Thursday, August 30, 2018

Summer Smack Down!

Sorry I am late today.  I have been busting bum today getting yard work done.  We had a great day - sunny and no humidity. 
I got tons done.  Grass mowed, yard trimmed, bushes trimmed, and lots of stuff pulled and yanked!
My hands keep cramping up on me this afternoon!  So much yanking and using the weed whacker had it's toll on my poor hands.  They will be fine later.

It's that time of the year to get it done.   It is still summer as far as the calendar says and even the weather.  Fall will be here quickly.
My garden is really slowing down.  I still have tomatoes hanging, but ripening very slowly now.  Still have cabbage and broccoli and peppers and some cucumbers.
Squash is done.
It won't be long till I have to clean out the garden.  I figure get the flower beds in order and the yard in order while I have a chance.

Is anyone else winding down? 
I know some of you are just now getting lots of produce - but I think a lot of us are getting smaller yields.
I still need to make jelly and jams - but other than some other cabbage products I am getting to the end of canning.
That is unless I find some HUGE and FANTASTIC deal on produce.  Odds are that won't happen.

Gardens slowing, canning slowing, daylight is less,  sunsets are pretty - but it's still hot for now!
Soon the days will be getting crisp and cool, leaves will need to be raked, gardens to turn over, and pumpkins and apples to buy! 

I love my garden and yard and I totally enjoy preserving the harvest.  However, I do look forward to a little cooler weather.  Don't get me wrong - not winter!!!!!  I am not a fan of snow and ice.  I used to love it - then I met G! 
He worked for the city and always was gone round the clock when weather got nasty.  He was the only mechanic that the small town had - so he was there round the clock sometimes for days.  I HAD to take care of the snow removal here.
Now he can't do it, and I still have to.  I know he would love to be able to get around well enough - but then he wouldn't be retired and I would still be in the same boat!!  LOL
I guess snow shoveling is my destiny!

So, as I get ready to soak in a tub for a while tonight, I wish you all a good summer's wind down.  It is great exercise and it's FREE when we do it ourselves. 
It does make you feel accomplished when a hard working day is done.  Things look so pretty and all is right with MY world!

How is your world changing? 
Are you ready for fall temps and fall fun?
Have a good one!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Deals and Sales - It's That Time of Year

Here we are 3/4 of the way through the year.  Here is the U.S. we are getting ready to enter the fall season - and winter won't be far behind.  You lucky gals on the other side of the world are approaching Spring - my favorite time!

Labor Day weekend tends to mark the un-official end of summer.  The year flies by after that point.

Now is the time to really take advantage of sales.  They are every where and on all kinds of things.

GROCERIES - are now having what will probably last big sale on cookout type foods.
Hamburger, hotdogs, ribs
Pop and thirst quencher type drinks
Breads and buns
STOCK UP NOW for later.  (I can almost guarantee you - that you will not ground beef as cheap for ages.)  Heck, Meijer has ground beef (80/20) for 1.59 pound this week!!!!!!

SCHOOL/OFFICE - all kinds of school and office stuff  is on sale.  Look for notebooks, folders, copy paper, ink, pens, pencils, markers, etc.
Stock up now - for the year. 
I even get some supplies for the younger family members to put in their goodie baskets.  They will be needing new notebooks and such around Christmas.

We are coming up on the time of the year that is best for getting deals on new vehicles.  New - 2019- models are coming out and 2018's will be drastically reduced to make room for new inventory.

Lots of furniture stores are having big sales right now.  For some reason fall seems to be a good time to find those sales. 

VARIOUS other items are drastically reduced this time of the year as well.
**Summer clothes and accessories are being reduced to make way for winter clothes
**Outdoor items - like grills, lawn and garden stuff - plants - swimming articles, etc. are reduced. 
**Summer & fall craft items - fall items are already reduced at many craft stores.
    It seems that they reduce items ahead of the holidays now!
**Thrift stores - will be marking down summer items further to make room for winter stuff
** Watch for canning items - like seasoning mixes, jars and lids, etc. to be reduced.

ORCHARDS - apples are now in season and hopefully cheaper.  Pumpkins will be ready soon - I like to get after Halloween (cheaper)
Many orchards also sell items like corn, beans, tomatoes, etc.

