Thursday, July 30, 2020

One of Those Days

Yes indeed - it is one of those days.  No gumption - no oomph - no get up and go - no motivation.....
I woke at regular time and it was darker than normal.  Got up and started my day doing all my morning chores - getting all the kitties fed and the then the birds and squirrels.  Then me!
Coogy left me 2 gifts over night that I needed to clean -up  (icky fur balls).

It is a cloudy and rainy day - which we do need.  I am not complaining about that - it just has made me feel blah today.  Coogy was on the bed all comfy under the fan after breakfast - I walked in and he stretched and stretched and showed me his belly.  His stretching is how I feel - good day for the bed!
I go out to p/u empty wet food dishes in the greenhouse and the kitties were chilling out in there, staying out of the rain.  Even Blackie - who has decided this IS where he likes to be!!!  LOL  The girls are tolerating him more every day.  Guess he is now part of my pack!

Heck the squirrels are usually waiting on me when I go out first thing and I didn't see my first one until 9AM.  I guess they didn't want to get up either!

You ever get that way?  Just no gumption to do much.  I don't HAVE to do anything other than feed my babies if I don't want to - but I feel lazy if I don't.
I did go out yesterday and trim the yard and I weeded the garden really well.  Picked some tomatoes and just piddled around.  It was still pretty darn humid and hot (the weathermen lied to us again).  I watered everything really well.
I think this heat really drains me.  Then a dreary morning and listening to the rain and I just feel like napping.  LOL

The song "Rainy Days and Mondays" entered my mind this morning.

On top of that Blogger keeps making changes and I don't like them.  I am not a creature of change.  I hate when they think they know better than you and just automatically change your stuff - FB does that too.  Frustrates me to no end.
My goodness, I am on a grouchy roll!  LOL

BE POSITIVE:  I am thankful for this new day and the opportunities it may bring forth.  I am thankful for my family, friends, and kitties.  I am thankful for health and safety.  I am thankful for my home and property.  I am thankful for all of you who come and visit every day.  I AM BLESSED!

OK that helped.  I need to move and motivate. 
I think I will get my motor running by vacuuming the house, changing the bed linens, and getting rid of some more paperwork I don't need.
Maybe try a new recipe today and then on to laundry.

I guess I just need to give myself a pep talk once in a while.
You ever have those kind of days?  Surely, I am not the only one.
Be blessed my friends!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Enough - I Think I Am Done

Yes indeed - I think I am done.  I think I am done with major grocery stores!  (What did you think I was going to say?  LOL)
I am finally getting fed up with so much.  We are all fed up with the state of the world - with the state of people (actions) - fed up with shortages and increasing prices...............
OK - I don't want to get into all that stuff, as I am trying to keep this a safe zone.
BUT I am fed up.

Wal-Mart has announced that soon they will have no cashiers.  It will all be self-serve.  NOPE - I am not doing that and then not get a discount - which we won't.  I am not taking someone's job. 

Kroger from what I hear from friends in different regions is now starting to play political and 'agenda' type advertisements over their P.A. system for shoppers to have to hear.   I don't care what it is - that is not the place for it.  NOPE - I don't want to be subjected to that at the store - give me my oldie goldies!

I haven't shopped at Target for almost 3 decades - haven't walked into one.
Meijer - is a once in a while shop -  but I am sure they will follow suit soon.

I have alternatives available.  I am lucky.  I know not everyone does - many communities don't have many options.  I would not expect everyone to feel as I do - this is just me.

I have Aldi - and yes it is a major grocery chain - but so far so good.
I have Fresh Thyme - lots of organic and sells a lot of different things  Yes, it is also a chain, but an option.  They sell many items  like nuts, seeds, grains, etc. in bulk.
I have every type of dollar store there is - in multiples around me.  Again chains. 

Switch things up and try new versions.  Experiment and 'play' with your food.

I also have Waterman's - a family farm located about 10 minutes away and they have a small shop to sell to public.
I have Adrian's a family owned orchard - they sell all kinds of fruit and some veggies
I have the farm market at the park just up the road every Saturday - although it is so busy you can't hardly get in to park
Several communities within 10-20 minute ride have farm markets each week.
There is an farm a few minutes away that sells fresh eggs - I have never stopped, but have noticed the sign many times.

There are many, many ethnic stores that are privately (family) owned in my area.  Countless Hispanic stores and many Asian.  They offer so many food options and new ideas and adventures in food!  They sell basics as well.

I have a German meat market (family owned for decades) just about 7 minutes up the road - they sell beautiful cuts of meat.

I have a garden and I can.
I have the ability and knowledge to make many of the items I buy.  I don't have to buy items to feel complete - I can MAKE them and feel complete.
I love to experiment and make up new dishes and throw all kinds of ingredients together.  Haven't had many failures in that respect.  There are NO rules - have fun.

I am ready to go small.  I want to try an QUIT the major grocery chains.  They need me - I don't necessarily need them.  They want our money and need our money - so do the smaller Mom & Pop shops.  Those little shops and farms - keep your dollars spent right there in your community.  They use it to raise their families and just live.
I KNOW - small places many times charge a little more for things.  I KNOW!

Just me - but I will pay a few cents more for an item and help someone local 'make it' - instead of making  a major corporation and it's CEO's richer!
I see this more important now than ever before.

I am going to really get into working at this.  I am going to make more from scratch.  I am going to try and stay small whenever I can.
I realize there are some things that I will have to buy from  a corporation - preferred pet foods and supplies - being the main thing.

Granted if I see a deal that would just be stupid to miss - I know I will make the occasional trip inside one of these places.
BUT for the most part - I THINK I AM DONE.

I want peace of mind - don't need any more bombardment of 'crap' in my life.  Shoot, I have even stopped reading some blogs and stopped watching some You Tube channels because they have jumped on the 'crap' bandwagon.  Not why I started viewing them.  I turn off the news after the weather.  I do read the paper - that is enough.

I want to HELP my COMMUNITY.
I want to learn to do more for MYSELF.
I want to be as independent as I CAN BE from major corporations.
I just want to be me!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Using What I Have and Making Do

I think we are all trying to use what we have and we all try to figure out how to repair things, and make something out of nothing!
I hate to throw things away - I try my hardest to figure out a use for them.

I don't know if you have ever tried Bragg's Liquid Aminos.  It is basically a natural soy sauce.  Same flavor, same salty taste - no added salt at all.  It is full of minerals and is actually good for you.  We started using years ago in place of regular soy sauce (Glen was on a lower salt diet then).
Before Glen passed we bought a gallon jug of it to refill our smaller bottle with.  The large bottle is just kept in a cool place but is not refrigerated.
I think we paid about $25 for the gallon - now it runs about $35/gallon.  I refill my smaller bottle from it.  I checked my 16 oz. bottle and it had a 4.99 price tag (it is an older bottle).  That would be close to $40 if you bought a gallons worth. 

