Thursday, October 29, 2020

Things We May Forget - Prepping

 We are constantly talking about our prepping and preparing for whatever may come our way.  We build our pantries with lots of goodies and food - BUT what about other things we may forget!!!

Most stores now have customer pick-up when ordering online and some have delivery - even Chewy has pet delivery items.  This helps greatly - but if they run low of supplies or close completely - do you have enough of the odd things to survive?

There are many, many things that we could just do without or substitute something else for.  To make life easier to handle and manage through - there are some things that we all may not think of.

Your shampoo, soaps, lotions, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorants, etc.  REMEMBER - if necessary you can use baking soda as deodorant or toothpaste.  Hard or soft soaps can be used for hair as well.

Over the counter meds - cold medicines, Pepto, throat lozenges, Rolaids, bandages, wraps, tape, gauze, vitamins and herbs.  Allery meds, Tylenol or pain meds, aspirin, sleep aids if needed, nasal strips, mouth wash, etc..
Think about alcohol, peroxide, Epsom salts, protective gloves, masks, antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer OR the ingredients to make your own.
Honey - great for coating a sore throat.  Super food!

Misc. shelf - bar soap, soft soaps, deodorants, cough drops and cold meds.  Bar at the right is a griper.  The U shaped thing in the middle is a sink/toilet snake

Don't forget coffee if you are a fan and all the supplies you need to go with it.  Tea or Kool-Aid mixes (you can make Gator-aide  with Kool-Aid).
Computer & printer supplies.  Ink, paper, etc.
Stamps, envelopes, misc. cards (or make your own)
Laundry items
Have things on hand to fix things that break - super glue, duct tape, screws and nails, drain snake, drain cleaner (or use vinegar & baking soda), tarps, heavy plastic.  Heck, I even have an extra wax ring that fits under the toilet (just in case).

Don't forget your pets.  Cat/dog food, treats, litter, flea meds, heart worm meds, even bird seed, etc.

Something to do - books, puzzles, crafts, etc.
Fun foods for a bad day - whether it be chocolate, chips, nuts, ingredients to make baked goods or candy, whatever snack you like.

Maybe even alcohol - even if you are not a drinker.  It is a great barter tool.  I always have the ingredients on hand for a hot toddy (so helpful if congested or get a cold).

What are supplies you have on hand that others may not think of?
We all need new ideas!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Weights and Measures - U.S. vs. Everyone

 The U.S. has a different set of weights and measures than most of the world.  I never was good on converting.  We 'learned' in school - not to say it stuck in my brain!  I still have trouble with it to this day.
I am always listing items and recipes - the way we do things - forgetting that much of the world does it all different.  I also read a lot of blogs from other countries - so need to know how to convert their measures as well.

We use ounces, pounds, gallons, pints, quarts, etc.  Metric is liters, milliliters, grams., kilograms, etc.

I know there are many conversion charts available online - but sometimes I don't want to stop and look at the computer.  Is there an easier way?  Yes!

Hope this helps.

TO CHANGE                        TO                   MULTIPLY BY
Ounces (oz.)                       Grams (g)                     28
Pounds (lb.)                        Kilograms (kg)            0.45
Teaspoons (tsp,)                 Milliliters (ml)             5
Tablespoon (Tbsp.)                "            "                  15
Cups (C)                              Liters (L)                    0.24
Pints (pt.)                                "                               0.47
Quart (qt.)                                "                              0.95
Gallon (gal.)                            "                                3.8

EXAMPLE - to convert 3 Tbsp. of water to metric - multiply 3 by 15 to get 45 ml.

Many chefs do not measure cups when baking like most of us here in the U.S. do.  They weigh their ingredients.  I always like to watch Alton Brown - Good Eats - he weighs everything!  I guess you get a more precise measurement.  I have never tried it.  Do you measure in cups or weigh?

UGH - it is all so confusing for me!!!  I will stick with my cups and teaspoons and tablespoons - so bear with me.  I do see recipes I like of foreign blogs and I have converted - but it takes me a while!!

I know I can't be the only who has trouble with this!  
I think this is probably confusing no matter where you live.

Hope this helps someone!!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tips to Help With Holiday Baking

 Good morning.

I came across some very good info that could help us all plan for holiday baking and prepping.  It is always hard to know just how much we need of items.  I think I am good for baking treats and goodies - but good information to have.

2 C sugar = 1 pound
2 2/3 C brown sugar = 1 pound
1 C butter = 1/2 pound
1 oz. of chocolate = 1 square
1/2 pound of nuts = 1 cup
1 square of chocolate = 4 tablespoons of cocoa
1 pound of bananas = approx. 3 bananas
1 large marshmallow = 10 mini ones
1 pound of apples = about 3 cups = about 3 large apples

To make self rising flour at home combine 1 cup all purpose with 1 Tbsp. of baking powder OR 1 cup flour with 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. cream of tartar and 1/2 tsp. salt

Pie rings are so helpful.  These keep the edges/crust of pie from getting too dark.  I have this above one for years (thus why discolored).  I got it at the orchard.  Simply place over the pie when placing in the oven and keep the edges nice!
This is a cheaper version I have as well.  These pieces are pliable and bend and I have a couple dozen pieces.  Place together to form a ring over the edges of pie.
If you have neither type - you can use foil to make a ring around the outer edges.

When a recipe calls for 1 cup of pecans, chopped  it means to measure out 1 cup of nuts and then chop.
When a recipe calls for 1 cup chopped pecans  it means to chop first and then measure!

No colored sugar to top cookies?  Make your own.  Add drops of food coloring to regular sugar and mix well until you get the right color.  You can mix ahead and store in a lightly covered container.  I have been making my own colored sugar for years.

Have a extra brownie, piece of cake or a couple cookies left over?  (LOL - this makes me chuckle, as I eat them).
Well, if you do - crumble and use on top of pudding, ice cream or as a cheesecake topping.  Cookies can also be crushed and used in cheesecake crust.
Nothing wasted and a great way to use it up and make a new treat!

