Thursday, August 22, 2019

Uses for a Pound of Ground Meat

What can you do with a pound of ground beef?  Lots of things.
It doesn't have to be beef - it can be ground chicken, turkey or pork as well.  I think most all are interchangeable in recipes.
A pound of ground can be blended with other ingredients to make a great meal.  Add lots of other ingredients and fill up several people for a meal.  Meat should be used as an ingredient not a main course.  It is healthier to use less and a lot more frugal!
You can sure stretch the grocery budget by introducing ground meat as a main stay in your recipes.

Here are a few suggestions to stretch that meat budget

Sloppy Joes
Mini meat loaf or muffin tin loaves
Meatballs - can be used in so many ways - ALSO Swedish meatballs or BBQ meatballs
Beef and barley soup
Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas, quesadillas,  any type of Mexican 
Baked spaghetti
Pizza casserole
Stuffed shells or Baked ziti
Corn Chip casserole
Beefy  cheesy potatoes
Tator Tot casserole
Hamburger veggie soup
Beef and rice casserole
Stuffed peppers
Beefy Mac and Cheese
Cabbage rolls
Chili Con Carne
Any type of skillet dinner - one pot stove top meals

Soups, soups and more soups - there is no limit to soups
Shepherd's Pie
Stuffed squash
Poor mans Swiss steak
Patti melts
Stir fry
Quiche or any egg dish

There are just no limits to what you can add ground meat to.  Soups and casseroles are so easy and there is absolutely no end to what you can put together and make a tasty dinner.  All it takes is a little imagination!
No need to spend a ton of money on meat for a filling dinner for many.  Stretch out a pound (or less) of ground meat into other goodies and wahla you have a frugal and yummy dinner.

Do you have a favorite way to stretch ground meat in your meals?
We all are looking for new and frugal ideas!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Happy Harvest 5

This is probably the last harvest post for a few weeks (maybe one more).  Just a couple new ideas for using all that fresh produce.  Hope you enjoy and find it useful.

There are so many uses for cucumbers.  Pickles, relish, in vinegar/sugar, sliced fresh, in all kinds of salads and on and on.    This is a good recipe.  I do not use fresh dill - I use dried.  I don't think I have used low fat items either.  It is very yummy.
Don't forget that basically all veggies an be roasted.  Roasted veggies are just so delish.  Their flavor seems to become enhanced.  I always sprinkle with a bit of olive oil and toss together - then sprinkle with any seasoning I want and roast until they reach the consistency I want.
You will not be disappointed in roasted veggies.  Such a compliment to any meal.

Also use those end of the garden veggies to make Giardinaro (sp) - pickled mixed veggies.
I make my own recipe with what I have.  I have thrown in cucumbers, peppers - could be bell, sweet, hot, jalapeno, etc., cauliflower pieces, green beans, carrots (my favorite), small green tomatoes, zucchini, celery - whatever you have!  Use your favorite pickle brine.  You can make this sweet - but generally it is dilled and maybe a bit spicy.  I always add one jalapeno to a quart to give it a bit of tang.
These are to be processed like you process your pickles.  Super easy and very tasty for the winter months.

Take time to read and explore uses for all those fresh veggies and fruits that are available now.  Get creative and explore new foods.  Food is to nourish our bodies - that doesn't mean it can't be fun and enjoyable.
Have fun with your harvests and farm stand buys.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Home Trends and a Tiny Tour of "Nap" House

I love to watch HGTV - but I also get so agitated.  They would make you think that McMansions are the going trend.  WHY?
I see these people walk into a beautiful kitchen and say 'oh I will completely gut this' or 'it is just so small'.  Some of those kitchens they call small are bigger than my entire house!!
They all complain about 'small' master bedrooms!  You sleep there - how big does it need to be?
I just don't get it.
The bigger the house - the more you pay for heating and cooling (and other utilities), the more you have to clean and the more crap you have to buy to fill it!

I think that thing that truly gets me are the popular rehab shows.  I love watching them and getting ideas - but they make me so angry when they take a sledge hammer to perfectly fine cabinets and built ins.  Remove them carefully - and let someone who has little money reuse them!!!!!!!!  Not everyone has more money than sense,  I see so many things destroyed that could be rehabbed in so many ways - I just cringe.  They are so wasteful!

