Hello dear friends! Sorry I missed you last week. Just had a bad bout of arthritis that left me too tired to do much plus it was a pretty uninspiring week just sitting about, trying not to bend my knee. Ha! You never realize what a valuable joint a knee is until you can't use it, especially climbing stairs. And I have to say walking about like Grandpa McCoy (from the TV show The Real McCoys) does nothing for making you feel attractive and feminine. Oh well! It's just part of growing old and when you consider the alternative, a small price to pay!
March came in like a lion around here. We've had several snowstorms, and it looks more like Christmas now than it did in December. But that's to be expected for March. We awoke to snow fog this morning. So pretty!
CREATIVITY AND THRIFT
While I was abed, I unraveled a sweater that I bought at the winter clearance sale at our local thrift store for seventeen cents. Pretty gray marled lambswool and enough to knit a shrug from a free pattern I've been saving for several years. It reminded me that while I could just go out and buy some yarn and purchase a pattern on Ravelry, how much more enjoyable it is to take something from what I have on hand and make it into something pretty and useful. How much more fun it is to "discover" a pretty item of clothing at a thrift store or garage sale and make it into a uniquely-my-own-style outfit, rather than just ordering out of a catalog. How much more satisfying a meal made from what is on hand is compared to just shopping for what I feel like making. How our home is furnished in manner that is all our own, with it's revamped and homemade pieces, rather than just copying everything out of the Pottery Barn catalog. It's not just the frugality of it, it's the creative process that gives us so much pleasure. I often wonder if I had all the money in the world, would I be any happier than I am now, in my little cottage, filled with handmade furnishing and hand-sewn samplers, wearing my thrifted and homemade outfits and eating a bowl of soup made from vegetables from our own garden and leftovers from the night before? I doubt it.
I learned the connection between thrift and creativity the second day as a married woman. I wanted to make something special for my husband for our first meal in our new home, but all we had in the house was some eggs, milk, flour, butter, bread and some homemade jam my mother-in-law had given us. So what's to do? I made a Dutch Pancake. More elegant than scrambled eggs and toast. Dutch pancakes rate right up there with potato soup and potato pancakes as the ultimate nothings-in-the-house-and-there's- one- more-day-until-payday meal. I lost my recipe, but I found the directions here.
I made mine in a cast iron skillet and served it with the jam over the top.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
We endeavor to learn something new every week. Last week, we watched Victorian Bakers and learned how bakers made bread in the 1820s. I wasn't aware that they didn't have yeast back then. The bakery was located next to the brewery and they used the leftover yeast at the bottom of the keg when bottling the beer to bake bread. Since Ran had just made a batch of beer, we happened to have the yeast, so we gave it a try, using ancient grains, such as, spelt, quinoa, rye and oats. It made a beautiful loaf with a slightly sour dough flavor. Very good! And lovely too.
This past week, chicken legs with the thighs attached were on sale for thirty-nine cents a pound when you buy ten pounds. That's an offer too hard to pass up! So I cut up the chicken and separated the legs from the thighs. I also removed the skin, as I don't care for it. Threw all the skin and the thighs in a big pot and boiled them until the meat was cooked. Strained the broth and culled all the meat from the bones. This made two very full quarts bags of chicken meat to be used for casseroles. The broth was refrigerated and the fat was skimmed off to be used in soap making. Got about 3/4 of a quart. The broth was frozen and is enough for two good sized potfuls of soup. I cooked the legs in a teriyaki sauce and served them with some stir-fried vegetables and some fried rice that I had in the freezer. There was enough for two meals plus plenty for snacking on. This week my dear blogging friend April wrote about Cheesy Chicken Hashbrown Casserole and since I had all the ingredients except for the hash browns, I made that, (I cut the recipe in half) which was plenty for two meals. With the other bag of chicken, I'll probably make chicken enchiladas or maybe chicken and dumplings, again it will make enough for two meals, That combined with the broth which should make at least four meals of soup, out of that $3.90 purchase, I will get ten meals plus the fat for soapmaking. And that is how we only spend $150 a month on groceries.
THRIFTY THING WE DID THIS WEEK
Bought chicken for 39 cents/lb.
Baked bread from the yeast leftover when bottling beer.
Ran plowed out a couple of neighbors and they paid him. (He just did it out of the goodness of his heart, but they insisted on paying him)
I cross-stitched a sampler from materials I had. Now I need to find a frame for it.
Unraveled a thrifted sweater for the yarn.
Watched several movies for free on YouTube.
Bought 4 yards of homespun fabric for an apron for $1/yard on Etsy.
Enjoyed the beauty of my Christmas cacti. These plants were bought at the after-Christmas sale for $1 or less each. They give me so much joy and I think they are just as pretty, if not more so, than costly orchids that are all the rage these days.
Bought some craft bins at a thrift store and am now spending my spare time organizing all my embroidery floss. What a tangled mess! Why is it that no matter how many skeins of floss you have, they are never the ones you need for your next project?
So what exciting things have you been up to this week? Hope this coming week is filled with joy! Sending you all an extra big hug because I missed last week!