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Archive for October, 2017

Staying Busy in the Kitchen

October 21st, 2017 at 09:41 pm

It's been busy around here. Weather forecasters are predicting a freeze a week from today. It shouldn't be a shock, it is October, but we want to make sure certain things are completed if the forecast freeze comes to fruition.

I have been cutting herbs, washing them, and getting them ready to air dry. I had 3 herbs done before today. Today I did the last two. I think our neighbors think we are nuts, but DH loves growing herbs, I like using both fresh and dried, and with the cost of herbs in the store, I'm sure we save a bunch of money. I know the neighbor was giving me an odd look today. I was sitting in a lawn chair pulling off the best of the basil leaves. It was easier than bending over or crouching. Of course I don't think the neighbor eats much of anything that is natural.

I decided to make some sage tea with some of the leaves. I guess it is supposed to be pretty healthy. It's not bad. I don't usually put any sweetener in my tea so it is a little different straight, but I have lots of fresh sage and I'd prefer to use it.

I also chopped a bunch of bell peppers to stash in the freezer. DH picked what was left and pulled up the plants. We picked tomatoes today. It is crazy, but the plants are still producing and a couple of them even have blossoms.

I told George I felt like a medicine woman with these herbs. After reading all the great things they supposedly do, I feel like we are dealing with things holistically.

I found a nice butternut squash at Aldi. I roasted it today and am in the process of making soup. That should make a lovely meal tomorrow; it is supposed to rain most of the day. I cooked a whole chicken in the Crockpot today so I have lots of fresh broth for the soup.

Potpourri

October 17th, 2017 at 03:55 pm

I was hoping to post that yesterday was a no spend day, but then I remembered I went to the chiropractor and paid my copay of $20. Oh, well. It was well worth it for the adjustment.

When we were going to the thrift shops Friday I did find .11 in the parking lot of one of them. I added it to the coin jar.

DH picked a bunch of peppers over the weekend. I'm slowly using them. When the chiropractor asked if the garden is still going, I said yes and told him about the peppers. He said he was jealous because they are over $1 each at the grocery. I'm sure a freeze will be coming soon, but we are still getting tomatoes.

DH has finally agreed that is OK to have meatless meals once in awhile. It not only saves money on groceries, it also is healthier for us. We rarely eat red meat any more, but I think eating mostly vegetables and fruits is far better. I am going to make spaghetti sauce this afternoon using peppers, onions, and mushrooms, and then I grate Parmesan cheese on top of the spaghetti and sauce on our plates.

I wrote a tough email to a friend. She retired years before me and ever since she retired, she has gotten herself involved into caring for a sick person. First it was her mother-in-law. Then a neighbor. Then her husband, and now an aunt on her husband's side. Part of it is she is way too nice, but part of it is she takes over and then other family members don't step up and she then is upset when people don't help. I can see doing it all for the spouse, but now she is living an hour and ten minutes away from home, and has no free time. She is not happy, but doesn't want to hear she is being taken advantage of. Yet I am not alone in thinking this. Her brother and sister have both told her that and she says she believes when it comes her time to need care, someone will make care of her since she has. Knowing what I know about some of her family, I don't think that is going to be the case. Part of my email pointed out all the times she didn't do stuff when she wasn't doing care taking. Her son and his girlfriend had her doing something for them every day even though it was inconvenient. Her church had her babysitting for church services and although we all appreciate loyal folks, she would give up something fun because she had to babysit. Funny how these folks found replacements now that she isn't available. I'm not saying she should have just left them in a lurch every time, but if something special comes up, cancel and go have a little fun. Right now she is miserable because she has no television, no radio, and she told me her data plan on her phone is at 94% so she can't even get news or email because she doesn't want to go over. She is a better person than I am.

I need to call the furnace folks and have them do the annual check for furnace and air conditioning. That won't be cheap, but I learned the hard way years and years ago. I didn't call and we had a problem and of course it was on a weekend. The service call for the annual check is far more reasonable.

