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Two dykes, 10 debts, one budget, 14 months [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Two dykes, 10 debts, one budget, 14 months

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um, yeah. (AKA week ???) [Feb. 17th, 2007|01:58 pm]
Two dykes, 10 debts, one budget, 14 months

okayokayigive
It's been a while, I know. I spent November and December finishing holiday quilts for gifts; then in January I officially started back to school. We've had a few things come up that put us a little off schedule. My last-minute (in the world of FAFSA) decision to go back to school meant fronting tutition and book money, on credit - but that will be paid back next week when my student loan is disbursed. Our adventures with a frozen water supply line cost us a few hundred, which we were able to pay in cash - but negatively impacted the debt repayment, as did my recent business trip, for which i needed new clothes, also paid for mostly in cash.

Another way that me going back to school has had a big impact on is our eating habits. The amount of time I need to spend studying has really limited the amount of bulk shopping/bulk cooking i can do, and i end up grabbing something at wawa on thursdays when class starts at 6. mer's been a real trooper, and has picked up my slack with every day cooking, but i've only done one bulk cooking day since i started school. it's definitely hit our food budget.

we both got raises this year, so we're adjusting our monthly budget to pay more any get ourselves back on track. i'll post hard numbers next month after the student loan goes through and everything is back as it should be.
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week 3 [Oct. 23rd, 2006|06:06 pm]
Two dykes, 10 debts, one budget, 14 months

okayokayigive
[Tags|]
[mood |distresseddistressed]

Acquisitions:
-shelves for the sewing room ($9)
-bulk items at swann's

Accomplishments:
-tree skirt for my mom cut, sewn, and halfway bound
-fabric for another holiday project dyed and drying
-reorganized sewing room - got all the boxes of fabric unpacked and put away

Plans:
-decide on gift quilts for dad & meg, mom & al, brad
-start quilt or tree skirt for beth & gabby
-make coffee table covers from old tablecloth
-make our tree skirt
-cover windows with plastic
-transfer balances
-catch up on laundry
-dry apple peels
-pick up lawnmower from bunnyjadwiga
-get rake from ollie's that we forgot
-find a bulk flour source (i stopped baking because i was running low on flour)

Cooking:
-2 loaves potato bread
-2 loaves wheat bread
-6 pizza crusts par-baked and frozen
(recipes forthcoming)

Discoveries:
-Comcast still hasn't shut off our cable...even though we cancelled service 3 weeks ago
-Because of the powder to water ratio, swann's powdered milk is more expensive, per gallon, than the little boxes at redner's

Acquisition ambitions:
-Pressure cooker/canner
-deep fryer
-crock pot
-wok
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recap: week 2 [Oct. 15th, 2006|01:47 am]
Two dykes, 10 debts, one budget, 14 months

okayokayigive
[Tags|]
[mood |draineddrained]
[music |anthony bourdain, no reservations]

Acquisitions:
-enough books and toys at ollie's to get through lauren's birthday, christmas, and easter presents, including an actual *wooden toy*
-ricotta on sale at $1.89/32 oz (clemens, north coventry)
-conditioner for $0.59/15 oz (ollie's)
-shampoo on sale for $0.69/15 oz (thriftway, sanatoga)
-butter on sale for $2/lb (giant, pottstown)
-rain check for mozzarella at $1.99/lb (thriftway, sanatoga)
-30 lbs. pasta on sale for 3 lbs/$1 (thriftway, sanatoga)
-special treat of breyer's ice cream, buy 1 get 2 free (thriftway, sanatoga)

Accomplishments:
-made and put up apple butter from last week's free apples for presents
-froze peels from said apples to be later dried and used in holiday simmer, also for presents
-fixed dripping faucet
-air conditioners taken out
-quilted tree skirt (mom & brian's christmas gift) cut, top sewn, and basted to backing
-finally set up monthly billing for oil
-fixed the address fuck-up at my credit union

Plans:
-finish tree skirt
-dye fabric for custom quilt (another gift)
-decide on gift quilts for dad & meg, mom & al, brad
-start quilt or tree skirt for beth & gabby
-make coffee table covers from old tablecloth
-make our tree skirt
-cover windows with plastic
-transfer balances
-catch up on laundry
-dry apple peels
-make bread
-pick up lawnmower from bunnyjadwiga
-get rake from ollie's that we forgot

