Wednesday, June 29, 2016


This weekend, I am sure a lot of people will be having cook-outs and family gatherings.  Hard to believe, but this is summer's last big HOORAH!  Labor Day will be the official start of fall.

Will you be grilling?  Hamburgers, hotdogs, steaks, chicken, oh my!  We also like to grill fruit.  You should try halving peaches and grilling them - oh my goodness they are good.  Pineapple slices are wonderful grilled as well.  It sure brings out the sugars in fruit.
Like Ellen mentioned the other day, grilled zucchini is wonderful too.  I like to cut lengthwise into slabs (you could cut in thick rounds as well), a little olive oil drizzle and season and grill.  Rounds grilled are great on top of a hamburger in a bun!

There are so many options for fun and different goodies for gatherings.

De-husk your corn
Grease up with a little olive oil, season with some Kosher salt, pepper, and smoked paprika and place on grill or grate.  Turn often.  Done in about 25 minutes.

 1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
2 C watermelon, seeded and cubed
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C lemon juice
2 ice cubes

Combine berries, watermelon, sugar and lemon juice in blender.  Blend till smooth.  Gradually add ice and continue to blend.  Serves 5 or 6

8 oz. pkg. elbow macaroni - cooked
4 C diced tomatoes
4 slices bacon fried - and crumbled
3 C shredded lettuce

1/2 C mayo
1/3 C sour cream
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper

Rinse macaroni in cold water and drain.  Add next 3 ingredients and set aside.  Mix topping ingredients, stir well; pour over mac mixture.  Serve immediately.

9 ice cream sandwiches
chocolate and caramel syrup
1 container of thawed Cool Whip

Unwrap and line up 3 sandwiches side by side (touching)
Drizzle with a little caramel or chocolate syrup
Top with 3 more sandwiches
Drizzle with the other type of syrup
Top with the last 3 sandwiches
ICE with Cool Whip and drizzle with both chocolate and caramel topping.
Place in the freezer till whipped cream sets.
Slice and enjoy!

Hope this gives you a few new ideas for your gathering.
Experiment, try new things, and most of all - ENJOY all the yummies!!!!!! 

Monday, June 27, 2016

ZUCCHINI Surplus Part 2

Here we go again.
Time for some more recipes to use all those zucchini and often times yellow squash with.  The 2 types of squash are pretty interchangeable.
I hope you enjoy some of these this summer.

This first one is a dish I have made for years, as did my Mom.  I can give you directions, amounts of each ingredient depends on how many you plan to feed.

1/2 lb. (give or take some) of bacon or ground sausage
If using bacon, remove from the pan and keep grease.
Slice up onion, zucchini, and/or yellow squash and cook in the bacon grease or sausage grease.
Once tender, add back in bacon crumbled.
Thinly slice tomatoes, and lay over the top of the squash mixture.  Add shredded cheese, turn heat to low, and cover the pan till cheese has melted.
Serve as is or over rice. 
This is one of our FAVORITE dishes.  The combination of flavors is incredibly yummy!

(I received this recipe from a friend - it is also a favorite)
2 medium zucchini
6 Tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. cream cheese (softened) *
2 Tbsp. sour cream *
1 1/2 tsp. chopped jalapeno peppers *
4 Tbsp. Panko bread crumbs

Heat the oven to 400*.  Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds.  Microwave for 1 -2 minutes.
Mix cheddar, cream cheese, and sour cream and peppers.
Spread about 2 Tbsp. of mixture in each zucchini boat.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs
Bake for 25 minutes or until the crumb topping is golden brown.
*I increase these ingredients by 2X - as the original recipe just didn't contain enough in our opinion.

(I just want to offer a disclaimer to this that it would not be approved by USDA rules.  I make this each year, and shelf store, and have never had a problem.  Use YOUR OWN judgment)

3 C peeled, grated zucchini (good way to use large ones)
1/2 C lemon juice
1 - 3 oz. box gelatin - peach, pineapple, raspberry, or strawberry work great
3 C sugar
Bring zucchini and lemon juice to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Add gelatin and sugar.  Boil for 6 more minutes.  Pour into sterilized jelly jars and seal tops with paraffin.  Once set - please add lids and bands (extra care for keeping out insects)
I have never had one person figure out that there was zucchini in this jam!
I know several people who make this.

ENJOY your summer squash and these recipes.
GROW, HARVEST, EAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Frugal happenings 6/26

Happy Sunday everyone.  I hope you have had a good week.
My week was a bit of ups and downs.

