A friend gave me a pile of cooking magazines and I saw this recipe. I like Gingersnaps and hoped it would be good. I made a batch and the cookies turned out picture perfect!
Old Fashioned Gingersnaps
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add egg and molasses, beat well. Sift together dry ingredients, gradually add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Chill the dough. Roll into 1 1/4 inch balls and dip in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungraded cookie sheets or on parchment paper on cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes or until set and surface cracks. Cool on wire racks. Yield: about 4 dozen.
Just an update: I baked 16 dozen cookies total for the church bazaar as well as 8 medium sized loaves of sweet bread. I need a break from baking before I start on the things I bake for gifts.
A friend gave me a pile of cooking magazines and I saw this recipe. I like Gingersnaps and hoped it would be good. I made a batch and the cookies turned out picture perfect!
Each year my church has a Christmas bazaar and at the bazaar they sell cookies by the pound. Before I retired, I would bake a few to send along, but my baking time was limited. Yesterday and today I've baked 12 dozen and plan to bake more in the next couple of days. The ones I baked yesterday and today can be frozen and thawed and they come out like they are fresh.
I was just going to propose something...anyone interested in sharing cookie recipes here? I'm going to share one I got from a Joanne Fluke book. Her protagonist Hannah Swensen runs a cookie shop in Minnesota and this was one of her recipes. I've been making it for years and it is a wonderful recipe. I've even just not put in the cinnamon and rolling the dough in the cinnamon and sugar mixture and added other things like different chips (milk, semi-sweet, and even white) and it is a great all around recipe. This original recipe is like Snickerdoodles if you are familiar with them.
Cinnamon Crips Cookies
Preheat oven to 325 F
2 cups melted butter (4 sticks)
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 beaten eggs (large or jumbo)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon of salt
4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
Cream butter and sugars, add eggs. Set aside. Mix dry ingredients together and then slowly add to wet mixture. Add vanilla at last.
Dough ball rolling mixture: 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Roll dough into balls, then into mixture. Bake at 325 10-15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then on a wire rack.
This recipe, since I made the cookies about medium size made about 7 dozen. You can half this recipe easily if you don't need or want that many cookies. They freeze well after they are fully cooled.
ABC has a show this season called American Housewife. Not sure if you have watched it, but each episode makes me like this character so much more. Basically, she is a slightly overweight normal gal who loves her family, but feels inadequate because most of the women in this fancy neighborhood are stick thin, exercise constantly, and are basically snobbish.
I think this program sort of mirrors society to a certain extent. Unless you, as a woman, are drop dead gorgeous, stick thin, and travel with the in crowd, you basically feel left out.
I've always been overweight. Well, I take that back, I was born underweight, but that didn't last long. I've dieted and exercised and I have lost weight, gained it back, lost it, gained it back, and gotten frustrated. At one point in my life when I was a lot younger I ate one meal a day and exercised faithfully. I did lose quite a bit of weight, but I never was stick thin. Of course when I started eating regular meals again, I gained it all again.
Being an overweight woman isn't fun. When the program "What Not to Wear" was on, I always understood when the heavier gals would go shopping and burst into tears because they couldn't find things that fit or made them look decent. I have had that issue most of my life. Shopping in the plus section is often an insult because it is usually tucked into a basement or upstairs which just adds to the shame. Most of the stuff out there is just plain butt ugly. I'm overweight, I don't need even bigger patterns to accent that fact. So, I can either go for the potato sack fit which is no fit, or have stuff that is so darn tight I'm afraid to move so it doesn't rip out a seam. Most of the stuff in my closet has some age to it because I lucked into something and am keeping it, stylish and trendy or not.
A number of years ago a group of us from my district went to present at an educational conference. One of the women was short and stout and was an expert in her field. When the two ladies before her spoke briefly, they had the audience's attention. When my heavier friend spoke, people quit listening. They judged her not on the merit of her words, but how she looked. She wasn't sloppy or dirty. She was overweight and therefore most of the audience didn't give her the time of day. She had on nice clothes and her hair and make up were well done.
I struggle with my own self esteem, but I have decided I'm going to try and look at things differently. Perhaps if I walk in with a confident stride and pretend I'm decent looking, maybe I'll feel better about myself, even if others still judge me.
It would be so nice if we didn't judge people so much on how they look. The biggest share of my dearest friends are not model beautiful. Their beauty lies in their character. The folks who know me best kid me about what attracts me to a man. Muscles? Nah! Height? Nope. I've always had a weakness for guys in glasses. I think it is because I'm drawn to men of intelligence. DH says I don't suffer fools gladly so perhaps that is my prejudice.
So, as I watch the American Housewife, it makes me look at things a little differently. Have I become an education snob? I sure hope not. I hope I have not made someone uncomfortable because of how they speak or act or look. I am going to watch myself more closely. I don't like being discriminated against because of my weight so I needn't discriminate against someone because of something they do or say or are just because it is different from me.
Life has been busy around here. DH and I have worked to get the house ready for fall and winter. DH is still trying to take it easy after his surgery so things take a little longer. But, we've gotten many of our summer items put away. I finished drying herbs and have them ready to use as I cook. The hose is emptied and put up and the rain barrel has been dismantled and put away as well.
Each year my church has a bazaar for Christmas. In the past I've donated what I could, but time constraints have limited me somewhat. This summer as I went to thrift stores and garage sales I had a few items in mind as I shopped. I wanted some table top trees. I also wanted some crochet thread. I found both at different places very reasonably. So, off and on this summer I crocheted ornaments for these trees. The beauty of these ornaments is they don't take a ton of thread so I could buy already started crochet thread and make a few ornaments and not have a lot of money involved. I finished three trees and took them to church so they are ready for the sale. I also found a candle wick Christmas stocking kit new in the package for 99 cents. Candle wicking is a form of embroidery. I worked on it this summer too, finished the embroidery part and then sewed the stocking together. It will also be donated. I forgot to iron it when I ironed some other things the other day.
