Now that Thanksgiving is over and we've all managed to be filled with gratitude, it's time to focus on Christmas. Ask yourself these questions:
Why This Blog?
- I am on a pretty strict food budget; I also pray that my family and I will never go hungry, so after so many years of being creative with limited food supplies and money (including a three-pound whole chicken turned into 13 meals for the 5 of us), P-R-A-Y-S became a food and household budget philosophy. It can be anything that keep you in line with your budget. Like PORTION, ROTATE, ANTICIPATE, YELL (from joy of having money left over) and SAVE. Each post will show how this philosophy was broken down with every dish and budgeting I share. So hold on to your wallets and stay tuned!
Monday, November 29, 2010
Now that Thanksgiving is over and we've all managed to be filled with gratitude, it's time to focus on Christmas. Ask yourself these questions:
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Many of these plants, I bought in super tiny pots to save money and sanity.
I also learned not to give up on my plants that are struggling, this one above, moved with me from AZ!
My clearance and transplant finds... Even the pots, are deeply discounted.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
How do you deal with" very little" or "no money" situations?
Thursday, August 19, 2010
EVOO, Canola, Vegetable, Corn, Peanut, Butter, Lard...
Storing Fats and Oils
Oscar A. Pike, “Storing Fats and Oils,” Ensign, June 1999, 71–73
Anyone who stores cooking oil knows how quickly it can develop “off” odors and flavors, a state called rancidity. An understanding of the causes of rancidity and proper storage conditions can help us enhance the storage life of cooking oil and other foods containing fat.
Some populations throughout the world obtain too many of their calories from fat and are striving to limit dietary fat. Nevertheless, we all need some fat in our diet from the standpoint of nutrition and taste. With respect to nutrition, certain fats are required in the diet for growth and good health, and fat is the “carrier” for certain essential vitamins. Regarding taste, many of the textures and flavors of foods that make eating enjoyable are attributable to, or carried by, the fat.
Storage conditions that affect the deterioration of fats, oils, and food in general are summarized in the acronym HALT: Humidity, Air, Light, and Temperature. Reducing exposure to humidity, air, light, and warm temperatures will prolong storage life. Proper food packaging can reduce or eliminate moisture, air, and light. Newly opened oil should be left in its original container or be placed in a clean container, since even a small amount of old oil mixed with fresh oil will hasten rancidity. Temperature dramatically affects the storage life and quality of fats and oils. Some fats, such as butter or margarine, can be frozen to prolong storage time. All fats, oils, and foods containing fat keep better in a cool area of a house, such as a basement.
Fats and oils vary in their ability to store for prolonged periods. Generally, shortening can be stored for several years, whereas cooking oil must be rotated more frequently. The storage life of fats and oils and foods containing them varies widely for several reasons: (1) storage conditions differ, (2) expiration dates differ, (3) most food products contain a mixture of different kinds of fats that vary in stability, and (4) individual consumers differ in their ability to tolerate rancidity. What may taste acceptable to one person may taste unacceptable to another. However, almost everyone can detect rancidity when only a very small amount of fat or oil has deteriorated. Thus foods containing even less than 1 percent of fat or oil can have a reduced storage life because of rancidity.
Food storage rotation, important in avoiding rancidity, is easier when we buy and store the types of foods we are accustomed to eating. In the United States, an average adult consumes each year the following approximate amounts of dietary fat in these various forms: 24 pounds in cooking and salad oils and mayonnaise-type dressings; 23 pounds in shortening and frying fats; 20 pounds of dietary fat from meat, poultry, fish, and cheese; and 13 pounds in butter, margarine, peanut butter, and other foods.
Obviously an ideal list of what everyone must store does not exist. Differences among countries, cultures, climates, and individual preferences require flexibility in food storage. Still, an understanding of the causes of food deterioration and proper storage conditions is helpful in maintaining quality food storage.—Oscar A. Pike, associate professor of food science, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
We got our new house back in March. Our Family Room looked like this- white and blah
By starting to place items that might work, the idea solidified in our heads. So we got started...
Here's our (almost) finished Family Room:
English table with tropical feel-JC Penney; 80% off + $10 off
Even designers go through much research in finding just that right piece to bring out the theme of the room without being too loud or garrish.
With a sharp eye on deals for pieces you absolutely want, you can soon enjoy the room you've always envisioned. Happy designing!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Oftentimes, it's easier to find a pro or expert to get the job done.