 On Tuesday (our coolest day of the week) I went out to mow and do some yard work.  Well, I ended up with a bad case of heat exhaustion.  I did not feel back to 'normal' till Saturday.
It was really an awful feeling.  I felt sick at my tummy, light headed, forgetful, and just plain tired.  I really felt like I had a "bad hangover" for days.  I did not like that feeling.

But even with feeling bad, life had to go on.  I still did my usual stuff, and my sister and I had to accompany our brother Ron to his cancer doctor, so he could get his monthly shot (he had missed 2).  That was quite the ordeal.  It took a total of about 4 hours, and this was Wednesday (so not feeling well).  Mentioning Ron, we are all getting frustrated, as he seems to have quit trying.  We are all on a mission to get him home - it seems more than he is.  I am at my wits end - just don't know what to do anymore.

Sorry, I digressed.  Back to all things frugal!
My week:
  • I made up and used chemical free pest control for lettuce, cabbage and broccoli (1/2 and 1/2 baking soda and flour)
  • Picked more lettuce and my FIRST cucumber!!!!!  Also getting green onions
  • Refilled all my seasoning and spice jars in the kitchen from the bulk containers I have.
  • Had a MAJOR house cleaning day at the first of the week
  • Dried oregano, rosemary, thyme, and more mint from the garden
  • I did make it to Fresh Thyme market for double dip Thursday (you get both weeks sales).  I got brown eggs for .58/dozen. peaches (.77/lb.), seedless watermelon (2.88), and 6 fruit mangos (3/$1)
  • We were gifted 4 large jalapeno smoked sausages to try
  • Laundry in cold (and used dehumidifier water) and line dried
  • Filled my gas tank and got a .30/gallon discount making gas 1.86/gallon
  • After going to rehab visit Saturday, I stopped at one yard sale and at the church thrift store.  I got 2 wrist supports ($1 ea.) and a pair of jeans (.25) and 2 loaves of bread (FREE).
  • I stopped at Kroger to get milk on sale for 1.49/gal. and of course looked at clearance/closeouts.  I found 3 containers chocolate/marshmallow frosting (2018) for .68 each, 2 bags of white chocolate macadamia nut cookie mix for .78 ea. (12/2017), and 2 bags of craisins  (2018) for .63 ea.  All went into downstairs pantry for future use!
My $2.25 haul!  Bread was free at the church thrift store.  They get bread twice a week, and give to everyone.  It was still extremely soft, so I wrapped it extra good, and one is in the frig and one in the freezer.

I got both a right and left wrist support, each with a metal stave at the wrist.  If you look closely at the original price tag it's dated 1999, and they had never been opened.  The last ones I bought a few years ago were $14.99 each.  I was more than pleased with this yard sale purchase.******************************************************************

Meals this week: 2015 garden green beans with small potatoes and ham steaks, leftover beans/boiled eggs/crispy chicken strips, grilled cheese sandwiches and salsa and chips, hamburgers and fries, homemade egg salad sandwiches and a side salad, fried chicken and a salad (2X).

Treats were: finished the cheesecake made last week, peaches from the freezer, watermelon, nuts

Hopefully our temps will go down in a couple days to the low 80's.  We had rain a couple times this week, so I only had to water my pots (with collected rain water).  It has been so hot!!!!  Heat indexes have been at least 100*+  and the humidity has been crazy.  One day humidity level was 84% according to the news.
My outdoor kitties (and squirrels and birds) have plenty of water bowls around, and I change the water regularly.  They have shade and just lay around trying to stay cool.  Momma kitty is shedding something awful!  Her fur is so thick, so I am glad to see her lose some of it.

What was your week like?  Are you doing well surviving the heat and staying cool?  Are you getting garden produce yet?  Tell us your frugal finds!
I just love hearing from others, and I know other readers enjoy seeing what everyone is up to.  It's really fun for everyone.

Have a wonderful and safe week my friends.  May the Lord bless you in every way.
Wishing you happiness and peace.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Garden Update

My garden has been growing really well.  We have had really warm temps and lots of rain the past couple weeks.
Still only picking lettuce and green onions, but it won't be long.  I have small yellow squash on the vine and zucchini are blooming, as well as peppers.  Also have some tiny cucumbers out there.
YUM - I can't wait!
I have been picking and drying herbs as well.

This was on June 8th.

This was June 14th.

This was June 21st

It's growing rapidly.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES (for preserving)

The gardens are starting to produce well in various parts of the country.  Farmer Markets are up and running.  It is time to get our plans made for what we want to can and preserve.
I know a lot of people can only have small gardens - enough to keep them in fresh veggies for eating only.  If you want to put up fresh food for the winter, also think about going to farm markets or directly to the farmer.

