Thursday, June 30, 2022


 Yes indeed, it is zucchini time again.  Zucchini has to be the most versatile veggie on the planet!!!  I know many people who say, I don't like them.  WHAT?  Have you even tried them?  They take on the flavor on whatever you are cooking it with - so if it has no taste - you aren't mixing it up enough!!!!

When my hubs was alive, he called me the Bubba Gump of zucchini!!!  LOL.  I can fix a zucchini just about any way one can think.  I love them, and when they are producing, I eat them many times a week in some form or another.

Here we go!
You can add grated zucchini to waffles or pancakes for extra vitamins
Add grated to meatloaf or burgers
It is wonderful in spaghetti sauce.
They are great sliced and grilled

Make them into pickles and relish
Add to sweet breads and muffins
I have sliced and added to jalapeno juice in the frig and after a couple weeks they taste like jalapenos
Turn them into faux pineapple - YEP
It is actually pretty darn tasty.  CLICK on picture to enlarge to read

Dehydrate - I have made chips from them - which are a healthy snack.
Dehydrate grated zucchini for baking - 1/2 C dried zucchini = 2 C fresh.  Place dry zucchini in 1 cup of warm water for about a half hour and you are ready to go.  Good to add to soups and stews as well.
You can also dehydrate and then grind (puree/blend) into a flour.  Replace some of the flour you use in baking with zucchini flour.  Healthy and makes your flour go a bit further!

I love, love, love fried zucchini.  Like fried green tomatoes.  It is probably a summer favorite.  Right up there with BLT's!

Zoodles are yummy with spaghetti sauce or alfredo sauce.  Cut slices the length of zucchini and use in place of lasagna noodles. (I use a mandolin for that).

Another favorite are zucchini boats
You can load them with anything.  Fix like you would stuffed peppers or use pizza fixings on tops.  I make a version with cream cheese, jalapenos and cheddar cheese - that taste like poppers.  There is no limit to how you can fix these.  Bake or grill.

Cut up like you would cucumbers - and make a zucchini, tomato and onion salad topped with your favorite vinaigrette or Italian dressing.   You can add any kind of veggies you want with them.  Such a refreshing salad.

An easy appetizer or just a great lunch or side is pizza bites.  Super easy and can even be done on the grill.  Healthier too!
I have made mashed zucchini (squash) a few times as well.  Cook zucchini in chunks (peeled) and /or yellow squash in a little both until very tender.  Then mash and add a bit of parmesan  cheese.  Oh my goodness, that is tasty.

I make a zucchini skillet dinner that my mom made a lot when I was younger.  I do a couple versions.  Both are very similar, one uses fresh sliced tomatoes on top and the other just has tomatoes mixed in.
I made it this week with my first zucchini!
This made 2 good meals for me - that is a small cast iron pan.  2 sausage patties, fried and broken up.  1 small zucchini sliced.  1/2 pint of my homemade tomato sauce and a dab of salsa left in a jar.  I added 1/2 cup of uncooked rice, and a little onion.  Let it all simmer until rice is done and top with cheese.
This was G's absolute favorite way to have zucchini.
Love a cream of soup.  This is great in the fall using some of the zucchini you have frozen from the summer.  CLICK on pic to enlarge.

These are my favorite zucchini fritters.  CLICK on pic to enlarge

I know - I could go on and on.  Such a lovely gift God gave in this veggie.  It can 'become' just about anything at all!  
I have even made a 'mock' apple pie - using zucchini instead of apple - and none of the men in the family that ate it had a clue.  They all asked for seconds!!!

So there is today's installment of Cheryl's Ways with Zucchini 101!!!!!!
If you have any questions or wonders - feel free to ask.
Do you have any super favorite meals or items you make with summer squash?

I find it totally amazing how much good food and versatility you can get from 1 zucchini seed that is planted.  Isn't God wonderful?

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Good Morning Sunshine!

 Hello all you lovely ladies (and guys if here)!  Nothing much to report this morning.  It is a beautiful morning - cool and sunny.  The heat is coming back and so will the humidity.  BUT at this moment it is beautiful!!  I hope your day is starting out lovely.

I have been out and fed the babies.  Windows are open and a nice breeze is coming through.  The squirrels are hilarious this morning - chasing each other like crazy.  Garden is growing, several small zucchini out there!!!!  Okra is starting to get blooms. There are hundreds of blooms on the cukes - but not a single cuke!  Everything else is pollinating, so I don't understand.
Oh well, I will get what I get, and I will love it!

I just want to say today - we all need to send out ripples of hope and joy to the world!  Positive vibes cause more positive!
That is so much better than waves of despair and stress.  Negativity begets more negativity.
Be the positive you want to see.

Take time today to stop for a moment and just SEE and LISTEN!! Look around at your house, your yard, your neighborhood.  Look at all you have and where you are.  There are so many beautiful things that surround us.  Sometimes we forget about just the simplest and most common things.

From the sound of the birds to the blue skies.  
Food for your table to family and friends.
Watching a bee flitting around pollinating to pretty little flowers.
The sound of laughter to watching wildlife.
The smell of fresh air to technology that makes parts of life easier.
A few garden plants to the living in relative peace.

Life is good.  Say hello to a stranger.  Give a helping hand.  Be kind to others - you may be the ONLY sunshine they see today.  It could change their lives!  Never underestimate what a difference a small act can have.
Spread the positive!!!!

Have a fantastic day and be blessed in every way!

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Thoughts, Tips and Tricks

 Happy Tuesday!  It sure is a perfect morning here.  In the 60's and sunny, nice breeze - YAY!  It won't last long, as it gets warmer again tomorrow.  Hey, I am grateful for those perfect days, even though they are far between during the summer!

Today is just a bit of this and that!