Then there is the tiny house movement!  That is more my style.  I don't quite think I could be totally happy with a 400 sq. ft. home (I have my pantry/canning supplies you know!!) - but I like a small home.  Mine is about 900 sq. ft. - 2 bed, 1 bath.  I am fortunate that I have a full basement.  Originally we made half of the basement into a laundry room/utility room (furnace/water heater) and storage.  The other half we used for years as a family room.  Now that is a lot of storage & craft area.  It is soon going to be a huge project for me!!!!!

We never felt the need for anything bigger - I mean there was just 2 of us for 33 years!  Now just me (and of course my kitties).  Small has never deterred me from entertaining.  I have had big birthday parties, baby showers, campfire parties, and Thanksgiving here many times.  One Thanksgiving I cooked for, fed and entertained 50 people!  Did it all myself in my little kitchen and had people every where - but we had a ball.
I have so many nieces and nephews tell me how much the enjoyed those days and truly miss them.

Here is a mini tour of my comfy, cozy 'nap' house. It is a 1947 bungalow.  It is all mine and I love it.

A view of the dining room.  The wall between the dining/living room is open - so that helps the flow.  See that door on the back wall?  That is my main upstairs pantry.  Most of my daily/monthly food stores are kept in there.  It is very deep, as it goes over the stairs going to the basement.

Opposite ends of the living room.  Nothing big or fancy - just comfy.   Lot's of dust catchers too!!!  I have many family pieces that I display and use.
The TV wall and plant corner in the living room.

This is the sink area of the kitchen.  As you can see I have very little counter space.  Organization is key.
Here is the stove/oven and basically the balance of ANY counter space!  The frig is located between these 2 areas (on the right).   I have the Rubbermaid drawer stacks on each side for extra storage.
I also have a wash stand on wall on the left - that contains microwave and has storage underneath  as well.  Here is a pic of the washstand (I added a faux top - just sitting on it so as not to damage it).  Sorry you can't see the bottom of stand.  That cream box on the wall - is a cabinet my Daddy made my Grandma when he was 12.  I use it for spices and flavorings (it has original hardware).  The edge of a door you see on the left goes to the basement. The opening on right goes to dining room.

My little hallway and picture gallery.  This leads to both bedrooms and the bathroom.
Looking into the master bedroom.  Nothing grand - just simple.  Kitties have their bed in there too!  They love laying there and looking out the window.

Some day I will get to showing the 2nd bedroom (much going on in there) and the bath.  The bath is a work in progress right now!!!!
So there you have a tour of the "nap" house as my nephew calls it.

How about you?  Do you prefer large or small or something in between?
What is the trend where you live?  I love hearing about other areas and what is popular.

                                                      Walk on up and visit for a while!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 8/18

Well, here we are at the beginning of another new week.  I hope this past week was good for you.
It has been a roller coaster on the weather front here.  We have had 90's and humid and we have had 80's a lovely.  Heavy rain one day - which was much needed.

The daylight hours are most definitely getting shorter.  I think we have lost at least an hour of light each day.  So soon the cool crisp days of autumn will be here - then Christmas!  YIKES

My hummingbirds have just been going crazy at the feeders and the flowers.  They are there constantly!  It makes me wonder if they know something that we don't!  I sure hope it isn't getting time for them to be leaving already.

Looking out the front door.  Birdies all lined up on the railing - "excuse me Mam, the feeder appears to be empty"!    You can see the feeder - middle, upper part of picture.  Babies sit and wait for their goodies.  This is TV for the kitties.  The cats love watching 'birdy TV'.
Are you all moving forward on the August motivational workdays?  I have gotten a bit done - not nearly what I should be doing.  It seems my get up and go has done got up and gone!!!!  LOL

