Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Simple & Fun Easter Yums

 Easter is upon us and many are getting together for some family time.  I have heard many say they plan on keeping it simple this year.  Many are doing buffets and hoping for nice weather so that people can sit indoors and outdoors.  No set seating, and serve yourself.  Nothing wrong with that.

Brunches are a big thing.  I have heard taco bars, quiches, fancy sandwiches and different salads, pitch-ins, and so on.  I hope you have a great time regardless of what you do.  I have a couple get togethers coming up this month for very special occasions so I will be staying home on Easter and observing the day in peace and quiet and reference.

Desserts and snacks can be fun and easy.  Homemade and semi homemade.  Have fun and make some tasty treats.  You will be a hit if you do.

*Dip strawberries in chocolate - add sprinkles
*Melt and spread almond bark or chocolate and add spring colored M&M's
*Cupcakes - make them to look like grass and eggs.  Color coconut with green food color and then top     with jelly beans
*Jelly bean fudge - white fudge with a bag of jelly beans added
*Dip Oreo cookies (or others) partially in colored almond bark or chocolate

*Color your own sugar for decorating.  Add a drop or two of food color to regular sugar and stir till   blended - can make any color!
*Make up a batch of SPRING trail mix - add pastel colored M & M's to standard trail mix recipe
*Fruit kabobs
*Make fruit pizza

*Make cookie or cookie bars - add pastel colored M & M's
*Make cute cutout cookies and ice
*Dip pretzels in colored chocolate
These are Harry & David treats and cost about $50 a box!  Hmmm - not that difficult to make!

*Fruit plates and dip
*Of course there is always the colored hard boiled eggs.  Use food color, Kool-Aid, or natural items (beet juice, etc.) to make your colors.  I like coloring eggs whether having company or not - it always makes me smile to open the frig and see colored eggs!!!!!
*Maybe make a 'gingerbread' type house for Easter out of graham crackers
*Cookie - ice cream sandwiches are always a hit.

Have fun and make some fun treats - regardless whether you are entertaining a few or just yourself.  Make something that makes you smile!  
The world needs more smiles!!!!!!!!

Never forget the reason for the day.  We are truly so blessed.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Stay on the Path and Keep Calm

 Just a bit of encouragement today.  I know many think the world has gone crazy and people tend to panic very easily.  Now is the time to stop and take a breath, calm your nerves, and stay on track.  We all need to keep on the path of stocking and providing for our families BUT with CALM!

                                                               Not my photo

Stuff has gone on since the beginning of time.  Today we hear about pandemic, government mistrust, financial woes, severe weather, you name it.  There is a lot and yes it is disturbing - but sadly it is all part of life.  None of those things are new!  Have you read the Bible?  My goodness, it is full of disasters and hardships and blessings.  Same thing today - we have a boat load of crap happening - but we have blessings every day as well.  MAYBE, just MAYBE we should concentrate on those!!!!
That is what I chose to do.

Panic only causes more problems.  Surely everyone remembers how things were  in the early days of Covid.  Empty shelves.  WHY?  People panicked.  Sure things weren't being replaced as quickly as before, but panic was the start of the shortages.  This happens every where.  I never once felt panic over supplies during that time.  I have always tried to stay stocked for whatever.  Tons of people do.  That is what people do to prepare for anything!  You never know what can happen.  
You would think people would have learned a thing or two in the past year about being prepared. 

I am not saying you have to plant, grow, harvest and be off grid to be self sufficient.  I know that isn't possible for most.  Be PREPARED!  Stock those pantries and freezers however you can.  Keep supplies on hand for medical, health and beauty, growing (if you garden), repairing, cleaning, etc..  
Do not slack in preparing your lauder for whatever may happen.
If you find a deal or see something you use regularly - get it.  Get it while you can!  Don't hoard and don't panic - just slowly and continually add to your supplies.  If and when supplies at the store are low or gone - you will be fine!
You and only you can prepare your home.  That is your job!  That is your responsibility.

Quit reading/watching the panic spreaders of the world.  Blogs, Vlogs and most You Tube channels are just people like you and me.  They are not experts.  They are not world leaders.  They are not News. 
They are opinions - and we all know about those!!!  LOL
I don't watch a ton of news or listen to much of government - WHY?  They tell you what THEY WANT you to hear.  It most likely isn't true and it is generally pretty slanted. (doesn't matter liberal or conservative).
I trust my gut.  My gut says always be prepared.  My gut has never led me astray.
I learned this early in life.  It isn't a new thing.  S**t happens - and well, this girl prefers to be prepared.  
I refuse to succumb to panic.  Stuff happens and has happened since the beginning of time.  **it WILL undoubtedly hit the fan again and again.  Are you going to spend every day forever in panic mode?  NO don't do that.  That sucks the joy from life.

I try to stay away from current events on here - but preparing is just good old common sense.  No matter what garbage is going on in the world - preparing should always be a constant.

Keep on your path - it may be long.  It may get bumpy.  It may contain lots of ups and downs.  It may have lots of bends in it.  It may get muddied.  But never stray off  of it - keep going and preparing.
Slow and steady in all ways.  NO PANIC - no stressing - no hoarding - no keeping the blinders on - just do it.
This should be as regular as breathing.  It is that important. 

Each day you awake - celebrate.  See the wonders of the world that the Lord has given us.  The little things are just as important as the big things.  Look at the world eyes wide open.  
Prepare but LIVE!
You get one chance at this.  PLEASE don't spend it giving voice to evil and adversity.  Give your voice and energy to beauty, nature, family, Lord and life.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 3/28

 Good morning to all.  It is the last Sunday of the month and Palm Sunday - the beginning of Holy week.  I hope it finds you well and safe.

We had storms again over night (2nd time this week) which made for an uneasy night of sleep.  I am kind of tired this morning.  The moon was glorious if you got a chance to see it this AM.  It was huge and oh so bright and it looked close - like you could reach  out and grab it.  So beautiful.
We had a pretty mild week, with nice temps.  We did get a bad wind storm on Thursday night.  That was pretty scary.

