Necessity is the mother of… creativity?

So, I’m playing a little game.  As December found us with over $1500 in unplanned expenses (3 cats to be spayed, 2 new thermal windows, a chimney rebuild–and a partridge in a pear tree!), not to mention a modest Christmas (Socks!  Everyone is getting socks!), I decided to see how long I could go without going to the grocery store.

Now, one thing you have to understand about me:  I hate to shop, but I love grocery shopping!  Nothing pleases me more than perusing the Kroger weekly circular, matching coupons to sales, and then finding mushrooms marked down to $1 to boot, and our fully stocked deep freeze and bulging pantry are a testament to how overly blessed we are.  While I’m sure we have at least 2 of everything a good pantry should contain, there’s always that one little thing lacking to round out the meal.

So this is where the challenge comes in.  Yes, we could eat macaroni and cheese until pay day, but the guilty gourmet in me cringes at the thought of it.  My mother was a 4-H-er in high school and never put a meal on our table that didn’t have the proper balance of meats, starches, and a green and orange vegetable.  So while my husband is perfectly happy to have me pull out a frozen pizza and call it a meal, I have my mother’s voice in my head neurotically yelling “Make a nice salad to go with it!”  The only thing that stops me is knowing full well that my husband will not eat a side salad with his pepperoni pizza.  A side of Dos Equis perhaps, but no cattle food.  I would actually make our own pizza and add veggies to get some vitamins in him, but here’s the kicker:  I have a lot more in my pantry and freezer than I do in my crisper.  So I’m going to have to balance pacing-the-fresh-stuff-so-we-have-it-when-there’s-no-other-suitable-side-dish with use-it-up-before-it-goes-bad.

My last visit to Wal-Mart was the week before Thanksgiving, and that was only to get a few things to send back to Mexico with my mother-in-law.  I think this challenge was brewing even before the big feast as my mother and I decided it would be a sin (literally) to go out and stock up for one special meal that would only be consumed by four and a half people.  (Jhenny sees mealtime as “I have a captive audience to entertain, thus food takes second place” time, so I’m only counting her as a 1/2 eater.)  Thus, we planned the Thanksgiving meal around what we already had in our freezer/pantry/crisper and were just as thankful.  Maybe more so.

 

A lazy Saturday…

As my fabulous husband often has to work Saturdays, I take advantage of the whole bed to sleep diagonally for a few extra hours and appropriate all the pillows.  This morning I was so looking forward to a lazy Saturday.

Would I start putting up the Christmas decorations?
Would I make a batch of fig jam with the gallon ziplock of frozen figs that escaped my last jam session?
Would I rid the garden of the last reminders of the summer’s harvest?

The only thing I knew for sure was that I’m totally worthless until I’ve had my coffee, bread, and a weekly dose of The Pioneer Woman.  During the week, we make coffee in our sad, but sound, thrift store coffee maker.  On the weekends, though, we splurge and bring out one of my Spanish stove-top espresso makers.  There’s nothing like the sound of liquid joy bubbling up to the top of the pot, patiently waiting for me to heat the milk.  (Thank you, Bella!)

  

Coffee on the way…                                          The pour

 

When all was said and done, the last crumb nibbled, the last drop slurped, reality slowly set in: 4 gallons of milk to pasteurize, 3 loads of laundry to do, and a house waiting to be cleaned.  Ah, well, maybe next week…