<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: Food / Groceries
 

Viewing the 'Food / Groceries' Category

Catching Up

August 11th, 2017 at 03:18 pm

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 05:50 pm

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 03:31 pm

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.

It's almost August

July 31st, 2017 at 02:58 pm

It is hard to believe today is the last day of July. The garden is going gangbusters which is good. Tomatoes! Lots and lots of them are coming on. I spent some time canning them Saturday. I looks like I will be canning some more this afternoon. No complaints about it either! I know it was sure nice this last winter to open up a jar of tomatoes and taste that fresh tomato from the summer. We have shared some tomatoes with some friends and they keep commenting on how good they are and they are.

My pie safe (where I store most of the stuff canned is starting to fill up. This past week I have canned some green beans, tomatoes, made sweet pickles, and made mixed berry jam. I buy fresh fruit every week to make a fruit salad that we have some once a day. With the extra fruit (some of the packages are larger due to it being in season) we can't eat it all so I put it in the freezer. When I get quite a bit saved, I then cook the berries together and make jam. I enjoy the jam, but I also plan to give some away at Christmas time. I make up baskets of goodies to some of my friends. Most of us don't exchange purchased gifts per se since we basically have what we need or too many knick knacks.

The garlic looks like it is about ready to be harvested too. I usually pick it and then clean and mince it and store it in olive oil in the fridge. We don't get a ton, but enough to use it throughout the year and have some extra cloves that we plant for the following year.

One of my husband's friends seems to have a problem with my husband's green thumb. It is almost to the point of jealousy. I don't know why. This person is very talented in so many areas and can do so many things. DH, and I love him dearly, isn't mechanically inclined. We usually have to outsource many jobs. But the lawn and garden are his speciality. As DH says, no one can be good at everything. Just wish his friend wouldn't have such problem with his ego and appreciate what DH can do.

Our pastor is retiring in two weeks. We will miss him dearly, but his replacement appears to be a good guy as well. The church had a retirement luncheon yesterday and a short presentation to thank our pastor for his service and caring for the congregation. It was very touching to see all the lives he has touched. I took my camera and took photos of and then uploaded them to the church's Facebook page. I then created a video to put on my page since I put in things I wanted to say.

We went to the Beef House on Wednesday over in Indiana. It is well known around here for good food and these amazing rolls. We actually did this on a bus trip and saw a play in addition to the meal. I just couldn't get over the feeding frenzy some of these people were a part of with the rolls. They are huge. Bigger than a large fist. Of course like most bread, they will bring out as many as you want. Well, so many at our table wanted to take some home. Not just one, but 2 or 3. They were snippy with the servers who didn't bring enough bags the first time. These servers were high school students donating their time in hopes of getting tips. Anyway, the ladies at our table were fawning over these rolls with that glint of greed in their eyes. The rolls were delicious when they brought them out...warm from the oven or warming drawer and very fresh. But white rolls tend to get stale very quickly. Guess these folks thought they were getting something for nothing. I wonder how many really ate those rolls or threw them out when they got home. Most of the people on the trip weren't poverty stricken, so I guess the offer of something free was too tempting. I didn't bring any home. I'm not above eating leftovers, but couldn't imagine even a few seconds in the microwave would make the rolls soft and good again. Plus, I'm trying to cut down on the carbs a bit.

Handmade

July 23rd, 2017 at 06:21 pm

When I was a kid, I remember a commercial showing a man laying bricks. I don't remember what the ad was touting, but i remember the bricklayer at his craft and was fascinated.

As an adult I'm still pretty fascinated at how things are made, both commercially as well as by hand. Growing up with a mother who crocheted I realized the work that went into many of her creations. She was a seamstress for the garment factories of many years and she could sew about anything as well. When she was in her 60s, she decided to teach herself how to quilt. I learned to appreciate fine talent.

We were watching television the other day and an ad came on for a show called "Handcrafted." I guess it is going to start a new season. I don't know if we get that network, but if we do, I hope we can catch a few of the episodes.

I am amazed at how talented so many people are with their different skills. Some people make things simply because they enjoy the craft. Others make things to save money or even sell their wares to make money.

When I was in college there was very little available funds, but I decided to crochet an afghan for one of my friends for Christmas. I scraped up enough money for the prettiest yarn I could find. I worked hard on this during the summer. It was a labor of love because we didn't have air conditioning and it's often hot and humid here in the Midwest. I was so proud of my work (My mom had taught me to crochet a few years before) and I worked hard on making it as nice as possible. I really thought she would appreciate it because it was a labor of love. It really hurt my feelings when I gave it to her and I could tell when she opened the present it wasn't anything she thought much of. A few months later I went to her unfinished basement to get something she sent me down for and there was the afghan thrown over some boxes. It still kind of bugs me because I worked so hard on something and she didn't appreciate the work. I guess I didn't know my friend very well, but she didn't take into account I didn't have a lot of money then and tried to make her something nice with what I had.

I can honestly say I make things now because I enjoy making them and give them to people I think might like them. I appreciate it when people give me handcrafted items because I know the labor involved. I give away some of the things I bake and jams and jellies because I like working on these items and think people appreciate them. I have decided that one couple will probably never get a gift like any of this again. Every time we give them something I've made or fixed, they admit that they didn't eat it, but one of the kids or grandkids did. It isn't a dietary concern. I don't give stuff to people that I know they can't and won't eat.

I wonder if we have become a society that no longer appreciates handmade items whether it is goods or foods? Yet, I have one friend who makes me feel very special. Every Christmas I give him a basket of handmade goodies and canned items. I asked him one time if he liked it and his comment was "I love everything you give me because I know you made it and gave it with me in mind." You sure can't beat that!

Monday, Monday

July 17th, 2017 at 09:07 pm

After reading Livingalmostlarge's post about the spending, I would say we often find ourselves in the same situation at times. For example, last fall we decided to fix up the hall bathroom. We ordered a new vanity and medicine cabinet. Of course a new countertop and faucet. While we were at it, a new light fixture and of course a new shower curtain and liner. Oh, don't forget the new shower rod and towel holders. Then we realized the ceiling really needed to be repairs and of course we didn't have enough touch up paint and...well, you get the picture.

