Wednesday, August 17, 2011

getting ready for winter and saving yourself money

Even though I am a flybaby ( I still do fall and spring cleaning.I just no longer try to do it in a weekend or even a week.

I do my weatherization along with my fall cleaning. While wiping down the woodwork I see where there are cracks for air to come through so I caulk. I check window seals when I wash the windows. Dirt will destroy anything if it's on it very long.

Wipe off switch plates and outlet covers, check to make sure you have foam insulators behind them, especially if they are on outside walls.

Check your attics especially if you have a chimney or attic fan.Not only for air but water leaking in.

Check your basement and crawl spaces for air and water leaks, deal with them now before winter or before you have a major expense due to damage.

In the winter,on bare floors I add throw rugs or area rugs, layer the curtains/drapes at the windows even if the drapes are insulated or lined.Move furniture to inside walls including the bed.

SEE guys, we do move the furniture around for a reason.

Add flannel sheets to the bed, layer on the blankets( preferable thermal) and thick comforter.Pull out the flannel or brushed cotton pjs.

Use the oven for entire meals to warm the kitchen.

Open curtains when the sun is shining( where the sun is shining in) to help warm the house.

Program the thermostat. Right now even though it's cool outside and the house drops to mid 60s thru the night.I don't have the furnace on yet.We changed the filter and kicked it on to make sure it worked. I cleaned out the vents while doing the fall cleaning.

Covered the central air conditioning unit and took the window AC out.

Storm door is back on the front door (we get most of the wind from that direction).I will wait awhile before I remove the back screen door.One because when it's warm the kitchen bakes and two, the dog has a opening in the screen(we put it there when Sammy came to live with us) to let herself in and out in to the mudroom.

put on a sweater, long sleeve shirt, long pants etc. instead of running around your home in warm weather clothes and complaining about being cold or cranking the heat up.Yes, daughter of mine I am thinking of you. Put on socks and shoes that are not sandels or crocs or mules and your feet will stay warmer.

If you want more ideas, just ask your parents or grandparents (or some one of those age brackets) how they kept warm in the winter.You will most likely get an ear full.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Saving money as a habit

I do it with out much thought for they have became habits through time.Others I am working on.Saving money is a habit that any one can learn. Takes more practice with some of us than others but still is doable.

It's late summer right now, the garden is producing ( not as much as I would like but every tomato counts) and the sun is starting to rise a bit later each day and set earlier.Walking the garden daily to make sure the ripe produce is picked and dealt with is a habit that I get into easily enough. Washing the produce...okay I struggle to remember to wash the onions , everything else is automatic, but to use the peelings for veggie broth, you need to wash those onion skins, they turn your veggie broth into a nice golden color.

I have a calendar that has when my bills are due.I move the due date up by 7 days so nothing is paid late thus saving late charges( and your credit score). I also put on the calendar when my library books are due a few days ahead of time, once again saving late charges. I round up in my check book register any bills paid automatically, when I balance my register with the bank, I transfer the difference to my savings.I also have an automatic transfer ever month from my checking to my savings on a certain date. This practice also saves me the cost of the checking account. I don't order my checks from the bank. So far I have found them else where for about half the price.

I only clip coupons for things I use. Not something just because it sounds or looks good.

I go to Dollar General, then Save-A-Lot, then Aldi's, then Walmart, then Kroger's and ONLY after I have looked at fliers, checked the coupons and looked on line. This line up of stores is good also for my gas mileage even though I actually pass by Kroger's and Walmart to get to Aldi's. It's not enough, a parking lot of Walmart, to make enough difference.

During the Farmer's markets I shop for veggies and fruit there. Usually cheaper, a lot healthier and keeps my money in my community.

When I shop I use a list. Okay I use 2 lists. One for food only and the other is for non-food. It isn't unusual for me to do the shopping on separate days.I only shop for non-food once a month sometimes it's 6 wks or more apart. my big shopping for food is once a month and I fill end then when I am already in town or hubby is once a week or every other week. The less you are in the store, the less you will spend.

I don't cook from boxes ( most the time that is, I do have some for hubby for when I am not there). It's simple to toss cooked ground beef with noodles or rice and a sauce with seasoning instead of hamburger helper with it's high sodium and preservatives. Or even use a can of soup instead of a sauce.Gravy is nothing more than fat ( of any kind except margarine ) and flour,salt and pepper and then water, milk or broth.I skim my fats from my meats when I am cooking and freeze it in ice cube trays I use only for this.Then bag them. One good cube of fat is enough to make 1/2 cup of gravy. If there is only 2 of you like there is of us...this is enough gravy for a meal, unless you LOVE gravy and use mash potatoes for the excuse of having gravy.

