Saturday, August 10, 2019

7 Ways I Saved This Week and Asking for Help to Save Even More

Hello, friends!
If you're reading this while I'm online (9AM to 11 AM, PDT), that's great. But if not, that's okay, too. If you have a question, just leave it in the comments and I'll check back over the weekend, then read and  respond.

So, grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair or fluff up those pillows, and join me for a couple of hours. Say "hi" in the comments and let me know you're here, if you want. Ask questions, share tips, or post a link to a favorite recipe.

To start, Ruthie asked about making pita chips the other day. I told her I'd post a recipe for homemade pita bread. It's pretty simple to make and would really bring down the cost of homemade pita chips. This batch of pita bread costs about 80 cents, including the electricity for the oven. It makes about 1  1/2 pounds of pita bread. If baking this into pita chips after making the bread, the cost per pound would be about 75 cents per pound for pita chips, including the oven use. Commercial pita chips cost over $6 per pound at Fred Meyer. Homemade chips from homemade pita bread is a substantial savings. If making the pita bread only for the chips, you can freeze the baked pita bread, two or 3 together, enough for making chips for 2 or 3 people.

If you've ever made flour tortillas, then you can definitely make pita bread.

1) Pita Bread (for Ruthie and anyone else)


1 envelope (about 2 and 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1  1/4 cups warm water (about 105 to 110 F or 40 to 43 C)
3  1/4 to 3  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shortening (I used a scant 1/4 cup of vegetable oil - it's cheaper)
1  1/2 teaspoons salt

Soften yeast in water in a large bowl. Add 2 cups of flour, the salt, and shortening. Using a mixture, beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then 3 minutes on high speed. Alternatively, beat with a large spoon for about 3-4 minutes.

Stir in remaining flour. Turn onto a lightly floured board or countertop and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. (if your bowl is large, you can knead the dough right in the bowl. That's what I do.) The dough should be a soft dough, only sticks when you leave it in one place for a while. Return dough to the bowl and grease all sides of dough with a little oil. Cover and set in a warm place (80 to 90F degrees) for 15 minutes.

On the countertop or floured surface, divide the dough into 12 portions, smoothing each into a ball. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, re-flour your surface and gently flatten each ball. Allow to rest another 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Taking one ball of dough at a time, lightly roll into  6 to 7-inch circles, working the rolling pin from the inside of the circles to the edges. Place as many dough circles as will fit on an un-greased baking sheet.


Bake for 3 to 4 minutes, until inflated, then turn each over and bake for 3 additional minutes.

Remove from the baking sheet immediately, stack on a plate, and cover with a tea towel (this holds in moisture). When cooled, wrap in plastic. You can slice pockets into one end, or halve the pita and slice pockets through the cut edge (making 2 half-pita pockets).

Occasionally I pierce a pita when flipping it over, so that it has a hole which could leak a filling. These pitas can be used for flatbread pizza or as a wrap, gyro-style.

To turn into pita chips, here are 2 links:
One for no extra oil chips, just baked. And a second one, for chips that are brushed with a little oil just before baking. The second variety will be crispier than the dry-baked ones.

2) Jam Milk, Jam Tea, and Jam Lemonade

This was a jam-making week for me, using up some of the foraged blackberries. When my son was a little boy, I would make him a special treat if he could entertain himself in a corner of the kitchen while I made jam using fruit from the trees in our rental's yard. The treat was very frugally-made with the empty saucepan after I poured the jam into sterilized jars and a cup of milk. There's always jam that sticks to the interior of the saucepan, and I hated to just waste that wonderful flavor. So, I would rinse out the pot with a cup of milk and let my son have this as his afternoon snack, The jam would both sweeten and flavor the milk. I never bought stir-ins for my children, like Nestle's Quik, so flavored milk was really a treat.

I still use the jam pot for making sweetened, flavored beverages, even though my "kids" are not so little. Instead of rinsing the saucepan out with 1 cup of milk, I now rinse it out with about 2 to 2  1/2 cups of water and make jam tea or jam lemonade.

To make jam tea, pour 2  1/2 cups of water into the near-empty jam saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir the jam off of the sides of the pan and into the water as it heats. When the now-flavored water reaches a boil, remove from heat and ad 1 tea bag or some loose black, green, or herb tea, and infuse. Strain tea leaves as needed and serve.

For jam lemonade, follow the instructions for jam tea, but instead of adding tea or herb leaves, use the flavored water for making lemonade. For lemonade, to the flavored water, add 1/4 cup of bottled lemon juice, and a scant 1/4 cup of sugar. Delicious, flavored lemonade. Nothing wasted.

The other day I made a pot of blackberry jam tea, using lemon balm harvested from my garden. This may be hard to see in the photo, but the pink color of the tea is a near match for the pink in the dishes. Beautiful, delicious, and virtually free (okay, I did have to pay for the 2  1/2 cups of tap water).

3) Watermelon Rind to Use in Savory Dishes

I finished making watermelon rind pickles for the season, so I was mindlessly tossing any watermelon rinds into the compost. Well, I was brainstorming ways to make chutney and I thought about watermelon rind chutney. Yes, there is a recipe for that! When looking up that recipe I came across a link to a recipe for watermelon rind curry. Now, you may have noticed, my family is going through a curry phase. This sounds like a wonderful use for something that I was composting. Check out this link for watermelon rind curry. And while you'e checking sites, the same site has that recipe for watermelon rind chutney that I just mentioned. Anyway, I still have a quarter of a watermelon in my fridge that has a fair amount of rind on it. Here's my thinking with regards to using the rind: every time I use something that I salvage or forage, I save on something else that I have to work to produce or buy. It just makes sense to use as much of a watermelon as possible.

4) Saving Some of the Current Batch of Yogurt to Use as Starter in Future Batches


Now that I have a good supply of milk again, I was able to make a new batch of yogurt. I let my yogurt incubate overnight. Then the next morning I refrigerate the jars. The day after that, I scoop yogurt into containers for the freezer, about 1 cup of yogurt per container. I did 4 containers the other day, marking each as yogurt starter, along with the date. This will be enough starter yogurt for 4 more batches. No need to buy fresh yogurt to use as starter. I save $14.16 per year by freezing 2nd-day yogurt to use as my starter.



5) Scoring More Fuel Rewards by Buying Gift Cards

Fred Meyer had a 4 X the fuel rewards deal going on with gift card purchases this past week. That means that instead of getting 50 fuel reward points for a $50 gift card purchase, I got 200 fuel rewards with a $50 gift card purchase. 200 fuel rewards will save me 20 cents per gallon on a purchase of gas. If I buy 10 gallons, I will save $2.


So, I don't go overboard on loading up on gift cards. But when Fred Meyer has this promotion going on (they do this 3 or 4 times per year), I assess our close future spending and determine the amount of gift cards we would need to make purchases in other stores. We're working on a landscaping project this summer and getting our supplies from Home Depot. I estimated that we will spend about $60 for the remaining supplies for this project. Therefore, I bought 2 $25 Home Depot gift cards, which will be used this month. For an extra 2 minutes of my time picking up the gift cards while I was doing my other shopping, I saved us about $2.