I know that markets often sell out of the "good stuff" early - but you also want to check them out at the end of the day.  Many vendors don't want to pack-up their items - so you can often get a great deal.

Here is a few weights and measures to keep in mind for canning and preserving pleasure!

Bushel of apples = 48 lbs.  Canned = 16-20 quarts
Bushel of cherries = 56 lbs.  Canned 22-32 quarts
Bushel of peaches = 48 lbs.  Canned = 18-24 quarts
Bushel of pears = 50 lbs.  Canned 20-25 quarts
Bushel of plums = 56 lbs.  Canned = 24-30 quarts
Bushel of tomatoes = 53 lbs.  Canned 15-20 quarts
Bushel of green beans = 30 lbs.  canned 15-20 quarts
Bushel of topped beets = 52 lbs.  Canned = 17-20 quarts
Bushel of topped carrots = 50 lbs.  Canned = 16-20 quarts
Bushel of peas = 30 lbs.  Canned 12-15 quarts
(remember - if canning in pints you get twice the number of jars)

I generally blanch and freeze my green beans, and I have always put about a pound of beans in a quart bag - but that is what works for us.

DON'T FORGET - you can keep and cook the tops of beets, turnips, radish, and carrots.  I know someone who uses the carrot tops fresh and puts them in their smoothies.
We recently tried turnip greens for the first time and they were wonderful!
The tops of veggies are the parts many people throw away or compost - but heck fire - that's free food.   We all like FREE!

**To change pounds to Kilograms multiply by 0.45

I hope this helps you figure out what you need to get you through the winter with your food preservation.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Frugal Happenings 6/19

Good morning my friends.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the dads out there.

We sure have had a mixed bag of weather this week.  Started out with fairly nice temps, then we had torrential downpours mid week, now the heat and humidity are back for a few days.
It's not quite even summer (officially) yet, and we have all felt the heat!  Here's hoping for a mild summer season!!!!!

Other than running to the rehab, much of my week was spent at home.  I only stopped by Kroger once to look at clearance.  I just haven't felt like going much this week.  This has been a blah week for me for some reason.  I guess we all have them.

My week in a nutshell;
  • Line dried laundry.  Oh how I love doing that! (It doesn't take much to excite me)
  • Now have 110 gallons of rain water in my barrels after the big rain
  • Did a bunch of  yard work.  Worked in the flower beds to pull weeds while the ground was wet.  That is a never ending job!
  • Tried a new recipe (I'll post this next week - it was yummy)
  • Dried more mint from the yard
  • Used up the last of the older 'fresh' potatoes in 2 different meals
  • Gave myself a pedi
  • My only grocery buy - was 8 cartons of whole shelf stable milk (Hershey brand) on clearance for .59 each.  Dated march, 2017
  • Made a library run
  • Picked and ate more lettuce
  • Used rain water to water plants when needed
  • All meals and drinks from home.
  • Shopped the pantry for items needed this week - no groceries bought
  • Made a no-bake cheesecake from items I had on hand
1 - 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1 - 8 oz. Cool Whip (thawed)
1/2 C sugar
Blend all together.
I didn't even make a crust - I simply crushed up some graham crackers and then added the filling over it and spread to even.  Added a can of cherry pie filling on top.  So easy and yummy!  G said "I'm not sure if it was good - I think I need another piece to see".  LOL (he didn't get it!!!!)

Bird planted and squirrel approved sunflower!  It's about waist tall now.  See the leaves on the ground?  That's the state of my back yard till fall.  Our tulip poplar tree starts losing leaves 2nd week of June every year.

I got bee stung this week in the palm of my hand!  I was breaking up some branches that had fallen out of the tree during the storm, and there was a darned old bee IN one of the limbs.  My home made remedies worked for keeping it from hurting and swelling - but a couple days later now, it sure does itch!   That's one of those pesky places you really don't want an itch!!

My garbage disposal officially died this week.  I do believe the bearings went out.  This one has been in since 2011, and has just recently started giving me problems.  The one before that, lasted 20+ years.  Guess things aren't made as well any more.  I am trying to decide if I want to replace it (I do love it!).  For now, I am keeping a small holed strainer in the sink to catch bits and pieces. 
So that saga continues!

Meals this week;  broiled chicken and dressing, nacho grande casserole (2X), pork chops with homemade cheesy potatoes and salad, tuna patties with mac n cheese and salad, dirty rice with pork and salad, toast and sausage gravy and fried potatoes.