A couple of months ago I joined a group at church called Stitches of Love. This group makes a variety of things, but a couple of things everyone works on at one time or another has to be these knitted hats that are made on a knitting loom. They taught me how to do this and I've made both hats for preemies and then hats to donate. We've donated to three schools so far. In one of the closets there are tubs of yarn that have been donated so we can use that if we want. I had some odds and ends of the yarn I've used to make these hats, both from the stuff I've purchased as well as the free stuff and I wondered what I could do with it without waiting to make one big projects. I discovered a pattern to make a cover for the Swiffer. So, I made one for myself out of the scraps and tried it and it works pretty well. So, I went through the tubs at church and found bits and pieces of yarn and have been working on making these covers to donate to the bazaar.
All these projects aren't major things, but they have kept my hands busy and hopefully will help out either the bazaar or the children we donate the hats for. As far as cost, other than buying the looms retail, everything else has been bought used at thrift stores and garage sales or gleaned from the yarn tubs at church. I don't know if I'm saving money, but it is pretty decent entertainment for little money.
Happy Halloween! We are ready for the trick or treaters tonight -Stocked up on candy. Our ranch house has a garage jutting out and unfortunately our good city doesn't believe in more than one street lamp per cul-d-sac so it is kind of dark for those little ones to walk around the side of the garage to the front door. So, we normally open our garage door and have our lights on and the kids just walk up our driveway and get their treats. My husband loves handing them out and seeing the little ones in their costumes. Although I try to catch candy on sale and use some of the coupons, it isn't a real frugal experience. But, we figure it is a neighborly thing to do, and in some ways, it is entertainment, especially being the kids dressed up. Each year I pull out this large plastic lighted pumpkin. I was just thinking we have had this thing at least 20 years. We had it our other house for a couple of years and we've lived here 18. Amazing how things last when you take care of them, isn't it?
Like most of you, I've always tried to hit the sales at grocery stores for this and that. I normally shop at Aldi for most of our items, but there are other things we pick up here and there. We have a County Market that puts out a coupon book every month and it goes for about two weeks. Usually there is only one or two items that we will get and sometimes it isn't worth it to make an extra trip. But this one had bacon on sale, butter on sale, as well as deli ham. Deli ham that is normally $8.99 a pound for $3.99 a pound. And, we were out on that side of town, so it wasn't a special trip. After we finished our shopping, I told DH what a pleasure it is to be retired and not have to scramble on weekends to do this sort of stuff. I feel we are truly blessed to be retired and be able to take advantage of sales like this.
I know this is not life changing, but I'm just plain frustrated. DH loves the Chicago Tribune on Sundays. He loves reading it from cover to cover on a Sunday afternoon after we fix brunch and clean up. We used to have a news stand that was open 7 days a week and each week we would go and pick one up. The owner ran it for many years, but finally decided he was ready to retire and his family didn't want to continue without him. A local business bought it, and in less than a year, closed their doors including the news stand part of it. We thought we would still be able to find the Trib at Walgreens.
Well, our local Walgreens gets about 4-5 papers and sells out within an hour. They open at 9 and by the time we get out of church around 10, they are usually sold out. We asked if they could get more each Sunday since we aren't the only ones missing out and one of the employees said he would find out. True to his word, he did ask the distributor and the person said no, they won't give them any more and they really want people to subscribe.
Two weeks ago we stopped at Walgreens -- it was before ten -- and they were sold out. So, I called one about 10 miles away where we had gotten one before and they said they hadn't even gotten any papers. I called another one a little farther away and they said they had 4 copies and all were sold out. We tried one more store and they said they didn't have any either. So, I bit the bullet and called Chicago Tribune and said we would like to subscribe to just the Sunday paper. Last Sunday was supposed to be the first delivery. I was told it would be on our doorstep by 8 a.m.
DH was excited thinking that after 3 or 4 weeks, he would actually have a Chicago Tribune in hand. But, 8 came and went and no paper. I waited until 8:30 and called their 800 number. No live person, but a computer that said it recognized my phone number and to press buttons to confirm we didn't get delivery and wanted it delivered. Then allow 60-90 minutes. We went to church, came home, and yet no paper. I called again and went through the same message. I then went onto their Facebook page and messaged them and they sent me the email to customer service. I could not find it on the webpage. I emailed and received a very nice response from someone in a few minutes. But, because it was after 11, they could not have it delivered on Sunday, but would deliver it on Monday. We did get it on Monday, but for some reason, it just kind of bothered us that we had to wait until the next day. Well, we said, justifying it, it was the first day of delivery, maybe wires got crossed.
Well today is Sunday and at 8 we looked out. No Chicago Tribune. I emailed the customer service person and received a response 30 minutes later. Again, very polite. But, we were at church. When we got home, I responded that there was still no paper although it had been scheduled for redelivery. She said she would email again. Three or four emails went back and forth between us. I don't blame her at all. She responds. But, it makes me wonder what kind of distributor we have here in our town that they don't want to sell newspapers at Walgreens when apparently people want them and don't want to deliver them. Anyway, we did not receive the paper today. So, I'm very frustrated. I plan to call the customer service folks tomorrow.
DH loves reading the paper. I like the extra coupons. I have discovered that there are different coupons in papers. I think our local paper gets the packets that have the least amount of coupons because the Chicago paper usually has the same brand name packets or catalogs of coupons, but there are other coupons in it.
Speaking of coupons, I find it ironic that our local community college will be teaching an extreme couponing class this week. I have no idea how they expect people to extreme coupon when our local paper has fewer coupons and it one can't apparently get papers with the bigger coupon packets.
Thanks for letting me vent.
It's kind of cool today and it means I can start thinking of comfort foods. I love turkey. Aldi has turkey breasts reasonable and I have been stocking up. So, I decided to put one in the Crockpot to cook away.
Supper will be turkey, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, sliced tomatoes of the few we still have, corn casserole, and fruit salad. I haven't made this corn casserole for awhile, but it is pretty good.
