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Sunday, February 19, 2017

THE $20 EXPERIMENT: DAY 6

Hello dear friends!  Another day, another dollar saved!  We're having beautiful Spring-like weather here today, hoping your weather is nice where you are at, too.  Well, I can see the light at the tunnel for this challenge, it's been fun.  Some part of me doesn't want to go back to my old habits; like having sweets in the house all the time.  I've also discovered that beans can be your best friend when you are a on a strict budget.  Many people grouse about them, but when prepared with the wonderful $1 bottle of barbecue sauce or maybe some salsa, they really are not as bland as people think.  They're probably the cheapest source of protein you'll ever find, that's for sure.  As an example, today we had a brunch of bean hash:
Which is just some parboiled potatoes and carrots fried with that fat  I skimmed off of the broth (which imparted a wonderful flavor), stirred in the beans (with the barbecue sauce) to heat them and topped with the cheese.  To be honest, it didn't taste much different than the corned beef hash I usually make. The portions were rather skimpy, as I'm holding back three of the largest potatoes for baked potatoes for tomorrow, so I was glad that we only had to split it two ways, as Ran hasn't returned home yet.  This actually would have been a very nice brunch with the addition of an egg and a piece of toast. We often get free eggs from my son, but for the sake of the challenge, we didn't have any.  One of my pet peeves about blogs is when people write about how inexpensively they do things and start out with "we were given" or "had this in my stash".  One lady wrote about how she feeds her family so cheaply and  started out by saying her neighbor had given her a roast!  Mighty nice neighbors!  I have wonderful neighbors, but none have them have ever given me a roast, but I can imagine that would be a real money-saver.  Only problem, how can we apply that to our situation unless we have the same generous neighbor?  What's the lesson to be learned from that? Another gal always writes about her inexpensive sewing projects and always says either she had the fabric in her stash or that her mother gave/bought the fabric.  Well yeah, I can see how that would make a project inexpensive if you are given the items to make it.  And somewhere along the line, you had to have spent the money for the things in your stash.  That's what I call fuzzy economics. 

Somebody I'd Like You To Meet

I think you'd enjoy this post about bartering by Sharon.  Sharon is one of those pull-yourself-up-by -your-own-bootstraps types.  Of all the types of people in the world, those are the kind I most admire.  With a bit of friendly bartering, she was able to fill her larder.  Bartering is a wonderful old-fashioned concept that has almost fallen by the wayside.  And I'd say a much more honorable  and dependable way to get what you want, then expecting things to be given to you.   Anyway, I thought you'd enjoy reading how she did it.  She's a wonderful writer too btw. Before our apples trees were mature, we always had a friendly barter between our neighbor Lori and us.  We gave her asparagus and produce from the garden and she let us pick her apples and pears.   As a matter of fact, we supply our entire neighborhood with asparagus and other vegetables that we have a glut of, and once in a while the return the favor with fresh-caught fish, plants, or free wood, not  that's the reason we do it, it's just part of being neighborly.  It's good to build up relationships.  Makes for a much more pleasant life.

What's For Dinner?

Tonight we'll have the remainder of the pot pie.  Ran will be home by then, and there's plenty to split three ways.  I'm discovering that I should be grateful for those little extras like a piece of biscuit to sop up the gravy, or an egg to top the hash, or brown sugar for the oatmeal.  It's the difference between getting by and getting pleasure.

This being Sunday, I'll sign off with my usually, so that's it for another week at the old Zempel boarding house.  I hope that you all have a pleasant evening and I hope to see you back here tomorrow with the final chapter of the $20 challenge!

Hugs
Jane

35 comments:

  1. I visit here every Sunday, knowing you will have a post. I was so happy to be able to read a weeks worth of post! :) It was a very interesting challenge and I enjoyed reading it.

    Melinda

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  2. Dear Jane,

    You're almost done! Beans are a thrifty girl's best friend, for sure. We eat them at least once a day in the colder months (or make them into tofu when it's hot). Thanks for the fun ideas!

    Love,

    Marqueta

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    1. Thanks for the offer, Marqueta! Right now all our weeds are covered in mud. I don't ever remember such a muddy mud season. A lot of people grumble about beans, but I don't mind eating them often. There's lots of different ways to make them. I never heard of anyone making their own tofu. You are a wonder!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  3. Thanks for the heads up Jane. I have actually been given a roast by a neighbour! Years ago we rented a farm cottage and we used to give all our scraps to the farmers pig. When he slaughtered it he gave us a huge joint. I love beans have them about once a week. My favourite is Boston beans with stale bread laid on top, whip up an egg and a dash of milk, pour over and grate some cheese on top and bake for about 20 mins, yummy! Looking forward to tomorrow's instalment.

