Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Musings from the Grocery Store and Some Frugal Kitchen Tips

 Yesterday afternoon I took a little grocery shopping trip by myself.  I usually have at least a couple of children with me as we shop on piano lesson day, but piano lessons were out for spring break.

Which takes me to my first musing---apparently EVERYONE is out for spring break and decided to do some shopping as well.  Both of the Kroger stores and Sam's were very busy!  Sam's looked like the week before Christmas.  I suppose as it was a dreary, cool and windy day there wasn't much else to do outside the home.  Thankful was I that we did not take off and my children were at home finishing up some school work.  Right, children?  You did finish it, didn't you?

Musing number two-There were a lot of grandparents with grandchildren out shopping.  I had noticed one particular little boy who looked to be about 6 who was following grandma around with tears in his eyes.  I was headed out the door and had to stop for a moment as this little guy was in my path, chasing a gumball that escaped the machine.  His grandmother was trying to hurry him up.  I told her, "Don't worry about it.  I have a 6 year old just like him at home." And gave her what I hoped was a pleasant smile.  She responded within her grandson's hearing, " I wish I didn't have him."  I sincerely hope she meant that she wished she didn't have him with her at the grocery store, however, that is not what she said and I am sure the little guy heard her.  Grandma, I am sure little guy wished you didn't have him, either.  How sad is that?  Mom and dad are working.  Little guy is out of school for spring break and it's too wet and cool outside and he has to go grocery shopping with a grandma who would rather not have him.

Musing number three-Increased prices don't seem to have any effect on some folks shopping habits.  I'm a nosy shopper  and folks are still buying lots of junk food and sodas.  I also saw several folks leave the grocery store with only one partially-filled bag.  With the high cost of food and gas, I would think that people would be leaving off the junk and instead of going to the store every other day or so, saving the shopping for once a week, every other week or once a month and buying more.  Just think of the time and gas savings alone!

Musing number four-  Already alluded to above, but prices are going up!  I have been carefully watching butter prices and the butter jumped up a couple of dollars for the four pound bundle at Sam's in just two weeks.  There were other price increases as well, but the butter was much more drastic.

Musing number five--I think stocking up on staples and canned goods is a good idea.  Yes, I do.

Enough of the musing and on to a few tips for frugal dining.

-When I bake a whole chicken for dinner I bake two.  We eat one and the other is carefully wrapped and put in the freezer.

-After we have eaten dinner from a chicken, I put the whole leftover chicken in the crockpot and cover with filtered water.  I then add some chopped celery, onion, garlic, carrots or whatever I have along with a dash of apple cider vinegar.  I cook on low all night.  In the morning I strain the broth out and pick the meat from the carcass.  I can then make a pot of soup adding fresh vegetables and seasoninsg or I can bag the chicken up for another meal and freeze it and I freeze the broth to use for soups, gravies and casseroles.

-Turkeys will soon be on sale for the Easter holiday.  I usually stock up on them AFTER the holidays when I find them at reduced prices.  This weekend I baked a turkey that I had purchased reduced afer Christmas for our Sunday dinner.  We had company for dinner and still had a good bit of turkey left over.  Yesterday I put the turkey carcass in my large stockpot and covered it with water.  I added peppercorns, onions, garlic and a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.  The vinegar helps get all the nutrients from the bones.  I brought it to a boil and then let it simmer all day.  After dinner last night I strained off the broth and picked the bones.  I now have 4 bags with 2 cups of shredded turkey in each and 20 cups of fabulously rich turkey stock.  Turkey salad, casseroles and pot pies will be made with this and the stock will be used to make my veggie rice pilaf that I make frequently and some will be used to make dressing for our Easter dinner.    I think I paid about 7 dollars for that turkey!   Twelve people ate dinner on Sunday and we will have parts of at least 6 meals with the rest of that turkey.  Frugality is fun!!

-My last tip is really easy.  When we prepare the evening meal, we generally make enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day.  Last night I  used about 2 1/2 pounds of ground chuck and made hamburger steaks with mushroom gravy.  I bought mushrooms reduced to 50 cents a box yesterday, so we will be eating lots of mushrooms this week.  I think I got about 14 steaks out of the meat and we had rice and butter beans with this along with my homemade bread.  Several of us will be able to eat this again for lunch today.  So easy to take just a couple of extra minutes to save lots of time later!