FARM MARKETS - will have an abundance of fall crops soon.

Don't over look anywhere.  There are deals to be found in all sorts of places. 
NOW is also the time to start getting gifts for Christmas. 
REMEMBER - gifts don't have to be about winter!!!!!!!

Think about summer hobbies and clothes, canning supplies (I would be in heaven to get canning supplies!), school/office supplies, crafting supplies, garden stuff (seeds, gloves, pots, etc.).
Look for items in unconventional places.  I like getting CLEARANCE at grocery on H&B supplies and small kitchen gadgets (use for gift baskets).  I have also found clearance candles in summer scents - holiday napkins & plates, baskets, etc.
Always check out stores that are going out of business.

Check your sales and stock-up.  Now is the one of the best times to get so many different kinds of deals.  Prices are only going to go up - that's a given.  So any savings you get now - is like money in the bank.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Frugal Happenings 8/26

Good morning my frugal divas!  Hope this finds you all well and happy.

Here we are at the close of another month (in a few days).  We are now LESS than 4 months till Christmas!  YIKES.  I vividly remember April and that was 4 months ago - it seems like yesterday.
The holidays will be upon us in a flash.

On that note, we have had lovely weather for a few days.  Cooler temps and lower humidity.  We had some storms and heavy rain yesterday - but all is good.  Temps will definitely be warming from today forward in this week.  The humidity levels are going very high over the next few days - so it may feel just downright miserable.  UGH - summer is not over in the U.S.  I love, spring, summer, and fall - but I am not a fan of winter.
It is not the temps that bother me - just the nastiness of the season - snow and ice.

I am not sure if I will be getting many more grapes - they are ripening a few here and a few there.  No bunches are getting ripe at the same time.  If I pick by bunch - a lot will be green and wasted.  Near impossible to pick by grape!!!
The hummingbirds are still very active and visiting all the time.  I just love watching and listening to them.  Butterflies are every where and so are spiders and their webs!  You can't walk outside without running into a web!  Surely fall isn't THAT far away.

My frugal week:
  • I did finally add some color to my hair (just to cover the old!  LOL)
  • Cut more herbs - thyme, rosemary and basil to dry
  • Cleaned out and dead-headed a bunch of spent flowers out front
  • Mowed
  • Line dried laundry
  • Had 3 days of no A/C - windows open and aired the house
  • NO GROCERY RUN this week
  • Picked, picked and picked tomatoes.  Also picked broccoli, another cabbage, okra, peppers, and a pound of rhubarb.  Total this week about 54 pounds! (We are on the down side of tomatoes now & squash is done)
  • Canned 4 quarts of kraut, 7 pints of salsa (we use it for so many things), 5 quarts and 2 pints of crushed seasoned tomatoes. 
  • All the usual stuff.  Meals from home, making tea, filtering water, laundry in cold, etc.

                                   Lots of 'maters!  It is amazing how many it takes to can things.

pretty salsa - so many uses in our home

Meals this past week:
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli
Open face meatloaf sammies with gravy and salad
Sausage gravy over toast and scrambled eggs
Pork burgers, parmesan pasta and sliced tomatoes
Smoked sausage, fried corn and tomatoes and cucumbers
Homemade ham/cheese, tomato Panini's, salsa and chips
Chicken breast, mac n cheese and sliced tomatoes

All leftovers eaten for lunches

                                                                         Fried corn
That pretty much sums up my week!  Not very exciting.
What was your week like?   Did you get any deals?  Are you doing any canning?

I have the crock pot going already this morning with a small pork roast and potatoes and carrots. 
I am going to go in a straighten and clean the frig (wipe the shelves).  Need to do a quick "see" so nothing goes to waste.
Think I will take a break from canning today.

Prayers that you all have a blessed and fruitful week.  Health and happiness to you all.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

A Tasty or Two

I thought I would share a couple easy and so very tasty recipes with you.  I am sure there are nooooooo calories to speak of in either one!!!!!   LOL - hahahaha

They are both quite filling and would be great for a new dish to offer company, or even take to a pitch in.

