Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Simple, Saving Subs

It is getting to that time of the year in the States that winter will be closing in soon.  Weather can change at a moments notice, and if you are like me, you hate going out in the ice and snow to buy groceries.
We all need to keep our pantries full, but we must also realize that there are any items that can be used in place of others.  There is no reason to make a store run for 1 missing ingredient. 
Most times I am right in the middles of my recipe when I notice I am out of something. 
I am working on being more organized before baking - so that doesn't happen!!!!!  I just love having the knowledge to switch things up a bit.

Substituting ingredients is not only easy, but it is also cost effective and CAN BE healthier as well!  WIN - WIN - WIN!

There are many substitutes for oils in BAKING:
Applesauce can be used cup for cup of oil
Butter can be used cup for cup
ANY fruit puree can be used cup for cup
You can also substitute yogurt (plain or flavored), sour cream, mayo, or buttermilk
Avocado puree can be used cup for cup for butter
Pumpkin and winter squash puree can be used as well

You may need to watch the texture of your baking mix before baking, and adjust the other wet ingredients a bit - but all of these work.

You also have olive oil, Crisco, butter, coconut oil, Ghee and oils made from just about everything.  You can find just about any kind of oil you so desire at the grocery.
I just love knowing, if by some chance I run out, I have other options at my fingertips.  I generally have several types of oils on hand at any given time.  You can also create a lot of yummy new taste sensations as well by experimenting.
**TIP - I always use olive oil in brownies (most people use other oils), and my brownies come out so moist and tasty.  I always get compliments.

Oils for FRYING
My favorite is bacon grease - I keep all bacon grease in a container in the frig.
You can also drain and keep beef fat (from ground meat)
Grease from any type of meat can be drained and kept in containers in the frig or freezer.  Fats from ham, steak, pork, etc. can be rendered down.
There are lots of options for your frying needs as well!  
**TIP - I have even been known to 'pan fry' pork chops or b/s chicken in a water base - no oils at all.  There is also oven 'frying'.  No oils and both options are MUCH healthier - yet still yummy!

There are lots of subs for eggs as well, and many you wouldn't even think of.
1/4 C of Tofu  = 1 egg
1/4 C egg substitute = 1 egg
1 Tbsp. oil +2 Tbsp. water = 1 egg
1 Tbsp. cornstarch + 2 Tbsp. water = 1 egg
1 Tbsp. tapioca flour + 2 Tbsp. water = 1 egg
About 1/2 of a mashed banana (1/4 C) = 1 egg
1/4 C applesauce = 1 egg
1 Tbsp. chia seeds + 1/2 C water (let it set for 15 minutes) = 1  egg
1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds + 3 Tbsp. water (let it set 5 - 10 minutes) = 1 egg

IF you are short just 1 egg for a baking recipe, add 1/4 cup extra oil. 
OR short an egg - add 2 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. oil + 2 tsp. baking powder
**TIP - Always keep a box of egg substitute on hand.  Mix with water.  Found in most baking aisles!

I would suggest if you are replacing oils with purees or dairy TRY NOT to replace eggs with another ingredient.  If you start replacing too many things in one recipe - you will definitely change the taste and texture and the chemistry involved in baking.

It is just fun knowing that we can always bake or cook with what we have on hand AND not make an extra trip to the store.  We all KNOW - NO ONE every gets just one thing at the store!!!!!!!  You save time, wear and tear on your vehicle, gas, and money.

Hope this helps in that moment you run out - it happens to the best of us!
Baking season is here!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Frugal Happenings 10/15

Good morning frugal friends.
It is another dreary, wet morning here.  We have had a couple days of sunshine this week, otherwise it has been gray and wet!
This coming week, will be normal fall temperatures and it looks like it may be clear and sunny most of the week.  YAY!  My mood really needs some sunshine.

