Frugal Accomplishments This Week

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How was your week? My week was pretty good, pretty frugal. I am proud of myself and my frugal accomplishments this week. Some of them were easy, but some definitely took a lot of self control, and that's where I am most proud of myself.

Acquired some kitchen utensils (soup tureen, a metal tea kettle, a few trays) and a small cupboard for free from a neighbor who moved away and didn't want to take them with her.

I felt really nauseous and the only food that appealed to me, that I was craving, was super expensive- either steak, beef with broccoli, or cashew chicken. Chinese restaurant food, mainly. I nearly sent someone to go buy the stuff for me to make them, expensive as they are... but in the end, scratched that, and made my own "Chinese takeout" style meal with cheap stuff I had in the house already- chicken hearts and broccoli from the reduced rack stall.

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Dumpster dove this cute partitioned container, and a pot for plants.

Set up chicken scrap soup in the crock pot to cook overnight, using the water left from my making pasta earlier.

Set buckwheat, chickpea flour, chocolate pancakes to soak overnight for breakfast the next day.

Made pancakes for breakfast!

Used chicken scrap soup as the basis for a legume based (and therefore cheap) minestrone that was cooking in my crockpot all morning.

While in the park with my daughter, foraged some hollyhock leaves and wild mustard to go in the minestrone.

Went to the second hand store to buy some materials for some projects I'm making.

Worked on making some thing my kids need from scratch using the things from the second hand store instead of buying it ready made.

Needed to get one ingredient from the store. Walked in and out with ONLY that ingredient, not giving in to any temptations to splurge on extras.

Had a party to go to, everyone was asked to make one or two dishes to contribute. I was going to make one dish- and then someone offered me that if I'd make 2 dishes instead of her, she'd arrange rides for us there instead of needing to pay for the bus, etc. So I did the extra work, which didn't cost me much extra money since I used cheap items I already had in the house... and saved money on transportation.

When making a lettuce salad, I found some leaves that, while not spoiled, weren't so appetizing to use in a fresh salad, so I put them in the freezer to use for a soup.

Made homemade Italian dressing, and homemade honey mustard dressing to use for two of the salads I made.

Unfortunately, the pasta salad that I made... the noodles didn't taste good, because I didn't cook them long enough. Instead of tossing the salad, I took it home to repurpose.

Went to a sale and bought things we use anyhow at incredibly cheap prices.

When cleaning my freezer and refrigerator to make room for these purchases, I took odds and ends that I found there, combined them with some of the pasta salad from the party, and made a soup. (Rice with chicken, frozen pumpkin that I chopped up and froze when it was a second away from spoiling, the wilted lettuce leaves, broccoli leaves, some chicken broth, a drop of leftover lettuce salad with some onions and honey mustard dressing, and the pasta salad.) Soup tastes great!

In my freezer, when cleaning it out, I found some almond pulp left from making almond milk a few months ago.... Also found a few gluten free muffins that weren't such a hit, because they were too dry and not sweet enough, as well as some apple scones that weren't sweet enough. Also found a bit of crumbled buckwheat crepes. Had some leftover peanut butter craisin rice krispies that I tried making into granola bars but were too crumbly, sitting on my shelf. I blended up the "granola bars" with 3 overripe reduced rack bananas, some of the almond pulp, a little date syrup and a drop of water, and baked them as cookies. They came out terrific! Then blended up the dried out muffins, buckwheat crepes, scones, and the rest of the almond pulp in the food processor, added oil, water, baking powder, cocoa powder, coconut, ground flax seeds, and sugar, mixed them with some white chocolate chips, and baked them as cookies.

Set up some sunflower seeds to soak to make sunflower milk.

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Made yet another soup from other odds and end leftovers in the kitchen for lunch. (It was mainly what was left of the pasta salad, a green pea salad, and a few other things.)

Foraged redbud blossoms and snacked on them.

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Foraged chickweed and wood sorrel and eryngo and sow thistle and passionfruit for a salad.

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Made homemade sunflower milk, and used that to make a vegan cheese sauce for my ground turkey moussaka, which tasted (and looked) very cheese like, and was much cheaper to use than store bought vegan cheeses...

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Finished making my projects out of the cheapo stuff I got from the second hand store.

Steamed sweet potatoes, and with the liquid left from steaming, I used that to flavor a red lentil curry which I made for lunch, together with some sliced fennel bulb stalks which are often too fibrous to eat plain, but worked fine in the curry.

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Made some homemade ketchup.

Served a salad that was practically free- foraged greens and flowers, onion greens (that sprouted themselves from my onions sitting on my shelf), and with a foraged passionfruit based dressing.

Used up leftovers in the fridge for supper instead of cooking new.

