Thursday, October 21, 2021

Products - Convenience

 We all like convenience and we all need items for our pantry.  I know many have gotten into having groceries delivered.  I still have not tried that - I like to pick out my goods - especially fresh items.  I understand it though.  Some items I have ordered online over the years and it is nice.  There are just things that I can not find locally.  I am sure we have all dealt with that.

I like the company Spices, Etc.  It sells all kinds of spices and herbs - some that I had never heard of before.  They also have extracts, many hard to find ones - and they have powders of all sorts.  There is powdered cheeses, butter, vanilla, honey, soy sauce, buttermilk, vinegar - things you never imagine being powdered.
I have purchased many extract flavorings and many powders over the years.
So much to choose from.

Click on picture to enlarge viewing.  Shows some of the powders.  
Now this company isn't super cheap - but you can sure find things that you can't find most places.  Every time I get a sale flier I am amazed at the different products.  Lots of unusual items that would be neat gifts as well.
Check them out online!

I mentioned this in a post a while back and someone was interested.  Instead of buying a big box of Velveeta that may not get used before going stale - these individual packs of Velveeta.  $1 at the Dollar Tree.  They are nice to have in the pantry.

OK I know many would never think about eating Spam - but I like it.  It isn't the best food - but it is tasty.  This is a smaller version of off brand at Dollar Tree.  $1.  A regular can is too much for 1 person and I end of freezing some.  This is about the right size - I cut in 4 slices.   It really is tasty.
I know there are many that would not have this in their homes and that is OK.  Others just like some now and then.
I have many canned meat products in my pantry for the if IT happens!

I love these!  They are a little larger than a hotdog and are so good.  Great cut up in potatoes or beans or cabbage or anything!  Makes a super sandwich.  I buy these when on sale - usually 2 packs/$5 or 2 packs/$6.  I can get anywhere from 3 to 6 meals from a pack - depending on what I am making.  Not a bad price for meat for a meal - .50 or less.
You can get regular, cheese added and even jalapeno.  They are so good.  I love smoked sausage.

So there you go - a few convenience foods and a new place to buy unusual items.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

IF - Just One Thing

 I read something yesterday that just hit me.  I have known it my whole life and have spoken of it - but seeing this in black and white, kinds of hit me.  WHAT IF?  Just ONE thing had been different?

I know for me this is so true.  So many exceptional tiny moments made it possible for me to be here today.

The fact that you are here is actually a miracle.  So many things had to align just right.
How much heartache our ancestors had to live and see.  Wars, the great depression, sickness, traveling from other lands, traveling cross country, famines, no work, dust storms, droughts, blizzards, etc.
If just ONE of those people hadn't been involved - you wouldn't be here.

I had family come across the seas on both sides of my family.  Had they not - they would not have met up with their spouses.  My paternal grandfather fathered my Daddy, then he he passed in 1918 of the flu.  Daddy lived in southern part of state and by chance came to the city for a job opportunity and met Mom at her job after she had gotten out of a bad (young love - 16) marriage.
SO many moments in time had to be right.

I guess my point is YOU ARE SPECIAL!  Just like every snowflake, flower, leaf, animal and grain of sand - you are you and you are different from everyone else!!!
Isn't that something????

You are special!  You are loved!  You are worthy!  You are beautiful!  You are perfect!
ALWAYS remember that. Let no one tell you different.

You all know I am a person of faith.  I know not everyone believes as I do.  That is fine. Be you.
To me - there are no accidents.  Each and every thing happens for a reason and not one we are supposed to understand.  The Lord knows you before you are born and He knows when you will leave this world.  He is the Master of all things.
He thought the world needed one of you!

I guess I just needed to say - BE YOU!  Do what you need to do to make your life happy and the world a better place.  You get one shot at this - make it special.  

Love, smile, laugh, give, hope, dream.
Things change, our plans change, our bodies change, our families change, our dreams change, our society changes, our world changes - but YOU continue to be the WONDERFUL YOU that you are.

Have a blessed day my friends.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

A Few Kitchen Tips For You or Gifts

 I am busy this week.  Monday was a whirlwind of activity outdoors.  It was beautiful and I worked my poor back into a dither!!!!  Much more of the same today.  Got to get it done when dry and nice.

So a quick post of fun projects for your kitchen - tips for you or for gifting.

No need to spend a fortune on candles and sprays - when you have all you need right there in the pantry!!!

We all love rice krispy treats - but did you know you can use different cereals?  Corn flakes, chocolate puffed rice, fruity cereal............ whatever you got!  There is NO right way - use different cereals and you may be surprised and create a new favorite.