Everything has greened up so much.  Stuff is coming to life.  The butterfly bush, peonies, roses, rhubarb, onions (from last year) and chives are all popping up or budding out.  The magnolia trees are just beautiful - but that will end quickly this week - as we are supposed to have 3 night below freezing.  It happens almost every year.
Mr. Woodchuck is awake!!!!  UGH.  He woke pretty early this year - last year I believe it was at least May.

My week:
  • I fixed 2 downspouts that kept coming apart
  • Have picked up limbs and sticks EVERY single day!  Between the wind and the squirrels it has kept me in exercise mode!  The squirrels are making new nests and they keep chewing off small branches - most end up on the ground!
  • I did make a grocery store run - for fresh fruit and juice only
  • My neighbor mowed my front yard with his riding mower.  The whole yard will need mowed for the first time this coming week!
  • Cut 2 bouquets of daffodils and forsythia this week
  • Fixed the screen on my kitchen door
  • Used up all leftovers
  • Did make a run for squirrel corn and also got some onion sets
  • Cleaned up a flower bed down the west side of house
  • Just doing all the normal stuff.
  • Got to air out the house on 5 days this week - no heat on!
My meals this past week:
Broccoli & cheese rice with ground beef added
Dirty rice w/tomatoes added and 2 hotdogs (precooked from freezer)
Chef salad
Chicken strips, fries and salad
Deconstructed cabbage roll skillet (used leftover dirty rice/w toms)
Cabbage skillet and garlic toast
Smoked sausage sandwich, mac n cheese (freezer) and shredded broccoli salad

What have you done this week?  Have you been able to get any outside work done?  There is always so much to do.  I am making my list of things I need to accomplish.

I pray for comfort and guidance for all here.  We have had a couple of readers (that I know of) that have had great losses this week.  Donna lost her nephew and Crystal lost her son suddenly this week.  Please keep them in your prayers.  
Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours.

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ for you.  
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Thursday Tidbits

 A few tidbits to think about and use.  It doesn't take a lot to jazz up a regular dish or make a new 'favorite' for the family.
Maybe you will find a hint or tip that you can use!

  • Add a couple tablespoons of strong coffee to any chocolate cake or muffin recipe.  Coffee enhances the chocolate flavor.
  • Think about using chocolate milk instead of regular in puddings or mixes.  Add a tablespoon of vanilla to about any baked recipe to elevate flavor!!
  • Add fresh diced tomatoes to coleslaw.  My sister in-law does this and it is so good.  It is a requested dish at all gatherings.  Finely chop the tomatoes - it really adds a new dimension to slaw!
  • Deviled eggs all spruced up!  Instead of using mayo think about sour cream or onion or ranch dip.  I use sour cream a lot and it really adds to the flavor of the eggs.  I have used ranch dip as well and YUM!
                    Great way to use up those cake mixes you got cheaply over the holidays
  • Use brownie, cake, muffin or cookie crumbs on top of ice cream or pudding
  • Reuse those squeezable condiment bottles - wash and use for decorating icing on cakes and cookies
  • Do your nuts or dried fruit always drop the bottom of muffins and quick breads?  Dust them well in the flour mixture before adding to the batter.  It helps them stay 'afloat' in your batter when baking
  • Keep a pair of kitchen shears ALWAYS handy.  They are great for 'chopping' green onions, lettuce or anything that isn't too hard.  I have used to cut bite size pizza pieces and have even used to cut up meat before using for stir fry.  Many uses - wash thoroughly after every use in hot soapy water.
  • Peel your broccoli stems before cooking.  That makes them so tender and you use more of the veggie - no waste.  The stems are actually my favorite part!!!!  You can keep those peelings (cleaned) in that baggie of goodies for making veg stock.
                                                           An oldie but a goody
  • Cut a sandwich into quarters to make the 'fancy'.  Any sandwich looks fancier this way!
  • Keep a small container of instant potatoes on hand - they are great to use as a thickener in soups and stews and it's added an added veggie!
  • Add a spoonful of mayo per every 2 eggs you whip up to scramble.  It keeps them fluffy and it is really tasty!  No more dried out scrambled eggs
  • Always place your flour or sugar canister in the sink (dry) before filling.  No more mess all over the countertop!
  • Have baked beans left over (think Easter).  Smash them and add to meatloaf mix before baking.  Moist meatloaf!  Smash and season with a little taco seasoning and use in tacos or tortillas like refried beans.  Make yourself a bean sandwich - really good - I know some are saying yuk.  Use in open face sandwich (great on buns) with a slice of cheese on top - broil till cheese is melted and bubbly.  Great side.
  • Ground turkey or chicken - if you want to use in a more traditional ground beef way - add stuff!  Add beef bouillon (I always do), shredded cheese, or chopped mushroom and/or onion/peppers.  Stick in some bread crumbs and an egg and some of the above ingredients and make 'meatloaf; burgers.  You can really jazz it up and stay healthy.
Just a few tidbits to stretch a dollar or spruce up your cooking/baking.  I love finding new ideas that enhance flavors and make cooking fun.

Anyone have a great tip they use?  Please share!
Have a wonderful day!!!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Don't Get Tricked at the Grocery!

 It is so easy to fall into the traps.  We all have.  Do you think the grocery really cares about your needs?  NOOOOOO - they just want to sell things and make money!!!!  Yep, that is the truth.  There are so many things they do to get us to buy and even buy things we don't need or use.  They are tricky!!!!!

They have all those pretty and neat end caps set up to grab your attention.  MOST people think those are specials - odds are they aren't.  It is just a promotional display trying to sell things - usually not a great deal.  Be aware.  Know your prices.