The Pile and other Ramblings

October 15th, 2017 at 09:06 pm

I am ashamed to admit there has been a pile of papers sitting on my desk for the past few weeks. A pile that I needed to deal with, but dreaded it.

Today was the day. I decided after I did what I had to do with paying bills, updating the church's Facebook page, etc. that I would deal with the pile. Some of it meant updating spreadsheets. Some of i meant just going through and putting it into different stacks. One stack is for shredding and one stack was for recycling.

But alas, it is history!

I treated myself to cups of tea while I worked on it. It was nippy this morning on the way to church and I told myself I could have a cup of tea to reward myself. I like having my tea in a tea cup with a saucer even if it means i have to hand wash both of them instead of a mug. I think there is just something about having it fancier than a mug. Maybe I watch too many English murder mysteries and see them offer some one a cuppa too often.

Speaking of refreshments, yes, I'm digressing all over the place, I watched a short video of some comedian talking about how we have changed in the past few years when it comes to company. Although he was being funny, there was a lot of truth in that. He said years ago if the doorbell rang, people went to answer the door, invited people in, asked them if they wanted refreshment, and they sat and visited. Now, people either hide from the doorbell, or if they go to the door, it isn't a family affair to greet visitors and rarely do people have refreshment. I'd say there is a lot of truth in that. I always ask people if they want something to drink if they come to visit. But, I've noticed when I visit others, rarely am I asked if I would like something to drink. Remember when people had nice tea sets or coffee pots and coffee cups just for company?

Thou Shalt Not Waste

October 10th, 2017 at 08:33 pm

I think there should be an eleventh commandment: "Thou shalt not waste." I try not to waste anything.

I spent a big part of today working with sage and oregano -- cutting, cleaning, and preparing to dry them for the winter. I still have thyme, rosemary, and basil to do. Fortunately we are having a later frost so I should have plenty of time to get them dried.

DH's bell peppers ares till going strong. I am making a tomato sauce with peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes for spaghetti tonight. I still have a few quarts of tomatoes I canned last fall so I want to use them up. I picked the second to last onion in the garden.

One thing that really bothers me is the waste I see. The other day I made banana bread and I used a spatula to make sure I got all the batter out of the mixing bowl. Have you ever watched some of the cooking shows and they don't scrape the batter and there's a bunch on the bottom? It drives me crazy. Eating at many of the restaurants, there is a lot of waste. We eat at a chain Italian place often and I have asked the server if I can have smaller portions. Since we usually have the same server, he can usually ask the manager if I can do a lunch portion for whatever it is, even if they don't normally have a lunch portion. I don't want to take the food home -- so much of it doesn't taste very good after it has been reheated. It is sad how much food is thrown away at these restaurants. I'd like to beg them to make the portions smaller and charge a little less. It's not about the money so much as it is the waste.

Tomatoes, peppers, and bread...oh my!

October 8th, 2017 at 08:47 pm

It is a sunny Sunday here in Central Illinois. After church we came home and fixed brunch and cleaned up after.

Last night we had a fun night out with another couple at an Italian restaurant that is actually located in a gas station in a small town near here. We were originally going to go to a German restaurant in the same small town, but they apparently have shuttered their establishment. So, the plans changed and we did the Italian instead. We had eaten there before, but our friends hadn't, so it was fun showing them a new place. We had a lovely visit and it was a relaxing evening.

The wife had planted tomatoes this summer and she was bemoaning that they had some on the counter they couldn't eat. I told her if the wanted, I would can them for her. She brought them to church this morning and after brunch I added some to them and canned them. There weren't too many as our plants are all starting to slow down, but we realized 2 quarts, a pint, and 2 half pints. I will take them to them sometime this week so they have canned tomatoes in their pantry.

Yesterday I posted a photo of DH with some of the bell peppers he grew. I used three of them today to make bell pepper soup...used onion, mushroom, celery, and sauted them and then added homemade chicken broth, garlic,lentils, and home canned tomatoes and some macaroni. That's our supper.

