Weekend Frugal Homestead Happenings

I have declared this week an eat the freezer week.  I’ve done this for two reasons.

  1.   I can not stuff another dang thing in my kitchen freezer and stuff is falling out on me when I open the door.  The struggle is real people!
  2.   I have used almost all of my storage containers and I WILL NOT buy more.  I mean really, how stupid would that be?

You think I’m kidding… look at this!

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I have plenty of single servings of chili and soups for lunches and larger containers of full meal options, it really should NOT be a problem.   I’ll consider it a little challenge for this week.

The Z Man continues to work his butt off stocking the wood supply.  I do LOVE that Man!

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That is two different huge stacks of wood he has labored over this week.  I think our next major purchase needs to be a hydraulic powered log splitter, instead of the Z Man splitting all this with a maul and ax.   The cost of the splitter would pay for itself within a year because of the savings of heating with wood instead of electricity or oil.  Not to mention saving the Z Man’s back.

The weather was rainy this weekend so I wasn’t able to sand and resurface my island butcher block like I wanted to.  I want to do it outside to keep the dust out of the house.  This needs to be done, but it’s also an experiment for me to see if I can do good enough work to take on sanding and refinishing the kitchen cabinets.  Yea, I know… so much for dust in the house on that task.

On Saturday I spent almost 2 hours on the phone with Direct TV because our discounts ran out last month and my bill doubled in cost.  Oh, and heads up… the representative told me that as of yesterday 1/22/17 Direct TV is going to have an across the board price increase so be sure to check your bill if you do business with them.

Anyway, I’ve always considered Direct TV as a nice little perk for us because we don’t go out to dinners and we don’t go out to movies, we are pretty much, no, I take that back,  we are absolutely home bodies.  We love football and of course the Z Man likes to watch hunting shows and I like to watch the cooking show channels.  I had gotten our bill down to $54 a month, and I figured ok, it’s our entertainment.  We do have Amazon prime and can use that if we want to watch a movie.  That was a mistake too, but we are stuck with it for another 11 months.

But, HELLO!  I DO NOT want to pay $109 a month, and I won’t.  After some discussion the nice representative offered me $75 a month.  Nope, I still don’t want to pay that.    I called back on Sunday and asked again what could be done to lower the cost.  Ultimately we compromised and got rid of a few channels which lowered the bill to $56 a month.  That is a $2 increase from what we were paying.  Fine.

I did do some experimental Paleo baking with almond flour and happy life chocolate chips.  I made coconut chocolate chip scones.

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They turned out awesome!  They are nothing like a scone and are more like a chewy coconut chocolate chip cookie (think almond joy).  I got the base recipe from the Paleo Caveman website then tweaked it a bit.  I’ll post the recipe later this week.  It’s definitely a keeper for those times you need a sweet treat.

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That’s about it for our weekend except for watching some football.  Our Steelers lost, booh!

How about you, did you have a fun frugal weekend?

Till next time,

Lori

 

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

I was in the mood to make soup, but honestly that isn’t unusual for this time of year.  I had been wanting Panera broccoli cheddar soup since a friend mentioned it in her meal plan on Z Life What’s Cooking Facebook page.

But it wasn’t until I walked down to the garden that I realized it was my fate To Make Soup!

Ok, I honestly was just going to the garden to get some leftover greens for the chickens, and then I saw this.

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Well hello there Mr. Broccoli, lets put you in a pot!  (Yes, I actually still had broccoli in my garden in January, I know crazy right!)

This is perfect for my “new” weekly recipe, following along with The Frugal Girl’s plan to try a new recipe each week.  I’ve never made cheddar broccoli soup so I googled recipes and found several that I could tweak as my own for the ingredients I had on hand.

