I have rethought my approach to the challenge. I decided to not fret about how much I've spend, and instead focus on budgeting to the end to meet the goal. We have a solid stock of food already prepared, so now money is just spent to fill in missing items for the week. I've re-set my weeks so that Thursday is my new Monday - the challenge ends on a Wednesday so I've budgeted out weekly what we can spend. We get $11.63 every week, and there are now 9 more weeks to go.
I over-spent by about 40 cents 2 weeks ago, this past week I was under by 3 cents. I've always been very good at forcing myself into a budget, I had a lot of credit card debt at one time and managet to pay it, my house, and my car all off. I suppose this is part of the reason I am successful at seelf-employment, my ability to really buckle down when I need to.
At family dinner on Thursday I realized that I may be a rarity in this ability. Although I don't for a moment believe I should be the winner of this challenge, the possibility exists that I might actually win. Everyone else at family dinner indicated that they had a pile of unsorted reciepts, and they were afraid to tally them all up.
Hey, family! Knowledge is empowerment! Find out where you stand and make a plan moving forward!
We had a pot luck dinner. I brought chicken soup. I don't mind tooting my own horn, it was delicious. I am amazed at how easy some things are to cook, once you get the hang of them. To make the soup I used the stripped bones from a 5lb bag of drumsticks I dismantled. I broke the bones, added an onion and covered them with water. Into the crock pot for 8hrs on low, and the stock was ready. It is so hearty that it will solifiy into gravy in the refridgerator. I picked the bits of meat left on the bones and set them aside, then cooked and cut up a potato and some carrots in the microwave. The meat bits and vegetables were added to the stock. Every time I make pierogies there is some dough left over, and I roll this dough out on my Pasta Queen into noodles. I added some home-made noodles and my dinner contribution cost literally pennies.
We had a bit of trade after dinner I took maybe 10 or 12 dozen pierogies with me, and shared them with Therese and the Jacksons. Kathy brought me 6 cans of peeled tomatoes and some frozen herbs in olive oil, and Therese gave me the turkey carcass, less the breast meat. The turkey borke down into; 22oz cooked meat, 5oz skin, 16oz bone for soup (made roughly a quart of soup stock), and a pile of scraps. The scraps consisted of everything that wasn't meat or large bones. I covered them in water and put on a back burner of the stove and let them simmer while I made pierogies on Saturday. I expected to cook a lot of fat off of them. After some hours of simmering I drained the liquid and discarded the rest. I was surprised that there was maybe a tablespoon of fat and the rest was gelatin (about 10 fl oz.) I'll post the story of the gelatin stock shortly. Back to family dinner, I took some unwanted leftovers home as well There were some mixed fresh vegetables and a small container of parmesan cheese. Therese had gotten some free produce and shared with me some white sweet potatoes and apples.
Saturday I ended up cooking all day, though I did not set out to do so at the beginning of the day. I stripped the turkey carcass apart and made soup stock out of the turkey bones. As mentioned above the erroneous bits were cooked down into gelatin and fat. I also made pierogies to replenish my stores. I only made a half-batch of filling (2-1/2lbs of potatoes to 1/2lb cheese). I was in an...experimental mood. I made some alternate fillings for pierogies. First I came up with the 'turkey dinner' pierogi, filled with potatoes and cheese, turkey, and a small slice of bagel to simulate stuffing. They are fantastic topped with gravy. The second I made using the white sweet potatoes. I don't like sweet potatoes. Jessica does so I thought I'd make a trial batch. I tasted one and it was, well, like eating a sweet potato. Jessica was indifferent to them, they were in need of something. After I made the rest of the potato and cheese pierogies I had a lot of dough left, so I made a second trial. I added cinnamon to the sweet potato, and added some sugar to the sour cream. As I've said, I don't like sweet potatoes, but these were delicious. Our friend Jeff would disagree, but that is because Jeff hates freedom and everything else delicious. Jessica siad they should be fried. I have plans for the future to do just that. I also baked a few to see how they would come out. I think this dough might make acceptable pizza rolls, we'll see.