Thursday, October 5, 2023

Just an Idea or Two

 Happy Thursday to all.  Looks like we will get some of that rain a little further west had yesterday.  We can use it.
Today is just a few reminders of things we can do to stretch our food, finances, and energies!  Use it up or wear it out - it all adds up!!!!!
Some are fall ideas and others just general.

  • Add a cinnamon stick or whole cloves to your vacuum bag - it will scent the air with a fall aroma
  • When cleaning out your frig - drop a couple drops of vanilla in the cleaning water - it will make the frig smell nice and fresh
  • Now is the time to go to the office supply or craft store and get a chalk board eraser!  They are great to keep in the car to remove condensation on the windows in the winter!!!! (Think of those from childhood)
  • Make your own instant oatmeal packs instead of buying.  I used to make these for G, as he loved oatmeal.  Measure out what you would make for 1 serving of instant/quick oats.  Remove about 1/4 of it, and pulse in a blender (makes for creamy oats) - add back to oats, add in dried fruit or nuts, brown sugar or cinnamon or whatever flavor you want and place in little baggies.  Ready to add water and heat and eat!  Much cheaper than buying those little bags at the store and you know what is in it.
  • Need to freshen up some leftover rice?  Place an ice cube on top of rice and reheat either in microwave or pan - the ice cube adds just enough moisture to make it fluff!
  • When planting fall bulbs I always sprinkle medicated talc powder on them in the hole or add moth crystals - it keeps the squirrels from digging them up!  It works!!!!
  • When making a pumpkin pie - place some small marshmallows on the crust before adding pumpkin.  They rise to the top while baking and make a nice topping!
  • Make a crust for quiche with rice!  Approx. 2 cups rice, 1/4 C shredded cheese, and 1 egg.  Mix together and spread into a 9" crust pan.  Add your quiche ingredients and bake as usual
  • Keep milk a little fresher for longer after opening by adding just a pinch of salt to it.  You will not taste - but it helps keep it fresh.  I also like keeping my milk on the bottom shelf at the back of frig - it is really cold there.
  • Make corn syrup in a pinch.  1 cup sugar and a 1/4 cup water - heat to dissolve.
  • Add tsp. of lemon juice to your cooking water when making rice - no more sticky rice!
  • Need candle holders for a birthday cake?  Use lifesavers!
  • Mix together some softened cream cheese, peanut butter and a bit of brown sugar to make an easy caramel tasting dip for apples - That dip at the stores costs a small fortune!!!!
2 C prepared coffee
1/3 C cocoa
3 C very warm milk
Mix all together and sweeten as desired.  
2 cups of coffee will now serve 6!
Nice treat for a small gathering!
  • Stir your coffee or hot chocolate with a peppermint stick - YUM
  • Dice up carrots, celery, onion or herbs and place in ice cube trays - cover with water and freeze (you could use broth as well).  Great for throwing into a pot of soup or starting a roux or just adding a bit of flavor to something
  • Mix candy corn and salted peanuts together in a bowl.  It tastes like a PayDay candy bar!!!

6 baking apples - cored, peeled and slice
1/2 C melted butter
3/4 C brown sugar - packed
3/4 C quick oats (uncooked)
1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Place apple slices in a greased 11 x 7 pan.  Combine the other ingredients and place evenly over the top of apples.  Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes until golden.
I like to throw in a handful of chopped nuts as weel - if I have them.
Super easy!!!

There you go - just a few ideas for you all!  Hope maybe someone can use one or two.
I like finding new ways to use things and get a bit creative.  It is a challenge and it is fun.
Have a great Thursday and remainder of your week!



  1. So many wonderful tips! I think I will try the dip for apples. Most of the commercially made dips are full of ingredients I can't pronounce. I have put whole cloves or cinnamon in the vacuum bag. Vanilla in the cleaning water...brilliant! Will check Office Depot for a felt eraser. Good idea for using medicated powder or moth crystals for planting. I don't keep corn syrup so your recipe would be a good alternative. The apple crisp recipe halved is just right for us. We have been watching Leigh Anne Wilkes on YouTube preparing her cooking for two recipes.

    Looking forward to the rain!

    1. Well, it sounds like you got some ideas you can use. YAY!!
      many recipes are just so easy to halve - especially ones like this. The apple dip is really good.
      I will have to check her out!
      Such a lovely rain!!!!