We had some overripe bananas so I baked banana bread. While I was going to have the oven on, I decided to make a harvest bread...it is bread made with both whole wheat and white flour and minced onion, poultry seasoning, and celery seed. The recipe doesn't call for it, but I added some sage because I always think of sage as something to eat in the fall during Thanksgiving in dressing. I have a lovely loaf of it cooling to eat with the soup.

I made a quick trip to visit a shut in and took her a small loaf of banana bread and some sweet pickles I had canned earlier this summer. I take her our church bulletin so she can read it. Her son lives with her and they seem to like whatever I take them as far as food. I showed her the photos of our pantry and DH and his peppers. She couldn't get over the huge peppers. She wanted to know what his secret was and I said good fertilizer and keeping them watered.

I finished paying bills and balanced the checkbook this afternoon too. It's nice to see we have money leftover from paying our bills. I try to be careful. We had an unexpected bill this week with the plumber and the spigot, but we had the money to cover it and still have some left so I think we are doing OK.

I'm looking forward to that soup.

Keeping Busy

October 7th, 2017 at 07:54 pm

It seems that DH and I keep pretty busy.

Today we attended an estate sale. Pretty ritzy place and pretty nice stuff. I scored a pair of leather insulated gloves for $2, 4 chair cushions for dining room chairs for $16, and an embroidered hand quilted quilt (queen size) for $30. I have a pair of gloves like these, but I often forget to move them to my dress up coat and wind up in my dress up coat with no gloves. The chair cushions were far nicer than the ones I normally buy and although I didn't need them, I thought they would be nice to have. As for the quilt, again, not a need, but it is lovely and I use the quilts I own.

A put a Facebook post asking if anyone had baby food jars with lids. I guess I never noticed that most baby food doesn't come in glass jars anymore. Well, someone contacted me and had 22 of them and I picked them up. I felt very fortunate to have gotten them. I spent a lot of time trying to get the sticky glue from the labels off. That stuff should be used to glue anything you never want to come apart. Sheesh. But, the jars and lids are clean. I'm going to put candy corn in them, glue a green ribbon along the rim of the lid and have kids glue black construction paper faces on them to look like miniature jack-o-lanterns.

Yesterday we hit the thrift stores and I found a lot of great yarn. There are certain types i like to use when making the hats for the school kids. One place had just put out a bunch of it in colors I thought the kids would like. We bought 9 skeins of yarn for around $18. All of it still had the labels on it, so felt that was a good deal.

I'm getting really tired of the mailing and phone calls from many of the places wanting donations. One is a university that calls about every day. I earned my master's degree from it. I received no financial aid, I paid the money out of our savings for the classes, and had to pay an athletic fee on top of it. I thought that was a rip off...I attended class either one evening a week or twice a week during the summer and drove 45 miles one way to attend...I wasn't planning on taking advantage of the athletics. Well, I guess I"m a cheapskate, but I'm not planning on giving them a donation. I've told them that on the phone before, yet they still keep calling. I have more address labels and calendars than I know what to do with from these organizations that send them. I don't give them money, so I don't know why they keep sending them. I usually save the calendars and give them to a primary teacher. She uses them as rewards for her kids who can recite the calendar months.

Aldi had apples on sale so I bought a bunch and made applesauce and apple juice to add to the pantry. A friend gave me some apple butter she made so I gave her a jar of tomato preserves.

DH's garden is still going strong. He brought in 4 huge bell peppers yesterday. I will be using some of them to make bell pepper soup. I make a large pot and then we eat some and I freeze the rest.

I'm attaching photos of some of the canning I've done so far and my husband with the peppers he brought in.

Hope the weekend is going well for everyone.






What a spendy day

October 3rd, 2017 at 09:53 pm

Today seemed to be a spendy day. Not huge, huge amounts, but here and there.