Soups and casseroles are easy and can be made out of leftovers. I make a couple soups that you can make the basic soup and then pull out a little of it each day, add a couple things and change what it is.Casseroles can start with a strained soup or can have water,broth or milk to turn into soup.

I don't by name brand because it's name brand nor do I buy cheap because it's cheap. I buy the BEST for my DOLLAR.

I don't keep the house lit up, I turn down the thermostat( use a programmable one) for the furnace and only use a window AC (instead of the central air) in the bedroom during the day when Hubby is sleeping. I use ceiling fans yr around and other fans when I am in the room except the front room, that is where the dog lays a lot when she is in the house so I keep a fan running on low for her.I have computers, stereos and the televisions and all it's gadgets like the cable box, dvd player etc on power strips that I turn OFF when they are not in use.

I checked the insulation, duct work should be insulated, you can lose 10-30 % of your heat or cooling through your duct work. Pipes and water heater should be insulated right along with caulking windows and doors.Before you even think to yourself, I rent and its the landlords problem...yes he should do it and pay for it but it's YOUR MONEY that is being wasted.Would you throw 1/3 rd of your heat bill in cash out the door or window? NO. You can take steps yourself to save YOUR money even when the landlord won't. I am lucky my landlord ( heaven Bless him) cares about his property and about us.

next ...getting ready for winter and saving yourself money.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Needing a pantry

Most say they don't need a pantry because they can go to the store or call for take out or go to a restaurant...reality does hit occasionally and then those options go away very fast.Ice storms, blizzards and tornados just to name a couple.

I always strongly suggest (my children will tell you I threaten)you to have at least 7 days of meals in your pantry. Complete meals,including breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks for each day. Have some that you can cook and some that needs nothing more than to be opened.

Cold cereal can be eaten with or without milk for a meal or a snack.

I keep popcorn that I can pop on the stove or over a grill (microwave popcorn is high in triglycerides).

I have dried fruit.Some I buy and some I dehydrate myself.

I keep assorted nuts in the freezer and we usually have sunflower seeds because I make granola bars for hubby's lunch.

I always have eggs,beans,flour,corn meal, yeast,evaporate milk, dried milk,assorted pasta and rice and some cans of meat such as tuna,chicken etc.Potatoes if you eat them regularly is also good. With these items you can make dumplings, noodles, bread,biscuits, gravy, cream sauce for pasta or rice.

My parents ate bean soup 2-3 times a day most of their childhoods.Both are in their 80s and can give the MY grandkids a run for their money on being active,I won't mention they put me to shame also.

To survive a time without income or the ability to go to the store or fast food joint you first have to have a pantry.

Next post....meals from the pantry

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Great Depression II What is there left to do?

You have no cable, no phone, no internet and no gas for the car. If you are in the city you can still walk the city and window shop or to friends or family or both and visit...yes really, visit in person, talk face to's amazing...snicker.

If you are in the country, it's harder, family might not be close (we are an hour away from everyone due to hubby's work) and neighbors might be a couple miles and you might not even know them.It can be very lonely.

I still write letters and send them by mail.I still read and reread books ( I buy a lot of books at thrift shops and rotate them through my girls). I play solitaire with a deck of cards. I walk around the edge of the yard and play with the dog.If you have electric you can still play games already loaded on your computer if you have one. I do crafts with things around the house or spend time reading cookbooks (I read them like a regular book especially if they are old).

Do I get "cabin fever"? Yes, but not often.Do I get lonely? Sometimes,but since I like myself and enjoy my own company it's not so bad.

Can you survive a Great Depression???

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Great Depression II Utilities

A parents fear is not having enough money to keep the heat on or water. Basic utilities is something a lot of us take for granted. Lack of running water, electric and heat is quite common in other countries.Sometimes even in this country when jobs disappeared and benefits ran out.

I've been there, might be there again some day. I can offer this advice only.

Keep the roof over your head as long as you can without going under.BEFORE you get to that point, ask for help, moving in with friends, family, even strangers was common during the Great Depression.

You don't have to have internet, most libraries now have this service if it's your only way of connecting to family and friends. You can also apply from jobs there if needed.

You don't have to have cable(satellite) television.You can go digital or even without completely and just borrow DVDs/videos (yes I just showed my age). I didn't have a television for over a year when my children were young,drove my parents and brother nuts over it , later in years they realized a side effect of this. My children love to read and they can use their imaginations. If your children need to watch something on television for school(let their teacher know you don't have cable, believe me you are not alone) then ask a schoolmate or friend, family member if they can watch it at their place.

You don't have to have a cell phone and you can get a house(or a cell) phone for 911 calls only for very cheap.There are a few cell phone companies now offering limited services for very affordable prices so if you are spend $$$ you should check in to this now.We cut our cell phone bill by 2/3rds and have the same things we were using with the old service.

