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Friday, October 11, 2019

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for Early Autumn


Cheap & Cheerful posts show, week by week, how a budget of $135/month for groceries works out for our family of 4


Friday
baked Mediterranean chicken leg quarters (relying on info from this page for seasonings)
brown rice with gravy
spaghetti squash



Saturday
chicken, vegetable, lentil, and noodle soup
toasted cheese sandwiches



Sunday
lentil and cheese burritos in homemade tortillas
sauteed chard and onions
tomatoes in vinaigrette
rustic blackberry pie



Monday

homemade cheese pizza (using this crust recipe and this pizza sauce recipe)
leftover spaghetti squash
tossed garden salad



Tuesday

chicken nachos (daughter was making the nachos and she wanted to use potato chips as the base, so she bought those for us)
carrot sticks
blackberry tart



Wednesday

tacos - beef (once again relying on the page on cuisines and their seasonings), beans, cheese, garden lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream (other daughter making dinner and wanted pre-made taco shells and sour cream, so she bought those for us)
grapes (daughter bought)



Thursday
baked beans
acorn squash
fresh-baked French bread
tossed salad of garden lettuce, watercress and tomato, plus avocado in homemade dressing
rhubarb and blackberry sauce (last of the rhubarb for the year)




The Dwindling Garden and Chilly Weather
I'm in the last handful of weeks that harvesting from the garden will be possible for this year. The vegetables and fruit dwindle a bit each week. Our neighbors just across the street have had frost on their roof the past few mornings. I've added extra quilts and blankets to the bed each night, only to have the next night even colder. As I type this, I'm a little anxious to go out and check the garden once the sky is light. Yesterday when I was out there, I could tell that the cold air was affecting our produce. I brought 2 of the pots in which I have lettuce plants up to the kitchen door. I'm hoping to keep lettuce going for another couple of weeks. The kale, sorrel, watercress, and chard should be okay in the garden.

As I was popping my dish of beans into the oven, yesterday afternoon, I was reminded of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. The dish of beans combined with the dwindling garden made me think of her book The Long Winter. I pray that is not in our forecast, of course. The simple foods of beans, garden produce, and fresh bread are very appreciated on a chilly evening.

A Couple of Treats
Perhaps you've noticed that my two daughters like to treat us to a few items that are not in our current budget. If this is what they really want to do, then we'll happily accept their generosity. This week we were the beneficiaries of potato chips, taco shells, sour cream, and grapes.

Monthly Grocery Spending
We enjoyed the company of some last-minute, out-of-town guests this past week. It was lovely to catch up with them. I did spend extra money from our grocery budget, money that I had not anticipated spending for October -- $14.63. We needed some food items beyond what our current pantry, fridge, and freezer could offer. The good news is that we didn't get take-out or eat in restaurants but instead, we cooked all our meals at home. The $14.63 spend brings my total spent for October up to $133.13 for the 4 of us (and guests). I'm still below the $148.31 allocated for the month (the $135 budget plus residual budget amount from September).



Breakfasts and Lunches
Breakfasts consisted of homemade granola, overnight steel cut oats, toasted French bread, homemade yogurt, eggs, and assorted condiments.

Lunches were frequently leftovers, an occasional egg, peanut butter on homemade bread, fresh and frozen fruit, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, and kale, and blackberry tart (I baked a couple of tarts this week).



Hallowe'en on the Horizon & Budget Treats
Here's my "stash" of Hallowe'en goodies. The 22-count fun-size M&Ms were on markdown for $1.49 a couple of months ago but are still within their expiry date. And the glow bracelets (14 left in the container) were bought at Dollar Tree last year. We only get 12 to 20 trick-or-treaters each year. I think we have enough treats to hand out. 



The candy corn was on markdown right after Easter. Can you see the carrot shape of the plastic bag? Fred Meyer had a bunch of these left at the tail end of their Easter clearance, selling for 33 cents per "carrot" bag. We'll use these when we make our Jack o' lantern cookies next week. 

So, not much of a Hallowe'en stash. But what we have will do. I am thankful that we won't have a lot of extra candy leftover. Although, I think my daughters and husband will be more than a little disappointed in that.

And that's about it for my week. How was your week? What was on your menu? Are you ready for Hallowe'en? Do you get trick-or-treaters at all?

10 comments:

Kris said...

