Thursday, October 29, 2015

Foody Posts

I don't know if it's the weather or what, but I keep thinking about yummy eating.  I have been going through lots of old recipes.  Figured I'd share a couple frugal YUMS with you all.

I don't know about you, but I love the flavor of Big Macs!  It is definitely the sauce.  Well now you can make your own Big Macs at home.

MCDONALD'S SPECIAL SAUCE
1/2 C mayo
2 Tbsp. French dressing
4 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp. finely minced onion
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
Combine all and stir well.  Place in a covered container in the frig.  Let it marinate for a day or two so the flavors blend.  Stir a couple of times during that time.


YOOHOO CHOCOLATE DRINK
(I am not sure if this is regional or nation wide - but it's good)
3/4 C nonfat dry milk
3 Tbsp. Nesquick chocolate drink mix
1 1/2 C very cold water
Mix all ingredients in a jar with a lid.  Shake until everything is dissolved.  Makes a 14 oz. drink


EASY - EASY PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE
12 oz. chocolate chips
12 oz. jar peanut butter
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
Melt chocolate and peanut butter in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (mostly melted).  Add the milk and stir till smooth.
Pour in a buttered 8 x 8 pan.  Cool before cutting.  Makes about 1 1/2 pounds

ENJOY!!!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Rainy day post

Good morning all.
It is a gray, rainy, chilly day here in Indiana.  Looks like it will be this way through tomorrow, and then again this weekend.  We do need the rain, which seems odd to say, after we had such a wet June and July!

What better to do today, than to think about cooking and recipes! 

Here are a couple ideas to stretch your budget and make your own.  When we make our own, it is not always easier, but we know exactly what is in our food.  It also keeps us from making an extra grocery run, and gives us an option for spur of the moment yumminess.


CHOCOLATE SYRUP
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 C water
1/2 C sugar
pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla extract

Mix cocoa, water and sugar in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and stir constantly for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add salt and vanilla.
Yummy over ice cream or in milk or shakes.


HOMEMADE TORTILLAS (8)
1 C masa flour
2/3 C water
1/8 tsp. salt
Combine and mix for about 2 minutes.  If it's too dry, add a little water (1 Tbsp.at a time).  Divide into 8 balls.  If you don't have a tortilla press, place ball between two pieces of plastic wrap and roll into 5" - 6" circles.  Cover with damp towel till 'cooking'.
Preheat an ungreased griddle, and cook one at a time for 50 seconds on each side.  Keep in a plastic bag in the frig. for up to a week.
These are so easy to make, and they are actually less calories than store bought.  Oh, did I mention how yummy they taste?!!!!
As you can see, the bag is almost 5 lbs. and I got this bag on clearance for 1.49.  It is normally less than $3 at regular price, and will make a lot of tortillas.  Found in the ethnic aisle of the grocery.


ONION SOUP MIX
3/4 C dried (instant) minced onion
4 tsp. onion powder
1/3 C beef bouillon
1/4 tsp. crushed celery seed
1/4 tsp. sugar
Mix together and store in an airtight container.  I keep mine in a pint jar.
2 tablespoons EQUAL one packet of soup mix.
How easy!  I like to give this as gifts as well!

Enjoy and make something homemade today!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Frugal Happenings 10/25

Happy Sunday to all.
It is hard to believe that this month is just about over and Christmas day is just 2 months from today.  Wow!  I will start giving a few homemade ideas for gifts after Halloween.  YES, I will wait!!!!

Last weekend we had our first hard freeze of the season, then this week we had the most beautiful Indiana summer weather.  It was just perfect.  Now we are back to having normal fall temps.
The trees have been gorgeous.  Many have shed their leaves, yet there are many that haven't even turned color yet.

I got the garden all cleaned out, flower beds put to bed for winter, and most of the pots cleaned out.  I will finish those up this week.  I have to figure out a way to get rid of all the plant debris.  It has to be bagged and put out weekly, and there is so much (I only have one can).  I may try to burn some on the garden patch, the potash will be good for the garden next year.  Of course the leaves will all go on the garden when I start raking.