It is also that time of the year that we have what are called milkweed bugs in abundance!  They are all over the garage and the power meters.  They don't really hurt anything, except you just have to dodge them when walking or working outside.

You know it getting close to the holidays when you get the complete list of fall festivals/craft shows in the paper.  Today was the day.  I will probably attend a couple, as I love getting new ideas.
Christmas is 70 days away!

My frugal week:
  • NO A/C or heat at all this week.    Lot's of fresh air.
  • Saved another cereal bag for the wax paper
  • I actually RECEIVED the $50 Visa GC this week.  I just did the survey last week!
  • I did get grass mowed and more yard work done on the couple dry days we had.  Slowly getting there
  • Hung laundry outside to dry
  • Picked the balance of regular tomatoes from plants.  Squash and regular tomatoes are now done.
  • Still picking lots of cherry tomatoes and peppers, and we have broccoli and cabbage growing quite well and producing.
I pick about this many cherry tomatoes every couple days.  The volunteer plants are loaded with little green ones!
  • Found lots of great crafting materials while going through things in the basement this week.  Lot's of projects can be made while spending no money.
  • Washed storm doors and more windows.  Kitties seem to leave lot's of kitty kisses on them!
  • Cut what will probably be the last roses of the season, for my bud vases.
  • Made a 'sticky bun' cake.  Used a cake mix from pantry, and added extras of butter, brown sugar and pecans and all I can say is "MY GOODNESS - YUM"!
  • Changed out purses for the fall season
  • Got the NEED to see people - LOL - so I drove up the road to the library.  I walked the aisles for a while and talked with a couple people in the outdoor sitting area. (The library is in the park).
  • NO grocery shopping at all this week!!!!!!!!  I DID NOT go into any stores!  YAY ME!

Meals this past week:
My version of Pozole' soup - 2X (used leftover Mex. chicken from freezer in it)
Cream cheese/ham/veggie roll-ups
Meat pie - made with stew from freezer
Baked fish, fried green tomatoes and stuffed jalapenos
Cheeseburger soup (homemade)
Tangy hamburger hash and salad

It has been an interesting week.  G said he expected me to get the 'shakes' from not shopping!!!!  I have to admit, I REALLY wanted to go out.  I resisted and was a good girl.
I am just trying to use what we have and get a little more experimental on cooking!  That part is fun.

It has been nice realizing that I am not 'alone' in the unfinished projects area!!  Also  enjoy learning from each of you.  I think it is so neat that everyone shares their hints and tips.  Life is a daily journey of learning.

How was your week?  What were your frugal accomplishments this week?

Please know I pray for ALL of my on-line friends daily and I pray you are all safe and healthy in this coming week.  God bless each of you.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Eats, Treats, & Gifts from the Fall Kitchen

I do love summer and all the fresh fruits and veggies we can grow, but there is something about fall/winter and all the comfort foods that we get to enjoy.
I am not sure if I am the only one or not, but there are just some foods that we eat ONLY in the fall and winter.

Today I want to share a few recipes for yummy eats and fun foodie items that we can all start making now and give during the holidays or just use ourselves!

1/2 C applesauce
3/4 C sugar
2 eggs
3 C quick oats
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 Tsp. salt
1/2 Tsp. cinnamon
1 C milk
1 C apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

Combine applesauce, sugar, and eggs with mixer.  Add next 5 ingredients and beat well.  Fold in apples and pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan.  Bake at 400* for about 30 minutes.
**I am not an oatmeal eater - but this is good.  You could also add some chopped nuts as well!

1 C biscuit baking mix
1 C. brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C butter, softened
5 C apples - peeled, cored, and sliced

Combine first 4 ingredients, set aside.  Place apples in an ungreased 9 x 9 baking dish, and sprinkle the other mixture on top of the apples.  Bake at 375* for 30 minutes or until golden.
**Here is a tip FROM ME - if you don't have apples to slice (or enough), I add a quart of my homemade chunky applesauce.  If no apples - use a couple quarts of chunky applesauce - it will still make a yummy crisp!!!!!

