Sunday, July 30, 2017

Frugal Happenings 7/30

Howdy Ho everyone.  WOW here we are at the end of another month.  Fall will be here before we know it - then Christmas!
How has everyone been this past week?  We have had a nice week.

The weather wasn't too bad - we had some partial days of no AC - then 2 very hot and humid days.  Yesterday I turned off AC and it still hasn't come back on.  Windows are open and it is lovely.  This coming week I guess it is suppose to warm up mid week (not too bad), then next weekend be in the 70's!  What a great way to start August!

I saw a rabbit in the side yard this morning - then it went next door.  That is the first rabbit I have seen in years (since having outdoor cats).  We have all kinds of other critters, but not usually bunnies.  Of course I went to the garden this morning, and there was a huge half eaten tomato!  Coincidence?  Maybe.  I always have a couple nibbled on - but something really liked this one.  At least it ate half and not just a bite!!

My frugal week:
  • Used rain water when I needed to water
  • Rain barrels have been staying full - with all the rain we have been getting
  • Did a bit of mower repair - then mowed, trimmed bushes, whacked weeds, pulled weeds, for a total of 8 hours one day.  It was nice weather - took advantage.  Boy was this old gal tired!
  • I pulled out all the lettuce.  It had gotten stalky and bitter.  Will replant in a couple weeks.
  • Planted more green onions sets
  • Dehydrated 6 trays of basil
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Line dried laundry
  • Ran all errands on one day.  I stopped by an ethnic grocery to check out produce prices - way too expensive.  Now I know!
  • Picked zucchini, broccoli, bell peppers, jalapenos and many tomatoes - one tomato weighed 1 lb. 3 oz.!
One big and pretty 'mater!

  • Used all leftovers and re-invented some into new meals
  • Canned 14 pints salsa
  • Dyed my hair.  You know it's time for a touch-up, when hubs says "so, when did you decide to let your hair go natural?"  LOL
  • Stopped at Save-A -Lot (not a normal shopping place) and stocked up on coffee.  Maxwell House - almost 2 lb. cans for 4.99 each.  Got 6 - that will last a long time here with what we already have on hand.

  • G's aunt stopped by and brought some family history info and pictures for him.  What a gold mine!  One branch of family was researched back 24 generations, with the oldest birth year of 1150 in Normandy!!!!

Meals this week:
Onion/Swiss burgers, steamed broccoli, and salad
Chicken strips, green beans/pots, zucchini salad
Picked up dinner at the 50's diner up the road - too tired to cook (yard day)
Taco skillet dinner
BBQ wings and salad
Mexican pizza (used leftover taco stuff)
Big mess of fried zucchini and sliced tomatoes - oh yum!

How was your week?  How are your gardens doing?  Is anyone canning yet?
I hope anyone that planted a garden - is getting produce!  Any bounty we receive is a blessing.  It has been a strange (weather) summer for sure.

May the Lord keep you in His protective and loving hands this week.  Stay safe  and productive my friends.
Blessings to all.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Many Faces of Tuna

I love tuna.  It is a great protein and full of all kinds of good minerals and vitamins.  It is relatively cheap - it can be purchased on sales around here for .50 a tin.
Many people fish and can their own tuna - although I have heard it is a stinky process!

I know it isn't for everyone, but it sure is great to have in your SHTF stash of foods.  It can be fixed and eaten in so many ways, and the protein may be just what you need someday!

  • It can be eaten from the can - or plain on crackers
  • Make tuna salad
  • Egg salad with a can of tuna added
  • Any type of pasta salad - add a can for extra protein
  • Mix a drained can of tuna, a rinsed can of white beans, chopped onion, herbs and olive oil and lemon juice.  Makes a meal by itself - this is a great salad
  • I make tuna patties - like many people do with salmon.  It is cheaper, lighter in flavor, and it doesn't smell up the house when cooking!
  • White beans, tuna, and kale soup
  • Cheesy tuna & pasta - like a jazzed up mac n cheese
  • Tuna melts - tuna or tuna salad on bread, topped with cheese, and sliced tomato - great open face sandwiches
  • Stuff hollowed tomatoes with tuna salad  - can also top with cheese and stick in the broiler till cheese melts
  • Stuffed zucchini/tuna melt boats
  • Avocado and tuna salad
  • Sliced radish,  olives, diced tomatoes, cooled boiled potatoes (chopped), tuna - topped with a mix of olive oil, lemon juice and Dijon mustard.  This can make a yummy quick and easy meal as well.
  • Drain and top any green salad
  • Tuna/rice and broccoli casserole
  • Stuffed mushrooms - raw or baked
  • Tuna casserole - remember anything can be added to casseroles

Tuna has gotten a bad rap over the years.  It is really a healthy fish and should be added to our diets. (I just read labels to see where it is from - some waters contain bad chemicals).  You can prepare canned tuna just about any way you can prepare chicken - just substitute in recipes.
If you are lucky enough to know someone who fishes - perhaps you can get some tuna fillets and grill!  It is terribly expensive in this neck of the woods, in fillet form. 