I managed  run errands all in one day this week, maximizing my gas usage.  I ran to Meijer (sale), Big Lots (just because), and did my $30 Challenge research.
How was your frugal week?
  • Bought 4 regular size boxes of Nabisco Honey Graham Crackers for .25/box on clearance at B.L.  I can get creative with those this holiday season.
  • Got 6 regular size bags of Veggie Straw snacks for .19/bag clearance at B.L.
  • I got a FREE sample of dry cat food in the mailbox plus a $1 coupon
  • Processed in water bath the kraut that has been fermenting for past weeks
  • Bought canned cat food at Meijer (sale).  $35 worth for FREE with balance of the GC we had.  Bought a total of 200 cans this week.  Sounds like a lot, but at 3 a day, it goes quickly, and I really utilized the sale.
  • Got a FREE 12 pack of hamburger buns.  Cut them up and air dried to use in dressing this Thanksgiving.
  • Only groceries (for people) I bought this week was a gallon of milk.  Two weeks of not buying groceries.
  • I did get treats for Halloween.  Bought packs of cheese/crackers.  Really just as cheap as candy, and they are nice size packs.  We are known amongst the neighborhood kids for giving 'big stuff''!!!!!
Let us know how your week went.  Enjoy these fall temperatures, and may you be blessed with many frugal happenings in this coming week.


I hope and pray you all have a wonderful week. 
God bless

Friday, October 23, 2015

$30 Challenge

Lately I have been reading a lot about the $30 challenge.  Have you heard of it?
Basically it challenges you to live on $30 a week grocery budget for 2 people.  Many say it can not be done.  Others say it can - but oh how boring it would be.
Most challenges I see also ASSUME that you would have absolutely nothing already in your home.  REALLY?
I well imagine that everyone would have a few basics laying around.  A few spices, an additional can or two of veggies or fruit, some type of meat in the freezer, or something they have grown themselves.  I don't know anyone that has nothing - but I am sure it happens more than we would like to admit.

I decided to take the challenge (pretend).  This week when I was out running errands, I kept track of 'my pretend purchases' and I came home and made up a menu for the entire week.  Most of my 'purchases' were from Aldi and the Dollar Tree, with a couple other sale items from the grocery.  Just as a disclaimer - Indiana does NOT charge sales tax on edible items at the grocery - so I had no sales tax to add in.

ALDI PURCHASES
40 oz. box of baking mix                2.09
20 oz. loaf of bread                           .85
2 packs of sliced chipped beef          .98
Frozen leg quarters 80 oz.              4.69
Box Mac N Cheese                           .39
1 pkg. pasta                                      1.00
3 lb. bag rice                                    1.49
Tuna - 1 can                                       .65
3 bags frozen veggies (.89 ea.)        2.67
corn, peas, beans

DOLLAR TREE purchases  each item $1.00
Peanut butter
Jelly
1 lb. bag dry beans
16 oz. quick oats
24 oz. syrup
bag of frozen hash browns
10 oz. roll of sausage (frozen)
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
24 oz. can spaghetti sauce with meat

GROCERY
Apples    3lb. bag                         1.99
1 lb. bananas                                  .45
2 lb. bag whole carrots                   .99
3 lb. bag onions                            1.00
Lunch meat                                   1.00

TOTAL $29.24

BREAKFASTS -
oatmeal
I would cut up and cook one apple to add to oats on occasion, maybe add banana or a bit of syrup
Pancakes would also be made for variety
Rice topped with syrup (or butter and sugar if you have some)

LUNCHES
PBJ sandwiches or lunchmeat sandwiches.  Add a piece of fruit or carrot sticks
Maybe some leftovers from dinner

DINNERS
*Cheesy tuna casserole (mac n cheese and tuna).  Could add some frozen peas.  Green beans and biscuits (mix)
*Spaghetti and toast
*Chipped beef gravy and biscuits - hash browns
*Chicken and rice soup.  Cook chicken in water (for broth), add rice and diced carrots, peas, onions, or whatever else you have.  Hopefully get 2 meals each from this.
*Chili - using some of dry beans, sausage, and crushed tomatoes.  Hopefully have seasonings on hand.  Should get 2 meals each.
Beans and rice (seasoned with your seasonings) and fried chicken and biscuits

I might fry up some apples for a treat if any left.  I may have Jello I could add a banana to.
Mix some syrup and peanut butter together for a tasty treat.

With these supplies, I would have rice, carrots, onions, baking mix, syrup, and probably some chicken leftover for next week (no way we would eat 5 lbs. in a week).  Next week other items could be added to extend these and whatever else I have on hand.   I could hopefully add eggs or milk, or maybe some fresh salad veggies, or cheese - WATCH THE SALES.

Just watching sales and shopping at the cheapest places can enable you to eat well for minimal money.  This would give the average person a chance to save extra money for paying off debt or saving or whatever goal they have in mind.  It may just be a very lean time in your life.  This is just to prove it is VERY doable.
I know most everyone who may be reading this, would have other items at home that could be added to the meals, whether it be frozen, canned, or garden fresh.

