Thursday, February 27, 2020

Single Sweet Treats

Many of us are living alone, or there are just two in the house.  I hate making a big pan of something sweet - as I see it as a challenge.  Eat it all or it goes to waste!!!!!!  That is not a good thing.  I shouldn't eat sweets, but love them now and then.

I got this neat little cookie kit for Christmas and haven't made it yet.  It makes one big cookie in a little cast iron pan.  They are cute and fun.

Now I am thinking how do I make single cookies in the future.  I am thinking making a batch of drop cookies (like choc. chip or oatmeal) and using an ice cream scoop to measure out.  Maybe measure out heaping scoops of batter and place on a pan and flash freeze.  Bag and pull out one at a time to bake.
Does that sound like a good idea?
This is a perfect size for a big treat or a treat for two.  The little pan is a bit bigger than the palm of my hand. (I am holding it in my hand in picture)

You need a microwave safe mug and a microwave
4 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened baking cocoa
Dash of salt
2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix your dry ingredients together  in the mug - then add the wet - mix until blended
Microwave for about 1 minute.  Depends on your microwave.  (Recommended from 55 seconds to 1 minute 15 seconds).  Check every 30 seconds.
Finished brownie will be a bit wet in the center.
Let it cool for about a minute and eat away!
DON'T let it cool too long or it will get super hard and not be as yummy.  This is definitely an eat as you make it treat.

My favorite way to make brownies for ONE - make a whole batch and bake in muffin tins.  Wrap well and freeze the extra.  I can always pull one out and heat up for a fresh brownie fix!
Brownies with a scoop of ice cream!  OH YUM

Do you have any yummy treats that can be made for one or two?
Please share recipes or ideas.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Feed A Crowd - No Money

Let's have some fun.  Here is your scenario!
You get a call today that 20-25 people are showing up at your house Saturday for an impromptu and unscheduled reunion.  EEK!!!!
They are all coming from out of town, so they will not have access to stoves and refrigerators - so no one is bringing anything.  I know they could buy something - but for our scenario let's say no.
Here is the catch - you have to use what you HAVE and NO MONEY is to be spent!!!!

What do you do?  You have time to thaw out foods.  You have time to check your inventories.  You have time to get ideas from others.
I know there are some who are thinking - no way.  Others have this covered.  You may make a couple things or you may make several.  I bet there are more options than you can think of at this moment.

Checked my inventory and here is some of what I have to use.

Corn, beans of all sorts, carrots, potatoes, asparagus, tomatoes of all kinds (canned), zucchini (froze), peas, mushrooms.  Consider using in soups and casseroles, making bean salad, potato salad, just mixing and eating cold with homemade dressing

Beef, ground beef, turkey, chicken, sausage (couple types), hotdogs, pork, tuna, salmon, Spam, ham bones, pepperoni, summer sausage, bacon, sliced sandwich meats - lots of broth

Fresh apples, canned peaches, apples, pears, cherries, pineapple, lots of juices, mincemeat, blackberries, dates, craisins and raisins, frozen bananas

Eggs, butter, sour cream, milk, various cheeses

Flour, sugar, spices, baking supplies, cereal, oats, marshmallows, pasta (all types), rice's and rice mixes, dry bouillon, dried onions, soup mixes,  tortillas, baking mixes, crackers (a few types), some snack chips, nuts, dried noodles, tons of dry beans/peas/lentils, canned soups

Tea (hot or cold), coffee, Kool-Aid, fruit juices, water

DESSERT: (could make)
Cakes, brownies, cookies, sweet breads, Jello fixed in many ways, fudge, pudding, pie, crisp, cobbler, Krispy treats, no bake cookies, etc.

Pasta sauce, pizza sauce, salsa, can make gravy of all kinds

Mustard, catsup, mayo, pickles and olives, relish, can make tartar sauce or cocktail sauce, BBQ sauce, jellies of all kinds

WHAT to make?
Keep it simple -
Chili, soup beans, any type soup, casseroles (no limits), pizzas, chicken and noodles, spaghetti & sauce, lasagna or biscuits and gravy - (or grill out)
Think about making biscuits, easy bread (beer bread would be my choice), tortillas
Make a dip from sour cream or hummus from beans, can mix salsa/chili & cheese for dip (remember you can make sour cream if you have cottage cheese).
Appetizers - sliced cheeses/lunch meats, tuna salad, pigs in a blanket or veggie bites (relish plate) with crackers or chips, etc...….

I think I could make all sorts of things, but would probably stick to 2 or 3 large pot items, with sides of biscuits or bread/crackers, maybe appetizers, desserts and drinks.

