Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Easy Foodie Fixes

We have all had that moment when we were in the middle of making a dish and OOPS were were out of something.  Oh no!!  That generally means someone makes a trip to the store. 
We all know how that goes - you need one thing - and a half of cart later..............

I am going to try to help.  I hope to make several posts over time to give you homemade remedies for those situations.  Thus, saving you from an extra trip to the store and saving a little money in the process!  Oh, and the bonus is - you know exactly what is in your version.

1 C Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp. finely minced onion
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Mix together and serve with any fish.

1/4 C oil
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 C chili powder    (I buy it in big bottles)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce ( or 1 C homemade)
1 1/2 C water
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion salt

Heat the oil and stir in the flour and chili powder.  Stir till you have a roux and it is lightly browned.  Add sauce, water and all other ingredients.  Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened.
Use any of your recipes

1 C water
1 C sugar
1 tsp. maple extract (or any flavor you wish)

Bring water and sugar to a slow boil.  Stir continually.  Once thickened - remove from heat.  Stir in extract as it is cooling.

1 1/2 - 2 C cooked leftover rice
2 oz. shredded cheese
1 egg

Mix all together and pat into a greased baking pan.  Bake at 425* for about 15 minutes.  Add any toppings you wish.  Cooked meats, leftover veggies,  cheese,  whatever you want on top.  I use less eggs with this than I do with traditional quiches, as the crust makes your 'pie' very filling.

For those times you need a fix for your toast or biscuits and have no jelly on hand

Cut up on orange with the skin on.
Place in a blender with 1 Tbsp. of water.  Blend to the consistency you want.
Pour into a pan with 1/2 cup sugar and boil about 15 minutes.  (Watch it and stir frequently)
Cool and refrigerate. 

There you go.  Easy-peasy fixes for your frugal kitchen.  Avoid those extra grocery store trips and save a little bit of money in the process.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Frugal Happenings 1/29

WOW, here we are at the end of another month.  I guess it's true - time flies when you're having fun!!  LOL

We started out our week with upper 60's and the rest of the week was essentially winter!  We had cold winds, light snow, and a little sleet.  Lot's of gloomy dark, cloudy days here.  When we get to see some sunshine the day seems absolutely splendid!  The dark days of January will be over soon.

I found out last night that one of the houses next door to us got rented.  The new folks will be moving in at the end of February.  I sure hope they will be good neighbors.  It is really scary not knowing. 

It has been pretty quiet around here this week.  The house on the other side of us got their wood floors redone this week - and we were the go to place for the key.  It kept the owner's mom from having to come all the way across town each day.  He is still working in Africa.  I got to see a picture of the floors and they look really nice.  Hope they look as nice in person (for their sake).  Hopefully that house will be rented before spring.

My frugal week:
  • Baked a ham I got cheaply around Christmas.
  • Ate on the ham and then cut it up and put much in freezer
  • Made a 'dump cake' using cherry pie filling and home canned pineapple.
  • Had one more day of no heat and airing out house at first of week
  • Made a pot of baby lima and ham soup
  • Had a lovely dinner from Outback for our 31st anniversary.  We actually got 2 dinners out of it.  It was purchased with gift cards and was FREE to us.
  • Received more address labels and a note pad FREE in the mail
  • Received another magazine in the mail that I didn't order. (someone must have sent as a gift)
  • Did some mending
  • Working on a plan to remake some clothing items
  • Brought TP, nuts, peanut butter, coffee, sweetener and home canned fruit upstairs to replenish the pantry
  • Went out one day and purchased 2 gallons of milk for 1.29 ea., 6 pounds of baby carrots for .49/lb., 3 - 2 1/2 lb. boxes of multi purpose baking mix on clearance for 1.39 ea. (can't make my own that cheap), and 10 lbs. of potatoes for 2.99.  We have no sales tax on edible items, so my total was $12.68 this week!
  • Doing all my normal stuff

Meals this week - didn't have to cook a lot because of leftovers!
Sliced ham and Au Gratin potatoes and green beans
Lima/ham soup
Outback dinner
Leftovers from Outback
Leftover soup and garlic toast
Homemade pizza (2X) and salad

Snacks this week were - eating on the dump cake several times, apples and peanut butter, Chex Mix, and a nice homemade ice cream sundae

I had hoped to really curb my grocery spending this month and pretty much live off the pantry and I did.  My total spent on groceries (for humans) for January was $34.96!!!!!!!  WOOHOO!!!
I don't know how February will go, but I don't think there will be any reason to spend a lot then either.  We have plenty and we need to use the older items up.  Having our stockpile has been such a blessing.

How has your week been?  Did you get any good deals?   What has everyone been up to?
I hope you each had a good week, and I pray your coming week will be full and happy. 
May you all stay healthy and sane in this crazy world!!!!!!!
God bless.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

Poor old Mother Hubbard had to feed so many - with what she had.
Someday that could possibly happen to any one of us.  Unfortunately none of us have a crystal ball to predict the future. 