Just a reminder that the dollar stores also sell just about any other supplies you may need.  Shampoo, conditioner, shampoo, soap, deodorant, cleaning supplies, laundry soap, dish soap,  plastic wrap, foil, tea bags (100/$1), and even small bags of sugar, flour, and all spices, etc. ALL for $1.

Hope this makes everyone think about how they spend, and how they can spend less.  We are truly blessed to have what we do have.
Maybe you can pass this info on to someone else who it truly will help. 

God bless.    

**EDIT - I keep thinking of things I could make with the above items.  Chicken pot pie, waffles and fried chicken, apple pie, onion rings, stir fry - oh, somebody stop me.   YUM      

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

SUBSTITUTIONS PART 2

I will be giving a few more substitutions for everyday baking/cooking today.
I hope these help you out when you are in a pinch sometime.

* CAKE FLOUR - use 1 cup ALL PURPOSE flour minus 2 Tbsp.

*SELF RISING CAKE FLOUR - 1 cup cake flour and add 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt

*  BASIC SELF RISING flour - 1 cup ALL PURPOSE flour 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt as above

*BAKING POWDER - 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. cream of tartar, and 1 tsp. corn starch = 1 Tbsp. baking powder

*Use 3 Tbsp. of mayo in place of 1 egg
*Use 1/2 mashed banana w 1/2 tsp. baking powder in place of 1 egg

*Mix 1/4 cup filtered water and 2 Tbsp. of flax seed in a pan on medium heat.  Heat for about 10 minutes.  Strain and the water will be gel like and is equivalent to 2 eggs

*Replace half of oil in baking with smashed applesauce (reduces fat content)

*1 clove of garlic = 1/8 tsp. garlic powder OR 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic

*CREAM CHEESE FOR BAKING - Use the amount you need of FULL FAT cottage cheese blended in a  blender till smooth.  It will not make your recipe taste like cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese is also great in place of expensive cheese in lasagna. (I don't like cottage cheese - but this is how I always make lasagna)

*CREAM CHEESE FOR DIP - place plain Greek yogurt over a cheese cloth and drain for 24 - 36 hours in or out of frig.  To refrigerate for later use, wrap it tightly in wax paper.  It will be a bit tangier than regular cream cheese.  Add herbs as you would with regular cream cheese for dips.

*CARAMEL - Place 1 can of sweetened condensed ilk (label removed and unopened) on its side in a large pot of water.  Water should be at least 1" over the can.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium boil and heat for 3 hours, adding water when needed.  Cool before opening.  It looks and tastes like caramel!!
* CARAMEL - do the same thing, except in a slow cooker on low for 8 - 10 hours.

I hope I have given you a few ideas that you can use.  I know I am always looking for a different way to do things.
Do you have any substitutions that you use - that we could all benefit from?  PLEASE let us know!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

SUBSTITUTIONS

Baking season is upon us.  Everyone will be making lots of scrumptious goodies.  How many times have you been in the middle of a recipe, and OOPS you are out of something?
It is so aggravating when that happens.

First of all we mentioned earlier that you should inventory all your baking goods and spices NOW, to make sure you have everything you will need.
But there is an alternative.  There are many items that you can substitute other things for.  Using what you have at home, when times get tough, or you can't get to the store, just makes sense.

Here are a few options.  You might want to copy and keep in your nearest recipe book or file.

  • Buttermilk - 1 C milk mixed with 1 Tbsp. of white vinegar or lemon juice.  Let it stand for about 10 minutes to sour.  Use in baking as you would store bought buttermilk.  **Not for drinking!     You can also buy dry buttermilk powder and just mix with water.  I always keep this on hand.
  • Heavy cream - 2/3 C whole milk mixed with 1/3 C melted unsalted butter
  • Evaporated milk - 1/3 C nonfat dry milk with 6 Tbsp. water
  • Brown sugar - LIGHT = 1 C sugar with 2 Tbsp. molasses.  DARK = 1 C sugar with 4 Tbsp. molasses
  • Powdered sugar - 1 C sugar in a blender and grind till fine powder
  • Colored sugar sprinkles for cookies - mix sugar with drops of food coloring and mix till evenly blended.  I have done this often.  Keep extra in a sealed container for use later.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk - 3/4 C sugar, 1/2 C water, and 1 1/2 C powdered milk.   Mix in a pan and bring to a boil, then simmer and stir for about 20 minutes.  This equals 1 can.
  • Corn syrup - 2 C white sugar, 3/4 C water and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar.  Whisk together, boil, cover and simmer for about 3 minutes.  Uncover and heat to the 'soft ball' stage (a drop of mixture in cold water, sinks and forms a ball).  Cool and store in airtight container in pantry for a couple months.
  • DARK corn syrup - mix 3/4 C of the above with 1/4 C molasses
  • Unsweetened chocolate - 1 oz. = 3 Tbsp. of cocoa mixed with 1 Tbsp. shortening or vegetable oil
  • Lemon zest 1 tsp. = 1/2 tsp. of lemon extract or 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice
This should get you thinking.  I will be listing more substitutions tomorrow.  It sure is nice to know that everything is not set in stone when it comes to baking, even though baking is science.
We can still enjoy our baked goods and stay frugal.  There is no need to make special runs to the grocery when out of something.

