Thursday, January 26, 2023

One of Those Days

 Life can take a lot of turns.  It can give us lemons and it can give us lemonade.  You all know I try my darndest to be upbeat and happy - even through sad times. I am a proverbial optimist - a Pollyanna if you will.  I do know there is far more good in our lives than bad - we just have to realize it.
Some days are harder than others.

UPDATE:  My niece has no brain activity, and the family made a decision to remove life support.  That will be done on Saturday at 2PM.  That gives her mom, one of her sister's and her one daughter time to get here from another state, and her other sister and child to get there to say good-bye.  Such a sad situation.  My heart hurts for them all.
I totally understand though.  Just being hooked up to all those tubes is not living - it is existing.  Her soul needs to be free.  I haven't seen her in many years due to her estrangement with family, but I will still miss her and I love her.


I do believe my Fluffy has gone off to end her life on this land.  She is here every single day and never leaves the property.  She is the daintiest kitty I have ever had.  Lately she has been VERY talkative and oh so loving.  She has cuddled and wanted pets and combing more than any other time.  Maybe I should have seen that as a sign.  I thought she was just getting closer with me due to older age.
She ate wonderfully yesterday, chased a birdie, pottied fine, and we loved and cuddled before I brought their food in for the night.  It is still dark out - but at first light, I will be out looking.  It hurts my heart that she would go away to die.  She is 13, and has always been an outdoor baby with no wanting to come inside.
I may be wrong - but I doubt it.
Blackie seemed confused this morning too - when I went out to feed.  He ate - but kept looking all around the greenhouse and smelling everything.
I do believe that now I am down to one!
It stinks when your furbbies get older.  You just never know.  Blackie is still relatively young at about 5 years old.

I will try to see goodness in the day, in spite of things.  I got up healthy this morning.  The snows weren't as bad as they called for yesterday.  I have so much of my family and friends still on this earth.  I have memories that sustain me.  I have God in my heart.
I have all of you.


UPDATE:  This little Fluff butt showed up!  Don't know what was going on as she never leaves.  She was ravenous too!
Thank you for kind thoughts.  She just MAY have to become a house cat - whether she wants to or not!
She sure scared this Momma.


Make each and everyday count people.  SMILE and LAUGH when you can.  Make someone else smile and laugh.  Do goodness all the time.  Hold your loves close.
I am not looking for sympathy at all.  There are so many people going through so much in this world, and I am but one.
Just a reminder to be all you can be and spread happiness and love when you have the chance.  Accept love and joy in any way it is offered to you.

Have a blessed day my friends.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

What we ate Back in the Day!

 I guess this kind of goes along with yesterday's post of finding new ways to use what you have.
When I was growing up, my folks didn't have a lot of money, so we didn't get a lot of specialty store bought stuff.  I came along 10 years after the other kids - so they really had it rougher.  Mom had a lot more to feed then!!!!
Mom's grocery budget was $15 from my first memory.  Then at some point (I think in my teens) it got raised to $25!  She sure did a good job of shopping wisely and feeding us all well.
There never a Sunday that I can remember that there wasn't a lot of extended family that just SHOWED UP right at dinner time!  They all got fed - even if mom didn't. She would just say, "I'm not hungry".

We had a lot of basic meals.  I also have heard the stories of my siblings about some of the super BUDGET meals.  We ate what there was and we were always full.

I remember that most Sundays the meal was fried chicken and all the sides.
Saturday evenings was always hamburgers, homemade French fries or homemade baked beans.

My siblings remember when things were at the end of the groceries and they ate simply.  Bowls of cornbread topped with milk, was an end of the month food.  A big pot of beans also was kept going on the wood stove. (I don't remember the wood stove).  They ate simply, but never went hungry.
When the siblings were growing up - there were chickens and rabbits and a couple goats.  I missed all that!!!!!
We can do the same - but people seem to think they are being deprived today.  I find that kind of sad.