Keep honey at room temperature, not in the frig.  IF it crystallizes (normal) place the container is warm (not scalding) water until the crystals dissolve.  Never use boiling water - as you will kill all the wonderful goodies in the honey.  Honey is one food item that really never goes bad.  It has been found in ancient tombs and is still viable.

Fruit - it is always something we should have on hand.  Fresh is not always available - so think about canned in natural juices or frozen.  Try and keep some types of dried fruits on hand as well.  There are so many used for it.  Add to salads for color and flavor.  Add to cereals or to muffins and breads.  Good for just plain old snack eating!

Baking soda - works great as scrubs.   Helps dissolve dirt and grime, softens water, cleans drains, helps remove odors.  Shoot, you can even use to brush your teeth.
Liquid Soap - Can clean almost anything.  I love my blue Dawn!  Great for removing stains and grease
Vinegar or lemon juice - works to remove water deposits on glassware - cleans windows.  Helps remove tarnish and rust stains.  Great for a fabric softener.  Lemon juice can be used for help with whitening or to remove stains.
Club soda - Is good for cleaning glass surfaces.  Helps chrome shine.  A great stain remover on clothes on rugs and furniture
Peroxide - makes a great whitening agent (I use instead of bleach).  Is great to have on hand for minor abrasions, cuts, or bites.  I also mix with water and use as a mouth rinse for cold sores or a sore throat (never swallow).

Fix leaks at faucets - it is costing you money and wasting water
Turn off lights when not needed
Buy products with minimal or no packaging that must be thrown away
Use those re-usable grocery bags - no waste or trash
Buy local and from local vendors/famers when possible
Use and buy natural, non-toxic products whenever possible

14 crackers = about 1/2 cup finely crushed
Spaghetti - 8 oz. uncooked = about 4 cups cooked
Rice, quick cooking 1 cup uncooked = 2 cups cooked
Rice, long grained - 1 cup = about 3 cups cooked
Macaroni - 1 cup (3 1/2 oz.) uncooked = about 2 1/2 cups cooked
Cottage cheese, 1 lb. = about 2 cups
Shredded cheese - 4 oz. = 1 cup
Cream cheese - 8 oz. = 16 Tablespoons
Cream, whipping - 1 cup = 2 cups, whipped

Don't disregard old publications and cookbooks.  They have many, many great ideas and tips.  Many times you can get a bag of these at thrift stores or yard sales for pennies.  The ones in picture, were my moms, from the 50's and 60's.  There are a lot of older ideas that work wonderfully - so many people have forgotten a lot of the older ways - they can be the best.  They may be older - but the become new again, when you start using and sharing the tips within!!!!!

Goals are dreams and wishes that could come true!   Never stop having and setting goals - no matter what you age.

IF you want to be an effective manager of your life and finances - know where you are headed.  Know how you intend to get there.  And have a goal of when you might get there. 
We need to have plans when it comes to finances.  So many people just fly through life and have no goals - it always amazes me that they CAN survive.  Be mindful of you spending, your bills and your savings.  Plan ahead and hopefully, your future will be bright.  You should be able to get by in an emergency (emergency funds) and you should be able to live a little more comfortably.
ALWAYS be a good steward of what you have - money and things.

PLEASE remember - if you see your investments and gains are going down due to the stock market - DO NOT PANIC!  You DO lose when you withdraw funds.  If you make haste and start withdrawing funds (remember the great bank crash) - yes, you lose money.  If at all possible - leave things alone and wait for the market to rebound.  I have 'lost' and gained dozens and dozens of times.  Just DON'T panic!

The world today is somewhat chaotic.  Don't jump onboard with all the craziness.  Stay calm and keep going forward.  Slow and steady!!!!!   Sure, you can plan for the worst - but always hope for the best.  Keep saving and filling your pantries - for those days that may be harder than today.  Watch you purchases and try to get the best deals you can.  Save for emergencies and for the future.
Keep your hearts and minds kind and grateful.  Be spiritual in the best way you can - each person sees spiritual awareness differently.

Keep learning and growing.
LOVE one another!

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/26

 Happy Sunday all.  My goodness, here we are at the end of another month!  How does that happen so quickly???  LOL
In a few short days the year will be officially half-way over!

We had a few days of a little cooler weather - cooler than mid 90's! I got to have the AC off for a good while for 2 or 3 days.  This next week is to be a little cooler as well and not so humid.  We did get a few showers overnight (not much to speak of), but at this point we will take it.  First showers in about 2 weeks.   Gee - we had so much rain earlier in the year and now none.

The grass is going dormant - so no mowing needed for now.  My allergies are raging!  Sneezing and itchy eyes are daily.
All my flowers are starting to bloom again.  Not only all the lilies, but I have phlox, coreopsis and echinacea all starting to bloom as well.
It has been pretty quiet around here this week.  I have not had a lot of oomph this week for some reason.  Did some stuff - but took a few naps as well!

My week:
  • As you can see I picked bouquets - 2X
  • Been using water from rain barrels and have had to use the soaker as well
  • I picked my first zucchini!!!!  My first real harvest WOOHOO
                                                         Laying on a legal-size envelope!
  • I have been having trouble with the cable box in bedroom - figured I was going to have to replace.  It has been slow and disruptive for a while and the other night it froze.  In desperation I cut off the electrical to it - and rebooted the entire thing.  Works perfectly now.
  • Got to have windows open some
  • I raked!!!!!  Yeppers.  It is that time of the year that the leaves start to fall from the tulip polar.  UGH - such a pain in the middle of summer.
  • Been going through more stuff around the house and trying to de-clutter.  I came across a very small hand-held video recorder that I bought years ago.  Forgot all about it.  Been working with it - and I think I have figured it out.  MAYBE a video for blog now and then!!  (think kitties or birds, squirrels)
  • Just cleaning in general
  • I started cutting pieces for a baby boy blankie for a new one on the way
  • Using what I have and using all leftovers in new ways
  • I did make a run to Kroger.  Got milk 1.27/half gal. (2), 2 lb. strawberries for 2.49, a (yummy) cantaloupe for 2.99, got stock of trash bags and sweetener to last for about a year and of course more cat food
Meals this past week:
Chili/cheese dip over pasta
Dirty rice/summer sausage and lima beans
Burritos (using leftover dirty rice)
Charcuterie board of goodies
Meatloaf burgers (used leftover dirty rice in them)
Fish and fries
Cheeseburger rice skillet
SNACKS - fruit

