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Creative Gardening and frugal cooking

May 8th, 2022 at 09:46 pm

It's spring and that time when DH usually puts in a garden. This year we are looking for different places to plant besides the normal spots. With the way prices are at the grocery, we want to make sure we use every onion set and every seed in the seed packet. 

We don't have a huge garden area per se. But today I took an old kids' wagon we have had sitting in the back and we put dirt in it and I planted radishes. It is deep enough for them. Then we dug up around this one area that wasn't too big and planted onion sets. I had planted radishes, lettuce, and carrots a week ago in some spare pots we had sitting around. 

All winter I have been saving tea our of tea bags, coffee grounds, and egg shells and putting them in our garden areas. I guess I think I'm not only eliminating some trash, but also enriching the soil. 

We had an awful lot of rain in the past week, so DH can't plant his tomatoes quite yet. I figure the rain helped put those tea, coffee, and egg shells into the ground. We had worked them in with a spade last weekend.

We went to an Amish bulk food store a couple of weeks ago and I bought some white rye flour. I mix it with all purpose flour and bake loaves of bread. I think between the flour, water, sugar, yeast, and oil, the loaves are less than a dollar each. We had invited a couple over for supper the other night and she was shocked that I had baked bread from scratch. I commented it wasn't that hard, wasn't that expensive, and I know what's in it. She looked in some of my cabinets and was equally shocked with all the stuff I had canned. We've used quite a bit of it already but we still have quite a bit. I had her try some of the lavender jelly I made last fall and she asked me why I would even think about using lavender and I said, well, DH grew some and I used it for jelly and also for an all purpose cleaner, and why not use something he grows. He planted it originally because we read it was popular with butterflies. So, we figure that is good for both the butterflies and us. 

Yarn, Reusing, and Gardening

February 25th, 2022 at 08:48 pm

Recently I saw a little plaque that said, "Queen of Yarn." I feel like that sometimes when I look at the yarn I brought home from church. I continue to work on scarves and dish cloths for our Stitches of Love group. We have promised 110 hats and scarves to two non profits for next year, but we will have far more hats than that. Scarves take a little longer to make than hats. The dish cloths will go to a food pantry to put in the Christmas baskets.

Besides the crocheting, I also recovered two other hot pads with the fabric remnants. So, I have three new to me hot pods. I have been saving the bags the newspaper has come in due to bad weather and plan to make a wind sock out of them for the yard. 

Am I the only one delighted when something I buy comes in a glass bottle or jar? I'm so sick of plastic stuff. I recycle everything I can, but I wonder if it truly gets recycled. A lady from church is saving the caps off of plastic bottles to give to some charity that sends them in to make park benches. So, I made a newspaper sleeve to save them in. 

I bought a book at the thrift store today about small gardens. If food prices continue to rise, we may need to plant more things this spring and summer and this book supposedly gives ideas on small area gardening. 

We lost a lot of money in our retirement investments last month. I'm sure this month will be more of the same. Kind of scary how quickly it can drop.

I think if inflation continues as the chance of even more war and conflict, we will need to tighten our belts even more and continue to looks for ways to reuse things and find more reasonable alternatives.

I am praying for Ukraine and our world leaders.

This and That

February 13th, 2022 at 10:30 pm

This is going to be a mish mash of topics. I apologize in advance.

I don't know if I'm the only one, but the news about Russia and Ukraine is unsettling me. I know like there's not much I can do to even resolve this, but pray which I have been doing, but when I feel out of control I do something to give me control and that is bake. DH always knew when I had a bad day at work because I would bake sweet muffins of some sort when I was fixing supper. I explained that although I could not control what happened in my life, I knew putting certain ingredients together following the recipe would result in the same product: muffins. There was a comfort to that. 

A friend gave me 5 books in a tearoom mystery series and the last one talked about tea breads. I researched them since there was no recipe in the book and discovered one that you make with Earl Grey tea. I like that type of tea so I was delighted to try it. Instead of one big loaf, I made 3 small ones and gave two away. Since Valentine's Day is coming up, I also made some applesauce bread and gave those away with some cards. Here is the recipe I used and it came from the Food and Wine website:

Earl Grey Tea Bread

2 single serving Earl Grey tea bags

1 1/4 cup boilng water

2 cups prunes, diced

2 large eggs

1/2 cup plus 2 T light brown sugar

1 1/2 t orange zest

2 1/2 c all purpose flour

2 1/2 t baking poweder

1/4 t salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brew tea with tea bags and hot water. Add prunes until some tea is absorbed and prunes are softened. Pull out and discard tea bags and let cool.

Whisk together eggs in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar and orange zest. Stir in the tea and prunes. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently fold in until there are no flour streaks. Pour into buttered loaf pan. Bake until skewer comes out clean approximately 1 hour to 1 hour, ten minutes). Let sit on wire rack for ten minutes and then remove from pan and let the bread cool on wire rack. Serve with softened butter. 

Optional, but I did do this suggestion and was to toast it lightly. It was amazing! 

 

Besides the bread baking, I did some frugal stuff around here. I still had some material left from the last hot pad I covered, so I sewed a cover for another one. I will say it did brighten up the drawer I keep them in; they look so much nicer and newer. I have been saving and washing bread bags and using them to store things as well as marinate meat. I'm also one of those folks who will wash and reuse foil? Are you?

Our newspaper comes in an orange plastic bag when the weather is bad and a few years ago I made a windsock out of them using an old yogurt container. I still have the old one and it is pretty beat up, so I have been saving the bags and plan to make another one for this year. I have also been looking for sites on reusing things as much as I can. We already use cloth bags for the grocery when we can. For awhile during the worst of Covid, they wouldn't let us bring them in. I wash mine frequently, but I understand, because you never know what kind of homes they come from. And I believe I've mentioned my love affair with glass jars, especially Mason jars. I am sorry so many places use plastic jars because I really don't like them. I'm sure it is cheaper, except I won't reuse them for food stuff. 

I also spent an afternoon clearing out some papers in my desk. It was long past the time I should have done that. I figured if I hadn't used or needed them in the past year, I didn't need to keep them. Many will go into the shred pile, but most went to recycling. Kind of sad how I like to hold on to silly things. But I did feel better doing some decluttering, even if it was a small space. 

This was my mish mash of the week. I kept busy as you can tell. 

 

Snow Days

February 6th, 2022 at 08:51 pm

This week was not a fun one as far as the weather. Here in Central Illinois we started with a lot of rain Tuesday afternoon, which then became ice, then it started snowing. We received over 11 inches of snow from Wednesday through Thursday and then we had high winds which meant we had huge drifts. Then, as if this wasn't enough, the temperature dropped. Sadly our city road crews did not keep up with things and we were snowbound for three days. Fortunately we did not lose power. I had already slipped to the store Monday morning when they started talking multiple inches because I wanted to avoid the panic shopping. I didn't think we'd be able to do our usual Wednesday morning grocery shopping. I didn't get fresh fruit other than bananas and tangerines since we still had some, but I did pick up a loaf of bread and a half gallon of milk as well as some yogurt. 