2 rolls of crescent rolls  ( I got store brand as they were super cheap)
Ham thinly sliced
Mozzarella or provolone cheese (thinly sliced)
Pepperoni slices
Swiss cheese (thinly sliced)
Some sliced peppers - like pepperoncini (for tang)
A little parmesan cheese (dried to sprinkle) & Italian seasoning
I also added a little Dijon mustard

I know this sounds expensive and like a lot, but you use just a little of everything.

Roll out the first pack of crescent rolls all together in a greased pan. (do not separate).  Pinch all the seams closed.  Top with a thin layer of ham, cheese, pepperoni, a few squirts of Dijon mustard (spread around) other cheese and a few peppers.  Top with the second roll of crescent rolls (do not separate).  Again crimp shut all the little seams.
Sprinkle the top with a little parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
When a little cooled cut into 8 or more pieces - depending on what else you might serve.

This is so good!  We actually used it as our main meal - 2 pieces each and a side salad.  Had enough for 2 different meals.  I will definitely make this again.
It would be a great dish for a cool autumn evening!  It was really a comfort type food.

I have seen many recipes out there - this is my own.  I used what I had on hand.

2 - 8 oz. packs cream cheese (softened)
about 8 oz.. sour cream
approx. 1 cup of shredded cheese (whatever you have)
1/4 C dry parmesan cheese
I added about 1/2 - 3/4 cups of chopped jalapeno peppers as well
I added a couple dashes of garlic powder and onion powder
Mix all that together.
Place in a single pie crust (in a lightly greased pie pan).  Spread the mixture evenly in crust.  Top with thinly sliced tomatoes - I over lapped them - so as to have plenty.  Sprinkle with a bit of Italian seasoning.
Bake at 400 for approx. 40 - 45 minutes (cover the crust edge for about 15 minutes so as not to burn it).
Let it set for about 10-15 minutes before cutting.

This is just a rich creamy and decadent dish.  We absolutely loved it.  I would do this even with store bought tomatoes (as they would bake well).

I love experimenting with food and making new recipes.  Some recipes sound expensive, but when you just need a little of this or that - they can be very reasonable.
I am all about easy, yummy and comfort when it comes to meals.

I hope you find these tasty and yummy as well.  REMEMBER nothing is etched in stone.  You can mix and match what you have in your frig. and make your own new and exciting recipes.  Just remember how you did it in case you love it!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Fresh, Canned, Grown, Frozen?????

Yesterday while reading comments on Sunday's post - Norma gave me an idea.  She mentioned that she now buys canned mushrooms, because when she buys fresh - they go bad before she can use them.  I have never had a problem with 'shrooms, but there are several things I think we all feel that way about!
There are some things that I just prefer to buy as well.
I know that not everyone can or does garden, so there are many who always buy what they get.
I am curious as to whether you buy fresh, or prefer frozen, or get canned.  OR maybe you do garden for many things.

I have never had great success with root crops (other than green onions).  It just isn't worth my time (according to me) to try to grow potatoes, or carrots, or beets, big onions, etc.  I will purchase what is needed, when it is needed.  I can keep those items for quite a while with reasonable freshness.

I will NOT buy water - but that is just one of those crazy 'me' things.  I do have a couple cases of bottled water that were practically free - but other than that I store my own and filter drinking water.  (I do have the components to make a filter for rain/creek water to safe measures for SHTF).

Now that I have canned my own kraut - I sure never want to buy it again.  There is no comparison.

I like to keep frozen berries on hand for various things.  I also keep canned fruit - in case I don't have fresh.

I make my own iced tea - don't like bottled.

I prefer homemade bread - but most often (unless bored) I buy it.  It is just easier.  I admire those of you who make theirs every week!!!!!!!

I prefer to use natural items for cleaning - so don't buy much in that department.  I keep pounds of baking soda on hand and lots of vinegar.

I have tons of dried beans on hand as well as rice.  I prefer to make myself.  BUT I do keep a couple cases of canned beans on hand when I don't feel like making them. (I need to learn to can them myself)!!

What about you?  I am curious to see what others do.  I am glad this subject was brought up.  It is fun to learn from others.