1 gal. (4 qts.) applesauce
4 1/2 C sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
Combine all the ingredients and place in a 6 quart slow cooker, UNCOVERED, on low for 8 to 12 hours.  Stir occasionally.  After 8 - 12 hours, check thickness.  If it's too thin keep cooking until it reaches the right thickness.  Fill sterilized pint jars and process in a water bath for 20 minute boil.  Makes 7 - 9 pints
**This is a great way to use up last seasons (or before) homemade applesauce.
** You can also lessen sugar if you so desire - it's a matter of taste.

2/3 C plus 1 tsp. instant coffee granules
1 1/4 C powdered non-dairy creamer
1 C chocolate drink mix
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 plus 1/8 C powdered milk
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 C powdered sugar
In a blender, grind the coffee to a fine powder.  Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, blend well.  Can divide up into baggies or smaller container - ADD a cute label with instructions.  USE 3 HEAPING TEASPOONS PER CUP OF HOT WATER.  ADJUST AS NEEDED
Makes about 7 cups of mix.  GIFT with a pretty mug or cup.
Yummy at home on a cold winters morning!

1/2 c dried apples
1/2 C walnut pieces
1/2 C dried pears
1/2 C colorful coated candy (red/green M&M's are cute)
1/2 C dried bananas
In a pint wide mouth jar, layer fruit, nuts and candy.  Makes 4 - 6 servings.
Use the dried fruit that you prefer.  This would be a great ENERGY snack for teachers, hunters, office staff, etc. (OR home).

2 C. dry cocoa mix
2 C non-dairy creamer
1 C instant coffee
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 C sugar
2 tsp. nutmeg
Blend all ingredients and store in an air tight container.  INSTRUCTIONS:  2 Tbsp. per 1 cup hot water.
Gift with a pretty mug and some baby marshmallows or a candy cane for stirring.

I hope this gives you a couple ideas for some yummy and comforting fall flavors to eat, drink or gift.
ENJOY !!!!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Searching, Sorting & Ideas

It is a very rainy day in this neck of the woods.  Not a good day to attempt outside chores (although I did work in garden during a cease of rain).
I decided today is as good as any to start digging into areas of my storage that I haven't looked at in ages (the result of having  full basement), and sorting through things, and making some crafting plans.  OH MY!  This girl is a bit bewildered.  I have a ton more stuff than I remembered having - and it is in no good order!
We are going to have more rain this week, so just MAYBE I will make heads or tails of it all.

I did come across so interesting things I had forgotten about (from sales past), and crafts supplies I need to make into pretties!

I came across these little crock type mini loaf pans.  I think I got these for like .50 a piece a few years back.  I may be baking some sweet breads (in my tin foil pans), then wrapping and placing them in these pretties for little side gifts.  How cute?  Two gifts in one!

I have several of these orchard baskets that I have kept.  They make real cute "goodie"
 baskets.  You can cover the outside with paper or leave as is for a rustic look.  I always place a checked gingham cloth napkin inside at a diagonal (hanging over edges) and then load up with home canned/baked goodies.

Look what I found!  No it is not from childhood - it was purchased a few years back.  A metal loom and all the strands to make potholders!  What a cute nostalgic novelty to maybe add to gift baskets.

Pretty hankies and quilt square material!  I also found a box (think copy paper box) just about full of 3 x 2 quilting pieces, and big tote with 4 x 4 cuts, and lots and lots of small random rolls of end pieces from bolts from the fabric store.  I also have a tin full of older vintage hankies.
I also have denim and t-shirt material galore.  There is lots of odd and end pieces of fleece, and 2 trash bags of old neckties that were my dad's and G's dads.  Many of the vintage ties of daddies are silk.  Once I get those all sorted, I will take a picture.