Because of the extreme cold and the ice under the snow, I did not even try to shovel. On Friday a kind neighbor came and used his snow blower and cleaned out our driveway. DH and I did the sidewalk from the driveway to the front door.  The city snow plow didn't come until Saturday morning around 6 a.m. Our streets were so deep, we couldn't have gotten out even with our driveway cleared.

I spent some of the time doing genealogy, but I also spent some time sewing. I am hard on pot holders. I cook a lot and I use them a lot and although I try to keep them clean, I still spill or touch something and therefore I wash them a lot. I had two that I've kept for sentimental reasons. They weren't really pretty or anything, but my mom had given them to me years and years ago. But, even after many washings, they looked kind of icky and they were getting thinner and thinner. The stuffing inside had compressed. I looked at them and being frugal, I decided I didn't want to throw them away. So, I sewed them together and then made a cover to recover them of some leftover material. I did it all by hand because I didn't want to get the sewing machine out. It kept me busy Thursday afternoon and I felt like I had made something out of nothing so I counted it as a win.

We were able to get out yesterday and to be honest, after being homebound for over 3 days, it wore me out. We did hit the store for some fresh fruit and kitty litter. We use the kitty litter on our driveway since salt is so corrosive. People were shopping like crazy and fortunately we didn't need any bread because there wasn't any on the shelf. I guess Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday during the start of the snow, the shelves were bare at most stores so it made me feel good I have canned what I did this last summer, plus I buy extra things when it is on sale. 

We have a Facebook page for our subdivision and a dad said his son wanted some money and he said this was the perfect time to go out and make some. He offered a deal for his 12 year old to come and shovel the snow at the end of our driveways for $10 that the snow plow had left. We jumped at that offer! It was darn cold out there so it was a pleasure to give this kid some work and some money. DH gave him a little more since he came on time and was police and respectful. 

I'm ready for winter to end!

Food Talk

January 16th, 2022 at 08:24 pm

So many of my conversations revolve around food. Even online ones, it seems.

I was very tickled today when another couple came near to us at church (we still socially distance and wear masks), but asked if either of us liked fried mush. Well, the mister and my husband went on and on singing the praises and how much they loved fried mush with syrup. I reminded them not to drool in the pews! 

Another friend that I rarely see, but so much of our emails revolve around food; we both chuckle over that. We share recipes too. 

Turning philosophical I think food is often a manifestation of love. I know if someone is ill, I try to drop off a meal. Someone did that years ago when I had surgery and it meant a lot to me. During Covid and we couldn't do anything as far as funeral dinners at church, some of us were asked to make some food and the food was dropped off to grieving families so they at least knew they were loved and thought of. For birthdays, it's a big thing to have a favorite meal and a birthday cake. I baked my own this year and I teased my husband there's something really wrong that I have to bake my own. But, it enabled me to share some cake with friends, kind of like we used to do when we were in school and brought birthday treats. It was mostly packaging it up and leaving it for people, but that is OK too. I at least could share some. 

This goes even further when we provide money or nonperishables for food pantries so others may eat. Or providing coffee, tea, bottled water, and packaged snacks for the homeless shelter. Although one isn't telling these people they are loved, hopefully they realize someone thinks enough of them to provide these items. 

Many of our holidays and celebrations revolve around food. Thanksgiving, of course, but then again Christmas and Easter. Valentine's Day is chocolates, but we like to go out for a special dinner as well as on our anniversary. 

One of the ways I demonstrate my love for my husband is fixing him meals he likes. I hit the jackpot last week when I made chicken pot pie, including the pie crust from scratch. He went on and on about it. I was pleased he liked it.

I told DH that so much of my time is spent in the kitchen because I make so many things from scratch. So, I'm letting my actions speak louder than words, perhaps. 

Considering how many people are thinking and saying negative things to each other, I feel talking about food is a safe subject.

This and That

January 2nd, 2022 at 08:57 pm

Hope y'all had a grand New Year. We didn't do much as far as celebrating, but that was fine. We had a good dinner and then watched a DVD and headed to bed at our normal time. We aren't party people, I guess. 

I've been catching up on the blogs and I must admit most who have their resolutions or goals stated have some good ones. 

It seems a big chunk of my time is spent in the kitchen, trying to stretch our food budget as much as possible and still eat healthy. A friend gave us a fruit basket for Christmas and I used some of it to make other things. We ate some of the fancier apples outright, but I used the other apples to make applesauce and apple juice. The oranges were huge and juicy and used them and some leftover tangerines we had purchased and made orange marmalade. Some of our friends made party mix so that's been a great snack and each one is a little different. Besides cooking, I washed the cabinet doors and then used orange oil on them (we have oak cabinets that aren't painted) to revitalize them. I then cleaned off the counters and washed them and the back splash and it made everything seem so fresh. We really need to think about replacing the ceiling fan and light in the kitchen. They will be 24 years old and although they both still work, I just know it will die and we'll be hard pressed to get a replacement and someone to install it. That is the major source of light in our kitchen; our home was built in 1979 and although we replaced the light over the sink, we don't have many other lights for the kitchen. 

Yesterday the financial person from church called. I couldn't imagine why should we would be calling me on New Year's Day. She was at church working on some things and it seems that our Stitches of Love group was sent a check by a local couple as a gift to their daughter. I guess every year they have her pick out a group or charity she thinks would benefit and she chose us. I was gobsmacked to say the least. I don't know her and she doesn't attend our church. It was a sizeable check too. What a blessing!

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I am struggling with getting rid of something. When I was a little girl, my grandmother gave me a pillow made of down. I quit using it years and years ago because due to allergy testing, it was found I'm allergic to it. But, I've held on to it. I was cleaning out a closet the other day and there it sat and I pulled it out and told myself I needed to get rid of it. How ridiculous is it that I struggle to get rid of it? I decided to research and it is decades past its prime so hopefully I can get it to the garbage can. I feel so foolish!

 

Christmas spending and saving

December 25th, 2021 at 10:03 pm

 Today is Christmas and I find it hard to believe it is almost over. All the excitement and planning and now it is almost over. It kind of makes me melancholy.

DH and I went overboard on Christmas presents this year. Everything is paid for, so no outstanding debt there. We open a Christmas Club each year and I put money in when we get out pension checks. But, it was nice not to scrimp. We plan to spend money on some remodeling and hopefully if Covid ever settles down, some traveling. 

We had Christmas Eve Candlelight Service last night and it was so sweet and moving. It was nice sitting with friends (masked of course) and getting to enjoy some sort of normalcy. We still socially distance, but at least we were close enough we could see each other and not do the Facebook virtual stuff. 

Today was quiet for us. We invited a man from church to join us for dinner. I know he's been vaccinated and also the booster since I'm the one who set up the appointments and filled out the paperwork for him. He is careful and wears a mask when he goes out as well. Our friend was in an automobile accident years ago and as a result, he often has short term memory issues. His parents go to Florida over the winter, so he is basically home alone and although he can take care of himself, we know it gets lonely for him. He joined us for the meal and left and I guess called his parents. His father just called to thank us for being so nice to their son and how much they appreciate us for doing so. That made my day! 

Hope your Christmas is a blessed and joyful one!

Catch up!

December 19th, 2021 at 10:18 pm

It's hard to fathom that Christmas is less than a week away! This year has flown by!

