Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Simple, Saving Subs

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

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


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

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

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



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


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

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


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

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


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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Frugal Happenings 10/15

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Eats, Treats, & Gifts from the Fall Kitchen

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

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


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

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


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

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


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



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


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


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


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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Searching, Sorting & Ideas

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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



Sunday, October 8, 2017

Frugal Happenings 10/8

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

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

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

I just love nature!

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thursday, October 5, 2017

ENOUGH and when to STOP

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

ANYBODY WANT TO JOIN ME?
WISH ME LUCK!


 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tis the Season End

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

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

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

Here are a couple other options:

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


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




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

Click on recipe to enlarge for easy reading.


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


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


Too many peppers?
Here you go:

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

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


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

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

Do you have ANY END OF SEASON RECIPES to share?

Happy harvest!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Frugal Happenings 10/1

HAPPY OCTOBER everyone!
The year is officially all down hill from here!  LOL  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, the time will fly by for sure!
Craft shows will be starting up this month, with lots of fun gift ideas and homemade treasures to buy and see.

The weather has drastically cooled the last half of the week.  Nights are in the 40's and 50's - such good sleeping weather.  AC off and windows open, allowing fresh a plenty in the house.
My allergies are finally starting to get a little better.  It has been a bad allergy season.

We are still enjoying some garden produce.  The volunteer cherry tomatoes plants are giving up tons of little tomatoes (about the size of a quarter).  They sure are good and nice addition to the meals.  They are full of blooms and green tomatoes, so depending on the weather we should have little tomatoes for a while.


Sunflowers - critter planted and Cheryl approved.  We have had lovely sunflowers all summer from the birds and squirrels.
The New England Asters are absolutely covered with blooms.  They are gorgeous.  The butterflies seem to love them.
 
My frugal week:
  • Sunday we got Long John Silver's for G's birthday dinner.  The gal at the restaurant gave me a FREE drink since I had to wait for fish to cook.  She also gave us extra fish and hushpuppies for FREE.  I got a boat load of  tartar sauce and catsup packages as well.  She was more than generous!
  • Picked a lovely bouquet of N.E. asters
  • Picked tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and peppers this week
  • Took BIL to the hospital this week for an out patient procedure.  He was to be slightly sedated, so couldn't drive. (he is fine)
  • Worked on cleaning up the garage some.  Put many items back into the shed for the winter.
  • Placed 5 doz. quart jars in the shed (that we received free last year).  I brought in a couple dozen as well.
  • We have FREE HBO and Cinemax over the weekend, so I have been DVRing several movies to watch at some later date
  • Have watched a few You Tube videos
  • AC has now been off for 5 days - it will be getting warmer again this week - but here's hoping it gets to stay off. 
  • Had a friend come over and help G and I both with several projects we needed to get done, and just couldn't accomplish by ourselves.
  • Got the whole house generator all checked out for fall and winter - did it ourselves, so no expense
  • Ran to Fresh Thyme for some herbal capsules and came across powdered peanut butter!!!!  I got a jar of it and a jar of chocolate flavored powdered peanut butter!  Oh the possibilities!  I can see using it in baking and in smoothies.  Shelf life is very long - great for prepping.
  • I stopped by WM to check out different flavors of canned cat food.  I dislike WM - but they carry cat food others don't and have good price on it.  I walked by the clearance rack - and I found 4 jars of sweet and sour purple cabbage and 2 jars of pickled baby onions (G loves) all for a $1 a jar.  Great for the pantry
  • Working very hard on organization - especially in the basement.  It is amazing how messy it can get.
  • I stopped at the thrift store (across from WM).  I got 2 loaves of wheat bread for FREE (gave to our friend).
 
Meals this week:
Long John's (2X)
Chicken strips, steamed broccoli, slaw & tomatoes
Sausage, eggs, and toast
Pizza casserole
Leftover pizza casserole, bread sticks, and salad
Amish casserole and bread sticks
 
 
There are several things I would like accomplish in the coming week - here's hoping I have the get up and go to do them!
WHAT DID YOU DO TO SAVE MONEY THIS WEEK?  Did you ADD to your PREP or PANTRY?
 
I pray you all have a wonderful month of October, and that it brings you health and happiness.  May you al be able to add to your stockpiles and ready yourself for winter and Christmas.
God bless you all from our home to yours.
 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Up-cycling - Frugal and Fun Ideas

I LOVE to up-cycle things.  I am the queen of "don't throw that away"!
I love trying to make something new out of something old.  Many gifts and home d├ęcor projects can be the result of up-cycling.

JEANS - old worn out jeans can be made into all kinds of things.  You can make wine bags from the legs, quilts, pillows, lap throws, purses, pot holders, garden aprons, draft stoppers for your doors,cell phone holders, kitchen aprons, etc..  They can also be cut into strips and made into rag rugs.  There is really no limit to what you make with old jeans.

cell phone holders

OLD SWEATERS - can be made into mittens, stuffed animals and pet beds.  They can also be unwound and the yarn used for a new project.