                                         My version of charcuterie - served with crackers & dip
Jalapeno summer sausage, cheese slices, radish, peppers, tomatoes, olives and pickles all with crackers

How was your week?  Did you get much accomplished?  OR were you out of oomph like me!!?
How are your gardens growing?  Any deals?
I hope you are all well and healthy.  

Prayers that you have a fantastic and accomplished week ahead.  Stay cool!  
Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours!

Lord, we graciously ask that You help us through our storms and trials in life.  We place our trust and faith that You are with us every moment of every day, and that no matter what we face You will be with us. Amen

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.....
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Thursday, June 23, 2022

We CAN All be More Self-Sufficient

 Yes, we can!  I know - I hear all the same excuses all the time.  I live in the city.  I live in an apartment.  I don't have a yard.  I can't garden.  Those things may all be true - but it doesn't mean that you can't be more self-sufficient.  You don't need to have a cow or a goat.  You don't have to have a farm.  You don't even have to can.  It can be a lot of little things that gives you some freedoms from relying on the system.

Learn how to cook from scratch and using natural ingredients
Learn to sew (some) - at least enough to mend or hand sew
Lew to make your own mixes for things - instead of buying packaged
Learn to do general home maintenance
Learn how to look after your vehicle - check oil and fluids, air pressure, etc.

Plant something!!!!  You don't have to have a big garden.  Learn to plant things in pots - lettuce, a tomato or pepper plant, herbs, etc.

Preserve something!  You don't have to can if you have no desire.  You can dehydrate things or you can freeze items.  Put as many fresh items as possible back for later in the year.

Stock those pantries and those freezers.  This is very important, especially today.  Prices continue to rise and shortages continue to happen.  Get what you can as cheaply as you can - and be stocked for the future or harder times.  You must take care of yourself and your family!!!!

Conserve as much as possible.  Use less water, less electricity, less power of all sorts.  It saves you money and it saves the environment.

Re-use and recycle everything you possibly can.  Old worn clothes can become rags or use in quilts.
Decent clothes can be remade into new clothes
Old towels - cut into wash cloths or use as rags
AN old comforter can be used as the 'batting' for a handmade quilt.  It can also be used for warmth.  No matter how it looks - it may help keep you warm at some point!!!!!  (I never get rid of bedding)
Leftovers - make something new or use for lunches
Old pallets - use the wood for planters or other craft projects.
See where I am going?  You can find ways to re-use or recycle all kinds of things.  It keeps things out of the landfill and it saves a lot of money.

Please try and have an emergency fund!!!!  Just because!   You never know.  I not only advise have an emergency fund at the bank - but I advise having CASH on hand at home.  You may need cash in an emergency situation.  ALWAYS keep some cash on hand.  Hide it in a place no one would look (don't forget where!) and just be prepared.

Learn to barter and to forage.  I know people who say they can't do that either because of where they live.  You CAN!  Maybe you can bake something for someone for something you need.  You can mow for someone for an oil change.  Share a lawnmower or yard equipment.
Know your 'weeds'.  Many are very edible.  Look for fruit or nut trees on empty lots.  You can even trash pick (shop).  Many people throw away perfectly good items - you may just need that item!

There are just so many things you can do to be self-efficient.  Each thing counts.  The more you can do for yourself, the better off you will be.

Here is an easy recipe to try - no need to have beer.  You can use soda pop or carbonated water.  It doesn't get much easier than that - and you have no need to make a special store run for bread.  Make it and enjoy it.

Let's get ourselves in a good spot.  The less we need to depend on others the better off we will be.  Someday it may be necessary!  Start preparing now and learning.
We got this!!!!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Savings at the Grocery Store

 We all still need the stores to get many things we use.  Inflation has caused increased prices on a lot of things, and we need to be mindful of what we spend and how we use items.  Just a few ideas of ways to save a little here and there.  I know many are reminders - maybe a new idea or two.

*Don't be in a hurry when shopping - look around and find the deals
*Don't go shopping when hungry!!!!!  Very important
*Be willing to try store brands and other different brands.  Many store brands are made in the same factories as brand names!
*Make a LIST - take it with you!!!!!!
* Pick-up the refrigerated items and frozen LAST when shopping.  
* Take a cooler or insulated bag for your cold items.  The colder you can keep them until you get home, the better.  No need to let things get warm
*Watch the register as items are being rang up.  IF you can't do that - check your receipt before leaving the store.  Make sure your coupons and discounts were recorded and you weren't over charged.
*Remember most canned good veggies and fruits are processed at their peak and immediately packed.  You can get no or low salt if desired.  Most veggies are just veggie and water.  Canned goods have a great shelf life
*Also remember most frozen veggies and fruits are flash frozen right after harvest and are pretty darn fresh.  IF you can't get fresh - this is a great substitute.
* When you find a great sale - stock up with as much as possible.  Many sales happen every 6 - 9 weeks.  Get AT LEAST enough to last for that period of time
*Remember to check ethnic markets.  You can get so many items much cheaper at them
*Keep lots of seasonings on hand - you can season up and make tasty even the blandest of food
*Buy cheaper cuts of meat (a challenge today) and use in a slow cooker with seasonings - even the cheapest cuts can be made tasty and tender
*Check the clearance aisle - Many items can be had for much less than the main aisles - same stuff.  Check day old breads/bakery, mark-down meats, produce, and always be on the lookout for "Manager's Special" signs on cheaper prices
*Choose carefully - if buying convenience foods!  THINK - is it worth much higher dollars spent to buy it.  Cut your own, chop your own, buy whole - do it YOURSELF and save!
*Plan at least one meatless meal a week
*Bigger isn't always better!  Check UNIT PRICES - just buying the biggest package doesn't guarantee you get the best price.
*Learn to make your own snacks - that is just empty calories that you are spending money on
*Buying in BULK - isn't just for big families today.  Buy things you use a lot in bulk and repackage at home.  Store or freeze and you save dollars in the future.  Maybe even check with family or friends and split.
*Know how to substitute ingredients in case you can't find what you want - have a little fun with it!
*ALWAYS PLAN YOUR TRIPS - gas is expensive.  Make your trip worthwhile.  Do as many errands as possible in one trip!

