Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This Week's Meal Plan

This week I made two meals ahead of time (Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna as well as Honey Rosemary Chicken) as I am having surgery on Friday and won't feel up to cooking. It feels good to have meals sorted in advance and I may do make the effort to have one a week prepped in advance which gives me some evening quality time with the kiddo which is often in short supply as evenings always seem to be a rush (although doing this of course makes the weekends even more rushed).

This week I'm trying out a bunch of new recipes. I'll update on how they worked out!

Sunday: Baked Potatoes and Mild Italian Sausages

Monday: Tomato Lentil Soup with Pita and Hummus

Tuesday: Enchiladas and Salad (didn't end up eating this meal last week)

Wednesday: Tuna Navy Bean Salad with Vegetable Fritters (these are both new recipes)

Thursday: Tomato and Sage Spaghetti (new recipe)

Friday: Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna and Cabbage and Apple Salad (lasagna is a new recipe)

Saturday: Honey Rosemary Chicken over Brown Rice with Carrots (new recipe)

What's your best supper strategy? (And yes, I will steal it!)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Accomplishments Nov 17 to Nov 23

This week was a terrible week health-wise. L and I both had some sort of stomach bug and I really suffered from my migraines (still am). My work life has been really overwhelming this last week as well as I have been tasked with some new major work, which is impacting my role and I need to reevaluate how to manage my time. It's actually these kinds of weeks, where I just feel like staying in bed, where keeping track of small accomplishments feels rewarding. It feels like I didn't do a lot but when I look back, it's nothing to sneeze at!

Made (other than meals): Pumpkin Cranberry Breakfast Biscuits, Italian Vinaigrette, pound cake, 50/50 bread

On Sunday we at supper at my mother-in-law's. She always gives us the leftovers and we bought home leftover lasagna, brownies, and 3 frozen portions of a lentil dish to bring for our lunches.

We brought out our resident Elf on the Shelf, Sunny, after the Santa Clause parade. So far we haven't forgotten to move him once which is a huge improvement on last year when L decided his elf must be lazy!

I purchased a new wallet. I had glued mine back together which allowed me to get several more months of use out of it but it was time. I re-purposed the old one as a toy for L. We filled it with old cards and play money and played 'customer at the store'.

Our microwave developed rust on the inside on the bottom, which is a fire hazard! We purchased a 'new' one of Kijiji for $25 from someone 2 streets over. It works great and is nicer than our old one.

I've done a fair amount of Christmas shopping so far and as of yet have bought everything at a discount and am so far on budget. I have pledged to spend less than half of what we spent last year (which was way too much!) and to spend nothing on wrapping. I'm going to use up what I have already and re-purpose things I find.

I made a crockpot freezer meal for next week as I'm having surgery. I plan to make another before my surgery on Friday so there's easy food ready to cook.

I dropped a carton of eggs as I was bringing it home, breaking 10 of 12. They needed to be used right away if I wanted to salvage them, so I used one in my 50/50 bread, used 6 to make the pictured pound cake, and my husband used 3 to make an omelet for his lunch. I changed my kitchen plans that day but I'm glad I was able to not waste them

Flops this week: On a evening when I was feeling especially craptastic, my husband ordered takeout pizza, which would be fine, but we're over our eating out budget this month (oh well), also I threw out some grapes we wasted. They were delicious but were seeded and turns out my husband hates grapes with seeds (you'd think I'd know that....) and I didn't make enough of an effort to use them up in creative ways so they went into the bin.

What do you do to stay motivated on the tough weeks?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This Week's Meal Plan

Again we are eating a meat dish 3 times this week rather than our typical twice because I'm in dire need of making some room in the freezer! However, the amounts are small, for instance Monday's meal uses 1.5 half cups for 6 servings, Tuesday makes 6 servings with 1 lb and Friday's enchiladas use only about 1/2 pound for 4 servings.

Sunday: Leftovers and Salad (use it up day!)

Monday: Turkey Casserole (using frozen batch cooked turkey) with Cabbage and Apple Slaw

Tuesday: Beefy Asian Rice (from Cheap Fast Good)

Wednesday: Mozzarella and Caramelized Onion Baguettes with Green Salad with Italian Dressing (a

Thursday: Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup with Toasted Parmesan Muffins

Friday: Beef Enchiladas with Green Salad (using pre-made batch cooked Flex Mex mix)

Saturday: Dinner party at a friend's house!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Accomplishments Nov 10-Nov17

This week I made: batch cooked dry navy beans, Pear and Cranberry crisp, bread, and Bread Crumb Cookies

I divide L's toys into thirds. I third is favourite toys, and then 2 other batches. Only one of the non-favourite toys batches are out at a time and the other is in storage. I've been meaning to flip them for awhile and finally got to it this week. L was excited! It's like getting all new toys because he's largely forgotten about them by the time they reappear.

I cooked a turkey I got on sale inexpensively last month (Canadian Thanksgiving) and froze all the meat for later use.

Found L a nice winter coat in a bigger size (he's outgrown his last year's one, but not the pants) at Value Village and used a 30% off coupon to purchase it.

I also bought my first Christmas gift of the season at Value Village. It cost me $3.15.

I worked on a wall art project.