Our main problem: Our kids help us fill this closet and a very busy household.
Our incentive: We were starting a 10-day NO EATING OUT or SHOPPING.
Well, we got the pantry organized tonight. Thanks to my great hubby, Mr. Man!
This is just right before we got started in reinforcing some shelves... We had to take stuff out as you can see...
This is my "oh-so" gorgeous hubby making sure those shelves will stay put. There he is testing out the new layout... Almost done!
And the afters! Doesn't my pantry look ready for a 10-day raid? Mr. Man did such a great job, "thank you, Mahal!"
Above is the left side where we put the cans and heavy stuff, and below is the right side where the lighter stuff now resides! And look, an empty container! Yay!
One of our children have many food allergies and maintaining a strict "hide the nuts" policy have to start in this closet for his safety. Making each inventory more visible and accessible, our son can help grab stuff out without any danger of being exposed to any nuts. Thank goodness he's not "nuts dust" allergic-purely skin contact and direct ingestion.
I'm off to tweak the menu for the week as we found a lot of goodies we'd rather eat! We're off to a good start with our family project!
NOW TO THE PRESENT...
As you can see in the pictures, the pantry is full of things we eat and use. It housed both our Food Storage, Everyday Stock and Non-Food Items. Since it was the only closet for all of our needs, we decided to be really organized about the space.
We partitioned using FREQUENCY, PURPOSE, STORAGE, TEMPERATURE SENSITIVITY. (it is upstairs so naturally, it is a bit warmer). Food Storage on the bottom and back shelves, Everyday Stock in middle shelves while non-food items are up top since we have our children help us bring stuff up and down this closet.
So, we... PONDERED about our needs and space. Then we REDESIGNED to have easier ACCESS for even two people. We no longer had to YANK what we needed at the higher shelves since we place a step stool inside and since we were set on a 10-day shopping hiatus, this new setup, made our experience SIMPLE and SUCCESSFUL!
Good luck to your own organization projects!
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
This week, the deal was Buy a Fajita meat and Caesar Salad kit for $8, get Real bacon bits, a reusable bag, a baguette and croutons for FREE- total $7
So for only $15, I only had to pay $8 and I have a real meal or two to make, but in my case, about three.
-Beef Fajitas and Rice with black beans
-Spaghetti with baguette, Caesar Salad and croutons
-Omelette with bacon bits and spinach
Since I already had all these other ingredients in my pantry and fridge as staples, all these dishes still will just cost me, $8!
PRICE the value of the deal. Will it be a good fit to your normal menu line-up?
ROTATE new purchase with ingredients on hand for the weekly menu.
ASK yourself if this deal can work again. If not, don't get it next time.
YOU should use the new ingredients soon for taste testing with the family.
SET ASIDE the money you saved, put the money in a jar and let those savings rack up!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
I knew I wanted some privacy drapes for our back door, but the first green one I grabbed from Wal-Mart just didn't cut it. I spent $10 for 2, but when it got dark, the kitchen was still pretty visible from the outside.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Using PRAYS, I PURCHASED just what I needed like basil and the eggs I didn't have. REINVENTING the recipes, I got exactly the results I wanted. I also APPOINTED the time that I would make them to not use too much electricity. After both came out perfectly, I said YES to keeping them into the recipe vault in my head and SAVORED the fruits of my labor!
Summer Pasta Salad- all it required were olive oil, lemon juice, basil, tomatoes, garlic salt and black pepper. You cook the pasta, and make the dressing separately. If you don't have shaved parmesan cheese, you can use any cheese that you normally eat outside of processed cheese slices, of course. We love Laughing Cow wedges here so that's what we used for this salad.
So see, if you stock up your pantry well, you can come up with amazing dishes and quick desserts that won't burn a hole in your wallet!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
You might as well know, I am a Mormon. Well pleased of it and lovin' every minute. In our belief, we endorse and practice provident living.
Back in the Philippines, where I'm from, pantry is a luxury. Often, our excess non-perishable items are just on simple shelves. Unless of course, you have the means to have what we enjoy here in the U.S.
When it comes to money, I prefer earning and saving over spending anytime. Am I a miser, some may say that but of course with a family, even being a miser is not always feasible.
So... I've made sure that I find money, too! Yep, I find them! Meaning, I look at all the deals and promos out there-not ignoring any mail that comes in with offers.