Click on picture to enlarge.  Cake - no eggs, milk or butter needed.  Called depression cake.

What we ate a lot of:
Spaghetti - homemade sauce (not always w/meat)
Tomato soup (homemade) and a sandwich
Chipped beef gravy over toast or biscuits/scones - I still love that
Cornbread
Oatmeal (a lot) - I think why I don't like it today
Rice pudding
PBJ - sandwiches used homemade bread
Tuna casserole
Soup beans
Veggie soup or potato soup
Potato pancakes w/leftover potatoes
Fish - daddy would catch
Lots of biscuits/scones
We ate many a tomato or cucumber or onion sandwiches (still a fav) in the summer
ALL things that were grown in the 1/4 acre garden. Mom froze and canned
We had grapes, raspberries and fruit trees
Chicken and noodles was a real treat - mom made the noodles from scratch (Mmmmm)  I miss those
Fried cornmeal mush

ALL sweets were homemade.  I truly think I was in my teens before I had store bought cookies!
Mom made cake, pie, cookies, candy, popcorn balls, cobblers, you name it!!!!!!  We LOVED it!
Popcorn was an evening snack (dad grew it in the garden).  If mom was in the mood, she made homemade potato chips.  They were such a wonderful treat.

Bologna was cheap back then - so once in a while there would be bologna sandwiches and daddy loved fried bologna.  A treat.
Baking goods and meat was about the extent of what mom bought at the store.  NO canned soups or veggies or fruit.  We used what we grew.  The meals were often very heavy on veggies, with just a small serving of meat.
When I was little we didn't have chickens (they did with the other kids), but we had a neighbor who raised chickens - there was always trades for meat and eggs.
 
There was NO fast food or restaurants - maybe a drink if we were on a trip.  We took food with us.  No junk food, other than homemade things.  No soda pop on a regular basis (that was a treat).

Life was simple - we were well fed - and we never complained or really knew any different.  That was how most people around us ate as well.
MAYBE if people could let go of their ego's, they would see that one can survive and survive well on a whole lot less.  
I think if many people cut out the junk food, the convenience foods and all those specialty drinks, they could save a bundle.

Even when funds were slim - we had a good life.  I am so glad I was raised the way I was.  It made me appreciate a lot of the simpler things in life.  
I like simple and slow paced.
Just a step back in time.


There are many beautiful reasons to smile and be thankful.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Waste Not - Use It!!!!

We have all heard to term - waste not - want not.  So very true.  If you raise your own food or buy groceries, why would you want to waste any of the efforts?  Use every bit you can in some new and different way!  There are a lot of uses that most people would never think of.

CARROT TOPS AND GREENS
Did you know that carrot tops, or those of beets, radish, turnips, etc. are all edible?  Yes they are.  They have a lot of vitamins and nutrients as well.  I have cooked radish and turnip greens many times and they are tasty.  Each has a different flavor.
You can also use these greens to make pesto!!!  It doesn't have to be just basil!!!!!  You would need about 2 cups chopped, to blend with your oil mixture and seasonings.

BOCCOLI STEMS
Most people think they are tough and just trash them.  I peel them, cook as normal, and they are my favorite bite!!!!  They are so yummy.
You can also slice very thinly, drizzle with oil and seasoning and bake at 400* for about 30-40 minutes for a veggie chip!

CITRUS PEELS
Lightly zest what you can and freeze for future use.  Also use the peels to make a zero waste all-natural all-purpose cleaner.  I have listed the method before.  It works nicely, smells good, and it also helps keep ants at bay!!!!


BANANA PEELS
Many people use them to shine and clean the leaves on their house plants (and shoes).  Rub them over a bug bite to stop the itch.  They can be eaten as well!!!!!!  Chop and add to smoothies.  Bake with sugar or honey.  Caramelize with sugar and water - tasty on ice cream. 
The peels are full of essential nutrients and vitamins!!!!!

