Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pretties From the Garden

I have been a very busy bee for the past couple days - so today I am taking it easy with some photos from the yard.
Just a bit of this and that.  ENOY!

It's a good thing we have a ramp in the front of the house, as the flowers have taken over the front walk!

Squirrel planted and approved.

Our opal basil is growing like crazy.  It is so tasty, and pretty too!

Some of our container gardening.  The cucumbers are absolutely covered with blooms.  I have a few little bity cukes on the vines!

Phlox and tiger lilies, both from starts that are way older than me.  My plants originally came from my parent's place - and they dug them out in the country before I was even thought of.  Kind of neat to have something still going from the past.

Simplicity at its best!  I just love zinnias.

Sweet and simple. My angel watches over our garden.


So there you have it - just a little tour of some of my pretties around my 'homestead'. 
I hope you all have a pleasant day.
Cheryl






Sunday, June 25, 2017

Frugal Happenings 6/25

Happy Sunday everyone!  I hope everyone is doing great on this fine morning.

We are having absolutely beautiful weather today.  Actually I am sitting next to an open window, and the breeze is down right chilly!  I couldn't say that much this past week.  We had heat and more heat and humidity and at least some rain 5 out of 7 days.  Friday was a torrential downpour and it rained all day.  We had a backyard lake my Friday evening - but thankfully it was gone Saturday morning.
It looks like nice weather much of the upcoming week as well!

I very accurately managed to smack both elbows and my shin on hard surfaces (at 3 different times) this week.  I really do it right when I do it.  My right elbow is still sore and green in color and my shin had a big lump which has finally disappeared - but it still hurts.  Can we say accident prone?

My garden is coming along nicely.  I am so thrilled.  I can hardly wait for that first tomato.

Here's a side view of the raised bed.
My week:
  • Worked on organizing and arranging the basement pantry some more.  Found all kinds of things back in cubbies I had forgotten!  You know you have too much stuff when you find clothes and utensils you have set aside who knows when.  Going to use them now.
  • Did yard work at the beginning of week when it was cooler.  Look forward to doing it this coming week.
  • Line dried laundry on those dry mornings.
  • Have had AC off 3 1/2 days this week.
  • Didn't have to water anything with all the rain
  • Helped the kids next door make a FREE fire pit.  They only had a handful of bricks and a couple of cement blocks.  I let them know it is common knowledge that anything left in the alley is FREE to whom ever needs it.  I showed them a big stack of cement chunks (flat on 2 sides).  The pieces actually look like big rocks - they got plenty and now have a very nice fire pit!  They were so happy.
  • Renewed library books on-line
  • We have another branch of a local grocery going out - stopped by and picked up a few mark downs.  I got 60 cans of cat food for .15 less per can (than I can get at cheapest).  I also bought 4 boxes of Rennet for 1.10 each (8 tabs per box).  I have never made cheese, but have decided to try this summer - so I figured I would get the rennet cheaply - that way if I am not successful I will not have wasted a ton of money.
  • I picked more lettuce, onions, basil and 3 jalapenos.
All 3 jalapenos were this size.  Nice, huh?

Mmmmmm - it won't be long!

I have started my harvest book for the year.  I keep track, generally by weight, of all I pick.  I also keep track of all canning and freezing.  This is something my Dad did forever, and my brother and I both have followed in his footsteps.  It is just fun knowing what your hard work had produced.  You can even sort of figure how much money your produce is worth!


Meals this week:
Quiche and side salad
Mexican skillet casserole & salad (2X)
Mushroom, cheese crockpot chicken and mashed potatoes
Bruschetta
BLT's
Taco salad

I made a 3 fruit crisp.  Used apples, peaches, and pineapple that I had put up in the past.  It is so yummy!

As you can see, nothing real exciting happening here - just normal day to day stuff.  To be honest - I LOVE IT!  No stress, no drama, just a simple, quiet daily life.  That is what I strive for - bliss.

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?  HOW ARE YOU SAVING?
HOW IS YOUR GARDEN GROWING?
I look forward to hearing from you.

I pray for each of you and your families.  May you all have a blessed week.
Cheryl

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Making EXTRACTS

Today is a quick post on making our own flavored extracts.  I had a couple people requesting how it is made, and what it is used for.
I have to admit, I am an extract geek!  I LOVE flavored extracts and use them often.  Now that I have learned how incredibly easy it to make my own - well, it opens up a whole new world!

You need herbs, citrus, or what ever you are going to use for flavor.  You also need Vodka.  You also need jars or bottles.
When you purchase PURE extracts at the store, they are all made with alcohol.  You won't taste the alcohol when processing is done, and if you cook with your extracts - you will cook all the alcohol out.

Most all directions say to let the extract steep for 5 - 6 weeks.  I go at least 8 weeks.  It gives you a much richer flavor!  I simply write the date on the jar lid or jar - set in a cool place out of direct light.  Shake or tip your bottle back and forth every few days - just to thoroughly mix flavors. 
Once your time is up - strain the liquid and place in little bottles or small jars for use. 
I use my mesh strainer with a coffee filter in it and place over a bowl.  It makes it easy to do - then I funnel into jars.
I DO NEED to find some cute little bottles - for gifts!
Your extract will NEVER go bad!

VANILLA - 3 whole vanilla beans - slit own the middle.  Place in about a cup of vodka
MINT (any type of mint) - 1/2 cup leaves (bruised and torn) in about 1/2 cup vodka

ALMOND - chop raw, unsalted almonds (about 1/4 cup) and 1/2 cup vodka
WALNUT - 3/4 C toasted, unsalted walnuts chopped with 6 oz. vodka (let this set 2 months or more)
CINNAMON - Use whole cinnamon not ground!  Break up about 3 medium sticks into a 1/2 cup vodka
COCONUT - 1 1/2 C shredded coconut to 1 cup vodka
BERRY - strawberry, blueberry, raspberry - any type of berries!  About 3/4 cup berries to 1 cup vodka
CHOCOLATE - 1/4 cup cocoa powder to 1 cup vodka (definitely let this sit 8 weeks or more)
CITRUS - orange, lime, grapefruit, lemon, etc.  Zest about 1/2 an orange or grapefruit and a whole lemon or lime (no pith) add to about 1/2 cup vodka


I also used lemon balm to make mine - doing the same as mint.

Just think of the possibilities.  You can make extracts that you don't even see in the store. 
I am going to try making some rustic ones with basil, rosemary, and thyme.  These would be wonderful in making a hearty rustic type of muffin or bread!

I use extracts A LOT in baking.  Many times if the recipe calls for vanilla, I add something else, just to change up the flavor.  In my baking, I use extracts in cookies, sweet breads, muffins and cakes.  I like adding nutty ones to homemade fudge.
I also make ice cream a lot - so I have many fruit flavored ones (I have purchased in the past) to flavor the ice cream.  I also chop some fruit to add.  We love peach, raspberry, strawberry, and even buttered pecan ice cream.

There are really NO LIMITS to what type you can make.  Any fruit, herb, nut, etc. will work!!

At the grocery a 1 ounce bottle of pure extract runs any where from $3.50 - $6.  A big bottle of Vodka can be purchased for around $15 and it will make many, many bottles of extract!

I hope this helps and that you will all give it a try!  YES, it takes a while to be 'done' - but it is sure worth it.  It is so much cheaper and you can experiment with many new and exciting flavors.

**I know some instructions said 1/2 cup, 1 cup, or 6 oz. of vodka - use your own judgment!  You can use any where between 1/2 cup to 1 cup and you can add more or less flavorings.  There is nothing etched in stone.

HAVE FUN - this is such a fun and easy project.
THINK OF THE NEAT GIFTS YOU CAN MAKE!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"DON'T THROW THAT AWAY!"

"Don't throw that away" was a mantra at my house growing up.  My folks lived through the great depression (I don't know why they called it great), and this was the mentality most all people had.
I am sure many of your parents and grand parents went through these times as well.
It seems to be where we have all acquired of FRUGAL MINDSETS!

