Tuesday, April 30, 2024

A Little This & That

 Happy Tuesday and the last day of April.  Boy did it fly by.  Tomorrow is May and a big birthday month in my family!  We woke to dampness and sun and FOG!  Yesterday cooled down from Sunday's highs in the 80's and we had rain.  April has gone down in the history books as one of the wettest Aprils in recent history in our area.  May is generally wet here as well - so we set for pretty flowers!

This started to happen yesterday!  This morning there are 6 open - just so bright and cheery. I sure wish they would last longer.

We have all started doing our spring cleaning.  Inside the house we are always cleaning and decluttering.  The yard we get ready for summer.  Don't forget the outside of the house!
It always amazes me when I am out driving - how dirty some homes look.  If you do not have a power washer that is cool - use a hose!  Just hosing down the outside of the house can make it look much cleaner and brighter and fresher.  If you have a covered porch or patio - dust accumulates and makes the house look grungy.  I hose the covered front porch many times a year.  The back of the house and the back of the garage get mossy (faces north).  Without a power washer use a sponge mop or a camper scrub brush (softer) and the hose.  You can clean and get a little exercise all at the same time.  Make it a warm day, so that getting wet feels good as well! It is just a win-win.

It is hummingbird time here again.  I know some regions have those babies all the time - not here.  It is usually May - June before they show up in my area.  Oh, I love them so much.  I put my feeders in the same spots each year.  The birds will fly to those very spots (even when not out) year after year.  They truly remember.  Keep the feeders clean and never use dye in you feed!  If is harmful to the tiny digestive systems.

Click on above to enlarge.  I make my own feed and keep extra in a Mason jar in the frig.  I usually have enough made to refill feeders 2 - 3 times.

I keep seeing the commercials on TV for the dreamscicle Frosty's.  I love the orange creamy flavor of a dreamscicle.  It has always been a favorite of mine.  Yesterday I caved!  NO I didn't go buy one - I made my own version.  No ice cream was used, as I am trying not to eat sugar.  
I used milk, orange juice and ice cubes.  I added a splash of vanilla and a squirt or 2 of honey.  Oh golly gosh - it was good!!!!!  Nothing bad - no bad calories - just yumminess!

When I was at the wedding dinner over a week ago, the drink I got was a lavender lemonade.  So wonderful - not too sweet or flowery.  Well, I don't have lavender here anymore - but I wanted to try something similar and something different here at home.  I made a jug of lemonade and I added a tiny splash of raspberry extract to my glass.  It was delightful and refreshing.  I am one of those people that have a bunch of different extracts on hand - so this could be made with any flavor.  (good for tea as well).
You can also make your own extracts with herbs or fruit (it takes some time).

I do believe I will run to the greenhouse today to look and maybe buy a few 'posies'.  It is about planting time and the cold seems to be gone for now!
Then when it is finally dry this afternoon - the yard will be mowed again.  Gosh it has grown a ton!

What do you plan on doing today?  Are you getting in the mood for summer and garden and flowers?

Think outside the box a little and when you experience things that are pricey or out of your comfort zone, find a way to make them for yourself.  Nothing ventured nothing gained.
Have fun and experiment a little!!!!

Have a beautiful day.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Weekly Wrap-Up 4/28

Hello and happy Sunday.  I hope this finds everyone healthy and safe.  My mind has been on all those people living in the plains states - I hope you are all safe.  I have been watching the news and have seen all the tornadoes and damage in the central part of the country.  Goodness, some of those tornadoes were huge - the one in Iowa was massive!  Check in and let us know you are OK.

I like this little picture - I know it is still April - but really close to May.  It reminds of the May Day baskets of old times.  We used to make little paper woven baskets at school and pick wildflowers (weeds) to fill for our moms!  Mom would always act so surprised!

Well, I made my 'wedding' cake - that huge piece I brought home - last 2 days!  It was so yummy and just about the best bite of cake I have ever had.  Couldn't waste it - now back to no sugar.

My sis, had to have a surgery this week.  She fell last weekend and broke her wrist (2 bones) and had to have surgery on Thursday.  Scary stuff at 93.  She did well and is home recuperating.  Gladly it was her left and she is right-handed.

We had cooler temps and lots of wind for a while this week - then it got warm!  I think warm is here to stay.  Seems the wind is too!  Geesh, it is hard to get things done in the wind - it just wears me out.

My frugal week:
  • I mowed and trimmed early in the week - sure needs it again.  Everything is growing like crazy.
  • I had my finance guy come for a meeting, and made a few positive changes in portfolio
  • Cleaned the ceiling fans - very needed!
  • Changed out the furnace/AC filter
  • Made up a bunch of pancakes for freezer
  • Got to air the house the last part of the week
  • Pulling weeds and doing yard stuff
  • I ran to Aldi to buy a birthday gift!!  Yep.  They had some cute kids items this week - and I needed a present for a 3-year-old!  Found what I wanted at a very good price.  Bought some fruit and pimento cheese while there.  Their pimento cheese is cheaper than other stores around and it is GOOD!
  • Did stop at D. General for a card and gift bag, found microgreen seed packets.  Got 2.  I know I could use other seeds, but I thought this was fun!!! $1 (reg. seeds are 4/$1).
  • Just doing all the normal stuff we all do.  Nothing exciting this week!
Meals this past week:
Homemade pizza and salad
Pizza and salad again
Philly beef and Swiss and steak fries (made with gr. beef)
Pancakes and fruit
Beans and rice, chicken strips and asparagus
Leftover beans & rice, egg and bacon sandwich
SNACKS - fruit, fresh veggies, cheese & crackers

How was your week?  Any good deals?  Have you started your gardens?  I will be getting pots and garden ready in the next many days - probably planting mid-May.
It is 67* at the moment (it is 8:25 AM) - going into 80's today!
I am going to a 3-year old's (gr.gr. niece) birthday party this afternoon.  They are having goodies and a taco bar.