Did you know that you can slice them a little thicker than normal - lay on a pan and flash freeze and then bag for the freezer?  Pull them out and dip in egg and batter mix and fry WITHOUT thawing.  That is the secret to not having soggy slices!  Nice to have these summer favorites in the winter.

Zucchini, pumpkin, squash, banana, etc.  - jazz it up.  Add different types of chips or nuts before baking (always dust in flour before adding to batter so they don't sink).  Raisins, dried cranberries or any dried fruit can be added.  Make bread or muffins.  Don't get tired of the same old recipes.

We generally think of graham crackers for cheesecake crust or crust for non-bake pudding pies.  Keep thinking!!!!  Gingersnaps, chocolate wafers, vanilla wafers, any flavor of hard cookie can be used.  How fun and tasty!

Great way to use up those leftover mashed potatoes.  I like to add other stuff as well!  A small can of chicken (drained) or pieces left from dinner, drained corn, cheese, jalapenos......... there is no limit to the add-ins for a different side dish!


No need to run out of bred.  This is tasty and a no yeast type of bread.  We have so many options at our finger tips!!!!!

Think about making chocolate covered apple for yourself or for a special gift for that person who has everything!  Pick nice unblemished apples - add a popsicle stick - then dip in melted chocolate. Can be any type of chocolate - leave as is - or sprinkle with nuts, coconut, sprinkles or colored sugar while wet.  Set on wax paper to dry.  If gifting, place one apple per small candy/cookie gift bags and tie with twine or ribbon.  You can get those little bags at the dollar stores.
Such a fun gift and well - who wouldn't like it?????

Make dipped pretzels as well.  Can be large stick pretzels, regular or bite size pretzels.  Dip and drizzle with another type of chocolate or cover with sprinkles.  

We have tons of inexpensive options for snacks and gift giving.  Don't worry about going out and spending a fortune this holiday.  Go for the homemade route.  Candies, breads, cookies, fudge, salsa, jelly, relishes, mixes - you name it.  We got this!!!
Make a nice down home old time Christmas - and get off of the commercial out-of-control train!

Hope you find something you can use.
Talk to you tomorrow.
Stay well and make busy while you can!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/17

 Happy Sunday everyone!  Hope you are well and safe.  Well - fall seems to have finally arrived in my area!  We had rain and more rain this week - and then a cold front BLEW through (it was windy).  Yesterday and today having highs in the 60;s WITH SUN!!!!!!  YAY for sun!  
This morning it was 40* outside - our coldest temp in months and months!  66* in the house.  I just put on layers - no heat yet for me.  Layers, socks and slippers!!!  That did it!
They say this has been the wettest and the warmest October in over a century for our area!  WOW!

Those volunteer tomatoes (cherry) are setting fruit! LOL - Who knows what may happen.  I suppose it will get cold before they ripen.  I have a clematis re-growing and blooming AGAIN this week. No real color yet here - a lot of leaves fell with the rain and wind - but no significant color yet other than green.

Blackie is doing much better.  Pretty much back to his old self.  He is eating good again.  We are done with taking pain meds (stopped after Tues.).  He still isn't doing a lot of dry food unless I moisten it - but he is really eating well.  He is now sleeping the the insulated dog (cat) house.  For some reason he hasn't warmed back up to the greenhouse  to sleep.  At least he is going in there to eat now!  I figure something really startled or scared him in there when he felt bad.  Time will tell.

My week:
  • Started week by cleaning up and out the greenhouse - all swept  and all situated for kitties - sprayed natural flea spray
  • Changed out the comforter on bed - and recently added a throw for extra warmth
  • By chance and LUCK last Saturday I found out the charger for my old cell phone ALSO works on my new phone.  When I went to vet I realized my phone was about dead - and tried the old charger that was in the car.  BOOM it worked!  That is great, as I only got one with this phone - not 2
  • Kitchen faucet became super loose for some reason - got under sink and fixed that
  • Rescued the end of another candle (that I loved) to use in my melt pots
  • I used leftovers in many ways this week.   No waste
  • Stayed home this entire week - no spending
  • Picked 18 lbs. of green tomatoes (only half of plants so far).  Wrapped in paper in basement.  May think about making relish - not sure.  More to pick
  • Used portable dehumidifier water in laundry
  • NO heat or AC this week
  • Made a yummy milkshake with fruit on hand.  Used banana, grapes, OJ, ice and milk.  Super tasty and a nice treat
  • Put together new bottles of dish soap (with vinegar added) and shampoo (just watered down)
  • Used some of my rain water on house plants
  • Washed mirrors and inside of windows
  • Just doing all the same stuff we all do.
Meals this past week:
Chicken strips, potato salad and sliced tomatoes
Taco salad
Broccoli cheese soup (from freezer) and grilled cheese
Chili Mac - used some of leftover taco/bean mixture with added crushed tomatoes over pasta
Open face taco/bean meat sandwich topped with tomato and cheesy potatoes
Cheese potatoes, small fried green tomato (YUM) and smoked sausage
Beef/bean/potato skillet (used all leftovers together) in tortilla wraps
(Froze leftover beef/bean/pot mix)
SNACKS - fruit, juice, cinnamon toast, fruity shake, homemade salsa and a few chips

How was your week?  Is it feeling like fall yet?  Are gardens done or still producing?  Any great deals this week?  Inquiring minds want to know!!!!!!

