Frugal Friday

It’s almost the end of January and the pantry challenge is going great. I will continue into February. I’ve come in @ $400 in groceries for the month. For the four of us, that’s really good. The pantry and the freezer are decreasing so that’s a good thing. I still have quite a bit to use up.

Last night I made Sole Milanese.(Ina Garten recipe) I made way too much but that’s what was in the freezer bag. Note to self: (portion out the fish better). Tonight is usually pizza night but no one feels like that so I think I’ll just do a simple pasta dish. Here’s the pizza from last week. I’m looking forward to using the Ooni outside when the weather changes.

I have February’s budget done and in place. I plan on looking at starting taxes this next week. It should be quite simple. I think we have all the things I need. We did get a 1099 for the California relief something. I guess that was a taxable amount. Not sure why they’d give you a refund and then expect it to be taxed. Oh well, who knows how anything in the government works.

We had our Date Thursday yesterday at Chipolte. It was ok. It seemed like an awful lot of people getting take out. I guess we don’t go out to eat very often so it’s always a surprise the amount of people doing it. But I am trying to get us to do one thing a week like this.

This was a sunset but my phone didn’t really capture the colors well. It was orangey and pink. this is looking west out our bedroom window.

Well, that’s it for today.

Simple Sunday

A sunny Sunday but cold again. Still at 32 degrees and frosty on our walk this morning. The park was all frosty but it was a nice walk. It seems Great White Duck is now missing so we’re assuming it got taken by a predator. She/he has been around for maybe 4-5 years so that’s sad.

I worked on the bedroom zone and I plan on shampooing the carpet this week. I probably will also add in the LR zone too as there’s not a lot to do in that either. I do need to dust everything though.

I popped into the Auburn gym and felt the same about it as last week. The assisted weights are old and really dated compared to Roseville. The treadmills are also ‘dated’ to some degree. I was the only one using wipes on the equipment and it seemed most of the people there were ignoring wiping anything. I saw one old guy sneezing and snotting into his tissue and then go use a machine. Ewwww:(

Tomorrow I have my labs and then I might go down to the Roseville gym. I’m not committing yet because I may want to just come straight home and do some house tidying. The thing about being more minimal is it takes way less time to clean, tidy, or organize with a decluttered house. Still, things need to get done. Yesterday I washed the sunroom windows and washed the barkcloth cover I use on the couch out there. So everything in that room is done.

I also think having routines and daily to-do lists helps keep things organized. I almost always have my menu in place for dinner and I always keep my kitchen counters clear. If I had more storage space I definitely would keep my Kitchen Aid in a cabinet. Also, I think when our small microwave gives up the ghost I won’t replace it. I also keep the tea kettle on the counter. I really can’t change that as we use it a bazillion times a day.

The pantry challenge is going well and we are definitely using up things. This week I have some Dover sole to use up and from the big freezer, I’m planning on using the last ground turkey to make chili. I’m slowly bringing in all the pantry things from the prepper pantry and putting them in rotation. I’m pretty sure I won’t do a huge prepper pantry again. But I do want to keep doing pressure canned shelf stable foods. I don’t think I’ll do tons but I do enjoy the process and it is very convenient. So far the big winners are the BBQ sauce, enchilada sauce, chicken pot pie filling, and vegetable soup.

The pantry challenge also helped with my budget and I’m coming in way under what I planned. Our next month’s budget starts next week with our SS checks and then I’ll do a final tally. Let’s hope this debt ceiling shit doesn’t affect SS as that is all we’ve got!

Simple Sunday

We lost power for about an hour last night but I’m surprised it wasn’t more. It’s still raining so we decided not to walk this morning. I actually like walking in the rain as long as the wind isn’t blowing and today it is still windy. It looks like we’re in for rain all week. There have been many trees down so I hope ours can hold on. Even along I -80 I saw some pines that had fallen over.

I did go swimming yesterday and got a lane fairly quickly but by the time I was done lots of ‘new ‘ faces were showing up and the high school team again. I imagine it’ll slow down after a while with NY resolutions fading away.

Then I popped into Winco for salad stuff and other veggies. I didn’t buy a lot of anything else as I’m doing the pantry challenge which is to use up what I have. So far it is going splendidly. Last night we had some salmon I had in the freezer so that’s used up and we had a salad with it. I also used my last acorn squash from the farm stand I bought this fall. So overall I’m pleased with the challenge. This week I plan on using 2 pressure-canned soups, and some enchiladas from the freezer, and then see what else needs to be used up.

I just finished reading an excellent book called ” The Longing for Less” by Kyle Chayka. It is quite the essay on minimalism. I’d highly recommend it. I’m not planning on writing down the books I read this year as last year once I hit 150, I didn’t bother anymore.