Out of powdered sugar?  In a pinch make your own.  Place regular granulated sugar in a  food processor or blender and blend until you get the consistency you want/need.  Do small amounts at a time for best results.

I hope some of these ideas help you plan ahead for the supplies you will need for holiday baking.  It is always nice to have alternatives as well.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/25

 Good morning my friends.  Hope you are all well and happy.
My goodness, here we are at the end of yet another month!  Just a few days left and then on to November.  It just doesn't seem possible.

Well this week, mother nature has decided to try to give us all the rain we "didn't" get in the past 2 months!  Many downpours here - even thunderstorms.  Wind, fog and cooler temps now.  More rain coming this week.
It was warm enough to have windows open a few days.  Actually got to almost 80*F on 2 different days.  This week is supposed to be in the 50's and 60's during the day. Normal October weather.

The leaves of the tulip poplar are about all down - not many left on the tree.  Maple still has a lot - so it will be a while before all the clean-up gets done.  Looking around, there are still a lot trees that are green - which is amazing.
The skies were so blue and clear- haven't seen that much in the past week!  Trees are getting naked!

I finally delegated one feeder just for the blue jays!  I looked out back a couple days ago and there were 8 male blue jays scarfing whatever was on the ground!  EIGHT!  I have never seen that many at once.  (It was beautiful)  Now they have their own feeder with peanuts and sunflower seeds - they seem to be leaving the other birds alone.

Yesterday I was watching the squirrels play - oh my what fun.  There were 4 of them chasing each other up and down and around the tree - having a ball.  Then there was my tiny "pole dancer".  One young-un was having a ball playing with the clothesline pole.  He/she was "pole dancing".  Round and round, up and down and flips and flops - I wish I had a video camera!!!!!!  It was hilarious to watch.
I sure get enjoyment watching all the backyard babies!

It has been another quiet week here on the home front.
  • Ran out and did a feed store stock up for the birds and squirrels (2 months since last big stock-up)
  • Filled all the feeders and tins with stock.  Balance in old freezer or back of Blazer
  • Raked the yard - 2 X (can't tell at all today!)
  • Pulled out more garden and did more yard work
  • Windows open a lot and fresh air enjoyed.  Minimal use of heat (took chill off 2 mornings)
  • Chopped up the peppers my brother gave me last weekend and froze.
  • Glen's aunt came for a short visit (it was about to storm so she didn't stay long).  I gave her the china and silver I had that was her mother's.  G's dad gave to us years ago and I felt it should stay in his family.  She was delighted to have it
  • Worked on re-arranging the over stock pantry area upstairs
  • Used the Soda Stream this week to make carbonated fruit juice water
  • Just doing all the basics - vacuum, dust, mop, did wood floors again, bath & kitchen clean, laundry in cold, using what I have, just the normal everyday stuff
Meals this week:
Smoke sausage/crescent roll pigs in a blanket, mac n cheese and sliced tomatoes
Leftover piggies and scrambled eggs and sliced tomatoes
Cheesy potatoes with ham pcs. and salad
Pizza skillet
Leftovers - pizza skillet, cheese pots and salad
Ham wrapped chicken roll-up
Tomato soup and grilled cheese

                    This was in the Kroger ad this week.  8 oz. +- chicken wrap.  $4.99?????  WOW
I made my own.  Ham wrapped chicken tenders with lots of fresh veggies and ranch dressing.  Mmmmm Cost - hardly nothing!  I bet mine was close to a pound as well!!!!!!  Yummy and filling and healthy and fresh.

How was your week?  I keep hearing about all the places getting snow - brrrrr.  I don't miss it at all!!!  We usually have snow sometime in October - I heard this will be the first year in ages that we won't!  Fine with me!

How are your pantries coming?  Is everyone getting all stocked for the holidays  and winter?  Now is the time.
I look forward to hearing from each of you.

May you all have a safe and healthy and frugal week.  
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.  

Blessings to all!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Cooking Up Some Fun & Yum

 Fall is in the air here in the northern hemisphere!  We look to comfort foods and tasty treats.  I have a few ideas for simplifying and saving a few dollars and still be tasty.

Mix all your pizza toppings together in a skillet and cook up.  I add meat (ground beef and/or sausage) first then pop in onion, peppers and mushrooms - or anything that needs to tender up a bit.  Add whatever ingredients that you put on top of pizza and a jar of pizza sauce.
You can use this on top of toasted buns or bread, pita, fry bread or tortillas.  Use with tortilla chips or corn chips, crackers, over pasta or rice or just put it in a bowl and eat!!
Top with cheese of choice.

Skillet pizza on toasted buns.  So easy and tasty.  No heating up the big oven is necessary.  ENJOY

No need to spend extra for a ham with those glaze packs.  Get a cheaper ham and make your own glaze.

1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C honey
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Mix together and drizzle or spread over ham.  Mmmmmmm

It is apple time!
Nothing like a wonderful apple pie or apple crisp.  Love fried apples.
If you don't have luck making pie - try a crisp.  It is one of my favorites - regardless of fruit!

When it comes to frying or baking I am not particular to type.  I will use what I have and it always tastes good.

1 C flour
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C soft or melted butter
** 3/4 C oats & chopped nuts (combo)
** optional
Mix together and top your filling and bake at 375* for 30 minutes to crisp it up.

Here is a fun tip I sometimes use when making an apple crisp.  I mix in an 8oz. can of cranberry sauce with the apples.  Adds a great bright taste to the fruit.  Would be good with pears as well!

Don't throw away those 'past their prime' apples.  Peel and cut out spots and use for baking or frying.  Waste not want not!

We have all seen those small containers of caramel apple dip at the grocery.  Usually those containers are in the produce department real close to the apple display.  Not sure about your area - but they are are pretty pricey here.   They tend to run $3.50 - $4.50 for a little container.
Make your own - it is fresh, tasty and so much cheaper!!