Our British dinner a week ago was a success. We all made new recipes and realized there was a certain thrill to trying the unknown. We liked everything and I ordered those Christmas crackers and those were an absolute hoot. The other two couples are good sports about being willing to try new things. Although the dinner wasn't cheap, I'm sure it was still far cheaper than going out to a fancy restaurant. We all provided different things. And with this being the second year of Covid, it was just nice to have a little normalcy.

Christmas shopping has been finished and paid for so no January surprises there. I spent a lot in postage, both for Christmas cards and packages. Last year I sent two packages that took over a month to get to their destinations. This year things went better. Seems the place I mailed them last year has a worker (it's a post office annex, not the post office) who apparently doesn't know what she is doing, and puts something on them that sends them all over. One was to go to San Francisco and it went to LA, then SF, then came all the way back to Kentucky, then back to Springfield, Illinois, then finally back to San Francisco. The other one was to go to Terre Haute which is two hours away and it sat in Springfield for almost a month. I take them to a small town post office near us now and so far, have had no issues which is a blessing after last year's debacle. 

Unless things get locked down, 2022 may be a very spendy year for us. We have some trips planned as well as a bathroom remodel. We have the money in savings so it isn't like we have to go get loans, but we are both retired, and we figure if we can travel, we should before we get too handicapped to do so.

We visited with a couple the other day and it's interesting that when you think people are the same as you are, then realize they are not. Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing. But, they were talking about some issues they have. They are always looking for a deal. Seems she saw some ad on Facebook for some shoes that she thought were name brand, but seems they were a knock off and the name on them was similar, but not the same, but only discovered it after she received the two pairs she ordered -- not well made and the soles are slick, not treaded. Apparently they cannot be returned and they were less than half of what the name brand would have cost. The other thing was they received a notice from a company that claimed since they were good customers, they could pick a prize and only pay postage of $5.95 or something like that. So, they picked something, and gave their credit card number to pay the postage. Well, besides the postage, another charge of over $70 was added. These are not stupid people, but we believe they have gotten scammed. It is just scary! 

Hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and let's hope 2022 is a successful year for all of us!

A little of this and that

December 7th, 2021 at 08:36 pm

Sadly I'm a bit behind in keeping up with blogs. The past couple of weeks have been a bit busy, but I'm not complaining one bit. I'm trying to catch up!

We delivered hats and dish cloths after Thanksgiving that our Stitches of Love group made. I am working on researching who we may be making hats for in 2022. We delivered a bunch to our local CASA as well as a women's homeless shelter and to a school.  

Our church had its Christmas bazaar. Some things were changed due to Covid, but it was still pretty successful. I baked 26 dozen cookies in addition to some sweet breads and a pan of fudge that was cut and packaged. I also made some things for the craft section. 

I believe we sent over 75 Christmas cards. Yes, I know that people don't think that is economical, but honestly, I like doing it and my husband who calls himself a Ludite when it comes to technology so enjoys when we receive Christmas cards back. I'm anal enough that I draw lines on the envelopes because I cannot write straight to save my life. 

Fortunately my shopping is finished and we had saved money throughout the year so everything is paid for. Yay! 

Two other couples are getting together and we are going to create a British Christmas dinner for Saturday. I looked for a cookbook in the thrift stores with recipes and eventually found one,  but between that and doing research online, I found some recipes I thought we could use. I ordered some Christmas crackers which should be fun. I've already told everyone we all have to wear the crowns that come with the crackers. 

A friend from church nicely loaned me the newest John Grisham novel after he finished reading it. I read it in two days and was pleased. I had put my name on the reserve list at the library. I read a lot of books but honestly cannot see purchasing a book that I'll read once. That was just a joy to get it so much sooner!

A man at church does not have any techy skills, so I signed him up for his Covid booster. I had gotten him his original two vaccines. Honestly, it is a shame that so many places make it so hard for people to do stuff who cannot use technology. He was in an auto accident a number of years ago and just cannot do the technology due to a brain injury. I did the same for a lady at church too. 

Like many, it has been a spendy few weeks, but we have saved the money and figure we might as well enjoy ourselves a little bit. We aren't going into debt. 

Hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy.

 

Thanksgiving is almost here

November 21st, 2021 at 07:51 pm

I find it hard to believe Thanksgiving is almost here. But then again, I saw the crazy grocery shopping start this week, so that should have been a been indication. We got to the stores early for our weekly trip and by the time we left the second store, the parking lot was getting quite full.

I have to admit I'm a bit jealous of those of you who earned free turkeys! Sadly our stores did not have any of those great offers. I remember growing up, my father would be given a turkey for Thanksgiving and a ham for Christmas. I wonder if many employers do that anymore. 

I invited a friend from church to join us for Thanksgiving. I had invited some others, but they had better offers. No, I'm kidding. They were already invited so that was fine. I just don't want to see someone spend the holiday alone. 

Our church Christmas bazaar is coming up. I'm not sure how they are going to do it with the Covid requirements, but knowing these ladies, they will work something out. We wear masks at church and for any activities, and they wear gloves during the bazaar, so I imagine that will continue to be a part of it. They are not having a luncheon like they used to. 

I hope you have many things to be grateful for this year. I know I do. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

How can it be November already?

November 12th, 2021 at 09:14 pm

November is flying by! I feel like I'm on a speeding train or something.

We had our Stitches of Love group yesterday at church. We have made 851 hats this year, 37 baby hats, 46 scarves, 30 blankets, and 186 dish cloths. The hats and scarves will be donated to kids' charities. I am working to make 14 more dish cloths so we have 200 for Christmas baskets for one of our food pantries to put in their Christmas baskets. The blankets we sent to a nonprofit called "Blankets from Ben." We made fewer hats and scarves this year due to Covid and the death of one person. Our group is pretty small, so even having over 800 is an accomplishment. 

In other things, I pulled a turkey breast from the freezer yesterday and put it in the fridge. I had bought a couple of them from Aldi and when I went to fix them, they aren't as good as they once were. I wonder if the farm is different where they get them had problems or what, but we didn't like them. I hate to throw them out and honestly, I would be embarrassed to donate them, so I decided I wanted to make some broth. I realized about 5 quarts of rich turkey broth. I plan to make soup tomorrow and wanted some broth and I will freeze the rest and thaw closer to Thanksgiving. As expensive as food is, I just hate to waste it.

Speaking of expensive, our grocery bill seems to be more expensive every week. And it is weird what is missing from the shelves. We are limited as far as grocery stores in my city. We have Aldi and Kroger and Walmart. I don't shop Walmart if I don't have to. Aldi had empty shelves as far as mandarin oranges and applesauce this last week as well as evaporated milk. I didn't want the mandarin oranges or applesauce, I just noticed it when I went to pick up a can of peaches to replace the can I used. Kroger doesn't have cans of red beans. They have kidney beans and Navy beans, but not red beans. They haven't had any beans other than their store brand for years so it sort of limits one if one is shopping for beans. I just thought it was weird what was missing from the shelves. I wondered if it was that way everywhere. Anything in particular not showing up on your grocery shelves?