More tomorrow!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Prettiness

Thought I'd share a picture of the tomato products I canned this weekend.
They look so pretty and they sure will be yummy this winter!



Now this is what is left AFTER doing the canning.  We love eating fresh tomatoes and we should be able to do so, for a few weeks yet!  Lots of different stages.



And lastly, here is a pretty picture of what several of our sunsets looked like this past week.  AWESOME!  This is from the front porch.


This picture really doesn't do it justice.  The pinks and oranges have been so pretty.  Sunrises have been awful pretty lately as well.
God sure is a wonderful painter!

BLESSINGS ALL!

Frugal Happenings 10/18

Howdy gang!  Hope this finds everyone well.
It seems that in our neck of the woods the "garden party" is over!  We had our first freeze of the season both yesterday and today in early morning hours.
So sad - everything looks so droopy and blah.
The leaves should really get to their color prime in the next week or so.  We are to be back to low 70's as highs this coming week.

I had to give in this week and admit that my baby hummingbirds were gone for the season.  Took down and cleaned the feeders.
Got a LOT of fall yard work done!

I did manage to get all the tomatoes in - both red and green.  Baby cabbages picked as well.  So it's all over but the shouting and the rubbish that has to get picked up!!!

  • I harvested my thyme and it's air drying
  • Picked a total of 27 lbs. of red, green, and partially ripe tomatoes
  • I canned 7 pints of sweet green tomato relish
  • Canned 2 pints and 5 half pints of tomato puree from all the misshapen and funky looking tomatoes.  (Still have plenty for fresh eating)
  • Renewed library books on line, so they wouldn't go over due
  • Got our furnace checked for the winter under our maintenance agreement.  No money output in the fall
I went to my first holiday bazaar of the season this weekend.  It is by far the smallest of the ones I like, but it's right up the street, and I have gone for years.  Bought NO crafts.  I always go to buy my holiday nuts for baking.  They have a group that sells them and profits go for missions.  So I bought 4 pounds of pecans and some mixed nuts.  Also got G a bag of spicy trail mix.
So I now have all my nuts for holiday baking!  YAY!

I have only had to turn on the heat for a cycle or two 3 days, all at the end of week.  Lasts years attic insulation sure has made a difference.  The house really stays a lot warmer.
Absolutely no AC - I think it's done till next year.

I have made some really yummy meals this week.  I made a small roast and had beef Manhattens one night, then made roast beef hash another night.  We have had soup and grilled cheese, homemade quesadillas, burgers and salad, and I made a big pot of 'gumbo like' Cajun soup.
Just trying to get a bit creative and varied with the menu, and I love using what we have to make yummy fall and winter comfort food.

The bazaar was my only outing this week.  No shopping or spending!  Yay me!!!!

Hope you guys have had a lovely week and have tried to stay on the frugal bandwagon!  Let us know what you have been up to.
Have a great upcoming week, and may God bless and keep you all you safe and healthy.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Holiday Plans

The holidays will soon be upon us.  It just doesn't seem possible that it has been a year, since we last celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I thought I'd list a few things to think about and plan for ahead of time.  I like to get as many things as possible out of the way, so that the holidays can just be ENJOYED without stress.