8 oz. pack of cream cheese - softened
1C brown sugar - packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Cream ingredients together, cover and refrigerate over night for flavors to meld.  Makes about 2 cups of YUM!
Slice up your apples and dip away.

**I like sliced apples with peanut better as well - another fun treat!!

Warm, comforting  and oh so good. 
8 oz. pack of cream cheese - softened
10 1/2 oz. can of chili without beans
2 C shredded cheddar cheese (or what you have)

Spread cream cheese in the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 pan - top with chili.  Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake at 350* for 20 minutes.
Serve with tortilla chips or corn chips.
Don't know about you - but this could be a meal or two for me - not just an appetizer!

Hope this gives you a few time saving and money saving ideas for food fun and yum.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Shopping Excursion and Prepping

 Last week I made a trip to Aldi.  It is on the outskirts of the park (where library is), I hadn't been in ages, so I decided to stop.  I am so happy I did - as it surely eased my mind.
I also ran into our local WM Market (just a grocery) and picked up some birdseed until I got back to the feed store.  I checked out everything and ended up helping my deep pantry.

I KNOW - my results are not the same every where.  I do believe that living where I do - makes my results different.  My city seems to be a real crossroad  for the country.  I guess that is we used to be known as the mid-west.  My city is centrally located in the state and all major interstates come through here.  Major trucking route from the east to the west.
So, that being said, I understand many places are still seeing stores low on product.  Just realize that things are turning around (at the moment).

At Aldi I was pleasantly surprised at how well stocked everything was.  There were no limits on anything except paper products (2 of any size packs of each TP and PT) and a limit of 2 of scented candles. LOL
I saw new items, holiday items, gift ideas, and lots of all the normal stuff.  Prices were great.  Most were the same or lower than the last time I was in there.
I love to buy snack foods there - so inexpensive and the flavor is great.  I am not brand loyal, so I try a lot of things.

I got individual flavored yogurt for .32 each.  Bought some extra chili beans for stock at .50 a can.  I got extra large eggs (marked L - but were huge!) for .89 a doz.  Milk was 2.29 gal.
They had lots of 3 packs of dry yeast on the shelves for .89 pack.  Canned pumpkin was .85 a can.  Lots of sugar, flour and baking products.  I found my favorite smoked Gouda cheese I get for the holidays.  I got enough to last a while for 2.99 a half pound (best price around here).  Bar cheese of all types - mozz., parm, cheddar, colby, pepper jack, etc. were 1.69 a half pound.  Taco shells were .89 for a box of 10.

Aldi - ranch chips 1.19 bag,   Corn chips - .75 bag,   Kettle chips - 1.29 bag.  SO much cheaper than brand name and they are tasty.  I use for Mexican meals and for sandwich days.

I ran into WM grocery for birdseed.  Made my way through the store - so many shelves were full and many items that have been lacking at ALL stores around here for months were available.
My big splurge was canned meat!  
Tuna and larger cans of chicken have been about the only thing available for ages.  I found it ALL at WM.

Smaller cans of white chunk chicken - .98 can.  Cans of chunk ham - 1.00 each.  Larger cans of roast beef - 2.75 each.  Pulled pork - 3.28.  I have tried all of these in the past and they are great to keep on hand.  All were dated (best by) well at the end of 2023.  The luncheon loaf (like Spam) is from Aldi and was 1.95 each.  Actually I like Aldi brand better than brand name Spam and it is much cheaper.  
I know many HATE it - but I like it fried with eggs, or chunked up and put into beans - really tasty that way.
I have some of those little canned hams in my pantry as well.  I generally get them at either Big Lots or Aldi.
It just really nice to know that there is meat on the shelf (just in case).  I can use it, I can help others, I have a feeling of preparedness an peace of mind.  I also have lots of canned tuna and salmon and many larger cans of chunk chicken.
I like having shelf stable meats and I have not ventured into pressure canning yet (to do my own), so I feel happy to have this.

Also found this at WM.  Marked down to .25 bag!!!!  I got 8 bags.  This is not individual bags, but full size.  I can't really make popcorn with butter that cheap.  Nice snack!!

Here is another fun idea.  This is a great way to make S'mores!  2 cookies and a large roasted marshmallow - YUM!

                                                    .95 a pack at Aldi.  Super fun treat!!!
Like I said earlier - I was just really happy to see so many great items on the shelves.  New items, older items that have been missing, and great prices.

I do believe that my pantry is good for a LONG time - except pet food which is an ongoing thing.

I noticed my neighbor carrying many large Aldi bags in yesterday (a single man).  He said he finally decided he should make a deep pantry and stock up with things he uses regularly.  I was smiling and he said "yeah - you finally convinced me it is important."
Keep on preaching gals - it may take time - but if your preaching about prepping makes one more person get busy - it is worth it!  

I sure do hope things start looking better in all areas of the country and world.  I am blessed to live in this location at this time.
Happy hunting and shopping.  Happy stocking!!!!!

Be encouraged by my adventure!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Some Days You Just Have to Laugh

 Good morning all.
I have a couple stories to tell you.  I am sure at least one will ring true to some of you.  A story of "well that didn't go as planned" and a story of an angel on Earth.

The Light Bulb Saga

It is dark here until at least 7:30AM here every day and it gets dark about 7:30PM.  Last week I was getting kitties fed and working on my morning drink when the kitchen overhead light burnt out.  I finished what I was doing with a kitchen night light.  Thinking I will get that changed after I watch the morning news.
Well, as all things go on - I get busy and forget.  
Come evening and I ran into the kitchen to get some ice cubes and flip the light switch.  Well, crud...I forgot to change the bulb.  Let's do it now and get it done.  Mind you it is 8PM.

