Frugality this week (or, the saga of the turkey)

pumpkinThis week I have been finishing Christmas shopping which is our most notably UNfrugal time of the year, so at first I don’t feel like I did especially well with saving money.  But really, I’m still chugging away. Here are a few examples.

We finally fed the last of the pumpkins to our cows. They’ve been getting one a day ever since we harvested them this fall. We joke that we’re going to have pumpkin flavored meat.  We just toss the pumpkins into the pasture hard enough that they break in half and the cows happily gobble away.  For a bigger and more satisfying explosion, our son sometimes climbs up into the treehouse and throws them from there.

Our chickens spend summers pecking around in their moveable pen, but in the winter they are in the barn with only a small outdoor run.  During the winter I always try extra hard to send fruit and veggie scraps out to them every day to supplement their boring chicken feed regimen.  They also get dabs of rice that have lived in the fridge too long, extra pancakes, and heels of bread. I figure every nibble of scraps is a little less store bought feed that they’ll need.

Saturday I cooked a turkey all day in our roaster.  The first night we had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy.  Sunday noon we had turkey enchiladas, salad and corn when all the kids came for lunch.  Sunday evening I made creamy turkey, potato and broccoli chowder for dinner with Ritz crackers/cream cheese.  Monday noon the turkey came out again  (along with the rest of the enchiladas and a few other leftovers) and people got to choose what they zapped for lunch.  Monday dinner I did French bread pizzas topped with pepperoni, garlic, mushrooms and (yes, again) shredded turkey.

It sounds like a lot of turkey, but  because I presented it in so many different ways, it didn’t feel like the very same meal over and over.  I still have a tiny dab of turkey left that most likely I will use today for a veggie ramen noodle soup.  My kids LOVE it when I make ramen, even though I add lots of veggies to make it healthier.  Today I’ll probably use cabbage, shredded carrot, and the last dab of corn from Sunday noon, and then the turkey will be gone.

I don’t always do so many turkey meals in a row. Other times when I cook a turkey, I immediately package some of it up and put it in the freezer.  I LOVE having cooked meat to pull out of the freezer on busy days, because it automatically means we’re at least 20 minutes closer to dinner than if I have to cook the meat still.

On Tuesday we were having sugar cravings.  Ben, 15, asked for fudge, which sent me on a Pinterest search where I discovered that a lot of recipes call for unsweetened chocolate (the little squares) or sweetened condensed milk, neither of which I had. Finally I decided to make my own sweetened condensed milk, which turned out great.  The recipe I ended up with called for 3 cups of chocolate chips, a cup of sweetened condensed milk, half a cup of heavy cream, a dab of vanilla, and 1/4 cup of butter, all melted gently and spread in a 9×9 pan lined with  wax paper.  (Except I didn’t have waxed paper, so we used foil, which we rubbed with butter.)  The butter ended up melting in an odd-looking way, leaving an unsavory looking film on the edges of the fudge.  But it was salted butter, and it added a surprisingly yummy salty flavor to the edges of each bite.  We much enjoyed it, and I was pleased we’d managed to handle chocolate cravings without having to run to the store.

I’m sure I did more than that, but that’s about all I remember for now.  What about you?  What did you do in the frugality department recently?


  1. Last week our local Kroger ran split bone-in chicken breasts on sale for 99 cents a pd., the cheapest they’ve been since we moved to the area in August. In the midst of a busy holiday season, getting ready to travel and having a sick babe, I pushed through and purchased quite a few packages that I seasoned and baked right away. The last thing I wanted to do was chop all that chicken, but I also knew, like you said, what a life saver it is to have cooked and chopped meat in the freezer for quickly adding to meals. So, I pushed through with nuggets of time over a few days to get it all chopped.
    Also, probably the biggest frugal choice I’ve been making is to not give in to the hustle and bustle of life and get take out, but using a few minutes to quickly assess what we have on hand and take a bit more time to make something at home. It’s cheaper, healthier, and really, with 4 kiddos under 9, less stressful to just eat at home anyways!

    Thanks for the encouragement!!

  2. All those turkey meals sound yummy!
    I’m making homemade bread right now, we ate leftovers for lunch, and I’m making shepherds pie for supper, but I’ll use lentils along with the hamburger meat to stretch it. I did that once before and took it to a pot luck. One of the guys said he didn’t even notice the lentils until his 3rd helping!
    And I just used a b-day Amazon gift card and 2 Amazon giftcards I earned from swagbucks to purchase 3 books (2 for hubby’s Christmas and one for me).

  3. No thoughts on penny pinching when it comes to food.
    Nothing to do with my frugality but….Went to mechanic to get repairs on jeep and told them what I could afford, boy what a nice bunch of guys I deal with: they put in all new front and back brakes with pads, etc. for a mere $200. Said my Christmas present from them for being such a loyal customer.
    Went to local bookstore to buy grandson series of Benedict Society books and when I found I could buy a used series of three books (in great shape) instead of the new ones, I bought the used ones for $3 for all three instead of $21.
    Bought four wool sweaters at hospital garage sale for .25 each which I am going to mail to daughter for her use and the ones she does not want to wear, she will make into mittens and regift.
    But my best buy of the year has to be the foot high glass tree candy jars (tops come off) that I purchased for .25 last year after Christmas (bought 10 of them- all they had).

  4. Thank you Mary for these weekly frugal suggestions. I enjoy them.

    I stopped buying gifts years ago.
    And I don’t miss it!
    Instead, when we are invited to a birthday/shower/wedding/anniversary/celebration, I bring my camera.
    I take a few special pictures and I give them on a CD to the person who invited us.

    They are a real hit, cost nothing but time and help reduce waste, which is really important to me.

    For the kids birthdays as well as for Christmas, we go places rather than buy stuff.

  5. Let’s see…. I have been cooking out of the pantry/freezer. Lentils & Rice casserole was lunch yesterday (so easy, so cheap!). Instead of buying pop-cinnamon rolls, I took the time to make them from scratch. I pulled a turkey out of the freezer which I bought at 50cents/ lb and that will be dinner night-after-next (when it’s thawed!) and turned into pot-pie/enchilladas/poppyseed turkey, etc a few more nights, too. Also bought some Christmas presents for 80-90% off at a store closing this week.