I hope you are all well and safe and healthy, and hope your families are as well.  Check in and let us know you are OK.  Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.
Blessings to you and yours from my humble little home.

Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life.  Put away from your crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.  Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.
Proverbs 4:23-25

Dear Lord, please help us all have peace of our minds.  We need rest for our bodies, and we need to have rest for our minds and our spiritual well-being.  Help us to understand that You walk with us each and every one on a daily basis, and that we are in the best hands!  Thank You for all our many blessings.  Amen

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Reminders for This Garden Year - It is Almost Time!!!!!

 Good morning on this Thursday.  Hope you are all well.  It appears our temps may start an upturn as of later today - which is fine.  We have rain coming in at some point - boy it sure does make things grow!
I went out to clean the bird bath this morning - you should have seen how muddy it was!  Yesterday robins came and bathed one after the other!!!!  I bet they felt better - as them birdies were dirty!

Today just a few charts that list compatible planting partners.  Yes, some plants do NOT like being net to others and will not grow well!!!!
Also a chart that tells you what you can plant in pots of various sizes, for your garden.  Pretty much anything can thrive in a pot - if it is big enough!  I have planted most every garden veggie I plant in pots at some point in time.

                I always plant my zucchini next to my tomatoes - they both always thrive.

Click on the above picture to enlarge for easy reading.  You will find most goodies can go in a pot.

Now if planting in a pot or container - you need good drainage.  You also need to keep watered and add some fertilizer during the season - since it can't absorb from the ground. Good soil is important as well.
I think I have grown all leafy veggies in pots as well as most root veggies (including potatoes).  I have grown beans, pepper, tomatoes, cukes, and squash in pots as well. 
They may not get as big (or they may) but you still get lots of goodies!
Do your research when planting.  It will save your work, your plants and possibly your funds!

I hope you all plan on growing something.  Greens and root crops and herbs can easily be planted amongst flowers and no one would know!
Hope this helps someone plan a little.

Have a wonderful day to all!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Don't Worry - Be Happy

 Happy midweek to all!  It is sunny here at the moment - but chilly.  Had a light frost.  Spring sure is a wishy-washy time for weather!!  You name it - it can happen.  
I look forward to these lovelies blooming this summer.  I get so many planted by the birds and squirrels and they always turn out beautiful.  I haven't planted any in years!

Today is just a reminder that we have been given the wonder of life - SO LIVE IT!  It is really quite simple - we are the ones who complicate it.  Do what you love and do it often.
You don't have to analyze everything - that is something many of us do.  Just live it with a passion.

I love this!!!!  It is a great reminder.  All the worry we do, accomplishes nothing except steeling our joy!

Please just enjoy your life and enjoy those around you.  Hold them tight and love them.  
Love everything and everyone.  Put grievances behind you - did they benefit you in any way?   Doubtful.  

Enjoy all the wonders of nature and take care of it.
Enjoy your relationships and take care of them.
Enjoy the simple things as they are really big.
Enjoy your life and live it!

Thank you for being here.
Have a fantastical day!!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Plant, Grow and Eat what you can!!!

 Good morning all.  It is a nice morning here.  Rain coming in later.  The birds are singing, and the squirrels are out frolicking, and everything is growing.  This is Earth week.  I know we have a day, week, month to bring attention to this - but we need to be aware every day and use things thoughtfully and try to be the best stewards of the earth that we can be!
I hope that each of you can maybe plant something this year to help out with your pantry needs.  It doesn't have to be a lot - anything will help.  It is so much better for you, and it tastes better.
I know many cannot plant gardens where they live.  That just aggravates me to no end. You would think cities, neighborhoods, etc. would find it a positive thing - not negative.  I think looking at veggies and fruits growing is so much prettier than a mass of green lawn.
Many here have found ways around this - with planting in planter boxes on their patios/balconies, and planting in pots in their back yards.  
I would think instead of shrubs, it should be encouraged to plants peppers, lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, etc. in amongst the flower beds. 
I love that many inner-city places allow that vacant lots be turned into community gardens.  Those are often food desserts when it comes to groceries, so having access to fresh foods is wonderful.  I would love see all the vacant lots be used this way.  What a help that would be to everyone.

You can plant in pots, in the ground, or in about anything you can think of - just add some drainage holes and rock in the bottom of the container.
Don't use chemicals at all.  Keep it as natural as possible.  Not only is that better for you, but for nature as well.  Remember bees are pollinators and feed on your plants.

Think about some herbs for your seasoning.  Maybe lettuce and green onions (super easy to grow in pots).  Many tomatoes and peppers can also be grown in larger containers.  Whatever you grow, you don't have to go out and buy.  Let me tell you - it tastes sooooo much more delicious!!!!

Here is a homemade fertilizer to use - instead of all the chemicals in Miracle-Grow.
This stuff works well.  I use it.  The food color is just so you can tell the difference between it and other things you have around or actually see when you have used up what is in a sprayer.  
Don't forget you can use compost in your garden and manure (that has aged).

You can make your own seed tapes as well for those bitty seeds!  They are so hard to plant 'nicely' without wasting directly in the garden.
Click on either of these directions to enlarge for easier reading.