So today we talk about what NOT to throw away and HOW to thoroughly use something up!  I am sure you do many of these things, but some may be new to you.

  • When canning tomatoes or making tomato products - DO NOT throw away those peelings.  Dehydrate them and grind into a power.  I use a coffee grinder to grind thoroughly.  This powder is great added to soups and you can basically make your own tomato sauce or puree.  No need to buy!
  • Do NOT throw away that hard stalky part of asparagus.  Dehydrate and grind.  This adds great flavor to soups and can be added to homemade dry soup mix for a 'cream of' soup.
  • Do NOT throw away the tough stems of broccoli - peel them and cook as usual.  This is my favorite part! *You can also dehydrate the peels and grind.
  • Those big outer leaves of cabbage and broccoli plants can be used as well.  Cut into smaller pieces and dehydrate and grind (do you see a theme going here?)  LOL
  • Brown or spotted bananas - freeze and use for breads or muffins.  I don't even peel.  When thawed I cut the end off of banana and the fruit comes squishing out!
  • Blend up the banana peels with some water and use around your roses - great fertilizer.
  • Stale bread (not moldy) can be dried for croutons, crumbs or dressing cubes.
  • Peels from citrus - ZEST and freeze for future recipes.  You can also place them in a jar with vinegar to make a lovely cleaner.  Cook on the stove in water for an air freshener.
  • BONES - chicken, turkey, ham, beef, etc.  Place them in water and cook for hours to make stock/broth.  You can even add veggies scraps/peelings for extra flavor.  Can or freeze.
  • You can make stock with the shells from shrimp or any fish heads/carcasses as well.  Fish stock is expensive
  • GREENS from beets, radish, turnips, etc. can be cooked and eaten.  They are so yummy and full of vitamins.  Use carrot tops in salad or mix in smoothies.
  • Cores from pineapples - dehydrate and grind.  Great flavoring for any dessert
  • Watermelon rinds can become pickled or make preserves.
  • REGROW ITEMS - many folks only use the green top of green onion - let it continue to grow or plant the bottom (white part) from the ones you buy.  ***** Place the bottom part of celery bunch in water to root - once rooted - plant.  You can grow your own.  ***** Start the bottom end of Romaine lettuce in water - follow same directions for celery.  *****  Potato with growing eyes can be rooted and grown.  *****Pineapple tops can be rooted and grown - you will never get a FULL size pineapple, but you will get a little one.  *****Bok Choy bottom section can be rooted in water, planted and regenerated.  *****  Leeks can be done this way as well.  *****Ginger can be grown from store bought pieces.  *****Separate the pieces from a head of garlic and plant - you will grow many new heads.
  • MUSHROOM STEMS can be regrown.  I have never tried this , but I going to try.  Supposedly you plant the stem in very rich compost like dirt, so that just the top shows.  IF it regenerates it will be quickly and with abundance. (I understand this can be tricky)
  • Large onions (sandwich onions) - keep the root end and plant with a little dirt over the top.  It will generate several smaller (green onion like) onions.I planted one the other day - we'll see what happens!
  • Coffee grounds, tea grounds/bags, and egg shells are all great for the garden.  Grounds keep away crawly pests, and shells add calcium.   NEXT WEEK I WILL DO A WHOLE POST ON COFFEE GROUNDS, TEA, AND EGG SHELLS!!!!!!!! (it's more than bug control!)
  • Fruit scraps - make jelly.     Corn cobs - make jelly.  YEP that's right!

CORN COB JELLY
Save the cobs from about 12 ears of corn (keep and freeze after cutting off corn till you have enough)
Place 12 cobs into a large pot and cover with water (cobs completely covered).  Boil hard for about 30 minutes.  remove cobs and strain liquid.  You need 3 1/2 cups for a batch of jelly.
Pour that 3 1/ Cups into a clean pot, ADD 2 tsp. lemon juice and  package of pectin (dry).  Bring back to a rolling boil and add3 1/2 C sugar.  Bring back to a rolling boil for 1 minute.
Fill jelly jars leaving 1/2" head space.  Cap and water bath for 10 minutes.
Has a honey flavor.

3 1/2 C corn juice
3 1/2 C granulated sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 pack pectin (like Sure Jell)
Makes 5 half pint jars.

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APPLE PEEL/CORE JELLY
Peels/cores from 15-20 apples (leftovers from sauce or canning)
6 C water (for cooking peels/cores)
1 (1 3/4 oz.) box dry pectin
9 C sugar
1-2 drops red food coloring

Cook peels/cores in 6 cups of water for 20-30 minutes.  Strain - add water if needed to obtain 7 CUPS OF LIQUID
Add pectin, stir in, and bring to a rapid boil
Add sugar, stir in, and bring back to a hard rolling boil for 1 minute.  Add food color.
Pour into sterile jars, leaving 1/4" head room.  Water bath for 5 minutes.

 

  • Keep and cool the water from boiling eggs or veggies (no salt added) - and use to water garden or plants.  It is full of nutrients.
  • All scraps/peelings from veggies are kept to add to stock making
  • Leftover cooked food - add to something else to make a new dish or pot of soup.  Blend up leftover veggies or fruit to add to muffins or bread.  Freeze in ice cube trays.  Blended fruit can be used in popsicles or homemade ice cream.
  • Leftover wine (ha ha) gets frozen in cubes to cool wine at a later date - or add to Sprite for a spritzer
NON-FOOD
  • Keep all glass jars that food is purchased in to use for leftover storage in the frig. (try to get rid of plastic)
  • Keep old clothes and scraps for quilting - pillows, lap throws, quilts (you don't need to know how to quilt to do patchwork).  Repurpose clothes into NEW clothes.
  • Keep any grocery bags you get to use in trash cans
  • Newspaper can be used for weed guard, cat litter, animal cages, and even shredded - some can be added to compost
  • Old t-shirts - cut into rags, hankies, sweat bands, blankets, etc.
  • Old bed pillows - I keep old pillows, till I have enough stuffing to make a new bed pillow or throw pillow

I could go on and on and on!!!!!!!!!!  I guess it was pounded into my head as a child - WASTE NOT WANT NOT!  I still feel that way.  I see absolutely no reason to throw something away that can be used in a new way.  We worked hard for our money - and I sure don't want to just throw it away.

When I have exhausted all safe and healthy remakes - it goes into the compost pile to make NEW soil!  It doesn't get any better than that.


WHAT DO YOU NOT THROW AWAY?  What are your favorite re-uses of items?
I hope to get some new ideas from you guys!

Have a blessed and frugal day,
Cheryl

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Frugal happenings 6/18

Howdy Ho friends!  I sure hope your week was a good one.  Can you believe that we are over half way through JUNE????  Crazy - how time flies.

We have had extreme heat, yet lots of rain this week.  The combination is making the garden plants explode!  They are all getting so big.  I have tiny jalapenos, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes!  I am anxiously awaiting the day I get to pick some!
It SMELLS so good outside.  Clover is growing every where, and that sweet smell just permeates the air.  It is such a heavenly smell!

We had visitors this week in state from Colorado.  My former bosses, turned really great friends, were in town.  They stopped by and we had a fantastic visit.  It was so nice seeing them in person again - we see each other on FB, but that isn't the same.

I had lunch with other old friends on Tuesday.  We hadn't seen each other in probably 33 -34 years.  We caught up over lunch (their treat).  It seemed like just yesterday that we had talked.

