Freezer Cooking Black Beans

We use a lot of black beans in this house. Typically I buy them by the can, but after my recent interest in freezer meals I’ve decided to start seein where else I can save with the freezer besides just meals.

So, here are my beans I fixed today that I plan to freeze. I didn’t weigh them, but im pretty sure each container has more than wjat comes in the average size can of beans you can buy from the store. The entire bag was $1.29 so that makes each container just $.32!

Store bought black beans are $.58 here foe the store brand. It’s not a lot, but considering this is a very used food in our home, the savings will add up.

Also, as you can see I’m not using freezer bags. I decided to skip the bags and get reusable containers. I know the air can be an issue but I plan to start with short term freezer meals, maybe a week or two at a time, and if the go longer I may give topping with wax paper a try. Expensive start up but will save in the ling run. Plus, less plastic trash in the world.

If you know of better freezer meal container options I’m all ears!

Kroger Shopping Trip

~ Post contains affiliate links ~

I needed some black beans for dinner tonight so I decided to go to Kroger so I could pick up the free Kashi cereal that has been available thanks to Ibotta and Kroger’s cash back savings program. While I was there I ended up finding some free BBQ sauce, cheap yogurt, cheap snack packs, and cheap barley!

20191017_130723.png

In the image above you’ll see my total minus $5.30 that they gave me back because some of my mega event items didn’t give the discount, minus my Ibotta rebate, minus my Kroger cash back rebate, minus $0.15 from Fetch. After all of the discounts my total ended being $9.16!

Not too shabby for everything I was able to get!

Scratch That…New Plan

Um, if you’re not freezer cooking. You should be. I’ve been slacking here lately because of life and because I’ve been putting a lot of focus on my health and weight loss.

With both our grandmothers still having health issues and our daughter basically living with one it hasn’t gotten any easier yet. And today we actually learned that my husband’s aunt lost her job due to missing so much caring for her parents. It’s a terrible time right now.

So, it’s even more important me for to fone ways to streamline our meals for our pocket and health as well as our sanity. And, I think I may have found the answer to at least that problem.

Freezer meals!

I swear, I have tried to do them before and when I do my brain gets oberwhelmed and feels like it’s stuck on a loop. I get hung up on things and it’s like my brain can’t process. A few days ago, however, I got it!

I managed to get four chicken meals in the freezer in 20 minutes!

I wish now I had done some pictures o even a video, but I just sort of fell into it unplanned and wasn’t even sure if it was going to go anywhere.

Tomorrow, I plan to batch cook some enchiladas. One will be for dinner and the rest for the freezer. I’ll be doin pictures and possibly a video for these. I plan to I see freezer cooking going forward to help budget cut in the kitchen.

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m pretty pumped about this!

Meal Plan – Week 2

Things have been a little crazy here still with our oldest child spending her days and nights with her grandmother in the hospital. She’s struggling after this triple bypass and it has made it difficult to keep up or to stick to a budget, but I’m doing the best that I can. I should have already had this done, but better late than never.

I guess.

BREAKFAST

  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Pancakes
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Bananas

LUNCH/DINNER

  • Pork Carnitas
  • Pineapple BBQ Pork Sliders
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu
  • Salsa Chicken Burrito Bowls
  • Crab Salad
  • Fuit/Vegetable Sides

We had the crab salad today for dinner. I still need to pick up the chicken and I bought the pork for the sliders and carnitas today. Thinking about trying to slow cook both of them in the oven in some of my bakeware since I have only one slow cooker. I hate cleaning the slow cooker so I feel like it would be easier to just bake them both at the same time.

I don’t know though.

A lot of this stuff I already have on hand. I did have to pick up a few things today but most of it was fruits and vegetables for sides and snacks. Hopefully this coming week I can get this all laid out on Sunday.

Week 2 – Grocery Budget Goal

I had to stop and pick up a few groceries today. I went thinking about this week only with a few meals in mind. This helped me to keep the amount I spent under $40. It would be nice to have another way under budget week like the first one, but we needed some fruits and vegetables as well as a couple meats.

I’m shooting for another $50 household/grocery budget this week. So I don’t have much left for the rest of the week. I do plan to pick up some chicken breast that’s on sale for $1.49/lb at a local store here. That’ll probably end up taking the majority of the remaining $50 budget.

That’s alright though because I’ve allowed myself a $100 a week overall budget for the month and anything remaining by November will be applied toward our car loan.

Repurpose & Reuse

The older I get the more aware and conscious I become of the impact I’m having on our planet. The planet my children will call home for their own children. So, I have been doing my best to reduce waste and cut costs for quite some time now.

Some of the days I do this is by NOT buying new for as much as possible, repairing what I can, and repurposing a reusing things destined for the trash.

Repurpose and reusing go hand in hand with budget cutting. But, repurposing and reusing is not only good for your budget, it’s good for our planet. And let’s face it, our planet needs our help right now.

Enter new drawer organizers. Look familiar? If you thought they resembled milk jugs, you would be correct. The bottom half at least.

After downsizing our baby bottles I decided to try to separate the sippy cup parts for the bottle parts to make it easier to assemble when needed. Initially, my thoughts went to what i have that I can use around the house. Whan I came up empty handed I about grabbed the keys and headed to the Dollar Tree. I knew they had some boxes that would be perfect.

Then, I stopped myself. Not only was I working with a strict budget this month, I also just gave away a ton of unused plastic boxes I purchased at the Dollar Tree once before and never used.

Not going down that road again.

That’s when I spotted a milk jug on the counter by the trash. I had put it there not wanting to throw it away, but not sure what to do with it. Suddenly, the bottom of it looked perfect to create a box, washable I might add, that I could use to organize those parts.

So, I cut off the top, smoothed out the edge, and put them in the drawer. They’re working perfect. It has made it so much easier to get the correct parts for either a bottle or sippy cup. This is doubly nice since I no longer have to hear my husband grumble while digging through the drawer.

I just wish I knew what to do with the top besides a funnel? One person can only have so many funnels.

Free Family Fun

Kindle-Nook-Sony-Reader-I-say-Hardwick-this-sure-is-an-impressive-library-a-cartoon-by-Jeffery-Koterba

When you’re a budget cutting Mommy, you’re always hunting for free or super cheap stuff. That doesn’t change when it comes to looking for fun things to do.

When I was working on my budget update, I realized that I didn’t use any money for fun family stuff. That doesn’t mean we didn’t do anything fun, however.

We just did it for free!

We spent a good chunk of the day on Saturday at our local public library at their know-it-all Festival. It ran from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there were so many people there teaching really awesome stuff.

Our four year old got to put out a fire with the fire department, check out and learn about the fire engine, make and keep Play-Doh, practice basic karate, how to make and taste peasant bread, and learn and practice pizza tossing!

Our 15 year old got to do yoga, learned how to tie knots, self-defense, how to expunge a criminal record, how to avoid being scammed as a consumer, natural medicine, basic karate, learn how to and practice tossin pizza dough, and probably more that I’m missing since she went around on her own.

I was able to learn to make plarn, a rag wreath, how to raise bed garden, toss pizza dough, make and taste peasant bread, and I even had a chance to put out a fire too since my four year old was afraid and wanted me to do it first.

And, if that wasn’t awesome enough, they had a table set up with free nonfiction books. I picked up a few for us. Currently, I’m about halfway through Your Inner Fish. I typically read fiction, but lately I’ve been craving a little random knowledge olld school style. No digital devices needed.

They also had a photo booth set up whwre you could take pictures and have them printed for free! By the time we had left we ended up doing five. Mostly because the kids found it hhilarious to make funny faces/poses over and over.

Plus, since we were part of the pizza tossing group, we were able to eat some of the pizza they brought! They brought enough that none of us were hungry for dinner when we made it back home.

It’s not something I would typically read, and that’s exactly why I am. Hopefully I can finish it sooner rather than later so I can get started on a different one. I’d love to get through all of them before the end of the year.

If you haven’t checked out your local library, you should! We spend a lot of time there anyway since we homschool, but they typically have something happening multiple days every week that keeps us there more. Also, search the local events on Facebook. There is typically something happening most days through the week in and around our area.

Watch for the free stuff! You might be surprised at what’s out there!

Food & Time Rescue – Blueberries

On this episode of food & time rescue…

Blueberries!

Last week, my husband purchased a container of blueberries. We love blueberries here, but for some reason, they tend to go bad, a lot. Yesterday, I noticed that they were starting to look a little shriveled.

I could have just ate them by the handful, and it would have been yummy, but I decided to use up the rest of a box of pancake mix to build it into a delicious meal that the entire family could eat.

Enter blueberry pancakes!

It was really simple. No measuring. Just dumped out the mix, added water and blueberries, and stirred. Easy peasy. Total cost, I’m not exactly sure of, but since blueberries are typically on the higher side we’ll estimate them that way.

However, if you consider the fact that they would have ended up in the trash, aren’t they basically a free food?

Rescued Blueberry Pancakes
Blueberries $2.98
Pancake mix $.75
Syrup/water $.50 (guestimate cause I really don’t know)
Total $4.23

However, without the cost of the blueberries it would have been less than $2! And the best part of it all, I didn’t throw away any of the time my husband traded for us to have those blueberries.