Coody is in the bedroom on the bed (other side of house).  I turn on the dining room light so as to have some light and I position the adjustable flashlight to aim on the kitchen light.
I bring in my stepstool and get busy.  The globe is held in with 3 'tiny' screws.  Number one and two come out (I am being so careful not to drop them or the globe) - and oops - screw number 3 falls to the floor.  INSTANTLY Coogy is in the kitchen and sees it and smacks it!!!!!!
Under the washstand (microwave stand) it goes.  Well, crap.

I set the globe down and get off the stool.  Move the flashlight and can't see the screw.  So I get my yardstick and rubber band a micro fiber cloth in the end.  Reaching under stand I try to fish out screw - no screw - just what looks like baby kittens!!!!  Dust bunnies galore!!
I move the stand out from wall - and finally see the screw and LOTS and LOTS of dust bunnies.  Oh my word.  So now I need to clean under and behind while I am down there and know what is there.  
As I am working (on hands and knees) I kick Coogy's water bowl and water goes all over.
I put a towel down to soak up that - and then decide that I may as well 'mop' the floor after I get all the dust cleaned up.  My kitchen is small - so I clean the floor on hands and knees.
I pick up throw rug and figure I might as well step outside and shake it - dust bunnies all picked up - floor swept and them mopped.
FINALLY I get back on the stool and change the bulb and work to get the globe back on.  One screw doesn't fit as well as the other two and it is all I can do not to drop it again (mind you Coogy is watching intently).
Light bulb changed and globe in installed!  I have light!  Floor is clean!   It is now 9PM!!!!!!!  UGH

All that and I forgot to get my ice cubes!
Some days you just have to laugh and just shake your head.

Angels Among Us

I was at Aldi and I happened to notice an elderly women trying to open one of those plastic produce bags the stores have.  Of course she has on a mask - so no licking fingers!
I see her struggling.  I walk over and hand her an antiseptic wipe (I carry a baggie of them always).  I told they help me wet my fingers, so as to open up those little bags.  She said "what a clever idea, thank you".  We got to talking about masks, precautions and ventured to life, death and God.

I told her I was cautious but I believe my God has control of everything and only He knows when my day will come.  Her eyes got wide and she smiled and said "I love to hear you young people testify to your love of the Lord".  YES - she said "young people"!!!!
I had to laugh out loud - and I told her I was a senior citizen.  She seemed surprised and she said - "it doesn't matter to me, you are still a young person in my opinion."
We finished our conversation and gave each other blessings and went on our way.

I smiled all the way through the store and to be honest she made my day.  I have told this story to several since that day.  A small gesture on my part - a lovely conversation - and a common love of the Lord.  We were meant to cross paths.  Things happen for a reason.
I hope she smiled all day as well!!!!!

So there you have my stories.  I hope this 'young-in' gave you a smile or two today as well.
Blessings to all.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/18

 Happy Sunday to all.  Hope you had a good week.

We have had a mish mash of weather this week.  Thursday and Friday nights got down into the 30's and we had heavy frost.  We have had rain (YAY), sun, wind, warmer and cooler temps.
This coming week is to be in the 60's and low 70's again and night in 40's and 50's.  We are supposed to get light rain many days -we'll see if old Jim (weather guy) is right.

The crimson maple trees are at their peak around my area and they are just glorious!  I do believe that is one of my favorite trees for fall color.  The critters are all hungry and eating lots - makes me wonder if winter is just around the corner.  Mr. Woodchuck looks like a tiny bear cub!!!!  I told me neighbor that Chuck's fur sure would make a nice warm hat or gloves!!  LOL  His fur is so thick and pretty.  He has really bulked up in the last week.
The kitties have enjoyed their warm beds this week.  They have been napping and sleeping in the greenhouse a lot more.

My week:
  • Got the hose out back all drained and put away for winter.
  • Got more of the garden and pots cleaned out.  Doing a bit each week
  • Did a color touch up on my hair
  • Used dehumidifier water in laundry
  • Kept a parmesan shaker lid and a shaker lid from a cheap spice bottle
  • I am on the budget plan for my lights and gas (you pay the same every month - 12 mos. a yr.) and this time I had a $88.05 CREDIT on electric and a $14.15 CREDIT  on gas.  WOOHOO
  • Ran to the library.  It is in the park and boy was it pretty!!!!!
  • Ran up the street from park to Aldi (haven't been in ages).  Happy to report they were FULLY stocked and NO limits - except paper products and scented candles!!!!  Yep, scented candles!  The prices were fantastic.  I went for chips/snacks (always so cheap), eggs, and yogurt - got a lot more goodies for deep pantry - will post this week.
  • I also ran into WM Family Market to get some birdseed until I get back to feed store.  I looked around and was so pleasantly surprised how well stocked it was.  Saw items I haven't seen in ages and many new items as well.
  • I came across some mixes I received in a gift basket at Christmas, that I had put back.  I figured I better get busy and use some of them up - (pretty sure I will more in a couple months - fingers crossed).  I used  a potato soup mix and added cauliflower, peas and bacon to it.  YUM.  I also used a mug cake mix I had, and it was a very tasty treat.

  • I have become so frustrated with my glasses I got a year ago.  They just never seemed right - but I kept thinking I just needed to give them time - then everything shut down.  I figured I was going to bite the bullet and spend more money for a new exam somewhere different.  Nothing seemed to line up right for clear viewing.  I always moving the glasses around, turning my head, etc.  In desperation (I figured what did I have to lose) I just messed with them a bunch this week and realigned and bent frames and ear 'thingies' a bunch and OH MY GOODNESS - so much better.  Geesh what a nimrod I have been.  I will continue to tweak, but I am much happier.
  • I got to go to my brother/SIL's for a cookout yesterday.  Saw all of their kids and grands that I haven't seen since the end of Feb.  I even got to meet my newest gr. gr. niece (born during shut down).  Golly, I love hugging babies!  It was a fun time.
  • Brother sent me home with a bunch more bell peppers!  I brought home some cookie cake as well!
Meals this past week:
Baked spaghetti and garlic toast
Baked spaghetti leftover and fried green tomatoes  (froze balance of spaghetti)
Loaded up potato soup topped with sour cream and crackers
Cup of potato soup and a chicken sandwich
Stir fry veggies over veggie pasta
Dinner at brothers - chili and chili dogs and goodies!
Had popcorn, apples and peanut butter, cheese and crackers all for snacks

So there you have it.  Nothing exciting or dramatic - just a day in the life!  No big anything going on  - just tidbits of this and that.  How was your week?  What has been everyone been up to?
Love hearing from you all.