I have had so many plans to make quilts for myself and others - maybe this is the winter I get busy with it.  I have even thought about tie pillows for the siblings.

Do you have a stash of hidden/forgotten crafting goodies?  Do you plan projects, then never get to them?
I sure hope someone says YES!!!!!  I don't want to be the only one who never gets projects done!

I am going to do more searching and sorting this week.  Maybe I can make some great plans for gifts and home projects that MIGHT get done this year!
I'll let you know.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Frugal Happenings 10/8

Good morning my frugal friends.
It sure is a beautiful morning in our neighborhood.  We had rain and wind come through last night, but this morning is lovely.  It appears we are going to have lovely weather in the coming week, many days in the 70's.  PERFECT in my opinion.

We had some fairly warm times this week and had to turn AC on a little on 2 or 3 days (not all day).  We did get a lot of rain this week, which we desperately needed.
Sadly I took the hummingbird feeders down this week.  I will miss my little flying jewels till next spring.
I have a clematis that is now blooming for the third time this year!  I have never had that happen before.  I even saw a dandelion blooming this week.  This extra warm weather is playing with my plants!

Check out this TINY sunflower!  I have several blooming that were planted by birds/squirrels, but that itty bity one is just too cute!

I just love nature!

My frugal week:
  • I took a survey with our cable company and will be receiving a $50 Visa card for my 'trouble'!
  • I got to line dry laundry on a dry day the first part of week
  • I received a $5 GC from our local hardware for my birthday month.
  • I got Bath & Body works coupons.  One is for a FREE fun size body product and another for a $5 signature lotion (7.99 savings).  I will go and get these before the end of month - they will be Christmas gifts
  • I got a $6 off any order coupon from Kroger this week.  It is good till 10/19.  Hmmm, with buying no groceries, I think I will just get cat litter with it.
  • I have been doing a lot of fall cleaning.  Vacuumed floors, under/behind things, door jambs, window blinds, lamp shades, etc.
  • Finished adding and logging all Sept. receipts.
  • Cleaned out crispers in frig.  Cut up and froze and BUNCH of peppers from the garden.  Added several bags to the freezer
  • Processed my first batch of kraut. 
  • Spent all available DRY times outside trying to get yard 'winter' ready.  I do a little here and a little there.  Cleaned out one large flower bed, the entire fence row (on empty house side) on both sides of fence.  Cutting down spent plants and mowing.  Trying not to over heat, but take advantage of decent weather.  Slow and steady wins the race!
  • I walked the street on Saturday and picked up trash (it was very windy).  I picked up a lot of stuff.  There was a florescent green hoodie sweatshirt (like utility workers use) laying out there.  There were workers on the street, so I laid it on their truck.  They left and didn't take it.  I went and got it - it's pretty stained up.  I will see if I can clean it up - if not no big deal.  If I can, well it's a new yard shirt for me! 
  • Eating from home and cooking from scratch
  • All the normal frugal stuff

Meals this week:
 'From scratch' sloppy Joe's and chips
Leftover Amish casserole and salad
Fish sandwiches and salad
Loaded baked potatoes
Cowboy casserole
Country gravy/toast and balance of casserole
Mashed potatoes/gravy and spicy BBQ chicken pieces

Now that I have decided to NOT grocery shop any more this month - I think I have just improved my attitude as well!  I have been doing lots of little projects and keeping busy.  I have managed (for the time being) to get out of my slump!  Time to get busy and accomplish things!!!!!!!!!!!!!  GO ME!
I sure hope I can keep this momentum going, because there is SO much I want to get done.

How was your week?  What did you do frugal?  I look forward to hearing from you.

1 lb. of ground meat - browned
1 chopped onion
4 - 5 potatoes - cut into chunks
1 can red or black beans (drained)
1 can chopped tomatoes (I used Rotel like tomatoes)
Garlic  (to taste)
salt and pepper
1/4 C shredded cheese
Throw it all in crockpot and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Toss in cheese at the very end and let it melt - then it's done!  VERY GOOD & easy and cheap.

