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Playing the Game....Grocery Game that is

April 5th, 2018 at 08:28 am

Each Wednesday and Thursday is what I call the Grocery Game. The Aldi ad comes out on Wednesday and then on Thursday the Kroger ad comes out. I make my lists so we can grocery shop. Kroger sent an email saying I could download a coupon to my loyalty card to save 5% on my total bill this week. You bet I did that! It's not a whole lot, but 5% is 5% off.

We get the local Sunday paper and the coupons are pathetic. Every so often there are a few coupons so I did get a couple of them for my grocery shop today. I also did the digital coupons. I know that today's two grocery bills will be substantial compared to what we have bought recently (we were using stuff up from freezer and pantry), but I'm looking at it a way to restock my shelves. We eat at home quite a bit and I figure in the long run it saves me money.

A little over a month ago I started using Ibotta. I finally got to the $20 savings. The problem is so much of the stuff they offer rebates back on is stuff we don't buy. We buy an awful lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. For awhile they were offering 25 cents on bananas, but that was short lived. There's another app called Saving Star that I looked into, but have yet to find anything that we buy that is eligible.

Kroger often has a free Friday download and you can get a free item from it. A lot of it we don't want, but if it is nonperishable, I get it anyway and donate it to the basket we have at church to donate to the food pantry. A couple of weeks ago it was the new Hershey bar with chocolate and peanut butter. I'm sure it is good, but I figure someone might like as a treat at the food pantry. Another week is was a Larabar.

In other happenings a few weeks ago we were perusing one of our favorite thrift stores and I saw a package of pillow cases you embroider upon. They were still in the package except there was a opening in the package where the person had bought the embroidery floss. The package was 69 cents. I walked by it at first thinking I didn't need to buy another project since I had other projects to do. But I went back and figured for 69 cents, I couldn't get hurt too badly.

I set a goal of knitting 5 hats every two weeks for my knitting group at church. Then, I feel I can work on other stuff. I use the leftover yarn from the hats that there isn't enough to make another hat from to crochet dish cloths which I either give to others or I donated a huge stack for our church's rummage sale. So, I decided since I had my five hats done and I have crocheted dish cloths with the leftover yarn, I could start on the pillowcases. It took me over a week to finish both of them since I didn't work on them 24/7, but I completed them yesterday. They are washed and I need to iron them. I still have a bunch of embroidery floss left over so I can use it for something else at some point, but I think I got a good deal on these pillowcases for 69 cents.

One of my mom's friends is a shut in and she enjoys getting mail. Her daughters come in and help her so I'm going to mail her some of the dish cloths for them to share. I also am sending her some tea bags with different flavors. I figure a nice package should brighten her day.

The big news around here is snow is predicted for tomorrow and Sunday. Measurable snow. We are sick of winter and especially any chance of snow. We received some Sunday. Fortunately not a lot and it melted by Monday afternoon.

Spring in the Arctic

April 1st, 2018 at 02:45 pm

No, we don't live in the Arctic, but it sure feels like it. I'm sitting here in Central Illinois watching it snow. Some April Fool's joke! Our temps have been below normal and to be honest, we are all ready for some real spring weather.

DH is chomping at the bit to start his garden. It's too cold to plant the cooler stuff like lettuce and onions.

We were supposed to join friends at their home for Easter dinner, but illness changed those plans. Fortunately I have food here. I bought turkey breasts at Aldi between Thanksgiving and Christmas and we had one of those with mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, biscuits, and a blueberry crisp. Fortunately I didn't have to go the store to get any of these items. I detest shopping during holiday grocery shoppers are out. Funny thing, this was the menu I had planned before we were invited out.

It's spring break for the school district I used to work for. I'm finding it very interesting that two couples I know who have pleaded poverty are both vacationing during spring break many hundreds of miles away and no, they don't have relatives they are staying with. So, they either aren't as broke as they let on or they are just adding to their debt.

We have a lovely church service for Easter with some fabulous music. Now, we get to revisit winter with a wet, sloppy snow. As long as it isn't too deep, I guess I won't be to upset.

Happy Easter everyone! Hope you had a lovely day.

My love affair with my mixer

March 19th, 2018 at 12:10 pm

A few years ago DH and I bought a Hoosier cabinet. Besides really liking it, we wanted the extra storage in the kitchen. I certainly keep that puppy stocked with stuff and am happy to have it. But like many vintage pieces, things start to show wear.

A year or so ago, one of the doors was showing some problems with keeping the glass in. I took the door off and reglued it. It was an easy fix. But the other door, this was way beyond my capabilities. And I've been wondering how I could get it fixed. I knew it would need someone who could not only glue, but clamp it. I didn't have the clamps.

Anyway, I was thinking and we have a friend who is very handy. Anything he decides to do, he always makes sure it is done perfectly. So, I thought I could ask and if he can't or won't tackle the job, that's fine, but if so, then maybe I'm that much ahead. I asked him nicely and offered to pay him. He came over, looked at the door, told me exactly how he would fix it because he had both the wood glue and the clamps. I asked him what I could pay him. We finally agreed on some home made bread. He loves home made bread. So, it is rising as I type.

As I was putting together the dough I was thinking of when I bought my stand mixer. It has been awhile. The pleasure I have received from it has more than made up for the cost.

My mom has been gone for over 11 years. A couple of years before she died, she bought me a bread machine. They had just first come out and weren't the highest quality. But, what a fun machine that was. I used it and used it. In fact, I wore it out. And two others besides. When the last one went to bread machine heaven, I decided not to replace it. I had bought a really expensive one for the last one and it didn't last any longer than the cheapie one to be honest. I don't think they make them to last if you really, really use them. Anyway, it dawned on me I could do the hard work with the bread hook on the stand mixer. I've never looked back and I think it has worked better and clean up is a lot easier.