This week:
  • Visiting with old friends - PRICELESS
  • I started 3 - 1/2 pint jars of peppermint extract (fresh peppermint and vodka)
  • Started one 1/2 pint jar of lemon extract (using lemon balm)
  • Made a pint of mint/lavender infused water to spray in greenhouse to keep fleas away
  • Have been spreading coffee grounds around plants that are in pots (good deterrent for crawly bugs)
  • Picked a plastic grocery bag of lettuce and several green onions
  • Rain barrels are full again.  Didn't have to water at all this week due to rain!
  • Dusted broccoli and cabbage with diatomaceous earth (saw some worms munching on leaves)
  • Watched some of a marathon of "How the Earth Will End".  Encourages me to work harder on my pantry.  I think we have the potential of going through a bunch of cr*p before that happens.
  • Had a home doctor visit.  Hubs is great.
  • Found 2 volunteer petunias growing and blooming
  • Picked a pretty bouquet
  • Stopped at Dollar Tree and bought 6 more cans asparagus (3/2020), 4 cans of peach pie filling and 2 - 28 oz. cans of baked beans to add to the pantry
  • Make a quart of clover infused water, which I will be making clover jelly with
  • Stopped at Kroger to check out clearance (I didn't go last week ).    I got 6 bags of Wacky Mac - vegetable pasta for .45 each.  8 - 6 packs of jumbo franks (for cutting and BBQ at holidays) for .39 pack!!!!!!!  2 - 64 oz. bottles of cranberry juice .99 each.
 
Click on pictures to enlarge
  • I made 2 quiches.  Used leftovers in frig to throw in them.  Good eating!
Added mushroom, black olives, smoky links - cut up, Canadian bacon, cheese, onion.


Meals this week:
Italian baked pasta casserole & salad (2X)
Big salad
Mac and cheese with smoky links added and salad
Burgers with onion & mushrooms and ravioli
Garlic bread pizza (homemade)
Quiche with toast and side salad

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?  DID YOU FIND ANY GREAT DEALS?  HOW ARE YOU SAVING MONEY?


I send out prayers for each of you that your lives and your families are safe and healthy this coming week.
Also extra prayers for those in London and China.  I always pray for our country and world, but there has been so much sadness this week.
God Bless

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thrifty and Stretching a Dollar

THRIFTY - definition - wise economical, thriving, prosperous or successful.  Economic or frugal.
I think that describes us - huh folks?

It just makes good sense.  There are so many ways to stretch our dollars each and every day.  The old saying "waste not want not" is absolutely true.  If we take care of our pennies - the dollars will follow.
Here are some ways we can all stretch a buck and still have a fantastic and frugal lifestyle.

  • Use old cake mixes to make cookies, crisp toppings, waffles, etc.  You can add a bit of baking powder if you want to make a cake and the mix is pretty old.  Make waffles and break into fourths and then make ice cream sandwiches out of them!  IF the mix smells fine - it IS fine to use.  Don't worry about dates.
  • Use leftover chili for topping on hotdogs, over baked potatoes or over nacho chips.  Make a casserole by placing chili in pan and top with a package of corn bread mix (mix as directed).  Add a bit of cheese if desired
  • Use leftover taco meat on pizza, potatoes, fries, nachos.  Add to soup or mac and cheese
  • Flat or stale soda pop can be used to make jello or freeze it in cubes to keep drinks from being watered down.
  • Save change all through the week and use for farm market purchases or for a weekend treat for the family without breaking the budget


  • GARDEN - grow something!!!  Even if it is just green onions or lettuce or herbs.  Anything you grow will save you money at the store and it so much better for you.


  • Save the 'crumbs' in the bottom of cereal boxes and use as topping over pudding or ice cream.  Add into the topping for crisps
  • Use leftover coffee and freeze in cubes.  Will cool down that too hot cup.  Place in a jar in frig and use when making a shake - love me a mocha shake!
  • Repurpose ALL leftovers - "eat your garbage".  Sounds funny - but why throw things away when they can be re-invented into something new
  • Instead of serving each person a serving of meat - use half the meat and cut it up into a main course dish.
  • CLEARANCE is our friend!!!!  ALWAYS look for mark downs.  If you find items that you use all the time - BUY ALL THAT YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY!
  • Don't worry about dates!  They are nothing that is etched in stone.  Things are good for ages and ages after dates
  • Catch shower water in a bucket.  I know it doesn't seem like much savings - but it will water plants or flush a toilet - and if done daily, it saves money.
  • Add pasta, potatoes or rice to stretch meals.  These are all inexpensive and will stretch a meal incredibly
  • Turn AC higher or heat lower.  When using AC, basically you need it to remove humidity from the air.  It will do that at even a higher temp - thus you will feel cooler.
  • Sale stuff you aren't wearing or using.  Unused stuff is just taking up space in your home and you can make some much needed funds.
  • Shop the Dollar Tree if you have one.  They are carrying more and more brand names and they do take coupons now.  This is THE place to buy health and beauty items and cleaning stuff.
  • Make your own lunch treats.  Make peanut butter and crackers or cheese and cracker.  Make your own Lunchables - so easy to do.  Make your pudding or Jello cups.  It is so much cheaper.
  • Learn to make yummy and filling finger foods.  there are tons of cold meals that are filling and inexpensive.  It is amazing what you can do with a loaf of Italian bread!!!!!
  • Family doesn't like veggies or you have leftovers to use up - puree them and use in soups or in muffins and breads - no one will know!
  • If you have hit on HARD TIMES - DO WHAT IS NECESSARY TO FEED YOUR FAMILY.  Go to food pantries, apply for WIC or SNAP.  Do NOT be ashamed.  These resources are there to help and the good Lord knows we have all had hard times.
  • Barter with family, neighbors or friends.  If they have excess garden - perhaps you can barter a service with them
  • Out of money?  Inventory absolutely all food items you have and put together creative meals using those ingredients.  Use your imaginations - you make creative a new family favorite!
  • Take advantage of RAINCHECKS.  If a sale item is out - ALWAYS ask for a rain check.  You can get the sale price later on.
  • Consider shutting down cable.  Neflix, Hulu, and other are much cheaper and you can watch movies and many TV shows.  You tube is great too.  It is not just a 'how to' channel anymore.
  • Check into selling home canned or home made items in your area.

Folks - FOOD IS POWER! 
It is almost as good as cash (maybe better) in many instances.  If things get bad - all your many thrifty ways WILL save yours and your families lives!

We all need to know ways to stretch our dollars, be thrifty and save NOW - then we will be able to thrive if things go south someday.

How do you stretch your dollars?  We can all use every tip we can find!!
Looking forward to learning some great new tips.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

SUCCESS

What do you call success?  We all have a different definition I am sure.

Success is so many things to me, and really none of them have anything to do with money.
I truly believe you can be a successful person if you just live life right - be respectful, happy, loving, caring, sharing, spiritual, etc..
Some of the richest people I know (monetarily) are the least successful in my book.  The almighty dollar has become their God, their friend, their lover, their life.  That is sad.


I saw this on FB a while back - and it really sums up success to me.
The one thing I disagree with - IS these things are not "little things".  They are huge.  If we have these 10 things in our life, we are far, far richer than millions of people on this planet.

I know we are all working hard at providing a good life for our families in many ways.  Gardening, preserving, frugal shopping/living, making do, recycling, re-purposing, sharing, bartering, being good stewards of all we have..........................these are the wonders of success!


I pray each day and I know He listens and answers.
I have family and friends.
I have a wonderful caring/sharing community, in my life, from all over the world, thanks to computers.
I have health.
I have shelter, food, and drink.
I HAVE ENOUGH!!!!!
I AM RICH - in so many ways!!!!

G and I used to have a standard conversation on Sunday mornings when we played the lottery.  He would say "'are we rich yet?" - My response every time was "we already are".


WHAT IS SUCCESS TO YOU?
I somehow bet we are all pretty close to being on the same page with this one!
Like minds do tend to think alike.
Blessings my friends.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Frugal Happenings 6/11

Good morning everyone.  I hope you all had a wonderful week.
We had some fun conversation going on this week.  Glad so many chimed in.

I had a real frugal week.
I got contacted by some long ago friends (30+ years since we have seen or talked).  Facebook sure is a neat thing!  We are going to reconnect this coming week, with meeting up for lunch.  How fun!

I went to my sisters last evening for a family get together of her children and grandchildren.  They almost ALL live out of state - so some of them haven't been seen in 16 - 17 years.  Isn't that pitiful?  There were gr. gr. nieces and nephews there, that I had never even met.  I hate it when families get so far apart by distance.  It is just a shame that these young ones won't really ever get to know extended family.