Today we had someone come out to give us a quote to do the same in the "master bath." I do the quotes because it is tiny. Our house was built in the 1970s and although we are delighted to have a second bath, it's cramped. But, here we go again. We have the new vanity, countertop, faucet, medicine cabinet, light fixture and to really throw a monkey wrench into the mix...exhaust fan with a light. We've been here 19 years and this is the exhaust fan that was there when we moved in. I would like one with a light because it is sometimes dark in the shower with just the light bar over the sink.

It wasn't a no spend day either because it was a trip to the chiropractor. A $20 copay which isn't horrible so I'm not complaining and my back feels better.

Yesterday we had barbecue chicken sandwiches made with the leftover chicken from a supper last week. Saturday night we had chicken and noodles from the said chicken and so we basically got three meals from one chicken. I don't think that's too bad. I still have some chicken broth leftover and I used part of it for the turkey tenderloins I'm fixing tonight. Tomorrow night I'm doing some chicken recipe in the crockpot with potatoes and will use the remainder of the chicken broth. I would say I most certainly got my money's worth out of a chicken bought on sale for $4.31. Truly a winner, winner, chicken dinner.


When there was a scare that we might not get our August pension checks on time, I didn't put as much money into a couple of savings accounts because I didn't want the checking account to be short. Well, since there is now a state budget, that scare is over. We went to the credit union and put the rest of the money into the savings accounts.

I have one pillowcase finished that I was embroidering. I chose colors that friend likes since that is who I plan to give them to for Christmas.

Not Uber But Sort Of Frugal

July 14th, 2017 at 07:04 pm

Friday is the day we usually make a day of it. We eat lunch out and go to thrift shops and garage sales. I have been trying not to buy anything at the thrift shops for awhile since I really don't need anything. But, I succumbed at two of them. I bought two jelly jars with rings for 55 cents and at another one I bought some metal Christmas ornament hooks in a sealed package and a ceramic mini loaf pan for 53 cents. I bake sweet breads and give them away at Christmas. Last year I found enough of these ceramic loaf pans to give quite a few of them away and although I'm sure people would be OK with foil pans, I just think it makes it look nicer. I refuse to pay retail for these and most of the ones I pick up at thrift stores still have the price stickers on them. I originally had picked up a couple of greeting cards, but put them back trying to use up what I have at home before purchasing any more cards or stationery. Oh, at another place I bought 4 packs of brand new pencils for $1.32. I give them to a teacher friend since he can't keep pencils and the kids don't seem to think they need to bring them after they bring a few at the beginning of the year. I didn't spend a lot, but I can't claim I'm Uber Frugal either. Darn it.

I went to the knitting group yesterday at church. We are closing in on having almost 500 knitted hats so far. One of the ladies brought zucchini to give away so I brought one of them home and can I say I was delighted. I know there's the joke about neighbors leaving zucchini on doorsteps, but we never seem to have that problem. Wish we did. We like zucchini and if we can't eat it all before it goes bad, I shred it and put it in the freezer to bake with bananas for sweet bread.

Hot Wednesday

July 12th, 2017 at 08:28 pm

Holy Cow, it's hot. And humid. The weather forecaster says if we get to 94 it will be a record. Whatever it is, it is hot enough for me. I'm not a fan of extreme anything and heat makes it so hard for me to breathe.

It has been a NSD so far. Hopefully it will remain that way. I have been doing some housecleaning. That silly maid never ever shows up. Smile I wound up washing some walls and dusting and mopping. I would like to do some laundry, but I don't want to tax the electrical system any more than I have to with the heat and humidity. I'm just happy we have a/c. I grew up without it and believe me, what a lovely thing to have.

Yesterday I fixed a chicken in the Crockpot. We had a delightful meal with it and I have enough for some other meals. Tonight is leftover pork roast. I was going to bake sweet potatoes, but I think I'm going to peel and boil them instead and then mash them because I would prefer not heating the oven. I don't care for them microwaved.

A friend was telling me how he didn't like leftovers. Heck, so many of our meals are made up leftovers. I can't imagine not using them. It is difficult to just make enough for one meal. My chicken that I fixed yesterday was caught on sale and I got it out of the freezer. It was a decent sized one and cost $4.31. Between the meat and all the broth, it will provide more than a couple of meals. I freeze the extra broth so I have it when I fix noodles or make soup. I use some vegetables, garlic, herbs, and a few spices when I cook it so the broth and chicken are well seasoned.

We are starting to get some tomatoes. Yesterday we had a salad with DH's lettuce, onions, pepper, and tomatoes. I just love getting fresh stuff.

Hope you are staying comfortable.

Thanks and more

July 9th, 2017 at 07:32 pm

A big thank you to those who commented on my last post about losing a friend to suicide. I read somewhere that it takes three days for a person to adjust to a change and I think that is really true. There are still questions and I doubt if there will be answers. My heart goes out to the family and friends. We are going to attend the visitation and it should be a lengthy wait since he was a popular guy and his wife has many friends as well.

A friend suggested we do something different yesterday to have a mini getaway so they drove us to St. Louis. We had lunch at an Irish Pub. We've never been there and it was quite good. We went to a place called "The Hill" which is a neighborhood with Italian restaurants and stores. We shopped at an Italian grocery and viewed more types of pasta than I have ever seen in one place. We walked around to some of the other stores and bakeries and then stopped and had some gelato. We then went to another part of St. Louis where Concordia Seminary is located. I am Lutheran and in the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod, men who are called to the ministry must attend a synodical seminary to earn their master's of divinity in order to receive a call from a congregation. We walked around the lovely campus and went into the chapel. It was a relaxing day spent with good friends. We did spend some money - we paid for our lunch and bought a couple of things at the grocery as well as purchasing the gelato, but I don't think we spent more than $50 in total. We offered our friends money for gas since they drove, but they turned us down saying that they planned on going anyway.

It looks like another hot week. I turn the thermostat up when we leave the house so the a/c doesn't work as hard and we use ceiling fans to help as well when we are home. DH mowed the front yard and did get pretty overheated. Because we haven't received much rain lately, he hadn't mowed in a few weeks because the grass was dormant. We received about half an inch over two days so the grass grew a little and became rangy.

DH picked his first bell pepper and ripe tomato on Thursday. Both were delicious. We had another ripe tomato with our brunch today and there is one for supper tonight. We will have more than one at meals when they start coming on, but they are like a treasure when they first come on. Homegrown certainly taste different than store bought.

