Thursday, July 29, 2021

Fresh Produce and Gardens

 For many of us it is that time of the year!  Fresh produce and gardens are every where.  I love it.  Things seem to be moving a little slower than normal here - but they are moving in the right direction.
I have zucchini out the wazoo - but that is OK.  I could sure have worse problem!  LOL.  I won't go hungry and I am working on gifting and using.

I know many can not have gardens.  That doesn't mean you can't enjoy fresh goodies.  Weekend farm markets seem to abound.  There are farm stands and farmers that can be visited.  Think about your local orchards - they most often carry all kinds of garden produce as well.  I know ours does.
We also have a place that is big and not far from my home called Waterman's Farm Market.  They grow fields of goodies and buy from others and they have a nice stand (building) that you can visit most of the year.  They also sell jams, jellies, salsa, and other goodies.  Check your area for different options.
Fresh is so good and yummy.
IF you possible can - put some back for the winter months.  Can or freeze anything and everything you can find.  

Start watching around your neighborhoods for fruit trees, wild grapes and walnut trees.  There is one in our alley and it is loaded!  Barter with others or just say a little prayer that family and friends SHARE with you!

These charts have been printed here before, but I think they may help someone again.  Always good info to know.

Click on pictures to enlarge.  I copied from previous posts.

These charts help figure out how much you need for your family.  How much for canning.
I hope this helps someone.
I love this time of the year and all the options we have.

I have heard a lot about shortages and such because of weather.  SHOP LOCAL when possible.  I just heard on our local news yesterday that corn and soy bean crops in our area at producing at 90%+.  This is being considered an excellent year here, despite the cool weather we had, the rain and now the heat.  We are fortunate - I know not all areas are.

Get what you can fresh and local.  It is by far the best!!!
Enjoy your garden yummies!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Sharing a Bit and Offering Love & Hope

 I know each and every person that comes to visit here has had some heartaches in their life.  We have had good and bad.  Unfortunately it is part of life - not a nice part - but part of it.  All our ups and downs have made us the people we are today 100%.
Think about that - every single experience has shaped you into the human you are today.

I remember as a young person, being tall (taller than the boys in grade school) and skinny and clumsy.  I have never had an athletic bone in my body!  I was sickly as a little - but out grew that.  I never had a lot of store bought clothes or name brands.  Home made was what I had and I loved them.  I was not super popular at all - I kind of hung with the less desirables!  They seemed like a good fit and we all had fun.
I pretty much did the same in high school.  I made all my clothes by then, so I had a lot of them.  I worked and had my own money for material and shoes.  We had to wear dresses up till my junior year.  I continued to wear dresses even when pants were the thing (at school).  LOL - I have had many a male classmate (at reunions) say they remember me because of my long legs, long hair and short skirts!  Yep those were the 70's!!!  I guess I could be remembered for worse things!!!!!

I got married young - knew I shouldn't marry him - but I did.  He had cheated and saw nothing wrong with it (how he grew up).  Plans were made - so I got married.  No it wasn't all bad, not at first.  Then the cheating started again and became more and more.  I was made to feel like I wasn't worthy and no one else would want me.  I acted out some and probably partied a little too much back in the day.  I scared myself at a point and didn't pick up another drink for several years.
I did finally forgive him and we remained friendly (sort of).  He passed away a few years ago and that made me sad - so yes I cared about him.
Swore I would never marry again.  HA!  I met Glen, my life partner, my love.  It took him a good while to get me over my insecurities, but he did it.  At the time of his passing I had spent over half of my life with him.  I wish it could have been more - that is for sure.  I am so terribly happy I got to have those years and knew that kind of love.
Suddenly I was alone - for basically the first time in my life.  I had people ask - what does Cheryl want to do now?  My answer was "I was doing it!"  I still really have no idea what my future holds or what I want to be when I 'grow' up.  I just know now, after much prayer and reflection, that I can face whatever God throws at me.  
He is my rock.  I have to move forward not just for me, but for Glen too - he would want that.

Now I am not trying to get a pity party started here.
I know there is someone who needs to read this today!  It came to my heart last night.

This picture is a good representation of life to me.  Ups and downs, crooks and bends, haggard and lonely looking, trip hazards, not knowing where the path goes..................yet it is beautiful at the same time.