Snacks - strawberries and pineapple mixed, ice cream floats, mixed nuts, cheesecake.

As you can see, nothing much exciting happening in my neck of the woods.  My big exciting moments have been watching the squirrels play (the young ones are so darned cute) and watching my hummingbirds.  They absolutely amaze me.
What's happening around your home place?

I hope you and yours all have a blessed week.  Wishing peace, health and happiness to all.
Take care my friends!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

ZUCCHINI Surplus? Part 1

It's getting to be that time of the year again!  It seems that no matter how many or how few zucchini plants you have, that there is always a surplus.

Zucchini is such a versatile veggie.  It basically takes on the taste of whatever it is cooked with, while adding vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your meals.
During it's 'season', we probably eat zucchini in some fashion at least 5 days a week.

**I love putting grated zucchini in measured amounts in the freezer - to make zucchini bread with, during the winter.
**We love it chopped and added to spaghetti sauce, instead of meat.
**FRIED zucchini is one of our favorites.  Often times, I fry zucchini and green tomatoes, and that is our dinner!  YUM - my mouth is watering just thinking of it.
**I dice and add to omelets and scrambled eggs (along with diced onion)
**G loves it when I make 'zoodles'.  I use my mandolin and cut zucchini into noodles and use it instead of spaghetti!
** I often replace cucumbers with zucchini when canning pickles.  We actually prefer zucchini pickles to cuke ones.   It is great in relish canning recipes as well.

Golly, the list could go on and on.
I will try to list some zucchini recipes each week, so that no one gets bored with their surplus!

One of our summer favorites!
Dice zucchini (in whatever amount you want)  This is a good way to use those large ones.
Dice onion
Dice tomatoes
Mix all together and add Italian dressing to coat well.
Let it set over night in the frig and serve.
This is so refreshing and yummy.  We have zucchini and/or cucumber salad almost daily in our house in the summer

16 C peeled, grated or diced zucchini (de-seeded).  Also a good way to use large ones!
1 1/2 C Bottled lemon juice
1 can (46 oz.) unsweetened pineapple juice
3 C sugar

Remove peeling and seeds from zucchini and grate (for crushed) or dice (wedge shapes for chunk).
Mix all ingredients thoroughly and simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir frequently.  Pour hot mixture into sterilized, hot jars, leaving 1/2" head space.
Process 30 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Use as a substitute for pineapple in any recipe.
You could HALVE the recipe if you want to can less.
(Last year I made 'crushed' - and use it in breads, cakes, dump-cake, and jello)

5 tbsp. Bisquick (or similar product)
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. butter
2 C shredded zucchini  (Again - use those big ones!)
Blend Bisquick, cheese, and seasoning; add 2 eggs.  Grate the zucchini into the mixture to make a batter.
Melt the 2 Tbsp. butter over medium heat and pour batter into pan or on griddle into small pancakes.  Fry 4 - 5 minutes on each side - till golden brown and center is done.
Serve warm with a dab of butter or sour cream.
These are a great side dish!

1 egg
1/2 C complete pancake mix
1/3 c milk
1/2 C firmly packed grated zucchini
1 Tbsp. oil
Mix all the ingredients.  Place by heaping tablespoons full on a little oiled griddle,  Cook until each side is golden and center done.
makes 6 - 8 pancakes.
Serve with your usual breakfast.

This should give you a few ideas.  I will be adding new zucchini recipes every few days.  I hope you enjoy your harvest and never get bored with it!

Do you have any favorite recipes you'd like to share?  PLEASE let us know!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Forever Frugal

I have had many people ask me WHY I am the way I am with money and things.  They ask if I have ALWAYS been frugal.  They ask if I am just CHEAP.  They ask how much WORK is it.
I guess they are all good questions.

I grew up the last of 6 children.  My family didn't have a lot of money by any means.  Daddy grew a huge garden, and poor Momma had to can and freeze it all!  Dad worked whatever hours were necessary to keep a job.  Mom often worked part time around the holidays to make Christmas money.
Mom sewed all of my clothes as a youngster, as she did with most of the kids and also for herself and even dad (shirts). 
She taught me how to sew, and I used that skill almost exclusively in junior high and high school, to make all my own clothes.
I can't remember ever getting a cooking or canning 'lesson', but I sure did learn a lot just helping.

Dad was really ahead of his times when it came to the garden.  He was a huge organic gardener, which wasn't a big thing back then.  I watched and learned.
Mom and Dad managed over the years to scrape together a small savings, and they started their own business - NEVER ONCE getting a loan.  They had a lawn and garden store, and I also spent many years working there.  As they established the store - they paid cash for everything at first, gradually earning the trust of the vendors, then going on a 30 day payment plan with them.