OLD T-SHIRTS - Can be cut into cute eternity scarves, made into quilts and pillows, pet toys, painting/gardening shirts, etc..  They can also be cut into strips and braided to make rag rugs.
Transform and large t-shirt into a cute and simple skirt.  Simply cut below the sleeves - turn down a hem and add elastic - easy-peasy skirt!!!!!
Cut large t-shirts into children's jammies.

ADULT CLOTHES  - shirts and dresses, etc. can be cut down and remade into children's clothes, doll clothes, or the material used in quilts.

OLD TOWELS - make wash cloths, bibs, placemats, dish towels, stuffed animals, or bath mat.

CARD FRONTS - recycle card fronts to make gift tags, copy parts of old card or glue onto index cards for home made recipe cards, use in kid's art, copy onto paper to make stationary.
Frame into wall art.

OLD PICTURE FRAMES/WINDOWS - make great accent pieces on walls for family gallery.  Paint several frames the same color and use as wall art (they can be empty).  Frame advertisements or postcards for art. 
Add chicken wire or cork board and use for message boards or jewelry holders

Cool old frame with old knobs added - pictures and coat rack all in one.  Old door knobs would look cool too.

INCOMPLETE PUZZLES OR GAMES - use puzzles pieces or game pieces (like Yahtzee) and glue on picture frames.  Puzzle pieces can be left as is - or painted a solid color.  Makes for a unique picture frame.

FAMILY PICTURES - copy on paper and decopauge onto lamp shades, bottles, jars, etc.  You can add sand and tea light candles to jars to light pictures.  Family pictures can also be copied onto transfer paper and ironed onto fabric - for a very personal  pillow or quilt.
Make cards or postcards from old pictures.

VINTAGE LINENS - use old linens that have some stains or rips and re-invent them into quilts, pillow, valances, table runners, aprons,  even clothing.

Pretty little vest that I was gifted years ago.  All kinds of vintage linens incorporated onto it.

ROCKS - this is the newest fad.  Paint smooth rocks into animals, or paint sayings or pictures.  Can be left at random places for someone to find, can be incorporated into flowers beds or flower pots, can make framed pictures from them, make into magnets or paper weights, etc..

OLD DOOR KNOBS OR HARDWARE - look cool made into coat/clothing racks, added as accents, curtain tie backs etc.

SHEET MUSIC OR OLD BOOKS that are beyond salvage - can be copied into stationary, framed, made into cards, etc.
The same can be done with CHILDREN'S ART.


There is just no end to the things that can be up-cycled. 
We all use normal household items in different ways.  Keeping containers to give leftovers away, using jars and such for storage, foil covered eat trays for candy/sweets gifting, etc.

This might give you a few ideas of things you can do around your home to save a few dollars OR gifts that you can make for Christmas, that won't break the bank.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE UP-CYCLE PROJECT?



 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Time of Our Lives

I feel totally comfortable saying that myself and many people I know, just aren't happy with the times we live in.  Everything has changed, and I don't necessarily think that is a good thing.
I know the change of the seasons has been bothering me and my moods lately, but the I think the state of affairs and the social climate of the world has a lot to do with it as well.

I want to GO BACK IN TIME!!!!!  I don't want to be a kid again or even back to my early life - as I wouldn't be who I am today.  I just want to go back to a time when all 'seemed right' with the world.  I wish as an adult I could time travel.
I know people worked hard back in the day - but ideas were simpler.

I am so sick of all the complaining and hate.  I am sick of all the feelings of entitlement.  I am sick of  no one taking responsibility for their own actions.  I am sick of all the ME - ME attitudes.  I am sick of all the electronics of the world.  I am sick of people today being blamed for the past.  I am sick of disrespect on so many levels.  I am sick of all the political correctness IN ALL WE DO AND SAY.  I am sick of entertainers and sports people thinking we care about their political views - YOUR JOB is to entertain us! 
It makes me sad that we have turned our backs on patriotism, country, and God.
It breaks my heart to think what the youngsters in my family will have to deal with as they get older (if they even get that opportunity).


Click on picture to enlarge
Read this carefully - do you remember this time?  I was little in the fifties, but this was so our life.  I realize this is talking about food - but everything has changed.


Our phones were party lines - shared with another family (at first).  Then it was a rotary dial - you answered  NOT knowing who was on the other end!!!  Imagine that.
We colored with a color book and crayons - not on a computer.
We played board games, hopscotch, Jacks, and 'house' (it wasn't a bad thing then). 
We could create anything with a cardboard box and a little imagination.
We ate bologna sandwiches or PBJ's with Kool-aid on the front porch at lunch - and called it a picnic.
We grew gardens and cooked from scratch.
Family was always there for each other.
Neighbors were friendly and worked together to better the neighborhood, and help each other.
Parents weren't afraid to let kids play outside (out of sight).  Little did we know that all the neighbors were keeping an eye on us.
We wrote letters and thank you cards.
We walked to school.
We read 'actual' books.
We had Christmas programs and Bible classes (off site).  If you didn't want to participate you didn't have too - the programs still happened for those who wanted to participate.
We said the Pledge every morning before school
We watched the Road Runner, Popeye, and Foghorn Leghorn cartoons - and we weren't damaged by the violence!
No one in grade school had heard of sexual harassment
There was no nudity or cussing on TV (of course we had 3 channels)!
There were no seat belts, we rode in back of pickup trucks, and drank from hoses.
Boys looked like boys and girls looked like girls. 
Words meant what they meant - not something new that someone made up!!
We worked hard for what we had and earned the extras.