So, what were your frugal accomplishments this week? Do you feel this was a "successful" week for you in terms of frugality, or are there things you wished you did differently?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Hello! I regularly comment over at The Prudent Homemaker blog. I read your post every week and thought I would comment this time! :) I switched myself and my family to a "real food diet" over a year ago. Then our finances took a pinch and I tried to focus on "saving money", which in my area means virtually NO organic and healthy foods. I am trying to incorporate the two and your posts have been most helpful.
    Last week we:
    -ate all meals at home. I took all my beverages and food to work. I declined an offer to order out for lunch at work. Some staff members eat out several times per week. I usually turn them down.
    -we have been wanting a pasta maker for about 2 years and have been watching and waiting for one in our price range. My husband found one that is "Giada" brand for $25 on clearance at Target!! He also found me a new coffee pot that was less than $25 and a good brand. I have been limping along with my other one, which I got several years ago and was barely working. I MUST have my coffee....
    -My husband has also been slowly fixing our older, used, paid for vehicles himself along with his mechanic father. This saves us a TON of money.
    -I wash all clothing in cold water, full loads and hang them all up to dry. I also reduce the water level by one level during the rinse cycle. This saves water and money. I also turn off the water a couple minutes early from the spin cycle, saving more money.
    -I have everything possible plugged into surge protectors. When those items are not being used the entire strip gets turned off. We also unplug things not being used.
    -We have this weird copper pipe thing that goes from our furnace and drains into the bathtub. I have a small bucket to catch the water and use it in my humidifier, to water some plants, rinse out the bathtub after a bath/shower, etc.
    - I downloaded some free kindle books
    -I caught a cold from my husband and woke up feeling horrible. I plan on treating my illness with homemade, natural remedies from stuff I already have on hand, like homemade "vaporub", lots of tea, keeping my humidifier going, honey for a sore throat, etc.
    -My husband hung our bird feeders back up, even though we still have over 5 feet of snow. The whole family has spent lots of time enjoying the site of the newly returned birds eating and playing, especially our cat who sits in the window and stares lol.
    -I received an email from CVS pharmacy. They gave me a free $5 in ECB's that I plan to use to buy more TP for my stockpile.
    - I saved junk mail that was only printed on one side for my toddler to color on
    - I only fill the sink up halfway when washing dishes and use a dish pan, only half filled, to rinse. In the warm months I dump the rinse water on the non edible plants outside. For right now I use that water to rinse the washing sink out after I am done.
    - I made simple coconut flour muffins, homemade lentil soup from dried lentils and homegrown and canned tomatoes from last year and some carrots that were going soft. I also defrosted a loaf of homemade apple bread that was in the freezer. Today my toddler and I will be making homemade strawberry popsicles from clearance purchased strawberries that I froze.
    -I drank lots of water. I gave up soda a few months ago.
    -I received a box english muffins from work. We have clients we feed and receive donations from certain places. If we receive to much to store, which happens occassionally, the extras are offered to staff. I stored them in my deep freezer and we pull out a package a week.
    -I will also be making homemade chicken noodle soup today from homemade/canned chicken broth and previously cooked and frozen chicken and home canned carrots we grew last summer.
    That's all i can think of right now. I really enjoy your website. Thank you!

  2. Good job on the Chinese take-out. And making the pasta salad more delicious. And leaving that store with just one item!

    And thanks for the reminder on redbud blossoms--I still haven't tried anyway.

    This week I did all the usual plus:

    * I tried a new muffin recipe. The muffins are good enough to eat, but the recipe is not a keeper as is. Good flavor, but tastes gummy and sort of like oatmeal. I'm going to try following a few more of the directions next time!

    * When my roommate ate my leftovers the night before I was going to bring them to work, I told myself I was just going to eat out. Then I changed my mind and cooked something instead. Yea!

    * I reorganized my craft box and found a needlepoint project I can bring to my friends' monthly craft nights when my scarf is finished.

    * I did the 7-minute workout my friend told me about. I had tried it before but not gotten in the habit of doing it regularly, even though it warms me up nicely in the winter.

  3. Please oh please, Penny, post the sunflower cheese sauce recipe! That looks like a lifesaver for me at this time.

    On another note, I've been very financial irresponsible lately, and am trying to be more mindful. Last week, I ate all meals at home (and created a lovely soup recipe), finally organized my recipes which will help in menu planning which will in turn help with cooking and eating frugally, did some necessary updates to my wardrobe via the second-hand shop, joined a rewards program and was able to get some household items at a discount.

    Next week I'm hoping to do some freezer cooking, mend old clothes to further update my wardrobe, harvest some greens, and find a cheaper internet provider. And, make the cheese sauce if you happen to post it!

  4. can you repost the vegan cheese recipe!

  5. Hi Penny. Just found your blog through The Prudent Homemaker blog. Although your lifestyle is quite different than mine, there are many common elements that make it quite interesting to me. I'm in the USA, have grown children, not gluten intolerant, not a tree-hugger, etc but we do have frugality, gardening/fresh foods, dumpster diving/thrift shopping, and probably many more things in common. Of course differences also make the world quite interesting too. Your recipes look quite delicious and I like they way you are willing to try throwing in ingredients that you have on hand and need to be used. I am currently on a quest to use all leftovers and eliminate food waste in our home so your blog posts have inspired me to try some different combinations of foods and ingredients. I've started this week to actually write down my frugal ways to post next time, as my memory isn't what it used to be. LOL. Looking forward to your future posts. Blessings.

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