I hope you all have  a fantastic week and stay healthy and safe and frugal.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.  Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Psalms 34: 13-14

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Goodies for Home or for Gifting

 Today I will give you a few easy recipes for goodies for your home or for gifting this holiday season to others.
We all like easy and these fit the bill.

18 1/2 oz. box yellow cake mic
3 oz. pkg. instant pistachio pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 C oil
1/4 C water
1 C sour cream
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, water and sour cream.  Pour into  2 - 9x5 greased loaf pans.  I use use mini pans for gifting!!!!
In a small bowl mix sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over batter.  Bake at 350* for 40 minutes (little less time if using small pans).
SO good.  Not just for Christmas in my opinion.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 C (12 oz. bag) semi sweet chocolate chips (I have used many flavors of chips)
1 tsp. vanilla
Butter a square pan or line with parchment (for easy removal)  Melt chips and milk in a safe bowl in the microwave for one minutes.  Remove and stir.  Continue at 30 second intervals until smooth.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour into pan.  Cool and cut into 1" pieces.  No need to refrigerate.

4 quarts applesauce
4 1/2 C sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
(Great use for excess applesauce) or get a gallon can at big box store
Combine all ingredients and pour in an uncovered slow cooker for 8 - 12 hours, stir occasionally.
After that time, check for thickness.  If still too thin - continue cooking until it reaches desired thickness.
Fill sterilized jars (leave 1" head space) and process in a water bath 20 minutes boiling bath.  shelf stable.  Makes 7 - 9 pints.  (I often use jelly jars, so I get more jars)
Apple butter and fresh biscuits or a loaf of homemade bread - yummy gift.

3/4 C powdered non-dairy creamer
1 tsp. almond powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 C powdered sugar
Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Store in airtight container.
Attach directions:  Combine 2 Tbsp. of creamer to a cup of brewed coffee.  Makes 12 servings
**Think of your own add ins!  So many options that could be made.
Great gift for that coffee drinker

1/2 C butter
1 C creamy peanut butter
2 C milk chocolate chips
17 pkgs. of each crispy corn and rice cereal (like Chex)
1 lb. powdered sugar
Combine butter, peanut butter and chocolate in a saucepan.  Melt over medium heat.  Pour over cereal and mix thoroughly, until cereal is covered.  Place cereal in a paper bag, sprinkle with powdered sugar, fold over top of bag, and shake well.  Keep in a closed container.
YUMMO!!!!!!!  This stuff is addictive!
You could make - bag in decorative baggies for gifting.

Fun yummies for you and others.
Have fun.  Hope this inspires someone!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

We are the Champions!

 INDEED! We are the champions of our households.  We are working towards having financially stable homes, full pantries and a sustainable future.  That is what we do!
We live as simply as possible, we re-use and re-cycle, we keep neat homes, we plan and prepare.

We all know (or should) that having huge amounts of money is not what makes you happy.  If it were, we wouldn't hear of so many bad relationships and self loathing and destructive behavior in Hollywood.
We know there is so much more to happiness.  Our families, our friends, our Creator, stability, pets, love, home, etc.  There is so much to be said about contentment.  A content person is JUST HAPPY with what they have and thankful for all.

I  am one that planned for this time in life (as well as I/we could).  I am thankful to have only utility bills, insurance and taxes for the most part.  I live on very little money.  I really think people would be amazed at how little I spend.  It isn't really because I have to - I just see no need to spend all willy-nilly.  I have all I need.  It enables me to help others when necessary.
Sure I will spend when I find something that really would fit in my home and needs.  I do allow for wants as well - I just don't want much.
You can't totally deprive yourself or you will hate living a frugal life.  You have to give in once in a while.  Buy that pretty bauble or that new piece of furniture.  You can buy those treats or go out to eat once in a while.  Then you won't feel like you are struggling or just surviving.  Being frugal doesn't mean you can't still ENJOY life!  Quite the contrary - it often times gives you the ability to do fun things.

Treat everything you have as something special.  A blessing.  There are so many in the world - that can't imagine living like you do.  You are rich in their eyes.  You know what?  You are rich!!!  
Those who are blessed with decent health, family, friends, great memories, food, a bed, etc. ARE RICH!  You woke up this morning!  You have been given another day.  Yep, that is pretty special.

