Friday, December 30, 2005
I've learned how to make more things from scratch. I'm not sure how much money I've saved, but it is some.
This year has been pretty good. It did start with my mother's passing, four months after my father. I have a very small family, so that really made me feel somewhat alone. But my partner has been wonderful, I'm healing and getting closer to my brother's family.
Tomorrow, those resolutions!
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I made another batch of corn and potato chowder. It gets thicker and more veggies each time I make it. I do have to try some new things, so I'm going to try a new recipe a week.
I also need to actually read the Tightwad Gazette I bought, instead of just looking at it sitting on the shelf. :)
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
It's amazing how living the frugal livestyle is changing how I view things. I'm not as frugal (yet!) as a lot of people, but I'm getting there.
For instance, when I walk through the grocery store, I really do "shop the margins". I have very little need to go down most of the aisles. And I'm so much happier about what we are eating.
Yesterday, we did some shopping. JCPenney had sent me and my partner $10 gift certificates. Plus they had just about everything on sale. So, we picked up some towels and a bath rug that we needed. Out of pocket, about 5 bucks.
We also stopped at a thrift store called Value Village. It was the first time my partner had shopped there. I found a Chicago Cutlery knife block for some knives we had gotten for free for 5 bucks. And my partner picked up 4 shirts for work and a really flashy gold/black sweater for the holidays for a total of 20 bucks. The sweater alone would have cost at least 50 bucks new in a retail store.
I'm enjoying the frugal life!
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Have to make more thousand island dressing today. Going to have miso soup later.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Now, some things are more expensive. Ketchup, vegenaise, Earth Balance margarine, whole wheat bread (when I buy instead of make), all are more expensive. But they don't have high fructose corn syrup, or msg, or trans fats, or hydrenagated oils. That is worth the money, to me.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
This evening, I added some water, tomato paste and nutritional yeast. Heated that then added some frozen steamed kale. Then some cooked brown rice. It was pretty good, but nothing to write home about. But it was fun trying!
I need to find a 'cheez' sauce to make mac and cheese with. I don't care so much about the taste as the creaminess. I don't want a grainy feel to it.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
The corn and potato chowder was good, if a bit bland. I've never had chowder of any sort before, so I'm not really sure what it should taste like.
And then I tried a baked macaroni and vegetable casserole. It was okay, but not creamy enough. I have another sauce I'll try with it next time.
All of her recipes are vegan.
Friday, November 25, 2005
I've started saving the heels of the bread to make croutons with eventually.
I'm going to try steaming then freezing kale. I've never done that before, but I have quite a lot hanging around.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Now, this year I bought a Nesco 6 qt roaster/slow cooker, and a Waring Pro blender. So I'm set with that.
Can you suggest a favorite skillet? or small appliance? A good quality mixer for instance. (all I have is a cheap handheld one).
And I would want to use it to help make good healthy food. Whole foods, grains, bread, veggies.
I do also have a food processor and a bread machine, but both are put away due to lack of counter space. And I also have 3 large stock pots, so I don't need that either.
Any suggestions would be appreciated!!!
Sunday, November 20, 2005
I had made some veggie stock a month ago and froze it in fairly small containers. I took one out, and put it in a sauce pan to melt. Added some spices to it. Then I added some more water, maybe about a cup. Cut up a carrot and a stalk of celery. Cooked that for a few minutes then put in about a half cup of quinoa. I had bought a box from Trader Joes. I found out afterwards that I was supposed to rinse it, but there was no bitter taste, so I guess I lucked out. I also added some fresh kale leaves, chopped. I've never had kale cooked, just steamed.
I brought it to a boil, turned it down to low and simmered for 15 minutes. When I checked, the quinoa was cooked and it was a soup. However, I couldn't eat it then, I had to go pick up my partner. I took it off the heat and left the cover on.
She was late getting out as usual. So I heated it a little bit. It had absorbed some of the liquid while it was sitting. Not quite soup, not quite porridge either. Anyway, it was very tasty. I enjoyed the veggies, which all got cooked just right, not mushy. And I enjoyed the kale cooked that way as well. My partner tried a little bit and liked it.
