Sunday, December 8, 2013

The First week of December

We have eaten at home every day, leftovers from Thanksgiving mostly that I had put in the freezer for future meals

 I finally broke down and fixed pork chops in the crock pot with a honey garlic ginger sauce just to have something different yesterday.

Tonight I used some of the sausage that I had cooked,bagged and froze, on top of 2 pizza crusts that didn't get used at Thanksgiving, added a chef salad that I made to round out the meal.

Fixed a sausage french toast casserole for tomorrow as it needs to sit over night in the frig. Probably will have it for breakfast or dinner depending on if we eat the 2nd pizza for breakfast or dinner.

I plan to pull out the last rib roast from the deep freezer and a box of the pie dough to see if I can make some cookies from it.Got a few recipes from the internet but not sure they would pass with my crew.

I decorated the front room tree today. Have the dining room left to clean and decorate tomorrow and then start upstairs on Tuesday.

Monday is kitchen day along with laundry. I am working on Christmas presents, Christmas cards and cookies and candy for the kids and grandkids besides decorating the dining room.

We talked about our eating from the pantry and buying less at the store. I want to save up some money to buy garden items, seeds and plants this spring which is only a couple months away as I cover a couple of my square foot gardens with hoop houses and plant early.We were trying to decide what amount to spend and on what.

I will have to think about that a bit longer, check out some others that have done the same thing also.

Everyone stay safe, stay warm and Blessings on you and yours.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's Thursday, Thursday is our errand day or at least the morning is. This is how the dogs are after we get home. They don't help unload or put away. HA HA. The one on the left is Kira (not our daughter and no, we did not name her , she was five when we got her so felt she should keep her name).She is a black lab retriever.The "pup" on the right is Rascal (because he is a rascal).We adopted him when he was six weeks old, he will be two in March and he is an Australian cattle dog(blue heeler)/ Australian shepherd mix. He is my ball player and she is the one I walk the perimeter with. The only thing she plays with besides the chew bones you see between them is empty coke bottles even if she has to empty them herself.

We went to pick up the snow blower that had to be fixed, maybe we won't get that bad of a storm that they are forecasting for us since it is fixed so I can start it.

Then it was off to the post office, then the bank, the Joann's for yarn to finish some Christmas gifts and then ....

The grocery shopping. I shopped for the rest of the month except for meat that will go on sale....stay with me.

I bought milk,heavy cream,half and half , buttermilk (yes we use all of them) the season's coffee creamer (my present to myself otherwise Hubby spends a couple bucks once a week to get me a cup at the local gas station and I can spend a couple bucks and have it all month), apples for Hubby's lunch, coffee beans for Hubby, bread (because I have been baking daily for Operation Thank You to send cookies to our deployed soldiers and will start baking for the family) tea for me (Can't drink coffee when my Crohn's is acting up), eggs, salad items,potatoes, sweet potatoes,bananas, pomegranates  and that is basically all I have been picking up for us. I check the non food items and fill in as needed. I try to make those last 2 mos since I do have the space to store under my bed,couch, love seat etc.

On the other hand...cookie and candy ingredients were the main items on the grocery list today for the family and friends. AND I am able to buy that much (think 3 coolers full of brown sugar, xxx sugar, choc chips of different kinds, peanut butter and butter etc. I already have over 50 lbs of flour and 25 lbs of sugar in the pantry) because I grew canned, froze and stored the garden, I "gleaned" from anyone that had produce to give away and I shop the sales on meat (usually, not always but usually).I vacuum pack anything that goes in the two deep freezers.I boil any meat bones for broth, I boil veggie peelings (I was the veggies before I peel them ) for broth. I render "lard" from any of my fats from my meats. I use my leftovers in other dishes or soups.

I just mentioned to one of the kids that they needed to get their self a deep freezer. Turkeys and hams are on sale and when else can you get meat for less than a dollar a pound? Pork roasts and pork loins will be coming on sale. I use the loin to cut boneless pork chops from along with lean roasts. I will pay the price (after calling around and shopping for the lowest price) for Rib roast. I order a twelve rib roast. I cut it myself , four ribs for Christmas Eve and then rest as two bones and vacuum seal them for the rest of the year.

Tea time...Blessed Be

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sorry I went into Thanksgiving mode

We still ate from the pantry most night until .....I went into Thanksgiving cooking mode. See I make homemade beef and noodles and homemade turkey noodles for the family (usually at least around 40). So about ten days out from when we have our meal (the Sunday before Tday) I start a turkey for the turkey noodles. On that day we have turkey and the next day we have turkey noodles for dinner. The following day is beef roast...same routine, beef roast that night , beef and noodles the next. By that time I am baking breads,cakes and stuff that I am no longer cooking dinner. It becomes what ever leftover has been shoved in frig, freezer or soup from the pantry.

After our Thanksgiving dinner, I make a list of the leftovers and what I can make from them since I will be making candy and baking cookies for the Deployed troops  and the kids...BUT this year we had Thanksgiving at our oldest daughter and one of the other daughter's had friends that wasn't going to have much of a meal if we didn't bring home many leftovers.In fact I even complained to my daughter because when she took the meat off her turkey carcass she threw it away instead of saving it for me to make extra noodles for her.

In that respect. Hubby wanted a turkey wrapped in bacon for today...Okay, I will let you know how that one goes.

I have bought turkey and ham for the freezers. Finding meat for less than a DOLLAR a pound is few and far between and when I do I stuff the freezer.

Have a great Thanksgiving .

Blessed be

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Frugal accomplishments

It's Nov. Money is tight between the higher utilities and the holidays coming up. Add to that my medical bills from this last hospital stay.

Since I had already filled the pantry for eating from it through this winter, that is in good shape. Will have to buy meat for the holiday meals and a few odds and ends but that bill will be well below the budgeted amt for the groceries.

Mean time I have harvested the last of the lettuce from the garden and some of the horseradish. I still have apples and pumpkins in storage to process but they are holding very well. I did the last of the red tomatoes in the oven for slow roasted tomatoes for this winter. I have a few green roma's that look to be turning red before Tday. I wished they would last to then but probably won't.

I started my writing with National Novel Writing month over at

I mended a couple shirts and a skirt

I checked through last year's left overs for Christmas gifts to try to use up those crafts.

I started working on this year's Christmas gifts. Goal is to be done  wrapping presents and decoration on Dec 1st. so I can sit on my butt and relax or go visit others and sit on my butt there.

May you and yours be well and healthy through this season.

Blessed be

Eating from the Pantry and just out of the hopsital

SIGH...the best laid plans of mice and men....

