© pogonici / Dollar Photo Club
Here’s an update on the avocado pit for those of you that asked (yes, it’s still alive!) It’s got a bit of root growing and something is definitely growing from the middle! I seriously can’t figure out how this little guy is still chugging along. I have it in a not-so-easy to see spot (the windowsill that is covered by my desk), and I forget about it every week.
(here’s how it looked last month in comparison)
So far this is what I think is working:
1. Let it get as much sunlight as possible
2. Change the water out only when it evaporates to just below the pit, so about once per week.
Now onto the frugal things!
1. Free vegetable stock.
I finally put those veggie scraps to use by making my own veggie stock. While cooking, I always toss the scraps from vegetables into a freezer bag rather than throwing them away. Eventually, when the bag gets full, veggie stock can be made! I used basically the same method I use to make my crockpot chicken stock. Super simple and it was free to make. The only downside is that unless you go through tons of vegetables each week, this isn’t something you can count on regularly having on hand, as it relies on scraps in order to be made.
2. Homemade heating pad.
I made my own (very fancy) heating pad by filling a clean sock with rice and adding a few drops of essential oil. If you’ve ever microwaved a DIY rice heating pad, you know that the scent of dry rice being microwaved can be a little, uh, unique. So the orange essential oil’s sole purpose was covering up the stink. And it worked pretty well. We do have a couple of heating pads, but putting them up to your face (earache) isn’t very comfortable so this called for something a little smaller.
3. Stretched ground turkey.
I’m not sure if I mentioned it on the blog or not, but we are almost exclusively buying ground turkey these last few months (in terms of ground meat). It’s the cheapest ground meat in my local stores (ground beef = $4.99/lb+, ground chicken = $3.99/lb+, ground turkey = $2.99/lb+).
I make the ground turkey stretch further by adding in a ton of finely chopped inexpensive veggies, as well as using it intentionally in meals that lend themselves to being a little saucier (the more saucy the meal, the less meat I can get away with using. Sauce is also very cheap if your base is tomato paste, which mine usually is). I did this a couple of times. But the most recent time, I made a single lb. stretch for just over two meals.
4. Discovered a new local gem.
We discovered a local beach that we never knew existed… in the town that we’ve lived in for three years… within 10 minutes of our apartment! I think it’s a definite sign we need to do a bit more exploring! There’s a state park just a few miles up the road, and we decided to visit it one weekend and stumbled upon this gem that was one of the features of the park. We’ll be making a few more trips to this park since it’s so close and we had such a nice time. Definitely a great bang for the buck since we paid $5 admission for our vehicle.
5. Pre-made salads.
I made a bunch of salads for myself throughout the week. I did use pre-chopped lettuce, so I could’ve made it a bit cheaper but it was still pretty frugal in my book! I added garbanzo beans, chopped veggies, bacon and a couple of other fixings.
The trick when making salads ahead is to keep things as dry as possible if you want them to last for a few days. I portion out the croutons and place them in sandwich baggies beside the salads, and since I’m home, I’ll just pour the dressing on top when I’m ready to eat. If you’re taking them to work or school, pour the dressing into the smallest snack bag you can find to keep things separate (or use another small container).
6. Make-ahead rice.
If I’m serving rice more than once during the week, I’ll just go ahead and make a double or triple batch the first time. I did this last week because I had three dinners on the meal plan that called for rice (sometimes it’s okay to be boring with the meal plan!).
To make sure the rice is still a good consistency, I add a bit of lemon juice when cooking in order to prevent clumping. And then when microwaving in the future, I add a splash of water and mix it up before heating up. It’s more of an art than a science, but it works almost every time and I save 30 minutes of cooking for each meal that requires rice!
So what frugal things did you do last month?