I know there are many reading that have lost spouses, maybe children or grandchildren.  Many of us have lost parents and siblings and oh so many friends.
Some have endured abuse as children and others as adults.
Some have lived in poverty and maybe still do.
Some have made bad choices in life.  Many may have had addictions.  Some may have gone to jail.  
Whatever it is that has happened in life and for whatever reason - you are here today for a reason!

Not one of us  has been 100% pure and without sin or troubles.  We have all made mistakes.  We also know NOW, that life can change.  It can get better.
We are blessed and should feel blessed.  I know that is hard to understand sometimes.  But it is true.
God sees to it, if we are alive and so choose, we get extra chances!  We get to improve!  How great is that?  We can maybe teach someone else in a bad spot that all is not hopeless.

I love this!!!  Be YOU!  Don't change for anyone other than yourself.  You know who you are and you will learn where you should be eventually.  We have to learn that ourselves.  We need to be happy with ourselves before we can ever make someone else happy.
PLEASE be forgiving to yourself!!!!!!!  Forgive yourself of you past and move forward.  Sure we all have regrets - we wouldn't be human if we didn't, but we can't let them define us.
The past is a story already told - the future is a new chapter we write each day!

Forgive others as much as humanly possible.  It is important for YOU not for them.  Forgiveness is freeing.  It takes time, I understand that - but it is so freeing.
Holding in all the anger and hate and nastiness of the past can only HURT you.   It can literally make you sick, give you headaches, ulcers, anxiety attacks, and much more.  You deserve better.

I want each person reading this to know that you are wonderful.  You are beautiful.  You are a child of God - He doesn't make mistakes!
You are loved.

Life is full of change - that is our one constant.  We have to grow and spread our wings and fly!  We need to learn to soar!
So forgive others, but most importantly forgive yourself.

YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!  Never let anyone tell you or treat you differently.
I pray you get to live your best life and that  you DO it to the fullest.
Blessings to each of you!

If you know someone having a rough time or feeling less about themselves - PLEASE reach out and tell them they are enough!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Only You Can Decide

 I see so many people on FB asking questions about stocking and being prepared for whatever may come our way.  So many are new to the idea of not just having a weeks worth of groceries on hand.  That really amazes me every time I see it.  As long as I can remember, my folks and myself always had plenty of extra on hand.  Even when I was little and my folks didn't have much money, they had food.  Yes, there was a garden and Mom canned and froze - but even back then, things in the world were sketchy.  
It has been prudent to have EXTRA for decades.  You just never know what could happen.

You can go slow - you don't have to spend a fortune all at once.  Most of us that have been stocking up, spend a little extra every week.  We look for sales and deals.  I understand that when getting started it isn't logical to go out and spend $1,000 or even a $100 all at once.   Buy some extra every time you go to the store - EVERY TIME!

You buy what you use!!!!!!  What your family uses!!!!!  Don't be buying things you wouldn't ever buy for normal day to day living (unless for barter purposes).  Only you know what your family eats and uses - no one else can tell you what to get.
Make sure you think about things other than food.  Health and beauty items, paper products, OTC medicines, first aid, pet products, cleaning, laundry, etc.

That depends on how long you want to be prepared for.  The best way to decide - is pick your time frame.  A month, 2 months, 6 months, a year or more.  Look at what you use per week - then multiply that amount by the time frame you are stocking for.
EXAMPLE - Use 2 lbs. of pasta a week - for 2 months you would want 16 lbs. on hand.

Always remember - first in first out.  Rotate your pantry stock.  Keep the older products to the front for quickest use - place new items to the back.  Always rotate items.
REMEMBER - "best if used by" dates are NOT expiration dates!!!!!!  If kept cool and dry most items are good for waaaayyyyy past that date.

Most items can be kept for quite long periods of time.  If you have dry goods to stock - think seriously about storing items in glass jars.  You can use canning jars or get gallon size glass jars - nothing can get into them.  Tins are great for keeping things like sugars, pasta, flour, etc. (like big popcorn tins).  Food storage buckets can also be used.  Place items in totes - just keep things protected.
Use bay leaves in your dry goods - they help keep pests away.  Keep things dry and cool.