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    1. Well there you have it, Sharon! Guess it can be done, but I don't think I would depend on it for my daily bread, Ha! That's an interesting recipe. Along with Laurie's below, I'd have enough ideas for another week of beans.

      Hugs
      Jane

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  4. We barter with our neighbors and friends too. We've shared squash, okra, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, eggs & baked goods and received pork, fish, grain for the chickens, & pottery. I'm looking forward to Day 7! Though I know it wouldn't have been "legal" this week, a dollop of peanut butter adds some nice flavor in a pot of beans too. A cardiologist recommended this to someone I know for seasoning, and it's pretty tasty.

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    1. Now that's a new one on me, Laurie! I pretty curious to know how it tastes, but not enough to make up another batch of beans. Ha! Have a wonderful evening!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  5. Jane, you are amazing! I can't believe how many great looking meals you've done this week! I would love to see another challenge if the same. So true regarding your points on others " cheating " really on challenges. Hugs, andrea

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    1. Thanks Andrea! Maybe in the future, I'll do another challenge of some sort, but the coming week I plan to only spend about $15 and eat like royalty from my pantry. But I doubt that would be helpful to anyone, because few people have a pantry like I have. Are things warming up in PA? The last two days have been vert Spring-like here. But muddy! Oh my! I nearly slipped on my backside going out to the shed. The mud was slipperier than ice.
      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. Yes. Up to 60. Very unusual for February. It will feel awful if we get snow again which most likely we will! Hugs, Andrea.

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    3. Brace yourself, Andrea! Since we get similar weather, I saw on the local weather that we are supposed to get snow by the end of the week. But in the meantime, we hung the laundry outside today!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  6. Hi Jane! Your bean hash looks delicious. We love beans and usually have them two or three times each week. My absolute favorite are the ones they call small red beans. Walmart has them in 1lb. bags. Goodman and I usually get at least two meals from one bag. That would be such a thrifty meal, but oh no, I don't get to serve just beans. There has to be fried fish (currently Swai) or sausage & sauerkraut. Ah well, I hope to save more money in our next life. ;)
    Have a great week!
    Toni

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    1. Well, there's always then, Toni! In my next life I plan on being elegant and charming like Greer Garson. My favorite bean are kidney beans and there's always a debate with Ran whether they or the pinto beans are better for chili. But since I make it, I have the final say.

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. I hear that, the cook rules the kitchen. I think I'd like to be Maureen O'Hara in my next life. Loved her in The Quiet Man.

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    3. PLus she gets John Wayne! The Quiet Man is one of our favorite movies and we watch it every St. Paddy's Day. A lot of the good old character actors in it!

      Jane

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  7. I have heard of peanut butter in beans.
    My favorites are pintos.
    I have enjoyed your week.

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    1. It sounds interesting, Annie. Maybe it's a Southern thing? We make some dishes with Thai peanut sauce, so it's probably pretty tasty. I'm going to take a week off from beans but am definitely going to give it a try. Pintos are the cheapest around here. Funny how all the beans have a slightly different taste.

      Hugs
      Jane

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  8. That bean hash does look delicious! You are already on day 6 and you have done great with this challenge, so far! Chick peas or garbanzo beans are a staple in my pantry; I saute them with onions and curry powder and other seasonings to have with rice, quite often.

    Thank you for the link to Sharon's blog; I hopped over and said, "Hi" to her. I like the concept of bartering. As I mentioned in my comment to Sharon, I take surplus lemons from my garden and leave at my workplace for anyone to take, but that's not really bartering, is it?

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    1. It was surprisingly good, Bless! In the Summer we eat a lot of chick peas. I have middle-eastern recipes that call for them. They are really cheap, healthy and filling. PLus we make quite a bit of hummus.

      Sharon has a lot of good thoughts. I enjoy her blog very much. We used to do that with our excess produce. People really appreciate it. I know I would if I didn't have a garden. Hope your rains have stopped for a while!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  9. I thought of your challenge yesterday. I did a deal at CVS and spent $6 cash and left with 6 Digiorno 12 inch rising crust pizzas, 6 Snickers and 3 bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I used some printable coupons that are no longer available, a great sale and $10 in Previosly earned
    Extracarebucks.
    We won't use this all in a week but I thought it suited your challenge. There are ways to spend less no matter where you live. We all have access to different stores and sales.
    If we did, Jeff and I could split a Snickers for our breakfast for 6 mornings, eat pizza for at least 5 meals then I'd have $12 left for veggies, beans and fruit. And we would have very clean hair 😂

    About beans, we like pintos and those small red beans like Magnolias and Tea also gets a Walmart.
    Black eye peas are delicious and take very little time to cook.
    We do both red beans and pintos in chili, whatever I have or feel like at the time.


