Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Happy Harvest

Today will be a few more ideas for those wonderful garden harvests or those great finds from farm markets or straight from the farmer.

BELL PEPPERS - are so sweet and yummy.  I often chop and freeze them for the winter months.  Many I chop in small pieces for soups and chili.  I lay them on a sheet pan and flash freeze then place in baggies.  I can take out and use exactly what I need.  Others I chop in larger pieces, as I use them in my 'stuffed pepper skillet' dinner.  It is just all the ingredients used in stuffed peppers except you fix it on the stove top not the oven.
You can also dehydrate them
Here is my one tip for dehydrating them!!!!
Place one sliced or chopped pepper per tray or per half of tray.  After they have dried completely - measure how much ONE pepper is!!  It may measure a half cup - a quarter cup - etc..  I suggest this as dehydrated 'anything' is so small and you may OVER add to recipe.
I do this with squash as well.  One small/medium squash sliced per tray.  Bag accordingly.  That way I get the right amount of veggie per recipe!

Think about stuffing your bell peppers with whatever you like (ground meat, rice, tomato sauce, cheese, etc.) and freeze them.  They are ready to thaw and pop in the oven for a great dinner treat this winter.

I like to stuff these with cream cheese mixed with shredded cheddar and some garlic powder.  Then I bread in a combo of egg wash and bread crumbs/cornmeal and bake.  POPPERS!!!!  These are so good.  You can stuff and bread and flash freeze as well.  Place in bags until you are ready to bake them in the winter!  Take out what you need - do not thaw - bake.

Lettuce is pretty much done in our area for the moment.  It has been so hot - that it seeded and became bitter.  It can be grown again for fall months as well.  Great in salads and you can dehydrate as well and grind into a powder for a healthy additive to add to smoothies.
Here is a recipe for my favorite way to eat lettuce!!!!  Oh my so good!

Think about dehydrating for use later in soups and stews.  It works great.  Like I said above - make sure you  measure them out and know what you have so you don't over add to your cooking.
These are also good if dehydrated and add a bit of onion salt or garlic salt before hand and eat as 'chips'.  I have eaten plenty like that as a good healthy snack.

Don't forget zucchini boats!  Oh yum.  Kind of like stuffed peppers.  Fill with whatever stuffing is your favorite and bake.  First cut in half lengthwise, scoop out all seeds and stringy stuff and fill.  I like to stick a fork or knife in a couple locations before filling - it just seems to help the squash cook better.
You can also cut in half, de-seed and place plain in baggies in the freezer to fix later on in the year.  I usually use smaller or medium size squash for this and I place one squash (2 halves) per bag and vacuum seal.  They taste fresh in the middle of winter.

Hope this gives you some ideas on ways to extend that summer harvest for those dreaded days of no yummy fresh garden produce.  Veggies bought at most grocery stores in the off months tastes nothing like fresh.  You also have no idea if it is really fresh or not or how it was grown.

Extend you harvest and have good and yummy eating all year long.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Simple Life

It sounds like a dream - a simple life.
I think it is something that most of us here are striving to accomplish.  Society today doesn't seem to follow this way of life.  It appears the more you have - represents how successful you are.  I don't find that to be so.  I think it just shows you are out to impress others.
I want a simple life - I was a less stressful life - I want a drama free life - I want a calm and reflective life.  That doesn't necessarily involve stuff!

I am working on this.  I have definitely been eating less and I feel better physically.
I am definitely buying less - nothing I really need.
Trying hard to stress less and working on laughing more again.
I feel extremely blessed and  loved every day.
I spend time every day outside JUST enjoying nature and the quiet and reflecting.

I need to work more on clearing out all the extra stuff I have accumulated that really means nothing and does nothing to make me happy.  I don't need any additional clutter in my life.
That is a huge area I need to simplify!

How about you?  Are there areas that you need to work on?  What are you ideas on ways to simplify?
Do you feel happier when life is simple?
It just seems to make an immense amount of sense to me - simple life = happy life!

Hey guys you might want to check out Belinda's blog (Frugal Workshop) in my blog list at the right this week.
She is doing a podcast each week and then actually putting it in blog (written) form the next day.  This week (and previous ones) seem to follow right along with all that we were talking about last week.  Give it a read or a listen.  Great info and it just reiterates what we all can do to save money.

Have a good day everyone.  Keep it simple!!!!!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/28

Good morning all.  Another month just about to be in the history books.  This year is really flying by.
We cooled a bit this week and the humidity went bye-bye!  It really has been lovely.
Warmer temps starting today and humidity going up a bit - rain coming in a day or so - not going to complain.

I got to attend a family function yesterday.  My eldest sister's daughter had a cook-out and pool party at her home.  Wow, is all I can say about her home.  Huge and gorgeous!  It was a lovely time with nieces and nephews I don't get to see often.  We all had a good time reminiscing about the old days!

Glen's sister passed away suddenly this week.  She was just 60.  She had been in the hospital for a few days - but was doing better (it seemed).  Then she suddenly went into cardiac arrest.  I feel so bad for her son.  She passed away exactly 90 days to the date of Glen (23rd).  I will be attending her memorial service later today.  Just so sad.