Corn Caserole Recipe
1 small onion, diced
6 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried mustard
2 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups stuffing
1/2 tsp dried sage
4 cups corn, drained
Cook onion in 4 tablespoons of butter until limp. Remove from heat and add flour, salt, and mustard. Mix well. Add milk. Stir until blended. Put back on heat and cook until thick. Remove from heat and add eggs, bread cubes, corn, sage, and remaining butter. Pour into a greased casserole. Cover with bread crumbs. Bake at 375 for 45 to 60 minutes.
I will admit I didn't use all the butter. I used a little olive oil for cooking the onion. I did add a small pat of butter for the flavor. It's baking away and my mouth is watering.
I'm dreaming a decent dream and there's this weird chirping noise in my dream. As I come out of dreamland, I realize the chirp is real and I figure it is either a smoke detector or the CO2 detector telling me the battery was about to go kaput. It was the CO2. I do wonder why they always pick late at night or very early in the morning to decide to give up the ghost!?!
I truly like reading the newspaper. The paper and ink kind. I don't like reading one on a tablet or computer. I feel the same way with books too.
This morning I got up early and did some housework and then caught up on my newspaper reading. I was behind one a weekly paper we get. I'm kind of odd duck -- I like reading the classifieds. Last week's edition had the delinquent tax bills for 2015. Our tax bills come due usually June first of the following year and if you make installments, then the second installment is September 1st. I always read these not only because I'm nosy, but I also don't want to get blindsided by a bill I didn't catch.
I was shocked to see two names of folks I know. Both are gainfully employed. Neither are poor. Yet, they hadn't paid their taxes. I don't know if there is a grace period or what, but it makes me wonder how well they handle money. It is also scary. I don't know how it works, but wonder if they don't pay, if someone can redeem their property for the property taxes. These aren't shacks by any means. They are nice middle class homes.
I always save money because I estimate about what our tax bill will be so I have enough to pay it come June. I go ahead and pay it all at once so I don't have to worry about forgetting. I figure it was for the year before so they aren't really using my money per se. I guess we often think people do things the way we do.
Someone posted on Facebook that many Americans don't read. I know some of my friends don't read the paper, watch the news, or read online. I'm shocked when they seem so misinformed. I'm not talking about kids, but middle aged and older adults.
I did get caught up on all my newspaper reading, clipped some coupons, and recycled. Did some housework and did the grocery shopping for the week. DH is out picking sage that I'm going to dry. Not a bad day overall for getting things done.
I've been making apple sauce the last few days. I've been scouring the ads for apples on sale. I read a recipe the other day for apple butter and they suggested using less sugar and adding maple syrup. So, I decided to try that with apple sauce. I like the depth of flavor it gives it. I peel and core apples and put them in a Crockpot with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little sugar and with some water on low. When the apples are cooked through, if it has a lot of liquid, I spoon it out. I pour in some maple syrup and use an immersion blender to making it smoother and then can it in glass jars. I don't have a recipe per se since I basically do it by taste.
DH decided it was time to get rid of the tomato plants since they were dying back. They weren't really producing much. He pulled off the green tomatoes and I made great tomato chow chow with them and the small bell peppers we have. That's in the canner as I type.
It's pretty warm here. Yesterday it was in the upper 80s. Today is it in the upper 70s, but we are supposed to get a cold front and lower temperatures tomorrow through Friday. We've had above normal temps lately. It made it a bit warm to can today, but I have to can when I can get it done and so stuff doesn't go to waste.
Soupy as I'm making soup. Lots of it. Although it's still pretty warm here in Central Illinois, a frost may be coming at some point. I'm trying to use up the many bell peppers we have as well as some other vegetables and making soup. Actually, I made a large pot of soup Friday and I'm making another today. I found celery on sale at Aldi last week and bought a bunch, and bought some other vegetables to go with it. I found an English roast marked down almost half at Kroger's so i put it in the slow cooker Friday morning and then cut it up and used half in the soup Friday and the other half today. I pulled tomato sauce I had frozen last fall to add to the soup and then also used barley and lentils. The current pot is simmering away. Once it cools, I'm going to put it in smaller portions and store in the freezer for easy and quick meals. Fortunately DH and I like soup and can eat it year round. Plus, it is a good way to use up stuff.
As for the Fix It Friday, wish it was my idea, but alas, it was not. I read an article that students in textile classes at Illinois State University set up a station and called their time "Fix It Friday" and sewed buttons on and repaired slight tears for other students who don't know how to do this. They said it is one way to keep items out of the landfills that are still perfectly OK. I know most people reading that are wondering what that is about, but I can attest, there are folks who once they lose a button, throw the garment away. I worked with a gal who had a nice pair of khakis and the button came off. I told her if we could find a needle and thread, I would sew it back on for her, but she said not to worry, she would use a binder clip to keep her pants together and throw them away when she got home. I couldn't believe it. She said she just buys a new pair when it happens.
DH and I are enjoying retirement. Last Tuesday we went on a bus trip to The Hill in St. Louis. We ate lunch at a restaurant (it was included in the trip price) walked around and looked in two of the Italian grocery stores, went on a tour of a mom and pop soap making store, enjoyed the smells of two bakeries and bought a small piece of Italian flat bread, had some gelato and when we arrived home, pulled some soup out of the freezer and heated it up for supper. Yesterday we went to Morris, Illinois, which is about 2 hours north of us. There is market the second Saturday along the Illinois and Michigan canal and they have foods, crafts, and flea market stuff. We walked around the market, bought two cinnamon rolls for breakfast today, walked around the lovely downtown, bought s small dish of ice cream (DH adores ice cream), and drove home and felt we had hit the jackpot. And you guessed it, we had soup last night too. We weren't super hungry after having the ice cream and why go out when we have soup at home?
A friend of ours says he is shocked at how we are spending money. Well, first of all, we've saved for years. All those years of scrimping on this and that and eating leftovers so we had money put away. We aren't taking major trips this year. We like the small, short ones. Plus, it gets us out and moving and walking. What we've spent so far hasn't hit one savings account so we aren't overspending. Plus, we eat at home a lot when we aren't out and about. This same friend and spouse admitted they eat out just about every meal. No thanks. It isn't special anymore. Plus, other than a few restaurants, there aren't many places we like all that well to have to eat out every meal.