You do have to have water and sewage.You do have to have refuse (trash) hauled away. You do have to have electric (especially if you are in the country and have a well that uses a electric pump).You do have to have heat, not necessarily propane, nature gas or electric...but some kind of heat that is SAFE. Using your oven or toaster oven for heat is NOT SAFE.I will admit I have used the a point, cook a meal in the oven and leave the door cracked open to cool down in the morning or night or both.I have also cooked on top of a kerosene heater (with a window cracked at all times).

One of the running jokes (which regretfully did happen) in our family is there is no sense paying the cable/internet or the heat bill if you don't pay the electric to run the items( like the computer,television or furnace in the winter) to begin with. There is no sense planning on flushing the toilet or taking a shower if you don't pay the water bill. Try cooking without water for a couple days and you will understand.

Want to understand better what I am talking about, turn your main breaker off and go a few hours.I have done this once every season to make sure I am prepared for outages or storms that can wipe the basic utilities out.

Next..what is there left to do?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Meals from the pantry

You can find recipes in books, magazines and on the internet. So I won't go that route with you. I will offer suggestions

Meat patties using canned salmon or mackerel or tuna or mashed beans( toss in a tortilla wrap and you have a burrito)

Corned beef hash (you can put an egg in the middle of it) and serve it with bread ( I prefer toast)I've made hamburger hash and added carrots and celery to the mix.

I also use canned corn beef topped with 1,000 salad dressing, kraut and Swiss cheese in my crock pot for a good casserole (it can be nuked instead) that the left overs is served the next day on sub buns with more Swiss cheese.

Couscous, risotto, paella,pastas,fried rice.

Beans over rice, beans and pasta( pasta e fagioli) or as my Nonna did, beans( a pound of beans for each person) soup on Monday.Add mixed veggies on Tuesday and more water.Add small pasta on Wed and more water. Add stale bread or serve over the stale bread on Thursday and more water. Friday bake bread and have fried bread instead of the soup and be grateful. Saturday was pizza night and Sunday was always pasta and some kind of roast most times it was a chicken.

Dried beef (Or any canned meat) and milk gravy over bread/biscuits( remember that flour and yeast I mentioned...okay go ahead and get the bisquick ALSO)

Cornmeal can make porridge, polenta(when you add cheese) fried mush(which is porridge that has cooled)corn bread and tamales.

Hand me a can of green beans and a can of potatoes and I will toss it together for a one pot meal.Add corn bread or other bread to fill you up and you have a meal.

Cabbage, potatoes and some bacon or ham (or just their grease...sorry but it doesn't raise our cholesterol)

I usually have some squashes and cabbages in my basement during the late fall, winter into early spring. Usually some apples also. Crisps are good keepers if you keep them dry and cool. Cook them together add pasta, rice or bread and you will fill those tummy's up

Toss canned meat with your pasta or rice and make a white sauce with your evaporated milk . Or serve rice with red sauce(commonly called spaghetti sauce)

Casseroles are forgiving and easy. You can even nuke them and make them quickly.
I have tossed stale bread, odds and ends of cheese and diced up veggies together with an egg or even just milk and baked for a casserole.Sometimes I will serve it with gravy I make from the leftover meat grease I keep when cooking meat and freeze it.

Stuffing or dressing combined with meat and or with veggies is easy also.Whether you start with fresh bread or boxed mixes.

Go look in your cabinets and pull out what you could make your next 2 meals from. You might even get carried away and find out you have more meals than you think you do shoved in those cabinets.

Next: saving money as a habit

Great Depression II Clothes

I can sew. I can take a pattern, cut material and sew it on my machine...or by hand.

More...I can make a pattern either from laying another item down and tracing it or the person I am sewing for on paper and make the pattern.

I can mend,alter and remake old clothes.

I haven't had to spin my own thread or weave my own fabric.It's time consuming and hard work but I could do it.

I keep buttons,snaps and zippers off of clothes that are to the point of being used for rags.I have used old clothes for patches of clothes still being worn and my girls have all had jean purses made from jeans their own children couldn't wear and was no longer "worth" passing down.

I've made dresses, night gowns, shirts etc from cotton sheets. Towels, old blankets etc have gone into quilts instead of buying batting.

I have had shoes repaired, repaired them myself (glue, sew, are duct tape)or stuffed card board in them to keep them going.

Add it on, take it off,turn it inside out, tear it apart and put it back together. Anything to keep clothes on the body, keep warm( or in this hot weather cool) and still look good.

Next Utilities

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Great Depression II...could you survive?

Someone asked me this the other day and their jaw fell open when I answered yes. I then spent over 30 min telling them why I thought I could.

I started with food because in reality, we will go with out the cable,phones, and internet but we have to eat even when we have no income.