I have a grocery store/pantry update this week and a sweet story and a laugh for you all!
I pray you are all safe and healthy.  
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalms 119:105

Thursday, October 15, 2020

CRISIS - Make a Plan

 A crisis can be anything - it depends on you and your life.  We have all had a crisis at some time in our lives.  Some have had many.  
FIRST we must take a moment and just breath - then make a plan.  You can deal with anything that comes your way with persistence and determination.

A crisis can be anything.  Loss of job or income, health crisis, family death, loss from weather event, etc..
How you deal with it is up to you.

1.  MINDSET - is so important.  Just try to calm down for a moment and know you HAVE to make a plan.  Analyze the situation and what you already have lined up, just in case.
Do you have a pantry to cover food?
Do you have an emergency fund to cover finances?
Do you have  some plans in case a death happens?  (Life insurance, wills, joint accounts/property, etc.)
Do you have a plan on where to evacuate in case of weather event or plan on sheltering in place?
Whatever the situation is - you HAVE to move FORWARD!!!  
Remember that and your mindset is better.

2.  MAKE A ROUTINE - don't just flounder and do nothing.  It is easy to do.   
Make yourself get up each day at a certain time - have meals at set times - pay bills on a schedule - take care of pets at certain times - maybe make phone calls at a certain time - go do errands on certain days and times - garden  at specific times - check on others, etc.
MAKE yourself follow a routine and stick to it.
Trust me it is easy to let yourself get down (no matter the situation) and get depressed.  We have to move and plan and DO!

3.  REASSESS - your life.  Depending on the crisis - your life may have just changed forever!  Older plans may not be practical now.  Regardless of your situation - you need to look at life and future life and probably make new plans, at least for the short run.
If you lost an income or job - well, vacations may need to be gone, budgets will need re-vamped, fun will look differently, cook at home and from scratch, etc.  You will have to do things differently at least for now.
If you lose a partner - your future will be totally different.  You have to alter your plans to take care of yourself.
If you go through a bad illness - others may need to help and pitch in for a while.  You may have to learn to accept help.  You will surely look at things and people differently.

Life will surely give us all detours at some point.  That is a given.  We just have to get past our momentary melt-downs (we all do it) and go forward.
All the worry and stress you do - fixes nothing!!!!!!  It makes you feel worse - but fixes NOTHING!

We all have the chance the get creative no matter the situation.  Creativity equals learning.  Learning equals moving forward and at some point contentment.   You have to push yourself and not give up.  Giving up is easy - pushing yourself forward is work, but my oh my it is worth it all!
You have to give 100% of yourself - no matter the situation.

Think back to the worst day in your life.............  Now realize you are still here!  You made it past that worst day.  I know we have all had many "worst" days.  Each time we think nothing could be worse - then at some point the horrible happens.  Yet you are sitting here reading this TODAY!  You got past that day.  It wasn't easy, it wasn't enjoyable, it was hard - but you are here.

We can get through what we need to get through.  We need to be persistent, move forward, calm down and breathe, make a plan and do it!

Prayer helps me get through all bad situations.  I known not everyone is the same, but I believe everyone is spiritual on some level.  Work hard and ask for spiritual guidance.  I truly don't know where I would be without it.

Look at a crisis as a learning situation.  From all bad things something good comes (it really does in some way).
Be the strong person you CAN be and THRIVE!!!!!

Blessings to all.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Yep - It is Fall

 Fall isn't just in the air - it seems to be every where.  Colors are really gearing up, animal behavior is different, leaves are falling, temperatures are changing - yep it is fall!

Crisp, chilly and dark mornings are now normal with temps warming during the day.  Sunshine and wind have been normal.  Predictions of frost are in the picture now.
It is still so dry here - we got very little rain the other day.  It was a HUGE wind occasion, but not much rain.  We are still on burn bans here and it is "camp fire" time.  

Next door and across the road.  Color is really starting to pop.  This picture doesn't do justice at all.
My tulip poplar out back.  I wish the camera did color the way I see it.  The tree is so yellow and bright
Squirrel nest in the middle of picture!  First time in 34 years that the squirrels have put a nest in the tulip tree!!  I always have (and do have) 2 or 3 in my maple tree.
A fall favorite.  I love Pay Day candy bars - one of my favorites.  Mix candy corn and salted peanuts together and get that taste by the handful!!!!   I know many people say YUK to candy corn - although it does come in flavors now.  If you like a Pay Day candy bar - give this a try.  Just tasty, tasty!!!!  Sweet and salty.
                                          Momma sunning her belly.  Kitties are loving the weather.
Hmmmm does anyone else see the face on the tree!!!  LOL  Seems the shadows of the leaves and the sun made for a face on the back tree!  LOL.    I see eyes and a nose - or maybe it's just my imagination!

New England asters.  The plant is huge.  As tall as me and at least 7' - 8' across.  Butterflies absolutely love it as do the bees.

The blue jays are back in force and yelling for sunflower seeds and peanuts - they sure let me know if they are out!  My big woodpecker is back as well - he disappeared for a couple months.  Squirrels are sure having fun.  Mr. Woodchuck (Chuck) is gorging up before hibernation begins.  I have tried to get rid of him to no avail (this is #2).  Guess I won't worry till next spring now.  He will be easier to catch then (he'll be hungry!)