You might want to look for this and give it a try.  We all like natural products.  It is really good!

I made Panko crumbs last week.  What did I use?  Well, I had a package of sourdough crackers that I had purchased on clearance at Big Lots a long while back.  It cost me .25!!!  As crackers - yuck.  Dry and pretty flavorless.
I put them in the Ninja and broke them down to Panko size - and I mixed in a partial container of Panko.  I will add seasoning when I use.  Waste nothing!!!!

My neighbor gave me a 20 oz. bottle of no sugar Gatorade last week.  I hadn't had any in years.  It was tasty.  I think he said 8 bottles cost him around $6.  I found packets you mix with a 20 oz. water for 2.99 for a 10 pack.  So much cheaper and less waste and trash.
Even better - I got my recipe out - to make my own.
I got the packets to give my neighbor for being nice.

1 pack of unsweetened Kool-Aid (any flavor)
1/2 C sugar or sweetener
1/2 tsp, salt
1/2 C orange juice (you can use lemon juice or lime - whatever you have)
Mix and chill. 
That sure is a lot cheaper than buying bottles at the store!  You know what is in it as well.

I fixed my flip flops last week.  They are a solid formed flip-flop.  They are sturdy made and very comfortable.  The strap finally broke through (after maybe 3 or 4 yrs.).  I am not ready to throw them out, so I repaired!!
They aren't sold very many places here - (Menard's is where I always find them) and I haven't been to the places that sell them in ages.

The white area is super glue that has dried.  The bond is super tough!  It worked and I have my shoes for a while longer.  I have been wearing daily and doing yard work in them for a good week now!!  Color me happy!

I have decided since we are back to state wide mandatory face masks AGAIN - I need to make a few.  I am going to use some vintage looking hankies I have here.  I have nice material for lining.  I will show you once I get them done.  Why not make them pretty and use something I have on hand right here. 

So there you have my weekly list of making do and using what I have on hand.
Have you done anything to 'use it up or make it do' lately???

We all are looking for all the ideas we can get any more!
Give us what you got!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/26

Happy Sunday everyone.  Hope you all had a good week.
It has been very humid again this week.  I truly could stand the temps if the humidity wasn't so bad.  We did get a couple of rains which was helpful
Next week appears to cool to mid 80's and they SAY the humidity is going to drop.  That sounds sounds wonderful - but also predicting chances of rain several days.

The daylight of morning is coming a bit later now, and the darkness of evening is coming a bit sooner as well.  The birds and squirrels  are really eating a lot too.  Hmmmm - I wonder if that means an early fall?

Been kind of quiet this week.  My brother had to have surgery on his ear this week and thankfully it all went well.  Hope it takes care of the problem he was having, as it was pretty serious.  Sadly, none of us could go the hospital (only SIL was allowed).  But it went well, and he came home the same day.  Blessed.

My week:

  • Wanted something sweet and made a butter cake - still have some in frig
  • Renewed library books on-line
  • Repaired my flip-flops.  Hopefully I get through at this this year with them
  • Made Panko bread crumbs
  • Did laundry and used dehumidifier water
  • Used rain barrel water - when watering plants between rains
  • Mowed the yard - good golly Miss Molly it was HOT!  I looked like a beet and felt like a drowned rat.  UGH
  • Did some flower bed cleaning in the cool of the morning.  Had to get all those lilly  stems out and down.  Looks much better
  • Picked a couple (almost) ripe tomatoes.  No new zucchini this week - they are blooming again!
  • Made a gallon of Kool-Aid
  • Made 12 egg rolls - ate some and froze some
  • A neighbor gave me a bottle of sugar free Gator-aide after I mowed.  Boy did that hit the spot - after 2 bottles of ice cold water!!!
  • Call me crazy - but I did more deep pantry stocking this week.  Nothing I need now - but I will at some point and I will have it.  I got more TP, cat litter, cat food, trash bags, blue dawn (huge bottle), dried onion flakes and yeast.  Kroger had lots of yeast and although I have plenty in the freezer, I got more - as it may help family as well.
 I am just trying to get prepared for whatever may come down the pike.  I have no real need for anything at the moment - but whatever I can add (especially at a decent price) I will add.  None of what I bought will go bad - so I will be prepared or be able to help someone else.

Meals this week:
Leftover zucchini fritters and  a hamburger patty
Zesty chicken bowl (like Taco Bell used to have) chicken pcs., salsa rice, refried beans, jalapeno 
Egg roll bowl
Taco bowl - taco meat, salsa rice, refried beans - toppings
Egg rolls (baked)
Loaded cheese burgers
small pizza (used leftover taco meat)
Seems like I had a theme going this week with 'bowl' dinners.  So simple and easy clean-up!

Egg roll bowl - used leftover mixture to make egg rolls later in the week.
Taco bowl - refried on bottom, salsa rice,  taco meat, cheese and toppings
Zesty chicken bowl - refried beans, salsa rice, chopped jalapeno, chicken chunks, chips & cheese

I did eat a tomato from the garden that had ripened totally in the house - oh YUM.  
Just trying to clean and de-clutter more.  Too hot to be outside much.
What have you been up too?  Give us a shout out.  Look forward to hearing from everyone!!!!

Stay well, cool and safe this week.  Please count your blessings and not your problems!  You will feel better if you do.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Sanitize Safely

It seems everyone is sanitizing all the time now.  I am not much on using hand sanitizer - I use it now and then - but I use a lot of antibacterial wipes.  They are my go to.  I have them in the car, in my purse, on my counter - just about every where. 
Most stores have now put out spray and paper towels to clean the carts with - that spray is nasty stuff.  I am not sure what they are using, but it really irritates my skin and have heard of children that have gotten 'burns' of sorts from it.  I won't use it!!!  I take my wipes with me and use them.
I have so many people say 'why didn't I think of that'. 

You need to be safe while sanitizing.  Know what you are allergic or sensitive to.  Use what works for you and your family.

PLEASE be aware of what you are using and DO NOT mix items - it can be deadly.

I don't even buy bleach any more.  I use peroxide in my laundry to whiten.  I use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, I keep alcohol to mix with Aloe Vera for hand sanitizer.  Bleach truly isn't necessary.

Sanitize and kill all the germies - but stay safe.  Don't let the remedy be worse than the problem!

