Sunday, July 26, 2015

Frugal Happenings 7/26

Hi there boys and girls!  Hope you have all had a great week!
This week we have finally had sunshine and several days straight with no rain!  I got to do some much needed yard work this week.  Of course along the way, I managed to get poison on the lower part of my face and under my chin!  Can we say itchy?????  I have been using my coal tar soap and aloe which is really helping.

Mosquitos have been fierce around here, because of all the moisture we have had.  If you go out around 5PM or after - you get eaten up.  On another note, we have such an abundance and variety of bees and butterflies it's not funny.  I have a lot of perennials that they both love as well as all the veggies, so we are blessed with many helpful and pretty insects this year.

I have been doing all my normal things this week.  Other fugal happenings at our house were:
  • Canned 14 pints of sweet relish
  • Had about 3 days of no AC
  • Picking and eating lots of fresh veggies.  Starting to get beans and lots of tomatoes!!!!
  • Stayed home 5 out of 7 days
  • Line dried more laundry
  • Meals from home
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Was gifted half dozen ears of fresh corn - and sent them cukes and zukes (I love barter)
When making my relish I got to use the food processor part of the Ninja.  I got that as a gift last year for Christmas and hadn't had an opportunity to use the food processor.  WOW - is all I can say.  I chopped enough veggies for 14 pints in probably the time I would have hand chopped one fifth that many.  It was wonderful!  Sure a time saver.  I am anxious to make salsa now!
I will definitely be using it for other things now.

I still haven't captured the ground hog.  I have baited the trap with all his 'favorite' things (according to the internet).  Well, I guess he hasn't read the internet!  He has a cafeteria of goodies in the yard, so he aint worried about no stinking trap!!!!!! 
I even tried the weird things it said.  Like - they hate used cat litter!  REALLY?  How did they figure that out?  Well I scattered 20 lbs. of 'used' under the deck - didn't work.  I got moth balls to put around the plants he's eating - keeping my fingers crossed on that one.  I am really trying to do this without hurting it.

This coming week looks to be filled with various canning projects.
Hope you all have a great week ahead.
Stay cool and stay frugal my friends!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Faux Pineapple

There was interest in this recipe, so I will share for all to have.

4 quarts (16 cups) peeled, grated or cut zucchini
1 1/2 C. ReaLemon juice
1 can (46 oz.) unsweetened pineapple juice
3 C. sugar

Remove peeling and seeds from the zucchini and grate if you want to make "crushed" pineapple, or cut into wedges if you want "chunk" pineapple.
Mix all ingredients together and simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir frequently.
Pour hot mixture into sterilized, hot jars, leaving 1/2" head space.
Process 30 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Use as a substitute for pineapple in cooking.

I have made chunk faux pineapple before.  I liked it in pie and in cooking projects.  Didn't like it 'raw' as well.  I think I will be making "crushed" pineapple this year with some of the OOPS big zucchini!  It will be great this winter for making sweet breads and muffins.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Zucchini Over Abundance????

It seems that every year either myself or someone I know is saying "what do I do with all this zucchini?"
As of today I have picked over 50 lbs. of the stuff (in one month).  I am not complaining.  Yes, I have 'gifted' a lot to family and neighbors.  I have canned pickles, and plan on making relish.  We probably eat it in some form 5 out of 7 days a week.

In the past I have made and canned 'faux' pineapple, made jam, and made 'mock apple' pies with it. I have frozen for bread and frozen sliced, canned in homemade spaghetti sauce - you name it!!!!
I make a lot of different stir fry meals and sautéed zucchini.  We love cream of zucchini soup.  I even made a zucchini taco salad the other night.  I used just a 1/2 lb. ground beef and added julienned zucchini - then taco seasoning.  That was the 'meat part' and topped with normal toppings.  It was yummy and very filling.
Zucchini 'spaghetti' has become a favorite of G's.  I use the mandolin and cut in slices about like linguine.  It takes no time to cook.  It's great with sauce on top.  We also like it raw in salad, and mixed with cukes and onions in a vinegar/sugar mix.
All this and not to mention - it's HEALTHY!

Here's a couple recipes you might like to try if you TOO have many zucchini to use.

3 C peeled and grated zucchini
1/2 C. lemon juice
1 - 3 oz. box strawberry/peach/or pineapple box of gelatin
3 C. sugar
Bring zucchini and lemon juice to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Add the gelatin and sugar.  Boil for 6 more minutes.  Pour into sterilized jars and seal the tops with paraffin. (DO NOT process)

I have never had 1 person realize that this contains zucchini!!!!  I recommend orange, strawberry or peach as, most of those would have some pulp in their jam.  Truthfully you could use any flavor you want.