Love getting to have the windows open a lot.  Fresh air is so nice.  Cool nights and no heat on and window open a bit - makes for good sleeping.
Cooking is changing up some.  I fix different things when the weather is cool.  Thinking about baking more - although I do not need sweets.  Maybe I can bake for the neighbors, they always like it.
An afternoon nap or curling up reading a book with an afghan thrown over me - is a favorite activity.  Fall scented candles burning - just comforts me.
Eating fresh apples and drinking cider or hot chocolate - other favorites.


Click on any picture to enlarge and see it better

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Enchilada Sauce and other Knock-offs

 Good morning.  There seemed to be some interest in the enchilada sauce I canned last week.
It is very easy to make.  You can use fresh tomatoes (as that is what the recipe called for) or you can use canned - whole, diced, crushed or add in plain tomato sauce.  What ever you have you can use.

It calls for the sauce to be very chunky - I used the stick blender on mine as I wanted it pretty smooth like the kind you buy.

ENCHILADA SAUCE - for canning
12 C of tomatoes (with a cup or so of water added)

Lemon Juice

6 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt

Cook up your tomatoes until soft and smooshy and some of the liquid is cooked off!  Like I said I blended mine up to a sauce consistency.  I also ONLY added about 1/2 C of water to mine - as they were juicy.
ADD 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice to each JAR and then add 2 tsp. of spice mix to each JAR (pints).  Add in tomatoes -   leave 1/2" clearance.  Clean tops and add lids and water bath 40 minutes after boil begins.
That is it!!!!!!
If using half pints - adjust the lemon and spice mixture added to each jar accordingly.
This was 2 batches.  So easy.  I did the 2 half pints, as I had a little left of tomatoes and spice for each batch.

I mentioned I made a BIG MAC type sandwich at home last week.
2 all beef patties, lettuce, cheese, NO pickle for me (don't like on sandwiches), added tomato and "special sauce".
My sauce was  a mixture of Thousand Island dressing, pickle relish and a squirt of catsup.  Tasted just like McD's sauce!  Just mix together till you get the right taste!  
Simple and homemade!!!!

I hade a 'poor mans' Philly beef and cheese and baked beans on day as well.
BAKED BEANS - was a little can of Bushes beans - a little brown sugar, a nice squirt of catsup and some onion powder.  Tasted pretty darn good  jazzed up.  Not like homemade made but sure better than just emptying a can!!!
I got these little individual cans on clearance a while back for .69 each.  Use what you have and jazz it up a little.  

I used lean ground beef.  Add beef and sliced peppers (from freezer) and some sliced onion and I even added a few frozen mushrooms to pan.  Seasoned and let it all cook together.  Drained fat.  Gave a good dash of Worcestershire sauce and a good dash of Italian dressing.  Let it all simmer together so flavors meld together.  Perfect!
I placed on open face hamburger buns (what I had) and topped with Swiss cheese.
Sure made for one tasty and hearty sandwich.

So there you go.  An easy-peasy canning recipe.  And a couple knock-offs I made for dinner.  Some days I see something on a commercial or a show and it just sounds good.  I figure I can use what I have and get close to the same results.
We all get into the mode that we want something different - just experiment a little.

Hope this gives someone some ideas.  Use what you have and have fun!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/11

 Another week gone by - my mercy.
Woke to a damp (not rain), cloudy and super foggy morning.  There is a chill in the air and it sure looks like fall.
We have had a perfectly lovely week weather wise.  On Monday morning I actually did turn on the furnace for one cycle - it was pretty darn chilly.  It was 38* outside.  Two days later I turned on the AC late one afternoon for one cycle to cool off things.  That is it.
Windows open, ceiling fans on - just lovely.

I have so many very small and young squirrels and they play like crazy.  Running and chasing each other.  The outdoor kitties are getting all frisky and playful in this weather as well.  It is funny, they chase leaves, each other and the squirrels.  They don't try to catch the squirrels - the just play around.
The grass is brown, still no rain.  I can see colors on the horizon however.  The trees are changing and there is such pretty colors.

This week was pretty quiet again - 
  • Chunked the bottom of a wonderful candle to use as melts.  The candle is pretty done as far as burning, but the smell is wonderful - so I am not wasting the remainder
  • Got to air the house a lot!
  • Made 12 pints and 2 - 1/2 pints of enchilada sauce and canned.  Most will be used for holiday gift baskets.

  • Renewed library books online
  • Kroger had Fugi and Gala apples on sale 5 lbs. for 2.99 - that is .60 a pound!!!!  Super cheap here.  I got some of both - sooooooo yummy  I also got more cat litter while at Kroger (for stock)
  • Stopped at CVS and got a battery I needed on the way home
  • I fixed my key fob for the Blazer!!!!  It quit working a few weeks back.  I got to wondering about a battery - yes it has one.  I mean the silly thing is 18 years old, and I have never changed the battery!  Replaced it and it still didn't work.  Well at this point the fob is useless - so I took the little computer board out and saw that the little gold colored strips (connections) were black.  I took a soft cloth and rubbed them clean - put it all back together - and WAHLA it works!!!!  Yep that saved me about $85 for a replacement
  • I did a big financial overview this week - spent a day just going over everything.  Need to do that once in a while
  • Did more cleaning and de-cluttering - never ending battle!
  • Cleaned all the wood floors
  • Doing all the normal stuff - cooking at home, getting resourceful and experimental with food, lights out most of the time, drinking water and juice, taking my vitamins and herbs (got to stay healthy), reading, porch sitting, etc.
  • Did a little more yard clean-up

Meals this past week:
Seasoned Rice a Roni (home mix), chicken strips and sliced tomatoes
Can of Progressive Santa Fe chicken soup with added leftover rice
Tuna patty, mac n cheese with peas and sliced tomatoes
Homemade Club sandwich and an apple
Home version of Big Mac and fries
Poor man Philly beef and cheese sandwich (ground beef) and baked beans
Eating apples, crackers and cheese, popcorn for snacks

How was your week?  Are you enjoying good weather?  Are you doing any more canning or preserving?  What kinds of deals have you found lately?