6) Free Trash Bag for Our Kitchen Garbage Can



Do you see what I see? This package of bathroom tissue is just about the same height and width as our kitchen trash receptacle. By cutting off one of the smaller end panels with a pair of scissors, I have a perfect "bag" for our trash can. Saved 6 cents, and I did something environmentally-responsible.




7) I've been Christmas shopping this week. While at Fred Meyer on Senior Day, I picked up a food item that I know one of my recipients will love, using a high value coupon. Basically, I bought this item for half-price! And this wasn't an impulse buy, but something I had planned on buying for this individual.

Suggestions For Patching or Repurposing a Pair of Jeans

These are my favorite around-the-house jeans, and sometimes running-casual-errands jeans. My question -- how to make them not so indecent and still okay for running to the store or bank? The fabric has a dark side that is not the same color as the front. The dark side is just threads and you can see through them when I'm wearing the jeans. What do you think? Would you patch them from the inside (and have dark threads showing on the outside), or patch them on the outside? Would you use an iron-on patch, then stitch around edges, or would you try something else? Would you abandon the idea of patching the jeans and make them into something else -- jeans' skirt? a bag? go in the scrap pile for something else? My first choice is to patch them, as I don't want to spend the money to replace them right now.

Need a Recipe for Rhubarb Chutney that has a Bare Minimum of Ingredients

We just ran out of homemade plum chutney. We'll have a very limited amount of apples and plums from our garden this year, and I don't want to spend the money to buy raisins or other dried fruit. I do have rhubarb that I could use. Has anyone made a rhubarb chutney that did not call for raisins or dried cranberries? I could maybe sacrifice one apple from our trees for a batch, plus I will have onions, spices, vinegar, sugar, and molasses to use. I'm looking for a recipe that I can can to keep for a year or two. Any recipes or links?

What's on your mind this morning? How was your week? Any frugal successes this week? Did you try any new recipes? Do you have any questions for me or anyone else who is here today? I'll be here to answer any questions just before 9 AM, PDT, and will stay online until 11 AM.



Related articles that may interest you:
More on freezing yogurt to use as starter











How to know when your jelly is done
Making jelly without added pectin
Extracting juice from fruit to make jelly
What to do when your jelly doesn't jell

Making flour tortillas

65 comments:

Lona said...

Good morning Lili. On our Kroger receipts here in Ga, we have a survey on the bottom. If we complete it, it gives 50 points. It asks for age, race, income and those sorts of questions at the end. It has a prefer not to answer that I click. I'll give them and honest review about the store, but I keep my personal information to a minimum.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lili,
I haven't commented for awhile, but wanted to suggest a jean patching method that might help. I try to match my thread to the color of the outside of the jeans and either zigzag or straight stitch back and forth over the worn spot to fill it in with stitching. You could place a small, lighter weight piece of fabric on the inside of the jeans as additional support for the stiching. (sometimes I tape the edges of the backing fabric where I want it, then pull the tape off and trim the piece of fabric smaller when done stiching) I hope this works for those favorite jeans!
Mary

Anonymous said...

Hi Lili,I machine darn small holes the same as the previous person said,it works really well.

Ruthie said...

Hi Lili - thank you so much for this information!

Ruthie said...

I have a couple of questions - I read your recipe for making yogurt. I also saw where it could be made in a crockpot. Have you ever tried that?
Also - if you use a credit card to purchase - which one have you found gives you back the best deal?
I love the idea of making something with the jam pan drippings!

Lili said...

Lona said...
Good morning Lili. On our Kroger receipts here in Ga, we have a survey on the bottom. If we complete it, it gives 50 points. It asks for age, race, income and those sorts of questions at the end. It has a prefer not to answer that I click. I'll give them and honest review about the store, but I keep my personal information to a minimum.


Good morning, Lona!
This is such an excellent reminder to pay attention to the smaller savings, because they can really add up.
I do those surveys, too, most of the time. When I get the receipt, I check to see if I'm close to the next fuel reward level, then go online to do the survey. 50 points is the equivalent to 5 cents per gallon, so that can add up if you're filling your tank. You're smart to opt out of the private information. Too much of our personal info can be accessed by anyone.
I hope your enjoying better weather than we are today. It's been pouring rain this morning at our house!

ruthie said...

Hi Lili - I logged on an hour early - duh! Anyway- I am anxious to try out the pita and the tortillas. I tried tortillas a few years ago and they were thick and tough. I thought I would need a tortilla press, but I'll give it another try. They are so much better homemade - unless, of course, they are thick and tough!
I think this is a great forum to come together and share ideas. I'm hoping you will lead this again - maybe including some more Christmas gift ideas as well.

Lili said...

Mary said...
Hi Lili,
I haven't commented for awhile, but wanted to suggest a jean patching method that might help. I try to match my thread to the color of the outside of the jeans and either zigzag or straight stitch back and forth over the worn spot to fill it in with stitching. You could place a small, lighter weight piece of fabric on the inside of the jeans as additional support for the stiching. (sometimes I tape the edges of the backing fabric where I want it, then pull the tape off and trim the piece of fabric smaller when done stiching) I hope this works for those favorite jeans!


Good morning, Mary.
Your suggestion for patching my jeans is excellent. I wouldn't have thought to tape the edges of the patch down. Thank you for that! Normally when I've tried to stitch a patch in place (that wasn't iron-on and self-sticking) the edges kind of bunch up and I find that annoying enough to put me off of trying to patch them. The tape sounds like a really goo solution for that problem. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

Lona said...

It is overcast here, we have been having some hot days since our "mini fall-like" weather has left.

Lili said...

Anonymous said...
Hi Lili,I machine darn small holes the same as the previous person said,it works really well.


Hi there and good morning! I'm thinking that you and Mary may have a great solution to my problem with the jeans. I could darn in a lighter thread, with a patch underneath. I sure wish jeans were more durable.
Thanks for giving your input!

Lona said...

Lili, will you be stocking up on any labor day sales? This will be our last sale on hot dogs, buns, ketchup, mustard and misc. Also, what holiday items will you stock around the Thanksgiving sales?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the chutney, perhaps in addition to the apple, you could also sacrifice a green tomato or two from your garden...? I've made lots of Green Tomato Chutney over the years, which does also generally call for raisins. But perhaps you could sub chopped rhubarb for the raisins in Green Tomato Chutney. Or, sub chopped green tomato for the raisins in Rhubarb Chutney -- does that make sense....? (Either way might need a wee bump up with the sugar I'm thinking....)

ruthie said...

