Oh my gee, y’all. I thought last weekend was busy, but … wow. This weekend was insane. We’re trying a lot of new recipes and planning more filling and elaborate snacks, which means tons of pre-cooking. I’ll be very grateful I spent so much time in the kitchen next week, but right now I’m pooped!
Anyhoo, check out the money-saving and money-spending adventures we had this weekend. Add your own in the comments! I creep around the comments for new ideas. 🙂
Mr. Picky Pincher and I had the itch to get out of the house on Saturday night. As part of our late-night festivities, we went to our favorite discount store, Ross.
I didn’t go in there with a particular item in mind to buy; I was just browsing and wanted to people-watch.
Well! We walked out with a treasure trove y’all! And it’s all stuff that’s on our To-Buy list. 🙂
I got ramekins to make chocolate souffle this week. I haven’t made it in years (because it ended in eggy DISASTER) and I feel like I’m a good enough baker now to take it on.
I also got a badass grater after destroying ours grating beeswax last week. Oops.
I found springform pans and popsicle molds, too. I’ve been looking high and low for affordable springforms and I didn’t expect to find them here! They’re perfect for getting a good crust on pies and cheesecakes.
And who doesn’t want to make their own popsicles? It’s a great way to use up odds and ends of fruit and dairy for the summer. 🙂
Estate sale haul
Mr. Picky Pincher and I discovered an estate sale down the road while on our nightly walk. He and his dad decided to check out the sale on Friday while I was at work and came back with some good loot.
Mr. Picky Pincher brought back some old baking sheets he got for $4. I plan to use these suckers to make beeswax cling wrap so I don’t ruin our good baking pans with wax.
And Mr. Picky Pincher’s dad was so thoughtful and brought me a set of baking knives! One is for frosting cakes, the other cupcakes, and the smallest is for cheese. Estate sales make me a little sad, but I’m happy that we’ll give these items a much-needed second life.
Mr. Picky Pincher’s dad is a jack of all trades and made us a beautiful smoker for Christmas. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get it operational, so it’s been chillin’ on our back porch since the holidays.
This weekend Mr. Picky Pincher’s dad hung out with us and the fellas fixed up the smoker and reinforced it.
It’s badass, y’all! They smoked all kinds of stuff and the smell was uh-mazing. I sense many smoked meats are in our future!
Angel food cake
It was Sunday afternoon and I realized I had a whopping EIGHT egg whites in my fridge. I didn’t want to use them to make macarons, so I looked up other recipes. And that’s when I got the idea to make angel food cake!
This stuff is notoriously finicky to make, so that’s why most folks buy it at the store. I do admit it tested my baking prowess and I have more to learn about this Picky little cake.
But ho-ly crap did it taste like heaven. It’s not as horrible for you as other cakes, so it’s a good if you want sweets with less guilt. I find they don’t even need frosting and are perfect with a few chopped strawberries.
Okay, okay. I know this sounds really weird. I wanted to test out my popsicle molds but didn’t have a lot of fruits on hand that weren’t spoken-for.
I rifled through the freezer and found a huge pack of corn we froze a while back. As it turns out, Mr. Picky Pincher prefers fresh corn with his meals, so this frozen corn was in food purgatory.
I decided to rescue it by turning the corn into paletas!
I used this recipe. I told Mr. Picky Pincher what I was doing and he said, “Wait, what are you making? Why? Don’t do that. No, no corn ice cream.”
I obviously did it anyway, because I’m a stubborn thing.
If y’all don’t know, a paleta is a type of Mexican popsicle. It typically contains lots of tropical fruit and dairy. Common flavors are coconut, mango, lime, pineapple, etc.
I made a weird flavor but it TOTALLY works. The hardest part was removing the paletas from the molds, but they taste great. I just left them at room temperature for 15 minutes and they came out of the molds pretty easily.
It’s one of the weirder things I’ve done, for sure, but who cares? We have ice cream!
