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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Green tomatoes detail The Prudent Homemaker

We picked the green tomatoes from the garden and began pulling the plants. There's a possibility of a light frost in the day (which now looks like it may not happen! And it will warm up again after that) but they can ripen in baskets and colanders and we can of course fry some up.

Under the tomato plants, I found two small butternut squash in the garden, so I brought those in.

I picked a few Meyer lemons from the garden.

I picked basil from the garden.

I used a free sample of shampoo.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I continued to decorate for Christmas using decorations we already have.

Green Tomatoes in December The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?



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  • Juls Owings December 04, 2017

    Margaret @ApproachingFood Wow, Daddy just mentioned he loved Mallobars but could no one could find them for him. LOL I googled the recipe. Not sure if I can make marshmallows

  • Debby in Kansas December 05, 2017

    My mom loved those, too. I used to get them for her at Cracker Barrel. They weren't cheap, but okay for 1 or 2 in her stocking!

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood December 05, 2017

    You're Chef Owings! You totally can make marshmallows! It's easier than it seems. Here's the mallobar recipe I was making, the mallobar recipe from the Cook This Now cookbook (http://stylishcuisine.com/?p=5678) except that I substituted in vegan marshmallows and cut them into individuals shapes a bit more like wagonwheels. Make the graham cracker base exactly as it --- it's soooo good! I plan to make it again, just as a cookie. In terms of the marshmallow, it only sounds difficult. The hardest part is pouring in the sugar syrup in a thin stream into the batter, but trust me, it's easier than it sounds. You can totally do it! I believe in you! :)

  • Juls Owings December 06, 2017

    I'm a personal/private chef ..well retired now. Not a pastry chef... LOL But since you have faith in me I will have to try to make these LOL.

  • Sheila December 07, 2017

    If you have a Cracker Barrel, they have a lot of different retro candy in their store. You might be able to find the Mallobars there.

  • Jeannie December 04, 2017

    Whew! What an awesome week. I got tired just reading about all the money you saved. When you have the time, please elaborate on how you manage to use a trading app to trade so many things.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood December 05, 2017

    Hi Jeannie! The trading app is literally just a venue to post pics and descriptions of things you have that you don't want, and to look for things that you do want. Then you message someone whose item you like (or they message you) and propose a trade. If the person agrees, you agree on a time and place to meet up to do the swap. I think there are a lot of fb swap groups, or similar. This particular app just takes money out of the equation.

    I like it because it's helping me get rid of things that I have that I don't want but don't want to throw out, and it is also a way for me to get things that I do want (pantry items, or bnib items to gift) without paying for them. If there is something that I really want, I will sometimes offer to bake in trade, as that way I'm only paying for the ingredients and it's my labour that is earning the item, but I prefer to use the app to declutter without adding to landfill. This particular app also works well for me because people often meet up on the subway line to do a trade, and I live and work near the subway line system in Toronto, so it's easy for me to hop on a train after I finish work in the evening and do a trade before heading home. I have a monthly transit pass, so it doesn't cost me anything extra to do. To save time, I try to arrange for several trades at the same place at the same time. Plus I read a book on the subway so it's a bit of a break for me.

    Just like a lot of people will go through their homes periodically and declutter, I'll do that, and then list the stuff on the app. Then I'll arrange a few trades, preferably for consumables (sealed pantry items that I can use in my cooking/baking or to donate to a food bank) or for bnib items that I will regift (mostly for Christmas), i.e. items that won't cause clutter. At some point, I'll run out of things that I want to get rid of, and then my use of the app will dwindle. Until then, though, it's like a fun game to plump up my pantry or get gifts for people while decluttering! Hope this answers your question!

  • Jeannie December 07, 2017

    Thank you so very much! Now I understand. It makes sense because I thought you were driving all over town while alone meeting people on street corners to trade a batch of cookies. Your system is quite ingenious and I see how it would work well. We have used the local newspaper to sell items when we declutter but the people always had to come to our house or we would need to drive to meet them. Your system is better.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  • Siiri December 04, 2017

    Could you share beet hummus recipe? We grow lots of beets, no insects ever harm them, so I always and up with too much... Thanks!

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood December 05, 2017

    Hi Siiri! Here's the beet hummus recipe I used, but I used it as a bit of a jumping off point. It's a great taste combination! http://www.foodnetwork.ca/shows/great-canadian-cookbook/blog/bright-and-beautiful-beet-hummus/ Enjoy!

  • jen December 05, 2017

    I use toasted sesame oil in my humus instead of tahini. I think it is really tasty and lighter feeling. Cheaper too.

  • Nancy December 04, 2017

    Love your pretty tomatoes in baskets. What great finds in your garden. This holiday seems more relaxed in that
    Im not trying to keep up with the picture of Christmas but enjoying the season and using what i have . Here are a few frugal accomplishments this week:
    . Made oatmeal snowmen for my grands using cc and a fruit snack. Served hot chocolate with a candy cane
    . Made cut out snowmen with a grandgirl..hung in window
    . Made cut out snow flakes with another grand girl
    Hung in window
    . Made homemade bread for a supper will use leftover bread for Brandys..Tuscan bread soup
    . Made cc cookies..added a few coloring books..crayons..popcorn
    . Re did my bedroom..organizing..moved things to give more room and relaxed holiday. Added a few holiday touches.
    . Received a free cookie at grocery
    . Used a gift card given in october to purchase new shoes needed on a holiday sale
    . Made a cranberry bread using dried cranberries from last year.
    . Enjoyed others lights
    . Enjoyed sunrise n sunset
    . Enjoyed the geese flying overhead and splashing in the pond.