YES, inflation has hit.  YES, things are more expensive.  But we are still eating and still going and still hanging in there.  We may have to re-think some things, and do some things differently - but that is OK.  Different isn't necessarily bad.  It can be a learning experience - and it is more fun when you look at it that way.
We are beyond blessed.  NEVER forget that.

Do you have any special tricks or tips that you would like to share?  
We all need to do what we can to be good stewards of our funds and our food.


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Green Things and "Grow"ceries

 Happy Summer!!!!  It is official in the northern hemisphere.  Coming in hot here today.  Still feels pretty decent out so far this AM, but it will be getting hot later on.

So today I am wondering, when was the last time you thanked a green plant?  LOL
Plants are so much more than just plants.  They give us shade, they give us beauty, they give us food, and they give nature shelter.
We all know they help put oxygen back into the atmosphere.  They turn carbon dioxide into oxygen.
They help control erosion.
They help control temperature.  Walk in the woods and it is cooler.  Shade your home and it is cooler.
They help build topsoil.  As they die and rot, they turn back into earth - which in turn makes it better for plants.
They make people happier when looking at them.  Yes, looking at plants and vegetation tends to lift our moods.
There are so many things we just don't give plants credit for.  They do so much good for the earth.
So they next time you walk outside and look around at all the pretty plants - say "thank you".

"Grow"ceries - is what I am now calling garden!!!!!!  Oh, things are sure popping up and out.  I love it.  How wonderful is it to be able to walk out in your yard or to your deck and pick fresh, nutritious and lovely "grow"ceries!!!!!!!  It is fantastic.
There is nothing you can buy at a grocery store that can compare.  Yes, we can buy fresh and nutritious from farm markets and roadside stands - but it still won't be as fresh as your backyard!!!

The grapes are hanging thick!  The entire arbor looks like this.  Hopefully this dry weather will not hurt them.  I will be doing a couple of water soakings here soon.
Opal (purple) basil.  I have already started cutting and drying this.  It comes back every year and spreads.  Super flavorful.
Cherry tomatoes are setting!  I have all the plants blossoming and getting little fruit. 
I looked this morning and there is a zucchini about 3" long!!!!!  Tons of blooms.  The cucumbers are growing and blooming like crazy.
Rhubarb is doing great.  Raspberries - meh, they never do very good.  They always look like they will - then I get disappointed.
I have thyme growing.  There is purslane - yes, I do use it.  Many think it is a weed, and I guess it is.  But it is great when added to salads.  Kind of a peppery taste.
I have mint, lemon balm and chives - oh my!
Pepper plants have peppers and the okra is growing leaps and bounds.
Yep, lots of "grow"ceries in the near future.

Even the pretty flowers are useful.  This is what I call mallow - and it is perennial and spreads.  I have tons coming up (many call it a weed).  I love the pretty little flowers.  It can be used in many ways.  There are medicinal uses and it can just be eaten.  Nothing about it is poison.
The flowers and young leaves can be added to salads.  You can also cook the leaves and you get the same "thickening" with it that you get with okra - so it would be a nice thickening agent for soups or stews.
Pretty and tasty.  That is pretty neat!

Nature can sure be a wonderful thing.  I tell you, if I got SUPER hungry - I have tons of pigeons in the area as well.  No plans on that - and I would have to be real hungry - but there is always something out there to feed us.  I could never harm a squirrel - I know many love it - but they are more like pets to me.  But squab would be  plentiful!!!!!!!!  LOL
I know many of the critters being relocated in the yards would be a food source to many.  People have been known to eat about anything that can provide protein.
I guess we just never know what we would do, if very, very hungry.

For now, I will be happy with the garden and herbs.  I can't wait to be able to go out an pick and come in and eat the labors of love and all that freshness.  I am hoping to plant a fall crop of lettuce - it is just too hot right now.
How do your "grow"ceries grow????
Love hearing about what everyone is growing and harvesting.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/19

 Happy Sunday everyone!!!!  I hope this finds you well and safe and somewhat cool!!!!!
Yesterday was beautiful here, and today will be as well.  Yesterday there was not a cloud in the sky - just beautiful blue.  Temperature stayed in the 70's and we had a lovely breeze.  It was glorious.  I was outside almost all day long!!!   Today much the same - then the heat comes back.
Looks as if the whole week will be 90 and over.  UGH!  No rain to speak of either.  This is sure the part of summer I don't appreciate!
Last week was hot as well!

On the critter front - my neighbor caught and relocated 4 groundhogs and 2 opossums in last week!  There are still more out there.  My goodness there are has been so many this year.
My little Fluffer Butter has decided NOW she wants to eat 'regular' canned food!  After mommy got her lots of the gravies she liked!!!!!  LOL.  Stinker - I guess I am supplied with gravy in case it may be  needed or for a treat.  