I would imagine the coasts would have better prices - but one has to consider what is involved in tuna and salmon fishing. 
They have to pay for fuel and  labor on those big boats, then keep it cold and fillet it.  It is a pricey endeavor!
It is amazing that we can actually buy a can for .50!!!!

Watch your sales and stock up on this light flavored fish.  It is versatile and good for you.
You may be glad you have it one of these days.

Do you have any tuna recipes to share?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Canning ideas

Howdy everyone.  I finally decided (needed) to stop working in the yard today and get the blog going!  Sorry it is later in the day.
I have had quite a busy day - all day!

Here is a recipe that has been requested.  It is a great use of peels/cores of apples when making applesauce.  We all like having additional uses for things - and no sense letting goodies go to waste.


 Please click on the recipe to enlarge.  Both the recipe and picture are separate.
5 LBS. shredded cabbage
3 1/2 Tbsp. salt
Mix salt and cabbage together.  Let it set 30 -60 minutes.  Pack into your jars, leaving 2" head space.  Fill to 1/2 " from top with plain cold water.  Place your lids and rings on tight (might use older rings).  Place somewhere out of traffic, and place jars in a catch pan.  This is to catch any brine that might be emitted due to fermentation.  Check your kraut every 5- 6 days to see if it has lost liquid.  Have a jar of 1 1/2 Tbsp. of salt in a quart of cold water ready. (I keep a jar in the frig during fermenting time.  If the levels have dropped - remove lids and add more salt water.  Re-lid.  Let it all sit for 6 - 8 weeks for best results.
At given time - remove lids - thoroughly wipe down the tops of jars - add NEW lids and your rings.  Put in a COLD pot of water in water bath - bring to a boil and process for 30 minutes after boil.
Makes 7 pints
This is the best kraut I have ever had.  Once you realize how easy it is to make, and great it tastes - you'll never go back to store bought!
**This is not an officially sanctified recipe by the powers that be.  NO rude comments**.
This is how I have done it for years, as well as many people I know. 
You have the choice as to whether you try it or not.
1 gallon water
6 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. canning salt
Bring this concoction to a boil, and add your sliced or whole okra.  Bring back to a boil for 6 minutes.
Fill your hot jars with the okra  - tamp down - but DON"T smash it.  Bring the liquid back to a boil quickly, and top off each jar - leaving an inch of head space.
Top with hot lids and rings.  Wait for ping.  That is it!  NO PROCESSING
This is shelf stable.  I am still using some I put up 2 years ago.
****There will be NO SLIME at all when you open your okra****
(There is also a video on You Tube showing how to do this)
When ready to add to soup or before breading and frying - simply rinse your okra and you are ready to go.  It is so good in soups in the winter (we make gumbo), and it great to batter and fry.
Have you started any canning yet?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Frugal Happenings 7/23

Happy, happy day all!!!
It is a hot, dreary, wet day here in our area.  We have been hot and humid most of the week.  Looking forward to a couple cooler (80's) days coming up this coming week.  I absolutely 100% enjoy each cooler day we get!!!  I am trying to be careful what I wish for, because we know cold weather will be here before we know it! 

The skeeters are horrible this year.  I have been going out in the evening to deadhead and weed the big flower gardens (big weeds).  I sweat like I am in a sauna, plus I have to wear long sleeves to keep from getting eaten alive! 

The garden is doing well, except the cukes.  They are really looking scraggly and not producing a lot.  I guess I said I was hoping to not have to can cukes this year (still have a ton of pickles and relish), so again, I need to be careful what I wish for!

