Menu Plan: Thursday, May 8th

This week I’m doing a little pantry challenge and not going grocery shopping. I’ve spent a lot the last few weeks and we are fairly well stocked on everything. All the meals will come from my pantry and garden.

Here’s the meal plan for this week:

Thursday: Velvety Vegetable Soup, Artisan Bread, Salad

Friday: Homemade Pizza, Salad, Veggies

Saturday: Sloppy Joes, Oven Fries, Carrot Sticks

Sunday: Beef Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Carrots, Rolls

Monday: Lasagna, Caesar Salad, Parmesan Bread Bites

Tuesday: Stew, Cornbread

Wednesday: Spicy Chicken Skillet, Rice

MP Thursday

I’m linking to Org Junkies weekly round-up of menu plans. Check them out!

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May in the Garden

Main Garden

Things are really starting to happen in the garden this month.  We have the main Garden all prepped and ready.  I’ll be getting everything planted over the course of the next two weeks.  The teepee in the back is support for my pole beans.

Strawberries

The strawberries are starting to flower.  Hopefully we will have a bumper crop this year.  I need to build a cage with some netting to keep the birds out.  Last year they ate most of our harvest.

Garden Boxes

The garden boxes are cruising right along.  I lost a few broccoli plants in a huge wind storm a few weeks ago, so I have a couple of squares to plant, carrots maybe?  I think I can squeeze another batch of radishes in before it gets too warm as well.

Lettuce

The lettuce is lovely and is providing several big salads a week.  We will be sad when it gets too hot for fresh from the garden salads.  I think I may need to start a few seeds in my basement under the grow lights and see if I can keep us in salads that way.

Side Yard

The raspberries are growing like crazy.  I even saw a few flower buds yesterday so we may have our first crop in a few weeks.

Blackberries

The sticks in the mud, aka the Blackberry Bushes, are starting to show signs of life too.

Tulips

And, the tulips are on the way out.  They were super gorgeous this year.  I need to decide if it is time to dig them up and divide them or let them go one more year.

Well, that’s it for May in my garden.  How is your garden growing?

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Adding Compost and other Frugal Accomplishments

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R Compost

Bought a yard of compost for the garden and flower beds.  Only spent $20 and I’m fairly certain we got a lot more than a yard.  The place we got it from filled my father-in-laws truck to the brim and more and we were able to spread it thicker and over more space than my calculations said we should have so I feel very blessed.

adding compost

Harvested lettuce, spinach, cilantro, radishes, and chives from the garden boxes.

Ground around 28 pounds of wheat in my NutriMill Grain Mill.  I split it into 4 – 75 oz. bags and stashed in the freezer to be used over the next 4 weeks to make bread.  Another 75 oz. portion went to make this weeks 6 loaves of bread.  Then, the leftover portion went to make 5 pancake mixes and a small stash for other baking in the upstairs freezer.  I try to only grind once a month or less because it is messy, loud, and time consuming.  But, doing my own is cheaper, fresher, and healthier than buying at the store so I make the time.

Every month or so I make up pancake mixes in quart jars and stash in my pantry for quick easy breakfasts (or dinners, ahem).  I simply layer all the dry ingredients for our favorite recipe plus powder milk and all we have to add is eggs, oil and water.  Such a simple thing, but it saves a lot of time in the morning (and dishes) and it only takes a few minutes to compile the mixes assembly style.  Plus, it is quite a bit cheaper than the store bought mixes and taster too.

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Tomato Seedlings and Other Frugal Accomplishments

tomato seedlings

Prepped some 2-liter bottles I have been collecting to use as pots for my tomato seedlings.  I started the plants several weeks back and they have outgrown their containers.  I’ll transplant them to these larger pots for the next month or until it is warm enough to plant them outside.  I just cut the bottle in half and used a drill to punch holes in the bottom for drainage.  I may or may not have planted way too many, 18 plants at last count.

I have lots of gardening planned for this week so I hope the weather cooperates.  We’ve been having lots of strange spring weather;  wind storms, rain, lovely warm days, snow, cool days, you name it.  Last week I didn’t get out much and I could totally tell a difference in my mood.  I’ve decided gardening is my depression therapy.  So much cheaper than a pill and works just as good (in my case anyway).  I’m shooting for an hour a day outside this week.