**Also remember to keep all these products put away from children's reach and keep them away from your pets.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Versatile and Easily Camouflaged

What could that be?  ZUCCHINI  (courgette)
These have to be the most versatile veggie out there.  You can make anything with them from sweets to savory.
They can be easily camouflaged into meals or dishes to add vitamins and healthiness and no one will be the wiser!  So many people say they don't like zucchini.  WHAT isn't to like????  It takes on the flavor of whatever it is cooked with - so the flavor is ever changing.

I love breaded and fried zucchini slices or spears.  They do develop a taste all their own.  YUM
I told you over the weekend that I did 'refrigerator' pickles and faux jalapeno with zucchini.  Super easy

I save ALL of my pickle juice always.  The sweeter juice can be used in dressing or over veggies and dill juice can be used for seasoning - but mostly I like to drink it.  So I always have plenty.  Two quart jars of dill 'pickles' went in the frig to sit for a while to absorb all that dill goodness.  I will use in salads and such or just for eating.
They bottom pic is a half gallon jar of jalapenos I had.  Added chopped zucchini to that to absorb that heat and goodness.  Again, will use in salads, add to cooking and use in any way I would jalapenos.

There are so many yummy recipes out there for zucchini.  I have made so many things with them.

I have canned faux pineapple
Shredded and used in simple jelly recipes to make 'jam'
Stir fry of all types
Add to soups and stews (fresh and frozen)
I have dehydrated
I like to slice/spear and bread - lay on a pan and freeze.  Bag and you can have fried zucchini all winter (do the same with green tomatoes) - make sure you add to oil frozen to prevent them from going mush!
I add them raw to salads - great in pasta salads or with tomato and onion and dressing
I make zoodles (instead of spaghetti) and thinly slice and use in lasagna
I have made 'apple' pies using zucchini instead of apples
Of course there is bread, muffins, and cakes and cookies
I love zucchini boats
You can stuff them like you would bell peppers, you can add spaghetti sauce, meat, cheese, or you can make a mixture of cheeses and jalapenos (I use cream cheese, sour cream and cheddar & jalapeno).  Bake them and enjoy the yumminess.

Zucchini can be used in so many ways with or without meat.  I think they make a great substitute for meat and many vegetarians  use a lot of zucchini.
I like to grate and add to ground turkey or pork or beef.  Great extender and adds vitamins.
You can make 'meat' balls  with just zucchini and no meat.
Zucchini fritters are yummy - I made last week and they were dinner!  No meat one day - just wonderfully tasty fritters.

Easy Zucchini Meatballs
3 medium zucchini - grated and 'juiced'  (remove liquid)
1/2 tsp. salt, 1.4 tsp. pepper
2 cloves garlic
basil to taste
1 egg - slightly beaten
1 C Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
Mix zucchini pulp and other ingredients together and form into small balls.  Place on a parchment lined baking pan and freeze for 1/2 - 1 hour (turn halfway through).
Fry in oil or bake in a 350* oven until done.  Serve with marinara sauce.

Most of us grate zucchini and measure and freeze for future bread and muffins.  IF you have someone who isn't thrilled about seeing ANY zucchini particles in their goodies - here is another idea.
Just blend up the zucchini completely - milk it - it will be a thick liquid.  Measure and freeze as normal - and use the entire amount in your recipe.  Makes it easy to add a healthy ingredient to any cake or muffins or bread recipe  or ANY recipe (use instead of water).

There are just no limits to using this very versatile ingredient.  Your imagination in your only limitation.
I have a recipe book of 500 recipes using zucchini!!!!!  It is many years old and not in production any more (sadly).  Granted many recipes are versions of the same - but there are so many good ideas.

Zucchini is a veggie that grows and produces profusely.  It is amazing how much product you can get from 1 seed!
Remember that it takes on the flavor of anything that it is cooked with - so can be used in many, many ways.
Adds nutrients and vitamins to your meals.
So versatile and easy to use.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Pantry Staples that LAST for Years!!!

I know we have talked about this before - but we have new folks following and we also all need reminders now and then.
There are many, many items that you can stock - that virtually last for years and years (or forever), especially if properly stored.

Before I start that - I want to reiterate something that is a huge pet peeve to me.  There are NO expiration dates!!!!! (Only on baby formula).  The dates are "BEST if used by" dates.  That means optimal flavor if used by that date - but does not mean bad or expired!
The stuff in those packages and cans is inanimate and doesn't know the date!!!  LOL  It doesn't magically go bad.
The dates are not mandated by any government - they are applied by the manufacturer - to get you to buy more!!!!!  DO NOT throw away food! 
If I get people to learn anything - this is the one thing I hope it is.  People are so incredibly wasteful - and it is pitiful. 
If stored properly and not dented or rusting - canned foods and dried foods can last for years PAST those dates!!!!   STOP wasting perfectly good food!!!!

I have to say this drives me CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I know - short trip!)  This is my biggest pet peeve ever!

Consumables that last years:

HONEY - never goes bad.  If crystalized - just heat it up.  Honey that is thousands of years old has been found and it is good.  It is also basically the perfect food - it has so many healthy properties

SOY SAUCE - lasts indefinitely on the shelf unopened and will last over 3 years opened and refrigerated

Usually have a best date 2 years out - but they are still 90% effective way after that

Will outlast about everything in your pantry.  It may change in taste (because of container), but it is still perfectly fine to drink according to FDA

It may lose it's potency over time - but it is still usable as a cleaner, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.

SUGAR - white and brown - last for years.  It may get hard - but it can be broken up and used.  Add a few marshmallows to brown sugar container to help keep it soft.  Keep dry and in an airtight containers

Last years and years

Lasts basically forever.  Coffee beans and regular brew coffee will lose flavor over time - but instant can last for years.  Always keep some on hand for an emergency if you are a coffee fanatic!

USDA says that if properly stored that it will last indefinitely.

Will last years and years.  Yes, the older they get - the longer you have to cook them.  But they are still edible.  You can even grind the dry beans and add water to rehydrate - like refried beans.  Beans are wonderful protein.

All types of vinegar last for years.  White vinegar is basically a forever item.

(Clarified butter) is shelf stable and can be used instead of butter and for cooking oil.  Lasts for years
It is pricey to buy - but you can even make it yourself.  Great shelf stable alternative for butter.

SALT - Lasts forever - remember it took millions of years to form!!!  Keep non-iodized salt - as it lasts and can be used for everything

Can be kept indefinitely if sealed and dry.