Get kicked to the curb when my Crohn's hits. Went in Oct 24th  and 4 am until Oct 27th at noon. Still not recovered but everyday is better even with adding that I threw my shoulder and neck out being sick with the Crohn's.

As from eating from the pantry

Oct 23rd we had fish,gnocchi,zucchini fritters, southern style black eye peas and pumpkin crunch. My last good meal. HA HA

Oct 24th until Oct 31 Hubby has done his best of pulling things out of the pantry for himself and fixing his dinner and lunch for work. He didn't tell me what he was eating since I still wasn't to the stage of eating anything myself. Jello anyone?

Nov 1st was the first "regular" food meal I could eat plus it was the beginning of  National Novel writing month  over at In celebration we had smoke ribs and pasta salad from Davis meats....and all was well except for the shoulder and neck that is SLOWLY going back in to place and calming down.

Nov 2nd we had pasta with meat and veggie sauce.

Today Nov 3rd we are having sweet and sour pork with mushrooms and pineapple over rice.

Blessed be Juls

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oct 22 Menu update, still harvesting

I am still harvesting from the gardens. We had to cover some due to the frost that hit this morning. Dodged it a couple times before it got us. I checked it seemed everything was okay for a few more days if not longer.

My mudroom is full of apples,red and green tomatoes(granddaughter helped me clear the tomato gardens on Friday),jalapeno peppers (2-5 gal buckets left to do) bell peppers and potatoes.

At this time of year I get tired of the harvest and what to throw up my hands and quit....BUT come Thanksgiving when I pull the dinner mostly from the pantry I sing praises of the blessings....I remind myself of that when I get grumpy.

As from eating from the pantry.

Sunday 10/13 123 pantry

Monday 10/14 a casserole

Tuesday 10/15 We went to the Inn Between Tavern

Wednesday 10/16 we ate leftovers from the Inn Between Tavern

Thursday 10/17 Little Caesar's Pizza because we had the grandkids over night

Friday 10/18 we had leftover from the pizza the night before. The rest was stuck in the freezer.

Saturday 10/19 we had chuck roast marinaded in balsmatic vinegar,rice,cooked carrots,mushrooms,onion,and bell peppers.

Sunday 10/20 sausage gravy, Texas toast bread and mashed potatoes

Monday 10/21 pork chops,mashed potato patties, and corn.

Tuesday 10/22 (tonight) Beef stir fry, rice, egg rolls, and pot stickers.

Got to get back to the harvest...have a great one

Blessed be

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Eating from the Pantry

We haven't done as well as I had planned with eating from the pantry. Part of it is lack of planning for the work load of the day and the other is I am still sick, now down graded from bronchitis to viral infection.

Last Sunday we had rib roast,carrots,potatoes and watermelon

Monday we had homemade pizza because I found more crusts in the deep freezer and needed it out of the way.

Tuesday we ate at our local favorite place.Inn Between tavern and got their fried fish special with onion chips (like onion rings) and cole slaw.

Wednesday was Hubby's birthday so I pulled out rib eye steak from the deep freezer and added baked sweet potato and steamed some cauliflower,broccoli and carrots to make California blend veggies that is his favorite veggie.

Thursday we went to the store and ran errands. We got all that we needed (3 things) and then got what we wanted and still came in under budget for the next 2 wks. I fixed sausage patties and French toast for dinner

Friday I made Cinncy chili ...that is chili on top of pasta. I used up some of the Ramen noodles.

Last night was Subway subs. I had worked on fall cleaning all day and Hubby was at a HAM radio class.So he picked it up on the way home.

Have a Blessed Day

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday Rainy and cold and eating from the pantry

It's raining and it's cold. That weather report doesn't mean a thing to the pup that thinks I still need to go outside and play ball with him. So instead I propped open the door and tossed the ball out across the front porch while I caught up on my email here at the desk. Yes I know I am being lazy. Our older dog understand rainy and cold days mean stay in where it's warm and dry.

I was suppose to go down to our son's today to help move somethings around for him with Hubby but I have a fever and a cough...again. So stayed here. Didn't think anyone would appreciate me passing to them...again.

We are eating from the pantry.Have shared our bounty with 2 of the kids that are out of work.One starts work Monday and the other one is waiting on the Gov't to get it's act together.

I went to the store on Thursday, our normal errand day. It felt weird to go into the store, not get a cart or buggy (depending on which state I am in ) and only pick up a gallon of milk and 8 lbs of sugar for jelly and jam making. Hubby asked if we were allowed to only get that much.  I spent the rest of the "grocery" money on canning jars which once again I was out of.

I fixed pork chops, mashed potatoes,corn, baked apple with maple syrup and had cottage cheese and apple butter on Oct 1st.

I reheated the turkey and dumplings on the 2nd.

On the 3rd I made mashed potato cakes out of the leftover mashed potatoes, and fried green tomatoes out of the garden and served it with leftover pork chops and the last of the baked apples.

On the 4th we had nachos...neither of us was hungry after a big lunch due to fasting for blood work that morning. It was a quick and simple meal to put together and plenty for both of us.

Tonight I am thinking pizza.

I ran across a recipe for Indian Lentil soup on Mary Ostyn's blog at

I think I will  have the soup tomorrow with homemade bread to go along with the homemade jam I just made.

Are you eating from your pantry?

Have a Blessed Day

Monday, September 30, 2013

Started early

That's what I get for saying something to Hubby about starting to eat from the pantry Oct 1st instead of Jan 1st.

His response was "can you start tonight?"

I pulled some leftover turkey pieces from the deep freezer, diced that up and added to it diced onions,diced celery, diced carrots and diced garlic. Sauteed that for a little bit to soften the veggies. Added broth and milk. Let it get hot again then added frozen peas and the dumpling dough I made from the Bisquick( which I realized I was low on). Served applesauce on the side and called it done. I drew a star on the date on the calendar and thought one down.

Tonight is cubed steak. But since there is only 3 small ones and I know that's not enough for our dinner and Hubby's lunch I am slicing it in strips and cooking sliced onions and mushrooms to add to it. I will serve it on what ever bread I have. I will serve with it a tossed salad loaded with veggies and french fries that are in the freezer,cottage cheese that Hubby will eat with apple butter on and I will drink a V8 fusion. I will make a Waldorf salad but use crunchy peanut butter instead of mayo as that it Hubby's preference. Another star on the calendar.

I have 4 more trays in the new dehydrator of ripe tomatoes and  4 trays of bell peppers in the old dehydrator. I don't think there is going to be any more bell peppers out of the garden.