Could you do the challenge?  What would be on your menu?
I know some may not have a lot of options - but it is fun to think about what you DO HAVE and WAYS you could use it and stretch it.

Let's play - what say you???????
This should be fun - I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 2/23

Happy Sunday everyone.  Hope all are well, safe and healthy.
My goodness, here we are on the last leg of February.  I wonder if March will come in like a lion or a lamb? (it looks like maybe  lamb here).

We have had such cold - some nights getting in single digits.  We had a lovely spring like day yesterday - lots of sunshine.  Today will be warmer as well.
It looks like the upcoming week will contain a bit of everything - warm, rain, colder, snow, sun and clouds.  But it won't be long till Spring is here.

There are lots of birds at the feeders - some I haven't seen at all over the winter, so that is a good sign.  The squirrels are all "frisky" if you know what I mean!!!  LOL.  Think there will be many babies sometime in the near future.  Daylight hours are getting longer and we are getting more sunshine.

It has been quiet this week.
  • I cleaned out the garage a bit on a slightly warmer day - and got a lot of trash to the container
  • Went to the library - first time in ages.  I did get 3 books
  • Been cooking with things I have on hand and from scratch
  • I ran to Kroger one day.  I got 2 - 1/2 gallons of OJ ($1 ea.) and 2 - 1/2 gallons of chocolate milk ($1 ea.).  Both just sounded good.  I have been craving juice and oranges - must need Vit. C!  I also bought a bag with 6 Roma tomatoes (1.99).  UGH - faux tomatoes - not sure they were worth it.  Oh well, I will use them.
  • I ran into an old friend from grade school at the store.  Stood and talked for quite a while.  My goodness, where have the years gone?  How did we get this old?  LOL
  • Still working on over all clean.  I did fall cleaning before the holidays - but you have to start over when you get done!  Never done.  Trying to dust shelves and knick-knacks on shelves (I hate doing that).  Washing all shelves down as well. House doesn't get messy with just me - but it sure gets dusty!
  • Took care of the neighbors dog for 2 days.  Fed and watered and let him out several times a day.  After 3 visits - he got used to me and was super playful.  Cute little fellow.
  • Had some of Glen's family come by for a visit.  That was nice
  • I made a homemade baked dip and also used all leftovers in new ways
  • Been cleaning out more paperwork
  • Drinking lots of water and fruit juices
Meals this past week:
Ground beef patty w/fried onion & pepper - French fries
Dirty rice w/ shredded chicken and beans
Leftover rice and chicken with slaw
Baked jalapeno popper cheese dip and crackers
Baked fish (topped with leftover cheese dip) and slaw
Spaghetti and home canned sauce - garlic toast
Leftover pasta, sauce - turned into goulash with grd. beef and cheese - and salad

Jalapeno Popper Cheese Dip
1 - 8 oz. pack of cream cheese (softened).  Add  about 1/4 C sour cream or mayo.  About 1/4 C Parmesan cheese.  Chopped jalapeno's (how ever much you want).  Some garlic powder.  Top with more Parmesan cheese and some cheddar (or whatever you have).  Can add crunchy dried onions if desired.  Bake at 350*  for about 20 minutes.  (I used an 8" pan).  This was just soooooo good and filling.

How was your week?  Did you get any deals?  Save any money?
I am getting anxious for warm weather.  I bet most who live here in the U.S. are.  I am just tired of being cooped up in the house.  I may air the house a bit today!

Check this out.  My Coogy makes it his mission every morning to get Mommy up - early.  I always thought it was because he wanted breakfast.  I think there is an alternative motive.
After breakfast he goes in and stretches out across the bed.  I think he just wants the bed to himself!  That is a queen size bed - he is one long boy!!!  Such contentment!!!  Love my big boy.

On that sweet moment I will end.  I hope you all have a wonderful, safe, healthy and frugal week.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

