Indoor Seed Starting Time It is that time of year again when I start to think about what seeds I need to start indoors. This is our third year gardening at our house and the second year for us starting seeds indoors. Last year […]
I have been taking a break from the blog the past week or so and just been interacting a little bit on Twitter. I thought I would stop in and talk a little bit about end of life planning. One of my close relatives is […]
We are entering our final days of the Frugalwoods Uber Frugal Month Challenge and it has been a great refresher for us to get back into our frugal habits. I am finally caught up on all of the emails and they really made us think about how we spent our money. Last week was a rough one for us and the entire week seemed against us but it did not effect our spending and we are on track with our grocery spending for the month. Yay!
We dug into our pantry a bit this week and used up some cans including olives, refried beans, tomatoes and a can of chicken. My kids love the cans of Costco chicken made into chicken salad and it is one of the few things I can send in their lunches that they will actually eat. I have tried making it from scratch chicken but even though I love it my kids are iffy on it. We also used up some of the corn tortillas I found in our freezer. There are still quite a few in there though! Here are a couple of our other meals:
As you can see a simple green salad with sunflower seeds has become a staple in our house. I have always loved salads and try to eat at least one a day but I fell out of that habit while I was pregnant with our son. For some reason any sort of fresh fruit or vegetables made me sick and nearly two years later I am still trying to recover from it. Have you ever had a weird food aversion like that? Thankfully I can now eat salad again but I am still working on fruit. It just isn’t appealing to me any more even though I used to love it. I am hoping this summer when we are out picking fresh fruit it will spark my interest again! Our kids are not super fond of salad although they will eat a piece or two of lettuce sometimes when we ask them to try it so we always offer another vegetable and give them a choice of what they want. In the summer when we have lettuce growing in the garden the kids eat it all day long so apparently lettuce is only tasty to them straight from the garden? I may have to finally try growing some indoors and see if they will eat it.
One of the things my husband did for the kids this week was make homemade English muffins and make them breakfast sandwiches in the morning. They absolutely loved them and my son ate a whole one by himself which is crazy! Other days they ate them with peanut butter or even some of our homemade jam. We have ground our own meat for many years and my husband makes the most delicious garlic sausage. He made it this week and we have been eating it all week. I love garlic so it has been wonderful!
The other food we have been munching on quite a bit lately is popcorn. My husband loves his spicy but the kids and I love his dairy-free kettle corn made with coconut oil. We have been making it so much that we wore out his stove-top popcorn maker. A new one is on our list of high priority household items to buy in the next couple of months. We use it several times a week for a cheap and easy snack!
We had more than a little bit of cabin fever this week. Our kids were finally getting over two months of back to back colds and needed to get out and do something. Since we are being frugal we tried to find things for them to do at home but there reached a point last week when we had about 30 minutes to take them outside in the windy and very wet weather to jump in puddles to burn off some energy. It ended up being tons of fun! We went on the trail through the woods that I have been hearing about since we moved in but never gotten around to walking on and it was a pretty trail to walk on. We ended up doing a 3/4 (2yo and I) and 1 mile (4yo and Mr. Oscoey) loop and both kids walked the whole way and jumped in as many puddles as they could. We will probably start doing more family walks around the neighborhood like that, especially since our son didn’t need to be carried. It is a great free activity for the family to do and it is important that our kids know the layout of the neighborhood for when they are older.
Another boredom buster we did was to break out the paint. I realized we stopped doing our afternoon art because we got busy with the holidays. We have started it up again and the kids picked painting this time and had a blast. We cut up some sponges I bought a couple of years ago to paint with and our son wanted water colors so he practiced his painting skills and blending colors. They did make quite a bit of mess and we had to talk about how we behave while we paint but overall it was a success.
One unexpected thing that came up this week was some damage our puppy did to our wall. My husband patched and repainted this spot masterfully a couple of weeks ago but our puppy, being the crazy dog that he is, ran into the wall again and dented it with his gigantic bony elbow. He is incredibly observant and noticed right away that the wall was slightly different so he investigated it and discovered he could peel back a section to chew on. Seriously. He did this while I was dealing with a kid “emergency” and he was not the least bit remorseful. In fact he tore another chunk off as soon as I wasn’t looking. I am really thankful that my husband is able to repair minor drywall damage and we do not have to pay someone to do it. We have saved so much money doing small repairs ourselves and Mr. Oscoey has gotten better over the years and now you can barely tell that it was repaired. I highly recommend that you learn how to do minor house repairs like this so that you aren’t paying big bucks to have it fixed.
