Thursday, August 29, 2019

Good Sales Weekend

Those of us in U.S. will be celebrating Labor Day this weekend.  For many, holidays mean cookouts and family/work get togethers.  Lots of picnic foods are on sale at great prices this weekend.
Summer is coming to a close and other outlets are gearing up for winter.
Summer clothes are on clearance, yard tools and pretties, and also things to get the yard ready for fall and winter.
Now is the time to buy mulch and landscaping items - mums are going to be every where soon.
Also think about orchards for fall apples and cider - those are starting to happen.
Fall festivals will commence after this weekend - which means great farm markets and lots and lots of unusual items that can be purchased for gifts (or gift getting ideas you can make!).

Items to look for:
Hotdogs, ground beef, chicken, steaks
Soda pop
Alcohol if you so choose
Chips and dips
Crackers - flavored and assorted
BBQ sauces
Charcoal and grilling items
Summer fruits - watermelon, other melons (surprising strawberries are pretty cheap here too), peaches and pears
Ice cream
Bread and buns
Canned beans, pickles, relish
Late season produce - corn, summer squash, tomatoes

There are just so many places that are having sales.  Even furniture places are having some great deals around here.
Take time to restock - whether it be your pantry or your yard/garden supplies or clothes.
This is probably the last big HURAAH until around Thanksgiving.

DON'T FORGET - many places are getting to the near end of yard sale season too.  I well imagine there will be plenty through September - but that is also an option for great deals and savings and a lot of fun.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

My Arby Hack

I well imagine if you have seen an add on TV or the computer or the paper - you have seen the new Arby sandwiches.  The Hawaiian roll sandwiches. Yes indeed they look yummy and they do appear to rather inexpensive.  Or are they?
You can make the same thing at home and for a whole lot less money!  They are super easy to do as well.

I have checked out sale prices of Hawaiian rolls at Kroger - and have recently found them for 2.99/12 pack.  That works out to about .25 each.

Now think about what you have at home.  Pulled pork or BBQ pork, shredded Mexican or BBQ chicken, chicken fillets, NO MORE than a slice or two of deli ham or turkey or roast beef (to be like theirs), leftover ham or turkey, mini burgers...………………. There is no end to the type of yummy roll you can make.  They offer only 3 kinds!!!!!

The rolls will probably be even cheaper around Thanksgiving and Christmas - so stock up (freeze) and make your own 'sliders' at home any day of the week.  You also know what goes on in your kitchen, unlike the environments of the restaurants.

I just noticed Aldi ad this week has the rolls for 1.39/pack!!!  WOOHOO

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Now is the Time to Plan for Holidays

I know, I know!  We are just now approaching the "unofficial" end of summer here in the U.S. and spring in the southern hemisphere.  Now is the time to start planning - especially if finances are an issue.
All of us frugal gals know that we watch our pennies, and plan ahead.  We make gifts, we raise extra money, we shop sales, we look at clearance, YES we plan ahead.
We have had a lot of new readers here - so maybe we need to give a few ideas on how to have a wonderful gift holiday and save money.
Holidays seem to be a lot of people's downfall.  They think it is a time to blow the budget, go into debt, and buy, buy, buy!
Tell me how it makes sense to spend a ton of money for one day (on things no one NEEDS) and then spend the next several months paying for it and all the interest!  It makes NO sense.  DON'T do it.

Keep it simple.  The day should not be about gifts.  If you are a spiritual person - you know the religious reasons for the season, and that is the most important.  It should also be about families celebrating being together - NOT the abundance of gifts.  A nice meal and time spent together.

IF you are doing gifts - get creative.  Many of us believe homemade is the best.  One of a kind, no duplicates, and hopefully less money spent!

  • Gardens are going now - think about canning specialty products to give.  Special sauces, jams, jellies, salsa, spaghetti sauce, soups, etc.  Shred and put up zucchini and other items for baking sweet breads. These are items that are yummy, unique and appreciated.
  • Start putting together dry mixes.  It can be jars with brownie mix, hot chocolate mixes, cookie mixes, soups, specialty tea mixes, coffee mixes, mixed beans, etc.  There is no limit to the types of goodies that you can fit into a jar.  Just Google jar mixes and find TONS of ideas.
 Jar recipes are a major hit in my gift baskets that I give.  Everyone loves have a quick and easy meal to make when they are busy.
I receive requests for jelly.  I know people who would be very disappointed not to receive.
  • Start going through your cookie and candy recipes and decide what you want to make.  Buy some cute/pretty plates at yard sales/thrift stores for pennies to put those goodies on.  It is a pretty gift that they can keep and a yummy gift that they can eat.
  • Crafting is big.  Make any type of items.  There are so many ideas.  Wood crafts, crochet, sewing, painting, recycled items.  Think games (make unique board games) or something like cornhole - holiday decorations - home d├ęcor. etc.  Simple quilts or lap covers, T-shirt blankets/throws, pillows, etc..  IF your imagination limits you, just look at Pinterest for ideas.  There is no limit.
                                        Simple woods crafts - very cute and basically FREE
 Simple patch quilts or throws.  Use materials you have, cut old clothes, or buy remnants.  Look at thrift stores yard sales for materials that can be used.
                        T-shirt throws.  Using what is on hand.  Can be school or hobby related.  I made this one for a nephew - I was given the shirts (his old ones) and all it cost was time and the backing.
  • Put together items for kids.  Dress-up box, school supplies (they need them all year), art supplies, books, etc.  All items can be purchased at Dollar stores, or thrift stores or FREE from around the house.
  • Think about giving heirlooms - passing things down in the family.  EXAMPLES - Frame a copy of grandma's noodle (or whatever) recipe and a picture of grandma, frame a pretty doily from the past, make a recipe book of family favorites, pass on a knick-knack, etc.
  • Give coupons for personal service - babysitting, snow shoveling, cookie a month, a  meal a month (for a shut-in), travel to doctor visits or store, etc.
You get the idea.  There is just no limits to the things you can do frugally or just plain old FREE.  Free doesn't  mean not nice.  Some of the best gifts I have received were homemade gifts, home canned foods and just time spent with others.