Cooking:
-no OAMC this week due to my pain issues

Discoveries:
-Thriftway in Sanatoga kicks ass
-Comcast still hasn't shut off our cable...even though we cancelled service 3 weeks ago

Acquisition ambitions:
-Pressure cooker/canner
-deep fryer
-crock pot
-wok

noise: anthony bourdain, no reservations
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Recap: Week 1 [Oct. 7th, 2006|09:29 pm]
Two dykes, 10 debts, one budget, 14 months

okayokayigive
[Tags|]
[mood |jubilantjubilant]

Acquisitions:
-paper grocery bag's worth of apples, from a co-worker whose daughter got a little over-zealous apple picking: free
-extra memory for my computer, which is an old box from work: free
-trading my OAMC corn muffins for brownies baked by a co-worker with his daughter for a little breakfast variety: free
-new freezer from home depot: 10% off because of dents

Accomplishments:
-12 loads of laundry (I'm behind from when I was traveling, all air-dried except for socks, undies, and linens; used water from humidifier to fill drier
-installed new programmable thermostat (purchased months ago) to keep it warm when I need it and ool when I'm not here

Plans:
-Make coffee table covers from old tablecloth
-Remove air conditioners and cover windows with plastic
-Obtain 0% APR card and transfer balances
-Make apple butter from free apples; can and give away as holiday gifts
-Fix the dripping faucet
-Dry apple peels from free apples (will be combined with other ingredients to make potpourri/simmer for more holiday gifts)

Cooking:
-Made hamburgers one night for dinner; made extra, formed into patties, and froze
(My mom's coming this week, so we're too busy cleaning to do much bulk cooking)

Discoveries:
-evaporated milk at regular price is more expensive than half & half (for coffee)
-WaWa sells the cheapest half & half (so far), at $1.75/qt
-Used dryer sheets can be used as fabric stablilzer (courtesy of the Tightwad Gazette)

Acquisition ambitions:
-Pressure cooker/canner
-Crock pot
-Lawnmower
-Wok


Tomorrow we'll be making a run of errands, where we'll be hitting a bunch of local sales - I'll post prices/locations for anyone local who might be interested.
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Squee!!! [Oct. 5th, 2006|06:17 pm]
Two dykes, 10 debts, one budget, 14 months

okayokayigive
[Tags|]
[mood |bouncybouncy]

We bought a chest freezer last night!

Good timing, too - our fridge freezer is full, I have more bulk cooking to do, and a co-worker gave me a huge bag of apples yesterday.

Plus, we're getting back 10% of our purchase price. (We threw the freezer in the truck, got it home, hauled it in through the back door, unpacked it, and discovered two rather large dents on the side. Mer called Home Despot*, and they're being nice and refunding 10% to us without our having to take the freezer back to the store. Phew.)

*Yes, we bought it new. It's probably the only thing I would buy new right now - but the energy use on new vs. old is worth it. Also, the ones I was able to find on Craigslist were all between $100-200 - we paid $199 - an much, much larger than what we need. Yay for energy savings.
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OAMC Mac & Cheez [Oct. 1st, 2006|08:34 pm]
Two dykes, 10 debts, one budget, 14 months

okayokayigive
[Tags|, ]
[music |Mer's still watching the Matrix]

Dani's (Dad's) Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:
2 lbs macaroni
2 qts milk (powdered, reconstituted)
2 lbs cheese (I prefer sharp cheddar)
1 cup butter
1 - 1 1/2 cups flour
3 cups seasoned breadcrumbs

Equipment:
Very large pot
Two large baking dishes or one aluminum chafer
Whisk, wooden spoon or heavy spatula


Directions:
1. Bring to the boil a sufficient quantity of water to cook 2 lbs macaroni. Salt liberally. Cook pasta until not quite al dente; drain.
2. While pasta is cooking, cube or shred cheese; set aside.
3. Dry inside of pot used to cook pasta. Set over medium-high heat; melt butter in pot. Lower heat to medium. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring, until flour loses the "cereal" smell and turns slightly nutty and medium brown in color.
4. Add milk, slowly at first, stirring constantly, until all milk is incorporated. Raise heat to medium-high and cook until slightly thickened to about the consistency of heavy cream.
5. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until completely incorporated.
6. Add macaroni, a handful at a time, making sure each noodle is thoroughly coated. Pour into baking dishes and top with breadcrumbs.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.

