Big Batch Cooking- Hamburger

We were able to pick up the whole cow that I had ordered on Friday evening. This was 350 pounds of meat at $8.00 a pound.  It filled our entire chest freezer!  The plan was to spend Saturday, processing as much of this meat as possible.

I am proud and grateful to say that we have accomplished this task, with the following results:
21# of canned shelf stable ground beef. These are in pint jars so approximately 1# per jar.
4 meals of Sloppy Joes canned in addition to our lunch for Saturday as well.
30 Salisbury steaks cooked and vacuum sealed in the freezer.
30 Cheddar Bacon Hamburger patties
38 Regular plain Hamburger patties!

For a total of 123 meal proteins ready for use!

Matt even started the day by cooking a big batch of French toast that we were able to freeze left-overs for future breakfast!

I am exhausted but happy with the results!

Saving on Saturday!

Sometimes to save money you have to spend money. This is the case for today!  Lily, Kendall and I were at a women’s conference this morning. Matt and Zach worked on my canning closet!  Matt has added three more shelves to make room for lots of spaghetti sauce and other canning projects that I want to do this summer!  I am so excited to  have everything labelled and put in place.  The total cost was approximately $80. But I found several items I had forgot about and this will save lots of time and money this summer!  I was also able to confirm that I do not need to purchase jar!  I have around 6 dozen unused ones!  Goal for the summer will be to use up all the available jars!

The second way I am saving money this week is by shopping a sale. My mom text me last Thursday to let me know that Food Lion, would have 2 Liter Diet Cokes on Sale for ninety nine cents.  This is the best deal I have seen in almost a year!  So I sent Matt and Zach for the first round. They were able to grab a total of 8 between the two of them. Matt used some “reward points” for his four!  The second stop was all 5 of us for 20 more bottles and the third stop was another 20 bottles. We were surprised to learn that we had earned another $3 in reward points. So I ended up paying 81 cent a bottle and saving over $105 by purchasing all of these on the same day!


Saving on Saturday

This weekend we are focusing on saving by using what we have!

One of the projects that I wanted to complete prior to the summer is to empty and clean our large chest freezer that is in the building. This freezer is probably 25-30 years old and was purchased used for $75.  It needs to be de-iced and given a break.  Matt and I have emptied it out except for ice that we need for our upcoming trip. In the process, I needed to do with the two gallon size bags of frozen tomatoes that I have.  I decided to toss them in the crockpot along with a couple of other items and make some more pasta sauce. I typically freeze the sauce but decided to try water bath canning this time.  We ended up with four quarts after dinner so we will try one and see how it taste. I am hoping to be able to can my sauce this year in order to be less dependent on the freezer in the future. It is much easier to store and transport jars than frozen foods.

After taking out my electric canner, I thought I should go ahead and get some beans canned for future use. I ended up running 4 loads of 8 quarts each of beans. This did allow me to use up all the empty pint jars along with all my canning lids that are not on new jars. I had to place an order for more lids.  I also cleaned and organized the canning closet. I am very happy with the contents and have big plans for the summer.

For breakfast this morning, I made French toast using up the last of the sour dough bread that I made this summer along with the remaining heavy whipping cream.   I had about half of the egg mixture left so instead of throwing away, I added hash browns and bacon. It was a hit at lunch with little work and no waste.

For dinner, I made nachos with taco rice that is left-over. The best compliment was from Lily “This is better than I expected.”

I ended up spending a lot of time this afternoon, transplanting tomatoes. More on this tomorrow!

Five Things Friday

  1. Two years ago, Facebook reminded me that I had COVID for the second time. Today, I hope I am at the end of a stomach virus.
  2. We are in the single digit until our Disney trip. I actually have a long list of items that need to be accomplished before we leave. The goal is to get everything completed this week.
  3. Our grocery budget is currently still under $200 which makes me very happy!
  4. We gathered 7 chicken eggs after getting 4 yesterday which means that all the chicken laid an egg today! This is a first!  One that I hope at least for a week or so continues.
  5. We will be spending some time tommorow up potting our tomato plants.  Another first that I am excited about and can’t wait to share on Sunday with a garden update!.