Ways to get together some extra funds.
  • Sell things you don't need.  Have a yard sale, sell at thrift shops or consignment shops, list on FB or Marketplace.  There are many options to get rid of unused items and make extra money.
  • Think about buying small gift cards that can be used.  They can be given as gifts or if you buy while you have extra money - you can save them to use later when money is tight (for yourself or others).  BUY these gift cards at times/places that offer incentives.  Kroger has offers all the time to earn 4X fuel points when purchasing GC's (except their own).  It works out as a win-win situation.
  • If you have a credit card that you use - make sure you know if you have been earning points on it.  Those points can garner you GC's or items.  
  • Do something part time for a bit to earn extra money.
  • Offer your services for pay.  Do fall clean-up of peoples yard, bake (your specialty), sew for others, craft and sell, help clean out a basement or garage...…..  There are unlimited options to help raise a bit of extra money.
  • First and foremost - look around your home.  You will find all kinds of things that you can use or do that cost nothing.  Gifts from the heart mean the most.
We are just 4 months out - and despite nice weather, it is time to start thinking about gifts.  So get creative - use your garden goods or farm market finds, collect odds and ends from around the house to use, sell things to raise money, watch clearance sales (things do not have to be for the current season), watch cheap school supplies, shop thrift and yard sales (things don't have to be new).  

Get that brain activated and get motivated to have a fun and FRUGAL holiday.  No stress, no debt, just simple and creative.  Fun time with family!

SHARE your favorite ideas!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 8/25

Good morning.  Happy four months till Christmas!  Good grief, can you believe it?

Our weather has mellowed quite a bit.  Humidity dropped and so did temperatures.  We have had 60's during the night and this next week highs aren't supposed to get over 80*.  YAY!  My kind of weather.
We had rain(and storms) three times this week.
Tuesday we had a storm go through that had 75 mph wind gusts.  That was pretty scary.

I got a real mood booster on Friday.  I have just been in the dumps lately, and I went to my brothers Friday and got to spend time with my great - great niece (2 months old).  I spent a couple hours holding and snuggling her - I sure needed that baby fix!  That helped my mood more than anything.

My week:
  • Chopped and froze some bell peppers
  • Paid off the hospital bill (as far as what has been billed).  That should save me $600 each month
  • I had a small amount of tomatoes that had some spots and bad places on them - not enough to can, and too many to eat quickly - so I peeled and froze them.  It is enough to add to a pot of soup or chili.
  • Had a sweet tooth and wanted something.  Made a batch of crispies even though I had no rice crispy cereal.  I used oats flakes with almond slivers (cereal that I had on hand).  They came out great - same recipe just changed the cereal.
  • Making hummingbird nectar like crazy.  It is hard to keep the feeders filled!
  • Picked more tomatoes
  • Got to turn off AC for a few days.  Enjoying fresh air in the house
  • My brother sent me home with zucchini, yellow summer squash and cucumbers
  • Colored my hair at home
  • Stopped at Kroger as they had Indiana grown cantaloupe on sale 2/$5.  Got 2.  They are huge and so sweet and tasty
                      This is the smaller of the 2.  That is a quart jar laying next to it for reference.
  • I also found 3 boxes of microwave popcorn on clearance.  I don't usually buy that - but it will be a cheap evening treat.   .45/box for 3 bags per box.  .15 a treat is pretty darn cheap.  
  • Line dried laundry.  Sheets and comforter sure felt good the first night!
  • Took care of some paperwork and things at the bank this week
  • ENJOYED some front porch sitting this week - haven't done that for quite a while
  • All the usual.  Using leftovers, making tea, eating at home, not using lights, cold water laundry, using what I have, etc.
Meals this past week:
Spicy beans and pasta mixed with leftover hotdog cut up in it
Lettuce, cucumber and tomato sandwich
Pizza rolls (I found in the freezer) and sliced tomato
Grilled cheese & pork burger sandwich (homemade/frozen burger) and chips
Ground beef - diced potato 'soft tacos'.  Topped with salsa and cheese
Leftovers and salad
Stove top lasagna and sliced cukes and tomatoes
Munching on crispy treats and cantaloupe

How was your week?  Did you get any great deals?  Are you canning or freezing any produce yet?
I hope you all had a great, healthy, safe and frugal week!

I think I may spend some time out working in the yard today, as the weather is perfect for it.  It is supposed to rain again, the next couple days.  The house is getting fresh air - the kitties are loving it too.
May you have a great week and may goodness rain down upon you and yours.

Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Uses for a Pound of Ground Meat

What can you do with a pound of ground beef?  Lots of things.
It doesn't have to be beef - it can be ground chicken, turkey or pork as well.  I think most all are interchangeable in recipes.
A pound of ground can be blended with other ingredients to make a great meal.  Add lots of other ingredients and fill up several people for a meal.  Meat should be used as an ingredient not a main course.  It is healthier to use less and a lot more frugal!
You can sure stretch the grocery budget by introducing ground meat as a main stay in your recipes.