Are you enjoying your brown transferware plates? :)

I think you did super well with your unexpected expenses from your surprise visitors. How fun to have a chance to catch up!

I'm trying to remember this week's meals. I think Monday was chicken shawarma--basically a Greek-style hot chicken sandwich wrapped in naan (I made the naan--which in turn made my family very happy). Tuesday was tuna casserole. Wednesday my husband was at a conference and I went out for dinner with friends, so my kids ate leftover pulled pork sandwiches. Last night I tried The Frugal Girl's "brinerade" on chicken breasts and it was a big hit. Tonight I'm tired after working so I think I'll do my simple mac and cheese meal. I've been trying to eke out the last of the garden veggies--tomatoes, beans, and my husband even was able to scare up a lone cucumber for my Greek sandwiches. We have pears from the farm market, as well as apples. This year for the first time, I've been roasting the apples, which is a definite hit.

I don't think my brain has transitioned to Halloween yet. We don't get as may trick or treaters as we used to--I plan for around 25.

Happy weekend, everybody!

Lili said...

Hi Kris,
I am enjoying have the brown transferware out again. I like the change from season to season.
Oooh yum -- chicken shawarma. That sounds delicious. Is it at all like gyros? A simple mac and cheese is always a hit here, so I'm sure it will be at your house, too. Do you make baked apples? When I have green apples, this is what I make -- Simple Baked Apples I'm still waiting to find a great deal on apples -- hopefully at the end of the month. So many yummy foods this time of year. Not into Hallowe'en just yet? Well, it's almost 3 weeks till then, so no rush, right?

Have a great weekend, Kris!

Live and Learn said...

We get about 25 or so as Trick-or-Treaters. However, I don't buy the candy early or I only get candy I don't like (malted milk balls) because I have a hard time not eating it especially when I'm hungry.

I was not familiar with transferware so I look it up. Learned something new today.

Kris said...

Yes, it's similar to gyros. I think the recipe I use is technically probably more of a chicken wrap than a shawarma (the marinade is somewhat different) but it's pretty tasty.

I haven't made baked apples in years. I probably should try it again. I figured out how to make sauteed apples without using butter a few years ago so I like to do that in the fall--it's great on pancakes. We have a lot of apple orchards within a relatively close distance so we can typically find good prices on apples.

Making Cents Of It All said...

I think it is great that your daughter's help out and buy some extras. The cookies are very cute.

Be careful of the glow sticks. My youngest had one break and cut her eye. She was 14 and was trying to get them to glow for her younger cousin. It was the worst screams I have ever heard. The ER doctor said they see so many kids from glow stick accidents. There is glass in them so when you bend them it brakes and mixes the components together. One of the components is salt. Glass and salt in the eye hurts. Her eye is fine now but we avoid all glow sticks.

Lili said...

Live and Learn said...
We get about 25 or so as Trick-or-Treaters. However, I don't buy the candy early or I only get candy I don't like (malted milk balls) because I have a hard time not eating it especially when I'm hungry.

I was not familiar with transferware so I look it up. Learned something new today.


Hi live and learn,
I get that -- it is soooo hard to not eat the trick-or-treat candy, soooo hard. I'm keeping myself accountable, though, by keeping the TOT candy in the package on the dining room table where everyone walks by and would quickly notice if I got into it. Shame is a really good motivator for me.
There are so many interesting historic transferware patterns. I love looking at them in vintage stores and wish I could collect a few pieces of all of them.

Lili said...

Kris said...
Yes, it's similar to gyros. I think the recipe I use is technically probably more of a chicken wrap than a shawarma (the marinade is somewhat different) but it's pretty tasty.

I haven't made baked apples in years. I probably should try it again. I figured out how to make sauteed apples without using butter a few years ago so I like to do that in the fall--it's great on pancakes. We have a lot of apple orchards within a relatively close distance so we can typically find good prices on apples.


The apple orchards in the PNW are mostly over the mountains, here, Kris. When my in-laws lived in eastern Washington, we went out there in the fall and visited apple orchards to U-pick. I'm watching sales at the produce markets and stands. This may sound silly, but I was very excited to have an apple today at an Octoberfest gathering at our church. I haven't had very many apples yet this season. Soon, though. . . All things in their time.

Lili said...

Making Cents Of It All said...
I think it is great that your daughter's help out and buy some extras. The cookies are very cute.