I've watched Ina Garten as the Barefoot Contessa for years. She always says don't buy something like an appliance that only has one purpose for your kitchen. And I have to agree anymore. I don't want more stuff cluttering my small storage area. Plus it makes more economical sense to buy something you can use for a variety of purposes.

My mixer has certainly been helpful. When I baked all those cookies last year for our Christmas bazaar, it sure made it easier to put together the cookie dough.

Last Christmas I made ice cream with the ice cream freezer attachment. DH loves Egg Nog Ice Cream and so I made it for him and he was delighted.

Anyway, I am glad I had the mixer to do my bread for my bartering deal.

Busy, busy

March 18th, 2018 at 02:00 pm

It's been a busy week.

It's also been a tough week. My asthma has really kicked up and I'm having issues breathing so I'm having to do breathing treatments. It makes me tired having to struggle and coughing so much. But I know it will eventually get better.

I did an art project with the fifth graders I volunteer with this week. We used some fancy yarn that was leftovers from donation yarn that no one could use at church. We made baskets by weaving it in and out of plastic drinking cups I had cut for that purpose. Some of the kids really did a fabulous job. Some decided it was too much work and quit. I had taken in a Gullah basket to show them before I did the project. I spent quite a bit of time getting the cups ready as well as making sure I had enough materials. I hate to sound negative, but I wasn't too shocked that so many kids decided it was too much work to try and do this project. I think it took most of them that finished it about 15 minutes to complete it.

We did get our names put on the list for a new driveway. We have to wait a bit since there are five people ahead of us. I dread the construction and parking in the street, but will be glad to have a smooth, new driveway. We saved almost $8K for it just in case, but the bid came in at $5500. So, we will have money left over to put on the next project we will be saving for. As nice as it is to own our home, there's always something to fix or replace isn't there? Our driveway is original with the house which was built in 1979 so I guess the fact it has lasted this long isn't something to sneeze at. We have a hill so I guess it is a tricky pour.

We finally got our last group of tax papers so our taxes are done! Amen!

I finished the book "Confessions of a Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella. I know it is fiction, but I think the author probably nailed the rationalization of why people spend foolishly.

Last night we went to a nearby small town and had dinner at an Amish home. Our friends are friends with this couple and the Amish couple do this every so often to make money. She served it buffet style. And it was amazing. Not good if you are watching calories, but yowza! Fried chicken, meatloaf, pulled pork, lasagna, dressing, chicken and noodles, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, green salad, pickled beets, two types of pickles, cottage cheese, homemade rolls with butter and/or homemade apple butter. And pie. Four different kinds of freshly baked pie. Oh, my! There was a large group besides us and after they all left, she handed my friends and us a container and said take some home! So we brought a few things home for another meal. I'll have to supplement a little bit, but still, that was a great deal. Everything was homemade. What a treat! Not something I'd want to do often though.

I still have some ironing I want to do today after my breathing treatment and before supper. I haven't felt like doing a whole lot, but have been pushing myself to try and get some things accomplished or otherwise when I do get over this, I will be so overwhelmed.

Hope everyone has a good week.



Wednesday Catch Up

March 14th, 2018 at 08:57 am

Today is Wednesday and it is the day I normally volunteer in a fifth grade classroom. They have been doing state testing so last week and this week I'm doing art projects to give them a break. Today's art project is taking plastic drinking cups and cutting down the sides so they can weave yarn and make a basket. I spent quite a bit of time trimming the cups and cutting them as well as hole punching them. I'm going to take a Gullah basket in and show them a basket made. I think any experience I can provide will help them. So many of our students have so few life experiences. Our church has had a lot of bits and pieces of yarn donated which isn't enough to make hats, so I went through them and took these to use for the weaving. I purchased 2 packages of cups and 2 packages of pipe cleaners. So, monetary wise I'm out a little over $4.

I thought I was really doing well yesterday. I used furniture polish to dust. I don't normally use very much of it and do dry dusting frequently. Well, I'm paying the piper so to speak. My asthma has really kicked up. It never was bothered by the polish before so i wonder if it is the aerosol or the scent. I may have to find a homemade polish to try and use. Any suggestions?

For the past couple of years we have been saving for a new driveway. We bought the house almost 20 years ago and the driveway wasn't in the best shape. But, it seems to have more troubles now. We got an estimate and hired someone who is well thought of around here. There are 5 driveways ahead of us and I'm already dreading leaving our vehicles out and being without a driveway, but I'm sure in the end it will be worth it. We actually saved more than we needed so that was good.

I was going to say we had a no spend day, then remembered DH picked up some prescriptions yesterday. It was a no spend day for me anyway, I guess.

I found a recipe for a crab meat casserole I would like to try. So, I guess I'll be putting crab on my grocery list. I make the grocery lists tonight and then finalize them tomorrow when the ad comes out for Kroger. We do the bulk of our shopping at Aldi, and then pick up certain things at Kroger. I started using Ibotta, and although I'm getting a little here and there, since I rarely buy ready made things and do most of our shopping at Aldi, I'm not making a whole lot. I found another app called Saving Star that is like Ibotta and they offer money on a few different things. Maybe between the two I will get a little money back.

This and that

March 11th, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Yesterday it sort of felt like spring. One thing I really like to do when it is decent is take the vehicle and wash it. There's a coin operated car wash not too far from our house and I like to wash my vehicle and get all the salt off of it from the winter. We splurged the $1 for the vacuum as well to get all the rocks and dirt off the floorboards as well and when we got home, I wiped the outside down and then took some of the Armour All and went over the tires and the plastic on the outside and then wiped down the console and the doors on the inside. It sure made it look nice and made me appreciate what I have. DH was pretty impressed.