The square foot gardens are pretty much done and ready to be prepped for winter. That leaves the 2 tomato patches, if I can call a garden that has 120 tomato plants in it a patch, yet to wrap up. Tomatoes are still okay there so I might have to cover them if we get a frost any time soon. That only leaves the horseradish left to dig up after the first frost.

Have a Blessed Day. Talk to you tomorrow

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Oct 1st. Eating from the Pantry

I am still putting up (old timers term) the harvest but instead of waiting until Jan to start eating out of the pantry for the most part. I decided to start Oct 1st.

My goals are as following:

to make more room for what is still coming in, including turkeys and hams

to use food up so it doesn't go to waste ...after clearing my mother's pantry and having to throw the majority of it out it broke my heart because I know if she had been in a different state of mind she would have been feeding others with it.

to cut the budget as low as possible to finish paying off some of the bills. We have several medical bills right now due to my sickness and shoulder/arm injury along with back taxes and 2 loans. The last loan due to be paid off Jan 2017 and I am aiming to pay it off in 2015.

SO I also decided to hold my self accountable so I will post on here what we are eating and when we buy something what it will be.

Thankfully the weather is cooler now because this requires me to bake the bread for toast and meals.

Blessed be

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sept and still canning

My son calls me almost daily on his drive to work to make sure I am doing okay. Then he calls me at lunch time and see how I feel and what I have been doing that day and what else will I be doing and then on his way home he calls to see how it went and what I fixed his dad and me for dinner..for the last couple months the answer has been .I am in the tomatoes and I am canning tomatoes in some form.Tomatoes has been on the table in some way pretty every night.

At the beginning of the season I had one of these every day or no later than a day and half. then it was every other day, then every third day. It's been 5 days since the last load. The weather has turned unusually cool for us and this time of year. The tomatoes aren't turning red as fast but I am still pretty well loaded with green tomatoes. Guess fried green tomatoes are going to start being on the table a lot also.

On Monday during my son's lunch call he was silent for a few minutes when I told him we had went to the produce auction and then stopped at a farmer's market on the way home. I could tell he hated to ask what we picked up but just couldn't help himself.Probably so he knows what to tell his sisters so they know what food they can ask for later.

I got mushrooms (dried and canned them), pluots (dried and canned them),bananas (dried and canned them ),butternut squash (still to do),cabbage ( made jarred kraut for the first time),acorn squash,(still to do)pumpkins (roasted, pureed and then dried), delicata squash (fresh eating), spag squash( fresh eating),winter onions ( hanging in nylons),4 bushels of different types of apples( still to do ) and 50 lbs of potatoes( still to do). Yes I still have tomatoes coming in. I even asked a friend if he had chili peppers that I could have to make more salsa.

The freezers are full. The pantry is almost out of shelf space. Will be long before I finish for this season. I have started dehydrating things I normally can such as pumpkin just to have room for other things.I got the chili soup made and canned but not the veggie beef soup.I haven't made my dried noodles either.That's also on the to do list.

I have tried to keep the grocery budget at less than $300 but the canning supplies is coming out of the grocery budget like it was a over flowing river breaking through the damn. Hubby has even taken to buying supplies for me out of the overtime he has gotten off and on.

We know if things turn bad like they did a couple years back , that the food I put up (ha ha old term ) is money in the bank for us and our adult kids . I am becoming my grandpa more and more each year.If he didn't grow it,hunt it, fish it,barter it or raise it , he didn't eat it. We don't hunt or fish (hubby drowns plastic worms) and I will buy meat and some other things but most in the pantry is home grown.

I need to go check the canner and the dehydrator.

Blessed be

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Grocery budget and the harvest

There are some things that didn't do well this year so we bought them at the produce auction that is ran by some Amish in our area.. What is coming in from the garden right now is tomatoes...I worry I won't get enough and will have to buy sauces and such again this year and green beans. These seems to be doing good plus I just put in some more for fall.The only thing besides tomatoes that it looks like I am not going to have enough of is cabbage and winter squash. I didn't get much zucchini, what can I say besides I never do and I must be the only person in the world that can't grow zucchini. I am blessed with a friend that does very well with 2 plants so he shared his zucchini and what beets he didn't want to deal with.

Still with the garden coming in I have blew the grocery budget through the summer. I was checking the blogs I read and saw where Mary over at is having a grocery challenge of getting back on track and saving some money herself so I joined in. Everything is easier if I am held accountable and have "friends" doing the same thing.

My goal for food and non-food is $200 for the money. It's usually $350 but the last few months it's crept up to $600 with eating out also. We have a cookout this month with our family that we provide the meat and some of the sides so that is included in that $200.

We have 6 debts to finish paying off. Goal is set to be debt free (we rent because we live where hubby works not where our families are so we didn't want to buy since he is close to retirement) by Jan 2017, I would like to cut 2 yrs off that which means I have to stay on budget and I have to roll what I pay on the other debts on to the next debt as they get paid off. Kind of like snowballing.We will have 2 paid off  by the end of this year and 3 paid off by fall of next year.

It's going to be interesting to see if I can bring the grocery bill down and put that money towards getting that debt paid off faster.

Have a good week.

Blessed be

Monday, July 22, 2013

chicken with no head

this is just a small amount of the plants I have put in since spring. In fact I have put in over 250 tomato plants, 150 bell pepper plants, and 240 onions along with several other is just the tip of the ice burg...then I went to a produce auction and got more...then a friend was over ran with beets and I got description of me right now is a chicken running around without their head.

For right now, 2 deep freezers and both freezers to refrigerators are full to the brim. I am out of shelf room in the pantry with this last round of canning tomatoes.I will have to start storing canning under the bed, in closets etc. I don't stop putting up just because I am being over ran. I figure there are good years and then there are bad years with the garden(like last year and tomatoes) so it just gets shoved some where.I still need more tomatoes (fingers crossed that I will get them from my own garden), green beans (which are growing but not producing) and cabbage. I will probably buy the cabbage at the produce auction. I plan to make kraut this year as we eat it regularly.

I have changed our "diet"to be closer to the Mediterranean diet to try to get my cholesterol in control as I can't take statins and  my insurance doesn't cover Zetia.

I am so far behind I thought I was first seems to have become my motto.

Meantime, two of the kids moved and needed our help as we have the trailer, one went to AT for military and I stayed at their place and babysat my four legged grandchildren.Then we got notice we might have to move and then after a frantic couple of weeks was told that wasn't going to happen.SIGH.

I hurt my shoulder to the point I have had physical therapy and now have an appointment with the specialist.

So today I am sitting down and setting goals of what I need to get done and what I want to get done before the snow flies or worse surgery on the shoulder.