Well, time to check on the soup!
Life is going pretty well here. DH is recovering although he is impatient and thinks he should be like he was before the surgery. Yeah, at 70, he's doing remarkably well, but Mr. Stubborn doesn't want to hear that.
We went out with a couple this week to celebrate DH's birthday. Most of the time we feel like we are pond scum by the woman. I don't know why. It isn't like she has a reason, but she can be cruel. Anyway, every time we meet with them, she has to go on and on about whatever they did that was a good work. It is like we are being told they are better than us because they donated some canned goods or tithed to their church or whatever it happened to be.
I guess I look at things weird. We do things too, but feel we shouldn't brag about them. I know most of you at SA have helped people out and if you blog about it, it isn't to brag, but to inform such as those loans to the women in third world countries. Most of the people we are friends with do things for other through their church or organizations or individually. It isn't like most people are just self centered wretches.
Anyway, I feel like I can rant safely here because I'm tired of being put down by this person. So thanks for letting me express my feelings.
I think many of us use our Crockpots. A lot. I know I do. I hate to admit this, but I have 5 of them, all different sizes. One of them is getting some age on it, but the rest aren't too old. One replaced another one I had that was about done -- the handles had chipped away. Two I have bought used.
This morning I peeled apples to put in one of the Crockpots to make applesauce to can. Put one Crockpot away from being washed that I had made chicken broth in a day or so ago.
I kind of drool over the new one that is a casserole shape, but I don't need it and truly do not have a place to store it. Can't imagine I'd use it that much either.
Speaking of storage, I'm having to go through my cabinets and go through my dishes and pots and get rid of those items I don't use very often because I need the storage for the canned good. Certainly a good motivator. We don't have a basement and I don't want to put the canned goodies in the garage. So, I guess it is a good problem to have.
I know the calendar says it is the final day of September, but wow, where has this month gone? Of course with DH's surgery and my colonoscopy, much of it was doctor's appointments and procedures.
I can say it was kind of spendy. I bit the bullet and bought a MacBook. My current cheapie laptop is about to bite the dust. I just finished copying files and photos. I was going to buy another cheap laptop, but DH said I should just get what I really wanted. We had the money so I did. Now, I am trying to get all the personal stuff of this laptop. If I revert back to factory settings, will it clear most of the stuff off or will I need to run a program to clear the hard drive?
DH and I volunteered at one of my former schools today. He has been reading to two classrooms for the past 8 years. So today he read to the two classrooms and I helped in one of the classrooms by working with a couple of the students who are behind with fluency words.
DH's brother is going to have surgery next month. They were talking on the phone and although DH always seems supportive about the canning and enjoys the food, he never really says too much about it. I had to chuckle yesterday. He asked me if I had a list of everything that was canned. I did so he wanted it to read to his brother, almost bragging about it. Too funny! DH's brother has always had a much larger garden, but his wife doesn't can. She says it is too much work. It is work, but most things in life are.
Hope everyone has a great weekend. Hello, October!
Another hot day here in Central Illinois. Supposedly we are to have a cold front and a little rain. I'm ready for fall and at least what is termed as normal temps and humidity. I'm glad I'm not in the unairconditioned school buildings this year, but I feel for those who are.
DH continues to improve after his surgery. He still isn't to bend much and isn't to lift much weight, but at least he isn't in a lot of pain. His 70th birthday is this Tuesday and he already has his day planned -- he wants to hit some out of town antique and thrift shops and eat at a buffet called Yoder's in Arthur. It isn't a large buffet, but has excellent food. I already promised him a chocolate cake so I will bake it tomorrow and I'm counting on it being cooler to turn on the oven!
Hot or not, I am using up vegetables and made vegetable soup. We have been blessed with bell peppers this year and I don't want them to go to waste. I've already cleaned, chopped and frozen a bunch and put them in the freezer. Today for brunch I sauteed some and then put them with scrambled eggs. I keep a bag in the freezer of vegetables we don't finish. I put them in a soup. Most of them are fresh vegetables I've cooked or roasted so it gives them a better than canned flavor anyway. So fall or not, we are feasting on soup tonight.
It's funny...I've been retired for awhile -- I retired the day after school was out, but with summer break, I didn't really count it until August 15, the first day of school going back in session. So, lots of people have asked me how I like retirement. I can say I like it a lot.
I'm a sort of schedule person so after the first week, DH and I got into a schedule. We go to bed about the same time every night (later than when I worked since I don't have to get up super early anymore) and we get up around the same time every day. We got into an exercise and shower routine. He walks and I ride an exercise bike. I don't handle the sun or outside due to allergies. I try to do laundry on certain days because there is a comfort to that for me. I plan to grocery shop on Thursdays because it isn't as crowded, but the stores have their aisles pretty well stocked.
Today isn't the first day that it has been such a joy being retired, but as hot as it is today, I don't have to go and work in a hotbox known as many of our elementary schools and return tonight for open house. I can't tell you what a relief that is.
Yesterday my chiropractor asked me how I liked retirement. I guess because I'm not traveling all the time, they think I'm bored. I'm not. I cook, I read, I've canned, I clean, I visit with friends, and lately, I've been taking care of my husband due to his surgery. It's just nice not having to rush around and worry about getting enough sleep and getting to work on time.
One of the ladies I used to work with was always either late or cutting it close. She posted on Facebook that it finally happened -- she and her spouse overslept and the principal came to their house to do a check. In all the years I worked at different jobs, I was not late because I overslept. I would have been so embarrassed. She wasn't -- she thought it was funny. Maybe I'm too old fashioned and strict with myself. I don't find is amusing. It annoyed me to no end when she and other folks who were always running late felt it was OK for other people to pick up the slack because they couldn't and wouldn't get to work on time. Ah, that's no longer my problem, is it? I'm retired.
Before I forget, I just want to say I have really enjoyed reading everyone's lists. I feel like I have gotten more insight to my SA friends. I also appreciate the kind comments on my own list.