Birthday cake and ice cream served on regular plates instead of paper.  Made the cake from scratch but, didn’t love the recipe so I will need to keep trying to find a good one.

Made six loaves of bread.

Mended a little boys church shirt.

Stayed at home several days this week.  Since we’ve been having fairly nice weather lately the husband has been riding his bike and the train to work everyday leaving me with the car.  We only save money on this arrangement if I don’t use the car either.  I’ve tried to limit my use to Tuesdays and Thursdays when I have carpool and run my other errands.

The kids have also started walking to school in the morning.  We have been dropping them off because of the morning cold.  They already walk home from school.

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Planting Blackberry Bushes

A long time ago I decided that all the plants in my backyard, minus a small patch of lawn for the kids to play on, would be edible.  I envisioned fruit trees and berry bushes, vegetable patches and herb gardens.  Lest you think I’m terribly crazy and taking on more than I can possibly care for, with five little people in tow, let me remind you our house sits on a lovely .16 acres.  So, no orchards and no acre big potager for me, but I am determined to make the most of every inch I have.

All those plants take effort and money to establish so I have been taking it a little at a time.  This year I’m adding blackberry bushes and rhubarb to my collection of perennial plants.  Read more about my garden plan for this year here.

I ordered the plants back in January from Burpee and they arrived last week.  They ship your plants at the proper time for planting.

bag

I have to admit the first time I ordered (bareroot) plants online I was a little shocked to have them delivered in a brown paper bag, but I guess they know what they are doing.   Inside are a few sticks with roots cushioned in damp wood shavings (the other bag is my rhubarb tubers).

Blackberry bushes

Weird, huh!  Basically, you plant the stick in the mud and wait for it to grow.  Ain’t gardening fun?  It is a little more involved and technical than that, but not much.

stick in mud

Hopefully, in a year or so we will have a lovely harvest of blackberries from my little sticks in mud.

And, I know it works because two years ago my raspberries were the same little mud sticks and they turned out pretty well.

Raspberry

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Easter and Other Frugal Accomplishments

Book Covers

Made my boys scripture covers and my girls composition notebook/journal covers for their Easter baskets.  All the supplies came from my stash.  All I had to buy was the scriptures and I had a leftover gift card so they only ended up costing $5 for all three.  I loosely followed this tutorial and this one found on the Pinterest (although, theirs are super much cuter).

Reorganized my sewing closet and found a bunch of fabric I had forgotten about.  Also, finally went through the giant bag of scraps from my grandma, lots of fun pieces in there.

Finally got the baby to stop taking a bottle of milk before bed.  I say baby but he’s almost 20 months old.  He does not need the extra calories, it was a comfort thing, so I’m sure he’ll be fine.  Plus I should be able to cut down almost 1/2 gallon of milk a week.

Harvest

Harvested 2 kinds of lettuce, spinach, radishes and chives from the garden.

Planted blackberry bushes. (More on that adventure tomorrow…)

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Menu Plan: Thursday, April 17th

I’m declaring this week a freezer stocking week. Several of our dinners I will be doubling and stashing the extra in the freezer and other elements of meals we will be making big batches of and stashing. I haven’t done this in a while and I can really tell the difference. Here’s the general plan:

Full Meals:
Stew & Cornbread
Sloppy Joe Filling & Buns
Lasagna
Turkey Pot Pie (Maybe some Beef Pot Pie too if we have leftovers on Sunday)

Elements:
Pizza Dough
Black Beans
Salsa
Rice

Other Stuff:
Bread
Cranberry Almond Granola
Pumpkin Muffins
Pancake Mixes

I’ve found doing a little bit each day for a week or two works a lot better for me than having a giant cook-all-day type freezer session. Do you ever cook for the freezer? What kind of format do you follow?

I’ll let you know how we did next week.  For daily freezer stocking updates Like our page over on Facebook.

Here’s the meal plan for this week:

Thursday: Stew, Cornbread (from last week)

Friday: Homemade Pizza, Salad, Veggies

Saturday: Sloppy Joes, Chips, Carrot Sticks

Sunday: Beef Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Carrots, Rolls

Monday: Lasagna, Caesar Salad, Parmesan Bread Bites

Tuesday: Turkey Pot Pie

Wednesday: Spicy Chicken Skillet, Rice

MP Thursday

I’m linking to Org Junkies weekly round-up of menu plans. Check them out!

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