Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tonight's Frugal Dinner - fried rice

I doubt I'll get a picture in to this post.  Sorry.
So, we should just establish a point after which the cost of the items used in recipes no longer has to be accounted.  For instance, if I've had something over a year, could I just not calculate the cost in to my recipes?  I know, that's silly reasoning.  If that's all it took, I'd just keep everything for a year before cooking it, then everything would be free, right?  Yeah, it doesn't work that way.  It's just that, for the fried rice, I'm using sesame seeds that I've had for at least a year, and I don't have a clue how much they cost.

Here's the best estimate I can make:

2 c rice - $.30
butter - $.25
Soy sauce - $.30
Smoked sausage - $.50
bacon - $3.00
eggs - $.30
sesame seeds - $.15
ramen seasoning - $.17

Total for a huge pot of fried rice - $4.97.  I'll serve my veggies separate from the fried rice.  'Cuz that's how I prefer it. 
That takes my total for dinner to just about $6.00.

I had to estimate the cost of most of the items.  I know the smoked sausage is right on.  And the eggs.  But the rest, since I don't really use measurements, is pure hypothesis.

Saturday's snack - homemade pretzels

Let's see if I can come up with a close approximation of the cost of this yummy treat:

1 1/3 c water - free!
2 T butter - $.25
1 1/2 T sugar - $.04
3/4 t salt - free! (Still using the giant vat of salt I received as a gift)
4 c flour - $1.42
2 1/2 t yeast - $.17
1 1/2 T baking soda - $.03???
Plus more water for simmering.  Plus more salt to sprinkle on top.  Both free.
I did rub the tops with butter after they came out of the oven, but I didn't use more than a teaspoon.  Maybe half that.  So let's say $.05?

Total for 15 delicious pretzels - $1.96!

I'm thinking about making these for my class as a treat for getting through the first week of school.  I'll have to figure out how to make them tomorrow but save them until Friday.  Not sure how that's going to work.  Or if I'll manage to keep my hands off of them that long!  I'll have to make two batches to get everyone.  I am thinking of making them a bit smaller/skinnier.  That will give me enough to give to my team teacher(s) and assistant and principal, too.  I think that will help them hold their shape better, too.  They puffed up so much - in rising, simmering, and baking - that many of them lost their pretzel-shape, as you can tell in the picture.

Publix, 8/20 - 90% Savings!

We went in to Publix early this morning (like 7:30) to see what deals we could find before other couponers swarmed in!  I had two deals to work that would each give overage.  We are tight in the budget this month, so I wanted to spend as little as possible.  I have a good sized shopping list, but I only bought what would allow me to spend the least.
Here's the rundown:

2 Sundown Naturals vitamin D - $2.99 each
Used $6/2 Publix coupon from the Green Advantage Flier
Used 2 $1/1 printable coupons - link at
Paid: FREE for both, plus $2.02 overage

2 packs Paper Mate pens - $1.99 each
Used a rain check to get them for $.50 each
Used 2 $1/1 Target printable coupons (thanks, Terri!)
Paid: FREE for both, plus $1 overage

1 lb. Rico kidnew beans - $1.59

1 small Kikkoman soy sauce - $1.45

2 small yellow onions - $.55 ($1.19/lb)

2 gallons drinking water from the refill station - $.60

Total paid: $1.09
Total saved: $10.00
Percent saved: 90.1%

Side note: Since the pens have a shelf price of $1.99, using the raincheck saved an additional $2.98.  Taking that into account, my percent of savings becomes 92.3%.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Today's Frugal Dinner - homemade hamburger buns

Today's Frugal Meal - Scones!

This delicious batch of scones cost less than $2 to make!  That is the cost without coupons.  They are delicious -- Talani ate 3 for breakfast!  We ate them plain, with no butter or jam or anything at all.  I don't want to add to them; they are just right. 
I still can't believe that I made them myself.
They are shockingly easy.  The hardest part was cutting in the butter to the flour mixture.  You're supposed to use a pastry cutter or pastry blender (what's that thing called?), but I don't have one so I used a fork.  I wasn't sure if I was doing an adequate job of combining the flour mixture and the butter, but I must have.  They turned out so so so great. 
I definitely feel like a success in the kitchen this morning.  (I needed that.  Last night was ROUGH!)

In a somewhat-related note, I started a new blog dedicated to cooking frugally.  I've posted more detail about making these scones, although I didn't post any pictures.  (I have to figure out the whole picture on the phone sent to the blog thing again and set it up for the new blog.)  I didn't know I was going to start a new blog when I made the scones, or I would have taken more pictures along the way. :)  Anyway, feel free to go on over to the new spot and let me know what you think.  I posted the detailed cost breakdown there.