For example, in mid-March, we've researched and researched the price ranges of the style of refrigerators (french doors, freezer bottom) I wanted. When the time came, I even considered buying the classic style (two doors, freezer top) to stretch our budget, but by sharing this idea with a good friend of mine, she referred me to a Sears Outlet Store that mainly dabbles in appliances.
We looked around the refrigerators and making sure not to resort to "need to pee-pee" dance like movements, I quietly approached MY fridge. The one that I've been hoping to be able to afford for years now. Brand spanking NEW! As in "just came from the manufacturer assembly line, but got rejected so it ended up in the outlet NEW!" The inside smelled of styrofoam, plastic and tape because the whole inside was filled with them! So cool!
And for $1,000 LESS. SAVED MONEY! I was able to use that money to pay for NEEDS that popped up like new clothing for school and work and shoes for school and prom plus AP tests, my graduation pictures, Spring pictures, lunch money and various moving expenses AND NOT BREAK THE BANK!
Then, we came across a bank offer of $125 for opening a new account with a minimum and direct deposit. So we did. In 3 weeks, that account will be $125 fatter. FOUND MONEY!
Kohl's had a TAX-FREE, 20% off for $100 or more purchase AND $10 for every $50 spent promo from April 1-3. We took advantage of that and saved tons of money for clothes and shoes, plus earned $20 in Kohl's Cash for me! FOUND MONEY!
Tonight, while picking up the mail from our house, we came across a store offer of $5 giftcard to invite my business. Then we realized that we haven't checked our apartment's mailbox. Sure enough, there's one there, too! Mr. Man "dumpster dived" to see if there are more that others foolishly threw away. Yep, three more! A total of $25 giftcards. FOUND MONEY!
The kids all had great report cards and high A's in their recent TAKS practice tests, homeworks, and projects so we treated them to Souper Salad. I had a coupon! One for "Kids Eat FREE (normally $6.39 each) for every paying adult" and the other for, "$5.99 AYCE (regularly $7.25)". We made sure we all ate "well and healthily" and... made room for some soft serve. We saved a total of $14.05! SAVED MONEY!
In the same mail stash at our house, was the new debit card for our new account, in it was an offer of $30 cash just for enrolling the card number into a program to get you started in online bill pay. And you only have to pay 3 bills to earn it! Guess what?! I have three bills to pay by the end of the month! So before April 30, that new account will have an additional $30! FOUND MONEY!
How are you doing with your money hunting? I hope you'll be as lucky as I am!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I've been reading up on some of my AZ friends' blogs about Food Storage and living on less. As I somewhat experienced this more than twice (early marriage, job loss, pregnancy expenses, moving squeeze...), I'd like to share some of the things that worked for us.
Coupons are your friend. Don't use these when it's convenient, use it because you want to see your piggy bank get fat! If you calculate all those $1 off ones on those you normally use, that you threw away every week, you'd realize that you are at least $300 poorer!
Stock up on non food items during easier times. This is self explanatory; it is easier to buy necessities on sale when you have the money to stretch your budget than trying to stretch it with non-Gro items because you ran out. Most non-Gro items are rarely ever on sale when you need it.
Make room. Indulge only when you can afford it, and only after you stock up on your needs. Believe me when I tell you, when it comes to good clearance finds, even 1% of your meager good year, can go a long way. Also, stock up to share, the blessings are incalculable.
Gauge your stock between short and long term. If you're in a location for only 6 months, DO NOT buy 2 year's worth of stock. Buy enough with enough extra for just in case, but not waste. 'Nuff said.
Buy packed food items you NORMALLY eat. If you don't eat it, why have it hanging around in your pantry? If it's still there after a year or so, it just becomes a reminder that you wasted your money. If you got it FREE, give it away, blessings come to those who share...
90% need, 10% want. If you are stocking up, go for things that you know you will use spiced up with some things that you want. It is very easy to feel tired of the same things, but the "wants" make it more interesting. For example, we stock up on Cheerios a lot because it's nutritious and versatile, but we also get the Multi-grain and/or Honey Nut to stretch out our stock and add a little sweetness to the mix for the kids and not use up our sugar.
Get powdered. Powdered milk and juices are great in a pinch for instances of needing to choose between milk, juice or gas money.
