Sunday, August 28, 2016

Frugal Happenings 8/28

Hello there my frugal friends!
WOW, here we are again at the end of another month.  This year has just flown by.  A few more days will be September and the 'unofficial' end to summer.  Heck, the holidays will be here before we know it.  I saw Christmas stuff at the store the other day!!!!!!

We sure had quite a weather week.  We did have 3 days that were lovely and we got to have the AC off.  Then the heat, humidity, and RAIN came back with a vengeance!  Wednesday, there were 8 tornados that hit the state and did tremendous damage (thank God no one was killed).  Friday evening we had more terrible storms go through the state, some hitting the same areas as those of Wednesday.
Rain most of the day Saturday.  Luckily, we just had lots of rain and no damage in our immediate area.  Friday there was 2.4" of rain in 1 hour and 15 minutes downtown (10 minutes from us).
Streets were flooded and buildings were flooded.   Luckily it was just our back yard flooded!
I think someone forgot to tell us - IS IT APRIL - not August?  We sure have had the rain.

My frugal week:

  • Got to do  a bit of yard work when the weather was decent - FREE exercise
  • G & I did a tune-up on the lawn mower making it run so much smoother
  • Been picking lots of garden produce
  • Did all laundry including bedding when nice and line dried
  • Baked a ham from the freezer (bargain from Christmas) and used it off and on all week
  • Wanted corn bread one night, but didn't want to heat the house with the oven.  So I made corn bread into pancakes - they were yummy
  • Colored my hair at home.  Used the last of an open dye - got 3 color jobs from it!
  • Dehydrated more squash and dried more tomato skins
  • Stopped at Fresh Thyme and got cantaloupes 2/$1.  They aren't the best but not the worst.  Good for snacks.
  • Stopped by Kroger to look at clearance and got a bunch of pudding mixes for super cheap on mark down.

  • Made a bowl of PayDay candy mix (salted peanuts and candy corn) - tastes like a PayDay candy bar


  • Canned 8 pints of what I am calling sweet Harvest relish (one went straight to frig).  Contained cukes, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, celery, peppers, carrots, and cabbage
  • Canned 6 quarts of salsa
  • Made grape jelly from grapes from freezer (about 2 weeks from harvest).  2 pints and 5 half pints.
  • Froze 10 quarts of green beans
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Meals this week:
Homemade pizza
Ham sandwiches and sliced tomatoes
Soup beans (2X)
Loaded baked potatoes
Chef salad
Leftover night

Snacks were nuts and fruit

How is everyone's gardens doing?  Are you just starting to get good harvests or like us - slowing down on harvest?
How was your frugal week?

I hope you all have a wonderful week (next weekend is a long weekend for many).  May you all be blessed beyond measure and stay safe and healthy!
PEACE

Thursday, August 25, 2016

CANNING TIP

Just a quick canning tip for those who are still in the canning mode:

If you are using a water bath canner - you will need 4 1/2" of water in the canner for 6 - 7 pints jars.
You will need 4" of water in the canner for 6 - 7 quart jars.

This allows for the water to be displaced by the jars and proper coverage for canning without boiling over the pot!

HAPPY CANNING!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

IN THE LONG RUN

We have been talking a lot lately about getting our stockpiles and pantries in order.  There have been recipes to make ahead, and many have shared their reasons for stocking up.

Times are getting really scary.  There is not a week that goes by that there is not some terrorist act in some part of the world, and often times it happens more than once a week.
I know America is a huge goal of those kind of people.  They are attacking so many other countries, and we will be in their sights again soon.
There will be unrest during and after the election - you can bet your bottom dollar on that.  Whether it be home grown or international - terrorism is knocking at our doors.

I for one want to be prepared and I want to be prepared for the long haul. 
I know we have talked about items that last a long time before - but here is a reminder.  I recently read an article about this and thought it was the appropriate to share the info again.


These are items that WILL NOT EXPIRE OR GO BAD if properly stored.

