Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pantry Challenge #18 ... 2016 + other thrifty things we did last week

Our son, daughter-in-law and two of our grandchildren came for a visit last week.  It was so good to see them and get to spend time with them … especially with our grandchildren.

Needless to say my focus was on them and not on pantry building but this lifestyle is so ingrained in my being that some things just happened naturally.

Let’s see what I mean …

My to-do list from last time:

Start a jar of citrus vinegar using dehydrated lemons I have on hand.  Done!  I also added the peel from an orange that my son and daughter-in-law left after their visit.  (I ate the orange!) I plan to use this citrus vinegar for cleaning purposes.

In Addition:

My son and daughter-in-law also left a partial jug of whole milk and I used it to make a quart of kefir milk.  I use a lot of kefir milk in smoothies!

My son started breaking out with a couple of small patches of poison oak/ivy shortly after arriving and asked if I had anything to go on it.  I pulled chickweed healing salve, purchased at the little non-electric Mennonite store I get to go to once or twice a year, from the medicinal part of my pantry and after 3 – 4 days of applying it 2 – 3 times daily; the poison oak/ivy was all gone!

After our children and grandchildren left to go home, there were enough leftovers for us to eat 3 different meals without having to cook. 

There was also some hamburger and hot dog buns leftover after we ate leftovers which I turned into bread crumbs.  Waste not, want not!

I gratefully accepted a bunch of spring onions from a neighbor’s garden.

I harvested and dried (in the oven using the oven light as a heat source) nettles, lemon balm and plantain.

I also gathered more rose petals and dried them in the oven using the same method mentioned above, before long I will have enough dried to make potpourri.

I fixed fried chicken one night while our children were visiting and froze the uncooked bony pieces for making broth in the future.

I transplanted the soapwort plants I grew from seeds into larger pots.  In another couple of weeks I will be able to set them outside.

I had leftover shredded carrots from making a carrot cake for someone so I froze them for future use in soups, etc.

The rabbit tobacco seeds I planted are doing well and are about a half inch tall.  I’m looking forward to incorporating this herb into the medicinal part of my pantry.

I planted more garden last week:  tomatoes, peppers, rosemary cuttings and squash.  Up and growing well are cucumbers, spring onions, tomatoes, zucchini, bunching onions, nettles, comfrey, plantain, spearmint, peppermint, sage, garlic and lemon balm. The raspberry bushes are just before blooming and our blueberry bushes are full of little blueberries.  Our peach and pear trees are both loaded with baby fruits.  Our spring season this year has been wet and cooler than normal which has slowed down our gardening somewhat but we are doing our best to work with the weather with the goal of getting our garden planted.

Here are some things I want to get done in the upcoming week:

Plant more cucumbers and tomatoes

Start harvesting spring onions

Set out cockscone flowers I grew from seeds

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally this week?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

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  1. Dear Patsy, I am glad you had such a nice week! Your fruit crop is sounding promising... I hope you end up with a big harvest.
    My week was a bit slow but like you said we still do things automatically. I continued to work on things for my gift cupboard, cooked soups, a stew, a large spaghetti sauce. Some meals were added to the freezer. We worked on the garden. Now I am cleaning out drawers and organising. We have rain so I couldn't be painting outside anyway... With love

  2. Hmm it was such a busy work week we didn't eat very frugally this week.. 3X take out this week. Today was one of them for Mothers Day. I did repurpose 2 Christmas bows today for a birthday gift and a baby shower. Funny on the baby shower, the young girl (her father is a member of our church) saved the bow I had on her pkg. a pretty pink one, it was recycled from my sister's family Christmas pkg. they were going to throw away.. I took home a whole grocery bag full of pretty bows non traditional Christmas colors like bright yellows, flower prints and the pretty pink one I used today. I am hoping to find time tomorrow to get tomato plant starters from Meijers as well as mowing (I do it myself so guess that counts as frugal). I also want to make another batch of pineapple jelly. I need to go to Aldi's with my receipt and get 3 free pineapples since 3 were rotted last week from the batch of 8 I bought there. I have a menu plan for this week hopefully we can stick to it. Probably more frugals I have forgotten but that's all I can remember so far.