First is I have a pantry, a huge pantry that I slowly built over time. I will shove can goods under couches, love seats, beds, behind doors, in the closets and even make a end table out of them and cover them with a cloth.I have enough food right now to go at least 6 months,I usually keep a year's supply of food basics.I'm low because the garden isn't doing so well and I am waiting for the crops to come in.

Second, we are not picky eaters. We don't have to have meat every night, we like vegetables and having what most consider breakfast food for our evening meal isn't a big deal.It's not like people don't eat steak or pork chops for breakfast...duh.

Third, I know how to and do most times cook from scratch. Not out of a box, freezer bag, or can. I can make condensed soup from dried milk(Thank you Amy Dacyczyn Tightwad Gazette 1) I can make catsup, mayo, salad dressing and a lot of things we automatically buy without thought.

Fourth, I make food from scraps...I wash my vegetables before I clean them and throw the peelings in to a pot of water to make vegetable stock. Bones, skin and fat from meat and poultry go in a pot of water to make broth. I don't do so much with seafood because it's not affordable in my area and my hubby doesn't fish (he drowns plastic worms).I make new dishes from old foods.This seems to be my best talent in the kitchen.

When my children first left home and went out on their own calling and saying telling me they had nothing left to eat happened more than once. I would play 20 questions of what is left in the cabinets, what is left in the freezer, and what is left in the refrigerator and most times come up with several more meals. Might not be balanced but it would fill their bellies.

During the Great Depression, it wasn't about eating healthy and eating balanced. It was about having something to put in your stomach and not going hungry.Picking greens out of the yard was good, and if you don't use pesticides and such items you still could.

Growing lettuce on a window sill was common.

Coming next CLOTHES

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Liturgical Year

The Liturgical Year
The Ancient Practices Series
By Joan Chittister, Phyllis Tickle
Published by Thomas Nelson

I spent some time reading this book. I usually read through a book of this size within a few hours. The Liturgical Year was mind provoking. Not all churches of Christian faith have this liturgical line up of celebrations and such. With the exception of the Catholic Church, in my years of exploring different faiths, none have practiced this liturgical year especially to the extent talked about in this book. Maybe we all should.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, June 20, 2011

getting ready for winter

Yes,I said winter.

The weather hasn't work with me over the garden, figure it is going to bite us in the butt this winter.

I walked through the house, even the upstairs that we don't use so much with just being the two of us and made a list of things to take care of this summer making a deadline of being done by the end of August as my focus will shift to my older daughter's wedding(I am doing the catering).

Cauking the windows inside and out was number one followed by actually hanging heavy curtains instead of just sheers across the windows.Some of the windows need new seals.

Insulating the duct work to the furnance( you can lose 10-30% of your heat with out insulation on the duct work) and water pipes along with sealing the gaps in the basement windows and where the foundation meets the house will be a hugh project.

I still have to check the insulation in the attics.

Putting insulation foam behind all the outlets and switches.

Moving furniture this fall so where we sit the most is actually the warmest part of the room.

Things I have done so many times in the past that wasn't on my mind when we moved in this old farm house at Christmas.

Right along with preserving the bounty of my garden and what ever else I get my hands on.

Have a Blessed day

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's day

Happy Father's day to all the daddy's out there. Happy Father's day to the ones that filled in for the daddy that wasn't there...whether you be a man or a woman.

Enjoy the day.

Blessed Be

Thursday, April 28, 2011

To those going thru bad weather

My prayers are for you.

I got some calls this morning, asking advice about freezers with power being out.What to do with the food etc.

Freezers thaw from the top down so your most important meat/veggies should be on the bottom.Don't open the door unless you need to and do so as little as possible. Cover the freezer with a blanketto help keep it coolunless it's winter and it's below 32 where the freezer is.I have actually had to cover up my freezer to keep the motor from freezing up when it was in the garage.

If you know you are going to be losing food, pass it along to others that need food to eat NOW.IF you can't find anyone, get ahold of who ever is running the shelter and such around you and see if they can use it or know who you can give it to.Sometimes the soup kitchens and churchs will take it.

Be safe everyone.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

cleaning home and self

While down I have taken a hard look at what I am buying at the store.

Food wise the amount is less than $150 a month but still there is more than plenty going in the trash. Definitely need to up the left over night and more plan over meals.It's the attitude of "hubby will take it for lunch to work or I will eat it for lunch or a snack" that is causing things to get dumped in the trash can instead.If nothing else, it needs to be packaged for the freezer especially with garden season coming in.

Non-food is killing the budget.

I've tried several cleaning products always on the look out for something that eases the cleaning and makes the house smell good at the same time.So I spent some time looking back through my notes of interviews with elders and came up with the following list.

Olive oil,safflower oil,baking soda,white vinegar,apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Not only are these food products but they are usable to clean your home and yourself( clean and skin care) and can be use to medical also.