I hope everyone can plant a little bit of something for the garden this year.
It always amazes me that a single tomato seed or zucchini seed can provide so many veggies for a family table (or neighborhood).  Pretty awesome!
Of course - plant some flowers too if you can!  Birds and bees and all of nature benefit and well, they are just beautiful!  
It is also very good exercise, and you get fresh air as well.  WIN - WIN!!!!

Have fun this summer and plant some healthy food and/or beautiful flowers and herbs.
Have a wonderful day to all.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Weekly Wrap-Up 4/21

 Happy Sunday to all.  Hope this finds you and yours all well. 
It is a sunny, yet chilly morning here.  Going to be below normal for this week - decent, but cooler.  May have frost by morning.  

This coming week (on Tuesday) will be 5 years since I lost my true love.  Exactly 5 years - day and date.  A Tuesday morning I will never forget.  I have finally started to grow a bit on my own, but I do miss Glen terribly every day.  It would have also been my mommas 113th birthday!  Daddy would have had a birthday on the 24th - he would have been 110.  Isn't it amazing how life works?  We go forward and grow and continue doing life - what we are supposed to do, when we first thought it couldn't happen.  My faith has been my rock.  Not looking for sympathy - just sharing my world, and to let others know we do get through and go on.
I went to my great nephews wedding yesterday.  It was a very small wedding - about 40 people.  She looked like a princess for sure!  It was south of me in Greenwood, and the dinner/reception was on the far north side of town in Carmel.  (Parents planned places without talking!)  I rode with a nephew up north - I would never drive up there, even more so now that I have actually seen the growth and crazy traffic.  It was a very fancy girly froo-froo kind of place - but it was lovely.  Good dinner and fellowship.
Each person picked a kind of cake (from 3) instead of having a big cake.  I figured a piece of cake - well it was a 3 tier slice (8" tall) and HUGE!  I bought mine home!
Got home about 10:30 last evening - very late night for me!  Kitties were ready for me to crawl into bed!

Now that this event is over, I feel safe in really getting busy with yard work.  I have a lot of poison ivy in the yard, and didn't want to risk getting it.  I take precautions, but still didn't want to have poison going to a nice event!!  LOL

My frugal week:
  • I did do a little weeding and trimming early in the week.  TODAY most definitely a mowing day!!
  • Blackie has gotten brushed and brushed this week - boy is he shedding.
  • I did get one rain barrel out.  The 2nd one is going to get a spout before I set it up.
  • Paid everything I had the first of the week.
  • Tons of dusting - having windows open makes for a lot of extra dust!
  • I ran out to get a wedding card and a 9V battery - and stopped to get milk at Kroger.  Milk was 1.29/half gallon.  I also found ground sausage on markdown.  Got a couple for the freezer.
Cards are so expensive and batteries were crazy at Kroger - so I ran to Dollar General.
  • Dollar General still has .50 and 1.00 cards here (not Dol. Tree - but DG).  I found a lovely card for $1 and I got a battery for half the price of Kroger (brand name).
  • Went out to lunch of Friday with grade school friends - our bi-monthly lunch.  It was a good group and a lot of laughs.  We went to Lotus Gardens - Chinese.
  • Doing laundry and lots of cleaning - washed all the furniture covers (kitty covers!)
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • just a normal week - doing all the basics - nothing exciting!
Meals this past week:
Crispy chicken/veggie wraps
Club sandwich and a pineapple milk shake
Smoked sausage sandwich and hard boiled eggs
Burger, onion rings and sliced cucumbers
Spaghetti and salad
Out to lunch - Chinese
Salad at home early and then out to dinner for evening wedding (grilled salmon, asparagus and smashed potatoes)

I had a lot of fellowship with family and friends this week - which was nice.  
How was your week?  Any deals?  Any planting yet?  Give us a shout out and let us know what you are up to.
I hope each of you are healthy and safe.  Have a lovely week ahead.  Blessing to you and yours from my humble little home.

My nephew read this for his son's wedding yesterday - it is lovely.

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.  Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.......................So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-10 and 13

Lord, guide us each in these coming days.  Help us to love and care more and to never forget those who come and gone.  Let us each live our best lives to represent our loved ones in an ongoing and beautiful way and help us to live our lives as You guide us.  Thank You for love and memories, which often sustain us.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Easy, Quick and Tasty

 Happy Thursday all.  Hope this finds you all well.  Sunny and cooler morning here today.  The dew is so heavy this morning!  I'd love to mow again today - but can't imagine it drying out in time before the rains come!!  It looks to be cooler for many days - but that is fine.  Love this kind of weather.

As promised, today is just a post about some simple easy and tasty meals I make.  Now, being alone, I can eat differently than many - but truthfully G would have eaten all these things too (and did).  I have always made rather simple meals, with simple ingredients - but that doesn't take away from taste.  
Hopefully, some of you gals just starting out will get a few new ideas and even those who have been following all along.  We all need new ideas now and then.