DH has had problems with a baby bunny wanting to live in his garden and eat his carrots. He chases it out and uses something called liquid fence. It is a product that has garlic and rotten eggs that is pretty stinky. But the rain the other day washed it off and Baby Bunny decided to visit. I had to chuckle over DH's comment as he chased it -- he said that if he ever caught the little twerp he would kick it over the house. I rather doubt if he could catch it and knowing what a softy DH really is, he wouldn't kick it anyway. But the entertainment is pretty good!

Nice day to make jelly

June 7th, 2017 at 07:43 pm

It's isn't super hot and humid here today (this weekend it was horrific for the first of June) so I decided to use some of the apple juice I've made to make apple jelly.

I make our own juice and apple sauce because I don't want product grown in China. I've read about where many of the fruits and vegetables grow there and it scares me. Plus, I don't use as much sweetener for either. I use cinnamon and nutmeg while the apples cook and add a little sugar, but not much. When I make the applesauce, I put in a little maple syrup while blending it and it gives is a good flavor, but not too much sweetness. Anyway, I've made quite a bit of applesauce and I have far more apple juice than my husband can consume. So, jelly it is!

I use the jelly throughout the year and I try to make up extra to give away at Christmas. I've been kind of fortunate that I've found jelly jars at the thrift stores lately. I have a few friends who save the jars for me, but many don't, even when I ask them to. I hate to appear cheap, but besides the work, jars, lids, and rings do cost money.

It's been a productive day overall. I washed, dried, and ironed the kitchen curtains and washed the kitchen window which is a pain in the patootie for me to wash because I'm short and have to stand on a step stool to wash the windows as well as hang the curtains. I've done some laundry besides, and some cleaning, made the jelly, and penned three letters.

I think I felt like I needed to really be productive because yesterday we drove to Chicago to visit a friend of mine from college. It was a nice visit, but I'm not sure driving 3 hours each way for a two hour visit was worth it. We didn't do anything else because we had to meet my friend at a certain time and by the time we finished our lunch and visit, if we had ventured any farther, we would have had to fight rush hour. I wasn't in any mood to do that, so we came home. And I was exhausted from the driving so I was ever so glad to be home. My friend was generous and bought our lunch so our trip was basically for gas. Is wasn't the cost of the trip, but the weariness of all the driving that makes me wonder if it is worth it.

SA problems and dinner

April 16th, 2017 at 09:20 pm

Lately I have had problems accessing the Saving Advice blogs. For two days I would click on a title and would get an error message saying the page had been removed. Today it is taking forever for the pages to load. I thought it might be my computer and or router, but I'm not having problems with any other sites, so I'm going to think it is with SA.

A friend told us they weren't sure if they were going to have Easter dinner at home or out. Then mentioned that a local chain restaurant had a deal for $110 for ham, 2 sides, and bread. I looked it up and then saw our local Kroger ad and tried to determine what it would cost if one bought stuff from Kroger to feed 8-10. I think even adding a dessert, the cost would be around $54 before tax. That is still less than $110 and most of the stuff was ready made, other than heating up the ham and the rolls.

Our dinner for the two of us was more reasonable and we have leftovers. Some we will eat again tonight and the rest will find itself incorporated into other meals throughout the week.

Hope you had a lovely Easter.

A little of this...a little of that

April 12th, 2017 at 07:59 pm

Today has been quite a busy day around here. DH and I cleaned house. I am happy that we did and I like having a clean house. I just threw in a load of towels after putting fresh ones out after freshening up the bathrooms. They weren't dirty, but I have found if I do touchups here and there, they don't get bad either.

Lunch today was chicken and noodles. I had purchased a whole chicken and cooked it in the Crockpot the other night with some spices, herbs, and a few vegetables to make a good broth. We had some of the chicken for dinner, and I used the rest to make chicken and noodles with the broth. I also froze the extra broth so I will have it on hand for something else. So, we have had three meals from that chicken and I think one more is on the horizon. Not enough to make it an entree, but we may be having potluck for dinner one night with the leftover pork chops from another meal. I like having extra food because it means it is easier to put meals together. I usually have some soup in the freezer so if we need a quick meal, I can thaw and heat it up, but I used the last of it. So, that is on the list to get done.

Well, after my rant the other day, I can say a couple of things seem to be worked out. I emailed the city librarian about the fact our books weren't checked in and we were getting fines. He emailed a response and within an hour, we received a phone call from the person in charge of circulation and our books were checked in and the fines wiped out. That was a relief. DH checks out bunches of children's books because he reads to classes during the week. It's one thing to pay a fine that you truly owe because you were late and we have done that without grumbling. But it is a whole different story when you owe fines on stuff you returned on time or before. Right now DH has 24 books out and I'd hate to see what the fines would be if he returned them and they weren't checked in.

Yesterday the neighbor kids played on another street. Hopefully they will find the other street a better fit for their kickball game. I don't like being a cranky neighbor, but I don't like it when you've had to ask them more than once to stay off your property and there is so little regard for both your request and your yard and plants.

I don't know when you get the ads for your grocery stores, but we get two of them on Wednesday and one on Thursday. I do wish we'd get them all on Wednesday because I prefer to make my lists on Wednesday night. So, i have to make a tentative list and finish up on Thursdays before I go shopping. Oh, well.

I just finished a fictional tome last night. If you like Fannie Flagg books, this one is similar, but it is a Christian novel. It is "Velma Still Cooks in Leeway" by Vinita Hampton Wright.It is set in a small town and kind of an interesting outlook.

I have been working on knitting hats for my church group. We meet tomorrow and I like to have some finished before we go and work some more. I have been making Swiffer covers and dish cloths out of the leftover yarn. I have a feeling one of the dish cloths is going to be wild because I have lots of different colors, but not enough to make anything out of just a couple. One of my friends has a tea room and I have been giving her some of the Swiffer covers and the dish cloths and she is delighted. She told me she didn't care about the colors, and on the dishcloths, she intends to throw them in bleach so eventually they will all be faded out. I just like that I can use up these leftovers. I have lots of dishcloths for myself now and can use a clean one every day since I have made so many. Guess I'm rich in dishcloths. Smile I used a Swiffer cover today to polish our floors. I bought some special cleaner/polish and like the fact I'm not using a disposable pad, but can wash it when I'm finished.

It is sunny here. Not super warm, but a pleasant spring day. We had so much rain last week that is makes it seem so much more like spring when we have a couple of days of sunshine. Hope things are nice where you are too.

Today is not the day to mess with me

April 10th, 2017 at 09:41 pm

Today hasn't been a relaxing day. Actually, some of this started yesterday.