Trying New Recipes

September 26th, 2021 at 07:55 pm

One of the things I've been doing is trying some new recipes. I like to challenge myself and see if I can make new stuff. I did two things this week and both I felt were a success.

 

One was making zucchini marmalade. A friend had dropped off some zucchini so I felt like I could experiment. The link to the recipe is found here:

 

https://practicalselfreliance.com/zucchini-marmalade/

 

The other  was a buttermilk corn bread, but instead of putting it a square pan or cast iron skillet, it was baked in a loaf pan. It isn't as rich as the one I normally make, but DH pronounced it good. He must have liked it, he had three slices!  Anyway, here's the recipe:

 

 

Buttermilk Corn Bread Loaf

1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon of white granulated sugar

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 cup of shortening

1 1/3 cups buttermilk

2 eggs

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Set aside.

Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles course crumbs.

Whisk together buttermilk and eggs in small bowl. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. Add buttermilk mixture, stir until mixture forms stiff batter. Batter will be lumpy.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth so mixture is even. Lift pan and let it hit the counter a couple of times to remove air bubbles.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cetner comes out clean. Cook in pan on wire rack for 10 mintes and then remove from pan and cool on the rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes one loaf.


 

DH's 75th birthday is tomorrow. I have a cake cooling in the kitchen. We plan to go out to dinner tomorrow night and figured he might not want to have cake after a big meal, so I decided to bake it a day early. He was all over that with grins. So, after it cools, I plan to frost it. I actually doubled the recipe. A friend had her mom die overnight, so I'm putting together some food to take over to their house and thought a cake might be OK. I am using one of those foil pans so they don't have to worry about bringing back the pan.

 
 

Potpourri

September 21st, 2021 at 06:13 pm

The past couple of weeks I've stayed busy, but nothing really earth shattering. I thought I was finished canning, but did wind up with some more tomatoes. Then a friend gave us some zucchini which I'm working on using. I made some zucchini relish, and am itching to try zucchini marmalade. We purchased a half share of CSA this summer and there were cucumbers in it, so I made some sweet relish too. 

It's hard to believe September is nearly over. DH's 75th birthday is Monday. I plan to bake him a chocolate cake and we hope to go out for supper. I spent some time cross stitching some towels for Christmas baskets as well as crocheting some dish cloths. I plan to make those little baskets up with those and some jams, jellies, and relish. 

There was a spot on the news a couple nights ago saying to do one's Christmas shopping early because they think there might be shortages of stuff.  I hope they aren't just saying that to put people in panic mode again. Other than DH, my shopping is basically finished. He usually tells me some clothes he wants. We give money to those who do things like cut our hair. 

The group at church branched out a little this year and we adopted a group that gives blankets to people who donate organs of loved ones. We made 30 blankets and I mailed them yesterday. We continue to make hats and scarves and dish cloths. 

I guess we are saving money because other than the normal stuff like groceries and medicine, we aren't going shopping. There isn't much of anything I need or want at this point, except for people to stay healthy and the Pandemic to end.  

Mish Mash

September 4th, 2021 at 07:06 pm

Sadly, I think my canning is over for this year. I think we have enough, but I always like to have extra on hand. DH had a good tomato crop, but he grew more heirlooms and they don't produce as many. But they sure were tasty. 

A few months ago I found this small weaving loom at a thrift store. Someone donated some rug yarn at church and no one wanted to use it -- a couple of skeins are not going to make much of anything plus it is rough stuff to work with. I decided to use it and make a scrubby for myself. I'm almost finished. I plan to donate the loom when I finish because it is OK, but nothing I really want to use. I did use one of the skeins to make a crocheted basket and one of the other ladies wanted it so I gave it to her. 

We continue to work on hats and scarves with the church knitting group. I finished a scarf and had some yarn left over. I saw a pattern using the rings from milk jugs and have been saving a few of them. You crochet around them to make a mini wreath ornament. So, I did that since the yarn was green, then made a dish cloth and used up the rest of the yarn. We have been making dish cloths to donate to one of the food pantries and women's shelter. A friend of mine is involved with the local CASA group and asked if we could provide hats for the kids so that is one of the groups we intend to give the hats to. 

I had some yarn left over from a hat and I used it to crochet a small bag to hold soap. I guess you can put a whole bar in it, but on a couple of the frugal sites, you put in parts of bars and then use that to keep the pieces together and lather up. I made myself one a few months ago and it did work. So, the bag is going to a friend for Christmas, but I'm going to include a whole bar of soap with hers. I also crocheted a dish cloth and then a smaller dish cloth and attached it to a scrubby. I'm not making as many Christmas presents this year simply because I haven't had the initiative. A lady and I were talking about this at church. She's a big crafts person and she said lately she hasn't felt like doing much of anything either. I'm wondering if the fact the Pandemic seems to never end and if we are just getting mind weary of it all. 

We received some much needed rain here today. DH is delighted because he was worrying about the yard browning. He hopes it will bring it back. I used the time inside to clean and organize the linen closet which I have been procrastinating about. It wasn't as bad I as thought, but I still was dreading it. 

The first Tuesday of the month, our Walgreens has senior day where if you are 55 or older, you can get a percentage off of anything not on sale. This doesn't include prescriptions however. But, I often try to make a list of things we use and often are not on sale and save a bit stocking up. It's fall and I'm in my stock up mode anyway on so many levels. Anyway, I'm making my list for that. We don't need a ton, but saving a bit here and there is always pleasant. 

Recipes with coffee/tea

August 24th, 2021 at 03:25 pm

In my last blog post, I commented I started a new book that had coffee recipes. It was a murder mystery by Emmeline Duncan called, "Fresh Brewed Murder." The main character, Sage, runs a coffee cart with her business partner Harley. 

One fellow blogger asked that I share some of the recipes. 

 

Simple Sage Syrup

2 cups water

2 cups sugar (can be white, brown, etc.)

20 fresh sage leaves

Bring water to a boil in saucepan and add sugar until it melts. Add the sage leaves and let it simmer about a minute, then turn off the heat. Let mixture seep for 45 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a closeable, airtight contaner. Sage syrup will last up to two weeks in the fridge.

 

Mason Jar Cold Brew Coffee

4 cups of water

3/4 cup of course coffee grounds 

Mix four cups of water and the 3/4 cup of coffee grounds in an appropriately sized jar and screw on the lid. Place in the refrigerator for 12 - 24 hours. When the coffee has brewed to your liking, strain it into a clean pitcher or jar. Service over ice and wilute with water or milk at a 1:1 ratio or to taste. To sweeten, add in simple syrup.

Sage Coffee Soda

3/4 cup of cold bre concentrate

1 tablespoon of sage simple syrup (or to taste)

Ice

3/4 cup of club soda

Mix the cold brew concentrate and simple syrup in a wide mouth, pint sized Mason jar or glass of our choosing. Add ice to the top of the glass, then slowly pour in the club soda. Light mix.

 

Sage Tea Soda

Tea of your choice(black, green, white)

1 tablespoon of sage simple syrup

ice

3/4 cup of club soda

Make your tea concentrate. You'll want to dramatically up your ratio of tea leaves to water. Or tea bags. Don't steep longer, just make the tea stronger, not bitter. Brew the tea for the usual amount of time. 

