Thursday, September 28, 2017

Up-cycling - Frugal and Fun Ideas

I LOVE to up-cycle things.  I am the queen of "don't throw that away"!
I love trying to make something new out of something old.  Many gifts and home d├ęcor projects can be the result of up-cycling.

JEANS - old worn out jeans can be made into all kinds of things.  You can make wine bags from the legs, quilts, pillows, lap throws, purses, pot holders, garden aprons, draft stoppers for your doors,cell phone holders, kitchen aprons, etc..  They can also be cut into strips and made into rag rugs.  There is really no limit to what you make with old jeans.

cell phone holders

OLD SWEATERS - can be made into mittens, stuffed animals and pet beds.  They can also be unwound and the yarn used for a new project.

OLD T-SHIRTS - Can be cut into cute eternity scarves, made into quilts and pillows, pet toys, painting/gardening shirts, etc..  They can also be cut into strips and braided to make rag rugs.
Transform and large t-shirt into a cute and simple skirt.  Simply cut below the sleeves - turn down a hem and add elastic - easy-peasy skirt!!!!!
Cut large t-shirts into children's jammies.

ADULT CLOTHES  - shirts and dresses, etc. can be cut down and remade into children's clothes, doll clothes, or the material used in quilts.

OLD TOWELS - make wash cloths, bibs, placemats, dish towels, stuffed animals, or bath mat.

CARD FRONTS - recycle card fronts to make gift tags, copy parts of old card or glue onto index cards for home made recipe cards, use in kid's art, copy onto paper to make stationary.
Frame into wall art.

OLD PICTURE FRAMES/WINDOWS - make great accent pieces on walls for family gallery.  Paint several frames the same color and use as wall art (they can be empty).  Frame advertisements or postcards for art. 
Add chicken wire or cork board and use for message boards or jewelry holders

Cool old frame with old knobs added - pictures and coat rack all in one.  Old door knobs would look cool too.

INCOMPLETE PUZZLES OR GAMES - use puzzles pieces or game pieces (like Yahtzee) and glue on picture frames.  Puzzle pieces can be left as is - or painted a solid color.  Makes for a unique picture frame.

FAMILY PICTURES - copy on paper and decopauge onto lamp shades, bottles, jars, etc.  You can add sand and tea light candles to jars to light pictures.  Family pictures can also be copied onto transfer paper and ironed onto fabric - for a very personal  pillow or quilt.
Make cards or postcards from old pictures.

VINTAGE LINENS - use old linens that have some stains or rips and re-invent them into quilts, pillow, valances, table runners, aprons,  even clothing.

Pretty little vest that I was gifted years ago.  All kinds of vintage linens incorporated onto it.

ROCKS - this is the newest fad.  Paint smooth rocks into animals, or paint sayings or pictures.  Can be left at random places for someone to find, can be incorporated into flowers beds or flower pots, can make framed pictures from them, make into magnets or paper weights, etc..

OLD DOOR KNOBS OR HARDWARE - look cool made into coat/clothing racks, added as accents, curtain tie backs etc.

SHEET MUSIC OR OLD BOOKS that are beyond salvage - can be copied into stationary, framed, made into cards, etc.
The same can be done with CHILDREN'S ART.

There is just no end to the things that can be up-cycled. 
We all use normal household items in different ways.  Keeping containers to give leftovers away, using jars and such for storage, foil covered eat trays for candy/sweets gifting, etc.

This might give you a few ideas of things you can do around your home to save a few dollars OR gifts that you can make for Christmas, that won't break the bank.



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Time of Our Lives

I feel totally comfortable saying that myself and many people I know, just aren't happy with the times we live in.  Everything has changed, and I don't necessarily think that is a good thing.
I know the change of the seasons has been bothering me and my moods lately, but the I think the state of affairs and the social climate of the world has a lot to do with it as well.

I want to GO BACK IN TIME!!!!!  I don't want to be a kid again or even back to my early life - as I wouldn't be who I am today.  I just want to go back to a time when all 'seemed right' with the world.  I wish as an adult I could time travel.
I know people worked hard back in the day - but ideas were simpler.

I am so sick of all the complaining and hate.  I am sick of all the feelings of entitlement.  I am sick of  no one taking responsibility for their own actions.  I am sick of all the ME - ME attitudes.  I am sick of all the electronics of the world.  I am sick of people today being blamed for the past.  I am sick of disrespect on so many levels.  I am sick of all the political correctness IN ALL WE DO AND SAY.  I am sick of entertainers and sports people thinking we care about their political views - YOUR JOB is to entertain us! 
It makes me sad that we have turned our backs on patriotism, country, and God.
It breaks my heart to think what the youngsters in my family will have to deal with as they get older (if they even get that opportunity).

Click on picture to enlarge
Read this carefully - do you remember this time?  I was little in the fifties, but this was so our life.  I realize this is talking about food - but everything has changed.