Quesadillas are very easy to make.  A large tortilla, top with whatever you like.  You can top with a 2nd tortilla or use 1/2 of one - and fold over.  Above is tomato, cheese and flaked chicken.  Anything on it is good. I have a quesadilla maker - but you can grill (above was done on a G. Foreman) or do it in a pan - place a heavy pan or foil covered brick on top - to flatten when cooking side one!  There is always a way to do it!!!
Roll-ups or wraps.  They can be veggie or add meat and cheese and whatever you have on hand to make.  They are quite tasty.  Wraps are a summer favorite for me.
Mac n cheese with cut up smoked sausage or hotdog - veggies (whatever you have) on the side.
Mexican style skillet - beans, taco meat (w/seasoning), corn, diced onion - all cooked together and then topped with cheese.  Use what you have.  You can make skillets with all the ingredients of stuffed peppers or cabbage rolls - just cook it all together in a pan and top with cheese.  You will have deconstructed pepper or cabbage rolls!  Add some bread or a salad - yum.
Using leftover Mex. skillet (above) and make smothered burritos or use to make enchiladas or fancy tacos.  A serving on the plate topped with an egg would be tasty as well.
Fried tuna patty, mashed potatoes, and fresh asparagus.  Extra potatoes can be turned into potato cakes with little effort!
Fried rice is simple and tasty.  Cook up some rice - add what you have.  Above I found a can of mixed veggies - know idea why I had those, but decided to use, baggy has a little turkey I froze in pieces.  Add an egg to the mixture when sauteing up and you have fried rice.  There is no right or wrong way to make this - just use what you have.  Not necessary to even add meat.  You can do this with spaghetti noodles as well and make lo mein.
Dirty rice with meat added (you can use any kind of rice or flavor), garlic toast and fresh veggie.  Simple and tasty.
French bread pizza and a side salad.  I can often buy a whole loaf of Italian or French bread for $1.  Split it in half and top with whatever you have on hand.  Spaghetti sauce makes a great base or use tomato sauce and seasoning if no pizza sauce or use your favorite white sauce.  There are no rules!!!!!  Any meats or veggies or cheeses.  Have fun with it and experiment a little.  You could feed a family from a whole loaf made.  I always have lots of leftovers to freeze for another day.

Think about:
Spaghetti w/sauce (meat or not)
Soup beans - then maybe beans and rice with leftovers
Smothered hotdogs and fries (can make baked beans with dogs)
Burger (any way you like) with fries, or fried potatoes or beans or salad
Chili and crackers or cornbread
Soup - can be anything you have around the house.  Hamburger soup is a favorite here.  Use your leftovers or a few cans of veggies to make.
Sandwiches of all sorts - hot or cold with a salad or veggie side
Breakfast for dinner - eggs, sausage or pancakes, waffles, omelets, etc.
This is an omelet for one with a side of asparagus.  I threw some cheese, summer sausage, and onion in the omelet.  YUM
Hand pies.  These are made with empanada disks (super cheap for many in pkg,) or you can use pie crust.  Stuff with whatever you like.  Can be Mexican, pizza stuff, thick stew, mac n cheese - you name it - no limits.  I fried these in the air frier or they can be done in the oven until browned and crisped.  So tasty!  Add a salad and you have a meal.  Great way to jazz up leftovers.  These would be great with scrambled eggs and cheese too!

OK - there you go - just a sampling of some of the things I make.  It all is easy and uses what I have on hand - no special ingredients.
I get bored easily, so I like trying to experiment - and rarely does something not turn out tasty.
Just one thing all the beginners need to remember - THERE ARE NO RULES!!!!!!!

There are many ways to use up leftovers or simple ingredients in your pantry/freezer.  Take a little time and look around - get creative and have fun.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Spring Has Made it!

 Good morning to all.  Yes, spring has made it to our area.  It has been so lovely and warm.  Now we will still have some cool days and nights - but the world is coming back to life.  I love it.
The past couple days were in the 80's!  Today 70's and VERY windy.  Storms off and on.

Last night I was awakened about midnight with thunder.  Didn't last long.  Back to sleep and I got woke up to quite a loud noise.  It was 2:30AM.  I get up and all is good in the house and I look out the bedrooms windows and I see the rain barrel has blown over!  I have one out and it is a little heavy - even has bricks in the bottom.  The wind!!!  So I put on flip-flops and go out in jammies to set it inside the back gate.  It is hard to wrangle.  Blown over by the wind!  Geesh.  Never had that happen before.
It was amazing how warm it was outside.

Just a little tour of the yard - not a lot.  But things are getting so lovely and in just a couple days things have really grown and greened.  Weeds are growing like crazy!  No matter what else grows - the weeds are always there.  LOL
The perennial bed is really over doing itself.  Lilies of all kinds are up, poppies busting the bounds of the flowerbed, Echinacea, phlox, coreopsis all popping up.  The tulips and daffodils are done.  They were all over the area for a couple weeks.  My gifted iris have started showing green!  Next color will be poppies.  You can see the peonies in the background - they have gotten tall.  Lots of empty pots to be filled with garden goodies soon!
                                                     A different view from the other side.
           Grape arbor is starting to leaf.  This was a couple days ago - it is really popping out today!
Lovelies starting to bloom.  I always forget what this is called.  It was a gift from a friend right after G passed.  It is just lovely this spring.  Such dainty little flowers.
The vinca vine is blooming out front, lambs' ear is growing in leaps and bounds, spiderwort is coming up, lemon balm and mint are all flourishing, just so many lovely things to look at.

It seems to be a bumper crop year for purple dead nettle - my goodness, I have a crop going on out there.  It is just thick in certain areas.  I have seen many people say they have tons this spring.  I need to get busy and figure out something I can do with it, besides pull it!!!  It is medicinal in many ways.

Do you use it for anything?  Let us know if you do.  I have a couple sites saved that give different ideas - but like to hear someone who is actually using it.

Bits always wants to make sure I know it is close to breakfast time each morning, and he comes in yelling to wake me at about 5AM!  I pet him and assure him soon.  I lay there and listen to the birds just chirping and singing their songs in the dark.  It is something.  What a great way to start the day - being needed, listening to nature and saying my morning prayers.