This week:
  • I did use a few of the cold, used tea bags I had saved - to reduce the poison swelling around my eyes.  It worked beautifully and even seemed to dry things out.  I am now good to go!
  • Hung laundry outside
  • Used dehumidifier water in the washer
  • Planted some cuke seeds last Sunday and the are up about 3" already.  Give it another boost of plants!
  • Ran to the UPS Store and returned all the old cable equipment.  They pack and ship and it costs me nothing. (Will save me $300 to get it turned in!)
  • Ollie's is right next door to UPS store - oh my!  Well guess what I bought?  You betcha - another cookbook!  Their books are so stupid cheap!  It's another Gooseberry Patch book - my love!
  • I went to Wal-Mart pharmacy to get script for G.  It was 3 mos. for $0!!!!!
  • Stopped at Christian thrift (across from WM).  I got a 12 pack of whole wheat hoagie buns, 3 pound cakes and 3 loaves of French bread for FREE!!  They just had a big delivery from Sam's and needed to get rid of some of it.  I came home and vacuum sealed 4 packs of buns, 2 of the cakes, and froze 2 French bread (triple wrapped in newspaper bags).  WOOHOO!
  • I also got a lovely Christmas bowl and a cool picture frame for .50 each!  They were having Christmas in July sale and everything was .50!  The bowl will be filled with homemade goodies and gifted to someone this holiday and the frame will be a gift as well.
  • I used the crockpot this week!  It has been a while.
  • I re-invented leftovers into new meals
  • Got out the spiral-izer I bought a while back at thrift and used it!  It works fantastic.  Made wonderful zoodles!  I slightly cooked in butter, garlic powder and parm!  YUM
  •  I picked zukes, a couple cukes, 2 heads of broccoli, bell peppers, jalapenos, and 4 tomatoes.  Oh yeah I did!!!  We will eat out first tom today - they weren't quite done when I picked!  Lots of cherry tomatoes picked.
  • Been using rain water from barrels when needed, and it keeps getting replaced with all the rain we are getting!
  • Only groceries bought - milk!

Meals this week:
Oven fried zucchini sticks and a salad
Roast, potatoes, carrots, and onion
Leftover roast & juice made into a stroganoff type dish using veggies and served over rice

Cheesy tuna pasta bake and salad
Homemade French bread pizza
Enchiladas made with burritos I had in freezer
Ground beef/ravioli 'spaghetti' sauce served over zoodles

All leftovers used for breakfast or lunches.  Also had fruit covered pound cake, fruit, and ice cream sandwiches for snacks.

What did you do frugal this week?  How are the gardens doing?
Is anyone canning yet?  I may get to start some this week!!!

My thoughts and prayers are with you all for health, happiness and safety.
Stay frugal my friends!!!!!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Downfall of Retail (?)

In our area it seems that more and more retail outlets that have been around for decades are closing up shop.  Many were existing before I was even a twinkle in my daddies eye!
I keep hearing that this is happening all over the country.  I don't know if this phenomenon is happening in other countries or not.

Now when I am out and about, I do see new shopping centers going up - then I drive by others that are virtually empty of stores.  What is with that?  Do these people not realize that this is such waste of resources?  Why not renovate and re-use the existing building?  It  leaves such a glut of unslightly buildings.

Retail pricing keeps going up, quality keeps going down.  It is very apparent to me why shops are closing.  More and more people I know (I bet many of you as well), ONLY buy at sales or clearance, shop cheaper dollar stores, buy from thrift stores and yard sales, and perhaps buy in bulk (so product lasts for ages).
If the retail industry were going to depend on me to survive, they would have collapsed ages ago!  I go to the mall MAYBE once a year, at Christmas.  That is so I can use my coupon for a FREE item at Bed, Bath & Body Works.  I get it and leave.
I go to Kohl's  maybe 2 - 3X each fall when using the $10/$10 coupons I get (so FREE).
I manage to go to Sam's 1 - 2X a year - that is it.

I can't begin to tell you the last time I was in a Target, Wal-Mart (other than pharmacy), or major department store.  It just doesn't happen.  If I want to buy a gift item that isn't from thrift or yard sale - I almost always go to a small area a few miles away, that is strictly small businesses.  There is so much variety and I am helping someone support their family business.
I know there are employees working at those big stores (so we are helping their income) - but I just have a problem supporting big chain stores.
Yes, there are times that we HAVE to go to them.  But when I do, I spend as little as possible, watching the sales!

More and more people are gardening, canning, bartering, and foraging.  Crafting is COOL again.  I truly believe we have come so far forward - that we are having to finally go backward a little, just to feel at peace with our lives.  It is "IN" to learn the ways of our ancestors!

If you watch so many of the new TV shows - this is becoming the way to live again.  I am loving it!  I never stopped living this way - so it warms my heart when the young-ins in the family ask "how to".

This morning in our newspaper there was a headline "SURVIVING THE RETAIL APOCALYPSE".  The headline cracked me up - and I couldn't resist reading the story.  Basically the new retail stores that are coming into our city are cheaper stores - that offer more of a value!  They are replacing the many big department stores in prime retail locations.
Every week there is another story of an expensive, fancy restaurant that is closing it's doors.  Fast food spots still dot the landscape, but nicer restaurants  are gearing themselves to more affordable family style meals.