We are tightening the budget to save more as we realized just how much it would cost for us to move into something that would suit us with our lifestyle.

I best get at it...have a Blessed Day

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Over ran by life

or just kicked in the rear end...take your pick.

I picked these old boots up at an produce auction while getting my 250 tomato plants,144 cabbage, 144 cauliflower, 96 broccoli, 96 bell peppers and lots more. I have more than 1000 plants in my gardens not counting the seeds I planted...please do not even try to think of what I thinking of because I have claimed insanity already.

The best thing I can took me 2 months to get it all in ground...and this week I have been harvesting tomatoes and several root veggies. The pantry is cleaned and ready for the new harvest when it starts burying me.Hubby and the kids have decided that if  I am missing that I must be buried alive in the garden and to look for the pup as he is usually with me wanting me to toss the ball for him.Guess they think a large dog jumping up and down would be easier to find than an old woman collapsed in exhaustion.

I will add that my Dad told me they planted 200 tomato plants a year and always ran out before the next harvest.That made me feel better about myself. That was part of what was in my mind. I ran out of tomatoes last December and had to buy canned tomatoes. BUT reality is that I got wrapped out in the bidding and it didn't register that a flat wasn't necessarily 12 or 15 but sometimes 48.

Now I have to take care of all these wonderful plants that will feed us and most likely our kids and their families.

I have started watching Alaska the Last Frontier, it helps with motivation...HA HA.

Enjoy and Blessed Be

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

3 more days and I will be home

From the sounds of the weather at home it would have drove me crazy , warm, cold, snow, rain etc...Hubby even said "you won't be able to get in the garden because it will be too muddy when you get home" which I came back with "that's why we have square foot gardens also." At least this year I won't be making him add more square foot gardens.

I have enjoyed work, enjoyed seeing old friends, enjoyed the warmer weather even though it's cooler than normal in this area, enjoyed paying off a couple bills...but I am so ready to get back home and get to work there.

I did use my down time here for catching up on some reading and starting the inventory for my pantry and reworking our budget. I was able to visualize in my head the shelves in the pantry (now I think just how huge our pantry is) and write out what items was there, should be easier to count them when I get home. I know I missed some things... condiments and spices/herbs...I have over 100 spices and herbs.

Got to get started on the spring cleaning, (warm weather for using clothes line YES!!!) and repairing and redoing the outside furniture.

Planting flowers,herbs and hundreds of veggies. Yes hundreds because I will have over 100 of various tomato plants besides the other plants. I can my own red sauce,bolognese sauce,red sauce with veggies,and pizza sauce. I might do salsa this year also since we do eat enough of it.Not touching diced tomatoes, diced tomatoes with seasonings, stewed tomatoes. I don't make tomato juice until I have enough of the other tomatoes needed done.

I need to really "clean" the pantry while inventorying it so I can see how much room and empty jars I have for this year's produce. I most likely will need more jars, I usually do.

I am going back to baking, I had stopped after Christmas except for cookies for Operation Thank You but since we decided to rework the budget to get a couple more large debts paid off in the next year. The grocery budget(food, non food, personal items, pets, and office supplies) took the hit.

Going to try drying greens this year. Haven't really heard of doing it before last winter, something new. But then I have had a  lot of people that have never heard of leather britches (greasy cut short green bean dried on a string. Will do a post later on it.)including my parents that were upset that they were tossing food they could have been eating,they made shelly beans (like dried beans) out of them and tossed the rest in the compost pile.I reminded them at least they composted it but it's hard to think of that when you know there was times you went hungry. Mother was sad that she had never learned to make broth from meat let alone from vegetable peels like I do.

Dad taught me the basics of cooking, the rest I picked up from others as I became an adult. Still learning each day something new in the culinary world which is probably why I enjoy my career as a Personal Chef even after all these years of working in the food industry.

Going to go "play" with my garden designs...even though I know I will change them when I plant them.

Blessed Be

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Prayers for Boston and all those affected

We are praying for those in Boston and all those that are affected. We have a friend that has a friend that was there and their family hasn't been able to reach him so far.

Blessed be

Sunday, April 14, 2013


never come easy. Especially when you have done the same thing year and year , decade after decade.

We are changing how we run the budget. Keep getting caught with odds and ends that pop up. So we decided to try America's Cheapest Family's (Steve and Annette Economides) budget. Haven't even set it completely up and have found holes in our old budget.

I am also doing a price book for our groceries and non -food items. That is a huge project. I have an extensive pantry so it's going to take some time. I did start snapping pictures of the cost/item tags at the stores so I can put that information in later.

I have finally been able to get back to work after a year with my old boss. Missed them even though we talked,emailed, and texted several times a week. They moved a couple times and are now back in the area so it's great to be back to work with old friends.

Have a good week.

Blessed be

Monday, April 1, 2013

When Hubby rules

Hubby is pretty laid back and doesn't usually say much about how I run the house.Part of that is he is just laid back, the other part is he knows me well enough that if he messes with my system too much I will just hand over the complete job of running the house to him and he has seen the job when he was a single parent and doesn't want it.

Wednesday he decided that since best sales at the grocery store are at the end of the month in this area, that we needed to go at the end of the month instead of waiting until April 11th like I had planned. So with a look at the finances, the pantry and freezer (which I am still working on inventorying I add to our menu to take us to the end of April. Wrote out the grocery list, gathered coupons, checked the store ads and on Thursday we went to town after he got home from work.

Bottom line...I spent $38.48 on the dogs...$100 is in the budget for them as we average out their cost for the year. They will need dog food before I go back to the store but we will tie that in with other errands so it's not a special trip or Hubby will stop at local grocery on his way home from work. Cost of gas to town equals the increase in price at the local store.

I spent $63.21 on non-food and medical supplies and over the counter meds. I saved $31. 52 in coupons, discounts and mark downs on this . Basically around 30% savings.

I spent $120.28 on groceries and saved $76.68 in coupons, store card,and mark downs. That's around 39%. That included a ham and a turkey that was marked down.

I already had the ham for Easter so the first ham was cut up for sandwiches and cubed for casseroles, scraps are for flavoring and the bone is for soup. I took some of it to my son on Saturday since he wasn't going anywhere for Easter because he decided to do his spring cleaning,wished he would come do mine.

I baked the ham I already had for Easter. It will be dealt with today the same way as the first one minus the fact son isn't getting more ham.

The turkey is thawed so it will be for dinner tonight with me slicing the breast for lunch meat, cubing the rest for turkey salad and casseroles and making broth out of the remains.