Our phones were party lines - shared with another family (at first).  Then it was a rotary dial - you answered  NOT knowing who was on the other end!!!  Imagine that.
We colored with a color book and crayons - not on a computer.
We played board games, hopscotch, Jacks, and 'house' (it wasn't a bad thing then). 
We could create anything with a cardboard box and a little imagination.
We ate bologna sandwiches or PBJ's with Kool-aid on the front porch at lunch - and called it a picnic.
We grew gardens and cooked from scratch.
Family was always there for each other.
Neighbors were friendly and worked together to better the neighborhood, and help each other.
Parents weren't afraid to let kids play outside (out of sight).  Little did we know that all the neighbors were keeping an eye on us.
We wrote letters and thank you cards.
We walked to school.
We read 'actual' books.
We had Christmas programs and Bible classes (off site).  If you didn't want to participate you didn't have too - the programs still happened for those who wanted to participate.
We said the Pledge every morning before school
We watched the Road Runner, Popeye, and Foghorn Leghorn cartoons - and we weren't damaged by the violence!
No one in grade school had heard of sexual harassment
There was no nudity or cussing on TV (of course we had 3 channels)!
There were no seat belts, we rode in back of pickup trucks, and drank from hoses.
Boys looked like boys and girls looked like girls. 
Words meant what they meant - not something new that someone made up!!
We worked hard for what we had and earned the extras.

OK, I could go on and on and on.  You ALL know what I mean. 
This total social climate we are in depresses me to no end.
I just want to live my life in peace, and not be bombarded with sex, cussing, and PC crap.

I guess this is probably why I like the folks I meet on the blog (and some other ones), because we try to be prepared for hard times, we help one another, we work hard for what we have, and we learn from one another, we help others, we have respect, we pray for each other - we have good wholesome values.
THANK YOU - you all help me keep my sanity in this crazy, stupid, wicked world!!!!!!!!!

Blessings from me to you.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Frugal Happenings 9/24

Good morning to everyone.  Hope you are all well and happy.
We are still (enjoying) summer weather in our area.  It has been in the 90's the last few days and very humid.  That is supposed to come to an end mid week, and we are to get back to more seasonable temperatures.  I am not sure to if I want to be happy or sad.  I hate the extreme heat, but I also know winter comes right behind fall.  I really do not like cold and ice!

Today is G's 62nd birthday.  He catches up to me for a month or so!  LOL  I figured he would want dinner from the Outback, but he has decided he wants his special dinner to be Long John Silvers!  We haven't had that for probably a good two years - so I guess it is worth the splurge.

The garden is still producing, which is wonderful.  We have been utilizing fresh veggies a lot.  Things are slowing down, but I think we still have a few weeks of goodies left out there.

My frugal week:
  • Used the crockpot to make a big batch of Mexican chicken
  • Harvesting broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, and cukes
  • Been picking lots of cherry tomatoes from ALL the volunteer plants that have popped up all over.  I have 5 plants that have come up in the past couple months and have gotten huge
One of the volunteer plants - it is about thigh high and covers about 4' in width!  That's just one!!
  • Made a run to the feed store and got a 2 months supply of squirrel/bird feed
  • Froze extra Mex. chicken for a later meal
  • Mowed the yard.  Had to, even with the heat.  I think I probably sweated off a couple pounds and got rid of lots of toxins!
  • Line dried laundry
  • Had to pick up G's meds at WM.  I never shop there, but I walked into the freezer section while waiting (right next to pharmacy).  I did purchase 8 cans (all they had) of orange juice concentrate for 1.23 a can.  I have read that orange crop got seriously damaged in the hurricane, so prices will be going up.
  • Went to a yard sale across the street on Friday.  I got a 28 qt. tote (no lid), a 32 qt. tote w/lid, a half gallon Brita filter pitcher, and a brand new Cuisinart grilled sandwich maker ALL for $5!!!!!  I dropped my 30+ year old sandwich maker a couple months ago and broke it - so a great find there.
  • Worked on organizing more of the downstairs pantry.  Also worked on getting all holiday gifts together - to see what I actually had.  Trying to get more organized.
  • Just working on fall cleaning

Meals this week:
Breaded pork burgers, red beans & rice (Aldi box), sliced tomatoes
Mexican chicken served over rice
Salad topped Mex. chicken burritos
Finger foods - summer sausage/cheese & crackers, garden fresh veggies and dip
Fried chicken and salad
Smoked sausage, steamed broccoli and tomatoes
Cheeseburgers, fried potatoes and tomatoes
Snacks - peach pie, ice cream


I hope you all have a wonderful upcoming week.  I wish you all health, happiness and a frugal life.
May the Lord help us all be content and happy with what we have, and to feel blessed.
God bless you all.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fun Fall Recipes & Ideas

Tomorrow is the official start of fall here in the U.S. 
You would never know it, in my neck of the woods!  It is hot and humid, and will be for at least the next week.  We are reaching 90*  and the humidity is thick! 
Yesterday morning when I went out to feed the kitties, dew was actually dripping from the trees!!  That is something I have never seen before. 