One last picture.  Buddies sharing a window - enjoying the fresh air.  There is a 2nd one open not 4" to the left of Bitsy (double window) - but they seem to like being together.
Cute note - there is a black kitty that roams around outside.  It is the neighbor's cat, Licorice.  It hangs out here a lot (to hunt birds I believe).  If Bits see it - he thinks it is Blackie and gets all worried.  He starts crying and yelling and running from window to window.  I tell him Blackie is in the other room and point - he turns and looks that way - then runs in and finds him.  That is his buddy for sure.  Sometimes Blackie comes to find him, and it quiets him down.  Two peas in a pod!!!

Have a great day my friends.  Stay safe and enjoy all the gifts of spring!!!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Using The Pantry - Get Creative

 Happy Tuesday to you all.  What a wonderful weather week we have had so far.  Yesterday and today 80's!!  Sunshine galore!  Windows have been open and airing the house.  Rain comes in later tonight and then it cools some.  It has been glorious!  I hope you are getting some lovely weather as well.

Today, let us continue along in our pantry series with some ways to use what we have and not waste.  We all need to get creative at times - it makes things fun!  There are many ways to use many ingredients.  When watching your dollars, it is great to have an arsenal of ideas so that you don't waste food nor money. (good for us all).

Last weeks in the comments there were instructions from a couple contributors as to how to make dried beans.  They are so inexpensive and they can be so good.  You don't have to use them just as soup beans - there is beans and rice, refried beans, they can be cooked and frozen for later and used in chili, soups, etc.
Beans are always a wonderful thing to have in your pantry.

NEVER throw away bacon grease.  It is great to have on hand for flavoring and for frying bland items - adds lots of flavor!!!  I keep mine in the frig.  Heck, I remember mom had a small canister that she kept on the stove back in the day.  I feel safer keeping it in the frig.  I have another jar for grease from beef (like hamburger).  I use it sometimes when cooking ground chicken or turkey - to give it a beef flavor!
Any combo of veggies can be considered a salad.  You can blend what you have in a big bowl for several servings or a salad can be just a couple items in a side dish in my opinion.  When I say I have had a salad - it may be carrots and radish cut up, or cukes and tomatoes, or onion and cukes, or olives and radish and cauliflower........  whatever you have fresh can be considered a salad.  Throw in a little dressing and yum!
ALWAYS have some cookbooks on hand with cheap and easy ingredients.  Cookbooks are part of the pantry in my opinion.  You can get so many easy ideas - and you can tweak it to your individual taste.
Yard sales are great places to find books for pennies and you can often find some of the older ones, which are great!!

PASTA - so many uses.  There are lots and lots of variety of pasta available.  Make it plain with a little oil or butter, or add sauces of any sort.  Use in salads - a hearty pasta salad can make a meal with some garlic toast if you want a light and cool dinner.
use in soups and casseroles.  As a side.

Use your ingredients to make pancakes or waffles.  Freeze for later use and a quick breakfast.  Biscuits can be made ahead and frozen.  Make up some breakfast biscuits - with egg, bacon, sausage, cheese...whatever you choose.  Breakfast burritos and wonderful to have on hand.  Tortillas, some scrambled eggs and whatever else you choose to add.  Wrap and freeze.  Keeps you from running out to buy breakfast - grab heat and eat from home!!!!

Baked potatoes can make a meal.  Top with leftovers or whatever you choose and have.  A nice little salad on the side and you can have a full belly!

RICE is another versatile food.  Fried rice, stir fry, Spanish rice, as a side, in soups, casseroles, etc.  It can even be mixed with an egg for the base (crust) of a quiche.  You can add some broken pasta and make your own rice a roni!  There are unlimited use for rice and it can be flavored with anything.

Think about using tortillas as wraps for things other than Mexican food.  I love wraps in the summer hot months.  Add cold cuts or loads of veggies, chickens strips, fish, you name it.  Place your meat and veggies on a flat tortilla, add a little dressing or condiment of choice and roll up and EAT!  Lighter than a sandwich, but still filling.
                                              Turkey, veggies and dressing prior to rolling!

Keep your bones from chicken, turkey or beef or ham to make stock.  You add them to water and 'cook' for a long while.  This gives you a wonderful stock/broth to use for making soups.  You can freeze.  I know this may be beyond "new" pantry stockers and that is OK.  It is something to keep in mind as you keep learning.

Keep things simple.  Spaghetti, hamburger veggie soup, chicken and rice or noodle soup, salads, pasta bakes of any sort, stir fry with all your leftovers - all these are just so easy to make and use up things.
Never forget the good old fashioned tuna casserole!  You can add cream of soup, or cheese or veggies to it and it is so filling.  Tuna can be used instead of salmon for fried patties.  Make the same way.  Tuna salad is always good.

Down to the last bits of jelly in a jar?  Pour some milk in the jar and shake, shake, shake.  You can drink it then, or place in an ice cube tray and freeze for a fun treat!  Don't waste.

THINK TWICE before you throw anything away!!!!  Don't waste and use it all up!
There is almost always another use for things and a new recipe that can be made.
There are just so many, many ideas out there.  I know the gals here will list some other ideas as well.
Please know if you are NEW to this journey, it really can be fun and enjoyable.

There is a lot to learn, and the fact that you are here and wanting to learn speaks volumes!!!!  You have made the first step.  Each new step is one forward in this journey.
You have this and you can do it.
Make it a game of sorts - "how can I use this?"  But have fun and learn a little and save as you eat well.