This is what I did…

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 Tbsp of olive oil (or bacon grease 😉 )
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced

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Saute veggies in butter and oil until soft then add:

  • 1 cup of flour to make a roux

Cook roux for 5 – 10 minutes then whisk in:

  • 4 cups of (warmed) milk
  • 3 quarts of chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • S&P to taste ( 1 tsp. of each)

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Cook and stir mixture about 5 minutes and then add:

  • 8 cups of small (even a little bit chopped) broccoli florets

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Cook and stir about 10 – 15 minutes until broccoli is softened, then add:

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  • 8 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Stir until cheese is melted.

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This makes a big pot of soup.  My 8 quart stock pot is almost full, shy of about 2 quarts.

But, I’m thinking this soup will freeze nicely and if I’m cooking I’m always making more than one meal.

The recipe could easily be cut in half if needed.

This soup is beyond delicious!  So Good!

Now I wont have to buy Panera soup when the craving hits, I’ll just go to the freezer.

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The last time I bought Panera was around $10 for a small cup of soup and a small salad.  This pot of soup (6 quarts) would cost about $23 (in my area of grocery costs).

That comes to about $1 per serving for a Panera size serving of this soup.   Have you ever got a bowl of soup at Panera (or anywhere besides home) for a $1 or less?

But, if you have broccoli in the garden or freezer and homemade chicken stock on the shelf or freezer, then the (immediate) cost of this soup would be minimal at best.

To go with it I made a fresh loaf of Katy’s, the author of The Non Consumer Advocate’s homemade bread AKA The Tightwad Gazette’s homemade bread recipe.

Just YUM!!!   No, really that’s all I could say, YUM!

Since I’ve never made this soup before, I’m counting this as my new recipe for the week, following along with The Frugal Girl’s plan to try a new recipe every week in 2017.

Go ahead, make some soup and bread…  You’ll love it!

Till next time,

Lori

 

 

Weekly Meal Plan and Groceries

I  hope y’all had a great weekend.  Ours was pretty uneventful which is just fine.  I  hope everyone is safe after that awful ice storm.  Our snow has all melted away thanks to some warmer temperatures, but it has cooled back down now to normal winter temps.

I was late getting my weekly meal plan done this week, but I finally got it done.

Having a weekly meal plan really takes away the stress of what’s for dinner and for me it also keeps my grocery budget in check.  I make a grocery list based on my meal plan and go to the store once a week.  We started a facebook group for this very purpose.  Z Life What’s Cooking Group.  It’s also fun to see what other people are eating and  to get meal ides and recipes from others which helps with the dinner rotation rut.

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I picked up the needed groceries too.

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The cara cara oranges weren’t on my grocery list, but when I saw them it made me think of a friend so I splurged and bought a bag.  Hopefully it will also curb the sweet tooth cravings I’m having and keep me out of the doughnut shop! 😉

I track my grocery expense with the Dave Ramsey “Every Dollar Budget” program.  It’s free at his website.  To date my grocery expense for January is $75.00   I round up to the next dollar because all change goes into the change jug.

My grocery budget is $300 a month which includes food for us and the dogs, health and beauty, cleaning supplies, everything but alcohol.

Admittedly I am purposefully trying to keep my grocery expenses low by staying out of the stores which in turn keeps impulse purchases in check.   Also, keep in mind that we raise or hunt almost all of our meats with the exception of seafood and the chicken I purchase from Polyface Farms.  I buy the chickens in a larder of 15 whole chickens at a time and I usually do this twice a year, so I expect sometime around July I’ll be stocking up again.  This usually cost between $250 and $300 depending on the weight of the chickens I get.  I do have a $50 off punch card that I’ll use with my next purchase that I need to not forget about.

In full disclosure, this is the first year I’ve used the Dave Ramsey “Every Dollar Budget” system and honestly I had become pretty slack in tracking expenses.  This year I wanted to get serious about it and I think the Every Dollar system is going to be the trick.  Plus it’s free, my favorite price.

I believe this will be a learning experience for me this year to see the actual hard numbers on all of our expenses, but it will show us areas where we can tighten up on for the future.  Retirement is getting closer and this will help us get more prepared.

Hope you and yours have a great week.

Till next time,

Lori