I am sure there are places that are actually feeling like fall - and please note - I am NOT complaining.  It will be here quick enough and then winter will be at it's coat tails.  ICK!

There are certain things that just remind all of us that fall IS a lovely time of the year.  There are special smells, crisp air, beautiful colors, and there is even a different sound in the air.
We all have different foods that we fix and enjoy once the weather gets cooler.
Soups, stews, casseroles, baked goods, apples, pumpkins,  cider, and just about any comfort food.

Today I am going to list a couple fun recipes, mostly using what we would have on hand, that just scream fall in my opinion!

1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
1/2 C onion, chopped
1/2 C celery, thinly sliced
1 1/2 C catsup
1/4 C brown sugar - packed
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Brown your ground meat along with the onion and celery.  Drain and set aside.  Mix the remaining ingredients, and add to beef mixture.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thoroughly warmed.  Serve on sandwich buns.
There's nothing like a good sloppy Joe and chips or home fries on a cool winter's evening to me.

2 C self-rising flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 C mayonnaise
1 C milk
1/2 C cooked ham (I would think you could use pork, beef, chicken whatever you have)
1/2 C shredded cheese
Combine flour and baking soda, set aside.  Mix remaining ingredients together, and add to flour mixture.  Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake at 425* for 16 - 18 minutes.  Makes about 12.
These are yummy for a quick breakfast, lunch, after school snack, or even with sides for dinner.  These would also be great on a buffet!

3/4 C water
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cocoa
Place water, butter and vanilla in a saucepan; bring to a boil.  Remove from heat; set aside.  Combine remaining ingredients together, and slowly whisk into the water mixture until thickened.  Serve warm.  Makes about one cup.
If you have never tried this - you are missing out!!!  It is a southern 'thing' here.
Drizzle over hot biscuits, pancakes, or waffles on a cold morning and all will be right with the world!!!

I am NOT a fan of eating pumpkin at all - but I DO love the scents that contain the fall 'pumpkiny' smell.  This is an easy-peasy, non-chemical air freshener to make your home smell lovely.
You can adjust it how ever you choose.  It is mainly things we probably all have on hand.

Here's a fun and easy craft project as well.  Use a nail and hammer and 'punch' faces into coffee tins or other tin cans and spray paint.  Add sand or gravel to the bottom - then add a votive candle.  No money crafts are fun.

I hope you can try and enjoy a couple of these.  I love having easy recipes that contain NO special ingredients that I have to go out and buy.  I can fix them whenever I want - ingredients all from the pantry/freezer.  Got to love no-spend meals!!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Equivalency Fun Facts - for your kitchen

We all look for new hacks and ideas for our cooking from scratch kitchens.
There are so many little things that I constantly wonder about and question - as in "how many does it take?" - "how much do I need?", etc.
I imagine we all have those moments.

Today I will give you a few of the most  popular measurements.  I have this printed out and taped inside my cabinet door for easy access!

Dash - less than 1/8 tsp.
3 tsp. = 1 Tbsp.
4 Tbsp. = 1/4 C
1 stick of butter = 1/4 lb. = 1/2 C = 8 Tbsp.
1 jumbo egg = 2 medium

Beans 1 lb. dried = approx. 2 - 2 1/2 C (depends on bean size)
Bell peppers, 1 large = 1 C chopped
Cheese (hard) 1 lb. shredded = 4 C
Cottage cheese 1 lb. = 2 C
Crackers - 20 single standard crackers = 1 C crumbs
Herbs, 1 Tbsp. fresh = 1 tsp. dried

Lemon, 1 med. size = 2-3 Tbsp. juice (heat lemon 10 seconds in microwave to get most juice)
Lemon, 1 med. size = 2-3 tsp. grated zest

Mustard, 1 Tbsp. prepared = 1 tsp. dry
Oatmeal 1 lb. dry = about 5 C dry
Onion 1 med. = 1/2 C chopped

Pasta - smaller tubal types, 1 lb. = 4 C uncooked
Noodles 1 lb. dry = 6 C uncooked
Spaghetti (all long pasta) 1 lb. = 4 C uncooked

Potatoes - white and sweet - 1 lb. - 3 med sized = 2 C mashed
Rice 1 lb. dry = 2 C uncooked
Whipping cream - 1 C un-whipped = 2 C whipped
Yeast, dry, 1 envelope (1/4 oz.) = 1 Tbsp. bulk

1 C sour milk or buttermilk - use 1 C plain yogurt OR 1 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice in a 1 C measure and top to 1 C with milk.  Let it sit 5 minutes before using.

