The little Clay Pot

Lots of things can go in a little Clay Pot

$100.00? Really? February 14, 2011

Filed under: Frugal Living,The forming of a little Clay Pot,Weekly Menus — littleclaypot @ 9:59 am

This is for the skeptics, and as a bit of reassurance for myself.  I do, usually, spend right around $100.00 per week on groceries.  That is an average.  This week, I am trying to live out of the pantry and make do with what we have.  Grocery $ spent so far…$0.00.  I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to help make this possible.  Now before you go thinking I’m all back woods mountain woman, feeding my children freshly trapped and skinned rabbit (which may be kinda cool…but we are so not that tricky… yet) read the following and see what you think.

  • Keep powdered milk on hand.  This is great to keep your milk supply going.  I will substitute powdered milk and water in recipes that call for milk and that leaves more milk for drinking.
  • Keep canned fruits & veggies on hand. When they are on sale stock up.  That way if you don’t make it to the grocery store you can still get some vit C in the kiddos.  I try to only get fruit in real fruit juice and not in syrup.  IF I were a real frugal woman, I would have canned my own peaches and pears this summer!
  • Save up, or spend a windfall, and buy 1/2 of a cow and 1/2 of a pig.  For us, it worked out to be right around $3.00 per lb. Not bad for local pasture raised meat!  We filled a large chest freezer.  For illustration purposes, we received about 57 lbs. of hamburger.  That is easily 1 hamburger meal a week, plus a few pot luck dinners and some summer cook outs!  Plus the roasts, ribs, etc.  The hard part is paying up front of course, AND remembering to take it OUT of the freezer to eat it…but I haven’t had to purchase beef since Fall and that is a huge weekly savings.  Now before you go saying “well yeah, but if you spend $100.00/wk and add the cost of the beef then the weekly average is way higher!”  REMEMBER…this week…so far….I’ve spent $0.  SO in the end I think it does about even out.
  • Don’t think that it is going to just pull itself together.  I don’t buy (a lot) of convenience items.  Yes, that means I mix up my own bisquick mix…but big deal, you do a large batch wen you need some, store it in a 1/2 gallon mason jar in the fridge and it’s there for the next 3 times you need it.   Get familiar with basic recipes and when you find things you like, that are easy…keep items on hand to be able to pull it together quickly.
  • Lastly, when plans change and you decide to cut back on grocery items…which means a change in the menu that you made the week before (hmmm not like this is a little close to home today) Do a quick inventory and think simple!  You can almost never go wrong with spaghetti– it may not be a Mediterranean feast with fresh salads…but it will taste good enough and fill your belly.

Now, if you have any ideas for what to do when the schedule change means that your husband begs for a crock pot meal, and you didn’t get to the store to buy cheddar cheese for the macaroni and cheese on the menu…and it’s 10:00am and you need to get something in the crock by 12:00….well then let me know. *GRIN*


Sometimes…little clay pots sit on the shelf…forgotten. February 9, 2011

Filed under: I ain't Proverbs 31...yet.,Weekly Menus — littleclaypot @ 3:43 pm

Well, back in December I promised new posts soon…here it is February and I am just getting started.  But, I think the time has come to take the little Clay Pot off the shelf and see what it has inside to offer.

Classes have started again, this is my last semester. Yea!  In addition to that I am going back to work.   So it will be imperative that Hubby and I work together well to keep this family running smoothly.  As you all know, I firmly believe that a planned menu helps out in that regard.  Enter the little Clay Pot.  I have posted the first menu for 2011 (even if it is for the week of 2.14-2.20) sans recipes.  We are starting small here folks!  I think that this new page format will allow me to organize things better and include some better cost analysis…as well as allow me a little space to share some important things that are not necessarily food related–as this blog was first intended.

The menus will still strive to keep a weekly budget under $100.00 and I still hope to shop as locally and as organically as possible.  It is amazing to me how I have totally lost the “appetite” for processed foods since we have started this paradigm shift in the way we eat–THAT being said…you may see an occasional falter as we learn how to manage our schedule.