It's been an interesting week. I won't say it has been the most spendy, but we did wind up spending on some things I hadn't planned. DH's surgery was supposed to be outpatient and we were supposed to be home in time for lunch. Nope. I had made vegetable soup to heat up when we got home for lunch and had supper planned, but the best laid plans. I wound up buying lunch at the hospital and buying something for DH because he was starving. We did have the soup that night so it wasn't all lost and I wound up fixing the meal the next night. I had planned on having leftovers for lunch on Wednesday, but DH wasn't sure he could handle it, so we had chicken noodle soup like he did when he was a kid. I keep it on hand and buy it on sale. So I wound up freezing the stuff I was going to have and we will have it tonight for supper. It has probably evened out as far as spending.
I have had a pair of potholders for over 25 years. They are my favorites. They are just the right size and thickness. But with all the use, they are fraying and are stained. I wash them frequently, but they look kind of icky. I bought some yarn the other day at the thrift store to use for something else and had some leftover so I thought maybe I could crochet a cover for each one. I finished one last night so I'm going to try it and see if it works. If not, I'm not out much.
A friend of mine was bemoaning the fact he went to some trade show and he didn't have the money to buy all the new stuff he wanted. I have a difficult time feeling sorry for him -- he makes a bigger pension than I, but is never ever happy.
I did can two more quarts of tomato juice. Most of it came from cherry tomatoes, but I don't want anything to go to waste. The garden is really slowing down so I'm only getting a few things here and there, but feel very blessed to have all we have had.
Friday night we were watching Dateline and the gal they were interviewing who was telling the story...well, I told my husband I didn't like her. She seemed like she was basically a high maintenance gal who married the guy she eventually turned in for murdering her dad, although she said she knew it before she married him. Seems she liked living the high lifestyle and when the money ran out, she no longer wanted to have anything to do with him. DH was teasing me that I was high maintenance too...and laughed. He reminded me I get more excited about canning jars than jewelry and I buy yarn from the thrift shops to do my little projects. My purses come from thrift shops and garage sales simply because I'd like to have something different, but would like to have a little money to put in the purse once I have it. So, yep, that's me, Mrs. High Maintenance...not!
First of all, just a thank you to all of you who commented best wishes and prayed for my husband's double hernia surgery. It was Tuesday. He was given a spinal and of course, he was one in the thousands who had problems getting the numbness to wear off...we were at the hospital almost 12 hours for something that wasn't supposed to take half that long. But, he's home, he's feeling better, so that's good.
1. I have been blogging 6 years with SA.
2. I am married and have been for over 26 years.
3. I am currently (and happily) retired after teaching for over 30 years.
4. I love to read. I just finished book 77 for 2016 -- I belong to a Facebook group where we have a goal of reading a certain amount of books per year and we post what we read and if we liked it or not.
5. I love to cook. Unfortunately I love to eat as well.
6. I am a Christian and try to live my faith in such a way that others don't find me judging, but kind.
7. I grew up poor. I am not rich, but we are comfortable. I feel very blessed.
8. My parents were quite a bit older when I was born -- I was an accident and basically told that growing up.
9. I am shy.
10. I am often very sensitive and get my feelings hurt over silly things.
11. I have a slight hearing loss and it keeps me from wanting to be in crowds.
12. I really like Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. I often wonder if living in Illinois (being born and raised here) was a mistake.
13. Because of my love of reading, that is how I met my husband almost 30 years ago -- he worked on the public library's bookmobile.
14. I like the idea of traveling, but really hate to be away from home. I get homesick pretty easily because of it.
15. I worked in Chicago for a year at a publishing company. (I am from Central Illinois so being in the big city was culture shock.)
16. I drive, but I hate it. I don't want to be without transportation, but don't enjoy it.
17. I really like Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and Mission Style furnishings.
18. My mother canned when I was growing up, but told me I was stupid to learn how. I taught myself how to can vegetables about three years ago.
19. I am probably unAmerican, but I don't care for sports.
20. I have not met any SA members, unfortunately.
Last week was kind of busy and this week may be as well. Last week I tried to get some things done before my colonoscopy. Fortunately I did complete my list before the prep and the procedure went well. The doctor said I didn't have to come to the follow up appointment which was good news, but my complaint is why would the nurse tell you that when you are so groggy?
DH is having double hernia surgery Tuesday and if you are so inclined, I would appreciate prayers for him. It is supposed to be outpatient so hopefully he will be home Tuesday afternoon, but I imagine he will be very sore.
I asked him to pick any tomatoes that are starting to turn so we have them. I canned two quarts of juice from cherry tomatoes and the others today and our counter has quite a few tomatoes that need to ripen. I think our shorter days is making it so they don't ripen as quickly. He mowed today and has pulled up the cucumber plant, all the carrots, and one tomato plant that had basically died back. I was out of jars when I canned carrots last week so I have been scrounging pint jars. I realized I had a couple in my pantry I was using to store dry herbs and baking soda. I emptied the contents into non canning jars and washed them up. We finished a pint of pickles this week so I used that jar. So, I finished canning the carrots we had and wound up with 3 more pints and a half pint. I really didn't want to buy any more jars if I didn't have to.
I was really tired after the colonoscopy Friday, but we went to the grocery stores anyway since we didn't need a whole lot. I have our menu planned for this week so that will help. I know it is already Sunday, but I'm starting with last night since that is how I planned:
Saturday: pork chops, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, small salad, fruit
Sunday: Sloppy chicks, baked beans, chips, pickles, sliced tomatoes
Monday: chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, fruit
Tuesday: pork roast, roasted potatoes, carrots, sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, fruit
Wednesday: leftover pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, green beans, sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, fruit
Thursday: scrambled eggs, leftover sausage (from Sunday brunch), toast, sliced tomatoes, fruit
Lunches will be leftover sloppy chicks, pulled pork from the pork roast, and I try to keep sliced deli turkey on hand.
We normally splurge and eat on on Friday nights.