1 garlic clove - use 1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms - use 1 - 6 oz. can, drained

1 Tbsp. tomato paste - use 1 Tbsp. ketchup

1 Tbsp. vinegar - use 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 C heavy cream - add 1/3 C melted butter to 3/4 C milk - (works for cooking, baking NOT whipping)

1/2 C wine (for cooking) - pour 2 Tbsp. wine vinegar into a 1/2 C measure - and finish filling with broth.  Stir and let it set 5 minutes.  Stir again before using.

1 Tbsp. cornstarch - use 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

2 Tbsp. Tapioca - use 3 Tbsp. all purpose flour

cooking oil when baking - replace part with either applesauce or yogurt to decrease oil content

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There are so many ways to use what you have on hand when cooking.  No need to make a special run to the store for one or two ingredients (we all know that never works!).
TRY YOUR BEST to keep  all BASIC ingredients on hand in your pantry.
Learn to improvise - I hardly ever follow a recipe as written!  I am always changing things up.

Read your recipes from beginning to end - before ever starting it.  You don't want to over look a very important instruction, and you can also make sure you have everything needed - whether as written or substitutes.

Cooking really is fun.   Don't make it feel like a chore.  Experiment and have fun.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Frugal Happenings 9/17

Good morning to all my frugal fiends.
Oh my goodness, we are half way through this month.  I just can't believe the holidays will be here before we know it.

We had really cool temps all week, until yesterday.  It looks like summer will be making a return this week - all week long.  Highs will be in the 80's, maybe even 90 this coming week.  We did get a little much needed rain earlier, and there is a small chance for the first part of the week.  Sure can't complain.

The hummingbirds may be moving on, after that cool snap we had.  I am not seeing them as much.  I keep the nectar fresh and will be for a few weeks, for those passing through on the way south.  I will miss my little flying jewels!

We  got up the other morning to find a dead opossum in the back yard.  Poor baby.  I think it may have had a tussle with the dogs across the alley.  It appeared to have a couple puncture wounds.  I am not sure if it was our Opie that we have had since it was a baby or not.  Seemed odd that it came here to die.  Apparently they only live 2 - 3 years, but I still hate seeing something hurt.  We still have a opossum in the yard once in a while at night since - so not sure if it lives here or is visiting.

This has been another quiet week.
Our frugal week:
  • Picked a pretty little bouquet from the yard.  Replaced roses in it, a couple times.  They smell so good.
  • Still harvesting garden.  I actually got a couple cucumbers off the new vines!  Love walking out back to get veggies.  My bell peppers are loaded still!  Lots of green tomatoes and still picking broccoli.  YUM
  • No A/C biggest part of the week.
  • Washing windows with vinegar/water and newspapers.
  • Took the top of the stove apart and cleaned.  Not totally done canning - but the stove was in need!  LOL  Love using vinegar and baking soda!
  • Doing lots of yard work - great exercise
  • I have been eating apples and peanut butter for lunch.  I love this time of year for the abundance of apples!
  • Left the property only twice all week - so not much fuel used.
  • I did a cat food run, trying to start building up cat food preps for the winter.  Two stores - but neither had as much stock or variety as I wanted.  Need to make a run to Rural King soon.
  • I ran over to the farm market yesterday looking for butter.  Store bought butter just seems to have NO taste to either of us.  Farm market doesn't sell due to all the govt. regulations on dairy.  I did buy a quart of local honey to have in stock.  I guess I will start making my own butter!
  • Line dried laundry
  • All the regular things we all do everyday!
I was amazed at the farm market yesterday at the prices of some things.  They were selling 9" fruit pies for $25!  Oh my.  They also had 9" savory (meat/veg) pies frozen for $40 each.  You had to bake at home.  People were buying them!!!!!!!!  Can I say a huge crap-ola?  WOW!
I think I stood there with my mouth open in a daze watching folks buy them for a good 10 minutes.  I can buy a whole lot of groceries for $40!  People never cease to amaze me.

Menu this past week:
Homemade pizza
Chicken strips, green beans & potatoes, sliced toms
Beef & rice enchiladas (2X)
Tuna salad sandwiches and chips
Creamy chicken/veggie linquine
Loaded baked potatoes

Nothing real exciting happening here.  Quiet and calm the way I like it.  I have so much I need to accomplish and I just don't seem to have the oomph I need!  I guess maybe it is the change of season/weather - I don't know.  I need to get my rump in gear and get  a lot of stuff done.
Oh, I did get a new great/great nephew this week!  His pictures are adorable and he is healthy.  Can't ask for more than that! 

How was your week?  What did you do to stay on the frugal bandwagon?
I look forward to hearing from you all.

May the Lord bless you in all ways. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Remember to be Thankful

The past few weeks so many things have happened all over the world, that has ended life as many have known it - forever.
Folks have lost homes, jobs, sustenance, possessions, health, and even lives.  There are threats each and every day of horrible things that could happen.