After that I worked in the garage and swept it out. That seems to be an ongoing battle because leaves and dirt seem to blow in every time we open the garage door. I also cleaned out one corner where we have a standing rack to hold rakes, shovels, brooms, and my mop. I took everything out of the rack, cleaned it, cleaned the corner and then tried to put everything back in a way that looked a lot tidier. I threw away quite a few things that DH put there. I don't know why he didn't throw them away to begin with. Maybe there is something about taking something a few extra steps to the garbage can. Smile

We went to that home show I wrote about earlier and admired the Amish made cabinets and furniture as well as looked at the booths of doors, windows, lawn stuff. I even won a door prize -- a small bag of cashew chew which is like peanut brittle, but made with cashews.

Before we left, I had put a pork loin roast in the Crockpot with carrots, onion, herbs, and small potatoes so I didn't have to worry about cooking supper in case we got home late. A little planning guaranteed we weren't tempted to eat out. Plus, we will realize another meal from the pork and carrots. Can't beat that!

I asked a friend if he would be willing to fix a door on our Hoosier cabinet. It has become unglued and I'm afraid it is going to fall apart and the glass pane will shatter. I will not be able to replace it if it does since there are two doors with the matching panes and are original with the piece. We worked out a deal -- he will glue and clamp it. I gave him some sugar free candy we had bought for him and I will bake him some homemade bread for his trouble. I'm excited about getting it fixed.

After supper we relaxed by watching Hinterland on Netflix. Intense would be the word to describe this series. I worked on using up some yarn and making dish cloths. I had some purple that there wasn't enough to make a hat so I used it up and then had some blue from a project I had crocheted for myself awhile back. I had crocheted a cover for a pillow and had the yarn left over. So, I used some of it to trim around a dish cloth and then used some other yarn up as well. I finished 4 dish cloths last night and used up some yarn that wouldn't have been enough for anything else.

It was a fine day.

Today has been great too, so far. We went to church and then went to Walgreens to pick up a prescription for DH. He also had them print his 2017 prescriptions. We have a home health care policy for him that if you don't use it in the calendar year, they will give you a refund of what you paid on prescriptions. It won't be a huge amount since his prescription plan covered the lion's share as well as all of them being generics, but it is nice to get a rebate of sorts. I have to get that ready to mail in.

We came home and I fixed brunch and had the opportunity to watch new episodes of Barefoot Contessa. I like her calm manner and I seem to learn stuff from her episodes. I've missed seeing her so I was glad we could catch these. I still do covet her walk in pantry. A girl can dream, I guess!

Tonight we are supposed to go and have dinner with some friends at their home. We take turns hosting each other. It is a casual evening and plenty of fun and other than the food, pretty reasonable.

Not a whole lot of spending going on, but some fine times!

Watch out HGTV!

March 5th, 2018 at 11:54 am

I know I've commented on this before, but we watch HGTV and it seems every person looking for a house always has to have entertaining space.

We bought this home almost 20 years ago and I don't really think we said we needed entertaining space. Maybe we are weird. We wanted a ranch, a bigger kitchen (the other house's kitchen was tiny and had no storage), 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a bigger bedroom than we had. DH wanted a decent yard, but not huge. Because of allergies we hoped to get away form having a basement. Entertaining really wasn't a contender in our choice. We actually bought a bit smaller house than we had before. That one was 1600 square feet and this one is around 1500 square feet.

Well, DH pointed out we are entertaining tonight. My friend's birthday is today and I invited her and her husband over for dinner. Dinner will be lasagna, salad, Focaccia bread, and chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert. They were delighted to be invited and DH is delighted that there is cake and ice cream to look forward to.

Anyway, I guess it is time for HGTV to watch out -- we are entertaining!

You can't pick your relatives

February 25th, 2018 at 11:45 am

Like many states in the Midwest, we have had plenty of rain and gloomy days this past week. The sun is out and although it is cool, it looks to be a lovely day. I know people at church were talking about their attitudes changing because the sun had appeared.

It's been an interesting week on the genealogy front. I had the opportunity to spend over an hour at the library in the local history room using the free local paper archives. I discovered a few more tidbits from my family. My mom always acted like my dad’s side of the family wasn’t very good. Yet, from what I’ve figured out so far, my dad’s side a couple of generations back, did have some wealth and prestige. His mom and her parents and siblings came to American in 1902 from England and located to Albany, Georgia. Why there of all places, I have no idea. And how they wound up in Decatur, Illinois, is another story I will never know. But I guess when they were in England, they did have some money and a fancy home. But, things got tough here in America for them and hard scrabble would be an accurate description.

My mom has a couple of generations here in America before her. My great grandfather was arrested for stealing brass from the Wabash Railroad which is where he worked. My grandfather was arrested as a teenager for being in an east side of Decatur gang. My grandmother was arrested for shoplifting in the 1920s. My mom was arrested for disorderly conduct in the 1940s. Kind of sad to learn this, although this was way before my time. As they say, you can’t pick your relatives.

Another thing I discovered was that many of the relatives on my mom’s side were railroaders. Two cousins a time or two removed who were brothers worked for Wabash and one saw the other crushed between two rail cars as he was trying to hitch them together. That had to be horrendous.

Dh teased me I was a cheap date for a Saturday. I was happy to go to the library, check out a couple of books (I scored the last Sue Grafton!), and then spend time doing some research. He spent the time in the children's section finding books to read out loud to the classes he reads to each week. We came home and I spent a couple of hours updating the family tree. I fixed supper and we spent the evening at home.

On the knitting front, we have 135 hats made so far in 2018. The church ladies are teasing me they are hoping to get to 1000 by the end of the year. Wouldn't that be something?

Every fall I try to purchase some name brand chicken noodle soup to have on hand in case one or both of us get sick. That seems to be a comfort food for each of us if we have colds or sinus infections. I try to catch it on sale and use a coupon and that's what I did last fall. So far, we haven't need to eat much of it. So, I'm going to heat some of it up with sandwiches for supper tonight.