Hi Lili - I logged on an hour early - duh! Anyway- I am anxious to try out the pita and the tortillas. I tried tortillas a few years ago and they were thick and tough. I thought I would need a tortilla press, but I'll give it another try. They are so much better homemade - unless, of course, they are thick and tough!
I think this is a great forum to come together and share ideas. I'm hoping you will lead this again - maybe including some more Christmas gift ideas as well.

Lili said...

Ruthie said...
Hi Lili - thank you so much for this information!I have a couple of questions - I read your recipe for making yogurt. I also saw where it could be made in a crockpot. Have you ever tried that?
Also - if you use a credit card to purchase - which one have you found gives you back the best deal?
I love the idea of making something with the jam pan drippings!


Good morning, Ruthie!
You're welcome. Writing up the recipe yesterday prompted me to make a batch of pita bread -- for which my family thanks you! Freshly baked bread of any sort is sooooo good!
About your yogurt question -- I've never made yogurt in a crockpot, but I did try it in a thermos years ago. The thermos method failed for me. With a crockpot this is my concern: temperatures in crockpots vary by brand and year of manufacturer. So, one person's success doesn't indicate that this method will work for someone else. If you want to try it in a crockpot, I still recommend using a thermometer to make sure the milk is heated to the correct temperature to kill bad bacteria, then check the temp again to make sure the milk has cooled to a temp that won't kill the yogurt bacteria. And after that, check the temp of your lowest setting to make sure it's in the 105 to 120 F temp range for incubating. You might want to put some water in your crockpot, turn it on to HI and come back in an hour and check the temp. Then do the same thing for the LO setting. You'll be able to see if your crockpot will work for making yogurt.

For credit cards, I like consulting nerdwallet.com. NerdWallet is very current and breaks the CC rewards down into categories, like travel rewards, cash-back, bonus rewards. And, NerdWallet gives you the info on annual fees, interest rates, and what type of credit score you need to qualify for each card. Check out this page: https://www.nerdwallet.com/best/credit-cards/rewards And then for each card that sounds appealing to you, click on "product details". A drop-down menu of details, such as rewards and bonuses will display on your page, and won't cause you to go to a new page.

I'm currently looking for our next CC. These are my current thoughts -- Wells Fargo made some bad mistakes in recent years that they are trying to recover from. They've just recently (within the last couple of weeks) gotten a nod of approval from one of the industry experts for their efforts to reclaim good-standing status. Wells Fargo is trying very hard to win back customers, so if you check out their CC offer, you'll notice that they have a high reward American Express with no annual fee. If you normally charge a lot each month (put all of your bills, insurance payments, etc on CC), and think you'd put $3000 on the card over the span of 3 months, this Wells Fargo AMEX has a $300 cash-back bonus. That's pretty good. For a lesser bonus plus good rewards and no annual fee, the Capital One cards sound good. There are a few of them that have a bonus of $150 for a $500 spend over 3 months, plus monthly rewards of 1.5%. Also, if you have an account with an investment company, check to see if they offer a Visa. Sometimes investment companies offer CCs with no annual fee, sign-up bonus with a minimum spend, and decent rewards on continued spending. My personal criteria is minimum 1.5% reward on all purchases, some sort of sign-up bonus ($150 or more) with minimum spend, and no annual fee.
Good luck with this, Ruthie.
I hope you're enjoying a beautiful Saturday morning!

Jayne said...

Hi Lili,

Thanks for all the great tips and solutions that you have provided through your blog, including the most recent comments. I love the idea of jam milk and lemonade. I will be making strawberry jam today, so I will definitely try out this today.

While I have your attention, I hope that you or your readers have a sure fire solution for getting an unknown stain on a t-shirt. I think the stain might be butter or grease or red wine. Of course it is my favourite summer shirt.

Lili said...

ruthie said...
Hi Lili - I logged on an hour early - duh! Anyway- I am anxious to try out the pita and the tortillas. I tried tortillas a few years ago and they were thick and tough. I thought I would need a tortilla press, but I'll give it another try. They are so much better homemade - unless, of course, they are thick and tough!
I think this is a great forum to come together and share ideas. I'm hoping you will lead this again - maybe including some more Christmas gift ideas as well.


No worries, Ruthie.
You read my mind!!! I was thinking this morning how we should do a Christmas "chat." I'm working on Christmas gifts right now, so this is the time! Maybe in a week or two. We could all exchange our ideas. I've got a few that are free or near free that I'll share.
Regarding your try at tortillas, what I discovered is temperature of the pan and type of surface, plus how soft the dough was made all of the difference. You need a soft dough and lots of flour on the counter or your board for rolling out. A soft dough will stretch better, so you can get it quite thin. Then for the frying part, cast iron makes my tortillas too dried out. A stainless steel frying pan works best for me. I get the pan pretty hot, so they cook quickly. Slow cooking will dry them out. I hope you give tortillas another shot. And like I said about making pita bread, if you can do tortillas than you can certainly do pita -- tortillas are slightly trickier, for the reasons you said, than pita bread. Pita bread doesn't have to be as thick, and goes into a temperature-controlled oven. But do try the tortillas with a soft dough. You might be surprised at how good they turn out. One thing I've noticed, though, my tortillas never turn out perfectly round. So, we've come to accept that they look homemade.

Lili said...

Lona said...
It is overcast here, we have been having some hot days since our "mini fall-like" weather has left.


Lona, we've had a strange summer in the PNW. I thought we'd get an all-hot one, after the long chill we had this winter and spring. But we've had so many days where I thought we'd slipped into fall already. It's hard to believe that it's still early August, when I keep thinking it's fall.
For you, the mini-fall was probably a relief after the hot days. Overcast can be good, depending on whether or not it's holding in humidity.

Anonymous said...

For Jayne, I have found great success treating stains with deodorant bar soap, like Irish Spring. Wet the bar, rub it on the stain leaving a thick paste, let it sit an hour or so, then launder. I've also done the treatment and just put it in my clothes hamper for the next time I do laundry. The soap paste can sit on the stain for some time without affecting the dye. A second treatment can be helpful on tough stains. This works great on those oil stains that get on clothing.
Mary

Anonymous said...

Hi Lili, just got up after some broken sleep last night. Glad I caught your live chat. Sorry I've been MIA because to say it frankly I've fallen off our budget badly. It's been a disastrous year for our finances, not for medical expenses thankfully because of dual coverage (Medicare and Supplemental), but other discretionary areas like helping our grands, our 21 yo grandson in particular.

YHF (Laura)

RobinWrob said...

Greetings Lilli and all,
I am so glad I stumbled across this blog a few months back. I am enjoying reading all your old post and comment by others. I forgot about sprouting till your blog reminded me.
RobinW

Lili said...

Lona said...
will you be stocking up on any labor day sales? This will be our last sale on hot dogs, buns, ketchup, mustard and misc. Also, what holiday items will you stock around the Thanksgiving sales?


