Home > Category: Kitchen

Viewing the 'Kitchen' Category

Walking to the Grocery Store

April 4th, 2006 at 04:22 am

This is supposed to save us money. If you walk 1) you use less gas and 2) you can't buy as much because you have to carry what you buy.

Our first mistake was getting a cart rather than a hand basket.

We needed milk, so dh bought 3 half gallons (we buy organic milk). Then he picked up a half gallon of organic orange juice. Then we bought cans of enchilada sauce and coconut milk. Eggs. Hot dog and hamburger buns. Then there was a special on pork (which we love). Then dh realized he needed eggs for popovers. $43 and about 30lbs later, we were done. Sooo much fun to walk home carrying 15+lbs of food. I have a great bag from Mexico - almost indestructible, but the handles really suck. They are too small to fit over my arm and up on my shoulder, so I have to carry all the weight with my hand. And the bag is too long to carry with my arm straight, so I have to keep it bent. My elbow is killing me.

DH uses a backpack and he had the milk and OJ. I think I need to get a backpack for these types of trips.

Combining Sales and Coupons (or how I got paid a penny to take something from th

March 29th, 2006 at 05:28 am

Seriously. I was in our local grocery. They had these cooking sauces that DH has been wanting to try. They're made fresh and packaged, but not to store long term. So there were several packages reduced for quick sale. They were reduced to $0.99. Next to them was a pad of in-store coupons for $1.00 off.

I was fully prepared for them to tell me I couldn't use the coupon for the reduced price item. And that was fine, I would have understood. But they just ran it through.

So, free cooking sauce (which DH LOVES) and an extra penny.

Of course, this means we are about $50 over our grocery budget for the month. Which means we spent $2.82 per day for each member of the family. That doesn't include eating out, though. I need to add a couple of dinners out, but that adds another $80 for the month.

Lawn mowing today

March 22nd, 2006 at 01:59 am

I have this mower:

I had it when we had the half acre lot and I have to say, this smaller lot? Much better. Also, this grass? (buffalo grass) Is soooo much better than bermudagrass.

It didn't take long. The biggest problem is that our ash tree is shedding little branches (DON'T TOP YOUR TREES, they'll shed branches constantly) and those little sticks get caught between the cutting edge and the blade. ARGGHH!!!

The cool thing about a reel mower? You can mow the lawn without picking up your water houses. If it doesn't get between the blade and cutting edge, it won't get cut. Of course, that's a bad thing too - if the weeds get too tall, the mower will push them over and they won't get into the cutting space.

I played the wimp. "I'm too tired to go to the grocery store, isn't there something we can eat here?" Don't tell DH, but I'm not really that tired. We did have stuff to eat, the only issue is DS2's lunch tomorrow, we're out of turkey, but he can take peanut butter.

No Car Day

February 6th, 2006 at 01:16 am

Today is our first no car day of February (dh had to work yesterday).

Our goal is 5/month. I don't know how much gas this is saving (yet), but I do know we are getting more exercise (we still go to the stores on weekends, but now we walk).

Today, we stayed home because the kids are still not 100% but they have to go to school tomorrow. We had chicken and leftover veggies for me and dh, ds2 had leftover pizza and ds1 had refried beans and chips (I make the beans in large batches and some go in the freezer while the others are left for us to eat during the week).

DH cooked the oats for the week. We are almost set for food for the week - beans and chicken for suppers (we'll stretch them with veggies and other ingredients). Oats for breakfast. DH also made a bunch of french toast for the freezer for the kids (they love french toast).

Supplemental heating - Freezer cooking

January 24th, 2006 at 01:21 am

I live somewhere where it gets really, really hot in the summer. So hot, you think you will melt if you even so much as turn on the stove. So, we do a lot of cooking for our freezer in the winter.

I've found that cooking a big pot of beans to make into refried beans can easily raise the temp of an 800sqft home by 5 degrees, and the moisture added means it holds onto that heat longer. Dried beans are cheap, the electricity (or gas) to cook them isn't that expensive and cooked beans freeze extremely well (they can get mushy).

Just remember, it's best to add salt after you thaw your food. Salt taste can intensify upon thawing. This goes for all herbs and spices in a way. They all change intensity, some lose intensity so much taht you wonder why you even wasted your time and money and some increase intensity so much you can't stand it. So, I generally keep the seasoning bland and add it when it thaws.

DH grills as much meat as his grill will hold (which is quite a bit), then he slices and dices for use in later meals (fajitas, stir fry, barbecue, etc). Cooked meat holds quite well in the freezer, especially if you will be adding more seasoning later.

Bread and other baked goods tend to hold well too. I haven't baked bread in a while, I need to find a really good source of whole grain flour and a good recipe for whole grain bread - but once I do that, I plan to start baking again. Days when I cook beans would be perfect for bread baking - the extra heat and humidity will really jumpstart the yeast.

Grocery shopping day

January 23rd, 2006 at 02:14 am

We walked to the grocery store today (I'm loving this being close enough to walk). It was cool-ish today, 56F, but when you start walking, you really get warmed up.

I'm out of steel cut oats and the grocery store doesn't carry them. They have all the rolled oats you could ever want - but no steel cut oats. It's so frustrating.

But we got bananas, milk and veggies for the week. We threw in a treat for the kids (cheap, store-brand pizza which was on sale) and then walked on home. We have meat stocked from buying beef and lamb from my in laws. We also buy free-range chicken when we find it on sale (but they're starting to raise chicken, so maybe we'll be able to get that from them soon, no more lamb for now though).

DH has an evening meeting in the city with the health food store, so he'll buy me some bulk oats. I'll also have him stop and get me some more yogurt for the smoothies I've been having.

Rediscovering Oats

January 20th, 2006 at 04:09 am

I've always hated oatmeal. I thought it was disgusting, all gooey and yucky. I loved oatmeal cookies (without raisins or nutmeg please), but oatmeal itself - YUCK.

I've discovered steel-cut oats. They aren't as cheap as rolled oats, but they are soooo good. They have a nice chewy, nutty texture and flavor. Not gooey at all. A new frugal breakfast.

They take longer to cook (20 minutes or more) but they store very well in the fridge. So you cook a big pot at night, put them in a container and stick them in the fridge. In the morning, get up, dish out your bowl and heat it up in the microwave. And if you do it right, you can make 3 days' worth at a time.

Now I just need to figure out which fruit to add. I have frozen strawberries and blueberries. Both are very large, so they'd be an overpowering flavor. I want something with a simple flavor, apples would be nice, but I don't want to take the time to cut them up every morning.

Healthy Living

January 19th, 2006 at 02:25 am

We've been doing really well with our diet. I cooked a big pot of beans for refried beans tonight. Beans are high in protein, high in fiber, high in folate and low in fat (especially the way I cook them - I don't add fat or meat). When mashed into refried beans they freeze well.

I've found that if I cook beans on a cold day, my whole house is nice and toasty warm. The added hot steam makes such a huge difference - you have the heat from the steam. Plus, adding moisture to air allows it to hold heat better.

Our grapefruit tree produces the most amazing grapefruit. This helps with the diet and the pocketbook - even though grapefruit are cheap here. It seems like you see citrus stands everywhere this time of year. Last year I experimented and found that you can freeze orange slices and they taste great later. They make a great treat for those hot summer days, or you can use them in smoothies.

We've been doing great with exercise too, but I woke up with a major crick in my neck this morning, so I can't hardly move my head today. I need to exercise, but I want to cry every time I move. I even took an aleve at work today and it did nothing.

Supporting Sites: