Frugal Friday: Going Green

Frozen AvocadoDid you figure out what’s in the mystery photo? Read on and all will be explained.

 

MAKING USE OF BONES
I brought home the bones from our Christmas prime rib.  They went into a big pot of water where they simmered overnight into a nice bone broth.  I then used that broth to make beef and barley soup that we served Sunday after church.

 

SAVING AVOCADOS
On Monday I spotted avocados at Costco — 6 in a mesh bag for $3. I’d signed up to bring guacamole to a New Years party at church, so this was a great find. The avocados were so soft that a man looking at them beside me said, ‘These’ll need to be used about 20 minutes from now.’ But thanks to Pinterest, I knew that avocados can be halved and frozen without going brown. I took a chance, and picked four of the mesh 6-pack bags– 24 avocados in all. Even if I had to throw away three or four, I figured it was still a good deal. At home when I sorted them out, 9 were still quite firm and will last just fine til Wednesday. The rest I peeled and stuck into ziplock bags in the freezer.  Avocados freeze beautifully with NO browning if you peel them and remove the pit first.  As you can see in the photo, the frozen avocados are almost as green as my front door!

 

DOUBLE THE PIZZA, DOUBLE THE FUN
When we made too much pizza dough one night, we tossed the extra into a bag in the fridge to be the start of a quick meal a different night.  Our youngest two had a good time making pizza all on their own that night.

 

STASHING AWAY EXTRA BREAD
Each Christmas eve my mom serves clam chowder in bread bowls.  This year there were lots left over, and so I brought them home and stuck them in the freezer.  Some I will use for stuffed french toast casserole.  I might make some of the rest of it into croutons for soup or salad.  Then anything we don’t use will go out to the chickens.  Almost every day our chickens end up eating leftovers from our kitchen, whether that be fried rice that’s beyond its prime, vegetable scraps, or stale bread.  Not much goes to waste around here!

 

BEANS AND RICE, RICE AND BEANS
(Can you tell I’ve been listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts?) Thursday dinner this week was chili, made with tomatoes I’d canned from our garden and ground beef that I got on sale several weeks ago.  I love making soups and stews in the winter time, and I routinely double the recipes so that we can get two meals from one meals’ worth of effort.

 

STAYING WARM IN WINTER
It’s been cold here and we’ve kept the wood stove roaring for warmth.  We harvest wood for free each summer on John’s mom’s property in the mountains. Our furnace is electric, and it can easily cost $350 or more to heat the house in the winter for a month, and so as much as possible we try to keep the house warm with the wood stove, and limit the furnace use to the week hours of the morning when it is very cold and the fire burns down.  We also pile blankets on the beds and turn on a fan in the hall to blow heat toward the bedrooms. In general it works pretty well.

 

What did you do in the frugality department this week?  I’d love to hear about it.  And as always, my cookbook Family Feasts for $75 a Week is on amazon if you happen to need some inspiration in the cooking/ grocery spending department.

{ 19 Comments }

  1. I was able to get leg quarters for .79/lb and made a huge pot of broth and took meat off bones then recooked bones for more broth. My 3 yr old is having surgery tuesday so I am trying to plan for her recovery plus feeding other kids. I was also able to get ground beef for 2.49/lb and ground turkey breast marked to 1.99/lb. We still have several hams from Christmas to cook up for sandwiches.

  2. Jennie C. says:

    In my sleepy young Mama state, I put a few meals on the menu for this week that I don’t have all the ingredients for… : ) So, instead of making an extra trip to the store, I changed course and found recipes that WOULD work with what I have…..

    I also resisted the strong urge to pick up some fast food snacky unhealthy food on my way home from an appt. the other day, knowing I had plenty at home to eat…better for my wallet and waistline!

    I’m planning to make an extra effort to see what needs to be used in the pantry, freezers and frig. when I make my Jan. menu instead of just planning what sounds good…..

    We signed up for Ooma (phone service through the internet for a small fee after you get the equipment), instead of through the phone company….

    Thanks for your encouragement!!

  3. We go in the mountains each year for Christmas (instead of buying gifts). It has been so many years that the hotel greets us with a gift basket.
    I save the basket for the neighbor who feeds the hens while we are away. Even if the basket is very tempting to open, I tell the children that our trip is made possible because of our neighbor’s help and therefore, he should get that basket. It also keeps us out of stores, which is a good thing.

  4. I didn’t know that about avocados! This makes me so happy… at least it will when my freezer is a little more empty from when we loaded in the 3/4 of a beef.