ZUCCHINI FRITTERS - we had these the other night - YUM!
1 C baking mix
1 egg
3/4 C milk
1 med. zucchini grated (I left on peel)
Mix all together.
Cook in a heated pan or griddle like you would pancakes.  This made 12 - 2" fritters.
Serve with butter, sour cream or ketchup.
Makes a great side dish.

If you have any new ways to use zucchini, PLEASE let us know.  If you'd like the directions to any other method I mentioned, just ask.  I am always happy to share.

Signed, the zucchini guru! (as G calls me)  LOL

This has nothing to do with zucchini - just wanted you to SMILE today!  This is Momma, one of my outdoor kitties.  Isn't she pretty?  She looks as if she's saying "you woke me for this?"

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Frugal happenings 7/19

It is just amazing to me how quickly the weeks  fly by.  This past week has been busy and wet!  Same old story.  It appears that perhaps after tomorrow, maybe we may have some decent weather!

This week we had to have some work done on the Blazer - cheap it was not, but considering we don't have a car payment, didn't have to charge the work done, and the Blazer is basically a great vehicle, I consider it pretty frugal.  It's over and done - so good to go - at least for that issue!

My shin is still hurting - but not swelled any more.  The groundhog is still here.  He seems to like my broccoli plants - ugh!  I have the trap set, just no luck yet.

  • I bought 20 pounds of peaches for .57/lb. this week.  Put up 13 quarts of yumminess for this winter.  That is half the going rate around here.  Will definitely do it again, if I get the opportunity.
  • I bought 6 boneless chuck roasts for 2.99/lb.  Fantastic price here - haven't seen that price in years.
  • Got to line dry a couple loads of laundry this week.
  • Inventoried both the upright freezer and the chest freezer.  Everything is inventoried, organized neatly by product, and it's all written down!  I found many items that I had forgotten about - I will be trying to use those up soon.
  • Saved .30 a gallon on gas this week with my Kroger discount.  Most of my points were from double point days and free survey points.  The gas will last me a month.
  • All meals from home and from scratch.
  • Been picking lots of fresh veggies this week.  Had fresh veggies at every meal.
  • Only had to water the pots 1X this week and used rain water.
What were your frugal savings this week?  Come on kiddos - teach me some new tricks!
Have a great and wonderful week!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

This and that

Hey there everyone.  Hope your week is going well.  Mine has been quite a trip so far.  I promise I won't have many posts that say "this is what I did today" - as I don't find those too exciting to read and I am sure you don't either.

I was out driving this weekend and noticed the thermostat in Blazer was pegged HOT!  Crap.  I pulled over and called G.  He said we could get a tow truck - then I remembered AAA.  What a savings.  I am so glad I was in town where there people and buildings close by, instead of on the highway.  Got the Blazer home.
Called repair shop Monday - they came and got it.  Thank goodness I quit driving when I did, no damage to motor which would be hugely costly.  Still not cheap in my opinion, but better than a motor or buying another vehicle.  This has been a great vehicle, so I can't really complain.

Rain, rain and more rain Sunday through early Tuesday morning.  Back yard flooded again, as did all the neighbors.  Finally walkable today.  We had ferocious winds too.  Didn't help the tomato plants any.  Couldn't do anything till today for them.
Luckily nothing broke, they just bent over.  Got out today and staked many of the cages, and tied up what I could.  The cages are so heavy at this point, that many were leaning (ground is so soft).  Got everything grounded and hopefully good to go for a while.
Those plants are heavy with green tomatoes.  My oh my there are bunches of them.  I have a feeling the bulk will go ripe at the same time.  (not complaining)
I am slowly getting  one or two at a time right now.

The cukes are going crazy,  Those little devils hide in plain sight!!!!  I see just 3 or 4, then from a different angle see more and so on and so on.  Today I thought I had about 4 to pick and ended up finding 15!  Me thinks it's time to can again.

Today while I was out staking tomatoes up, I noticed the vines of the volunteer plants were getting wild.  Decided to use some branches that had fallen to prop them up.  I was pushing a Y shaped branch in ground (pretty easy), when it snapped and I went tumbling forward!  I hit my shin on the blocks on the stone bed about 3" below my knee.  It hurt, but just grazed the skin - so I thought.
Went on working and a while later I thought it must be bleeding as my jeans felt like they were sticking to it.  NOPE - it had swelled about soft ball size!  I looked like I had 2 knees!   It is doing better by icing it down.