Lona, I'll probably buy a couple of extra packs of hot dogs just before Labor Day. Would you like to know how I save on hot dog buns, ketchup, mustard, and relish? We bake our own hot dog buns, using the recipe in this link:

http://www.creativesavv.com/2012/05/incredibly-awesome-easy-to-make.html

I've taught my husband and my daughters how to make hot dog buns, so unless we're just really busy or feeling lazy, we can have buns for cook-outs in about 2 hours. The recipe in that link makes a dozen. You can halve the recipe and make just enough for one dinner or freeze the leftovers. And you can make them all white or part white/part wheat. They're easy to do, too.

For ketchup -- I make my own using canned tomato paste, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, molasses, onion or onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. You can make a big batch of homemade ketchup and freeze it in 2 cup portions. There are a bunch of copy-cat recipes online, or you can experiment with a basic recipe.
For mustard -- I sometimes make my own, following a recipe for yellow mustard, or I buy a 1 gallon container of mustard from a restaurant supply. We fill a small jar with some of this mustard and keep the rest out in our garage fridge. As long as there's no contamination in the large container, mustard can keep a really long time in the fridge, a year or longer. Our mustard has stayed good for at least 2 years, then we finished the gallon container.
For relish -- I make my own, using the green tomatoes that don't have a chance of ripening because they're too small. Here's the link to dill green tomato relish:

http://www.creativesavv.com/2012/09/green-tomato-dill-pickle-relish.html

and in this post is a description of how I make green tomato sweet relish:

http://www.creativesavv.com/2016/10/the-weather-turned-suddenly-and-left-me.html

The sweet relish is actually an adaptation of a zucchini relish recipe. I rarely have surplus zucchini (I know, strange, huh?) so I use the green tomatoes.

So, that's how we get our basic cook-out supplies for cheap. If I find soda pop on a great sale, I'll buy 1 2-liter of cola. We have cola once a year, when we decorate our Christmas tree. It's a family tradition, so I do look for great deals on that.

for Thanksgiving sales and stock-up -- let me end this comment and start a new one (getting long and I might get cut-off). Back in a jiff

Anonymous said...

I've taken to eating my watermelon rind as well. It's perfectly nutritious and stretches my food dollars on my very tight budget, so what's not to like about that? :-D Aside from pickles and the like, I also like using my julienne slicer (just like a hand-held peeler, but it juliennes) to julienne the rind to make delicious Thai-inspired salads similar to the popular sweet and sour 'Green Papaya Salads" often found on Thai restaurant menus....

Along those very same lines, for fun I've also been experimenting recently with consuming my banana peels. Yes, this is actually a thing, that I'm not making up! Recipes for Banana Peel "Pulled Pork", Banana Peel 'Sloppy Joes', Banana Peel Curry (traditional dish in Southeast Asian cuisine), Banana Peel 'Bacon', Banana Peel Cake, etc, are all making the viral internet rounds at present. My first attempt at Banana Peel 'Pulled Pork' (from over-ripe bananas I was able to purchase at deep discount) turned out not too bad so I thought (though admittedly I'm only cooking for myself right now, lol...!).


Banana Peel 'Pulled Pork':
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=banana+peel+pulled+pork+tasty&&view=detail&mid=BA6BEC530F56D9D494ACBA6BEC530F56D9D494AC&&FORM=VRDGAR

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mary for the tip on removing greasy stains...makes sense to use bar soap paste. Does the soap have to be the deodorant type...I'm thinking probably so. Another trick that might work is white vinegar. I use it to clean everything, even the carpet floor that is heavily walked on.

Laura

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the watermelon rind salad tip. We bought a peeler just for making julienne strips, and we love Thai green papaya salads, so I'm going to try it. Sounds delicious, and a good easy way to use the rinds. I bought a watermelon yesterday, so before my husband slices it I'm going to tell him let's peel the rind first.

Laura

Lili said...

Lona said...
. . .what holiday items will you stock around the Thanksgiving sales?


Thanksgiving will be here before we know it! The pre-Thanksgiving sales are some of the best deals all year round. You know I don't like to spend into the next month's grocery money if I can avoid it. BUT, this year is different. I found that this past winter we were able to spend practically nothing in both January and February, so for this year's holiday sales season, I plan on taking about 1/3 to 1/2 of both January and February's grocery money to buy stock-up items in November, meaning I'll have an extra $80 to $125 or so to stock-up.

So, all of this depends on pricing. If it's a bad year for celery, I won't buy much, likewise for any of the other items, But this is my basic plan. I plan on buying one extra turkey (in previous years I've bought as many as 3 extra turkeys), lots of canned vegetables (several cases) if I find them for 39 cents/can or less (I'll check WinCo, Walmart, Fred Meyer, and Canned Food Outlet -- I'll also price compare the #10 cans from Cash&Carry on a weight basis), fresh potatoes (if they're $1 to $1.25/10-lbs), butter (at 1.99/lb), baking supplies like chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts (pecans, almonds), an extra ham or two, fresh celery (keeps in the fridge for a month, and can be chopped and frozen), onions (50-lb bag from Cash & Carry), fresh sweet potatoes/yams (at 79 cents/lb , they'll keep through December in the fridge), winter squash/pumpkins, canned pumpkin, canned cream soup (about 10 cans), and whipping cream when it goes on sale after the holidays. I'll also check the clearance racks for dipping chocolate in trays (for making chocolate bunnies for Easter), and candies to use for future holidays (a box of red-wrapped Lindt truffles is nice for Valentine's Day).

For canned vegetables, if you have access to #10 cans of vegetables, including canned pumpkin or canned tomatoes/paste, if the price per ounce is cheaper in the #10 can than in 15-oz cans, you can buy the #10 cans and portion out into containers and freeze. I've successfully frozen canned green beans, corn, pumpkin puree, tomato paste/whole or chopped tomatoes, and canned spinach. We have a restaurant supply that sells the #10 cans, so I compare the price per ounce to my best prices in regular-sized cans.

This year, of all years, I plan on buying as much of January and February's food as possible before the new year, as we all know that sales few and far between in January and February. Thanks for asking. This caused me to stop and sort through my plans.

What items have I left off of my list that you'll be stocking up on?

Lili said...

Anonymous said...
Regarding the chutney, perhaps in addition to the apple, you could also sacrifice a green tomato or two from your garden...? I've made lots of Green Tomato Chutney over the years, which does also generally call for raisins. But perhaps you could sub chopped rhubarb for the raisins in Green Tomato Chutney. Or, sub chopped green tomato for the raisins in Rhubarb Chutney -- does that make sense....? (Either way might need a wee bump up with the sugar I'm thinking....)


Hi there. Great ideas! I always have those green tomatoes that have no chance of ripening because they're too small. I might also have some green figs that can't ripen, so either of those might be substitutes for the raisins, with extra sugar, like you said. I think your suggestions are awesome and have helped me see new possibilities for our chutney. The green tomato could take the place of a green apple in a standard chutney recipe, maybe using green tomato, onions, spices, molasses, sugar, and vinegar. This might just work! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura -- yay for julienne peelers, plus just a little note here to add that julienned raw zucchini (especially the ones that get accidentally huge in the garden) also makes a really good stand in for the green papaya in Thai "Green Papaya Salad" :-)

Lona said...