Bigger is not always better.  I see it so often.  If you take the time to check prices it is easy to catch.  I remember back several years ago - TP was 'on special' - 12 pack was 5.99.  Right next to that display was the exact same product in 4 packs that were $1 each.  I tried to tell several people to buy 3 - 4 packs and save half the money!  Nope - they just looked at me like I was crazy and had horns and got the big one.
I have seen milk 2.39/gallon and next to it same thing .99/half gallon.  People insist on buying the gallon.  Heck the half gallons are even easier to handle - do people care?  Nope
Check prices and unit prices - it really is eye opening.

The most expensive items are at eye level!  They ain't stupid.  They know where we generally look.  If you look at items on the top and the bottom shelves - generally you find items with better prices.  Check different departments as well -  ie: - I know I can buy olives much cheaper in the ethnic aisle than in the pickle/olive section.
Strategy is everything! 

Let's say you see an item that the price is just too good to pass up.  Is it something you normally use?  Is it something you will use often?  If you say no to those questions - then it isn't a an amazing deal.  If you don't use it - don't buy it!!!  (unless donating).  We all have items of 'good intention' sitting in the pantry.  If it isn't used, you saved NOTHING!  You wasted $$$$.

Enticing items are always put near the check-out.  You spend more time in that spot in the store than any other - soooooo they try to entice you (or the kids).  Most of that stuff is so unhealthy and it really isn't a deal at all.   Just say NO!!!!  LOL

Keep an eye on your purchase prices.  If you can't catch a bad price while ringing up is being done - check your receipt before walking out the door.  Many stores have a policy of FREE if it rings wrong.  At least you can get your overage in price refunded.  Always remember pennies make dollars!!!!!!

It is best to shop the outer perimeter of the store and stay away from the center aisles as much as possible.  Milk, cheese, fruit, veggies, meat and eggs are all on the outer aisles.  Fresh is best.  The center aisles have all the processed stuff.  Stuff we should all be learning to make from scratch!
Sure there are some things that you will want/need - but shop the outer aisles as much as possible,

You go to buy pasta - and what is that (?) - pasta sauce right next to it.  Jars of parmesan cheese, etc.  Yep they try to get you to buy other goods as well.  In the snack aisle - there are chips, jarred salsa, jarred cheese and guacamole.  Coincidence - I think not!
They even do it around the meat aisle - fish on display and next to it is cocktail sauce and tartar sauce.  Chicken on sale - I bet you see breading on a nearby shelf or dressing mix.
It goes on and on - nothing is safe.  IF there is a way to trick you into buying - they will do it.

Something to think about - when you buy buy less there is less to waste!  We all tend to over buy on deals and things.  If we let it go to waste it surely was not a deal!

NEVER go to the store hungry.  You know that and I know that - but we have all done it.  I can almost guarantee you that your receipt was high that week!  When we are hungry, everything looks and sounds yummy.
Same thing with shopping ALONE!  I know many, many years back when Glen would go with me to the store - oh my, did we spend more.  He was like taking a kid to the store.
Make a LIST and stick to it.  Go in and get your items on the list - MAYBE check the clearance aisle - then get out.  Do NOT wonder the store aimlessly.
Stick to a budget!!  Set an amount that you can comfortably spend - and stick to it.
These are all just basic rules we should all follow.

There are items each week that the store considers loss leaders - they are crazy good prices to get you in the store.  There hope is to get you in - THEN you will wonder around and buy lots of over priced stuff.  That is how they make their money.  Well - play the game.  Go in a get those crazy good deals and LEAVE!!!!!  Turn the tables on them.
Hey, it is your money, so you have the right to play as well.  
Playing the game is a favorite of mine!!!!

Think about getting your cleaning items or health and beauty items somewhere other than the grocery.  Most of the dollar stores sell those items much cheaper.  Grocery stores really get you on those items.  Pay attention to the prices and go elsewhere.  Making your own cleaning products is cheaper and healthier - but if you don't do that, just get the best price possible.  
Remember these are things that go down the drain each and every day - so why pay premium price for them???

Another thing to think about is to shop at some of the smaller ethnic stores.  Odds are you will find a great amount of variety in fresh and pantry items.  Spices and certain food items are generally cheaper than a traditional store.  You are also helping a small business.

Well there you - shop the cupboard/pantry FIRST.  I bet you can find some items stuck in the back recesses that you forgot about or need to use.  Shop the pantry and the deep caverns of the freezer FIRST.  Make a list of what you have or find and make up meals that use those items.  I just bet each and everyone of us could do this and not have to shop for a few weeks!!!!  Remaking those leftovers into new items and shopping at home - can save a small fortune.
That is a great time to try new recipes and new ingredients.  You never know that meal may become a new favorite.

I imagine there are things I forgot - but these are the basics.  It is so easy to spend way too much money if we aren't aware.  Be aware of the games the stores play and BEAT them at it!!!!!!
Be the queen of your grocery budget!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Feels Like Living Large - Simply and on Less $$$$

 There are so many ways to feel like we are living it up large on little money.  You don't have to spend a fortune nor does it have to be complicated.  
Today we will talk about living large at the dinner table.  There are many ideas for having yummy and inexpensive meals that just feel like going out to eat or high end food.  Inexpensive and simple.

Tacos, burritos, tostadas, enchiladas, quesadillas, etc.   They are all easy to make and oh so yummy.  You don't have to stick with plain old beef tacos or bean burritos - jazz it up with whatever you have.
Maybe use chicken, seafood, pork, seasoned rice, salsa, avocado, any kind of cheese, beans, whatever you want or have.  Tortillas are super easy and inexpensive to make and they are also cheap to buy.  Tacos shells and tostada shells can often be purchased for $1 or so a package.  
You can really experiment with Mexican food and cooking.  In my opinion there are no rules and you can sure make it tasty (better than going out) and varied.
When thinking about having tortillas on hand - you also can make roll-ups and breakfast burritos as well.  There are so many options!

