner for almost nothing and a little more money coming in

October 10th, 2007 at 07:11 pm

A friend of mine wanted to go out for dinner so we went out and had Tex Mex and she paid. I left the tip but that was only $4 and that's all I spent today so it was a frugal day.

I couldn't pay the electric bill because I hadn't received the paper bill yet and that's required to pay it at one of the local stores. But I got the bill in the mail today so I'll go tend to that tomorrow.

I did some more online work today and made another $20 or so. Not big money but it all helps so I won't say no to it. It goes into the regular checking account to help with the bills in November.

I've been managing to save about 10% of everything that comes in and while it isn't anything to brag about I do have a little cash saved. It's nice to know I have that. Apparently I'm a slow learner but I am learning. Smile

Fall is MIA.. really, it must be

October 9th, 2007 at 07:43 pm

But according to weather underground (http://www.wunderground.com/) by the end of this month we should be averaging temps in the low 70s. Oh please, please, come a little sooner! I miss Fall! Not that we really have much of one here - it goes from green to brown to dead, basically, but the cooler weather means no need to run the AC and possibly not even the fans and that means a lower electric bill.

Of course, on the tail of that is winter and that means trying to stay warm and a higher electric bill. But hey, it isn't so bad in Texas. We can put off using the heat for quite a while and enjoy those lower bills.

But really, I want Fall.. now, please!

Two no spend days and online earnings to boot!

October 9th, 2007 at 06:43 pm

Today is another no spend day for me. That makes two in a row! That's a rare thing for me but I'm thrilled about it.

I earned some more money online today. Not a lot but I should get a check for about $100 in a few days and it goes into the bank.

Tonight I used the last of the leftover beef roast to make a nice pot of beef and vegetable soup. I didn't make a huge pot but enough for me to have several meals this week from it.

Tomorrow I'm going to pay the electric bill and run an errand or two so it won't be a no spend day. But hey, it was nice to have two of them in a row.

Not at all money related but...

October 8th, 2007 at 09:26 pm

wow, that Cowboys/Bills game was something! That's one of the weirdest and best Cowboys games I've ever seen and I'm surprised I have any finger nails left! I was on the edge of my seat the last quarter and I didn't even bet on the game. Wink

Another no spend day!

October 8th, 2007 at 06:20 pm

Well, today is another no spend day for me. Woohooo! I do love 'em!

I made the Chocolate Snickerdoodle Coffee Mix earlier and had a cup or two of it. It's too warm to drink it often but when it cools off that will make a great cup of coffee to help stay warm.

I had my breakfast sandwich for dinner with half an apple. It was very good and filling. The other apple half I'll probably have in the morning or with my lunch tomorrow.

I did a little online work today and earned about $5. Not a lot but it will go into savings when I get it. Every little bit helps. If I can do more later tonight, I will, but right now I'm watching the Cowboys/Bills game.

I guess that's all my excitement for the day. Tomorrow should be another no spend day but I really need to get to the storage unit and if I do, I might stop by the CVS on the way to get a couple of small things I need.