Here are a few suggestions to stretch that meat budget

Sloppy Joes
Mini meat loaf or muffin tin loaves
Meatballs - can be used in so many ways - ALSO Swedish meatballs or BBQ meatballs
Beef and barley soup
Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas, quesadillas,  any type of Mexican 
Baked spaghetti
Pizza casserole
Stuffed shells or Baked ziti
Corn Chip casserole
Beefy  cheesy potatoes
Tator Tot casserole
Hamburger veggie soup
Beef and rice casserole
Stuffed peppers
Beefy Mac and Cheese
Cabbage rolls
Chili Con Carne
Any type of skillet dinner - one pot stove top meals

Soups, soups and more soups - there is no limit to soups
Shepherd's Pie
Stuffed squash
Poor mans Swiss steak
Patti melts
Stir fry
Quiche or any egg dish

There are just no limits to what you can add ground meat to.  Soups and casseroles are so easy and there is absolutely no end to what you can put together and make a tasty dinner.  All it takes is a little imagination!
No need to spend a ton of money on meat for a filling dinner for many.  Stretch out a pound (or less) of ground meat into other goodies and wahla you have a frugal and yummy dinner.

Do you have a favorite way to stretch ground meat in your meals?
We all are looking for new and frugal ideas!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Happy Harvest 5

This is probably the last harvest post for a few weeks (maybe one more).  Just a couple new ideas for using all that fresh produce.  Hope you enjoy and find it useful.

There are so many uses for cucumbers.  Pickles, relish, in vinegar/sugar, sliced fresh, in all kinds of salads and on and on.    This is a good recipe.  I do not use fresh dill - I use dried.  I don't think I have used low fat items either.  It is very yummy.
Don't forget that basically all veggies an be roasted.  Roasted veggies are just so delish.  Their flavor seems to become enhanced.  I always sprinkle with a bit of olive oil and toss together - then sprinkle with any seasoning I want and roast until they reach the consistency I want.
You will not be disappointed in roasted veggies.  Such a compliment to any meal.

Also use those end of the garden veggies to make Giardinaro (sp) - pickled mixed veggies.
I make my own recipe with what I have.  I have thrown in cucumbers, peppers - could be bell, sweet, hot, jalapeno, etc., cauliflower pieces, green beans, carrots (my favorite), small green tomatoes, zucchini, celery - whatever you have!  Use your favorite pickle brine.  You can make this sweet - but generally it is dilled and maybe a bit spicy.  I always add one jalapeno to a quart to give it a bit of tang.
These are to be processed like you process your pickles.  Super easy and very tasty for the winter months.

Take time to read and explore uses for all those fresh veggies and fruits that are available now.  Get creative and explore new foods.  Food is to nourish our bodies - that doesn't mean it can't be fun and enjoyable.
Have fun with your harvests and farm stand buys.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Home Trends and a Tiny Tour of "Nap" House

I love to watch HGTV - but I also get so agitated.  They would make you think that McMansions are the going trend.  WHY?
I see these people walk into a beautiful kitchen and say 'oh I will completely gut this' or 'it is just so small'.  Some of those kitchens they call small are bigger than my entire house!!
They all complain about 'small' master bedrooms!  You sleep there - how big does it need to be?
I just don't get it.
The bigger the house - the more you pay for heating and cooling (and other utilities), the more you have to clean and the more crap you have to buy to fill it!

I think that thing that truly gets me are the popular rehab shows.  I love watching them and getting ideas - but they make me so angry when they take a sledge hammer to perfectly fine cabinets and built ins.  Remove them carefully - and let someone who has little money reuse them!!!!!!!!  Not everyone has more money than sense,  I see so many things destroyed that could be rehabbed in so many ways - I just cringe.  They are so wasteful!

Then there is the tiny house movement!  That is more my style.  I don't quite think I could be totally happy with a 400 sq. ft. home (I have my pantry/canning supplies you know!!) - but I like a small home.  Mine is about 900 sq. ft. - 2 bed, 1 bath.  I am fortunate that I have a full basement.  Originally we made half of the basement into a laundry room/utility room (furnace/water heater) and storage.  The other half we used for years as a family room.  Now that is a lot of storage & craft area.  It is soon going to be a huge project for me!!!!!

We never felt the need for anything bigger - I mean there was just 2 of us for 33 years!  Now just me (and of course my kitties).  Small has never deterred me from entertaining.  I have had big birthday parties, baby showers, campfire parties, and Thanksgiving here many times.  One Thanksgiving I cooked for, fed and entertained 50 people!  Did it all myself in my little kitchen and had people every where - but we had a ball.
I have so many nieces and nephews tell me how much the enjoyed those days and truly miss them.

Here is a mini tour of my comfy, cozy 'nap' house. It is a 1947 bungalow.  It is all mine and I love it.

A view of the dining room.  The wall between the dining/living room is open - so that helps the flow.  See that door on the back wall?  That is my main upstairs pantry.  Most of my daily/monthly food stores are kept in there.  It is very deep, as it goes over the stairs going to the basement.

Opposite ends of the living room.  Nothing big or fancy - just comfy.   Lot's of dust catchers too!!!  I have many family pieces that I display and use.
The TV wall and plant corner in the living room.

This is the sink area of the kitchen.  As you can see I have very little counter space.  Organization is key.
Here is the stove/oven and basically the balance of ANY counter space!  The frig is located between these 2 areas (on the right).   I have the Rubbermaid drawer stacks on each side for extra storage.
I also have a wash stand on wall on the left - that contains microwave and has storage underneath  as well.  Here is a pic of the washstand (I added a faux top - just sitting on it so as not to damage it).  Sorry you can't see the bottom of stand.  That cream box on the wall - is a cabinet my Daddy made my Grandma when he was 12.  I use it for spices and flavorings (it has original hardware).  The edge of a door you see on the left goes to the basement. The opening on right goes to dining room.

My little hallway and picture gallery.  This leads to both bedrooms and the bathroom.
Looking into the master bedroom.  Nothing grand - just simple.  Kitties have their bed in there too!  They love laying there and looking out the window.

Some day I will get to showing the 2nd bedroom (much going on in there) and the bath.  The bath is a work in progress right now!!!!
So there you have a tour of the "nap" house as my nephew calls it.

How about you?  Do you prefer large or small or something in between?
What is the trend where you live?  I love hearing about other areas and what is popular.