Mkay, this was a total fail. I was trying to pre-cook a few tasty, warm snacks we could munch on this week. I figured vegetarian samosas would be perfect. I stuck with our keto-friendly theme and picked a recipe that sounded all right.
Basically it’s a “samosa” with a spiced cauliflower filling. The really freakin’ weird part was the “crust,” which was mostly mozzarella cheese (no, really). The recipe is here, but I can’t recommend making these. I followed the recipe exactly and these were way too salty to eat. I love the idea, but I did have to toss these in the trash.
Keto double-baked faux-tatoes
My second attempt at keto baking was more successful. I love me some potato skins as a snack, so I made a keto version with less carbs. These patties are made mostly from cauliflower with avocado and seasonings. I tossed in bacon and green onions from the garden. I baked them until the cheese was crunchy. Recipe here.
I didn’t bake these in avocado shells like the recipe said to, so they were kinda mushy, like mashed potatoes. I just slid them off the pan and froze them for later.
I did have them for Sunday lunch and they were all right. They have a weird aftertaste that I can’t pinpoint, but it’s still better than inhaling a dozen Oreos.
I’ve heard about breakfast cookies for a while and finally got around to making my own! I used this recipe for vegan breakfast cookies. It wasn’t gluten-free, but you could easily substitute flour with ground flax seeds if that’s your thing.
They don’t bake like “cookies.” I would call them “mushy granola lumps” to be honest. But you know what? I don’t care what they’re called; they’re soooo tasty.
I added oatmeal, raisins, sunflower seeds, and shredded coconut to them and they’re divine!
The bulk of my Saturday morning consisted of making dips! We were hosting a little grill-out for Mr. Picky Pincher’s dad and wanted a dip trio. We also planned on eating these dips throughout the week, so it was like killing two birds with one oven mitt.
The first dip was muhammara (recipe here). Before this week I’d never heard of the stuff. Mr. Picky Pincher found this recipe on the interwebs and it looked divine. Muhammara is very, very similar to a Spanish romesco sauce. It has roasted red peppers, bread crumbs, and nuts in it. It’s a subtle, smoky dip that I couldn’t keep my paws off of!
The second dip was a goat cheese artichoke dip. I used this recipe. It was a pretty easy one to put together, but I wasn’t a fan of how expensive it was due to the goat cheese. It still tastes superb!
The final dip was a homemade hummus. I got super ambitious a few weeks ago and cooked five pounds of chickpeas. Oops! I defrosted a few cups and turned it into hummus in our Vitamix using this recipe.
I know it’s a lot of dip, but I’ll freeze whatever we don’t eat by the end of the week. Luckily dip freezes and defrosts well!
This is a shameful frugal fail, y’all.
I used to hate mayo until I realized homemade mayo was life’s gift to mankind. The only problem is that I SUCK at making homemade mayo. I can make it, but it takes me three tries each time. I repeat: It always takes me three tries to make homemade mayo.
“Oh, Mrs. Picky Pincher! There’s no way it always takes you three times!”
It always takes three times. I have no idea what’s up with that. But it’s very, very frustrating and wastes a lot of ingredients. I’ve tried it by hand, in the Vitamix, the food processor. Doesn’t matter.
Anyhoo, I successfully made mayo on my third try. I’m tempted to start buying my mayo, to be honest. But my struggle is that storebought mayo tastes like rotten eggs to me. Bah!
I used the aforementioned hard-earned mayo to make homemade potato salad for our Saturday grill-out.
The fellas fixed up our smoker, so they smoked sausage, chicken legs, and jalapeno poppers. Yum!
Black bean soup
I went ahead and made the soup to save my weeknight sanity. I discovered the MIRACULOUS “hot soup” setting on the Vitamix that COOKS the soup for you WHILE IT BLENDS.
Science has gone to far. Too far, I say!