Do you have certain items that you WILL ALWAYS  buy - either for cost or convenience?
Do you have items that you WILL NEVER  buy?

Convenience has become a big part of our lives today.  In the old days - you grew it, raised it, made it, or bartered it - or you did without!  Today is not like that in any way.
It isn't a major trip (for most) to get to a store.  They are about on every corner. 
Years ago the old general store carried what you COULD get.  If it wasn't there, odds are you did without.  It was a major excursion into the little towns just to get to the general store.

I remember when I was little - Mom and Daddy went to the store on Saturday.  Yes, it was as chain store after a certain point.  We did have a family owned neighborhood store as well.  If it wasn't purchased on Saturday or grown or made at home - you did without or improvised!  No daily trips to the store - one trip and that was it and ONLY a certain amount of money to be spent!  We made do.
It didn't hurt us one little bit!!!

So, what say you?????  I can't wait to hear everyone's answers.
Hope everyone plays along.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Frugal Happenings 8/19

Happy Sunday everyone!  Boy, these weeks are just flying by - it will be fall before you know it!

We had a lot of rain over the past week.  It was quite warm and humid feeling.  This next week is supposed to be in the upper 70's and low 80's.   That will be nice.  They are calling for a couple days with rain - then sunny and dry.

Yesterday I went out to mow (it was still slightly damp - but warming up fast) and the young man across the street hollered over "well now I have to mow!  You always get the ball rolling".  I never realized.  Within a few hours - 5 others had followed suit!  It does look pretty around here though!

The pepper plants and cucumbers are all starting to re-set blossoms and starting to produce again.  The other grapes are finally starting to ripen slowly.

The hummingbirds are at the feeders constantly now.  They are sure sweet and have been drinking a lot.  I sure hope that doesn't mean they are soon to be gone.

My frugal week:
  • Have only been going out 1 day a week - sure saves on gas
  • Worked on 3 flower beds and mowed this week in between rain
  • Our small coffee pot quit (4 cup) and I started using a bigger one.  No filters to fit bigger one (till I went out) so I used restaurant napkins as filters (I always keep extras)
  • Did more canning this week. - 15 jars salsa, 9 pints coleslaw and 1 - 1/2 pint, 6 - 1/2 pints of seasoned crushed tomatoes.  I also did 3 pints of sweet pickled onions slices (used brine I had left from relish)
  • Picked 38 more pounds of produce.  Picked 3 more zucchini (plants now done), some okra, peppers, cucumbers and lots and lots of tomatoes.
  • Used the blanching and canning scalding water to kill grass around the edge of porch
  • We were given enough green beans to cook for a dinner and a lunch
  • We were given 6 boxes of frozen rice/shrimp  (our neighbor/friend)
  • I went out one day and got some great meat deals.  I wasn't planning on buying meat for the next many months......but!!!!  I got another pork loin for 1.49/lb. - I sliced into 22 chops and a small roast (still haven't cut one from last week yet).  I got ground beef for 1.59/lb.  Bought 10 pounds and re-wrapped for freezer in 1 lb. packages.   Got a great deal on bacon!!!  3 lb. packages for 8.99.  $3 a pound is super cheap here - always ranges from 4.99 - 7.99 pound.  Actually the same bacon in 1 pound packs was 4.99.  I got 15 pounds - separated and froze.
  • Doing all the basics - making tea, laundry in cold, filtering water, taking care of lots of paperwork, eating from home, etc.
  • Made dip
Meals this week:
Turkey/cheese sandwiches and chips and dip
Shrimp poppers, fried okra and potatoes
Gravy covered ground beef steaks, mac and cheese and salad
Cheeseburgers and green beans
Tomato & cheese pie (I'll tell you how this week)
Homemade burrito supreme

                  Tomato/cheese pie - OMG!  Soooooo good - not super rich at all!!!!!!  LOL

So there you have it - not real exciting.  I pretty much spend my week around here, just taking care of life.  There is always something to do, something that needs to be done, and things that just make me moan noooooooo!!!!  Such is life.

How was your week?  Did you get any great deals?  How are the gardens going?

May your week be blessed and happy.  Take time to say 'thank You' for your blessings, give a kind word to others, and bless someone with your sunshine!  We just never know the difference a small deed can do - be the difference!

Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

We ALL Need a Smile!!

Some days we just all need a smile and a little laughter.
It has been a very busy week here, as I am sure it has been in your home.  We get so caught up in BUSY - we often forget to just smile.

My kitties always give me something to smile about.
The squirrels antics are always funny.
G has a weird sense of humor - so he can get a smile.
The garden produce looks and tastes yummy - so I smile.
Meeting a friendly person at the store can make me smile.
Preparing my pantry for those "what if" times, makes me happy and smile.
Waking up each morning makes me smile.

But I don't think anything can make you smile like seeing a sweet berry faced smiling piggy!!!!!!! 

Just wanted to wish you all a GREAT day and don't forget to SMILE!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Shades of a Summer Day

Around here, summer days and evenings are anything but dull or boring.  There is always something to do.  It is a never ending list of chores and projects.
Now mind you, a lot of the projects get put off, as there just isn't the time to do them, till cooler weather.

I don't mean to sound as if I am complaining, as the garden is a blessing, but also a chore!
The yard - well what can I say?  So much heat and so much rain equals weeds every where.  We did have an extended dry spell for several weeks and many things just looked like crap.  So I started just cutting them back to the ground - and now they are arising once again (although they look better!)

Work, work, work - something we all need to get used to.  So many today, don't want to get their hands dirty, or think things are trivial and not worth the effort. 
Me thinks they are!!!!!!
It gives us something to be proud of - something for others to admire (pretty yards) - and often times, good food to eat.

I am currently writing this in between waiting on the slaw to set for a while before canning another batch, and picking more tomatoes.

Todays pick:
Todays harvest of tomatoes - 12 lbs.  Look at the size of those things.  I do this about every day now.  Be careful what you wish for!!!!  I couldn't wait for the first one and then they took off.  Remember this is just 10 plants - part of my 8' x 15' garden.

Part of the slaw fixings in the sink before chopping.  That cabbage about covers the bottom of the sink!
I can't begin to tell you how many times I have mopped in the past two weeks - I guess I am not the neatest canner!!!

I try to spend some early mornings out pulling weeds and cleaning flower beds.  Oh my, they have gotten so out of hand.  I dead head flowers when needed, and the weeds.....................
I truly wish we could cross weed genes with garden genes to make our gardens grow like weeds!  Wouldn't that be something?

Weeds and more weeds and dead plants.  If you notice there is a metal trash can in the back right, so you can judge how big the pile is.  This is only one of two out there that need to be bagged up.

This is mint and snow on the mountain plant - I cut these back to the ground about a week and a half ago - you could see nothing when I finished.  They had gotten so nasty looking beforehand.
Well, it surely didn't hurt them - they are growing again and looking healthy.  That means a second crop of mint!!!!!!!

OK, I guess I am done rambling about the woes of a summer day. 
I am blessed and I am busy and I am getting tired! 
As G always jokingly says "it keeps you out of the bars!!"   LOL LOL!!!   (he really is joking!)

No lazy days of summer here.
How about you?  I bet you are all keeping mighty busy too!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Frugal Happenings 8/12

Happy Sunday everyone.  Here we are at the beginning of another week that God has graced us with.
We had another good week here on our little homestead.

We had a lot of rain at the first of week, then it dried out, and I got to mow.
Today the humidity is down some and it's in the 80's.  Supposed to have 80's for highs this week and evening in the 60's.  Rain off and on this week.  Not too bad for August.
The grass has taken off again in growing.  I mowed on Thursday and it needs it again already!  I went almost 4 weeks without mowing - now..........

The garden is still producing.  I only have one zucchini plant left that is producing.  The others have all succumbed to something (probably darn bugs).  I have dusted, but between bugs and heat, they gave up the fight.
The tomatoes are going crazy!
I have shared many tomatoes with our friend next door.  He is a happy camper.