OK, I could go on and on and on.  You ALL know what I mean. 
This total social climate we are in depresses me to no end.
I just want to live my life in peace, and not be bombarded with sex, cussing, and PC crap.
I WANT SIMPLE BACK!

I guess this is probably why I like the folks I meet on the blog (and some other ones), because we try to be prepared for hard times, we help one another, we work hard for what we have, and we learn from one another, we help others, we have respect, we pray for each other - we have good wholesome values.
THANK YOU - you all help me keep my sanity in this crazy, stupid, wicked world!!!!!!!!!

Blessings from me to you.






Sunday, September 24, 2017

Frugal Happenings 9/24

Good morning to everyone.  Hope you are all well and happy.
We are still (enjoying) summer weather in our area.  It has been in the 90's the last few days and very humid.  That is supposed to come to an end mid week, and we are to get back to more seasonable temperatures.  I am not sure to if I want to be happy or sad.  I hate the extreme heat, but I also know winter comes right behind fall.  I really do not like cold and ice!

Today is G's 62nd birthday.  He catches up to me for a month or so!  LOL  I figured he would want dinner from the Outback, but he has decided he wants his special dinner to be Long John Silvers!  We haven't had that for probably a good two years - so I guess it is worth the splurge.

The garden is still producing, which is wonderful.  We have been utilizing fresh veggies a lot.  Things are slowing down, but I think we still have a few weeks of goodies left out there.

My frugal week:
  • Used the crockpot to make a big batch of Mexican chicken
  • Harvesting broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, and cukes
  • Been picking lots of cherry tomatoes from ALL the volunteer plants that have popped up all over.  I have 5 plants that have come up in the past couple months and have gotten huge
One of the volunteer plants - it is about thigh high and covers about 4' in width!  That's just one!!
  • Made a run to the feed store and got a 2 months supply of squirrel/bird feed
  • Froze extra Mex. chicken for a later meal
  • Mowed the yard.  Had to, even with the heat.  I think I probably sweated off a couple pounds and got rid of lots of toxins!
  • Line dried laundry
  • Had to pick up G's meds at WM.  I never shop there, but I walked into the freezer section while waiting (right next to pharmacy).  I did purchase 8 cans (all they had) of orange juice concentrate for 1.23 a can.  I have read that orange crop got seriously damaged in the hurricane, so prices will be going up.
  • Went to a yard sale across the street on Friday.  I got a 28 qt. tote (no lid), a 32 qt. tote w/lid, a half gallon Brita filter pitcher, and a brand new Cuisinart grilled sandwich maker ALL for $5!!!!!  I dropped my 30+ year old sandwich maker a couple months ago and broke it - so a great find there.
  • Worked on organizing more of the downstairs pantry.  Also worked on getting all holiday gifts together - to see what I actually had.  Trying to get more organized.
  • Just working on fall cleaning

Meals this week:
Breaded pork burgers, red beans & rice (Aldi box), sliced tomatoes
Mexican chicken served over rice
Salad topped Mex. chicken burritos
Finger foods - summer sausage/cheese & crackers, garden fresh veggies and dip
Fried chicken and salad
Smoked sausage, steamed broccoli and tomatoes
Cheeseburgers, fried potatoes and tomatoes
Snacks - peach pie, ice cream

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?  DID YOU GET ANY FRUGAL DEALS?

I hope you all have a wonderful upcoming week.  I wish you all health, happiness and a frugal life.
May the Lord help us all be content and happy with what we have, and to feel blessed.
God bless you all.



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fun Fall Recipes & Ideas

Tomorrow is the official start of fall here in the U.S. 
You would never know it, in my neck of the woods!  It is hot and humid, and will be for at least the next week.  We are reaching 90*  and the humidity is thick! 
Yesterday morning when I went out to feed the kitties, dew was actually dripping from the trees!!  That is something I have never seen before. 

I am sure there are places that are actually feeling like fall - and please note - I am NOT complaining.  It will be here quick enough and then winter will be at it's coat tails.  ICK!

There are certain things that just remind all of us that fall IS a lovely time of the year.  There are special smells, crisp air, beautiful colors, and there is even a different sound in the air.
We all have different foods that we fix and enjoy once the weather gets cooler.
Soups, stews, casseroles, baked goods, apples, pumpkins,  cider, and just about any comfort food.

Today I am going to list a couple fun recipes, mostly using what we would have on hand, that just scream fall in my opinion!


MOM'S SLOPPY JOES
1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
1/2 C onion, chopped
1/2 C celery, thinly sliced
1 1/2 C catsup
1/4 C brown sugar - packed
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Brown your ground meat along with the onion and celery.  Drain and set aside.  Mix the remaining ingredients, and add to beef mixture.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thoroughly warmed.  Serve on sandwich buns.
There's nothing like a good sloppy Joe and chips or home fries on a cool winter's evening to me.