APPLE SCRAPS
Use the cores to make apple cider vinegar.  2 C sugar, 2 C water and many apple cores.  Let it ferment for a few weeks.
Use leftover peel to make apple scrap jelly.  Very tasty.  Also, can bake with a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon - what a tasty treat.
You can make jelly with peels from peaches or any cling fruit.
You can also dehydrate peels and scraps and make fruit powders - so good to add to smoothies, Jell-O or pudding or on top of ice cream.

POTATO SKINS
Bake them!!!!!!  Top with cheese or any other goodies and bake until skin is crispy.  These used to be purchased at many restaurants and were a costly appetizer.  Lots of vitamins in the skins.

WATERMELON RINDS
Pickle them!  It seems to be a midwestern thing - but they sure are tasty.  Mom used to make pickles and can them.

VEGGIE SCRAPS
Onion skins, scrapings, butt ends, stems, etc. - keep in a container or baggy until you have enough (in freezer) to make veggie stock.  You can also add this to meat bones and scraps for an extra tasty meat stock.

STALE BREAD
Oh my - many uses.  Breadcrumbs, croutons, dressing bread.  Use to make bread pudding or French toast.  Many, many uses.

COFFEE GROUNDS
Yes, it is good for the garden - but it is also great for a facial scrub!!!! 1/4 C grounds (used), 1/4 C brown sugar and 1/4 C coconut oil.  Mix together in a small container and use to scrub your face - your face feels so fresh and clean afterwards.  Rinse with cool water.

OLD BAKING SODA
It may be outdated and not working in baking - but it doesn't mean it is done.
Sprinkle on rugs and carpets - let it set a while and then vacuum.  Removes a lot of stale smells.  Use the open box in the refrigerator or freezer to collect smells.  Use in the bathroom as a dusting powder for underarms as a deodorant.  Use with peroxide and use as a tooth whitener.  (My dentist recommends this once a week).  Use as a cleaner in the kitchen and bath.  Use on a damp rag and scrub the oily stove and counters.

Leftover and stale SODA POP - use as flavoring liquid when baking.  Also use to make Jell-O - it adds a lot of fun flavor.  You can also freeze into cubes to use in flavoring drinks and it doesn't water them down.

MILK that is starting to get just a tad off - make biscuits or waffles or pancakes.  Mom always made biscuits with soured milk.  You can freeze into cubes and use in smoothies.

STALE CHIPS, CRACKERS, or NUTS
Place in the oven for a while to freshen up!  They will crisp up and still be tasty.  Now you want to make sure nuts are just stale and not rancid.  I even crips up chips and crackers in the microwave - just start with about 30 seconds and see what happens.

GROW food from scraps.  I have started celery and Romaine lettuce from the intact butt ends.  I start in water until I get roots - then I plant in pot.  It isn't the big plant I bought - but it is something I can use!  Also, people do this with green onions - they use the green part and plant the white bulb.  I have always eaten the entire thing!  Maybe that is a Midwest thing as well.  We never wasted any part.
I have chives I can cut for greens and I also use wild onions from the yard in the spring.

STOCK/BROTH
Use up those leftover bones, skin, fat scraps from any kind of meat.  Add water and cook until you get a nice deep colored stock.  So good and good for you.  It tastes nothing like the stuff you buy.

TOUGH SCRAPS - ENDS
I take the tough ends of asparagus and dehydrate them.  Then I run it through the coffee grinder for asparagus powder.  Adds a lot of flavor to cream of asparagus soup!  I do the same with large and too tough okra pods.  I dehydrate them and turn into powder.  It is a natural thickener for soups and stews and adds vitamins as well.

OK - the list goes on and on!!!!!!  Sure, most of these things can be added to compost or can feed the chickens - but I like using them for human consumption too!
Things cost a lot today and it is necessary to use up all we can.
I find it a challenge to come up with ideas to re-make things.

You have any different and new ideas?
I look forward to learning something new!!!!!!!
STRETCH THOSE FOOD SCRAPS!