1.  HONEY - honey will never go bad.  It may discolor or crystalize, but it will still be good.  Honey is about the most perfect 'food' there is.  It is full of nutritional value, it's filling, it's antibacterial (both inwardly and outwardly).  It has great antiseptic qualities as well.  Make sure you have plenty of honey on hand.  It can be substituted for  sugar in anything.  It makes a great barter tool.
Try to make sure you get local honey is possible - as it has local pollens in it, which is great for those with allergies.

2.  WHITE RICE - If kept dry and sealed, white rice will last for years, as will wild rice, Arborio, jasmine, and basmati rice.  Brown rice has too many oils in it, and can only be kept for long periods of time in a freezer, otherwise it can go rancid.  Rice may get dusty looking, but it will be fine.  Keep it dry and sealed, so as to prevent bugs from getting in packaging.

3.  WHITE VINEGAR - will last just about forever, and never go bad.  It can be used in pickling and preserving, it can also be used in all sorts of homemade cleaning products.  Vinegar can even been used as an antiseptic.

4.  SALT - All types of salt will last for years and years if kept dry.  Great for seasoning, preserving meats, pickling, etc.  This is also a great barter tool.

5.  CORSTARCH - We have all purchased a box of cornstarch and very rarely use it.  Don't throw it out - it will not expire.  Keep it dry and in a sealed container (try to keep in a cool place as well).
It is handy to have as a thickening agent for cooking and baking and even preserving.  It can also be used as an antiperspirant or dry hair cleaner.

6.  SUGAR - Keep it dry and in sealed containers.  The biggest problem with sugar is that it sometimes hardens.  It can STILL BE USED.  I have grated sugar before to use in recipes.  Keep white sugar on hand at all times.  It can be blended into powder sugar, and you can add molasses to it to make brown sugar.  Another great barter tool.
Those holiday popcorn tins (decorative) that we all get each year are great for storage and well as sealed totes.

7.  HARD LIQUOR - I know many people DO NOT drink, but this is a product that would be wise to have in your pantry for bartering  and even for use as a sedative or antibacterial dressing for wounds.

8.  DRIED BEANS - will never expire.  Granted they may take a lot longer to cook (after they get to be years old) - and they may not soften as much as they should - but they will never lose their nutritional power.  Beans are a great protein when there is no other option.

9.  INSTANT COFFEE - will never go bad (sealed or not) if kept in a freezer.  If unsealed it will last for years on the shelf.

10.  MAPLE SYRUP - will last forever if kept in a freezer.  It will last a long, long time on the shelf, and even if it crystalizes it can be heated back to liquid.  It makes a great sweetener for all kinds of things, and truthfully, who wouldn't need a sweet treat when things are at their worst!
It is wise for all of use to keep a couple jars or bottles of maple syrup in the freezer.  Most people never think about freezing it.

Another thing I have decided to keep on hand is sorghum molasses.  I have purchased a couple jars which will stay unopened, until I have no means to get other sweeteners.  It is also full of nutritional value (great when your ill).

POPCORN is another item we are keeping on hand.  Granted it may not have a ton of nutritional value, but it would keep us full, and homes with youngsters need something like this that lasts.  I am speaking of bulk popcorn, not the microwavable  type.
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Hope this list helps you get prepared for the long run.  We just live in a very volatile time right now, and we all need to remember that NO ONE will be looking out for you and your families - EXCEPT YOU!
Try to add these supplies to your stockpile and pantry each and every week.  You don't have to spend a fortune on these supplies.  Work with your budget and add a little at a time and put it in storage for the future. 
It just may save your life!!!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Frugal Happenings 8/21

Hi there my friends.  I hope your week has been good and healthy.

We have had a very humid, warm, and wet week.   We had 6-7 tornados within 40 miles of us one evening.  I think we have had rain 6 out of the past 8 days.  We have finally cleared off and cooled down.  I am sitting here this morning with my windows open and I am enjoying a lovely cool breeze.  YES!!!!!!  I love it.

My garden is starting to slow down some.  Again this week my hummingbirds are drinking like crazy.  I have 4 birds and they emptied one feeder (it had 1 1/2 C nectar) in 4 days!  I sure do love watching them.  What a joy!
I have been doing some major cleaning.  My kitchen and dining room always gets the brunt of canning season.  My kitchen is so little, that everything spreads into the dining room.  I just tried to get things looking more back to normal (although I am not done canning).