HAM AND CHEESE CUPS
2 C self-rising flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 C mayonnaise
1 C milk
1/2 C cooked ham (I would think you could use pork, beef, chicken whatever you have)
1/2 C shredded cheese
Combine flour and baking soda, set aside.  Mix remaining ingredients together, and add to flour mixture.  Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake at 425* for 16 - 18 minutes.  Makes about 12.
These are yummy for a quick breakfast, lunch, after school snack, or even with sides for dinner.  These would also be great on a buffet!


CHOCOLATE GRAVY
3/4 C water
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cocoa
Place water, butter and vanilla in a saucepan; bring to a boil.  Remove from heat; set aside.  Combine remaining ingredients together, and slowly whisk into the water mixture until thickened.  Serve warm.  Makes about one cup.
If you have never tried this - you are missing out!!!  It is a southern 'thing' here.
Drizzle over hot biscuits, pancakes, or waffles on a cold morning and all will be right with the world!!!


I am NOT a fan of eating pumpkin at all - but I DO love the scents that contain the fall 'pumpkiny' smell.  This is an easy-peasy, non-chemical air freshener to make your home smell lovely.
You can adjust it how ever you choose.  It is mainly things we probably all have on hand.

Here's a fun and easy craft project as well.  Use a nail and hammer and 'punch' faces into coffee tins or other tin cans and spray paint.  Add sand or gravel to the bottom - then add a votive candle.  No money crafts are fun.

I hope you can try and enjoy a couple of these.  I love having easy recipes that contain NO special ingredients that I have to go out and buy.  I can fix them whenever I want - ingredients all from the pantry/freezer.  Got to love no-spend meals!!!
ENJOY


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Equivalency Fun Facts - for your kitchen

We all look for new hacks and ideas for our cooking from scratch kitchens.
There are so many little things that I constantly wonder about and question - as in "how many does it take?" - "how much do I need?", etc.
I imagine we all have those moments.

Today I will give you a few of the most  popular measurements.  I have this printed out and taped inside my cabinet door for easy access!

Dash - less than 1/8 tsp.
3 tsp. = 1 Tbsp.
4 Tbsp. = 1/4 C
1 stick of butter = 1/4 lb. = 1/2 C = 8 Tbsp.
1 jumbo egg = 2 medium

Beans 1 lb. dried = approx. 2 - 2 1/2 C (depends on bean size)
Bell peppers, 1 large = 1 C chopped
Cheese (hard) 1 lb. shredded = 4 C
Cottage cheese 1 lb. = 2 C
Crackers - 20 single standard crackers = 1 C crumbs
Herbs, 1 Tbsp. fresh = 1 tsp. dried

Lemon, 1 med. size = 2-3 Tbsp. juice (heat lemon 10 seconds in microwave to get most juice)
Lemon, 1 med. size = 2-3 tsp. grated zest

Mustard, 1 Tbsp. prepared = 1 tsp. dry
Oatmeal 1 lb. dry = about 5 C dry
Onion 1 med. = 1/2 C chopped

Pasta - smaller tubal types, 1 lb. = 4 C uncooked
Noodles 1 lb. dry = 6 C uncooked
Spaghetti (all long pasta) 1 lb. = 4 C uncooked

Potatoes - white and sweet - 1 lb. - 3 med sized = 2 C mashed
Rice 1 lb. dry = 2 C uncooked
Whipping cream - 1 C un-whipped = 2 C whipped
Yeast, dry, 1 envelope (1/4 oz.) = 1 Tbsp. bulk


SUBSTITUTIONS
1 C sour milk or buttermilk - use 1 C plain yogurt OR 1 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice in a 1 C measure and top to 1 C with milk.  Let it sit 5 minutes before using.

1 garlic clove - use 1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms - use 1 - 6 oz. can, drained

1 Tbsp. tomato paste - use 1 Tbsp. ketchup

1 Tbsp. vinegar - use 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 C heavy cream - add 1/3 C melted butter to 3/4 C milk - (works for cooking, baking NOT whipping)

1/2 C wine (for cooking) - pour 2 Tbsp. wine vinegar into a 1/2 C measure - and finish filling with broth.  Stir and let it set 5 minutes.  Stir again before using.

1 Tbsp. cornstarch - use 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

2 Tbsp. Tapioca - use 3 Tbsp. all purpose flour

cooking oil when baking - replace part with either applesauce or yogurt to decrease oil content

*     *     *     *     *     *      *     *     *     *     *     *

There are so many ways to use what you have on hand when cooking.  No need to make a special run to the store for one or two ingredients (we all know that never works!).
TRY YOUR BEST to keep  all BASIC ingredients on hand in your pantry.
Learn to improvise - I hardly ever follow a recipe as written!  I am always changing things up.

Read your recipes from beginning to end - before ever starting it.  You don't want to over look a very important instruction, and you can also make sure you have everything needed - whether as written or substitutes.

Cooking really is fun.   Don't make it feel like a chore.  Experiment and have fun.