 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Weekly Wrap Up 1/22

 Happy Sunday to all.   I hope this finds you all well and safe.  
Winter seems to have come to my town!  The week started out pretty warm and decent - this morning it is snowing.  I don't think it will be a lot - but it is white!  The weather this week looks to me normal winter temperatures - no warm stuff.  Oh well, it was bound to happen.

The squirrels are nuts!  I have seen more squirrels in my yard and the neighbors this week, than I have ever seen before.  They are everywhere!!!  They are also quite frisky, if you know what I mean!  LOL
Tons of birds out there - I am trying to cut back on feeding them some - so they are doing a great job cleaning up after the squirrels.  Seeing 3 different types of woodpeckers, and still seeing the occasional robin.

My week was quiet:
  • Of course, I had the family in town on Sunday - much fun.  So quiet once they left.
  • Had my financial guy come for a review on Wednesday - pleasantly pleased considered the market.
  • Been using leftovers and freezing what I can't eat right away.
  • Ran to the library and dropped off, picked up and renewed my library card.
  • Been doing a lot of reading this week.
  • Cleaned out more drawers.
  • While out to library, I did run in WM Marketplace to check cat food supplies.  They had one type canned I have a very hard time finding (that cats love) - so I bought a case of 24.  Got them some treats as well.
  • No other grocery shopping - need nothing
  • General cleaning
  • Eating leftovers, all meals from home
Meals this past week:
Smorgasbord I made for family
Chili and crackers
Ham & cheese sliders and salad
Loaded baked potato - chili, cheese & sour cream
Long grain/wild rice w/broc. added, chicken strips, and fresh veggies
Pork fried rice - used leftovers to make
Mac topped with salsa, smoked sausage and salad
SNACKS - oranges, fresh veggies, Triscuits and cheese, snack mix

How was your week?  Any good deals?  What have you all been doing on these winter days?  This month is such a blah time - it is hard to motivate some days/weeks!  I took this week off for the most part - need to get back to being busy this week.

FRANCES - just a note - please do not stop commenting!  I will check the behind the scenes stuff daily.  Not sure why your comments go there sometimes.  Sorry.
HILOGENE and KIM - if you are reading, please know that you have been on my mind.  I pray for you both every day.  Praying your life is calming a little - I know nothing is normal.  HUGS

I would like to ask for prayers please.  My adult niece (R) was hit by a car on Monday evening (as a pedestrian).  She was not expected to make it through the night - miraculously she did.  She has endured back surgery, 2 leg surgery's, she has a tube to reduce swelling on the brain, and a breathing tube.  Sadly, this is the 2nd time she has been hit in 2 years.  She only a few months ago got out of a nursing home.
Her life has been tragic and sad (due to bad decisions).  She has 2 adult daughters, and they were both there this week (another miracle).  They have all been estranged for years.  She is now not doing as well, and they believe breathing tube will be changed to trach, and brain activity is minimal.  I don't know how many more miracles we can expect - it doesn't look good for her.  I know God's Will be done.
I ask you pray for her, but especially her daughters, her mom and sisters for peace and comfort.  Also, for the person that hit her (it was an accident).  I cannot imagine what they are feeling.  Thank you.  This is such a sad situation.
********************

Wishing you all a safe and healthy week.  Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours.
God bless you all.
***************

He will shield you with His wings.  He will shelter you with His feathers.  His faithful promises are your armor and protection.  Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor fear the dangers of the day.
Psalm 91:4-5

Lord, please help us to put our trust in you.  Whether at home or out - we know we have Your love and You protect us.  The world seems scary, and many have suffered - just help us to face all things with trust and knowing that You are with us.  Shield us, from our own fears.  AMEN



Today's affirmation:

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Super Easy Meal Ideas for Pennies

 We all eat differently and we all like different things.  I have never made meals complicated - even when cooking for two.  G was never real picky, and he didn't care if he had one thing or several - he just liked to eat.  Me too.  If I am full - that is what matters.  