Todays post is simple.
Just remember to be thankful for what you have - don't be upset by what you don't have.  No matter what we go through in this life, there are always others going through worse.
God gave you this day, so please make it the best.

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*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

YES, I am blessed.  I am blessed with my health, with my husband, with the family I have left on this earth, with shelter and food, with enough, with my fur babies, with memories, with good friends, and with another day on this earth. 
I am so very thankful.

I am blessed to have all of you in my world.
Thank you for going on this fantastic journey of life with me.
Blessings my friends.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Your Frugal Budget

We have professed our 'frugal lifestyles', but most don't like the word BUDGET!
It can be a scary word - most people think of charts and ledgers, stock markets, and definitive answers. 
Frugal is being a good steward of you things and money, and making it go as far as possible.  Much less intimidating.
Well, in my opinion, they go hand in hand.  You take care of your money and your money takes care of you.  Some of the wealthiest people on the planet got that way by being frugal.

It doesn't matter how much money you have or how little - you still need to budget.  That strictly means not spending more than you make or have.  Living within or below your means!  If you make smart choices - your future will be brighter!

Whether on a piece of paper, a journal, or on the computer - make a list of all your spendable income.  Opposite that list all your expenditures.  There are 2 types of expenses.
FIXED - are things like mortgage, car payments, insurance, utilities - things that are pretty much the same every month.
DISCRETIONARY - are items that change from month to month, like food, eating out, maybe even charge card bills.
If your expenses are more than your income, you need to make changes for sure.
You can earn more - get another job OR you can spend less (easiest choice).

If given the chance have your bills deducted straight from your account each month - AND make sure that you have that written on your calendar for each and every month.  You don't want to forget a deduction.
ALSO have your checks placed directly into your bank account.  If you don't have it in your hand - you are less likely to spend.
You can merge both on-line banking with check writing - it is strictly what works best for you.  What works best for you  MAY NOT be what you have been doing in the past - so think about it.

Keep track of ABSOLUTELY EVERY PURCHASE MADE for a couple months.  I am talking about utilities, insurance, that morning pop or coffee, a pack of cigarettes, a pack of gum, etc.  Write WHAT you bought and HOW MUCH you spent.  At the end of those couple months, you will see exactly where your money is going - and trust me - it will make you sick when you see the waste!
That is when you get busy and cut stuff out, and pay things off, and save.

1.  Pay everything that HAS to be paid and is FIXED.
2.  Pay off your other debts as quickly as possible.  Do what works for you - we used to pay minimum on most and over on the highest interest ones and pay them off first.  Then work on the next one!
3.  Pay YOURSELF as well.  Yes indeed.  Try you absolute best to pay yourself 10%.  Place that in the bank for emergencies.
4.  If you can get into a 401K (or similar) plan, especially one that matches funds - do NOT hesitate!  These monies come out before taxes, and it makes very little difference in your take home pay.  If the company matches - that is just FREE money!!!!!!  It is a no brainer.  This could be all you have for retirement - folks in the U.S. please don't depend on always having Social Security.  You need to plan on taking care of yourself.
5.  If not weekly, at least once or twice a year GIVE to something to help others.  Whether you tithe at church or give to some other organization or directly to someone - do something caring and selfless.  I know this may sound crazy - as you are trying to get ahead - but it makes you a better person and it makes you a happier person - the rest will all fall into place.  Trust me!!!!!!

Yep this is all money.  Spare change, rolled coin, dollars, and even coupons - it is all money in your budget!

If your expenses are larger than income - you need to make some big decisions.  If you want to make more money - think second or third job.  NO it isn't fun.  NO you won't have free time.  YES it will pay off - hopefully in the short run.
Sell things you don't use or need.
Do what ever you need to (and legal) to increase income.

Spend LESS!  You can do it.  Cut back on groceries - make no spend weeks/months.  Eat what you have - it may not be fancy - but you will survive.
NO eating out.
NO outside entertainments (for a while)
NO buying new clothes, toys, gifts, etc.  IF you need a gift, make something.
QUIT using charge cards.  Spend cash only - and never carry more cash that you can truly afford to spend.
Cut out bad habits - that is a huge vacuum on cash flow.
If something breaks or quits - figure out another way.  Do without for a bit.  It won't kill you!

Make yourself a goal - it doesn't matter if it is paying off a charge card, paying off the house or car, paying off student loans, reaching $1,000 in savings, or retirement in the near future.  MAKE GOALS!  They are important.  They give you something to strive for and look forward to.

We ALL make budgets a lot more difficult than we have to.  It is really simple to understand - never spend more than you make.  Live beneath your means.
NO you don't have to live like a pauper always.  You can live a good life, just differently.  As you start making changes, you will see the world with a new set of eyes.  Most of all you will be happier and less stressed!

                              This was in the morning paper!  How timely and appropriate!