  5. 1. Took books to the used book store for credit before and after Christmas as I’ve been purging. They give 10% of the original retail price in store credit which we use to get books we want and books on CD for my husband who spends lots of time driving for his job. Considering most of our books are bought at church sales we normally do better than break even.
    2. Used Coke Rewards points to order 2 $5 Chic Fila gift cards. Will use in Easter baskets for my teenage guys.
    3. Started selling a few things on local FB yardsale page in the past 2 weeks. I’ve made $84 and gotten rid of some no longer needed items.
    4. Neighbors had tree taken down and didn’t want the wood. We rented a splitter on NY Eve since it was such a huge tree. Since they were closed on NY Day we got a bonus day for free. We now have several cords of maple to burn next year.
    5. Made a apple crisp with some apples that were past their prime. Threw in a couple pears that had been a gift snd were ripening faster than I could eat. I’m the only one that eats pears but they can’t tell when they are mixed with apples. Shhh don’t tell!
    6. Canning carrots tomorrow since Aldi’s had bags of baby carrots marked down to 25 cents a bag. Borrowed friend’s pressure canner so I can get them processed. I also was able to get 10 lbs potatoes, organic baby spinach and organic spring mix for $1 each. Aldi’s seems to be very aggressive with markdowns when they are going to be closed for a holiday. I’ve learned it worth going to see what I can get.
    7. Got $25 from recycling cable and cans. My husband is an IT specialist so replaces a lot of cabling which normally would go in trash so he brings it home and once I have a box full I take it to recycling center.
    8. Older friend normally buys hams for his contribution to our church Christmas breakfast but was going to be away. He asked if I would do it for him so i got 3 ham bones and the leftover ham for my effort. Red beans and rice for dinner tonight and 2 ham bones in the freezer.

  6. I love the frugal friday blog posts! We traveled all last week, which meant we ate out A LOT. Usually ordering a few pizzas is cheaper than going thru a drive thru for our family, but while we were traveling for some reason our usual order at the same pizza chain in a different town was about $10 more, saving us nothing. HOWEVER, we put the leftovers in our hotel fridge and had them for lunch the next day. Buying a bag of apples and drinks to go with the leftover pizza was still cheaper than a drive thru lunch for the 6 of us.
    My husband sometimes travels for work and discovered a very nice hotel chain that offers a suite (two rooms, kitchenette, and bathroom) AND breakfast and dinner on weeknights. While the actual room is more expensive, not having to buy a dinner out makes it a more frugal choice for our family.

  7. Terri Millwood says:

    Good to know about the avocados! I too made bone broth ….added a little tumeric ( my new favorite spice. It seems like this month I had a lot of friends that had surgery, so I have been cooking a lot. Our biggest savings is the deer that one of my husband’s clients brought us. They like to hunt but they eat out a lot and did not want to pay for processing. Deer are small around here. We had it processed for $60. It produced 28 pounds of ground meat and a nicely sized tenderloin- divided in half ( 2 meals for a family of 7). We are also trying a no eating out January. This is going to require some effort and pre-planning since there are a couple of long stressful days taking kids to school and various activities all day

  8. Mary, I’ve been wondering…do other families stretch meat like I do? Anyone want to reply? For instance, when we make spaghetti for our family of 8, we use 1# of ground beef and about 4 jars of sauce. Chicken pot pie, lots of veggies and maybe 2-3 chicken breasts for 4 pies.

    • Sure, I do that all the time with pasta, pot pies, and stir fries. That’s one of their beauties. 🙂

    • I have a small family, but I always cook in larger portions so we have leftovers. I also try to stretch meat. Anytime you can get away with shredded/diced/ground meats, they are generally easy to use much smaller amounts than seems to be “average”.

  9. Thanks for that tip on avocados!

  10. tia bennett says:

    Thanks for the tip on the avacados, I would never have guessed that.
    I saved by stocking up on some holiday baking goods. We have been eating out of our garage freezer since it shuts off when the temperature gets lower than the freezer. Our pantry is in the garage too, so I am trying to empty that of things that will freeze. This helps with the grocery bill this week, and makes me get creative 🙂 Ground beef and ground turkey were on clearance so I browned 10 pounds and froze in one pound packages. I love having these in my freezer.
    I had a big flop though. I cooked a whole chicken and we ate it for dinner, I then boiled the carcuss down for the bone broth. I made creamy chicken soup and added gluten free pasta to it. Big mistake. The rice pasta turned to mush in the soup and ruined it all. My son just went gluten free and I am experimenting with recipes. I would love to see some of yours!