So, quinoa and veggie soup came out pretty good. :-)
Sunday, November 13, 2005
But I am thrilled that it came out so well! It's slicing good, I'm using a bread slicing guide thing I picked up at Goodwill.
My partner and I are going to go to the Wal-Mart Supercenter up in Vancouver to pick up staples and some things for Thanksgiving. We don't buy meat there, we are dubious about it's quality. But from my price book, most things are cheaper at Wal-Mart, even at regular grocery stores best sale prices.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
I didn't find anything there, but I also looked at the new age section. I found a John Tesh 'Worship at Red Rocks' cd. 12 songs on it. and it was $16.99. Average price these days for a music CD. Both my partner and myself enjoy praise and worship songs. I kept looking and found a 'Worship at Red Rocks Platinum'. I'm thinking, oh boy, this is going to be expensive. To my surprise, it was priced at only $12.99. It had the same cd as the first one I saw, PLUS a second music cd with 10 more songs, PLUS the DVD of the concert with a few extras on it. I thought this was a great deal. I have a Barnes and Noble ten percent discount card, so for eleven bucks and change I got 2 music cds and a DVD, which we will both enjoy. I play music on my computer at night when we are both at our respective computers.
I'm happy about the purchase.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I also picked up ten pounds of russets for a good price. I'm going to try to make potato soup, among other things, from them. I also need to cook up some brown rice and make bread. My partner goes to work tomorrow and for once I won't be driving her there. So I'll have most of the day to cook.
I'm just hoping the bread turns out better this time.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
So, I am getting better at buying frugally. Plus using the library as a place to get DVD's has worked out great.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
I got the video "Escape from Affluenza" from the library. Quite interesting, about simple living and frugality. It's good to see frugality in action, so to speak.
My partner is much better now, but I'm still fighting off a cough and sore throat. I HATE being sick.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Any suggestions or websites would be welcome! Please post a comment if you have anything that might help. Thanks!
Saturday, October 22, 2005
It was great just to spend time together. No tv, phone, or computer.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Saturday, October 15, 2005
I could make an apple crisp but I don't know if we can finish it off before leaving on Tuesday, so I think I'll wait. Ditto on a fresh loaf of whole wheat bread.
Friday, October 14, 2005
The other is one I feel very strongly about. It's called Real Health and I'm very proud of it. I am trying to live not only frugally but healthily, and improving my health, which has not been the best. This blog chronicles my efforts, links to useful articles and articles I've written about health.
I've always felt that having a variety of interests is a good thing. It keeps your mind active and helps you to keep your mind open to learning new things and seeing things from a different viewpoint.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Monday, October 10, 2005
Frustrating to know where the best price is, but can't get what you want.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
First is Spanish rice. I'll give the recipe then the changes I made to it.
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, minced
2 tomatoes, peeled, quartered
15 ounces tomato Sauce
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons vegetarian Worchestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 cup brown rice
2 tablespoons salsa
Stir all ingredients together. Cover and cook on low 7-10 hours.
I didn't have 15 ounces of tomato sauce so I used 8 ounces tomato sauce and a can of Rotel tomatoes with chilis. I put it in my Nesco Oven and cooked it for 5 hours on low. Spicy and tasty. Probably should have cooked it a bit less though.
Next is Crockpot Apple Butter.
8-10 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I use Granny Smith)
1 cup apple juice (I juice my own, but you don’t have to)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine in a crock pot the apples first, then spices, pour apple juice over all and stir to distribute. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Stir often to help the apples break down. Uncover and cook on high for 2 more hours to reduce liquid. Cook as long as you need to get the right consistency. Makes about 2 cups. (Added extra: the whole house smells like apples and cinnamon!) ENJOY!
I used Gala apples, 8 of them. After 4 hours covered and 2 hours uncovered, I blended it, continued cooking it uncovered, for another 3 hours. Made about 1.5 cups. Didn't use cloves, but my partner loves the taste.
Friday, October 07, 2005
I like having an organized kitchen. One, it speeds up preparation. I know where things are. Two, I like to wash dishes as I go. We do have a dishwasher, but I often clean things I need to use again soon. We have a dish drainer on the counter as well.