My week:
  • Picked a few more peppers and tomatoes - enjoying eating them!
  • Did some mending
  • Trying to do yard work on cooler days and mornings.  Mowed over 2 days, trimmed bushes, cleaning up some flower beds, trimming - so much to do
  • I needed to get out one day and I ran to Kroger (just to look - no deals at all), WM (yes I did), and the thrift store.
  • At Kroger I didn't see any good sales or deals.  Was getting ready to leave and walked by the floral dept. and saw marked down flowers.  I was in a 'mood', so I bought them for a pick me up.  I got all of these for $2.  They make me smile.
  • I had been seeing reports that WM was clearancing out their Great Value brand soups - due to a label redesign.  I decided I would check it out.  I don't like the store - but a deal is a deal.  I was almost too late - but I did get 4 family size cans of tomato soup for .25 each!  That was all they had left.  I wish I had been much earlier - that would have been a deal to get for a donation to the local food pantry.  You might go check out your local WM.  I also got a big bag of cat food.
  • I stopped at the thrift store to look around.  I did get a pair of perfect fitting jeans for $1.  I got a pack of hot dog buns FREE.
  • I am still working on inventory and rearranging pantry stuff
  • I did get to turn off AC a bit this week
  • Doing all the normal things
Meals this past week:
Small pasta and veggie salad (heavy on veggies)
Smoked sausage (sliced) and tomato sandwich
Steak burger steamed veggies and rice
Grilled egg, ham, cheese sandwich and tomatoes and cucumbers sliced on the side
Pasta topped with leftover steamed veggies and a couple chicken tenders
Mexican chicken (from freezer) and cheese nachos
Hot dogs

So there you have it - not a lot going on here.  I really need to give myself a pep talk and get busy.  
There is so much that needs to be done and that can be done and I just have no oomph to do it.  One day at a time!

How are those gardens doing?  Are you canning or freezing anything?
What did you do this past week to save money?
I just love hearing what everybody is up to.

May your week be happy and healthy.  Work hard to prepare for your families future and security.
Remember to stop and enjoy life as well, and to be thankful for all the nature and beauty on the earth!!!
Blessing from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Reason

There are many reasons to be prepared for the worst.  We all have our own particular set of circumstances.
Many younger folks (and older) today, just don't get it.  It really takes very little to happen, for the world they know to stop.

Young and old - SO MANY people just aren't prepared.

They grocery shop week to week or maybe day to day.
They are totally overloaded with debt - big houses, fancy cars, shop, shop, shop...….
They have no emergency funds.
They think nothing bad will happen to them.
They have no clue how to grow anything.
They have no idea what they would do if the CRAP hit the fan tomorrow (cause they think it won't).
They have no idea how to live on less money.
They have no idea how to live below their means.
They have no idea how to use JUST what they have in new ways.
They have no idea how to cook - they are always eating out.
They have no idea about personal responsibility.

I could go on and on.
You all know some of these people too.  Sadly I 'personally' know more that wouldn't survive than would.  Most of them are in my family!  I have tried and tried to reach them, BUT  it isn't going to 'happen to them'.  They just won't listen and they aren't responsible humans.  It is sad.

That does not include you gals at all.  WE all know what the consequences could be.  We all have learned, taught, and educate ourselves daily in some way.
The reason IS SURVIVAL.

WE will survive.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Happy Harvest 4

I hope you are getting good harvests this year.  I have gotten a few tomatoes and peppers, but not like usual.  For one, I am just not into this year and secondly Mr. Groundhog has plagued my tomatoes that are in pots!  Weather hasn't seemed to cooperate either.
I will probably go to the big farm stand soon and get a box of canning tomatoes to make a new batch of salsa with.  They sell them cheaply - and I have all else I need.  My grapes are just starting to ripen, so grape jelly will be made in the near future as well.

Here are few ideas for using your harvests.  Hope it helps you out.
Love fried green tomatoes.  Everyone has their own special way of fixing them - but if you have never tried here is a good recipe that you can tweek to your taste.

YES you can, can green tomatoes for frying later in the winter.  I have done this many times.  I tend to use quart wide mouth jars - so much easier to get tomatoes out.  I also slice them a tad thicker than I would for frying a fresh one.  They keep well and taste so good in the dead of winter.
When ready to fry - drain your slices thoroughly - then bread them like you would for fresh and fry away.  A lovely taste of summer in the winter snowy months!

I love the little colored sweet bell peppers that can be purchased at the store.  Not too big and not to tiny.  You can grow them as well.  I like to stuff them with seasoned cream cheese for a bit of an appetizer or for veggie plates.  They make a nice side for any dinner.  
They are yummy stuffed and raw or great when broiled, baked, or grilled as well (with cheese stuffing).
Sometimes I use cream cheese and onion or garlic powder - sometimes a mixture of cream cheese, sour cream & cheddar shreds - sometimes cream cheese, sour cream and jalapenos diced up.  Fix them according to your taste.
I do the same thing with jalapenos - ONLY I like those fried!!!!!!!!  I fill them - batter them - fry. Poppers are so yummy!
I also do this - and lay them on a sheet pan and flash freeze , then bag - and I have breaded stuffed peppers for frying in the winter!!!!!!!!  (DO NOT THAW before frying)

I buy these when I see them marked down.  They are so sweet and are great for salads, cooking, stuffing and just munching on!
Not nearly enough stuffing for me!!! I fill those babies up before I grill or bake or even before serving them on a relish plate.

