Today is the last day of February which means my Nothing-But-Dairy-In-February Grocery Challenge is now officially done and over with which means the last time I went on a real grocery trip was back in January so we've been living on our cupboards and pantry for TWO months.
I gotta say- I am SO happy I did it!
Here are some things I learned during the February Nothing-But-Dairy Grocery Challenge:
* Cranberry Pomegranate iced tea is a sorry substitute for peppermint green iced tea (But prettier. I'll give it that.)
* It is possible to make 100% whole wheat rolls and bread, with not a BIT of white flour, that are still soft and fluffy and delicious.
* I spend a lot of money on milk.
* Ditto on the cheese. I eat a lot of cheese. So does my family. But I SERIOUSLY do.
* We could save a lot of money by cutting back on dairy. I don't know that I am ready for a move like that though.
* baking all your bread isn't that big of a deal. It helps warm up the house, which is always a plus in winter. Now, in the summer that would be an entirely different matter.
* the above is true if and only if you have not previously spent the entire day not thinking about the fact that there is no bread in the house and the realization comes to you only after you are loading up the dishwasher before bed. This happened a few times too. Then it is a very big deal.
* Canned tomatoes make awesome tasting tomato soup. In about five minutes flat. (I put the recipe up at Kitchen Riches for those of you who asked!)
* Homemade ketchup is delicious! And fast! And easy!
* I still have a lot of food left. Actually, my freezers don't really look like they took a very big hit at all. The meals would be less and less elegant and more and more redundant (think zucchini...) as I went along but I could totally do another month if I wanted to. (but I don't. hehehe) I'll have to do this challenge again- maybe around May/June when space (and jars) for harvesting and putting up are a present need.
* People have a lot more food than they think in their cupboards. Once you get rid of the convenience foods that can be whipped up quickly- it is easy to feel like there is no food in the house. But there is- you just have to work for it.
* I kinda missed walking around the grocery store. When I went to get milk, I bee-lined to the dairy aisle and didn't dillydally so I wouldn't be tempted. I think I will go nice and slooooow for my big grocery run.
* You don't know how troubling it is to see a food source run dry without the means to restock it until you have actually lived it. (Even for pretend.) I was seriously fretting about the flour and egg situation. I have never before had to worry about the bottom of the flour bowl before. I think a bit of rationing puts this very spoiled girls' thoughts nicely into perspective. It is good to be reminded in real (and troubling and even, in this case, pretend) ways that God gives us gifts that we take for granted every day. Like filled egg baskets and flour bowls. And a grocery store where we can buy more when they run out. And money to buy those things to refill them once again.
* Four gallons of milk @ $2.79 a gallon........... $11.16 (* I could have gotten these a bit cheaper at Aldi but I did not have time to stop at two places and was already AT Walmart in order to return two items. I only got four gallons this week, instead of five, in order to try and make up for it.)
* A five pound block of mild cheddar................$14.96 (* I almost didn't buy this because the total cost was so much and would add so much to this weeks' total (Vanity. All is vanity!) but then I thought "Dork. It is $3.00 a pound and the smaller 2 lb. packages cost $8.96 anyway so I came back to my senses. I won't buy any cheddar next week.)
On the Menu:
(HC means Home canned. Snacks varied this week but we are running low on (or out of) just about everything snack-ish like beef jerky, apple slices, etc. Often it was crackers, licorice (our neighbor keeps us in constant supply of this!), apples, olives, cheese, or popcorn.)
breakfast: cornmeal mush with maple syrup
lunch: ham and bean soup with rolls
breakfast: huckleberry scones
lunch: sandwiches and bean and cheese burritos (the latter for the grown ups!)
dinner: pot roast with potatoes. Whole wheat knots. (made from leftover pizza night dough.)
breakfast: scones and cheese slices.
lunch: Homemade Tomato Soup and crackers
dinner: Spaghetti with HC sauce, Peas, Garlic Cheese bread
25th: Tuesday (Knitting class at library right at lunch time! I didn't have any bread in the house and no time to prepare anything so lunch time today was pretty pathetic (in my mind) and pretty AWESOME (in the childrens' mind).
breakfast: toast and cheese, apple slices
lunch: peanut butter crackers, cheese, Twizzlers
dinner: Meatless Burritos (beans, rice and corn with cheese and HC salsa wrapped in tortillas)
breakfast: Omelets with cheese. I could stand it no longer. I NEEDED eggs, despite them being rationed. I have four left to last until the end of the week. Unless our chickens decide to help out a bit.
lunch: ham salad in pita bread. (I did not bake the pitas. I found a bag tucked way in back of the freezer.)
dinner: sloppy joe on delicious whole wheat sandwich buns. (Thank you for the recipe, Rhonda!) Peas. HC Pickles. HC Applesauce. French fries with homemade ketchup.
dessert: Grape Sorbet (The children and I were feeling under the weather with sore throats and there was plenty of hacking/coughing going on, so I pulled out some grape sorbet I had made during grape season and had been saving for just such an occasion.)
27th: Thursday (chickens gave us FIVE eggs today! THANK YOU CHICKENS!)
breakfast: zucchini muffins
lunch: leftover soup. (Mixed all the leftovers -pot roast, spaghetti, meatless burrito filling- up into a minestrone-y like soup. It was good! I was surprised! hehehe)
dinner: Ham and scalloped potatoes. Peas. HC peaches. HC applesauce. HC pickles. Whole wheat bread and butter.
breakfast: zucchini muffins, slices of cheese.
lunch: scrambled eggs
dinner: Pizza Night! Not sure what I will be doing about a veggie. But there will be pizza! I only have enough mozzerella for one pizza- so one of the pizzas will have to be three cheese. ;-) The other? Not sure about. I am feeling an urge to experiment...but we shall see. I don't know why but I am feeling like I could make a sloppy joe and collard pizza taste good...but would everyone be brave enough to try it?
Other frugal accomplishments: (I was very bad about recording these this week and now I am drawing a blank...)
~ Andrew took down my laundry room coin pitcher and sorted and counted the money (for fun) one day and then, since they were already sorted and in piles, I put the coins in wrappers to take to the bank. $60.00 richer, thanks to spare change and Andrew!
~ Baked all bread needs without using ANY all purpose flour! Experimented with this bread recipe and this sandwich bun recipe. (Both excellent!)
~ Matt worked on splitting more wood over the weekend. And we probably will this weekend too.
~ saved egg shells for chickens (for calcium)
~ made homemade ketchup for the first time ever. Another winner!
~ hung heavier clothing to dry by woodstove
~ washed all ziploc baggies
~ borrowed a bunch of books from the library
~ attended a free knitting class
What about you?
Do you have anything financial to share this week?
As always~ PLEASE link to your SPECIFIC blog post, not your entire blog. It could be ways you saved or stretched or strategically spent those pennies...or even inspiration you found or quotes... but please link to a post about SOMETHING financial! Lastly, please link back to my blog and maybe others would like to share!