We were taught to work hard for what we wanted.  We were also taught early about the difference between WANTS  and  NEEDS.  Dad's favorite saying was "If a jobs worth doing, it' worth doing right the first time."  I have repeated that more times than I can remember at different jobs I have had.

I have to admit, that there was a period in time, where I thought I could have the world and all it's glitz and not worry about it.  Charge cards were wonderful - you got to bring things home and NOT spend any money at the moment!  Oh that tangled web we weave!!!!  I re-learned my lessons in life, the hard way.

G and I married, and we both came with debt.  We worked hard to get that gone.  He had already purchased the home we still live in, right before I met him. We knew that at some point in time, life might change for him health wise, so we worked hard to pay off large debt (home and the ONLY new auto either of us EVER had).  Yes, we do have  charge cards, one we use for most everything on a daily basis (as we get points to spend), and others for major emergencies.  We try very hard to keep those paid off monthly, as not to spend on interest.
We both worked, and saved all we could and had investments in 401K's and PERF.
I garden and can and freeze food.
I try to re-use everything I can, so as not to add to the waste in our environment and to stretch our  dollars.

I had never used a coupon till G and I married!  Can you believe that?  That process I learned from my mother-in-law.  Oh my Lord she was an extreme couponer years before anyone ever heard that phrase.  She got so much FREE stuff it wasn't funny.   She showed me the ropes, and I enjoyed years of getting FREE and almost free stuff.  That was before they changed all the coupon rules around here.
She also taught me all about 'yard sales' and thrift stores!  Where had they been all my life?

Because of her FREE purchases, we didn't buy ANY dish soap or cleaning products for the first few years we were married.  She was very generous with her stash!!!
We also DIDN'T buy bread, cookies, donuts, cakes, etc. for probably 6 or 7 years.  G had a friend who managed the Kroger store  by his work, and whenever stuff got to date - he would call the fellers and they would all go and load up their pick-up trucks with goodies, take it back and separate between all the workers.  That was a great perk of the job!!!!!!

Ok, there's a lot of my back ground of learning and being frugal.  There is no ONE reason for being frugal.  It seems it has been with me since birth (with a few minor setbacks).  It is a continual learning process.  I guarantee you there is not a day that goes by, that I don't learn something new.

So as to the WHYS;
  • It's a great way to get out of debt
  • It's a great way to STAY out of debt
  • It's the responsible thing to do (being a good steward of what you are given)
  • It's fun to see how far you can stretch a dollar
  • It's a good thing for the environment
  • It allows you to be generous both in items and tithes
  • You work hard for your money - use it wisely.  Don't just throw it away freely to others.
The reasons go on and on.  I love being frugal - it's a challenge, and it's a lifestyle. 
Be frugal NOT cheap.  There is a huge difference.  In my mind cheap means being stingy, miserly, hoarding ($), treating others and yourself without respect. 
Frugal means being a good steward of your finances and things.  It means being able to be generous with others.

Let's share our inspirations and ideas. 
There is much to be learned for all of us, from all of us.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Frugal Happenings 6/12

Good morning to all my computer buddies!
Isn't it lovely, that through the use of a computer, that we can make new 'friends' from all over the world?  I just find that a marvelous thing!!

We have definitely gotten our 'heat' on this week.  We started with lovely temperatures and open windows this week, and now we are just hot, hot, hot, with the AC going a lot!  I guess we knew this would happen, although it's usually a little later in the summer in these parts.
My garden is growing great.  How about yours?

I finally decided after all these years - that I like fresh grated cheese, instead of buying the stuff already shredded.  That has some compound on it to keep it from sticking together - and fresh grated just tastes better!  Seems like I use less as well.  Amazing that it took me so many years to figure this out!  LOL

My frugal week involved;
  • Drying mint from the garden
  • Cutting lots of pretty roses for the house.  I cut several from the vacant house next door.  Nobody there to enjoy them - so I did!!!!!
  • Picked lettuce twice this week.  Total of 1 pound picked.
  • Got 124 cans of cat food and 2 nice bags of treats for FREE with a gifted gift card.  That one is finally all used up - now on to the next one!
  • I painted our ramp with a first coat.  I saved quite a bit of money doing it myself.  My neighbor handyman quoted me $200 last summer, so a professional would have been more.  I also wrapped the brush and roller in plastic wrap and have them in the frig., so next time I can re-use them.  No need to throw away or clean.
How  wood looked prior to painting.