Chilly Friday and Supper Planned

February 16th, 2018 at 08:19 am

Yesterday we had a high of 65. Yay! Some rain and since we are in almost drought conditions, no one seemed to mind the rain considering it is February and it could have been snow or ice. The temperatures have dropped so it is chilly, but I did see the sun peek out for a bit.

Credit Card Free shared her Ibotta link in a previous post and I finally got signed up. The first day the site was having issues, but I got in just in time to do my Kroger shopping yesterday (after our Aldi run, of course). After I did what I needed to do, it says I have $3.50 in credit. Not bad for a few minutes work. That was after I also did the digital coupons and a paper coupon too.

Friday night we normally eat out and we are being joined by another couple. That is something to look forward to!

I have my menu planned for other meals this week. One of my friends says I'm rigid, but how can I effectively shop if I don't know what I'm going to fix?

Saturday night - cod, mashed potatoes, green beans
Sunday night -- chili
Monday night -- pork loin roast with carrots, roasted potatoes
Tuesday night -- chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans
Wednesday night -- leftover pork roast, baked potatoes
Thursday night -- scrambled eggs or omelet. This is usually the night I clean out the vegetable drawer to put with the eggs.

The chili will use the tomatoes I canned and a friend gave me some beef for Christmas so I plan to use some of the "free" hamburger. The green beans are from the pantry where I canned last summer too.

Using up stuff; making a few things, thrift shopping

February 13th, 2018 at 01:09 pm

Today seems to be the day to use up things. Lunch was leftovers from a couple meals. DH and I had different things for lunch, but that was OK. He wanted leftover soup and I had two different things that there wasn't enough of either to make a meal. There is still enough soup for another lunch if we put a sandwich with it.

Last night I made a gallon of laundry detergent. A friend gave me some stuff to make some a number of years ago and I was so impressed, I bought the Borax, washing soda, and back then Fels Naphtha to make it. Now, I don't use the Fels Naphtha, but use Dawn instead. But what a reasonably priced laundry detergent and it gets stuff clean. I keep a little in a squirt bottle to pretreat stuff.

I was looking on Pinterest and saw a recipe for homemade Febreze. I made some this morning and I really like it. I haven't bought any in years. I happened to have saved the bottle thinking I was going to use it for something and I did use it for this. (I am notorious for saving bottles and jars.)

It's funny how some of my friends react to these things. One friend, the one who originally had me make my own detergent is all about saving things and making things and saving money wherever possible. She and her husband eat leftovers. And she is a good one for a bargain. It's like we are two peas in a pod.

Another of my friends thinks I'm crazy for making stuff and doing all the leftovers and such. She is all about getting stuff new. I don't think money is an issue at their home.

Yet another friend would never think of making detergent or anything and won't eat leftovers. Money is an issue as you can imagine.

I imagine the latter two think I'm simply crazy about thrift shopping. I have bought so many things at our local thrift shops -- we are fortunate to have quite a few and they have some really nice things. Lately I've been buying material and sewing things with it. I've made 3 table runners, a set of curtains for my bathroom, and one long panel for a sunroom door and material and thread together I think I've spent less than $16. I buy most of my greeting cards at thrift stores too. I like sending cards and letters, but I hate, hate, hate spending so much on greeting cards. Very few people save cards. I save ones from my husband, but I don't save any of the others; I recycle them. Giving a quarter or less for a card only makes sense to me, but maybe I'm weird.

So, that's what I've been doing today. Using stuff up, made a few things. No thrift shopping -- I'm cleaning instead. And of course eating at home. I am going to make crab cakes and we will have enough for another meal. And so the cycle continues.

Icy Sunday

February 11th, 2018 at 01:14 pm

Here in Central Illinois we had a glaze of ice overnight. We were supposed to also received 1-3 inches of snow, but fortunately that did not come to fruition. I can't say I'm disappointed.

In 2006 we had an ice storm that took down trees and electrical wires so whenever there is a chance of freezing rain, I always dread it. We were without power for a few days and it was cold and miserable.

In 1978 we had an ice storm that was worse than the one in 2006 and we were without power for over a week. Fortunately it wasn't freezing cold so the ice melted, but it did a lot of damage. It was absolutely miserable. I played more Monopoly that week than I had before or after that. It certainly made me appreciate power and heat a lot more.

Anyway, back to today. No power outages. Just some ice on the ground. I salted the driveway and by this afternoon, it was pretty clear. We did make it to church and didn't slip and slide too much on the way there and the way back.

With the slick roads, we decided to go home and stay home. I started a pot of soup after I fixed brunch. I call it Italian wedding soup, but I guess I've sort of just made it my own recipe. It is really making the house smell good. I try to make it ahead and then heat it up when we are ready to eat.

Here are in the ingredients I use:

1 pound of ground turkey for meatballs

1 onion chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
2-3 mushrooms, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 zucchini chopped.
1 quart and 1 pint of chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 quart of tomatoes
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp. dried Oregano
1 cup of pasta -- your choice -- I use what I have on hand
fresh spinach
Parmesan to taste
olive oil


I make small meatballs out of the ground turkey and bake in the oven until they are done. I just use the plain turkey, but you can add eggs and bread crumbs.

I saute' the onions, celery, pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots in the olive oil and when they are soft, i add the garlic. I then add the chicken broth and let it simmer for over an hour. I add the turkey meatballs, Turmeric, and Oregano, and tomatoes and let it simmer for another 30-40 minutes so it cooks down a bit. I add the pasta and when it is cooked , add the spinach and cook for about a minute. Ladle into bowls and add the grated Parmesan. You can also add a little olive oil to the top.

This makes quite a bit so unless you are hearty soup eaters, you may have some leftovers.