DO YOU HAVE ANY GREAT TIPS TO SHARE?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Frugal Happenings 9/17

Good morning to all my frugal fiends.
Oh my goodness, we are half way through this month.  I just can't believe the holidays will be here before we know it.

We had really cool temps all week, until yesterday.  It looks like summer will be making a return this week - all week long.  Highs will be in the 80's, maybe even 90 this coming week.  We did get a little much needed rain earlier, and there is a small chance for the first part of the week.  Sure can't complain.

The hummingbirds may be moving on, after that cool snap we had.  I am not seeing them as much.  I keep the nectar fresh and will be for a few weeks, for those passing through on the way south.  I will miss my little flying jewels!

We  got up the other morning to find a dead opossum in the back yard.  Poor baby.  I think it may have had a tussle with the dogs across the alley.  It appeared to have a couple puncture wounds.  I am not sure if it was our Opie that we have had since it was a baby or not.  Seemed odd that it came here to die.  Apparently they only live 2 - 3 years, but I still hate seeing something hurt.  We still have a opossum in the yard once in a while at night since - so not sure if it lives here or is visiting.




This has been another quiet week.
Our frugal week:
  • Picked a pretty little bouquet from the yard.  Replaced roses in it, a couple times.  They smell so good.
  • Still harvesting garden.  I actually got a couple cucumbers off the new vines!  Love walking out back to get veggies.  My bell peppers are loaded still!  Lots of green tomatoes and still picking broccoli.  YUM
  • No A/C biggest part of the week.
  • Washing windows with vinegar/water and newspapers.
  • Took the top of the stove apart and cleaned.  Not totally done canning - but the stove was in need!  LOL  Love using vinegar and baking soda!
  • Doing lots of yard work - great exercise
  • I have been eating apples and peanut butter for lunch.  I love this time of year for the abundance of apples!
  • Left the property only twice all week - so not much fuel used.
  • I did a cat food run, trying to start building up cat food preps for the winter.  Two stores - but neither had as much stock or variety as I wanted.  Need to make a run to Rural King soon.
  • I ran over to the farm market yesterday looking for butter.  Store bought butter just seems to have NO taste to either of us.  Farm market doesn't sell due to all the govt. regulations on dairy.  I did buy a quart of local honey to have in stock.  I guess I will start making my own butter!
  • Line dried laundry
  • All the regular things we all do everyday!
I was amazed at the farm market yesterday at the prices of some things.  They were selling 9" fruit pies for $25!  Oh my.  They also had 9" savory (meat/veg) pies frozen for $40 each.  You had to bake at home.  People were buying them!!!!!!!!  Can I say a huge crap-ola?  WOW!
I think I stood there with my mouth open in a daze watching folks buy them for a good 10 minutes.  I can buy a whole lot of groceries for $40!  People never cease to amaze me.

Menu this past week:
Homemade pizza
Chicken strips, green beans & potatoes, sliced toms
Beef & rice enchiladas (2X)
Tuna salad sandwiches and chips
Creamy chicken/veggie linquine
Loaded baked potatoes

Nothing real exciting happening here.  Quiet and calm the way I like it.  I have so much I need to accomplish and I just don't seem to have the oomph I need!  I guess maybe it is the change of season/weather - I don't know.  I need to get my rump in gear and get  a lot of stuff done.
 
Oh, I did get a new great/great nephew this week!  His pictures are adorable and he is healthy.  Can't ask for more than that! 

How was your week?  What did you do to stay on the frugal bandwagon?
I look forward to hearing from you all.

May the Lord bless you in all ways. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Remember to be Thankful

The past few weeks so many things have happened all over the world, that has ended life as many have known it - forever.
Folks have lost homes, jobs, sustenance, possessions, health, and even lives.  There are threats each and every day of horrible things that could happen.

Todays post is simple.
Just remember to be thankful for what you have - don't be upset by what you don't have.  No matter what we go through in this life, there are always others going through worse.
God gave you this day, so please make it the best.

                               
                                                    *      *     *      *      *      *      *     *
*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

YES, I am blessed.  I am blessed with my health, with my husband, with the family I have left on this earth, with shelter and food, with enough, with my fur babies, with memories, with good friends, and with another day on this earth. 
I am so very thankful.

I am blessed to have all of you in my world.
Thank you for going on this fantastic journey of life with me.
Blessings my friends.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Your Frugal Budget

We have professed our 'frugal lifestyles', but most don't like the word BUDGET!
It can be a scary word - most people think of charts and ledgers, stock markets, and definitive answers. 
Frugal is being a good steward of you things and money, and making it go as far as possible.  Much less intimidating.
Well, in my opinion, they go hand in hand.  You take care of your money and your money takes care of you.  Some of the wealthiest people on the planet got that way by being frugal.

It doesn't matter how much money you have or how little - you still need to budget.  That strictly means not spending more than you make or have.  Living within or below your means!  If you make smart choices - your future will be brighter!