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    1. The way you work those CVS sales and points, Rhonda, always makes me wish we had one around here. I think the guys would have preferred splitting the Snickers to eating the oatmeal for breakfast! Ha! You're right no matter where you live, there's ways to make it work. My friend in Germany tells me of the prices there, and while most are higher, she can get things like cheese for less, so over there they'd have to eat more cheese. And I think no matter where you live things like beans, potatoes and rice are always inexpensive. Were your ears burning? I was just telling my husband that little trick you taught me about squeezing out the air in the lettuce packages had been the best thing I earned all year!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. I don't remember my ears burning but I'm so glad this tip works for you. It sure works for us.
      I'm very thankful for CVS. Their deals and coupons are not as good as they used to be and a lot of shoppers in a cvs Facebook group are really grumbling about it. I still think saving 91%, like I did yesterday, is nothing to grumble about at all. I'll keep shopping there and be happy about it.

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    3. I wouldn't grumble about 91& savings either! About the pinto and ham hock, I think it depends upon the ham hocks. One store has really nice smoky ones, but we once got some from a different store and it was pretty much inedible.

      Jane

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  10. I have friends that take their cactus pads to restaurants during the eater season. The restaurants say they use them the most then. Also another friend who takes her excess lemons and oranges to one family owned restaurant for them to use and also flowers from her garden for their tablets! This is a place we all eat and she feels it is like a second home. Another friend almost always goes round with a little bouquet of flower from her yard. She gives them to a waitress or bank teller or anyone she feels like it that day. It is wonderful to see the person's face when they receive them! My husband loves to bake bread and give it to people as a surprise. Just a though.. J/Jody

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    1. That's so nice of your friends, Jody! Why not give some away when you have extra? It's better than letting it go to waste and it spreads a little cheer. So you have a husband that bakes bread, too? I'm beginning to think that's the main hobby of retired men. It's pretty nice!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  11. Oh my.... I can only let Mr Shoes eat beans if he takes that medication BEANO too, otherwise we cannot sleep in the same room without me gagging & him laughing.

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    1. Ha! Actually, I find that the more you eat them, the less these sort of things happen, Mrs. Shoes. Haven't had to use any room deodorizer this week. TMI, as it may be. Ran says to tell him to stand outside!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  12. I have enjoyed reading about your experiment. Your hash sounds good; I wouldn't have thought of it using beans. I like how you have made over your leftovers into something else by adding bbq or potatoes etc.
    I am from the south, so I grew up eating pinto beans and cornbread. I usually add kidney beans to chili and black beans are good in soups and such. But I cannot get my son to eat pinto beans...something about the texture and taste. Although he will eat refried beans in burritos. Guess I should be thankful he will eat other types of beans, and he isn't really picky otherwise.

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    1. Thanks Kathy! Textures are really important in food. For me, I cannot stand the texture of celery. I tell you, if you simmer the beans in bbq sauce before making the hash, you won't even miss the meat. When I was a vegan, I discovered the part about meat that I missed was the smoky flavor, so when I eat meatless I try to add that flavor back in with smoked salt and pepper and barbecue sauce. The one thing I won't do is use that liquid smoke. That stuff is foul tasting.

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. I couldn't eat pinto beans when I was growing up. My mom always cooked them a ham hock. Once I grew up, I discovered I do like pintos cooked other ways, but I still cant tolerate them cooked with pork. I like pork, I like pintos, but not cooked together.

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    3. Thanks Jane, for the tip about the bbq. Definitely a good way to add flavor.

      That is interesting about the pinto beans. I bought some white nothern beans to make some ham and bean soup, but I'm not sure my son will like them any better than pintos.

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    4. I guess that since he doesn't mind refried beans, you'll just have to concentrate on them and hummus for your bean recipes, Kathy. Sometimes you just can't fight what the kids won't eat!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  13. HI Jane. I have so loved following you along on this experiment. I am one of those people that is really blessed to be given lots of free meat (son and my DIL's whole family are hunters and fishermen) and we get quite a bit with our volunteer work too. I do supply our family and friends with lots of fresh produce from our garden along with starts of raspberries and thornless blackberries, strawberry plants and various herb plants. It's a great way to "spread the wealth and blessings around". :) I do understand where you were coming from though. ;) Be blessed!

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    1. That's got to be a real money-saver, Debbie. How nice! Can I get adopted by your family? Ha! I always say I'd rather give the extra produce away than just waste it. Plus it makes for good neighbors.

      Hugs
      Jane

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