Have a fantabulous day everyone!!!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Weekly Wrap Up 4/14

 Happy Sunday to all.  I hope this finds you all well and safe!
It has turned into a beautiful weekend here.  Yesterday was lovely - once it dried out.  Today we may hit our first 80* day of the year, even though it is pretty windy.  We had an especially wet and chilly week - so this is much appreciated.  We have had 6" of rain so far this month - that is a normal month's worth!  More coming this week!
Things are growing all over the place!  It is getting green and very pretty.  Just a week or two ago - you could look at the horizon and still see a lot of brown - now you see green.  The grass has grown tremendously after all the rain.
The kitties are enjoying the open windows and the fresh air.  Funny I can open 2 windows side by side and most often they both try to be in the same one!  Buddies!

This past week was a week of little things - that kept life frugal.
  • I washed down the bathroom walls - not something I do often
  • Gave myself a nice pedicure to start off spring!
  • Root touch-up
  • Aired house when possible - early week and later week (before & after rain)
  • I did go out to lunch with friends from high school.  We went to Jockamo Pizza - got a HUGE slice of 4 meat pizza, salad and a drink for less than $9.
  • I put out a different cheery yard flag and a pretty in the front flower bed.  Slowly getting ready for summer
  • Refilled the kitchen dish soap bottle - emptied the big container - drained upside down and finally rinsed with water to get it all. 
  • I also saved the squirty top from the bottle to use for other things - those are handy
  • Did some trimming and a little yardwork early in week
  • Mowed entire yard yesterday & pulled weeds
  • Found an outfit for a wedding I will be attending next weekend from things I have here.  I truly thought I would need to buy something new - but went through clothes and found something perfect! Huge savings, plus I never see anything on the racks for mature women!
  • Going through clothes - found a lot more to donate - slowly decluttering clothes
  • Went about 90% of the week with no heat 
  • Using what I have and trying to get inventive with food
  • No grocery shopping
  • Just doing all the normal stuff
Meals last week:
Mexican skillet casserole
Grilled burritos (using some of the casserole)
Out to lunch - pizza/salad
Stoup (from freezer) and a grilled cheese
Poor man Swiss steak with potato cakes (from freezer)
Fried rice & milkshake (milk, ice, pc. of frozen banana and squirt of honey)
Big burger and a side of fresh, cut up veggies

How was your week?  Are you able to get out and do any yardwork yet?  Any deals?  Crafting or sewing?  Love hearing what is going on with everyone.
This coming week will be more yardwork - so much to do.  Hoping to get a few cool weather things planted.

I hope this finds you all well, safe and healthy.  I often think of those who seem to have left here.  Know that you are still being held in prayer.
Blessings to you and yours from my humble little home.

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but every one who is hasty comes only to want.
Proverbs 21:5

Dear Lord, we thank you for another week.  Helps us to plan and produce needed goods during the warm months.  Guide us in the ways to provide for our homes and to help those in need of goods and information.  Thank you for letting us all be so unique with so many different skills and ideas.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

On to Stocking the Pantry

 Happy Thursday all.  It is a wet, wet day here - lots of flooding going on around the city streets and in mine and the neighbors back yards!!!!!  The lake is back.  Oh boy!

Today we continue on with the pantry posts.  Now that we have got you thinking "where" to put your pantry and "why" you need to stock - today we give ideas on actually packing your pantry!
Get yourself in the mindset that you need to store EXTRA food supplies and even non-food items.  Get your mindset on what you NEED not what you necessarily WANT.  BIG difference!

Get with your family or your friends or even here or other sites to gain simple yet yummy recipes.  That is important.  Now that you are starting your pantry - you need to cook at home and stay away from fast food (it really is important).  What you spend on a fast-food meal - will add a lot of supplies to your pantry which will provide MANY meals, not just one.  SERIOUSLY!
First and foremost - buy what you will eat and eat what you buy!!!!
Second - store lots of basics!  Keep items for baking and keep simple foods (that you like) like pastas, rice, beans, veggies, canned fruit, peanut butter, proteins like canned tuna or other meats - also fresh potatoes!  A baked potato with toppings can be a meal!

Start out with adding $5 a week in goods to your pantry - above your normal purchases.  I know in these days of inflation, $5 isn't a lot - but it can buy more than you think.  Watch the sales and use your $5 wisely.  I can still from time to time find store brand peanut butter for $1 a jar (great protein).  I can still find pasta for $1 or less a pack.  You can get a good size bag of rice for $5.  Watch, watch, watch sales!!!
If you know someone that has a Sam's or Costco membership - think about looking for bigger packs of pasta, rice, dry beans, baking supplies there. (split with someone if you need to, to stay on budget)

I watch the ads, and I never enter the store without going to the clearance sections!  You can sometimes find some great deals there.
Think about stores that aren't totally grocery stores - Big Lots, Ollies, ethnic stores, discount stores of all kinds.
Once you get things rolling along - IF you can add a little bit more to that $5 budget - do it!
Now I realize that $5 can be a lot to some folks who are having financial difficulties.  Do what you need to provide food for your family or yourself.  If you have neighborhood food pantries you can use - do it.  If you have SNAP or EBT - use it!  You can use these options for your basic needs and then add in an extra $5 of your own - for extras.  There is a way!!!!  You just have to be wise and think and plan.