Mix the syrup, ice and club soda and enjoy!

Summer Time Happenings

August 22nd, 2021 at 05:54 pm

It's been a great summer of eating well. Between DH's garden and our CSA share box, we've had some marvelous eats! Hopefully I will get enough canned and preseved for a good winter as well. Today, at church, one of our pew buddies said his dad picked two large zucchini and did I want them? Of course I wanted them! If nothing else, I will shred them and freeze it. I bought the share box to force myself to try new things as well as enjoy some of our favorites. I never thought DH would go along with it, but sometimes we don't have a starch for supper -- just some protein and some vegetables and fruit for dessert. That makes me happy because I think we probably eating far better.

I accidently sent a photo of one of our suppers to a friend in an email. I meant to send it to another one and autofill got me. As I hit "send" I realized it was the wrong person. So, I had to send a follow up "oops" email, but then we started talking about what we both had for supper that night. He then mentioned something to do with genealogy, which got me to thinking, and I discovered he is distantly related to my husband after doing a bunch of research. That's kind of interesting. At least to me. 

I found a new author of a mystery series. It's about someone who runs a coffee cart. It has some interesting coffee recipes in the back that I think I might want to try. I've getting a little more adventuresome when it comes to cooking, probably because I did so much of it when stuff what shut down. I fear it's going to come to that as Covid cases continue to rise. 

I did some closet cleaning yesterday and have a bunch of things to donate to a thrift store. I need to do some more decluttering too around the house. I was proud of myself yesterday. We went to an antique mall and although there was a blue willow tea pot that I did not own, I did not get it. I didn't need it and honestly, don't have room to display it. I admired it and walked on. 

DH just went to go water the garden, so I may need to get myself into the kitchen in case there are some tomatoes that need to be processed and canned. At least I hope so!

Hope your summer is going well!

New bread recipe

August 19th, 2021 at 02:13 pm

Recently I mentioned that we bought a half share in a CSA this summer. It has been great -- all those fresh vegetables and I'm being challenged to use things I normally would not have purchased. I was delighted to get a zucchini. I know there are those jokes about people giving people zucchini in secret to get rid of them, but sadly, I don't know anyone who grows zucchini. Anyway. I ran across this recipe and decided to try it for a change. DH had a piece last night and declared it delicious. I did not make the cream cheese icing, instead just made the glaze with the orange juice, powdered sugar and butter. But felt it was a good use of vegetables and a nice treat too. Just thought I'd share in case any of you have some garden vegetables you'd like to utilize.

 

Carrot Apple Zucchini Bread:

 

https://www.momontimeout.com/carrot-apple-zucchini-bread-recipe/?fbclid=IwAR2z050D681jYJCYqAnR8C9ZDEGSnUNYueGITaQ2iO-xOtOuwb2KJcg7f7A

 

 

April is almost history

April 28th, 2021 at 08:20 pm

I am finding it difficult to believe that April is almost over. I'm not really sure what has happened with this month or even the "new" year so far, but boy, time is just flying by. Perhaps it is my age that makes it seem like this.

I've been staying busy doing things around here. I thought I was so clever today -- I planned to vacuum, dry mop, then wet mop the hardwood and vinyl and vaccum the two rooms with carpeting, and why not kill two birds with one stone and put one of those charcoal masks on my face. Well, all that labor made me perspire so now I'm trying to cool off so the mask will harden so I can peel it off. I guess the term "Epic Fail" would ring true.  Oh, well. The charcoal mask was a freebie that came with something else I bought. 

DH planted green onions and they didn't pop up last week due to cold temps and snow, but are really peeping out now which is good. We usually do two or three plantings through the growing season. 

We donated some things to a local thrift store. It used to be you could donate 6 days a week, but due to Covid, they only have 3 days and two different times in order to donate. But, it was nice getting rid of some things. Hopefully they will be good sellers and bring in money for our charity that runs the thrift store.

My church is hoping to have a rummage sale in June. Normally they have a luncheon and offered baked goods, but cannot this year for obvious reasons. I certainly hope we do make some money to give to the charities our Ladies' Guild wants to sponsor. Last fall, since we couldn't bake cookies for our cookie walk, and baked goods to sell, we were asked to donate what we would have spent on the ingredients so our Ladies Guild at least had some money to donate to a couple of charities because as I understand it, many of them were feeling the pinch of not getting enough donations. I am doing the PR for the sale so hopefully we will gets quite a few customers. 

Well, that's basically my life in a nutshell. Hope yours is going well!

 

This and That

April 7th, 2021 at 07:56 pm

Yesterday was a very spendy day for me. A couple of years ago when I renewed my driver's license, it was just the same way as always. A couple of months later, the state decided to institute the "real id" and it was to be done by October 2020 if you wanted to fly and didn't have a passport. Well, Covid struck, DMVs were shuttered, and so we waited for things to open up. Last fall, the DMVs opened up, and DH had to renew his license, and so we got the documents together and he got the real id. I was waiting for things to calm down since there was so much catch up, but then our governor shut down the state again and so I waited. Yesterday I decided it was time. I had a free afternoon. Darn good thing, because it took the whole dang afternoon.

I had read online what I needed and I headed to the county clerk's office to get a certified birth certificate. Cha ching...$23. So, went to the DMV to stand outside for over an hour and then 20 minutes inside before I was getting to see a clerk. I laid out all my paperwork only to be told that I needed a certified marriage license. So back to the county clerk's office and another $23 plus parking. Then back to the DMV to wait in line again. I guess I sort of understand why we need all this stuff, but to be honest, $46 for two pieces of paper to prove I am who I say I am, and it kind of makes me wonder if someone is getting a kick back or something.  Oh, well. That's done and I await my new license coming in the mail. 

We had a quiet Easter. We did attend Easter service and DH told me what he wanted for Easter dinner. We were fortunate to find a very small ham, and I mean very small. That being said, it still made for 4 meals, the last was today. DH likes ham a whole lot more than I do. It is OK, but I think from years before my gall bladder surgery of ham and pork making me sick, it kind of reminds me of that. Anyway, we finished up the last of the Easter leftovers today. We did our grocery shopping this morning and other than the normal stuff we buy each week like eggs, dairy, bread, and fruit, we did not need much. That is always good. 

I continue to work on making scarves for our church's knitting group. I am about out of yarn and will need to get some. I have some leftover pieces of skeins that I plan to use to crochet dish cloths. Last year we donated over 200 dish cloths for Christmas baskets for a food pantry. 

For my last birthday, a friend was generous to make us breakfast. That was better than any other gift I could think of because I certainly don't need anymore "things." So, I have a friend who is having a birthday tomorrow and I'm baking him a cake. He is helping take care of his mother so I doubt if anyone will think of a cake. I already checked with him and he said that would be great. 

 

Sparkly Jars

March 29th, 2021 at 08:39 pm

Last fall I canned. A lot it seems, at least for us. The challenge was to find storage for all the jars of this and that and to be honest, we had some of it sitting on open shelves. I figured we weren't going to entertain so who cares if they are out.

Well, we've used a lot of the stuff I've canned and now I have empty jars. Fortunately I can store them somewhere besides the inside of the house.