We all need to quit saying I WANT - and stick with needs. 
We all need say I WON'T  or I DON'T  need or want to do or participate. 
We all need to make sacrifices in order to get ahead.

We all need to learn from each other!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Frugal Happenings 9/10

Hello and happy Sunday to all.  I hope you are all well and safe.
There is so much sadness from nature happening now - it can be over whelming.  My thoughts and prayers are with all those in the path of hurricane Irma, those affected by Harvey, those in fire areas, and those affected my earthquakes.  So sad.
This just reinforces in my head more reasons to have stockpiles and to be prepared for anything.

We have had great weather this week.  Monday as really hot and we did need the AC, but after that it cooled a lot.  Nights have actually been in the 40's and 50's!  I love this kind of weather.
The garden is still producing on it's second go round.

I got to go to an event last evening, that was a reunion from the grade school I went to.  It was all inclusive of every year in existence (it's been gone since 1980).  It was a great time.  I got to see so many old classmates and teachers and had dinner with people that I have now been friends with for about 56 years!  Many of us met in first grade, then went on to high school together - and many have stayed close all these years (although we don't see each other often).  It was a priceless experience.

Here's a GOOD MORNING from Pooty -wishing you a great day.  She HAD to help with laundry!

My frugal week:
  • Worked on the big flower garden out back - cleaning and pulling stuff.  What a mess!  All the rain and heat this summer took a toll - weeds galore
  • Line dried a ton of laundry
  • Been harvesting and eating more garden produce.
  • Picked what is probably the last of the grapes - got several pounds again
  • Put up the fall door decorations and a couple things in the house.  Using what I have.
  • Colored my hair at home
  • Gave myself a nice mani and pedi - complete with polish!  I hardly ever polish any more.
  • My printer decided not to feed paper - so I problem solved and cleaned and adjusted and now it works great.
  • Started working on fall cleaning and more purging of stuff (it never ends - too much stuff!)
  • Restocking upstairs pantry from supplies on hand
  • Went to the library
  • All the normal weekly stuff - making tea, filtering water, saving cereal wax bag, washing baggies, eating all leftovers, etc.
  • While out to the library - I decided to go to a Kroger I rarely visit (not the best area).  I got a deal on chunked pears - 12 cans at .22 can and mixed veggies - 12 cans at .31 cans (all they had of both).  Both are dated 9/2019.  I don't usually buy mixed veggies (not my fav) but who the heck knows what could possibly happen in the next 2 years!  They may be very valuable to us!  They will be used!

Meals this week:
Zucchini/corn casserole and fresh chunk veggies in Italian dressing
Jazzed up leftover casserole and salad
Cube steaks, mac n cheese and sliced tomatoes
Chili (2X)
Cold cut/cheese/tomato sandwiches and chips
Night out for me and G ate last of chili
Had yogurt, apples, nuts, and ice cream for snacks

It has really been a quiet and uneventful week here.  I kind of like it like that!  NO drama.
I stayed home biggest part of the week, just tinkering around here.
If you didn't get a chance to read Thursday's post, you might want to check it out.  I listed some fun recipes that you might enjoy!

I have been waking up each morning and laying my head down each night - being so thankful for the life we have.  So many are battling nature and loss right now - I just can't see myself being ungrateful about anything.  Nothing we are experiencing can compare.
We are so extremely blessed!

I pray you all have a safe, healthy and frugal week.
Blessings from our home to yours.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Food for Football, Tailgating, Campfires & Fall

It is that time of the year for Friday night football games, tailgating , fun old hayrides, October Fest, and more.  The list off fall activities goes on and on.  Americans find all these things just a normal part of cooler weather.

We all think about goodies such as smores, hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill, brauts and kraut, wings and of course apple cider and anything pumpkin!  As for me I could completely do without the pumpkin 'whatever' - not one of my favorite flavors!

I also have a few items I like to serve whenever there is a group of folks coming for a visit.  We like to make BBQ little smokies (or mini hotdogs), chili, pizza, BBQ or Swedish meatballs, chili/cheese dip and always homemade salsa and chips.

It is fun to look outside the box a little and try some new recipes once in a while.  These don't have to be served for a fall get together - they will also make a great dinner as well.  Remember, dinner doesn't have to be meat and potatoes and several courses.  It can be anything you want!!!  It is YOUR home - eat what makes you happy!

2 pkgs. of faux crab
2 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 pkg. of wonton skins/wraps
Salt and pepper to taste

Process crab into small pieces and add other ingredients.  Line a cookie sheet with wrappers (on parchment) and add 1 tsp. of mix (or a little more if it will fit).  Wet the edges of the wraps and fold over.  Brush with butter and bake at 400* for 12-14 minutes.
These make for great finger food, appetizers, or just a fun snack.