Our spigot on the house was leaking and has been for awhile. It has gotten pretty bad so DH said we needed to have it replaced. The bad news is it isn't cheap, but the good news is the plumber came out this morning and it is taken care of.

I had a hair cut scheduled for today so I went to that. Fortunately my gal is very reasonable ... under $20. When I looked at my calendar, I hadn't gotten my hair cut for months, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

The other spendy thing was I needed to get the oil changed on my car. I know it is a necessity and it helps keep the car in good working order. I take it to the dealership for a variety of reasons -- they keep my service records, are very helpful and friendly, and I feel safe there. They do a thorough check up on things and make sure the tire pressure is where it should be and unlike some places, they aren't always trying to sell me something. I haven't had the oil changed since May and I wasn't quite there on mileage, but decided I better get it done and not have to worry about it if the weather starts to get bad.

In non spending activities, I finished cleaning the house and wrote two letters and worked on publicity for our church's Christmas bazaar. Supper is going to be leftover pork roast. DH teases me we don't let many leftovers go uneaten and why should we if they aren't spoiled? That is like throwing money away!

Where did last week go?

October 1st, 2017 at 11:43 pm

It seems like this week flew by. Not sure where it went and looking back, I'm not sure what kept me so busy, but I was. I got behind on reading blogs so hopefully I have caught up today. I feel like I miss out on everyone's lives when I get behind.

One thing that kept me busy was planning for a fifth grade to meet the police that they are adopting this year. My friend, the teacher and I worked through this and I scheduled their visit as well as the local newspaper to come out and cover it. I unfortunately had to miss it, but here is the article if you are so inclined to read it:

http://herald-review.com/news/local/education/south-shores-elementary-fifth-grade-adopts-police-for-year/article_5041b6a4-1d56-5ad3-ac40-cdbb57baf02e.html

I have been busy knitting hats. I took our new pastor to meet the principal of the school. The principal was telling the pastor how much the hats meant to the kids last year. So, this spurred me on to getting more hats made in addition to the other ones I have been working on. In between the hats, I have been crocheting dish cloths out of the leftover yarn. I took in 31 of them for the church's bazaar that is coming up.

I also have been working on PR for the upcoming bazaar and learning to do the church's web page. I already update the church's Facebook page.

Wednesday was DH's birthday. I spent a big part of the morning baking a cake from scratch. We went out to a local restaurant that is pricey, but the food is exquisite so we felt it was worth the expense. We don't eat there often so it is a real treat.

I have also canned a few more things to add to the pantry.

One couple called and asked about going to lunch for DH's birthday. We haven't heard from them in over a month. We wound up changing some plans so we could meet with them. One thing that absolutely drives me nuts is the fact they are almost always late. The place where we were going to meet is on the other side of town for us -- it is far closer to them. But, it doesn't matter. They are usually late and this day was no exception. I guess they feel if they call and say they are on their way, that makes it OK. Yet, we have noticed they can get places on time and even early for others. It just hurts that I feel we are being taken for granted. Because this was the only time they could meet with us last week, I gave up seeing the kids and officers meet and I didn't get to attend the knitting group at church. I guess I could have been less flexible, but I know DH wanted to see his friend since the visits are getting fewer and far between.

One of my other friends was talking about the end of the month being tight for them, so we were exchanging ideas on how to try to keep this from happening with the new month. It's kind of fun brainstorming this way. It makes me rethink about some of the things we are doing and realizing I have gotten a little lax on a few ways to save money.

We had a heat spell this week and many of DH's tomatoes ripened. He brought in some yesterday and some bell peppers. I made spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, basil, and oregano from the garden and added mushrooms to the mix. I have one quart and two pints to add to the pantry.

One of our local stores had penny pincher coupons with some of what I call loss leaders. I bought some pasta (especially since i have spaghetti sauce) as well as some other items for the pantry that were far less than regular price. My pantry is getting well stocked.

Hope you all had a great weekend.