Everything is really growing.  Lots of blooms and tiny little veggies are starting.  Grapes are just loaded.  The flowers are going nuts.  Lilies, lilies and more lilies!!!!!!!!
It is really pretty today - many more have opened.  There are just hundreds of buds on the lilies.

This past week:
  • I did run to feed store for corn and thistle seed on Monday.  
  • Dropped off a huge donation to the mission thrift store
  • I went through a bunch of Bi-pap supplies I found in closet.  Hubs used a machine and always had tons of supplies on hand.  He even kept used hoses and such.  I threw away the used stuff and planned on donating the rest.  *May keep it - it may be worth gold at some point.  Some family use machines and who knows if supplies will dwindle.  I will keep some for now.
  • I actually turned the AC 'up' on the hottest days to use less energy.  The house still felt cool enough, as the humidity was taken out of the air
  • Made a gallon of lemonade - so refreshing
  • Washed the inside of windows and all mirrors
  • Cleaned all the wood floors
  • Used rainwater when watering all the potted plants
  • Got the hose out back all hooked up to the soaker hose in garden - it will be needed in the next week!
  • Used dehumidifier (portable in basement) water in laundry
  • Got the entire yard mowed and trimmed on Saturday - it looks so pretty and neat!!!!
  • Played like Morticia and deadheaded all the roses off the 3 climbing bushes!!  LOL.
  • No grocery store this week 
  • Cut and drying basil from the yard
  • Did a big house cleaning - lots of vacuuming and dusting.  Still working on de-cluttering
  • AC off and windows open yesterday and today - airing house.  Enjoying it while I can!
Meals this past week:
Fried smashed potato topped with cheese and bacon
Cream cheese/veggie/ham roll-ups (on tortillas)
Tuna salad sandwich and chips
Corn/shredded carrot fritters and leftover taco meat
Fried hominy/peppers and chopped steak
Warm chili/cheese dip and crusty Italian bread

Fritters - a can (drained) corn, 2 eggs, 1/2 C flour (I used baking mix instead), and seasoning.  Drop on lightly oiled pan or griddle and fry until golden each side.  This made 6 - ate 3 and froze 3.  EASY!

I think I may be able to get a lot done inside this week - as it will be so hot outside.  Maybe more de-cluttering, maybe some painting - we will see!  I will still be outside every day - watering and checking on and feeding the babies.
What have you been doing this week?  How are those gardens doing?  Give us a shout and let us know how you are and what you have been up to.

I pray you are all well and safe.  Wishing you a wonderful week.  Stay cool.
Blessings to you and yours from my humble little home.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Lord, we ask Your help in staying positive in attitude and humble in life - that we may live our best lives for You and others.  We give thanks to You for Your love and protecting embrace.  AMEN

Thursday, June 16, 2022

This, That and the Other

 One of those days.  For some reason, I always think Thursday is Friday!  I get so confused at the end of every week!  LOL
Just one of those odd and end days.  It is still hot - though not QUITE as hot today.  Next week looks to be worse.  UGH!  Been working inside a lot.  Go out to feed the babies and make sure there is plenty of fresh clean water for all the animals - water plants if needed - that's it.

This morning while I was out feeding (6:30AM), I closed my eyes and just listened.  So many different birds could be heard, I heard squirrel chatter and even hear the leaves rustling in the breeze.  There was this totally lovely breeze - it almost felt cool, considering.  Sure there was traffic noise in the background, but I concentrated on nature and it was lovely.  I said my morning affirmations, petted my kitties and surveyed the garden.  Life is good!

This is so true.  We are all bombarded with the noise of life - it isn't all good.  We hear the news, we see the posts, we hear the conspiracies, we are just overwhelmed with NOISE!  YOU know in your heart what is good and what is right.  Quit listening to the yammer - and start listening to your head and heart.
Life is short - why spend it worrying?  
Do what you need to do, spend only what you can afford, and be kind.  That's it!

Thought I'd show you the books I got last week.  4 are cookbooks and 2 were novels.
I got these for new inspiration.  Once I get a few new recipe ideas and share any worthy tips - they will be passed back on again.
Looked like a couple fun reads.  Remember I got all 6 of these books for the grand total of $1!!!!!

This is the canvas tote/basket I got for $2 each.  I got 2 at the thrift store.  They worked wonderfully in the overflow pantry.  Nice sturdy bottoms, and they fold up, if need be.  Brand new!

I have not dropped off the donation yet.  It has been too hot to try to load up the car.  I think I may go on Friday or Saturday - weather will be a bit better.  I just keep adding to the pile!  Oh my, I have so much stuff!  It can be overwhelming at times.
I am sure many of you feel that way too.  You gals that moved, had great opportunity to get rid of stuff.  I know moving is tremendous work - but I envy you that you had the incentive to get rid of stuff.
I have finally started digging in, I hope I can just keep the momentum going!!!!

Looked at the grocery ads this morning - MEH!  Not much exciting.  I did see 1 lb. bacon for 4.99 - but I have a bunch in the freezer - so no going out just for that.  I think I will skip this week.
I have plenty - I can eat and feed my pets - no need to go to be going.

Funny - yet sad and true!  Yep, we all know them.  We can't let them steal our joy.  We have the right to toss the splinters and move on.
You don't have to ask permission - just do it!

Well gals, I guess I am going to get busy and do something.  Keep cool and stay well.
If you are doing anything neat - give us a shout.  
I have to say, you all bring me joy and a feeling of worth.  You brighten my days.  I love you all so much - thank you for being here.
Have a fantastical weekend!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

An Adventure and an Education

 Have any of you read the Foxfire books?  They are fascinating!!  My dad bought me my first one, and I have accumulated a few over the years.  I have found them at yard sales.  I need to finish the set.
There was a Foxfire newsletter/newspaper run by a high school in Georgia.  The advisor and many of his journalism students over the years, went out and interviewed the folks of Appalachia.
Many of these people relayed stories of their childhood and their memories of growing up in the area.
Some parts are hard to understand - as it is written in quotes, just as they say things!  