                                                      Walk on up and visit for a while!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 8/18

Well, here we are at the beginning of another new week.  I hope this past week was good for you.
It has been a roller coaster on the weather front here.  We have had 90's and humid and we have had 80's a lovely.  Heavy rain one day - which was much needed.

The daylight hours are most definitely getting shorter.  I think we have lost at least an hour of light each day.  So soon the cool crisp days of autumn will be here - then Christmas!  YIKES

My hummingbirds have just been going crazy at the feeders and the flowers.  They are there constantly!  It makes me wonder if they know something that we don't!  I sure hope it isn't getting time for them to be leaving already.

Looking out the front door.  Birdies all lined up on the railing - "excuse me Mam, the feeder appears to be empty"!    You can see the feeder - middle, upper part of picture.  Babies sit and wait for their goodies.  This is TV for the kitties.  The cats love watching 'birdy TV'.
Are you all moving forward on the August motivational workdays?  I have gotten a bit done - not nearly what I should be doing.  It seems my get up and go has done got up and gone!!!!  LOL

My week:
  • Picked a few more peppers and tomatoes - enjoying eating them!
  • Did some mending
  • Trying to do yard work on cooler days and mornings.  Mowed over 2 days, trimmed bushes, cleaning up some flower beds, trimming - so much to do
  • I needed to get out one day and I ran to Kroger (just to look - no deals at all), WM (yes I did), and the thrift store.
  • At Kroger I didn't see any good sales or deals.  Was getting ready to leave and walked by the floral dept. and saw marked down flowers.  I was in a 'mood', so I bought them for a pick me up.  I got all of these for $2.  They make me smile.
  • I had been seeing reports that WM was clearancing out their Great Value brand soups - due to a label redesign.  I decided I would check it out.  I don't like the store - but a deal is a deal.  I was almost too late - but I did get 4 family size cans of tomato soup for .25 each!  That was all they had left.  I wish I had been much earlier - that would have been a deal to get for a donation to the local food pantry.  You might go check out your local WM.  I also got a big bag of cat food.
  • I stopped at the thrift store to look around.  I did get a pair of perfect fitting jeans for $1.  I got a pack of hot dog buns FREE.
  • I am still working on inventory and rearranging pantry stuff
  • I did get to turn off AC a bit this week
  • Doing all the normal things
Meals this past week:
Small pasta and veggie salad (heavy on veggies)
Smoked sausage (sliced) and tomato sandwich
Steak burger steamed veggies and rice
Grilled egg, ham, cheese sandwich and tomatoes and cucumbers sliced on the side
Pasta topped with leftover steamed veggies and a couple chicken tenders
Mexican chicken (from freezer) and cheese nachos
Hot dogs

So there you have it - not a lot going on here.  I really need to give myself a pep talk and get busy.  
There is so much that needs to be done and that can be done and I just have no oomph to do it.  One day at a time!

How are those gardens doing?  Are you canning or freezing anything?
What did you do this past week to save money?
I just love hearing what everybody is up to.

May your week be happy and healthy.  Work hard to prepare for your families future and security.
Remember to stop and enjoy life as well, and to be thankful for all the nature and beauty on the earth!!!
Blessing from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Reason

There are many reasons to be prepared for the worst.  We all have our own particular set of circumstances.
Many younger folks (and older) today, just don't get it.  It really takes very little to happen, for the world they know to stop.

Young and old - SO MANY people just aren't prepared.

They grocery shop week to week or maybe day to day.
They are totally overloaded with debt - big houses, fancy cars, shop, shop, shop...….
They have no emergency funds.
They think nothing bad will happen to them.
They have no clue how to grow anything.
They have no idea what they would do if the CRAP hit the fan tomorrow (cause they think it won't).
They have no idea how to live on less money.
They have no idea how to live below their means.
They have no idea how to use JUST what they have in new ways.
They have no idea how to cook - they are always eating out.
They have no idea about personal responsibility.

I could go on and on.
You all know some of these people too.  Sadly I 'personally' know more that wouldn't survive than would.  Most of them are in my family!  I have tried and tried to reach them, BUT  it isn't going to 'happen to them'.  They just won't listen and they aren't responsible humans.  It is sad.

That does not include you gals at all.  WE all know what the consequences could be.  We all have learned, taught, and educate ourselves daily in some way.
The reason IS SURVIVAL.

WE will survive.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Happy Harvest 4

I hope you are getting good harvests this year.  I have gotten a few tomatoes and peppers, but not like usual.  For one, I am just not into this year and secondly Mr. Groundhog has plagued my tomatoes that are in pots!  Weather hasn't seemed to cooperate either.
I will probably go to the big farm stand soon and get a box of canning tomatoes to make a new batch of salsa with.  They sell them cheaply - and I have all else I need.  My grapes are just starting to ripen, so grape jelly will be made in the near future as well.

Here are few ideas for using your harvests.  Hope it helps you out.
Love fried green tomatoes.  Everyone has their own special way of fixing them - but if you have never tried here is a good recipe that you can tweek to your taste.

YES you can, can green tomatoes for frying later in the winter.  I have done this many times.  I tend to use quart wide mouth jars - so much easier to get tomatoes out.  I also slice them a tad thicker than I would for frying a fresh one.  They keep well and taste so good in the dead of winter.
When ready to fry - drain your slices thoroughly - then bread them like you would for fresh and fry away.  A lovely taste of summer in the winter snowy months!