G had his home doctor visit this week.  I did find out some interesting news from the doc.  He said that I can also be his patient even though I am not on SS or Medicare, since I am the care provider.  That is great to know.

I think all of G's family that were in hospitals this week have either returned home or gone to rehab.  That is a good thing.

My frugal week:
  • Chopped 5 more pints of bell peppers and froze
  • Dried more squash
  • Canned 6 pints spaghetti sauce
  • Canned 8 quarts of soup/chili started (tomatoes/peppers/onions/spices)
  • Received a $3 rebate check in the mail - Hey $3 is $3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Did a lot of yard work over a period of 2 1/2 days.  FREE exercise
  • De-cluttering more - yet it seems it does not make a dent!
  • Cut G's and my hair at home
  • Took a ham out of the freezer to bake this week
  • Boiled a dozen eggs for the week
  • All meals and drinks from home
  • I did stop at Meijer on my way home from hospital this week.  The store is remodeling, so many things on clearance.  I got 7 of the really large cans of Dinty Moore beef stew for 1.67 each.  The small 15 oz. cans cost more than that - so I snapped up all 7 cans they had.  That was my ONLY store purchase all week.
  • I did place an order and receive from Spices, Etc.  We ordered a large container of a spice blend that we use daily.  I also got horse radish powder and powdered butter for stock.  I ordered chocolate extract as well. (I have tons of flavors).  Received a FREE jar of bay leaves with order. 
  • I received another $10/$40 coupon for Aldi which I will use this coming week for winter stock up.
Soup/chili base for this winter.  YUM

Check out this ginormous cucumber that was hiding behind a corn stalk.  It weighed 3 lbs.!!!!!!!!  It is solid as can be.  If the meat of it is not bitter, it will be made into relish this week!
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Meals this week:
Homemade enchiladas (2X)
Burgers and leftovers
Fried zucchini and fried green tomatoes  (my favorite)
Mexican casserole
Chicken and leftover casserole
Breakfast
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How has your week been?  Fall will  be here soon, which means winter is just around the corner - so are you getting your pantries filled?
Let us know how your frugal week went.

Take care my friends.  May the Lord bless you in every way in this coming week.
Peace

Thursday, August 18, 2016

LEARNING

Hello  everyone.  I have been busy this week with all sorts of things, and blogging just kind of slipped by.  OOPS!

I kind of wanted to talk about learning today.  I try to learn something new every day, of course sometimes it may just be a reminder of things 'learned' - and forgotten! 
I hope you all strive to learn new things each day.  I guess that is why I enjoy reading blogs and different Face Book pages.  It is just amazing to me, that here we all sit reading and conversing from all over the country and even the world!
HOW COOL IS THAT?
I also love to read all kinds of self help and instructional  books and publications.  There are just so many ways to learn.

People from different regions often cook differently, play differently, and just have different ideas of doing every day things.  I love seeing that and learning.

When it comes to saving money and keeping our pantries, we all have different views.  Saving money is a challenge to me and I love a challenge.  It used to be a necessity, now it is just a way of life.  My pantry is my security for my family.
Many people try to be frugal in many ways, for the purpose of being able to takes vacations, travel, pay off debt, etc..  I just want security.

WHY ARE YOU FRUGAL and WHY DO YOU WANT A STOCKED PANTRY??????
Share you ideas so we can all learn (hopefully something new)! 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Frugal Happenings 8/14

Good morning dear friends.
I hope you are all doing well.  We are soggy at the moment!  We are getting rain and more rain!
It started raining yesterday morning and it's to continue through Tuesday evening.  We have already had about 2 1/2".  The nice part is that the temperatures have finally dropped.  We were in the 90's with awful humidity for days - now in the 70's today.

I have sure been enjoying the hummingbirds this past week.  They just about emptied the feeders, before I got a chance to refill.  I wonder if they are trying to tell us something - like early fall/winter!
I hope not.  I hope they were just unusually thirsty!