My garden is really growing in leaps and bounds.  The plants are so much bigger, and I have blooms on tomatoes, squash, peppers and cucumbers!
It is amazing at how few chances of rain they are predicting.  A few weeks ago I never thought I'd say this - but I wish it would rain!

My week:
  • I line dried laundry this week
  • Had a nice rain the first of the week - really helped plants and barrels
  • Used rain water the remainder of week on garden
  • Only had the AC on a bit until yesterday.  It is now in the 90's for several days - YUCK!
  • I finished up the t-shirt/jersey blanket for my nephew's graduation

  • I kept the backs of the brightly colored t-shirts.  I will use that material for some future project
  • Did a ton of yard work in the early part of week when temps were cool
  • NO grocery stores or shopping this week!!!!!!!
  • Trapped myself a groundhog!  It was basically the first outing for it, and I figured it would be hungry, so set the live trap and within an hour I had him/her.  Not taking any chances with that booger eating garden this year!

Isn't Chucky cute?  He/she sure didn't like being in the cage, but it sure didn't want to come out when I dropped it off far, far away!  I had to turn the cage on it's side - and then he walked out and looked back at me as if to say "what's going on - aren't you my Mom?"
G said he sure hope it didn't have GPS - groundhog positioning sensor!

****************************************
Meals:
Chicken breast and salad
Burgers and red beans and rice
Leftover burgers, fresh veggies and dip
Homemade taco salad
Brats and loaded fries (used leftover taco meat and cheese on top of fries)
Loaded baked potatoes
Chicken tenders, corn and a salad
****************************************

PLEASE NOTE I have added another blog on my side bar.  It is the Frugal Workshop.  This is reader Belinda's blog.  CHECK HER OUT!

What has everyone been up to this past week?  What were some of your frugal ways?

I pray you a have a truly blessed week.  Wishing health, safety and fugality to ALL!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Old Ways - NOW OLD RECIPES

We have talked about doing things the old fashioned way this week, keeping life simpler, and using many of our 'old' tools while working in the kitchen.
It seems to many that there are many of us that embrace the ways of our parents and grand parents.
We are here after all, so they didn't do too bad of a job!!!

I am going to list a few 'older' recipes from our family today.  I know others used these recipes as well, as my husband was familiar with them too.  I have enjoyed these recipes over my lifetime, and hope you do too.


WILTED LETTUCE
Approx. 1 1/2 quarts of fresh lettuce leaves
4 - 5 slices of bacon
3-4 green onions - chopped

Dressing or Topping
2 Tbsp. bacon drippings
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. water

Fry you bacon and set aside (crumble).  Using 2 Tbsp. of bacon dripping, add chopped onion, vinegar, sugar, and water.  Simmer.
Place chopped lettuce in a bowl, cover with all the dressing and bacon crumbles.
Serve immediately.
ENJOY to the moon and back!!!!!!

This is a huge summertime favorite at our house!  Healthy - not totally - but yummy!



HOT GERMAN POTATO SALAD
5 bacon strips
3/4 C chopped onion
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2/3 C vinegar
1 1/3 C water
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
6 C sliced or chunked cooked potatoes

In a large skillet, fry bacon till crisp.  Set aside
Drain all but 2-3 Tbsp. of drippings - cook onion until tender.
Stir in flour, blend well.  Add vinegar and water and heat till bubbly and thickened.  Add sugar and stir till dissolved.  Gently stir in crumbled bacon and potatoes.  Heat through.
Serve warm.  Makes 6-8 servings. (Not at our house!!!! - This is a main course when made here)

 
 


CRUMB TOPPING FOR CRISP
1 C flour
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C butter
Optional:  3/4 C oats or nuts  (I mix the two and add)

Pour over your thickened fruit base and bake at 375* for approx. 30 minutes.  Browned and crunchy.



OLD FASHIONED OATMEAL CAKE
Pour 1 1/4 C boiling water over 1 cup oats and let stand for 20 minutes
Add:
1 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 C flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon

Pour into a greased sheet cake pan (13 x 9) and bake at 350*, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

TOPPING
1 C brown sugar
1 C coconut
1/2 C heavy cream
4 Tbsp. softened butter
Mix together and pour over cake.  Place under broiler until browned. (just a few minutes)

This was made by our Moms and Grandmas for years and years.
It is so rich and gooey and yummy.
**This is how the recipe I have is written down - watch the oven and broiler on your timing!



FRIED WATER CORNBREAD
1/2 C plain cornmeal (NOT self rising)
1/2 C hot water
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Heat about 1/2" of oil.  Drop mixture by teaspoon into hot oil.  Press down center to flatten.  Once the edge appear to be browned - turn over and continue to fry till golden browned. Drain.
Top with butter when serving.
These are so good!!!!!  Simple but good.

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I hope these recipes bring back some memories for many of you and I hope that you get the opportunity to enjoy them.
These were all good eatin' at my house when I was growing up and they still are!

DO YOU have any tried and true old fashioned recipes that you enjoy?


"He who is not content with little, will never be content with much."
Old Amish Proverb

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Old Ways - Old Things -- It's ALL NEW Again!

You know I'm right!!!
I sit back and watch people, and all these new TV shows, and You Tube videos that promote the very things my grandparents did, my parents did, and I still do!
I know many of you embrace the older ways as well.  I guess we are just trendsetters and pioneers!!!!

I remember back, that Mom used every spare piece of material she had to make clothes or quilts.  She altered clothes all the time.  So many of us do this same thing today.  Many of you love quilting, and I know there are several who like to re-invent clothes into newer styles, or just make new craft projects from them.

What I find hysterical, is the young gals and their fashions.  They all think they "invented" the look.  Can we all say "been there - done that"?  LOL
My nieces are wearing what I wore in high school, and can't believe their old Aunt could have ever been so cool!!!

Any how, things are coming back into style, trend, or maybe people are beginning to see the reality in front of them!

 
It's pretty isn't it.  I know many of us are striving to have this type of pantry.  It used to be the norm.
 
Aint it the truth!!!  Now with off the grid living, Doomsday Preppers, and those of us who feel IT will hit the fan in our lifetime - it's called PREPPING!
My parents were sure ahead of their time - NOT!  That was how we got fed.  Had it not been for that lifestyle, many of us wouldn't be here today.

Solar and wind power - new fangled notions!  NOPE - been harnessing those things for years and years.  Farms used to have windmills to pump water and harness power.  I even cool my house with wind power a good part of the summer - and that 'solar stuff' well it is just amazing.  It can heat up a house, run your appliances, grow your garden................ well shoot it is pretty awesome stuff!
What a notion!

Who remembers this guy?  I used to get so excited when it was milk day!  MAYBE I could talk Mom into buying what I thought was REAL ice cream or popsicles.  She made those things at home - but it wasn't the same.  Remember, if you didn't collect it quickly on a frigid cold day - and the milk froze and popped over the top? 
Well younger generation think they have found this wonderful new thing called milk delivery.  There are a few companies that are doing this again.  I am sorry - but it will never be the same!


I like 'old' things - except at my house they are just normal items.  I use old jars for storage, have many hand powered appliances and gadgets that have been in constant use for the past 60-70 years by someone.  I love aprons (they are coming back too).  I enjoy sewing (coming back).  I hang my laundry outside.  I cook from scratch.  I garden and preserve my food.............................
You see where I am going with this - ALL THINGS OLD ARE NEW AGAIN! 
Isn't it amazing - that our ancestors actually had it right to start with?!!


I do love my vintage tablecloths.  They may have a stain or two, but in my eyes that truly means they are vintage!  Vintage is the NEW thing now.  Folks are after vintage clothes, furniture, appliances, accessories, you name it!
I guess I fit in - I have 'original' vintage!!!!  I guess you could call me vintage as well.