I love the little colored sweet bell peppers that can be purchased at the store.  Not too big and not to tiny.  You can grow them as well.  I like to stuff them with seasoned cream cheese for a bit of an appetizer or for veggie plates.  They make a nice side for any dinner.  
They are yummy stuffed and raw or great when broiled, baked, or grilled as well (with cheese stuffing).
Sometimes I use cream cheese and onion or garlic powder - sometimes a mixture of cream cheese, sour cream & cheddar shreds - sometimes cream cheese, sour cream and jalapenos diced up.  Fix them according to your taste.
I do the same thing with jalapenos - ONLY I like those fried!!!!!!!!  I fill them - batter them - fry. Poppers are so yummy!
I also do this - and lay them on a sheet pan and flash freeze , then bag - and I have breaded stuffed peppers for frying in the winter!!!!!!!!  (DO NOT THAW before frying)

I buy these when I see them marked down.  They are so sweet and are great for salads, cooking, stuffing and just munching on!
Not nearly enough stuffing for me!!! I fill those babies up before I grill or bake or even before serving them on a relish plate.

You could do the same with regular bell peppers as well.  Slice them into quarters (or more) and add your filling.  So many things we can do with peppers
I also like to chop or slice and freeze for use in soups, chili, stews, or stir fry.

Most leaf lettuces are done for this part of the season here in the U.S.  It is just too hot and most have gone to seed or gotten bitter.  It IS time however to plant a fall crop.  Fresh lettuce is just so good and can not compare to the stuff purchased at the store.
I have grown some pretty lettuce in the past.  Big old sweet tasting leaves.
I pick my lettuce and bring it in and soak in a salt water bath in the sink.  This removes any little buggers that might be on it.  Rinse - then roll up in a kitchen towel to absorb excess moisture.
When I store it in the frig, I place it in a plastic bag along with a paper towel and remove all the air from the bag.  It lasts for a long, long time this way.  The paper towel absorbs any excess moisture - yet is just damp enough to keep lettuce fresh.
Now is time to plant that fall crop!

For those that drink healthy green smoothies - lettuce (and any other greens) can be dehydrated and powdered to use all winter in those smoothies.  Keep in a glass sealed jar.

So there you have it.  Food that is tasty now and ways to keep that food for tasty treats when the weather outside is frightful!
Happy Harvest

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A Loaf Can Feed the Hungry

Bread can be a great filler, when it comes to having a small amount of food to stretch.  It is very filling and very versatile.
If you have ever been in a Walmart, I am sure you have seen the clearance bakery section.  In my area you can always find a loaf of Italian, French or Baguettes for about .67 on clearance (or less).  Kroger generally has the same for a $1 or so. (It's hard to make homemade for these prices)

There are so many options for these types of breads.  No joking, with a few ingredients that you may have in your pantry or frig, you can feed 1 or 2 people many filling meals and perhaps a family a hearty meal for just pennies.
Here are a few options to feed yourself or your family with a loaf of bread and few items or leftovers that you may have on hand.  No need to be hungry!

Halve lengthwise and make bread pizza (one of my favorite pizzas)
Thickly slice and make each slice into an individual type pizza (top with what you have)
Garlic bread to serve with any type of food
French toast
Grind into breads crumbs that can be used for coating, in meatballs or meatloaf as an extender or in any type of ground meat to extend
Cut up and make into croutons - for salads or top off soup or a casserole
French dip sandwiches
Any type of hearty grilled sandwich - just cheese or meat and cheese
Any type of sturdy sandwich - filled with absolutely anything you have (think outside the box),  Tomato/cucumber sandwiches are a summer favorite here - also try a fried green tomato sandwich! - Super filling.
Open face sammies - top with leftover meat, mac n cheese, leftover soup beans, baked beans, chili, mashed potatoes/gravy, stew, leftover veggies, anything you have
Use with fondue
Dip in olive oil and herbs
Open faced broiler sammies - with anything you have - top with a bit of cheese
Mix chunks into a breakfast casserole with eggs to extend into many servings
Cut thinly and toast - cinnamon /sugar toast, pbj, jelly, etc.
Toast and serve with hummus, dip, refried beans, cheese spread
Homemade subway sandwiches
Smother slices in gravy
Cover with cream cheese and top with any fruit or favorite topping
Use in French onion soup
Make a summery bread salad - toasted chunks of bread, tomato, cukes, squash, peppers, cheese, dressing - whatever you have
Make into a Panini type sandwich
Bread pudding - hearty or sweet

A loaf of bread can extend any food - sweet, hearty, savory, soup, breakfast, casserole, you name it!  Italian, French and Baguettes are all very sturdy breads and stand up to all kinds of ingredients.  Actually any type of bread can be used - whatever you have.
You can use for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks.
You can extend a meal into many for just a few cents.  Get creative and always think outside the 'normal' box!
Remember - a meal doesn't HAVE to be many courses.  A meal is whatever fills you up!!!!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 8/11

Good morning.  These weeks seem to just fly by so quickly.
It is a beautiful morning here.  We have had some lovely evenings and mornings this week, nice and cool.  No need for the AC in the early part of the day - and getting to air the house a bit.
We finally did get some rain on Thursday - it was much needed.  More storms coming in tomorrow night.  Heat is back in force later today and tomorrow!

My great niece and her little family (minus one who had football practice) got to come and visit this week.  She was in town to take her son to Riley Hospital for some tests.  I haven't seen her in many years (except on FB).  It was so nice to get to get to catch up IN PERSON.
Her middle child didn't want to leave.  He is about 10 or 11.  He said "this house is so comfortable and cozy - it is a nap kind of house".  I love that!!!    We had such a nice visit and look forward to getting together again.