Thank you for all of the labor day recipes and ideas! Thank you for providing this list as well. I had gotten into this rut of eating away from home, alot. I know, gasp, but I am back on the straight and narrow. I am happy to report that we've only eaten out 1 night so far this month. It stretched into 2 meals and 1 lunch if that counts. Lol.

In the past I have sold goodies from home which meant I cooked all day for everyone else and was too exhausted to cook for us. I ended that in May of this year. My holidays were full of 16 hour days baking cakes, goodies, and other treats for customers leaving me wanting to make sandwiches for holidays. I have done that for 3 years. I really don't know what I will get this year. This is why I have been so thankful for your information. Our resources are lower now that I'm not cooking for others, but I don't know that we were actually coming out ahead since we ate out alot.
I will say that I have spent 185.00 this month and have gotten some stock up done. We have been having vegetable shortage signs hanging in our Walmart and Kroger stores. I did go ahead and buy many 15 oz. cans of vegetables to have just in case we don't have many available due to floods and such.
I am hoping to get more veggies, definitely turkeys, butter, flour, sugars, oil, and potatoes.

Thank you so much for inspiring all of us and helping us to stretch our pennies!

Lili said...

Jayne said...
. . . I will be making strawberry jam today, so I will definitely try out this today.

While I have your attention, I hope that you or your readers have a sure fire solution for getting an unknown stain on a t-shirt. I think the stain might be butter or grease or red wine. Of course it is my favourite summer shirt.


Oh yum -- strawberry jam. I'll be right there to "help."
About you stain -- I like Mary's suggestion with the bar soap. Earlier this summer, I was washing all of the blankets and quilts and one of them had a bad stain near the edge. I poured our homemade laundry soap (which is just melted bar soap mixed with a little liquid dish detergent) onto the stain, rubbed it in good and let it sit while other items were washing. I didn't really expect the stain to come out, but to my amazement, it did! I washed in cold water and air-dried, so I wasn't heat-setting the stain. Have you tried liquid hand-dishwashing soap yet? Dishwashing soap is designed to get butter and other fats off of items. It could break down the fat trapped in the fabric. If this is wine, do you mean white or red, and what kind of fabric? For red wine, hydrogen peroxide is a really great, and gentle bleach. Test some hydrogen peroxide out on a seam or corner that's not noticeable, to make sure your fabric is colorfast enough. You can mix a little hydrogen peroxide with liquid dishwashing soap and rub it into the stain. I used hydrogen peroxide on underarm stains on one shirt with good results. I kept the shirt immersed in the HP overnight, refreshing it as it dried. Alternatively, have you tried using lemon juice and placing the garment in the sun? I've used the sun to "bleach" whites before.

Good luck with this. I sure hope you can save this shirt. And let us know what worked.

Lili said...

YHF said...
Hi Lili, just got up after some broken sleep last night. Glad I caught your live chat. Sorry I've been MIA because to say it frankly I've fallen off our budget badly. It's been a disastrous year for our finances, not for medical expenses thankfully because of dual coverage (Medicare and Supplemental), but other discretionary areas like helping our grands, our 21 yo grandson in particular.
YHF (Laura)


I'm sorry you had a bad night's sleep. I sure know how those can affect your whole next day! No worries about being MIA. I'm glad you're here right now. So, confession time for me -- I've fallen off the budget-wagon numerous times! The thing is, I eventually get back on it. You also need to recognize that you've been using your finances for a very good cause, to help your grandkids get a start in life. What you have been doing may change the whole course of his life. So that's a really, really good thing that you've been doing. 2018 was a disastrous year for our budget. We had some huge expenses that couldn't be helped. You do what you can and forgive yourself for the rest. I bet that your presence in your grandson's life will imprint on his mind and last his entire life. That;s the kind of legacy we all hope to leave.
Welcome back, YHF, and I hope you sleep really well tonight!

Lili said...

Anonymous said...
. . .treating stains with deodorant bar soap, like Irish Spring. Wet the bar, rub it on the stain leaving a thick paste, let it sit an hour or so, then launder. I've also done the treatment and just put it in my clothes hamper for the next time I do laundry. The soap paste can sit on the stain for some time without affecting the dye. A second treatment can be helpful on tough stains. This works great on those oil stains that get on clothing.
Mary


Really good advice, Mary. Have you ever tried Fels Naptha for stains? I read about it all of the time but have never tried it. Your info got me to thinking that maybe I should pick up a bar of Irish Spring at Dollar Tree and keep it in the laundry room. Much cheaper than products like Shout. Thanks, Mary!

Lili said...

RobinWrob said...
Greetings Lilli and all,
I am so glad I stumbled across this blog a few months back. I am enjoying reading all your old post and comment by others. I forgot about sprouting till your blog reminded me.
RobinW


Hi Robin!
Oh yes, sprouting --- I'm thinking that sprouts will be a good source of fresh produce in winter. I collected seeds from my chive plants and kale, hoping I can sprout those this winter, along with lentils. They're healthy, but also delicious.
Have a great day, Robin! And thanks for commenting.

Lili said...

Anonymous said...
I've taken to eating my watermelon rind as well. It's perfectly nutritious and stretches my food dollars on my very tight budget, so what's not to like about that? :-D Aside from pickles and the like, I also like using my julienne slicer (just like a hand-held peeler, but it juliennes) to julienne the rind to make delicious Thai-inspired salads similar to the popular sweet and sour 'Green Papaya Salads" often found on Thai restaurant menus....

Along those very same lines, for fun I've also been experimenting recently with consuming my banana peels. Yes, this is actually a thing, that I'm not making up! Recipes for Banana Peel "Pulled Pork", Banana Peel 'Sloppy Joes', Banana Peel Curry (traditional dish in Southeast Asian cuisine), Banana Peel 'Bacon', Banana Peel Cake, etc, are all making the viral internet rounds at present. My first attempt at Banana Peel 'Pulled Pork' (from over-ripe bananas I was able to purchase at deep discount) turned out not too bad so I thought (though admittedly I'm only cooking for myself right now, lol...!).


Banana Peel 'Pulled Pork':
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=banana+peel+pulled+pork+tasty&&view=detail&mid=BA6BEC530F56D9D494ACBA6BEC530F56D9D494AC&&FORM=VRDGAR


Hi there, oh my goodness -- I learn something new everyday! I have never heard of eating the peels on bananas. Are they stringy at all? I will check this out! And I love the ida of julienning your watermelon rind. My step-mom sent me one of those peelers that juliennes. I will give that a try. one of the things that I've done with watermelon this summer is to pre-cut the red part off of the rind, a quarter of the melon at a time. I leave the cut pieces of melon in a container in the fridge for my family, and store the rinds in a plastic bag in the fridge until I can cook with it. Pre-cutting the red part off of the rind means that the rind will not get tossed into the compost. My family members forget that I'm saving the rinds, so this circumvents that issue. That sweet and sour salad idea for the watermelon rind sounds delicious. I'm going to look for a recipe that will work. Thank you!