There are many things that can be made for pennies.  We CAN stretch that grocery budget - it just takes a little thought.  Use up what you have and re-invent leftovers in new ways.  No waste.  

We all know the basics:
SOUPS
CHILI
These are pretty basic.  Soups can be anything.  Whatever you have - put it together with some broth or stock or tomato base - veggies, pastas, rice, meat pieces = SOUP!

Mac n Cheese - add some leftover taco meat, hamburger, tuna, chopped hotdog, sliced smoked sausage, maybe some peas or broccoli - whatever you got.  Add maybe a side of salad or veggie of any sort and you have a filling meal

Pancakes or waffles - serve as is or with a side of meat or eggs.

Biscuits and gravy or toast and gravy.  You can make toast from older buns, bread or even use English muffins or bagels - whatever you have.  Gravy is so inexpensive and easy to make

Cabbage or kraut and sausage or hotdogs.  Maybe add mashed, fried or smashed potato as a side.  Super tasty and little cost.  Above is a little baked and smashed potato that is fried.  Mmmmm 

Fried rice or lo-mein.  Throw in all the leftover veggies, bits and bobs of meat and a little seasoning and BOOM you can have a meal in a pan.  So super easy.  A little rice or a little cooked spaghetti (use for lo-mein) - easy - and so very frugal

Burritos are so easy and use up any leftovers or you can make breakfast ones as well.  Makes for a great meal.  Top with veggies, eat plain, or top with sauce
Same type of tortilla used as a roll-up.  A little fresh veg, maybe leftover meat, cheese and some dressing.  Roll it and eat it.  Less calories than a sandwich with bread.  Tortillas can be purchased pretty darn cheaply or you can make your own for just pennies.  They are so super easy to make!

Baked potatoes - top with just butter or use whatever you have.  Top with leftover stew, chili, cheese, taco meat, sour cream or dip, a little ranch dressing, cheesy veggies - you name it.  There is no limit to the toppings.  I can make a nice baked potato with toppings and maybe a side salad and I am more than full.

Spaghetti - some pasta (use what you have) and sauce.  Can add meat or not.  Can top with cheese or not.  Can add garden veggies.  Such an easy and versatile meal.

Tuna patties - use tuna instead of salmon.  I can of tuna will make one large patty or 2 smaller ones.  I add cracker, breadcrumbs, or crushed chips of any sort for a binder with an egg.  Fry.  Above is a sandwich made with the tuna patty and served with leftover corn & Brussel sprouts - sauteed together.

Goulash - in my area - that is macaroni, ground beef, tomato sauce and a little cheese.  I know different regions of the country call other things goulash.
Throw in some cut up bell peppers and use rice instead of pasta, and you have unstuffed pepper skillet!!!!!!

A bowl of rice or pasta - with any assortment of leftover veggies or meat or gravy or sauces on top.  


Homemade pizza - a favorite for me.  You can make a traditional pizza, use - tortillas, English muffins, French bread, hamburger or hotdog buns, whatever you have on hand.  Add a little sauce (spaghetti sauce is fine) or add some salsa - whatever.  Top with just veggies or just meat or combo.  Add anything your heart may desire.  Any type of cheese.  I make up French bread pizza (now a fav) and - this will make at least 4 meals - if not more (with added side salad).  I bake, cut and freeze leftovers for quick meals later.  
I get the bread when it is on clearance for $1 or less a loaf and use whatever I have in my frig.  It really is a cheap meal.  So easy.  There are NO rules.


Maybe this will give someone and idea or two for something different to make.  Meals do NOT need to be complicated - they need to fill you and nourish you.  They do not need to cost hardly any money.  There are so many ways to stretch those food budgets.  You can make these meals for one or more.
Use what you have - you will be amazed at how many choices you can have and how little money you will spend.
HAVE FUN!!!!!


Surround yourself with people who are good for your spirit

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

(My) Pantry Staples - What say you?