Whether on a piece of paper, a journal, or on the computer - make a list of all your spendable income.  Opposite that list all your expenditures.  There are 2 types of expenses.
FIXED - are things like mortgage, car payments, insurance, utilities - things that are pretty much the same every month.
DISCRETIONARY - are items that change from month to month, like food, eating out, maybe even charge card bills.
If your expenses are more than your income, you need to make changes for sure.
You can earn more - get another job OR you can spend less (easiest choice).

If given the chance have your bills deducted straight from your account each month - AND make sure that you have that written on your calendar for each and every month.  You don't want to forget a deduction.
ALSO have your checks placed directly into your bank account.  If you don't have it in your hand - you are less likely to spend.
You can merge both on-line banking with check writing - it is strictly what works best for you.  What works best for you  MAY NOT be what you have been doing in the past - so think about it.

Keep track of ABSOLUTELY EVERY PURCHASE MADE for a couple months.  I am talking about utilities, insurance, that morning pop or coffee, a pack of cigarettes, a pack of gum, etc.  Write WHAT you bought and HOW MUCH you spent.  At the end of those couple months, you will see exactly where your money is going - and trust me - it will make you sick when you see the waste!
That is when you get busy and cut stuff out, and pay things off, and save.

1.  Pay everything that HAS to be paid and is FIXED.
2.  Pay off your other debts as quickly as possible.  Do what works for you - we used to pay minimum on most and over on the highest interest ones and pay them off first.  Then work on the next one!
3.  Pay YOURSELF as well.  Yes indeed.  Try you absolute best to pay yourself 10%.  Place that in the bank for emergencies.
4.  If you can get into a 401K (or similar) plan, especially one that matches funds - do NOT hesitate!  These monies come out before taxes, and it makes very little difference in your take home pay.  If the company matches - that is just FREE money!!!!!!  It is a no brainer.  This could be all you have for retirement - folks in the U.S. please don't depend on always having Social Security.  You need to plan on taking care of yourself.
5.  If not weekly, at least once or twice a year GIVE to something to help others.  Whether you tithe at church or give to some other organization or directly to someone - do something caring and selfless.  I know this may sound crazy - as you are trying to get ahead - but it makes you a better person and it makes you a happier person - the rest will all fall into place.  Trust me!!!!!!

Yep this is all money.  Spare change, rolled coin, dollars, and even coupons - it is all money in your budget!

If your expenses are larger than income - you need to make some big decisions.  If you want to make more money - think second or third job.  NO it isn't fun.  NO you won't have free time.  YES it will pay off - hopefully in the short run.
Sell things you don't use or need.
Do what ever you need to (and legal) to increase income.

Spend LESS!  You can do it.  Cut back on groceries - make no spend weeks/months.  Eat what you have - it may not be fancy - but you will survive.
NO eating out.
NO outside entertainments (for a while)
NO buying new clothes, toys, gifts, etc.  IF you need a gift, make something.
QUIT using charge cards.  Spend cash only - and never carry more cash that you can truly afford to spend.
Cut out bad habits - that is a huge vacuum on cash flow.
If something breaks or quits - figure out another way.  Do without for a bit.  It won't kill you!


Make yourself a goal - it doesn't matter if it is paying off a charge card, paying off the house or car, paying off student loans, reaching $1,000 in savings, or retirement in the near future.  MAKE GOALS!  They are important.  They give you something to strive for and look forward to.

We ALL make budgets a lot more difficult than we have to.  It is really simple to understand - never spend more than you make.  Live beneath your means.
NO you don't have to live like a pauper always.  You can live a good life, just differently.  As you start making changes, you will see the world with a new set of eyes.  Most of all you will be happier and less stressed!

                              This was in the morning paper!  How timely and appropriate!

We all need to quit saying I WANT - and stick with needs. 
We all need say I WON'T  or I DON'T  need or want to do or participate. 
We all need to make sacrifices in order to get ahead.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO STAY ON TRACK WITH YOUR FINANCES?
We all need to learn from each other!


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Frugal Happenings 9/10

Hello and happy Sunday to all.  I hope you are all well and safe.
There is so much sadness from nature happening now - it can be over whelming.  My thoughts and prayers are with all those in the path of hurricane Irma, those affected by Harvey, those in fire areas, and those affected my earthquakes.  So sad.
This just reinforces in my head more reasons to have stockpiles and to be prepared for anything.

We have had great weather this week.  Monday as really hot and we did need the AC, but after that it cooled a lot.  Nights have actually been in the 40's and 50's!  I love this kind of weather.
The garden is still producing on it's second go round.

I got to go to an event last evening, that was a reunion from the grade school I went to.  It was all inclusive of every year in existence (it's been gone since 1980).  It was a great time.  I got to see so many old classmates and teachers and had dinner with people that I have now been friends with for about 56 years!  Many of us met in first grade, then went on to high school together - and many have stayed close all these years (although we don't see each other often).  It was a priceless experience.

Here's a GOOD MORNING from Pooty -wishing you a great day.  She HAD to help with laundry!

