Monday, March 21, 2022

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

I am FINALLY feeling like I'm getting caught up on things around here.  Mainly Spring cleaning types of things, but I still feel pretty accomplished all things considered.  

The last couple of weeks were really busy on top of cleaning and organizing.  We got my son in for a physical so he could get his medical forms in for Special Olympics.  Luckily, Special Olympics are a go for this summer, so we got all of the forms we needed to get in, in.  My husband worked out a temporary schedule change at work so he could take Alvah to swimming, which is great as my son refuses to work with anyone but my husband so far.  They had their first swimming training last Friday and Alvah had a blast, which was great to hear :).

I also had to get work samples together for the kids and get those into the home school for third quarter.  I always stress about doing it right and explaining to our contact teacher everything that is going on and what we have worked on for that particular quarter when I submit work samples, so it is actually quite a bit of work on my end.  Totally worth it though and I'm super happy to have those things done.

I've also started making phone calls and e-mailing people to try to get an idea of what I need to do to get Alvah ready for when he turns 18 (we have time, of course, but from what I understand it takes quite a while), so we'll have our ducks in a row to file for guardianship over him at 18 and other stuff.  It has so far been kind of frustrating as everyone I call tells me to call someone else, but I'll get there by being persistent.  I know THAT by experience.

Oh, on the Spring Cleaning front?  I bought this mop with some credit card rewards a while back and finally got it put together and we got to try it out over the weekend and it is AWESOME!  The best part, I think, is that you don't have to buy disposable heads for it.  It comes with three reusable ones that you can just throw into the laundry when you are done mopping.  We just mopped with some hot water with a little bit of soap added and the mop performed wonderfully.  I'm so thrilled as it makes it SO much easier to keep on top of mopping now!  No associate link there or anything.  I was just thrilled with the mop and wanted to share, especially with the reusable head feature as I know things can be hard to find anymore.

Okay, so let's get to other things I've been doing around here!

1.  I finally got one of the garbage cabinets I have put together and put into use (the black cabinet in the corner of the kitchen there).  Honestly, this took me a while to get up the gumption to do as I took one look at all of the parts (of which there were MANY) and the complete lack of good instructions and well put stickers to tell you what part was what and I just put the box of everything aside after taping it back up and decided to wait until I was in the mood to be frustrated *laugh*.

Luckily, my husband helped me with it after I was about 3/4 done with it and he was able to fix everything I managed to put on upside down or backward, which I am eternally grateful for.  I still have one more cabinet to put together that I THINK I know what I want to do with it and where to put it, but I'll wait until my husband can help me out and I can do it right the (hopefully) first time.

After the cabinet was put together I moved the breadbox to it and then moved the other cart I had in the corner and used it to set up my wheat grinder on.  I'm happy to finally have a good place to put the wheat grinder where it isn't going to nail the daughter in the arm as she walks by it all the time.  I am going to start grinding the wheat I have in the house and start adding the fresh flour to the the flour I have in my stores as I bake to help extend the pre-ground stuff from the store and add nutrition to my baked goods.  I'm hoping that between all of the family we can get enough wheat ground at one time to have enough for a week's baking that I can store in the fridge.  We'll see how long our arms hold out *laugh*.

2.  Now that the light is coming back and we are actually getting decently warm in the afternoons the kids and I have taken advantage of sunny days to go on walks, which has been good for all of us.

3.  One of the big tasks I've been up to is I have started taking a VERY detailed inventory of the foods I have in the house, including the freezers, pantry and long term food storage.  By doing it I have found holes that I wanted to fill and I found things that I thought I was nearly out of and I could avoid having to buy for that much longer.  Once I'm done writing it all down by hand I'm going to make a spreadsheet on my computer so I can hopefully keep track of everything in one place.  It's been a chore to be sure, but I'm really feeling good about the progress I'm making.

4.  I've been taking advantage of 5.00 Fridays at Carrs and I had to admit that is about the one time of the week where I go shopping.  When I saw chicken value packs for 5.00 each a few weeks back, I took the kids and we went to the store EARLY so I could get in on the sale.  I'm very glad I did it that way as I was able to get four value packs of chicken for cheap.  The chicken cabinet was not very well stocked, so I am glad I got there early and was able to get some.

I have also taken advantage of 5.00 Friday to get fruit.  Strawberries have been on sale 2 lbs for 5.00 on the Friday sale and cantaloupes have been on sale for 2.50 as well.  So, the daughter has been getting a huge kick out of eating fresh fruit again that doesn't revolve around apples.