  3. I was gifted two bags of lemons. These are now made up into lemon butter(curd), lemon cordial and lemon peel in vinegar for citrus cleaner. I drove 300km to visit my Mother for Mother's Day. Whilst there I was given many plants and cuttings for my garden. Mum gave me one of the bags of lemons. Dad gave me one of their Barbeques with a cover. We do most of our cooking outside as its just too hot to cook inside. This barby is smaller than the one we often use so will be good when there isn't the need to get the big one going. Mum had been given a wind jacket that was too big for her. This has come home with me and will go into the caravan for when we do our travels. I made miracle cleaner and a big jar of wipes. Hubby took me out for lunch for Mother's Day and we both had wood fired pizza. The left overs came home with us and provided us with a second meal at home.
    This week I plan to clean the windows using home made window cleaner. It's been a while since I did them last. We live 150m fronm the beach so a lot of what's on the windows is salt spray. This takes a little bit of elbow grease to remove. It's also a job I procrastinate about continuously. Wish me luck.

  4. Hi Patsi!
    It sounds like a wonderful week! Waste not want not is right! LOL I am envious that you are planting already we are still waiting. I had $150 worth of Walmart gift cards from SB's that I have been hanging onto and there are things that we needed around the house like paint and the men folk needed new gotchies so I got those and stocked up on some pet supplies and matches and some crochet cotton. I still have plenty left for paint since I couldn't decide on a color that day. I have not been doing much grocery shopping the last few weeks because the sales stink so only got milk and bread. I made a few more items for gift trunk and cooked all meals and have been hanging the clothes to dry. In between seasons I like to do busy work. The weather won't make up it's mind which makes Vicky a boring person! I am sure I have more, but my list is in the other room and I am too lazy to get up and get it! LOL Have a great week!

  5. You did really well! I'm so glad you have time with your family!

  6. I dried up 3 trays full of mint leaves for tea and am trying to re-sprout the mint cuttings that were left. I revived my celery plant that I had forgotten about last week, it was all droopy but with a little water in a cup it is starting to perk up again. I replanted my basil, rosemary and cilantro into bigger pots last week. The pots will be headed out to the patio garden this weekend. Ate out of our pantry both days this past weekend, slowly getting rid of the grocery store items that are left and replacing them with homemade as I can. This week the strawberries are ripening in my part of Kentucky and am planning a trip to the orchard to pick quite a lot on Saturday, then back home again to make some jam, jelly, preserves, sauce and then freeze some for smoothies. I have my own strawberry patch that is on it's 3rd year, but I only get enough out of it to eat fresh. Off to work now, have a busy week ahead of me. Enjoy your week Patsy!

    Debby Hackman

  7. You did have a busy week. I got my beans planted along with Cilantro, basil, parsley and some Chamomile. I have never tried planting Chamomile so will see how that turns out. Thank you for sharing the way you dried your items this week. I never thought of using just the light in the oven. As I think back, I'm not sure I have ever used the light on my oven...I just open the door. I will be trying the oven light for drying some of my herbs. Have a great week. Paula Perry

  8. Patsi,
    I love your apricot-colored iris. That is one of my favorite ones. I had one like that, but haven't seen a bloom this year, yet from it. I am at a higher elevation, though so have a couple that have not bloomed yet. Around here, the iris are blooming in large fields up and down I-V (freeway) so we are enjoying them on our way to church.

    I am glad you got to spend time with your family. What a treat.

    We are continuing to tear the house up, packing for the upcoming move. We are still making frugal choices most of the time, but are eating out more than usual. That one thing sure makes me feel un-frugal, since that is something we don't do much of in our "normal" life. I am reminded that we are in a season that will pass, but it is an odd feeling, for sure. That being said, I sure enjoyed eating out yesterday for Mother's Day. 2 of us girls took my Mom out (and my aunt and our kids) for Chinese food, which was so yummy, and actually a bit more frugal than some other places we could have gone. We were a bit frustrated, though. The 2 older girls were at a table a bit away from the rest because there wasn't enough room for everyone at one table. Those silly girls each ordered 2 orders of food. We still don't know what they were thinking, but are going to have a talk with them today! Not sure if they wanted 2 things and didn't understand they weren't ordering a combination, but they have been out to eat enough times that I think they should know how to order. Hmmmm. So, the bill was higher than we anticipated.