Lasts forever.  I know a lot people aren't drinkers - but it is good for other things than drinking.  You can make pure vanilla extract from hard liquor (look at what you buy - it has alcohol).  It is antiseptic as well.  It is a useful item for barter.

PURE VANILLA EXTRACT - same as above.  It will last forever.

RICE - white rice if kept sealed and dry lasts for many years.  Brown rice can go rancid from the oils in it (so if you want to keep for a long time - freeze)

I realize that all the items listed above have "best by" dates on them - they mean nothing.  These items have been proven to last for years and years.

As we are all looking to add to pantries and look to be prepared for about anything that may happen - these are items that you want to have on hand.
Take time to do research - keep glass jars for storage and keep food grade buckets for food stuffs. 
Someday you may be hungry and these items could sure come in handy.


Sunday, July 19, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/19

Happy Sunday to all!
Another week has just flown by - this year is really going by quickly. 

It has been hot, hot, hot!!!!  Going to continue to be hot, hot, hot!!!!  We have a chance of storms/rain just about every day this week - rain would be appreciated - but it will stay at 90*F or above.  That makes for humidity and that is so uncomfortable for many.  We have a heat warning with heat index feeling well over 100* each day.

I have another new gr. gr. niece this week! Adalynn Louise was born Thursday at 8lbs..  She is just perfect!  Her pictures are beautiful - it will be a while before we get to meet in person!

I am dog sitting again this weekend - and I have a sweet story to tell you. 
The young couple have a  2 1/2 year old daughter who is just precious.  It is the first time she actually thought about Bailey (dog) being alone.  She said he would be 'sad'.  Momma told her Cheryl was going to watch him.  She said 'he gets to go to her house?'  No - she will come here and visit with Bailey.
She said Charlotte looked at her and cocked her head and smiled and said "I love my Charro". (that is how she says my name).  Isn't that so sweet??!!!!
Every time she sees me come outside - she runs to the fence saying "there's my Charro".  She is such a doll baby.

My week:

  • Sunday I did a huge yard clean-up after last Saturday's storm.  What a mess - leaves and limbs every where.
  • Picked up a few tomatoes knocked off by the hail - not wasting them!
  • Made a batch of chocolate - chocolate chip muffins.  Shared some with a  neighbor
  • Day trip to the Mennonite store - what fun
  • Colored my hair at home
  • Ran to Kroger as I needed milk.  Looked around and found a couple deals!
 Ground turkey on marked down at 1.19/lb. package.  Sweet buns - .99, and slaw mix (think I will make egg rolls)  for .79
Manager's markdown - 10 lbs. of rice for $4.00.  I wish they would have had more than one left!!!!!

  • I cooked one pound of ground turkey with lots of seasoning for tacos and pizza and froze n 2 packs.  I cooked one pound with seasoning and grated zucchini into burgers (really good) and froze some of them.  One pound went into freezer plain
  • I picked 2 different bouquets this week
Some of the pretty phlox - they smell so heavenly.  The white only appears every couple years - my neighbor used to have white years ago - and it shows up in my yard every now and then.  I guess her way a letting me know she is still around!
  • I picked a total of 12 zucchini this week and my FIRST Roma tomato!
  • I made up 2 quarts of refrigerator zucchini 'pickle' spears with leftover pickle juice I had.  I diced  up one zucchini and added to my big jalapeno jar - making faux jalapeno
  • Made zucchini fritters (makes 16-20 fritters depending on how loaded your Tbsp. is!)
  • I brought some tins and trays up from basement to use in my storage - all cleaned and now deciding how to use.
  • All the normal stuff
Meals this past week:
Fried green tomatoes!!!!  (YUM) 
Chopped steak and mashed parmesan zucchini (tasty)
Lunch at Mennonite store
Zucchini/turkey cheeseburger - loaded
Tex Mex zucchini skillet - zucchini/corn/beans/ground meat all spiced up
Leftover Tex Mex on tostada shells w/cheese
Zucchini fritters and sliced tomato

I am trying to use up zucchini in every way I can!  My plants look sad after the hail - but they appear to be getting new growth as well!  My pepper plants are still so small - I think they may be a bust this year.  I am finally seeing some tiny cucumbers appearing!  Tomatoes are starting to change color from green/green to pink - hoping to get some soon.  Lettuce done - just too hot right now.  Potato plants still going strong - I am anxious to see if there are potatoes this fall.

What have you all been up to?  Stocking those pantries?  Tending those gardens?  Getting any deals?
I look forward to hearing from you all.

I hope you are all healthy and safe and those in the U.S. - stay cool.  It is hot every where!  
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Peace In Life

What is your peace?  Do you see peace and happiness as the same thing?
I think there is a difference between them.  Peace can bring happiness and vice versa - but I am not sure they can exclusively be bound together.

My example is myself.  I have peace in my life.  I truly do.  I do find happiness IN things - but I am not sure that I am really happy.  I was!  It will take me time to get back to happy - my life changed so drastically and has such a huge void in it - happiness will take a while. (Some of you know what I mean).  BUT peace is what I make.  We each make our own lives.

Do what you need to do to find peace. 
Simplify your life however you can.
Turn off the news and media.
Do what makes you happy - donate, volunteer your time or skills, get creative, spend time in nature, talk with family and friends.
Stay local and support local and small business - not only will you be doing a good thing for you - but for someone else
Educate yourself - read, follow your favorite blogs, watch informative You-Tube videos or Vlogs.  You are never too old to learn.
Listen to music that you love
Watch what you eat - food can change moods for sure.  Remember you are what you eat.  Try to stay away from junk and eat more healthy and fresh - you will feel better.
Get fresh air - as often as possible

Whatever you do - LET YOUR SPIRIT SHINE!!!!!!! 
Don't let daily events get you down.  Don't let it win over your peace.  MAKE your life peaceful. 
I see peace as contentment! 
Wishing you peace, contentment and happiness.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Simple Fun

My brother and sister in law called to see if I wanted to take a small road trip with them.  Yes please!
We drove about 65 -70 miles from here to the Mennonite Store! (Used to be Amish)
It was a beautiful day for a drive - nice and sunny and not too hot.  Good conversation.  Was with family.

There was a lot of road construction for part of the drive, as they are building a new interstate through that area (sadly) - but it really didn't deter us with much backed up traffic and no detours.
It was pretty amazing to see all the changes in that area.  I realized yesterday it has been 4+ years since I made the drive down that way!

We were driving along and brother pointed out the window and "Wow, look".  I looked over his shoulder expecting to maybe see an eagle or something flying over - but NO - there was a bright yellow airplane about 50' off the road flying over the car!  It flew into the field and kept getting lower until it was just feet off the ground - it was a crop duster!  I have never seen that before - pretty darn cool.