Will jobs end and salaries be gone?
Will illness or misfortune sadly happen to you and yours?
Will retirement as you know it suddenly end or lessen?
Will we have a time when we can't get to stores or when stores won't have stock?
Will prices just continue to go up? (NO need for a crystal ball for that answer).
The questions just go on.....and on..... and on........

I know this subject has been covered here before and many other blogs cover it - but if someone just getting started on the frugal bandwagon should check in - this may be a life saver.
We all need reminders, and folks just starting out need guidelines.

With the following ingredients you could survive and cook for your family.  It may not be a 5 Star meal, but it would be a meal and would fill your belly.  That is what IMPORTANT when times are tough.

  • Canned tomatoes and tomato products - can be added to or made into soups and casseroles.  Can even be eaten with fresh veggies if you have them.   Very versatile.
  • Beans - canned or dried - beans are easily used in all sorts of things, they are filling, and they are high in protein.  If no meat is available - beans will help fill in.
  • Bouillon - at least beef and chicken.  This can give the blandest food flavor
  • Canned meats - chicken, little hams, tuna, mackerel, salmon, beef, corned beef, etc.  Keep the ones your family likes on hand.  You may have a time when there is no electricity - therefore no refrigeration.  If you can and have a pressure canner - study up and canning your own meat.  It may come in real handy some day.
  • Oatmeal - this can be eaten as a breakfast food, but it can be mixed with meats to extend them (as well as casseroles), snacks can also be made.  It can be ground into flour if need be.  It is extremely filling.
  • Peanut butter - is so high in protein and it is very filling.  This can be added to main dishes, breakfast dishes, snacks, or as flavoring in meats or soups
  • Lentils - these are great for extending any soup or casserole.  Very nutritious.  Lentils can even be made into burgers as a meat replacement or used as a dip for fresh veggies (if available)
  • Bread or the ingredients to make bread - bread does not HAVE to have yeast to be bread.  Flat breads, biscuits, muffins or tortillas are all choices.  Try to keep flour or some type of ground grains on hand.
  • In my opinion - other items that would make life easier in a SHTF scenario - would be pastas and rice.  These items can extend any dish to make more servings and they can be eaten alone.
  • Seasoning - salt, pepper, herbs, sugar, HONEY - these can all make a simple bland dish more palatable.  
These are the basics of what we should ALL have a stockpile of.  Hopefully you can garden in the good months - and can  surplus for winter.  Gardening doesn't have to be a huge undertaking.  You can have fresh garden veggies planted in pots, along flower beds, in fence rows, etc.
Fruit trees and berry plants are nice to have in your yard.  If you have none - now is the time to plant - in a few years you will have fresh fruit.

Learn to barter!!!!  You gain various food  items, fresh or canned, for trading your skills or products.  Barter is great for those items you have too much of to gain items you have little of.

Books - we all need to have a variety of how to books available.  Cookbooks, herb books and canning books are wonderful to have on hand.

I hope your Mother Hubbard's cupboard won't be bare if an emergency situation should arise.  Start now, if you haven't already, getting a nice pantry/stockpile built up.  It truly may SAVE your life.
You don't have to go crazy all at once.  Start by adding a few items at a time.  Watch for sales, clearance and coupon matches to get the items as cheaply as possible.
Make sure to rotate items and use the oldest - and continue to add to it every time you shop.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Versatile and Inexpensive - RICE

We eat a lot of rice at our house.  There are so many ways it can be used, so many types of rice available, and it is reasonably inexpensive!

I add rice to a lot of soups and casseroles.  It really stretches the meal, allowing for more servings and it is so filling.
G loves plain rice for breakfast.  He like to add butter and maybe something sweet (sugar or syrup) on top.
Rice pudding is an easy recipe to make - although it is not something we have here.
Homemade fried rice is ever so easy to make.
We love it with stir fry meals.
We are huge fans of seasoned and flavored rice.
We love using it in homemade gumbo.  It is also great to use in a nice bowl of chili (a dollop of rice under or on top of chili = YUM).
There just isn't any limit to the ways to use rice.

Here are some of our favorites:

We love dirty rice (rather spicy flavored rice) - I do have a recipe I got years ago from a friend who owned a bar.  He served it there.  It makes a huge amount - so I tend to buy the dirty rice mix at the store.  Zatterain's brand is very good - but we LOVE Aldi's brand and it is .99/box!  This is one of our favorite meals (we add sausage or ground beef to it).