Castor oil (can stain material), mineral oil,vaseline,rubbing alcohol,and witch hazel can help clean and are medical items

Castile soap, naptha soap, washing soda,borax and glycerine will clean the home and yourself along with skin care.

examples of the above could make: furniture polish, window cleaner, toilet cleaner, all purpose cleaner, oven cleaner, scouring powder, dish soap,laundry soap, laundry stain remover,laundry fabric softener, shampoo, conditioner, liquid body soap,skin moisturizer,lotion to ease body aches, insommia,sleeplessness,reduce inflammation, laxative, stomach issues,fungal infections,acne, ringworm and etc.

Instead of me joining the throw away society I can spend a few minutes and make my own cleaners out of "greener" products that I either already have or can easily get and spend less money, be healthier and reuse containers.

Now if I could just get them to clean the house on their own Lol.

on my feet

Just when I thought I was getting back to my gallbladder kicked them out from under me.

Not used to sitting around and resting, I thought of tons of things I needed to get done once I uncurled from the fetal position. Anyone that has had gallbladder issues can tell you recover just isn't that fast.

So out of boredom...

I made a list of 25 meals from the pantry that can be put together and on the table in 30 minutes.

I made a master grocery list reflecting the new way I have to eat.

I made a list of homemade cleaning products and their recipes so I can quit having asthma attackes from my cleaning products and cut the non-food portion of the grocery bill down. We spend twice the amount on non-food that we do on food.

I made a list of homemade personal care products.

I made a list of my garden stuff needed to be bought, started and etc.

I made a new budget for the finances

I made a list of the projects that need to lower heat bill to be done before winter hits.I know it will take me all summer to get them done.

I bounced doctor appointments and tests( last one tomorrow crossing my fingers. At least the second medication is working.

Now with sunshine, warmer weather and taking care of myself I should be able to be back to feet and be organize...if I don't lose the lists. SMILE

have a blessed day!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

when life rolls over you

you have to make some choices of what gets done and what doesn't. Pretty much any thing involving the internet doesn't get done when I am on overload with life.

Cleaning gets a kiss and a promise,laundry does get kept up because I only have a couple pairs of warm pjs and it's still cold here and hubby works out daily and only has 3 outfits for that. Cooking is a stuggle if I don't have a good pantry and precooked entrees in the freezer. I don't use much box stuff as I have a low sodium diet due to my heart failure.

Things that have hit in the last month... I was south for a few weeks, had some job interviews that went no where(or least didn't for right now). I came back to flooding and water in the basement...which caused my root veggies to start going bad.I had some family issues that was dealt with. AND I haven't even touched starting my seeds for this spring's crops.Let alone finish unpacking from our move here at Christmas.

Mean time I wiped out the precooked items in the freezer and it's started "I wished we lived in town so we could do fast food" feelings I knew it was time to restock the freezers.

Luckily hamburger was on sale so I stocked up, now I just have to deal with it.

I precook and rinse several pounds for casseroles and sauces,taco meat(homemade seasoning), homemade sloppy joes meat(for sloppy joe,sheppards pie etc)pasta sauce,meatballs,meatloaf and some patties with seasoning mixed in so they aren't just frozen beef. I think this time I will also make some salisbury steak as I have found myself wanting to buy this in the frozen food section at the store and ignore the sodium level.

Granted it is a lot of work and it's on top of having to deal with several squashes and 4-30 lbs pumpkins that need dealt with because of the moisture in the basement before I lose them. It can be overwhelming if you think about it.

How to get it done??? I have hamburger simmering in my large soup pot with water mixed it(helps remove the grease) while I check my emails, this blog,do the finances and do the laundry. I have a timer to tell me when to stir it. I drain it in the large colendar and rinse with hot water. While it drains I start the next batch. I prefer to only do 3 lbs at a time but did 5 lbs at a time when all the kids were home. I mixed the meatloaf first since I wasn't cooking it then did the meatballs as this was a lot of hands on time. When they were precooked(not done all the way or they will be dry when you do reheat them), I shoved them in the freezer on a cookie sheet and started on the rest. I"ll do the patties and salisbury steak last.

Maybe maybe I will catch up when I am 80 LOL

Monday, February 14, 2011

leftovers vs planovers

I have a friend that routinely mentions that I can take leftovers and make it into something totally different and flavorful.Considering that I didn't grow up with leftovers I don't know where the talent came from.

Might be because I don't prefer to eat the same thing over and over?

Casseroles using leftovers are easy.Toss protein,carb and veggies(sometimes fruit also) with a binder of cream sauce,tomato sauce,gravy or just a can of soup in to a casserole dish,cover (or not) and bake at 350 for 30 min or until hot in center.

