thethriftyhausfrau: (clean my kitchen)
As of today, I've been sick for a month with a chain of ailments that started with allergies (this has been a marvelous autumn for ragweed), followed by a virus, followed by a stubborn sinus infection that thus far has involved two doctor's visits and a bagful of prescriptions. To make matters worse, I was trying to work -- more about that later -- and take care of three other sick family members.

A number of my frugal routines have suffered as a result. While running a fever and staggering around the grocery store, it's pretty easy to say "Oh, forget about it" when faced with the raw ingredients for items you can grab off the shelf in finished form for a couple of dollars more.

So for about two weeks, our grocery total hit record highs. I said, "Oh, forget about it" and blew my nose a few thousand more times while being grateful that a sale+coupons had allowed me to fortuitously stock up on boxes of tissues before being hit by the snot fest.

Last weekend, though, I was able to resist the lure cheap Thai take-out -- beloved here during colds for the medicinal properties of hot chilies and lime -- and made a big pot of spicy homemade chili and corn muffins. Our bellies were full and our heads temporarily unblocked: total win. :-D

About work: Happy little part-time gig has morphed into full-time. Although the money is nice, the work hours and massive amount of responsibility are not, and I'm feeling the strain here. I have managed to keep up the daily frugal activities that are pretty much bred into my bones by now: packing lunch and drinks from home; wearing cute thrifted outfits, which sometimes include bra, shoes and handbag in addition to blouse, slacks and sweater; driving with a light foot; keeping up with some coupons for essentials; using our laundry room drying rack for heavier items that take longer to dry.

Unfortunately, the more intensive frugal things like making bread every week and making homemade wet food for our Allergy Dog have gone by the wayside. We are stockpiling our fave bread from Aldi in the freezer and I scouted out a great deal on canned limited-ingredient food for the dog, but it's hard not to feel like a little bit of a failure.

However, I have to keep reminding myself that we do keep our household expenses low, our food expenditure is still very low, and right now we're doing the best we can. And that's all anyone can do.
thethriftyhausfrau: (fine dining oysters and wine)
I can't tell you how many batches of homemade salad I've thrown out uneaten/going bad in the past 30 years of cooking for a family. It's reached the point where salad has become something I eat only when in a restaurant, because it's too time-consuming and ultimately unappealing at home.

But the other night, while enjoying a chicken taco at our favorite neighborhood cheap Mexican restaurant, I realized something about salad:

It's time to deconstruct it, and rebuild it only with the parts I enjoy. What I like about the tacos is that they consist of a flour tortilla, some chopped-up grilled chicken, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and a sprinkle of cheese. That's it: essentially a chicken roll-up with a little salad inside. All the flavors could be tasted and enjoyed.

So today I took the leftover iceberg lettuce (shhh! don't tell the food cops!) and a ripe Roma tomato from last night's hamburgers made at home, and turned those two ingredients into a salad. I added a sprinkle of grated cheese leftover from last Sunday's homemade pizza, and made a simple dressing of two teaspoons of mayo beaten with an equal amount of water. It was just enough moisture to hold the cheese to the lettuce, more or less. Then I topped it with four large homemade croutons, made from the heel of a loaf of homemade oatmeal bread that was getting too dry.

It was filling, delicious, not fattening, and I enjoyed every crunchy, flavorful bite. Nothing new had to be bought to make it and it was constructed in just a few minutes. This is how salad is going to be from here on out. Yum!

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thethriftyhausfrau

November 2016

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