Well gang, I guess I have digressed enough for one day.
You all know that this is all true - as most of you are just like me.  We love the 'old' ways.  It makes life seem a bit more simple and down to earth.
It is up to us to keep these things going, if at all possible, for the younger generations.  Once all of us "preppers" or "old-fashioned" folks leave this earth - so much will die out.
These things have lived on through so many generations - I hope they continue to in the future.

WHAT old ways or old things DO YOU still keep alive?  Let's trade some stories or ideas!


 
I do indeed long for a simpler time. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Frugal Happenings 6/4

Here we are starting another new month.  This is the half way month for the year.  This is just almost too hard to believe.  Time goes so quickly.

We had lovely weather most of the week, although the past couple days have turned fairly hot!  I have had to turn on the AC the past couple days.  Next week should be about perfect according to the forecast.  YAY

I was hoping to find some garage sales on the day (Friday) that I ran errands - but noooooo, there just wasn't any.  I found a couple that are those perpetual every weekend, every summer sales - so I didn't stop at them.  I haven't been to a yard sale yet this year.  I don't understand, there are usually tons of them this time of the year, and Fridays and Saturdays are prime days here.

I went to dinner at my sister's on Sunday, and my brother and his wife were there as well.  Sis gave me 3 more pieces of Mom's costume jewelry (that's basically all Mom had).

The picture does not do justice.  The are so shiny and bright.  I love brooches and pins.  The one with the amber colored stone is a locket type - can be a pin and has capability to add to a chain.  It is an Avon piece from years ago - and it is filled with my Moms perfume!!  I opened it, and it smelled like Mom.  I stood there and cried.
No they aren't worth a monetary cent, but they are priceless to me.  I will wear them and enjoy them.  I love them on blazers and sweater in the winter.

My frugal week:
  • Sister sent home lots of leftovers - which we enjoyed at a few meals
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Colored my hair at home with supplies on hand
  • Did a ton of yard work - great free exercise
  • Got to have windows open a big part of the week
  • Laundry line dried
  • Made a dozen hard boiled eggs
  • Brother gave me 2 quarts of homemade tomato juice - YUM
  • Used vinegar on weeds
  • Watered with rain water from barrels - the garden plants are really growing!
  • Picked lettuce, chives and green onions!!!
  • I washed down the back side of the house (north side).  After such a wet winter, it was developing a lot of green mossy looking stuff (as is everyone's in the neighborhood).  I used Dawn, vinegar and water with a nylon scrubby - and it is now nice and white again!!  Next week the north side of garage!
  • Went to the library
  • Cleaned out the greenhouse/cat house well.  I also laid another rug on the floor (to keep kitties warmer in winter) that had formally been on the front porch.  I washed the remainder of the bedding - so it is all fresh and clean.  Sprayed down with mint/lavender spray I made last year (keeps away fleas).
  • Washed and kept a couple zip lock bags and a cereal bag for the wax paper
  • Made a bunch of mini meatloaves (muffin pan size).  Used for meal, made spaghetti with a few, and froze the rest.
  • I took more donations to the church thrift store.  I purchased a vegetable noodle maker, a Coca Cola bowl, another (super heavy duty) grill pan all for $8.  I got a box of croissants for FREE (was supposed to have 20 - but had 22). Bakery items are always free.
The noodle maker was brand new and never even opened.  I saw one at Kroger for $19.99.  Can't wait to make spiral fries and zucchini noodles!
  • I made 14 sausage/egg croissants for breakfast meals.  Froze several.  I still have 8 croissants bagged in frig to make more.  They are so tasty - G was happy!!!!
  • I did stop at Kroger to check clearance.  I got 6 jars of peanut butter (11/2018) on clearance for .89 each.  I was getting low, so this was a blessing to find.  I bought all they had.

G didn't feel the greatest for a couple days, so meals at the end of the week was just whatever.  He wasn't real hungry.  He is better now.

Meals this week:
Dinner at sisters
Homemade mini meat loaf,  corn and slaw
Spaghetti (with cut up meat loaf) and side salad
Chicken strips and fresh veggies
Chef salad
2 meals of leftovers and whatever!

Had cake with fresh fruit, sherbet, pickles and pickled veg mix for snacks

I really didn't think I accomplished a lot this week, but it appears I did ok!  I worked on the blanket some more and plan to finish it up today.  I will be glad when it is done!!!

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?  WHAT DID YOU ACCOMPLISH OR SAVE ON?
Did you keep you frugal going?  LOL


My friends, please say an extra prayer for the people of our world!  There is so much hate and evil happening.  It is just heart breaking
I hope you all have a lovely upcoming week.  Please stay healthy and be safe.
BLESSINGS TO ALL





Thursday, June 1, 2017

Simple Time - Slowing Down

The simple life - it sounds good, doesn't it?
There is no reason why we can't all aim for and achieve this type of lifestyle and mindset.

Everything is so rush, rush nowadays - I hate it.  Everyone has somewhere to be, something to do, people to see, jobs to be done, CRAP to do........ and on and on.
SLOW DOWN PEOPLE!!!!!!
Truly think about your daily life.....is there anything that can't wait for a while, for a day, for a week?

Take time to sit and JUST breathe and relax.
Take time to listen to the children playing and laughing in the neighborhood.
Take time to sit and JUST LISTEN to nature. Close your eyes and listen.
Take time to look at each flower and appreciate how every single flower is somehow different.
Take time to read a good book.
Take time to listen....truly listen to someone else.
Take time to love better.
Take time to pray for ALL your blessings - there are many, whether you realize it or not.
Take time to be a better friend.
Take time to actually SAVOR your food.
Take time to smell the roses, as the old saying goes.
Take time to be thankful for memories.
Take time to cherish the lessons and skills you have learned in this life
Take time to be thankful you have ENOUGH.

I could go on and on.  But the greatest 'simple' thing we can do................
TAKE TIME TO BE YOU - THE REAL YOU - NOT THE YOU THAT YOU THINK EVERYONE EXPECTS.  BE TRUE TO YOURSELF!!!!!!  (This is probably the hardest single thing for most of us to do.)




 
 
We all need to try harder to just appreciate what we have.  It is nice to want more, and better, and bigger, but somewhere along the line, when striving for those things, we tend to lose sight of what is really important!   LIFE! 


LIVE LIFE FOR TODAY!  Appreciate today.  Be thankful you woke up today.  TODAY IS A GIFT - EVERYDAY IS A GIFT.
Slow down, simplify your hectic days, and ENJOY! 

LEARN to LIVE each and every day slower and simpler.
God bless you all.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Healthy Munchies on the Cheap!

We all get the munchies now and then and just HAVE to have a snack.  I know so many people who say chocolate is their go to snack!  I like chocolate once in a while - and I love flavored potato chips - by my favorite snacks are all pretty darn healthy.  GO FIGURE!

There are so many ideas for 'smart snacking' that cost very little money.  These are great ideas for home, car, and the office.  Adults and kids should enjoy most of them.

FRESH FRUIT -
Buy what is in season. 
SUMMER - melons, peaches, plums, cherries, etc. 
FALL - apples, pears
WINTER - citrus of all kinds
SPRING - strawberries

I absolutely love melons.  I like all types of them if they are really ripe and juicy!  Apples and peanut butter are a staple in my house in the fall and winter.  We both love that.


FRESH VEGGIES
Sliced carrots, celery, radish, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.

Probably my favorite in the summer is a nice tomato with salt!  I do like to eat cukes, radish and baby carrots with a little Italian dressing - or even a small salad.