Once we got past the construction area - it appeared that absolutely nothing had changed.  All the small towns looked just as they did back when I made that trip often.  It was so nice to just see all all the 'old' familiar.  It is country - so lots of fields, hills, and trees and farms and farm houses.   I loved it.

It appears the "Amish" sold to a Mennonite family who now runs the store.  It used to have gas lights and propane operated coolers - now it it all electric!!!  The family lives in a house just next door.  The whole family works there - Mom, Dad and kids.  The girls looked to be about 10-12.  SO pleasant and talkative.  There were other Mennonite gals there as well - they love telling you about their lives!

 They have remodeled inside the building too.  There was no scratch and dent section any more.  They moved things around and expanded the little 'deli' section - to a bigger deli and eat in area.
It was obvious that lots of locals come there to shop and many 'worker men' came in to get lunch sandwiches.

My goodness we walked up and down every aisle so many times, so as not to miss anything!  The store isn't huge by any means - but they pack a lot in there.
After shopping we each ordered and sandwich on homemade bread.  Had a little picnic in the parking area!  It is amazing how something as simple as a sandwich can taste so good when you don't have to make it yourself!!!!  That was the first 'restaurant' food I have had in months and months.

I didn't buy a ton of stuff - just a few items that were different that I don't see around here and some snacks.

 Toasted corn and dried pineapple for snacks!  Sassafras and peach concentrate for drinks.  Beef gravy mix - to use in soups and stews as a thickening agent.  French onion soup  bouillon and beef, pizza seasoning.  Homemade loaf of cinnamon bread (YUM) , buttered popcorn salt and a new veggie peeler.  My old one is sooooo old so I treated myself to a new one!
 2 boxes of religious birthday cards and one of sympathy.  The price works out to .29 a card!  Barley (love in soups) and miniature elbow macaroni and shells to use in my jar mixes I will be making up for gifts.
Couldn't help myself - I had to buy 4 pretty tomatoes.  Mine won't be ripe for at least a couple weeks.

I noticed they were still selling the Amish cookbook that I have.  I bought mine well over 30 years ago.  It appears to be the same version.  I guess some things just don't change!

It was a nice day and it really was simple fun.  It was nice to see a different landscape for a change and one that was countrified!!!!  It was also nice to come back home where life is comfortable and familiar.  My kitties were glad to see me - as lunch was LATE yesterday!!!  LOL

So there you go.  My small diversion to all the garbage going on in the world.  It was nice and pleasant - as were the people.
I did notice that almost everyone wore a face mask (not mandatory in that county).  The young girls were busy sanitizing carts, counters and door handles.

I loved my little day visit in the country.  Sometimes just a little distraction from life is all we need to revitalize our attitudes.
Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Simple As 1, 2, 3, 4

I am posting some super easy and fun recipes that require very few ingredients and couldn't be any simpler to make.
I am going on a short day trip today with my brother and sister in law - which should be a fun day!  I will let you know.  EEK!  Haven't done anything fun in months (other than around here).
Hope you find something here you might want to try!

I would substitute chocolate syrup for mine!  Blend it all together!

Can use whatever kind of nuts you have.

I'm making some this week

These are super yummy - taste like yeast rolls

You can do this camping over a fire - on the grill - or in the oven.  Fill with marshmallows, chocolate bits or peanut butter bits OR anything that will melt and be gooey!!!!!!
Such a fun and yummy treat.  Kids OR adults!!!!!

A summertime favorite - oh my goodness this stuff is soooooo good!  You could easily halve the recipe.

Hope you see something that makes you want to make a simple new dish!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/12

Happy Sunday everyone.  Hope all are well.
It was quite a hot week here this past week.  We did get an occasional spotty shower which helped.  Then yesterday happened!  Had a nasty storm come through late afternoon.  Torrential rain and HAIL the size of dimes for about 15 minutes.  The wind was crazy as well.  Stormed over night as well.
The leaves from the trees just shredded and they cover everything.  My flowers got the stuffing beat out of them and well the garden looks like crap!!!!!!  What a mess.  I sure hope my zucchini survive - they have been really messed up.
The tomato plants will be fine (I think) - just really beat up, as are the cucumbers.  It is an absolute mess outside.
The neighbor has a really nice patio tent that he sits under (out of sun) all the time and it is full of holes.
It sounded like a war out there - it sounded as if the windows were going crash any minute and the noise was just thunderous.  Quite scary for a few minutes.
But thankfully my kitties are fine as is the house (I think) and greenhouse.

Yesterday as well, saw the first groundhog of the year!  It is young for sure (pretty small).  He is cute, but really don't want it here.  I set a live trap early in the day, but sprang it when the storm was brewing.  Also saw the racoon family (5) again last night.
Geesh it is a flipping zoo around here!

My week:

  • Early in the week my neighbor mowed my front yard and outback area with his rider - as it was so hot.  That was nice
  • I killed weeds growing in the drive cracks with vinegar and salt (didn't take long in the heat)
  • Received a small unexpected check in the mail
  • Refilled all the pantry/spice jars
  • Trimmed the back bushes, deadheaded flowers and staked up several tall flowers
  • Picked 11 zucchini this week
  • Made Kool-Aid for flavor drink
  • I realized that last week when I paid bills - I sent  a nice payment to the wrong charge card!  I generally pay for most stuff with CC to get points.  Well, since I had already sent it and it was out of the checkbook it was spent in my opinion.  So instead of requesting a refund - I decided to stock some with that card.           I got more food for nature - then I got non-edibles.  More TP and pack of paper towels (which will last for over a year), organic flea spray for greenhouse kitties, cat food, parchment paper and plastic wrap, antiseptic wipes, freezer bags, several notebooks (.25 ea.) and trash bags.  Just a bunch of general stuff.
  • I mowed the entire yard - front to back - on Friday after it cooled a bit
  • Doing all the normal stuff
This past weeks menu:
Taco salad
Mex. zucchini hash (leftover taco meat, zucchini and potatoes)
Sausage, zucchini, mushroom and rice mix-up
Fish and mac n cheese and slaw
Fried zucchini and leftover mac n cheese
Ham and cheese stuffed zucchini boats (soooo good)
Hot dogs
                        Zucchini, mushroom, ground sausage and rice mix-up.  Pretty tasty.

How was your week?  Did you get any storms or rain this week?  Hope your gardens are doing well and that you are staying frugal.