It is amazing that it seems to have taken so long for retailers to finally understand that we just aren't as eager to throw our precious dollars at them anymore.

Do you see these trends happening in your areas?
What are the ways you avoid big retail?
Are there any ways to curb the "retail dilemma" that I am not thinking of? 

If so, please let us know.  We all need ways to keep our dollars in our pockets!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Make INSTEAD of Buy Ideas (Recipes)

There are so many items that we purchase at the store, that are so incredibly easy to make at home.  In many instances I believe they are better - as you know exactly what is in them.  I know they are cheaper!!  We all like that!
Here are a few ideas to try at home.

Many people just use plain old vinegar.  So cheap and natural.  Honest, the smell of vinegar dissipates when your laundry dries!

Another option:
12 oz. bottle of cheap hair conditioner  (Suave is cheap and many scents)
1 1/2 c white vinegar
3 C warm water
Mix and put in a pourable container.

You can also dip a sponge or old wash cloth in mix - squeeze out excess and place in the drier with clothes.

In a old jar add 90% water to 10% rubbing alcohol.  Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Bamboo shish-kabob sticks work great!

Pick the leaves of wild purslane and dehydrate - grind into a powder.  (It takes a lot of leaves).  This is a great thickening agent.
Okra dehydrated and ground is wonderful thickening soups and hearty dishes.
These could both be used in soups, stews, gravies, and hearty dishes.

Fill a jar about 3/4 with peels and cores of apples
Mix 1 Tbsp. of sugar to 1 cup of water used.  Cover the apple scraps.  Leave a couple inches to top of jar.  Cover loosely with a coffee filter or piece of fabric.  Let it set in a cool, dark space for 2 weeks.
If scum develops on top, simply skim off.
After 2 weeks filter so that liquid is clear.  It will have a light apple smell - but it isn't ready yet.  Place clear liquid back (covered again) for another 2 - 4 weeks.  You can taste and smell to tell if it's ready.  IT WILL NOT go bad!
If a gelatinous blob appears - you have lucked out and made 'mother'.  Remove to another container (or leave it) - it can be used to start future batches.
Use this vinegar for the same things as store bought!!!
You can make any flavor (flavored is good in homemade dressings)

Another tip for salad dressings - you can dehydrate big or old cucumbers and grind and add as flavoring to homemade dressing.

2 C peach skins (or other fruit)
3 C vodka (brandy can be used too)
Let this set for a few weeks.  Strain through a coffee filter into a nice bottle.
This is very basic - like making extracts!
You could buy a large bottle of cheap vodka and make flavored liquor for gifts! (or home!!)

1 gal. water
1 Tbsp. Epsom slat
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. powdered milk
1/2 tsp. ammonia
2 drops blue food color
Mix 1 Tbsp. of mixture to a gallon of water to hand water plants and fertilize.  Use once a month (I use every couple weeks).
Concentrate will cost about .35 for a gallon vs. $10 or more at the store.

1 gallon white vinegar
2 C Epsom salt
1/4 C Dawn dish soap (for sticking)
Spray or apply to areas you want to kill in the mornings after dew has evaporated.
DO NOT get this on anything desirable!
Best used for killing AN AREA of grass/weeds

Ok - there you go.
Most of these are made with things that we all have around.  It makes since to use what we have and save money in the process.
You now know that if you run out of something - you can make it at home.

Hope this helps someone!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Frugal Happenings 7/16

Good morning and happy Sunday.   I sure hope this finds everyone happy and well.

We had some really nasty storms this week - 2nd worse I have seen here in the 31 years we have been here.  We had 4.5 inches of rain in our area in 6 hours.  The back yard/garden area flooded really badly.  Thankfully it went down within 24 hours - but it sure was something.  There was tremendous flooding around our state.  I pray for the farmers, as many fields are totally under water.  I also worry about the home gardeners, as many people depend on those gardens for winter food.  It is so sad.

I took advantage of a couple cooler days to get some necessary yard work done.  Whacked them weeds for the first time in a few weeks!  NOW, through sweat and flying debris I have poison on my face.  Not too bad except around my left eye.  It's on the eye lid and underneath.  Boy, does it itch!  I am doctoring it, and it is doing better today.