May the Lord bless you and keep you in good health this week.  Health and happiness to you all.
Blessing from my home to yours.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

ENOUGH and when to STOP

I feel like sometimes I should make a post that says "Hello - My name is Cheryl and I am a grocery store addict".  I am not a shopper of other things, but put me in a grocery store and I am in my element!  I love grocery shopping.
I really do wonder at times if it is an addiction or if I could be borderline hoarder!

As far as addiction - MAYBE - but in my own defense I really LOVE getting a bargain or something for next to nothing.  It is very uncommon that I pay full price for anything.
HOARDER - NO I don't ever feel like there is too much - but I DO USE all I buy and I give it away when someone needs it.  So no, I don't think  I am 'officially' a hoarder.

Do I have enough? YES
Do I need to stop?  YES (at least for a while)

I spent a lot of money this week.  Tuesday I spent the day shopping at Rural King and Sam's Club.  Both are fairly far away, yet they are just a mile or so apart - so that was the day to go!

Rural King was a major cat food stock up.  I got 12 cases (24 cans per), so with what I have, I am good for about 4-5 months.  Each month I will continue to add, so as not to get as low as I was.
They also have a spicy meaty snack that G loves.  It's like a bag of little hot Slim Jim's.  They last a long time, so I got 2 bags - we are good for quite a while.

Sam's - well what can I say?  Oh my, there is a reason I only go once or twice a year.  I really do stock up when I go. 
Trash bags - probably good for 1 - 2 years.  Paper plates (for occasions) good for at least 2 - 3 years.  (The last ones lasted 3 years).
Sweetener (Truvia) - probably 6 - 9 months.  Olives a good 6 months.  Baking soda (3 big bags) probably 6 - 8 months.  (I use for cats, cleaning, laundry, etc.)  Pecans - plenty for holiday baking.
Worcestershire Sauce - over a year.
You also see things that you DIDN'T KNOW you needed!!!!!!  Like a bag of Jalapeno crunchy toppers (like onions).  YUMMO!  The possibilities!

Today I went to Kroger - like I really needed to!  I did want milk, bread and cat litter.  I also got Land O Lakes butter 2/$5, and a couple boxes of tea bags to add back in to stock.
I saw a box of Lemon ginger tea bags on markdown ($1.32) which I thought would be great in Hot Toddy mix for colds this winter.  I also got a box of Chai - special blend - tea bags as an adder to nephews gift basket (he loves chai) (2.14).

I came home, and after sorting and putting everything away I have decided I NEED TO STOP FOR A WHILE! 
I have enough meat, veggies, fruits, baking goods, cereals, grains, health and beauty, and home canned stuff to last us for ages.  I HAVE ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do YOU ever get this way?  Do you ever ask yourself - why did I go to the store again?  Why did I spend that money?
Granted, everything will get used - and I am sure you are all the same way.  You will use your stockpile to survive or to help others.  NO we are not wasteful people - but there comes a time when we all need to take a step back.

Now is MY time.  I am going to give it my best shot to stay away from grocery stores for the rest of the month.  I really have no need to go.  We have plenty of milk and eggs and butter.  I still have fresh veggies coming from harvest.  I can make 'different' kinds of salads - no need to add lettuce.  I have meat and other food that needs to be used.
I want to use up some freezer stock - so I will have room in the event that turkeys and hams go on sale in November.  I have no room at the moment.
It is time to use it and be grateful for what I have.  I am sooooooo blessed.

So MY GOAL is to stay away from the grocery stores for the remainder of the month of October!  USE what I have.  Get CREATIVE on recipes and baking.

Maybe, just maybe, I will get a lot of other stuff done.  Maybe I will get creative on crafting Christmas gifts.  Maybe I will get more canning done - using frozen berries for jelly.  Maybe, I will get more deep cleaning and de-cluttering done.  Maybe, we can save a little extra money this month.  MAYBE! 