  2. Yes, Cheryl, it's Apple Crisp season! Thank you for the recipe. :-D

    Many of you have probably done this, but I read the other day about making "Scrap Jelly". All those apple cores and peelings can be used, as well as any other fruit trimmings, past prime (but not moldy) fruits, and even your dried fruits from last year that have gone rock hard. Put it all in a pot, add 1 T. lemon juice, sugar, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an hour or so, stirring occasionally. Turn off the burner, strain out all solids, remove 1 c. liquid and dissolve your pectin in that, stir back into the remaining liquid in the pot, bring back to a low boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. At this point it should be ready to jar up. Sounded like a great idea for using up the scraps and bits and bobs in the pantry. If you're avoiding sugar, you can use sugar substitute (like Stevia), but be sure to use a NO Sugar pectin.

    Following what some here do all the time, pre-op I'd thawed, cooked, cooled and re-froze meats for quick post-op meals Hubs could make. We ran out of that last week. Guess what? Yesterday Hubs browned up a large pkg. of thawed ground beef from the freezer to be divided and go back into the freezer! Turns out he loves homemade convenience.

    "Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future." Prov. 19:20 *and* "The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense." Prov. 27:9

    Thankful for my friends here who are always willing to share advice.

    1. Apple scrap jelly is the best. Yes, I have done that as well. Apples just make their own pectin so it is a perfect - no waste - type thing.
      It really is fun using trash to make treasures!!!!!!
      YAY, sometimes it takes a while, but those hubbies usually catch one. You now have a convert!!!!

      Those scriptures are perfect for here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!

    2. Beautiful scripture, Elise. True friends are hard to find. Thank you for the recipe, that sounds nice and very helpful too, I'm not very experienced on jams and jellies so I don't even know where to start and especially things like no-sugar pectin.

    3. I used to make jams w/o pectin, Amelia, and maybe it's that I'm at 6,000+ ft. altitude now, but no pectin + syrup instead of jam. For jelly, since it's skimmed of all solids and is just liquid, pectin is a must. You can find boxed pectin at WM and most ag. stores (like Farmer's supply), as well as online (Amazon, etc.). If you're not using sugar, the low/no sugar pectin is the product to buy. It's time consuming, but not difficult to do. Just be careful not to burn yourself. As I've done.
      :-O --Elise

  3. Thanks for these ideas. :) I like the idea of the jelly from scraps.

    What a strange day. I went by the dentist office while I was out to set up an appointment. The door was locked. I wonder what is going on. I have a sensitive tooth I'd like checked, but if the dentist has died or retired or moved on, it would be nice to know. Maybe a note on the door, folks? I checked online and there is nothing at all odd or different about him anywhere.

    My boss gave me a big container of home made soup. It for sure is the beginning of the fall/winter season - split pea soup! Enough for several meals. Yummy!

    I dreamed my Blackie cat came home. It was a lovely visit, but made me want to cry when I woke up and he wasn't there. :(

    A felt blackboard eraser for the inside windshield, what a clever idea. :)

    1. The jelly is so easy to make and it tastes good too.
      Well, hopefully the doc just had an emergency day thing happen. Surely there be notice if it were permanent.
      Split pea soup sounds good. I haven't made that in a long while. That was my mom's favorite soup.

      Oh, I am glad you saw your baby in your dream - but so sad he hasn't come home. That makes me want to cry.

  4. One of your tips made me smile - a chalk board eraser sounds like a good idea to remove moisture - but in the winter here, we need a chisel. :)
    I do enjoy oatmeal in the winter, so I'll have to tuck your option away. There are two or three boxes of the packets in the pantry. An apple crisp sounds delicious today - it's cool and blustery!

    1. Well we would need a chisel on the outside as well. This is for when you are defrosting and get condensation on the inside! It does help sop it up.
      It is a cool rainy day here - feels like fall!!!

  5. Some great ideas, Cheryl! Thank you for sharing, especially the one about the eraser. I'm wondering if it would remove all that "inside the windshield polluted air grime" that builds up over time and streaks when cleaning with a spray and towel. Will give it a try -- I have the whiteboard eraser from my old office that's now sitting in my desk drawer. I'll add -- when freezing ground beef, press it flat in your packaging (vacuum seal bags or zipper freezer bags). Not only will getting the air out help prevent freezer burn, it will also thaw much more quickly.

    1. Thanks. Streaky widows are the worst! Mine always seem smudgy!
      YES - that is a great tip. I always do that - they do thaw so quickly. It sure makes for a neater freezer as well - they stack so nicely.