DH is very proud of his yard and garden. He has certain plants that come up every year and then he plants annuals. He babies his lawn and garden. We have repeatedly had to remind the neighbor kids to stay out of yard and driveway. Our driveway is steep and I'm sure it is fun to ride down,sled down, or skate down. But, it also has some broken areas (we are saving to replace it in the next couple of years) and there is another neighbor who parks just at the edge of it. We have bushes too, alongside the drive. It makes it difficult for people to see traffic coming into our court and for the traffic seeing anyone leaving the driveway. I have had to ask them to stay off our driveway for their own safety. I don't want anyone to get hurt either falling down on the driveway (liability issues) or getting hurt because a car or truck didn't see them race down the driveway. I do believe kids are still playing in the driveway when we aren't home because last summer when I wash washing down the garage door, it was dented about a fourth of the way down. Neither DH or I dented it and it kind of made me think something was run into the door. We have also found some of our solar lights broken around the yard. OK, lots of wordiness, but we have asked the neighbor kids to place stay off our property nicely. Yesterday they were playing kick ball and within ten minutes, five times the ball came into our yard. We have a slight hill so it isn't like the ball just casually rolled into the yard. It was kicked and it landed way up by the house. Once in DH's garden. So, then we have kids walking around in the garden and the planting to get their ball. I finally contacted a parent and asked them to have their kids stop kicking the ball in our direction. She said the wind took it and I nicely suggested they kick towards her house in the future. I didn't want to be that neighbor who had to tell the kids to stop, but today, they started in and guess what, second kick, the ball winds up in our yard. I simply went out and asked the little boy to kick in his own yard. Guess I messed up their game, and I only can imagine what they do when we aren't home.

This about capped off my day. We received our car insurance premium and we expected it to increase a little with the new car (we asked before we bought) , but it went up more. Seems someone decided to delete one of the cost savings we have on both cars. The clerk told me the new amount, I started the check, then told me a different amount since it was prorated. I wasn't happy because I had to void the check and write a new one. She then talked to me like I was stupid and said I could have just changed it and put my initials on it. Maybe I could, but I didn't want the check coming back incorrect. I don't like being spoken to like I'm an idiot.

Then, we went to the library because I received a notice I had an overdue book. It was returned before it was due, but apparently wasn't checked in. Seems the library is changing to a new system and putting in chips so books can be checked in when they are put in the return chute. But, they don't have chips in all the books so they are putting returned books on carts and doing the chip thing and not checking in books. The lady at the checkout desk claims they will backdate the check in, but as it is, both DH and I have overdue books on our records at this point.

So, I'm already not in a very good mood and then have to become the cranky neighbor with the kids. I wasn't grouchy when I asked them to stop, but it just didn't make my day go any better. Hopefully things will improve. I ate being that kind of person, but I don't like things to get torn up.

I tried a new recipe the other day. I wrote it down after seeing it in one of the magazines I was going to donate. DH liked it and I think you could change it out to use whatever you had one hand. I'm going to write it down below, but I didn't use sausage with it. I substituted bell pepper and mushrooms and DH loved it. If we had sausage I would have used it, but instead decided to use what I had.

Brunch Pizza Squares

1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 8 oz tube refrigerated crescent rolls
4 eggs
2 T milk
1/8 t pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet, cook sausage and drain. Unroll rolls onto a lightly greased 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan. Press dough 1/2 inch up the sides and seal seems. In a bowl, beat eggs milk, and pepper. Put sausage on rolls, then pour egg mixture over sausage. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered at 400 for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Leftovers and a vent

March 15th, 2017 at 05:10 pm

Fixed lunch a few minutes ago. Used leftover pork roast to make pulled pork. It was pretty decent. Tonight will be leftover pork chops with baked sweet potatoes and a salad. Last night we had chicken I lightly breaded and baked. The chicken breasts were so thick that I sliced them in half so we have enough for another meal. Yesterday for lunch we had chicken noodle soup which was leftover from Sunday's supper. We tend to repurpose leftovers around here. I do like the idea of cooking once and getting a couple of meals out of it. I still have so much soup left I will be freezing it for another time. A pretty good deal for a whole chicken I got for 69 cents a pound.

Now that I am retired, I try to volunteer. I was not a happy camper yesterday. State testing is going on in the public schools in Illinois and I know how stressful it can be. I volunteered to help out. That means more than just showing up. I had to watch some required videos and sign off on them before the testing. I asked what time I needed to be there yesterday and was told 8 a.m. I got there a few minutes before and the person then realized the first set of testing wouldn't start for an hour. She hadn't bothered to check her schedule. I was not pleased. I realize I am retired, but that is a waste of my time to sit around for an hour. Schools aren't exactly comfortable spots to just lounge around. She sort of apologized, but I didn't say too much. For years I had run the state testing in the buildings I was assigned to. If I had anyone kind enough to volunteer, I made sure they had the exact time they were needed, followed up if things changed, and made sure they were felt appreciated.

A few years ago my husband who is retired from the library and quite a fabulous reader of children's books volunteered to read each week in one of my schools. The two teachers decided they couldn't set a time that he could read back to back so he read at one class in the morning and one class in the afternoon. I told him not to agree to that because it wasn't a good use of his time, but he didn't want to upset anyone. So, he would show up in the morning, read for 30 minutes and then leave and show up a couple of hours later to do the same. These same teachers would conveniently forget when they were going to be gone on field trips or something else came up and he would show up and they would tell him he couldn't come in or one time they weren't even there and he walked into an empty classroom. The following year I told him not to even think about volunteering for those teachers. I lined it up for him to volunteer in another teacher's room. She stayed in the room with him (which is what teachers are supposed to do), thanked him profusely every time he read, and if something came up, told both him and me ahead of time.

Being disrespectful of a volunteer's time is one way to make sure one doesn't eagerly volunteer again. Sorry I had to just vent.

Potpourri

February 26th, 2017 at 07:10 pm

This will be a potpourri since I don't have one really important thing to say.

Every so often, we share food with a few of our friends. I enjoy cooking and I enjoy sharing food, even if we can't meet for a meal. We had a surprise this week...someone called and said they had a surprise. They had grilled pork and gave us enough for two meals of pulled pork. Yum!