  • Start watching thrift stores for vintage salt and pepper shakers at a cheap price.  They may be turkeys, snowmen, Santa, etc.  They just make a holiday table so cheerful!!    They also make cute little gifts.
  • If you are going to have a big get-together, make some place cards for your guests table setting.  Use some whimsical family or childhood pictures (copies) for their name card!
  • No need to buy fancy holiday paper napkins.  Use plain napkins or paper towels, and stamp with a cute holiday stamp.  This would be a fun kids project.  We like to use our cloth napkins, but if you are having a crowd, sometimes throw away is the best.
  • If you want to plan for a big crowd, and do something different - make all finger foods or appetizer foods.  Have everyone pitch in their favorite.
  • Start saving those butter, cottage cheese, sour cream containers now!  They are the best for sending leftovers home with people.  You never need to worry if you will get your dish back.
  • Kids feel really grown-up when served sparkling cider or juice in plastic long stemmed 'wine' glasses!  Start looking at the dollar stores for the glasses and for bottles of sparkling juice. 
  • REMEMBER when shopping for a turkey to allow one pound per person, plus extra for leftovers
  • When turkey and hams go on sale - if you have the extra room in your freezer - buy extras!!!!  Trust me, it will be cheaper than lunch meat for future lunches and meals, and so much healthier.  I generally have 2-3 turkeys in the freezer at all times.
I have started noticing some sales for baking items - although they are not the best prices YET!  Pumpkin (canned) prices seem to be up this year.  Supposedly there is some kind of shortage on pumpkins this year - so if you find a great price - stock-up!
Fresh pumpkins I have seen at the stores, seem to be cheaper for some reason this year.  Go figure.  My advice is to buy a few after Halloween (when the stores need to get rid of them) and make your own fresh pumpkin to freeze or can for pies.

Remember you don't have to use pumpkin in those pies.  You can use sweet potatoes, or various types of winter squash.  Use what you find the most of and whatever is cheapest.

Plan your menu now for the holidays, so that you can purchase items each week when they are on sale.  Keep that menu and your list with you, so that you can see what you need and what you have bought, at any time you enter a store. 
Holiday dinners don't have to cost a fortune.  Shoot, they don't even have to be traditional.  Many people do an ethnic dinner (Italian, German, Mexican, etc.).  There is nothing wrong, with having beef, pork, or even meatloaf instead of the turkey or ham.  Choose whatever your family likes and what your budget can afford and just ENJOY you time together.
That is what is important.

Start planning now as turkey day is just a few scant weeks away.  Holiday baking seems to start then, and goes on for another few weeks.  Be ready and be frugal.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Prepping for winter

Back in August I talked about the scenario of "WHAT IF". 
Nothing in the political or economic world has changed much since that post, except to maybe get worse.  I think there is a long way to go, before we can all feel safe in this world.

 Winter is coming soon, and as in the past, we have all seen what happens when there is a terrific snowfall or blizzard.  Last year and the year before many MAJOR cities were at a standstill due to the severe snowfalls.  Many cities had sections that were without power for weeks in the dead of winter.
That is a scary thought. 

Would you be able to survive at your home, if you couldn't get out for say 2 - 4 weeks?  I am not just talking about food - but everything.
Here are some things to ponder and plan for.

  • Do you have alternate heat?  Perhaps a fireplace or heat stove?  If so, make sure it is in good working order and clean.  Have a supply of wood at the ready.            Do you have a generator that could run maybe the frig or freezer at short intervals, or an electric heater from time to time?   OK, now do you have enough fuel on hand to be able to run that generator per any extended period of time?  REMEMBER - you can't get out - so that probably means no one else can either (gas stations).                                                                                                       Last year we had a whole house geni installed, which is linked directly into the natural gas line and the power box on the house.  Within 10-15 seconds of a power outage, we will have power!  YES, it is costly to install, but it is peace of mind.  This is something to think about, especially if you have a loved one with health issues.
  • You will need candles or oil lamps for light.  Also remember you can bring in the tops of any solar lights that you have outside (if snow free).  They will give off light all evening long!  Flashlight and batteries are also important.
  • Have a phone charger for your car.  That way you can run your vehicle to re-charge your cell phone, and still keep in touch with the outside world!   DO NOT stay inside the car when doing this, and make sure tailpipe is clear.  You don't want to die for a phone!!
  • Make sure if they are predicting extreme weather, that you have plenty of meds on hand.  If you can't refill yet, think about alternatives (natural) that you may be able to use, just in case.  Meds are so essential - this is very important.
  • NEVER get rid of extra blankets, throws, or afghans.  They may make the difference of life or death for you or your pets.
  • Not only do you need to make sure you can survive on the food you have, but that you have enough food for pets.
  • Do you have a way to cook?  If you have a fireplace or wood stove, you can warm up food.  If not, make sure you have a grill (probably propane) that you can use (OUTSIDE ONLY).  You will need to have an extra propane tank or 2 on hand.  There is also the option of cooking over fire outside, although if the temps are stupid cold, that may not be desirable.
  • Keep water on hand for drinking and cooking.  Toilets need water too, but if worse came to worse - use a bucket and a trash bag, and then dispose outside in trash or under piles of snow.  Hay, you got to do what you got to do!!!!!!!!
  • It would be nice to have a hand cranked radio or a battery operated radio on hand, just so you know what is going on - and for noise for your sanity!
Make sure you have winter proofed your home.  Close all outdoor under house vents.  Have outside water turned off.  Maybe insulate your water pipes and water heater with insulated wraps.  Have all doors and windows well caulked.  Have your snow shovel and ice melt, close at hand.  If you have heavy insulated curtains for winter - put them up.   Use the heat from the sun during the day, as extra heat in house.
BE PREPARED.