 Good day everyone!  Hope this finds you well.  Today I am going to talk a little about things that are just staple products I keep in my pantry (freezer).  I like to be prepared for about anything.  I want to be able to throw a meal together for company.  Give me a couple days to thaw things - and I can fix about anything to feed a crowd.
I like the security having what I need on hand.  IF I run out of something - I like having other things that I can use in place of them.  Knowing and using substitutions is a way of life for me.
Recipes?  LOL - maybe for baking - but for most things, I just THROW things together.  When people ask for recipes - I sometimes chuckle and say "what is this recipe thing you speak of"?
I eat and keep what I like - WE ALL SHOULD.  No need to keep supplies that no one in your house doesn't like.  That is wasteful.  
Use what you have.  Shop home first - know what you have - then go shopping if necessary.  
Make things stretch - use leftovers in new ways.
Do NOT waste.

  • Dried beans, peas and all sorts of legumes - I keep canned as well - but dried last for ages.  They can be fixed for so many things
  • Rice - I use rice a lot.  I use as a side, in soups and in casseroles.  Hubs used to love it for breakfast (with sugar and butter).  Many, many uses.
  • Flour, sugar and baking goods - just many uses.  Not just for sweets and baking.  Flour is used for a thickener, sugar (or subs) can be used in daily things as well as baking (drinks and flavor).  It is nice knowing that you can make sweets, or biscuits (scones), bread, tortillas - whatever you need
  • Tomato products - this has to be one of the most used items in my pantry.  I use tomato paste, sauce and all sorts of tomato products A LOT!  Many uses
  • Yeast - always in my freezer - just in case I want to make bread
  • Peanut butter - such a great protein and pretty darn inexpensive.  There are many types of nut butters - they are good for eating and for add-ins.
  • Pasta - I have a ton of pasta on hand at all times.  All types and sizes and varieties.  It is such a basic ingredient and can be used in so many ways.  A great extender for meals - stretch that meal for pennies!!!!!!
  • Eggs - yes, I will always keep eggs.  I know prices have gone up - but I still see them as a very affordable pure protein.  Do a cost analysis - even if you are paying .50 an egg - it is still a cheap protein.  I have never understood how they were so cheap before (people need to make a living).  If you raise chickens great.  Not something I will ever do.  I also keep egg replacers (dry product) on the shelves - they are great to use when baking

You can also freeze when you get a deal or have a surplus.
  • Potatoes - a basic at my house.  I love fresh - baked potatoes.  Can be covered with anything and a meal is had.  I keep home canned (my brother does these) and store canned as well.  I also have dehydrated potatoes on hand.  It is nice to have a variety.  Another cheap and great extender for a meal.
  • Dehydrated onion and garlic - great for flavoring - love having shelf stable on hand at any time.  Lasts forever.  I keep fresh as well - and I also freeze as well.  Onion and garlic powder is a staple at my house
  • *I need to add cheese as well.  I am a cheese fanatic.  I keep dry cheese (powdered) and a variety of hard cheese.  It can sure change up a dish.*
  • Frozen veggies - all sorts.  Yes some things I like fresh and some I get canned or can myself - but nice to have a variety on hand.  I don't grow everything that I like
  • Broth, stock or bouillon - super necessary in my book!  I use for all sorts of things.  All types and flavors
  • Canned meats - I don't can meat myself (still scares me) - but I keep a nice assortment store bought on hand.  Beef, pork, ham, chicken and fishes and even Spam.  I will have meat even if the freezer doesn't.
  • Honey and molasses - can be used in so many ways.  Honey is essential to me for hot teas and toddies when feeling bad - I truly see honey as medicinal.  Molasses goes with sugar to make brown sugar.
  • Powdered milk - just makes sense.  Maybe fresh is not available - I can have milk at any time for drinking, cooking or baking.  I keep evaporated milk as well - it can be watered down for daily use
  • Spices - important to just jazz life up a little!!!!!!  Foods would get boring if they were bland all the time.  Add a little spice to your life!
  • Tortillas - can make or buy.  They last well on the shelf or freeze.  Not just for use as roll-up, but can sub as a snack food, bread or cracker.  Use as they are or crisp them up.  Very versatile and cheap!
  • Oats - not something I eat regularly. But I keep for baking, for an extender (meatloaf or meatballs), or can be ground into flour.  If I were hungry - you betcha I could eat them (jazzed a little)
  • Chocolate or cocoa.  I am not a chocoholic - so it isn't something I need or eat a lot.  I do keep on hand for baking and for flavoring.
  • Oils - whatever type you prefer.  I keep an assortment for daily use.
  • Pet food - this is a pantry staple for me.  Dry and wet food for the babes  
I also have water.  Jugs I fill myself for washing or flushing - plus I keep rain barrels in the warmer months.  I do refill my own bottles with tap for drinking.  It is important to rotate.  I have a filter as well.