This week we had a problem with our whole house generator.  It comes on at an appointed time every week as a test - and this week all we heard was a loud pop and no running.  They came out to check it and the battery exploded!  Well we had to spend $375 to have it all taken care of (mostly labor-less than an hour - CRAZY). It is just a few days shy of being out of parts and labor 2 year warranty.  Battery isn't covered of course.  BUUUUUTTTT - the tech did see another problem and a bad part that he is scheduled to replace this week.  Had it gone out of warranty it would have cost us an additional $400 in labor and the part would have been $1,300!!!!!  So I am glad we spent what we did, to save that much.

MY WEEK:

  • I purchased an additional 25 cans of tuna at .50/can for the pantry
  • I used a $10 off coupon for $40 spent at Aldi - added to long term pantry supplies
  • I cleaned an organized the upstairs pantry
  • I inventoried and re-organize the pantry supplies in the basement
  • I finally opened a new dish soap bottle this week - the last one lasted 90 days (I date things when I open them - helps with keeping enough on hand in our inventory)
  • I dehydrated zucchini slices for a couple days
I am keeping one squash per baggy and then the bags will go into a gallon glass jar for storage.  These will be great for stir fry or soups in the winter

  • I canned 14 jars of pasta sauce and 7 jars of pizza sauce
  • Renewed library books on-line
  • Dried more tomato skins
  • All meals from home and scratch - using lots of garden veggies
  • Picked about  50 lbs. of produce from the garden
Here is a jar of ground tomato skins.  I use a coffee grinder to grind.  I have 2 grinders - one for mild things and for spicy.  I paid $1 each for my grinders at yard sales!

Check out this jar I came across in my stash this week.  Not sure where it came from - but I am sure it's old.  Says PRESTO Supreme Mason.  The glass is about twice as thick as a normal jar, and it is heavier.  I used it!
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Meals this week:
Zucchini/sausage/cheese skillet dinner and salad
Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and salad
Dirty rice with ground beef and fresh veggies
Chicken and beans and rice
Cheesy tuna casserole and fresh veggies
Leftovers and fresh veggies
'Unstuffed' zucchini boats (made into a casserole instead of boats)

Snacks - popcorn, nuts, chips
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I have about 30 lbs. of tomatoes sitting in my dining room ripening up.  I have to pick before they are completely ripe, as the critters keep eating them.  I probably have 10 -15 more pounds to pick if it quits raining today.  I will be canning a ton more tomato products this coming week - so I definitely know what my week will consist of!
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO?

Have you been adding to your pantry?  Doing any canning?

I pray you all have a wonderful, safe, and healthy week.
TAKE CARE!


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Use This for That..................

I know we all love to save money, or we wouldn't be here right now!
I do believe we all want to help preserve the resources of the earth as well.

There are so many things that we can use for purposes other than their "original" purpose.
We can re-use many items that we already  have, and that my friends reduces our load on the planet and recycles as much as possible - which saves us money as well.