This for That - A Tip or Two

Some folks think that you need a house full of tools - one to do every job.  NOPE.  So many things can be used for a variety of  things.  I love finding new uses for things.  It saves money, saves space and anything multi-functional just makes sense!
  • I use my rolling pizza cutter to cut homemade noodles.  Works like a charm
  • An egg slicer is perfect for slicing strawberries or mushrooms
  • A 2 prong carving/meat serving fork is great for getting cooked spaghetti out of a pan.  Just wrap spaghetti around the fork, let drip drain and place on the plate
  • I use a very old colander (I got at a yard sale for .25) as a steamer.  It has a flat bottom.  It fits perfect in 2 pans I have - water in the pan, set the colander on top (above water) and steam veggies. I can also use it to blanch veggies - I place veggies in it and set it down in a larger size pan of boiling water.  I use a pair of tongs to remove.
  • A melon baller works great for measuring cookie dough, ravioli filling or making fun balls of ice cream.  The melon baller or a ice cream scoop is handy for removing seeds from tomatoes or peppers.  Works great to de-seed squash as well
  • Muffin pans are great for all kinds of things.  Make individual meatloaf, quiches, any breakfast bites, mini individual brownies, great ice cubes or frozen juice, small cheesecakes, freezing individual servings of mashed potatoes, veggies, or stuffing (then bag up).........the list goes on and on.
  • A veggie peeler is super for making chocolate curls to pretty up any dessert.  
  • A Bundt pan is good for making a nice ring of ice for a punch bowl.  Use to carve corn - place the ear of corn on the center hole and carve.  The pan catches all the corn.  So little mess!
  • No vacuum sealer?  Place dry or semi dry goods in a zip lock bag and insert a drinking straw in one corner (zip seal the remainder of the bag).  Suck the air out of the bag - quickly remove straw and finish sealing.  Not so good for liquids - unless you can keep straw totally away from the liquid (you probably don't want to suck up the liquid).
  • Does anyone know what these items have in common????
They are all jar openers!!!!  Yep, if you can't budge a screw on lid - use one of these.  A screwdriver, a butter knife, a teaspoon, or a bottle opener.  Simply place one of these under the edge of the lid and just apply minimal pressure and you should hear a pop.  That means the seal has been broken and the jar lid will unscrew.  Those fat produce rubber bands are also great to use for a little bit of leverage.  Place it around the band or edge of jar lid and unscrew.
Running hot water over the lid or lightly banging lid on counter top can also help loosen a top.
I also have a couple squares of rubber (like shelf liner) that also work to gain leverage - it just helps to hold on to the jar or anything slippery.

So there you have a few tricks to save you from having to have so many devices, utentils, or tools in the kitchen.
Do you have any special tricks that we can learn and use?

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Personal Responsibility for Sustainable Future

Today's post is an observation of life.  I know everyone may not agree with me, and that is ok.  I do believe that many that visit here often, will.  I think so many of us are of the same mindset.

I believe that many are starting to come around to  a transformation to a more sustainable, simple and frugal lifestyle.  It seems to be coming about, as I feel people are just tired of debt and waste and miserable environments.  Hopefully, we seem to be going BACK to a more simple life.  We seem to be more concerned about the environment.
Now to listen to many we should have FREE everything.  Free schooling, free health care, free food, free college, free, free, free! (****Not trying to be political - and don't want this to turn political)
There is NOTHING free - we all pay in some way - usually big ways.  This type of thinking is NOT embracing personal responsibility.  We each need to be responsible for ourselves!

Advertisers tell us we need stuff!  "You are your stuff".  "Your stuff is you".  "Your stuff is better than their stuff".  "Buy more stuff".  We are bombarded 24/7.  The advertisers come into our homes, our devices, our vehicles...…..   They make it look so glamorous - like you get the stuff and don't worry how you will pay for it!  Just charge it!  Worry about that later.
What an illusion we are being fed.

Greed, envy and lust have transformed into mindless consumerism.  In spite of what we are led to believe - bills will come due and retailers will want their money.

Not only are people  creating horrible debt, but they are creating mountains of trash and people who are irresponsible in so many ways.  I just find this to be a terribly sad situation.

We can all live better with less - less money, less stuff, less stress, less aggravation, less complication, less waste, etc.
Less fast food and more slow and deliberate food.
Less processed food and more natural home grown food.
Less materialism and more re-use and creativity.
Less poisons and chemicals in the earth and more natural ways.
Less working mindless hours and more family time.
It seems we are paying more, doing more, working more and somehow getting less!  WHY?  The better idea should to be to do more with less!
Have more joy, more beauty, more wisdom, more health, more fun, etc.

This is NOT about  being poor.  A simple, sustainable and frugal lifestyle is for everyone!!!!!!  Rich, poor and all who are some where in between.  Actually the poorest are the ones who can teach us the best lessons.

YOU have control of your kitchen.
YOU have control of your checkbook.
YOU have control of your purchases.
YOU have control of your decisions.
YOU have control of your immediate environment.

Think about the last stuff you bought that you just had to have.  Is it as important and nice now as it was in your mind?  How much per hour do you make?  How many hours did you have to work to get that item?  How many taxes did you have to pay to earn that money?  That is part of your life you will never get back - for stuff!!!!!