As mentioned yesterday - Ruffle's aren't needed - they are wants.  Stay away from snack foods - make popcorn or make cookies or cake or brownies at home if you need treats!  Don't be buying pop/soda - drink water or Kool-Aid or tea.  Soda is super expensive now and if you are having troubles with money - that is not the place to spend!
Now many of us make our cookies and cakes and such from scratch - but IF you can find super cheap (less than a $1) mixes that is ok too.  It can provide a few days worth of snacks and that is for a cheap price.
Popcorn can be a great evening snack and you can add all kinds of toppings to make it fun. Now I am talking about bags of popcorn you pop in a pot - not microwave popcorn (that is still too expensive if starting out). 

Seriously know that the dates on packaged goods does NOT mean EXPIRED!  Those are 'best if used by dates' that manufacturers must post.  (they never used to, and we survived!!)  It means best quality - not bad.  Many canned goods are good for many years past the date.  Ask me how I know!!!
If not dented, rusted or swelling canned goods are good for a long time. Best advice - always use the older items first - put your recently purchased items to the back of the older stuff.

If you buy freezer items (especially meats) - repackage in smaller portions.  A vacuum sealer is wonderful if you can find one at a thrift store or maybe as a gift - BUT if not - just make sure you squeeze or all the air you can from those meat packages!!!!  Air is not your friend in this case.

One thing I do, which keeps my freezer and frig in good shape is buying even if I have plenty - when I see a great sale!  IF I find ground beef on sale for a great deal or markdown I buy it!  ALWAYS.  I use it a lot and it is very versatile.  Also eggs!  If I find a great deal - I buy them.  They can be frozen (cracked and in muffin tins and packaged) for cooking.
So think about things you like and use a lot of - and IF you see a deal - get it.

I know this is a lot of information to process.  Get yourself a notepad and write down things you have read.  Use these notes to help you make a plan on stocking.
It CAN be done a little at a time for a little money at a time.  It isn't going to happen overnight.
Slow and steady and planning and thinking WINS the race!

Keep watching for very simple and basic recipes.  Ask family and friends for recipes.  If you have leftovers - USE THEM!  They can be lunch at work the next day or fancied up a little for a new meal.  You can also freeze leftovers for later.
Don't waste at all.

Hope this helps someone - we have all started at the beginning at some point.  We understand.  Ask questions if you need to.  Keep watching and reading and learning.  
Next pantry post (next week) will be about growing a little and freezing or preserving things for the future.

Have a splendid day to each of you!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Before the Pantry Stock

 Happy Wednesday.  Hope you are all well.

I was asked to give some guidelines to those just starting out with the pantry/freezer thing.  There is much to be thought about, but today, let us talk about the WHY and WHERE!  We all have to start somewhere.

WHY should you have a nice pantry and freezer of supplies?  Well, anything can happen.  You could lose your job and have less or no income for a while.  You could get sick and not feel like going out.  Other expenses could escalate and you need to cut back on grocery budget.  You could have a loss of life in the family and things change.  There are many, many things that could cause you not to be able to shop for a while.  You truly NEED to have extra supplies on hand.  BASIC items on hand that are ingredients that you can cook with and make all sorts of things.

                                                                    Not my picture
You need to figure out WHERE you are going to store items.  If your home has a dedicated pantry - you are very lucky.  You can store in all kinds of places and in all kinds of things!
Cabinets, closets, under stairs, basements (if dry), under the bed, on closet floors, extra rooms, just about anywhere you can think of.
You may need to get creative.  I have seen people store cases of goods behind couches and I have seen 'side tables' made from cases of food and then covered with a pretty tablecloth.  Whether you home is big or small - you need to have a plan.

Think about saving lots of nice jars and tins.  The larger the better.  Glass protects from most any kind of pest.  Plastic is good too - but remember rodents can chew through those. (If you have a problem).
Totes and plastic milk crates are great for storing can goods and jars and boxes of things.
You don't have to go out and spend a fortune on storage stuff.  Look around the house and garage - I bet you find many unused items that you can use.
Scraps of wood - will make extra shelves.  Baskets can hold mixes and packets.  Totes or boxes for under the bed (even old drawers from broken /old dressers).
Big totes and even those old popcorn tins.  Those are metal and safeguard lots of dry goods.  Think pasta or rice or baking supplies!  I keep extra bags of sugar in mine.
Think about making or adding storge behind closet doors.  It can be shallow and it is dead space if not in use.  Lots of people add those plastic/material shoe bags behind doors - they will hold a lot of small items.  Behind your doors is wasted real estate!!!!!!
         See these shoe bags work well for small items. Behind a door and not out in sight.

Don't forget a freezer.  Whether you have an upright, a chest or just the refrigerator freezer - plan ahead.  Small totes or ice cream containers (gallon size) can make great dividers.  Place like items together - and stack neatly as possible.  Stacking things FLAT is very wise.  Packages of ground meats freeze flat.  Smoosh out a package of ground meat.  It sure saves space and makes the freezer neat.  Soups or casseroles - in containers (I like square ones - no wasted space).  Mark your packages as well - so you know what is in it and the date you froze!!!

After you have decided WHERE you can store things - start thinking about what you use a lot of.
Make a sort of makeshift list of those things.   TP, beauty items, oats, baking supplies, dry beans, rice, sauces, pasta, certain meats, crackers, etc.  How much you go through a week or month.
You don't have to do all this before packing the pantry - it will just make things easier. 
Look around your dwelling for spaces and things to use.  Get a smallish plan in order. 
Just a few things to think about before really doing a good pantry stock.  Use what you have for storage.  Ask around for free items (totes, boxes, tins, baskets, etc.).