Never underestimate rice as a main course.  I love fried rice.  You can make it vegetarian or you can add meat and egg.  Throw in whatever leftover veggies you have, add meat and toss in an egg if desired.  Soy sauce or any sauce you may have.  Fried rice can be a filling high end meal for pennies.

Never dismiss a sandwich - they aren't just bologna any more!!!!  There is NO limit to what you can add to a sandwich.  Absolutely ANY kind of meat you have - ANY kind of cheese - and ANY kind of veggie.  Yes veggie.  Try adding different things to your sandwich - you may be surprised.  I love to add tomato, lettuce, sliced radishes, even potato chips!!!!!  
Think about Reuben, pulled pork, sloppy Joe, tuna melts, burgers, Hawaiian sliders, etc.
You can make grilled sammies, melts, or fresh veggie, BLT's or even baked bean.  Summer is my time for fresh tomato sandwiches - maybe some sliced onion or cucumber!   Fried green tomato sandwiches can be a hit.  MMmmmmmmm.
A favorite I have made is a thin burger patty with mac and cheese added and then grilled.  Oh my!  Filling and it felt very high end!
There are absolutely NO limits - make it simple or make it fancy - using what you have.  Sandwiches do NOT need to be boring.

A salad can be anything.  Mix up any type of veggies, add meat or egg or avocado.  Think about topping with leftover chicken, thin slices of steak or beef, thinly sliced pork chops, tuna, bacon,,,,,,,,
Throw in some nuts or seeds of any type.  Whatever you might have.  Top with grilled veggies or even fruit.  Add some toasted bread or crackers as a side and boom you have a meal in no time.
Salads can be a nice treat.  It gives you the opportunity to place an entire meal in one dish!  Fruit or veggies and meat all in one.  

Soup is comfort!  Soup is yummy!  Soup is inexpensive!
You can be as simple as throwing all the frig leftovers in a pot with some broth or juice or tomato sauce.  Add meat or not.  Add pasta, rice or beans if desired.  You can make specialty soups fairly easy - potato, broccoli and cheese, cream of anything, gazpacho in the summer, French onion, tomato - you name it.  I include chili and stews in this category as well.  They are easy to make, use simple ingredients and can come together quickly.  Not only do they fill you up, but most times you get more than one meal from a pot of soup.
Heck it can be as simple as jazzing up a pack of Ramen soup - that's OK!!!!  Use what you have, get a little creative and have fun with it.
                                                           Ramen stew!

Another way to stretch the budget and have a tasty and inexpensive meal.  Again folks - use up those leftovers in the frig.  Can add meat or not.  Use whatever seasoning you have - soy sauce  (or Liquid Amino) is my go to.  You can serve over noodles, pasta or rice.
There is so much variety in stir fry.  Another one dish meal with almost all your food groups.  Super simple and budget friendly.

There is positively no limit on what you can make in the cock pot.  It may take a little longer - but you can use inexpensive cuts of meat and stretch that budget.  Meats, veggies, soup mixes, cheese, broth, stock, you name it - throw it in and let it cook!!
If you are at your wits end on what to fix - just take a bit of this and that and put it together.  Look through your pantry and your freezer - and get creative.  Think outside the box.

Think about an unconventional meal.  I have had them, I bet you have too.  Who says a meal has to be 3 or 4 courses?  A meal is whatever tastes good and fills you up!!!!!!!
Make up dips of any kinds.  Hummus, cheese melts, ranch, onion, spinach dips.  Serve with sliced veggies or chunks of torn bread or crackers.  You can even make fruit dips with cream cheese (sweetened) and have fruit for more of a dessert bar!
I love making a charcuterie plate for a meal.  Cheese slices, fresh sliced veggies, summer sausage, hummus or dip, etc.  It is filling and very tasty. (kind of like a deconstructed salad!)
Serve what you have - a cold meal is refreshing and tasty.  You don't have to over think it - just serve what you like.


Breakfast for dinner can be positively decadent.  Pancakes, waffles, quiche, eggs and meat and toast, biscuits and gravy, crepes, etc.
Make from scratch or use mixes.  Use what you have.
Pull out some fruit from the freezer or pantry and make a sinfully delish topping for pancakes, waffles or crepes. 

You can take whatever you have and jazz it up to make an extraordinary meal.  Use your pantry and freezer - just the basics we all have - and put together a fine dining experience.
No need to have fancy and expensive ingredients.  No need to go out and spend lots of money.  
Make your family  "an experience" at home.
LIVE LARGE on a budget - it can be done.  It can be easy and tasty as well.  Never feel deprived.

Have fun!!!!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 3/21

 Happy Sunday and Spring to everyone.  (or Fall in the southern hemisphere).  It is a beautiful spring day here today - the sun is shining brightly.  Not the same could be said about the past week!!!!  I guess winter wanted to hang on and it sure gave us it's last hoorah!  
We are having March Madness here in our state (basketball tourney) - but I think March madness happened all over the country this week.  The weather has been crazy every where.

We started the week with rain, sleet and freezing rain on Monday.  Ice covered the trees and all the power lines.  Then it got a little better and boom Thursday we had 28 hours of rain and winds like crazy.  There was a lake in the back yard.
By Saturday things had really calmed down and all is getting back to normal.  We did have 3 nights that I had to cover my budding daffodils - due to below/or right at freezing.
This next week is supposed to be more spring like with temps in the 60's and showers. 
Things are starting to bud, perennials are popping up, the grass is greening and weeds are growing!!
I just turned and looked out the window and there sits 6 robins on the fence!   I can hear the birdies all singing their special songs - what a chorus.  Aaahhhh - spring!  

It has really been quiet here this week.  I was in a mood for some reason this week.  Just didn't have a lot of get up and go!!!  I am guessing it was because of the weather.  Hoping this week will be better.