*Hard boiled eggs are a great and filling snack (or lunch or breakfast)
*Bananas - so nutritious and another yummy with peanut butter.  I like peanut butter/banana sandwiches
*Nuts - full of protein and very filling.  Eating about 10-12 nuts can make you feel full
*Homemade trail mix - so easy to make with whatever you have on hand.  Throw several sweet and salty goodies together and you have trail mix.  Very filling.
*Pickles - sweet or dill - they are good!  This is another one of our favorites - we can sit and eat a quart of dill pickles in an evening!!!!!
*Popcorn - so easy to make and very inexpensive.  Filling as well.  Try adding new flavors so you don't get bored with it.  Ranch, garlic, onion, cheese, etc.
*Pretzels - can't get much cheaper than pretzels.  We have small pretzels on hand all the time.
*Yogurt - mix it with some fruit and you have a super healthy snack
*Muffins - make several muffins (sweet or savory) and keep them in the freezer.  Microwave one or two when hungry (much better than snacking on cookies, candy or other sweets).
*Smoothies - fruit smoothies are always fun.  You can put all kinds of combos of fruits (and even veggies) together with a little milk or juice and ice and you have a smoothie.  We love fixing these for what seems like a sweet treat - but very healthy.
*Cheese - string cheese is great for taking away hunger pangs!  It is filling and good for you.  I often cut some slices of cheddar or Colby and eat for a little snack.
*Seeds - sunflowers, pumpkin, etc.  Very healthy and can be quite inexpensive.  You can even  dry your own.
*Water instead of pop or sugared drinks is the best.  Water is filling.  Drink before a meal and eat less.


None of the items mentioned above are expensive.  Probably the most expensive would be nuts and cheese - but if you eat just a bit to fill you - each serving costs little to nothing.
All the above items are very healthy, especially when eaten in moderation.  Looking at the list I see lots of protein and lots of vitamins and minerals!
Don't waste your money buying those "lunch-able kits" at the store - make your own with fresh and healthy ingredients.  You know exactly what your getting and it will only cost you pennies!!!

The next time you get a little growling in that tummy, don't grab for candy (it really doesn't curb your hunger) - reach for something healthy.
You can keep all these items at home (and probably already have most), and you can grab and go.

Stay healthy and full and save a chunk of change in the process!
MUNCH AWAY MY FRIENDS!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Frugal Happenings 5/28

Good morning to all.  I hope all are well and happy on this glorious day. 
It is race day in our city - The 500 Mile Race.  The weather has taken a turn and should be clear for the race.  It was supposed to rain.  I am glad as there are thousands of people visiting from all over the world for this event.
I have not had any desire to fight those crowds for years and years.  In my younger days, it was quite fun - NOT NOW!

We had a couple nice clear days earlier in the week, then rain off and on the rest of the week.  Storms went through the area on Friday evening.


My week:
  • I managed to get a lot of yard work done - mowing, weeding and planting flowers
  • Plowed the garden, plowed in coffee and tea grounds and egg shells.  Added my beneficial insects (looks like dust - becomes alive and eats grub larvae).  Laid the weed barrier and planted the entire garden.  Also placed soaker hose (just in case rain water runs out).  It sure was an exhausting day!!!!!  My poor body ached.
  • God has been watering my newly planted garden all week!
  • Laundry dried on the outside line
  • Picked a bouquet of roses
  • Now have 2 -  55 gallon barrels of rain water
  • I have been working on the t-shirt/jersey blanket for nephew.  It sure would have been easier had all the shirts been t-shirts.  Almost done.  (This has been another back aching project!)
  • I made a run to Meijer and did a big stock up on dry and wet cat food.  Saved $21 with sales and coupons.
  • Meijer also had fresh corn 6 - $1, and ground beef for 1.87/lb.  I got 6 ears of corn to enjoy and 10 lbs. of meat for the freezer (not much room left or I would have gotten more)
  • Made a light and fluffy yellow cake - no icing.  Serving with fruit.
My bad moment was the day the garden went in - I was so absolutely drained, that I broke down and ordered delivery food.  We had Chinese (which made G happy) - but it did last us 2 nights.
I also got 2 really nice storage containers out of it!!!!


Tex-Mex skillet meal


Meals this week:
Cold sandwiches and chopped veggies in dressing
Chicken & dumplings and steamed broccoli
Chinese (2X)
Tex-Mex skillet dinner over rice
Burgers and corn on the cob and salad
Homemade pizza (Mexican style) - used leftover skillet mix on top with mushrooms, olives, onion and cheese (Mmmmmmm)

Snacks - sherbet, popcorn and cake w/fruit


We have been enjoying the open windows and fresh air (when not raining).  I did turn on the AC for a couple hours Saturday afternoon, as it got to feeling quite humid.
It sure smells heavenly when I walk into the back yard.  The honeysuckle is absolutely divine!
The hummingbirds have been enjoying it, and my feeders!  Such precious little flying jewels.
We have some young squirrels showing up at the feeders.  There must have been a birth somewhere close by - in the past month or so.  Oh my the are just so cute.


How has this past week been for you?  Did you find any great bargains?  Did you ad to your pantry?  How is everyone's gardens doing?
Check in and let us know what is happening in your little spot in the world. 

May you all have a safe, frugal and happy week.  God bless!


NEVER FORGET !!!!




Thursday, May 25, 2017

Holiday Stock-up

It is that time of the year again.  Memorial Day is this weekend, and yes many celebrate it as a day for picnics and sun bathing, and swimming pool openings, etc. 
I know this is a long holiday weekend for many, and folks look forward to that first big get together of the summer.
In our city, we host the largest single day sporting event in the world - the 500 Mile Race.  I pray it will be a safe event, not only for the drivers, but for the patrons and the city.  It is kind of scary with all that is going on in this world.


Along with all the parties and celebrations - come SALES!
Now is the time to stock up on many items that are extremely well priced this week.

Hamburger
Hotdogs
Buns
Chips
Condiments
Soda Pop
Watermelon & other melons
Fresh corn
Chicken
Baked beans
Many types of alcohol
Grilling and picnic items
Suntan lotions
Even swim suits and many summer clothes

This will probably be the last BIG sale until July in America.  Now is the time to add items to the pantry and freezer and save money.  There are many, many great deals to be had at almost every store.

Plan ahead and perhaps you can even buy some Christmas presents.  Nothing says items gifted at Christmas have to be all about winter!  Shake things up a bit.
Think summer clothes, lotions, picnic supplies, grilling supplies, beach towels, etc.

Take advantage, and help to fill your pantry for the winter, or bless someone who may need a little help.  Always be planning ahead.  Pantry prepping is an on-going thing!



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I'd also like to add a HUGE THANK YOU to all Veterans and active service members.  So many have sacrificed everything, so we may all have a life of freedom. 
Thank you to the families of all past and present service members as well.  They sacrifice so very much as well.
May none of us ever forget that FREEDOM IS NEVER FREE

Be safe and have a lovely weekend with family and friends.
God Bless


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Garden Fun and Function

Good morning everyone.  I am a day late on posting - so sorry.  I took advantage of a near perfect day to get my garden in yesterday.  WHEW is this old gal pooped!!!!!
We are supposed to have rain just about everyday for the next week, so yesterday was my shot at getting it done.

Sunday I posted a picture of my purple chair and everyone seemed to like it.  I love my yard and gardens, but there is nothing formal about anything I do.  I like formal gardens, but that just isn't me.
I am all about WHIMSY!
I love using things in an unconventional way.

As a side story - I had an uncle years ago that made all kinds of doo-dads and whirly gigs for his yard.  I used to think he was silly.  My aunt would spend money on feeding all the stray cats and nature outdoors.  I, as well as my siblings, thought she had lost her mind. 
OH MY GOODNESS  - I have turned into both of them!!!!  I know they are looking down and laughing at my silliness as well!

I will show some pictures today of how to use items in a new way in the yard and garden.  I know some of you may have seen a couple of these - but I hope it gives everyone a few ideas!
NOTE:  Most of these are from summers past - my garden isn't big yet!



This is a farm implement flower I have in the garden.  It was unfinished when I purchased it years ago - I added paint.


This is a birdhouse attached to the handle of an old shovel.  The shovel end was broken in the middle.
 
 
The old washtub  makes a great garden container.  Rubber animal water container in front contains lettuce.  A painted metal basket on left contains lettuce as well.

A second wash tub contains flowers - an old chair holding a pot of flowers, whiskey barrel of chives - pieces of drift wood in odd shapes.