I have copies of 1 - 4 and 7, 9 and 10.  Each volume is different with different stories and ideas on doing things the old way.

I have no plans on ever butchering a hog or milking goats - but there is so much to learn from these books.  These people had hootspa!!!!!!  They never waiver and they worked their bums off.  They had fun, they had great families and they worked.

We complain about the price of beef or that chicken is in short supply at the store - well, they didn't have to worry about that.  They ate what they caught.  Not just deer and maybe a rabbit or squirrel as we would think.  They ate opossum, groundhog, racoon, wild birds, beaver, wild hogs, snake, bear, or whatever they could get!!!!!  Fishing was huge.

They foraged for all kinds of plants.  Sure, they grew gardens when and where they could - but they ate lots of things.  Tons of wild plants.  Cattails, wild herbs, mushrooms, berries, name it, they found it and used it.  

Many communities had a small general store - but big stores were a CITY thing.  If you needed things your made them.  Baskets, buckets, crates, brooms, clothes (flour sacks used a lot), musical instruments, bedding, many medicines and even alcohol!  
Creative minds were the norm!  They may not have had a lot of book education back in the mountains, but these people were smart beyond smart.  They survived and could do and figure out just about anything.

If you get the chance, take a journey to the deep mountains and get ready to be entertained.  I would have loved to have been one of those students that went out to do the interviews!  What an experience that would have been.
I have always been interested in the old ways, the rural areas of America, and just those who live a simpler (not easier) life.

I think these books should be mandatory reading material for students.  I know that would never happen, as not many have any interest in the ways of old.  

I guess it just amazes me how 'soft' life has become in general.  We have bright and shiny stores that are filled with all kinds of goods - yet we complain if supplies are low, or our favorite "treat" is not in stock.  We complain about prices and choices.   We drive our fancy cars that are air conditioned to get there.  We store our stuff in our nicely cooled or heated homes in fancy refrigerators.  We flip a switch and have lights and water and heat.   Such luxuries were not had or experienced by many of these people.  We are just blessed so much more than we can fathom.

So, if you ever need something different to read, look these books up (hopefully libraries carry) and take a journey to another place and way of life.  It is very humbling, to be sure.
I guarantee that you will not be disappointed!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

We Shall Overcome

 Heys gals - we got this!  Do not fret and worry about the situations of the world.  YOU can't fix them - you CAN pray for them and pray HARD!  Otherwise, you CAN only control your little plot of land in this big old world.  Do what you can do.  Learn new things.  Looks at things differently.  Learn to bend and adjust.  Learn to improvise.  Learn to be more self-sufficient.
We got this.  We can do it.  We surely didn't get this far in life to be knocked down by a bad economy or bad governments or some shortages!!!!!

I think this speaks volumes.  Not just by growing a garden or having chickens or whatever - your hands NEED to be productive.  You can make GOOD from almost nothing.  Re-inventing, re-thinking, and re-using things is the key!

When you have meat scraps - you have stock!!!!  I don't care if it is chicken, ham, beef, or turkey bones and fat - you can 'cook' them down with water and you have hearty stock!
You have food scraps from preparing veggies - you have stock.  Do the same things with these.

Buy the clearance fruit and veggies - day old stuff.  You can preserve it for the future.  Can, dehydrate or freeze.  Buy the mis-shaped items.  Inside they are still good!

Do what you can to keep things longer and fresher.  I wrap celery in foil - it makes it last much, much longer.  I keep lettuce in a closed container, or a gallon zip-lock bag (with air removed) and I always add a paper towel to absorb moisture.  That and air is what turns the lettuce.
I keep potatoes and onions (apart from each other) in a dark cool spot (not frig).
I wrap bananas in a plastic bag and tightly seal at the stem end - they last 3-4 times longer

Berries - I finally tried the thing I keep seeing.  Keeping fresh berries in a jar!  IT WORKS!  Now I did it differently than some.  I remove berries from pack - did nothing to them and place in a jar and closed.  I will wash and clean when ready to eat.
These are almost 3 weeks old!  I placed in 3 quart jars and refrigerated.  I have one and a half jars left and they are perfect.  I would think this would work for about any berries.
I saw yesterday where a gal did this with cherry tomatoes (just picked) and had kept them for a month on the shelf.  Not sure if I would trust that - but she swore it worked.
Keeping the items out of the air is the key!

Banana peels in water - sit for a few days and you have free fertilizer for plants and garden.  *Don't do this too often or it will burn plants.  Compost the peels then.

Not just bread!  I froze for future use (double bagged).   I see 4 French bread pizzas with a salad for me!!!!  I can cut that loaf in quarters and BOOM pizza.  Fix and freeze.  I see breakfast sandwiches or snacks with the bagels.  I also see a meal with cream cheese and sliced veggies and maybe some meat on a bagel.  I see garlic toasted bagels.  I could make a version of French toast.  THINK DIFFERNTLY!!!!!!

I have a portable dehumidifier in basement - I use that water in the washer.  If no laundry, I pour into a bucket and use to water plants or throw in the rain barrel.
If you have no rain barrels and live in a dry area - just place a bucket in your shower.  That catches all that clean water that just runs down the drain!  Use it to water garden plants.

You all know my mantra by now!!!
Use less meat
Use ALL leftovers in a new way
Buy cheaply
Shop HOME first
Quit being brand loyal
Grow whatever you can
Make sacrifices - you can get by just fine with less
Plate smaller serving sizes - most eat too much, because it is on the plate!!!!!