Lili said...

Anonymous said...
Another trick that might work is white vinegar. I use it to clean everything, even the carpet floor that is heavily walked on.
Laura


Hi Laura,
have you used white vinegar as a stain remover with carpet? Our stairs are carpeted in white and in bad need of cleaning. I;m wondering if you sponge the vinegar on or use a stem-cleaner with vinegar in the solution? Thanks!

Lili said...

Laura said...
I bought a watermelon yesterday, so before my husband slices it I'm going to tell him let's peel the rind first.


Laura, this is exactly what we do with the melon, only I do this in quarters as we progress through the melon in the week. I cut the melon into quarters, then slice a quarter and trim off the rind. The red slices get cubed and kept in the fridge in a container, then the rinds are freed up for me to use in cooking, without the chance someone will toss a rind into the compost. Works great, and my family loves that the red part is all cubed. The other thing I have noticed is that when my family members just eat watermelon in slices with the rind still on, they don't get very close to the white part, which IMO is wasteful. So, when I cut off the rind, I make sure that I get all of the red part for them. Aren't I helpful? I know they probably don't eat close to the white because they probably think it doesn't taste as good -- I'm just "helping" them to enjoy all of the melon!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Lili, for your kind and uplifting words. Yes, I feel we had no choice but to help with the cost of raising our grandchildren, and we have five so that's really going to dent our retirement, painful but in a good way. Cost of living these days make it impossible for young families to avoid debt. Thankfully our children work hard, too hard in fact, yet it is not enough.

Laura

Lili said...

Anonymous said...
Hi Laura -- yay for julienne peelers, plus just a little note here to add that julienned raw zucchini (especially the ones that get accidentally huge in the garden) also makes a really good stand in for the green papaya in Thai "Green Papaya Salad" :-)


Oooh, that sounds good. Julienned zucchini also makes a good, low-carb stand-in for pasta.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Lili, I didn't mean to confuse about how I use white vinegar on carpets. I guess not as a stain remover, but for stain prevention. We walk barefoot in our homes, so I spray white vinegar where there is most contact almost daily, and I've noticed the carpet stays fresh and not matted.

Laura

Lili said...

Lona said...
I am happy to report that we've only eaten out 1 night so far this month. It stretched into 2 meals and 1 lunch if that counts. Lol.

In the past I have sold goodies from home which meant I cooked all day for everyone else and was too exhausted to cook for us. I ended that in May of this year. My holidays were full of 16 hour days baking cakes, goodies, and other treats for customers leaving me wanting to make sandwiches for holidays. I have done that for 3 years. I really don't know what I will get this year. This is why I have been so thankful for your information. Our resources are lower now that I'm not cooking for others, but I don't know that we were actually coming out ahead since we ate out alot.
I will say that I have spent 185.00 this month and have gotten some stock up done. We have been having vegetable shortage signs hanging in our Walmart and Kroger stores. I did go ahead and buy many 15 oz. cans of vegetables to have just in case we don't have many available due to floods and such.
I am hoping to get more veggies, definitely turkeys, butter, flour, sugars, oil, and potatoes.

Thank you so much for inspiring all of us and helping us to stretch our pennies!


Lona, we all have those times when we just have to do a lot of take-out. Last fall after my FIL had been placed in a nursing home, we were visiting him every week. It was a sort of long drive there and back, and made for very long days. We ate out every week for a long stretch of time. It was a way to take care of ourselves as best we could during those months. You do what you have to do. But you did discover something that I found out when my kids were small. I tried working from home for 3 stretches of time, at different age levels of my kids. Each time, I felt so guilty for not spending enough time with them that I took them shopping and bought them toys or Happy Meals or something like that to make up for the fact that I wasn't spending more time with them or didn't have the energy to cook. It cost as much or more to have me working in those days. It can work for others, though.

Great work on your grocery progress for this month! Stocking up on canned vegetables now while you can is a good proactive step. can you garden at all in the cooler months? Or grow sprouts or micro-greens indoors? I've planted this year's garden with lots of fall vegetables, like kale, leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, and beets. As long as it doesn't freeze early, I should be able to harvest some vegetables through November. Then I will shift my "gardening" to growing sprouts indoors. I have a grow light that I can use to grow a large tray of micro-greens, set up on top of my dryer, so they'll get some heat from time to time.

Sugar is a good one for stocking up on. I typically see powdered/confectioner's sugar as well as granulated on sale in November. I'll add those to my list. Wishing you the best as you stock your pantry this fall!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip to use julienned zucchini in salads. And Lili, thanks for mentioning cutting the watermelon in quarters because I was going to attempt peeling the outer skin of the whole watermelon with a heavy duty peeler then use the julienne peeler to peel the rind. That would have been a disaster.

Laura

Lili said...

Laura said...
Thank you so much Lili, for your kind and uplifting words. Yes, I feel we had no choice but to help with the cost of raising our grandchildren, and we have five so that's really going to dent our retirement, painful but in a good way. Cost of living these days make it impossible for young families to avoid debt. Thankfully our children work hard, too hard in fact, yet it is not enough.


I know what you mean about it so hard to get ahead as a young family, now. Life has become so expensive. We rely on so many services and devices. If we're not using them, then we fall behind and may not be as competitive in the employment arena. And the cost of college has gone through the roof, even for basic state universities. Your grandchildren will be thankful for what you have done for them. I do think that the way we look at retirement will need to change in the next decade. I think people will be working longer, at least part time. I think "retirees" will find side gigs to bring in some extra cash, just so they can pay basic bills. Some parts of the country will be tougher than others. So I can imagine that previously quiet places in the US will become overrun with retirees, as they may have lower costs of living. Or, perhaps we'll see more multi-generational housing again. And that could be a good thing for bringing families and community back together. It could all work out for the good.

Lili said...

Laura said...
Sorry, Lili, I didn't mean to confuse about how I use white vinegar on carpets. I guess not as a stain remover, but for stain prevention. We walk barefoot in our homes, so I spray white vinegar where there is most contact almost daily, and I've noticed the carpet stays fresh and not matted.


Oh, I get it. Thanks for clearing that up. Hmm, that sounds like a good preventative once I get the stairs cleaned. I now go barefoot a lot as it's better for my foot problems, so I imagine I'm adding to the dirty stairs.

On another note -- since I changed the comments format, I now have to answer those ridiculous "robot" puzzles. I didn't have to before. They are such a huge pain! I often can't see all of the squares well-enough to identify if there's a fire hydrant or vehicle in the picture. I've searched Blogger's help forum and can't find any way to not have that on the comments. So, I'm so sorry that you all have had to do those silly puzzles all of this time!

