Frugal Living – Last Week of August

I’m always inspired by The Prudent Homemaker’s weekly lists of frugal accomplishments, and other bloggers ways they save money and enjoy life while maintaining a budget. I have the thought in the back of my mind to record some of the things I do as well, and am finally acting on that while the baby is taking her morning nap.

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Last week, I walked to the library book sale and got a stroller basket full for $5.

On the way home, a house around the corner from our apartment had a free box on the curbside with three rusty cast iron skillets in it. I’ll clean them with salt and a potato, and season them in the oven sometime this week.

Yesterday at church, a friend gave me quite a few mason jars and lids. If I don’t have anything to can, I keep my jars filled with bulk foods such as herbs, seasonings, and dry goods. I have milk defrosting from the freezer this week to make yogurt, so those extra jars will be helpful for that.

I made raspberry green chile muffins from raspberries in the freezer and green chiles from my trip back home in CO last year.

I made my first Bountiful Baskets order and got an add-on box of lemons. The basket was a slight disappointment from what I was expecting. My mom has been ordering from BB for over a year now in a different state, and sometimes has gotten more than the run-of-the-mill types of fruit and vegetables, which we wouldn’t normally buy and are fun for variety to figure out how to use. My first basket contained pretty much exactly 15 pounds of fruit and vegetables, and was not 50/50 fruit/vegetables like it says, but only one pint container of blueberries and one pound of strawberries, all the rest vegetables (although come to think of it, in addition to my box of lemons, there were a few lemons stuck in there too). The basket is $15 with a one-time first time basket fee of $3, plus my state has a $5.50 shipping & handling fee, so the price per pound was $1.56.

I had some apples in the fridge that were a couple of weeks old and needing to be used so I sliced up the strawberries and two apples, and mixed in the blueberries and made a quick jello with unflavored gelatin. It has been a great way for us to eat fruit the last couple of evenings. There were quite a few little cucumbers, bell peppers, two stalks of celery, a sad head of lettuce, unripe tomatoes, and two avocados. I have tacos on the menu this week that will use the lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados. I will use some of the cucumbers in smoothies if they don’t taste too strong for that. I tried this last week a couple of times, and depending the fruit in the smoothie, it hides the cucumber taste well enough.

This week, I will also make a variation of Chicken Ropa Vieja or crockpot chicken fajitas with fresh tomatoes instead of canned, two or three of the bell peppers from the basket, and adding pinto beans that I’m going to soak tonight.

The lemons from the basket were all rather tiny but I cut one open to keep an avocado from browning and they do seem to be juicy, so I will juice and zest those this week and freeze it all. My grandparents are coming to visit in a couple of weeks, so I will be making lemon curd then for them. I have been juicing lemons and making lemon curd with my grandparents as long as I can remember. It’s a favorite memory and way to spend time with them, and the fresh smell of lemons is one of my favorites. Whenever we would go and visit my grandparents around lemon season (around February some years), we would often go to one of their friends’ who had an old lemon tree in the yard. These fresh lemons were unsprayed and were the size of hand grenades, and slightly sweet sometimes. I would eat one or two for fun, and enjoy that tart puckery feeling.

The baby is awake from her nap, so I will stop here today!

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