Eating for Free

Even people who know me in a very superficial way know that I am thrifty.  Yesterday I was quite excited when I discovered that not only did Safeway have grass-fed beef for $5, but there were coupons attached to several of the packages for $2.50 off.  And I hate waste and try very hard (with varying results) to avoid it.  At Christmas I snag all the bows from packages and use them again.  I even fold up the tissue paper to save.  I have grown two pineapples from the plant I got when I planted the top from a pineapple I bought at the store.

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This morning I went out in the garden to see what I could pick to eat.  I was thinking I might cut some kale and make chips, which are always a family favorite.  But, as I was walking along, I noticed that there was a lot of the weed cress growing.  It’s edible, so I started cutting it when I found it.  Then I realized that there was a LOT of lambs’ quarters growing in one of my vegetable beds. Lambs’ Quarters is a winter green that’s quite mild tasting.  It looks like it’s so tender that even a slight frost would kill it.  But they were not in a protected area and had survived the snow, ice and just general frost that we’ve had this winter.  And I didn’t plant either of these plants.  The best I can figure, the lambs’ quarters went to seed in a different bed, got pulled up and thrown in the compost, and then sprouted when the compost was spread on this bed.  So, tonight’s salad was totally free.  It cost me nothing, but was very, very tasty.  Doesn’t this look yummy?dscn2332

Do you ever have left-overs that aren’t enough to really use again?  When I do, I toss them in a pot in my freezer.  When I steam or microwave vegetables, I add the water to the pot.  (It’s got lots of vitamins!)  If I use up a bottle or can of something like tomatoes, I rinse it out and throw the water in the pot.  After left-overs have been in the fridge long enough that I can tell they aren’t going to get eaten, I throw them in the pot as well.  Then when the pot is full, I pull it out to thaw.  Then I throw it all in a kettle on the stove and give it a good boil.  Voila!  Soup!  I call it “Musgo Soup.”  (After a week in the fridge, everything “musgo.”)  I made a big pot today.  Sometimes it needs a bit more liquid, and that was the case today.  Instead of adding water or using some chicken broth, today I pulled some turkey broth out of the freezer to add.  Now this broth was made by boiling the turkey carcass from Christmas.  It’s rich and tasty and free.  The only cost is the electricity I use to cook it.  So it was the perfect addition to my free soup.  This will be my lunch for next week.  Yum!dscn2333

I’m still watching out for ways to eat for little or no money.  I feel so clever and accomplished when I can feed my family with just a little bit of work and no money at all.  Smug even.

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