SEASONED RICE MIX (like Rice-A-Roni)
2 C uncooked rice
1 C broken (small pieces) spaghetti (a plastic bag and a hammer works!)
1/4 C parley flakes
6 Tbsp. instant  chicken or beef bouillon powder
2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried thyme

Mix it all together and store in an airtight container.
Mix 1 cup of mix with 2 tablespoons butter and 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender.  This is equivalent to one box.
**You can omit spaghetti pieces and just use all rice (3 cups) if you just want a seasoned rice mix. 
ADD veggies or meat if desired!
(Make the mix and store in the pantry - you are always ready for an easy and inexpensive side dish)

3 cans red beans    (approx. 6 cups of home cooked beans)
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
1/4 c water
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 garlic salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. bacon grease or lard
1/4 tsp. pepper
Cooked long grain rice for serving

Drain 2 cans of beans (or 4 C), add water, spices, smoke and grease and place in a food processor and pulse for about 4 seconds.  You want it chopped yet the liquid thick.  Drain and add the other can of beans and pulse for about 2 seconds.  Some beans will be practically whole.
Heat and stir frequently while heating.
Serve over cooked rice.   YUM
(we love this)

1 C white rice

1 small onion, chopped
2 (15 ounce) cans dark red beans or 4 C cooked kidney beans
2 (15 ounce) cans dice tomatoes
garlic salt to taste
oregano and basil to taste
Prepare rice.  In a skillet with a cover sauté onion until translucent.  Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat until bubbly, stirring occasionally.  Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve over rice.  Top with grated cheese if desired.

This is definitely an item that should be kept in all pantries.  I store mine in gallon glass jars and it lasts and lasts.  Rice and pasta are probably the 2 most versatile ingredients that you can keep on hand, to add to or stretch a meal.

Do you have any special rice recipes that you would like to share?  We'd love to have them!
RICE - it's what's for dinner!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Frugal Happenings 1/22

Hello everyone.  I hope all are doing well.
I must apologize for being sort of AWOL this week.  It just seems that I got caught up in life and keeping very busy.  It was all good, so there is nothing wrong.

I got to take a 'tour' of the house next door that has been remodeled.  It is looking very nice, compared to what it was.  I had to laugh when I was telling G about it - it's nice, but it 'wouldn't do' for me.  I just saw so many things that didn't seem complete in my eyes.  I guess we all have our ideals.  BUT, it is a world better that it was - the FOR RENT sign is out - so here's hoping for good neighbors!!

Our weather has been so mild for January.  Yesterday was 67* and sunny.  Sun is something we have been lacking so it was wonderful to see.  I aired out the house a bit and turned off any heat.
January seems to be our gloomiest month of the year.  At least our daylight hours are getting lengthier!

I noticed yesterday that there are daffodils, lilies and peonies sticking out of the ground by about an inch!  Our trees and bushes are getting buds.  Those may come to an end by the end of the week, when temps get back to normal.

My frugal week:
  • Laundry in cold
  • Made flavored coffee for G several times - adding chocolate/caramel candies to coffee and sometimes adding hot chocolate mix to it
  • Cut my hair.  G passed this time
  • bringing up groceries from the basement instead of grocery shopping
  • Cooking from scratch
  • Checked out all our gift cards (some are old).  My oh my they totaled up to $504 of restaurant eating!!!!!!  I checked them all out with the restaurants and they are all good.  I also came across 8 FREE complete car wash tickets!  WOOHOO
  • Watching You Tube and DVR'd shows
  • I did LOTS and LOTS of small projects.  You know those things we all put off even though they would only take 15, 20, 30 minutes to do!  I finally did a ton of them!!  I felt accomplished.
  • I did run to Meijer for cat products (animal and medical items have their own budgets and do not count in grocery).  They had 10 lb. bags of cat litter 11/$10!  YAY.  The cheapest I can normally get 20 lb. bags is $3.29.  Nice savings.  I also got 72 cans of wet cat food.
  • Stopped at Big Lots on a whim.  Walked in and found a clearance cart.  I got 5 cans refried beans, 4 cans baked beans and 3 boxes of crackers for $4.35!
$4.35 worth of groceries!  great for the stockpile.
  • I then stopped at the Christian thrift store to check out some FREE bread for the critters.  I looked around and found 2 - 70's era Corelle plates.  G thinks our "fiestaware like" dishes are too heavy.  I got both dishes for a total of $1.07 (includes tax).  Perfect for when it's just the 2 of us.

  • I have started re-reading the Tightwad Gazette again for the umpteenth time!  It always gets my inspired again.
Meals this week:
Homemade cheesy/mac/tomato/beef casserole
Leftover casserole and salad
Pork chops, green beans (garden), leftover red beans and rice
Tuna salad sandwiches, chips, and homemade pickles
Homemade veggie fried rice
Leftover rice and steak burgers
Sloppy Joes and oven fries (end of fresh potatoes)

Ate off the apple crisp several times,  ate fresh apples with peanut butter, and many gifted items for snacks. 

I have a ham going in the oven today and will probably make some sort of dessert.
I plan on doing some crafting in this coming week!  That's my plan - generally I go down look at supplies and come back upstairs!! LOL.  Sometimes it is just hard to get motivated.
I hope to get back on schedule with the blog this week as well.

How was your week?  Did you have any good finds or savings?
What kind of crafting projects have y'all been working on?

