This 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?