My frugal week:
  • Worked on the big flower garden out back - cleaning and pulling stuff.  What a mess!  All the rain and heat this summer took a toll - weeds galore
  • Line dried a ton of laundry
  • Been harvesting and eating more garden produce.
  • Picked what is probably the last of the grapes - got several pounds again
  • Put up the fall door decorations and a couple things in the house.  Using what I have.
  • Colored my hair at home
  • Gave myself a nice mani and pedi - complete with polish!  I hardly ever polish any more.
  • My printer decided not to feed paper - so I problem solved and cleaned and adjusted and now it works great.
  • Started working on fall cleaning and more purging of stuff (it never ends - too much stuff!)
  • Restocking upstairs pantry from supplies on hand
  • Went to the library
  • All the normal weekly stuff - making tea, filtering water, saving cereal wax bag, washing baggies, eating all leftovers, etc.
  • While out to the library - I decided to go to a Kroger I rarely visit (not the best area).  I got a deal on chunked pears - 12 cans at .22 can and mixed veggies - 12 cans at .31 cans (all they had of both).  Both are dated 9/2019.  I don't usually buy mixed veggies (not my fav) but who the heck knows what could possibly happen in the next 2 years!  They may be very valuable to us!  They will be used!


Meals this week:
Zucchini/corn casserole and fresh chunk veggies in Italian dressing
Jazzed up leftover casserole and salad
Cube steaks, mac n cheese and sliced tomatoes
Chili (2X)
Cold cut/cheese/tomato sandwiches and chips
Night out for me and G ate last of chili
Had yogurt, apples, nuts, and ice cream for snacks


It has really been a quiet and uneventful week here.  I kind of like it like that!  NO drama.
I stayed home biggest part of the week, just tinkering around here.
If you didn't get a chance to read Thursday's post, you might want to check it out.  I listed some fun recipes that you might enjoy!

I have been waking up each morning and laying my head down each night - being so thankful for the life we have.  So many are battling nature and loss right now - I just can't see myself being ungrateful about anything.  Nothing we are experiencing can compare.
We are so extremely blessed!

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?  ANY GREAT BARGAINS?
I pray you all have a safe, healthy and frugal week.
Blessings from our home to yours.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Food for Football, Tailgating, Campfires & Fall

It is that time of the year for Friday night football games, tailgating , fun old hayrides, October Fest, and more.  The list off fall activities goes on and on.  Americans find all these things just a normal part of cooler weather.

We all think about goodies such as smores, hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill, brauts and kraut, wings and of course apple cider and anything pumpkin!  As for me I could completely do without the pumpkin 'whatever' - not one of my favorite flavors!

I also have a few items I like to serve whenever there is a group of folks coming for a visit.  We like to make BBQ little smokies (or mini hotdogs), chili, pizza, BBQ or Swedish meatballs, chili/cheese dip and always homemade salsa and chips.

It is fun to look outside the box a little and try some new recipes once in a while.  These don't have to be served for a fall get together - they will also make a great dinner as well.  Remember, dinner doesn't have to be meat and potatoes and several courses.  It can be anything you want!!!  It is YOUR home - eat what makes you happy!


CRAB RAGOON
2 pkgs. of faux crab
2 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 pkg. of wonton skins/wraps
Salt and pepper to taste

Process crab into small pieces and add other ingredients.  Line a cookie sheet with wrappers (on parchment) and add 1 tsp. of mix (or a little more if it will fit).  Wet the edges of the wraps and fold over.  Brush with butter and bake at 400* for 12-14 minutes.
YUM!
These make for great finger food, appetizers, or just a fun snack.


COLA WINGS
1 C brown sugar
12 oz. cola
1 onion diced
2 tsp. soy sauce
3 lbs. of wings
Salt & Pepper

Combine first 4 ingredients and pour over the wings in a lightly greased deep pan.  Bake at 350* for 2 hours.


DIRTY RICE (as promised)
12 oz. wild brown rice
2 pkg. Vigo red beans and rice
5 lbs. country pork sausage
4 large onion - chopped
2 large bell peppers - chopped
3 cans (or equivalent of home canned) diced tomatoes
1 small stalk of celery chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tsp. garlic salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground sage (optional in my opinion)
Brown your meat. Remove from pan.  Add chopped onion in hot grease and cook till clear.
Add spices to 12 CUPS of water and bring to a boil - then add rice and beans - bring back to a boil - reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Next add meat, tomatoes, and other veggies and simmer on LOW for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.  Stir frequently.

**I told you it made a lot!!!!  This is great for a big gathering or just to make ahead and freeze up in containers for several meals.  It is soooooooo good.
An old friend of ours, who once owned a small pub up the street used to make this and serve at the bar.  It was always a hit.
I have made it with a little less meat - but the sausage is what really adds to the dish.  You make it spicier or not as spicy - your choice.

Now if you want dirty rice quickly and on a much smaller scale - try the Aldi brand dirty rice mix (.99 box) and add a pound of ground sausage to it.  It is very tasty as well, although not as spicy!


CREAMY HOT BEEF DIP
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 C sour cream
3 ounces dried beef, rinsed (if using jarred beef) and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped green pepper
1  1/2 Tbsp. minced onion
1 tsp. dried green pepper flakes, optional
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
pepper to taste
Combine all 8 ingredients in a 1 quart baking dish.  Bake at 375*, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Serve with raw veggies or crackers.  Yields about 2 cups.
So good!