It really has been pretty quiet on the home front this week.
  • Picked 5 little cucumbers and 5 tomatoes (1 nice one and 4 littles) YUM
  • Picked a bouquet from the yard
  • Received an almost $500 refund check from our home owners insurance!  It seems they have over charged us for quite a while!!
  • I went and ordered flowers for the funeral and was given 4 pretty carnations to bring home
  • I cleaned, decluttered and rearranged a lot of things this week.  I could spend weeks and weeks working inside the house!  It never ends.
  • I mowed and trimmed
  • Used all leftovers
  • No shopping
  • Laundry in cold and line dried
Meals this past week:
Mexican goulash - regular goulash w/taco seasoning and corn added
Leftover goulash and salad
BLT and a milkshake
Chef salad topped with chicken tender pieces
Baked fish and red beans/rice
Beans/rice/beef into burritos
Dinner at nieces house

How was your week?  Are the gardens thriving yet?  Mine sure is going slow.  I hope others are getting lots of goodies.
Any good deals this week?  How did you save money?

I hope you all have a great upcoming week.  Please stay safe and healthy.  Prayers for comfort, healing and happiness.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Mission

In the past week or so we have talked about not spending, not panicking and using what we have and stretching our food in new and creative ways.
Today we will play MI$$ION IMPO$$IBLE!!!!!! (?)

Your mission, should you decide to accept it is...……………….

This sounds very daunting I know.  It may be, but it seems we should know exactly what we have on hand, so that we know how to make a plan for the future.  Makes sense doesn't it?

I am talking about inventory everything.  Empty your pantry and cabinets.  Make a list of everything and how many you have.  Clean the pantry and cabinets and re-arrange the food with the oldest to the front.  We don't want things to get thrown out and waste hard earned dollars, just because we forgot we had something.
Next inventory your home canned goods.  Again count and write it down per item.  Clean and re-arrange.  This will help you know what you need to can this year.
The freezers - YES the freezers.  Same thing.  Count and organize everything.

Get all pet products together and arrange.  Know what you have.  They have to survive too if something goes wrong in the future.
Make sure to check all the overstock you keep some where other than the pantry or cabinets.  You need to know everything you have.
Also - paper products, laundry supplies, OTC meds and health and beauty.

PERFECT EXAMPLE - This week I was cleaning cabinets and drawers and came to realize that I have 33 boxes of assorted Jello and several bags of bulk flavored gelatin.  I also have 28 boxes of instant pudding mix.  WHAT?  I had no idea I had that much - it was here and there and not all in one place.  Now it is organized and all together in a place that I will see it regularly and use it.

The reason I think this is a necessary evil is that we need to be aware of where we have gaps, and not go out spending all willy-nilly!    
Not only that - but if something happens next week, next month, etc.  you will know exactly what you have and how you can care for your family.
Knowing what you have lets you make better meal and snack choices.  
It keeps us from going out to eat.
It saves money.
It keeps us from being wasteful.

So again, your mission, should you decide to accept it is - inventory ALL of your stocks.  Clean and arrange.  Makes an inventory sheet. (It can be in a notebook).  Once you have inventoried and have all your chicken scratched pages together - clean it up, organize your list and make it neat and USE IT!
It is a huge job and may take a bit of time - but I bet it will amaze you and help you in the future.

This blog will NOT self destruct in 5 seconds.
Thank you

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Happy Harvest

Today I will start a Wednesday session of ways to extend or use those wonderful harvests that are coming from the garden and farm stands.
Some may be recipes for meals, some for canning and other ideas about freezing.
I hope that these are helpful to someone.  Each week will be something different!

Zucchini are plentiful this time of the year.  I will probably touch on them a bit each week!!

ZUCCHINI AND PEPPER STEW (easy and inexpensive)
1 can tomato paste
1 C water
1 stalk celery - sliced
1 carrot - sliced
1/2 C oil
4 large bell peppers - sliced
2 medium zucchini, diced
4 small potatoes - peeled and diced
1 onion - chopped
1 garlic clove - minced (or equivalent)
salt & pepper
Place first 4 ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil and then simmer, covered - till tender.  Heat oil in a skillet and add next 3 ingredients.  Cook until slightly browned.  Add the first mixture and simmer for about 10 minutes or until all veggies are tender.  Season with salt & pepper and serve with a bit of grated parmesan cheese on top.  Great for vegetarians or for no meat night.  Makes about 6 servings.
Old time family recipe!  YUM

I love to slice zucchini lengthwise and about 1/4" or so thick and place on the grill when cooking other foods.  Brush them with a bit of oil and dust with a light seasoning salt.  Grill a few minutes on each side.  These are so good and super easy.  Gives you a bit of variety on using this prolific veggie!
They are super yummy sprinkled with a touch of parmesan cheese.
Tomatoes are the most versatile (next to zucchini) veggie there is.  There are just so many uses.
Salsa, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, plain tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, sauce, ketchup, juice, etc.  Over the next few weeks I will give a few recipes to can.
If you are busy canning tomato products now - DON'T FORGET to save those skins!!!!!!  Like most veggies and fruits the skin has a lot of nutrients.
Dehydrate those skins and then grind into a powder (I use a coffee grinder).  Keep in a tightly sealed jar.  This powder adds not only nutrition into your diet - but flavor!  Something that is thrown away or composted as a rule - is a useful cooking ingredient.
Lay the skins on parchment paper and place in oven on lowest temp until completely dry and crisp or place in a dehydrator.
Waste not - want not.
May not be everyone's favorite - but it is great fried and I love to use it in gumbos and soups.
Today I will tell you how to freeze for frying.  Simply slice your okra into bite size pieces - and bread.  I dip in egg wash and then in a combo of flour/cornmeal/panko - you can use whatever you like.
Place those breaded pieces on a cookie sheet and flash freeze.  Once frozen - place them in a freezer bag and put away until you are ready for a yummy fried feast!
DO NOT THAW when getting ready to fry.  Take them out and place in hot oil (stay safe from splatters) and fry until golden brown on all sides.  Oh my goodness - these are so good!!!!!
Bread - freeze on flat sheet - bag and place in freezer.  Nothing sticks together and you can remove as many or as few as you wish.
**This method works great for about anything you like breaded and fried.  Stuffed jalapenos, zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.