Soups using leftover are easy.Toss leftovers into a pot,add broth,water or juice and call it a day.I will toss small pasta or rice in to extend it if it's not as filling as I would like it to be.

Other...leftovers can go into pastas with any kind of sauce or just butter and seasonings if needed.Or you can toss them into a tortilla wrap or sub bun.OR dump over rice. Or dumb in to eggs and bake,fry, scramble.

My Nonna used to make bean soup on Monday, Tuesday she would add water and mixed veggies(what ever was on hand or in the pantry), Wed she would add rice or small pasta or broken up spaghetti and on Thursday everything was served over stale bread or cube the bread and toss in the soup (bread she had baked the Friday before). It doesn't sound the most exciting meal there was but it was different each week as she changed the type of beans, veggies and whether it was with pasta or rice.The staleness of the bread wasn't noticable with it being in the soup.You could always toast them and make them into croutons for the soup.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

planning and habits

The main thing is you have to PLAN for the thin times, no money to buy food, no way to get to the store due to weather etc. and you have make it a habit.It takes a bit of time to plan and about 30 days to make it a habit of doing it constantly. It also takes time to actually do the work. If you plan it, use a crock pot, your oven, the refrig and freezer, a pressure cooker if you have one, things can be simplified for you and take less hands on time.

When I first started making vegetable broth we had Thanksgiving dinner.I had shared some of the broth with my youngest daughter and we were talking about it while preparing the big dinner. AFTER we were done prepping the vegetables we both realized we had just peeled everything directly in to the trash can. Needless to say a few mentioned to us that we were giving that trash can strange looks and they were wondering why. We figured we had just tossed 7-8 qrts of broth into the trash.We didn't dig them back out as one grandkid asked if we were going to but it was a definite lesson on where we peeled the veggies from then on.

I have a pantry, I have a hugh pantry for only two people but it's nothing for the kids to call and need help with groceries or for me to provide meals to others in need.

I didn't always have a hugh pantry.It has been years in the making with a lot of planning that let it come about. My son in law still teases me for having can goods under the bed, under the couch, love seat and in bedroom closets.He found them as he was helping us move.I did the same when I lived in a two bedroom trailer with all the kids.Now I have a hugh basement for my pantry like I did when the kids were younger.Things keep better in a cool spot and I have a better veiw of what needs used up first.

I always have kept the staples which is the list I already posted.Might not have paid the cable or phone bill so I could but food and a roof over your head comes first.

I am in a place where my landlord has blessed me with his okay to plant as big as garden as I want.I have did container gardening when I didn't have a place to plant anything or I hit the farmers markets, the pick your own farms, and the sales at the stores (Aldi's and Save-A-Lot along with the rest). My groceries are bought on sale and I try to buy in season. Before I buy any meat I check the marked down meat and base my menu on it.

I keep a running inventory of my pantry especially the freezer. I thought I needed ham and ground beef this week but I don't when I checked the inventory. I do need ground pork,pork chops,sausage, bacon and ground veal. I finally put the inventory on an excel sheet that helps a lot with updating once a day after I pull what I am fixing for our meals.

The fat of any meat(pork,poultry,beef, sausage,bacon etc) goes into ice cube tray and is frozen then put in a freezer bag.

Shells of seafood into the freezer to make fish stock. This is usually around the holidays when my mother brings shrimp and cocktail sauce.

Wash the veggies before peeling them and toss the peelings into a gallon freezer bag to make veggie broth. Include onion peelings, garlic and mushroom stems. I keep the broccoli and cauliflower separate as they are strong. I also keep the broccoli,sweet potato and white potato separate if those soups is coming up on the menu.

Leftover vegetables, toss into a container in the freezer or frig for soups, stews or casseroles or in this family a "big egg" which is actually a frittata,omelette or a crustless quiche.

leftover meat, you can either toss each separately into a container or toss them together put in the freezer or frig for soups, stews or casseroles or in this family a "big egg" which is actually a frittata,omelette or a crustless quiche.

Keep bread on the table at all times. Whole grain is better for your health but white will fill you up when you are low on food. You can spend a small fortune on buying bread for a large family or a small family of big eaters. Learn to make bread etc. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day By Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois is a great book if you don't have a lot of time or just don't want to spend a lot of time on bread. Borrow it from a library and check it out. You will be buying the book in the end anyways.

Another thing...have the family drink water at all meals and during the day. Save the juice for morning only and only let them have a serving which is 1/2 cup ( 4 oz not 16). Give only an 8 oz glass of milk once a day and serve the other 2 servings of dairy as cheese,cottage cheese, sour cream or yogurt etc. Let the sodas before for special occasions.

end of the month meals

I once asked my kids what was their favorite meal growing up was.

