Thriving In My Thrifty Week–November 14, 2021

Rob’s mom gave us quite a few Butternut squash she got from her brother. One has already been cooked and eaten. They store very well, so we will eat them over the next few months.

The super ugly dill was the remains of my dill patch in one of my raised beds. I saved some seeds for growing, but these seeds are probably immature, so I put them in a baggie for cooking. Rob also used some of this dill in cooking. We are trying to put every last bit of the garden to use, and I’ve been surprised that a few things are still lingering so late in the season. We finished up the lettuce I had picked and Rob told me there are a few more snow peas out there. I’ll have to go pick them soon.

Last year, my niece gave me an African violet. It’s blooming! I did not kill it!!! Also, I noticed there were two little plants in the container, so I re-potted them both this week and they now have more room to grow.

I took my grandson to the park a couple of times this week. He loves to hold bouquets of fall leaves we pick up on our way there. I also love that he’s wearing the bomber jacket Rob found at a yard sale or thrift store (can’t remember) for way under $5. I keep it at our house so he always has a coat there. Today, the kids/babies came to church and then over for lunch after. I pushed Malcolm down to the park and we tried the swing again. He enjoyed it, smiled and even laughed today, for the first time. Before today, such as when this photo was taken, he’s not been so sure he likes that swing. We also took Jake down to the same park another time, and went for quite a few walks this week, with kids and without.

Rob and I were just talking this week about how thankful we were that his hip surgery was so successful. He has walked more in the past year and a half then he had walked for years and years. He had a routine re-check on his hip and it’s doing great.

I cooked a lot, as we had a lot of people through the house this week. (The busiest day had 4 of my children, 1 niece, 1 nephew and 2 grandsons, along with Rob and I…) I sent Rob down to the store for groceries. I didn’t need much–produce and dairy mostly, so I just sent him to the Winco near our house. He got out of there for under $40, which I was thrilled with. I didn’t need the specials from some of the other stores this time–carrots and celery are very cheap anywhere you buy them around here, and those were two of my main needs this time.

Yesterday, one of my daughters offered to go buy some groceries if I wanted anything as she was going to a certain store anyway, and they eat here a lot, so wanted to help out. I happily made out a list of basic items I could always use and she brought me those, plus things that were on sale there, such as 2-lbs of shredded Kroger cheese for $3.97, potatoes for $1.99, whole milk that her baby drinks, the spinach I forgot to write down for Rob…stuff like that. Rob had asked for some sausages that were on sale and she didn’t know which kind he liked, so got him 4 packages, all different kinds. He’s already eaten the hot Italian package. Yum, I guess–I left it to him:). Then she threw in a couple of bags of chips for good measure and donated it all to our cause. That really helped out this week, and kept me under budget.

Here are some ways I keep in budget when so many keep coming over for lunch/dinner/every time in between:

  1. I almost always have white rice cooked and ready to go in the fridge. They eat it with butter, salt and pepper, or with milk and cinnamon sugar or one adds it to her stir-fry. It seems to be a favorite of all.
  2. I make soup for those who eat it. Since I’m dealing with special needs and lots of preferences, Rob and I are the ones who eat the most of that.
  3. I buy meat and seafood on sale and in bulk–for example, last summer I got shrimp for under $3/lb. and bought several 2-lb. bags, which we are using now. That was the best price I’d ever seen. We are expecting our 1/4 beef to be ready one of these days. When chicken was 67c/lb, we got 4. 2 girls eat only seafood and dairy–no other meat, one son wants hamburgers all the time, some visitors only want cinnamon sugar toast or cold cereal or ramen noodles….you see how it is around here, so I get everything on sale or in bulk if possible, especially protein. My grandson, however, will eat every single thing I give him, other than bananas. How refreshing and fun to cook for, I must say:)
  4. I do a lot of taco/taco salads as people can add or subtract at will–and it’s one daughter’s favorite meal of all time, and enjoyed by all.
  5. I often make baked potato bar–same story–they can add or subtract at will.
  6. I use dry beans to make refried beans, chili, chili mac, and other recipes. These are very economical.
  7. I make lots of crisps and other fruit-based desserts or just serve canned fruit in a bowl, as it is very accessible to me in the summer to can or freeze and I always have lots on hand.

What do you do when lots of people come over to eat at your house?