Rain barrels.  One store bought - the other is homemade.  Clean 55 gal. drum, scrap piece of hose (works for over flow), and a piece of screen and a budgy cord.

I use a spare piece of plastic lattice in the garden between the zucchini and the tomatoes.  It keeps the squash from taking over.

A wood pallet placed up against the fence works for vining cucumbers.

Ice cream parlor chair turned into planter.  I have 2 of these in different colors.


This gives you an idea of how unconventional  I am!  Shoot I used to have a church pew on the from porch, until it finally started giving out - then my neighbor took it!

I have a red metal old fashioned headboard as a center piece of my perennial bed (I couldn't find a good picture).  It is a flower "bed" is it not???

I just love a little whimsy and fun.  My neighbors all seem to enjoy it as well.  I have met people out walking their dogs in the alley, that stop me and tell how much they enjoy walking by the yard.  These are people I don't know.  I am glad it puts joy in someone else's life as well as mine!

It's your yard - have fun.  You can decorate and add color and fun for little or no money. 
I LOVE MY YARD ART.

Do you have any  fun pieces in your yard and garden?  Any new ways to use old items?  Give us a shout!
ENJOY





 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Frugal Happenings 5/21

Good morning to all my frugal friends.
I hope all are safe and healthy!

We have had an interesting weather week.  It got quite warm and humid for a few days this week - actually had to turn the AC on for a few hours on a couple days.  We have had a couple nasty storms.  We faired well, but other areas of the state had a lot of flooding and even tornados.  We had a couple days that were extremely windy - 40-50 mph winds.  Couldn't get much done outside on those days.
I see some areas of the country had SNOW again this week.  WOW!
It appears that this coming week will cool a bit and we will have some lovely weather. Hoping to get a lot done outdoors this week.

This past week:
  • Picked 2 more bouquets of peonies.  I absolutely adore that smell.  They are now done for the year.
  • Boiled eggs for quick and easy meals and snacks
  • Made a big bowl of chunky salad.  Broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, onion, cukes, dressing, sunflower seeds and frozen peas.  Was good for several meals.
  • Sprayed fence rows and out back with vinegar solution to kill weeds and grass
  • Line dried laundry
  • On calm days I got to paint some yard art and freshen it up a bit.
This is the chair I found in trash a while back.  Repaired and painted - it called out to be purple!  Now a plant stand in my front flower bed.  I love the pop of color.
  • I made a run to my favorite family owned greenhouse to get some plants.  They have really cut back (trying to sell out).  I got most of my stuff needed for $28.  Still need to find a few other things and a place that sells them cheaply.  I can't believe how expensive plants are around here, at other places!
  • Got a .20 a gallon discount on gasoline
  • Got my container garden in - still haven't got main garden done
  • Went to Joanne Fabrics to get fleece for the blanket I am making for graduation.  Didn't realize they were having a 4 day sale!  Fabric regular $24.98 - I PAID $9.98.  I also bought a 3 pack of Fiskar brand scissors.  Regular price 19.98 - I PAID $11.99!!  So I got the fabric and scissors for less than the price of what the  fabric should have been!  CALL ME HAPPY!
  • Stopped at Kroger on the way home (of course I did!) to check out clearance.  I found 14 - 16 oz. bottles of salad dressing on closeout for .47 each!!!!   Got Ranch, Italian, Caesar, and Honey BBQ.  No way I could make it that cheaply!  (dated 5/2018)  YAY!!!
  • I also got 4 sets of silicone ice cube trays in cute designs (flowers, stars and moustache).  These went into the gift box/pantry.  They were reduced to $1 per set of 3.
  • Made hummingbird nectar
  • My rain barrels are about half full - FREE garden water
  • Finally made it to the Farm Market up the road yesterday (just before a storm hit).  Got some nice radishes, baby turnips (we use in salad), salad greens and a loaf of Artisan bread.  Cooked the radish and turnip greens for lunch (nothing wasted)
My Farmer's Market goodies.  YUM

 Meals this week:
Chunky salad and chicken strips
Salad and tuna patties
Ground pork burgers, dirty rice and side salad
Pork chops, leftover rice and green beans
Sloppy Joes and oven fries
Fried chicken livers and country gravy (definitely non-diet day!)
Chef salad
SNACKS:  sliced strawberries, fruit smoothies and sherbet


How was your week?  What have you done to help your pantry and/or your pocketbook??
How does your garden grow?


I absolutely love hearing from each of you.  I love how we are getting a number of new readers.  The more the merrier - so many more ideas to share!
Take care my friends and may you have a truly blessed week.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Sub Pantries"

I know we all work on our pantries weekly.  In most cases people think of everything they buy and put back for future use as their pantry.
I look at it a little differently.  I figure I have SUB PANTRIES!

What do I mean? 
I categorize by different items and uses.

Here are a few that you may JUST consider pantry!

Pet pantry
Health aids and beauty pantry
Craft pantry
Gardening pantry (seeds, etc.)
Cleaning and canning pantry (supplies)
Reference pantry (informational books and guides)
Food pantry

Here is where I do something a little different - my food pantry is divided into special areas.

I have my FAST FOOD PANTRY
This contains the supplies I keep on hand to make knock-offs of fast food.  It saves money from wanting to make a special trip for that favorite food.
  • I always keep ALL supplies to make Mexican food - taco seasoning, beans, salsa, sauces, cheese, taco shells, and wraps (I also make my own wraps)
  • I keep supplies on hand for pizza night - sauce, pepperoni, chopped frozen veggies in case I don't have fresh, hamburger and/or sausage.............
  • I keep seasonings on hand to make Chinese or Oriental (hubs favorite).  I also always have thin pasta (for lo-mein), rice, water chestnuts, and veggies that can be used in stir fry, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, etc.
  • We also love Italian food - I always have homemade spaghetti sauce, canned tomatoes and sauce, pasta of all sorts (lasagna, shells, elbow, spaghetti - all sizes), cheese, etc.
  • I also keep a bag of seasoned wings, tasty breaded fish, thinly sliced ham, turkey and beef in the freezer.  Once used - I replace.  This enables us to have a quick 'fast food' meal without having to spend the money on take-out!
 
Part of my upstairs pantry supplies.  There are shelves above what you see and they are all about 3' deep.  Spice racks on the door for extra containers.


I DON'T WANT TO COOK PANTRY
There are just nights that none of us want to take the time to cook a big dinner.
You DO NOT have to cook every meal!!!  You are allowed to just get lazy some times!
  • I try to keep soup beans, homemade soups, maybe even a casserole in the freezer.
  • Soup and sandwiches are my favorite go to.  I have home canned soups, and store bought soups on hand always
  • I always have some kind of sandwich fixings - even if it is just grilled cheese
  • I keep bar cheese and beef sticks on hand - for those nights we veg out on cheese/meat and crackers
  • Fresh veggies and dip are great as well.  Always keep a bag of nacho chips on hand for salsa (chips are so easy to make from tortilla's)
  • Keep tuna, hard boiled eggs on hand for making a quick sandwich salad.
  • Spam and eggs are super easy and filling as well - add some toast and you have a meal
  • Egg sandwiches
  • Salad

GOODIES PANTRY
We all want our tasty yummy goodies and treats.  Homemade are so easy and much cheaper.
  • Keep the items on hand to make cookies, brownies, and cakes (Even if it is pre-packaged mixes - it's better to have on hand at home
  • Learn to make trail mixes (actually about anything you might want to throw together)
  • Popcorn and different salt flavorings
  • Fresh veggies and dip (always keep sour cream on hand for making dips)

OK, you get where I am going with this.  Make sure that you have all the supplies that you might need for any type of scenario.  There is NO reason to run out and spend precious funds on fast food or 'lazy' food when you can do it right at home.
SURE we all need a restaurant meal once in a while - I am not saying never eat out.  It is just so costly any more - even going to McD's, Taco Bell, or Arby's!!!!!!