It is easy to make at home and is pretty costly at the store.  This is just one tiny example

Now here is the thing!!!!  Many don't have Tahini in the pantry - any nut butters will work!  Cashew, almond, peanut........  I actually use sesame 'oil' - but only about a tablespoon or less, as it is strong.  I use bottled lemon juice as well.  
Save the liquid from the chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and it can be used as a substitute for eggs in baking.
You can flavor hummus with what you have.  Use a little garlic powder or onion powder (if no minced garlic).  Add a little hot sauce if desired.  Maybe some roasted tomatoes or peppers.  
This is just a little example showing that you can make at home - be creative - use everything and save money!!!!!

Do you have freezer fruit that you have been sitting on for a while?  Make jam, jelly, syrup or preserves.  This is a great way to use it up and make something new and useful.  You can even turn this into gifts or barter items.  Maybe sell a few jars.

Here are a couple of things we just don't talk about.  AMERICA still has the cheapest food prices in the world - even with inflation.  YES, that is a fact.  Inflation can continue (hopefully not) and we still would have an advantage on much of the world.

About 50% of the items that people buy at the grocery with their hard earned money is TRASHED!!!  They throw out leftovers, let things go bad, have no vision of what to do with things, throw it away because it hit some 'magic' date!!!!!!  That is disgusting and unacceptable to me.  What they heck is wrong with people?  Would these people be willing to drive down the street and just throw dollar bills out their windows?  Doubtful.
It is shameful and disgusting.

We are citizens of earth - and we need to be more mindful of it and its resources.  We need to be mindful of what we spend and what we use.  THAT, folks is what we CAN CONTROL!!!!!

So do not fret and worry.  We can do this.  We have each other for support and ideas.  We still have 'some' control - use it.
We shall overcome!
Be blessed!


Sunday, June 12, 2022

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/12

 Happy Sunday to all!  It just seems so weird to be dating things June.  Time flies!
It is a lovely morning - at the moment.  We are supposed to get rain later on today.  My area has had some small rains off and on this - we lucked out and the 'storms' all missed this area.  Not all of the state could say that as there was a tornado touch down this week.
I haven't had to water the in-ground garden yet!  The pots I do water with rainwater collected as they dry out fast.
I have blooms on tomatoes and a few teeny tiny tomatoes on the cherry tomatoes.  3 bitty peppers.  Everything is growing and filling out beautifully!!!!

                                          Not my picture or flowers - but they sure are pretty

Groundhogs are back in the area!!  UGH.  They have tried to get through to my yard in a couple places.  One actually did early on, then I got it all blocked off.  Well, my neighbor is on a mission to catch them as they moved to his yard!  Under his deck.  I am sure glad not to have them in my yard for a change!  Loaned him my traps!

Been watching sparrows feed their young.  I have a feeder on the porch, and momma eats and then flies down to the handrail on ram where her babe is and feeds it!  Oh my goodness, it is so sweet.  The baby looks as big as mom - but she is taking good care of it.

Flies are horrible this year.  When it gets hot and muggy in the afternoon - boy, you have to be careful when opening a door.  They just hover at the doors and try to get in!  I don't like flies!!!!!!!
Lightening bugs are starting too!  It is so comforting to look out after dark and see those pinpoints of light flashing about.

My week:
  • Changed out the filter in the furnace for AC use
  • Did more cutting of wild growth and weeding
  • Mowed and trimmed
  • Weeded the garden and now it needs it again!  Those darned old weeds sure grow fast
  • Received a free magazine in the mail
  • Cleaned out frig
  • Ran to the Kroger to get Fluff's gravy food.  I found discounted Italian bread and bagels on clearance for .99 ea.  Got clearance fresh mushrooms.  OJ was 1.27 half gal. and a watermelon on sale for 3.97
  • Stopped and topped off gas tank - only needed 1/4 tank and I saved .40 per gallon with discount
  • Stopped by the mission thrift store on the way home.  Haven't been in a long while.  I did find 6 books - got 6/$1 (4 cookbooks!).  Free sandwich 'flats' (those flat bun like things)  They were made with cauliflower and herbs - pretty tasty.  I also found 2 - 13x13 canvas collapsible tote boxes for $2 each (brand new)
  • Made a gallon of tea and added fresh lemon balm when brewing - tasty
  • Worked really hard on the 2nd bedroom clutter.  Closet from hanging bar down - emptied.  Office area - cleaned out and up.  Redid a lot of pantry overstock and got it in closet and out of sight!  Used those new canvas totes for storage as well.  It is coming along in there.  I have a huge pile of items to take to thrift store on Tuesday when they re-open,
  • Well, after 3+ long years, I finally started getting rid of G's clothes.  I have had so many bagged and put away - but still here.  That was a hard thing for me - but I finally got it started.  I gave one of the new guys next door - several really nice shirts.  I approached it cautiously and tried not to offend - he was thrilled!!!!!  He has gained weight he said, and just started having to work back in the office a couple months ago.  So they were needed.
  • Cleaned the shelves on the coat closet as well.  Found my fanny pack!!!!!  I have been hunting for that for a while!  (showing my age)
  • Just doing all the basic stuff 
Meals this week:
Cheese, rice, bean, salsa quesadilla
Baked beans, smoked sausage and salad
B. beans over toast topped with cheese, fried okra
Taco salad
Cheeseburger on cauliflower flats and fresh veggies
Mexican chicken (freezer) over rice
Veggie fried rice
SNACKS - fruit, cheese

How was your week?  I hope you are all well and safe.  We sure had some good conversations this week and several new people posting.  I love that.  The more the merrier.  We all learn and share so much.  You guys are great.
Did you get any deals this week?  Gardens growing?  What is happening around the house?

I hope you all have a great week.  I hope you gals that are moving are getting settled some.  I pray for rain for the extremely dry areas.  
Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours!