My frugal week:
  • Line dried laundry
  • Froze more okra
  • Canned 10 pints of coleslaw
  • Canned 7 pints of pizza sauce
  • Canned 7 pints of pasta and 3 - 1/2 pints (for dishes that need a zip) of pasta sauce
                                                  Big pot of spaghetti sauce simmering!
  • Picked grapes - only one section had ripe ones.  After I de-stemmed them, I had 3 pounds.  I put into the freezer till I have time to make jelly
  • Mowed and worked on flower beds
  • Used the scalding canning water along the edge of porch and in fence row to kill grass and weeds
  • Dehydrated tomato skins to make powder
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Picked approximately 42 pounds of produce this week!!!!!!!!  Okra, peppers, grapes, zucchini, cukes, LOTS of tomatoes and another HUGE cabbage   WOOHOO!!!!!
  • Used all leftovers for dinners or lunches
  • Ran to Kroger on Friday - 1/2 gallon milk, loaf of bread, found bulk chopped hazelnuts in clearance, and got 4 packs of Hillshire Farms smoke ham and turkey for 1.99/pkg. (special) - dated October.  I also got a pork loin on special for 1.69/lb. and I will be cutting it into chops today.  It cost a total of $7.50. (I'll let you know how many chops I get).  I only got one - as they will go even cheaper at some point.
These came to 2 lbs. total for $6.  Hazelnuts are very expensive here.  They usually run about 7.99 lb.

Home fried fish and salad
Fish/veggie roll-ups
Stuffed pepper skillet dinner
Mac n cheese with little smokies, tomatoes and cukes
Salmon patties, dirty rice, and tomatoes
Steak burgers topped with provolone and ravioli and tomatoes and  cukes
Homemade zesty chicken bowls (like Taco Bell) and salad


I kept busy, but this coming week will be the same or busier.  Canning season is here in full measure.
I love being able to put my harvest up for the winter.  I love eating it now as well!!!!!  There is just nothing like fresh!
This coming week my plan is for canning more tomato products, more coleslaw, and maybe starting some kraut.  I am not sure when jelly will be made - it can wait for a while.
I also need to color my hair - I think that is on agenda for today!

Between taking care of the yard/garden and canning I think I will stay out of trouble!!!!  LOL

Are you doing any canning yet?  How are the gardens doing?  Deals and bargains?
I look forward to hearing about your adventures.

May you and yours be blessed beyond measure in the coming week.  Prayers for health and happiness.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Encouraging Words

We all have days when we don't want to do anything - just no oomph!
We all have days when we feel sorry for ourselves.
We all have days that seem overwhelming.
We all have days when we are just sad - for whatever reason.
We all have days that we just don't feel well.
We all have days.........................................................

We all need to just go with the flow.  There are some things that we can't do anything about, no matter had badly we want to.  Life happens.
We have all had tough times, YET we are still here today.  Yep, we woke up this morning, and the past is in the past - all we can do is move forward.

I just want everyone to know it is OK to have those days!  We ALL do.
Never give up.  Don't beat yourself up if you fall behind or hit an obstacle. 
Take a deep breath, laugh about the situation, learn something, and TRY AGAIN!

BE THANKFUL for what you DO have!!!!!!!
Let it be enough for today.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Canning - My Toys and a Recipe

It is that time of the year when we are all getting back into canning our garden produce.
Do you have special 'toys' that make your life easier?  I do!
Sometimes you just need things that make life easier!  Well, we probably don't NEED them, but they are sure nice.

I truly love my emersion sticker blender.  It is a must for me when I am working with tomatoes.  I use it to slightly blend tomatoes for salsa.  We like ours somewhat chunky, so I just use it to break up bigger pieces.  I love it for making pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce.  It makes things so smooth.
It is a tool I use every day!!!!!  Yes, every day for something!!  It is great for making 'cream of' soups and for getting rid of any lumps in gravy.  So many uses.  I make smoothies each day - so it is used for all kinds of things.

My second favorite 'toy' or tool is the Ninja!  I probably never would have bought it, because of cost.  We received ours as a gift a few years ago (my nephew loves me).  It has a smoothie cup, a food processor jar, and a dough mixer.  I LOVE IT.
It makes quick work of relish or slaw.  When I made my sweet relish the other day - I had all veggies chopped within 15 minutes.  Six pulses and it was perfect consistency!
When I made slaw - 4 pulses per jar did the job.  Onions, carrots, and 8 pounds of cabbage DONE in about 10-15 minutes!!!!!
You have to experiment a bit - but boy does it make life easy.