Take care my friends.  God bless each of you and God bless America!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My Frugal Kitchen

Waste not want not!
I truly believe this statement and live by it.  I was taught this concept as a child, as it was a necessary to survive.
Today I feel it is just the RIGHT thing to do and it is necessary to THRIVE!

We wouldn't just drive down the street and randomly throw dollar bills out the window - so why are we randomly throwing dollar bills into the trash?

Here are some of MY frugal kitchen ways!

  • I make our own tea and we often make flavored tea as well.  I can use fruit juice added to a glass, or Kool-aid, or herbs.  I make a gallon of tea at a time (2X a week).  Buying bottled flavored teas can cost a small fortune over a year.
  • We use insulated mugs and glasses for our drinks.  It keeps them cold longer and there are no un-necessary bottles to throw away. 
  • Coffee is made at home.  G is the coffee drinker, and likes to have different flavors from time to time.  I use flavored non-dairy creamers (we often make our own).    I also sometimes add a couple Hershey kisses or some other chocolate or caramel candy to the cup before adding coffee.  Drop a mint in the cup.  Pumpkin spices can be sprinkled over the top, or add a dash of vanilla or hazelnut or walnut extract, or eggnog.   No need to pay $4 or $5 a day for a special coffee.  ONE CUP A DAY CAN ADD UP TO $1,040 - $1,300 A YEAR (5X A WEEK)!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That is a huge savings!
  • We filter our own water and refill our own insulated bottles.  I refuse to buy water at the store.  I spend about $12 a year for filters.
  • Even when we worked - we had breakfast from home (or took it with us) and lunches from home.  I made up sausage biscuits, scrambled egg burritos, mini quiches, oatmeal put in our own microwavable bowls, granola bars, etc.  Leftovers became lunches or we took sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, homemade cookies, self packed chips (buy a big bag and re-package yourself).  I also took my own drinks.   Lunch  can be as much as $10 a day - 5 days a week = $2,600 a year!
  • Eating out is fun and a nice change once in a while.  If you want to go out and have a celebratory dinner of some sort - think about going before 4PM - meals are usually cheaper.  ALSO hopefully you can use gift cards, or find coupons for B1G1, or even go to a buffet.      Any time you can - get a doggy bag to bring home leftovers!         IF YOU HAVE KIDS - make sure you find a place where kids eat FREE!!!!!!!
  • Make your own spice blends - they can be make specifically to your tastes.
  • Soups, stews and casseroles are huge go-to meals at our house.  I can use leftovers, less meat, and just throw all kinds of stuff together.  It lasts for more than one meal.  Potatoes, pasta or rice are used a fillers - therefore being able to use less meat.  You also know there are no nasty added ingredients (preservatives) and you control the salt.
  • I use the crockpot a lot - so I can buy less expensive cuts of meat.  They ALWAYS get tender when cooking in the crockpot.
  • Make your own salad dressings, tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, etc.
  • I keep the crumbs from cereal, cookies, brownies, etc. in a Mason jar.  These sweet bits are great on ice cream or over pudding.  They can also be added to sweet breads.
  • I keep crumbs from any type of salty, savory treat in another jar.  These are great to use as topping on casseroles or in breading of meats or fish or veggies.
  • I make our sweets from home.  Cookies, sweet breads, brownies, cakes, etc.  So easy and cheaper to make at home.
  • Make a large bowl of pudding or Jello and then portion out into individual containers for the kids treats or for your lunches.

I guess I just can't fathom waste.  There is another use for everything, if we just take the time to think about it.  If I can save money - I am all for it.  Pennies saved make dollars.  Dollars saved make payments or savings accounts!!! 
The money we saved  over our working years help pay off bills, mortgage and car.

I am sure I will think of more ideas over time and I will share when I do.  How about you?  What ways do you save dollars from your kitchen?


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Frugal Happenings 1/15

Happy, happy Sunday everyone.
I hope you are all well and doing good.  We are great and have had an especially quiet week on the home front.

The weather has been all over the place this week.  We went from frigid temps to almost 70*.  We had rain, 50 mph wind, hail, thunder storms, ice and light snow, all in the past 7 days.  It sure has been a roller coaster!!  Temps this coming week are to go back up to the 40's and 50's with rain.  Our winter sure has been mild to say the least.
I know many of you have had to deal with unusual weather events this week as well - some not being as lucky as we were!

I sure have been enjoying watching the squirrels and birds.  This morning there were 14 squirrels in the backyard at one time.  I walk out to the back walk and about half of them come running up to me, looking for a treat!  They are just too cute.
We had a ROBIN at the bird bath this week!!!!  What a shock to see - as they stay gone all winter around here.  I am not sure if the poor baby was lost, or if it knows something we don't about Spring!