Saving on Saturday

  1. This week both Matt and I realized that we are in need of new shoes. Both of us have tennis shoes that did not have any trend on the bottom. We decided to check out Belk’s last night as well had some time without any kids. We did hit the jack pot!  Stechers were buy one get one 50% off. With that discount, we purchased a pair of tennis shoes for $63.50 each.   Matt also found himself a pair of dress shoes!
  2. Part of using what is in pantry is not allowing things to go to waste, I am very proud of myself for this!  I used two boxes of Chex cereal to make “muddy buddies” and a ranch Chex mix.   I will not admit how long those boxes have been in my pantry. I also noticed that the Hawaiin rolls had not been openned that I purchased several weeks ago.  Matt suggested that we make a smash burger with them.  I used a pound of ground beef and fed five of us with that one pound!  The burgers were delicious!
  3. I did end up at the grocery store today to purchase some fruits and veggies that we have been completely out of for a couple of weeks.
  4. I am continuing to shred up junk mail and unusable paper to make the grounding and bedding for the chicken coop!  So far it is a win win!
  5. We have spent time cleaning and organizing and cooking ahead again this weekend so I will call it a success!
  6. Gardening update to come tomorrow!

Menu Plan Monday

Things are starting to get busy over here.  For example, this week, we have something in the evenings in addition to baseball practice for 4 of the 5 days!  I am working toward simple easy filling meals. The other change that is becoming apparent is lack of leftovers for lunches.  It is time to get back prepping most lunches on Sundays!

I am actually doing really well for the pantry challenge. I have not been to the grocery store in 10 days. I will be going to Costco on Tuesday to get my tires rotated but I am using my reward certificate to cover any spending I may have!  We are currently out of milk as I turned the rest into greek yogurt on Friday. However we do have Almond Milk that will work for the short run if anyone wants cereal.

Breakfast- Saturday- Pancakes  Sunday-I had fried eggs and others had poptarts.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- find it (breakfast burritos, muffins, oatmeal, omelets cereal and milk, French toast sticks, sausage, pop-tarts, and eggs).  I made a couple of bowls of the egg scramble from Sunday night and also added 8 additional breakfast burritos to the stash!
Lunch- Saturday- Fix your own convenience food.  Sunday- Mexican Restaurant  Monday, Tuesday, -Wednesday, Thursday I have a veggie tray for one day, chicken salad and crackers or sandwiches and Friday is my day to eat out!

Dinner- Saturday-White chicken chill.   Sunday- Breakfast bowls Monday- Gyro Tuesday- Pizza from Costco Wednesday- Pork Chops with rice and green beans.  Thursday-Homemade Chicken bowls   Friday- homemade pizza

Monday Menu Planning

Food remains one of our largest expenses of the year. Part of the reason is that all 5 of us eat 3 meals a day from the groceries we purchase. I have failed the pantry challenge for the month of February.  In order to redeem myself and save us a bunch of money, we are going to do a 30 day pantry challenge. I will admit to stacking the odds in our favor as I asked the kids for what they thought they would need and we made a trip to Costco on Saturday.  Our February Amazon subscribe and save arrives on Wednesday so I am staying positive to see how this will work.  So far we have gone two days without going to the grocery store.  I was able to clean out the refrigerator and have a list of 30 something dinner meals so at this point we are off to a good start.


Breakfast- Saturday- Bacon, sausage and eggs Sunday- Muffins from Costco Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,  Thursday   and Friday- find it ( breakfast burritos, muffins, oatmeal,omelets cereal and milk, French toast sticks, sausage, pop-tarts,and eggs)..
Lunch- Saturday- Left-overs from fridge Everyone found something.   Sunday- Christos  Monday, Tuesday,-Wednesday, Thursday left-overs or sandwiches and  Friday is my day to eat out!

Dinner- Saturday-Costco chicken, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pineapple, peas and corn from the fridge.   Sunday- everyone picked a leftover soup except Kendall who made Tomato soup and will take left-overs for lunch.  Monday- Chicken and broccoli  casserole, already made in the fridge.  Tuesday-  taco bites (made from left-overs from last week)  Wednesday-  Baked Ziti.  Thursday-Gyros  Friday- Kielbasa and rice T