We've bought other things with glass jars and my husband is always kidding me because I save them all. Well, you never know for what you are going to use them. We like honey and I have some smaller jars that are probably around a pint. Not a canning jar, but a jar. Well, I wanted to share some orange marmalade with some friends and they were perfect. I warned them due to the canning lid shortage I was giving them jars of the marmalade that had to be put in the fridge. But I sure prefer glass jars to plastic ones. 

I figure this is a good way to reuse something over and over. And to be honest, I just like jars. Guess I'm weird.

A Catch Up

March 8th, 2021 at 08:54 pm

Yesterday was frustrating. I read many of the blogs, but the site would not allow me to comment, told me try later, only after going through what seemed like a zillion of those recaptcha images. Egad.

The weekend wasn't an adventurous one by any means. Basically stayed around home. DH is a clothes horse. I noticed he has been wearing the same few pairs of slacks over and over and I know he has quite a stack. Well, he said he didn't want to disturb the pile by getting them down off the shelf. But, he has two shelves in his closet and he's tall enough he could be putting stuff on the top shelf. So, I suggested we go through his slacks and then put some on the top shelf. He tried on every pair. He found some don't fit or he doesn't like the way they fit. I will wash them and we will donate them. He had a bunch of balled up shirts he uses for his yard work, so I washed them all and folded them. His closet looked so much nicer and he can now wear other slacks because he can get to them. Of course that made me look at my closet. I went through it and pulled some things to wash so I can donate them too. I threw away three blouses because I had been using them to work around the house and they were just plain nasty. I think straightening the closet always makes me feel like I accomplished something.

We had our first small salad with our Aerogarden lettuce on Friday. I teased my husband it couldn't get mush fresher -- I picked it, washed it, dried, and tore it in smaller pieces for the salad and we ate it. 

 

 

I have been working on a small quilt project. A few months ago I bought a quilt top that had to be hand embroidered. I finished that and have been working on hand quilting it. I have not quilted before so it was a learning experience. It is a throw, so it isn't huge. I finished it and even with the mistakes, I'm a little proud of it. But, I'm glad it is finished because I want to go back to making hats and scarves for the knitting group at church. 

 

 

Rainy Sunday Potpouri

February 28th, 2021 at 08:52 pm

It rained over night and we needed it. Our lake is low so this precipitation is a good thing and I'm a happy person it isn't snow or ice. We had warmer temps this past week -- in the 50s -- so I think people are getting spring fever.

We had to have the plumber out and am awaiting that bill, but we have the money to pay. Other than that, just keeping up with the day to day expenses. My credit card bill was lower this past month and I think part of it is because we haven't spent as much on groceries. I have been trying to use a lot of what we have and making things stretch. Tonight is the third seating of the huge pot of vegetable soup. It started out with a beef roast and potatoes and carrots for the first meal, then after we had that, I used the leftover beef, broth, carrots, and potatoes as a starter for vegetable soup. What we have left from tonight will go in the freezer. The roast was kind of expensive, but if we get five meals from it, I think we did pretty well and it is far cheaper than eating out. Maybe even far healthier. 

I have been trying to learn to quilt. I started this project a few months ago. It is a throw and you embroider the top, then quilt the thing.  Although I have enjoyed it, it's been long enough that I'm sort of getting tired of working on it. Because of the close work, it tires my eyes and makes my fingers sore. I will be glad when and if it gets finished. I hate to not finish it and go on to something else because I don't want it sitting around taunting me. 

I keep checking online to see if there are canning lids in our local stores. I think I have enough for our own perosnal canning, but I normally give things away too, and if I don't have the extra lids, I don't think that is going to happen. Right now some of the stores have the cases of jars with rings and lids, but honestly, I do not want to buy more jars. I have plenty as it is. 

My church is doing this Red Letter Challenge. It is a workbook that has something for the 40 days of Lent and challenges. The Red Letter is about the red lettering of Jesus' words in the Bible. One of our projects (I skipped ahead) is to collect items for our local women's shelter. There are two places that house women and children who are either homeless or need to find a short term place to stay due to domestic abuse. One of the items requesteed was underwear. When I heard that, I thought, why didn't I think of that? Who would want to get used underwear, even if it has been washed? So, I'm trying to search out places to find reasonably priced underwear that we can buy that will be easy to take care of and sturdy. 

Last summer we found an Aerogarden at a local thrift store. It had one box of 3 pods with it unopened. It was for herbs. After our garden herbs froze, I decided to start these. Well, I guess the seeds must have been too old. Nothing happened. So, I used some leftover lettuce seeds and they went to town! I purchased three more pods to put with it, and if they grow as much as the original ones, we should be doing well for lettuce for some small salads. I'm kind of excited because that was the real reason I wanted the Aerogarden in the first place. So, all in, not counting the leftover lettuce seeds, I have less than $30 invested. I looked online and the same one lists for over $100 new. 

As you can see, this is one of those posts that has a lot of this and that. 

Cold, cold Sunday

February 14th, 2021 at 10:31 pm

It's darn cold. And then another four letter word is also in our forecast: snow; they issued a winter storm warning for 6-10 inches.  I'm not a winter person, especially when it is this cold and then snow on top of it. Just hoping everyone stays safe. I'm scheduled to give blood tomorrow and I can predict if we get more than a few inches of snow, I will not be going. I know they need blood, but our road crews have not been good about keeping the roads cleared and I don't want to get stuck out somewhere on the way. Extreme cold and extreme heat bother my asthma. 

I may have mentioned that DH and I really like British mysteries. Awhile back we subscribed to the streaming service Acorn TV and have really enjoyed quite a few of their programs. I was looking the other day and I found one that wasn't a mystery, but look intriquing. It is called "Wartime Farm." It is a documentary by two British archeologists and one historian who live for a year as if they were running a farm during WWII near Southampton. My parents grew up during the Great Depression in the United States and of course told me about the war shortages and ration books here; well, after watching some of these episodes, the U.S. had it made compared to the English. The English before the war were having to import 2/3 of their food so when the war came and food supply chains were cut off, the English farmers were told to step up and grow more. Many had to get rid of their pigs and beef cattle because you could feed more people with plants than animals. The government stepped in and basically told the farmers what to plant and how much and if the farmers didn't meet the strict standards, they could lose all or part of their farm. I could go on and on, but it has been fascinating. I have one more left in the series, and I can honestly say I have really enjoyed it. I learned a lot. If you don't have Acorn TV, you can also find these on YouTube. There's also a book I guess. My library doesn't have it so I won't be getting to read it, but just an FYI. 

The interesting thing is I went to the library and checked out a murder mystery, British of course, and as I was reading, they mentioned "Lumberjills" which were women who cut trees in England since many of the men were off fighting the war. I had just seen an episode of "Wartime Farm" and it talked about the Lumberjills. 

One thing I really am enjoying is the creativity people had to use to make use of things that were originally cast off.  I think our world would be a better place if we recycled and reused more things. DH laughs at me because I'm always saving glass jars for this and that, but although I can recycle them, I really like having them around. I know I'm probably nuts, but I always thought soft drinks taste better in a cold, glass bottle, and I think milk does too. 