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for His steadfast love endures for ever!
Psalms 107:1

Lord, help us to be appreciative of all things - big and small.  We pray that you bless the farmer's and the home gardeners with wonderful bounties.  Thank you for loving us!  Amen

Thursday, June 9, 2022

What's Up Today?

 What are you all up to on this Thursday?  It will soon be the weekend AGAIN!  Man time flies.  
I thought it mind be fun to see what everyone is up to in the next couple days.
We had rain yesterday.  It was a nice rain here, not so much for some other areas.  There was a tornado in the SE part of the state.  Today is to be the best day of the week!

I think, if it dries out early enough, I might mow - MAYBE!  If not, I will do that tomorrow or Saturday.  No big deal when.

I may go to the store.  I don't need much, except to get more cat food.  I have plenty of most - but need to re-supply Fluffy's favs.  She is now just crunching away on dry food - with no problems.  Yet, she isn't keen on eating the wet food the others eat.  She doesn't want pate and not happy with shreds!  She likes her gravy food!!!!!  DUH - she has expensive taste!  But that is OK, she is doing great and gaining back her weight.

I need to sit down and figure out some new ideas for summer sausage.  I have a ton in the freezer - so I know with everything else I have that I have lots of meat (protein) for the future.  I use summer sausage for snacking, thinly sliced on pizza and with eggs.  Need some new ideas.  (Most of mine is jalapeno/cheese sausage).
I also need to just work some more on re-arranging and sorting the overstock of pantry.  I am trying to clean out a closet (what a job - all storage junk).  Then I can 'hide' a lot of stock.

The garden is growing nicely.  It has all doubled or tripled in size in the past couple weeks.  Blooming and growing!  I have a couple little peppers!  I do need to weed in the next few days as well - while the ground is wet and weeds are easy to pull.  They sure do grow quickly!  I still think we need to cross-breed weeds and garden veggies!!!!  LOL

Windows will be open today and house aired out.  It is a lovely day.
Going to be taking advantage of the weather, as rain expected again tomorrow evening, then HOT next week!
What are you all doing?  How are you spending your days?  Love hearing about everyone else's lives!!!
Wishing you all a happy and blessed day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Eating Cool in the Heat

 Once summer gets here in full force, I know we all try to stay cool any way we can.  No one wants to bake and even cooking at the stove can get hot!  I no longer have a grill - but I can put the old George Foreman outside if need be!  I don't mind cooking in the summer, but I prefer lighter meals.  No heavy foods that feel like cement blocks in your belly - especially if you need to do outdoor work!

A few ideas for lighter eating and cooking seem to be in order.  I know I often need lots of reminders.  We all get stuck and bored after a while.  We really do have lots of options!!

Let's see...........
Potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, chef salads, side salads
Veggie salads of all types - broccoli salad, cauliflower salad, pea salad, bean salad, corn salad, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, radish, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, pea pods,  geesh any veggie you can think of can become a salad when mixed with other things.  Throw in a little of your favorite dressing, maybe some bacon bits or seeds or maybe cubes of cheese - and boom you have salad for meal!
Sandwiches.  PBJ, subs, cold cuts, ham, turkey, roast beef, tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, ham salad, etc.  De-seed a tomato or a bell pepper and stuff with any of the salads above.  I love tuna salad stuffed tomatoes!!!
I love a tomato and onion or tomato and cucumber sandwich on toast in the summer!!! One of my favorites!
Use tortillas and make all kinds of roll-ups.  

Pita bread or bagels are great.  Homemade flat bread.
Take a bagel and add some cream cheese and top with an abundance of sliced fresh veggies - oh yum!
Grilled cheese - jazz them up.  Nobody says they have to be plain old cheese and bread!  Use various cheeses add meat or tomato slices.  Use different kinds of bread.  You can even use leftover mac n cheese - on bread and fry up a sandwich - carbs overload SURE - but it is good!!!! (ask me how I know!)

Fruit - eat fruit plain or mix any variety you have together for fruit salads.  Make a fruit pizza.  Have fruit on yogurt or over a bowl of cereal or over oatmeal or over ice cream.  Grilled fruit.  Frozen fruit.  Granted, not all of those are meals - but hey us adults need dessert too!!!!!

Make a charcuterie board - crackers or breads, cheeses, sliced meats and sliced veggies of any sort.  I do this often in the summer.  I always have summer sausage on hand and lots of cheese and of course all kinds of veggies.  I can eat with crackers, with tortillas, pita, or just alone.  This is a lovely meal for me.

Grill veggies and fruits on the grill.  Slices of zucchini, onion, potato, corn on the cob, pineapple, peaches, etc. can all be fixed on the grill and may I say - they are wonderful!!!!!!
There are many cold soups that can be made - and they are delish!
Hard boiled eggs or deviled eggs are nice to have on hand and a great protein.
Smoothies can take the place of a meal.  Add protein powder, your greens and fruits and yum!
Make up a bunch of baked potatoes on a cooler day (or use your crockpot) - and have baked potato night now and then.

Make sure you always have ice on hand for cold drinks.  I like to keep a jug of water in the frig so it is always cold.  I fill several smaller bottles that I use for individual portions as well.  Iced tea or Kool-Aid is good.  Lemonade is another summer favorite.
                            Fancy up your ice with herbs or fruit - or even flowers.  How fun is that?

I know, I know.  Many guys need meat and potatoes and a hearty meal.  Yeah, at least they think they do!  LOL  I can have a hearty and very filling meal without all the normal heavy foods.
If you have to fix heartier and heavier meals - use the crockpot, the Insta Pot, or an air fryer.  
Use the grill when you can.

Just make yourself a list of all the cooler and lighter foods that you and your family like - have ingredients on hand.  Most of what I mentioned above are just basic food supplies, fixed in different ways!
Get creative and have fun with your food this summer.
Beat the heat and stay healthy and cool and use what you have around the house and garden. 
Be the COOL kid this summer!