Hopefully the weather will remain decent and I will be able to get my cool weather crops in the square foot gardens so I won't have to buy as much fresh produce.

Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Blessed Be Juls

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Ate canned Chinese , eggrolls and potstickers and a packaged rice mix last night for dinner. I don't usually eat that much of packed food but we are still trying to use up what was Mother's pantry.

Tonight I have some leftover shredded chicken so I am going to make chicken enchiladas using the leftover homemade cream of mushroom soup as the sauce. Corn in the freezer, green chilis in the pantry and cheese out of the cheese drawer and tortilla wraps out of the frig. A tossed salad with avocado to go with it . All from the pantry.

I caught myself writing out a grocery list and checking coupons...backed myself up as I won't be going to the store until April 11th. When Hubby brought the local grocery store ads in from the mail, I tossed them directly in to the burn can.

I have put the list on the computer so when it is time to go to the store I have the list and decide if I really need that.I have found myself substituting just to use something up.

Hopefully the ground is going to warm up and I will be able to get some seeds planted so with in a month I will have salad food coming in so I can take that off the list.

Everyone have a good day.

Blessed Be

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Changing routines and being productive while down with Crohn's

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I have learned to find ways to be productive so I don't get as depressed because nothing is getting done.

I sorted through the jewelry from my mother's estate and dealt with that so it's off the to do list.

I sorted through a couple boxes every day (Hubby was okay with bringing 2 from upstairs).

I read "Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half" by Steve and Annette Economides ( aka America's Cheapest Family) Which lead me to starting to inventory the pantry,freezers and frigs....still working on that .

I decided to post what I do each week on the back of the front door (it's right beside my desk so I see the back of it most the time) of what I did to be frugal. This week's frugal choices was to go through the check book and see where there were "leaks". I stopped some automatic pays that we no longer use saving $30.00 a month. We found spray paint on sale (patio furniture need painted) and with a rebate.

We ate every night except Friday from the pantry. Friday we went over to the Inn Between Tavern and got the all you can eat fish special.

I made laundry fabric softener and laundry stain remover.

I joined the Money Saving Family (AKA America's Cheapest family). Yes that was spending some money but by using one of their grocery tips I can have that money back in one month.

I read "Brother,Can You spare a Dime" by Tony Sakkis. It's about feeding yourself on $5 a week. Ramen noodles yes, but a lot of variety that makes it no different than serving spaghetti once a week or substituting pasta instead of the Ramen noodles. I eat Ramen noodles without the seasoning package and broth with butter and powdered garlic when I am sick...of course I also eat a sausage patty with horseradish cream sauce and Swiss cheese on a thin bagel when I am sick. My doc thinks I must be really sick especially when I mention craving Chinese food and Taco Bell.

I read "Once a Month Cooking" by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg. I used to do this when Hubby and I first got together and combined our family. It was a mind and time saver when 5 of the kids was in sports and Hubby was also playing ball, coaching and umpiring.

I read Michelle Obama's book "American Grown" Made lots of notes and plans for the house and the gardens for when I got well and back on my feet.

Now I just have to pace myself so I don't trigger anything which comes to today's job of reworking my routines. On my bulletin board (actually a lime green foam board cut in half and doubled) I have posted the old work schedule for housewives. Monday wash day, etc.

I have also used Flylady's schedule. Neither are working for me at this time. I made some notes on what I saw wasn't getting down and what I needed more or less time for the past month. So today I am going to sit down and rework my routine and try it for a month. Since that's also adding in the gardens ( over 1,000 sq ft when you put in the gardens around the house foundations) and yard work.

I hope everyone has a good day.

Blessed Be Juls

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Another snow

Yep, here we go again... looks just like the other weekend but not as much drifting.So tired of the drastic changes.

Still eating from the pantry.Caught myself looking at going to the grocery store after deciding we would only go once a month. I just put that list beside the computer and decided I could add to it, most likely  I will start the garden by then and won't need as much or what I listed to begin with.Besides saving money, eating from the pantry lowers it so I have room to put the garden up when the harvest comes in.

I did get one of the square foot gardens covered with plastic to start warming the soil. It can be 32 outside but if there is sun the plastic can heat the soil to 60 or more. I can plant cool weather crops in that temp and put a hoop house over that square.

I made a plan of what to plant in that first square foot garden. Plan on Anna snow peas, Philadelphia white box radishes,scallions, red summer crisp Cherokee lettuce, Baby leaf lettuce mix,Cimmaron Romaine, Rouge d'Hiver Romaine, Cabbage,cauliflower,broccoli,beets, peppermint Swiss Chard, salad fresh spinach, Yaya carrots and Quickstar kohlrabi.A 4 by 4 ft square will grow all of that for the spring season.

I've been reading "American Grown" by Michelle Obama. Good book to read even if you are not into gardening, I love the layout of the White House kitchen garden and the fact they try to grow food all 4 seasons.

I already told Hubby he is going to have to figure out how to keep the hot house standing through the winter so I can have my salads because it's up to over $15 a month at Aldi's.

Going back to play in the seeds and decide what I can start growing inside.

Have a great day

Blessed be

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

nasty weather nasty health but got groceries

 Snow, sleet , freezing rain with a few days of warm and sunny teases in between. Yep, Ohio in the Spring.

Top it with an acute flair up on my Crohn's which now I am on meds for. Low dosage and 2 out of the 3 are just as needed.

Since I was stuck in side and down with Crohn's I decided to figure out if we could cut the grocery bill. It had did a crawl up to twice the amount budgeted. I first thought, high prices of everything, too much impulse buys and I need to eat healthier.(Sorry doc not going Vegan, I am a cheese hound). Did some research on the internet, pulled some things I did when I was a widow raising 3 and feed half the county with their friends and raided the library on a "I can barely stand but I need out of this house"cabin fever day.

Then I went to the store and got enough groceries for the month (and collapsed the next day but it was done).When the kids were little I did that, when Hubby and I got married I did that, I even did that for a few years after the kids all left home because my youngest did and I went to the store with her.

The picture are $327 of groceries (which leaves $23 for milk/bread etc for the rest of the month). That actually puts us almost half of the original budget amount.The only thing not showing is the 12 rolls of toilet paper. The packaged food to the left of the chair is 22 shelf stable microwave meals for Operation Thank You to send to deployed troops that had their chow halls shut down. I spent $27 and saved $32 on them and yes, they came out of the food budget.

The stick of deli pepperoni will last about 3 months. The ham is for Easter so it will help through next month.I have a meat slicer so I do my own slicing. I plan to get a meat grinder for my Kitchen Aid mixer and start grinding my own beef.