Do whatever works for you.  I personally keep an inventory list of what is in the freezer (sort of).  Yes I clean and straighten and make a wonderful list - then it kind of goes by the wayside!  I'm bad!!  But I have an idea of what I have.
I sort the freezer by types of meat or food.  A shelf for frozen veggies, an area for pork, chicken, beef, etc.  That makes it easier to find things.
In the pantry you can keep a running inventory as well.  A pencil and paper will work - just change totals as you buy or use.  Hang a clip board in or by your pantry with a list.  Keep a notebook in pantry - make a spread sheet - what ever you want.
I like to keep the pantry organized in some way as well.  Baking goods together, fruits, veggies, soups, pasta and rice, etc.  I have things grouped together - make life easier. 
I do this in my 'deep' pantry as well.  
What is a deep pantry?  Well, that is my extra - my grocery store at home.  A place I can go and get stock to replace my daily pantry items that have been used.

You also need to know how to SUBSTITUTE.  Don't have bread or can't buy it - make biscuits or tortillas.  Can't get sugar - use honey.  Not enough meat - look to and use other proteins.  Know what you can use - just in case.  Use your imagination and get creative.  That is ever so IMPORTANT in stocking.
Life is all about getting creative and using what you have.

Every little thing you do makes a difference.  I have said so many times that buying cheaply today is basically like money in the bank tomorrow!
Inflation happens - it will continue to happen, no doubt about it.  There will be shortages at times.  There will be tough times ahead.  It may be illness, loss of job, weather emergency, age restrictions, economic problems, etc.  There is a world of things that we prepare for.

Watch those sales.  Watch for deals.  Get things as cheaply as possible.  Stock what you use.  Use what you stock!  Continue to add to your stock every time you go to store.  Set you time schedule that you want to be prepared for.  Keep your items safe from pests.

As my hubby used to say - PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOU PLAN!!!!!!!!
Your future may depend on it!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/25

 Happy Sunday everyone.  My goodness, this is the last Sunday of the month.  This year is going so quickly.  I hope this finds you all well and safe.

It is getting hot again!  We had a brief respite from the heat and now it is coming back for most of the coming week.  Humidity is what makes it feel so nasty out.  Hey, on a side note about the heat - 5 months from today is Christmas Eve!!!!!!!!!!!!!  LOL
I hope all those in fire areas, flood areas and drought areas get relief.  Stay SAFE!
We had a dry week this week.  We needed that after the rain of the past week.  I have sure enjoyed the big old moon a couple nights this week.  I wish I had tried to take a picture.  Huge, and full and orange!  I think the color might have something to do with the smoke in the atmosphere - but it sure was beautiful.

Captured and removed groundhog number 6 of the summer.  UGH.  This is just crazy for the suburbs/city.
Yesterday the generator came on - we had a power outage for some reason.  It only lasted about a half hour and wouldn't have been a big deal - but it sure is comforting to know that  it works and would when it really counts.

Spent a long while cleaning up comments on here - so many Spam and stupid posts.  I don't know if you  all see ALL of them or not - but I apologize for the nuisance.  I know it happens else where, but it is aggravating.  I wish people had better things to do - if is amazing to think that they actually think they are going to get business from these obnoxious ads.  SMH

My week:
  • After we dried out - I got to mow and do a good trim.  Everything sure looked nice afterward
  • I went with my brother and sil to my gr. nieces on Sunday for a first birthday party!  It was great to see them all - hadn't seen them since Christmas.  Got caught up on lot's of baby hugs and kisses - one was 1 and one is 2!  Had a nice meal of a taco bar as well
  • Been harvesting more garden goodies.  Zucchini coming out my ears!!!  I love it - sure could have worse problems
  • Trimmed the back yard bushes
  • Dropped off library book at the outside drop off when in area
  • Been pulling weeds and dead headed a lot of flowers.  The lilies sure looked haggard after blooming - and I got those all cleaned out
  • Cooked up a couple pounds of bacon to have on hand for various meals
  • Just doing all the normal stuff - cooking at home, laundry in cold, changed out bedding, drinking water and tea, etc.
  • Finally had to water containers this week and used my rain water 
  • Other than my one shopping day outing - I stayed home
  • I did make a grocery run.  I went to Kroger for fresh goodies (got very little).  Did find a couple deals.  I got 3 packs of 4 ea. of beef burgers for 1.99 pack.  That is .50 per meal for meat = 12 meals!!  I also got 2 family size boxes of Frosted Flakes (best by end of 2022) for 1.99 ea. I don't eat breakfast - but it will be good for future snacks!  Donut holes for .99.   Also bought a few cherries to munch on for fruit snack.

Also made the WalMart stop and got a lot of canned cat food.  They are the one place that has had good stock lately.  I also got the night driving glasses there as well and I did get more canning lids.

