Last wreath is done and hung.
I found the stuffed Turkey (center of the wreath) in the clearance bin of Michael's for $.49 cents then made yo yo's and a bow from my fabric scraps.
Santa's workshop was in full production yesterday (for the most part)
Christmas quit piecing on the sewing machine and Angels on the embroidery machine.
While a big old pot of potato soup simmered on the stove.
I was busy as a beaver yesterday working on Christmas gifts until DD#3 came by to refill her spice's from our bulk spices. Nothing like running around trying to find all the pins, scissors and rotary cutters before Kara could get to them. Just as I was getting my mojo back DD#2 showed up with two of DD#1's kiddos, here we go again :( Oh well today is a new day. However I have to get everything packed for our family mountain trip and loaded in the car today. I don't expect to get too much of anything else done. I am thinking about taking along the embroidery machine so I can hide out in our room when the volume of big kids, little kids and TV get to be too much.
I have had lots of e-mails asking how we have built up our pantry. So many people are just making ends meet and have no extra cash for doing a little stocking up. Believe me I understand!!! We were so poor in our younger years that we called ourselves "Por". "Por" is when you are so poor that you can't even afford the second "O" in poor. Times are better for us now but any day at any time we could be right back where we started as so many Americans have been facing in the past few years. Who knows when the gridlock in Washington will ever end. We have to be able to take care of ourselves, our family, and the less fortunate and not depend on anyone else.
A deep pantry doesn't happen overnight unless you are rolling in cash which most of us are not!!! You need to start with little steps week after week building upon what you have on hand, getting organized, sticking with your budget, and doing a whole heck of a lot of cooking and planning. Before you begin you MUST have a food budget!!!!! No Ands or If''s about it!!! You must also be willing to put in the time it will take to plan meals, make a grocery list from sales flyer's, and clip those coupons. Never ever, waste your money on buying food your family won't eat just because its a great sale or maybe even free with coupons unless you plan on giving that food to charity. I do have a charity box that I add too when I shop if I can get a great deal on food we don't care for, at the end of the month we donate that box to our local soup kitchen.
Here's my take on getting started. Each family has different needs and must do what works for their own family, one size doesn't fit all
Pick a day of the week that is your shopping day and stick with it! No kiddo's or hubby allowed!!!!!
(having a buddy to share in this journey makes things a little more helpful and exciting. Help each other out with watching the kiddo's so you can each shop in peace)
Give yourself extra time to shop. Until you get use to shopping only on sale and with coupons it will be a painfully slow shopping experience.
Get your pantry , freezer, and fridge cleaned out and organized. Make sure you know what you have on hand. Find one day a week that this becomes a routine. You can't afford to have food waste.
It's coupon time. Sunday papers normally have the coupons. ONLY cut the coupons for things your family will eat. Now is not the time to purchase things that you don't normally use. Pass those coupons you won't be using on to a friend. Check out the coupons on line. Here are 2 sites that have good coupons and tips
Now its planning time. Grab your weekly sales flyer along with paper, pen and maybe a calculator so you don't go over your food budget! You will be planning 7 meals as well as breakfast and lunch. NO GOING back to the store for something you forgot!!!!!! Only take the coupons you plan to use for now. Later you can get into using a coupon binder. Don't overwhelm yourself!!
This week Beef roast are on sale for $2.99 a pound. I our area that's a pretty good deal. All 7 suppers will be planned around beef. You will be buying 7 beef roast.There are endless ways to use a beef roast that will not feel like you are eating the same old same old each night. Make sure you include all the sides, spices, and whatever else you need to make the meals. If you will be using any fresh veggies be careful you ONLY buy what you need. Food waste is not OK!!
Your meals might seem a little boring at first until you build up your pantry. Be creative, drag that cookbook out and dust it off, check on line for recipe's that will appeal to your family. Remember if your family won't eat it your wasting money. Don't forget to include the fun stuff. Muffins, cookies, cake or whatever your family likes as a treat need to be planned for.