Here is a TIP that reader LAURIES told me about.  Until I get the recipe file thing figured out - there is a quicker way to find things.  At the top of the blog page on the left you will see a white box with what looks like a magnifying glass in it.  Type a key word in - and every post with that word reference will pop up!  I tried it and typed in the other word for zuke, a flower name, and the proper word for Xmas (I hate this abbreviation).  I didn't type those words here, as then this post would show up.  CHECK IT OUT - it does make it easier, and you can just scroll past posts you aren't interested in!!  THANK YOU LAURIE

This week:
  • Mowed and trimmed everything 2X - while cooler
  • Got to open windows a couple 1/2 days to air out the house.
  • Took my brother some zuke (his aren't producing yet) and he gave me a beautiful big bunch of fresh pulled carrots!
  • I cut the lacy green tops of carrots and chopped and put in ice trays with water.  Bagged - now I can add extra nutrition to soup this winter
  • Dehumidifier has worked over time this week in basement (we got dampness).  Used the water in the washer
  • Line dried laundry
  • Stopped at Kroger when I went to brothers (he lives 2 blocks from it!)  I got several boxes of elbow pasta marked to .39/box.  I also got 11 - 4 packs of organics beans (different varieties) for 1.29/4 pack.  That's .32 a can!  I don't need now - but they went into long term storage.  ALL are dated 2020!!!

Click on pictures to enlarge

  • Ran to the orchard and got fresh peaches, a lovely cantaloupe, and some berries
  • Picking zuke, bell peppers, jalapenos from the garden.  Getting a lot!  Picked 4 cherry toms so far!
  • I got COUPONS from Aldi - 6 - $10 off coupons!  Spend $40 and get $10 off.  These are good through the end of August.  They came in the mail.  WOOHOO!  These will be used to stock-up for the winter months. Watch you mailboxes - hopefully other areas get them too.
  • I ran to a 'yard' sale at the park up the street yesterday.  Proceeds went to an animal shelter for ill animals.  I got a lovely table runner (6') for $1, 4 packages of smaller Hallmark gift bags (each indiv. bag marked .99) 4 packs of 6/$1, and 3 big packs of all occasion tissue paper (each pack contained 12 packs of paper) for $1 each.  That was 24 gift bags for $1 - and 36 packs of tissue paper for $3 (Hallmark too - marked 1.79 each).  WHAT A SAVINGS!!!!!
Table runner draped over back of couch.  Bags of tissue paper and bags of gift bags.

Meals this week:
Cold cut sandwiches and zucc. salad
Made a big pasta/veggie salad
Veg. & faux crab lo-mein (homemade)
Chicken strips and pasta salad
Leftover chicken and lo-mein
Stuffed pepper skillet
Grilled ham & cheese and chips and dip

Made raspberry cobbler that was truly enjoyed, and had fruit.

All in all, I think it was a pretty eventful week here at my little homestead!  I know I should have stayed out of the grocery store (per my plan), but with the savings I got, it is like money in the bank in the future.  We added to long term storage so cheaply.
I am giving myself a break on this one!!!!!!!

Are you getting any goodies from your gardens yet??
What did you do to stay frugal this week?
Just remember - slow and steady wins the race.  You aren't competing with anyone - do what you need to do!

God bless my friends.  May your week be safe and healthy.
Prayers for all the farmers and gardeners.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Education NEVER Ends

I know most of us that are here are after the same end result - we want to be a frugal as possible.
There is no right or wrong way to get there.
We all take different routes to accomplish our goal.
We all have different reasons for being frugal.

Some people are saving for retirement.
Some are frugal do to necessity.
Some are saving for a special item or vacation.
Some save in one area to be able to afford something in another area.
Some are frugal, because it has become second nature.
Some just believe it is the right thing to do!
NO MATTER the reason, you do what you do, for you and your family.

I think these are all wonderful rules to a life well lived!  YES, some are hard to do - but we should at least try to accomplish them!

We continue to grow each day, hopefully we learn something each day, and hopefully we improve with each day.
My Daddy always said "You had a great day, when you can reflect on a lesson learned, when you lay your head down at night."  I try to live this every day.

Our education never ends while we are on this planet.
Take time each day to improve.  Whether we learn a new recipe, or a new tip, or a new word, or meet a new friend, or have a new feeling for something - it is all learning!
Life is like a huge book that goes on and on - and we need to absorb as much as possible.
Strive to grow and improve.

NEVER let someone tell you that is petty.  Education of any kind is NEVER petty.  However you go about things is YOUR way, and that makes it worthy.

Do all you can to make sure someone, someday says "They lived it their way!"
Be a good steward of what you have.  That says so much about a person.

REMEMBER - There is no right or wrong way to be frugal.  Every life is different, every situation is different, and every end result may be different.
All we can do is SHARE in hopes that someone will LEARN something new to better their lives.

