Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pantry Challenge #32 ... 2014

Almost all the leaves have fallen off the trees and Fall is finally here!  Today is a rainy cool day, the kind where you just want to curl up with a good book and lose yourself in it … but it’s also the week of Thanksgiving which means there is no time for losing yourself in anything except the kitchen.

For all A Working Pantry’s USA readers, I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with lots of yummy food, fellowship, family and friends!

My to-do list from last time:  

Make vitamin c capsules using the vitamin c powder I purchased last month.   No Comment! 

Watch grocery store ads for sales on ham and pumpkin.  I’m hoping I can find some good deals on this next week! 

Juice lemons and freeze the juice in ice cube trays.  Done!  The last few times we’ve purchased lemons at the store there has been a problem of them ruining quicker than normal so my solution is to bring them home, wash them in vegetable wash, zest them, juice them, freeze them in ice cube trays and store in a freezer bag until used. 

Juice limes and freeze the juice in ice cube trays.  Done!  The last few times we’ve purchased limes at the store there has been a problem of them ruining quicker than normal so my solution is to bring them home, wash them in vegetable wash, juice them, freeze them in ice cube trays and store them in a freezer bag until used. 

Zest the lemons mentioned above.  Done!  I let them dry naturally and now have a half pint jar full.

Make Kefir milk.  Done!  I have another gallon sitting in my refrigerator ready for use. 

Divide and repackage bulk bacon we purchased last week.  Done!  I added 20 packages of bacon to the freezer part of my pantry.  We eat a lot of bacon! 

Divide and repackage bulk sausage we purchased last week.  Done!  I added 7 (1 lb) packages of sausage to the freezer part of my pantry.  We eat a lot of sausage too! 

Start another batch of cider fire. Done!                                                                                              

Grind up pork skins.  Half Done!
 

In Addition ….
One day we were in another town a couple of hours away and as is our usual custom, we hunted down a Sam’s Club (we can eat a meal really cheap at Sam’s Club).  While browsing around in the store waiting for our food to be cooked, we came across something our local Sam’s Club doesn’t have … 25 and 50 lb bags of pinto beans!  (The price per pound was cheaper on the 25 lb bag than it was on the 50 lb bag … it pays to watch the unit prices.)  We purchased a 25 lb bag and brought it home.  Can you guess what I’ll be canning over the next several weeks in and around the holiday festivities!
I washed and cleaned the ginger I harvested last week, used part of it in the cider fire I made and stored the rest of it in the refrigerator for future use.   (After the initial washing where most of the dirt was removed by hand, I did the final wash using my dishwasher, without powders and rinse aids added, of course.)
I harvested 3 heads of broccoli from our fall garden.
I chopped/ground up enough pecans for another quart jar of chopped pecans.  We use chopped pecans when making waffles, pancakes, in baking, as toppings, etc.  It’s so convenient to be able to open the refrigerator door, pull out the jar, measure out what you need and then put the jar back in the refrigerator.  This saves time when you’re baking and only takes a few minutes to ‘chop’ up a whole quart using a food chopper or processor.  They store well in the refrigerator too!
After I finished making cider fire, I had fresh horseradish, ginger and jalepeno peppers left.  So … I took the horseradish, made sure it was completely dry and wrapped it in plastic wrap.  I had 3 pieces left over so I put all 3 individually wrapped pieces in a freezer bag and put them in the bottom drawer of my refrigerator.  They should last quite a while there.  I made sure the ginger was completely dry, put it in a freezer as well and also put it in the bottom drawer of my refrigerator.  I’ll be looking for ways to use it or preserve it in the near future.  And finally, what did I do with the jalepeno peppers?  I sliced them up into approximately 1/8 inch rings, filled snack bags, put the snack bags in a freezer bag and added them to my freezer for future use.  Waste not, want not!
I had to buy eggs from the store this week!  That really hurt!  Our chickens are molting and are barely laying!  There sure is a difference in ‘home-grown’ eggs and store bought eggs!

The specific area of my pantry that I’m focusing on restocking for the months of November and December is baking supplies.  This time of year most stores run sales on their baking supplies, so it’s a good time to do some replenishing.   Here are the items I will be watching sales for:
Butter … I added 12 pounds to the freezer part of my pantry this week.  These 12 plus the 4 I purchased last week give me a total of 16 pounds thus far.  Aldi’s is running a special on butter from now through the holidays for $2.29/lb.  This is much cheaper than I can find it anywhere else so the goal is to stock-up a year’s supply.
Sugar-free chocolate chips
Coconut oil
Olive oil

Here are some other things I did:
I’m working on earning another $5 Amazon gift card from swagbucks.
We’re having some unusually cold weather a lot earlier than is normal for our area, so this week we prepped the wood stove for use and started using it.  This will help us keep our electric bill down this winter and stay warmer too!
I’ve started working on my physical and spiritual goals for 2015.  This is something that I need time to think and pray about so I usually start the process this time of the year.  I’ll add them to the blog when I get them made as a possible tool of encouragement for you and as an accountability tool for myself.
I continue working on the goal I set earlier in the year of writing out the complete book of Proverbs.  I only write out 5 or so verses four or five times a week in a notebook I set aside for this purpose.  This week I finished up chapter 23 and started on chapter 24.  I really like this method, it allows me to think and ponder on each verse as I write them out gleaning nuggets of wisdom from God’s Word as I go.  In fact, I like this method so much that I’ll be choosing another book of the Bible to do the same way for 2015.
We received the information on how much our health insurance coverage will cost us next year this week … it is a bit over a $400/month increase from what we’ve been paying per month this year.  We will be taking a close look at our expenses and asking God to show us areas we can cut to meet this increase. 

Here are some things I didn’t do …
I really, really, really like the frosty the snowman hats that are used as tree toppers on Christmas trees.  Did I mention that I really, really, really like them and have wanted one ever since I saw them used as a tree topper the first time.  This past week I had the opportunity to purchase one … at 20% off … We were doing some Christmas shopping and I had it in my hand headed to the check-out … did I mention that I have wanted one of these for a very long time … my dear husband gave me his blessing on buying it … I really, really wanted it … and then I remembered the financial goal we have of staying within our allotted Christmas budget.  So, what was it that I didn’t do … I didn’t buy that hat!  I didn’t buy something that I really, really wanted!  I chose instead to deny myself something that would bring temporary pleasure in order to stay within our Christmas spending budget and consequently move us closer to our long term goal of becoming debt free.   Do you sometimes find it hard to stick to financial goals that you make?  Proverbs 23:12 says to ‘apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge.’  Discipline is not easy when we allow our ‘wanters’ to get in the way of what we know is best, is it?
I dropped my cell phone this week for the second time in a 6 week period and this time it finished it off.  Instead of rushing out and purchasing another one, we’re taking our time and exploring our options.  This is one area where we feel we can cut our expenses so we want to take our time and prayerfully make the best financial choice for us. 

Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:

Start canning pinto beans
Finish grinding up pork skins
Make vitamin C capsules

Now it’s your turn, what pantry related and/or frugal things have you done since we last talked?

Patsi

 

This post linked to:  Homestead Barn Hop #186
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