I have tons of blooms on my cucumbers this year - my golly if they all become cucumbers I will be in trouble!!  LOL.  There are tons of bees of all sorts and butterflies every where this year.  I just love seeing that.  I saw a goldfinch like no other I have ever seen, this week.  I have yellow ones - but this almost seemed to glow!  It was sitting on a sunflower eating young seeds and made the flower almost look dull.  My goodness that was gorgeous.
It is those little things that make my day!

I hope you are all safe and healthy.  Have a wonderful and frugal week.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Just a Low Maintenance Simple Gal

Yep, I am very low maintenance.  I love a simple life.  The older I get the more I enjoy both of these things.
I am jeans and t-shirt kind of gal.  That is basically all I wear.  In the winter just change out t-shirt for sweatshirt.  I don't wear shorts any more.  I could - the legs still look pretty good - but I just don't.  Once in a while I will wear a pair of capris but not often.
I do have a couple nice dresses for those special events and a couple to just feel free in!  I have blazers to add to jeans or dress pants and also sweaters.

I go barefoot MOST of the time.  Yes, I wear flip-flops outside when I have to  in the summer and I have slippers and a pair of comfy slides for outdoors in the winter (for around the house).  I do have dress shoes - they just aren't worn often.
Flip-flop feet!!!!!  Honest they aren't dirty - just tanned over from wearing flip-flops!

I love simple foods.  I can be happy eating just about anything.  I can eat a salad and be happy, I can eat a plate of veggies and be happy, I can have a bologna sandwich and be happy and I can eat biscuits and jelly and be happy.  It really doesn't matter to me.  I don't have to cook if I don't want to any more.  Just me and I have no rules.  YES, I wish I still had someone to cook for.  I miss hearing "what's for dinner tomorrow?" right after dinner tonight!!!!!  That was a comical moment each evening.
But now there are no rules - so if I want chips and salsa I will have that.

I hardly ever wear make-up any more.  I always used to put on some make-up each day.  Now not so much.  Shoot, even when I go out now - no one can see the bottom of my face!!!  I will do my eyes up - but that is about it.
I have NEVER had a professional mani or pedi.  If I get polish - I do it myself.
I haven't used a blow dryer or a curling iron in years and years.  My hair is short and I let it dry naturally.  I run a brush through it as it dries and that is all it takes.  I think I still have both of those things around here - but not sure where.

When I work in the yard - I wear a head band to keep sweat from my eyes.  It helps a lot.  I also have my homemade hankies with me - just to wipe sweat and I am one of those people who gets a runny nose when I sweat!
Headbands (sweatbands) always at the ready

I need to wear sunglasses on bright days.  I chose not to get script sunglasses again last summer when I went to the eye doctor, until I saw if my script was right.  Glad I didn't, as I really don't like this script.  I had clip-ons, but lost them someplace!!!!
So I have a cheap pair of total covering glasses that go over glasses - kind of like people wear when having eye surgery.  I think I paid a $1 at a yard sale. 
Most of the time, I now wear a $13 pair of Foster Grant's right OVER my glasses.  They fit perfectly and unless you are close you'd never know.  If someone thinks they look goofy (over others) - I don't care.  They work for me!

I haven't bought much new for my house or changed much in years.  I have thought about it - was actually in the mood for some new furniture and then everything closed.  Kind of lost my oomph for it now!  I will change things eventually - until then I am totally cool with what I have.

I listen to the oldie goldie's ONLY!  That is my favorite music - the stuff I listened too as a youngster.  I can't tell you the last time I listened to a new or modern group (unless maybe as background on a TV show).  Most stuff I have heard is awful, repeating the same thing over and over, can't be understood and they all sound the same! 
Just give me that old time rock n roll!!!!

Give me my fur babies, my flowers, my nature, my garden and my little house and I am quite content. 
There is much to be said for contentment!!!!
I haven't changed much about my life at all through all the stuff going on in the world.  No, I don't see family like I would like, and I do wear a mask when out (still mandatory in my county) - but that is about it. 
I basically live a quiet and simple life.  Nothing has changed.

So there you have ME!  Low maintenance and simple.  I like it that way.  I am pretty happy -  considering being alone.  I am content.
If you like what you see - great.  If you don't - I don't give a bahooey!!!!!!
I am me.  I think I am still a gal of the 50's and 60's.  That will never change.
Be happy with who you are!  Do what makes YOU happy!
Live your best life!

Plant the flowers and ENJOY the flowers - nature is beautiful and so are YOU!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Have a Fab Life No Matter Your Budget

Everyone wants a fabulous life - or at least a good one.
We can truly be what we want - no matter the budget.  Man, I hate that word - BUDGET.  I never have said I had a budget.  I have never made a formal budget.  I have always been a planner.  We had a plan - and we did what we could to enable that plan.
I have XXXX amount of money therefore I can't not spend more than that!!!!  I need to spend less to get ahead.

Your mindset is HUGE when it comes to living a fabulous life.  Never think of yourself as poor.
Focus on what you HAVE and make the most of it.  Yes, many others may have more stuff - but who cares?  Stuff doesn't make you happy.  If it did - there wouldn't be so much strife amongst rich people and the Hollywood crowd!!!!!

Follow your own money path.  Learn to say NO.  This is what you have - so live within that or go forward and make more.  It is your choice.
Set goals.  Short term, long term or financial goals.  PLAN and DO! 
Think about your spending.  Your WANTS and NEEDS.  Those two things can be so very different.  Just because you want something, doesn't mean you can afford it.  Be realistic.
Follow a new path or direction to create a fresh new life and start.

Do what you can for yourself and stop out sourcing.  You can do so much more than you think (or want) and it saves a ton of money.  You also gain a measure of pride that you can only get by accomplishing things you thought impossible.

Focus on the positives.  You have your health (at least you woke up this morning).  You have a roof over your head.  You have a warm bed in winter.  You have food for your table.  You have people that care for you (we all do).  You have much!!!  You are blessed!!!  Odds are you have enough!!!
Shouldn't that be enough?  I mean you can't take it with you - so what is the point to having more than enough?

Work to have an emergency fund for the unexpected events in life.  Make a survival plan.  What happens if you lose an income?  Make plans to cut things out of your life and make do with what you have.  If you have prepared your pantry (all aspects) you are more than covered in that area.

I truly believe that those of us who have watched our money and been frugal for years will do sooooo much better if it all goes south.  We know how to live with less if need be.  The people that will be adversely affected are the wealthy (in $$).  They really have no clue.  They have no idea how to do things themselves and no idea on how to survive on less.

