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Archive for July, 2014

Kitchen Therapy

July 26th, 2014 at 02:40 pm

For three days this week, I had training for school. So, I was delighted to have some time for some kitchen therapy today.

Many people I know do not like cooking, but I do, especially when I have time to take my time and work in my kitchen. A friend graciously shared some green beans with us from her garden. I cleaned and snapped them and cooked them in some chicken broth I made earlier this week.

DH's tomatoes are doing quite well, so I used some of them to make marinara sauce. He brought in some onions for me to use as well as basil. The kitchen sure smelled wonderful.

Kneading dough is relaxing so I have also baked some honey wheat bread for tonight's meal and beyond. What is it about the aroma of baking bread?

Supper tonight is turkey tenderloins, mashed potatoes, green beans, sliced tomatoes, bread, and cottage cheese.

Plus I think my stress level has dropped!

We will have leftover turkey for another couple of meals and extra bread...good sandwich making and saving some money as well!

Bricks, bargains, and squash

July 21st, 2014 at 04:45 pm

For the record, I don't collect bricks.

My husband would disagree. He swore I put bricks in the garbage bag in the kitchen. I tried to tell him I was helping him stay healthy by doing some weight lifting, but he didn't buy it.

Actually, I'm not sure what was in the bag. I don't remember putting a lot of stuff in there. We recycle as much as we can and I don't use a large amount of stuff with wrapping. I think he just likes to gripe about something. Smile

We had another meeting with our financial adviser today. After our discussion last week, we decided to move some of our money out of money markets and ladder CD's so it is still basically liquid, but makes a little more than the pittance we are getting now. We have our money in a bank and a credit union. The credit union was great, but the bank, well, they were a pain when we tried to make a withdrawal. They wanted us to work with their financial adviser whom they called over and he said he could put our money in an annuity. We explained we didn't want it tied up like that and he said it was our best bet. We asked if it was linked to an insurance company and he said yes and how wonderful it was.

Sorry, we aren't interested! It shouldn't be that difficult to withdraw your own money. We weren't taking it all out, just part of it and the hard sell didn't endear them to us.

I've worked with our financial adviser for 28 years. He was decent to me when I had little and is still nice...it isn't the money or investments. He's just a trustworthy, kind man.

DH was telling him how we shop at Aldi, hit loss leaders at the grocery store, and how I rework leftovers. Last week we had a pork tenderloin roast for one meal, then I cut it up and with the broth from the roast, cooked it with onions, carrots, zucchini, and celery to make a stew with crushed tomatoes. After the stew, I let it cook down a little more so it was thicker and served it over rice. Three different meals from one piece of meat.

I roasted squash tonight as well as potatoes. Since they were not all eaten, I put them with stew meat and other vegetables and some leftover green beans and we will have beef vegetable soup tomorrow night. I have been freezing the leftover soup so I can thaw and heat it up on those days when I get home too late to fix something. Fortunately DH loves soup.

Our squash plant is doing quite well and I look forward to making soup from it. Anyone have a good recipe they are willing to share?

Bunnies, groundhogs and vampires

July 20th, 2014 at 02:04 pm

Due to the garden and a local farm stand we've had some pretty amazing eats the past few days. We stopped at a farm stand the other day and picked up some fruits and vegetables as well as using things out of our garden. Last night I reheated some leftover sausage for the meat and we had fresh green beans, honey glazed carrots, and sliced cherry tomatoes with melon for dessert. For our evening snack we had fresh peaches from Southern Illinois.

Today's supper will be our Sunday night standby: sloppy chicks, but we are having corn on the cob with sliced cherry tomatoes as sides.

We live in a subdivision, but nonetheless we often have critters. A neighbor warned us there is a groundhog around. He/she sneaked into their garage when the door was open and it was after they closed the door and were in the house they heard something rustling around in the garage. The neighbor opened the door and saw the beast and it wouldn't get out. It jumped on their car and scratched the hood, top, and trunk, until they finally got it to leave. We have seen lots of rabbits too and DH spends a lot of time chasing them. I get free entertainment watching him yell and run after them! Anyway, DH as tried spices and moth balls, but finally broke down and bought some liquid fence stuff. Sheesh, is that stuff aromatic.

I pulled up half of our garlic and minced it and put it in olive oil. Our kitchen was pretty aromatic too!

Hopefully no rabbits, groundhogs or vampires will come around!

DH's "big problem"

July 17th, 2014 at 04:30 pm

Supper tonight manifested a "big problem" for my husband. We stopped at a farm stand and bought some locally grown sweet corn. I fixed that with DH's tomatoes (sliced) and I roasted some of his squash with his onions and we had turkey tenderloin for supper. DH said he had a big problem...he wasn't sure what to eat first!

Seriously, it was a good meal and it was great eating fresh produce. If only all our problems were such.

We took a drive today and thought we would visit a small town and buy a couple of peach muffins at the local bakery. We used to buy them years ago. Seems the bakery has closed. There was also an antique shop we liked to peruse as well. Seems it also is shuttered. Kind of a sad situation, but not unheard of down in Central Illinois. Our own city has the highest unemployment rate for the state. So, I imagine small towns less than 90 miles away are part of the ripple effect.

We have a couple of farmer's markets near us on Saturday, but one of them I don't trust. It was begin before the other, but one of the vendors told me he grew the green beans. When I bought some, he reached underneath and got a box to fill up his stand...it looked identical to the box and packing that a local grocery store chain used. The place we went today is open every day and is grown right there by the family. So, although it was a bit of a drive, it was an added benefit of our little day trip. It was a beautiful day weatherwise and as I grow older, I enjoy seeing old barns among the corn and soybean fields...far better than a shopping mall any day!

Bargain Fever

July 16th, 2014 at 06:04 pm

Last week when we went to the library, I ran across a book in the new section entitled, "Bargain Fever" by Mark Ellwood. It stated that paying full price is so "passe'" It was an interesting read and as I told DH about it, he wanted to read it as well. It was a pretty easy ready and pointed out some interesting facts, so I would suggest it if you are going to the library. The author explained how some high end stores have secret sales and how Americans no long want to pay full price.

As far as bargains, I think I found one the other day. A friend was having a garage sale and we went. She had two new packages of sheer curtains and they were a dollar each. Just what I wanted for my husband's den. I had bought some curtains on sale a few months back and put them up, but didn't want to pay for sheers since they weren't on sale. So glad I waited.

We picked our first zucchini and our tomatoes are starting to come on as well.

We met with our financial advisor as he did a review and a projection. He felt we were in a good place and our frugality pays off. It was nice talking to someone who "gets" it. He understands about saving money, even the little stuff. It is always nice to be validated.

It must be Thursday...the fridge is looking bare

July 10th, 2014 at 01:27 pm

It must be Thursday because the fridge is looking bare.

It happens just about every week at this time. The fridge starts looking sparse. I just used up a bunch of this and that to make lasagna for supper tonight. We had sloppy chicks (sloppy joes made with ground chicken) left over so I added some cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, Greek yogurt and tomato sauce and cooked the few lasagna noodles and made a dish of lasagna. I shredded mozzarella cheese to put on top. Not a super expensive dish to make and it should be filling as well.

We had meatloaf the other night and we had enough for sandwiches yesterday. I think we have enough for lunch tomorrow as well. We have had leftover turkey from the other night we've enjoyed as sandwiches too.

We met with our financial advisor the other day and we are scheduled for another meeting so we can go over paperwork and stuff. He wants a written budget from us. I wonder what he will think when he sees ours. We eat out some, but nothing like most. My grocery budget seems high, but then again, we eat at home a lot and I use lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. The garden has helped this summer.