I pray for all those involved in the fire areas and those in line of the hurricanes.  So much devastation.
I hope you and yours are well, safe and healthy and free from harm.  
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee.
Psalms 56:3

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Inventory and Basics

 I mentioned on my weekly wrap-up that I did an inventory of my dry goods.  WOW!  Is all I can say.  It is amazing how much one can accumulate and not be aware.
I will survive for ages!

I can be happy with pretty basic meals.  I am not a fancy food eater AT ALL.  During my inventory I found I have "pounds"  of basics.

*Dry beans and peas - just about any type you can imagine.  This is the largest inventory item I have - a pound of beans gives a few meals and great protein.  (prob. 45/50 lbs.)
*Rice - homemade rice-a-roni - and rice with soy (TVP) - I have bunches and bunches - can be used in so many ways.  Extender, fried, side, casseroles and soups, with stir fry - just no limit  (total prob. 30 lbs.)
*Pasta - all shapes and types - pounds of it.  So many uses - great carb   (prob. 30 lbs.)
*Seasonings and spices - more than I imagined.  Can make a bland dish taste much better.  Great barter tool as well.  Many bouillon cubes and powders as well
*Dehydrated potatoes and veggies for soups - about a gallon and a half - that is a lot of veggies
*Flour and sugar - LOTS and lots
*Tomato products of every type - home canned and store bought.  I can do anything with tomatoes - eat, season, soup, blend with other things, you name it.
*Pickles and relish - all home canned.  I know it isn't  considered FOOD per se - but you know what - it would keep me from starving!!!!!!  Great for sides and seasoning.
*Jams and Jellies - not really food - but great to add flavor to things, over things, in recipes, add to the blandest of food for flavor
*Oats - both quick and regular.  I don't really like oatmeal at all - but this girl could eat it (jazzed up) if I was hungry.  I keep on hand a fair bit.  I use as an extender in meat, use in suet for birds, baking, etc.

Simple ingredients can keep you alive.  It doesn't have to be fancy or exciting.  All basics can be perked up with flavoring and spices and herbs.  Mix them together.  Think about surviving well!!!!!
I will not go hungry.  I have items I can barter with and exchange with family and friends for other things.
I try to keep a variety of canned meats as well (as well as frozen) just in case.  If I lose power - first the neighborhood will eat well for a day or two - think major BBQ!!!!!  But I will also have meat on the shelf for later.

Dry beans and peas - a good variety
Pasta - all types
Tomato products
Flour, sugar and baking goods and Spices (cornmeal as well)
Potatoes - canned, dehydrated or instant
Popcorn (real not microwave)
Canned, dry or frozen veggies and fruit
Ramen noodles - I know (but a cheap add in if hungry)
Peanut butter - great protein  ADD Jams or jelly and you have a meal
SOME canned meats

Think about maybe having some powdered items as well - milk, cheese, egg replacer, bouillon
I also have powdered butter, nutritional yeast and many odds and ends.  You would be amazed at what you can find in powder form!!!!  Do some research - you may be surprised.  Look around at health and natural food stores.  Even the regular grocery stores are starting to carry a lot more different items.
Get informed and get prepared!

Take an inventory and see what you have.  How long could you survive?  Hopefully for a long while.
The items above are all INEXPENSIVE items and can be added weekly to your stash.  
Again, this may not be how you are used to eating - BUT it could save your life in a really bad time.

Are you prepared with all the basics?
Get busy now!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Some Days - I Wish

 Some days I wish we could go back a little.  Back when life was not so modern and so complicated.  Back when there was less technology.  Back to a time of happiness and joy in even the smallest things.  Back to childhood and friends and family.  Back to a safer world.

Anyone remember when grocery stores were like this?  Power outage - who cares.  They could still operate the registers, they could still weigh your produce, they could still accommodate you in every way.  Clerks were friendly - and they often knew your name.

I remember play time was either in my yard or a friend's yard.  We played with whatever we had.  We used our imaginations.  We rode bikes,  We played in the creek for hours.  Walked to the small family owned grocery for penny candy!   No one watched us - yet everyone did.  Parents knew what was going on - we just didn't realize it.  All parents looked out for each others children.  No one was worried about perverts or child snatching.  We were safe.

I don't remember gas quite this cheap - but when I got my first car I do believe gas was about .30/gallon.  I could put $2 or $3 in the car and go for what seemed forever.  My first car was a 1964 Ford Galaxy - a tank!  Robin egg blue.  Paid $300 for it and I paid for it with money I had earned.  I got it is '72.  I made money on that car (that is another story).  I sold it in '74 and it was going for years after.
Service techs  pumped the gas, cleaned your windows and checked your oil if you so desired.  They would check your tires and add air if need be.  I know some people today find that hard to believe.

There is something about certain times of the year that just send me back in time.  I miss people I loved, I miss the innocent times.
I smell leaves burning - I go back in time.  I see a pile of leaves - I want to jump in.  I see pumpkins and apples, I remember having a ball at Halloween and at friends little parties.  I look out at the colors of fall and remember taking drives in the country with Mom and Daddy to the country (often to glean apples and persimmons and paw paws).
Mom would be gearing up for the holidays this time of year.  Canning was being finished, crafts were being done and baking would be starting soon.
Put on a sweater and sit out on the porch swing with my girlfriend or Mom and count cars or just sit and chat.  Making hot chocolate and having homemade cookies for a snack.  Caramel apples (homemade) and popcorn balls.
Aaahhhhhh fall!

Just for a while!!!!!  
I wouldn't want to miss all the wonderful things that came to pass after the 'old days' - but some days just a small visit back then would be fun.  
Many family members are gone, many friends from then are gone, the simple things and times are gone, BUT my memories are still VIVID.  
For that I say THANK YOU God!