Our world is changed one person, one household at a time.  We ALL need to be the CHANGE we want to SEE!!
We need more people willing to take the personal responsibility to create a better future - instead of the one that is being created by a world of excess and bad choices.
Let's be the change!!!!

*NO Politics please

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 2/16

Good morning all.  Hope you are all well and safe this lovely day.
For all our readers here in U.S. we are something like 32 days till Spring!  Here's hoping!  Seriously, here in my region we have had a really mild winter, but I am more than ready to get out and do something outside without dealing with the mud and the cold!

I am seeing so many different types of birds at the feeders.  I am seeing some I haven't seen for a few months.  That is a good sign.  I have daffodils poking through the ground.  They are about 2" tall.  The berry briars have red stems.  All will be back to life soon.  THEN we will be griping about the heat, mowing, pulling, etc.!!!!!  No making us happy.

We have had cold, super cold, snow and rain this week.  Woke to 2*F on Thursday - yep that was cold.  It hurt to breathe.  Today should be up in the 40's.  Crazy weather.
The birds sure have LOVED the heated bird bath this week.  The water is above freezing - but not hot.  They would come get a drink and then sit and just warm themselves with the steam!  It was busy constantly for 2 days!  Just so sweet.

                                                   I think my garden angel was shivering!!!!

My week:
  • Filled all the feed bins before the super cold came in.  Filled all feeders
  • Made a batch of squirrel treats to help fill in with food (was running low on corn again)
  • Refilled my ice melt container - so I don't have to lug around a heavy bag (I keep a gallon ice cream container full)
  • Made a big batch of rice.  Froze part plain - for some other meal.  Made some fried rice with part
  • Dropped off a bag of items at church thrift store.  Got some older free bread for the birds and I received a 2lb. bag of yellow split peas for FREE (I will never go hungry)
  • Needing corn for squirrels by Saturday and I really didn't want to drive all the way to feed store.  I happened to remember the garden center.  I have know the owners most of my life - so I don't know why I never thought of it before.  Much closer.  Got corn and peanuts.
  • Just around the corner from the garden center is a super Kroger.  I have only been there a couple times (the parking lot is wacky).  It is like WM - has everything.  I just walked around to have something to do.  I did buy 2 - .99 bags of oranges and 2 cream cheese.
  • Just doing all the normal stuff.  Cooking from scratch, using what I have, drinking water and fruit juice, straightening and de-cluttering, just doing odds and ends.   SO BORING!!!!!
Meals this past week:
Leftover beef/cheesy mac with beans added
Chicken & dumplings (small Sweet Sue can) and mashed potatoes, green beans (from freezer)
Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Veggie fried rice
Soft tacos
Chili (from freezer) and cheese and crackers
Grilled Rueben
                                      Homemade veggie fried rice with some left to freeze for later!

Nothing exciting again this week.  I heard about a new resale shop just a mile or so away and plan on going there in the next week or two.   They don't call themselves a thrift store but resale store.  They appear to have everything.  Sounds like a fun day.  The orchard is re-open for the next 2 weeks to get rid of fall stock.  May go there as well.  Just trying to come up with something to keep me busy.  I have a couple days coming up to watch the neighbors dog while they go out of town (he stays at his house - I just feed and let him out).  I have a wedding the last day of the month - so maybe the days till spring will pass quickly.

How was your week?  Are you staying on track with spending and your 20 challenge?  Are you doing anything exciting or different to pass the time?
Look forward to hearing from everyone.

Stay safe and healthy my friends.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Quick Pantry Fixes

Some days we just don't feel like cooking.  Some days we are busy.  Some days our pantries are getting low on supplies.  Some days we have don't have money to shop.  Some days we just need a new idea!!!!
Here are a few quick fixes from the pantry for your someday!

1 lb. ground beef (or whatever ground you have)
1 pkg. stuffing mix (like Stovetop or cheap brand or home mix)
1 C water
Mix all three ingredients together and form into  muffin tins.  Bake at 375* for about 35 minutes.  Nice size for individual servings and easy to freeze.
**Slice horizontally to make leftover meatloaf sandwiches!!!

Approx. 1 lb. ground meat - depending on whatever else you use
diced peppers, onions, etc.
1 can baked beans or chili beans (or whatever you have)
1 pkg. taco seasoning (or equivalent home mix)
1 can corn - drained
****Seriously you can add together whatever you have available**** No strict rules here!!!
Fry up meat and fresh veggies - add others (all in a cast iron skillet)

1 pkg. cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 C milk
Mix these 3 together and pour over all over the other ingredients.  Bake at 350* for about 20 minutes until top is browned.
Super easy and cheap one pot meal.