    We did a lot of gardening, as well.

  9. I had a good week for frugal accomplishments. I brought home 2 free bleeding heart plants from work and gave them to my mother. A co-worker brought them in from her gardens. Our yard is very shaded due to several mature trees, so these will be perfect. My mom decided to plant them in containers so that we can take them with us if we decide to move in the next few years.

    Grocery deals this week included 4 dozen eggs @ $1.77/dozen, 2 bags of apples for $1/bag (2.2lbs each bag), 2 bunches of celery for $1/bunch, a container of fresh mushrooms for $1, 3 large containers of yogurt for $1/container, 4 large cheddar sausages for $1 each, 2 jars of dry roast peanuts for $1/jar and 4 cases of bottles water for $1/18 bottles (restock for emergencies and to use for day trips). We also found hot cross buns (my mom LOVES these buns) discounted @ 50% off because they were close to the expiration date, so we bought 2 paying $2.50 for both and put them in the freezer.

    Attended my daughter’s end of year bowling banquet. We were paid $100 for the treat trays we made (I gave $40 to my mom as she helped with the baking). All the adults who attended received a free gift. We received a 3 piece LED candle set, a lovely picture frame and a bath/lotion gift set.

    My husband volunteered to help cook and prep the food served at the banquet, at the request of his mother (he does it every year). Afterwards, we were allowed to bring home some of the leftovers. We brought home 2 full Little Caesar pepperoni pizzas, 2 full bags of crazy bread, a bunch of cheese cubes, an entire 6 pack of romaine lettuce (from Costco) plus some lettuce in a bag that was cut up, a huge bottle of Caesar salad dressing (Costco sized, unopened) plus what was left in an open bottle, an almost full bag of croutons (from Costco), an almost full bag of bacon bits (from Costco), and an unopened large container of onion dip.

    Last but not least, I finally planted peas in the garden and spinach seeds in pots (both were heirloom seeds I collected from last year’s garden). It’s still too cold to plant most of the veggie seeds.

  10. My husband planted our raised beds a few weeks ago due to the warmer weather. He took me to the garden nursery for flowers for the front planters. While I was picking out flowers with our girls, he was picking out more tomatoes and pepper plants to add to our beds. He said it was cheap fun! He has gotten more frugal as we get older and appreciates how I save money by stocking up our pantry when there is a sale. Happy Gardening!

  11. My gastric bypass surgery was this past Monday (May 1) and I came home late Wed. Am fairly restricted as far as what I am allowed to do- lifting, dishes, even planting my veggies are not allowed yet because of the incisions needing to healing! But I did notice when I got home that there was leftover brown rice in the fridge and I knew I had pre cooked ziplocs in freezer of crumbled ground beef and home canned tomatoes and spices in my pantry, so I made up a big batch of taco rice for hubby and son!
    I went to store with my daughter this morning and saw that they had ground pork marked down, so I bought the 5 pounds and have mixed in my breakfast sausage spices and it is marinating in the fridge until tomorrow when I will cook it up for breakfast burritos or egg and sausage biscuits as quick and easy breakfast options. Sure is cheaper than having them go through a drive-through!!!!
    On Sunday while the family was at church and I was home alone, I found a tutorial I had pinned a while back for reuse able Swiffer duster clothes using flannel scraps. I had time, I had flannel scraps like crazy and so within 30 minutes, I had 3 made that fit our hand duster perfectly and can be washed and used over and over!!
    Found a recipe for a red enchilada sauce that looks SO easy, so I'm making plans to can some soon! I also just ran out of orange marmalade, so I will dig out the recipe and find some marked down oranges and get a couple batches canned!
    Raring to get back into the swing of things!!

    1. Congrats on your gastric bypass surgery, Gardenpat! I had mine done over 4 years ago and I'm so happy I had it done. Before the surery, I used to be on several diabetic meds and high blood pressure meds. Now all I take is my vitamins!

      I remember my first few weeks were pretty rough. Hang in there. As things heal, it will get better.


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