                                                       Never forget this.
My week:
  • Found a pound of turkey burger in freezer and made it into tasty burgers - fried.  Most were put in freezer for future meals
  • Fried up a can of Spam - packaged/froze most for future quick meals
  • Drank lots of sparkling water from soda stream (w/fruit juice)
  • Ran out and got taxes done this week.  I went to a small business that has been in the neighborhood for years.  I just wanted to make sure I missed nothing - so much changed with G's passing.  20 minutes in and out - and I get a Fed. refund - owe state a little.  I think I will be comfortable doing them again  myself come next year
  • Ran to the library - right across from tax office.  They moved everything!!!!!  It will take some time to get used to.
  • NO grocery store this week
  • I have read a lot this week
  • Been working on more spring cleaning
  • Did lots of laundry
  • Cooking from scratch and using what I have in pantry/freezer, doing all the normal stuff we all do
  • Saturday I got to porch sit for a while and talk with neighbors - that was nice
  • I got to have a nice long telephone conversation with my friend on the other side of the country - it was so nice to just chat

Meals this past week:
Bacon, swiss turkey burger, slaw (home canned)
Potato soup (from freezer) and a grilled cheese sandwich
Green beans, potatoes and smoked sausage - sauteed (so tasty)
Fried cabbage with smoked sausage and potato cakes (from freezer)
Pancakes (freezer) and Spam
Beef and refried bean tostadas
Chicken quesadilla 

How was your week?  I hope no one endured extreme weather this week and that you are all safe.
Did you get any spring cleaning done?  Any great deals this week?
I hope you all have a great week.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Tins and Trays - So Many Uses

 We all have ice cube trays and muffin tins - you know they aren't just for ice cubes and muffins right??
I have extra ice cube trays that I use for a variety of things.  Muffin pans can be recycled into all kinds of storage and used to make all kinds of goodies!

  • Freeze leftover coffee - great for cooling that super hot cup of Joe or to add to ice coffee.  I have frozen strong coffee in cubes - to use in chocolate recipes (it really enhances the chocolate taste)
  • Freeze leftover wine - good to use in a glass of wine and doesn't water it down
  • I make mint and lemon balm simple syrups and freeze in cubes.  Great addition to a glass of tea
  • Pizza sauce, tomato sauce/paste, etc.  Great to pop a cube into something you are cooking for just a little tomato taste
  • Freeze fresh herbs/edible flowers in trays with water.  Fun addition to any dish you are making
  • This s a fun thing to do with fruit - like berries as well - super neat addition to a drink
  • Freeze OJ or lemon-aide to add to drinks
  • You can freeze cubes of stock or broth to add to future meals.  Even gravy - great way to thicken up a soup or stew
  • Kool-Aid frozen in cubes are fun for the kids (and adults) for a fun & cool treat
  • Freeze tea in cubes.  Use in your iced tea and it doesn't get diluted.
  • You can freeze bits of leftovers to add to soup or to make baby food
Each regular size cube is approximately 2 Tbsp.  I freeze my items - then pop them out and place into marked zip lock baggies for future use.  You can freeze just about anything  this way.  No waste of bits and pieces and dribs and drabs.
**Trays can also be used for earring holders in drawers or for anything that is small and easily misplaced!

Not just for muffins and cupcakes any more!
I love to freeze things in them and I bake other yummies in them as well.
  • Freeze leftover mashed potatoes in tins - perfect for thawing and having another serving later
  • Freeze any kind of veggie that is left (perfect serving size) or throw into a pot of soup
  • I freeze leftover stuffing - it is the perfect size for a side to a meal
  • Bake mini meatloaves - these are perfect serving sizes and easy to freeze for later.  They are also fun to slice in half and make a meatloaf sandwich!
  • Quiche is perfect for muffin tins - bake up several servings for later
       Corndog muffins.  Corn bread mix in muffin tin - add chuck of hotdog and bake.  YUM
    Pizza cups - use crescent rolls, pizza dough, biscuits, etc. and add toppings and bake

                                                          Dinner bites - mini pot pies.
  • Use to make larger ice cubes or frozen juice for punch bowls or pitchers of drink
  • Bake cookies in muffin tins - for perfectly round and uniform size cookies!
  • Old tins are great for holding finger paints for the kids - each spot a different color paint
  • Great for storing craft supplies or odds and ends on the work bench
  • You could also freeze soup in regular size tins - then when ready for a cup of soup, you can decide just how much you want!
  • Use for condiment trays at buffets
  • Use older trays for soap making or making 'new' crayons for the kids from old broken ones
  • Great for making suet for birds
My goodness there is just no end to uses.  You can often find inexpensive trays and tins at dollar stores and discount stores to use for all the 'odd' things!  Look at thrift stores and yard sales - that is where I get most extras that I use.
I store my extra downstairs on top of the freezer - so I always know where to find them.

I love using things in new ways.  Making perfectly portioned leftovers for another meal and having flavored cubes on hand is always nice.  Great storage for odd sized items.
Get creative and think outside the box!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

No Budget Busters Here - Eat Well

 I have been asked to maybe do a post for those who are alone or maybe just have two to feed now.  Well, I always had two - but always made lots of extra.  Hubs was a huge fan of leftovers.  That was always lunch, sometimes breakfast, and maybe dinner.  He wasn't picky.  I was so fortunate.
I went a long time just having a sandwich or a salad - no desire to cook.  Now I do cook and enjoy it.
I keep it simple and very frugal.  No busters here!!!!!!

Today will be a lot of pics and ideas of things to do that are tasty and frugal.  Ways of using leftovers in new ways.  ENJOY

French bread pizza (a favorite of mine).  Clearance and previously frozen bread and just added whatever I had on hand.  I love the crunch of the bread pizza
Another favorite.  GOULASH - Pasta, ground meat, tomato, cheese, onion (if you choose).  Serve alone or with a salad.  Such a basic and simple classic.    Can top with crushed chips or serve over corn chips or serve with garlic toast.