1 C brown sugar
12 oz. cola
1 onion diced
2 tsp. soy sauce
3 lbs. of wings
Salt & Pepper

Combine first 4 ingredients and pour over the wings in a lightly greased deep pan.  Bake at 350* for 2 hours.

DIRTY RICE (as promised)
12 oz. wild brown rice
2 pkg. Vigo red beans and rice
5 lbs. country pork sausage
4 large onion - chopped
2 large bell peppers - chopped
3 cans (or equivalent of home canned) diced tomatoes
1 small stalk of celery chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tsp. garlic salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground sage (optional in my opinion)
Brown your meat. Remove from pan.  Add chopped onion in hot grease and cook till clear.
Add spices to 12 CUPS of water and bring to a boil - then add rice and beans - bring back to a boil - reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Next add meat, tomatoes, and other veggies and simmer on LOW for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.  Stir frequently.

**I told you it made a lot!!!!  This is great for a big gathering or just to make ahead and freeze up in containers for several meals.  It is soooooooo good.
An old friend of ours, who once owned a small pub up the street used to make this and serve at the bar.  It was always a hit.
I have made it with a little less meat - but the sausage is what really adds to the dish.  You make it spicier or not as spicy - your choice.

Now if you want dirty rice quickly and on a much smaller scale - try the Aldi brand dirty rice mix (.99 box) and add a pound of ground sausage to it.  It is very tasty as well, although not as spicy!

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 C sour cream
3 ounces dried beef, rinsed (if using jarred beef) and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped green pepper
1  1/2 Tbsp. minced onion
1 tsp. dried green pepper flakes, optional
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
pepper to taste
Combine all 8 ingredients in a 1 quart baking dish.  Bake at 375*, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Serve with raw veggies or crackers.  Yields about 2 cups.
So good!

Our favorite.
1 lb. of Velveeta cheese like spread
1 can of chili - Use whatever type chili you like - w/beans, w/meat or without either!

Chop the cheese spread into chunks and add the chili and plop in the microwave at 1 minute increments - stir and go again - till all cheese is melted.  Stir thoroughly and serve with crackers or tortilla chips! (I have also made this in the crockpot!)
We have made meals of this before!

I hope this gives you a few new ideas for these fall/winter gatherings or just for a fun meal at home.  It is fun to experiment a little and try new things.

I realize that wings are not cheap anymore - but keep an eye open for them on sale - as this is the time of year they will be.  Stock up when you can.
Five pounds of sausage can be pricey - but plan ahead and get your items on sale.  That dish makes so much, that it really is frugal in the long run.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Beans, Beans............

You all know the saying!!!
Beans are also very nutritious, high protein, versatile, and cheap!  This is one item that all pantries should be stocked up on.
Whether you have tinned beans, home canned beans, or dry - HAVE THEM!

I have never canned beans myself - I don't really see the necessity on my part.  If I need to cook and we have no stove, I totally know how to cook over a fire.  Yes, perhaps it would be easier to have home canned beans on hand - open jar and eat - but I still do not care for using pressure canners, so that is my cross to bear.

Beans can be anything from green , yellow, or purple beans, navy, pinto, lima, black, kidney, and there are garbanzo beans and lentils.  There are so many different types.  I even have some dried fava beans in my stash that I haven't tried yet.
Beans are extremely high in protein and can be used as a meat substitute.  Whether you are a vegetarian or just someone that wants to cut expenses - beans are for you.

BEAN               SOAK               WATER NEEDED TO COOK               YIELD
Black                  Yes                                     About 6 cups                          6 1/2 cups and broth
Chickpeas           Yes                                     About 7 cups                          7-8 cups and broth
Black-eyed          Yes                                     About 6 cups                          7 cups and broth
Pinto                    Yes                                    About 6 cups                           7 cups and broth
Red beans            Yes                                    About 6 1/2 cups                     7 cups and broth
Lentils                  No                                     About 6 1/2 cups                     6 cups and broth

The above measures are for a one pound bag of beans.
Cooking times vary depending if you soaked over night vs. soaking in a boiling bath for a while.  It also depends on how old the beans are.  Beans do get drier the older they get and do take longer to cook, but they are still OK and will cook.
I see many places that says you can cook a bag of beans (after soaking) in 2 -3 hours.  I have NEVER had beans cook that quickly!  EVER!!!
I generally cook mine in a slow cooker - no scorching or burning.
If you are going to freeze beans after cooking - cook for a little less time - so that beans don't end up a mushy mess.

Beans can be purchased for very little money.  Dollar Tree even sells them.  Last I looked, you could get navy and black beans for $1/lb. and pinto were $1/2 lb. bag.
Beans can be purchased in cans or tins, but the price is more dramatic.  For $1 worth of dried beans, you can get several servings - same price spent on canned - maybe 1 -2 small servings!