Ramp with one coat of light tan paint.

  • Line dried laundry
  • Shopped for meals at home.  Trying to use canned tomatoes, green tomatoes, and frozen squash and peppers, anticipating new harvest
  • Stopped at Kroger after a rehab run.  Cat litter was on sale.  I also got in clearance section - 2 jars of Fruit Fresh (1/2019) for $1.34 each - regular price $4.49
  • Kroger found a 2 1/2 lb. "party" bag of Hershey Kisses for $4.99 (5/2017) - regular $11.99
  • 2 - 9V Duracell batteries - 5 year package life for $1.69 ea. vs. $4.79. Will use in smoke detectors
  • Got G's scripts filled at WM (for 3 months) and noticed a sale cart.  Got 4 packages of wide mouth Ball lids for $1.25 ea. (all they had)  WOOT!
  • I did get a new cell phone.  My old one was years old, and they said it would have quit working totally in a couple months.  I did NOT get a fancy smart phone - but just a plain old phone again.  Cost $50 - but it will last me for a long time.  (It does take pictures!)
  • I washed and dried 4 freezer bags to re-use
  • I DID NOT stop at any of the many, many yard sales I saw!!!!  There were a lot of them this week.  I figured I don't need anything.  G said, "You might find something you didn't know you needed."  Nope - if I didn't know it - I didn't need it.  LOL  I did drive around one neighborhood having sales - but it all looked like toys and clothes.
  • Made hard boiled eggs for easy breakfasts and snacks and use on salads
  • Did all my regulars too - making tea, filtering water, making hummy nectar, cold water laundry, mowing, etc.
Meals this week:  Made jalapeno/onion cheeseburgers and fries, crockpot Mexican chicken over rice, homemade pizza (2X), burritos with chicken leftovers, BLT's (made with fried green tomatoes instead of red) - YUM, zucchini/sausage/cheese skillet dinner over rice.  All leftovers were used for breakfast or lunch.

I am so excited that I have started to get lettuce and green onions from the garden.  That saves me from going to the Farmer's Market on Saturdays.  Lettuce was about all I bought.  Soon tomatoes, cukes, and squash will be ripening - OH MY, I can't wait.  There is nothing like a fresh tomato in my opinion.  It takes so little to make me happy!!!  I am anticipating a great crop this summer.

What has everyone been up to this week?  Did you get any good deals?  Are you getting any produce from your gardens yet?  Let us know.

My prayers to all and your families.  May God bless and keep you all in His protective hands.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wednesday Musings

Hi there.  Just checking in to say hello and that I hope you are all having a great week.
It has been lovely weather the past 2 days - lots of fresh air.  That will be coming to an end tomorrow, as we are to start getting chances of rain and temps in the 90's.
Gee thanks folks on the West coast - NOT!!!!!

I spent all day yesterday and the early part of today, painting the 30' ramp we have out front.  It is a ramp with 3 post side rails..  Can you say SORE?????  Oh my, I am tired.  I got one coat on it, and it looks 200% better than it did.  Once temps cool again, I will do coat #2.
I would have had to paid a small fortune to have hired it out.  Win-win for me - plus I got some sun and enjoyed the fresh air.
I will post pictures later on.

Can you see it?  There is a little tomato!!!!!  I have tons of blooms already.  Actually there is 2 tomatoes on that plant, one is being hid by leaves.

This is my little "kitchen" garden.  Rosemary, green onions, basil, lettuce, and a cherry tomato plant, all about 20 steps outside my back door.  Remember that little picnic table that I saved from the trash?  There it is holding my plants.  The stand holding the potted tomato plant came from the trash years and years ago.  It was great when G worked for the street department - I got presents like that all the time!  LOL

Check out the size of my lettuce leaves!  It is covering my hand.  I found a few even bigger, as I was taking them out of the cleaning water.  Love having fresh lettuce.
I have lettuce in my little kitchen garden and in 2 other places out back.  I have 3 different types growing.  YUM.  I am about ready for some wilted lettuce!  That sounds heavenly. 

I hope you are having success with your gardens as well.  Isn't it just the neatest thing ever, that you can walk out to your yard and 'buy' groceries?
It is so totally amazing to me what amount of food is produced by one little seed!
God is so good.

Have a great end to your week.
Peace my friends.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Frugal Happenings 6/5

Howdy Ho friends.  Hope everyone is happy and well this Sunday morning.

