Tuesday, February 01, 2011

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again...

Today was a day of unsuccessful attempts! It's okay though. I'm working towards my goals and if I can't achieve them right away...well, try, try again!!

I attempted to make my second batch of yogurt. I tried to use my own yogurt as the starter. Perhaps it was too old? Perhaps I didn't use enough? I was so excited for it, I even went out and bought a chinois (aka bouillon strainer). I had read that the chinois was much easier to use than cheese cloth. It did appear to be so, however...my yogurt? Not so successful. I do not know what went wrong. I tried several different things to see if I could salvage it, but no such luck. The only thing that really irritates me is now I have to go and buy more milk. :( So, I will have to try again! I hope this next time I can use my chinois!

Never trust a woman armed with a chinois.
Failed yogurt...sad face.
I also had one other failure this month that I am certain I can rectify for the next. I had previously told you readers that I was going to be listing my grocery expenses for a month. A promise I intended to keep. Being the beginning of February today, my list is due! I did not make my goal of $200. This was not due to food, rather the other items I had to purchase in order to make, carry, store and heat this food. I am quite certain Chris Farrell would call this frugal investments! Those are all investments that I will not have to buy again. I did look for the Pyrex dishes second hand, but was unable to find one. I did not see a chinois either, but honestly, I had no idea what one looked like, so I couldn't have known what to look for. This next month, I am certain that I can pay less than $200 for all of my groceries...and I will list everything for you guys to see! :)

Date Groceries Cost

01/17/11 Cheese Cloth 1.99
01/17/11 32oz Castile Soap 14.39
01/17/11 Lemon Essential Oils 5.29
01/18/11 Groceries 42.05
01/20/11 Dry Roasted Peanuts 3.59
01/20/11 Apple Juice 2.89
01/23/11 Half and Half 4.89
01/26/11 Reynold's Tinfoil 2.24
01/26/11 Freezing Baggies 1.75
01/26/11 3 Cans Diced Tomato 4.32
01/26/11 Scott's Paper Towels 9.28
01/26/11 Birdseye Green Beans 0.98
01/26/11 Birdseye Corn 0.98
01/26/11 Hershey's Drops 4.38
01/26/11 Chicken Leg 1/4s 3.32
01/26/11 Lady Speedstick 2.49
01/26/11 Colgate Toothpaste 1.74
01/26/11 Everybody's Nuts Pistachios 1.5
01/26/11 Pantene Shampoo and Cond. 5.98
01/26/11 Carrots 0.79
01/26/11 Celery 1.39
01/26/11 Blackberries 1.98
01/26/11 Roundy's Skim Milk 3.49
01/26/11 2 Bags Kraft Shred Cheese 4.78
01/26/11 Large Bag String Cheese 6.98
01/26/11 2 Boxes Ronzoni Pasta 1.7
01/28/11 Bella Olive Oil – Large 25.99
01/28/11 Hunt's Tomato Paste 0.85
01/28/11 Green Pepper 1.19
01/28/11 Red Pepper 1.85
01/28/11 2 Pyrex Containers 14.88
01/31/11 Yogurt 0.99
01/31/11 Chinois 59.27


This month's investment pieces included the chinois (pricey but I think it will be worth it), 2 Pyrex containers for taking food to work, olive oil (A giant one which should last me for a while. I also found much cheaper olive oil at Trader Joe's for next time. Live and learn!), baggies and tinfoil. I recognize this list starts on the 17th as well, so this month will be a much better measure than the last month.

Despite my inability to reach my goal this month, I am excited for the next month to see how well that I am able to do! I know that this is just my first month and first step to becoming more thrifty! I look at my failure as part of the learning curve. I've learned some great things this first month and they are tools to be able to get even more thrifty during this next month!

Now...to figure out where I went wrong on the yogurt!


  1. Hi, I saw your blog via Already Pretty. I am obsessed with homemade yogurt, and I couldn't resist giving you some advice. It looks to me like maybe your yogurt was not kept warm enough while it was culturing. Lactobacilli like to be 80-100 degrees Fahrenheit. I put mine in the oven with the oven light on to culture, and it has made a big difference in getting consistent results. Another thing to watch out for is that the bacteria don't like to be shaken around, so try to move the bowl as little as possible. (Keeping it in the oven is good for that too-there are no drafts, and you don't have to move it around on the counter or anything.) I do find that sometimes my homemade yogurt gets a little too old to be a good starter, but usually it's fine if it's less than a month old. Good luck on becoming a yogurt maker! Homemade yogurt is so delicious and a lot cheaper than store yogurt. I love to have a bowl (or three) right after it has cultured, while it is still warm. It's great with chopped pistachios and a little honey. I just made myself hungry.

  2. Hey Evelyn! Thanks for the advice! Yeah, I know it has to be kept at 100 degrees. I have a gas stove, so normally it is at that temperature I believe. Perhaps it wasn't as warm as I thought! :) Maybe I shook it too much! Note to self: no more shaking! ;) Thanks for reading and for the advice! I did mine with honey and pureed blueberries! YUM!

  3. Anonymous2:10 PM

    In all fairness I don't think you should count your bathroom essentials (toothpaste, shampoo, deoderant)as part of your $200 grocery budget. I think they should get their own monthly budget. I also think $200 is very do-able. Justin and I go grocery shopping once a month and usually spend around $200. There are always of course other things that we pick up here and there during the month (bread, milk, etc.) but $200 is a good budget. Eventually after you get all your kitchen gadgets purchased and they are not part of your budget I think you'll find yourself even going under $200 a month with no problem! Good plan to track your expenses though so you can see what you are spending money on during the month. Heather