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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I picked pears from the garden. I just had a few but I am grateful to have them.

I cut Swiss chard from the garden.

I mended 3 pairs of underwear.

I canned 6 quarts of pears from the pears I gleaned the week before last..

I purchased 72 pounds of pears for $18 (25 cents a pound). I put them in the fridge and will be canning them this week.

I cut branches from our pear tree to enjoy inside.

I made 8 loaves of French bread, a double batch of granola, a double batch of lemon poppyseed muffins, and pasta e fagioli.

What did you do last week to save money?

Note: I am spending time with my family the next few days and will not be able to moderate comments until late each night, so comments will take a few more hours than normal to appear over the next few days.

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25 Comments

  1. Brandy your home looks lovely — I LOVE the table — you have such brains and talent and are so great to share them with all of us. I found a new grocery store about 1.5 miles away from me that I didn’t even know existed! For zoning reasons there isn’t a big store front and parking lot facing the street and I had just never noticed it. It’s locally owned, not many stores, but amazing prices. I stocked up on olive oil, honey, and basil (to make pesto that i try to keep in the freezer year round). I made an enormous amount of olive oil granola this weekend and went through an awful lot of olive oil, honey, and oats. I had all of the ingredients on hand except for some walnuts and almonds that I like to throw in. I went through so many oats that I opened up my first big bulk purchase — 25 lbs of oats in a mylar bag in a bucket with a gamma seal. Question: are gamma seals bug proof? I hate hate hate pantry moths . . . Am also stocking up on butter which keeps on going up and up! Holidays coming soon!We are eating less and less meat so I am trying more vegetarian recipes which usually require several spices. I’m pretty well supplied at this point because I ordered from SF Herb Co. which I found on Brandy’s website.Have a wonderful break with your family Brandy. You SOOO deserve it!

  2. Brandy,You may not read this since there are so many comments. However, I wanted to thank you for your post this week. I’m running out of grocery money this month. You inspired me to stretch what I have in my fridge and pantry. After reading your post, I cooked a whole chicken one day and made soup out of the bones the next day, along with focacia bread from scratch. I cooked a big pot of beans for beans and rice one day, and we will have chili later this week. Another evening meal will be pancakes since I have a whole bin of soft white wheat. Funny thing is, my family is really enjoying the food, even though we are scrimping! (I also made a double batch of your granola instead of buying store-bought cereal.) Thanks again.

  3. Margery,That is wonderful! I was thinking the same thing last night. When I am extra careful about watching our food budget and using what we have I tend to get very creative and make yummy things from scratch and the food often tastes better. For instance last night I didn’t have a lot of food in the house and I was trying to figure out a side dish to make–I ended up making some vegetable fried rice with some leftover rice that I found in the fridge and everyone thought it was delicious!Stephanie

  4. Eleanor, those microwaved bean/cheese/sour cream burritos have been a standard emergency meal in our house for years. I serve them topped with shredded lettuce and chopped tomato. If I don’t have fresh tomatoes, I use salsa. Sometimes instead of heating them with the sour cream inside, I combine sour cream and salsa for a dressing on top of the lettuce.

  5. Another really fast meal I make pretty often is quesadillas. I used to do them on the griddle and try to flip with two spatulas. This became such a breeze when I finally got a quesadilla maker.Any leftover chop, small piece of steak, or small piece of leftover ham, even a little cooked crumbled ground beef, plus the cheese and tortillas than can be kept as staples will make a nice big one for two to share. Appropriate condiments and leftover rice or a can of beans, and fruit for dessert, will round it out.

  6. One of our favorite meals is when i clean out the fridge and stir fry everything in a skillet. Chopped onions, veggies of all kinds. Bits of different meats. You name it. Stir fry in a little oil. Flavor with a little soy sauce and a bit of sesame oil. Serve it over rice. Leftovers are great the next day too! And it all smells wonderful.

  7. One way to kill insect larvae in grains or flour is to put the new package in the freezer a few days. Then thaw it. Then freeze it again. After the first freeze the insect larvae thinks winter is over and comes out to do its thing and gets frozen and killed. I know that sounds crazy, but I never have bugs in my flour. LOL!