Here is a supper menu sample:
Sunday - Old fashion traditional beef roast with taters and carrots
Monday - Tacos, burritos, enchiladas along with refried beans and spanish rice using leftover beef roast.
Tuesday - Beef tips with rice and rolls. You will need to cut up the beef roast into cubes. Cook all of them at one time it should be lots! You will be using 1/2 of it later in the week.
Wednesday - Breakfast for supper. Pancakes and sausage links are a great meal on cold nights and the kiddo's will love you for it.
Thursday - Beef stew, the beef is already cooked from leftover beef tips. Just cook up some carrots and potatoes, drain. Add a can of two of beef gray then mix together, make sure and give this time to get all the flavors incorporated
Friday - Beef stroganoff with noddles (pasta if you talk fancy) Cook the beef roast in over or crock pot. You should have enough leftovers to freeze a meal. Make sure an package up the leftover beef for the freezer that night. You can't afford to shove it in the fridge for later only to have it turn green!!! Don't bother with the noodles, precooked frozen noodles are nasty!!
Saturday - Potato soup
You should have used a total of 3 beef roasts. That leaves 4 beef roasts in the freezer (building that pantry) You also have one precooked frozen meal of beef for stroganoff on a night you don't have time to cook.
Having breakfast for supper one night a week along with serving one meatless meal and USING leftovers in ways that your family doesn't realize they are leftovers for us was the way to go. Make sure you have some deserts or whatever your family considers comfort food made up. Gotta keep the family smiling and not feeling deprived!!!!
If you should happen to have any leftover money from your weekly budget that is STILL food only money. Get yourself something cute to keep that rat hole money in. CUTE COUNTS. Now you have not only stocked you meats up and have a "TO GO From Home meal" you also have your mad money to use the next week for super deals to stock up on. Remember each week you will start with the same food budget $$. The rat hole money is extra.
Most stores will have a different meat each week that is a really good sale. Stick with that meat buying 7 for the week using it in creative ways so you can stock up. By the end of the month you should have a nice variety of meats to work from but you still need to stock up each week on whats on sale so you continue to fill the freezer. Before you know it you will have a freezer full from sale prices only!!!!
I focused on meats for this menu since most families use meat as the base of their meals. Meats are for the most part one of the most expensive items in the store.
Each week learn something new in the kitchen!!!! Making bread, rolls, muffins, noddles, cakes or pastries. Surf the web for recipes that you know your family will like and give them a try. How to use a time saving appliance and plan for it's purchase is learning.
I will share a meatless recipe each day that are favorites of our family. First off is potato soup. I needed to use up our milk this week before going on vacation. I had a 5 pound bag of potatoes that were getting close to being past their prime so Tater soup it was. This makes a very large pot, by sending some home with each DD as well as a couple of girlfriends who were watching the election results with me last night I have just enough for my lunch today and supper tonight. NO WASTE!!
1/2 gallon of milk (more or less)
5 pounds of potato's (cubed, pre cooked and drained)
1 stick of butter
Flour (maybe a cup or so)
dash or two of garlic powder or one bud crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp white pepper (might want more)
4 to 6 chicken bullion cubes (start with 4, add more to taste)
Use a large stock pot
Make a roux with 1 stick of butter and flour. I really suck on how much of some things as I tend to cook without measuring. If your don't know how to make a roux that can be your learn something new this week!! Some also call this a heavy white sauce.
Once the roux is finished add the milk a little at a time, continue to stir, continue to add milk. If you pour all the milk in at one time the roux and milk will separate!!
Add the spices and bullion, cook slowly!! This will scorch if your are not careful.
Add the precook potatoes.
Simmer until all of the ingredients are incorporated. The longer it sets the better it is!!
Don't store soup in the stock pot to reheat!! No matter how careful you are there will be some scorching on the bottom of the pan. The scorched stuff will loosen overnight, it looks and tastes nasty. When you reheat once again watch for scorching (microwave works great) If the soup has become too think for your taste add a little chicken broth to thin it down.
Off to try and get this to do list whittled down!!