Filed under: Buy Local, Canning, Frugality, Healthy food, Herbs, Local Food, Mindful Consumerism | Tags: Farmer's Market, food, frugal, growing food
I can’t believe it’s Friday again. Between hospital visits, gardening and canning, it’s been a busy, busy week. But I’m pleased that I’ve been able to avoid the extra expense of eating out, and have managed to have decent meals all week, without a whole lot of cooking. But first, let’s look at the week:
Monday: After paying almost four dollars for 2 cups of coffee at the hospital cafe, I made up my mind then and there to always bring my own. And so I did each day: water, coffee, tea or juice traveled in our refillable mugs and bottles each day. Savings Tuesday thru Friday: $16
Tuesday: Walked to the Thrift Store to take advantage of their monthly BAG SALE, where you can stuff a 13 gallon plastic bag with as many articles of clothing as you can fit in it for $12.00. I found 3 pairs of capris, one pair of jeans, 2 teeshirts, one skirt and one blouse that I liked and that fit me. I also bought a like new retro over- the- headboard- lamp, complete with a pull chain off/on switch for the dark side of my guest room bed, and a Pyrex dish with matching lid. Total Spent: $16.00 Both the Pyrex dish and the headboard lamp reminded me SO MUCH of my grandmother, and that’s priceless!
Wednesday: I walked to the Farmer’s Market and bought a large, locally grown eggplant for $1.00. Savings over grocery store price: 99 cents. Later in the morning, asked for, and received, a like new waffle iron/griddle from a fellow Freecycler! Savings: $65.34, according to Amazon! Not familiar with Freecycle? Go here: freecycle.org and enter the name of your town. It’s that simple to get rid of
crap good stuff you don’t want, and find things you need.
Thursday: Signed up for auto bill pay for my monthly health insurance premium. No more monthly stamp or envelope. Savings: $5.52 a year for stamps, plus 12 envelopes
Friday: Canned 7 quarts and 4 pints of green beans. Used reusable Tattler lids instead of one-time-only metal lids. Savings: About $1.75? The lids have long ago paid for themselves, because this is about the 7th or 8th year I’ve used them. Here’s a picture, you can buy them yourself at http://www.reusablecanninglids.com or on Ebay:
Now, about that eggplant: (see Wednesday). I made Ratatouille for supper tonight with it, and cooked it in my brand new in the box Lodge cast iron dutch oven that I traded a friend for, in exchange for a few trips to the airport. We both felt we got a good deal- he saved parking fees and I saved $35 on the pot that I needed to replace after mine cracked a couple of months ago. Because I had every ingredient that it requires except the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, it was extremely cheap to make. I served it over pasta and used leftover hamburger buns buttered and sprinkled with garlic salt and toasted in place of Italian bread. Total cost to me: About $2.50, including the pasta-the buns were free at the bread store because I bought $5 worth of other stuff there, so I didn’t count them.
Here’s the recipe: 4-6 healthy servings when served over rice or pasta. It’s fabulous!
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium eggplant, (3/4 pound), diced
1 medium zuchinni, quartered and diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
6 tomatoes (2 pounds), diced
1 tsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T. capers, drained and chopped (I don’t use these)
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
What you Do:
1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook for 5 minutes. Add the zuchinni and bell pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes. All vegetables should be tender.
2. Stir in the oregano, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook for one additional minute. Remove from heat and add balsamic vinegar and capers, if using them. Garnish with basil and serve over rice or pasta.
OK, your turn. What ways did you find this week to save money or reduce your expenses? There’s always something to learn from one another, so do tell!
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