My uneventful frugal week:
  • Got a .20/gallon discount on gas
  • Bought 2 gallons of milk for a total of $3.18 (1.59/gal)
  • Got an email from the orchard about their pre-season closing.  B1G1 offer on apples - no matter what size you buy - 5 lb., 10lb., bushel, etc.  I don't need to can any more this year - but I did go buy 2 - 10 lb. bags for eating.  Price $14.75 for 20 lbs. of apples!
  • Been snacking on fruit and cheese/beef sticks/crackers that we have
  • Made an apple/peach crisp - YUM
  • Made a big pot of vegetable beef soup
  • Watching shows and documentaries on Netflix and You Tube
  • Doing all the normal stuff - making tea, filtering water, fixing meals from scratch with what we have, air drying laundry, etc.
  • Eating all leftovers for either lunch or breakfast (we aren't real picky)
  • Stayed home a lot - which saves money!!!!  NO TEMPTATIONS!
Meals this week:
Homemade individual flat bread chicken pizzas with all kinds of extra goodies on top
Kraut (leftover from Rueban day) with hotdogs and mashed potatoes
Homemade  vegetable beef soup with bread/butter (2X)
Home fried fish sandwiches and baked beans
Homemade red beans/rice, chicken strips and biscuits
Leftover biscuits with sausage gravy and scrambled eggs

So far this month I have spent ONLY $17.93 on groceries!  I think I am doing pretty darn good on my no spend month!  (Sure beats spending $40-50 per week).   How have you been doing on your grocery budget for the month?

How has your week been?  Were you prepared for the nasty weather that many of you got?  I hope no one had to do the "milk/bread" fight at the groceries this past week! 
Isn't it crazy how panicky people get?  It's like they think they will be trapped for weeks on end!  No matter how much they bought this past week - they would do it again this week if the weatherman gave the same predictions!!!! 
It is so nice being prepared for whatever comes our way.  I LOVE THE PANTRY!!!!!
Had I not bought fresh milk on Monday - I would have just used my shelf stable milk from the pantry.

Check in and let us know what is going on!  Love hearing from you all.
God bless and have a wonderful week ahead.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Treats for the New Year

Here we are again at that time of the year that we all THINK about losing a few pounds.  The holidays and the yumminess of the food and treats can be brutal on our waistlines.  If you are like us, we are finally getting to the end of the special treats that we have had around the house.  Those that we haven't eaten have gone into the freezer!

It is now time to start eating better and having healthier snacks.  We don't ever NOT have snacks - because then it seems that you are depriving yourself - and that in turn makes us want more!
So we try to eat healthy snacks.

We love fresh fruit.  Yes, fruit still has calories, but it is better than eating so many sweets.
If we have the ingredients on hand - we love to eat a small salad for a snack.

3 mashed ripe bananas
1/3 C applesauce
2 C oats
1/4 C almond milk (or reg. if that is what you have)
1/2 C raisins or craisins (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
Mix, drop by spoonful and bake at 350* for 15 to 20 minutes
These are healthy and absolutely NO sugar or flour!

We make these from time to time.  I get the 4 packs of low calorie yogurt on clearance once in a while, and when I do we freeze and make yogurt pops.  They freeze pretty darn hard - so it does take a while to eat one (which is a good thing).
Insert popsicle sticks (we scald and re-use).  Freeze till hard.  YUM

1 1/2 C pineapple
1 banana
1 1/2 C coconut milk (I have used reg. milk)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Blend and freeze.  You can freeze in popsicle molds or re-use your yogurt containers. 
I am thinking you could also substitute peaches for the pineapple.  Experiment with your favorite fruits.

10-12 eggs
1/2 C milk
1/2 C shredded cheese (your fav)
ANY pieces of ham, sausage, beef, etc. that you have on hand.  Approx. a cup of your choice of veggies diced - onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, etc.
Salt and pepper to taste
This is a great dish to use up all your leftovers!

Mix everything together and bake in a lightly greased 8 x 8 pan at 400* for 50-55 minutes (until the middle is set).
This makes a great healthy alternative for dinner with a salad (very filling) - or you can cut into sections and have an easy breakfast alternative as well.  Great to take with you and heat up at work.
So much healthier than stopping and getting fast food and cheaper too!

I hope this gives you some ideas for healthy eats that shouldn't hurt the waistline or the budget!
Do you have any HEALTHY yet FRUGAL treat suggestions?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Health and Beauty Frugality

We all talk at the beginning of the year (every year) about how we need to get healthier, exercise and eat better.  WE ALL KNOW WE NEED TO DO THESE THINGS!
We eat pretty healthy for the most part (except at the holidays), and considering G's physical ailment, we are both pretty darn healthy. 
I DO NOT like to exercise at all!!!!!!!  I consider doing housework a form of exercise - I do go up and down the basement stairs a lot.  I love working in the garden and yard when the weather permits.  That is great exercise - lot's of bending, lifting, digging, tugging, pulling, squatting, etc.
I spend at least an hour every day in the fresh air - regardless of how hot or cold it is.  Then there is snow shoveling!
I drink lots of water and watered down fruit juices (they have lot's of calories too).