Not very frugal

January 24th, 2018 at 01:20 pm

Today was not a frugal day. Wednesday afternoons are usually when DH and I volunteer. He reads at a second grade class and I work with a fifth grade class. But, the fifth grade class had something special come up and the second grader teacher was out with the flu and DH did not want to deal with the kids and a sub. So we decided to make it something fun for ourselves. We drove to a small town near here and ate at a place that is run by two sisters. On Wednesdays the special is lasagna and it is the best all around. It isn't horribly expensive -- salad, lasagna, bread...$6.95 before tax. Of course we had to have some ice cream that they make on premises...$2 for a nice size scoop. But, wow, what a great meal and a nice treat because we normally can't do this.

We returned back to our home and split up. He goes and walks at the mall. I had some errands to run. This is my birthday month and a place where I get makeup had a free make over and then 15% off of anything I bought. I am new to the makeup game. My mom never used it so I never had anyone to show me. And when I tried other stuff, my allergies would kick in. So, this stuff is pricier, but it doesn't make me react. I don't wear it every day, but I like to learn new things. So, I went, had the makeover and bought a few things to supplement what I already had.

I then went to the library to return some books and magazines. I just can't beat the library for finding good things to read and enjoy. I finished a book last night called "The Christmas Joy Ride" by Melody Carlson. It was a feel good book and predictable, but still enjoyable. My new plan this year for reading is if I find an author, to read as many of his or her books so I don't have to question myself whether I have read them or not. I know it looks odd that I walk out with a pile of the same author or same couple of authors, but in the past, I have struggled with remembering whether I have read some of these books. My other goal is to read one nonfiction each month since I tend to gravitate to fiction.

Since we had a large, heavy lunch, supper is going to be a light one. But, oh, what an enjoyable lunch it was!

Cold and raw

January 23rd, 2018 at 01:13 pm

Today it is damp, cold, and basically raw outside. I did have to get to church to fill the ever burning candle or it wouldn't be burning a whole lot longer!

Other than that, it has been a no spend day for me. I have been doing laundry and putting stuff away. Not exactly thrilling, but not horrible by any means either.

One of our friends told us she does laundry every day. There are just two of them and they are both retired. I can't even imagine having laundry to do each day and what a waste it must be of water, detergent, as well as electricity and wear and tear on the machines. I understand people with more in the household would probably need to do laundry every day, but just two people? Egad.

Yesterday I fixed a chicken in the Crockpot and we had one meal off of it. I was thinking I need to figure out something else to make and then this popped up on my Facebook feed and looked really good on a cold winter day so I may be trying it:

https://12tomatoes.com/cs-chicken-rice-soup-warm/?utm_source=glp-12t&utm_medium=social-fb&utm_content=photo&utm_campaign=cs-chicken-rice-soup-warm

Other than chicken and noodles, are there ways you use leftover chicken?

Finder's Fee and Using Stuff Up

January 21st, 2018 at 01:47 pm

A couple of weeks ago we went to an estate sale to look around. It was horribly cold outside and the weather was supposed to get worse, but we had cabin fever and needed to get out and do something.

We looked around and found nothing we wanted. Not even tempted. But, I did see a display for older golf clubs. I'm not a golfer, but I have a friend who is. I messaged him and told him where the sale was and told him they had a bunch, they were older, and they were $8 each.

My friend went to check them out and was so excited. He found a putter that he said is rare and is worth close to $100. Today at church he handed me a dollar coin as my finder's fee. I laughed and laughed because I had been teasing him maybe I should start charging him a finder's fee for the things I find for him. Guess I can count it as a snowflake, but I don't think I'm going to spend the coin. DH has a drawer with a couple of Kennedy half dollars and I thought I'd add this coin to the mix so they have company.

Yesterday I watched the Pioneer Woman and she did something I haven't seen before -- used up things to make food. Hooray! So many of the Food Network folks seem to be wasteful, at least in my opinion. I can always tell one who didn't grow up poor -- they never scrape the goal or pan. Anyway, i was telling DH about the episode and he said it sounded like PW was following my lead instead of the other way around. She made chicken broth in the Crockpot which is what I do. Today it is beef broth. I had a sirloin steak in the freezer and I was thinking of some way to use it up and thought Soup! So we are having beef and barley vegetable soup. I trimmed the meat and used some of the smaller parts and the bone to make some beef broth to stash in the freezer. I also used the bag of leftover vegetables that was in the freezer of the soup as well as some already made broth. It simmered yesterday afternoon and I made 2 dozen herb biscuits yesterday. We gave some of the soup and biscuits to some friends and we will enjoy the rest. So, I used up some things I had to make a pretty decent meal.

Hot tea

January 13th, 2018 at 11:28 am

A couple of years ago I made a promise I wasn't going to buy any more tea until I drank what I had. I wasn't talking about the tea I use to make iced tea which is what we drink instead of soda pop.

I had done pretty well and used up most of the tins of tea I had. Most had been gifts.

This Christmas some friends gave me some peppermint tea and some Chai tea all loose leaf. I had never had Chai tea so I tried it. I rarely put sweetener in my tea so I am finding it a bit sweet, but good. Right now I'm drinking a cup of peppermint tea. I decided to use my coffee maker and put in a clean filter after washing out the piece where the filter goes and it made a nice bit of tea.

We watch quite a few English murder mysteries and many of them have tea being served. One thing that I don't do is put milk in my tea. Just wondering if any of you do. I guess I never thought about doing it. I put milk or creamer in my coffee. Sometimes I put honey in my tea if I have a sore throat, but usually I don't add anything. Perhaps it is what one grows up doing.

No spending and parking

January 11th, 2018 at 08:12 am

Yesterday was a no spend day for me. It seemed like Monday and Tuesday I was living at Walgreens. Monday I went in and got some of the things that were on special and used coupons to stock up on some things. Tuesday I had a prescription refill and it was senior day and I bought an item at 20% off.