Hopefully this gives a couple new ideas to add to the menu.  Next week we will address more fresh goodies and have more ideas.


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Creative Ways to Stretch Food Budget

I keep hearing more and more people talk about how expensive groceries are getting.  It seems most everything is going up in price, except wages!

People are having to stretch that food budget and we all need to get more creative, so that we use everything and waste nothing.  Waste is such a huge thing today and it really makes me sad.  There are so many people who would think they are being given a feast on what the average person wastes in a week.

The old adage of 'waste not, want not'  is very true.
IF we all learn how to be creative now - we will be fine if things get bad.
IF we all learn how to be creative now - perhaps we can teach others.
IF we all learn how to be creative now - we can save money.
IF we all learn how to be creative now - we can limit our use of resources and not be wasteful.
  • First use anything and everything you can get from your garden or from fresh produce that others may share with you.  Fresh food is always the best and it is very healthy.  Eat it, can it, freeze it.
                      Not this years!!!  So handy to have on hand - in any form - many, many, uses.
  • Keep plenty of tomato products on hand.  Tomatoes are so very versatile.  If you can not afford to have spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce and salsa on hand as well as tomatoes - just choose tomatoes.  You can manipulate them in anything!  A few herbs and spices - a blender - and a little imagination and you have what you need.  If you don't grow tomatoes - watch the stores for sales.  Aldi is a good source of inexpensive canned goods and other stores often have great sales.
  • Shred meat in your recipes.  A small piece of meat, added with veggies or pasta, rice, or soups can go a long - long way.
  • Add rice to scrambled eggs to stretch your eggs.  It is yummy and healthy.  I used to add crushed crackers to eggs (w/a little milk) to make eggs go a lot further when camping.  You couldn't even tell.
  • Stir fry dishes - uses up odds and ends of veggies.  Add to leftover piece of meat (finely cut or shredded) and some rice or pasta.  These are easy, filling and cheap meals.
  • Use peanut butter!  It is filling and a good source of protein.  PB&J sammies are always good.  Think about making a fried peanut butter & fruit sandwich (like grilled cheese).  So yummy, hearty and healthy.  Add to smoothies with leftover fruit, juice or greens.  Makes a filling snack.
  • Add salsa to rice for easy Spanish rice (or tomatoes and seasonings)
  • Keep beans, rice and potatoes on hand.  These 3 items can be turned in 100's of hearty meals.  There is absolutely no limit of uses.
  • Use leftover hotdog or hamburger buns to make mini & individual pizzas.  They toast up great as well - actually they are my favorite toast!  Split and top buns with cheese and tomatoes and place under the broiler for a couple minutes - yum.
  • Bake up a bunch of potatoes at one time and refrigerate.  They can be eaten as baked potatoes, made into soup, potato salad, sliced or diced and fried etc.  If you have them baked already - they are handy and nothing is much cheaper than potatoes!  So filling.
  • Soups and casseroles stretch everything further.  Add broth, tomatoes, cream soup, etc. and you can have a great hearty soup or a wonderful casserole using leftovers.  Add a bit of salad or some sliced bread, cornbread or toast and you have a few meals for pennies.
  • Leftover cornbread - use in the bottom of a bowl of soup.  Soaks up all the goodness and it's filling.  My Dad always used leftover cornbread with milk.  It was one of his favorites.  My brothers and sisters all remember that as  meal when things were tight.
  • Cook up a huge batch of dried beans.  Soup beans, add to rice, mash & season for refried, add to taco meat to extend, add to soups or chili...…………….  the list goes on and on.
  • Stale bread - make French toast, turn into bread crumbs, make croutons, make dressing, bread pudding, garlic toast...…………….. again many uses.
  • Pasta - is the GREAT EXTENDER of anything.  Add to soups and casseroles to stretch minimal ingredients.  Makes great lo mein.  Add to stir fry.
  • Rice - another GREAT EXTENDER.  There are just so many uses - too many to list.
  • Keep meat bones and veggie scraps in the freezer until you have a good amount - add water and 'brew' for many hours.  The best stock you can imagine - all from things many people throw away.
  • Have meatless days.  Meat is not necessary everyday.  Make vegetarian pizza, soup, casserole, etc.
  • Keep a standard biscuit mix or recipe handy.  Biscuits are cheap and filling and YUMMY!  Use with any kind of gravy (love making gravy with pan drippings), can be served with soups and casseroles.  Bread products can truly fill you up when food is in short supply!
I guess I want people to realize that a meal doesn't have to be a traditional 3 or 4 course meal.  It can be something super simple and DIFFERENT.   Heck I have had a meals of fried green tomatoes, fried zucchini, stuffed zucchini, beans & rice, tomato sandwiches (yum), veggie sandwiches, salad, you name it!  Just those items alone and I was filled and happy!!!!
If you like the taste and it is filling - it is a meal!
Think outside the box and creative with those food dollars and supplies.