Someone on Facebook posted about instead of giving up something for Lent, how about collect a plastic bag of stuff to donate each day. That sounds like a great idea, but we have been giving stuff regularly anyway, so I'm thinking maybe of finding something each day to donate instead of 40 bags.

When I retired I joined a group at church called "Stitches of Love." The purpose of the group was to knit and crochet items to donate to various places. In the past they had crocheted lap robes. They recently started working on round knitting looms and made hats. We made hats and I took them to a few schools and they were passed out. It was fine and the schools appreciated them. However, a friend and I decided to adopt a classroom this year and we made hats for the whole class and the teacher and took them in. The kids loved knowing they were made for them. So, I brought this idea to the group and it has been interesting about the reaction. We decided to try and ask other Lutheran churches to join us and suddenly there is a zeal we haven't seen. It is pretty exciting to see people wanting to get involved with this. My DH said it is like we have a new purpose. So, that is kind of cool.

As far as grocery shopping, I've just been buying fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, and dairy. I'm trying to use up things in the freezer and pantry. It has certainly made our grocery bill go down the past few weeks. I have tried to be creative in using some of the stuff too. Hopefully that is a good thing.

Sunny Sunday with a Side of Wind

February 12th, 2017 at 07:26 pm

It's a sunny, but windy Sunday here in Central Illinois! At least it is warmer. We had some pretty frigid temperatures Wednesday and Thursday. Now it seems almost like spring. I just hope it isn't getting our hopes up. I know I have been looking at a small garden area and asking DH if we should do a little fix up before planting. When we moved here almost 19 years ago, there were yard timbers outlining the small area where there were plantings. Well, like most things, they don't last forever and some are really rotting away. Neither of us are really handy, but I thought we could pull them out and replace them with some of the landscape stones or pieces to keep them separate from the lawn itself. We shall see.

We attended church and came home and did our usual brunch of scrambled eggs, cheesy grits, sausage, toast, and fruit. I'm thinking I'd like to fix some chili -- I am going to try and use more from the freezer and pantry. A friend gave me some of the beef she bought when she bought half a cow. This was for my birthday and I'm not complaining one bit. I have beans and I have canned tomatoes, so adding some onion and mushroom and spices, it should be a decent Sunday night supper. I like chili anytime and fortunately DH is a soup lover so that works out.

Because of my asthma problems, I didn't do my weekly grocery shopping which usually means Aldi then Kroger. DH and I went Friday and just did Kroger simply because after volunteering on Friday, I was tired and didn't think I could face going to two stores. Fortunately we didn't need a ton of stuff, but I do believe we spent about $20 more than if we had gotten the bulk of stuff I buy on a weekly basis at Aldi. I buy eggs, fruits and vegetables, and some dairy at Aldi.

I wasn't happy when we received our power bill. When we were gone for two weeks, we turned the heat down to 62. Our house is pretty well insulated and we have newer energy efficient windows as well as an energy efficient furnace. It was a little lower than usual, but not that much lower. I'm thinking for two weeks we didn't use as much heat and certainly not as much power since we weren't home running the washer/dryer, television, wifi, etc. I had unplugged some things like the modem and wifi as well as the television. And, we had colder temperatures the month before so I didn't think our power bill would be as much as it was. Must be all those stupid fees they tack on. Our water bill was far less since we were gone for those two weeks. I'm glad. I was going to wonder if we had someone living in our house while were away! Smile

I continue to work on the rug I'm crocheting. I think so far, I have about $2 worth of yarn in it. I'm sure it will be more since I'm not close to being finished, but when you get full skeins for 50 cents each, it does mean you aren't spending as much.

As I have blogged before, I try to use up the bits and pieces of yarn to make things. A friend of ours runs a tea room and they have a vinyl floor. I asked her if she could use Swiffer covers and she said sure. So, we gave her two yesterday and you would have thought I had given her gold! Each week we save our egg cartons, cottage cheese containers, and other plastic lidded containers for her and they reuse them. She has chickens and sells her eggs and the cartons come in handy. I told her it was always such a pleasure to bring her things because she is always so appreciative.

A couple of no spend days

February 8th, 2017 at 04:36 pm

Today looks like a no spend day. Not planning on going anywhere. DH plans to volunteer at a school where he goes each Wednesday and then walk at the mall. I intend to stay home. We had a major weather change in the past 24 hours so my asthma has kicked up. We were 63 degrees yesterday and the temperature dropped almost 30 degrees last night and they are calling for a chance of snow. Yuck.

Yesterday we dropped off some things at the thrift store we donate to. The profits support the Lutheran School Association that is near and dear to us. We went to the library and checked out some materials so that was a good day. Fixed all meals at home. And a friend I hadn't heard from in awhile called and we caught up so it was a pretty good day overall.

Monday was a spendy day to an extent. The thrift store I mentioned before had just restocked and we bought a bunch of canning jars. I mistakenly thought I had enough last fall when I was canning, so I don't want to find myself in that situation again. I also bought some yarn there...50 cents a skein. I wasn't planning on buying anymore yarn until I had used up what I had. I was close, but not quiet. But the yarn I bought i wanted it to try and crochet a bathroom rug. We also met another couple we haven't seen in awhile for dinner so it was a nice day overall.

Tomorrow will be a day to spend...grocery shopping. But it won't be too much since we have lots of stuff in the pantry and freezer. It will mostly be fresh fruits, bread, and some dairy. So, not bad spending, I guess.

Informal Lima Bean Poll

January 30th, 2017 at 10:51 pm

Since My English Castle posted about having some lima beans and the fact they are haunting them...I thought for the fun of it, I'd ask my Facebook friends what they thought. My question was simple, do you like lima beans? The results were interesting and closer than I imagined they would be: 36 said yes and 45 said no. Those who said no, were adamant they disliked them. Many of the those who said yes often added they had to be fixed a certain way or in soup.

As you can tell, I am easily amused. Smile

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

December 18th, 2016 at 09:57 pm

Here in Central Illinois it is 9 degrees with a wind chill of -6 and we have both ice on the ground and a little snow on top of it. The only good thing is it has been sunny today. I went outside to take out the garbage and it was not fun. It hurt to breathe, was slick as snot, and looking at our steep driveway made me worry how we could get out even if we wanted to.