  6. These are all wowee tips, Cheryl! Thank you! I really need to try the apple crisp. All of the ideas are very good and I've never heard of most of them! You can also put a tiny bit of vinegar in rice too when cooking to keep them separated. I'm drinking my easy "cafe mocha" right now! Instant coffee, half calf, half de, and a drop of chocolate flavored stevia, the vitacost brand is good. Then I use the nutpod brand vanilla flavor vegan creamer (found with the milks in many regular grocery stores, even wm has it in their super centers) in it...It's good too. I like yours though all made up for guests!

    This is a sweet blog, nice ideas and very fallish and helpful.

    1. Thanks. I really like apple crisp - so much easier than pie!
      Yes, vinegar works too - I think many times vinegar and lemon juice can kind of be multi-use and switched.
      Your coffee sounds very tasty! I am not a coffee drinker - but I kind of like the fancy mix-ups!!!!!
      Thank you. Tis the season!!!!

  7. How on earth do widows get streaky??? lol
    It is apple crisp time, so I need to go buy apples. Right now, I only have Red Delicious.

    1. Who knows = little steak fairies I guess!!!! LOL
      Yes, it is a fun time of the year for yummy goodies!

  8. We keep our milk as far back as possible too. I'm going to use that vanilla trick when I clean the fridge next. The other day when husband was cleaning the cutters he sprayed the front windows too- the cat was on the couch and fell off. Poor thing -he was fine though but freaked out!

    1. It is just so much colder at the back!
      Poor kitty - scared the beegeesus out him!!!!! That would be scary!!!! Glad he is fine!

  9. Friday's Fall Tips: We're about a month away from snowfall in the AZ mountains, but many of you are, too. October can be a busy month of winter prep...
    --If you haven't already done so, now is the time to thoroughly clean the fireplace, chimney, wood stove, pellet stove, etc. The *last* thing you want when you're snowed in come Jan./Feb. is a smoke filled house. Just sayin'. Rake out the wood ash over your cleaned out grow-cery beds or add to your compost pile.
    --Speaking of the garden, now is the time to tuck those beds in for winter. When we lived in OH, we had a catch bag on the end of the lawnmower; rather than raking leaves, we mowed over them and dumped/spread the leaf mulch over the garden beds thickly. To prevent weeds in the spring I'd lay down sheets of newspaper, water that down good and wet, and mulches leaves went on top. Any paper will work, including shredded paper from the office. It's biodegradable and under that organic mulch, will break down and compost over the winter. I never had paper left come spring. And after every snow, the heat from decomposing meant the beds thawed first.
    --Got sour milk? Bits and bobs of yogurt or sour cream that's past its prime? Now is the time to get all that GOOD bacteria into your septic system, mulch pile or growing beads; just be sure to thin with warm water first.

    So those are 3 tips that came to mind this morning.

    Frances, you're also on my mind and in my prayers. (((Hug)))

    1. Good tips. I plan on doing a winterize the house post in the next week or so.
      I like to leave leaves I rake on the garden over the winter. They get covered with snow and breakdown some and they also give many of our beneficial insects a home.
      I think the replacing paper with fabric is not at all about it being compostable - but about the excessive pillaging of our woodlands. That is just my thoughts - and I respect that too.
      I replace as much paper as possible. - and try to stay away from plastic as much as possible. Much of it can't be recycled.
      Just me - and my thoughts. We all look at it differently.

    2. Yup. I agree. We're kind of nerds in my house, fascinated by all that science and learning have accomplished to make a difference. For example, in the wood/paper industry itself.
      "The history of sustainable forestry practices dates back to the 18th century when European countries started to realize the importance of forests in their economy and well-being. The concept of sustainable forestry emerged in Germany in the 18th century when the German forestry school was established." In the U.S., the Sustainable Forest Initiative was implemented on Oct. 14, 1994. You can read about it here:,means%20to%20achieve%20sustainable%20forestry.

      It was 5 or 6 years ago that--while watching Japanese News on PBS--I learned about biodegradable plastics being tested in Japan, and a year later, that they'd gone into production. There's more and more biodegradable plastic on the market today. From Wikipedia: "Biodegradable plastics are plastics that can be decomposed by the action of living organisms, usually microbes, into water, carbon dioxide, and biomass. Biodegradable plastics are commonly produced with renewable raw materials, micro-organisms, petrochemicals, or combinations of all three."

      Both will, over time, have a HUGE impact on reducing global waste. Please know I'm not being argumentative, Cheryl, just passing on very GOOD news most don't know about, because it isn't reported in standard U.S. news. --Elise

    3. Husband came home from the hospital yesterday, just in time for my birthday today. We're both exhausted. More later when I can. Thanks for everyone's prayers. It means so much to both of us.