These are my most basic needs.  With these items I can make about anything I could possibly want.  I will not go hungry.
Add things each time you go shopping.  You don't have to go crazy - just keep a little extra of everything.  Check you supplies before going out - IF you are down to 2 - figure you need to add more.  You don't want to run out.  That can change plans and it can cost extra money.

What other BASICS are important in your home?  
Look forward to hearing your needs.  It is always fun to be reminded or learn new things.

A stocked pantry makes for a happy life!


Times will get tough - we can be tougher!  Never give up!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Sunday Funday & Entertaining from the Pantry

 Just wanted to update you a little on the Sunday celebration get together.  I maybe just want to brag a little about my sweet family - yes, I do!  They are just the best.  We had such a great day together.  Laughter, stories, sharing, and just loving each other.  
After I brag for moment, then I will go on and tell you the menu and how I made a pretty good spread for all from what I had on hand!

I hope you can read this.  Click on the pic to enlarge.  I LOVE THIS!  They sure know how to make this gal feel loved.
Another sweet gift.  I just love my family so much.  I think maybe they like me a little!
My nephew made this vase/goblet by hand for me.  It started as a solid piece of mahogany, and he whittled and turned it on his lathe into this beautiful piece.  The picture does not do it justice.  It is gorgeous.

My little gr. gr nephew (he's 4) had an absolute ball watching the squirrels and birds.  We watched together from the bedroom window, and we went outside and watched.  He thought it was great that there were so many squirrels.  The laughter and the smiles - what a wonderful gift.

By the way - my niece was overwhelmed with her toothpick holder and her mom's little hankie, that were added to her gift bag.  She said she needed nothing else all year.  Her brother (who made the vase above) is going to make a frame for her, so she can frame the hankie.  That little hankie is about 75 years old.
*******************

Now the menu!
I made a big batch of very meaty chili.  I had everything I needed for that on hand.
We had sliced ham and cheese variety and summer sausage (from my stock).  Many types of crackers - saltines, Triscuits, Cheese-its, and oyster crackers.  Pickles, olives, sliced cukes, sugar pea pods and cherry tomatoes.
I only bought slider buns and cherry tomatoes.  The pea pods I found that same day on clearance.
I made tea, had fruit juice, milk, and cold water on hand.  I made bags of ice over the week.
We had the snack mix, brownies and cookies for sweets.  There was also a bowl of clearance snack-bite candy bars I had purchased after Halloween.  

Basically, my outlay of funds was probably around $5 or $6.  Everyone ate and ate - and I have leftovers for my week and for the freezer.  You sure can't beat that.
I love having my freezer and pantry to help me in any given situation.  It is nice to know that a good and tasty meal can be put together with what is on hand.
I could have done any number of items - but chose this.

Keep working those pantries and freezers.  Get those clearance and mark-downs.  They sure come in handy - not just for company but for daily eating.
Have a wonderful Tuesday!!!!!!!



Never stop learning and seeing opportunities