But it’s delish! We’ll pair the black bean soup with a Southwest chicken sandwich.
Homemade cherry ice cream
I can’t remember if I mentioned it here, but we discovered that storebought ice cream is what gave us severe food poisoning a few weeks back.
We adore ice cream, but we don’t adore upchucking for 24 hours. So I’m on an adventure to make my own ice cream! Popsicles are easier to make, but ice cream is a true feat, especially when you don’t have an ice cream maker.
I had a crapton of cherries on hand, so I decided to make cherry ice cream. I used this recipe and churned it by hand.
The churning job wasn’t perfect, but eh, it’ll do. I used this guide to hand-churn my ice cream.
I’ll definitely be on the lookout for an ice cream maker at the thrift store so we can have homemade ice cream regularly. 🙂
An important component to our meal plan is breakfast. We used to just say “Whatever” and eat what we could find, but that led to fast food breakfasts and going hungry. Not fun!
So now we plan for breakfasts, most of which are pre-assembled. I found this gorgeous recipe for shakshouka and had to make it.
Shakshuka is a dish with eggs poached in a tomato and red pepper sauce. We won’t be poaching our eggs on weekday mornings, so I’ll just make fried eggs instead. I went ahead and pre-cooked the tomato-red pepper sauce and froze it for breakfast this week. Recipe here.
Since installing insulation in our house last weekend, I’m proud to report that we can now leave the A/C set to 77 instead of 74. We got a whopping $200 electricity bill for last month, so we’re praying that the insulation saves us in the coming hottest months of the year.
Curse you, Texas!
But yeah, the insulation was still totally worth the money.
DIY Beeswax cling wrap update
A lot of you were intrigued by the beeswax cling wraps I made last week, so here’s an update on them!
In short: they’re cool and they work. 🙂
I use my beeswax wraps to replace Saran wrap and Ziplocs when it makes sense. For example, I used it to wrap up the cauliflower (pics below) and to cover our potato salad before serving.
Wrapping stuff is easy: You just hold your hands down on the waxy surface to mold it to the shape of whatever you’re covering. It does take more time than plastic, but I really prefer this method.
Single-use plastic stuff is expensive and awful for the environment, so why not limit our use of it when we can?
If you want to make your own beeswax wraps, I used this tutorial. It took like, five minutes, so it’s not a big production or anything. 🙂
Trenchin’ Ain’t Easy
We’re so thrilled to build a food forest in our yard. Unfortunately that means a lot of watering, though. Mr. Picky Pincher spends at least 30 minutes each day watering our trees (the raised beds are on a timed system he installed).
He wanted to install a similar system for our trees that would save time and ensure regular watering. Last week he laid the tubing and this weekend the poor guy buried some of the tubing.
It’s a lotta work but burying the tubing will save him a lot of time and avoid damage to the watering system.
As part of our Saturday adventures, we checked out a local game arcade. We dug around the house and found $4 in quarters to play the arcade games. We had a really fun time! I tried to beat my high score on Galaga and failed miserably.
It was a fun chance to get out of the house and we spent “found money” on it, so I call that a win. 🙂
We had a literal “cat nap” on Saturday after grilling.
Oh hey! Guess who started killing baby birds? I was on a conference call and Zap jumped onto the window ledge. I had no idea what was in his mouth until he started thwacking it against the window. Mind you, I was on a video call, so I had to keep my cool instead of shouting “OHHHHH MY GOD OH NOOOO nononononoooo…”
I had to leave Zap outside until he would surrender the bird. He wanted to bring me a gift, so I guess it was nice of him.
But for every asshole moment he has a tender moment like this one where we cuddle. D’aww.
“My fancy foot!”
Zap wouldn’t stop sitting on my computer, so I wrapped him in my jacket to make a Purrito. It was supposed to be a punishment but he seemed to enjoy himself.
Sleepy cat. 🙂
We want to know: How did you spend or save money this weekend?