WINTER may be long and fierce!  You want to make sure that you and your family can survive.
I pray that this info is all for naught, but we all need to prepare.  It could be things other than weather that can cause us grief.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Frugal Happenings 10/11

HAPPY SUNDAY EVERYONE

Hope you are all doing well and had a great week.
We are having a beautiful day in this neck of the woods.  It was really chilly this morning, but got in the mid 70's, with a breeze and tons of sunshine.  Just a PERFECT day!!!!!!!!!!!
We haven't had to use the AC for a least 2 weeks, maybe longer.  I think the AC days are over till net year.

I have been doing more organizing and de-cluttering this week.  I also vacuumed all the register vents and cold air return and as far back into the runs as possible this week.  Getting ready for heat time!

I spent parts of 2 days cleaning the hard wood floors.
I always dust mop and damp mop them - but this time I used a product on them.  It removes all grime, wax build-up and any deep seated ground in dirt.  I did all the hardwoods twice and they look AWESOME!!!!!!!  No mixing - it was used straight from the bottle and it did a wonderful job.
I still have walls to wash down and then I will go over the floors once more, and then wax to protect for the winter.   **If interested in brand name - let me know!
Oh by the way, I did it all on my hands and knees!  I had more control that way.  CAN YOU SAY EXHAUSTED AND BACK ACHE??????

This week;
  • I re-carpeted the cat scratch post again, with scrap carpet I had on hand.  The kitties love it, and it saved me at least $45 from buying another 2 story post!
  • Cut G's and my hair, and colored mine with product on hand
  • Got a FREE pretty 2016 calendar.  FREE 5 lb. container of thistle seed.  FREE package of blueberry bagels
  • Picked more tomatoes and lettuce
  • Bought 20 lbs. of potatoes - 5 lb./.77 bag!   Can't bet that price
  • Bought 2 'new to me' sweaters for .99 each.
  • Got 2 clearance containers (20 oz. ea.) of hot chocolate mix for 1.29 each.  Shoot I can't make my own mix that cheap
  • Gave myself a much needed pedi
  • All meals from home
  • Got Christmas gifts for 6 of the 'littles' for a total of $16!  Everything I got is so cute and was on sale or clearance.  WooHoo!  Only 3 young-uns and a couple teens to go, other than adults (goody baskets)
  • I spot cleaned the bedroom carpet
Guess that's about it on frugal stuff - except for all my normal stuff.  I had a pretty productive week.  Hope this coming week is just as productive.  Trying to get all my fall cleaning done and wrapped up.

Oh here is an idea for you to try.  I did get 3 - 4 packs of yogurt on clearance, so I decided to do something different.  G has been enjoying yogurt pops as an evening snack.

I keep popsicle sticks or you could use craft sticks.  I simply cut a tiny slit in each top and inserted the stick - then froze them.  Break apart, and you have yogurt pops!  Just a tad bit of warm water run over the outside, lets the 'pop' slide right out after removing top.
It doesn't get much easier than that!

Well kiddos, I hope you all have a fantastic and safe week.
Let us know what you are up to!

God bless each and everyone of you.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Organizing - Containers

There are so many different types of containers that can help us organize and store our goodies.  One of my favorites is baskets! 
I get baskets often, at the holidays with goodies inside.  I used to buy baskets at the thrift store for many of the gifts that I gave - then I figured maybe everyone had enough!  Now I give many gifts in re-usable cloth grocery bags or recycled ice cream buckets.

We all need to think outside the box a little.  I am going to give some more examples today of different ways to store about anything or everything.

I have baskets on both sides of the love seat, as the space is too small for anything else.  I have all my research and reference books in them for easy accessibility.  This pretty basket is sitting on top of a tiny stool, which can be pulled out when extra company (kids) come and there aren't enough seats.

This baskets slides under the bathroom hutch and is the perfect place to store extra toilet paper out of sight.  It can easily be reached from the 'throne' as well!
Another bathroom area.  My bathroom is very small, with only 5 x 6 floor space (not counting tub).  We have a pedestal sink next to the tub, and this sits under the sink and against the tub.  It gives me extra storage for little things that get used often.  3 stackable baskets from the dollar store.