5.  Carrs offered me a coupon for a free pizza, which I picked up and we had for dinner one night.

6.  When I saw what the price of corned beef was going for I dug around in my freezer and dug out every beef brisket roast I had.  I had bought a large beef brisket early last year with part of our tax return and cut it into decently big roasts, so I took them all out and made my own corned beef.  I took this recipe for the brine, but I didn't use the salt peter (don't have any) and used 1/2 cup of Morton's Quick Cure mix instead (I've had the Quick Cure for years).  I then added brine to all of the beef briskets in freezer bags and placed them in different containers to cure in the fridge.  My fridge was VERY full for the next 10 days (shot seen above), but the result was really yummy corned beef brisket.  We ate one roast and I took the others, drained off some of the brine from the roasts and refroze them to use for dinners later in the year.  To turn the roast pink as it cooked, I added the juice from a can of beets to the cooking liquid.  It worked great, didn't effect the flavor of the roast at all and also made it so we could avoid the red food dye in salt peter.  And I made the beets into German beetroot salad for a side with dinner the next night, so it all worked out well.  

I took some of the cabbage that I had blanched and froze from the garden and CSA box last year and added it to the corned beef the last hour of cooking in the slow cooker and it worked wonderfully.  And it saved me from looking all over the countryside for cabbage as this is like the ONE time of year that cabbage sells out at the store because it goes on sale for less than 1.00 per pound.

7.  I found a recipe for two ingredient biscuits that my daughter wanted to try.  It called for self rising flour and heavy cream to make the biscuits and that's it.  Well, being in the north and not the south, self rising flour wasn't readily available at the stores around here, so I looked online and made my own.  It worked rather well and resulted in some nice biscuits.  The nice part about the dough is that with the two ingredient biscuits is that you don't have to worry so much about overworking the dough like you do with other recipes.  It really helped to build my daughter's confidence knowing that she had a back up recipe for biscuits that she could make and not have fail.

And that, while kind of a short list, is where I'm going to call it good so the kids and I can go and take a walk.  How about you guys?  Been able to get stuff done or save money lately?

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Corn Bread

I am definitely behind on blogging, so stick with me here.  I've been super busy and not writing a bunch of what I've been doing down on a list to share, so bad.  I will share a list on Friday of some of the things I've been up to, but I'm determined to start getting some of the back log (which keeps getting longer) of blog posts up here.

First up is a recipe I've been meaning to share and it is for a recipe that pretty much every American has in their family recipes.  Cornbread.  I know a lot of people are probably not impressed *laugh* but I wanted to share this because for one, having corn meal in your food storage is a really good idea to help stretch your flour and other grains and two because this cornbread is light and fluffy, which I love about it.  Also, cornbread is actually surprisingly versatile.  We will eat it for dessert with honey, for breakfast with jam and butter, for a snack...heck I've been known to eat it with sausage gravy on top or some other savory thing that you'd normally reserve biscuits for.  So, when I started thinking of basic recipes to share, this one seemed like a good idea to me.

Now, there is one thing I want to recommend with corn bread recipes and it will probably get me some hate from coarse corn meal fans, but I really am not a huge fan of the crunch of coarse ground corn meal in my cornbread, so when I make this recipe I use this.  It is a polenta grind cornmeal, so it is super fine grind and I like it better in my corn bread (no associate link on that cornmeal by the way, I'm just sharing because that is what I buy).  But, if you prefer coarse corn meal, go for it.  The cornbread will still turn out super yummy either way.

So, onto the recipe!


  • 1 Cup Yellow Corn Meal
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 to 4 TBS sugar (depending how sweet you like your cornbread)
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (375 if you are using a glass pan).  Grease an 8" square (or round...doesn't really matter) baking pan.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, sift together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder (or you can just add all the ingredients and then whisk the dry ingredients together).  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

3.  In a separate smaller bowl, combine egg, milk and oil and mix well.  

4.  Pour the wet ingredients into the well you created in the dry ingredients and stir together until combined  and the dry ingredients are moistened.  It takes about 15 to 20 strokes for me (do NOT over mix).  Pour the better into prepared pan.

5.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the corn bread comes out clean.

We like to serve ours with spreadable/whipped honey and butter, but I've been known to eat it for breakfast with butter and jam on it :).