Everything was put prepped and put away with in an hour.Which surprised Hubby but I have a system and I keep my foods in the same place (or do until he moves them) in the frig.

The next day after dreams of not running to the store every week and having a good solid base for many meals...I woke up to my Crohn's. So for the past 10 days I've been telling Hubby what there is for him to eat that he doesn't really have to cook, just reheat or I reheated it for him if possible. He didn't have to buy anything out or go to the store and that made him happy.By the beginning of last weekend I was no longer able to eat, by Sunday I was no longer able to hold fluids down. Monday morning Doc with much regret gave me my first meds for Crohn's. Now I am home trying to replace fluids and get my energy back.I am not in full remission but things are down to a low roar, which is not what I can say for the wind I have been listening to for the last 3 days.

I have a mountain of things on my to do list but they will have to sit and wait until I have fully recovered. Already learned the lesson of not resting when I should.

Blessed Be Juls

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snow day on the farm. The first picture is where the pup bulldozed through so our older dog could go through to potty. So sweet for him to do that for her, surprising but sweet.

The second one is the drive way. You might not be able to see the drift very clearly but it closed the driveway completely. To the point that Hubby had to park in the yard  when he came in from work this morning and walk to the house.Not far just but then he had to make a couple phone calls to arrange for the driveway and the garage to be plowed out. We got 9 1/2 inches of snow and I think about 3 inches of it has already melted. It's suppose to be gone by Friday.

I updated my to do list today and it has doubled since we are getting ready to get in to gardening. I have plastic that I can make hoop hot houses over the square foot gardens and do some early spring planting in a couple weeks after covering the gardens this weekend.

We ate from the pantry tonight. Pork chops,baked potatoes, canned corn (Mother's pantry, and we will be glad when that's gone because we don't like canned corn) and French green beans (Mother's pantry) mixed with canned sliced mushrooms and cream cheese melted in it.

I had Mother on the mind a lot today because I finished going through her jewelry to get it appraised so we can sell it to help pay of her negative estate. Everyone thought her jewelry was "worthless costume" a good half of it was either real or vintage costume jewelry. You just have to take the time and look for maker's marks. Thankfully the local jewelry not only told me what to work for but lent me a jewelry's eye glass to help me see it better.Probably best for her too since she won't have to toss out what is going into the yard sale this spring since I already did that.Now it will be appraised and then I can sell it.

I haven't decluttered much the last couple days unless you count tossing junk jewelry and clearing out some folders on the computer. I plan to get back into that tomorrow.

Guess I will go get a hot drink and go surf pinterest. 

Stay safe and stay warm ( or cool if you are some where hot).

Blessed Be

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In a week

Sorry it has been awhile since I've been on. I feel like I've been running full force and getting nothing done.

But I actually have gotten several things done and off the to do list which is why I have collapsed after dinner and went straight to sleep pretty much every night.

We have been eating from the pantry except for Friday when Hubby went and got fish dinners at The Inn Between Tavern. Haven't stayed on the menu but still ate from the pantry...that is what counts. I cleaned out the refrigerators last night before Hubby took the trash to the road for pick up this morning...the only thing that got pitched was 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes and some citrus fruit that the pup (who is now 1 yr old) thought was balls and then did a good job of chewing them up thankfully on the kitchen floor and not the carpet. Seems he likes lemons the best. Who would figure?

I sorted through more of my Mother's jewelry and am looking at having that done this week.

I have been clutter clearing using Stephanie Roberts Book of Clearing Clutter based on Feng Shui.I can do the 27 fling toss from Flylady but when it came to certain things I held on and on and understand. Stephanie really helped me deal with the emotional side of the decluttering and understanding that the feeling poorly is connected and I had to face that first. In doing so I have been able to put things in a box that Hubby stashes for the yard sale that I will be having in the spring. Since he is taking it out he know exactly where it is going. Though he has made several comments about the amount of burn trash and other trash going out the door with it.But after dealing with my parents hoarding he definitely is on the side of dealing with it now. We also agreed that after the yard sale EVERYTHING that didn't sell will go straight to the thrift shop.No putting it back and doing another.

I ordered the last of the seeds for the garden. Since we have been eating from the pantry I have been able to save enough to do that along with pay off a couple bills. I have 3 more bills to pay off and hope to be able to get that done in the next 2 months by eating from the pantry.

I started baking cookies for Operation Thank You to send to our deployed troops in our area. We were going to make the delivery tomorrow but they are being held in the freezer now since we have 6-8 inches of snow and sleet coming in tonight. So I can bake more cookies to send.I bake from scratch so it's not costing us a small fortune as if could be if I bought premade dough.

Have a good day
Blessed Be Juls

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Still eating from the pantry

Which is starting to sink in with Hubby. I took the grocery money 2 weeks ago and bought perishables and non-food items. Last week he asked if we needed anything...bread and eggs was it.

Today he handed me the grocery ads that came in the mail and asked about going to the store tomorrow.

I took the ads straight to the trash can we put burnables and didn't even look at them. Told him I didn't need to see the sales and think I needed to get them. We would need dog food and dog dental styx for us and the rest of it would be for ingredients for cookies and microwave meals for deployed soldiers that we will be delivering to Operation Thank You first week of March.

I think it finally hit I meant it when I said we were going to eat the pantry down. We bought a Little Caesar's pizza a couple weeks ago and got Wendy's the other night. Both times it was because we weren't home and if I had cooked it would be late. My Crohn's has issues with me eating that close to bed time. We will probably go over to the Inn Between Tavern for fish on Friday. We don't go every week though we would love to, I love their fish and their fried chicken.

By eating from the pantry I have been able to pay off a couple bills. I still have 3 more to go plus what ever we owe on taxes this year. Second year in a row to owe, we usually have that set pretty close to break even and not owe but not get a refund either. I am not into loaning the gov't my money.

We are going to have to replace the microwave (right after Hubby gets a new travel mug so we can make sure it fits in the microwave) and both of us has lost weight and need clothes (most will come from the thrift shops).

Hope you have a good day...

Blessed be

Monday, February 25, 2013

Clutter clearing by Stephanie Roberts

I have been reading this ebook By Stephanie Roberts. Normally I am not thrilled with reading books on the computer but this is a definite extremely glad I did and will repeatedly do so again.

I do Flylady...if you are not familar with her then take a side trip over to and check her out...and I will include the only other reading resource that Stephanie offers in her book is Flylady.

So, here I am , two years in the same place, wasn't sure we would stay in this rental because even though it's close to work, it's over an hour to any of the kids and farther than that to the parents. I would have to say I hope the landlord doesn't ever want us to move or at least not until Hubby retires. We have both owned more than 2 homes, and thought we might want to own instead of rent.We decided against owning until he retires.