This past week:
  • Worked on cutting back some of the front flower bed
  • Made the fruity cake bars - it was a big hit! (Made peach)
  • Washing kitchen walls and worked on cleaning some knick-knacks
  • Laundry in cold and line dried
  • Cut my hair
  • Picked a few tomatoes and bell peppers
  • Used water from the rain barrels to water plants
  • I ran to WM Family Market one day to maybe add to cat food stock.  Shelves were almost empty.  NOT shortages - they are remodeling.  The whole place was a mess.  I don't go there often, will be less now.  They have remodeled and now have ONLY 2 regular check-outs and everything else is self serve!!!!!!  Not for me! Pure greed in my opinion - less employees and more profit!  Bought nothing.
  • Mowed the yard
  • I decided to get a new garbage disposal.  Mine has been broken for 2 - 3 years and I didn't replace.  Then it got to where I couldn't even use that sink (wouldn't drain).  I planned to have it taken out and just re-pipe -- but it was easier to replace (not cheaper).  My neighbor helped me install and it only took a few minutes.  He went with me to buy it and mentioned he was a Vet and they gave me a discount.   It is so nice to be able to use both sides of the sink!!!!!  Nice to have good neighbors too!
  • Made more hummingbird nectar
  • All my regular things as well - making tea, eating from home, AC off when possible, etc.

Meals this past week:
Made faux crab salad from meat in the freezer. Served over lettuce
Crab roll ups
Cheese burger, tomatoes and cucumbers
Philly beef and cheese skillet dinner
Cup full of leftovers, beef and bean burrito (from freezer) and sliced tomato
Homemade pizza 2X

Philly beef and cheese skillet.  Cooked ground beef, onion and bell peppers together - drain.  Add a good splash of Italian dressing and one of Worcestershire sauce.  Cook pasta in another pot till almost done.  Add pasta to meat and add cheese.  I used Swiss and Mozzarella .  It sure was tasty!
I just kind of played it by ear - adjust to your taste.

How was your week?  Any good deals or specials?  Garden produce?  Give us a shoutout and let us know what you are up to.

I hope you all have a great week ahead.  Prayers that you are healthy and safe and that you can add to your pantries for pennies or free.
Blessings from my humble home to yours.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

New Food Uses AND Monthly Motivation Check-in

I know there are others out there that have a lot of certain food items in their pantries.  I had this conversation yesterday with a friend.  Sometimes we just have to find some new uses for old items.
I will hit on a few items that I always have an abundance of in the pantries.
I hope this gives you some ideas.

I have so many jars of jams and jellies.  I very seldom use them.  I give what I can - but golly, there are a lot of jars.   Here are a few new ideas for all that sweetness!

Melt and pour over ice cream - makes a good sundae
Serve over yogurt
Thumb print cookies
Jelly rolls (I got to make one of these soon) - a favorite from my younger days
Blend with other ingredients for BBQ sauce or glazes
Use with cream cheese over crackers for snacks or appetizers
Topping for cheesecake
Put in smoothies or milk shakes
Cupcake centers
Mix with vinegar for salad dressing (specialty dressings are expensive)
Top oatmeal
Melt and use as syrup on pancakes, waffles
And of course PBJ and on toast!

A super versatile item.  Tomatoes and things made with tomatoes can be used in so many ways.
Soups, stews, casseroles
Mix salsa and rice for Spanish rice
Salsa chicken
Spaghetti sauce can be used as pizza sauce
Use in cold soups
Crockpot meals
Top pizza with tomatoes or use as a base
Roast tomatoes
Add to salads
Add tomatoes or salsa to mac n cheese (one of my favorites)
Salsa and eggs
Stewed tomatoes
Anything Italian or Mexican - just add different spices
Sauce or paste can be made into juice
Salsa (or tomatoes) and cheese melted together is a yummy dip

Not just for breakfast anymore!
If you do eat a lot of oatmeal - top with jelly/jam, peanut butter, fruit, nuts, etc.
Use in cookies, muffins and breads
Make granola
Add to trail mixes
Grind  into flour
A childhood favorite - mixed oats with honey or syrup and ate on bread or crackers!

So many options to choose from and so many uses.
Beans & ham or sausage
Make into refried beans
In soups, chili, casseroles
Huge in Mexican dishes - meat, tomatoes, corn, beans, seasoning  Burritos, enchiladas, tacos, etc.
Turn into (veggie) burgers
Dips - can mix with all kinds of things
Beans and rice
Canned beans are great in all kinds of salads (hot or cold)
Red bean (or any type) salad
Add to stir fry
Serve with breakfast food
This is a great protein item.  Handy to have on hand and keeps for years.  I include split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, etc. in this group.  There are just an unlimited amount of uses for an inexpensive price!!!!!  One of the cheapest foods/ingredients that you can purchase.

Canned, frozen or home canned can be used in a variety of ways
Over yogurt
On ice cream
In Jello
Use in muffins or sweet breads
Turn into fruit butter (I am getting ready to do this with home canned apples & applesauce)
Use in smoothies and shakes
In salads
Over pancakes, waffles, French toast, oatmeal
Over cake
Stew or fried fruit is yummy
Puree and use instead of oil in baking
Turn in jelly, jams, syrups
Freeze and use as a frozen summer treat
Make pies, cobblers or crisps

Hopefully this gives you something to think about and maybe a few options to use up what you have.  Waste not want not!!!!!  It's nice to have options - never be hungry!!  Never waste!

How are you doing on cleaning, lists, using what you have, projects, etc.???????  Are you making any headway?
I have cleaned  several walls (washing down) and working on cleaning lots of knick-knacks.  UGH.  SO many dust catchers around this house (but I love them)!
Let us know how you are doing - help to motivate the rest of us with your projects!!!!!
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Happy Harvest 3

Today is the day to share a few more ideas for those fresh harvests or farm market finds.
Hope this gives someone an idea or tip they can use.

Grapes are getting ripe this time of the year.  Many folks have grape vines in their back yards or they know where they can find wild grapes.  I love making juice and jelly with our grapes.  Grape jelly is one of the favorites for my Christmas goody baskets.
**I often pick, clean and destem my grapes and freeze until I have the time to make juice or jelly.

JUICE is simple to do.  I will give you the EASY way to make juice.  I have done this many times and love it.  It is not heavy overly sweetened juice - it is light and flavorful and oh did I say EASY!

