Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stretching Your Food Budget

Now, I don't claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  However, I have seen more then my fair share of lean months.  Back when dh worked at a private school his paycheck would only cover the mortgage, the car insurance and the life insurance.  I had to make everything else and if I had been sick or one of the children sick then my paycheck would be short.  In recent memory, I have had to feed four adults (my children are 19 and 21 now) on $50 a week.  Like everyone else, who has been to the supermarket recently, I have been concerned up the steady climb of prices and the smaller packaging attached to those price tags.  Most women, through choice or necessity, work outside the home now and don't have time for "cooking from scratch".  At church on Sunday I heard, "well of course you can do that (I don't remember what now) you stay home all day."  Now I am a SAHM due to my disability and in that I do have more time than some folks but there are things that everyone can do to save at the grocery store.

Some of these may be to simple for most of you but there might be someone who has not thought of it so please bear with me:

1.  Shop the outer rim of the grocery store.  This is where the healthiest foods are found.  Your vegetables, fruit, dairy, meat, bread.  Those food with more chemical additives are found in the middle.  
2.  Remember portion size.  We, as Americans, have lost track of what a true portion size really is.  This will save you money at the grocery store.  
3.  Buy family packs of meat when on sale and divide when you get home into meal size portions.
4.  Discover soups, stews and casseroles again.  A little bit of meat goes a long way in these.  Many soups are hardy enough for a meal.
5.  If you have teenagers or young adults, aka bottomless pits, serve starches with your meals to fill them up.  I try to have rice, potatoes, rolls or bread with every meal.
6.  Limit waste.  Sounds easy but I understand how things can be forgotten.  I have a CORD meal every week.  Clean Out Refrigerator Day.  Most of the time this is lunch or it is recreated into dinner.
7.  When you find a great sale -- stock up !!!!  I get what I think I will need in the next month or so.  I try to keep a little bit of money aside each week for this.
8.  Find out when they mark down meat and veggies.  If you are at work during this time see if there is a friend who could check for you and herself at that time.  I almost never pay full price for meat.
9.  If you have time use coupons.  I only use coupons on things I would normally buy.  Not all things are a good deal just because you have a coupon.  Especially if it just sits in the cupboard.

These are some things that I can think of right now.  I hope you find them helpful.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Okay, our weather is finally going to feel like fall after today so I just changed the menu I had planned a bit.  Time for more soups.  Yeah !!!!!  I love fall.

Sunday, September 28 - flounder, asparagus, potatoes
Monday, September 29 - veggie lasagna
Tuesday, September 30 - potato soup with sausage
Wednesday, October 1 - taco soup
Thursday, October 2 - spaghetti
Friday, October 3 - shake and bake chicken, potatoes and veggie
Saturday, October 4 - chili

Breakfasts will consist of cereal, oatmeal or muffins.  I only have less than a dozen eggs left and payday is Friday.  Lunches will be sandwiches, leftovers or tuna.  Monday I am going out for lunch with ds' girlfriend's mother.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Camping He will Go....

This weekend my dh and four of his friends are going camping.  Of course, the camp site they choose is next to a golf course.  ~smile~  Well, it was my responsibility to make sure no one starves this weekend so I thought I would share my menu for the guys.
Friday night - they decided to eat out
Saturday morning - eggs, bacon, orange juice
Saturday lunch (after golf) - hamburgers, corn on the cob, pear crisp (homemade)
Saturday dinner - teriayki chicken, veggie packets for the grill, any leftover pear crisp
Sunday morning - french toast, bacon and orange juice
Sunday lunch - sandwiches, chips

For beverages they have case of water and a gallon of sweet tea.  It came to $40 counting plates, napkins, plastic ware, condiments, etc.  Note bad I thought.  Dh was impressed.  Hopefully the other guys will give dh some money to help out.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In Memory Of....

Katie Rose Martin
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Katie Rose Martin

Katie Rose Martin
Katie Rose Martin, age 18, of Murfreesboro and Rockvale, passed away Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008. 

She was a native and life-long resident of RutherfordCounty. Katie was a graduate of Riverdale High School and attended MTSU and Salon Professional Academy in Nashville. She was a member of the World Outreach Church.

Ms. Martin is survived by her parents, Robert and Debbie Lundeen Martin; two brothers Robert and Anthony Martin also of Murfreesboro; and grandparents, Hilda and Bob Molter, Robert Martin, and David Lundeen. She is preceded in death by her grandmother, Patricia Lundeen.