Overall the week was super frugal and we hardly bought anything besides necessary groceries like milk, fruit and some small key ingredients for recipes. I am excited to write up our end of the month recap later this week so look for it on the blog!
The Uber Frugal Month Challenge is almost over but how are you being frugal in your every day life?
One of the easiest, cheapest and healthiest snacks I make my kids is dried banana chips. My son absolutely loves them! We buy a couple of bunches of bananas at Costco for $1.39, slice them up and put them into the dehydrator and at the […]
Today I decided to make some of my easy pear sauce. My kids devour it as soon as I make it. Luckily it only takes a little bit of work to make and is easy to make ahead.
We do most of our shopping at Costco to save money. Our kids work and play hard and even though two of them are under four they still eat a lot of food. I started making pear sauce in place of apple because the younger two kids were not big fans of applesauce as babies. Now they will eat applesauce but they still love my pear sauce and when I make it they get very excited. I buy a bag of D’Anjou pears from Costco and let them ripen for a week or two, sometimes three. I try to leave the bag as flat as I can on the counter so that the pears do not develop bruises in the areas where they are resting on each other. When I am feeling the need to cook ahead I will buy two bags of pears and make a double batch and freeze some of it. I have tried Bartlett pears and they work in a pinch but the D’Anjou pears make a more flavorful sauce. I am very excited for a few years from now when our pear tree is producing and we will be able to make pear sauce from our own trees!
The earliest I will wait to make the pear sauce is when the spot under the stem gives in slightly when pressed. The pears can still be green and slightly firm at this point but that is ok. I will also wait until the pears are yellow and almost overripe if I run out of time to make it. These D’Anjou pears work well for this because when life gets busy (as it often does in our house) you have a couple of weeks of leeway before you have a bag of rotten pears instead of delicious pear sauce. You can also pop the pears into the fridge if you look ahead and realize you won’t get to making the sauce for a few weeks.
Whether you peel the pears or not, depends on your preference and how much time you have. It takes me 15 min to cut the pears and get the sauce on the stove if I leave the peels on so when I am in a time crunch that is what I do. I was in a time crunch today so I did not peel my pears. They are also heading towards overripe since I did not get around to making pear sauce last week but that is the beauty of these particular pears, they are meant to be stored for a while so they will still taste yummy!
On to the sauce. You will need 7-8 pears, vanilla, cinnamon and a large pot. I use our 3.5 quart pot for this.
Wash the pears. Make sure to remove the stickers if you aren’t peeling them.
Cut them into roughly one inch square pieces (Quarter, take out core, slice each quarter a few times) and place into pot.
Add vanilla and cinnamon to the pot. I don’t measure this but I add about 1-2 tsp of vanilla and probably 1-2 tsp of cinnamon (I love cinnamon!). At this point you can add a little water to the pot depending on if the pears are juicy or what you are using it for. If it is for baby food you may want to add a little water (1 Tbsp or so) to make it thinner. If I am making pouches I will add about 1 Tbsp so that the pear sauce will be thin enough to go through the opening. You can also add water at the blending stage if you want to wait and see how thick it will be.
Place pot onto stove at medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir frequently at first to make sure none of the pears stick to the bottom of the pot, Let simmer for about 25 min or until pears are soft and squishy.
Let cool. I usually cook the pear sauce during nap and let it cool for a couple of hours. This gives me time to clean up. Today while the pear sauce cooked I played with the puppy.
After the pear sauce has cooled put about half of it in the blender and use the pulse setting to make it smooth. Repeat with the other half of the sauce.
At this point I will either put it into the fridge, portion it into resealable pouches and freeze for the kids or dole it out to waiting children. Today I put it into a large container (reused from lunch meat). We ate some of it for dinner and I will put about half of it into reusable pouches tomorrow and freeze all but two of them. We use these reusable pouches and they work wonderfully! I fill them about 2/3 full and stick them in the freezer for up to a couple of months, but honestly they usually get eaten within a week. My kids get one pouch a day and I just pull them out as needed.
Some variations you could do are to cook a mix of apples and pears, steam vegetables and add them to the blender with the cooked pears to make baby food and to add nutmeg to the pear sauce.