Monday I walked out the back walk, and thought I saw the fattest squirrel  ever.  Hmmm - NOPE again.  It was a danged groundhog!  He hung around all day.  I sure don't want one of those around, they do damage and eat gardens!   Got the live trap out and baited it, and I guess he knew better than to hang around - he appears to be gone.  I hope he was just passing through!!!  That has happened once before.
I think I have MAGIC live traps.  LOL.  Every time I set them, whatever it was that I was trying to catch - disappears!  Works for me.

So that's been my week so far.  I sat here and reread this and had to laugh, as it all sounds rather comical now.  Hey, if you can't laugh at what life throws at you, it would sure be boring.
The journey we take daily is what makes life memorable.

Hope you are having a good week.  Stop, enjoy, and laugh!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Frugal Happenings 7/12

I am sorry I have been MIA this week.  We are fine and dandy, but boy what a week.  I thought it would be a quiet week - but not!

We have had rain 6 out of 7 days.  Today is pretty (storms early this morning), but more storms moving in tonight and going through Tuesday they say.
My weekly frugals;
  • Needless to say I haven't had to water anything this week.
  • Picking lots of fresh veggies - broccoli, zukes, cukes, peppers, and 4 tomatoes  WooHoo!!
  • Eating garden veggies every day.
  • Changed out our cable/home phone/internet to one company.  That is a savings of $60 per month.  With last weeks change out of cell plan, we will be saving $100 per month.  Not too snaggy!  They will also be sending us a $150 Visa gift card.
  • Meals from home
  • Canned 12 quarts of zesty Kosher zucchini pickle spears.  We love zucchini pickles - they stay crispy longer than cucumbers.
  • Kept leftover brine from pickles to use in the next batch.
  • When I stopped to get milk this week, I found 2 - 10 lb. bags of rice on clearance for 2.29/bag.  Bought both.  I filled a gallon glass jar with rice for the pantry.  The rest is in the freezer.

What did you do this week?  Let us know.
Have a wonderful week!!

The 3 R's

Howdy everyone.
We have talked about saving water from the rain, and from sink run off and brown water.
I have shown many ideas for re-using items in the yard and garden.
Today I am going to list a few ideas that many save a buck or two and helps prevent being wasteful.
  • Save the liquid from watermelons - from the rind or from the serving bowl.  Freeze it into ice cubes - it's great in tea! (any fruit juice is good in tea).  I have also frozen and used it with strawberries when making jelly.
  • Keep the peels from tomatoes when you are canning.  Put them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer.  Place in a 200* oven till dry (an hour or so).  Cool, then grind in blender and place in a sealed jar.  This is great for adding some extra tomato flavor to a dish.  There are also tons of nutrients in the skins.
  • If you are having a crowd for breakfast at home or camping - here's a trick to stretch a dozen eggs for scrambling.  Crack 12 eggs into a bowl, add seasoning, milk, and a crushed sleeve of crackers.  Whip up and fry.  No one will ever know there are crackers in them.  Cheese crackers are also yummy.  We used to do this all time when camping.
  • Citrus peels are great for many things.  Zest and place in freezer bags for use later.  Throw them in a pot of water on the stove for a great air freshener.  Throw a few down the garbage disposal for a fresh smelling kitchen.  They also make a great cleaner when mixed with vinegar.
  • All skins and rinds and veggie and fruit scraps can be composted OR blended with water and used on your garden plants for extra nutrients.
  • When canning with a water bath - when you are done with your last batch and need to throw out the water - carefully take the scalding pot of water outside and poor on weeds.  They pretty much die instantly (don't get on anything you don't want killed!)
  • Keep your TP tubes and drier lent.  Stuff the lent into the tubes and use as fire starters for either fireplace or campfire.
  • Keep you candle scraps (bottom of the jar), and use it in your melt pot.  I try to keep like scents (fall - summer - fruity, etc.) in baggies seperated.  I put a small piece in the melt pot and it smells lovely.  I sometimes make new candles with the scraps as well.  Mix a bunch off fall scents together - melt in double boiler - and pour into jar with a new wick.   You have a new candle with a designer scent!!!!
  • Most people use old t-shirts as rags.  I also cut them into 12" - 15" squares and use them as hankies.  They are so soft on the nose.  Washable - no waste.  I also cut some longer pieces about 4" wide to use as sweat bands when working in the yard.  Place them hippy style around your forehead and tie in the back of your hair.       T-shirts also make great quilts/throws.  Cut logos in 12" or so squares and sew together for a topper.  School shirts, athletic designs, religious shirts, etc.             T-shirt material is also great for tying up garden plants as it stretches.  Cut into strips and use to tie up tomatoes, etc.
  • If you have a dehumidifier - use that water in your laundry, or use to water outdoor plants.  DO NOT drink it or give to animals to drinks.  It is basically like distilled water.   You could also use it for flushing toilets or as the water in your water bath canner.
Hope some of these tips help you re-purpose, re-use, or recycle a few things and maybe save some pocket change!  Do you have any helpful hints to add?
I will try to do a post every week or so with helpful tips.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Geesh - the rain!

