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What a weekend! We managed to take a cooking class, brew beer, and cook tons of amazing food. See how we tried to save money by using our weekend hours wisely.
How did you save money this weekend? Chat in the comments!
It’s beer, dear
Mr. Picky Pincher brewed an Russian Imperial stout on Saturday. He loves making beer, and it’s definitely a challenging process! I stepped in to help just a few times and my brain couldn’t keep up.
He’s found a lot of success fermenting in the temperature-controlled environment of his DIY kegerator. I guess the Texas heat is just too much for the beer! Hopefully in a few weeks we’ll have a mighty tasty stout to put on draught in our own home. 🙂
On Friday night we went to a sausage-making class at Central Market. I’ve been to two of their baking classes, but this was my first savory cooking course. Since Mr. Picky Pincher has been getting into making sausage, we figured a proper class would be a great way to expand our knowledge while having a fun date night. 🙂
And fun was definitely had!
We cooked Italian sausage, chorizo, and breakfast sausage. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t cover stuffing sausage in the class, but it was still a lot of fun. There were quite a few characters at the class, so the people-watching was just as good as the class itself.
The great thing about the class is that we got to eat our homemade goodies in a three course meal afterwards. The best part? The meal was paired with beer!
In the first course we ate littleneck clams with potatoes and chorizo. This meal was paired with an unusual Spanish beer, Estrella Damm, which went with the meal beautifully.
I cooked the clams and I was TERRIFIED, y’all. I’d never eaten clams before, much less cooked them. They’re tricky little buggers, too. I was beyond excited when we sat down to eat them.
As soon as I spooned a clam into my mouth, I looked at Mr. Picky Pincher and said, “Are they supposed to be like this?”
To me, the clam was like eating shoe leather. Everyone assured me that the clams were normal, and this is just how they were. Apparently I hate clams. I piled mine onto hubster’s plate, which he ate with gusto.
The second course was an escarole white bean soup with Italian sausage; this was paired with a double bock. This was soooo good. It was my first time eating escarole, which is a type of bitter green. We fell in love with this hearty dish and will definitely make it later!
The final course was breakfast sausage with biscuits and gravy, paired with a saison. At this point we were incredibly full of food. I choked down a few bites of this amazing breakfast sausage but that’s all I could muster.
All in all, we paid $130 for the two of us. It was pricey, but we had a fun night of food and learning. We’ll be able to apply the lessons learned here and make some badass sausage. 🙂
We meant to make sausage with a giant pork shoulder we bought this weekend, but time got away from us. We plan on grinding the sausage during the week instead.
Phew! We did more cooking this weekend in preparation for our first month of monthlong meal prep.
I needed fluffy yeast rolls to make tasty Italian sandwiches as a freezer meal. I used my famous one-hour yeast roll recipe to whip these puppies up during my lunch hour earlier this week.
I let the rolls cool before slicing them in half and saving them for weekend sandwich assembly.
English muffin bread
Instead of buying English muffins for this month’s breakfast dishes, I opted to make my own. I have a hit-or-miss track record with actual English muffins, so I used this recipe for Frugal Girl’s English muffin bread instead.
This was a super simple loaf of bread to make! I let it cool before cutting it into slices and freezing it.
We needed biscuits for the month, so I made a double batch of biscuits. I also like to cut these in half before freezing them.
Mr. Picky Pincher was inspired to make a batch of his famous ‘kraut. He used his recipe, but this time it’s fermenting in the kegerator.
Many past batches of kraut were spoiled because of our hot Texas temps, so we hope that this temperature-controlled environment will make it taste amazing.
We’re eating crepes later next week. While I could make these fresh in the morning, it’s so much easier to make them and freeze them. I’ve had issues with lumps in my crepe batter. It wasn’t until I found this Alton Brown recipe that I realized I could whip up the batter in the blender! I used my nifty Vitamix (Amazon link here) and no lumps were in my batter.
Alton Brown recommended chilling the batter for 24 hours, so I’ll make these crepes on Monday night and freeze them.
I’ve been looking for healthyish snacks to have prepared around the house. Chips and chocolate are my Achilles heel, so I made sure I prepped at least one good snack for the week.
I did a revamped version of an old favorite: apricot bites.
I bought bulk Turkish apricots, which are darker and not as sweet as normal apricots. I topped the apricots with a cream cheese and balsamic vinegar mixture for tang and flavor, topping everything with an almond for crunch. I did pipe the cream cheese on there for fanciness. 🙂
These are so friggin’ good. I’ll be shocked if they make it through the weekend! Even Mr. Picky Pincher loves them.