And there  you have today's musings and tips!  I would love for you to share some frugal shopping or cooking tips with me.  Do you have some great tips on saving money and time in the kitchen?


Lori said...

Interesting musings...I was just at Sam's yesterday myself.
My heart was saddened by the observation and the cruel if thoughtless comment by the grandmother...I've noticed many a mother/caregiver out shopping with little ones who would much rather have been somewhere else (from the sounds of them--most needed a nap) NO matter how we feel, I believe we should monitor what we say in the hearing of little ones--they absorb so much--and remember for soooo long.
Thank you for sharing your insights and tips. Our family loves a baked chicken, too. I often make these for Sunday dinner and invite extra friends over to share. I couple this with the pillsbury frozen biscuits (also from Sam's) and cheesy hash browns. This is a family favorite and super simple to make--the perfect Sunday Dinner.
Keep up the God work.

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

We, too, always make enough dinner for leftovers. However, we have pretty much stopped eating the leftovers for lunch, and saving them for a "leftover dinner". We actually schedule 1 night per week for leftovers, which saves us a full meal price (and time). This is often scheduled on a day we will be late at a track meet or baseball game (as we have 6 kids playing spring sports).

We do a big once a month shopping trip into The City, for the best prices. Then, we run to the local grocery once or twice per week (just 5 min. away) for milk, bread, and/or produce.

Laurel :)

Shyla said...

Good morning,

I went through your tips with my youngest (she was peering alongside me.) It is always affirming to read of others walking in the same practices and making the same observations. On our walk yesterday I was trying to help my girls make the connection between our "little actions of one" to the larger impact it has upon this world the Lord has entrusted to our care. Thanks for the practical ways you have spoken to this as well.

She's hoping for turkey for Easter now! Not sure how deep this all went for her, but I'll take what I can get. ;D

Girl of God said...

We have Costco over here in this part of the country, North Idaho. I have noticed that everytime I'm there at least one person remarks of how nice it is to see a mother smiling at and enjoying her children. I guess I never realized how common grumps are and how rare a smiling mama is!!

Also, Prices ARE going up!! I have really been watching the budget and its getting harder!

I am definitely going to be cooking two chickens at a time from now. Great Idea!

Danielle said...

Funny that you should mention the price of butter rising - I've noticed that at my Kroger the last few weeks, too.
Thank you for the money and time-saving tips! I love the idea of making two chickens, then using one for stock and meat. Do you save the bones from the first chicken as well? And how big is your crock pot to fit a whole chicken in it?

Melanie said...

Danielle, I had to read that part twice as I was a bit confused.... I think that she wraps the 2nd chicken to freeze for another meal. As for the stock, she used the word whole, but I think she just meant all of the leftovers of the 1st chicken. Is that right, Anita?

Anita said...

When I bake two chickens we eat one for dinner and the other is frozen for another day. After dinner I take the leftover chicken carcass (my kids hate when I say carcass, but the leftover WHOLE chicken) and put it in the crockpot. I have several crockpots, but one carcass will fit in a 3-4 quart pot. I make stock and debone the remaining meat from that chicken. The chicken that is in the freezer will get the same treatment after we eat it.

Does that make sense? I'll be doing two more tomorrow night for dinner, but we will have my MIL, daughter and her three children here so I may not be able to freeze a chicken tomorrow!

Tammy said...

Great tips! Butter!!! wow, I am glad I stocked up a few weeks ago. I am a new followr from the blog hop.

aka, The not so Perfect Momma :)

Curbstone Homestead said...

Thanks for the wonderful tips. Sometimes it's the simplest ones that skip my memory!

Sarah Smith said...

I always cook two chickens at a time, too! May as well since the oven is on. I don't freeze one, though. I make a huge crockpot of broth with the two carcasses. With the leftover meat, I make one pot of soup, plus one more chicken-based meal like chicken-caesar salad or some such. Thanks for the tips!

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