Church was cancelled today because of the ice. Seems the ice we received Friday night has been a force many people cannot deal with. Apparently the elders decided the parking lot was too slick. I know there are those who think you should go to church even in bad weather, but sometimes you need to look at the safety issue. It is worth asking people to drive on slick streets and walk on treacherous parking lots? My one complaint is this...Food Network had been running new episodes of Barefoot Contessa at 9:30 Sunday mornings when we were in church and I had to miss it. The one Sunday I can watch, it wasn't being shown. Shoot!

One advantage of being holed up is I have gotten a lot of cleaning done. I know I have driven my husband nuts with dragging the vacuum here and there, but I want things tidy. I also balanced the check book this afternoon and didn't feel like it was taking too long. Heck, where would I go.

A disadvantage for my town is it seems like every weekend before Christmas in the past few years we have bad weather which cuts down on shopping. My shopping was done so that wasn't a problem for me, but the last weekend around here is usually a busy shopping time in my hometown. I imagine folks ordered stuff online since they were being told not to get out.

DH cannot complain he hasn't eaten well. We normally eat Friday night supper out, but we stayed in since the freezing rain was supposed to start around 3 p.m. Friday. I have to say it was probably more nutritious...i fixed fish. Last night we had pork loin roast and I'm going to use the leftover roast to make pulled pork for supper sandwiches tonight. I don't know if we have saved money because our heat is running a lot, but as far as eating out we have.

Hope you are safe and comfortable where you are tonight.

Another Cookie Recipe - Gingersnaps

December 1st, 2016 at 09:13 pm

A friend gave me a pile of cooking magazines and I saw this recipe. I like Gingersnaps and hoped it would be good. I made a batch and the cookies turned out picture perfect!

Old Fashioned Gingersnaps

3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Additional sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add egg and molasses, beat well. Sift together dry ingredients, gradually add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Chill the dough. Roll into 1 1/4 inch balls and dip in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungraded cookie sheets or on parchment paper on cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes or until set and surface cracks. Cool on wire racks. Yield: about 4 dozen.


Just an update: I baked 16 dozen cookies total for the church bazaar as well as 8 medium sized loaves of sweet bread. I need a break from baking before I start on the things I bake for gifts.

Anyone Interested in a Cookie Recipe Exchange?

November 27th, 2016 at 10:51 pm

Each year my church has a Christmas bazaar and at the bazaar they sell cookies by the pound. Before I retired, I would bake a few to send along, but my baking time was limited. Yesterday and today I've baked 12 dozen and plan to bake more in the next couple of days. The ones I baked yesterday and today can be frozen and thawed and they come out like they are fresh.

I was just going to propose something...anyone interested in sharing cookie recipes here? I'm going to share one I got from a Joanne Fluke book. Her protagonist Hannah Swensen runs a cookie shop in Minnesota and this was one of her recipes. I've been making it for years and it is a wonderful recipe. I've even just not put in the cinnamon and rolling the dough in the cinnamon and sugar mixture and added other things like different chips (milk, semi-sweet, and even white) and it is a great all around recipe. This original recipe is like Snickerdoodles if you are familiar with them.

Cinnamon Crips Cookies

Preheat oven to 325 F

2 cups melted butter (4 sticks)
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 beaten eggs (large or jumbo)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon of salt
4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugars, add eggs. Set aside. Mix dry ingredients together and then slowly add to wet mixture. Add vanilla at last.

Dough ball rolling mixture: 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Roll dough into balls, then into mixture. Bake at 325 10-15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then on a wire rack.

This recipe, since I made the cookies about medium size made about 7 dozen. You can half this recipe easily if you don't need or want that many cookies. They freeze well after they are fully cooled.

It's Fall -- Time for Comfort Foods

October 22nd, 2016 at 09:40 pm

It's kind of cool today and it means I can start thinking of comfort foods. I love turkey. Aldi has turkey breasts reasonable and I have been stocking up. So, I decided to put one in the Crockpot to cook away.

Supper will be turkey, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, sliced tomatoes of the few we still have, corn casserole, and fruit salad. I haven't made this corn casserole for awhile, but it is pretty good.

Corn Caserole Recipe
1 small onion, diced
6 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried mustard
2 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups stuffing
1/2 tsp dried sage
4 cups corn, drained
bread crumbs

Cook onion in 4 tablespoons of butter until limp. Remove from heat and add flour, salt, and mustard. Mix well. Add milk. Stir until blended. Put back on heat and cook until thick. Remove from heat and add eggs, bread cubes, corn, sage, and remaining butter. Pour into a greased casserole. Cover with bread crumbs. Bake at 375 for 45 to 60 minutes.


I will admit I didn't use all the butter. I used a little olive oil for cooking the onion. I did add a small pat of butter for the flavor. It's baking away and my mouth is watering.

A is for Applesauce

October 18th, 2016 at 08:55 pm

I've been making apple sauce the last few days. I've been scouring the ads for apples on sale. I read a recipe the other day for apple butter and they suggested using less sugar and adding maple syrup. So, I decided to try that with apple sauce. I like the depth of flavor it gives it. I peel and core apples and put them in a Crockpot with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little sugar and with some water on low. When the apples are cooked through, if it has a lot of liquid, I spoon it out. I pour in some maple syrup and use an immersion blender to making it smoother and then can it in glass jars. I don't have a recipe per se since I basically do it by taste.

DH decided it was time to get rid of the tomato plants since they were dying back. They weren't really producing much. He pulled off the green tomatoes and I made great tomato chow chow with them and the small bell peppers we have. That's in the canner as I type.

It's pretty warm here. Yesterday it was in the upper 80s. Today is it in the upper 70s, but we are supposed to get a cold front and lower temperatures tomorrow through Friday. We've had above normal temps lately. It made it a bit warm to can today, but I have to can when I can get it done and so stuff doesn't go to waste.

Soupy Sunday and Fix It Friday

October 9th, 2016 at 09:28 pm

Soupy as I'm making soup. Lots of it. Although it's still pretty warm here in Central Illinois, a frost may be coming at some point. I'm trying to use up the many bell peppers we have as well as some other vegetables and making soup. Actually, I made a large pot of soup Friday and I'm making another today. I found celery on sale at Aldi last week and bought a bunch, and bought some other vegetables to go with it. I found an English roast marked down almost half at Kroger's so i put it in the slow cooker Friday morning and then cut it up and used half in the soup Friday and the other half today. I pulled tomato sauce I had frozen last fall to add to the soup and then also used barley and lentils. The current pot is simmering away. Once it cools, I'm going to put it in smaller portions and store in the freezer for easy and quick meals. Fortunately DH and I like soup and can eat it year round. Plus, it is a good way to use up stuff.