There are lot's of ways to get into shape without paying the expense of gym.
WORK OUT AT HOME!  You can do all the things I mentioned above, or you can increase your exercise with things that you have around the house.

*If you have any stairs at all - you have the same thing as a stair master.  You just use two or three of the stairs and briskly go up and back down (backwards) in many repetitions.  Great cardio and works on your legs.
*Use canned food for weights if you have no weights.  Start with 15 oz. can and do lifts and such, and then gradually work your way up to larger juice cans.
*Get a big heavy plastic kids ball - there are so many exercises you can do with it.  Leg lifts, arm exercises, belly exercises, etc.
*A heavy kitchen chair works well for working on squats, and doing half push-ups.
*Use the handle of the broom when doing toe touches.  Hold the broom in both hands - bend to touch broom handle to floor - rise.  Repeat.

There is no limit to the number of exercise you can do at home with what you have.  NO need what so ever to spend the money on a gym. 

*Do all your manicures and pedicures at home yourself.
*Take care of your own eyebrows
*Do you own facials.  There are all kinds of "recipes" on the computer to make homemade facial scrubs.  My favorite is a little brown sugar and honey mixed together.  I scrub my face with it - let it sit for 5 minutes - and wash off with warm water.  I do this 2X a month.  It makes your skin feel so soft. 
*I use coconut oil as skin lotion. (We also use it to cook with and in baking recipes) 
*Aloe Vera gel (99% pure) is wonderful.  It is wonderful for any skins abrasions.
*Tooth whitening - mix into a paste peroxide and baking and brush.  I use this once a week.  Use salt water as a mouth rinse - it's very healing.
*Shampoo - should always be watered down.  Hair experts will tell you that there is no way that we need so much chemical on our hair.
*Rain water or vinegar is great for conditioner.  It's natural and makes your hair soft. 
Mayonnaise is a great conditioner too.  Put a little on wet hair, wrap in plastic, and let it set for several minutes - rinse out well.
*Highlight your hair with lemon juice and sun
*Soften feet by soaking in a nice warm foot bath with Listerine added.  It totally "melts" the hard callus skin.  Soak, use a pumice stone lightly, and dry dead skin is gone.
*Lip gloss - first you can use just plain old coconut oil.  You can also melt a little oil and add the 'crumbs' from deep down in a lipstick tube - stir - and you have colored lip gloss.  I have made my own for years.

When your lipstick gets so low in a tube that you can't use it - use a lipstick brush or Q-tip to get all the color, before throwing it away.

Compacts or blush get low, and there is just a ring of powder or blush around the edges.  I have 2 separate small containers that I use to scrape all the powder (or blush) into.  Use it as loose powder.  There is no sense in wasting the product that you pay so much for.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FRUGAL TIPS for your health and beauty regime?
We are all always wanting to learn new things that we can do with the items we have at home.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Frugal Happenings 1/8

Happy Sunday morning my friends.  I hope you are all healthy and staying warm and safe.
There has been a lot of very nasty winter weather going on it different parts of the country this week.  There have been places that rarely see snow getting lots of it!

We started the week quite warm for January, then the temps went frigid.  We only got a couple inches of snow earlier on the week - but the air was feeling quite brutal.  We are currently up to 4* and will see the 20's today (that will be a first for a few days).  It is supposed to get back into the 40's and 50's this coming week.  We have had a relatively mild winter, and we are just getting closer to spring daily!  I  am not complaining at all!

How has your first week of January gone?  Are you starting the year by staying frugal?
Here's a look at my week:
  • Changed the furnace filter on the 1st with one I had here
  • Marked up and put up my new calendar that I got for a $1. (My free calendars are no more - the place I got them is now gone).
  • Started a new notebook/journal for 2017.  It was one I had on hand.
  • G found a bunch of holiday movies on You Tube that we did not see on TV this year - so we watched those at the first of the week.
  • G also found a series that he is now enjoying on Netflix - finally using it more.  I found several documentaries that I have been watching and saving for future watching.
  • I dehydrated 2 bunches of celery that needed to be used
2 big bunches of celery dried equals one half of a jelly jar when done!  LOL  Amazing!!

  • No groceries bought at all.  No money spent.
  • I ran to WM to pick up a new script for G on Jan.7 ($0 co-pay).  This was the first time I left the property since 12/29.  STAYING HOME SAVES MONEY!!!!!
  • Replenished pantry from items stored in basement
  • Been drinking lots of water and using the Soda Stream to make carbonated water for fruit juice drinks
  • Put away (in the freezer) LOTS of chocolate that we received for future enjoyment
  • Gave myself a great spa night at home.  Had a lovely soak (used Epsom salts in water), gave myself a much needed foot treatment/pedi and a homemade facial.  So relaxing.
  • Used some potatoes that were getting older to make potato soup
  • Used all leftovers in new ways
  • Made leftover black eyed peas into my own version of Hoppin' John (it was great).  Added cooked ground sausage, hot peppers, onion and salsa.
  • Actually did some reading this week!
  • Moved snow off drive once this week for a bit of cadio exercise
Meals this week:
Corned beef, cabbage, black eyed peas on NY day
Rueban sandwiches with leftover corned beef and homemade sauerkraut (these were awesome)
Hoppin' John served over rice (balance of mix went in freezer to add to soup later on)
Double stuff tacos (2X)
Potato soup (2X)

My double stuffed tacos.  Soft shell - melted cheese - hard shell and taco stuffing.  They were so filling and YUM!