Ok I am officially over the rain!!!!!!  It started raining today about noon, and has poured since.  The water in the back yard is twice as bad as it was over a week ago.  It comes higher up in the yard and more neighborhood yards are totally involved.
The ground is still so saturated, there is just no where for it to go.  It's crazy.
I may have to build an ark for the kitties!!!

I also have huge concerns for our local farmers.  There were still 1,000's of acres of farmland under water at the end of last week.  This will probably be totally devastating to the farmers and their income, and for fresh produce from the area.  Red Gold tomato products come from Indiana, and I bet there won't be much made this year.

I am glad that I went out and picked produce before the rain started this morning.  I sure hope this doesn't mess up our garden.  It is looking absolutely gorgeous and producing so well.
Lord, please let it stop soon.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Frugal Happenings 7/5

Howdy everyone.  Hope you all had a great holiday weekend.  I imagine many of you had a short work week last week as well.  That was always nice.  Now, every weekend is a 7 day weekend for me!!!!!!!

This past week seems to have gone by so quickly, but they all do any more.  I kept busy this week and got a lot of small projects done.  Also got a lot of yard work done.
How was your week?

My frugal happenings for the week were:
  • Picking lots of fresh produce from the garden.  Broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and 5 cherry tomatoes!
  • All meals from scratch this week, and made great use of garden produce in meals
  • Bought fresh corn this week 12 ears/$2, and got more ground beef for the freezer at $2.49/lb.
  • Freezing more eggs
  • 8 out of past 9 days , didn't use AC
  • Fixed a couple old bird feeders, to get through this year with.  I may ask for new ones for Christmas
  • Got a FREE gallon of thistle seed with my punch card this week at feed store
  • Went to a dinner theater with my sis and nephew and his wife.  Wonderful food and a great play, all for FREE.  It was a new experience for me, and great to spend time with family - that was priceless.
  • Had to buy G a new cell phone, as his was about to puke.  Paid $14.99 (very basic) and the gal worked our cell bill down by $40 a month!!  She is my hero!
  • Got to line dry clothes again this week.
  • Watered when necessary with rain water.
Tell us about your week, and any special way you saved a little change for your pocket.  Love to get new ideas.
Have a great week everyone!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2015


I hope you all have an enjoyable and safe holiday.

I hope everyone takes time today to reflect on the bravery, selflessness, and tremendous courage of the men and women who have served this nation, past and present.  Many have given the ultimate sacrifice, so you and I can be FREE!
Please keep their families in your prayers as well.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It's all downhill!!!!!

Wow, here we are in July.  The year is half over now, and it's all downhill from here!
There will be lot's of good things going on in the next many months, but the year will be gone in the blink of an eye.

We still have all our canning and preserving of crops to do.  We have apples and pumpkins to look forward to, as well as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
I love the fall season.  It is always so pretty and the temps are usually just right!  But until then, I am sure going to enjoy the warmth of summer and all it's bounty too.

I know it's only July but it's time for all frugal boys and girls to start planning their Christmas gifts.
Many of us like to give homemade and home canned yummies.  It's time to make plans for those.  I like making what I call goody bags for family.  Re-usable bags with lots of home canned and specialty items.

Crafts are always on some peoples minds, and they take time.  Best get started now!
One year I made 4 patch work quilts and shams.

Many wonderful finds can be had at yard sales and flea markets.  Gifts for kids are always plentiful, and there are also many fun things to get adults for pennies on the dollar.
Kids do not care how much something costs or where it came from - odds are it won't last that long any way! (Or they will play with the box).
Adults shouldn't care about price or where gifts came from either.  A nice gift is a nice gift.

Think about gardening items.  Many things will be going into clearance soon.  Pots, seeds, planting dirt, new hand garden tools, bird feeders or houses, bird seed, etc.

Many stores have reward cards that earn you points for gas.  Kroger is currently doubling those gas points if you shop on certain days.  They are also having a 4X points for purchasing certain gift cards.  Gift cards also make nice holiday gifts.  Get them and earn extra points - win -win!

The more you plan and buy now, the less stressful your holiday season will be.  Many utilities go up in the winter and take our extra money, so now is the time to buy gifts and put them back for winter.

Let's all vow to have a FRUGAL and STRESS FREE Christmas!
Do have anything in the works yet?