Let us all live each day to learn and to teach!
Blessings to all my fellow students and teachers!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Zucchini Eats

A couple of you have asked for the zucchini recipes I was mentioning in my menu last week.
We all know that this time of the year, we end up with bunches and bunches of summer squash.  I kind of treat both zucchini and yellow squash the same.  I use them both in many recipes.

I have been teased many times about being the Bubba (Forrest Gump) of zucchini - because there probably isn't a way I have not fixed them!  We eat a ton of it during the summer and I preserve in ways for the winter as well.

This is was my Mom used to fix and I have continued.
1 roll ground sausage
2 medium zucchini
1 small - medium onion chopped
1 tomato
Shredded cheese

I brown the sausage and onion together - then add sliced zucchini and cook until tender.  Thinly slice tomatoes and place on top of mixture in the skillet and top with cheese.  Heat slightly and cover till cheese melts.
*You can replace the sausage with bacon.  Cook up 1 lb. of bacon to crispy.  Sautee onion and zucchini in 'some' of the bacon grease.  Toss back in broken up bacon, sliced tomato and cheese.
You won't believe how good this stuff is.  This is one of our favorites.
I literally believe we could eat this every week!


Here is the original recipe
2 medium zucchini - microwave for 1 - 2 minutes
6 Tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. cream cheese softened
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. chopped jalapeno
4 Tbsp. panko bread crumbs.
Halve zucchini lengthwise and scoop out seeds and microwave.  Mix together cheese, sour cream and jalapenos and divide into the 'boats'.  Top with panko.  Bake at 400* for 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

I change this up a bit.  In my opinion the cheese mixture is NOT nearly enough.  We all know that zucchini are somewhat bland - so they need all the topping they can get.  I think the topping mix, as is, would be good for 2 very small zucchini or maybe one medium.  I more that double the cheese mixture.
**I have been known to throw in a nice amount of real bacon bits as well!
** I have also added crushed dried onions to the topping as well.
You can play around with this and blend to your own taste.

Pizza boats are also good.  Add some cooked sausage or pepperoni or any pizza topper you want to your boats - cover with pizza sauce and shredded cheese and bake as above.
there is no limit to what you can INVENT!

This is really not a recipe - just something I throw together.
I dice up zucchini, onion, and tomato into a nice big bowl - add Italian dressing and seasoning.
That's it!!!  It is so refreshing and light.
You can also do this with cucumbers if you have an abundance, or mix the two together.

Again this is another one that you can add bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower or any fresh veggie you have.  Add the dressing and you have a nice big bowl of salad to munch on for days!


There are just so many neat things you can do with zucchini.  I love adding them to stir fry, spaghetti sauce, thinly sliced on pizza, or sauté and add in tomatoes (this is a great taste sensation) for a side dish. 
I dehydrate them to add to soups in the winter.  I make pickles with them.  I make mock pineapple and have even added them shredded to make jam.  I shred and bag up in appropriate measures and freeze for baking sweet bread and muffins in the winter.  I even make a cream of zucchini soup.

I could go on and on.  There is just NO limits to what you can make.  Zucchini takes on the flavor of whatever you are cooking it with (it really doesn't have much taste itself).

Get crazy and experiment a little.  You will be amazed at the versatility of the wonderful, incredible, edible zucchini!!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Frugal Happenings 7/09

Good morning to everyone.  We have survived another week - and hopefully with success!

First I want to thank everyone for all their help this week.  I loved all the comments and suggestions.  I will continue to do what I have been doing, and I will look into creating some new features.  I don't want to appear to copycat some ideas that are used by popular blogs and FB pages - so I need to think on this.  I am also looking into a way to do a search function for recipes - this may take me a bit of time.
Again, thank you to all who participated.  I value EACH OF YOU, as you guys are the ones that make this fun.

We have had another very hot and humid week.  Storms came through again on Friday - but thankfully no damage in our area.  Saturday and today we get a break from the extreme heat and humidity.  It is heavenly.  That comes to an end tomorrow with both heat and humidity coming back for the entire week.  UGH!

My allergies have been giving me fits this week.  Thank goodness for allergy pills!
Mosquitos are horrible this year.  We have had so much moisture this year - they are thriving.  Early evenings are really bad.