CHILI/CHEESE DIP
Our favorite.
1 lb. of Velveeta cheese like spread
1 can of chili - Use whatever type chili you like - w/beans, w/meat or without either!

Chop the cheese spread into chunks and add the chili and plop in the microwave at 1 minute increments - stir and go again - till all cheese is melted.  Stir thoroughly and serve with crackers or tortilla chips! (I have also made this in the crockpot!)
We have made meals of this before!


I hope this gives you a few new ideas for these fall/winter gatherings or just for a fun meal at home.  It is fun to experiment a little and try new things.

I realize that wings are not cheap anymore - but keep an eye open for them on sale - as this is the time of year they will be.  Stock up when you can.
Five pounds of sausage can be pricey - but plan ahead and get your items on sale.  That dish makes so much, that it really is frugal in the long run.

ENJOY MY FRIENDS!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Beans, Beans............

You all know the saying!!!
Beans are also very nutritious, high protein, versatile, and cheap!  This is one item that all pantries should be stocked up on.
Whether you have tinned beans, home canned beans, or dry - HAVE THEM!

I have never canned beans myself - I don't really see the necessity on my part.  If I need to cook and we have no stove, I totally know how to cook over a fire.  Yes, perhaps it would be easier to have home canned beans on hand - open jar and eat - but I still do not care for using pressure canners, so that is my cross to bear.

Beans can be anything from green , yellow, or purple beans, navy, pinto, lima, black, kidney, and there are garbanzo beans and lentils.  There are so many different types.  I even have some dried fava beans in my stash that I haven't tried yet.
Beans are extremely high in protein and can be used as a meat substitute.  Whether you are a vegetarian or just someone that wants to cut expenses - beans are for you.


BEAN               SOAK               WATER NEEDED TO COOK               YIELD
Black                  Yes                                     About 6 cups                          6 1/2 cups and broth
Chickpeas           Yes                                     About 7 cups                          7-8 cups and broth
Black-eyed          Yes                                     About 6 cups                          7 cups and broth
peas        
Pinto                    Yes                                    About 6 cups                           7 cups and broth
Red beans            Yes                                    About 6 1/2 cups                     7 cups and broth
Lentils                  No                                     About 6 1/2 cups                     6 cups and broth

The above measures are for a one pound bag of beans.
Cooking times vary depending if you soaked over night vs. soaking in a boiling bath for a while.  It also depends on how old the beans are.  Beans do get drier the older they get and do take longer to cook, but they are still OK and will cook.
I see many places that says you can cook a bag of beans (after soaking) in 2 -3 hours.  I have NEVER had beans cook that quickly!  EVER!!!
I generally cook mine in a slow cooker - no scorching or burning.
If you are going to freeze beans after cooking - cook for a little less time - so that beans don't end up a mushy mess.

Beans can be purchased for very little money.  Dollar Tree even sells them.  Last I looked, you could get navy and black beans for $1/lb. and pinto were $1/2 lb. bag.
Beans can be purchased in cans or tins, but the price is more dramatic.  For $1 worth of dried beans, you can get several servings - same price spent on canned - maybe 1 -2 small servings!

Beans can be so versatile.  They are great in bean salads, cooked and added to rice, soups, casseroles, added in taco meat (I do this a lot to stretch it),  or veggie burgers.  I even saw recipes on-line for using beans as a base in brownies, and my sister told me years ago that at the school she worked at, they made chocolate cake with leftover baked beans!  I would love to have had that recipe.  She said the students never knew and loved the cake!
Dried beans can be ground and added to other dishes for extra protein.
We ALWAYS add baking soda to soak water in hopes of lessening the gaseous effects!  Not sure it really works - but is worth the try!

We love soup beans, red beans and rice, lima beans, green beans, refried beans, bean burgers, and G's favorite - bean salad.  I really don't think I have met a bean I didn't like!!! (wax are my least favorite).


G's RED BEAN SALAD
2 cans red kidney beans (drained) or equivalent of home canned
2 hard boiled eggs - diced
1/2 onion - chopped
1 stick of celery - chopped
2 Tbsp. pickle relish
1/2 C mayo
Mix all together and chill.  It really is good.


BLACK BEAN BURGERS*
 2 cans (14.5 oz.) beans - drained but not rinsed
1 C bread crumbs
1/4 C grated onion
1 egg
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper
Drain but do not rinse the beans and mash with a fork.  Leave a few beans whole.  Ad other ingredients.  Form into burgers and fry in a small amount of hot oil approx. 5 minutes on each side.  Dress as you would any burger.  Very delish!
Great alternative to meat and much cheaper and probably healthier!
*recipe calls for black beans but I see no reason why you couldn't use whatever you have on hand.

So there you have my take on beans.  They are very necessary for the frugal pantry - they may be all you have some day. 
Keep plenty on hand and store in a cool dry place.  I keep mine in glass jars.
So versatile, so healthy, and so frugal.

Do you have any special uses for beans?  Are they in your frugal pantry?

Have a great day all!