I just came in from making the rounds of the homestead and all is well.  Garden is growing great, kitties are all napping after breakfast, birdies and squirrels are fed and seem happy, and the temperature is cooler today.  All is fine in our little world!
We had some really hot temps earlier in the week, but today the temps is lovely.  We had rain all day yesterday (which was lovely for the garden), and may get a bit more today.

Now that the temps have warmed to normal, we are seeing the hummingbirds a lot!  I know I have at least 2.  They make me smile every time I see or hear one!

Little frugals this week;
  • Did a major weed whacking job on our yard and part of the vacant neighbor yard.  Mowed, and sprayed homemade weed killer (non-toxic) on the back part of lot (gravel).
  • Laundry in cold water and line dried.  Used the dehumidifier water in the washer as well.
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Colored my hair with supplies I have on hand
  • Received a pot of basil from my brother that he started at home.  What a great garden addition.
  • I received in the mail a gift from the other side of the country from a friend.  We were sent 2 jars of homemade jelly/jam made from berries that we don't have around here. We have been loving that!
  • Made a butter cake from a discounted box of mix I had on hand
  • Stopped at Fresh Thyme and bought strawberries 2 qt./$3, pineapple  .99, and bananas, and also got a marked down (1.49) peach pie.  G loved the pie - but I am glad it didn't cost more - to me it was so-so.
  • Stopped at Dollar Tree and purchased 10 cans of cherry pie filling for the pantry stock-up
  • PICKED my first lettuce!!!!!!!  I picked 1/4 lb. which doesn't sound like much, but it made 2 salads with a little left!  YAY!
  • Watered all my pots with rain water
  • Cut a couple bouquets of roses this week
  • Cut a bunch of non-prime roses ( at their end) and put them in a bowl as potpourri - they still smell good - they just aren't pretty!
  • My large set (dbl. window size) of mini blinds had a bracket break this week.  It is years old. I have replaced blinds, but not the bracket.  It can't be seen because of a valance, so for now I used heavy duty packing tape to fix it!  LOL  It works for now.
  • Stopped by Kroger for dry cat food sale - and checked markdowns.  I bought 3 bags of chopped hazel nuts for 2.39 bag vs. original price 4.79.  Placed in freezer - they will be a fun addition to holiday baking
  • I had a find last week I forgot to mention.  I LOVE to wear flip-flops and the ones I have had for at least 12 years now are Okabashi brand.  I got them 12 + years ago on clearance for $5.  They are a solid piece of rubber construction, have an arch, and massaging buds on the bottom.  I found 2 pairs last week on clearance for $7 each and bought them.  That's half price.  They are also made in America!  Heck I should be good till well into my 80's!!!!!!!  LOL

  • Stopped at Kroger for cat food on Friday, so I could get double gas points.  Also came home and did on-line survey for 50 extra points.
  • All meals from home and scratch this week
  • Enjoying several days of open windows and fresh air.  Kept AC at a minimum use of 2-3 hours a day when needed.
Meals this week consisted of:  Cajon rice with ground beef and salad, small steak/baked potato/salad, salmon patties/corn on cob/pasta salad, chicken strips/mac n cheese, jazzed up home canned veggie soup (2X), and baked potatoes (loaded)/salad.
We ate all leftovers as either lunch or breakfast.

Snacks and desserts were a strawberry/banana mix, strawberry shortcake, peach pie, pop corn, and mixed nuts.  Still have plenty of all of these.

I hope you all have a safe, healthy and frugal week.  Stop by and chat and let us know what you have been up to.
God bless each of you my friends.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Various Kitchen Tips

Today I'd like to mention a few tips, that makes life in the kitchen a little easier, and sometimes helps our pocketbooks (do other people still use that word?).
I don't know about you, but I am all for things that makes life easier and saves me money.
I know I sound like a "tight *ss" sometimes - but I just want to make sure I get the most out of my money.  If I can save in some areas, that allows me to splurge in others.
It all seems so common sense to me - but others often don't 'get it'.