    4. Thank you for the update, Frances, and Happy Birthday! Being exhausted isn't conducive to celebration, but when you're both rested up, a quiet celebration seems in order. Glad he's back at home. You both remain in my prayers every day, and I'm sure for most everyone else here. --Elise

    5. Oh Frances, I am so happy he is home with you!!!!!! I bet you are exhausted. You both rest up and sleep - that is healing in itself.
      What a wonderful birthday gift you received!!!!!!
      Happy birthday dear lady.
      I am just thrilled with this news!!!!!!!!! Continued prayers!

    6. Elise, Thank you for the tip on the newspaper and the leaves. I think my Hubby forgets doing the easy things that they used to do when he was a kid, putting the garden to bed.

    7. Frances, So glad to hear your Husband came home! I hope you get some rest and Happy Belated Birthday to you.

    8. LaurieS, we always just forked the "garden bed" compost right into the soil with some bone meal come spring. That's all the fertilizer we needed. Paper breaks down to compost in 2-6 weeks, so it was long gone before spring prep. --Elise

    9. Wood ash isn't good for most Arizona soil. Please check on your soil before adding wood ash.

    10. Thank you, Anon. I'll look into that. We don't have any vegetable or flower beds here at this point, but it's good to have a heads' up. Where I live is heavy clay and lots of pines, juniper, and cedar... the Rim Country of the White Mountains. --Elise

  10. Good morning, All
    Hubs had the Mohs surgery yesterday and Praise God they got clean margins in the first pass. So instead of being there for 3 or four hours it was only an hour for all of that. He has about 9 sutures and will stay off his feet with his leg elevated for about a week. Prophylactically he will have to take a heavy dose of antibiiotic, but inbetween doses I'm giving him probiotics. While we were at the surgeon's office we had him check a red mark on his shoulder. He did a biopsy of it and we had the results within several minutes. It also was basal cell, but will have be excised because of it's location and not a Mohs procedurea We learned a lot yesterday. We were very pleased with the doctor and his staff. Hubs is scheduled for his next surgery the day before Thanksgiving. So that was our day yesterday. Thank you for your prayers. Cookie

    1. So glad to hear that, Cookie! Thanks for the update. Still praying for your Hubs to recover quickly and completely. --Elise

    2. So glad the surgery went well and quicker than thought. I am glad you had a good staff looking after him.
      I guess it pays to expect the worst and then get good news! It always cheers us so. Prayers for continued recover and a quick healing.
      I am sure you are taking good care of the patient!!!!!!

  11. Cheryl, I love all the ideas but especially the candy corn and peanuts. OMgosh, candy corn is my guilty pleasure but I only eat it in October and then sparingly by stretching it out for days so as not to incur a reaction to it. Can't wait to try it with peanuts!!
    I make small batches of berry jams for us without the use of pectin and it only takes about 7 to 9 minutes. Recipe is at 3 ingredient jam. No canning required and keeps well in the fridge for about 6 weeks. For marmalade lovers there's a great quick recipe in Dining on a Dime cookbook and may be on her website using one orange. I love making these small, no canning required recipes that use minimal ingredients. Cookie

    1. Thanks, Cookie! I'll look into those. --Elise

    2. Candy corn and peanuts are a thing for me - as my favorite candy bar is a PayDay!!! It tastes just like it - sweet and salty together - yum.
      Thanks for that info. I have made the Dining on a Dime orange marmalade before, and it is easy and good. I like those kinds of recipes.

  12. I like the chalk board eraser tip for condensation. That is a good one to remember. I have apples in my crisper drawer to use up and apple crisp sounds perfect for that. Thank you!

    1. Nothing like an apple crisp on a cool autumn day.
      Glad you found a tip you might use.
      Have a good one

  13. Easy fruit dip: Mix sour cream with brown sugar. I don't know the measurements; I just mix until a nice caramel color is achieved.

  14. Cheryl,
    Was it your blog where I read about you going to store to get candy from a candy counter where the owner picks your candy and puts it in a bag? I commented, wherever it was about my grandmother having a store with the glass case.

    1. When I was a child there was a small grocery I walked to that had a candy counter. You decided what you wanted and she bagged it. Nothing like that around today. It was a special thing for a kid for sure. It was basically all penny candy.

  15. What a bunch of great ideas!! Thank you for sharing so many!