Lili said...

Laura said...
Thanks for the tip to use julienned zucchini in salads. And Lili, thanks for mentioning cutting the watermelon in quarters because I was going to attempt peeling the outer skin of the whole watermelon with a heavy duty peeler then use the julienne peeler to peel the rind. That would have been a disaster.


Laura, that was such a funny picture in my mind, depending on the size of the watermelon. Yes, try cutting the melon into quarters first. This also gives you the opportunity to only julienne part of the melon at a time, and save the other quarters for another day.

Anonymous said...

About the robot puzzles, Lili, I find I answer it correctly if I use my reading glasses. Some of the pictures are smallish or camouflaged. If I answer incorrectly too many times in a row, that's when I think my comment gets deleted.

Have a good weekend, and thank you for hosting a chat session.

Laura

Anonymous said...

@ cost of staying competitive....I am shocked by what our son said parents typically do for their children these days. Whenever I praise him for all they do for their children, he remarks quickly that it is nothing compared to what other parents do for their children. It's gotten so competitive that i think children can't be children anymore. I'm glad I'm not a young parent these days.

Laura

Lili said...

Laura said...
About the robot puzzles, Lili, I find I answer it correctly if I use my reading glasses. Some of the pictures are smallish or camouflaged. If I answer incorrectly too many times in a row, that's when I think my comment gets deleted.

Have a good weekend, and thank you for hosting a chat session.


Laura, I know. I have to zoom in on the screen to see the images. And I still ail some of them because I'm "incorrect." I think the makers of the puzzle should have to answer them themselves, but given some limitations, such as they have to stand 10 feet away from the screen. Because that's as bad as it feels to me sometimes.

You have a good weekend, too! And it was my pleasure. A really nice way to spend the morning, I thought.

Lili said...

Laura,
One of the thins that has surprised me about this younger generation is how few of them worked summer jobs while in college (let alone high school). I always HAD to work a summer job in high school, not because we needed the money, but it was thought I'd learn responsibility. Now I admit I let my own kids wait on summer jobs until they had graduated high school, but I required summer jobs from them all through college. I expected them to pay for some of their tuition each year. Meanwhile, I was hearing from others that many young adults were not working summer jobs in college. Sure, my kids had to do things they didn't want to do, like clean other peoples' bathrooms or scrub commercial kitchens, but I think they learned that hard work is sometimes needed. I think not making your kids work summer jobs has become a status symbol for some of the parents, like the parents are so well-off they do "need" to have their kids work summer jobs. This has made it difficult for those of us who have different standards for our own kids. My kids also always took the city buses to and from university. Again, not at all pleasant, but it was cost-effective. A lot of students had their own cars, that their parents had bought for them.

The other thing to remember with your grands and what they report other parents are doing -- there's a good chance that not ALL of the other parents are going overboard with their kids. But the ones that do just stand out in the younger generation's minds. And I think the pressure is also on the kids whose parents don't provide all of this stuff and extras. It makes them feel somehow less-than the rest of their friends. I think my own kids have felt that. I try to listen and reaffirm to them that I get the pressure feels hard. I have a long history with my kids reminding them of some of the fun vacations we've taken in the past, all because we were frugal the rest of the time. I didn't do everything perfectly in being a parent, but I hope that someday all of them realize that I was in a tough spot, making the best choices I could, and always loved them, which they will also hopefully realize is what really mattered.

I was just thinking -- if I had told my dad that I needed a $1000 laptop for school, he probably would have just laughed and said, "good luck with that kid." Imagine if I had said I needed a smartphone. It's new territory out there.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Shirley said...

Hi Lili, Once again There's a lot of good learning here! I'm adding a comment about those "robot puzzles" - I have vision impairment so I've learned to click on the audio icon. Of course, I have to try two - three time because they don't enunciate clearly but it is easier for me. This week will see me julienne zucchini into my salads! Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Shirley

Lili said...

Hi Shirley,
Oh, thank you for the tip about the robot puzzles. I will try that as I desperately need reading glasses. The audio may help me a lot.
Your salads sound like they'll be delicious!
Have a lovely Sunday, Shirley!

CTMOM said...

HI Lili, Re mending the jeans. I would place light blue thread in the spoon on top of the sewing machine, and dark blue if it matters to you, on the bottom. Alternatively, a light gray works well in mending like this. I save the good parts of jeans for repairs. I'd cut an oversized patch, turn the ends under and sew them down to secure the fold. I would then apply the neat patch over the outside of the worn area and sew as close as possible to the folded edge. Repeat 1/4 inch away, into the patch, if desired. Yes, a top zigzag darn will reinforce but this looks like a friction rub, so will only continue to get worse-just my 2 cents.
Re: the chutney ingredients. I'd try zucchini, green tomato, onions, spices, vinegar etc. I'd use one apple for the sweetness element. Instead of considering purchasing an entire box/bag of craisins/raisins-can you just buy a few from the bulk bins of Winco or another store? would that be cost effective? Also, I often see 8 oz? pouches of craisins at Dollar tree-just some thoughts. Reminder, I'd love to have you join us over on Facebook, in my closed group, still called "CTonabudget" Carol in CT

Alice said...

I found that the best stain remover for greasy stains is blue dawn dish soap. Put it full strength on the stain, roll up the item, and put it aside for one day. Wash with load of same items and do NOT put it in the dryer. Hang to dry and make sure the stain is gone. Repeat if necessary. It has worked 100% of the time for me.

Alice

Cat said...

Question, which may sound crazy to you: I used to be quite good at meal planning and stretching our dollars. Not on your level, but good for me and my family. As you mentioned somewhere up above, I slacked off some on this the past year while working an outside-my-home job. Now, while I have left that job, I feel like I'm lacking focus. I sit down to plan and draw a blank. Do you ever have this happen, and if so, how did you work through it? I really need to tighten down on the budget.

Thanks for any ideas!

Lili said...

CTMOM said...
HI Lili, Re mending the jeans. I would place light blue thread in the spoon on top of the sewing machine, and dark blue if it matters to you, on the bottom. Alternatively, a light gray works well in mending like this. I save the good parts of jeans for repairs. I'd cut an oversized patch, turn the ends under and sew them down to secure the fold. I would then apply the neat patch over the outside of the worn area and sew as close as possible to the folded edge. Repeat 1/4 inch away, into the patch, if desired. Yes, a top zigzag darn will reinforce but this looks like a friction rub, so will only continue to get worse-just my 2 cents.
Re: the chutney ingredients. I'd try zucchini, green tomato, onions, spices, vinegar etc. I'd use one apple for the sweetness element. Instead of considering purchasing an entire box/bag of craisins/raisins-can you just buy a few from the bulk bins of Winco or another store? would that be cost effective? Also, I often see 8 oz? pouches of craisins at Dollar tree-just some thoughts. Reminder, I'd love to have you join us over on Facebook, in my closed group, still called "CTonabudget" Carol in CT


Thank you, Carol for your great suggestions on both the jeans and the chutney. If I'm going to use green tomatoes in the chutney, I've got another month to figure out my ingredients. I could buy just a handful of raisins, if I feel I've got that to spare in the budget. I'll have to think on it. Since we're eating a lot of curry dishes right now, I may experiment with a variety of options in very small batches, then do a larger batch to can in a few weeks.
Anyway, thank you!