Just because the money is tight and the pantry is down - doesn't mean you can't still eat well.
Don't worry - be happy and full!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/21

Good morning from the sub tropics of Indiana!!!!! LOL  That is what it has felt like this week for sure.  Humidity levels have been so high and it has just been muggly out there!  On top of that the regular temperature has been above 95* for several days - with heat index at 105* and above.
A change - she is a coming!!!!!!!!  Rain coming in later today and that 'cold' front is supposed to get rid of the humidity and tomorrows HIGH is to be 79*.  WOOHOO!  That has been the low for many days.

We did get rain one day - which helped the garden plants and the flowers.  The rain barrels are both full again.

I have been listening to some You Tube videos this week (instead of doing all the things I should be doing)!  I have listened to several from Coffee with Kate.  She is definitely a fan of Amy Dacyczyn and the Tightwad Gazette.  She says that gave her the first incentive to get busy on the frugal journal as it did many of us.  I found it lovely that in one video she mentioned our own Rhonda from If you do stuff, stuff gets done blog (blog link at the right of my page).  How cool is that?

My week was kind of quiet:
  • I went to my sister's for dinner on Sunday - nice family time.  She sent home yummy leftovers!
  • Covered the greenhouse roof with a tarp - to keep so much sun out of it and keep it a bit cooler for the cats.  It gets so hot in there, even with the door open.  Their food is protected in there.
  • Deadheaded all the lilies one morning.
  • Froze 3 containers of the Mexican chicken I made on Saturday
  • Rain barrels are full again
  • I have been moving many of my 'store bought' preps upstairs.  Using the bookshelves that I have been emptying.  I'll show you this later.
  • De-cluttering more & cleaning
  • Tied up the tomato plants
  • Making lists of TO DO!!!  I still have so many important things I need to accomplish - it has been right at 3 months now - and I keep putting them off.  Avoidance is my denial!!!  I have to get my butt in gear.  Time to get serious!  Some things really NEED to be done.
  • Picked a bouquet of flowers
  • I ran to Kroger for cat food stock-up and of course I wondered around the store.  Milk was .88 half gallon and 2.19 gallon.  Of course I got 2 - 1/2 gallons.  I told a lady that was getting a gallon the price difference and she said IT'S ONLY .40 DIFFERENT!!  Really?  I asked her "what if you paid .40 over for everything?  Wouldn't that be a difference?"  She shook her head and walked away.  OMG!!!!!!  People amaze me.
  • I found Campbell's cream of onion soup on managers special for .50/can (got the 6 left) -  Campbell's chunky Chicken Fiesta soup (big cans) on manager's special for 1.29/can (got 3 that were left).  I found grape Jello for .22/box - I got 10.  I love anything grape!!!!!

My meals this past week:
Dinner at sister's
Leftovers from sis - breaded tenderloin, mac n cheese & deviled eggs
Mexican chicken over rice
Fried chicken tenders, mashed potatoes & tomato/cukes sliced
Loaded bacon cheese burger & salad (bacon I pre-cooked from freezer)
Tuna salad over bed of lettuce and crackers
2 slices pizza (already baked & from freezer)

I am thinking about doing a Wednesday post for a few weeks - addressing summer harvests.  Could be canning recipes, cooking recipes, freezing, etc.  This would be in concert with the regular Tuesday and Thursday posts.  What say you?
Would this be of interest to anyone?  Let me know.

How was your week?  Did you stay cool?  Any deals?  Were you blessed with any garden goodies?

I look forward to hearing from you and pray that you each have a wonderful week ahead.  Stay safe, cool and healthy.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, July 18, 2019


Today I am going to touch on something that truthfully I am getting tired of seeing myself!  FB groups have been flooded with pictures of the signs that are showing up at Walmart recently speaking of shortages.
Many folks are attributing this to the weather problems that hit farmers this year.  Well I find that a bit hard to believe at this point in time.  Will it happen?  Probably!!!  Crops are not even ready for harvesting this year (had it been a normal year) - so this is not the reason.

ME - I think it is pure greed!  They can get by with causing people to panic and can jack up prices.  If there was a real shortage then why would it be over by the first part of August?  Why is it mainly WM and their brand?
I have a relative that has worked at WM for over 30 years and is now in upper management.  Here are their words and theories.  It is more than one thing.
WM has cut back on in store help and there are not enough stockers in any given store to keep up with stocking.  They have also cut back on help in the warehouses.

WM is concentrating their products to provide for on-line sales first!!  That is the future for them and requires lesser employees.  Walk-in customers and cashiers will become a thing of the past one of these days.  Cashiers are already being phased out at many stores.

They are creating an atmosphere that people WILL PANIC buy - thus increasing sales.  If the store is out of one product that is usually cheap - people will panic and buy the more expensive one!  That is called profits!

Truckers have been avoiding shipping to the WM warehouses.  They are protesting the business practices and ways WM treats their drivers.  WM has its own trucks from warehouse to stores but they depend on regular truckers getting supplies to the warehouse.