  8. No, it is not a garden walk, it is an inside house walk, usually 4 or 5 houses a year. The money they charge for tickets goes toward scholarships. But I have a long walk and two porches so I wanted to decorate all the way up to my house.Thanks for asking.

  9. We’ve had a busy last couple of weeks. Now it’s the end of a week again and I don’t know whether to skip comments and wait til next week or go ahead. So this is for 2 weeks, maybe more.Seems to be pears for a lot of us. I did 21 pints and put another approx 35 pears in the extra fridge to take out and ripen as needed. They are little pears…my co-worker calls them “seckles”. (I trade my excess grapes for the pears, we don’t grow them). I did more qts of tomato juice and pints and quarts of whole tomatoes. Did more cilantro salsa and more pickle relish. Did corn relish and 12 pints of spiced red cabbage. Chopped and froze more broccoli and cauliflower. Froze quart bags of corn and a few pints. Made 3 half pints of pesto for the freezer. Dried mint, thyme, parsley. Pulled more onions to dry off in the sun. Made one last batch of grape jelly, 4 jars of tomato jam and 5 jars of tomato-lemon marmalade. BTW, I have 2 grown daughters helping me so we can get lots done at once. I also have my mother in laws large canner which we use on occasion with really large batch canning like applesauce and tomatoes. It holds 15 quarts jars. Have started putting food in the root cellars (mine and oldest girl’s (my old house)). We picked all the ripe and almost ripe red tomatoes and all the fully green ones. We left the middling ripe ones on the vines to try to finish up as is. Right now there are tomatoes on tables in the sewing room and the sun room and in her dining room. Picked the last of the hot and bell peppers. Picked cabbages. Acorn squash and butternut are curing on the picnic table. Beans are done. Daughter planted in cold frame and we have aurgula and bibb lettuce and radishes coming. Blackberries are pretty much done, they grow wild along all the fields but they are not my favorite fruit, but I did put plenty in the freezer for baking later. Apples are doing good. We have been eating them but not a major harvest yet. Picked the last of the eggplants. Still getting zucchini. Cucumbers are done. Rutabagas are still in the ground and we are hoping to get about 40 pounds this year. I didn’t really like the turnips we were given last year, but my oldest decided to grow a row and the thinning she sliced and and stir fried with butter and apples and nutmeg. She will harvest those later also. We have not dug horseradish yet either. Our first frost is due in just over 2 weeks, if on schedule.Did a lot of baking (over 3 weeks). Made banana nut bread, zucchini raisin muffins, chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting, a plum kuchen, a cherry coffeecake and cherry cobbler. Made white bread, pizza 2 times, chili rellenos (w our poblano peppers), hash browns, buttermilk pancakes with blackberry sauce, cheese-yellow squash bake (Marivene’s recipe), spaghetti sauce, fake crab-macaroni shell salad, cold potato salad, cole slaw, bratwurst (cooked, not from scratch), cauliflower corn potato chowder. Made potato pancakes and a bowl of applesauce to go with them. Made curried eggs over rice (HB eggs in a spicy tomato sauce). Brandy, I hope to see more pictures of your library soon and I hope you have had a wonderful time with family.

  10. I agree that it’s not vain at all. I did the same the other day, or at least got a really good start. I realized very quickly what I DO need and what I don’t, so it’s a savings tool as well. I only need about three pieces and a few pieces of accessories. I was shocked at home many ‘looks’ some of those components in my closet made up into.

