Friday’s Frugal Five

I just love fall.  It is my favorite time of year when the weather cools down and it’s time to pull the crock pot out and make warm you all over stews and soups.

It’s also the time to pull out my big tea mugs for my hot teas.  The Z Man is a coffee drinker, but I am a tea girl.

Friday’s Frugal Five:

  1. I’ve slowed my roll this week and got back on track with meal planning and prepping.  What a huge difference that makes in the budget.  Listen, we have food and I mean we have plenty of food in our house, so there is no reason I should be at the grocery store.  I do not need to be at the grocery store more than once a week (if even that).  But if you don’t plan then you might as well plan to fail.
  2. Saturday is the beginning of hunting season and I am ready.  While the Z Man does all the hard work of harvesting the deer, I do all the processing.  Knives are sharp and freezer bags are stocked.  Stocking our freezer with venison saves us a ton of money every year in beef purchases.  The thing is that we really like venison.  We actually prefer venison in place of beef in most all recipes except a burger, because Double M Dairy ground beef is awesome and makes the best hamburgers!
  3. I’m disgusted to admit this, but in full disclosure I have to come clean and admit that I have become somewhat obsessed with frozen yogurt over the past month and was indulging myself way too often.  Not good for me and certainly not good for my budget! That stuff is expensive, especially when you put all the yummy (unhealthy) toppings on it.  I am proud to report that I did not get one frozen yogurt this week, saving about $6
  4. The importance of taking care of yourself for good health is obvious, but it’s also an important part of frugality as well.  I got back into my exercise program this week, cut out the junk and got back to whole food, clean eating.  Missing work, paying insurance deductibles and prescription cost… that’s NOT frugal.
  5. Our usual frugal routines of drying clothes on the clothes line, having our meals at home, paying our bills on time avoiding late fees, returning library rentals to avoid late fees, reducing waste, planning, budgeting and still breathing fresh air and adding to the pickle jar.  Whew, that’s a mouth full!

How about you, what frugal fun have you had this week?

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Till next time,

Lori

 

Butter

Butter – the everlasting delight of the gourmand, the faithful ally of the culinary arts, the constant symbol of good living.

Through time and across the globe, butter has had a sacred quality. From the ancient Fertile Crescent to the present day, butter has symbolized the powerful, life giving and sacred, the good, the happy, the healthy and pure. It has sustained lives, cultures and civilizations for millennia.

Butter is a culinary treasure as old as King Tut’s tomb. “She brought forth butter in a lordly dish” (Judges 5:25). A jug of wine, a loaf of bread – and butter! 

From –  Butter Through The Ages.

About a month ago my Mother called and was so excited that she had just made homemade butter and how easy and good it was.  I’m sure the ease of it was most of the amazement and surely reminded her of being the very young child witnessing the butter being made.  Making butter back then was not an easy process, not unlike so many of the other great things that take time and effort to accomplish.  Butter is one of the GREATS!

Fast forward 100 years to imagine me standing in the dairy section at the grocery store needing butter.  How things have changed….  But as I was standing there I remembered Mother’s conversation and decided to make my butter.  While I wish we did, we in fact do not have a milk cow or goats on our homestead, so my choice for cream (and milk) is Homestead Creamery. I feel it’s the best choice for us and also I believe you get what you pay for.

Being on a tight grocery budget this month, some would wonder why I didn’t just buy the 99¢ fake, yellow, plastic, artificially flavored stuff, and well, that is why…  As Michael Pollan says “we are what we eat, and what we eat, eats”

The question I asked myself in the grocery store was, do I spend $6 on butter and $3 on the milk that I wanted, or do I spend $6 on cream to make butter which would also net me some sweet cream milk after making the butter.  I chose the cream.

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Making butter is as easy as can be, however I will advise not to over fill the food processor as it will leak out all over the counter, making a huge mess.  Yes, that happened.

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All you do is pour the cream into the food processor and process for about 5 minutes then separate the butter from the buttermilk.

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The buttermilk can be refrigerated for later use.  Then you want to rinse your butter with ice cold water to help preserve it.  Pour ice cold water over the butter and press with a rubber spatula to extract as much of the liquid as possible.  I saved the water I used to rinse the butter and added a little dry milk to it and then added it to the buttermilk I extracted from the cream.  What I ended up with was a full quart of sweet cream milk that I can use in other recipes or just drink.

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I was so excited about the butter that I had to make something to spread it on.  I made some butternut banana muffins and some cornbread.  Those muffins with fresh homemade butter are out of this world good.  One of those Y-U-M moments.  And a glass of sweet cream buttermilk and cornbread… the only thing missing is a front porch swing and a breezy summer evening.