Most WM brands are packaged by the same factories and manufacturers of name brands - therefore there really is no shortage.  JUST AN EXCUSE that people are believing.

I for one am not going to fall for their tactics.
YES, I do believe that come early next year there may be some shortages in products that are frozen and canned.
YES, prices will probably go up.
YES, there will be some increase in price and lesser volume of FRESH items in the real near future.
There are many, many products made from corn and soy and both of those have been hit hard this year.  Meat may go up in price as well, as many dairy and cattle farms were devastated.

DO NOT PANIC!  That accomplishes nothing.
Go on as usual and stock your cupboards with the same diligence and concern as always.  Continue to buy those markdown items and stock up on them.  Continue to watch the deals.  Continue to garden and produce and can/freeze whatever you can.  Continue to support your local farmers as much as possible.  Continue to get deals at ethnic markets.
Continue on doing what is right for your family.

I keep seeing these stories and most often they are about WM.  Once in a while someone will mention a different store. I know I have gone into Kroger before and found many, many empty shelves - why????  I asked.  Nothing gets shipped right after a holiday  - if a holiday falls right in line with a weekend - well the trucks haven't showed and the  shelves will be bare for a few days. Makes sense.
I also find it odd that none of this has affected Aldi.  Not one story about them! (not all of their products come from Germany)

So folks, just keep doing what you are doing.
We will all get through this together.  We all have ideas on stretching our dollars and our food and we share those ideas.    We will be fine.
Don't be like some and spread worry and dread.

It is always smart to be prepared for anything  - that is just being a good steward.
Just don't panic!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Using What You Have - NO SPENDING

How long could you go without spending money?  Yes, we all have monthly bills that need to be paid.  Mortgage, rent, utilities, insurance, medical, some groceries, etc..  These are things we just can't always get away from.
I have read many articles about  couples who have gone  months and even a year without any unnecessary spending.  It is possible.  It is an important lesson we can all learn, and it can be a huge money saver and builder of savings and investments.

I have done a few months each year for several years, doing this.  I usually start the year out this way.  The weather is nasty out, so I have no real  urgent need to leave the house.  I have usually added to my stocks watching sales in the fall/winter.  My canning has been done.  Holidays have come and gone, and I have lots of new things I received as gifts.
Summers seem to be easy as there are fresh crops coming on.
Truthfully I think I could do this most any time.

We all need to realize that odds are pretty darn good that we do not NEED new clothes.  We do not NEED to eat out.  We do no NEED to buy new household gadgets.  We do not NEED to go to the movies.  We do not NEED to shop online.  We no not NEED to stop and get an expensive coffee or pop.  We do not NEED most anything that stores sell.  Most of us DO NOT NEED at all!

I would love to see everyone try going a month (or more) without spending!  That means no yard sales, no craft shows, no fabric stores, no binge buying, no books or magazines, nothing extra!!!!!
Use what you have!!!!!!

I find it quite easy most of the time, as there just isn't much at all that I need.  We have to remember WANTS and NEEDS are so very different.

When it comes to your meals, try going to a place like my fridge food.  There are many sites that give you ideas and recipes using ONLY what you have.  You may find some new family favorites.  Use your fresh produce.  Stay home and save money.

Read and discover new worlds.  Watch You-tube and find new tricks and ways of doing things and fixings things.  Make entertainment at home for the kids.  Work on de-cluttering your home and sell or donate (you will discover forgotten items as well).  Cook from scratch.  Barter with neighbors and friends.  Rearrange things in the house to jazz it up a bit (makes it easier to not buy).  Mend your clothing.  No gifts - make something.  Sew and craft.
Just DO IT!  Get creative and save your hard earned money.

I challenge you!  Stop spending and see how freeing it really is.
It may seem difficult at first - but it actually becomes a way of life.  Once you begin this journey - you will realize that much of your spending is unnecessary and it is just habit (bad habit).

That money saved will help with those unexpected bills as well.  Car breaks down.  AC/furnace breaks down.  Help pay down mortgage or pay off medical bills.  Emergency fund.
You can do it.

Have you done this regularly or are you willing to try?  Let us know!
Good luck and happy saving.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/14/19

Good morning all.  Half way through July - oh my.  Time is going by so quickly.
It has been hot this week and dry.  So much rain for so long, now hot and dry.  We are never happy!!  LOL.
We actually had a couple days that the humidity was down a bit and I tried to accomplish as much yard work as possible - EARLY!  The first day I actually came close to heat exhaustion.  I started feeling really light headed and nauseated and knew it was time to stop and go in and cool off.

It is going to be hot again this coming week.  We may get a bit of rain come Tuesday/Wednesday from the remains of the hurricane weather moving northward.  By the end of the week they are calling for upper 90's as a actual temperature.  UGH!