It's Valentine's Day and hopefully you have been greeted and remembered. DH and I exchange cards. I'm fixing a pasta dish and baked garlic bread to go with it for our Valentine's Day dinner. The beauty is these will probably make an encore performance later this week in some form. 

If you are in the path of bad weather, hope you are safe, warm, and cherished. 

3 C's

February 8th, 2021 at 12:28 am

Not a whole lot of new stuff to report. Been doing the cooking/cleaning/crafting circuit mostly. 

I am spending more and more time in the kitchen it seems because for some reason, we eat. Smile OK, kidding aside. In order to keep things moving along, I am challenging myself to try and do different things. For example, yesterday I made orange marmalade. I had some extra oranges and two extra lemons and a box of pectin and some sugar, so why not? I was pleased with the results. I'm trying to make things that are healthy too. DH loves to snack after supper so I made an apple crumble so the topping was made with oatmeal. Not low calorie, but he doesn't need to watch his waistline and he would eat something sweet anyway, so figured I was helping him eat a little healthier. I made rye biscuits yesterday just to see how they would turn out. We had some with the beef stew I made yesterday and heated up for tonight's supper.

You wouldn't think with just the two of us I would need to clean as often, but it seems we tend to track in way too much stuff. Plus I'm kind of partial to clean clothes and sheets and towels. 

As far as crafting I have a big project, well for me a big one started. I bought one of those embroidery kits for a throw that after you embroider, you then quilt. I finished the embroidery part, now I am doing the quilting part. It is a bit pricey, but I am learning something different so I figure it might be worth it.  I can only do it so long before my eyes get tired. I loom knit and crochet some too. I have six scarves made for my church group. I'm trying to use up yarn I have and yarn the church has so I don't go out and buy stuff. 

I paid some bills today and was pleased we have a bit of a surplus as far as cash. Sometimes I worry that I've forgotten to pay something, but I look back and see we are where we should be. Maybe because we aren't going out and doing a whole lot it is saving us money. 

Kitchen Frolics

January 17th, 2021 at 06:58 pm

I haven't been eating from the pantry like many here on SA, but I have been making meals stretch. We stopped at Aldi on our way home the other day (not our normal shopping day) and bought a whole chicken so I could put it in the Crockpot. We have gotten 4 meals from it. The first night I just served some of the chicken and put cous cous, green beans, homemade bread, cottage cheese, and a fruit salad as sides. We had chicken salad one day for lunch. Then I used some of the broth as well as the chicken to make a decent pot of chicken and noodles. One time for a supper and one will be a lunch. I still have some broth leftover which I put in the freezer. I figured that was a good use of that chicken! 

I had found a pan that you make 6 small Bundt cakes at a thrift store. I washed it up and found a recipe on Pinterest. They turned out pretty well. DH has enjoyed them, and I gave two to a friend at church for her birthday since I figured she shouldn't have to make her own birthday treat and gave two to another friend as a way to support her since her sister is being in Hospice. I know the cakes aren't a solution, but just wanted her to know she is being thought of. I had everything I needed for these cakes in the fridge and pantry so no grocery shopping needed. 

Since we have been eating at home so much due to no indoor dining, I have tried to make different things and stretch our food budget as much as possible. I canned as much as I could this summer and fall and as glad as I am to have these items, I'm seeing so much of it dwindling. I guess that is good; it isn't going to waste, but then being the worry wart that I am, I hope I don't run out of stuff before the next gardening season. One good thing about DH is he never says no when I have purchased something for the kitchen. Our kitchen isn't huge by any means, but it is far larger than  the one in the house we bought when we first married. Some of the items like pans I have to hand wash and he's been good about helping me dry dishes and pans. He has discovered that I have stacked and nested things a certain way to make sure things fit in the cabinets. He's learning my system which is a good thing. 

For Christmas I gave away a lot of the jams and jellies I made over the summer and fall. I also made fudge and cookies to give away. I have a single friend who doesn't like to cook, so every so often, I make extra as far as our meal and take it over so she has a hot meal. She eats some of those frozen dinners and sometimes she just eats cereal. I would invite her over, but with the Pandemic, need I say more? I wear a mask when I do the drop off. 

I pulled some vegetable soup I made a couple of weeks ago from the freezer. We had two meals off of it before I froze the remainder. It will be our supper tonight. I baked herb biscuits while the bundt cakes were baking; figured if I was going to have the oven on, might as well make it work for me. DH was pleased because he likes lots of rolls, biscuits, and breads. Fortunately he has the metabolism that he can eat these and not gain weight. 

Well, that basically sums up my frolics in the kitchen the last few days. I guess it is good that I like to cook and bake. Hopefully my friends agree. 

You Deserve It?

January 4th, 2021 at 12:49 am

Looks like 2021 has finally gotten here. 2020 was a challenging year on so many fronts and I think most of us hope that the new year is far healthier. 

One thing I noticed before Christmas were so many of the advertisements and emails and messages is how many claimed people deserved to buy this and that because "you deserve it" after the year we've had. I wonder how many succumbed to the persuasion. I have a friend who does subscribe to that theory, and has for years and then complains how he's running out fo money. 

I don't know if we deserved it or not, but we did trade cars. We felt we were treated fairly and got far more for our 8 year old car (only 35K miles) than we expected. We got a three year loan simply because we owe for nothing else and wanted to help our credit scores. 

That was the big news as far as finances for us. We continue to eat at home -- we really don't have a choice since Illinois only allows take out and to be honest, as much as we would like to help the local restaurants, after you order, go pick it up, bringing it home, reheat it, and then clean up, it just isn't worth the expense and trouble. 

My birthday is Tuesday and to be honest, it is going to be a little bit of a challenge. I'll be 60. It's weird, 40 and 50 didn't bother me, but for some reason, 60 is. One of my friends who has self taught herself on baking and decorating cookies brought some she made over; what a pleasant surprise. A far better one than the two we had this morning -- 6 inches of snow (we were to get a dusting to an inch) and no power for a few hours. Fortunately we did regain power. Hopefully the snow will melt in the next couple of days. 

Let's hope that 2021 is a wonderful year for all of us!

Catch Up

November 29th, 2020 at 08:45 pm

Hope everyone had a terrific Thanksgiving. It was a quiet one here, just the two of us. Our Pastor asked if we had a quiet one and I said, especially since my husband doesn't talk very much when he's eating. Pastor laughed out loud and said he was a kindred spirit.

I can't say we've honestly saved a lot of money the past few months. It seems although we aren't going anywhere on short trips or anything, other things have come up. Unexpected dentist bills and I needed new glasses -- mine were five years old and it was time -- I wasn't seeing very well. Currently our governor has said no indoor dining and although some places are offering tables outdoors, I don't like to be windblown or get super cold while trying to eat, so we aren't even doing that. We did some of the take out last spring when he instituted this rule and honestly, by the time we got the food home, it just wasn't as good, even if I reheated it. So, I'm on KP until further notice. I know our grocery bills have gone up because I have been trying to make different things so we don't get bored eating the same stuff. We did have a wild outing last week -- our grocery store choices are limited here in our city so we drove 45 minutes to Springfield and went to a large store where they have other things that our stores do not carry. It was kind of nice finding some things we like that normally cannot get. I have gotten more creative as far as reworking leftovers. I try to cook things that make more than one meal not only to save money, but also so I can save myself some time. 