I made the Brown gravy recipe from Table for Two yesterday. It was quite tasty, but it doesn't reheat, you need to make it and use it right away. I'll try it out on my partner on Monday probably.
She just loves my apple crisp. I've been sending it with her as dessert for lunch every day. And yesterday, just before I dropped her off at work, she said something that really touched me. She said that when she's eating her lunch, she thinks about me and that I made this food for her, with love and care and it really makes her feel good.
That's what it's really all about, isn't it? :)
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Now, while I am trying to drink more water, both I and my partner drink soda. So we do recycle.What I'm going to do is cash in the tickets when I recycle and put that money in an envelope on the side. It'll be nice to actually SEE some money that we're putting aside.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Late yesterday I also got the Compassionate Cook cookbook I ordered from half.com for a $1.50. Haven't really had a chance to look at it yet.
My partner and I worked out a budget last night. The numbers are not good, but the things I'm doing to save money on food is helping.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
The cookbook is well done, with a lie flat binding. It has explainations of things like what is seitan. I'm going to make whole wheat biscuits from the book for dinner tonight.
Also went with my partner to the Portland Art Museum. First time we'd been there. They recently added a new wing. And, as I posted before, we had free tickets! It was a great time together. And in about 2 weeks, we are going to the Oregon coast for a few days. No phone, tv, or any other distractions. I can't wait!
Sunday, October 02, 2005
4-6 apples cored and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup melted margarine or canola/olive oil
3/8 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 c brown sugar
1/2 c oatmeal (I've used both quick cooking and old fashioned)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
Put the apples in an 8x8 oiled baking dish. Mix the remaining ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle over apples. Sprinkle top with a bit more cinnamon. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Potato Scramble (modified for two people)
4 medium potatoes scrubbed and sliced into wedges, I leave the skin on (if you need it to cook quickly, shred them)
1/2 onion, chopped
any or none of the following: chopped carrot, leftover chick peas, chopped broccoli
1/2 cup tamari (I use soy sauce)
1 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1 Tbs. maple syrup
In a heavy pot, brown the onions in a little olive or canola oil. Add the potatoes and stir frequently until they begin to brown. Add in optional items. Whisk together last three ingredients and pour over potato and onion mixture. Add water to just cover potatoes and cook covered until potatoes are tender. To make it thicker simmer with cover off once potatoes are cooked. Serve as is or as a crepe filling. This doesn't look pretty but it tastes great. Reheats very well too.
There are several Goodwill stores in the Portland area. This one is huge, a lot of clothes. That wasn't what I came for though. I had a list of some things I wanted to look for. I actually didn't find any of those, but I did find three things at a good price.
I used my George Foreman rotissierie to make 2 of the 3 chickens I got on sale at .58 a pound at Fred Meyers. I'll make the third one today. I strip them and save the meat in marked baggies in the freezer. Serving sized already of course.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
The apple crisp, the first time I followed the recipe exactly. I had fairly large chunks of apple. My partner liked it, but it was a bit dry. So the second time, I sliced the apples thinner. I also used margarine instead of olive oil for the topping and added just a tiny bit of brown sugar. Then, when I baked it, I covered it with tinfoil for the first 15 minutes, then uncovered for the last 15.
Both of us like it better. The apples stayed a bit moister and the topping just worked better this way.
Now the potato scramble. Last time I basically used large chunks of potato, almost wedges. This time I sliced them thinner. It came out fine, but we both agreed the larger chunks tasted better. I also need to try making the scramble with red potatoes, which hold together better.
I haven't baked bread since the last one (with the hole in the middle!) because I found wheat bread on sale for 50 cents a loaf.
Tomorrow, I'm trying a Cuban black beans and brown rice dish recipe I found on the Whole Foods Market website.
Friday, September 30, 2005
Now, I tend to be a packrat, so I thought I had a pad of paper for the dayrunner. Looked through my file cabinet, and found it! So I filed the old business cards and such, and used the tabbed pages from the address book in the DayRunner, sticking a few pieces of paper between each. So now I'm all set.
