FRUGALITY- "Prudence in avoiding waste." (

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 7, 2011

Spice up your Holidays!

You know Thanksgiving and Christmas is all about the spices and smells! Well... here's some tips on making sure your senses are filled with the holiday spirit!

SPICES like cumin, vanilla, nutmeg, sage, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, onions, etc. are known holiday staples. So to save time and money, hunt them down in September! Buy 2-3 different ones on sale that you need to change out so by November, you'll be set with fresh spices!

a) should not be holiday specific; it becomes expensive quick that way. Rather, invest in inexpensive scented votives and combine the smells! For example: Hazelnut and Cinnamon or Vanilla and Apple Spice or Cranberry & Apple Pie smells that you can find at your local Dollar Tree or Walmart.

b) Invest in inexpensive votive holders; clear ones are often the best, you see the flame and all of a sudden, your home is filled with warmth and cozy memories...

c) use last year's gift of apple cider packet and cinnamon sticks as a potpourri. Boil in an open pot and soon your home will be holiday ready!

Here are more Holiday shopping tips:

EGGS & MILK should be bought fresh so try to stock up 3-4 days before the party so the inventory is not picked over and the due date is way beyond the holidays they will be used for. Stores will have them on sale every week, way in advance so no need to invest in another deep freezer just so you can be sure to have enough milk for that cake or soup you'll be making.

DRINKS should be stocked up on months or weeks in advance and keep them in a cool, dry place. Then on the night of the party, pull out the summer cooler box from the garage, fill it with ice and keep the drinks in there to cool them without crowding the fridge!

FLOUR, SUGAR, YEAST, CHOCOLATE & BUTTER- all can be bought weeks in advance and stored properly to maintain freshness.


Berries- fresh 2-3 days before, frozen 7-14 days before

Apples/Pears- 3-5 days before

Canned or frozen (fruits & veggies)- up to months before

Roots- carrots, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic- buy 7-14 days before and store properly to keep fresh.

Squash- 7 days before

Leaves- 2-3 days before (if frozen, 7-14 days before)

If you plan your menu, have a and stick to the budget and prepare the necessities of the holidays like those mentioned above, you will save time, gas and money!

Ok, let see... we want to:

PURCHASE items in your shopping list during a great sale.

REPLACE old spices and scents.

ARRANGE storage for the extra items you will buy before you buy

YANK out dishes from your menu that didn't quite make the cut from previous holidays.

START planning the menu & theme well in advance and finalize until 2 weeks before.

Me, I plan my holiday menus and themes in September (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve), then I tweak it up to 2 weeks before the holiday so I can fine tune my shopping list and get my proper coupons.

Happy Shopping!

Saving on Holiday Menus

Hello all! I know it's been a while, but things have been hectic!

Anyway, now that Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is definitely on its way and that means the good china's gonna get washed and used (after 364 days of being ignored... You know you're guilty! I am!)

It also means... parties, food and extra money to spend! So how do you deal with all that and still have a great Thanksgiving? Simple!

PLAN your menu and theme- don't go overboard! Stick with what you know to make with maybe a quick new dish to add/replace or update last year's choice. Simplify your theme, for example, every year, I choose one holiday element to represent like autumn leaves. I put all kinds of leaves everywhere, just like when you step outside a crisp, windy, Autumn day...

RENDER a sitting chart/food location- if you don't know it yet, render is a considered plan often shown thru drawing. To make sure that you know how many people can fit in what table or where the table should be that way you can plan for any additional table and/or chairs to purchase.

ASSUME that everyone can come- when you make your list, revisit it twice and finalize then plan your shopping and menu as if all will come plus a few unplanned guests. For example, if you decide you can fit in 12 people and have chosen which 12, make enough food and space for 15. No surprises, better evening!

YOU are the host, you are in charge- do not let all the guests just come; allow them to help beef up either the dessert or appetizer table, but make sure that they don't bring too many extras or you'll end up with too much food, not much fridge space and wasted budget. A very full fridge is not an efficient fridge. Food will go bad faster!

STICK to your budget!!!- I can't emphasize this enough. Thanksgiving is about food, but with all the sales, you can easily be blinded into buying more than you need, much less will eat!

Ok, if you follow these steps, you are off to a great Thanksgiving. I know I am! Now go do yours! Go on!

Til next time!