These old popcorn tins are used to store extra sugar in the basement.  Both are decent size and hold many bags.  Tins could be used for pasta, beans, sugar, flour, bird seed, pet food, etc.  They keep bugs and moisture out of whatever you store.  I also have one that has many canning supplies in it - mixes, lids, pectin, etc.


Lastly today, save those ice cream tubs.  They are great for all kinds of things.  They can be spray painted and prettied up with Krylon paint, cover with contact paper or wrapping paper or used as is.
These are great for storing small packets of seasoning, beans, rice, flour, craft supplies, sewing goods, etc.  Super for anything that needs to be kept dry and free from insects in garages too.
I have one that I keep rock salt in, in the winter.  That way I don't have to keep that big bag in plain sight.
I often decorate them up, and they are used as goodie baskets for many of the younger nieces and nephews (bonus their mom's can use them for storage at home).
I have some square ones, that I use in the freezer to separate different types of meat, like lunch meat or hotdogs.

Hope I gave you some useful ideas on things that you may have around the house that can be reinvented to something that helps with your storage needs.
Do you have any special things that you use or recycle for storage?  Please let us know.

More storage ideas next week.




Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Organizing

Organization is something that I always battle with.  I was so extremely organized when I worked.  No one could believe how I could find things that no one else had a clue of.

Now I put things away for safe keeping - well it's often quite safe, because I have a hard time finding it again!!!  Please tell me I am not the only one.

I am really on a mission to get things totally organized before the end of the year.
Organizing can incorporate many things.

**De-cluttering really helps with organization.  Less stuff - the easier it is.  I mean how many sour cream and cottage cheese cartons and catsup bottles does a person need to keep for storage and leftovers?  I got rid of tons of this kind of stuff earlier this year - off to recycle it went.
Make sure you are using what you keep.

**Place like items together.  When organizing your pantry, extra food storage, drawers, closets, etc. - make sure like items are together.  Whether it be soups, canned veggies, scarves, socks, undies, towels, you name it!

**Hide things you don't use often.  Place them high up in cabinets, out in the garage, or in storage in the basement.  There is no since if keeping things out that aren't used often (like that turkey roaster or canner).  Use your space wisely for daily used items.

**Get creative with your storage.  Don't forget about back corners of closets, under the bed, under sofas and chairs, the garage (for anything that can freeze - paper and dry goods).  Add extra shelves to closets.   Purchase small plastic storage boxes at Dollar Tree for extra spice jars or small items in the pantry.  These type of containers stack easily as well.

**If kids are involved - don't forget to have them go through toys before the holidays to "re-gift" to children in need.  Good for us adults to do as well!!!!

This past weekend I decide to put some jars I had to good use.  I have a small kitchen, so any added storage to keep things close at hand is needed.


I utilized several jars for storage on my microwave stand (actually an old wash stand with a top added).  See that cabinet above the microwave?  My daddy made that when he was 12 (1926) for his momma.  She returned to him as an adult, and mom and daddy used it as a medicine cabinet for years.  Mom gave it to me 30 years ago, and I use it for all my flavored extracts.  It has been repainted, but still has the original hardware.
The wash stand, has 3 drawers and a door in it, that is used for storage as well.


This large tote is in the basement.  It contains a lot of the extra pasta and dried beans I have stored back.  I put the one pound bags of beans in old ice cream containers (like items in each), then placed those in the tote.  Larger bags are stacked.  The tub in front is clearance chips for baking this holiday - it goes in the tote as well.
Totes with locking lids like this would work great for beans and pasta in the garage as well.

This sits in front of the bar that was once an entertaining area in the basement family room.  The back side of the bar now is used for extra storage as well, since we are no longer 'party animals'!!

Do you have book shelves that have books that can be donated that you can use for storage?  You could always cover with a pretty curtain to hide your goods.
An extra bathroom that doesn't get used? (I wish).  Use the cabinets or even the shower or tub area for storage.  A pretty shower curtain can hide a lot!

These are just many random ideas that can be used for getting your life organized.  Sometimes it can be very over whelming, I know.  Just get started in one small area, then do another, and another, and pretty soon you will have your home organized.

Organization can also SAVE YOU MONEY!  If you know what you have and where you have it, you will use it and not waste it, and you won't be making unnecessary purchases.

GET ORGANIZED AND STAY FRUGAL!



Monday, October 5, 2015

Mmmm, Mmmmm Good

I promised I would post the easy and delicious pie recipe I made this weekend.
You have to love coconut like me, in order to appreciate this pie.
Nothing I love more than homemade macaroons!  This sure comes in a close second.  Oooey, and gooey, and yummy.