I know this probably doesn't sound like much. I didn't really save any money, but it's the mindset I'm trying to develop. Reuse, recycle, use what I have or can reuse cheaply. It's a small step in that direction at least.
My partner and I had a good talk last night about money. We talked about ways to save money on electricity this winter, since we have electric heat and we pay for electric here. And we don't pay for water, but we do pay for the electric water heater. We also talked about the changes I've been making. So far, all the food changes and more home cooking is working well. It helps that neither of us care a lot about high end brand names. For instance, a lot of people here have Columbia Sportwear jackets. They work well handling the mist and damp of a Portland winter. We have no name jackets that are 50-300 bucks less then the Columbia Sportswear jackets. They work fine for us.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
It has finally finished adding on a new wing, and so over the next two weeks they are have a celebration. Fred Meyer donated money toward a plaza connecting the new wing, so they are giving out tickets free. So I got two free tickets and next week my partner and I will take the bus downtown to the Park Blocks and visit the Portland Art Museum!
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
No signup is required. You put in your zip code and a keyword of what you are looking for. Simple is best. 'Toilet paper' or 'rice' or 'beans'. You'll get a price and an image of what's on sale. They seem to have all the stores around here listed, at least the major ones. It's very useful and keeps you from wasting that expensive gas going from place to place.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
The second one I did by hand, and it didn't rise as much, but it was tasty. Sunday, I got a good rise but I guess I was overly gentle with the dough when I was shaping it to put it in the loaf pan. Once it was baked, I found out there was a nicely done bread, but with a fairly large hole in the center.
Now, obviously this wasn't any good for sandwiches. ;-) So, trying to be frugal, I used 2 slices for breakfast and cooked an egg in the middle of the bread. I got that idea from watching Moonstruck a long time ago. Then for dinner, I stuffed the hole with some steamed veggies and a little marinara and heated it up. Sliced it and enjoyed it a lot.
I'm going to continue to make bread. I enjoy it, it is very cost effective and both I and my partner like it a lot. And it's good for you!
Monday, September 26, 2005
I bought some boneless skinless chicken breast the other day on sale. The breasts were huge! So, I sliced them up into approximately 6 ou pieces, which is a recommended serving size. I am trying to get away from supersizing myself by eating large portions.
I'm old enough to remember when going to McDonalds was a treat. I think my mother gave in about once every 2-3 months (yes, months, not days or weeks). We were all satisfied with what is now a small hamburger or cheeseburger (the ones for around a buck), a small fry and a small drink. At some fast food places I've been at lately, you can't even buy a small fry, just medium. Sometimes I buy a kid's meal, because honestly it's at least smaller and a bit healthier.
You can get apple dippers at McDonalds, mandarin orange slices at Wendy's. The plain baked potato at Wendy's is good too, as long as you don't get all the fatty add-ons. I like potatoes with BBQ sauce, or salsa on top. Tasty yet healthy.
Speaking of potatoes, I did find at Safeway 10 pounds of russets for $1.99. Since they are usually .69 a pound, I snapped up a bag. So I do have to eat a lot of potatoes fairly soon.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Now, trying to be frugal, I am first getting them from the library. I use the Multnomah County Library, which last year had the most circulation of any library in the country. Something like 15.4 million items. Reading is a good way to pass the rainy winters.
Anyway, I've got a few books on hold and one video. The video is called Escape from Affluenza, and two books I'm really looking forward to reading are The Complete Tightwad Gazette and Yankee magazine's living well on a shoestring : 1,501 ingenious ways to spend less for what you need and have more for what you want.
Today I'm making a potato scramble. Yesterdays apple crisp got good reviews from my partner.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
So I'm learning about a frugal lifestyle. It's different from a lot of people, in that I live in the middle of a large city, in an apartment. I don't have a yard, or a basement, or much storage space. So even if buying beans in 25 pound bags is much cheaper, I can't because I have no place to put them.
My partner is willing to try this lifestyle. We are low on funds, but rich in our life together. We will see how this goes, how to save money yet live a full life together.