Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Random Thriftiness & Frugality! The Bee's Knees!

This post contains some random tips for thriftiness, remember the laundry soap I've begun using that MaryJane taught us to make ourselves? The pride I feel when I know how much we'll save on laundry soap over the years now is immense. We are all becoming more frugal these days and for good reason. We all want to save money; and what was once considered silly or old-fashioned by some, is now being embraced by more and more of us, out of necessity or out of fear of the unknown.

#1--Did you know that "hardening off" (or unwrapping) your bar soap will make it last longer in the shower or bathtub? It won't get as soft and squishy (making it so much easier to hold onto) and won't dissolve as quickly. We're all trying to save pennies and this is so simple, but the side benefit of doing this is that the closet or cupboard where you leave your unwrapped bars of soap will smell great! Try it and see what you think. I've noticed I'm not going to the cupboard as often as I once did to retrieve a new bar of soap.

(Remember, we all need to be more frugal so that our all-knowing and extremely efficient government can keep more of what we make to fund more "snowboard research" , or perhaps another study of "pig manure". I know you'll be thrilled to help out and do your part.)

(Saying "the bee's knees" was a something my mom said alot. Her mother was English and that saying is slang that comes from the British combination of the words "be all and end all" meaning there could be no more improvement; something excellent and outstanding.)

#2--Here's another way to be frugal: when you have leftovers, especially meats, make them into something else altogether. I'm sure you all do this. I do this on the weekend day that I clean out the fridge and I figure as long as the whole kitchen will be torn up and I'll have a boatload of dishes to do, I might as well make a couple extra meals while I'm working. Saturday, I had leftover pork, chicken and corned beef (from St. Patty's day) so I made corned beef hash with the potatoes and the corned beef, pork bbq with the pork; just cut it and shredded it and added a great bottle of bbq sauce; and I also cut and chopped and shredded and seasoned the leftover chicken breasts to use for chicken quesadillas...all within about twenty to thirty minutes time!

Chicken ready for tacos or quesadillas

corned beef hash

Bbq'd pork ready for an all day simmer in the crock pot.

#3--While we're on the subject of meats, have I ever told you that one of the best shortcuts ever that I learned that gets used so often is this: hamburger that has been browned, drained, and put into quart-sized ziploc bags for the freezer?

This way, you can take advantage of ground beef on sale (or like us, we buy a half an organic angus beef so I mix it with equal amounts of ground turkey {and ground venison, if you have it} to stretch it even further).

This makes for super fast meals on the nights you want to put together tacos, spaghetti, lasagna, etc. This saves at least twenty minutes time in the preparation of those meals. I cook up big batches of this every couple of months and date them before freezing them. They usually never have a chance to age....they're used within a couple of months!

Brown the burger/turkey mixture in large quantities, drain in a colander so the fat will drain into a bowl underneath, crumble finely, and cool it down somewhat, then bag it up in quart size freezer bags with 2-4 cups each depending upon the size of your family. Remove the air and flatten the ziploc bags and lay them down in the freezer to take up less space.

If your family likes onion and/or green pepper in their ground beef, go ahead and throw that in when you're browning it.


spaghetti or delicious spaghetti pie
stuffed shells
tacos/nachos supreme
hamburger quiche
impossible hamburger pie
sloppy joes
hamburger soup
stuffed pepper soup
taco soup
spanish rice

hamburger casserole

Remember that by doing this, you have ELIMINATED A STEP, a very time-consuming step from the recipes making your prep time much less!! A timesaver on those busy nights when you need something fast, warm and healthy for your family.



Eclectic Chic Style said...

Thanks so much for the tips especially about the soap!! I am with you 100 percent on this one about being thrifty and frugal, we have to be!! I'm going to unwrap all of my soap tonight. Loved your post!! ♥ Teresa

savvycityfarmer said...

about #3....sigh....for a moment in time I thought you were being paid to promote "Spam"...lol

I love making chili, nachos, and anything else I can out of ground turkey...I buy the 4-pack at Costco....and I use a little at a time...it doesn't take much meat to make the chili taste good....I add ALOT of different kinds of beans!

Kelly B said...

Gosh, I think I am going to make your blog my homepage!! :) We are also very frugal. I have made and plan to make more laundry soap. We also bought a laundry line which should help keep the electric bill down. We have replaced most of our windows and if we need to replace an appliance they are always energy star. I also found a website called hillbilly housewife. They have some really delicious inexpensive meals. Food is where we can cut back the most so we really shop the sales. Although I am considering buying a half a cow or a quarter. Since I've never done it, I am not quite sure what I would be getting into. :) Kepp those frugal ideas coming!! :)

Chrissy...The Apothecary Shop said...

Great post!!! Really good tips...thanks, have a wonderful day!!

Anonymous said...

Awesome post. Another tip on the ground beef. Before putting in the freezer mash the bags of meat flat. They stack better in the freezer, plus they thaw much faster too. ♥

Sincerely, Emily said...

Hi Joni - I love cooking a head of time and freezing what I can. I just did a huge pork roast in the crock pot and smothered it with BBQ sauce. In the next month or so I will be out of town for several weeks so I froze several single size portions for my husband. I love using a vacuum sealer and just like Betty Jo said - always smush the bags flat for better freezer packing. That leftover BBQ sauce that was in the crock tends to get really thinned out when it cooks, so I put it in the fridge, skim off the hardened fat and make a beef stew with it - it has a nice spicy, hint of BBQ taste. happy cooking, Emily

Anonymous said...

TY for the tips:)
Recently I was reminded that places like Flea Markets, thrift stores and such are great places to find good buys on gardening, recipe and other books. Instead of spending $25-30 for two books in excellent condition (one was a hardbound book, I spent $3.

Blessings, aimee