You will need:
Quart jars
Boiling water
1 - 1/3 C grapes per each jar
Sugar - optional (I sweeten after opening)

Place 1 - 1/3 C destemmed grapes in each jar (seeds left in for grapes with seeds).  Cover with boiling water.  You can add approx. 1/3 C sugar to each jar if you desire.  I prefer to make mine unsweetened and I sweeten at the time of opening and use.
Leave 1/2" head room.  Clean rims and attach lids and water bath for 15 minutes.
Let it set for about 4 weeks before opening and using.  Strain and drink!
THAT'S IT!  Doesn't get much easier than that.

Concord grapes in the back yard - before ready to pick.  SO sweet and yummy when ready!

I follow the easy directions included in the boxes of dry pectin.  It truly is one of the easiest jellies to make.  If you don't have a grape arbor or access to fresh grapes - you can use red/black grapes from the store as well.  Those are most often seedless grapes.  It really doesn't matter.
I place the appropriate amount of grapes in a large pan and add an inch or two of water.  Heat  and mash as it is heating to get all that good flavor out of the grapes.  I use a potato masher.  I then strain the grapes/liquid through a fine strainer to get the juice I use for jelly.  If a bit short of liquid - add a touch of water.  Follow directions in pectin package.
ALSO you can use unsweetened store bought grape juice to make.

Grapes for SNACKS
If you have access to seedless grapes (any type) - clean and destem and freeze.  This is one of my favorite summer snacks.  They are just so refreshing and what a healthy snack.  Kids think these are great.  ADULT IDEA - these frozen grapes are great for throwing into a glass of wine or adult beverage to keep it cool and just to make it fun!

Waste not want not.  I love the idea of using everything.  This has a sweet honey like taste and is quite good.

Each batch:
12 cobs from corn (after cutting corn to can or freeze)
1 box pectin
3 1/2 C sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Place cobs in a large pot and just cover with water.  Bring to a boil for an hour.  Water will reduce a lot.  You will need 3 1/2 C of liquid for jelly.
Measure and strain liquid.  Add lemon juice to liquid.
Start heating again - when very hot add 3 1/2 C sugar.  Bring to a boil.
Add pectin and return to a boil - you need a rolling hard boil for 1 minute.

Pour into hot sterilized jars - leave 1/2" head room.  Make sure rims are clean and add lids.
Water bath for 10 minutes
Yummy to the tummy!!!!!

Now is time for fresh juicy and yummy peaches.  I have never canned them - although I understand it is fairly easy.
I have always frozen peaches.
I slice and deseed peaches. NOTE: ( I have never peeled a peach in my life - although many do.  You do that just like you do tomatoes)
I mix the peaches with some sugar (I have always used just a little) and Fruit Fresh.  Fruit Fresh can be purchased at the grocery and it keeps your fruit from turning dark in color.
Place in freezer bags - flatten and freeze.
This was a favorite of Glens - he said it always reminded him of his grandma.  We would allow them to slightly thaw before easy.  They would always still have a bit of crunchy ice crystals.
Yum and so refreshing.

Don't forget - GRILL peaches.  Oh my, if you haven't done this - you need to try.  Cut your peaches in half  - deseed.  I spray/rub a bit of olive oil over the cut edges and place cut side down on the grill.  Once you have nice grill marks turn and grill that side as well. Heat through and through.
Serve with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream.
YUM!!!!!!  Grilling just increases the sweetness.

Happy Harvesting!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Easy Fruity Cake Bars

Thought I would share a new (to me) recipe that I tried yesterday.  I made it because I am expecting company today and wanted to have a treat on hand.  I wanted something different.  Figured if it wasn't all that and more - I could make brownies this morning!!!

I had to sample a corner, and it is a very passable recipe and I will definitely make it again.

Fruity Cake Bars
1 box white or yellow cake mix
1 can pie filling (any flavor)
3 eggs
Mix it all together and spread in a greased 9 x 13 pan (or 2 - 8 x 8).  Bake the time and temperature on the box.
THAT'S IT!!!!!!!

After cooled I sprinkled with powdered sugar.  You could also drizzle with a light icing or leave plain.
I made mine with peach pie filling (I cut the peach pieces into smaller pieces).  You could use whatever type of pie filling you have.  You could also add pecans or walnuts.

I tell you, this is yummy and super easy.  It uses up some of those items we keep in our pantry and often forget about.
Hope you give it a try.  I think you will love it!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 8/4

Happy August to all!
It has gotten warmer again, but not too bad.  Humidity has been down this week, so it has been rather pleasant.  Evenings and mornings have been so delightful and the AC goes off during those times.  I have just needed the AC during the heat of the day.
It won't be long until we have that cool crisp air of fall.

I have enjoyed just sitting outdoors a bit and watching and listening.  Yes, I can hear traffic - but I have gotten good at ignoring it and just hearing the birds, cicadas, and the squirrels.  I can zone in on the birds and hear so many different songs.  It is so lovely.  The squirrels are a hoot, the just play and play.  Another groundhog has shown up.  I think this is a younger one - as the neighbors' dog (2 doors down) caught and killed what I think was it's momma.  So sad.  It is hard to get mad at a young-in trying to survive, but it ticks me off when I see it in the tomato patch!!!!!
I have 6 blue jays all of a sudden.  I have always had one or two - but they have brought their friends!  Oh my they do love peanuts in the shell.  I put them out for the squirrels and the jays try to get them first!  Their call is so distinctive.