I think this might have been the best blueberry pancakes I’ve had yet!

End of $50 Grocery Budget Week

Well, one thing I’ve learned this week, is that I need to try to do all of the shopping. When my husband goes to the store, he always returns with more than he needed. I sent him in for a bag of roma tomatoes and he came out with two bags full of junk food. Not only is this bad for our wallet, it’s bad for all of our health.

So, even though more than what I’m accounting for was spent, I’m still only going to track my spending. Perhaps later down the road my husband might finally decide to hope on this budget train with me. For now, I’ll do what I can.

Weekly Grocery Budget $50
– $3.18 (Ibotta, coupon, & pineapples trip)
– $1.50 (roma tomatoes)
– $4.41 (baby’s milk)
– $1.00 (bread)
Total Remaining Grocery Budget $39.91

I’m pretty happy about that. I went ahead and applied that remaining amount to the car loan that we still owe on. My husband may notice, but probably not. He doesn’t typically notice any spending unless it suddenly becomes excessive and we need to worry.

Not the best way to manage money.

Car Loan Beginning Balance $1677.00
– $39.91 (remaining grocery budget)
Ending Balance $1640.36

Overall this week as gone well. My meal plan didn’t go according to plan since the meals I made ended up lasting longer than I planned. This is why I don’t do well with planning. It never seems to go to plan.

We are still eating on that baked spaghetti that I made. I did manage to make a salad with that romaine lettuce that we had left and the tomatoes that I had my husband pick up. It all should be used up tomorrow.

October Budget Plan Experiment

As for the overall October Budget Experiment, it’s going okayish. Things are already looking tight in the restaurant department, however, and even though it wasn’t my idea to get take out, I didn’t do a whole lot to prevent it. Basically all I did was say I don’t want anything I’ll eat at home.

Then my husband got food.

It does make it a little harder with both our grandparents having health issues that has one in the hospital with a triple bypass and the other in an out. We’ve been super busy and on the go just doing what we can. Some of the take out food is for them as well. 

  • Grocery/Household – $400 – $50 = $350 (Week 1 October Grocery Spending)
  • Restaurant – $100 – $50 = $50 (Take out)
  • Family Needs – $50 – $25 (items for grandparents)
  • Family Fun $50

 

Time & Food Rescue – Mozzarella

20191004_222720.jpg

Tonight, I managed to do a bit of food rescue. We had some mozzarella balls that were at their best by date and to keep them from ending up in the trash, I built our dinner around them. I know that best buy date doesn’t mean it isn’t good past that, but my anxiety starts getting crazy when it comes to health, and if something could potentially make us sick, I just skip it to avoid the stress.

And, probably bigger than that, I managed to do a bit of time rescue as well. A while back I realized that all this money that is spent on stuff is actually time from my husbands life. He spends his days locked away in our basement doing his job to put food on our table and a roof over our heads. The last thing I want to do is throw away his life.

So, enter baked spaghetti with mozzarella and garlic bread!

The time my husband gave to provide us with that mozzarella was not for nothing and was very appreciated, and quite tasty. It didn’t cost much, especially since I got it marked down, but food waste adds up fast. Much faster than I even want to face. I’m sure if I ever calculated the cost of what is wasted I’d probably keel over.

This meal ended up being pretty cheap, too. Most of the stuff was purchased using coupons, rebate apps, or it was marked down. The entire meal, which will actually feed us another day, ended up costing a grand total of $3.89! That’s under $4 to feed a family of 5 for more than one meal.

Spaghetti – FREE (Ibotta)
Ragu Sauce – $.25 (Ibotta & coupon)
Red Gold Whole Tomatoes – FREE (Marked Down & SavingStar)
Mozzarella – $1.99 (Marked Down)
Garlic Bread – $.50 (Marked Down)
Organic Butter – $1.00 (Marked Down)
Garlic & Parsley – $.15
Total = $3.89

We had most of the items on hand, but my husband picked up some tomatoes and a huge Italian bread loaf at the store. I had planned on making a salad to go with this as well to make it a little healthier, but a friend came over to visit and I got caught up in visiting with her. I’ll probably try to make it tomorrow since we have some romaine lettuce that will be heading for the trash soon if not.

The extra items cost $1.50 and that’ll be coming out of this weeks grocery budget. This week is getting close to the end and I’m pretty happy to say that we’re under $10 so far. I’m going to apply the remainder to the loan we have for our car. I’m not even going to tell my husband until it’s paid off. He’ll never even notice since it would have been around about my normal spending anyway.

The links in this post are my referral links and provide both of us a bonus. If you would like to sign up but bypass the link go directly to the website or app!