CHILI - top - over rice with sour cream and fresh tomatoes.  Bottom over hotdogs with chips and veggies.  I love chili over baked potatoes as well.  I make taco salad with it and even add to nachos.
Chili over corn bread waffles!
Sliders made with biscuits!  A small can (indiv. size) of beans all jazzed up
Biscuits with sausage gravy and a scrambled egg.  Breakfast is always an economical dinner.
Still extra biscuits were eaten with butter and jelly for a snack on a later date!
A very small pork loin with potatoes, carrots and a can of diced tomatoes.  Made in slow cooker.
Leftover pork and veggies with peas and seasoning and pasta added to make lo mein
Taco flavored meat with beans added and served over tator bites.  Kind of like nachos - tot-chos!!!
Added rice to leftover taco meat and beans - topped with corn chips and sour cream.
Fish stick soft tacos and chips.  Topped with slaw mix and ranch dressing.
Nice salad and a tuna patty (make like you would salmon).  Super healthy.
2 smoked sausage links, a tad bit of kraut (found in frig) and mashed potatoes
Leftover potatoes made into potato cakes  Made of meal of them and had some left to freeze
Roll-ups.  Add meat, cheese and veggies you want - dressing - roll it up and eat.  Can make with any type of filling - breakfast ones are great too.  Add scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon - whatever you want.

There you go.  A few ideas - to maybe help you decide on something different.  Easy cooking, low budget, tasty, and quick to prepare.  Doesn't get much better than that!!!!
Just  remember - you don't have to complicate things.  As long as you are full and the food tastes good - that is all that matters!!

I hope this gives someone an idea of something they can make for fun and new!!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Follow the Nudge

Somedays we are all put in a spot that we weren't expecting.  Somedays we all get a feeling to go, call, write, etc.  Some days we DON'T listen!  We all do it.  Those are called gentle nudges - and we need to listen.  If you don't listen - you may get a SMACK and then you have to listen.

I have mentioned that many times, I think about going out and about - then don't.  I don't listen to my inner self.  I do it here on the blog as well.  Some days I have a post all planned, and as I start typing, something different appears.  THAT is what I am 'supposed' to write.  I think I have been nudged to testify or message in a way someone needs to hear (and many say so).  
Our Supreme Being guides us - and we need to listen.

I mentioned last week I went out shopping one day.  I tried to talk myself out of it again, but gave in decided to go.  I planned on only Kroger and at the last minute also decided to go to Big Lots.  There were no cars in the lot, as it was pretty early and only a couple employees.  I did my shopping/looking and went to the checkout.  The cashier looked so sad - she had been crying.
I asked if she was OK, and she was hesitant.  We talked and talked.  Her Mom had recently passed due to cancer.  She was just broken hearted.  I shared my experiences, especially with Glen, and talked about how her Mom was no longer suffering and was in a beautiful place.  I asked her if I could pray with her - and we did.  Upon saying Amen - someone behind me said Amen as well.  I looked up in surprise (as no one had been there), and there was a smiling lady who said "I needed to see and hear this today".  She thanked us both!!!!!!
The cashier was feeling better, I felt good, and another stranger was aided as well.  WIN - WIN - WIN!
I had decided at the last minute to turn into BL's - or maybe I was guided there!

Saturday I got another chance.  At the house warming, my nephew in-laws Mom came.  I have only met her a handful of times over the years.  For a reason I didn't realize at the moment, I got up and went to sit with her and chat.  
She had a really bad stroke about 2 1/2 years ago (sadly runs in their family).  After much rehab, she moved into an assisted living apartment the end of last January (2020).  Covid hit and she could have no visitors, nor could they have resident events any more.  ALL alone and isolated.
She lost her husband 16 years ago and lived a pretty full life, until all this stuff happened.
She hadn't remembered/realized about Glen, and we sat and talked about losing a spouse.  She is lonely  and said no one she personally knows really understood.  Her kids and grands know somewhat - but she hadn't had someone close that had actually lost a spouse to talk with.  She really appreciated having someone who could TOTALLY sympathize. 
We talked and talked and we prayed.  It helped us both.

SO when you get the nudge  to call, write, visit, chat, etc.  DO IT!  You have no idea what it may mean to someone - even a stranger.
God works in mysterious ways - and I DO believe He guides us where we need to be.  We just need to pay attention.
So make that call, or visit that place, or help that stranger, or listen instead of talking, or be a kind neighbor.........  It could mean everything to someone.  
Trust me - you will benefit as well.

Blessings to you all.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 3/14

 Well happy Sunday to all.  Hope you are all well and doing good.
Doing well here.  Spring is for sure in the air in my part of the world.  I have daffodils and lillies and hyacinths peeking their green heads out about 4". 
I saw the first Robin, brown headed cowbird, and red winged black birds of the season all on Monday.  Robins are now every where.  I have birdies nesting in the overhang on the front porch.  Yep, spring is closing in!!!
Heck I have even seen flies and a stink bug already!

Took this picture through the window the other day. Momma cat, squirrel and Blackie (you can't see him to the right) were all enjoying the warmth and sun on the front porch together!  So cute how the co-exist!