DH has been teasing me that I get more excited about seeing Mason jars than I do jewelry. It's true. We don't go anywhere where I need fancy jewelry. I have a lovely wedding set from when we married 26 years ago and a couple of nice, but simple necklaces and I'm good for out to dinner or to church. But the sparkly Mason jars...that's what catches my eye!
Yesterday I decided to inventory what I have so far. DH has grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, herbs, and carrots. I have purchased fresh green beans until a friend gave me a few pounds this week as they finished their garden. I wanted a list since my pie safe is full, I have some jars in the bottom of a Hoosier cabinet, and now in the bottom of the island:
51 quarts of green beans
19 pints of green beans
15 quarts of tomatoes
13 pints of tomatoes
2 pints of tomato basil salsa
1 half pint of tomato basil salsa
6 pints of onions
2 half pints of onions
6 half pints of apple jelly
6 half pints of grape jelly
13 pints of pickles
2 half pints of pickles
4 pints of relish
2 quarts of carrots
8 pints of carrots
I would have more carrots except I ran out of jars. I prefer the pints because that is about what we eat at a meal, but I punted last night and used the quarts. One of the thrift shops had pint jars really reasonable so on Tuesday I am going to stop by and see if they have them. I don't need a whole case at this point. I have about 8 quart jars left for tomatoes.
In addition, I have 3 pints of minced garlic in the fridge that DH grew and I have about 2 pounds of chopped bell peppers in the freezer.
I still need to dry herbs, but I feel like we have a good showing. I imagine before the first frost I will make green tomato relish as we scramble to pick the tomatoes. I made it last year and used it like relish and a friend liked it so much, he ate it like salsa.
I make apple juice for DH since he likes it when we have Sunday brunch. Sometimes I make far more than he will drink in a couple of weeks, so I used it to make apple jelly. Early this summer we bought grapes and although they tasted good, the skin was kind of chewy. I juiced them to make the grape jelly.
The ongoing joke around here is I tell DH I need a walk in pantry. Although it would be nice to have one, I have no idea where we would locate it and I certainly don't want to spend money. I will say that I'm going to be forced to go through my cabinets and truly purge those items I don't use such as different dishes and pots so I can make room for any other canned goods. Guess this is the initiative I needed. I tend to use the same casserole dishes and pots so it is silly to keep the ones I never use.
Hopefully all this stuff will help on the grocery bill come winter.
Both DH and I enjoy history, and his favorite president is Abraham Lincoln. Fortunately we live less than an hour away from Lincoln's Presidential Museum, his Springfield home, and New Salem sites. I've learned more about Lincoln since being married to my husband, and there are lots of interesting facts about the man and his family.
Rumors have abounded that his wife, Mary, was crazy. Well, like many folks, I enjoy a good juicy tidbit so I have been reading up on Mary Todd Lincoln the past few years. I just finished a biography and with all the details and references, I hope the author told the real story. I truly think Mary was misunderstood. She grew up in a wealthy family, but being the third daughter, she was told they really wanted a son. When a son was born, she was sort of "forgotten" but still loved. Then her mom died and her dad married a younger woman who really didn't want anything to do with his first family. Mary was sent to a boarding school during the week although she lived close enough to ride a horse to school. But, she was well educated and made to feel appreciated. She had 12 years of formal schooling which was kind of rare for women of that time. Contrast that with Lincoln's only one year of formal schooling.
The book said she married Lincoln because not only did she love him, but she knew he had the ambition and intelligence to become president. She was quite the political figure herself and understood the workings of politics. She apparently didn't get along with the Washington ladies because she was a contrary person yet also they had little in common to talk about...most did not have the schooling and educational background she did.
Her life was pretty sad overall -- lost three children and her husband was killed in front of her and her eldest son was ashamed of her and had her tried for lunacy. Many of the rumors spread about her were actual lies to benefit the person and persons who told them according to the author. Mary wasn't without faults, but after doing all the reading I have, I don't believe she was crazy. I do think she was, as the author said, pretty narcissistic and prickly, but she wasn't a danger to herself or anyone else.
So, you are asking yourself why am I writing about Mary Todd Lincoln on a savings site. Well, although she did overspend the White House renovation budget and she did spend money, she also had some sense about her. Back at her time women rarely had the opportunity to control their finances. If there were no husband, then a grown son would, or an officer of a bank would. When they were in the White House, she saved over 50% of the president's salary. When Lincoln died, he had bonds and she kept them intact. She did buy a house in Chicago, realized she couldn't afford it, and rented it out. She then let her son purchase it at a very reasonable price and even lent him money for some of his financial deals, which most were not successful. Her net worth at her death was over $84,000 that in 2016 would be worth close to 1.8 million dollar according to an inflation site.
So, I think she was more misunderstood that crazy. She did have money. She did save. Yes, she spent money and did buy things she didn't need. But haven't we all?
It's Sunday. Can't say I have monumental happenings to report, but I have been busy.
My church has a small group of ladies who have a group called Stitches of Love. I asked about joining although my crocheting isn't super fancy and was told to come and they would show me what I needed to know. It's kind of a neat idea -- they make items and donate them. They use knitting looms and in the two hours I was there, I made and finished a hat for a preemie. One lady was working on an adult hat that will be donated to either a homeless shelter or a group home, and another lady was crocheting a lap robe for a nursing home. Other people were making different things too. This goes along with my challenge I posted about making a scarf to donate to a homeless shelter. I will admit it made me desire a loom so I did go out and buy a set (the box of looms were on sale). I have finished the scarf and even made a hat to go with it using the loom. I can now work on other stuff at home as well attend the group. The ladies told me not to buy yarn because they have a cabinet of it that has been donated so I look forward to seeing what they have.
I have also been crocheting Christmas ornaments out of crochet thread and I found a small table top Christmas tree that I'm going to decorate with them and donate them to the church for the bazaar. At a thrift shop last spring I found a brand new candlewick Christmas stocking and I finished it a few weeks ago and sewed the stocking and other than ironing it, it will be ready to donate to the bazaar this fall.
