Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Multituesday: Rejuvination

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

[photo credit]

There’s so much to say!

How I finished that chicken, how Spring Break and our anniversary weekend went, that love story I promised, my new writing plan and vision for how it will fit into this blog, how I thought I had to go to the store today and then made a totally wicked meal plan completely out of stuff we already have…..

But for today, I will just give you a short and sweet look into the last week through the glimpses of grace I experienced.

[231-240. Previous gifts here.]

• ERIC. (Yep, I’ve said it before…. but yesterday was my anniversary, after all!)
• An old, paid-for, reliable car.
• Finally starting to make some headway on our student loans and savings accounts.
• Sweet babies being born to my cousins.
• Games, talks, and walks with Evan and Sam
• CD listening parties with my husband.
• Pinot noir.
• My new, 50% off cast-iron frying pan.
• Budget neurosis. (At least I know where the money’s going!)
• New goals for morning quiet time.

In summary, although I might not feel this way after we have kids and/or if I don’t work at a school, spring break is a fabulous time to have an anniversary.  Oregon “spring” does not quite act like spring, but that’s not stopping me from enjoying it (yet).  I loved being able to give my marriage some stress-free attention and care this week/weekend. I was also able to give our finances a much-needed revamp, and have even begun a little spring cleaning! And….I heard a real live BIRD this morning.  May your spring beginnings be equally inspiring!

More posts coming soon…


Projects in meat stretching, part 1.

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Yes, that title makes me uncomfortable too.  But when one is trying to simultaneously get the most one can out of a ham and a chicken….. well, there just aren’t many categories to which both belong.


Last time I made Stephanie’s fabulous split pea soup, I had a major ham debacle.  That is, I had no idea how to buy a thick slice of ham from which to slice ham cubes, and I made the mistake of going to the deli counter.  The conniving deli lady decided to cut me 2 slices of ham that ended up costing me $11.00.  I’m still mad at myself for paying it, but it was custom cut and I would have felt so awkward handing it back.  Thankfully, one slice ended up being plenty for my soup (which fed 5 people that day) and I was able to use the other slice to make us Denver omelets, which slightly made up for it.  Fast forward to split pea soup take two.  My wise mother suggested that next time I check out the pre-cooked little hams in the not deli section and slice them up myself, so I did — and I ended up finding a gigantic cooked half-ham on clearance for being nearly past its prime.  6 lbs for…. wait for it…. $11.00.  Feeling quite vindicated, I purchased said half-ham, thinking I could surely use the rest.  Uhhhh………

That night, I cut up the ham into several thick slices, many thin slices, and LOTS of cubes.  I used some of the cubes in soup and portioned the rest out to freeze it.  Which means that in the next however-long-it-is-before-frozen-ham-stops-being-good, I need to use up approximately 5 lbs of it.  I’m on my way, but still working on coming up with recipes.  Ham is not something I’d like to eat nightly, so I’m thankful it’s frozen.

Meal 1: Split pea soup

Meal 2: Sliced ham with a maple/vinaigrette glaze

Meal 3: (Coming up this week) Casserole with ham, broccoli, cheese, whole wheat egg noodles, and some other stuff.  But not carrots, because I bought enough but accidentally used them all before I remembered I was supposed to save one.  Oops.  Also, I’m generally against adding canned soup to things and calling it a “recipe,” but that picture looks pretty good, right?

Meals 4-288: I don’t know, but I really do feel like I have that much ham.


Logically, the same time I’m trying to use up too much ham is a perfect time to also decide to try to use a whole chicken in as many meals as possible.  I keep reading on thrifty mom food blogs about loaves-and-fishes situations with whole chickens — like how one 5 lb. chicken turned into 10 meals for 6 people and other ridiculousness. So I planned a few meals this week that feature or at least hint at the presence of chicken.  On Monday, I roasted and then ravaged the chicken, reserving its parts for today’s stock adventure.

Meal 1: Roasted chicken.  We each ate a couple slices along with potatoes and broccoli.

Meal 2: Chopped chicken breast over salad with pecans, craisins, and the best blue cheese dressing evah.

Meal 3: Stock, prepared today and currently chilling in the fridge.  I have about a gallon, which will most likely become soup, which will hopefully last for several meals/lunches.

Meal 4: BBQ chicken sandwiches on pub buns.  Perfect for the chicken that just wouldn’t come off without getting totally shredded.

Meals 5-?????:  I’ll keep you posted.


I’d really like to cut our food budget down.  I love fancy ingredients and fresh herbs, but I think there are ways (such as meat-stretching) that I have yet to implement that could really make a difference in my grocery spending.  Take, for example, this very non-scientific anticipated savings calculation:

Stock vs. Chicken broth
Chicken carcass — basically free.
Onion, carrots (one of which was meant for ham casserole….), parsley and celery — $2-ish
3 garlic cloves and 5 peppercorns — 10 cents?
1 bay leaf and a few sprinkles of dried thyme — 20 cents?
= 16 cups for less than $3 as long as I have a carcass lying around.  Muahahaha.


16 cups of store-bought chicken broth (11-12 cans at .79/can*) = about $9
*I generally buy cans because I don’t use cartons quickly enough

This practice alone could make a huge difference, especially if I portion the stock and freeze it for use in dishes that call for a small amount, like one cup.

Stay tuned for part 2: the rest of the meals and how far a ham/chicken really can go.


Monday: meals and money

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

A new week is upon us.  It’s sunshiney, breezy, perfect summer weather.  We got the grill going last week for some simple barbecue chicken and corn on the cob, and we’ve been enjoying reading in lounge chairs by our little bitty apartment pool.  We don’t get in it, though — it’s really cold.

This new week is upon me.  Here I am reminded to stop feeling guilty, stop doing things if they are irritating, work hard, and take breaks throughout the day.  This is so much easier on days like today when I place myself under living water, letting it pour around me. I am the servant of the Lord;  may it be to me according to your word.

Today so far, I have accomplished waking up, reading from The Disciplines of Grace, journaling, and reading my Bible, helping a friend jump start her car, running at Gabriel Park, and toasting a bagel, which I am now eating with Good Earth White Tea. (Not the best tea, but I don’t want to waste it and it has lots of antioxidants….)  My running goal was 30 minutes but it was more like 22, partly because I was in unfamiliar park-trail territory and it was difficult to do a true out-and-back.  I really need a new BIG goal — otherwise I think my body defaults to, “You wanted me to do 30.  I did it.  Leave me alone.”

Left on the agenda today?  Lots of logistical things to keep our little home running smoothly:  I need to call and inquire about a health savings account I might start, talk to someone about self-employed tax preparation, go to the bank, plan meals for this week, and go grocery shopping.  Here’s a little glimpse into my Monday….