Life is really short - the years go so quickly.  I can't believe I will be 66 this month, childhood seems like yesterday.  ENJOY every moment you can.  Live it to the fullest.  Make memories for others.
Blessings my friends.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Did You Know???? Recipes

 I have found some great recipes that totally surprised me.  Maybe, just maybe, they will surprise you too!  Maybe, just maybe, they will help us ALL out.
I have not tried these yet - but they have been given high marks of praise from many.  I will be trying them all.

You can make butter with powdered milk

3/4 C powdered milk
1/3 C water
1/4 C oil (olive, coconut, what you have)
Pinch of salt - if wanting salted butter

Place the powdered milk in the food processor - add other ingredients.  Blend until it starts to thicken.  Check every couple of minutes until you get it thickened.
Will not be hard - but spreadable (like a thick version of mayo or spreadable butter).
Makes about 3/4 cup.  Lasts about a week in the frig.  Tastes like butter - great for toast, pancakes, biscuits, veggies, etc.  (Not sure about baking - may change texture).

You can make your own bouillon - veggie and (no) chicken
These bouillons are vegan, gluten free, MSG free, soy free, no chemicals  WIN WIN!!!

Veggie Bouillon
1 C nutritional yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. thyme
1 Tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. celery seeds
1/4 tsp. turmeric
Blend until powdered and store in an airtight container.  1 Tbsp. to 1 C hot water

This can be purchased at most grocery stores in the baking aisle or next to regular yeast.  Health food stores sell as well.  Adds great flavor and nutrition to food without all the chemicals and it is vegetarian.

(NO) Chicken Bouillon
1 1/3 C nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp. onion powder
7 1/2 tsp. salt (adjust to your taste)
1 Tbsp. rice protein powder (any protein powder works)
1 Tbsp. sugar or Truvia
2 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. sage            (I won't be adding to mine)
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. turmeric
Blend in a small food processor until powder and keep in airtight container.
1 level teaspoon per 1 cup of hot water

You can make pizza dough without yeast

NO Yeast Pizza Dough
2 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 C butter - room temperature
1 C milk
Mix in a mixer with a paddle if you have - until ball is reached.  You can do this by hand as well - just mix until you get a ball.
Bake after topping with ingredients you desire at 450* for 10-12 minutes

I learn something new each day - and I love learning new ways to cook, season, and bake!  We can be mindful of what we have or what we put in our bodies by just trying some new ways and recipes.
I can't wait to try all of these.

PS - I have others to share later!!!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/4

 Happy Sunday to everyone.  Here it is October and getting closer and closer to the end of this year.  It is just amazing to me how fast the year has gone by.
I hope this post finds you all well, rested and safe.

Cool, gloomy and damp morning here.  They have called for rain several times this week and very, very little has been received.  It is so dry - and we have several counties that now have burn bans.
We did get a spot of rain last Sunday and then again a VERY brief shower during the week and that one contained hail!! Crazy.
We had the driest September ever recorded and it isn't looking good for October either.
My house is doing good good maintaining warmth.  On the coolest morning so far, in the house, as been 67*.  Not bad.  It warms up pretty quickly.
We have had some night in low 40's - tonight may get upper 30's.  So far no frost here.  It is going to warm up after today, all is good.

I noticed this week that my water heater has a little leak - UGH.  I am going to have to have that replaced very soon.  Thinking back, I am sure this one is probably 20+ years old.  Now to find a good plumber!

My week:
  • Cleaned out some storage cabinets in the laundry area - a mess!
  • Found some way past "best" date cinnamon rolls (roll) in the frig and baked them.  Tasty
  • Picked 2 bouquets of New England asters and the last rose of the season
  • Cut hair
  • Picked ALL the tomatoes left on the vines (just in case of frost)
This is the end of the tomatoes.  I still have plenty of ripe ones too - but got everything in now.
  • Worked and worked in the basement - decluttering and straightening.  OH MY!  I made a lot of trash and have 2 boxes of donations ready to go again - still much more to go through.  I also have some larger items for donation as well.  If not needed - out it goes.
  • Did some more dead heading of flowers and bit more yard work
  • Inventoried all my DRY goods - pasta, beans, rice, bulk goods, etc.
  • Chopped and sliced peppers for freezer (gifted peppers)
  • Received the FREE book many have been receiving - Great Controversy.  Haven't read any of it yet.  It is a full book of 473 pages.  Many in our area have received it.  (I believe it is about religion over the years in this country)
  • Found some recipes I have been hunting for for canning and making for gifts
  • I ran to Kroger simply to check clearance.  I got 2 different items
    Got this pasta for my sister.  She makes stuffed shells for her family a lot.  Kroger is discontinuing selling these.  Dated 2023 - I got all 4 boxes they had for part of her Christmas bag!
    32 ounce bottles (big) on clearance 1.49.  Got 2. Not my usual brand - but for that price I don't care.  It is all good!!!!  I am probably set, with what else I have, for a couple years at least.
Meals this past week:
Open face sloppy Joe sandwich (scratch made) and fries
Lasagna (from freezer) and salad
Taco salad
Green beans w/potatoes, bread w garlic butter and sliced tomatoes  Oh my - so good!!!! (no meat day)
Leftovers - green beans/potatoes and taco meat over bread
Hamburger stroganoff and sliced tomatoes
Cup of chili (from freezer) and grilled cheese sandwich

I learned this week while de-cluttering and inventorying I have so much of many things.  This girl will not buy Christmas paper, boxes, bags or tissue paper probably forever!!!!
I will not starve it it all hits the fan.  My goodness I have so many more dry goods than I thought.

What has everyone been up to this week?  How are you providing for your home, pantry or gift closet?  Any great deals?  I always look forward to hearing from you all.

May you all stay safe and healthy in this coming week.  PLEASE pray for our President, his family and our nation.  It doesn't matter your political views - we need to pray for all afflicted.   Never wish ill on anyone. EVER!!!
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
Isaiah 41:10