This was a fun experiment and I’m glad I did it.  While it didn’t take me hours to hand churn my butter, it did give me a little nostalgic feeling of living back in the day when things seemed better.   I’ll keep making our butter because the best part of it was the taste, so fresh and clean, which is the ultimate reason for doing it.

As for MMGC, if you’re keeping track, I’m now down to $10 to last me the rest of the month.  YIKES!  But, we have some great butter and pure maple syrup.

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Pancakes anyone 🙂

Till Next Time,

Lori

Quit Smoking Tips and The Pickle Jar

It was about 4 years ago when I tried to quit smoking.  I tried and I failed.  Then a year or so later I tried to quit smoking again, and again I failed.  I’ve even blogged about it.  Over the past 4 years I’ve tried and failed at quitting many times.  I’ve used the patch, I’ve chewed the gum, I’ve tried cold turkey, I tried and tried and tried and failed every time.

It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I wish I had listened to my father when he said  “don’t ever start and you wont have to stop”

It is true, you have to want to quit and I remember someone saying that to me years ago after one of my failed attempts.  It pissed me off.   What did she know, she didn’t smoke, so she didn’t know how hard it is to quit.  But, she was right.  There is a lot of truth to what she said.  You have to want it more than wanting to smoke.  To the point that you are just really sick of smoking.  Just sick and tired of the smoke, the smell and the expense (how stupid is that).  Just flat out sick and tired of it!  Every smoker I know “wants to quit”   But it takes more than that because the pull is so strong, and the mind will play tricks on you, and the whole thing is a struggle.  Look up side effects of quitting smoking, the shit is real and it’s not easy!

Anyway…..   I got off on a little tangent there, sorry….   I had gotten to the point where I was enjoying lighting a cigarette and taking the first couple pulls and then it seemed like the cigarette smoked me.  I had become sick of smoking.  But it was the habit of smoking that was hard to quit.  I honestly did not think my car would start without lighting a cigarette.  Have a glass of wine, light a cigarette.  Cooking hasn’t been the easiest either, because I timed my cooking around how long it took to smoke a cigarette.  Put something in the oven, have a cigarette.  Boil some pasta, have a cigarette.  To my surprise my car did start without a smoke and now when I’m in the car I listen to books on cd to occupy the time.  I use the kitchen timer a lot more now when I’m cooking, and I’ve put down the wine glass because my taste for it has changed since quitting.  However, I do enjoy a ice cold Corona with lime now, but I’m watching my calories, so now I’m enjoying vodka and seltzer water with a squeeze of lime, 90 calories baby.

I honestly believe that I have kicked it this time.  So, what’s different this time?   The pickle jar is what’s different.  See, I had this large empty pickle jar in my basement.  I dusted it off and attached a weekly chart showing the amount of money I would save by not smoking.   Each week I have been putting that money in the pickle jar.  It is such a motivation for me to actually see that money saved.  If I hadn’t started the pickle jar I know the money would’ve gotten absorbed into other spending and I wouldn’t actually “see” the money.  I like money a lot more than I like smoking!

 

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Sure, I still get a craving every now and then for a cigarette, but it passes quickly and when that happens I just say out loud “It’s Not An Option”   The Z Man quit smoking too and we are both breathing fresh air and loving it.

Yes the pickle jar still smells a bit like pickles, but that’s better than smelling like cigarette smoke!

Till Next Time,

Lori

Friday Frugal Five

Again, I want everyone to know that I am completely stealing Five Frugal Things from Katy over at The Non Consumer Advocate.  I love her blog and if you have time, pop over there and check it out.

Five Frugal Things:

  • On Monday (before the March Madness Grocery Budget Challenge) I price shopped at Wal-Mart for avocados.  I showed the cashier my receipt from Aldi and she rang my avocados up for 59¢ each instead of 99¢  (they price match).  I’ll be hanging on to that Aldi receipt.
  • Took advantage of the warm weather this week and hung 3 loads of laundry on the line.
  • I cleaned and organized my kitchen cabinets, ending up with a large box of things to go to Goodwill.  I’ll keep decluttering and hopefully get some things listed on Craigs List.
  • Returned my books on cd to the library on time and picked up more. (On time means no late fees which is frugal)
  • Started another batch of citrus (vinegar) cleaner with leftover orange peels.  See my post titled “Orange Chicken” for the details.  I organized the pantry, fridge and freezer preparing for the MMGBC (extra points for sharing what those initials stand for)
  • (OK 6 Frugal things) Bought a bottle of vodka yesterday because the ice cold Corona with lime has too many damn calories!!! (more on that next week) Vodka with seltzer and lime juice, only 90 calories, BAM!  What????  That IS NOT groceries!!!  I’ll start testing the frugality of the vodka tonight, stay tuned.

Now your turn.  Do you have Five Frugal Things to share?

Till Next Time,

Lori