Yield:
Um...two large dishes, one a 13x9 lasagna pan, the other an oval casserole dish. Probably 16 servings total.

Cost:
Macaroni: $1.29
Milk: $0.84
Cheese: $6.18
Butter: $1.15
Flour: $0.05
Breadcrumbs: Unknown
Total cost: $9.51
Serving cost: $0.59

Notes:
This is the ultimate comfort food for me. The unknown cost of the breadcrumbs, which in the future will come from homemade bread, I'm not too worried about. Also, I know I can get much cheaper cheese by shopping around - this is the regular retail price from Redner's. This freezes very well, and if you let it set in the fridge overnight before cutting for freezing, the slices solidify enough that they can be individually wrapped and then all shoved together into a large ziptop bag. Yum.

ETA: This makes a very juicy mac & cheese. I think that next time, to make this stretch farther, I'll use 3 or even 4 pounds of pasta for this quantity of sauce.
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More OAMC Muffins [Oct. 1st, 2006|08:18 pm]
Two dykes, 10 debts, one budget, 14 months

okayokayigive
[Tags|, ]
[music |Mer's watching the Matrix]

Corn Muffins

Ingredients:
3 3/4 cups AP flour
6 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup butter, at room temperature
3 1/3 cups white sugar
6 large eggs
2 cups milk (reconstituted powdered)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp vanilla extract

Equipment:
2 large mixing bowls
Muffin tins, mini-muffin tins, and/or mini-loaf pans
Hand mixer, whisk, spatula
Baking spray, butter wrappers, or oiled paper towel for greasing

Directions:
1. In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cornmeal. Set aside.
2. In second bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix until smooth. Stir in milk and vanilla until well-mixed.
3. Use AB's Muffin Method to combine wet and dry.
4. Grease tins and fill 2/3 full.
5. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven until GBD around the edges: 35 minutes for mini-loaf pans, 25 minutes for muffins and mini-muffins. Cool and remove from trays.

Yield:
I used what pans I had on hand so I could bake everything at once to conserve electricity. This recipe yielded 1 dozen muffins, 4 dozen mini-muffins, and 1 mini-loaf. If that was all muffins, I'd guess 3 dozen muffins total.

Cost:
Flour: $0.19
Milk: $0.21 (not including water used to rehydrate the milk)
Sugar: $0.38
Baking powder: negl.
Butter: $1.15
Eggs: $0.42
Salt: negl.
Oil: $0.50
Cornmeal: I have no idea - I've had it for ages
Vanilla: I have no idea
Total cost: $2.85
Per muffin cost: $.079/muffin (est. 36 full-sized muffins)
Serving cost: $0.16 (2 full-sized muffins)

Notes:
Texture is perfect, flavor is good. They stuck to the pans at first - once Mer yelled at me enough to be patient and let them cool, they came right out, once I got past the sticky crusty muffin-top goodness. I found a spoon very helpful for retrieval. Next time, I plan to make some changes: use bacon fat instead of the vegetable oil (for extra yum, and a cost savings because we usually have bacon fat in the fridge), use homemade vanilla (we were out), and possibly put sprinkles (jimmies) on top if I can find them cheap enough - Starbucks does that, and I love the extra punch it gives.

This batch should last us about a month; I don't expect to eat these every single day.
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OAMC Recipe [Oct. 1st, 2006|06:03 pm]
Two dykes, 10 debts, one budget, 14 months

okayokayigive
[Tags|, ]

Dani's Lasagna

Ingredients:
12 raw lasagna noodles
6 cups red sauce
24 oz. ricotta
1 cup parmesan
3 beaten eggs
3 cups shredded mozzarella

Equipment:
Mixing bowl
13" x 9" pan
Aluminum pan

Directions:
1. In bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan, eggs, and 2 cups mozzarella. Mix until thoroughly combined.
2. Make layers: 1 1/2 cups sauce, 4 noodles, 1 1/2 cups sauce, 1/2 cheese mixture, 4 noodles, 1 1/2 cups sauce, 1/2 cheese mixture, 4 noodles, 1 1/2 cups sauce.
3. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove foil and top with remaining mozzarella. Return to oven; shut off oven and let remaining heat melt the cheese. Serve immediately or portion and freeze.