12 thoughts on “Thriving In My Thrifty Week–November 14, 2021”

  1. Sounds like another great week, Becky! A busy week, too, but then, you almost always seem busy! No one is coming to my house for meals, right now, as I am not comfortable having anyone over, with Covid numbers being what they are, over here! Nor am I going anywhere to eat, either, although I’ve been invited! But, if I am expecting a lot of people coming over to eat, I usually cook rice and curries. Pasta is good, too, and so is soup. 🙂

    1. Rice and curry sound great! I just made a huge Instant Pot of rice today because if I make it and put it in the fridge, it’s pretty much gone by the end of the week, even with me not eating hardly any myself, due to my diabetes. It messes with my blood sugars if I eat too much. But, it’s very reasonably priced and it’s gobbled down here! Great idea.

  2. My go to is Macaroni and cheese. I buy the noodles in bulk at Sam’s and always have them on hand. I also buy American cheese in five pound blocks and vacuum seal it and freeze it. I keep butter frozen from Aldi’s too!! The only thing I don’t have on hand sometimes is milk and canned milk is a good substitute. Or I freeze milk sometimes in zip lock bags. Milk tends to go bad here. Most of my family love our home made spaghetti sauce with noodles. Sometimes with hamburger or without. We have burger from the farmer in one pound vacuum packages so they thaw fast in hot water. Also pepperoni vacuum packed in smaller packages. I buy the big bag from Sam’s. Keep 8 0z packages of cheese on hand too. I also use these foods for trays and quick meals for those in need. I also keep pretty place, napkins, etc to send along to cheer the meal up a bit. Have a wonderful day Becky!!

    1. That’s a great way to use extra milk. We actually have a little extra now and then, believe it or not, and we have this teeny tiny extremely old fridge on the porch that I use rarely. It freezes things on occasion, and then kids don’t want to drink the milk, so I use it in cooking. I buy cheese on sale and keep it on hand, as well. It keeps a very long time.

  3. I guess I have the fall back plan of make your own taco salads when you guys come over. Glad Patsy likes them. 😉

    1. They are her absolute favorite. It’s the best “group” meal for me, too, since each one can choose their own parts and pieces. It’s like Jeannie’s salad bar (comment above) and potato bar–I first started doing those kind of meals when I first started dealing with allergies. Then I didn’t make anyone sick, which was always a goal when having company:). Love your taco bar, always!

  4. My biggest money saver for when I have company is a salad bar. Last night Joshua dropped by and I brought in salad greens from the garden. I chopped winter radishes, celery, and carrots also from the garden. We chose our own toppings, croutons (made from homemade bread ends), sunflower seeds, ground flax seeds (for high blood pressure), and pickled jalapeno, pickled sweet pepper, and home-canned beans. The shredded cheese was bought on sale. We added leftover turkey from the $.99 per pound one I bought on sale. It wouldn’t fit in the freezer so I had to go ahead and cook it.
    I would say it was a cheap meal except that he took all the leftovers home with him and I had to do it again today!

  5. Food is your “love” language. When you speak of your extended family your stories speak of hospitality. You all have modelled this over and over again for your family, friends and strangers.
    I love your menus and ways you feed large crowds consistently.
    I’m blessed to have a son who bakes frequently so there is usually a selection of different desserts in my freezer for any large or small gathering.
    Chili, soups, chicken (legs, quarters or off the bone) in a butter chicken sauce over rice, bean salads, pulled pork over homemade buns( dough done in the bread maker). Fruit in season. Pancakes. Turkey-chicken roasted ahead of time and taken off the bone.
    I also keep rice ( and noodles) in containers to quickly thaw.

    I find out which group or person might make food as an income source. Souvlaki from the Greek church, perogies from the Ukrainian Church, samosas from my Kenyan friend and spring rolls from my Phillipino friend and Vietnamese friends, baking from my fitness instructor are frequently purchased in bulk.
    When I host events frequently this food is served as an accent and I encourage people after tasting to support them if they can

  6. Macaroni and cheese. I get the 5 pound block of American cheese, vacuum pack in recipe proportions, stock up on real butter when on sale and freeze it. Last week I got it for $1.99 at Aldi’s. Milk goes bad here before it gets used so I can freeze in zip lock bags in 2 cup portions or substitute with can milk diluted a bit. I also like to keep extra pepperoni, summer sausage etc. vacuum packed then frozen (buy large bag from Sam’s Club) on hand. All will thaw quickly. I stock up on crackers and block cheese. Usually block cheese has a long frig life if it has not been opened. I make a couple big roast at a time and freeze them with some broth in serving sizes. They can be unthawed fast in hot water if used right away. I always have a big bag of egg noodles on hand to cook up to make my meat and broth stretch a long ways!!!!! very quick meal. These are also my go-to meals I share with those in need or those who just need encouragement. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Becky with you family!!!

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