My week:
  • Used rain water on my plants - need more rain as barrels are getting low
  • Had my AC check done and all checked out fine
  • Got my eyes examined this week.  Picked up new glasses Saturday and I don't know if I like them or not.  So far - not!  I will try for a while then may need them realigned.    I have 60 days to make changes at no charge.  They said I am early stages of cataracts!  UGH.  I didn't need to hear that.  They dilated my eyes (hate that) and they still don't seem back to normal after several days.
  • Worked on cleaning another closet that was packed!  What a job.
  • I took and donated 3 big bags and one box of items to church thrift store.
  • Trimmed back bushes, trimmed and pulled weeds on one day.  Hot, hot, hot!!!
  • Mowed on the coolest day.  As dry as it is - I may not need to mow again for a couple of weeks.
  • Picked a bouquet of flowers
  • Picked my first tomato!!!  It wasn't big - but it was a fresh tomato
  • Picked a couple more small cucumbers
  • Got chicken breast out of freezer and used the crockpot and made a batch of Mexican chicken to use for several meals
  • Made tea for the first time in 2 1/2 months.  I drank a lot this week.  Actually made 2 gallons.
  • NO shopping at all!

Meals this week:

Waffles and sausage patties (all precooked from freezer)
Tuna cheesy mac
Pickle loaf sandwich supreme and an orange creamy shake
Leftover cheesy mac and steamed veggies
Fried diced potatoes and smoked sausage topped with diced tomatoes and cheese
Smoked sausage sandwich topped with tomatoes and cheese
Mexican chicken on tostadas with cheese & sour cream

Nothing exciting here.  How was your week?  Did you get any deals?  Hope everyone's garden are doing well.
Has any one been going to the farm markets?  

I pray for health and safety for each of you and your families in this coming week.  Prayers for healing for those in need.  Stay cool and hydrated and have a lovely week.

I know that a few of our readers have been moving and in the process of selling homes and I pray for relief, good quick sales, and rest for you all.  What a job!

Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Stroll Into the Past

The other day I was going through another closet and cleaning out.  I came across a bag that had what looked like a lot of paper items in it.  I set it aside and went back later to see what I had hidden away!
It was items I had saved from my folks home when we cleaned it out in 2001!!!  Oh my.
I had forgotten all about these items.  I thought you might enjoy a little look back in time as well.

The Lustre  Craft stainless steel cookware was something that my Dad sold part time in the evenings and weekends when I was 5.  His kit included an entire set of SS cookware.  When he quit selling it, my Mom got the entire set.  It was willed to me after her passing.  I am still using that stainless cookware today and it looks just like brand new.  I have cake pans, pie pans, muffins tins, stove top cookware, a double boiler, and egg pans.  

The Admiral refrigerator was purchased by my folks in 1955.  They used it and passed it on to me in 1975 when I purchased my first home.  I used it for several years and then when I moved, my renters used it as well.  It even still had the old metal ice cube trays.  I loved that refrigerator!  They sure don't make things like they used to.

Years ago our newspaper used to put out 'cookbooks' from local citizens a few times a year - mainly at different holidays.  My Mom kept many of them.  This is old, brittle and yellow - but still intact.  There are a lot of yummy recipes in it.
                               Click on the picture to enlarge - look at that date!!!!!!  1958!!!!!
Came across these old cookbooks as well.  Can you see the price of that Ball book?  35 cents!!!!!!!  I just love the old books - there are so many things that just aren't in books today.

My goodness they kept everything (I guess I do too)!  This is the book to their first chest freezer.  I remember that thing was huge!  Mom always had it full of all the summer goodness that Daddy grew in the garden.   We had that chest freezer from the time I was a kid until I was grown.  Then they eventually went with an upright - so that it would be easier for Mom.

I also ran across this church cookbook.  This was our church while I was growing up and the church that my ex and I married in.  It was one block down the street from my childhood  home.  How many times I walked to church as a kid.  Church cookbooks always have some pretty neat recipes in them.  This one was like walking down memory lane.  Each recipe had a name with it of the person who submitted it.  It was basically the entire neighborhood that I grew up in and most all of those people are no longer alive.  Their recipes live on!

I also found the yellowed copy of my Mom's persimmon pudding recipe.  It was not one of my favorites - but many of the family have wanted it for years.  I found it!!!!

I also found Mom's recipe for a cookie called Hermits which I absolutely loved as a kid.  They were made with raisins and nuts and cake like.  I will definitely be making them this year.
I had found recipes before - but they weren't the same as Mom's.  Now I have them.  Better late than never!!!

It sure was fun sitting here one afternoon and going through items of the past.  I will continue to treasure these items and use them.
If you are ever looking for an old recipe from back in the day - ask - you never know I may have it in my stash of oldies but goodies.

I hope you enjoyed looking at these little treasures.
Our past is our history and part of who we are today.  I just love looking back once in a while!  

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Speedy Summer Meals A Must!

Summer seems to be that time of the year that everyone has so much to do.  Whether you are doing yard work, gardening, playing, vacationing, kids sports, whatever - there are times that we just aren't in the mood to plan and cook a big meal.
You may even have the occasion that unplanned company stops by, and you need to throw something together fast.
I have a few tips on what to keep on hand and AVOID the trap of spending money on going out to eat.