WE all know that we are rich - because in our minds rich isn't about money!!!  It is about a great and fabulous life.
Make it fab my friends!!!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Eat and Shop Well

I know we have all been posting a lot about stocking the pantries - but it is very important.
The purpose is important - and we see ever-present reminders each and every day in our daily life.  Don't get left behind.
Today we look at it all in a little different view - but still all about stocking.

1.  Buy things that can be used in many ways.  The more versatile the item the better.  It will help when you need to get creative.
Tomato products can be used in so many ways
Flour - bread, biscuits, gravy, baking, pancakes.....
Beans - so many uses.  Eat as a side or main meal, they are protein, mixed with other things - filling
Oats - eat for breakfast, mix in breads/muffins, grind into flour......
Think of new uses for everything!!!

2.  Build that pantry/freezer - add, add, add ALL the basics.  Basics are so important.  All baking goods, canned/frozen meats, veggie & fruit, dry goods like pasta and rice

3.  Always have eggs.  They are a huge protein.  Keep eggs in dehydrated form, fresh, frozen and even boxed egg replacement if necessary.  If you aren't allergic - eggs are very important and can be added to or become so many meals.

4.  MAKE bread, biscuits, scones, tortillas, etc. from scratch!!!!  LEARN - it isn't that hard to do.  No need to depend on the grocery stores - and homemade taste so much better
American biscuits

5.  Buy no drinks - except milk and maybe juice.  Pop and all the sugar laden drinks are not only bad for you, but they are expensive and cause a lot of trash.  Stay simple and drink water, tea, coffee and maybe Kool-Aid.  Work with flavoring your water if you have a problem drinking it plain - a splash of fruit juice or infuse with fruit!

6.  Make your own broth and stock with bones and scraps!  This is so easy and has so much more flavor and nutritional value than the stuff you buy premade.  Cook those bones down - cook down veggie scraps and make something else that you can use!   USE IT - DON'T WASTE IT!
Keep bacon grease - great flavoring for about anything
Make schmaltz - rendered chicken skins for the fat!  This stuff is gold.  Render down and jar and refrigerate.  So many uses for any meat fats (great flavoring)

7.  Have a supply of spices and herbs for flavoring.  You can flavor and supplement even the blandest of dishes/foods to taste good.  Keep all the basics and add a few that would be used on occasion.

8.  Use older veggies in soups, casseroles, grate them into breads or smoothies or soups, sautee them, roast them.  Know that you can soak many limp veggies in ice water and they regain their vibrancy.  Don't let veggies go to waste.  Figure a way to use the less desirable looking ones.  You can trim off parts (and compost that) and use the rest.  Waste is not acceptable in hard times.

9.  Shop seasonal!!!!!  Buy, grow, and partake in seasonal foods.  If you have an abundance - dry, freeze or can for later.  Seasonal is always cheapest.  Oranges in July are much more expensive than oranges in December (in U.S.).  Strawberries in May/June are cheaper than in November (in U.S.). 
Veggies can liven up even the most basic of foods such as rice or pasta.  Fresh is healthy.  Enjoy the seasons while you can.

10.  Your freezer and pantry is your FRIEND - USE THEM!!!!  Stock up when possible - buy things when they are cheaper and on sale.  Look for clearance goods
Cook once and make more than one meal.  Freeze extra meals and be prepared when you have less time.
Pre-cook things like bacon or ground meat - it is handy and ready to use (freeze or can)
Use up all odd pieces of meat and scraps in soups, stews, and casserole,  Stir fry is an option for odds and ends as well.
Cook ahead - beans, lasagna, soups, etc.  You will be glad to have these things on hand at a later date.
Have some jar mixes on hand - things you can simply add water or broth to and cook.  Great to keep jar recipes in the pantry.  You can have all kinds of things ready to go.

11.  ADD something every week.  Maybe add a bag of dry beans or rice, canned goods, meat or canned meat.  Make jelly or jam.  Can pickles, kraut, tomatoes, beans, whatever you will need and use later.
Also add to your medicinal supplies, pet foods, canning supplies, canned foods, health and beauty, ANYTHING that you and your family regularly use.  You will be glad you did.

12.  Keep plain yogurt on hand.  There are so many uses for it.  You can add whatever you want to flavor it, you can make dips - use in cooking/baking.  It is very useful.

IF you turn on the news - it sounds like the zombie apocalypse is soon to be upon us!!!!!  The world is all crazy and upside down right now.  Common sense & courtesy seems to have totally disappeared. 
ONLY YOU can prepare your home for you and your family.  It is a wise thing to do in these times. 
Stay vigil and ALWAYS be ready for whatever may get thrown in your path. 

SPREAD love and peace when you can.  Be prepared.  Be vigil.  Stay safe.
Blessings to you all!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/5

Good morning my friends.

Those of you who have followed for a while know how much I hate fireworks!!!  Last night was the worst year yet!  It was nerve wracking and horrifying.  Think a professional fireworks display X50 surrounding you on all sides and lasting for 5 1/2 hours NON-STOP!!!!  It was a nightmare.  I cried for all the poor animals.
Recession, no money for food or bills - didn't seem so in my neighborhood.  There had to be 10's of thousands of dollars spent on fireworks for just last night, just in my area.
OK - I am sorry for the rant and negativity.  I was just so upset and I am really tired today - not much sleep.
P.S. - my kitties were all here this morning for breakfast as were the squirrels.  So happy!

It has been HOT this week - my goodness.  We got some rain at the first of week and then yesterday  evening at about 6:30 a decent rain storm came through - thank goodness it wet everything down.  It was much appreciated.  I have been watering everything like crazy this week.
Garden is growing nicely.  Finally getting blooms on the cucumbers and they are now vining.  Pepper plants are growing some.  We have broken records for the number of consecutive 90*+ days - more to come all this week.
Have seen this several times this week - this was taken at about 5PM - the heat of the day.  HOT!!!!