Drink up! There had been an article or two about keeping dehydration at bay if you just eat foods with soup or broth on top of drinking your daily ration of beverage. So, to stretch your dollars during the lean times, use broth to perk up pasta, noodles and rice dishes. Even your breads will get a second life just by dunking it in broth, so stock up on water and different stocks! Have very little stock, add 1-2 cups of water and some veggies and create a whole new stock!
Half Off. I extended my meat recipes just by cutting them in half and chopping them into cubes. So during lean times, I don't make lasagnas or any recipes asking for more than 5 items or a lot of meat.
Salt is Gold. If you salt your meats first, the flavor spreads better in dishes. A quarter of a small onion can also do enough flavoring, if you saute it with meat and a little salt as salt draws out moisture, the flavor mix easier.
Can the Greens. Find as many different canned veggies as you can THAT YOU EAT so that when you are strapped for some Lincoln greens, you have the canned ones to still feast on.
Ask yourself twice. If you see something you want, ask yourself what you'll do with it then add two more reasons. If you can't come up with two, YOU DON'T WANT IT THAT BAD. Put it back!
One is plenty. You can make a whole dish with four ingredients of 1/4 cups of onion, veggies and 1/4 pound of meat plus 1 package of pasta and 1 cup of water or broth. I've fed my family of five with this exact measurements.
Brace for the downpour. If we pay our tithings, we increase our faith and contentment. Place the same faith in your budget by putting away 1/2 to 1% of your income in a savings a month. For any bonus, put away more. There was an article about the significant difference of putting away two quarters a day. That totals to $182.50 a year! How much more if you can put away just $1 or $5 a day! And do not ignore any coins, just like a drop of oil is insignificant on its own, a jar of coins can easily add up to get you from point A to point B and back! I sent my husband to work several times on a jar of collected coins!
Bills are non-negotiable. Though most places will accept a 50-75% payment arrangement, remember that your budget should include bills every month and not seasonal shoes or purses or that hobby you started once.
Hope these tips can help you; I have a family of five, one of which is a son with food allergies.
What?! I went from Food to Toilets? Am I insane? NO! The PRAYS philosophy is sound here as well...
You read right... I made dinner for three families: Mine, Next door and a Mother&Son. A total of 12 mouths.
I made Spaghetti with Homemade Sausage & Parmesan Spaghetti sauce and Texas toast.
Here's my total:
Barilla Pasta- 4 boxes- 99 cents each = $3.96
Tomato Paste- 1 can- 35 cents
Tomato Sauce- 75 cents (big can)
Tomato Diced- 75 cents
Parmesan, Herbs, Spices- FREE (already had it)
Texas Toast- 1.5 boxes- $1.97 each = $2.96
HF Beef Smoked Sausage Links- 1.5 pkgs.- $2.50 each = $3.75
$3.96 + .35 + .75 + .75 + $2.96 + $3.75 = $12.52 Total
Why did I do it? Well, it was back on Sunday night the 7th, before I-Dude's birthday, so the spaghetti is a traditional dinner to wish him a long life ahead. For our next door neighbor, it is to help their daughter who comes to YW, get some of her Personal Progress checked off and because my friend Annette has started working again. For my friend Heather and her son, it was because her MS turned for the worst and she needed some dinner help while the steroids did their thing to help her legs.
See? Service and Frugality can be totally complimentary. (I actually already had the pasta from last month, February, so technically they're already FREE, according to my budget.) No need to go to the store for the whole meal if you just stock up on few necessities...
We had to buy milk, bananas and toothpaste today for our needs, but food for dinner, noooo problem!
Last week, I got these Hormel Polish Sausage 2-pk, BIGIF for $4.99. So that made it $2.50 each pk for us. Then in the freezer, I had these two store brand frozen bags of stir-fry veggies with rice that only cost me $1 each. What to make, what to make?
A one dish wonder called Sausage Stir-fry!
I only used one of the sausages, making it $1.25 + $2, subtotal- $3.25 (Sorry, no picture, the family ate the whole thing)
Then, my children found a box of family size brownies in the pantry, that cost me $1.49 (on sale, $2, reg. $2.50) since I bought it with a promo of B10G$5off from Kroger.
We only had water and 1 full plate each (that's all we needed, oddly enough).
So let's see... $1.25 + $2 + $1.49 = $4.74 / 5 of us = .945 or 95 cents a plate + dessert!
Can't beat that!