Now that you have a sort of plan - it is time to shop/grow!
Tomorrow, we will go over some basics on ways to pack your pantry for the least amount of funds possible.  Not everyone can go out and spend tons of dollars at once.  Slow and steady can win this race as well.  It DOES take time and effort - but is sure worth it!
See you tomorrow for shopping ideas!

Anyone have any other ideas on areas to store goods?  Places you use that aren't conventional?
We are here to help those who are just starting out - let's all pitch-in!

Have a good day to all!

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Just a Howdy

 Happy Tuesday to all.  Well, we survived the 'great eclipse' event!!  LOL  
No apocalypse, so onward and forward!  I just heard so much doom and gloom - it was amazing.  I think that is what made me not a fan!  It got fairly dark for about 3 1/2 minutes (in totality) here, the streetlights came on and so did my dusk to dawn lights.  Much against what scientists said, my birds never missed a beat - they continued to chirp and eat!  Of course, I hear birds at 5AM and at 9PM in the dark every single day.
They predicted hours of being stuck in traffic afterwards - and the news said the traffic was lighter than any day in recent memory! 
We did have 10's of thousands extra people come into town - and William Shatner was here and gave a speech right before!  I mean nobody else had Captain Kirk!  LOL
Oh well, I guess lots of people had a grand time and that is all good.

Anyhow, I have a busy day ahead, so today I am keeping things short and sweet today.

I love the above meme - it just says it all.
Don't let people get to you.  Stop worrying about what people think or say.  You are you - and you are great.  Don't let others try to sway your thoughts.
Staying grounded and true to yourself is the best gift you can give yourself and truthfully to others.
When people disagree with you - graciously smile and go on.  When you disagree with others, well again, smile and go on.  No scene is necessary.
Guard your space - don't let others tread on it and choke out your joy.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.
Be you and be beautiful!

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Weekly Wrap Up 4/7

 Happy Sunday to all.  What a glorious morning it is here.  Yesterday was so beautiful.  There was not a single cloud in the sky all day - just beautiful blue.  No wind, lots of sun and in the 60's.  The coming week looks to be near normal temps, but a bit soggy. 
Looking out over the horizon it is so neat to see all the colors of the budding trees.  They are just all starting to bud - so lots of greens, gold, bronze, red, purple, etc.  Just lovely.  I have Vinca vine up out front and it is starting to bloom with purple little flowers.
The grass is vivid green and everything seems to have just burst alive this week.

Tomorrow is the eclipse.  I am in totality area - and could NOT care less!  So over all the talk of this.  I saw an appropriate sign on FB - "this is an eclipse, not the apocalypse".  I can't believe the conspiracy garbage I keep hearing.  Hotels and B & B's are booked solid here, there will be fireworks, festivals, parties, schools closed, businesses closing early, etc.  You would think people have never seen darkness before!  There have been many eclipses in my life (maybe not total) - so I am not impressed.  LOL
I do realize it is a learning thing for kiddos and better they be home than school - kind of hard for teachers to keep a bunch of kids from not looking w/o protection, plus the roads will be crowded, and they may spend too long on buses.

Not a basketball fan - but bigger news in my opinion is Purdue (IN school) is in the NCAA playoffs!  (it's been 55 years).  Go Boilers.

My week:
  • Paid the couple bills that came in
  • Got the taxes completed & sent. Good news from Feds - nice refund.  The state had the audacity to want $29!!  LOL  - MAILED
  • Made a batch of biscuit mix to have on hand in the pantry
  • Made 12 drop biscuits
  • Picked tulips
  • Froze one of the sides of the turkey breast I cooked last weekend
  • Got to air the house on Sunday, Monday and again Saturday
  • Cut hair
  • Sliced up a pound of ground sausage, fried some and froze the remainder of slices for another time
  • Froze cake that was left from last weekend - (have had NO sugar this week)!!
  • Mowed the entire yard and trimmed
  • Saved 2 grocery store jars and a bottle from spices
  • Lots of laundry
  • Meals from what I have on hand and from scratch
  • Did get gas while out - only a 1/4 tank and saved .50/gal.  I did not get gas in March at all.
  • Did run in to get milk - and also got 3 lbs. of ground beef (not the roll) marked down to 1.99 lb.!!  Repackaged and in the freezer
  • Just continuing on cleaning and declutter of spring
Meals this past week:
Turkey breast, cheesy potatoes (freezer), gravy and carrot sticks
Turkey and gravy over biscuits & strawberry milkshake (no sugar added)
Broccoli/cheese rice and cube steak, biscuit
Patty sausage, eggs and biscuit
Leftover broc./cheese rice and smoked sausage, carrots sticks and sliced radish
Chili w/crackers
Chili topped with cheese, sour cream and chopped jalapenos
(Homemade chili - was just in the mood!)
SNACKS - ate fruit, cheese & crackers, veggies

So, there you have it.  Nothing exciting.  I am trying to lose a little winter weight - so I have cut sugar from my diet.  I splurged too much over the winter!
Oh the one exciting and nice thing was my sis had her 93rd birthday this week!  She has a lot of aches and pains, but otherwise is in pretty good health.  She is pretty darn special.

How was your week?  Anything exciting or any special deals? 
Always look forward to hearing from you all.

Wishing you all a lovely and joyful week.  Prayers for safety and health this week for you and your families.
Blessings to you and yours from me and my humble little home.

Make me know thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.  Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long.
Psalms 25:4-5

Dear Lord, help us to each one stay on the straight and narrow road, and not be swayed by all the naysayers and those spreading ill and vice around the world.  Guide us all to know right from wrong, and to hold tight to Your goodness and love.  Amen