  • Recycle your food.  When you have items leftover, use them for another meal or turn them into something else.  Soups, casseroles and omelets are fantastic ways to recycle food
  • Should you buy large or small size?  That is the question.  It depends - the answer is not always the same.  Unit price items by the ounce or pound - to see what is the best price.  It may be one large package that you will divide at home, or it may be lots of smaller ones.
  • Buy in season.  This is always a money saver.  Hopefully you all have gardens, so you won't have to worry about buying veggies this summer or fall!  ISN'T THAT JUST THE COOLEST THING?
  • Use water instead of milk in scrambled eggs.  Water will make the eggs fluffier, milk makes them watery.
  • Egg extender - if you have only so many eggs and a lot of people to feed - crush up saltine or cheesy crackers and add to your scrambled egg mix before cooking.  These are yummy and no one can tell it's not all eggs.  We used to do this every time we camped.
  • Go light on the meat and heavier on the fillers.  Most people tend to eat too much meat - 3 oz. is a good meal size.  Add cheaper foods, veggies, rice, potatoes, pastas, to fill in.
  • Dip bacon in cold water before frying.  It keeps your bacon from curling and shrinking so much.  I do this all the time.
  • Combine a little butter with your cooking oil to prevent the chances of burning
  • Keep the water from boiling veggies to use in soups.  If you don't have the space to keep - let it cool and use it to water houseplants and/or garden plants - it's full of vitamins. (Same with boiled egg water)
  • Don't buy gourmet coffees.  make your own - add a little vanilla or almond extract - add a little cocoa or hot chocolate mix.  There are lots of options.
  • Freeze any leftover coffee (if that ever happens!) in ice cube trays.  It will work great for cooling that extra hot cup of coffee and won't water it down.  Good to use when making mocha cakes or cupcakes.
  • Save the leaves from celery and dry.  These can be combined with salt to make your own celery salt
  • DON'T buy husked corn.  It has lost it's flavor.  ONLY buy with the husks on.
  • Freeze fresh herbs in ice cubes.  Once frozen remove and place in labeled bags in freezer.  Plop them in whatever you are cooking for that fresh taste
  • Fresh lettuce from the garden is a favorite at my house.  I pick, place it in a sink of salted water (to kill any buggies), then rinse, and I lay it in single layer on clean towels and roll up to remove all liquid.  After and hour or so, I place it in a gallon zip lock bag with a damp paper towel.  It stays fresh for days.
  • Don't store apples and bananas together.  Ethylene from the apples makes the bananas brown quickly
  • Freeze fresh berries on a cookie sheet in a single layer before placing them in baggies.  They won't stick together.
  • Use instant potatoes as a soup thickener.  This works great.  I love it for 'cream of' soups.
  • I also add 1/4 cup of instant potatoes to a can of salmon, along with eggs and cracker crumbs.  It extends the salmon a bit, but it takes away that real fishy taste.
  • Reheat day old pasta but sautéing it in butter.  it's yummy that way - maybe add a bit of garlic or onion salt
  • When rice is boiling add a bit of lemon juice - it will keep your rice pretty and white
  • Instead of heating up the oven to make a meat loaf, mix up ingredients and then make patties and fry.  I do this all the time - tastes just like meatloaf, but no hot oven in the summer!!

That should be enough ideas for today.  Hope it gets you to thinking.  I plan on adding more ideas next week.
Do YOU have any great kitchen tips for making life easier or stretching a dollar?  If so, PLEASE SHARE.  We are all here to learn.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hot Pockets

I have had questions on how I make my little bread/fruit pies, and along those lines I figured I would just talk about how easy my homemade 'version' of hot pockets are.

The fruit pies simply take bread (whatever you like) - we always use Aunt Millie's bread, pie filling (or an abundance of jelly or jam!), and butter.
I fill one slice of bread with filling, slap on the other bread slice, butter top of bread lightly, flip over for placing in my sandwich maker, and butter the other slice of bread.

This is my sandwich maker.  I love using this as all the outer edges of bread get crimped shut, and it makes a perfect line (crimped) through the sandwich, which is a perfect place to cut.
I have had this thing for years and years.  I go through spells where I use it often, then spells where it sits in the basement for ages.  I have almost gotten rid of it numerous times - but I am so glad I didn't.

I bet this is something you could find in thrift stores or at garage sales for next to nothing.
Now mind you, you can just grill your sandwich in a pan - but I absolutely LOVE that these are crimped shut all the way around.  Most like a Hot Pocket!

Fruit pies is not the only thing I have made in mine.  Of course there are plain old grilled cheese sandwiches, but we jazz it up once in a while.

*  Taco pockets - leftover taco meat, cheese
*  Pizza pockets - whatever pizza ingredients you like
*  Breakfast pockets - add scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, etc. (all cooked first
*  Ham or turkey/cheese
*  Panini style pockets - cheese and slice tomatoes
*  Corn beef/drained kraut pockets - add Swiss cheese too!
*  PBJ & banana pockets

The list is endless.  They take less than 5 minutes to brown and toast in the sandwich maker.  These make great breakfast or lunch meals, and are great for snacks as well.

*****Just be careful when you get ready to eat them - as the innards are HOT!!!!!*****

I hope this helps.  ENJOY.