Eat it up, make it due, wear it out.
(John) Calvin Coolidge
Last week the aroma floating through our house was wonderful, with its mix of spices and honestly anticipation. Let me explain.
I have had a craving for a turkey and mayo sandwich for weeks now. I do know that I can buy them anywhere, at any time of year, in a variety of local restaurants but I wanted to be able to have one whenever I wanted, and as many as I wanted, the way I wanted them.
Well, unless you live in Ontario Canada you may not understand the decision making that had to go into this. You see I would have to cook this turkey during the day, while My Hero was at work so that we could have it for supper. That meant mid peak, and high peak Hydro electricity rates. High peak rates are 18 cents per kilowatt hour. Mid peak is 13.2 cents per kilowatt hour. In comparison, if I cooked it after 7 pm or in the middle of the night it would cost 8.7 cents per kilowatt hour. You may be lost by now but all you really need to know is that the people in Ontario pay the highest electricity rates of any province in Canada, and some have reported in North America.
I know right about now, you are thinking how cheap can you get? For me, it is all about a challenge to myself and my secret power struggle with Ontario Hydro. I take pride in the fact that I have figured out how to keep our hydro rates down. Basically, I do most things after 7 pm or on the weekends. Laundry, vacuuming, and baking, etc. and etc. My Hero does all his farm welding and machinery repair stuff on weekends also. We have managed to keep our rates lower than we had actually paid in 2005. I was shocked to see that. Mind you, that was a full lifestyle change and shift of our way of using time.
I had to have that turkey sandwich so, I threw caution and my frugal ways aside and cooked that bird for six hours at 18 cents and 13 cents a kilowatt hour. I knew it would so be worth it in the end. I promised myself I would then need to figure out a way to make that turkey last all week. Hopefully, last into next week with meal prep to make up the difference, at least in my own head. Yes, it bugs me to throw hard earned money away on things that should only take a bit of creativity to save on. I grew up knowing the value of a dollar and learned and appreciated watching my grandparents (who went through the great depression) and my own parents, (who had a lot of children) stretch a dollar. It is built into me to figure out a way, in essence, to “Stretch that turkey”.
It was a given that we would have a full turkey dinner that night, with all those traditional trimmings and yes, it was delicious. There were turkey sandwiches anytime I wanted, and lunches for My Hero. Then, there was a delicious turkey vegetable soup that simmered for hours the next day. That turkey had already fed us for a few days. Then I had to get creative.
A turkey and very old cheese grilled sandwich accompanied the leftover turkey soup on the fourth day of that turkey. Those times between those suppers, and turkey omelets for breakfast thing, I had many toasted or none toasted turkey sandwiches to satisfy my cravings.
On Saturday and with only a casserole dish full of bits of turkey leftovers I pulled up the happy to have internet cookbook. It is a wonderful tool. I had two butternut squash that I had forgotten down in the basement so I had to cook them. I was feeling lazy and found out through Google that I need only scrub them, and then put them both WHOLE on a baking pan with water puncture and cook for an hour at 350. No worries, it was off peak at 8.7 cents a kilowatt hour. It worked perfectly. I cut them in half and scooped out the squash. I made two dozen squash muffins while I was at it.
I then Googled these words; leftover turkey, butternut squash and rice casserole and then a long list of many recipes popped up. I love Google. I picked one recipe and cooked the rice and threw all the ingredients together. It was a large casserole and should last a couple of days.
I think that turkey and that extra electricity has certainly paid for itself. I also had the forethought to stick one of the breasts in the freezer for later. Stretch the turkey, oh yes I did.
So Ontario Hydro you do not scare me, and I finally can say that I stretched a turkey. Maybe now, I will be brave enough to bake my yearly Christmas cake, which I missed. Possibly now to be named Easter cake during the middle of the day for three hours.
I had forgotten how much fun it is to be a frugal cook. Hydro be darned.