Frugal Savings Week 29 – 2014

I am getting more accustomed with balancing my new out-the-house-work and homework, so I got quite some things done this week.

I made a start with my blackberry vinegar, which I made with home made white wine vinegar. I hope to make about 5 liters so I can give this vinegar as gift to family and friends. I get up really early in the morning and pick the blackberries which are ripe. It is not much yet but enough for making a liter of vinegar at the time.

I started vin de noix, a sweet wine made from green walnuts. It is not a cheap home made wine but it is fun to make. I made it with one liter vodka (13 euro), 1 kilo sugar (0.90 euro) and wine (2.33 for 1 liter) and I need 5 liters. The total amount of vin de noix will be approximately 7 liter. The costs per liter are 3.50 euro. That is when I count the most expensive ingredient: the vodka. I am lucky that my mom gives me 1 or 2 liters in exchange for some elderberry tincture and some blackthorn cordial. I think she wants a bottle of 2 of the wine port as well.

I got 4 (!) old jute postal bags and I will make them into a new slipcover for my couch. I already got 2 more so I think I will have enough. I will wash them and get started soon, I hope.

There were 2 small bags with potatoes left and I did can them. I love home canned potatoes because they are so versatile and convenient when I come home after work and want an healthy meal without being in the kitchen for 1 hour or more. I use them to make garlicky potato soup, oven roasted rosemary potatoes just to name somethings.

It is quite warm here so a lot of fruit and vegetables are not keeping up that well. I had about 2 kilo´s tomatoes left and I made 2 jars of 500 ml of roasted tomato ketchup. Better then throwing the tomatoes away!

Another thing I experimented with is eggplant. I bought some eggplants when they were on sale. I cut them into 1/4 inch slices and sprinkled them generously with salt and put them in my fruit press. I pressed the eggplants for a couple of days and tightened the press twice a day. When there was almost no water left, I got the eggplants out of the press and peeled them of each other. I put the slices in a large jar and topped it with home made wine vinegar. After a couple of days I put them in their final jar and put them on olive oil. This is an Italian way of preserving eggplants. It brightens up your salads!

Finally finished with the ‘last’ onions and made another batch of onion marmalade. It is so nice I spoon it on everything, well, almost everything.

Next couple of weeks I will be quite busy with inventory of my home canned food and knowing what I still have to can. I make a list with what I still have on the shelves and what I think I need. With that list it is easy to look for sales. For example: we like canned green beans so I always want at least 60 jars in the pantry, approximately 1 per week and a couple extra jars. I know that I am already low on jars, so I will order some more this week.

Frugal Savings Week 15 – 2014

In the perfect world I would be dancing and singing while doing my chores without any flaws, mistakes or bad luck. Unfortunately I don’t live in such a world. But I do like to sing while I do my chores, dancing only on occasion. Last Saturday when I published the Frugal Savings posts I went to the supermarket to get some strawberries because I knew they were on sale that day. When I came at the counter the strawberries where priced down to 45 euro cents per pound. I bought 45 kilos for 40 euros. I started immediately with dehydrating but I wasn’t able to dehydrate all the boxes because the strawberries where in a worse state then I could see in the shops. Terrible waste but I was able to manage to get most of the strawberries done. They will be fantastic as a snack or in our granola.

breakfast dehydrated strawberries

Home made dehydrated strawberry granola on raw milk yogurt

Every Friday I get my 20 liters raw milk straight from the farmer and did my normal routine. I skimmed of the milk and put the cream in the kitchen aid (yes I cheat) and make butter. But for some reason the cream didn’t turn into butter. I probably I should have let the cream sour a bit more and then make the butter. But I didn’t and ended up with a weird fluid with very small parts of yellow butter in it. I threw it out.
Then I made my cheese. I wanted to make a hard Gouda cheese. I was almost ready to put the cheese in the mold then something came up and I had to leave the cheese. When I returned the cheese was too cold to be pressed. I had a big pan full of crumbly cheese parts. I just put it into a plastic container and into the fridge. I made pizza today and crumbled on the crumbles and the pizza turned out very tasty.

I bought quite a lot of vegetable plants at a nursery, some plants which I wasn’t able to plant but I wanted to eat this or next year. We love artichokes so I bought some. I also bought some rhubarb, my other one died last winter.

I had a bake session: rye whey bread, 5 spice sweet bread, whole wheat plum newtons, granola with our dehydrated strawberries and a lemon, Rosemary and yogurt cake.

This Saturday we went to a flea market (again… the season started and I love flea markets). I bought a couple of kilo of home spun wool for 2 euro. I think it will be enough for a sweater for myself. I love the colour of home spun wool. We bought some books, even a new Gordon Ramsey cookbook. A total of 11 books for 3 euros (the new Ramsey book included!). My youngest bought a bead loom for 20 cents. We bought 2 bird cages for a total of 5 euros. The children have now a small parakeet and they are very happy with their little friend.

five spice sweet bread

the house smelled wonderful after baking this five spice sweet bread

It was a strange week with a lot of unexpected things. Let’s see what next week will bring!

handspun wool

Hand spun wool on the flea market for only 2 euro