My frugal productivity this last week was largely filled with excess produce. Everyone is cleaning out their gardens and filling their jars and freezers with foods to eat through the next coming year.
I myself, do not have a large garden, something I hope to have one of these days but for now, we have been hugely blessed with people’s extras.
I was reminded this week of John 6 where the little boy had the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and how Jesus multiplied and fed the crowd. Then when they were finished he told them to gather up the fragments.
Jesus was concerned about the leftovers. I thought about Christ gathering all those fragments, those leftovers, those things that no one in the crowd wanted any more, and He gathered them for a purpose. What was His purpose in gathering these leftovers? He was going to use them.
I can apply this to my life and think how God will use the fragments of my life. A life that was filled with brokenness until I came to know Him. It is amazing how He can pick up all those little bits and pieces of my life and turn them into something worthy of His love. It gives me hope for my life. No matter what I had done or gone through in my life, He makes everything NEW in my life. That I am grateful for. His unfailing Grace each day.
Now those fragments that I want to talk about it, is the fragments leftover from other people’s gardens.
I washed them, had my daughter cut them, and then we put them into the food processor to puree them. I came out with about 50 quarts of tomato puree. We did a few bushels that we bought from the store for real cheap. Here is how we did them. I put them in the freezer and then when we need to make some tomato based food, I will pull it out and thaw it. I don’t premake any of our spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce. I just throw it all together in a pan when I am cooking it. Maybe one day I will take the time to make it and then freeze it, but for myself it doesn’t take too much longer to throw a few spices in the pot with the tomato ingredients.
I made some bread this week. Of course my preschoolers love to help me out when making it. Here they were punching down the bread after it had rised.
Having the homemade bread was a cheap treat for them to have in the afternoon to hold out their tummies until dinner. We spread a little bit of butter and they loved it. We like to make Ezekiel bread, a sweeter made with honey bread.
We have been experimenting with different flavors:
If we had to list them in order of favorite flavors…this would be the order. I am loving the cranberry.
My children are starting to enjoy this more. Definitely a healthier alternative than soft drinks. Plus all the added health benefits.
Another “fragment” that we had acquired much of was cucumbers. We really like cucumbers and have eaten our share this past summer, but we are getting to that point of being tired of cucumbers. I had to find something else to make. I make this Greek cucumber side dish and love it. Tzatziki is the official name.
I peeled the cucumbers and then put them through my food processor mandolin slicer.
I added about 1 tsp salt and mixed them up. I let them sit for about 15 minutes. I then added:
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp dried onion
- 3 T sour cream
I just mixed it up and let it set. This was very good as a side dish and have made it every day.
We also received bushels of corn. I had only done corn once by myself before back in the day. I was doing it in jars and I remember seeing it start to ferment as it was waiting to go in the pressure cooker. I called my dear friend and she said, throw it all out, come up and we will do a bunch of corn for your freezer. I learned that it can go quite quickly when you have lots of helpers.
This year, I had lots of helpers, I had a few children out husking it and then I had a helper inside. We blanched it in 3 different pots for about 6 minutes and then took it out and put in a cooler filled with ice and water for the same amount of time. I took it out and then cut the kernals off on top of a cookie sheet. I had read about using a bundt pan. You would stick your ear of corn in the center and then it would drop in the pan. I just don’t own one so I had to use my cookies sheets.
I have been diligently trying to keep the lights off in the house. We can leave lights on in the basement and the garage for days on end. Part of being frugal, I am trying to keep that electric bill down, because it will be going up as cold weather fast approaches. I am working on reminding the children to shut the lights off as well.
This week we also had a bunch of errands to do and it kept us away from the home part of the day. I made sure to always take food with us to eat and have a meal ready in the crockpot for when we came home. This saved on not spending anything for meals while out.
We took peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch along with apple slices. For dinner I made these in the crockpot:
For every meal this week, we served corn on the cob, cucumber salad, and watermelon. These were items that we had received in excess, so we gathered up our fragments and served them.
It was an inexpensive week for groceries. Thank goodness for everyone’s extras.
I also sewed a few pairs of leggings for my girls. I had some that were too big in the waistline but plenty long for them. I am not a big sewer but I can sew a straight line to take in the pants. Now the girls have pants that won’t fall down when running.
We also went to town this week and had an empty trunk. Each time we went, I made sure to fill up on wood pallets. We chainsaw these up and use them as starter wood for our household heat. I never like to come home with an empty trunk, costs too much in gas. At least we picked up free wood.
Despite, doing much running this week, we still did ALL of our school. My goal is not to fall behind if not necessary. The household cleaning took a back seat, but it will catch back up this next week.
How about you?? Any frugal productivity for your week?