Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Saving Time & Money!

It's been quite a while since I've posted, but I'm sitting here with two laptops, listening to the Issacs (a southern gospel group) sing, and a sipping cup of hot chocolate while planning out how I'm going to manage this once a month cooking day. I just emptied out all of my cupboards with the food I bought on Thursday morning. I decided to go shopping on Thursday instead of waiting until Friday, Monday, or today to do my shopping, because I realized that my week was going to be quite busy and I needed to go shopping while I had some free time, so I could use my extra free day this week to do my cooking for the month! Therefore today is my cooking/baking day!

I haven't cooked a thing since last Wednesday when I made a tuna casserole (pasta, peas, mayo, tuna) and again on Saturday night when I cooked our Sunday dinner of chicken (chicken, sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, and a little bit of the onion soup mix) so all I would have to do was warm it up and let it stay warm in the oven while we were at church Sunday morning. I'm still figuring out which freezer meals I want to do, but right now the list consists of: meatballs, enchiladas, lasagna, spaghetti pie, pizza, waffles (pumpkin & cranberry, blueberry, plain), quiche, and I'm not sure what else I'll find to make with all the ingredients that I have! I'll post the recipes and photos of the finished products when I'm done! Although, I'm thinking I may have to save part of my recipe making until Friday, but we'll see. I might even make some cookies and freeze them too! I like change so I don't want to freeze the same stuff or the same type of stuff - like pasta, pasta, pasta for example.

Saving money and time during your upcoming summer months might be easier than you think: Garden!

You can use a small container (like those box rubbermaid dish tubs) :

Put small holes in the bottom of it (to help let the water out) and then fill it with dirt, buy a package of lettuce, plant the seeds, and you'll have plenty of fresh lettuce throughout the spring, summer and fall! You can even plant tomatoes in a pot on your porch or back deck if you don't have the space for a garden. You'll be able to eat fresh tomato sandwiches, plus (depending on how many pots of tomatoes you plant) you can can sauce or freeze chunks of tomatoes to put in quiches or chili later on in the fall and winter months!

Here is a picture of our garden: it goes over a little more towards the right in the picture, but I wasn't able to get it all in my camara's view. We have already planted peas & beets in it so far. Today, I'm also planning to hurry up and start some peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash so that they will be up by time it's time to plant them in the garden! We'll also plant beans, carrots, radishes, and corn!

These are the seeds that I will be planting and hopefully these little veggies will grow! We're so blessed to have the space for a nice garden and have fruit plants in our yard! We have a pear trees in our backyard, so towards the beginning of fall/end of summer I will be busy canning and freezing them and we also have a huge batch of blackberries (they make great jam!) and raspberries (they taste really good in coffeecakes). Things that you are able to get at a good price and in large quanities will really help you save money when you're able to can fruits & veggies. My husband is also an avid hunter and so we have deer meat in our freezer, which really helps with the cost of meat. Not to mention that venison is very healthy meat and is really good for you. Here are some pictures of the things I canned last year: LOTS of applesauce, peaches & jams!

This is what our shelves look like right now = more than enough for two people! I love being able to pop open a jar of apple sauce to serve when company comes over! The fresh canned peaches come in really handy when you want to make a peach cobbler for dessert! Yummy! Strawberries are going to be coming in here in May! That'll be fun! Smoothies, pies, fresh strawberries - sigh, I can't wait for summer!!!

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