We went to the science centre as a family for free! We a free MAP (Museum and Art) pass that I picked up from the Toronto Public Library. It would normally be $60 so this was so awesome.


I forgot my packed breakfast and lunch beside the door on my way out to work one day and had to purchase food.

I had to take out dog to the vet. He was limping so much he could barely walk. He has either a growth or an infection in his foot (test results in next week) but it's likely an infection and he is on antiobiotics and we're waiting to see if it improves. Sooooo expensive, ugh. I love our pets but not the vet bills -- the cost always seems so inflated. Fingers crossed he gets better soon!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

This Week's Meal Plan

I'm going to start to post my meal planning, on the off-chance it helps anyone else who might be new to meal planning. I started meal planning when 3 years ago I decided for the first time to track our spending for 3 months. I discovered that we spent over $1300 in groceries for 3 people! This knowledge lead to starting to plan our meals was just one strategy to make significant reductions to this number. How I meal plan has evolved over this time and continues to do so, as I learn to do things differently to save both money and time. Despite the fact that we have to date, CUT our expenditure in this area by $750 per month, the way we eat doesn't really feel all that different because it was/is a gradual transition. My goal is to trim the amount we spend even more without impacting our quality of life.

We generally eat meat only 2 days per week (this week is more often however, although amounts per dish are very modest) and fish or seafood one day per week and Thursdays needs to be quick as L has swim lessons that evening. I try to make my meal plans to offer variety and nutrition while also keeping our food spending down.

Sunday: ate at my parent's house

Monday: Ham Patties (made with frozen leftover sale ham and stale whole wheat hamburger buns turned into breadcrumbs), Glazed Acorn Squash Rings, and Green Beans

Tuesday: Pork and Vegetable Stir-fry with Rice (using frozen batch cooked pork roast)
(during the day batch cook dried navy beans in slow cooker that will then be used for Wednesday and Saturday suppers)

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Baked Beans with Baked Potatoes topped with Broccoli and Cauliflower, Cheese Sauce and Bacon Bits (bacon bits were cooked and frozen as bits from a few leftover slices last week)

Thursday: Smoky Tomato Soup (in slow cooker) with Aged White Cheddar and Caramelized Onion grilled cheese sandwiches on homemade bread (caramelized onions where batch cooked when I got 10lbs for $1.97 and frozen in 1 cup portions)

Friday: Tuna Pasta Toss

Saturday: Turkey White Chili with Cheesy Toasts (using batch cooked turkey that I bought on sale last month before Canadian Thanksgiving)

Other: Pear and Cranberry Crisp (double batch with some modifications), homemade instant oatmeal packets, 50/50 bread

Monday, November 11, 2013

Accomplishments Nov 3 to Nov 9

Here we go again...let's see if it sticks this time!

I'm now calling these posts 'Accomplishments' instead of 'Frugal Accomplishments' as cutting our expenses, while it remains a big focus right now, is only a small part of what counts towards making each week a success. I had a couple extra days off work this week because I needed to use up some vacay time (yay!) and so I was able to get quite a lot done.

Made from scratch: pumpkin parmesan soup, whole wheat pumpkin pancakes, hot chocolate, savory bread bake (using up leftover stale bread), gingerbread loaf, salmon cakes, pumpkin puree, roasted pumpkin seeds

We are on a big simplifying kick at the moment and are trying to pare down our belongs to only things that we need, are really useful, or we love. To that end, we loaded up the car and dropped off donations at Value Village this weekend. They were having a promotion for Super Savers club members (i.e. me!) for 30% off coupon on anything you purchase if you make a donation. Because our donation was large, they gave us two coupons. I purchased some long-sleeve t-shirts which were on my need list and a sweater for myself, a muffin pan to replace one that is overdue to be retired, as well as a large framed canvas.

The canvas is for a DIY project that I'll post about once I'm done. Stay tuned!

I could not combine coupons but I have more stuff to sort and get rid of and so I'll  likely be able to drop off and use the coupon before it expires. There are still a couple of items on my needs list hat I'm hoping I'll be able to find as thrift items.

We spent some quality family time going leisure skating at a rink nearby on Sunday for an inexpensive outing.

When we were going to the rink, we passed a house that had put our their perfectly good pie pumpkins on the curb for garbage-- now that they were finished using them for decor. I popped them in a bag and brought them home. (the 4th pumpkin in the picture is one L brought home from a farm field trip)

I purged L's closet, getting rid of about a quarter of the stuff in there and organizing what is in there so it's easier to access and use.

While I was cleaning out the closet, I found a few mismatched too-small socks. I used two of them to make simple but appreciated cat toys for our two kitties. I just added a tablespoon or so of catnip into the feet and tightly tied the tops in a knot (tip: filling without getting catnip all over the counter is easiest if you put the sock in a jar and roll the top over the edge - I discovered this by making a mess all over the countertop with the first one).

I started reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette, which I took out from the library (I also picked up several books for L).

I made homemade carpet deodorizer (will post recipe soon!) and used on the rugs.

Flops: delivery pizza, wasted pancake batter (I should have made them and froze them to eat later), L broke a wooden chair (thankfully wasn't hurt at all),

What did you do that you count as a success from last week?

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