Meals this past week:
Taco bar at nieces
Burger with zucchini/onion/salsa/cheese
Smoked sausage - chopped potatoes - kraut (home canned) mixed together
Pizza style zucchini boats
Dbl. burger, baked beans and salad
Fried green tomatoes and fried okra (oh yum - it was so GOOD)
Snacks - cherries, donut holes and nacho chips w/melted cheese

Pizza topping zucchini boat - made on the stove top and didn't use oven!  Steamed zucchini - then added topping and cheese and covered on low heat till cheese melted.  This was a smaller zucchini and it was soooooo good and an entire meal.

So how was your week?  How are those gardens doing?  Any canning or preserving yet?  No canning here yet - plan on working on zucchini this week to freeze and maybe dehydrate.
Did you get any good deals this week?
Look forward to hearing from you all!

Hope you all have a wonderful week and stay safe and healthy.  
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13

Thursday, July 22, 2021

It's the Little Things!!!

 It doesn't take a lot to make me happy or get me excited.  I found a new THING today!
I made a run to Wal-Mart (UGH) to check on supplies of canned cat food.  They had it and I stocked up.  First little happy.  Secondly I checked their canning supplies - they had more lids (flats).  I got some more (2.74 a box) - even though I don't need.  They will keep till next year or whenever I DO need them.

Thirdly - I found something that will now make life better each day!  As I have mentioned, I have cataracts.  Those who have gone through this or have them now - know that different types of lighting affects how you see.  I have always had trouble at night (night blindness) but that is even worse with cataracts.  Computers can be a problem, different  times of the day vision is affected. 
For me - the WORST is store lighting.  It is awful and makes seeing clearly really difficult.  All that over head lighting and florescent lighting is a pain.  There is always such a glare.

I found a help aid!
I wear sunglasses outside - but they seemed too dark for inside.  This is my solution!!!

             Note - the sticker says "wear over your glasses". The lenses are a golden color                           No it doesn't bother me to wear them over glasses - I'd rather see than be vain!
They are designed for night driving - but I tried them while in the store and oh my goodness - everything in the store was clear and bright!!!  The glare was gone!
The price was $19.67.  So for a $20 bill I can now see clearly IN the stores and I have something that will also help IF I have to drive at night.
I was thrilled.

I am sure they can probably be found else where as they are Foster Grants.  I just happened to see them in my unexpected visit at WM.

Like I said - it's the little things in life.  Simple fix for now and I am happy.
I thought I would share this, as I know I can't be the only one who has this problem.  Those funs things we start to experience as we get older!!!!  UGH

Hope this helps someone else.
Enjoy and feel blessed with the little things - they can be huge!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Cleaning Trick

 Just a quick post today.  I recently saw an idea on removing pet fur from furniture.  Coogy loves to lay on the arm of the love seat - so I have to remove fur all the time.  
There is the vacuum when I have it out.  Then I have always used a damp dense sponge or a damp wash cloth.  I will rub the area in one direction - collect fur and then do another direction.

Well this new 'hack' to me works like a charm.  Use a pumice stone!!!!  Now mind you I would only do this on heavy duty materials - nothing thin or satiny.  I rubbed the arm of the love seat with the stone and LOTS of fur came up!  Let's say - way more than I could see!!!!!!

I always have several stones around as they comes in many gift baskets.  This one is the perfect size to work with.  They are not expensive and it sure does work - not only on feet but my couch!!!!!
I used it  dry.

It is amazing to me the things we can learn to make life easier - no matter what age we are.  I guess I always wonder who tried that the first time and why?  LOL

Here's a fun picture to end today.  I guess all nature gets tired and needs a quick nap now and then.
The squirrel must be so tired from playing and eating peanuts!!!  Blackie found a bit of shade to lay in until he gets lunch!  They don't mind or bother each other.  All my kitties leave the squirrels alone.
(As you can see they use the rails as scratching posts!!!)

Have a good day!  

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Stretching Food - Like in the Old Days

 Howdy all.  Our Moms and G'mas all knew how to stretch the food budget.  NOTHING went to waste.  If it got to the point that there was something left that wasn't edible it went into the compost pile or to the chickens - which in turn became more food down the road.  My Mom could come up with all kinds of tasty items from leftovers (bits and bobs) and knew how to make goodies out of things most would throw away.
Going to share a few stretching ideas and cheap eats that we had back in the day - and some I still have!  Not everything from back in the day should be forgotten.  I love doing something different now and then.  You never know when money and food will be tight and you may have to get creative.   SO here are a few 'crazy' ideas to try.