Well, that has been my uneventful week!  It is pretty quiet around here.  I have also been enjoying feeding and watching the birds and squirrels in the back yard.  My outdoor kitties come out and sun in the afternoons - but stay in the greenhouse (on their warming bed) a lot in this kind of weather.
The indoor kitties are just being cute lounging around the house.  Pooty loves laying by the floor register - I guess ALL us older gals like to stay warm!

Please check in and let us know how your year is starting out.  Stay healthy and frugal my friends.
God bless each of you.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Kitchen Frugality

We all know all the standard ways to be frugal in our kitchens.  We are reminded some where, some how almost daily!

Grown your own and can and preserve - it's economical and healthy
Eat what is in season - it's economical and healthy
Eat smaller servings - it's economical and healthy
Eat less meat and less carbs - it's economical and healthy
Cook from scratch - it's economical and healthy
Hmmmmmm - I am sensing a  theme going on there!

These aren't the only rules to follow.  There are many ways to save money and have a frugal kitchen.
BUT ALSO REMEMBER - NO rules are meant for everyone!  Every family is different - and we all have to come up with our own plans.  We are NOT competing with one another - we are trying to do the best we can with what we have for our own particular family unit.
So pick and choose what works for you.

MEAL PLANNING - lot's of people plan their meals ahead a week or two at a time.  This has never worked for me.  I fix what I am in the mood for!  I cook with what I have.  
You can plan meals from your pantry and/or freezer.  You can plan according to what sales are.  There are no steadfast rules.

PANTRY/FREEZER ORGANIZATION - I do believe this is very important.  If you can't see or find what you have - you can't feasibly figure out what to cook.  If you intend on using your pantry/freezer for meals - keep them organized!!  It DOES save money in the long run.

COUPONS - SALES - If you use coupons (yes, you can save money) - make sure you combine them with sale prices to save even more.

BUY WHAT YOU WILL EAT - don't buy things just because it is a good deal.  IT'S NOT if your family won't eat them.

EAT WHAT YOU BUY - Make sure you use the foods you preserve and the ones you bring into the house regularly.  Don't be wasteful

ROTATE STOCK - make sure you have your oldest inventory to the front.  Use that first then go on the more recent purchases.  Also REMEMBER - "Use by dates" are just that - dates.  Generally they are informing you that the product is of the best quality if used by a certain date. It doesn't mean the product magically goes bad on that day!!!!!

EAT TO LIVE - don't live to eat.  Overeating is not only unhealthy - it's expensive.    Eat well balance meals. and stop when you are satisfied - not when you feel like exploding!

KEEP OFTEN USED ITEMS close at hand.  Whether it be everyday cooking utensils, appliances, or coffee or seasonings, etc.  - if you use it daily - keep it close to your prep area.  it makes cooking easier and more enjoyable.  Thus you will cook from home more often (frugal)

LEFTOVERS - I hear so many people say they don't eat leftovers.  My response is generally "Holy Cr*p" - we wouldn't eat a lot if it weren't for leftovers.  Re-invent them into new dishes!
EX:  I fixed black eyed peas for NY Day (dried peas).  I made a pound.  Next day I made my own version of Hoppin' John (added sausage, peppers, onions and tomatoes - served over rice). then we used some of that as a layer in homemade tacos (2X) and the rest was frozen (it will get tossed in the next batch of soup).  It doesn't have to get boring if you use your imagination and change it up!
I do NOT understand the logic of not eating leftovers - if you don't, I think you are missing out and over spending!

CHECK UNIT PRICES - bigger is not always better (cheaper).  Most all grocers show unit prices on the price signs now.  Sometimes buying 5 of a smaller unit (if on sale) is cheaper than buying 1 bigger package.  I notice this regularly with milk and toilet paper at the store. 
Milk can be .99/half on sale, but the gallon is say 2.69.  WHY would you buy the gallon?
TP can be on sale a 4/roll pack for $1 - same brand is 5.99/12 pack.  REALLY? 
I have tried time and time again to point this out to other shoppers at the store - and they look at me as if I have a giant green horn coming out my head - and then they buy the most expensive!  WOW

VARIETY - read and use cook books.  Try new items so you and your family don't get bored.  Get on the computer and look up recipes.  There are tons of recipe sites.  Check out books at the library.  Experiment.
Don't forget about the site - that you plug in your ingredients on hand and then receive recipes.