Funeral services for Ms. Martin will be 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008, at Jennings and Ayers with Bro. Tony Anderson officiating. Burial will follow at Cothran Cemetery. Family and friends will serve as pallbearers. .

Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008, at Jennings and Ayers 820 South Church Street Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37130 (615) 893-2422 www.jenningsandayers.com

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Cothran Cemetery Trust Fund in care of Bill Freeman 125 Lamb Road Rockvale, Tn 37153.

Katie was a good friend of my daughter's.  They attended middle school together and then for high school went their separate ways but they kept in touch.  Rachel will not be able to be home for the visitation or the funeral so her father and I will be attending the visitation.  She will be missed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Menus for Sept 21-27

Okay here is my next attempt at meal planning.

Sunday, September 21 - lunch:   sandwiches,  dinner:  spicy chicken with orzo
Monday, September 22 - sausage, potatoes and veggies
Tuesday, September 23 - veggie lasagna
Wednesday, September 24 - chicken stroganoff (I am determined to make this)
Thursday, September 25 - meatloaf, mashed potatoes and veggie
Friday, September 26 - mac and cheese and hot dogs or leftovers
Saturday, September 27 - attending a wedding will eat at reception

Dh goes out of town Friday night so it will just be ds and I so that is why we have a funky Friday night meal.  I need to plan a camping meal for dh and his friends.  Guess who got volunteered to plan the menu and get the food?  You guessed it -- ME !!  I have most if not all the food here at the house in my pantry and deep freeze but I don't know yet how many men I will be feeding.  I am to find out tonight.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Meal Planning

Sometimes I wonder why I try to plan our meals.  Something happens and half of it we don't even do and then I feel like I shopped in vain for those meals.  Tonight we are having chicken instead of salmon because I have tried to fix it twice this week already.  I was not excepting ds to be home and he will be so I needed to change what I fixed to accommodate the need for more food.    After canning all day (since 7 am) all I want to do is eat out.  We have to stop doing that.  We got dh's first regular paycheck for the new school year and it is lower than I was excepting.  Not good.  I spent yesterday redoing the budget.  It is a good thing I have alot of food in the house because all I could pull for food was $23 for the next two weeks.  Ugh !!!!!!!!!!!  sometimes dh vetoes what I had planned to cook and that is frustrating or the weather doesn't cooperate.  I know blame nature ~smile~.  I know I need sugar now.  I thought I had another 20 pounds but it is not there now so I need to buy some.  Canning pears uses alot of sugar even making very light syrup.  This weekend I am going to inventory the house and use what I have first.  Shop at home before the store is what I need to do the rest of the month.  Next payday is next month.

In Desparate Search of Jars....

...canning jars that is.  This week has finally seen the end of the pears.  I still have some put I am going to save them for eating.  I went out and found a case of pint jars on Wednesday but went back today and they had nothing but quarts.  I don't want quart jars right now.  So I looked high and low and have now used EVERY canning jar that I have in the house.  I even emptied the salsa in the fridge into a bowl to have that jar.  So today I have canned:  4 quarts, 19 pints, 12 jelly jars and 5 half pints of pears.  I have no jars left until we empty some more.

I thought I would list what I have processed from the harvest this summer:  
12 quarts and 1 pint of diced tomatoes
11 quarts and 13 pints of spaghetti sauce
2 quarts and 2 pints of beets
9 pints of tomato juice
6 pints of V8 juice
6 pints of sauerkraut
11 pints of applesauce
3 pints of zucchini relish
24 pints of dilled pickles
15 pints of bread and butter pickles
15 pints of pepper relish
53 pints of salsa (we have eaten or given away at least 30)
8 pints of peaches
11 half pints of pear sauce
13 half pints of strawberry jam
2 half pints of raspberry jam
18 quarts, 53 pints, 13 jelly jars and 5 half pints of pears
10 pkgs frozen corn on the cob
12 bags of sliced peppers
6 bags of frozen cauliflower
10 bags of sliced zucchini
12 bags of sliced summer squash

I still need to find some corn and make corn relish and I have found a recipe for apple pie filling that I would like to try also.  My pepper plants are starting to bloom again so I will have more peppers before they die this year.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Goals for the rest of September

This weekend I had been thinking that I need to set some goals for each month as I have seen other bloggers do. So even though the month is half way gone I thought I would set a couple of goals and then start with October.