My week:
  • I raked the yard again - free mulch
  • Cleaned up the over growing plants on the front walk - they have been taking over again!
  • Got my registration and new plates for the Blazer JUST IN TIME!!!  YAY!
  • My dryer knob broke again (the back part).  I have repaired before a few years back - and did so again!  It is now working fine again - for free
  • I had a couple chap-stick tubes that were close to empty.  I used a toothpick and removed what was left in one and put in the other one.  Not wasting any of it!
  • Weeded garden - boy was that hot!
  • Picked a bouquet - phlox, echinacea and lilies - enjoyed them all week
  • Cut my hair
  • Made a run to Meijer this week.  I received an ad for the first time in months and what a deal they had for the holiday!  Ground beef was 1.89/lb. (limit 2 packs).  I got 2 packs which weighed close to 10 lbs. total.  I also got a watermelon for 1.99 - my goodness it is good.  I found a package of Portabella mushrooms marked down to 3.29 and I picked up some additional fresh veggies and a couple household items
You can see the 1.89 sticker here.  Did I need it?  NO  - but I will and best to buy at a cheap price
3.29 for 3 huge Portabella mushrooms.  A great deal around here

  • Ran across the street to Staples (from Meijer) and got ink for printer.  Hoping that fixes my printer problem.  First time ever in a Staples!
  • All bills for the month paid
  • Made some turkey burgers and froze extras
  • I drove over to the park just to drive around and look at the flowers.  Noticed hardly no cars at the library (it opened back up a little over a week ago).  I ran in - there were 3 people, counting me, and 2 were in computer lab.  I had the stacks all to myself!!!  I missed just browsing the aisles.  Got myself 3 books
  • Had several neighbors visit from over the fences and from the curb this week.  We all caught up on gossip!!!  
  • Made some watermelon water - using the juice left from cutting watermelon and adding to a bottle of water.  Tasty.
  • Picked 3 zucchini
Meals this past week:
Leftover zucchini skillet and a leftover veggie burger
Turkey cheese burgers
Pasta/veggie salad (lots of veggies)
Pasta/veg. salad and a pork chop sandwich (small chop already cooked from freezer)
Jalapeno/cheese stuffed Portabella and sautéed onion and peppers
stuffed mushroom topped with peppers and onion

Smaller stuffed shroom and 2 chicken tenders
Fried zucchini (yum), chicken tenders and cuke/tom/onion side salad
Munching on watermelon all week!

What did you do this week to stay frugal and add to your household?  Did you find any deals?
How are the gardens doing?
I look forward to hearing from you all.  

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

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Some of My Off the Wall Recipes

I know I post some unusual food items sometimes.  I am pretty easy to please and I hate to waste anything.  I like finding new ways to fix food.
I know that come heck or highwater - I will be eating - and eating well.  I have learned to experiment with food and have fun with it.  Waste has never been in my vocabulary.

I will try to give recipes for a few 'odd' things I make (sort of recipes) - as I just usually wing it!

VEGGIE/RICE BURGERS (from last week)
I had leftover dirty rice and leftover refried beans.  Mixed them together - added some finely chopped onion, a bit of beef bouillon, and bread crumbs.  (You could use crushed crackers or even oats).  Got it a consistency that I could form patties.  I then fried on a non-stick griddle.  Browned both sides and topped with cheese as they were about done.  Made for a very tasty sandwich and a side the next day.
If you just have regular red or black beans (or any kind) just smash them up a bit and add to any type of leftover rice.  You an also use lentils as a base for veggie burgers.

Rice mixes available at Aldi.  These are very good and provide enough for a small family.  No need to make a huge pot of something when you can use these mixes.  Very comparable to name brand and less than a $1 a box.  I always have these on hand.

I mixed a box of Stovetop cornbread stuffing mix (you can use any type) with an egg and about 3/4 C water.  I added a small can of chunk chicken.  You could add any type of leftover meat.  I have done with chopped turkey and ground sausage.  You can also leave meat out entirely.
Form into patties and fry on griddle until golden brown on each side.  These are very good.  Great as a side instead of meat.  You could also do these in a waffle iron.  I have done that as well.

I make pasta salads with fresh veggies - more veggies than pasta.  Any type of veggies work.  Can use Mayo or store bought or homemade dressing of any type.
I add whatever veggies I have.  Above is  brocolli, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onion, carrots with a little pasta.  You truly don't have to add pasta - I do, to make it more of a meal.

Ham, tuna, chicken or egg salad are huge summer favorites.  Eat on bread or bun or just plate it up with some veggies and chips and you have a simple, cool and refreshing meal.
I often add frozen peas to my meat salads - my Mom always did and so do I.  It just adds a veggie to the mix and it is colorful!

Most of us steam or cook our veggies.  Some veggies are better roasted - can do on the grill in the summer.  I like sautéed or fried veggies.  We all think about fried potatoes, fried/breaded okra (YUM), fried green tomatoes or fried zucchini.
I like to add a bit of butter or bacon grease to a pan and sautee up green beans.  They are so good, add a bit of chopped onion or bacon crumbles.  Fried corn (or hominy) with diced onion and peppers is totally yum.  Love fried/sautéed  asparagus.
The list goes on and on.  Get outside the box a bit and try fixing things new ways.  Trust me you may find a new family favorite.  You can fry any type of veggie.

Another easy and fun food is fried apples!!!  Melt a bit of butter - peel and slice apples (got some that need used up?) and then add a bit of brown sugar or sugar and maybe a dash of cinnamon and cook until tender.  OH MY they are so good.  Great as a side with pork or use as a dessert!

Turkey, chicken or pork grind makes great burgers.  It tends to be softer in texture, so you  may need to add bread crumbs, oatmeal, or cracker crumbs.  If you want a 'beef burger' taste add beef bouillon to your mix.  Fry up as you would with any burger.  This can be a healthier version of meat and it can be cheaper with the price of beef now.
I found a package of ground turkey in the freezer this week that I got on a clearance and made that into burgers.  Made enough for my meal and to freeze for later - all from a pound of meat.
You can also substitute in chili, tacos, meatballs, sloppy Joe's, etc.
1.19 and I got burgers for several meals - doesn't get much cheaper than that! (empty package - forgot to take picture with turkey in it!)

The mixes that I pictured above can be used in so many ways for a non-meat type meal. (Of course you can add meat if desired).
I use as a side dish, mix into burgers or meatloaf, use in enchiladas, burritos, tacos, frittatas, you name it.  I often make soup in the fall/winter with these being my base - just add veggies, tomatoes, broth, meat - whatever you want to add.  Makes for a nice hearty and tangy soup.

Not just a shroom any more.  They are great to use as a substitute for burgers.  Grill or fry until tender and top with cheese and plop on a bun with all the fixings.
I like to stuff the bella's with a mixture of cream cheese, sour cream, a bit of shredded cheddar and jalapenos and bake or grill.  Oh my goodness these are so yummy.
I can make these as a main course.  Mushrooms are a wonderful substitute for meat - so hearty and meaty tasting.
You can stuff mushrooms with about any combo you can come up with and then bake/grill.  They sell stuffed Portabella mushrooms at the grocery and the are very expensive.  Make yourself a delicacy at home for much less $$

Hope this gives you and idea or two of lighter ways to eat this summer or just a lighter way to eat in general.  Get into using things in new and different ways - it really can expand your food adventures and your dollars!