I have canned a little more this week. Since DH's garden is small, I get things in smaller increments, but I don't mind because I can a little at a time. It all adds up.
Ten years ago I visited the Teachers Retirement System to start the plan for my retirement. Because I had been hired and worked a number of years when the TRS deduction was lower, they had something that was a 2.2 upgrade. A number of years ago to help with the pension fund, the amount deducted was raised. It not only helped TRS, but also would help with one's own pension down the road. The lady I talked with suggested I pay the 2.2 upgrade for the years I worked before this rate hike. She said it was a good deal because if I didn't need it for my pension, I would get it back with interest. Not a lot of interest, but some. I received a letter stating that I would get it refunded to me and I could either take it as a payment or roll it over into a Roth. I, of course, rolled it over. So glad I paid that money a number of years ago. Although it was my money, it felt like found money when I heard I would get it refunded.
DH's birthday is coming up in September. I asked him what he wanted and one item he asked for was a pair of shoes like the ones he likes from Lands End. I scored a great deal...I had received a 30% off offer in an email and because we weren't in any hurry, also wound up with free shipping. I felt that was a very good deal. The shoes weren't supposed to arrive until the end of next week -- we received them a day after I ordered. I know that was a fluke because they probably aren't busy, but it felt like a bonus nonetheless.
Yesterday DH and I went to a couple of big antique malls north of us. We bought a couple of things at each, spent less than $40 at both, but had a great time looking.
One was in El Paso, IL. It's a small town north of Bloomington. We've been there before and they often have different things than what we see around our town. Years ago when Mary Engelbreit was hot, DH would buy me small things for my birthday and Christmas. We didn't have a lot of places to shop for it. One vendor had more Mary Engelbreit stuff that we've ever viewed before. I didn't realize she had that much merchandise out. We didn't buy any of it, but it was fun to look.
The other antique mall was in Peru, IL. It boasts 30,000 square feet. I believe it. It was almost overwhelming to look at so much stuff. Again, we saw some different things. One thing we really liked was a Morris chair by Stickley. A big name in mission furniture. Pretty cool to look at. We didn't even entertain the notion of buying it -- it was priced at $2,500. A little much for our pocketbook. But fun, nevertheless.
It's funny seeing how things are being sold in cycles. My friend collects Platzgraff Villager stuff. Her grandmother bought her a set of it a number of years ago when it was a hot commodity to buy these dishes. I remember she broke a cup and when we were going around looking a number of years ago, she showed me one and asked me to find a replacement if I could. It wasn't easy. Well, it seems that most antique places now have tons of the stuff for sale. We found some unique items for her yesterday...I didn't tell her what, but told her she will have a surprise for Christmas!
It's wasn't a super spendy day other than the gas -- we drove a little over 200 miles for the round trip and we did eat supper out. But, a local told us a reasonable restaurant and our supper was about $20 with tip and it was a decent meal so we didn't feel like we were hurt. We also picked up an Illinois state publication that lists all the antique shops in Illinois by city. So that may be quite a find in and of itself.
I've been reading up a storm this summer. I finished book #67 for 2016 a few days ago. It was actually a fictional tome by John Grisham called "The Street Lawyer" and is about a very well paid attorney who decides to leave the big firm to help the homeless. I don't know why, but it truly spoke to me that perhaps I could do a little more than I do.
I put a challenge on Facebook asking people who crochet or knit to make either a hat or scarf and donate it to one of the organizations that helps our local homeless. I didn't ask for gloves because a friend of mine who manages the homeless center says that although anything is appreciated, they prefer specific lined gloves for the best protection for fingers. I did encourage anyone who didn't craft to perhaps purchase an item and donate it. I didn't want to leave anyone out.
It's kind of funny...the people who said they would get busy making something are the ones who aren't what you would call rich. Yet they are the ones who eagerly volunteered.
I found some beautiful soft yarn and started a scarf. I've made scarves before so I didn't go with a pattern. I wound up tearing it all out last night and starting over because I found an error. I really want it to be something nice for someone.
Anyway, do you respond to challenges like this? I do sometimes, but I don't like the ones that ask for a lot. Most folks I know unless they are broke don't mind donating one small thing or making one small thing.
About this time of year folks complain that they don't know what to do with zucchini. DH doesn't grow it and we don't usually get a lot of it given to us. Last week we went to an open air market and bought some zucchini. I fix it year around anyway, but found this recipe in the Chicago Tribune a couple of weeks ago in Leah Eskin's column.
Savory Zucchini Clafouti
3 pounds young zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick discs
2 large shallots, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 T butter for pan
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 t vanilla
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 t fresh thyme leaves
zest of 1 lemon
Toss zucchini and shallots with olive oil and roast in a single layer in a 425 degree oven, turning zucchini over once for about 35 minutes until golden brown.
Butter a 9 inch round baking pan, sprinkle with half of the cheese
Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, flour, vanilla, 1/2 t salt, and a few grinds of pepper, set aside
When vegetables are roasted, toss with thyme, zest, salt, and pepper to taste. Let cool a few minutes.
Scrape vegetables into the prepared pan. Pour in egg mixture, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Set on a rimmed baking sheet and slide onto center rack of a 425 degree oven. Bake until clafouti is brown, slightly puffed, and set (knife stabbed in the center should come out clean) 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool a bit. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
I made this last night and DH liked it. Thought I would share.
Today is the official day of my retirement. A group of us went out for breakfast. We met at a local place and it was funny, when this restaurant posted their lunch and dinner menu on Facebook, they congratulated me on my first official day of retirement. Kind of cool!
...and I'm not going! Tomorrow is when retirement truly becomes real. It has seemed like summer break for me, so when teachers and students return, it will hit me that I'm really retired.
I have had so many people ask me if I'm going to substitute teach. I don't intend to. I guess it's a way to make extra money, but if I wanted to make extra money, I would have continued working. I subbed when I first started out -- I was told I had to sub and prove myself before I could get hired full time so I subbed and worked a couple of other jobs besides to make it until I was hired full time as a classroom teacher. Then I also worked some freelancing for awhile because back then teacher salaries were pretty darn low.