Today, I plan on doing the Kitchen zone and then read some more. This week is a mellow week, with no appts. Depending on the weather though, I’ll go down to Roseville to swim and to the Rec center at least 1x.

Wednesday things

A beautiful walk this morning under the Snow moon. Quite bright and no one showed up whilst we were there. Sunrise is definitely getting earlier now. Venus is very visible too.

I didn’t swim yesterday as the Santa Fe’s window is still not fixed. It should get sorted this afternoon though and I plan on swimming tomorrow. When we went to Costco on Monday, I went to the service counter to get a new card and the person asked where I had my purse stolen. So I said right down the road at the Mike Shellito pool and she said wow, I was the SECOND person in the last two weeks that had their car broken into there. WOW, is all I could say. Nothing new with the claims but it’s early yet.

Yesterday I made sourdough cinnamon/cran bread.

It was good. I think next time I’d use brown sugar and a little more. My favorite is still the jalapeno cheddar.

My pantry challenge is moving along and I figured out breaking down the Costco shop into categories( non -food, food) and then I separated all the food for just this week such as strawberries,half and half) and then all the longer term items like coffee, blocks of cheese, I calculated the cost per week and how many weeks would it take to use and then added those totals. So that was kind of a revelation. So if I broke down just this week’s food it came to $43. Then the breakdown of food for the month(like the coffee) was $20 a week. That’s things like tofu, coffee, cheese, ramen. Then B went to TJ’s and spent $25 on food.( Well,some how two TJ’s chocolate bars ended up in his cart, but that’s ok. So, that’s @$88 give or take a few dollars. I usually round up so, $90 with $10 left over. Our meals have been delicious with tamales one night, Tucson Stew another night, pasta with homemade alfredo sauce tonight.

I still think this $100 a week for 4 people would be very hard if you didn’t have some sort of pantry or freezer back up. I’m not planning on doing any major restocking for the prepper pantry. I think I’ll just keep getting some things that I like to keep extras of and call it good. For some people the idea of a year’s worth of food is comforting. For me, it seems slightly fear driven ( I totally did this too) but maybe the lesson out of it all was FOR WHAT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES ARE, keep some pantry in case of emergency and decide how much that is. For us, I think a reasonable balance is maybe a months worth of stuff. Now remember, I have always ( since 1975) bought in bulk my beans, rice, flour,etc. So that’s nothing new to me. But all the extras was somewhat recent with the pandemic. ( Think extra soup cans, condiments, etc). Well, life is a journey and we can only hope to learn from where we’ve been to where we are going.

Barclay had a good visit with his transplant doctor and the good news is he will go off Jakafi. That’s an anti-rejection drug that runs @ $7,000 a month(OOPS, Barclay said it’s$17,000 a month). Fortunately, he has the grant actually from the drug company and UCD charity.

This month is my renewal for LLS and there is no funding for myeloma so I’m trying to not panic too much. I just keep checking daily as the funding can come in and then be gone quite quickly. Hopefully by the end of February which is my renewal month.

Today I’m planning to drop off the last of my Fiesta ware that I know I’m not going to use at the Hospice Thrift. Then a few other errands like an Amazon return.

The Pantry Challenge

I always like a bit of a challenge so I decided to do a $100 a week grocery challenge. That’s for 4 adults. Usually, my grocery bill averages $700 for the 4 of us so that’s a $300 difference. So that means using lots of pantry and freezer items. We’re in a good place to do that as both are filled although the freezer is only about half full that’s ok. I think if you didn’t have a well-stocked pantry $100 a week for 4 adults might be hard.

My plan is to keep a list of what I’m using and where I’ll replenish it like Costco or Winco.

So far I’ve spent $30 at Winco and .48 at Bel-air. The Winco shop was almost all veggies and salad stuff plus milk and a half and half.

The meals this week have been:

Smokey Lentil Soup with cheese quesadillas. The lentil soup is a favorite from NYT.

Sheet pan nachos. This is a new way( for me) to make nachos that I took off of Mavis Butterfield’s blog. She makes her nachos this way in the oven. It’s a great way to do it and very easy and clean up is a breeze.

An Ina Garten recipe for Bouef Bourguignon. I made it in the crockpot and that was a winner too.

Tonight is a big salad and grilled chicken /tofu. We use to call this the Kitchen Favorite because back in the 70’s the original vegetarian restaurant in Auburn was called “The Kitchen’. Of course, it didn’t have chicken but basically, it was salad, grilled tofu, and avocado slices. They made the best blue cheese dressing which I’ve never been quite able to duplicate but Trader Joe’s blue cheese dressing is close.

Tomorrow will be homemade pizza. I have everything I need.

Saturday, I’m planning tofu burgers with all the fixings and fries.

Sunday will end the week out or begin the week depending on how I look at it. Maybe a spaghetti night.