Our neighbors have sold their house and will close tomorrow. Yesterday must have been packing up day. They rented a U Haul and had friends and family there to help. Which is great for them. However, we live in a cil-d-sac and of course these folks all parked their vehicles in and around their house. One person parked their car very close to our mailbox. So close that the mailman blasted me that he couldn't get the mail truck in and that if it happens again, he won't be delivering our mail. I explained it wasn't our car, but the neighbors and they were moving, but he said he won't deliver if it is there again.

Getting out of our driveway with all the cars was an adventure. Our part of the cil-d-sac is narrow before it widens for the bulb. With a car at one end of our driveway, one at the other nearly in front of the mailbox, and one directly behind our driveway on the other side of the street, There were little room to back out. I had to see saw many times in my vehicle just to leave to go volunteer. I hated coming back and "threading the needle" to get back into my driveway and I hated having to speak to the neighbor about the car in front of the mailbox. But, I did, I was polite, and just asked if they needed to park a car in front of our house, please pull it up so the mailman wouldn't pass us over. I don't think it was intentional on their part and they were polite. They have been good neighbors. I am worried about whomever is moving in and hope it is someone decent.

Today will be a spendy day -- we are going grocery shopping. Last week I went on Wednesday since we had a forecast of really cold temps and the super cold air bothers my asthma. I guess people must have thought with the upcoming temps and then chance of freezing rain on Saturday night, by Saturday many of the grocery shelves were bare. Glad I could shop when I did.

Not a whole lot to report

January 7th, 2018 at 01:48 pm

I haven't blogged much lately because I haven't had much to report. We have had very cold temperatures which means I don't go out much because the cold air bothers my asthma. So, I have been doing chores around the hose and doing some crafts as well. Last week I decided to only go to Kroger's instead of doing Aldi and Kroger's so I wasn't out as long. I about had a fit at the checkout. We buy most of our fresh fruits and vegetables at Aldi as well as our dairy and some of our meats. When the cashier said the bag of grapes was $7.65 I said I didn't want them. I couldn't believe it. I knew it would be higher, but over half as much! This week I shopped a day earlier in the week since it was supposed to get ferociously cold on Thursday (it was zero on Wednesday so that should tell you something). I happily shopped at Aldi and then Kroger. Spent half of what I would have spent at Kroger and felt blessed besides.

Besides Christmas and New Year's, celebrated my birthday on Friday. DH gave me some jewelry -- he assured me he did not pay full price...found some deals at Kohls. I imagine he bought it when they had big sales during the holidays. He as become quite the shopper and hates to pay full price for anything anymore. We did eat out twice...once for lunch with one set of friends and then dinner with another set. They came back to the house for cake and ice cream and a nice visit.


I read 100 books in 2017 so I'd like to read that many in 2018. I've only read one so far, so I guess I better get busy. We went to the library yesterday and I checked out quite a few. A friend suggested I use the Goodreads site, but I ran into an issue -- two books they suggested based on what I've read and enjoyed our library didn't have. I could probably do interlibrary loan, but not sure I want do it for a book I may or may not really want to read.

We are supposed to get freezing rain today and then snow on top of it. It would not disappoint me if we didn't. A Facebook friend posted a photo of a local grocery store's freezer section and it was almost empty. Tomorrow it is supposed to warm up and by Wednesday we are to be near 50. Guess people panic at a drop of a hat.

Tore up the pantry

December 6th, 2017 at 08:24 am

Ever have one of those times when you just know you bought something only to discover you hadn't?


Grrrr!

I was baking cookie bars using up leftover Halloween candy. The class I work with was going to give them to the police officers they have adopted. I had hoped to bake them with the kids, but the kitchen folks at the school can't have us in there during lunch and because of the early dismissal time (they go to school 7:30 to 2) there wasn't time in the afternoon after the lunches.

Anyway, I thought I'd make a pan of fudge while I was waiting for the cookie bars to finish baking.

So, I got out the ingredients and couldn't find the marshmallow creme. I just knew I had some. So, I tore up the pantry looking for it. Nope, not there. I did consolidate some things so one good thing came of it. I refused to make an extra trip to buy some, so it will have to wait until another day.

Thank you, Bluebird!

December 3rd, 2017 at 01:13 pm

A big thanks to Bluebird for the generous gift to my church's knitting group! The ladies were amazed that someone that didn't know us was so kind and thoughtful!

This has been an interesting week.

On Thursday we took a bus trip to Arlington Heights Race Track (Chicagoland) for the Lambs Farm Craft Show. We weren't sure of what to expect since we have not been to the race track or the craft show before. Apparently Lambs Farm helps developmentally disabled folks and the craft show is a huge fund raiser. The track buildings were quite large and two floors housed the craft show. It was all inside. We were intrigued by the track and I looked it up online and apparently it is owned by Churchill Downs...you know, Kentucky Derby fame. The craft show was huge. We didn't buy much and we didn't plan to. We really wanted to go for the experience. I did find some crocheted things and I was shocked at the high prices...hats like the ones we make were around $12 to $15. I saw crocheted flower pins for $8. It was a fun day and I'm glad we went. I don't think I would do it again simply because I'm not much of a shopper.

I have had a ongoing frustrating experience at our Kroger. We used to buy a certain bread and they would usually not have it. So, we found a store brand that we liked as well. Except, they now have problems keeping it on the shelves. We have to find someone to go in the back and look for it. We usually shop on Thursdays, and the trucks come in early morning Thursdays. It would usually depend on the clerk on whether we would get the bread. Those that cared would bring some out; others we think just said they went back to look. Well, we wound shopping Friday of this week due to the bus trip. Friday right after lunch before it gets crazy busy. Well, we get there and no bread. And most of the bread section was riddled. We asked someone and he claimed there was no bread. I was fed up. We paid for our other groceries and came home. I did the krogerfeedback.com thing with the id number and complained that for a store that has a computer inventorying system, they shouldn't have a lack of bread right before a weekend and whomever is in charge of stocking the bread should check it more often so it isn't half empty of all the different breads. I heard from a manager and she called on Saturday morning and said she was sorry and they had the bread in the back (how interesting it appeared less than 24 hours later) and she hoped we would return. Well, we went back yesterday and the bread section was riddled again and the kind we wanted wasn't there. Of course there was no one near that section. We went to the diary section and the nice young man said he would find someone. Well, he must have had as much trouble finding someone because he came back out and asked exactly what we wanted and he came back out with the two loaves of bread. We thanked him, especially since it wasn't his grocery section. We go to the checkout and I commented to the cashier about how frustrating this has become. Apparently the manager was within ear shot...she gave us the bread free. Guess it pays to complain.