Beans can be so versatile.  They are great in bean salads, cooked and added to rice, soups, casseroles, added in taco meat (I do this a lot to stretch it),  or veggie burgers.  I even saw recipes on-line for using beans as a base in brownies, and my sister told me years ago that at the school she worked at, they made chocolate cake with leftover baked beans!  I would love to have had that recipe.  She said the students never knew and loved the cake!
Dried beans can be ground and added to other dishes for extra protein.
We ALWAYS add baking soda to soak water in hopes of lessening the gaseous effects!  Not sure it really works - but is worth the try!

We love soup beans, red beans and rice, lima beans, green beans, refried beans, bean burgers, and G's favorite - bean salad.  I really don't think I have met a bean I didn't like!!! (wax are my least favorite).

2 cans red kidney beans (drained) or equivalent of home canned
2 hard boiled eggs - diced
1/2 onion - chopped
1 stick of celery - chopped
2 Tbsp. pickle relish
1/2 C mayo
Mix all together and chill.  It really is good.

 2 cans (14.5 oz.) beans - drained but not rinsed
1 C bread crumbs
1/4 C grated onion
1 egg
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper
Drain but do not rinse the beans and mash with a fork.  Leave a few beans whole.  Ad other ingredients.  Form into burgers and fry in a small amount of hot oil approx. 5 minutes on each side.  Dress as you would any burger.  Very delish!
Great alternative to meat and much cheaper and probably healthier!
*recipe calls for black beans but I see no reason why you couldn't use whatever you have on hand.

So there you have my take on beans.  They are very necessary for the frugal pantry - they may be all you have some day. 
Keep plenty on hand and store in a cool dry place.  I keep mine in glass jars.
So versatile, so healthy, and so frugal.

Do you have any special uses for beans?  Are they in your frugal pantry?

Have a great day all!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Frugal Happenings 9/3

Hello my friends.  Hope you are all well and that those of you in the U.S. are getting to enjoy an extra long weekend this week.  I hope you all have a nice time planned with family or friends on this last 'unofficial' weekend of summer.
It seems one weekend is just the same as another in my world.  Three day weekends happen every week now that we are retired! LOL

This past week, we got to keep the AC often off more than on - although we did have a couple days it was truly needed.  Friday we never got out of the 60's and tomorrow it is supposed to reach 90*.  We have a storm coming in tomorrow night, and then the temps are supposed to mellow out back into the low 70's all week.

My frugal week:
  • Made a loaf of beer bread - it was quite good
  • Cleaned out the frig again and consolidated bottles and jars of stuff
  • Harvesting and eating garden produce - picked zucchini, bell peppers, jalapenos, cabbage, tomatoes, and broccoli
  • Prepared 8 pints of kraut to ferment
  • Worked on receipts for the month.  I managed to average $25 week on groceries for August - not to shaggy
  • Stopped and filled up the tank with gas, as prices had already gone up.25/gallon.  I had used less than 1/2 tank in August - but I wanted to fill up just in case.  Got to save .20/gallon with my discount
  • Picked more grapes
  • Organized the pantry AGAIN and worked on the over flow downstairs.  It gets so messy, so easily (I guess I need to work neater on a daily basis!)
  • Froze the balance of the stew I made on Sunday - (I see a big potpie in the future)
  • Ground herbs I dried last week
  • Dehydrated cabbage leaves and broccoli stems/leaves
  • Been working on a list for Sam's - keep putting that trip off!
  • Used all leftovers for breakfasts or lunches
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Stopped at Christian thrift store not realizing they were having a 75% off sale.  Most things are a $1 everyday any way!  I got a sturdy wooden rack and 3 metals storage trays for $1 TOTAL.  (They are making room for lots of new stock)

Coogy had to check everything out!  I ended up storing 20 - 1 lb. boxes of pasta on the wooden shelf (downstairs) and more on top.  The racks will hold other grocery items in stockpile
  • Stopped at Kroger to look at markdowns.  Got 9 cans of chopped peaches for .22 can!  Also got 10 cans (6.5 oz.) of mushroom stems/pieces for .39 ea. YAY FOR ME!
These will be great for the winter mixed with other fruit, on cereal, mixed in homemade ice cream, cooked in oatmeal....................the list goes on.

Meals this week:
Stew 2X - with beer bread
Dirty rice mixed with sausage and zucchini
BBQ wings, steamed broccoli and sliced tomatoes
Salad and beef stick/cheese with crackers
Smoked sausage/cabbage and fried smashed potatoes

It was kind of a quiet week, but in my mind those are the best kind. 
It still absolutely amazes me how awesome it is to walk out in the yard and PICK groceries.  I have been around gardens my whole life, but I am still amazed by that.  God is so good!

How was your week?  What did you do to stay frugal?

Thank you for visiting this week and thank you for all the kind comments I received on posts.  I have a great group of gals/guys following this humble little blog.

May your upcoming week be blessed in every way.
Stay healthy, safe, strong, and frugal dear friends.  God bless and keep you in His protective arms.