So the repair guy was here last night, and it was not the cheapo repair we thought. In fact, it still isn't fixed since he replaced all the wiring and the control panel and then sees the fuse to the motor is blown. He is bringing a fuse today, and if that works we will get away with only having to pay what a cheap new dishwasher would cost. If the motor is blown...and that would really suck since the dishwasher is not that old.....we simply cannot afford to fix it right now and we will be washing dishes pioneer style. In the scheme of things, not the worst thing to ever happen to us, but it does seem like we have had a lot of really rough breaks recently. I am thankful we can afford the repair if it is just the things we know of, although it will make us a touch strapped for the next few weeks.....which leads me to.....
The joy of pantry cooking!
One of the reasons I have an entire room dedicated to a pantry is because I remember times in college and early in our marriage when we couldn't afford to buy food. Having many little mouths to feed, I need to always know I have plenty of food on hand. We may not have extra cash that week for fun stuff, but they will get to eat. My mudroom is our pantry and there are two big shelving units plus an extra full sized fridge and upright freezer. They aren't packed, but they are plenty full of food options, and being that I am known for shopping on the cheap (7 big boxes of name brand cereal for $8 bucks this week) I can supplement as we go. Now here is the thing, we have money for the next few weeks, probably more than enough, but whenever I get stressed about money, I dig in my heels and start to use what is on hand. So some of my favorites that we will use this week include.
Steel cut oats, they are DIRT cheap and filling. I can get a pound for under $2 bucks and to feed the entire family we only use a cup and a half. I add raisins, apples, etc to the oats and everyone is very happy.
Cereal, I can always find cereal on the cheap, but my family eats a ton of it. The kids can easily go through two big bowls for breakfast, so while I can find great deals on healthy choices (like Kashi) they can kill a box a morning! However, overall it is not a bad deal when you pay $2 or less per box. Milk is expensive here since I get it from the farm, but it is worth it. Plus Gray uses rice milk, not cheap, but necessary.
Eggs and toast, eggs are really inexpensive, even when I buy the ones at the farm they are only $3 a dozen. The kids eat about half a dozen at breakfast and I give them toast and sometimes yogurt and fruit with it. Bread is homemade or store bought whole wheat, I always have some in the freezer. Yogurt is from the farm, but we buy it by the quart, so it isn't too expensive. Fruit is mostly home canned or fresh and local.
We get creative here. Quesadillas are a favorite, and I buy my cheese in 9 lb bags! The kids also like sandwiches, even PB&J, yogurt with fruit and soft pretzels, cheese and crackers, leftovers, homemade pizzas, etc. We use up whatever we have for lunch, and sometimes it is just a mish mash of choices. The best part about lunch is you can use up odds and ends.
Here is the thing, we eat well. We buy our beef from the farm, so it is really good beef. Right now we still have a bunch on hand, but we will need to place an order in the fall, so I am really hoping the hubby gets some serious OT since it costs about $500 out of pocket and we are spoiled! I also buy chicken when on sale, so we have an assortment of items. This week we are trying to use up odds and ends. One item I have in there is frozen honey ham and a ham bone. This will make two meals at least, and this week I plan to use the ham bone. I think tonight we wll have navy beans made with the ham bone, salad and homemade bread. I am not sure we can get any cheaper than that! We also use what comes in the CSA and build off of that, simple summer meals can be grilled veggies, steak salad, BBQ chicken and veggies, etc. On item that will make our menu this week is BBQ chicken with corn on the cob since it is so cheap right now. I will buy extra, use the corn to make corn fritters and we will have chili later in the week.
So now that you are bored, I am off to finish making breakfast for the tribe.