A slightly boring week in the life of a fairly average couponer: Melody’s Edition

by Melody on October 26, 2011

Each week I will be sharing a round-up of all the different ways I saved our family money.  The purpose of this series is to highlight the fact that there are SO many different methods you can use to lower your overall budget that don’t involve mad-crazy coupon shopping.

I will even be mentioning those methods that may seem insignificant to you.  I truly feel that anything that saves time is saving money in some form or another.

Slightly less time-consuming freezer cooking

We were home most of last weekend (which trust me, is unusual) and I needed to make a few meals for a friend of mine, so I did a little freezer cooking that wasn’t quite as labor-intensive and time consuming as an entire day of cooking.

Basically, when I’m cooking something that I know freezes well, I often double or triple the recipe.  It is so much easier to prep extra of the same ingredient all at one time, less work and far less cleaning.   It takes far less time to make triple the amount of one recipe at one time than to make that same recipe 3 different times.

I made Lawnmower Taco (used flour tortillas and added corn and black beans), Spaghetti Pie and had Salsa Chicken in the crock pot for most of one afternoon.  Once I let it cool, I threw it in a few gallon freezer bags.

For those of you who are thinking about getting into freezer cooking or just want to set aside a few meals for busy nights or last-minute company, this is definitely the way to do it!  If you want to do something a little more involved, join us for our Freezer Cooking Day Extravaganza.

Homemade Pumpkin/Squash Puree

A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to make your own pumpkin puree and I couldn’t believe I’d never thought of it before.  My kids had picked out a sugar pumpkin at the pumpkin patch so I got to work.  It was so simple!  I roasted an extra acorn squash with the pumpkin and made puree from it as well.

Here’s the problem:  I was literally paralyzed with indecision about which pumpkin recipe to make.  I only had enough puree to make one recipe and I was so overwhelmed.  Honestly, if that is my biggest problem in life right now, I’m doing pretty good.  I almost made Pumpkin Enchiladas, but then Pumpkin Chili sounded good.  I asked all my friends on Facebook.  I officially decided on Pumpkin Spice Muffins.  And then I un-decided.

As if the heavens were shining down on me, this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread popped up in my inbox.  Decision made.  I used both the pumpkin and squash puree, dark chocolate chips and added ground flax seed.  Seriously good decision.

I won’t necessarily say this was super cost-effective.  Albertsons did have their sugar pumpkins for $1 a few weeks ago and it looks like one sugar pumpkin makes approximately 8-10 ounces of puree.  It does taste wonderful, slightly less sweet than the canned variety and it will make you feel like a domestic goddess when you do it.  So I’d say it’s worth it.

Everything but the kitchen sink

I had some random sauces and bits of leftovers in the fridge that needed to be used up.  I made my Mom’s delicious chili recipe tonight, which is the perfect vessel for random extras.

I had extra hamburger meat that was already cooked, about 8 ounces of enchilada sauce, a cup of frozen chopped green bell pepper and a few cubes of frozen pureed kale.  I hate waste, especially in the kitchen, so I was thrilled to find a good home for all the leftovers.

I would LOVE to hear how you saved your family money this week.  What methods do you find are the most efficient and effective?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie Allen October 26, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I LOVE the lawnmower taco and am super excited to eat it! You are the sweetest ever!

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Miss Jay October 26, 2011 at 9:06 pm

If you get up early enough the day after Halloween, you can catch the leftover pumpkins deeply discounted. (Usually pennies a pound). I would call ahead and talk to someone in produce to see what time they are dumping them. You can make a bunch of puree and freeze it, and get seeds for roasting!

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Annie October 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I have been roasting my pumpkins whole (literally put down foil – put pumpkin on foil (on cookie sheet) in oven for an hour)

Then the skin peels off (AFTER ITS COOLED – IMPORTANT)

and then you cut into fourths and scoop out seeds. I’ve done this method and the one you used and the whole is much easier.

Make sure it cools completely though – otherwise it dries out (not a huge deal just add water to the purree.. )

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Mary October 27, 2011 at 9:53 pm

We carved pumpkins today, I took all the inside stuff minus the seeds and the chunks of pumpkin that we cut out, throw them in a pot and made pumpkin butter! My house smelled great all day!

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