I have a very small home - not in the best area - BUT I have a home
I have decent, clean clothes, most bought at yard sales/thrift - BUT I have clothes
I have a pantry and I am quite flexible with food prep.  It doesn't have to be fancy - BUT I have nourishment
I have the love of family, friends and pets - what more do I need
I need nothing fancy.  Cost/spending doesn't mean I have less.  I am good.  You are too.  You are blessed.

Many of us have been preparing for this for years.  Some are new to preparing.  It is all good - because we are all working in the right direction.  Taking care of our families in the event that IT hits the fan.  We will be OK.  We can make do, compromise, be flexible and adjust.  We have a community here that helps us.  We encourage one another and that is wonderful.  We share ideas and we all learn new things.
Don't stress - don't panic - quit being fearful.  We can do this!

I keep thinking how good the governments of the world would be if they just let us frugal divas work on their budgets!!!!!  It sure would be better.  We wouldn't be spending more than we have - we would sell off all the trivial crap to pay off debt, we would work hard at being self sufficient, we'd make a budget and stick to it.
A lot of unnecessary people would lose jobs, the rest would take pay cuts and live on the same insurance and means as they rest of the folks, and they'd be grounded for a long, long time!!!!!!  LOL

So gals, just know if you hit a rough spot or have a failure not all is lost.  There are no real mistakes, just new learning opportunities.  Just get up and start again.  Reset and go forward.  Circumstances in life change and many times we have to restart for various reasons.  We have this.
Dust off that tiara and put it on nice and straight and march forward in all your glory!  You deserve to.  Never lose faith!!
WE are the CHAMPIONS!!!!

Prayer in today's paper:
O God, sometimes we just need to start over.  Help us to begin again.  Help us toward the good future you seek to give us.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Let's MIX It Up!

 Just a few simple mixes for your pantry or for gifts.  Simple things today.  I will do more posts with other mixes - at least once a week.
Hope this gives you some ideas.

3/4 C instant minced onion
4 tsp. onion powder
1/3 C beef bouillon (dry)
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. sugar
Mix together and store in an airtight container.  
2 TBSP. = one packet of store bought onion soup mix

Emeril is a TV chef and he used to always call this "BAM"
2 1/2 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp.  salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. cayenne
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. thyme.
Mix together and keep in an airtight container.  Use to taste.
Love this stuff!!!!!

1/3 C sugar (or equivalent of sweetener)
1/4 C powdered non-dairy creamer
1/4 C instant coffee granules
2 Tbsp. cocoa
2 Tbsp. crushed peppermint candies
Mix and place in a jar.  INSTRUCTIONS:  Mix 2 full Tbsp. to 1/2 C boiling water
This would be cute in a nice jar which is given with a fun mug

2 C powdered sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. cinnamon
Place in a baggie
Give with a 15 oz. can pf pumpkin and 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
Mix softened cream cheese with sugar/spices and then add pumpkin and mix.
Serve with gingersnaps or graham crackers
**I have given without the cream cheese (added an instruction label that says mix with your own)
And then I gift the ginger snaps or graham crackers
I am not a pumpkin person - but this is really good.

2 C dry milk
2 1/2 C flour
1/4 C chicken bouillon powder   (or your fav)
2 tbsp. dried onion flakes
1/2 tsp, thyme
1 tsp. basil
Mix together and store in an airtight jar.
For casseroles mix 1/2 C to 1 1/4 C cups of water to 1/2 C mix
FOR SOUP - 1 C to 2 C water to 1/2 C mix
Equivalent to 10 cans of soup
**Think of the options - you could add any diced veggie or mushrooms to add extra flavor when cooking

CRAZY SALT - "Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up"
3Tbsp. onion flakes
2 Tbsp. garlic flakes (minced)
1 tsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. basil
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. marjoram
Mix together and store in air tight jar.
Great on salads and veggies OR anything!!!!

This is a huge hit - no matter who gets it!  No it isn't low in calories and yes it is rich - but man it is YUMMY!!!
This is so good on toast and especially hot biscuits!
I used to get this at the Amish grocery and I spent a small fortune to get it.  Now I can make anytime and it is a hit as a gift.

WHY?  You may ask why make these things when they are so easy to buy already done.  WHY - when you need many ingredients to make? 
Well, you know what is in your seasonings and goodies - there is no added extras - anti-clumping - no preservatives, etc..
You can double or triple any of these to have plenty on hand or making it easier to gift.

Have fun and enjoy some homemade goodies.  Think about YUMS for yourself and others.
More recipes later!!!!!!