So let's save a little money.
  • HAIR CONDITIONER - it makes a great shaving lotion for your legs and under arms - I am sure men could use it as well.  I have several bottles that I got cheaply, and then decided I didn't like it for my hair - so I use it for shaving.  Makes the skin soft.                                   Conditioner can also be used for fabric softener in a pinch.  Mix it in a 1:4 ratio (1 part conditioner 4 parts water) and soak and ring out a wash cloth to use in your drier.  A little squirt in the rinse cycle will work as well.
  • LEFTOVER CHIPS OR COOKIES - the crumbs at the bottom of the bag of chips (any type or flavor) can be used as a coating for meat or veggies, and will add a great amount of flavor.  I also use them to mix in with meatloaf or salmon (when making patties).   Chips, cheese cracker, cheese puffs, etc. can all be used.                   COOKIE crumbs are great for topping pudding or yogurt, or to top a nice bowl of oatmeal or even added to cold cereal or ice cream.   There is just no limit to the uses. 
  • USED TEA BAGS - I re-use tea bags when making hot tea more than once.  I also like to keep several used bags in a baggie in the freezer.  I get a couple out from time to time and allow them to cool (don't use frozen), and I place them over my eyes when I feel stressed.  It helps reduce puffiness in the eyes.  Used tea bags can also be placed over an insect bite or sting and helps relieve the itch and swelling.
  • TURKEY BASTER - I don't baste a turkey any more, due to using those cooking bags that makes everything tender and moist.  I use my baster to remove the grease from a skillet.  I tip the skillet ever so slightly, and suck the grease right out and place in a can for the trash.  It works great, and you don't spill any meat out of your pan trying to drain.  I've been doing this for years.
  • VICK'S MEDICATED RUB - not only is this stuff good for a cold and stuffiness, it helps keep insects from biting.  Rub some on your ankles and  your arms when out, and you will not get nearly the bites.  Bugs don't like the smell either! 
  • Keep some gravy mixes on hand - small packages or the larger containers that can be bought at places like Sam's.  I don't like gravy made from mixes (except the country gravy), but I love using the mix to add thickness to soups and stews and it sure adds a great amount of flavor.
  • CLEAR OR LIGHT COLORED NAIL POLISH - this is great for coating the backs of cheaper jewelry or even expensive jewelry that you may be allergic to.  I have worn a cheaper watch for years, and the backing has all worn off - which would "green" my arm, but I paint the back with polish.  It works like a charm.  I re-do it every few months, and so far after about 4 years NO GREEN!
  • SHOE BAGS - aren't just for shoes any more.  These are great for holding small items in a bathroom or bedroom.  Attach to the back of a door and you can stuff all kinds of goodies in those pockets.  This is also a good idea for a kids room.  Having one on the back of your pantry door is great for small items, like seasoning packets, mixes, baggies, etc.  I think this would be a wonderful idea for the craft room as well.  There is no limit to a shoe bags' uses.
  • A TWIN FITTED SHEET - is the perfect size to use as a table cover for those long folding  tables at events and also for many picnic tables.  It won't blow away, as the elastic keeps it in place under the table.
  • PEELINGS AND SCRAPS from food can be kept and used to make stock.  I keep the scrapings from carrots (and tops), the peels from potatoes (or anything I peel), the tough part of asparagus, onion skins and butts, just about any veggie scrap.  I keep it all in an old gallon ice cream container in the freezer, and I use it to make veggie stock once the container gets full.  Scraps can also be added to meat bones when making stock for them.  It just adds extra flavor and nutrition to your stock.  After making the stock - THEN they go into the compost bin.
  • TOMATO SKINS - don't forget to save your skins when canning any tomato products.  The skins can be dehydrated in the oven or dehydrator and then pulsed into a powder.  This powder adds a great deal of flavor and nutrition to soups, casseroles and meats.  REMEMBER - you can dehydrate about any veggie and then turn it into a powder.  This is handy for making healthy smoothies, and also for adding veggies to meals without others knowing it's in their food (picky eaters)!
  • WAX BAGS from cereal boxes and such are great to keep.  I open them up and wash them down, then keep them and use instead of buying wax paper.    It works great between pieces of meat when freezing.
  • SEEDLESS GRAPES - freeze them (off the stem).  Freezing really does boost the flavor and they are a great cooling snack.  I love to have frozen grapes on hand, whenever I plan to serve wine.  Throw a few grapes in the glasses of wine to keep it cold without watering it down, and then eat them at the end!
  • JUICE FROM CANNED FRUIT - is great for freezing in ice cube trays or popsicle molds.  It makes a great snack or addition to a smoothie or a glass of tea.
  • PICKLE JUICE is a wonderful meat marinade.  The vinegar in it helps to tenderize even the toughest meats.  Sweet pickle juices can be blended into a salad dressing.  Try a glass of tomato juice (or V-8) with a good dash of dill juice in it - it's YUMMY.  That is the only way we drink now. Makes a dandy Bloody Mary!
That's all I can think of off the top of my head - I know I have more.  These should give you a few options to think about.  What are your favorite unconventional uses of things? 
LET US KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!