My week:
  • Line dried laundry
  • Rain barrels have been replenished.  I have been using a lot of rain water for the garden.
  • I inventoried my canning supplies.  I love Mrs. Wages (yes I cheat), and use it for most everything.  My goodness - I am set for this year for sure, thanks to the many clearance packages I found over the last year.
  • Kept and cleaned a nice coffee can and a HUGE container that had held pretzels (from Sam's) for storage.  The coffee can will be great for storing candies and such this Christmas.
  • Saved the juice from a watermelon we cut up.  I freeze and use in tea or in smoothies.
  • I re-did the cat scratching post AGAIN.  They love that thing and the carpet gets torn to shreds pretty quickly (with 3 cats).  This time I replaced with jute rope!  It looks great and they LOVE it!!!  I think it will last longer than the carpet.  Sure beats spending $40-$50 for the size bed/post we have.  The rope originally cost $7.50.
  • Watched 3 full length movies that we had previously recorded.
  • Renegotiated our U-verse bill (our contract ran out).  We will be saving $43 a month and we are to receive a $50 Visa gift card in a couple weeks.  Not bad for an hour visit at the AT&T store.  We will be getting some new equipment installed Tuesday (no charge).  HAPPY CAMPER HERE!
  • Garden HARVEST - 10 zucchini, 5 small cucumbers and 3 bell peppers this week!! WOOHOO!
  • Picked a bouquet of flowers
  • Got lots of yard work done yesterday while it was cooler.  Boy did the yard need it!
  • Laid the rest of the bagged bark that was in the garage.
  • Just doing all my normal everyday things

Meals this week:
Zucchini/sausage skillet dinner and garlic bread (I tried to post a pic - for some reason I couldn't)
Leftover zucc. skillet dinner and salad
Grilled steaks and grilled zucchini and onions
Fried pork cutlets, country gravy and toast
Jalapeno/cheese stuffed zucchini boats
Lean burger topped with red beans and rice and 1/4 of zucc. boat that was left (split it)
Hamburger hash and zucchini salad

Watermelon, grapes, sherbet
All leftovers were used up

I think my week was pretty successful and I managed to save money not just for the week, but for the rest of the year! 
HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?  Give us a shout out, and let us know what's happening in your neck of the woods!

May your week be blessed with health, safety, happiness and frugal finds! 
God bless my friends.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Need Your Help PLEASE

I have really become fond of blogging.  It is a fun outlet for me.
The BEST part is getting to form friendships and have contact with folks all around the globe!
I think that is the greatest gift ever.  Where else can you have such fun and 'meet' so many diverse people?

YOU are important to me - without you this blog is nothing.
I have lots of ideas written down in my notebook for future posts - BUT I would love to know what you all want to read about.

What do you want to learn about?
What do you want to read?
What do you want us to share?
Do you have any suggestions to improve the blog?


Thank you,

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Terminology Costs Money

We all know that ORGANIC costs us more money.  I always wondered about that, as many things are NOT used - therefore one would think it should be cheaper.

Organic fresh foods do NOT use chemicals at all.  Therefore, there is no insect killer, no fungicides, and no weed killers used.  That in itself, makes for a lot more work for the farmer!  Those three things can devastate crops in no time, so actually the yield can be much less when organic versus chemical laden produce.  More work and lesser harvest equals more money.
This now makes more sense to me.

In the world of beauty products and cleaning products the line is not so clear!  Certain terms generally mean an item costs more - but what do those terms REALLY mean?

HYPOALLERGENIC - You know what you think it means!
The term is actually meaningless, because there is NO regulatory or even voluntary standard definition that has been set.  It does NOT mean the product will not cause an allergic reaction.
The same thing goes with the terms "dermatologist tested", "sensitivity tested", or "non-irritating".
Basically the company is telling you what you want to hear, they are falsely advertising and it is ALL legal!

FRAGRANCE FREE - Products with this label DO contain fragrances.  The term on the bottle should be "Smell Free".  The manufacturer adds some other fragrance/chemicals to mask the products original smell!
This is what I always buy, since I am allergic to so many perfumes.

I checked the laundry detergent bottle for ingredients and they are NOT listed.  This was on 2  different types of detergent.  There was a website listed - I went there and I read 8 pages on "what to do if this happens" - BUT NO ingredients were listed.
The only thing listed was SURFACTANTS.  I looked that up and it is some component that makes the detergent blend into water and release dirt from fabric - BUT WHAT IS IT?
All I know is it says there is no phosphates  - but have no idea WHAT IS in it.
Check your bottles out!!!!!!

NATURAL - there are no industry or government standards for this term either.
It can virtually mean anything to anybody.  "Natural" cosmetics contain pretty much the same ingredients as other cosmetic including preservatives.  Always read the ingredients and see if there is something that you'd like to avoid.  Don't just take the term natural to heart!

NO ANIMAL TESTING - this term is probably splitting hairs.  The actual products may not have been tested on any animals - but odds are that SOME of the ingredients have been.
The FDA an industry officials say that the companies using these claims, are using ingredients that have already been proven safe. BUT most likely they were once tested on animals - since there are NO cosmetic ingredients that haven't been tested on animals!