My week:
  • Paid all the bills and balanced the checkbook
  • Did a root touch up on my hair
  • Started working on spring cleaning - did a lot in the kitchen.  Cleaned out under the sink base - UGH - it becomes a catch all.  Polished the cabinets.  Fixed the leak in frig.  Started cleaning out other drawers
  • Got outside on nice days and worked on the big flower garden in back, up against the house.  Just pulling out the dead stuff I didn't get to last fall.
  • Made up a new jug of OJ from concentrate
  • Set up date for this week to get taxes done
  • Cooked up an entire package of bacon
  • We had an exceptionally windy day this week and trash galore was blowing all around.  I went out and picked up a big bag of trash from my yard, the neighbor's front, the alley and the front sidewalk.  Grrrr - wish people would take care of their trash properly!!!!
  • Scoured all the water bowls and birdbaths
  • I did go out one day.  I stopped at Big Lots - didn't find what I was looking for - but I did get 4 gifts at 90% off!!  WOOHOO!  I got 2 scarf wraps - each cost me 1.50!  2 Sherpa pullover tops - each for 1.80!  YAY
          These are just really neat - great replacement for a jacket on a chilly night.
                                              These are the fuzziest and softest tops!
  • I then ran 2 blocks up the road to Kroger.  I got salad veggies and 2 heads of cabbage (will last me a long while).  I did find some markdowns there as well.  Bread, bagels, 3 jars of peanut butter and yummy jelly filled donuts!
       2 jars are Jiff and the 1.19 jar is Kroger honey blended peanut butter.  YUM
  • I went to a house warming event for my great niece yesterday.  Her and her hubs bought their first home and they had a nice little event.  They have a HUGE back yard - which will be great for the dogs and their son - even a creek running through it and a tree climbing tree!
  • Just doing all the normal stuff.  Nothing much exciting happening here!
  • Got to open windows and doors several days and air the house.  That has been nice
Meals this past week:
Tamales and a salad
Fish sticks, tator rounds and side salad
Pizza (from what I froze last week)
Cheesy broccoli rice and salad
Bacon, egg, cheese soft 'tacos'
Can of Beef-a-roni  - and some goodies at the house warming 

Snacked on cheese/crackers, oranges, donuts

How was your week?  Is spring or fall staring to appear in your area?  We have so many from both hemispheres - it is neat to hear what is going on.   Did you get any frugal deals this week?
Have you started any garden seeds/plants yet?  None here - still a bit early.
I truly love hearing from you all - we have so many new folks commenting lately and I love it!!

I pray for health and healing for all.  May you and your families all be safe.  
Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours.

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a man who is perverse in speech, and is a fool.
It is not good for a man to be without knowledge, and he who makes haste with his feet misses his way.
Proverbs 19:1-2

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Using Less

 Those who know me or have been here a while know this is the story of my life!!!  LOL
I have always been about using less.  It truly isn't always about saving money - it is just a way of life.  I don't need excess of anything and some things  just aren't that good for you or the environment.
Using less doesn't hurt anything (unless it is medication).

What do I use less off?
  • Electricity - very seldom (if ever) do I have more than one light on at a time.  I may use a light in the room that I am in - but odds are the TV gives enough light.  With daylight hours getting longer, I doubt that I will light a lamp for months.  I also have a couple battery operated candles, solar lights, and candles - if I need extra light
  • When making OJ from concentrate - it says mix w/3 cans of water.  I use 4.  I don't notice a difference and I get a quarter more
  • Meat - if a recipe calls for a pound - I use 1/2 pound.  Meat doesn't have to be used in abundance.  I can add more pasta, beans, rice, veggies, or cheese to fill in a recipe.  Some days are NO meat.
  • Shampoo - I always mix water with shampoo.  I watched a top notch pro years ago, who said no matter the shampoo (even high end) it is too detergent for hair.  I mix 1/3 bottle shampoo to 2/3 of hot water.  Give it a day to 'melt' together and just shake a little before use.  I get tons of suds using it this way
  • Fabric softener - IF I use fabric softener sheets I cut them into thirds.  They work fine and so much less residue left on clothes and drier and vent.  Usually I use a splash of vinegar in rinse water
  • Bleach - rarely use.  I have powdered bleach I keep on hand (Dollar Tree), but instead of bleach I use peroxide for whiting laundry.  It is natural and works
  • Sugar - when making tea or Kool-Aid I use a little less sugar than called for (sweetener).  My drinks are generally just as sweet by reducing by a 1/4 cup.  I often do the same in baking - it hasn't caused a problem yet
  • Paper towels - I keep on hand strictly for cleaning up cat yack when that happens.  Other times I use old washcloths, micro fiber, or rags.  Old socks work great for dusting - place over your hand and go to town
  • Laundry detergent - dish soap.  I use way less laundry detergent than called for.  My clothes never get that dirty, so I don't need a lot of detergent.  I always add water to the bottom of a bottle and swish and get at least 2 more loads.  Dish soap - I do the same as I do with shampoo.  1/3 soap and 2/3 water - with a splash of vinegar added (helps cut grease).  SUDS is not what cleans - hot water does the most good
  • Toothpaste - I use a pea size glob on my toothbrush and that is plenty to do the job.  A couple times a week I mix baking soda and peroxide together in a paste for whitening instead of toothpaste.  
  • Plastic baggies - I wash and re-use as often as possible.  I do that with both zip lock and vacuum seal bags.  I have even been known to wash icky ones in with the kitchen towels (hot water) and peroxide
  • Water - I tend to catch water in jugs when waiting for it to heat up.  I use it for plants and pets or storage for flushing in an emergency.  I have rain barrels for nature's water for the flowers and garden in summer
  • Food - eat less and be healthier!  I have been trying to eat less to lose a few pounds.  I eat one real meal in the late afternoon - so it has time to break down before bed.  No snacks after 6PM.  Three meals a day is a habit.  It isn't necessary
  • Laundry - I don't always wash clothes after one use.  My outer clothes generally don't get dirty (unless working in yard), so I wear them more than once before laundering.  It also makes the clothing last longer and I always wash clothes inside out!!!!!  No pills, no pulls, no lint - yet clean.  I also most always use the QUICK cycle - less water and electricity used and clothes are still clean,
  • Hair dye - I have short hair - so don't need to waste an entire box.  I get the kind where you mix 2 different components together.  Each bottle is the same amount per ounces.  I have kept an old mix bottle and measure out exact amounts of both ingredients and mix (I use an old shot glass to measure).  I can easily get 3 dye jobs out of one mix - more is just touching up roots.
  • HVAC - I open windows as often as possible for fresh air, open blinds for sun/heat during daytime in winter, wear more layers if cold  or lighter clothes in summer.  I use ceiling fans all year
  • Milk - I usually get whole or 2% milk.  When making a recipe or adding milk to something - I always mix water with milk.  2/3 or 3/4 cup milk with balance being water = a cup of 1% or so.  I drink it as it comes from the bottle - but always add water for cooking/baking.
  • Kleenex - haven't bought in years.  I use hankies.  I know some people think it is gross to have to wash them - but think about it - you wash your undies and use again!!!!!  Just think where they have been!!!!  LOL.  If I happen to have a bad cold or allergy symptoms - I might use some TP - just because I can flush.
  • Chemicals - I try to make as many cleaning items as possible.  I use peroxide, baking soda, water, vinegar and orange cleaner (from citrus peels) and blue Dawn.  I make a blend of marigold and mint to spray in the greenhouse and on cat beds to ward off fleas in summer. (Cats lay in the mint a lot in summer).  I make lip balm for daily use - mix together coconut oil and crumbs from an old lipstick (just for color).  Mix together - use a lip brush or Q-tip to apply.  Coconut oil is great on chapped hands and feet.
  • Money - I always look for deals.  Clearance, manager mark downs, sales, coupon deals, yard sales and thrift - even trash pick at times.  My biggest save with MONEY - is talking myself out of leaving the house.  Most times I am just going to be going - I can usually always get by with what I have!