Beef and homemade noodles, homemade bread fresh from the oven and homemade (mock) KFC coleslaw. Poultry noodles ran second. Beef and veggies soup with homemade bread came in third.

It amazed me. It wasn't the Tday dinners or the pot roast but the very meals that I made when scraping the bottom of the barrel for food.

Homemade bread was common. I made several loaves at a time using an Amish recipe.I'd put it together around 5 AM and it would be ready to bake by 7-7:30 so I could have it done and cooling before I went to work at 8:30.If I was really with it I would make some on Saturday and Sunday afternoon to ease the work load for the week.

Noodles was a way to fill the tummies with very little. Some flour, salt and egg mixed together, rested, rolled, rested and cut.You can make enough noodles for a family of four with a couple cups of flour and a couple eggs. I would cooked them in beef broth(made from the scraps of bones or roast)or poultry broth (made from the carcus of the bird) or just water flavored with beef or poultry fat. Yes I said FAT. When you are poor you waste nothing. I would cool the broth,skim the hardened fat and freeze it. We didn't eat a lot of fat to begin with and a tablespoon or so in a dish that served a large family wasn't going to do damage.Now days I would also include vegetable broth made from the peelings of veggies that I use. A big thanks to Gayle over at Just make sure the broth or water tastes like sea water(yes, that salty) BEFORE you add the the noodles. I have 2 kids that will make homemade noodles now.

Vegetable soup was made from a couple cups of beef broth that came from a pot roast along with any of the meat and veggies that didn't get ate from the last few days. I would toss a couple cans of mixed vegetables or what ever I had on hand, a can of tomato soup and a large can of tomato juice. Sometimes I added more tomato juice if we had a large crowd with the kids friends. I will do this now days with poultry also especially for hubby and myself as I will over load us with poultry broth if I'm not careful.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

starting with meats

Meat was only bought if it was on sale and I could make at least two meals out of it. I always tried to squeeze a third if not four meals out of the meat.When you are feeding a large family of seven plus friends that are meat and potato folks that are big eaters ( I have a friend that calls me a truck driver because I eat like one). Squeezing an extra meal out of meat is a miracle to being with.

I tried to get a roast of some sort every week. Preferrable chicken or beef. It took four chickens or one good size turkey, (I have a daughter that still cringes when she sees turkey on the table besides at the holidays) to feed us one meal.I would then simmer the carcuss in the stock pot and pick the rest of the meat off the bones. This would be split between broth and meat for homemade noodles(flour,salt,eggs),chicken (or turkey) dumplings and if I was lucky a pot of soup with what ever veggies was in the crisper along with either some rice(not instant) or pasta.If there was enough meat to make a stir fry I would go that way.

A beef roast started with root veggies.Second time was either with noodles(the kids preference) or beef vegetable soup.Sometimes there was enough for stew instead of soup. I would add dumplings to make the stew stretch or put the "stew" in a pie shell and make pot pie instead.

Pork roast was with root veggies, then shredded and tossed with BBQ sauce.Now days I would save some back to make Brunswick stew.

If we got a ham, I roasted it and we had that the first round, then sliced and diced it up for ham steaks, ham sandwiches, ham salad, diced ham for eggs, salads and the bone for bean soups. I can make a lot of meals out of ham.

Hamburger went to meatloaves that followed was sliced cold for sandwiches later and what ever was left went into red sauce for pasta.

I tried to cook ten pounds of hamburger for sloppy joes made from scratch and taco meat made from scratch. It let me keep the sodium and sugar levels down.Sloppy joes also made sheppards pie while taco meat ranged from tacos to enchilidas, burritos,taco casserole and added to cheese to make dips.

I made chili from hamburger(hubby does from sausage), it would make chili soup, then walking tacos, the Cinncy chili over pasta, then taco salad, or even nachos or a casserole with chili with corn bread baked on top, kind of like a tamale pie?

Pork chops,pork steaks, beef steaks etc wasn't on the table much. Couldn't afford the price with how much we needed to put on the table.

Staples in the home

We have went thru the sleet,freezing rain and snow right along with those howling winds.The roads are not something to be out and about on yet.

Landlord brought over a generator so the steers in the barn would have water, which means we get water also. Something city folks take for granted is having water when they don't have power.

Even so I stocked water for flushing toilets,cooking/drinking and made several pots of coffee to put in the thermos we have. Just encase we can't get out to the generator to turn it on.

BUT the worst thing I have dealt with is a child calling me telling me they are low on groceries and aren't sure they will have enough to eat before they can get back to the store. First part of that is my immediate reaction to load up my car with food and haul it over an hour(none of the kids live closer than an hour) and FEED MY CHILD.

The second part wants to kick their rear because I preach,nag and so forth about keeping certain foods in the house at all times.