1 pack of Martha White muffin mix - 7.4 oz. (or other brands) - comes in so many flavors
2/3 C milk
1 egg
Blend together and make as normal pancakes.  Makes about 7 regular size pancakes.

Lightly grease your muffin tins.
Mix together:
1/2 C Bisquick or similar mix
1/2 C milk
2 eggs
Place about 1 Tablespoon of mixture in each muffin spot (normal size muffin) more if using giant muffin tins
Top mixture with about 1/4 cup of leftovers you have - taco meat, chili, stew, beefy cheese mac, broccoli/cheese, you name it - there are no limits to what can be added!!!  Clean out that frig.!!!!!!!
Top with another tablespoon of biscuit mix
Bake at 375* for about 25 - 30 minutes.
Yummy bites for meal, breakfast, or snack.  Easy to freeze as well.

Hope this helps someone on a busy day or day when the cupboard is getting bare and you need an idea or two.
I always love having easy ideas on hand.  My motto - keep it simple!!!!!!

ENJOY your pantry and have fun!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

No Running Water - What Would You Do?

I know there are places that have had much flooding recently, so the thought of no water sounds crazy.  I even had a lake in my backyard till this morning.  We got almost 2" of rain from late Sunday afternoon until Monday morning.
BUT, what if you had no access to city or running water?  No turning on the faucet with water coming out.  No water for flushing.  No water for baths or laundry.
Do you have any plans in case that would ever happen for an extended period of time?

If you are on a well, wonderful.  But what would happen if the power was down as well?  Do you have a hand pump?
Do you live near a creek, pond, lake or river?  Do you have rain barrels or some way to collect rain water?  Do you have alternate plans for drinking, cleaning, cooking, bathroom?
It sure is something to think about.

You need pretty clean water for drinking and cooking, so as not to get sick.  I try to keep a supply of bottled water on hand.  You need to cover yourself and your animals.  Now my cats actually like rain water.  I often refill their water bowls as well as bird baths with rain water in the summer.  That is a plus.
If you live on a farm - you need to have a plan for all those animals.
People can make a good water filtration system out of buckets and a purchased filter.  This would help a lot.  There is also the 'life straw' - which turns any type of water into drinkable.
These should be purchased by everyone - they are not that expensive.  They last through many gallons of water - and could be life saving.
I bottle a lot of water myself as well.  I use old pop bottles, which last for a long time.  Unlike milk jugs, which break down fairly quickly, older pop bottles are great.
Think about getting water sanitizing tablets as well.  They treat all types of water.

These would be great for collection of water for all types of uses.  You could use for filtration to drink, use for flushing, use for bathing or for laundry.  You can purchase rain barrels or make your own.  IF you can not come up with a barrel system and something would happen to the water system - use whatever you could to collect rain water.  Coolers, buckets, barrels,  totes, etc.  Remove the end of a downspout and let the water fill whatever you are using ( dump into plugged up sinks and tubs if nec. and continue to refill).  You could get real creative if you had to.  In the winter - you could use snow and melt for use.
This is one downspout at my house - I can collect 110 gallons of water in these 2 containers.  In a no running water situation, I would have some sort of bucket or tote at every downspout to catch ANY rainwater I could.

OK, this could get tricky.  Seriously, if you had only limited water to use, you may have to just not wash laundry as often.  I know many are thinking ICK - but you do what you have to.  If clothes are not actually 'dirty - filthy' they could be hung outside to air out - you could spray with Febreeze or whatever you have and hang outside.  If you know someone or a place that still has water - think about going there to do laundry, but if the city is down then you get creative.
Hand wash with rain or creek/pond water whatever needs it.  I have a wash tub, buckets and even a real washboard I could use.  I also have an old antique wringer that clamps onto a table or something.  Then line dry.
I have heard people say they have used a bucket  filled with water and a plunger for agitation!  Get creative.
(Don't toss that water when done - it has other uses)

Long showers and luxurious baths are out!  'Sponge' baths or 'sailor' baths - whatever you call them - is the way to go.  Hand wash.  You could use rain water, creek water, or even pond water - remember people used to bathe in the rivers!  Sounds silly - but if it rained - stand outside and clean whatever you can and still be decent!!!!  Rain water is wonderful for the hair!
I keep wet wipes on hand.  You can easily wash down with them.  I always try to keep several packs around.  I think this is something that should be in everyone's prep supplies.
Sanitizing hand wash is also good.  You can often find hand sanitizer in large bottles - it sure would help in an emergency.
(Again - don't toss water)