As for the Fix It Friday, wish it was my idea, but alas, it was not. I read an article that students in textile classes at Illinois State University set up a station and called their time "Fix It Friday" and sewed buttons on and repaired slight tears for other students who don't know how to do this. They said it is one way to keep items out of the landfills that are still perfectly OK. I know most people reading that are wondering what that is about, but I can attest, there are folks who once they lose a button, throw the garment away. I worked with a gal who had a nice pair of khakis and the button came off. I told her if we could find a needle and thread, I would sew it back on for her, but she said not to worry, she would use a binder clip to keep her pants together and throw them away when she got home. I couldn't believe it. She said she just buys a new pair when it happens.

DH and I are enjoying retirement. Last Tuesday we went on a bus trip to The Hill in St. Louis. We ate lunch at a restaurant (it was included in the trip price) walked around and looked in two of the Italian grocery stores, went on a tour of a mom and pop soap making store, enjoyed the smells of two bakeries and bought a small piece of Italian flat bread, had some gelato and when we arrived home, pulled some soup out of the freezer and heated it up for supper. Yesterday we went to Morris, Illinois, which is about 2 hours north of us. There is market the second Saturday along the Illinois and Michigan canal and they have foods, crafts, and flea market stuff. We walked around the market, bought two cinnamon rolls for breakfast today, walked around the lovely downtown, bought s small dish of ice cream (DH adores ice cream), and drove home and felt we had hit the jackpot. And you guessed it, we had soup last night too. We weren't super hungry after having the ice cream and why go out when we have soup at home?

A friend of ours says he is shocked at how we are spending money. Well, first of all, we've saved for years. All those years of scrimping on this and that and eating leftovers so we had money put away. We aren't taking major trips this year. We like the small, short ones. Plus, it gets us out and moving and walking. What we've spent so far hasn't hit one savings account so we aren't overspending. Plus, we eat at home a lot when we aren't out and about. This same friend and spouse admitted they eat out just about every meal. No thanks. It isn't special anymore. Plus, other than a few restaurants, there aren't many places we like all that well to have to eat out every meal.

Well, time to check on the soup!

Good bye, September!

September 30th, 2016 at 08:32 pm

I know the calendar says it is the final day of September, but wow, where has this month gone? Of course with DH's surgery and my colonoscopy, much of it was doctor's appointments and procedures.

I can say it was kind of spendy. I bit the bullet and bought a MacBook. My current cheapie laptop is about to bite the dust. I just finished copying files and photos. I was going to buy another cheap laptop, but DH said I should just get what I really wanted. We had the money so I did. Now, I am trying to get all the personal stuff of this laptop. If I revert back to factory settings, will it clear most of the stuff off or will I need to run a program to clear the hard drive?

DH and I volunteered at one of my former schools today. He has been reading to two classrooms for the past 8 years. So today he read to the two classrooms and I helped in one of the classrooms by working with a couple of the students who are behind with fluency words.

DH's brother is going to have surgery next month. They were talking on the phone and although DH always seems supportive about the canning and enjoys the food, he never really says too much about it. I had to chuckle yesterday. He asked me if I had a list of everything that was canned. I did so he wanted it to read to his brother, almost bragging about it. Too funny! DH's brother has always had a much larger garden, but his wife doesn't can. She says it is too much work. It is work, but most things in life are.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Hello, October!

I'm ready for fall, y'all!

September 25th, 2016 at 07:23 pm

Another hot day here in Central Illinois. Supposedly we are to have a cold front and a little rain. I'm ready for fall and at least what is termed as normal temps and humidity. I'm glad I'm not in the unairconditioned school buildings this year, but I feel for those who are.

DH continues to improve after his surgery. He still isn't to bend much and isn't to lift much weight, but at least he isn't in a lot of pain. His 70th birthday is this Tuesday and he already has his day planned -- he wants to hit some out of town antique and thrift shops and eat at a buffet called Yoder's in Arthur. It isn't a large buffet, but has excellent food. I already promised him a chocolate cake so I will bake it tomorrow and I'm counting on it being cooler to turn on the oven!

Hot or not, I am using up vegetables and made vegetable soup. We have been blessed with bell peppers this year and I don't want them to go to waste. I've already cleaned, chopped and frozen a bunch and put them in the freezer. Today for brunch I sauteed some and then put them with scrambled eggs. I keep a bag in the freezer of vegetables we don't finish. I put them in a soup. Most of them are fresh vegetables I've cooked or roasted so it gives them a better than canned flavor anyway. So fall or not, we are feasting on soup tonight.

A Couple of Busy Weeks

September 11th, 2016 at 07:51 pm

Last week was kind of busy and this week may be as well. Last week I tried to get some things done before my colonoscopy. Fortunately I did complete my list before the prep and the procedure went well. The doctor said I didn't have to come to the follow up appointment which was good news, but my complaint is why would the nurse tell you that when you are so groggy?

DH is having double hernia surgery Tuesday and if you are so inclined, I would appreciate prayers for him. It is supposed to be outpatient so hopefully he will be home Tuesday afternoon, but I imagine he will be very sore.

I asked him to pick any tomatoes that are starting to turn so we have them. I canned two quarts of juice from cherry tomatoes and the others today and our counter has quite a few tomatoes that need to ripen. I think our shorter days is making it so they don't ripen as quickly. He mowed today and has pulled up the cucumber plant, all the carrots, and one tomato plant that had basically died back. I was out of jars when I canned carrots last week so I have been scrounging pint jars. I realized I had a couple in my pantry I was using to store dry herbs and baking soda. I emptied the contents into non canning jars and washed them up. We finished a pint of pickles this week so I used that jar. So, I finished canning the carrots we had and wound up with 3 more pints and a half pint. I really didn't want to buy any more jars if I didn't have to.

I was really tired after the colonoscopy Friday, but we went to the grocery stores anyway since we didn't need a whole lot. I have our menu planned for this week so that will help. I know it is already Sunday, but I'm starting with last night since that is how I planned:

Saturday: pork chops, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, small salad, fruit

Sunday: Sloppy chicks, baked beans, chips, pickles, sliced tomatoes

Monday: chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, fruit

Tuesday: pork roast, roasted potatoes, carrots, sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, fruit

Wednesday: leftover pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, green beans, sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, fruit

Thursday: scrambled eggs, leftover sausage (from Sunday brunch), toast, sliced tomatoes, fruit

Lunches will be leftover sloppy chicks, pulled pork from the pork roast, and I try to keep sliced deli turkey on hand.