CRUSTLESS COCONUT PIE
4 eggs
1 3/4 C sugar
2 C milk
1/4 C butter, melted
1/2 C self rising flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C flaked coconut, divided

Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer until frothy.  Add sugar and the net 4 ingredients.  Place 1/2 cup of coconut in each of 2 shallow, lightly greased pie pans.  Pour half of the filling mixture into each pie plate.  Stir gently to distribute coconut (I just made sure it was even in pan).
Bake at 350* 25-30 minutes.  Makes 2 pies.

It took about 26 minutes in my oven.
MAKE SURE that you run a butter knife around the outer edges while still warm or it will stick.

If you like coconut, you will love this.
*NOTE - you can buy coconut at the Dollar Tree in baking aisles.


ENJOY!  They probably won't last long!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Frugal Happenings 10/4

Howdy friends!
Hope you are doing well.  Today has turned out to be a beautiful day here.  It has been so extremely chilly here this week, and we had rain on top of it a couple days.
Yesterday it rained almost all day and only got to about 50*.  I decided to nest!!  I worked on re-arranging, organizing, and cleaning.  Took a nice hot bath and then slept like a baby.  It was wonderful!

What did you do frugal this week?  Let us know.
Here are my extras:
  • I bought 15 boxes of mushrooms for .69/8 oz. box.  All sliced and in the freezer!!!
  • Keeping the solid plastic boxes the mushrooms came in, to use at Christmas for candy and cookie gifts.  I am sure that container will hold a good pound of fudge!
  • Got a .30/gal. discount on gas.  I am good for the month
  • Stopped at the "GW Boutique" this week.  I had never been in that particular one.  Got some Christmas d├ęcor and a skein of yarn for $11 total.
  • Had take-out Chinese for dinner 2 nights this week.  G was gifted $30 for a belated birthday meal and that's what he chose.  It always lasts both of us 2 meals.  FREE!!!
  • G has been craving KFC for a while.  That stuff is so expensive.  So I made fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and homemade coleslaw for dinner one night.  We had some leftover biscuits from earlier in the week too.
  • No AC this week.  I did turn heat on one cycle both yesterday and today.  G was cold.
  • Picked 8.5 pounds of tomatoes this week.  Still many green ones on the vines.
Made the rest of meals from home this week.  I am getting into comfort food now.  I made a big pot of stew-like hamburger/veggie soup yesterday.  I also made 2 pies.  I will share the easy recipe and picture this week.  The pie is soooooo good.


 
 
Click on pictures to enlarge
 
These are my cute Christmas items from GW.  The wreath will be for indoors.  The little bisque colored item has holes in it, I will add a cord and light to the back (I have several).  The container is full of Christmas stamps.  I always use the fronts of old cards for gift tags, but this year I may make my own with the stamps and colored paper.  I also got a skein of black yarn, to do a repair on a large hand crocheted bedspread my Mom made me years ago.   Not to snaggy - all for $11.

I really don't know why I bought them, except that I liked them.  I have totes of Christmas stuff I haven't used in years, and don't really remember what all is in them.  Note to self:  go through them soon!!!

I plan to share a yummy recipe with you this week, show you some of my organizing, and have some thought provoking conversation.

I hope you all had a good week past, and I wish you a lovely coming week.
Stay safe and God bless.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fall Yummies

HAPPY OCTOBER EVERYONE!!!!!

Here are a couple recipes that seem fitting for fall.  ENJOY!!!!!!

BACON FRIED SPICED APPLES
2 Tbsp. bacon drippings
2 apples, peeled, cored and ringed
1/3 C brown sugar packed
1 tsp. cinnamon

Warm the bacon drippings, add apple rings.  Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, then add brown sugar and spice.  Turn and cook till tender.
Use as a side, a dessert, or on top of oatmeal or pancakes.
Apples and bacon - my two favorites!



CREAM CHEESE APPLE DIP
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese - softened
1/4 C sugar
3/4 C brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C toffee baking bits **optional

Blend cream cheese with sugars and vanilla.  Stir in toffee if using.
Serve at room temperature with apples slices.
Makes about  cups.
Refrigerate leftovers if there is any!!!!
**I thinking about adding crushed peanuts to the mix!  YUM



TEXAS CAVIAR
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can corn, drained
16 oz. jar salsa
Stir all the ingredients together.  Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate several hours before serving.  Makes 4 cups.
Serve with chips.
**I'm thinking this would be good on top of toasted French bread, for a quick and easy lunch or dinner!  Maybe with a side salad.

Happy eating!