So here is to dusting off the little Pot and setting it back out for company to see.



The spirit of adventure June 15, 2010

Filed under: Frugal Living,I ain't Proverbs 31...yet.,Weekly Menus — littleclaypot @ 11:40 am

My husband and watched a movie last week called 180° South.  It was about a man who wanted to climb Corcovado in Patagonia, and how he traveled there to do it. It was an interesting watch, and it blew a little breath into our desires for our own quests and adventures.  But for now, we are tied to jobs, a mortgage, children…all the things that do not typically assist a free and adventurous spirit.  Some degree however, of our desire for frugality, is to help fund and make possible our own grand adventures.

I like to travel.  I have been all over the US and to Europe.  I like seeing new things and experiencing life in other places.  Of course one way I can bring those places to me is in the kitchen.  The currys of India, the soy of China, the BBQ of the south…I love taking mini world tours with my mouth.

Sometimes, adventures are planned and well thought out.  Sometimes they are quite accidental.

The menu for this week had “Hamburgers” on for Monday night. My husband loves hamburgers.  I can only think of one restaurant where he hasn’t ordered a hamburger and that was a Japanese steak house!  But, alas, amidst too many projects I neglected to buy hamburger from my in-laws for the meal,and when 5:00 came around I had a menu…and no ingredients!  So I turned to the trusty internet to come up with something.  Whenever I do this I think of superheros…going to their super computers and being told the exact time and location of the next big crime…I wish I could clean house in Wonder Woman’s boots!  Talk about adventure.

"I met a man the other day, sold all he had and headed west Said he found some richness there And he's going to make it his Smiling as he parted Saying something about buying a filed and now he's gone so long...~ What could be so grand, Seeds

I had seen recipes for Lentil burgers in my searches for other lentil recipes.  I always passed them over knowing of my husbands reverence for ground beef.  But this was an emergency, this was the beginning of an adventure.  I chose one, and set to work.  I delegated the shredding of the carrots to my daughter.  As I boiled,chopped, mixed and measured I had a quiet pit in my stomach that it was all for naught.  That dinner would be a struggle and that I should probably just have made nice, safe, unadventurous peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

And then it happened…we ate.

And they liked it!  My husband even said he “really liked” it.  He had friends over to play music with, and 2 of them tried them out of curiosity…and THEY liked it!  In my humble opinion this was an adventure worth taking.  Now I have a cheap, yummy, healthful substitute for hamburgers although I will only make them occasionally…we couldn’t quite give up the beef around here) and I didn’t run to the store to buy hamburger and spend extra $ on other items that I would have inevitably bought.

Making a Lentil burger is not climbing a towering peak in Patagonia.  It isn’t even akin to walking up the hill behind my house.  But this little bit of willingness to venture into the unknown opened new possibilities and will help us prepare for some of those bigger adventures down the road.


Summer menus June 8, 2010

Summer is a hard menu time for me. Is it nice? Is it rainy? Did we decide at the last minute to invite company over? One better, did we get invited at the last minute to go someplace else?  Did I remember to order from the bounty?  Can’t we just eat s’mores for dinner?

Not to mention, I want to use every available minute to be outside or working on inside projects while I am not in school…I do not want to be in the kitchen any more than absolutely necessary! Feeding my family seems more a struggle, let alone feeding them healthy, local or organic!  And what ever happened to the budget!?

So you may notice a very picnic-y menu.  I intend to use the grill (or as my mother called it the “outdoor kitchen”) I got for my husband for his birthday every day it is not a torrential down pour…The newest menu posted for the week of 6.14.10–follows the old format…but I am thinking that I will have to come up with a more flexible template and still…my goal is to get a format that allows for cost analysis and user friendly recipes…I am working on it…promises, promises.

My secondary goal for the summer is to be diligent to post 2 posts a week…One on Monday with the menu that is food/grocery related and one later in the week that is a shameless rambling of the random thoughts that never cease to occupy my brain space.   As always your comments/questions/suggestions are always welcome.