The other thing that happened this week actually started a couple of weeks ago. DH and I really like English murder mysteries and we have been enjoying Midsomer Murders on Netflix. Anyway, a few weeks ago I discovered Midsomer Murders has a Facebook page and I liked it. They held a contest to make a bingo card with things from the show. I made one and it was a real fun thing to do. I didn't expect to win, but thought it was something interesting to do. Well, a couple of days later I get a private message through Facebook and they said I didn't win, but they wanted to send me a tea towel and I should include my address in a reply. I did, but to be honest, since I live in the United States, I didn't really expect to receive a towel. Well, I received it a couple of days ago. That was a nice surprise! Here's a photo of the towel:

84 Dozen

November 5th, 2017 at 01:28 pm

I'm talking 84 dozen cookies...let me explain. It's been a roller coaster week. A dear lady from church passed away unexpectedly. She was 89, but you wouldn't have known it to observe her. She was a whirlwind. She had a stroke, went into a coma, and then peacefully slipped away.

The funeral was quite nice and she had a huge family. I feel sorry for her husband. They were devoted to each other and I imagine he will be quite lonely.

There were many things that she was involved in at church and we are now all trying to figure out how to keep many of these things going. Our annual Christmas bazaar is coming up and we all bake cookies. One of the chairs announced we all need to step up...the lady who just passed away baked 84 dozen cookies for the bazaar. She used to bake 100 dozen, but at 88, she figured she should cut back. I can't imagine baking that many cookies. Yikes! But, some of us have talked among ourselves and we are going to try and bake far more to make up for her not being there and providing.

So, I'm currently searching for cookie recipes that can be made ahead and frozen. I really don't want to spend the week before baking dozens and dozens of cookies. I have one recipe that I know freezes well. I have been stocking up on butter, flour, and sugar. So I guess I better get busy. But, I'm not up to 84 dozen cookies.

Staying Busy in the Kitchen

October 21st, 2017 at 02:41 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.

Thou Shalt Not Waste

October 10th, 2017 at 01:33 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 01:47 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 12:54 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.






Where did last week go?

October 1st, 2017 at 04:43 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.

Canning/freezer tally

September 24th, 2017 at 02:11 pm

I decided to start tallying what I've canned thus far. DH has a small garden and grows mostly tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions, and herbs. I've purchased green beans and fruits for jams and jellies. I make far more jams and jellies than I plan to eat since I give them as gifts. But this is the tally so far:

Green beans 28 quarts, 6 pints

Tomatoes 19 quarts, 3 pints

Tomato Juice 4 quarts, 6 pints, 2 half pints

Mixed berry jam 1 pint, 6 half pints

Tomato jam 4 half pints

Apple jelly 2 pints, 4 half pints

Strawberry preserves 6 half pints

Tomato Preserves 1 pint, 10 half pints

Applesauce 4 quarts, 3 pints

Spaghetti Sauce 3 quarts, 3 pints, 1 half pint

Grape Jelly 6 half pints

Apple juice 2 quarts

Sweet pickles 9 pints, 3 half pints

Beef broth 1 quart

If the tomatoes continue to come on, I will probably get a few more quarts. I still need to dry herbs for the winter. But all in all, not a bad total. A friend stopped by and I showed him the pantry and he was amazed. He knew I canned, but I guess he never realized that I actually had more than a jar or two of stuff. He said it must be wonderful to have all this in the pantry and not have to go to the grocery for so many things. In the past I have given him some items as well as his mom. Another friend really likes great tomato chow chow and I usually put up a couple of quarts to give him when the growing season is over and we have lots of green tomatoes.

I have about a half gallon of chopped bell peppers in the freezer as well. I will add to that total as more ripen. I also have a gallon bag of shredded zucchini in the freezer.

I have about a gallon of chicken broth in the freezer too.

I have actually made more jelly than I counted. I have given some away already. One person is very grateful and thanks me and thanks me. One couple wasn't as nice. They gave me a perfunctory thank you and then told me later that their grandkids ate it. It was like it wasn't good enough for them to try. Most are kind and return the jars and rings.

80

August 31st, 2017 at 08:03 am

Eighty. That's how many tomatoes are now resting on our kitchen counter. That doesn't include the cherry tomatoes that are sitting in the colander. Eighty glorious round orbs just waiting for me to do something with them. I see canning in my future. We did have 84, but we had four of them sliced with our supper last night.

A friend came over the other day and I was showing him our pantry of canned goods and his comment was we didn't need to go to the grocery store. Not sure about that, but with tomatoes, green beans, jam, jelly, and broth canned, we do have a nice selection. DH has a bunch of bell peppers coming on and I will chop and freeze many for the freezer so we will have that.

I'm sorry it got too warm for lettuce. We had the last of that a couple of weeks ago, but it was sure nice while it lasted.

I think I hear those tomatoes calling....

Catching Up

August 11th, 2017 at 08:18 am

Yesterday was our meeting for our knitting group at church. I had to chuckle over the ladies because they counted the ones that were brought and it made for a total of 597 hats. Well, they wanted to know who could finish a hat before time was up for the day and said we have to have 600 before we leave. Too funny. One lady said she just had to put a pom pom on hers and another two said they had to do a little more. Not all of our members were there, but when two came in, they had a few more hats and when all was said and done, out total was 605 hats by the end of the time. That's a lot of knitted hats. That doesn't include the scarves that people have made nor the preemie hats. The preemie hats are donated to NICUs at local hospitals and to a group that helps women who are pregnant. We are small, but I think we are mighty.