Yield:
10-12 servings

Cost:
I have no idea, as I made this before I started my price book and I can't find my reciepts from that day. I'll price this out when I can get the info.

Notes:
Even better reheated the next day than fresh. I've made this in the past for dinner and purposely made it a day ahead and re-warmed for service. Freezes very well.
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Not-Quite OAMC Recipe [Oct. 1st, 2006|05:53 pm]
Two dykes, 10 debts, one budget, 14 months

okayokayigive
[Tags|, ]

Mer's Bastardized Porridge - Cranberry Apple

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup butter
3 cups water
2 cups milk
2 pinches salt
3/4 cup chopped dried apples
1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Equipment:
Skillet
Large heavy-bottomed pot
Spatula

Directions:
1. Melt half of the butter in a skillet on medium or medium-high heat. Add one cup of oats and sautee until the butter is absorbed and the oats are GBD and smell nutty. Remove oats to the pot and repeat with remaining butter and oats. (Note: all oats can be done at once in a very large skillet, but they will cook more evenly if done in batches.)
2. In pot, combine toated oats, water, milk, salt, and fruit. Stir to combine. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir once, and re-cover.
3. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring every 10 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the porridge has reached the desired consistency. (Note: be sure to keep an eye on it because it will burn very quickly once it is finished cooking. To avoid this, pay attention to the smell; it will smell smoky before it sticks and starts to burn.)
4. Stir in nuts. Cool and package. Top with brown sugar and dairy if desired before serving.

Yield:
4 servings (2 cups each)

Cost:
Rolled oats: $0.13
Butter: $0.58
Water: negl.
Milk: $0.40 (Mer used whole milk for this)
Salt: negl.
Dried apples: $0.75
Dried cranberries: $0.97
Total cost: $2.83
Serving cost: $0.71, not including brown sugar/dairy toppers

Notes:
I usually add slivered or chopped almonds to this, but I forgot. That would add additional cost. Otherwise, same notes as for Banana Apple Walnut. This particular serving size will probably work for a nice hearty brunch for me, which is great on days when I don't have time for lunch.
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Not-Quite OAMC Recipe [Oct. 1st, 2006|05:28 pm]
Two dykes, 10 debts, one budget, 14 months

okayokayigive
[Tags|, ]

Mer's Bastardized Porridge - Banana Apple Walnut

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup butter
3 cups water
2 cups milk
2 pinches salt
1 cup unsweetened dried bananas
3/4 cup chopped dried apples
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Equipment:
Skillet
Large heavy-bottomed pot
Spatula

Directions:
1. Melt half of the butter in a skillet on medium or medium-high heat. Add one cup of oats and sautee until the butter is absorbed and the oats are GBD and smell nutty. Remove oats to the pot and repeat with remaining butter and oats. (Note: all oats can be done at once in a very large skillet, but they will cook more evenly if done in batches.)
2. In pot, combine toated oats, water, milk, salt, and fruit. Stir to combine. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir once, and re-cover.
3. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring every 10 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the porridge has reached the desired consistency. (Note: be sure to keep an eye on it because it will burn very quickly once it is finished cooking. To avoid this, pay attention to the smell; it will smell smoky before it sticks and starts to burn.)
4. Stir in nuts. Cool and package. Top with brown sugar and dairy if desired before serving.

Yield:
4 servings (2 cups each)

Cost:
Rolled oats: $0.13
Butter: $0.58
Water: negl.
Milk: $0.40 (Mer used whole milk for this)
Salt: negl.
Unsweetened dried bananas: $0.43
Dried apples: $0.75
Walnuts: $1.53
Total cost: $3.82
Serving cost: $0.955, not including brown sugar/dairy toppers

Notes:
Stir gently using a spatula will break up less of the oatmeal and fruit, both of which are delicate. Part of the fun of sauteeing your oatmeal is that it retains more of its texture after cooking. Taste before adding brown sugar.
I'm glad I priced this out, because it's a lot more expensive than I'd like breakfast to be. I think I'll ask Mer to make the following changes in the future: use powdered milk instead of fresh, and use twice or three times as much oatmeal to this amount of fruit and nuts. It will still be on the expensive end of breakfasts, but it's also very filling.
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