The following is the main list. It is what I call my basic staples. You don't see Bisquick or anything like that. That is on hubby's basic staples list.LOL

Flour, all purpose and bread if you can afford it also
corn meal
rice, not instant
oats, not instant
cream of wheat
pasta of any kind
yeast, keep it in the freezer
eggs, large
corn starch
baking soda
baking powder
worchestershire sauce
soy sauce
apple cider vinegar
lemon juice
salt and pepper
cream of tartar
chili powder
garlic powder,fresh if you can afford it and will use it.(jar in frig in not bulbs)
onion powder, dehydrated onions, fresh onions if you will use them
basil, dried
bay leaf,dried
thyme, dried
brown sugar
maple syrup or karo syrup or both if possible
oil, canola and olive or at least vegetable oil
lard...I do not use shortening for health reason. Lard doesn't bother my chorlesterol
butter... another one that I only use
milk,dry milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk
sour cream
velvetta,American cheese or mild cheddar,cream cheese
dried or Michigan, pinto, kidney and black
tomato juice
tomato sauce
14 veggies of different colors not just corn and green beans
7 fruits, not just bananas and apples
popcorn, at one time it was microwave when it was just mine then hubby added regular popcorn. Now I wouldn't feed microwave popcorn to my family since I know it's not good for them to be eating those tryglycerides.

Tomorrow I will start telling what I would cook from this list as I did when I was raising our children and money was really tight

Friday, January 28, 2011

Memory of the Challenger

It doesn't seem like 25 yrs ago when we were watching the tv and crying. Wondering how something could go so wrong. Such heart break for the families and co-workers. Such heart break for this nation.

Take a moment and remind your self of all that you hold precious and then let them know it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Sacred Meal book review.

“The Sacred Meal”, written by Nora Gallagher, is another book from the “The Ancient Practices Series”.

Nora Gallagher writes this book about Communion, “The Sacred Meal”. This also talks of other faiths rites that are also practiced at that time. The book is based on the writer’s talks of her own feelings and thoughts of Communion that she practices which makes it interesting.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Starting fresh

We have been talking of the New Year, starting fresh since we moved to a bigger place (and better for us financiallyand emotionally since it reminds us of our childhood homes) finances and in health. They hold hands all the time.

I just finished setting up the pantry in the basement in this house. Great to see what I don't have and need because I use all the time...and bad to see what I have an over abundance of and don't hardly use at all. So we started wondering if I bought stuff not knowing I had it because I didn't have a written inventory or because it was hidden in the small house under the bed,couch, love seat etc. More likely as we found out this weekend, it was given to us because we do eat it, we just don't eat as much as we are given.I know the kids will pass to us things that are considered healthy because they don't eat it and know we do.

SO where does that leave me??? I have a wonderful and extremely varied pantry including over 100 herbs and spices. I have a good amount of meat even though it is low or out of chuck roast, pork butt roast,and Once again,I live out in the "boonies" according to my kids, love it love it love it. BUT you can't run thru the drive thrus of fast food(after reading they douce my hamburger with ammonia I don't think I want to anyways) and you can't have fast food or pizza deliveried.

You have to cook or you beg your hubby to make popcorn in lard,bacon grease and drown it in real butter. That only works on the weekend when he isn't trying to pack his lunch from the leftovers of dinner.

I also am looking at eating healthier foods. I eat natural foods mostly so will be planting a garden this spring (Square Foot Gardening is the way to go).

My plan so far it is to use the pantry up so when the garden comes in there are empty shelves to put it on as I process it. AND to eat more whole grains, more veggies and fruit AND spend less money on food and non food.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Bragging some of the grandkids got together and made these for several of us at Christmas. They picked the Buckeyes while walking down the street and put it together. They were a little upset they didn't have enough letters to spell Nonna correctly or Grand-dad but as far as we are concerned they are perfect. Best part...they gave their imagination and time.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


It's hard moving even when it's something you want to do...not necessarily the leaving the old place and going some where new. The packing and moving and the unpacking is the hard part. Especially when you have tons of stuff from years of living or take everything and anything that you are given.LOL

We are finally completely in the new place that we fondly call the farm as it is our landlord's grandparents farm house.The family is still farming around us and using the barns.

BUT there are over 160 boxes sitting in the garage left to unpack after I unpacked what was in the house. I figure about 8-10 a day and I'll be done by the end of the month.My oldest is excited because it means next month I can start getting my stuff out of her house. We down sized the house but not the stuff.LOL. Now we are back into a house that is basicly the same size we raised the kids in but the master bedroom and the only bathroom is on the ground floor. Hubby doesn't like to walk up and down stairs. I love to which is a good thing as the washer and dryer is in the basement and where I put the main part of the pantry.

Now if I can catch up the Christmas candy and cookies etc before this weekend it will be great.

Have a Blessed Day