  • Have biscuit/baking mix on hand - store bought or homemade
  • Flour tortillas - so many uses
  • Seasoned bread crumbs
  • Pizza dough mix or frozen pizza dough (you can make ahead of time)
  • Perhaps a can or two of refrigerated biscuits/crescent rolls
  • Various types of crackers
  • Have yogurt on hand - good for many uses
  • Frozen bagels, waffles, pancakes, English muffins, etc.  (all can be homemade and frozen for quick meal choices)
  • Pre-cooked bacon/sausage
  • Quick oats - have many uses
  • Cereal - has many uses
  • Keep brownie/cookie/cake mixes on hand - (can be homemade mixes) for a quick fix
  • Chips
  • Instant pudding and Jello
  • Graham cracker pie crust
  • A few canned pie fillings (can be home canned)
  • Marshmallows
  • Preserves/Jams
  • Cream Cheese
  • Bouillon's - different flavors
  • A few packs of dry gravy/soup mixes (can be homemade)
  • Bottled grated parmesan cheese
  • Italian dressing - has many uses including marinating
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic in a jar
  • Salad dressings
  • Shredded cheeses - (always have some in the freezer)
  • Dehydrated onions
  • Canned beans - can be home canned
  • Canned fruits -    "         "         "
  • Canned veggies   "        "         "
  • Canned tomatoes          "          "
  • Dried fruit
  • Frozen juice concentrates
  • Canned mushrooms/hot peppers
  • Frozen peppers/onions
  • Canned tuna or chicken
  • Cooked frozen chicken, ground beef, sausage
  • Cooked frozen shrimp
  • Sliced ham/turkey - always keep some on hand from when cooking a ham or turkey - sliced
  • Frozen beef patties and/or hotdogs
  • Assorted dry pasta
  • No boil lasagna needles
  • BBQ sauce or a quick recipe for homemade
  • Canned chicken and beef broth
  • A few cream of soups (or dry homemade mix)
  • A couple gravy in a jar
  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste
  • Spaghetti and/or pizza sauce (can be home canned)
  • Salsa                                             "       "         "
  • Basic condiments - ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish
  • Frozen veggie blends
  • Seasoned rice mixes - store bought or home mixed
  • Instant stuffing mix
  • Seasoned pasta mixes
  • Popcorn
  • Tortilla chips - or make your own
  • Trail mix
  • Mixed nuts
  • Cookie/cake mixes

I am not speaking of this being the ONLY things you have in the pantry.  We all know we need that 
'deep' or long term pantry for hard times and the future. 
These are just a few items that we should all have on have that will allow us to throw a quick and tasty meal together in no time.  
Ready made essentials are just a blessing at times - and they are perfectly OK to have!!!!  Not everything has to be from scratch!!

Anything that we can do to minimize the want/need to eat out saves us some change for our piggy banks.  It is just nice to know that no matter how tired you are you can have a decent meal in minutes.

Toss an item from one area with one or two from another and WAHLAH you have a quick meal!!!

Here's to summer and speedy meals!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/7

Happy Sunday to everyone.  I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday and perhaps a very long weekend.
I, for one, am glad the 4th is over!!!!  Oh my.  I can not even begin to describe the noise and the anxiety.

My flowers are all blooming.  Many are just starting - but things of color are popping up all over.  That is lovely.  So far the garden plants are doing pretty well.
I just haven't been able to get too excited about my yard and garden this summer.  I have left many things go, so unlike me.
I am sure it is all the effect of such a life change.  Many days I just have no gumption - it's like someone let the air out of my balloon!
This week I have been feeling sorry for myself, and I am trying hard to snap out of that.  I am sorry to mention this to you all - I don't mean to dwell.  I just need to get it out somedays.

I am working hard on this.  I know I am very fortunate and I thank God daily (many times a day) for my blessings.  Just feel lonely sometimes.

It has been hot this week.  90* and up all week.  Humidity has been high.  We got 2 little rains (just a few minutes each) - so I have been using rain water from barrels on the plants.
I knew when it was chilly and rainy - this would happen.  One extreme to the other.
This next week they are predicting 80's and less humidity.  YAY!

My week:
  • I cleaned out the hall closet.  It is medicinal/herbs/vitamins and health & beauty stuff.  I do believe I have enough soft and regular soap to last me for the rest of my life!!  There sure is a lot in there, as well as deodorant and toothpaste.    I have herbs and vitamins to last for ages.
  • Been working on getting more donations together - will donate a bit of the H & B stuff to the shelter.
  • Using rain water for watering
  • Washed up all the cat bedding from the greenhouse.  It is all fresh and clean and folded and ready for this coming winter.
  • Colored my hair at home
  • Stopped at Goodwill hunting for a specific item and my goodness they are pricey.  I ended up buying brand new for less than prices they were charging.  I needed a few camisole type undies and I found 4 at Shopper's World for $2 ea. on sale.  (There is a story behind this for another day!)  Used ones at GW were 3.99 each!!
  • Baked up 1 1/2 lbs. of bacon - some in the freezer now
  • Raked leaves (yes leaves) and used them as weed mulch behind the shed.  Tulip poplar always starts shedding in July - sigh!
  • Cut & dried basil and mint
  • I wanted a watermelon this week.  I had many choices of places to go and decided on Save A  Lot.  I got my melon and walked through the store - and behold there was marked down ground beef - $1 PER POUND!!!!!!  I still have plenty in freezer - but it is so versatile - so I bought 15 lbs.  I came home and repackaged into 1/2 lb. bags (perfect for 1).  If I need more for something I can just thaw extra packs.  Quite the deal!!!!!  I think I was guided to that store for a reason.
  • Finally set up an eye doctor appointment (for Monday)
  • Finally set up my "spring" AC check (for Tuesday) - better late than never
  • Picked 3 more cucumbers (4 now)
Meals this week:
Pasta with buter and parmesan cheese
Chicken strip and coleslaw roll-up  (these are yummy)
Homemade meat & olive pizza (ended up freezing half for another day)
Fried green tomatoes
Steak burger and cuke/tomato/purslane salad
Soft tacos
Watermelon, salsa/chips or ice cream for snacks
My fried green tomato was wonderful.  I bought a large one at farm market last week.  Mine don't get picked green until after I get some red ones!  Simple and yummy dinner along with a small bowl of melon!