    • I am not gluten free but used to cook for a family that was. When using gluten free pasta just put it in bowl and then put soup on top. It cooks super fast in the hot broth and buy time you get to table it is ready!

  11. My “teetering on the edge” veggies all got thrown into a pot with chicken broth, then blended up so you couldn’t tell there were things like squash and zucchini in it, then used that as the stock for the soup with frozen veggies and leftover quinoa and wild rice and a tiny shred of leftover chicken. It came out so tasty, I might have to make that kind of broth again on purpose in the future! Plus, I got two meals out of it and it cost less than $2 to make the whole pot, so total win all around.

    Groceries for the month of Dec were kept to half the normal budget. This is good, as Nov was greatly over budget and a few others had been a little high, but I ended up using only 99% of the allotted budget for the whole year, so I was quite pleased. I’m also doing a bit of pantry challenge this month as I really need to use up some of the stuff that has been creeping into the house faster than it has been getting eaten. I don’t have a lot of space and what I do have is completely full at this point, so time to get busy with it.

  12. 1. Took advantage of some great markdowns at Aldi’s. Organic spinach and spring mix for $1, honey wheat bread and burger rolls for 25¢ and potato bread for 50¢. I also bought 16 bags of baby carrots for 25¢ each. I gave 4 to my sister and the rest I’m canning, I processed 5 bags last night and the rest will be done tonight. Sweetened baby carrots recipe from the Ball book so good!
    2. An older friend normally donates the ham for our annual church breakfast but was going to be away so asked me if he gave me the funds would I purchase and prepare the ham. For $50 I purchased 3 spiral hams at a great sale price at the grocery store. I got to keep the ham bones, with lots of meat still on them, and the ham leftover which provided several lunches for my guys. Two ham bones for the freezer and 1 became red beans and rice. Also packets of ham “bits” for breakfasts or soup into the freezer.
    3. Started selling some things on our local FB yard sale group right before Christmas. Things we no longer needed and I made $84.
    4. Took cans and old wire/cabling to the recycle center and got $25.50 for it. My husband is an IT specialist and replaces cable in the course of his work which normally would go in the trash so he brings it home and when there is about 25 lbs. I take it in and get the $ for it.
    5. Took 4 bags of books to the used book store for credit and used some of the credit to get my husband audio books for Christmas. The books they didn’t take I dropped off at SA on my way home.
    6. Loaded an offer for free bag of salad greens to my Safeway card and when I went to buy it and use self checkout found a coupon for free 1/2 gallon of almond milk and then it spit out another one from my transaction. I bought a gallon of milk and the free salad mix and will also get 2 free gallons of almond milk. I then scanned my receipt to add 25¢ to my Ibotta account.

  13. 1) Pressure canning baby carrots that I got at Aldi for 25¢ a bag. They have a BIUB date of Jan. 14 so I bought 16 bags since I knew I could take my time to get them processed. I gave 4 bags to my sister and have 12 jars of sweetened baby carrots for the pantry, a pot of cooked carrots for dinner and 4 1/2 bags still to process. I borrowed the pressure canner from a friend and gifted him a new box of power tool attachments I got from a sales rep on Freecycle.
    2) Neighbor had a large silver maple taken down and didn’t want the wood which we were more than happy to take. We did have to rent a splitter because the tree trunk was so massive and couldn’t be done by hand but it was $100 well spent because we now have all the wood we will need for next winter. We were able to borrow a hitch from my sister since we don’t have one on our truck. Lots of hard work, splitting, moving and stacking but it was free exercise!
    3) Just started selling some things on our local FB yard sale group and I’ve made $84 so far and met some nice people! Plus cleared out stuff we no longer needed or that I bought specifically for resale.
    4) Went into Safeway to get my free salad mix that was a 4U card offer and a gallon of milk. When I went through self checkout someone had left a Catalina for a free 1/2 gallon of almond milk. Then the register spit out another with my transaction and I got 25¢ on my Ibotta account for the milk I bought.
    5) Got $25 when I went to the recycler last week when I took 17 lbs. of aluminum cans and 25 lbs. of cable/wire that husband brought home from his job. He is an IT specialist and does a lot of rewiring and running of new cable. Normally the old cable goes in the trash so now he brings it home and when I have a full box and I’m going to be in that area I take it in and normally get between $20-45.

  14. Mary,
    Thanks for checking into why my comments weren’t showing up. Now both attempts have shown up. LOL!

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  1. […] you here. Feel free to cut it in half if your group is smaller. And remember my handy-dandy tip for freezing avocados if your avocados are ripening faster than you can use them!  We’ve never had enough guac […]