ALSO do not be fooled by terms and claims on products such as - firms, tightens, lifts, washes away, nourishes, reconditions, prevents, etc.  Beauty products ONLY work on the surface of skin and hair.  They can only provide a temporary change in appearance.
They all contain collagen, and the collagen molecule is too big to penetrate the outermost layers of hair and skin.

Price says nothing about quality.  Read your labels, and you will find that most products whether 2.99 or 17.99 are the same.  The big difference IS $15!!!!!!!!!!!!

For a healthy look to our skin and hair, all we really need is a mild soap, non-exposure to sun, healthy food and drinks, regular exercise, and not smoking.
If you get minor irritations, try a natural homemade tonic or cream.

I was really troubled when I came across all this information.  I know we ALL have that product that we believe in and couldn't be without.

I don't break out or itch because I use___________.  My hair is thicker and healthier because of __________.  My skin is younger looking because of _________________.

I am sure I will continue to buy the same products, as will you, but this sure does give us something to think about.

I think we all need to go a more natural and homemade route - at least we know what we are using.
Just remember all of your beauty products and cleaning products are made by big companies and they CAN TELL YOU WHATEVER THEY WANT!  There are NO significant regulations.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Frugal Happenings 7/2

HAPPY JULY!!!!!  It is hard to believe that we are now starting on the second half of the year.
It seems to have gone by in a flash.

This past week we had perfect weather for the first part of the week.  I had the AC off for 4 days.  Then the heat and humidity came back and the AC came back on.  This morning it is quite nice, and I do have the windows open for a while just to air out the house.
Looks like the next week will be in the 80's every day.  I guess that is normal for this time of the year.
We had a gully washer of a rain on Friday, and Saturday it looked like the garden grew tremendously over night!

I did do some work on my long term prep storage this week.  I tried to run all my errands together, so as to save gas.

This week:
  • I did a ton of yard work when the temps were cooler.  You name it, I did it!
  • I used a .50/gallon discount to fill the Blazer with gas. (Discount mainly thanks to dbl. points and free survey points).
  • I ran to Rural King, BB&B, and Fresh Thyme (all in one area).   I purchased 96 rolls of TP at a rock bottom price, and I have batteries for the next couple years (dated 2021).  I turned in an old carbonator (for soda stream) and got a $10 discount on another.  Bought fresh fruit at Fresh Thyme.
  • I picked 3 zucchini and 2 cucumbers.  Let the harvest begin!!!!!!!

  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Sorted through our "snack" stash.  I keep any chips, fancy crackers, etc. in another room.  Out of sight out of mind!  I have enough assortment to last till fall.  (We don't eat much of that kind of stuff)
  • Ran to Kroger to check out clearance.  I got 6 jars of honey added peanut butter for .79 jar.  (It tastes like Amish peanut butter - only crunchy).  4 packages of ground pork for $1.54 each. (Will be great to make sausage or jerky with).  Coconut for .89 bag and 2 large bottles of clear corn syrup for .59 each.
  • I did make a BIG spurge.  The 'meat truck' came around and I did purchase meat.  I got 40 different steaks, Del Monaco, Strip, Fillets, T-bone for about 4.25 per steak.  They are all quite nice in size and there is no way I could have bought that cheaply at the store (even if clearance).  CRAZY for me, I know!!!!!  We can enjoy so many 'special' meals now for a long time!!!!!   No reason to buy meat (with both freezers full) for ages!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yeah, I spent a few bucks this week, that I normally wouldn't do - but we are set on so many items for a long, long time.  I DID take advantage of extreme sales and discounts - so I don't feel too bad about it.

Homemade chicken/veggie fried rice
Leftover rice and chicken strips
Brauts and a side salad
Smothered chopped steak and mashed potatoes
Tuna patties, mac n cheese and side salad
Baked chicken and salad
Mini meatloaves (from freezer), leftover mac and small salad

Finished the fruit crisp, snacked on grapes and watermelon, and had sherbet once

I am so happy that the garden is starting to produce - the extra work of canning will be starting shortly!  I still look forward to that first tomato!
There is just something magical about walking out into your yard, and picking fresh food!

OK, here is my plan for July - DARE I SAY IT OUT LOUD?  My plan is to not grocery shop!  I truly have everything I need here, and there is really no reason to spend money.  I can't believe I just told the world - we all know how much I love looking for deals at the grocery!  But, that is my GOAL - so we will see how it goes.

Do you have any goals this month? 
How did your past week go?  Any deals or any super frugal ways to share?

May you all have a healthy and safe week!  I hope your gardens are doing well. 
Take care my friends.