Leftover mashed potatoes - they were never wasted!   May be for another meal or they could be used in a cream of soup - to help thicken or flavor.
My favorite was & is:

Potato Pancakes
About 2 C mashed
1 egg
1/2 C or so of flour - just enough to stiffen potatoes
1/2 - 1 tsp. baking powder
Anything else you want to add!!!!
Mix together and place in a greased skillet and fry - until both sides are golden brown.
I have added chopped onion, bacon bits, cheese, peppers......... whatever you want
So tasty
Potato cakes with a dab of butter and a salad.  Quite a tasty and filling meal.  Nothing wasted!!!!!

Pie Dough
Mom never let pie dough go to waste.  She may make 'hand pies' if there was enough left.  Small circles with a bit of jelly or fruit in center and folded and baked.  Most often she rolled it out in strips and added cinnamon & sugar on top and baked till crisp!  What a yummy treat that was.

Apple/Peach Peels & Cores
Never wasted.  Apple peels & cores and peach peels were turned into jelly.  Yes indeed.  Now this recipe takes quite a bit of sugar (which was so much cheaper back in the day), but it sure was tasty.  Actually sugar today isn't that expensive - it is just something anyone that cans much has on hand all summer.
Usually need the peels of about 15 pcs. of fruit or more. (Optimum flavor).  You can add a drop or 2 of red food color to apple to give it a pretty pink color.  One drop red, one drop yellow to give peach a pretty peach color.  No wasting!  Either the chickens or compost get leftovers.
Mom also took apple peels and laid them out on a pan and sprinkled them with cinnamon and a dab of sugar and stuck in the oven when baking.  Another fun and easy treat that I just loved.  Kind of like fruit leathers of today! (she did this if NOT making jelly)

Corn Cob Jelly
Yep - she even did that.  I have done this myself and it is very tasty.  Kind of honey tasting.

Johnny Cakes - Corn Cakes - Hoe Cakes
Whatever you want to call them.  Many southern gals made these - but we had them often.  Nice for breakfast if running low on breakfast food - a nice addition to any meal (instead of bread).
Most recipes were as simple as cornmeal, water and salt - and a hot skillet!
I like them with a bit more added - but you can do them any way you like.

1 C yellow cornmeal
1/2 - 1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder  (for volume)*
1 - 1 1/2 tsp sugar (or honey) - I like a little sweetness*
1/2 C HOT water - or you can add some kind of milk (1/4 C milk and 1/4 C HOT water)
1 egg -  (adds volume as well)*
Mix altogether and drop into a hot skillet with bacon grease or butter melted.  Brown on each side like you would a pancake!
**Gluten free
* these items optional
 Corn cakes - great side or used instead of cornbread (no oven required) or used as breakfast.  Topped with a bit of butter - Yummo!!

Peanut Butter Treat
We often had peanut better and some syrup or honey mixed together and we would eat that on bread or crackers - whatever was available.  That was such a tasty treat!  My goodness that was a favorite treat.  I remember most often it was served on saltine cracker.  YUM

Hamburger Soup
We had this often.  Hamburger was super cheap to buy and Mom always made a pot of soup with all the veggie leftovers we had or just with garden pickin's.  Nothing like it.  I still make it today and it is one of my favorite soups.  Never fixed the same way twice.
Nothing went to waste!!!!!

Another favorite from back in the day.  My Mom often made it with elbow macaroni - stretched it further.   I make it  without, but often serve over pasta and top with cheese.  It can be served over rice!  Also super yummy over a baked potato!!!!
Chili is still one of my favorite cool day meals!  Basically ground meat, beans and tomatoes (of some sort) - doesn't get much easier.

Made gravy from all the different pan drippings.  None of it was wasted.  My goodness gravy was made from anything and everything.  Sausage, hamburger, drippings from baking ham or bacon or roast - just about anything.  Gravy over bread was and still is a meal!  Pan drippings, a little flour and water or milk and BOOM you have a cheap meal.

Just a few ideas for old time food ideas.  Nothing wasted and everything was tasty.  People back in the day sure could come up with yummy goodies from just about nothing.
We need to take some lessons!
I love old time cooking.  I still do and try some of these things.
I have MORE recipes for making goodies with lesser ingredients (they used to have to make do with eggs, milk and butter at times).  I will share more recipes in the near future.

It sure is fun learning some of the ways of days gone by.  Good food and no waste - what is better?