I love Taco Bell - but have learned how to make most of the items they sell.
G loves Chinese, and I keep supplies on hand to re-create some of his favorites.
We both LOVE the Outback - I can do steaks on the grill and have learned how to make Alice Springs chicken myself (my fav).
YES, we do have restaurant meals from time to time (especially when we have gift cards).  Yes, we do splurge once in a while.
But we have become so accustomed to eating from home, and it tastes so much fresher - that this is what we do most.


Are there any certain things that you consider "SUB" pantry??
Do you keep items on hand for those knock-off meals??

I look forward to hearing how you handle your pantries and what specialty items you try to keep on hand.  I am always looking for new ideas.

PANTRIES ARE ESSENTIAL!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

SIMPLE Solutions

We are all looking for ways to save time and money, no doubt about it.   There are so many things we can do at home, that just makes since - but we don't often think about them.

Today I have a few ideas, hacks, and even a recipe that will hopefully aid you in your every day life.

  • A seriated knife will cut a tomato without ever smashing the tomato.  It works perfectly every time!
  • The green lids from jars of dry parmesan cheese will fit a canning jar.  Works great for storing your own spices or mixes
  • The top from a pouring salt box, can be cut to fit under the band of a canning jar.  Makes a perfect pouring jar. (I have several of these jars)
  • Freeze fresh herbs in oil.  Use an ice cube tray.  (I always keep extra ones for herbs and food - different from the ice ones).  A great way to infuse fresh herb flavor in frying.
  • Keep your water from boiling eggs or potatoes, or water from steaming veggie - let it cool and use on your plants.  It contains lots of minerals.  **Make SURE there is no salt  in it - just water.
  • Pour scalding water bath water on weeds you want to kill.  No sense pouring it down the drain.
  • Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the ice cream in an opened container.  This will prevent ice crystals from building up on the ice cream.  (Ours never lasts that long - but just in case!!)
  • Freeze seedless grapes and use in a glass of wine to keep it chilled.  Frozen grapes are a wonderful summertime snack as well
  • Honey NEVER goes bad - although it may crystalize.  Warm it up and it will liquefy.
  • Grease a measuring cup before measuring honey or anything else sticky.  It will pour right out.
  • Make 'ice cubes' from tea, coffee, juice, wine, etc. in muffin pans.  Larger cubes take longer to melt and you don't water down drinks 
  • Add fruit - berries, grapes, lemon, oranges, etc. to cubes for an added summer splash
  • Freeze tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, or any tomato product in ice cube trays.  When frozen place in a baggy in the freezer.  Pull out what you need.
  • Place parchment paper on baking racks when roasting veggies - super easy clean up!!!!
  • Keep a designated pair of FOOD scissors in your kitchen.  I love them for cutting up lettuce, celery, some meats, and even small pizzas.  So many uses!
  • NEVER  throw out the woody part of asparagus or broccoli - DEHYDRATE and GRIND into powder.  Adds so much flavor to soups and such.  I also like to peel the stems of broccoli and cook.  That is my favorite part (keep peelings to dry)
  • Place 1 CUP of uncooked rice in your coffee grinder and pulse.  It will clean and sharpen the blades
  • Use old place mats as drawer liners, picnic basket liner, padding between fragile dishes, or even as protection when  packing shoes (keeps clothes clean)
  • Drill tiny holes (about 6 - 3 each in 2 rows) in the top of a plastic bottle lid.  Add vinegar to bottle and you have a weed killer bottle that allows you to pour vinegar exactly where you need to.  I have been doing this in areas of flower beds this spring.  Works wonderfully!
  • Lay slices of lemon on your grill before grilling fish.  Lay the fish upon the slices and get the flavor of lemon and fish will not fall through the grates
  • Grate FROZEN  or VERY COLD butter for baking recipes.  So much easier to incorporate.
  • Make your own non-breakable GAZING BALL for your garden.  Get an old bowling ball and spray paint whatever color/colors you wish!  My brother did this and it was amazing!!!!  You can also glue copper pennies to one.
This was my brothers 'gazing ball'.   You could place the holes on the bottom or silicone them closed.  That is what he did. 



GLUTEN FREE PANKO LIKE CRUMBS
Crush rice Chex cereal and use as 'panko' crumbs.  No gluten!  This would work with ANY gluten free cereal you might want to use.

FRUIT AND VEGGIE WASH
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh if possible)
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 C water.
Spray fruits and veggies to clean.  Pat dry and refrigerate.
Saves money - and there is NO added chemicals or "secret" ingredients!


I hope a few of these ideas may help you in the kitchen or yard.  I have many more ideas and hacks - but that is another day.
Do you have any great ideas to pass on?  Inquiring minds want to know!!!

ENJOY your day!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Frugal happenings 5/14

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all you lovely Moms out there.  It doesn't matter if you 'baby' is human or fur - you ARE a Mom. 
Enjoy your day!!!!

We have had a lovely upturn in our weather - it is definitely more spring/summer like now.  The sun is shining and the temps are lovely.  This coming week we are supposed to have several dry days with temps in the 70's/80's!  MAYBE I will get some garden work done!

One of my hummingbirds is back.  It has been visiting the feeders and the honeysuckle daily.  Such a joy to watch.
We also have a pair of rose breasted grosbeak's show up this week.  Oh my goodness they are so beautiful.  We have never had them in our yard before.  We are truly enjoying watching all the nature.

We are trying to work on losing a little weight.  Too many goodies over the winter was not a good thing!  We are eating more lean meat and way more veggies.
I remade a couple of leftover thin lean steak burgers into kind of a fajita wrap.  I thinly sliced the burgers into strips and sautéed with mushrooms, onion, and pepper and served in soft tortillas one night.  Trying to use all the leftovers in a new way.

This week:
  • Got to do laundry in cold and line dry
  • Did a lot of yard work.  Trimmed all the bushes out back, weeded, cleaned all the rest of pots out, and trimmed fence row on neighbors side (yet another neighbor who can't seem to get close to the fence)!
  • I received a tote of t-shirts and jerseys from a nephews high school sports activities.  I have been requested to make a quilt like cover for his graduation in a couple weeks.  SIGH!  I am not sure if I should be happy or upset, that I am the GO TO person.  I guess they like my work and they know Auntie will make it nice.  I have been in planning stage - I'll show it when done.
  • Dropped off a lot of donations to church thrift store - YAY - out of the house!!!!
  • Picked a couple more bouquets of peonies.  My house smells so good!!!!

  • I got together a bag of goodies for the letter carrier food drive on Saturday
  • Turned the mattress.  We have our mattress in a water bed frame - so I vacuumed under it while turning (dust and dander - ick) - of course changed all the bedding as well.
  • Doing all the normal stuff trying to be thrifty - tea, filtering water, windows open, using what we have on hand, etc.
  • I did make a purchase for myself!  Maybe not frugal - but maybe.  I bought a new vacuum at Big Lots.  Mine just hasn't had the power it used to and it is cumbersome.  I got a new upright (vs. canister on other).  It sure has some power!!!!!  No bags to buy - it is bag-less.  It is the second one we have bought in 31 years - so not bad.  Hopefully it lasts for years to come.  Cost less than $100.  I am a happy camper!!!!
I cleaned the bedroom carpet and an area rug in the living room and couldn't believe what it picked up.  I vacuum several times a week - yet, this seemed to pick up a whole cat (in fur)!!!!  LOL
I think I will love it.


Meals this week:
Little slider burgers and oven fries
Small pizza and salad
Baked spaghetti and salad (2X)
Chef salad topped with chicken strips
Lean steak burger steamed broccoli and side salad
Fajita wrap and bowl of cabbage soup (home canned)

Got a small loaf of zucchini bread out of freezer for a snack.  Also had popcorn and fresh sliced strawberries


How was your week?  What ways did you save or add to your families preparedness and well-being?

Are you getting your gardens started?  I know many areas are having PRIME harvest time now.
We haven't even started!!!

Prayers for you all for health, safety and blessing from Above!
Have a splendid week!