Hopefully you could continue to use your toilet and then 'flush' with buckets of water from rain, creek, pond, etc.  You could use that leftover laundry or bath water - you wouldn't just TOSS any water away during an emergency like this.
Now say you don't have much excess water to do this - think outside the box.
You may have to resort to another 'catchment' system (that can be thrown away at landfill or buried).  Maybe an adult 'potty chair' like used in nursing homes or for disabled folks (with liners for more than one use).  I have one of those in the shed.
Is you don't have that - get creative yet AGAIN!  A big bucket, something to sit on and lined with double layers of bags.  
This one doesn't show it lined - but boy oh boy I sure would.  Double bagged would be my choice.  I would also keep cat litter or wood shavings around as well.  When bucket is used for  'solids' top with a sprinkle of wood shavings or litter to help reduce smell.  I would try to pee in a cup or jug (not in the lined bucket) and that could be poured in woods or away from the home (or down the sewer drains).  There would be no sense in filling that lined bucket with liquids.  That would make it heavier to remove and get rid of.  Maybe have something to place over the top when not in use. (a board, an old seat cover, plastic, etc.)

You would need drinkable water to use for cooking.  You could also boil water for a bit of time, to help remove bad stuff.  I keep paper plates on hand for just in case.  Not something I use on a regular bases.  I wouldn't want to waste valuable water washing dishes.  I could simply rinse out drinking glass  or rinse off utensils.  I could cook on the grill to not use a lot of pans.  I could also cook over a fire in the yard with cast iron cookware.  That way I could always wipe out the pans or set in the fire to 'burn off' any crud.  Learn to make hobo dinners - food wrapped in foil and placed on grill or next to fire (or even oven).  Baking and eating all contained in one!

Have you ever thought about what you would do?  I guess we don't think of these things a lot - but we never know what could happen.
What do you have on hand that would help in a no running water situation?  
Share your ideas and thoughts.  
We all need to be prepared for the worst situations!!!!!

Let's help each other and get creative!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 2/9

Happy Sunday all.  Hope this finds you all well.
We had a lovely Sunday and Monday to start the week, then the temps dropped and we got winter back again.  Had some ice and dusting of snow - but nothing too bad.
I know there has been lots of snow in many places, tornadoes and tons of rain in others, and I see today that Australia is now having  cyclones.  It seems to be feast or famine there.
I pray everyone is safe and not affected by the weather.

It was a very quiet week for me.  Just not a lot going on. I did get to talk with a long distance friend this week, talked with my sister-in-law and went to the store one day (didn't really need a thing) just to interact with people!  Oh how I need warmer weather and sunshine!

My week:
  • I did go out Monday when it was warm to do a bit of yard work.  My goodness I must have picked up a zillion sticks!!  I only had a bag of trash for p/u last week - but my large trash bin was full of sticks
  • I walked the front walk and the alley and picked up trash - from all the high winds we had.  
  • I got to air the house out on 2 days and had the heat off
  • I opened up the greenhouse and aired it out - and took up a few rugs and hung out to dry.  The floor gets damp from me and the kitties going in and out in snow/rain.  The cats were loving the warmer days and stayed outside a lot!
  • When I ran to the store - I did get a bag of oranges, some bananas and ice cream
  • Doing some research and some reading
  • Cleaned out a couple more drawers
  • General straightening (nothing gets messy), cooking from scratch with ingredients I have, drinking water and lemon water (carbonated), laundry in cold, minimal lights and heat, etc..
  • I did use my crockpot this week and made a pot of potatoes, carrots, beans and smoked sausage
My menu this past week:
Taco salad
Loaded baked potatoes and salad (used leftover taco meat)
Fish and fries
Crockpot meal
"Mex" Bruschetta - banana shake
Leftover crockpot meal
Zesty, beefy mac n cheese and slaw

                                                        My crockpot dinner - it was tasty
My "Mex" bruschetta.  Small rounds of toasted bread topped with several cheeses and salsa then roasted.

I had oranges, bananas, tomato juice, olives, carrots/dip and Triscuts and cheese for snacks
Now that I am here alone - I just eat whatever I feel like.  I don't always have a well rounded meal.  Just a reminder that it is OK to do what you want.  Usually I have one or two items - not always a veggie - but that is OK.  I am full, maintaining my weight and staying healthy.  It was different when I cooked for someone else and not just myself.
Eat whatever makes you happy.

How was your week?  Did you get any real savings or deals?  Are you still working on the 20 challenge?  I put a few things in the donate box this week.

Tale care my friends.  I hope your week ahead is healthy and safe and frugal.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Bites/Snacks - Fun, Frugal and Tasty

We all like a quick bite or a tasty treat.  Sometimes the simple things are just the best.