The other thing that people have asked is what I intend to do with myself. I hope they are just making conversation, but do they really think I have to be accountable to them? I have worked over 30 years in education, and I've worked at outside jobs since I was 16. Before that, my folks had a used furniture business and later an antique shop and it was expected that I help with them so it isn't like I'm lazy. I'm not planning on watching videos and eating bon bons all day. But, I'd like to actually do some things fun that I couldn't do because I worked or didn't have the money.
This has been a busy week. DH and I went to a play at a nearby theatre and it was a blast. Yesterday we went to an outdoor market in a small town about two hours away and enjoyed looking around and then visiting the shops on the square. We didn't buy much, but the experience was pleasurable and something a little different. I have canned some green beans and some tomatoes this week, did some volunteer work at church, and even helped my former principal with something. And, I finished book 66 for this year Friday night.
We ate supper out last night and I told DH this is why I took my lunch all those years, took coffee to work in a Thermos, and we ate at home so much and had so many leftovers...so if we wanted to go out to a nice restaurant and enjoy the experience, we could because we had the money. I'm spending some money as we saw the play and then took the short trip. But, it is money we saved and we paid cash for stuff.
We were talking to another couple and I had posted the photo of my pantry with my canned goods on Facebook and they happened to mention it. The woman informed me she wouldn't can because it smells up the house. Granted, when I canned the small amount of onions we had, yes, it did smell some, but green beans and tomatoes aren't super stinky. I felt like she dismissed me as the poor relative. Maybe so, but I can't see all of DH's hard work in the garden go to waste and I think eating these vegetables is probably pretty healthy for us. I shouldn't let her comments get to me; she usually has something to say that I find hurtful. I'm sure having some tomatoes in a soup or chili this winter will make it all go down that much more smoothly and the hurtful remarks will hopefully be forgotten.
On to book #67!
On an earlier blog, I mentioned DH's cucumber seemed to have a blight. Fortunately only one of the two plants did, and we have been getting some cucumbers. I made pickles yesterday and they are canned and in the pantry. Some we will use and some I will give away at Christmas.
Right now, our tomatoes are going very well. DH has a very small garden area, but what he does have, we are making the best use of it. We had a bunch of cherry tomatoes and when given the choice for eating, DH likes regular tomatoes sliced. So, I juiced the cherry tomatoes and canned that.
Unfortunately we don't have room for growing green beans, but someone we know does. We are going to go and buy some today. I've been buying them all along and canning them so we will have them. This may be the last go around however because the extreme heat earlier made the beans stop, then we had better weather, and it's been hot here, cooled down a couple of days, and it is supposed to heat up again.
I don't know if we truly "save" money by buying the beans, but I know I like knowing where they came from and since I don't can them with salt, I figure it is a health benefit. I have a pie safe that I am using for a pantry and it is full with beans, pickles, tomatoes, onions, and jelly. I will have to find further storage as I continue to can, but what a good problem to have!
Today didn't turn out the way we had a anticipated. We were supposed to see a play in St. Louis this afternoon, but DH got up with a severe tummy ache and we didn't think we could chance it. He's still pretty weak and tired. We had to lose the money, but better than getting hours from home and getting really sick.
I am trying to stay quiet while he rests so I've been doing some decluttering and organizing. I had a drawer where I kept writing paper and cards. I had gotten an accordion file free a number of years ago, so I decided to organize the birthday, thank you, sympathy, get well, and plain cards using it. I also had holiday cards, but not enough spaces to put them. But, I sorted everything before I started. How in the world I have ended up with about 25 extra envelopes is beyond me. I'm not throwing them out. I'll probably find a use for them somewhere down the road. Most of the cards I purchased at thrift stores and flea markets. One place we frequent, I had bought a package of different cards and the next time I came in, she gave me two more packets and said she noticed I bought cards the last time and since we frequently come in to look, she thought I'd like them. That was especially kind of her. I guess I'm old fashioned, but I like sending cards and notes. I write an elderly friend of mine once a week and I try to use different paper or cards so it gives her something different to look at.
A number of years ago DH and I went on a trip and he found a hand painted lighthouse clock that he liked. The clock itself was just a round clock, but when I had looked around at different shops, I couldn't find a replacement. I was looking today at a clock I had purchased at a thrift shop a couple of years ago for a dollar. While I was dusting it, the clock popped out. It made me think maybe it might fight the one DH really likes. It does and DH is a happy boy. Wish I had thought of it sooner!
Years ago I found some small pillows and my mom had made cases for them. DH uses one in each vehicle to support his back. He claims they are too soft and folds them up. I took an old shirt of his and recovered one and put more stuffing in it to make it more solid. He says he likes it, so I'm going to do the same with the other. I had been saving that shirt for a couple of months until I got around to doing it. I don't have a sewing machine so sewing it by hand takes awhile. Unfortunately DH has gone through his closet since then and has donated a bunch of clothes so I don't have another shirt. We were out thrifting yesterday and I found a shirt that I think will work. It was far cheaper to buy the shirt than it was to buy the material. The funny thing is the I bought the stuffing at a garage sale one of DH's friends was having selling her mom's stuff. The stuffing must have been purchased in the 80s or 90s because that's when the store closed. It was very clean, still sealed, and the whole bag was 50 cents. I bet I didn't even use half of it so I'll have enough to do this other pillow.
I did some canning this week. I added to the pantry by canning some green beans and tomato juice.
Supper will be bland tonight since DH isn't feeling his best. That's OK. I don't mind bland. It was kind of nice catching up on some housework and organization today.
Hope you have a great weekend.
I'm getting that feeling I get about this time of the year.
No, it isn't horrible, just a feeling that while I'm canning, I might run of out jars. I have stocked up, washed up, and been buying jars at garage sales.
I always think I have enough, but sometimes we get more bounty than I have jars. A good problem to have.
Part of the problem is I sometimes share stuff with folks, and I ask them to please return the jar and the ring when they are done. One couple is faithful about doing so. But so many aren't.
Am I the only one who has this issue?
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