Sleep has been very elusive this week.  I just feel so tired.  I try to keep busy during the day to tire myself.  I have taken a nap here and there.  I have taken herbs to help me sleep and NOTHING!  I hate when this happens.  I had gotten back to sleeping 4 - 5 hours straight and then boom.  Hopefully this next week will be better.  It's funny I can fall asleep watching TV, then turn it off and WIDE AWAKE I AM!  I have even tried to leave it on, but that doesn't seem to help.  Once I wake - my mind goes into action.  UGH! (maybe I need to start reading again at bedtime)

My week:
  • I have been working on the pantry and going through things to see what I have.
  • Using up some older items.  I pulled shelf stable milk out and trying to use some up.  Found older purchased mixes to use.  
  • Made Jello with canned fruit - used the fruit juice as part of the water
  • I have been 'doggy sitting' the neighbors dog.  They went camping and today is day 5 of watching their baby.  He is next door and I go let him out and play with him about 4-5 times a day.  They will be home tonight - I am sure he will be happy! (I will be)
  • Using rain water on my plants
  • Washed down the front & side porches.  Cleaned siding, windows, doors and furniture.
  • Made a big batch of hummingbird nectar and refrigerated to have on hand.  They are drinking a lot more lately.
  • Ran to the feed store this week and stopped at the orchard on the way home.  Got a few peaches and apples to eat for snacks.
  • Have started washing down walls and baseboards and doors
  • Picked 3-4 larger tomatoes and lots of smaller ones (have to pick before done so 'Chuck' doesn't get them).
  • Picked some wild flowers that are growing in the alley a couple times this week.  They look like baby black eyed Susan's.
  • My friends from CO came for a visit on Monday.  Spent a nice afternoon with them.  My goodness they brought me a box of Russel Stover candy and a pretty yard flag and stand.  What a surprise.  It was good getting to see them - it's been way too long.
  • Got to talk to my friend in OR this week as well.  It is always so nice to catch up.  This has been long distance week!
My meals this past week:
Leftovers and salad
Cheeseburger & salad
Loaded baked potato
Stovetop quiche and sausage patties (both from freezer) & toast
Ground beef stroganoff & sliced tomatoes
Stroganoff & sliced cukes
Grilled ham/cheese/tomato sandwich & chips and salsa (my that sandwich was yummy)

This was the stroganoff mix I found in the pantry and used.  It is a bit spicy for sure.  I used the shelf stable milk in making this and then to kill a bit of the spice I topped with some sour cream.  Tasty and pretty darn cheap and different!  
See the pretty little yellow flowers in the background?  Those are the pretties from the alley.

I had every intention on cutting my hair this week - but didn't.  That is for sure on today's agenda.  I also got some faux crab out of the freezer last night to use for todays dinner.  I think I will make crab salad today!
I have so many things that need to be used - trying to be better about using up what I have and making some different items.

How has your week been?  Any good deals or yummy garden produce?  
Are you working on those projects?  We will check in on those next Thursday - so we can all feel accountable to someone!!!!!

I pray you all stay safe and healthy this week.  May we use the resources we have and be mindful of not wasting and be thankful for each thing we have.  We are truly so blessed in so many ways.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

New Month - New Start

Oh my goodness, the days are just flying by.  Here we start another new month.
I am looking at it as another new beginning!

Yes I have de-cluttered some.  I have donated some.  I have cleaned out some closets.  I have rearranged some.  BUT, many days I don't do SOME!  I just get into myself and don't do anything and then I feel guilty about wasting time and the day God gave me.
So. I have decided to kick myself in the butt and start getting busy.

There are many things  that we can all do and so many ways to save.  If you feel negligent - then today is a new start for you too!

Yes, we are in this together.  I know so many gals have said 'thanks' for the motivation they get here.  I say 'thanks' to all of you.  You all keep me motivated.  I love learning new things from you all.  Let us continue to motivate each other.

  1. Start with making lists of things that need to be done.  I have a list for super important things and a list for things I want to achieve around the house and yard (that one is long!)
  2. Get more fresh air!  Go outside and take it all in - yes I know it's hot - but we need to quit making excuses.  Sleep with the window open at night if possible.  Air out that house when possible.  Just drink in that freshness!
  3. Eat all the leftovers!!!!!  Don't waste.  Look for ways to re-invent them.
  4. Drink more water and tea - less pop.  Let's get back to a more natural way of taking care of ourselves.
  5. Utilize every single thing you can from the garden or the farm markets.  My little garden patch isn't providing a lot this year (probably cause I just haven't worked at it).  I may be getting fresh goodies at the farm stand - and I will enjoy it to the fullest and preserve what I can.  Fresh is best!
  6. Go through the health and beauty closet and inventory and combine and use it up!  Don't buy anything new till you have.  I bet you have more than one bottle of Tylenol open or a couple toilet bowl cleaners open!!!  LOL  I did this and found that I have enough soap, tooth paste and vitamins and herbs to last forever!!!!!
  7. Learn how to clean naturally!  Use up those cleaners and supplies you have and then go natural!  You, your pets, your kids and your home will thank you!  Think vinegar, baking soda, salt and water!  It is amazing what you can do with them.  (Save those citrus peels as well for making citrus cleaner).  Maybe a little Dawn mixed in there too!
  8. Start working on those homemade holiday gifts!  We are on the short side of that and probably all need to get busy.  Not only are homemade gifts special and precious - they save money.  Make this your CREATIVE year.
  9. Don't eat or drink out.  Make your fancy coffee, cook from scratch, take snacks with you.
  10. Use your pantry.  Go through and find what needs to be used first and get creative.  Look at the items in your various pantries as MONEY!  IT IS.  Money you earned and then spent on stuff - USE IT - DON'T WASTE IT.
  11. Stay home - that saves a ton
  12. Turn off the phone or the computer more often - you will be amazed at how much you can get done while not sitting and salivating over Pinterest!  Don't just look at that stuff - do that stuff.
We all have so many things that we can be doing that are productive.  We just need to do them.  If we each do one special project a day - that is 31 projects DONE just this month (minimum).
Let's do this.
I will continue to try to motivate you IF you continue to motivate me.
We can do this this together.