An added benefit was one of the ladies brought in some produce. She had cucumbers and bell peppers. She asked if anyone could use any and some people said yes. But, when it was all said and done, hardly anyone took the cucumbers. She asked me if I could use them and I said yes. I see sweet pickles in my future.

A couple of years ago we went to a Bed And Breakfast in the Amana Colonies and part of the breakfast was Mango Juice. DH can't have orange juice since the acid really bothers him, so he tried the Mango juice. And he was smitten. Whenever Aldi has mangoes on sale, I buy them and let them sit on the counter to ripen. Actually, I prefer them overripe because they are juicier that way. I made DH a quart of it and he has been enjoying it. I looked up on the Internet on how to make it and it really isn't hard. I don't have a juicer or anything, so I do it by hand. I guess if I were making gallons it would be an issue, but it isn't. And it's a nice treat for DH. I make apple juice for him too. I refuse to purchase apple juice that has had apples grown in China. After reading some of the conditions of the growing of apple trees and other fruits and vegetables, I choose not to go there.

DH's tomato crop has been good one. We have been eating lots of fresh tomatoes and I have been canning some. I believe that is also in my future...some more canning. I don't mind and they are sure nice to have in the winter. I spoiled myself and made tomato juice the other day. Last year we didn't have quite enough for me to do that and felt I needed to can just the tomatoes. But, since DH planted more plants we have extra and I'm making myself some juice. Funny as I type this there is an ad for V8 on the bottom of the screen. I also intend to make spaghetti sauce since we have onions, bell peppers, garlic, and basil.

The other day a friend brought over some turkey he had smoked and 4 ears of sweet corn he had gotten from someone. We had over three meals off of that turkey. We don't have a smoker so it was a real treat. We are so blessed to live in a country where so many fresh foods are available, aren't we?

Cornbread

August 7th, 2017 at 10:50 am

It is interesting how food plays an important part of our lives. Take for example our friend, Barb. Barb was a former neighbor. DH knew her years before I did since she would frequent the bookmobile he worked on. Anyway, after she was widowed, I would invite her to Thanksgiving. For a number of years she didn't attend, but made other plans with friends because she had no local family. Then she started accepting our invites. She admitted a few years ago the reason she came (besides the company) was my cornbread. She said the turkey, potatoes, and green beans were fine, but it was the homemade cornbread she liked the best. Barb died this weekend. She was 88 and when she came for dinner on Memorial Day, she was telling us how she couldn't believe she had lived that long. She gave up smoking over twenty years ago and it probably helped quite a bit. But she also went and exercised some. She kept social and kept her mind alert. And other than some arthritis, she got was slower, but still got around and did things. I just chuckle over the comment about the cornbread.

Well, I posted a photo of her on Facebook (see below) with my husband at a Thanksgiving meal. One of the guys from church commented on it and of all the food on the table, the thing he commented on was the cornbread. He wanted to know if I made it and was it Jiffy or homemade. I told him it was homemade, baked in a cast iron skillet. We discussed this at some point and then I made the offer to teach him some Sunday afternoon when he isn't golfing.

All of this just because of cornbread. Too funny.

Frugal Kitchen

August 3rd, 2017 at 08:31 am

I cannot count the number of Frugal Chef parties I have been invited to in the past 20 years. Because people know I cook, they think I'm just overjoyed to be invited and expect me to buy tons and tons of stuff. Boy, are they ever wrong.

One look at my kitchen would tell them otherwise.

I have a few of my grandmother's things like some Pyrex and pots and pans. I have a couple of my mother's items as well.

Most of the things in my kitchen have been purchased second hand. I have quite a few Pyrex dishes in different sizes and shapes that I use constantly. Vintage stuff. Not made in China. I enjoy using it, and feel I am not only cooking more safely in stuff that is tried and true than the stuff that might have problems down the road. Plus, in my small way, I am recycling.

I have 5 Crockpots. They are all different sizes. Two are about ten years old or older. One is 3. My newest two were purchased at thrift stores. They were clean and work perfectly.

Don't get me wrong, I do buy some new things, but why spend big bucks if I can save some money and buy used? We went to an estate sale a couple of weeks ago and found a set of stainless flatware. It was vintage. The nice thing about vintage stuff is it has a bunch of the extra pieces. We paid $16 for the whole set. It wasn't my first choice in pattern, but hey, for $16 I have an extra set. I have a set I bought over 30 years ago and some of the pieces are missing. Not sure where they went to -- maybe the same hiding place as socks -- and we did buy a new set about five years ago, but there wasn't enough to get through without hand washing some stuff in between. I don't like to run the dishwasher unless it is totally full. I could hand wash stuff, and I did on occasion, but having the extra stuff is helpful and it even had pickle forks. I like pickles with my lunch so that was an added benefit.

Anyway, I was perusing Facebook and there is a site talking about saving money by buying used kitchen stuff. Guess I'm finally chic! Anyway, here is the URL for the story:

http://rootsy.org/low-cost-kitchen/

The tomatoes are coming on. Yay! DH also has bell peppers, onions, and herbs. I made a fantastic marinara sauce to serve over spaghetti the other night by cooking down some tomatoes with bell pepper, onion, mushroom, basil, and oregano, and adding some shredded Parmesan. I paired it with a small lettuce salad (lettuce, tomato, pepper, onion) for a delightful meatless meal. I thought DH would be upset over the lack of meat, but he wasn't and said it was delicious. I had purchased the pasta on sale, so I figured besides using up some of the fresh stuff we had, I made an economical meal. Oh yeah, served on some of the plates we bought second hand.


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