I hope this gives you an idea of some ways to use less and still live great.  If you can stretch items out - well not only do you save money, you shop less, you help the environment and you will be just as clean, healthy and happy as ever!!!!!

What do you use less of that no one ever notices!

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Problem Solving 101 at my house

 We all have those weeks - when things just don't go as planned.  Those who are living alone for the first time realize how much dependence was put on another opinion!  I used to always ask hubs for advice or "how to" do something.  Now I have to figure it out - as most often I am not going to bother someone else.  It sure is exasperating at times.

This week I have done some small problem solving.  Nothing big at all - but just using the old noggin!  

I mentioned a while back my frig was leaking - and I got to looking underneath and boy did it need cleaned under there.  Well, that stopped it and now it was leaking again (just a little).  Hmmm - looked and not dirty yet.  So I decided to trouble shoot online and see what I could find.  Found the exact problem in the exact spot as mine and the answer!!
It appears that the defrost fan line of the freezer was likely blocked and frozen up.  WHY?  It didn't have the air flow it should have had.  If you look inside the freezer you will see where the fan is and then look in the frig (inside & on back) and you will see the continuation of it.  They both need to be clear of items!  Mine were both packed solid with stuff right up and over.
                                This is vent/fan in freezer - it needs to be clear of items
Mine was packed up against this - so I moved items and left the area open, as well as directly below in the frig.  Nothing blocking.  It took a couple days for the blockage to melt - but now all is clear and there is no more leaking!!!  Makes a lot of sense really.  Never block a fan!  
The leakage happens because the tube that runs to drip pan underneath is frozen do to not having proper air flow - so water is diverted (according to online - always the front right side - when looking at frig).  I could have tried a hair drier - but wasn't that brave, beside the tube is way at the back & underneath.
Sometimes trouble shooting on the computer sure does come in handy.  Saved me a big expense (at least for now).

My current glasses have driven me crazy since I bought them. I have never had so much trouble with a pair of glasses in my life.   I have adjusted and re-adjusted.  Regardless of what I did - every time I bent over, they wanted to fall off.  Well, that is sure annoying!!!  The other day it hit me - they needed some kind of non-skid stop on the ear pieces.
I happened to remember I had a pack of tiny rubber bands that I have had for ages (I think for crafts).  I got one out and wrapped it around the ear piece about 3-4 times.  You can't see it, as my hair covers it.  I did that to both sides and BOOM it worked.  No more slippage.  I can lean over and bob my head and no more slipping!!!
I got the bands (a pack of 500) for a $1 so needless to say a cheap fix!!!!!
                                                      Tiny rubber bands.  Tiny but mighty!

Working in the kitchen cleaning the other day I decided the cabinets needed a good polishing.  That led to cleaning out under the sink to find the polish!!!     You know how it goes - one thing leads to another.  Well, I was out of my normal cabinet polish.  CRUD!!  BUT, I had other stuff and got creative.  I always have Old English on hand - light and dark.  Light colored, I have bottles and bottles of - I was given a bunch many years back.  Dark is hard to come by around here now days.  For my cabinets the  light is too light and dark is too dark - so I mixed them!  Just a little of the dark oil added to the light worked perfectly.  Now I have cabinet polish to use for a long time!!!!!
                          Have loved this stuff for eons!  Sure covers up blemishes on wood.
They still look pretty darn great for being over 33 years old.  They just get better with age.

Another thing I have in the planning is, prettifying my outdoor flower pots.  I went out to the shed looking around the other and I have 3 or 4 new ones to use in storage.  Pretty colors.  I love pots with color.  Most of mine have been used for several years now and have totally faded.
Not being one to just go out and buy a bunch of new ones (these work fine) - I had a brain storm!!!!
PAINT.  I have lots of partial cans of Krylon spray paint that can be used on plastic.  I decided once it warms more and before I plant the pots - I am going to do a tie dye effect on them.  Yep, I will use different colors and swirl and blotch it to look like tie dye.  I think it will be cool looking.  NO ONE will have pots like mine!!!!!!  I like different and original - so that is my plan.  I can't wait to do it and take pictures to show you.  Wish me luck!

I have one more problem I am currently working - and before I brag - I want to see how it works out.
"It's always something" as Rosana Rosana Dana used to say!!!  LOL

Some days we all just get so frustrated and tested.  It can knock you down if you let it.
Breathe - take a moment to clear your head - then research and think outside the box a little.  Get a little creative.  If there is a will - there is a way -  hopefully without spending a fortune.
Happy problem solving!!