Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thrifty, Frugal Cheap

I laughed my head off at my brother's caricature of me in his book...especially because he went on to poke fun at himself for out-frugaling us all with his title invention of "Sugar Milk."  Here's how he put it....

"My mother may have been thrifty, but my oldest sister was ruthlessly so, taking the concept to competitive extremes. If Mom were Anne Sullivan, my sister was hell-bent on becoming Mother Teresa. If she'd heard what Mom had saved on a three-legged table, my sister would have proceeded to break off two legs on a perfectly good version of the same table, maiming it for life purely to nurse it back to health--after receiving an even greater discount.  ....   I used to scoff at my sister's line of thinking, such as her interpretation of "going out to eat," as a trip to Sam's Club for the free samples.  However, given my current situation, I now hailed her a a visionary...."

It's all the better knowing I am sitting not three feet away from a pretty gimpy table. But I would never spend more than 5 dollars on a table.  Be serious, Ron.

I have developed a fun little game, though, that amuses me.  It's called, "Use it all."  And by that, I mean, try to use up everything in the fridge and pantry before going to get more groceries. I get a serious thrill seeing how many wrappers and packages I can throw away after using up the contents in creative ways.  I committed an epic fail by not taking a photo of my pantry yesterday before I put the groceries away.  Probably because I was ashamed.  Because in some countries, it still looked pretty good.  But our kids woke us up yesterday around 6 asking, "What do we make lunch out of?  There's no bread or chips or fruit or veggies or anything!"  

I let them buy their lunch because I figured it was unfair to expect them to eat a grapefruit in their twenty minute lunch period.

I would like to share a few of my inspired moments though, just in case you have some random stuff in your pantry that you haven't finished off and are tempted to toss:

Like stale crackers.  In the wake of some parties or something, we had about 6 mostly finished sleeves of various kinds of crackers.  I started to collect them all in a 1 quart plastic jar that had once held almonds from Sams.  Last week, they got chopped in the food processor, mixed with some butter, garlic, a random handful of grated cheese and spices, and became the best stuffing ever for a pork tenderloin I'd been hoarding for a special occasion.  I suspect the bottom of the chips bag would be pretty good in this too.   Who wouldn't love Dorito Pork?

Ever tried True North Pecan Almond Clusters?  They are delish.  But the the little cubes fall apart after your kids drop the bag on the floor and smoosh it trying to get the big box of cereal off the top shelf.  But if you have some random sunflower seeds, a half finished bag of peanuts, and a handful of leftover white chocolate chips, mixed with the broken nut clusters, it makes one delicious trail mix.

And those old grapefruits I mentioned. The ones that have been there for a month?  Juice 'em, strain 'em, add the bottom of that bottle of rum and you've got a delicious little cocktail.
(Where did we get rum?)

When out of fruit at times, I try to have raisins or dried cranberries to fall back on for the kid's lunches.  We were out of all those by Monday morning because I added the rest of them to a good cheap breakfast:  Cinnamon, rice and raisins.  If you have a little dish of leftover rice, pour milk over it, add some cinnamon, sugar, raisins and even an egg (if you have it)  and microwave it for a couple of minutes.  Comforting and cheap and not nearly as vomitous as oatmeal.

Alas, I did go to the grocery store yesterday.  I knew it was time when I found the dog eating a bag of ramen noodles.  Can't wait to play USE IT ALL again in a month.


Helena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara said...

lol...I love it :) and it's an inspiration for me to use up all my funny things

gerbmom said...

ha ha - I found about 5 partial bags of pasta (all different kinds) in my pantry. So I just threw em all in a pot and boiled em up together and had a wonderful and unique pasta dinner. Fun!

12-arrows said...

your are a genius! seriously!! think about keeping a journal of all these and it could turn into a "how to" for women in the kitchen. I'd for sure buy it! you gave me some great ideas of what to do with the little bits of this or that! like I said, "genius"

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