My Christmas shopping is finished. Other than a few items I ordered online, most were purchased locally. I know a lot of people love the online shopping and convenience, but I guess I'm old enough to not care for it that much. Plus, I like to support local retailers. I just mailed over 50 Christmas cards. That was an ordeal -- addressing them all. For those I don't see either in person or on social media, I wrote letters in the cards. The U.S. Postal system ought to be pleased I bought so many stamps, right?

I have one more delivery for our knitting group at church. We made over 1,100 hats this year. Yes, that is less than the past couple of years, but honestly, the fact we hit over 1000 with the fact we didn't meet for months is amazing. Most of the ladies worked at home on hats.  Three schools were "adopted" and we also made 130 for a local group that puts together packages to send to soldiers. We included scarves and also bought 130 tuna packets to go in their boxes. We made some to give our cancer center for them to put out for patients to take too. We made over 200 dish cloths to go in food baskets that one of the food pantries gives out for Christmas and we also gave some to a women's homeless shelter as well as took some food there too. I need to sew buttons and beads on to some fidget sleeves and drop them off at a couple of nursing homes. So, take that Covid 2020 -- you didn't stop our group, Stitches of Love! Our ladies' group at church isn't having their holiday bazaar. We normally sell cookies by the pound and usually make quite a bit of money that we use for missions as well as other baked goods and gently used Christmas items. So, it was suggested that we donate the money we normally would have spent making the cookies and baked goods to the ladies' group so they have some money for some of the missions they support. So, other than some baking I plan to do to share with friends, most of my big Christmas stuff is done. I do need to wrap and mail two packages which I hope to get done this week. But, I have the stuff already so that shouldn't be an issue. 

I finally decided to go through two piles of papers in my area. I call my little room the bear room because I have some teddy bears there. I used to collect them. I gave away three fourths of them, but I kept some that had the most emotional hold. So, instead of my office, it's the bear room. I have a bad habit of letting papers pile up thinking I'll get to them later. Well, later was today. Yay! Lots went to the shred pile and some to recycling and my pile has diminished. 

So, that's what I've been doing. Nothing exciting, but it is the day to day living we all experience, right?

 

 

My Happy Place

November 9th, 2020 at 08:47 pm

Currently we have weather that is above normal in temperatures and it has been so lovely -- sunny, warm, and replete with fall colors. I guess that is going to change tomorrow as a front comes in. Hope we don't get bad weather out of it.

I am trying to stay positive and think of things that I like doing that doesn't make me feel like I'm missing out on stuff due to Covid restrictions. I've concluded that my kitchen is my happy place. 

I know this summer I spent an awful lot of time canning and preserving stuff. I know I have a love affair with food and I've decided I'm going to try and challenge myself in making some new things. I said on Sunday that was I trying a Barefoot Contessa recipe with pork loin instead of lamb and many SA folks commented they like her too. She just has a calm, endearing attitude, doesn't she? Plus, she does a nice job teaching how to do things.

We ran a couple of errands (we had a CD come due and wanted to draw the money out since the interest rate was horrendous if it rolled over.) We came home and I got to work on vegetable soup. I had found a beef chuck roast in the freezer and I put it in the slow cooker overnight. I cut it up and took out all the fat and started a vegetable soup. I then worked on making a rum cake. I've never made one before and I saw a recipe using rum and thought, hey, I have a bottle in the pantry so why not make a rum cake. I hope it tastes as good as it looks. 

So, I got to spend a lot of time in my happy place. And I think it makes DH happy too, because he likes to eat!

November Already

November 8th, 2020 at 11:51 pm

It's hard to believe it is already November. A friend and I were discussing this at church this morning; it seems like this year has been so strange. I feel like my life has been on hold as we wait for the Pandemic to disappear and it hasn't and there doesn't seem like there is too much to look forward to as the holiday season approaches. Illinois' cases have been going up in staggering numbers. It is depressing to say the least.

I am glad that the election is over. Some of my candidates won and some did not. Just hope they all do their best for the good of our city, state, and country. 

As we have more mitigations due to the infection rate. , there are fewer things we can do. I've been cooking even way more than I had been since the choice is that or going to get food and bringing it home. That's OK, but not my favorite and it doesn't seem as good. So, I guess at this point I'd rather cook. I've been watching Barefoot Contessa shows, some on demand, to get ideas. I found a recipe on her recent tomato episode where she takes tomatoes and onions and puts them on the bottom of a roasting pan and then takes a lamb roast and puts it on top and makes a Rosemary and Dijon mustard topping. We don't eat lamb, but I thought, maybe I could use it on a pork loin roast. I've made so many of those lately, I'm kind of tired of our old way of making it. I tweaked a risotto recipe she made and used butternut squash and ground turkey instead of peas, asparagus, and sausage. DH loved it and we have enough for another meal. 

Are you planning on a big get together for Thanksgiving? We normally do not have one. The last couple of years we've invited another couple, but they are staying in due to health issues and I can't blame them. I wonder if Thanksgiving will be the big travel holiday it has in the past.

So, November is here. I'm trying find positives. Each day I post something on my Facebook account for which I am thankful. I really do have a lot to show gratitude for, it just seems sometimes life gets a bit challenging. 

Food, Glorious Food

October 29th, 2020 at 08:22 pm

I notice that many of our blogs are food oriented lately. Maybe it is the cooler weather or perhaps we are all foodies at heart. 

I was going through the freezer and noticed I still had some slices of ham there. I pulled them out to defrost and decided to use them for two different meals. One is for tonight -- quiche. It's dark and damp here today and nothing makes me happier than to have a hot meal from the oven when the weather is like this. Thursdays are usually egg night at our house anyway. I went out and pulled some green onions and chopped them as well as some Sage and Oregano. I added bell pepper and some chopped mushrooms and will add cheese to the eggs when I whip them with Half and Half. DH likes this type of quiche and it should be nutritious and filling.

The rest of the ham is being cooked with beans for ... ta da...ham and beans. OK, not original, but something good. I had some chicken broth in the fridge and thought, I better use it. A number of years ago we went to an Amish fundraiser and the Amish lady made ham and beans and besides chopped onion, she chopped celery. We had never had it with celery and I've made it that way ever since. I figure another vegetable won't hurt. I plan to make skillet cornbread the day we have the ham and beans. A cheap, economical meal and using up something from the freezer.

I notice I have quite a selection of soups in the freezer so we will be partaking of those in the next few days as well. It sure will help save on the grocery bill and using up some of the stuff will also help with the packed freezer. 

Are you having trick or treating on Halloween? So far we are allowed to have it as long as we do not hand out candy up close. Our plan is to put a bowl on a box in the driveway and put candy in it and sit back aways so we can greet the kids and see their costumes. Hopefully no one will empty the bowl for just themselves. If they do, they do. 

Well, nice we can again blog. I feel like I missed out on your lives.

I don't know if it is food, but I'm getting ready to fix a cup of tea. Reusing a tea bag of course. Frugal is as frugal does! Smile


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