Of course we have our normal every day tools that we use.  I have been known to mash tomatoes with a potato masher (as well as fruit when making juice for jelly), and I love my draining spoons (slits in them).  A good sharp knife is a MUST!  My mandolin also comes in handy at times.

My must haves are pretty much everyone else's must haves as well.
I have 2 canners and one slightly smaller enamel pot that is great for mixing big batches of goods.  I love my funnel - it was Mom's, so it is old.  I have had my jar grabber for years.  No need to get new - I use what works!

Canning COLESLAW! - How fun is that??????
I promised Vickie I would give the recipe for this, and figured others may want to try it as well.

1 medium head of cabbage
1 large carrot
1 bell pepper
1 small onion
1 tsp. salt
Chop to desired consistency and add this all together and let it sit for one hour. Salt pulls liquid out of cabbage.

1 C vinegar
1/4 C water
2 C sugar
1 tsp. mustard seed
Bring this to a boil.  Let it cool slightly (so it won't COOK shredded cabbage).

After one hour drain liquid off of the cabbage mixture (some people rinse too - I didn't).
Pour slightly cooled syrup over the mixture and mix together thoroughly.  Place in jars (leave one inch head room).  Make sure you get liquid in each jar. 
Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

You can serve directly from jar.  It is sweet and slightly tangy.  OR you can drain, and add mayo if desired.  Your choice.  It is very tasty!

**I used an 8 lb. cabbage - so I doubled everything else.  I considered that a large head - not a medium.

So there you have it.
I know we all have our own ways of doing things - ways we may have learned from Mom's and Grandma's. 
I love using what I have to make my life easier.

So what 'toys' or tools do you have and use to make your gardening season easier?
We can all use some new ideas!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Frugal Happenings 8/5

Good morning.  I hope you all had a good week.  These weeks of summer sure are flying by.
We had a lot of much needed rain during the first part of the week.  We have gotten pretty darn warm and humid again, for a few days.  After a day or so, we are supposed to get back to more normal temps in the lower and mid 80's.
It's all good, and helping the garden grow.

Our week was another fairly quiet one.  That seems to be the story of our lives lately.  It is nice - no drama.

My frugal week:
  • I picked a lovely bouquet this week
  • I got to work in the large perennial bed for a while (when it was cooler)
  • Made a large batch of marinated salad to enjoy for the entire week (still have some)
  • Froze chunked zucchini and yellow squash for winter cooking
  • Froze more okra
  • I did run to store for 2 things.  I got a couple bags of onions (for canning stuff) and another gallon of apple cider vinegar (boy that stuff is expensive!)
  • Canned 13 jars of sweet relish
  • Canned a quart jar of tangy sliced peppers
  • Got to mow for the first time in well over 3 weeks (everything was brown before)
  • Kept another Parmesan cheese shaker top
  • Our neighbor/friend visited another food pantry this week.  He is so picky!!!!  He received things he would not or could not eat in a timely fashion, so he shared.  He gave us 2 large cartons of cottage cheese, a bag of Romaine lettuce, 10 pack of Kettle Corn popcorn (for microwave), a fresh sweet potato pie, 6 apples, and 2 smaller bags of oats - all for FREE
  • Picked approx. 23 lbs. of garden produce - 8 lbs. of that was a beautiful cabbage! 
  • Line dried laundry
                                              Pretty aren't they?  They smell heavenly too.

Weekly Meals:
Cold sandwiches and chips
Popeye's (yes we did!!!!!)
Enchilada casserole and sliced tomatoes
Poor man Swiss steak, mashed potatoes & salad
Egg/cheese/tomato sandwiches and salad
Zucchini pie (recipe 8/2), smoked sausage & sliced tomatoes
Turkey/cheese sandwiches and salad

G has really been in the mood for sandwiches lately.  That is fine for me, as I get a break from cooking!  They are always enjoyed.
We ate a lot of cantaloupe (from last week) as a treat after dinners.

Look, look - the Concord's are starting to ripen!!!  I will be picking some of those this coming week.  The other grapes aren't turning yet - but that is ok.  Looks like jelly may be in the future soon!