How was your week?  Did you get any good frugal deals?  What's happing in your gardens?
I hope you all had an enjoyable week and enjoyed time with your families and friends.
I did talk to several relatives this week and enjoyed those conversations - but chose to stay home.

May your upcoming week be healthy and happy and frugal.  Prayers being lifted for healing to all that need them.  
I just want to say thank you for being a part of my life - it means a lot to me.

Blessings from my little humble home to yours.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Show and Tell

I had a blog post for today and well, nothing is going as planned today.  Last night (the 4th) was horrible and today has gone off kilter as well.  I am fine - just not real focused.

So today is just a show and tell of the yard.  Enjoy!

I love purples and oranges.  It seems that is the bulk of most of my flowers.  That has always been appealing to me for some reason.
                                               The front walk full of purple and pink.
       The phlox is starting to bloom and smells so sweet.  The butterflies love it
                                                                The finches love these
                                                                   Squirrel planted
The potted tomatoes are getting several tomatoes set.  I do believe the volunteer plants growing the garden area have a lot more tomatoes and they are even bigger.  They have the most peculiar blooms on them - they look like little dandelion flowers!  They are strange - but they are producing individual larger type tomatoes.  Most volunteers I have had in the past always seemed to have cherry tomatoes.  So I am happy for what is producing.

This is part of the back feeding station!  See that black tube hanging?  That has sunflower seed for the woodpeckers and the cardinal in it (others eat too).  A couple years ago the bottom got a hole rusted in it and the remainder of the feeder was good.  I took it apart and placed a canning jar lid in the bottom to cover the hole and woohoo it is still working.  The white empty looking hanging basket is also used as a feeder.  I put regular seed in it (on top of dirt) and the birdies love it.  
Squirrels have sun flower seeds, corn and they get peanuts as well.  What a rough life!!!!

That is show and tell for today.  Hope you all enjoy your day and your weekend.
Play in your garden or yard if you get a chance - it will make you smile!

Thursday, July 4, 2019


Today is the day of celebration for the birth of our nation.  I am very proud to be an American and wouldn't want to live any where else (no offence to my friends in other countries).

Many of my ancestors came here before the Revolutionary War.  I have on my wall, a document from Ellis Island that shows  ancestors came and registered there.  They all worked hard and assimilated into this land, doing whatever was expected of them to become citizens.  I am proud of what they did and what they helped accomplish for this great land.
One of the decedents of these immigrants even went on to become President of the United States.  My distant cousin, President Ronald Reagan.

Happy  birthday American from one grateful and proud American.

Regular weekly post will be tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Market to Menu Measures

I thought the following measure might help when grocery shopping and figuring how much is needed for various recipes.  It is a handy guide for me.  Hope it helps someone!

Apples - 1 C sliced or chopped = 1 medium apple
               1 pound = 3 medium apples

Banana - 1 C mashed = 3 medium

Bell peppers - 1/2 C chopped = 1 small
                         1 C chopped = 1 medium
                         1 - 1/2 C = 1 large

Carrots - 1 C shredded = 1 large
                2 1/2 C sliced = 1 pound

Celery - 1 C chopped = 2 medium stalks

Corn - 1 C kernels - 2 medium ears

Green beans - 4 C cooked = 1 pound fresh

Lettuce - 2 cups shredded = 5 oz.
               6 cups torn pieces = 1 lb.

Mushrooms - 2 1/2 C chopped = 8 oz. fresh
                       2/3 C sliced = 4 oz. can

Onions - 1 C chopped white = 1 large

Oranges - 1 C juice - 3 medium

Peaches - 4 C sliced = 8 medium

Potatoes - 1 C bites size chunks = 1 medium
                 1 C sliced = 1 medium

Strawberries - 2 C sliced = 1 pint fresh

Tomatoes - 1/2 C chopped = 1 small
                   1 C chopped = 1 large

Bacon - 1/2 C crispy cooked and crumbled = 8 slices

Bread crumbs - 1 C dry = 5 slices toasted

Bread cubes - 1 C = 2 slices

Cheese - 2 C shredded = 8 oz.

Meat - beef, pork, chicken 1 C chopped or crumbled = 6 oz.

Pasta - 4 C cooked macaroni = 2 C uncooked
            4 C cooked egg noodles = 5 C uncooked
            4 C cooked spaghetti = 8 ounces uncooked

Rice - 2 C cooked instant = 1 C uncooked
           4 C cooked brown = 1 C uncooked
           4 C cooked white = 1 C uncooked
           3 C cooked wild = 1 C uncooked

Saltines - 1 C crushed = 29 crackers

Vanilla wafers - 1 1/2 C crushed = 38 cookies

So there you have it.  I think this chart makes it a little easier figuring out how much you need for a recipe.  It's a handy reference to keep close by - when you are writing up your grocery list and planning your meals.