  • Sandra December 04, 2017

    Our frost was over a month ago. Like you, we gathered everything off the vines. Then I set up tables in our garage and laid out the green tomatoes. They began to ripen right away and I then put them into baskets in my second refrigerator. The crisper drawers are full and every shelf has a large basket or tray of tomatoes on it. My canning cupboard is full and I have plenty frozen, too. It is wonderful to have such bounty. I've been making soups and sandwiches with them as well as large nightly salads.

  • Jen G December 04, 2017

    I'm in awe of your winter harvest! I love going down to my inlaws in LA and picking oranges and lemons off the tree. No such luck in the PNW.

    Living frugally in Seattle:

    -I received a beautiful shirt (for summer wear) and a 12 lb turkey from my Buy Nothing neighborhood group. I gave away some Christmas crafting materials that I won't use. I froze the turkey for later use.

    - Instead of buying a Christmas tree (which I LOVE, but is impractical with the small living space on the main floor of our rowhouse and also expensive), we DREW a Christmas tree on our chalkboard wall in the kitchen and decorated it with flat and smaller ornaments that we already owned. Got the idea from Pinterest and it turned out pretty cute. We will visit my mom and her real Christmas tree over Christmas.

    - Made bread for the week on Saturday (whoot! whoot!)

    - After attending a holiday jazz concert, we came home and drank homemade hot chocolate rather than going out.

    - Bought blank cards at Joanne's for half price so we can make and send Christmas cards to close friends and family. Resisted buying a couple of other really cute holiday decorations.

    - Continuing to make good use of our local library for reading material as well as holiday movies.

  • Siiri December 04, 2017

    Good job! I've read that if you pull up plants with tomatoes on them and hang up upside down somewhere inside, they'll ripen much better... haven' tried it myself!

  • kim December 04, 2017

    Instead of driving 13 miles to take my 3 and 2 yr old to the park, we are staying home.
    I have all our Christmas shopping done and a full deep freeze and full pantry of food. I have decided to do a no-spend January-March 2018 and take the $1000 of my grocery budget for those 3 months and put on to our mortgage.
    This way I won't have to waste expired food because I'll use it all up.
    We have 4-5 family Christmases to attend this month, so I will also not be buying any groceries in December.
    I'm still contemplating a third child though my hubby is OK with 2. I'm figuring whether we could really afford it and whether we want to be tighter with our resources. Not sure if it would be best to wait 1, 2, or 3 years.

  • Jeannie December 07, 2017

    Good job planning and being organized. I found child #3 to be cheap because I already had everything and was ready. Well, cheap until he became a teenager and then would not stop eating. However, I never regretted having him.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  • http://Erika @ The Make Do Homemaker December 04, 2017

    Wow! That's a lot of tomatoes! Nice!

    I am super busy around here working on Christmas gifts and loads of paperwork for various things. What can I say? I know how to party! Lol!

    My list for the week can be found here...


  • Gardenpat December 04, 2017

    This week I canned another 9 quarts of tomatoes from a 25 pound box I bought for $5! I used up the last bowl of little bananas that were over ripe and baked them into banana walnut white chocolate chip scones! https://pin.it/virrtr5eovr7n5 I got 24 scones from them!
    My chickens are still laying about 2-1/2 dozen eggs/week so I am keeping a careful rotation of using oldest first and am saving the extras that I don't use in my downstairs fridge to carry us through the winter without having to buy eggs! What a blessing!
    I bought a bushel box of gala apples for $5 that I will share some of with 3 of our children who are local and we will eat/use many fresh ourselves. The rest I will can into spiced apple rings (using some of those for gifts!)
    I froze 8 pounds of chopped onions and dehydrated another 7 pounds! Those 15 pounds of pre chopped onions cost me $3, so I felt like it was a great way to add to our pantry!
    We completed 2 more wood orders for clients and that brought in another $75 for quick projects that we used reclaimed (free) wood to make!
    We started graphing out and also demo-ing the old 3rd floor bathroom tub and shower in preparation for our DIY remodel. One of our daughters offered us enough floor tile for that bathroom because we will be pulling out the old tile and laying radiant floor heating in first. We will keep the existing toilet and sink. There are no windows or exterior walls to renovate, so this may be a quicker remodel that we may have completed before Christmas families get here!!
    I just made 50 Christmas ornaments out of Christmas fabrics that I had on hand to give out to all of the ladies in our Church group next week! I'll also be making the same number of mini-loaves of yellow squash bread using my 24 mini bread pan and the yellow squash I was given that I shredded and froze a week ago. Also- no cost!!!
    All in all, this has been a good week!!

  • I have been decorating myself Brandy with things I have from last year. I must have gotten rid of my wreath though -so i'm just doing without this year. Here are the ways I've saved this past week:

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