With Mother dying last November I have been going through some things my brother has cleared from Mother's and Dad's home. Brother stays with Dad in the home but the hoarding was too much for him to handle so it's been a slow process as Dad who has Alzheimer's doesn't want to let anything go.  It made me take a real good look around my house to see what our kids would have to deal with if we died today.

They are not going to be very happy after they pull the food from the pantry they want and split up the kitchen ware. Okay they might wait until they go through the linen and bedding. One daughter will be happy to have my clothes as we wear the same size and same classical style. But other than will not be good.

Clutter Clearing by Stephanie Roberts came to me at the right moment. I didn't know what I all had or where to start. I was over whelmed even with doing Flylady. It just seemed to grow more and more. I would think we got rid of something only to find it some where else. That was figured out when Hubby finally admitted he thought we should keep it and put it where he knew I wasn't going in to often.No we still haven't used it after 2 yrs, so it goes and he agrees to tell me up front he doesn't want to get rid of something not hide it).

I would say after he brought home another truck load from my parents and it sat here in the middle of the dining room until I could get through it (still am working on it but it's off to the side now). He realized what I was trying to our kids from this stress and frustration.

I asked him to decide a place to put yard sale items ( I need the cash more than I need the deduction since my normal job out of state is on hold due to daughter needing my car to get to work after being out of work for two years and of course her car died the second week, still trying to find something she can pay cash for).

Yard sales are a lot of work, I've supported myself and kids when I was a widow doing just that thing so at least I know what I am into and how to bring in the most money.

But where to start???? Stephanie helps you figure that out and if you follow what she writes you won't get over whelmed because you will understand the emotional ties.

So I need to get back to doing my homework assignment as my Hubby calls it.

Blessed be

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lost in the land of Pinterest

I wandered to Pinterest on the 15th...I just wandered back out today.

I am not much of one to stay on Facebook or play the games on Facebook but Pinterest....oh yeah.

DIY, smiles,furniture, houses,pretties, clothes...I mean who can't love going clothing shopping without spending a dime?

But the know if someone started a diet and attached pictures that made the food look great  on Pinterest, it would go like crazy.

So mean time between bathroom and food breaks I did get some decluttering done in my kitchen.All the top cabinets have been cleaned,decluttered and new shelf liner put in. Ran out of shelf liner so I will finish that part of the project next week but I did finish cleaning and decluttering the bottom cabinets. Probably good since my body let me know I am not in prime condition for spring cleaning.

Got the bathroom cabinets done also, no shelf liner going in there.

I've been going through 1 box or 1 bag each day for Flylady.

I Feng Shui my desk which is actually a kitchen counter top that my hubby put legs on it for me. It'e eggplant purple and we got it in 1998 for $5 along with another counter top that is pale pinkish lavender that was $7. Best money we were spent.

We have been continuing to eat from the pantry mostly. We ate out the first Friday after Ash Wednesday at the local tavern that is well known for it's fried chicken and fried fish. I went to the store twice. Did a non-food run which was worse financially than the food run was that I did yesterday. Still came home with no buttermilk or raspberry syrup or yellow ink for the printer. Not going to rush back and get it though I might order the yellow ink on line if I find a better sale than the local price.

I haven't did anything with my gardening unless you count the pins I did on Pinterest.

I am fixing apple tuna sandwiches (Taste of Home)on oatmeal bread(Mary over at Owlhaven) and slicing bananas and Mandarin oranges and kiwi to look like palm trees in the sand (Pinterest pin) for dinner tonight. Hubby can take chili soup that is in the pantry that I canned for dinner tonight.

I am debating between 3 different types of sweets to make. Might end up with all 3.

Enjoy your day, stay safe and warm.

Blessed Be Juls

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day. I hope all of you have had a great day, one of love shown to you by everyone around you.

I don't focus on a sweetheart on Valentine's day (hubby appreciates that since he is about as romantic as a rock), I focus on making sure those I love know I love them, total strangers are told "Bless You".

I try to remember to send my loved ones flowers or pics of flowers on a regular bases. Like my deceased Mother would say, "if you don't give them to me when I am alive don't bother when I am dead."

My kids get a kick of me texting them pictures of things that will make them smile.

So as I wrap up my day of everyday chores and housework I just wanted to make sure each and everyone of you are loved and blessed...

Blessed be Juls

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Staying on the menu , cooking from the pantry

talking both myself and hubby out of going to the store. It's going to be a little hard as I am taking a wine class and have to have a certain wine for this next section and of course I don't have it in my "wine" pantry.

At least the wine section is in the front of the store so I won't have to go clear through it and see all that I don't need to buy.

Flylady ( is have a Lent "special" 40 boxes of decluttering for Easter. Since I've been a flybaby since 2001 I didn't bat an eye at that but did go count how many boxes we have that I should go through including the ones we just brought here from my deceased Mother's. Total was 444, all neatly stacked in 4 different areas so you don't really realize there is that many. Lots of them are small, the size of a shoe box but still 444????

Staying on the menu this week has been easy so far especially with me just starting to finally feel a little better, don't have much energy ...for me that is ... as I had a friend mention I do more in the morning than some people do in a day. Still we can only compare ourselves to ourselves. We are original and there is no copies. Unless you have been cloned.

I did the Home Blessing on the first floor which is the main living floor and did some of the laundry. I've been sorting through my Mother's table cloths and doilies and deciding what to give away and what to keep and washing the ones I want to keep a little at a time.

Making sure I don't hoard her hoarding.

Have a Blessed Day...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Menu plan ...still on Pantry Challenge

We are still eating mostly from the pantry. Starting today and for the next 8 days we have talked ourselves out of eating out several times and I imagine the conversation with continue.

Today we are celebrating Chinese New Year. No we are not Chinese.
Everything is coming from the pantry. Pot stickers, Thai Basil Turkey lettuce wraps, Peking pork chops with Soba noodles, Traditional Mandarin fried rice, stir fry of cauliflower,broccoli,carrot, mushrooms and onion in a garlic ginger sauce, Mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple, miniature marshmallows in Greek Vanilla yogurt and of course fortune cookies.

Tomorrow is Clean Monday, the first day of Lent if you are Greek Orthodox ( No we are not again). Still I will do the home blessing ( and we will have Pasta e Fagioli, salad and oatmeal bread I baked on Friday.

Tuesday is Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gra/Shrove Tuesday. (Hubby sort of does Lent, I support him) I will be fixing Jambalaya in the slow cooker and Smoked sausage. I will BUY a King Cake.