5 Things Friday

  1. Last weekend we spent some time shopping to fulfill some summer needs.  I did not realize that both Kendall and Zach needed new shoes.  I still have a small list of items that are needed but I hope to finish those up this weekend as well. This was expensive but we spent time at Goodwill and Bargains by the Bin before heading to the other stores.  Zach was able to find T-shirts at Belks for around $10 each!
  2. Another good deal last weekend was Shutterfly offered 8×8 books starting at $10.  This is an awesome deal, actually one of my favorites.  I ended up spending a great deal of time, really too much time, finishing up several projects. I ordered a total of 6 books and ended up spending $130 including shipping.  The extra cost came from using Disney themes and extra pages (anything over 20). I do have one additional book I would like to get made and printed. This week Shutterfly is offering unlimited pages so I may see what that cost would be. But this depends on my time.
  3. We are headed to Disney in a short time.  I have set a couple of goals for myself in order not to be the fat mom that slows everyone down. The first is that I spend at least 12 hours on the treadmill at the YMCA.   I did my first hour last night so 11 more to go. I also want Braxton to get used to walking as we are not planning to use a stroller on this trip.  The hope is that we can start family walks on Sundays and Lily would like to do at least one other walk during the week. The problem again is time at home.
  4. I have officially lost weight. In fact, I received a compliment on it last week!   I have lost 16 pounds since December!   I am also down one jean size which is super fun!
  5. We did not even remotely stick to the pantry challenge this month. So I have decided that we will do a strict pantry challenge with the exception of milk and water and soda until our Costco trip prior to leaving.  The challenge will begin March 1st.  We will be going to Costco before then but no other trips will be made unless something is a necessity by my standards.

Menu Planning Monday

I think anyone would consider this month a fail for the pantry challenge. So far we have spent $740. This amount is actually less than my budget so I am totally fine with it. I do suspect that we will have a much lower spend in the month of March.  Small steps make a difference. We are also beginning our busy season with at least 2 kids having something going on in the evenings.  Dinner wil become more of heat and eat or at least that I what I am anticipating.   I did have an extra day off today for President’s Day”  so I cooked a bit.  More details on my shopping and planting hopefully coming tomorrow.  In other food related news, our dishwasher has finally died. We purchased a new one that will be delivered this Friday.  We are currently using as much disposable things as possible and washing dishes every other day.

Breakfast- Saturday-Bacon and mini quiche Sunday- Matt treated to Biscuit King.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday   and Friday- find it (oatmeal, omelets cereal and milk, French toast sticks, sausage, pop-tarts, and eggs).  We did consume the last of the muffins last week. Matt and I made scrambled eggs that can be used to help in the mornings. My goal is to continuing using what is in the freezer.
Lunch- Saturday-Cracker Barrel   Sunday- Mexican at a local restaurant.  Monday, Tuesday, -Wednesday, Thursday leftovers and Friday is my day to eat out!

Dinner- Saturday-I made a copy cat Chicken gnocchi soup. (I will definitely repeat this one).  Sunday- Left-overs as we can’t see the fridge shelves. Monday- Chicken pie, squash casserole and green beans.   Tuesday- Taco Hashbrown Casserole (new crockpot recipe). .  Wednesday- Pork chops and rice. .  Thursday-Spaghetti   Friday- Steak and mashed potatoes.

Monday Menu Planning

An update on the pantry challenge, this has been a really off week.  I ended up at the grocery store on last Wednesday, the purpose was to stock up on Diet Coke.  While at the store, I ended up picking up 15 pounds of chicken wings for our Super Bowl party.  My spend was $89. On Saturday, we were in Greensboro so we decided to go to Costco. I was very disappointed to find they were out of water   I did go ahead and grab some stuff for the Super Bowl party. My total spend was $285. And on Sunday, I went in Food Lion to grab the waters for the week another $11.49. I will have one more trip this week to finish gathering our snacks but the damage is done!  We are doing much better about food waste which is a positive.

Breakfast- Saturday- Pancakes and sausage. Sunday- I had fried eggs. Monday  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, omelets cereal and milk, French toast sticks, sausage, pop-tarts, and eggs. Tuesday- homemade bagels we found in the freezer.
Lunch- Saturday- Christos, Sunday-Lunch at friends, Monday, Tuesday- leftovers, Wednesday. Thursday and Friday. I have a couple of bowls of chicken stew and I will add some left-overs in. The kids are going to take sandwiches and mac and cheese this week.

Dinner- Saturday-Cook-out , Sunday-Crockpot Cheeseburger Soup (not a repeat) -Monday- Shephard’s pie Tuesday-Chicken Enchiladas   Wednesday- Hamburger casserole from freezer, Thursday Sloppy Joe Cornbread  – Friday- Breakfast bowls or left-overs.

I did start moving some items around in our freezers in the building. I would like to have the chest freezer emptied out before we go to Disney but we shall see. I am already over budget for the month when I add in my subscribe and save. I hope to level out the spending after our Super Bowl party.