I love popcorn - all types of flavors.  You can sprinkle with cheese, onion/garlic powder/salt, cover with chocolate, sprinkle dry ranch dressing mix, add all types of herbs or spices, the list goes on and on.  Making popcorn from scratch is easy and cheap.  A good heavy pan, a little oil (I love bacon grease) and popcorn - cover and pop.
Top with any type of topping desired.

I am an apple and peanut butter girl.  It truly is my favorite way to eat an apple.  My second favorite way is peanut butter sandwich with thin slices of apple, pear, or banana on it.  I like mine on toast to give it a bit more stability.  Seriously, give this a try - it is so yummy.

3/4 C cocoa powder
1 1/4 C water
1 1 /2 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
Use a good size pan, as mixture expands when cooking.  Place cocoa, sugar, water and salt in pan.  Whisk and heat till melted.  Boil 1 - 2 minutes.  Add vanilla after boil.  This will appear runny and thin.
It thickens as it cools.  Place in a jar and refrigerate.  Great for ice cream, milk, whatever you use Hershey's for.
Tastes just like Hershey and is cheap and easy to make.  You know exactly what is in it!


Preheat oven 350*
Slice  3-4 potatoes about 1/4" thick.  Place in hot water and boil for about 3 - 4 minutes.  Remove and pat dry.
Place on a lined baking pan - top each slice with a couple types of shredded cheese, bacon bits, ext.  Bake up to 13 - 15 minutes.
Top with sour cream, chopped chives, whatever you have on hand.
These are so good!!!!!!!
These are great for snack trays or for a meal!
Use whatever you have on hand.  I can see topped with chili, taco meat, any leftovers, chopped pepperoni, or anything you would put on a baked potato.
I love these - easy, frugal and sooooooo good.

Make a batch of your normal pancake batter and place in a squirt bottle.  Fry up a bunch of bacon - crispy.
On your griddle squirt a little batter in a long narrow band - top with a piece of bacon and add a bit more batter.  Cook pancakes as usual.
These are great for  breakfast and make it kind of fun.  They are also good for a quick bite for eating on the go!
Easy for kids as well - they eat with their fingers!

There you go.  A few fun, frugal and tasty bites.  Hope this gives you some new ideas and ways to change things up a little.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Fun and Experiences - Cheaply

Here in the U.S. we are in the throws of winter and it sure can be boring.  We all need to come up with new and creative ways to have a little fun and do it cheaply.  There are a lot of options.

READ - read a book.  It can be fiction, fantasy, biography, history, cookbooks, books of frugal living, gardening, ANYTHING
Books can take you to another place and time.  There is much to learn and lots of laughs and tears to be had.

Think about starting a neighborhood library.  This is becoming a big thing.  I don't believe it would work in my area, I think it might be vandalized - but many are doing this.
Any type of structure could be put together - just so it has a door to keep out weather.  Take a book, leave a book and share.  I think this would be a fun neighborhood project.

OLD MOVIES & TV - if you already have cable, consider watching some of the old classic movies and TV shows.  They were all pretty darn wholesome, not like the stuff on TV today.  Most cable packages have at least one channel that provides the older things.

SEW/CRAFT - so much can be made and created.  Think about making a simple quilt/patch work with old clothes and fabrics.  Make pillows, placemats, other clothes, Christmas gifts/ornaments, etc.  Needlecraft is fun - crochet, knit, embroidery, etc.  You can often find supplies at yard sales and thrift stores so you don't have to spend a fortune.

YOU TUBE - Oh my there is so much to learn.  You can watch movies and shows and you can learn HOW TO do just about anything in the world,  Mechanics, canning, gardening, off-grid living, thrifting, dumpster diving, sewing, plumbing, carpentry - ANYTHING

GARDEN - it doesn't have to cost a lot (actually can get seeds for pennies), nor do you have to have a big yard.  Gardening can be done on a large scale or small.  Pots on your patio, old wash tubs, totes, reusable grocery bags (filled with dirt), turn feed bags into plant bags, even just bags of dirt - cut open and seeds inserted!  You can plant a few veggies in amongst flowers and bushes (veggies are pretty plants).  Find others who enjoy gardening and share your bounties.  It is fun, fresh air, provides healthy food, and great exercise.  

COMPOST - old trash can with air holes drilled in it can be used.  Dump all refuse (except meat and dairy), add leaves, grass clippings, etc.  Make your own wonderful rich dirt.  You can use old pallets and make a compost box as well.  So many options.
Learn to make a homemade water barrel and recycle water as well to help grow things.