You could do the same with regular bell peppers as well.  Slice them into quarters (or more) and add your filling.  So many things we can do with peppers
I also like to chop or slice and freeze for use in soups, chili, stews, or stir fry.

Most leaf lettuces are done for this part of the season here in the U.S.  It is just too hot and most have gone to seed or gotten bitter.  It IS time however to plant a fall crop.  Fresh lettuce is just so good and can not compare to the stuff purchased at the store.
I have grown some pretty lettuce in the past.  Big old sweet tasting leaves.
I pick my lettuce and bring it in and soak in a salt water bath in the sink.  This removes any little buggers that might be on it.  Rinse - then roll up in a kitchen towel to absorb excess moisture.
When I store it in the frig, I place it in a plastic bag along with a paper towel and remove all the air from the bag.  It lasts for a long, long time this way.  The paper towel absorbs any excess moisture - yet is just damp enough to keep lettuce fresh.
Now is time to plant that fall crop!

For those that drink healthy green smoothies - lettuce (and any other greens) can be dehydrated and powdered to use all winter in those smoothies.  Keep in a glass sealed jar.

So there you have it.  Food that is tasty now and ways to keep that food for tasty treats when the weather outside is frightful!
Happy Harvest

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A Loaf Can Feed the Hungry

Bread can be a great filler, when it comes to having a small amount of food to stretch.  It is very filling and very versatile.
If you have ever been in a Walmart, I am sure you have seen the clearance bakery section.  In my area you can always find a loaf of Italian, French or Baguettes for about .67 on clearance (or less).  Kroger generally has the same for a $1 or so. (It's hard to make homemade for these prices)

There are so many options for these types of breads.  No joking, with a few ingredients that you may have in your pantry or frig, you can feed 1 or 2 people many filling meals and perhaps a family a hearty meal for just pennies.
Here are a few options to feed yourself or your family with a loaf of bread and few items or leftovers that you may have on hand.  No need to be hungry!

Halve lengthwise and make bread pizza (one of my favorite pizzas)
Thickly slice and make each slice into an individual type pizza (top with what you have)
Garlic bread to serve with any type of food
French toast
Grind into breads crumbs that can be used for coating, in meatballs or meatloaf as an extender or in any type of ground meat to extend
Cut up and make into croutons - for salads or top off soup or a casserole
French dip sandwiches
Any type of hearty grilled sandwich - just cheese or meat and cheese
Any type of sturdy sandwich - filled with absolutely anything you have (think outside the box),  Tomato/cucumber sandwiches are a summer favorite here - also try a fried green tomato sandwich! - Super filling.
Open face sammies - top with leftover meat, mac n cheese, leftover soup beans, baked beans, chili, mashed potatoes/gravy, stew, leftover veggies, anything you have
Use with fondue
Dip in olive oil and herbs
Open faced broiler sammies - with anything you have - top with a bit of cheese
Mix chunks into a breakfast casserole with eggs to extend into many servings
Cut thinly and toast - cinnamon /sugar toast, pbj, jelly, etc.
Toast and serve with hummus, dip, refried beans, cheese spread
Homemade subway sandwiches
Smother slices in gravy
Cover with cream cheese and top with any fruit or favorite topping
Use in French onion soup
Make a summery bread salad - toasted chunks of bread, tomato, cukes, squash, peppers, cheese, dressing - whatever you have
Make into a Panini type sandwich
Bread pudding - hearty or sweet

A loaf of bread can extend any food - sweet, hearty, savory, soup, breakfast, casserole, you name it!  Italian, French and Baguettes are all very sturdy breads and stand up to all kinds of ingredients.  Actually any type of bread can be used - whatever you have.
You can use for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks.
You can extend a meal into many for just a few cents.  Get creative and always think outside the 'normal' box!
Remember - a meal doesn't HAVE to be many courses.  A meal is whatever fills you up!!!!