The cream cheese component isn’t crazy-healthy, so next time I make these, I’ll substitute the cream cheese with yogurt cheese.
Yogurt & yogurt cheese
Yogurt time! I used my homemade yogurt recipe to whip up a batch of yogurt.
I needed yogurt cheese, so I let one half of the yogurt strain for 24 hours. It thickens into a loose cheese that’s similar to goat cheese, but with probiotics!
DIY around the house
We installed a new water heater last weekend. While it set us back $750, the ability to take a hot shower has been priceless!
Anyhoo, Mr. Picky Pincher made a tweak to the water heater this weekend. He installed the pressure relief valve discharge pipe. In regular English, this means that, if we get another leak, the water will drain outside instead of in our house.
Mr. Picky Pincher put together an ingenious office-friendly breakfast hack I wanted to share with y’all. He packs single-serving portions of oatmeal in Mason jars with all his favorite fixin’s – brown sugar, coconut, and raisins.
When he wants oatmeal at work, all he has to do is add hot water! Boom – an instant homemade breakfast to satisfy cravings.
I’m making our grocery bill my betch this month. I’ve found that it’s important to not only have frozen meals on hand, but snacks, too. This weekend I cooked a few meaty snacks to help Mr. Picky Pincher stay full at work.
The first one was an old favorite: little Smokies. This is simply cocktail sausages wrapped in strips of croissant dough. I made a mondo-mega batch and froze them.
Second I used my homemade rolls to put together Italian sandwiches. I assembled slices of ham, pepperoni, salami, Swiss cheese, and tomato pesto on the rolls.
I wrapped the sandwiches individually in plastic wrap so they would keep during freezing. They’ll serve as a tasty snack for hubs when he’s hungry at work!
I don’t like roses, but I found something neat during my daily stroll in the yard. Our rose bush is putting on rose hips! I’ve never had so many on one plant before. Many of you are knowledgeable about plant use – how should I use these rose hips? I was thinking of making a tea.
We’re trying to be better about daily cleaning. It’s hard to remember to deep clean, so making it a part of our routine is the easiest way to go.
I filled up a dish wand with part vinegar and part dish soap. We have one in my bathroom and the guest bathroom for wiping down the shower and tub. A few times a week we’ll scrub the tub and showers to keep them squeaky clean.
Goodbye, stubborn soap scum and mold!
Poor little Zaparito had a vet appointment on Friday. It was a simple followup for his ear infection. He’s better now. 🙂 However, he’s still terrified of the vet. He hunkers down onto the scale and WILL NOT move. Don’t worry – when he got home he had lots of treats.
I caught this little bugger watching the sunrise while sitting in my lawn chair. 🙂 Or, I dunno, maybe he was stalking a squirrel. Who knows.
Why I keep going – and you should, too.
I wasn’t sure how to address this, or if I even should.
But I’m not one to be quiet about much, so why not?
The internet can be a mean and cruel place. As a blogger, you’re subjected to an unbelievable amount of scrutiny. Thousands of people read, think, and comment about your life and your money choices.
This past week I found a community that’s been mocking my blog. Although I admit I’m a sensitive snowflake, I’m no stranger to feedback. I crave learning how to make my site better for you guys. If I’m doing something wrong, I want to know!
But for many people online, it’s never about feedback or improvement; it’s about cruel entertainment.
Is my writing the best? Nah.
Is my photography ~awesome?~ Ha. No. Not at all.
I’m a flawed, real human being. When I encounter the meanness of the internet, I admit I’m tempted to say “#&%* this,” and shut my laptop for good.
But I can’t. I have to keep going. I know the journey is rewarding, even though it’s hard. I need to blog because I think it’s fun. I need to blog because we need to track what we eat and spend. I need to blog because I’ve met some of my dearest friends through this site.
The point of this blog is to show the raw side of frugal living. It’s not filtered, Photoshopped, or glossy. I’m not smoothing the wrinkles on my face, cutting the burnt edges off my food, or dusting dirt off Zap’s coat. I’m showing me, and what our life looks like. It’s not perfect or beautiful, but it’s ours, and I love it.
So why am I talking about this at all?
I say this because I want you to keep going, too.
We are all having our struggles. We all face challenges and negativity.
I’m so inspired by hearing your struggles and that, in spite of them, you persevere. Readers struggle with hefty commutes, health costs, meal planning, caring for sick relatives, and so much more. Just when you feel like you’re about to quit, or feel it’s too hard to reach your goals, or can’t deal with other people’s negativity, keep going.
The end is well worth it, my friends. Reach for whatever you’re reaching for, and don’t let anyone convince you to stop.
We want to know: How did you save money this weekend?