I plan on canning coleslaw this week and maybe even making some more kraut.  The cabbages are really big and I have plenty.  I MAY be able to can some tomato products this week as well - not sure.  Then there is jelly!  Bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It's canning time at our house!
It seems the cukes and the squash have really slowed down - and other things are producing a lot.  The cycle keeps us busy, that is for sure.

Are you starting to can yet?  What was your week like?  Any great deals?

I pray for each of you, and pray you stay healthy and safe.  May you have all you NEED and may your hearts stay warm and caring and giving.
Thank you for coming by.

Blessings from our humble home to yours. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Garden to Table - Meals in Minutes

Gardens are all starting to produce so many goodies.  This is my favorite time of the year for food!  I love all the fresh food, and all the fun things you can do with it.

Meals don't have to be complicated.  In our house, a meal can be a one dish item!  If we are full and satisfied, that is the only requirement!  G never complains, and eats whatever is placed before him.  We love eating our garden goodies.

My favorite summer quick meal - is a tomato sandwich!  I like mustard on mine (and bread toasted), but many others prefer mayo.  Sometimes I like a slice of sweet onion on it.

1 bagel, slice in half
4 - 6 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp. sunflowers seeds
1 cucumber - sliced
1 tomato - sliced
1 leaf of fresh lettuce
Spread cream cheese on one half of bagel, sprinkle with sunflower seeds.  Layer all the veggies as much as you want.  Top with remaining half of bagel.  Simple, easy, healthy & filling!!!!

4 C zucchini, sliced and quartered
4 eggs
1 C biscuit type baking mix
1 onion, diced
1/2 C Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C oil
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, and spread into a 13 x 9 baking pan.  Bake at 350* for 45 minutes.  I am making a HALF recipe of this tonight!

Thinly slice fresh garden tomatoes to top your pizza before baking!  It makes them taste so good.  This is a favorite of my husband - he gets excited every time he see tomatoes on top!!
Think about adding thinly sliced or shredded zucchini on your pizza as well.  There is no end to the types of toppings.  (I always DRAIN squash when using it - slice or shred and place between paper towels or dish cloths to absorb water)

6 oz. pkg. cooked rotini
2 C plum tomatoes (or regular) chopped
1 C corn ( frozen is fine - thaw)
1/2 C chopped green onions
Mix all and gently toss - add basil dressing below!

1/3 C red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. fresh basil - finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic - minced
salt & pepper
Whisk together and fold into salad


BROCOLLI SALAD (one of our favorites)
1 head of broccoli - chopped
1 medium onion - chopped
1/2 - 1 C sunflower seeds
1 C real bacon bits or crumbled fresh cooked bacon
1 C mayo
1/2 C sugar
3 Tbsp. vinegar
Mix mayo, sugar and vinegar together and completely fold into salad.  This is sooooooo good.
It is sweet with a bit of tang.
(For those who don't like raisins in broccoli salad!!!!)


There are so many variations of things you can do with pasta and fresh veggies.
Use any type of pasta you want.  ADD any COMBO of tomato, onion, cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, fresh corn, etc.
DRESSING - can be whatever you like.  You can use the dressings from above recipes, or plain old Ranch dressing, Italian dressing, combo of Ranch & Italian (we love this), or whatever your favorite dressing may be!
There are NO RULES!!!!

(we currently have this in frig)
Chopped broccoli, zucchini, cukes, onion, tomato, pepper - (whatever veggies you have) with a half bottle of Italian dressing.  So yummy and refreshing!!!!!

Steamed veggies are quick and easy and so healthy.  You can top with cheese or just a light seasoning of salt and pepper.  So fresh and natural.

Slice and mix with vinegar and sugar to taste.  This is as simple as it comes!

Just about any veggie can be sautéed in a sir fry dish.  We love squash, peppers, onions, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower - you name it.  You can stir fry (we like ours with a bit of crunch), with or without meat.  Add any seasoning or sauces you like.  Serve alone or over rice.

Hope this gives you a few ideas of quick garden to table meals you can make.  Shake things up a bit this summer - EXPERIMENT with new combos.  You really can't go wrong!