Lili said...

Alice said...
. . .best stain remover for greasy stains is blue dawn dish soap. Put it full strength on the stain, roll up the item, and put it aside for one day. Wash with load of same items and do NOT put it in the dryer. Hang to dry and make sure the stain is gone. Repeat if necessary. It has worked 100% of the time for me.


Hi Alice, I've heard a lot of good things about Dawn dish soap. Great to know it works so well for you. And very good point about NOT putting the item in the dryer until you're sure the stain is out. Thanks for saying that. It makes a big difference.

Lili said...

Cat said...
Question, which may sound crazy to you: I used to be quite good at meal planning and stretching our dollars. . .I feel like I'm lacking focus. I sit down to plan and draw a blank. Do you ever have this happen, and if so, how did you work through it? I really need to tighten down on the budget.


Hi Cat,
yes! This happens a lot, not just with meal planning or making my shopping list, but other domestic tasks as well. What you describe sounds like me when I'm just un-inspired. When I've had a phase that I chose more easy to fix foods for a while, then had to get back to basics, those easy to fix foods took away any need for inspiration. So going back to basic cooking meant I had to find that inspiration all over. One place to start is to look up recipes for any of your family's favorite convenience or take-out meals, and make it all from scratch.

I often brainstorm with my family members. My daughters in particular can give me some really good ideas for dinner menus.

The other thing I like to do is have a "cooking day," where I cook and bake as many things as I can think of in a day. Then we have enough to eat for several days. You might also want to try something to change things up for yourself, like once-a-month cooking, or prepping a week's worth of bags of ingredients for the crockpot.

Don't overlook that you might be tired. If you were working a paid job and then also taking care of your family and home, you may need to find a way to give yourself a break that doesn't cost anything extra. Prepping very simple meals in advance could give you that break.

We do go through phases where we're eating extremely basic meals, like lots of rice and beans with carrots. Sounds boring, but until I can feel inspired again, those meals perform their purpose. Take it easy for a little while and simplify your planning. Fall is a good time for this as many fall foods are very economical and have simple preparations.
Good luck with this, Cat.

Anonymous said...

Lili, you do so much for your family everyday, I think the best gift you can give them is not some gadget that can easily be bought, but the daily example of how to live frugally with excellent money management skills. That will serve them well in their own household one day.

I recently had a conversation with our grandson that seems to have resonated. I told him to think everyday of what you must do to keep your main, big plate spinning, before you tend to any of your smaller plates. The action to keep big plate spinning can be small, an adjustment, like modifying a habit. Some families are good at teaching their children that they must take care of big plate first everyday,and some families neglect to stress the importance. Children especially want to think of only small plates, so parents have to remind them, brush your teeth, eat your vegetables, do your homework before playing. I know this analogy sounds silly...plates on a spinning pole lol

Laura

Cat said...

Lili,

Thanks for your thoughtful response above. I have read it a couple of times and will again, I'm sure. Traveling today to take my oldest to college to move in (freshman year!) so will have some time to think.

Lili said...

Laura said...
Lili, you do so much for your family everyday, I think the best gift you can give them is not some gadget that can easily be bought, but the daily example of how to live frugally with excellent money management skills. That will serve them well in their own household one day.

I recently had a conversation with our grandson that seems to have resonated. I told him to think everyday of what you must do to keep your main, big plate spinning, before you tend to any of your smaller plates. The action to keep big plate spinning can be small, an adjustment, like modifying a habit. Some families are good at teaching their children that they must take care of big plate first everyday,and some families neglect to stress the importance. Children especially want to think of only small plates, so parents have to remind them, brush your teeth, eat your vegetables, do your homework before playing. I know this analogy sounds silly...plates on a spinning pole lol


Thank you for your words of encouragement, Laura.
I like your analogy. It makes a lot of sense to me. I think being able to see the big picture is really important. It's easy to get bogged down in the details and forget why we're doing something, or forget the big thing altogether and only focus on trivial things. Thanks for your input.

Lili said...

Cat said...
. . .Traveling today to take my oldest to college to move in (freshman year!) so will have some time to think.


You're welcome, Cat. You may find that today's post was somewhat inspired by thoughts from your questions over the weekend. I don't know if you have anything to add to that post, but if you do, please do.

Oh, my goodness! how is this even possible? I was thinking all of your kids were still really young-ish. Wow, time goes by so fast, doesn't it? My niece and nephew (twins) will also be going away to college later this month and early next. So you, too, understand having a young adult in the family. It's a new dimension to parenting, that's for sure. Have a safe drive. It's an emotional time. I wish you well! (And I also wish your YA child well in this first year of college.)

Cat said...

Ha, well, my kids were quite little when I started reading your blog, but are now 19 next month, 15, 13 this week, 11, and 9. We are in the insane-amount-of-food stage right now, I believe. The oldest has finished her growth spurt and leveled out on food (and now, of course, moved out), but the others eat like you would not believe. The 9 YO seems to have just hit a growth spurt. He told me the other day that he thinks he must be growing because he ALWAYS feels hungry, LOL.

VanessaKC said...

Check out Penniless Parenting, she’s quite the produce to curry star.

Lynn said...


Hi Lili. Sorry I didn't get to check in live but certainly enjoyed the post and all the comments afterwards. As always, you are informative and I learned something new. I made pitas decades ago and have thought about making them again. Your instructions may give me the push I need to try them again. I like pita chips, just not their price! I also have had some masa for a while and just haven't gotten around to making torts either. Hopefully your post will jump start me to try them both! Thanks so much for your blog. I so enjoy it!

Lili said...

VanessaKC said...
Check out Penniless Parenting, she’s quite the produce to curry star.


Thank you Vanessa. I just did and found several interesting recipes including this one for Banana Peel chutney
Very interesting.
Thank you for the suggestion, Vanessa!

Lili said...

Lynn said...
I made pitas decades ago and have thought about making them again. Your instructions may give me the push I need to try them again. I like pita chips, just not their price! I also have had some masa for a while and just haven't gotten around to making torts either.


Hi Lynn,
Oh, I totally agree on the price of pita chips. Especially when they're so easy to make, even if you buy the pita bread and bake into chips. My homemade corn tortillas have been less than great. Do you have any tricks for those?

Lili said...

Cat said...
We are in the insane-amount-of-food stage right now, I believe.


Cat, I imagine it's quite a challenge to keep enough food in stock at all times, with your kids all growing so rapidly. Wishing you well with that!