Be careful of the glow sticks. My youngest had one break and cut her eye. She was 14 and was trying to get them to glow for her younger cousin. It was the worst screams I have ever heard. The ER doctor said they see so many kids from glow stick accidents. There is glass in them so when you bend them it brakes and mixes the components together. One of the components is salt. Glass and salt in the eye hurts. Her eye is fine now but we avoid all glow sticks.


Hi Marybeth,
thank you for the warning. I'd not heard anything bad about glow sticks. what I've done in the past for TOTs is form them into bracelets for the kids before handing them out. Hopefully that will prevent nasty accidents. But I'll also ask the parents if its okay that I give one to their child. Then at least the parents have a say. The kids in my neighborhood are always so excited to get a glow bracelet, much more so than candy. It's getting hard to find that one thing that will work for all kids. Thanks again for the warning.
We are really appreciating how much our daughters are now contributing. It feels strange to accept this sort of help from your kids, though. But you know, helping us actually makes them feel good about their contribution to the household. They seem to feel like they are appreciated as adults instead of still being the kids in the family.
I hope you're having a wonderful weekend, Marybeth.

Alice said...

I think I'm going to be the odd one out but we just don't do anything for halloween. I don't find it a holiday nor a fun day at all. When we lived in the country we didn't have trick or treaters and my kids never went out trick or treating (a religious belief so don't beat me up please). Now that we live in the city we just don't turn our house lights on.

On to nice things--I bought 1/2 bushel tomatoes on Saturday and canned most of them. I froze a bunch and kept out some for eating or rather spaghetti sauce making for tonight. The guys can have their pasta but I'm having spaghetti squash. I'm also going with cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese which won't raise by blood sugar so it is a meal I am looking forward to.

I will try to make a crustless pumpkin pie made from butter nut squash. I'm sure that will be fine for my blood sugar. And my husband will get his pumpkin pie! I'm not 100% carb free but I sure like cutting a lot out. I just keep telling myself that I'm not missing anything good!

As for Thanksgiving, I really love Thanksgiving but this year I just am not sure about hosting anything. We might just need to sit back alone with only our son and have a simple meal. Going to visit our daughter and son-in-law in Ohio might be too big of a trip for my husband this year and so we might just stay home alone. My parents and his mom all live nearby but this year they might have to go to the other siblings for Thanksgiving. I'm exhausted from our wild summer too.

Alice

Lili said...

Alice said...
I think I'm going to be the odd one out but we just don't do anything for halloween. I don't find it a holiday nor a fun day at all. When we lived in the country we didn't have trick or treaters and my kids never went out trick or treating (a religious belief so don't beat me up please). Now that we live in the city we just don't turn our house lights on.

On to nice things--I bought 1/2 bushel tomatoes on Saturday and canned most of them. I froze a bunch and kept out some for eating or rather spaghetti sauce making for tonight. The guys can have their pasta but I'm having spaghetti squash. I'm also going with cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese which won't raise by blood sugar so it is a meal I am looking forward to.

I will try to make a crustless pumpkin pie made from butter nut squash. I'm sure that will be fine for my blood sugar. And my husband will get his pumpkin pie! I'm not 100% carb free but I sure like cutting a lot out. I just keep telling myself that I'm not missing anything good!

As for Thanksgiving, I really love Thanksgiving but this year I just am not sure about hosting anything. We might just need to sit back alone with only our son and have a simple meal. Going to visit our daughter and son-in-law in Ohio might be too big of a trip for my husband this year and so we might just stay home alone. My parents and his mom all live nearby but this year they might have to go to the other siblings for Thanksgiving. I'm exhausted from our wild summer too.


Hi Alice,
I know lots of folks who don't do Hallowe'en, for many different reasons. So, you're really not in the minority, I don't think.

Wow! You were busy over the weekend with those tomatoes! Good for you! Spaghetti sauce as a pasta substitute is delicious. I've used all kinds of veggies as a sauce base, including canned green beans, julienned zucchini, and sauteed mushrooms . I've also just eaten my portion of sauce with a spoon from a dish. The sauce is the tastiest part, anyway, I think. I hope you enjoyed your meal. It sounded delicious! I think you must be making serious headway with your blood sugar numbers. Keep up the good work!

I can completely understand how you feel about Thanksgiving. You and your husband have only recently returned home. You two need a break from all kinds of requirements right now. I think of you throughout the week and keep you and your husband in my prayers.

Have a lovely day, Alice.

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