1. Shopping: I didn't keep very good track of grocery shopping this week. I know we spent $10.85 on snacks at Aldi. On Wednesday I went to Walmart and spent $16.99. I didn't have time to do a video haul, but I did snap a picture:
We also spent between $50-$60 on food for the open house. We had a whole bag of frozen hamburger patties (12 patties) and 10-20 hotdogs left, as well as three bags each of hamburger and hotdog buns. We also had an extra package of celery hearts left. Total cost for extra open house food (I'll count this as groceries) was $13.98, minus the celery hearts which I somehow lost the reciept for. So we'll say $2.00 on the celery.
So between the Aldi snacks ($10.85), THM ingredients ($16.99) and open house overbuying/leftovers ($15.98), I was overbudget this week by a whopping $23.82. However, even with this week's massive overspending, we've only spent $84.58 for the month of August- a paltry $4.58 more than I had planned. That's pretty impressive in my opinion! Frugal food techniques really work, even when you have colossal planning failures ($10.00+ spent on pre-packaged snacks... REALLY?!) and buy specialty diet ingredients that you don't really need.
2: Garden: Harvested and froze bell peppers. Most of my garden this year was for fresh eating, so I am not doing a lot of canning or freezing this year. I also focused more on plants for medicinal and decorative use; flowers, herbs, gourds, etc. I'm really looking forward to autumn decorating when everything is ready to pick!
3. Cooking: Made yogurt in my new Instant Pot! For those of you who haven't watched my Amazon Unboxing from a few weeks ago, I ordered a second (larger) Instant Pot to do food prep and make yogurt and cheese in. I tried the yogurt function for the very first time last week and it worked great. It cut my hands-on yogurt making time probably in half. One tip I learned from a fellow Youtuber is to cool the pot of milk in a sink of cold water instead of waiting for it to cool down on the stove. I'm not sure why I'd never thought to do that before, except my yogurt pot was always filled to the brim with milk (it was a little too small) and had a handle that would have a hard time fitting in the sink. The IP insert was easily tall enough so that the cold water wouldn't splash into the milk, and it also didn't have a cumbersome handle.
The second time-saving aspect of IP yogurt is washing the dishes. My prevoius method involved heating milk on the stove in a pan first, then putting it into a separate yogurt incubator and putting that in the fridge. If you use an incubator with an insert that can double as a storage container, that's awesome. However, my incubator was limited to a 2-quart capacity, plus the pan had a handle and rivets and a lid that were annoying to fit into the sink and wash. The Instant Pot insert is quick and easy to wash.
In addition to making yogurt, I also cooked a frozen rooster in the Instant Pot to use for meals, and then made broth from the carcass. Some meals we had this week were tacos, grilled backstrap and potatoes (yum!), taco bowls, and chicken and fried rice. It goes without saying that we had several (like, a whole weekend's worth) of potluck meals with relatives being home and then having open house leftovers.
4. Collected cans on a walk.
So again, another week short on frugal accomplishments. But I have an excuse!! There are a lot of frugal accomplishments I've been hiding from you guys due to a special project that we have been working on all year. I'll have a blog post coming soon with lots of juicy details. ;)
Til next time,