WALK - take a walk around the neighborhood and get to know neighbors.  Walk through parks, the woods or fields.  Go to your local garden center or greenhouse or floral conservatory and enjoy the smells and sights.
Walk around and help clean the neighborhood of any debris.  Glean from unused trees and bushes.
Walk through thrift shops and flea markets to get ideas for your own stuff.  
NOTE:  resist buying!!!!!

VISIT - friends and family.  Visit your local animal shelter.  Visit shut-ins.

ORGANIZE a neighborhood sale.  This not only benefits you but your neighbors as well.  Everyone gets rid of stuff, makes a little money, enjoys the outdoors and socialize with others.

HAVE a picnic.  It can be in the yard for you and your family, at a park for maybe more people, even a neighborhood picnic.  Heck, you can even have a picnic in the house on a rainy/snowy day.

PORCH SIT - watch the world go by, watch nature, read a book, just relax!  Fresh air, relaxing and sunshine.

RECYCLE - learn more about recycling and reusing things.  Work on having a zero impact on environment - harder than it sounds!!!! 

Have fun and do it quite cheaply.  NO reason not to.  We all need to try new things and experience new things and make our lives a little fuller.
A fuller life and new experiences can actually improve our attitudes and moods.

My plan is to expand myself - I need NEW joy!  How about you?

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 2/2

Happy February!  I saw on the news this morning that the groundhog did NOT see his shadow, thus an early spring!  We will see.
I wonder how often (if ever) he is right!!

Well, it will seem like spring here, for a couple days.  There is this glowing happening outside - such an odd sight - OH it's the SUN!!!!!!!  YAY!!!!  My goodness I have missed my dear old friend the sun.  Today and tomorrow is supposed to get near 60*.  How lovely.  The chill returns - winter isn't done yet.  If the groundhog came out here today, he would definitely see his shadow!
January was warmer than usual, but it sure was wet and dreary.  I am so tired of gloomy and dreary days.  I need sun - it makes me happy and changes my mood so much.

Yesterday I went out and shooshed off TWO big hawks from the yard.  They must think this is their all you can eat food bar!  So many little birds.  They flew pretty far off as I watched, and soon the other birds came back to eat.  Nature sure is amazing.  I don't always like the results - but each creature has a purpose.

My week:
  • I cut my hair.  My goodness did it grow a lot in the past 5 or 6 weeks
  • I did a quick color job.  It cost me about .53!!  I used one third of a box of dye I got on clearance for 1.59 quite some time ago.
  • I changed the furnace filter - as I forgot to do that on Jan.1.  Had it on hand
  • I did get to my appointment at Social Security office and got that all finalized!!!!!  YAY.  I should start receiving funds within the next 30 days. (**I have not forgotten - I need to do a post on all of this AND on preparing for the unthinkable).
  • Dropped off a few items at church thrift store (not 20 this week).  At least I got more out of the house
  • I received a 2 lb. bag of rice and some old grain bread (for birds) FREE at the thrift store
  • I did run to Kroger and got a little salad stuff and some fruit.  All in all I think I actually spent less than $30 on people food in the month of January.  YES, I did get squirrel corn and some special cat foods, but I did really well on low spend.
My FREE rice and peppers in the .99 bag.  Peppers were advertised for $1 each and I got 2 in the .99 bags.  Winner!!!!!
  • Made up new bottles of shampoo and dish soap
  • All meals from home, cooking from scratch, using pantry and freezer foods, drinking water, keeping heat down, still working on cleaning and de-clutter, ect.
Meals this past week:
Burger on Italian bread (from freezer)
Chicken strips wrapped in tortillas w/ranch
Turkey rice veggie soup (from freezer)
Scrambled eggs, patty sausage and toast
Chopped steak, Rice a Roni (home mix) and olives
Tuna salad with peas over lettuce and crackers
Small Chef salad and banana milk shake

I realized this week that this is the first time in Coogy's life that he hasn't lived with another cat.  It's him and I.  He sure is sticking close and gets in the window and watches when I go outside.  He loves to cuddle.  I wake up to all kinds of toys next to and in the bed each morning!!!!  He brings them all to me.  Such a sweet big boy.
        Coog and just part of his toys!  He has a basket full and he loves playing with them all!!!!!

How was your week/month?  Did you do good on low spend, if playing along?  I think I will definitely be on track to do this again in February.  You can't even tell I made a difference in my supplies.
How is your 2020 project going?  I am trying to keep up with de-cluttering.  Didn't do 20 this week - but will definitely make up for that in future weeks.

I wish you all a wonderful new month full of happiness and health.  New beginnings - new starts - each and every day!
Stay safe and stay frugal my friends.
Blessings to you all from my humble little home to yours.