1.  What is the purpose of this blog.  I know I want to share with friends and family that are far away with what is going on but I want it more than that.  I want to share how I am trying to whittle away our debt load so that someday my dear, hard working husband can retire.  So by the end of the month I want to have that purpose in place.
2.  Send smallest bill an extra $150.  That would be the loan we took out against our annuity.
3.  Pay all bills on time.  No late fees.
4.  Continue to work on stocking the pantry.  Leaner months are ahead and I want to make sure that we have food.
5.  Finish canning the pears and get some apples to can.

I think those are realistic and doable.  I will let you know at the end of the month how I did.

Monday Menus for Sept 14-20

I have alot of food in the house so this week will be using some of what is in the fridge before it goes bad.  Payday is Friday.

Sunday - lunch:  ate out    dinner:  hot dogs (not healthy but it is what dh wanted)
Monday - spaghetti (just ds and I)
Tuesday - chicken stroganoff (new recipe - I will post if it is good)
Wednesday - veggie lasagna
Thursday - meatloaf, mashed potatoes, veggies
Friday - some sort of chicken dish
Saturday - new salmon dish

This week I need to come up with a camping menu for 6-8 men for the weekend of the 26th.  Not sure yet what I will do.  Need to talk to dh and how many meals and men. ~smile~  I don't mind doing it if I have the numbers.  My goal is to have it done by Friday when I go grocery shopping.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Could Jesus Be Elected President?

This morning at worship this was the question raised.  Think about it.......from what we know of Jesus and the way politics are done in this country now.....could he win?  The conclusion this morning was not likely.

Three points were given.  First of all...he had a few skeletons in His closet.  His family tree included foreigners, a lady of the night and assorted others who were not the best to have in ones family tree.  His own parents were peasants, but more importantly they were married when he was conceived.  Even the Pharisees made a comment once about he being born out of fornication. And lets look at the people he surrounded himself with.  Fishermen, tax collectors, uneducated definitely three strikes again Him.  The second point was.....He Advocated Change but not the kind they wanted.  What were the Israelites looking for - a king- someone who would overthrow the Romans.  This is not what Jesus came to do.  What did he offer?  Eternal life,  life with the Father.  They didn't understand what he was offering them was so much better than what they wanted.  The third point....He was a Victim not a Victor.  He was arrested and put to death.  He had the leaders of that day always questioning what he spoke about.  He knew how to handle the "press" of those days but he was never viewed as a winner.  When he was arrested they released a very wicked man instead of himself.  They "rulers" of that time feared him and his message.  So, would he be elected?  something to think about.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Menu Mondays: Sept 7-13

Okay I know that this is a little late on Monday but I got it done yesterday and I have been busy.  So here it is:

Sunday - lunch:  sloppy joes; dinner:  pizza
Monday - just me:  left over pizza
Tuesday - flounder, mashed potatoes and carrots
Wednesday - Chicken Stroganoff
Thursday - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and carrots
Friday - Chicken stir-fry
Saturday - spaghetti

I might switch Friday and Saturday but we will see what the temps are like.  Got to work on emptying the deep freezer as dh wants to buy me an upright to replace what we have.  I have way to much stuff in it to fit in an upright.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pears Pears everywhere

This week I have been gifted with over 50 pounds of pears.  They are everywhere while I am working on getting caught up with the tomatoes.  I think I am just going to can them in very light syrup.  I hope I have enough jars ~smile~.  My bff only asked for some canned pears in return.  Wow!!!!!!  She said she had more also.  Love it !!!!!  Free is wonderful.  Hopefully I will get some pictures posted once I get started.  

Working on my grocery list for the next two weeks.  I have $125 to spend for three adults.  Four on Sundays.  I was also gifted with five pounds of skinless boneless chicken breasts.  After I had bought forty pounds of it at an amazing sale I had found.  Hope to go grocery shopping tomorrow as I am attending a baby shower on Sunday.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Menu Mondays: Aug 31 through Sept 6

I am actually organized today and I have it ready.

August 31:  Lunch - ate out  Dinner - spaghetti and meatballs
September 1 - hamburgers on the grill, corn on the cob, grilled veggies
September 2 - Summer Squash and White Bean saute
September 3 - Chicken, boiled potatoes, green beans
September 4 - Tilapia, mashed potatoes, carrots
September 5 - Chicken stir-fry, rice
September 6 - Bean Burritos and spanish rice

Grand Plan for Christmas

Happy Labor Day !!!!!!!!

For those interested the Grand Plan for Christmas from organized.com started yesterday.  Here is the website:


I have followed this before and I had one of the most relaxed Christmas seasons ever.  This year it is time to follow it again.