  11. This week I,- made ice cream for dessert- didn’t shop- harvested tomatos, roasted them and made cream of chicken soup- sold books at 2 places and made $25- haven’t gone out for coffee- kicked my expensive soda water habit for seven days now- used change I gathered up from behind car seats, in couch and in bottom of drawers to donate to a charity (only a couple of dollars:)- resisted the urge to get a new outfit for an event with my husband- went to the opening of a chocolate factory in my town and was encouraged to eat all the chocolates I wanted (they are very, very high end and my absolute favorite:)- after the chocolate adventure we resisted the urge to have dinner across the street and went home for a late night left over feast- I printed out coupons and used them today when I finally had to go grocery shopping- made dinner out of what was cheap and didn’t adhear doggedly to a recipe. SO much cheaper- invited my cousins over for a get together tonight, spur of the moment, and am serving a charming array of cleverly arranged left overs and what was cheap at the store.- took snacks on a long road trip to avoid stopping for expense, unhealthy snacks- wrapped a gift in re-used, ironed wrapping paper. It looked amazing and I reused ribbon I’ve been saving. So pretty and satisfying

  12. I found your blog just recently and I’ve really been enjoying it. So this week I got back into my frugal ways. I cooked my last turkey, made stock, and made wet food from the fatty meat for my pug. Then I made homemade rolls, sandwich bread, and a pie from ingredients I had on hand. All of my meals have been planned from things I have in the freezer and pantry. What little I bought at the store I kept at under $100 for the next two weeks. I have to say though grocery prices have started to rise. I’m finding aldi and Costco/SAMs the cheapest. So I lucked out when Living Social ran a deal for a Costco membership. I received a $20 gc and free coupons for a pie, rotisserie chicken, and pack of toilet paper. I’m hoping to save enough to take the family to the Chattanooga aquarium next month and by spring start a garden. I’m nervous about gardening as I’ve never done it. Any tips to getting started. I have clay soil here in alabama and it seems like a lot of things have a hard time growing.

  13. It is autumn here in the UK and blackberry season. Spent a couple of hours picking them wild and got 41/2lbs plus a lot of scratches from the thorns not to mention a lot of stings from the stinging nettles that always seem to wrap themselves round the brambles. It was a beautiful afternoon with lots of dog walkers who always chipped in with comments of ‘jam or crumbles’ to which I replied both. I also managed to get enough sloes for my sloe, rosehip and crab apple jelly. Have to find the crab apples and rosehips now and I have just seen a garden round the corner has a bumper crop of quince. Will ask the lady if I can have some in exchange for a jar of quince jelly when it is made, Unfortunately it looks like my partner will be medically retired from nursing. Thisis going to have a dramatic effect on his income but with my help and knowledge of budgeting he will find life a lot easier than expected. Already have him making paper logs for winter and getting the log pile ready for me to take the saw to. He cant do it because like the majority of nurses his back has collapsed.Nothing like a bit of team work to make the world a better place. He has even turned into a fantastic bread baker and is delighted that loaves are coming in at under 50p when he was paying ÂŁ1.30 for a loaf.

  14. It does not look like my first reply posted so I will try again. 🙂 My jelly was not super spicy at all, just a nice bite to it. I did not put in seeds or membranes so that probably helped with the heat.

  15. This is more a comment to say thank you for your ideas and encouragement. But, I will add that my parents gifted me a bit of birthday money which has allowed me to breathe easier over the last two weeks, and will continue to help me make ends meet next month. They don’t know about our financial troubles (they are elderly, and the last thing I wanted to do was worry them), and I never ask them for money (I want them to have a comfortable retirement!), but they love the feeling of providing for my son (their only grandchild), whom they love enormously! In terms of saving money, I did very little shopping this week. I did treat myself to one bought lunch at work because of a packed lunch left on the counter during a chaotic morning. I bought my son a new pair of shoes (a planned expense) after a fitting revealed that his feet grew a whole size over the summer. When I got to the store, the salesman said that they were giving a 20% discount on per pair of new shoes with a donation of an old pair of shoes. So, the $5 thrift store shoes my son had grown out of saved me $9.20 on his (expensive; he has weird feet, sigh) new shoes! Also, I was able to buy my son a child-sized guitar (a real one, in great condition) at a yard sale for $5; I will hold on to it for Christmas. I hope you had a wonderful week with family!

  16. So encouraging to read your blog!Last week… Can’t remember it very well… I know we roasted a couple chickens, cut up and froze the meat, used pressure canner to make a ton of stock fast, and then pressure canned the stock. We’ll eat well off of that for a long time!

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