We normally splurge and eat on on Friday nights.

Canning Update

September 4th, 2016 at 08:55 pm

DH has been teasing me that I get more excited about seeing Mason jars than I do jewelry. It's true. We don't go anywhere where I need fancy jewelry. I have a lovely wedding set from when we married 26 years ago and a couple of nice, but simple necklaces and I'm good for out to dinner or to church. But the sparkly Mason jars...that's what catches my eye!

Yesterday I decided to inventory what I have so far. DH has grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, herbs, and carrots. I have purchased fresh green beans until a friend gave me a few pounds this week as they finished their garden. I wanted a list since my pie safe is full, I have some jars in the bottom of a Hoosier cabinet, and now in the bottom of the island:

51 quarts of green beans
19 pints of green beans

15 quarts of tomatoes
13 pints of tomatoes

2 pints of tomato basil salsa
1 half pint of tomato basil salsa

6 pints of onions
2 half pints of onions

6 half pints of apple jelly
6 half pints of grape jelly

13 pints of pickles
2 half pints of pickles
4 pints of relish

2 quarts of carrots
8 pints of carrots

I would have more carrots except I ran out of jars. I prefer the pints because that is about what we eat at a meal, but I punted last night and used the quarts. One of the thrift shops had pint jars really reasonable so on Tuesday I am going to stop by and see if they have them. I don't need a whole case at this point. I have about 8 quart jars left for tomatoes.

In addition, I have 3 pints of minced garlic in the fridge that DH grew and I have about 2 pounds of chopped bell peppers in the freezer.

I still need to dry herbs, but I feel like we have a good showing. I imagine before the first frost I will make green tomato relish as we scramble to pick the tomatoes. I made it last year and used it like relish and a friend liked it so much, he ate it like salsa.

I make apple juice for DH since he likes it when we have Sunday brunch. Sometimes I make far more than he will drink in a couple of weeks, so I used it to make apple jelly. Early this summer we bought grapes and although they tasted good, the skin was kind of chewy. I juiced them to make the grape jelly.

The ongoing joke around here is I tell DH I need a walk in pantry. Although it would be nice to have one, I have no idea where we would locate it and I certainly don't want to spend money. I will say that I'm going to be forced to go through my cabinets and truly purge those items I don't use such as different dishes and pots so I can make room for any other canned goods. Guess this is the initiative I needed. I tend to use the same casserole dishes and pots so it is silly to keep the ones I never use.

Hopefully all this stuff will help on the grocery bill come winter.

Zucchini Recipe

August 18th, 2016 at 08:41 pm

About this time of year folks complain that they don't know what to do with zucchini. DH doesn't grow it and we don't usually get a lot of it given to us. Last week we went to an open air market and bought some zucchini. I fix it year around anyway, but found this recipe in the Chicago Tribune a couple of weeks ago in Leah Eskin's column.

Savory Zucchini Clafouti

3 pounds young zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick discs
2 large shallots, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 T butter for pan
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs
2/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 t vanilla
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 t fresh thyme leaves
zest of 1 lemon

Toss zucchini and shallots with olive oil and roast in a single layer in a 425 degree oven, turning zucchini over once for about 35 minutes until golden brown.

Butter a 9 inch round baking pan, sprinkle with half of the cheese

Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, flour, vanilla, 1/2 t salt, and a few grinds of pepper, set aside
When vegetables are roasted, toss with thyme, zest, salt, and pepper to taste. Let cool a few minutes.

Scrape vegetables into the prepared pan. Pour in egg mixture, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Set on a rimmed baking sheet and slide onto center rack of a 425 degree oven. Bake until clafouti is brown, slightly puffed, and set (knife stabbed in the center should come out clean) 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool a bit. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

I made this last night and DH liked it. Thought I would share.

School Starts Tomorrow...

August 14th, 2016 at 08:34 pm

...and I'm not going! Tomorrow is when retirement truly becomes real. It has seemed like summer break for me, so when teachers and students return, it will hit me that I'm really retired.

I have had so many people ask me if I'm going to substitute teach. I don't intend to. I guess it's a way to make extra money, but if I wanted to make extra money, I would have continued working. I subbed when I first started out -- I was told I had to sub and prove myself before I could get hired full time so I subbed and worked a couple of other jobs besides to make it until I was hired full time as a classroom teacher. Then I also worked some freelancing for awhile because back then teacher salaries were pretty darn low.

The other thing that people have asked is what I intend to do with myself. I hope they are just making conversation, but do they really think I have to be accountable to them? I have worked over 30 years in education, and I've worked at outside jobs since I was 16. Before that, my folks had a used furniture business and later an antique shop and it was expected that I help with them so it isn't like I'm lazy. I'm not planning on watching videos and eating bon bons all day. But, I'd like to actually do some things fun that I couldn't do because I worked or didn't have the money.

This has been a busy week. DH and I went to a play at a nearby theatre and it was a blast. Yesterday we went to an outdoor market in a small town about two hours away and enjoyed looking around and then visiting the shops on the square. We didn't buy much, but the experience was pleasurable and something a little different. I have canned some green beans and some tomatoes this week, did some volunteer work at church, and even helped my former principal with something. And, I finished book 66 for this year Friday night.

We ate supper out last night and I told DH this is why I took my lunch all those years, took coffee to work in a Thermos, and we ate at home so much and had so many leftovers...so if we wanted to go out to a nice restaurant and enjoy the experience, we could because we had the money. I'm spending some money as we saw the play and then took the short trip. But, it is money we saved and we paid cash for stuff.

We were talking to another couple and I had posted the photo of my pantry with my canned goods on Facebook and they happened to mention it. The woman informed me she wouldn't can because it smells up the house. Granted, when I canned the small amount of onions we had, yes, it did smell some, but green beans and tomatoes aren't super stinky. I felt like she dismissed me as the poor relative. Maybe so, but I can't see all of DH's hard work in the garden go to waste and I think eating these vegetables is probably pretty healthy for us. I shouldn't let her comments get to me; she usually has something to say that I find hurtful. I'm sure having some tomatoes in a soup or chili this winter will make it all go down that much more smoothly and the hurtful remarks will hopefully be forgotten.

On to book #67! Smile


<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>