Thriving In My Thrifty Week–November 9, 2020

When we take care of Jake and/or Michaela, we always try to get some exercise with them.

One day, we walked across the Willamette River on a foot bridge, looked for rocks, and walked back across.

Everyone had fun and we got a good walk in. Since we did get a little rain it’s been a challenge to fit exercise in at times when it wasn’t raining, but Rob and I got several walks in here and there.

Rob took Michaela and Patsy up to the wood-cutting place one day. He got a little bit of wood, but mostly they had a picnic lunch and looked at some horses in a field, and enjoyed nature. He didn’t cut very much wood last week at all, because it rained some, and he had other things to do, but he did get a couple of loads. He’s back up there today.

Rob covered the wooden tomato cages with plastic and we put them over some of the fall/winter vegetables.

He also made a cover for the raised bed in hopes of babying along the veggies in there.

He’s got a batch of lettuce growing in the greenhouse. We are hoping the get it big enough to get a cutting or two. The greenhouse is not heated, so hopefully we will have some sunny days and it will be warm enough for it to grow in there.

When I discovered one of his geraniums he started from a cutting was blooming, I brought it into the house to cheer things up.

The cherry tomatoes I picked right before frost continue to ripen. It wasn’t hi-tech. I pulled off the clusters, left the stems on, and put them in a 9×13 pan on the dog’s kennel in the garage. Rob’s larger tomatoes he wrapped in tissue are ripening as well, but some are a little less than stellar. Still, we are getting enough that I haven’t had to buy any tomatoes yet. We finished up the garden lettuce I picked and had cabbage and broccoli from the garden to work with.

We thawed one of the 10 pound bags of hindquarters we got a while back for $2.90. I baked 1/2 with rosemary, de-boned it, froze the bits and made broth with the rest. It will be for casseroles. Rob BBQ’d the other 1/2 and we ate some and I made enchiladas for dinner tonight with 2 thighs.

We had potato soup, chicken-rice soup, and chili. I split one pound of hamburger between the chili and some chili-mac. I’m finding it best to try not to make huge batches of things these days. As it was, we had leftovers several times as I find it impossible to make tiny batches of either soup or chili. It comes in handy to have some leftovers, as there are times when we are in a huge hurry to eat, just not too much of the same food so we don’t have to eat it over and over for a week:). I made some chicken thighs with a honey -soy sauce glaze, pineapple, onion and peppers (I used frozen bits from our garden). It was really good. I baked blueberry muffins, cornbread, cherry crisp and a pizza.

I did a menu plan for the first time in a long time, and we stuck to it for the most part. I just used the same system I used for years, off and on, in the past. I write things down in pencil in a composition notebook, and also add in appointments or places we are going to plan meals according to our schedule. Then things are easily changed if they need to be. I often switch and swap meals within the week, or completely change things up at times. They are just suggestions. I don’t choose recipes and then go to the store for ingredients. Instead, I see what I want to use from my freezers and cupboards, then choose recipes or meals. Only then do I add an ingredient to my list, if necessary. This helps me remember to rotate the vegetables in the freezer, target pieces of meat that need to be used, or finish up things in the fridge or cans or packages of food on the shelves that should be targeted because they are getting older. It also saves me a ton of money when I’m well stocked, like I am now after canning and freezing all summer.

This week, I didn’t need anything more, so we skipped the regular grocery store. At the end of the week, I did send Rob to the bulk restaurant supply store with $30 for “to-go” coffee cups and lids, a large salad dressing and boneless-skinless chicken thighs. He got 2 bags of the chicken, and a couple of other things, along with the list, and came home with $3 in change. Go, Rob!

We emptied many, many jars of home-canned items and used a lot of frozen vegetables and meat. I also pulled quite a few items from the pantry shelves to use. Our bulk beef is ready to pick up and I need room in the freezers, which was good motivation for me last week. I went ahead and made a menu for this week, again, since it worked so well.

It’s nice to have so many good things to choose from, a cozy fire and lots of projects to work on.

12 thoughts on “Thriving In My Thrifty Week–November 9, 2020”

  1. I have a hard time making small meals, too. We still have too much food waste so it’s an ongoing issue. If it’s a decent meal, or sweets, i’ll call friends and neighbors and drop some off.
    It looks like you had some beautiful weather for walking. We’re having a warm spell so i’m going to pretend it’s spring until i can’t pretend any longer! hehehehe…

    1. I have to share, too! There was a time I cooked for 11 at each meal. Now 3….and maybe a niece or nephew who might eat a few bites…..and only “their” food….Part of the problem is that I love to cook. I have had no problem finding people who are happy to eat and will thankfully accept my extras:). So, it works out.

  2. Beautiful walk and gorgeous tomatoes! Thanks for your well wish comment on The Prudent Homemaker blog. I think I am hurricane weary….lol. My little house is not much to look at but it is mine, and I was so stressed about my roof.

  3. I too used to cook for family and house full of homestay language students up to 10. And now it’s just me. Ten years into being single and it’s still hard.

    And this is totally off topic and if you don’t want to publish it,, I get it. You read Debbie at The Next Chapter in My Life? I’ve been getting a weird ‘danger’ alert from Norton when I try to open her web page. I can bypass that. But then when I try to read comments, I get the warning message again and can’t by pass that. Have you had any problems accessing her blog or is it just me? I know I’ve seen you comment there and that’s why I’m asking.
    Stay safe in all this rain. Cheers,

    1. I ran right over there and checked, as I haven’t been on her blog for a little bit. I got in it with no problem, and was able to leave a comment. It must be on your end. Sorry.

  4. I like the hoop houses Rob built and look forward to seeing how they do. Plastic didn’t work for me because the blaring sun would heat it up during the daytime and bake everything even when it was freezing cold. I have to use fabric. Plastic could be perfect for your area especially since it is vented on the sides. I might try building one like yours next year if you like the design. Doesn’t fresh food in the winter taste so much better?

    1. This is all an experiment! He left about one inch open at the top of each side of the raised bed cover so rain could get in, and the ends are open. I’m not sure if we should close them up…time will tell. Right now, we just got drenching rain in the past week, and things are wet again. We’ve picked several cabbages, but I don’t think they will improve with time (and slugs that will come). So, we might as well eat them up if we can. We will see how this experiment works out.

  5. I like your wooden tomato cages! I cook for myself and end up eating the same thing several days in the week, unless I freeze some of it for later. The frozen items are good for those days when I don’t feel quite like cooking. 🙂

    1. I only have a few of those wooden ones. Rob made them last spring. I’m hoping he makes more because I love them. They are much more sturdy than the wire ones I use for the rest of the tomatoes.

      I love having little bits of frozen food, too. I’m also doing better at making smaller batches. But, we almost always have tons of leftovers, at which point, I stop cooking for a couple of days so we can eat them up, or freeze them.

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