Being frugal gets to become a mindset after you have done it awhile.  If you are just starting out - take baby steps, and try lots of new things till you see what works for you.  If you have a fail - DON"T give up!!!!  Keep trying other things.   You will eventually get into the fact that you REALLY ARE SAVING MONEY!  It then becomes a way of life and it's FUN too!  A side perk is that it can improve your health too!

What are some of the ways you save money in the kitchen?  Do you have any tried and true methods or tricks?  Let's all help each other.  Life is our school room!  Let's share and learn.

Have a great day all!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


I don't make resolutions at the beginning of a new year.  I find that they just lead me to feel disappointed in myself and I almost always have to admit defeat.  I just isn't worth it to me.

I SET GOALS!  That is different.  I don't put myself in a position of facing defeat.  I have no time restraints.  All I have to do is TRY!
That is so much easier for me.

My goals include:

For January:
  • I want to have a no spend month for the most part.  My GOAL is to spend much less than $40 on fresh produce, milk, etc. for the month.  I want to use strictly what I have.
  • I want to read more.  It seems that I haven't really set and read and enjoyed a book for months and months. 
  • I want to work on de-cluttering more
  • I want to perhaps do some crafting.  I haven't seemed to have the time for that for months as well.
Goals in general:
  • Spend less and use what I have more
  • Educate myself more - I love learning new things
  • Continually de-clutter - we just have way too much stuff and it  could bless others
  • Work on myself - just try to be a better person and a better Christian
  • Reduce, re-use and recycle all that I can
  • I want to allow myself more "down time" to do whatever "I" want - (I think it's called fun!)
  • Garden and can and work on our self sufficiency
There are a lot of things that I hope to achieve this year - I just have to allow myself to do them.

Are you a resolution person or a goal person?
What plans do you have for the month?
What for the year in general?

Let us know.  We can encourage one another and perhaps give each other some new ideas.
Blessings my frugal friends!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Frugal happenings - last week of 2016

Good morning and Happy New Year.
WOW, here we are in 2017 - it sure seems that 2016 just flew by.

We had our last Christmas celebration on Monday, Dec. 26.  It was fun and we made good memories.  I made all of our food from things we hade on hand for the festivities (even the ice).  We had BBQ mini wienies, BBQ meatballs, meat and cheese platter, chili cheese dip, chips and cracker assortment, dip, cookies and goodies.  All finger foods.

We spent much of the week eating some sort of leftovers or remaking them into something new.

Our weather has been pretty decent.  We are starting the year warm - 40's today and 50's for a couple days, before getting back to winter weather.  The days are getting longer again - YIPEE!

My frugal week:
  • Using all our leftovers
  • Got all the Christmas stuff put away and the house back to normal before the end of year.
  • All laundry done to end the year right!
  • Saved all the pretty bags, boxes, bows, tissue paper and card fronts for next year
  • Got my basement back in order and all cleaned up
  • Cleaned and organized the pantry - WOW had it become a mess
  • Froze a lot of the sweets we received
  • Made a new bottle of foaming hand soap
  • Made fruit salad from fruit we received as a gift
  • Still using garden tomatoes!!!!  I have 2 left!  I have never had them this long before
  • I did go to Kroger to get corned beef brisket for our NY's dinner.  They were on a great sale of 2.99/lb.  I got 3 - $7.83, $6.52, and $9.06.  These will last till after next NY day!!!!!
  • I also found 5  - 1 lb. rolls of Jimmy Dean sausage on clearance for 1.79/lb.
  • I used my $25 GC at Kroger, so very little money out of pocket
  • Got several nice containers (as gifts) that I can use for storage
  • Made a frittata from the leftovers of meat and cheese (along with eggs)
  • Did NO after Christmas shopping!!!!!  That is a huge savings.  Nothing I 'couldn't live without'.
  • Did my Kroger points for gas credit
Here's the frittata.  It was yummy.  Made a nice dinner for us, and a couple breakfasts for G

Some of the containers I got that can be used for pretty storage.  I got a couple smaller ones too.

Meals last week:
Christmas Day - Small pork roast with veggies
Leftovers of meat/cheese, crackers and BBQ meats
Leftover pizza baked spaghetti
Fried hominy with onion and leftover pork - smashed potatoes (leftover)
Frittata and fruit salad
Taco salad and fruit salad
Shrimp and sauce - leftover meat/cheese and crackers (We always have shrimp on NY Eve)

Today we will be having corned beef and cabbage and black eyed peas - it is a good luck dinner to start the new year.  I have had this dinner every NY all my life.  I guess it has been lucky - I am here and still kicking!!!!!   I think it is a regional thing - they sure did have all items in one display at the grocery.

How was your last week of the year?  Did you get any great deals or did you stay home?
I look so forward to the coming year and sharing ideas and learning.

Happy New Year and God bless us all in this coming year!