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tis the Season End

Well, here in the U.S., we are at the end of our gardening season.  It seems many gardens are still giving us produce, but it can't happen for too much longer.
Eventually cold and frost will hit our areas, one by one.

We get to the end of gardening, and we wonder what the heck else can we put up for the winter season. 

Once threat of freeze is here, the green tomatoes have to come off the vines.  Many people wrap them and put them in a dark, cool spot to ripen.
There are a couple other options too.
We absolutely love green tomato relish.  Our family likes it as well, and most of us are totally happy with a spoon and a jar!!!!

Here are a couple other options:

5 C green tomato (chopped fine)
5 C sugar
1/4 C lemon juice
1 - 6 oz. packet of Jello (what ever flavor you want)
Mix tomatoes, sugar, and lemon juice and boil for 5 minutes.  remove from heat and stir in Jello.
Pour into jelly jars (leave 1/2" headroom) and process in water bath for 5 minutes.

Slice your tomatoes a bit thicker than you would for frying fresh.  Stack/pack in a wide mouth jar (get as many in as possible).  Add 1/2 tsp. salt per quart and 1/2 tsp. citric acid OR 1 Tbsp. lemon juice per jar.
Cover with boiling water and leave 1/2" headroom.  Water bath for 40 minutes.
When ready to fry, drain all liquid.  I also lay tomatoes on paper or towels to absorb as much liquid as possible.
Coat as you would fresh and FRY away!
Such a wonderful treat in the dead of winter!!!!!!!

Extra ripe tomatoes and peppers?  Have you made all the sauce and salsa and stewed tomatoes that you can stand? Remember you can also freeze whole tomatoes in skins to use in canning at a later date.  The peels will fall right off when thawed.
OR try making a batch of Rotel.

Click on recipe to enlarge for easy reading.

5 lbs. cabbage shredded
3 1/2 Tbsp. salt
Mix and let mixture set for 30-60 minutes
Pack into jars - leaving 2" head space.  Fill up to 1/2" with cold water.  Place lids and seals on tightly.
Set someplace in a cool, dark place.  Place on paper or in a place that it can drain when fermenting.
Leave it for 6 - 8 weeks.  Check WEEKLY, and top off with COLD SALT BRINE (1 1/2 Tbsp. salt per quart of water).  I keep extra salt brine in frig for future uses.
Replace flat lids with new, and water bath  (start with cold water in WB).  Process 30 minutes after boil is reached.

Make pickles or relish, just substitute zucchini instead of cucumbers.
Shred and freeze in appropriate measured baggies for sweet bread.
Thinly slice and dehydrate - great for soups.  Add salt or garlic/onion  powder and dehydrate slices for munching.  These make great tasty chip treats.
Cut up in chunks for using in stir fry and freeze.

Too many peppers?
Here you go:

3 green (or red) bell peppers - minced     Red pepper looks pretty in gifts for holidays!
2 (4 oz.) cans of diced jalapenos drained (or equivalent  of finely chopped fresh)
1 1/2 C distilled white vinegar
6 1/2 C white sugar
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 (6 oz.) liquid pectin
5 drops green food color

In a large stainless steel pot combine peppers, vinegar, sugar and cayenne.  Cook over medium heat.  Stir frequently until mixture begins to boil.
Stir in pectin; boil for 5 minutes longer, stir constantly, then add food color.  Skim foam.
Ladle into hot sterilized jars and process in water bath for 5 minutes.

Look for ways to save (in a cool dark spot) all those winter squash and pumpkins as well.  They will keep for many months when kept cool and dry.  Same with potatoes and sweet potatoes.

There are so many ways to use up the last bounty of fall.  No need to let things go to waste - make it all into something that will be yummy and much appreciated this winter.

Do you have ANY END OF SEASON RECIPES to share?

Happy harvest!