Wednesday is the 1st of Lent. Tuna patties, mushroom and onion stew over mashed potatoes, salad. All from pantry

Thursday is Valentine's day, stuffed pasta shells, salad, garlic bread and Berries and Champagne cream. I will probably do an appetizer of brie cheese, apple slices on cinnamon bread or crackers.

Friday is Lent it's fish (this is definitely Hubby) So I will either do the fish fillet in the freezer or salmon patties (canned in the pantry), boiled potatoes with butter  and peas and an apple pie.

Saturday we will be celebrating our anniversary early since it falls during the week. I have steak and lobster tail in the freezer. Baked sweet potato and California blend(homemade  version) and a marble (yellow and chocolate)cake for dessert (cake in freezer).

Sunday will be red bean soup (leftovers to be used in red  beans and rice later in week), fried potatoes and corn bread

Monday our actually anniversary will be pork chops, hash browns, fried eggs, waffles with fruit topping,and oj. Guess I should figure out a couple of veggies to go with it, might end up being V8 fusion as I do have some of it in the pantry.

Blessed be

Friday, February 8, 2013

Baking day

For the past two weeks I have planned to have a baking day but never got the time or had the energy. This morning I got up and thought it was time.

I pulled all the recipes that I had made notes on that I wanted to do, then pulled all the ingredients and pans that was needed. Set up my stations, ingredients in the kitchen, cooling racks on dining table with the final product wrapped on a 6 ft card table in the front room.

I quit at dinner time with the last thing coming out of the oven was the pizza crusts for dinner. I did not get done but tomorrow is another day.I wrapped the evening with making sure all the dishes were washed and tomorrow's recipes together and the ingredients set so I can start right back in. By time I am done I shouldn't have to bake again for a couple months, unless we become little pigs and eat it all this month. Done that before also.

Today I made

2 loaves of oatmeal bread from scratch (freeze 1)

6 strawberry muffins from a mix (freeze 4)

6 apple cinnamon muffins from a mix with apples added to it (freeze 4)

6 triple berry muffins from a mix (freeze 4)

12 blueberry muffins from a mix (freeze 8)

2-8 inch rounds of yellow chocolate marble cake (1 to eat now, the other for the freezer)

cranberry orange scones from a mix (made 8 scones, freeze 6)

cream tea scones with apples added to the mix (made 8 scones, freeze 6)

oatmeal blackberry scones from scratch (made 8 scones, freeze 6)

2 pizza crusts from scratch for dinner.

Monday, February 4, 2013

February is a sad month for me

Even though Hubby and my anniversary this month, I still struggle to find joy during this month. Part of it is I have SAD, not good when you live in a state that has a low level of sunny days. Plus I lost my late husband during this month and I spent Valentine's day at the lawyer's office dealing with his negative estate. I do get excited about ordering the garden seeds and trying to start a few of the tomato plants myself (which usually bomb but I still try). 

So this time I decided to find something every day to make me smile.

Today I went to the grocery store. I love grocery shopping as much as I love cooking (good thing since I am a personal chef, I do not love cleaning up after myself or anyone else). Better I got several good buys. I spent 1/3rd of the month's grocery budget and figure we won't need anything other than milk, bread and eggs. Saved 25% of what I spent with matching coupons with sales and using my digital coupons loaded to my grocery rewards card. SCORE.

I bought 2 turkeys and a pork loin that was on sale, 90 % of what I did buy was veggies and fruits, most of it in season with a couple out of season for recipes we decided to try. I did buy 9 boxes of cereal which I don't normally buy cereal, but Hubby asked for some cereal and then asked me to make rice crispy treats but use Cheerios. His coworker brought some in and he liked them. I had coupons and matched the sales so I got all 9 boxes for less than a dollar a piece. I doubt if I will eat any of it for bfast but I will grab a bowl of cereal for a snack mid-afternoon.

I put veggies and fruit away in an organized way so what needs used first is in the front and what can wait until a week or so is in the back. Focusing on no more food in the back of the frig for science projects.

I decluttered the kitchen frig freezer and restocked it with bfast foods.In doing so, realized that we had more bread than I thought so I  don't plan to buy any more until we have this supply gone.

The frigs are organized that I can put together a simple lunch or snack for myself. I've always kept Hubby's lunch items together, apples and such in a drawer, his yogurt above it. Why in the world I thought I wasn't worth the same consideration, I have yet to figure out.

Flylady over at has announced that February's habit is 15 minutes of decluttering each day. So I spent 15 minutes decluttering my canning area in my basement and realized I have no foil in the back up storage. Figures that I would run completely out when I fixed dinner. Guess I will be going back to the store for foil.

I am continuing to eat from the pantry, trying to pull at least 1-2 canned goods each day from what was my Mother's pantry. Tonight I used the rice I fixed yesterday to make chicken and rice casserole. Used the chicken I prepped yesterday also and a can of mushroom soup from Mother's pantry. Grabbed a jar of jam from her pantry also to go with the biscuits I baked. Fresh broccoli (bought today) along with cottage cheese( bought today), applesauce and beets from my own pantry. I pulled a can of peaches from Mother's pantry and put them in the frig. Tomorrow for bfast I can have the peaches with the yogurt and granola I have.

What makes you smile?
Blessed Be Juls

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Feb 3rd GOD's Day of Rest

I am one of those that struggles with resting. I try to picture GOD on Saturday night. He looks and sees what he has done all week and what still needs to be done. He says "this is good" and takes a day of rest....key words ...good ... not perfect and not even great...simply good; the other word is rest.

What is rest? I don't think it's running to the stores to shop, playing catch up on the house cleaning and laundry, or slaving away in the kitchen all day.I don't think it's doing all the paperwork that has sat all week either.

So what is rest? According to Webster dictionary, part of the definition is the following:

Freedom from activity or labor.....Okay that is pretty well clear, couch here I come for napping...

Peace of mind or spirit....That's not always clear especially if you are sitting them free from the activity or labor and you see everything that still needs done...

This is when I ask myself  "is it good?"

I did spend some time in the kitchen today, I made a large pot of rice as I am making fried rice for dinner tonight( chicken stir fry, fried rice and pot stickers all from pantry) and a casserole with rice later this week. I had enough left for me to have rice, dried cranberries and warm milk or cream for a snack a couple times.Cook once use for at least 2 meals.

After I was done cleaning up after cooking it I thought I should have made it yesterday to  have freedom from activity or labor of the meal today.Some Amish that I grew up with do not cook on this day but serve cold foods or something simple such as soup or popcorn,apples and grape juice.

I remember my aunt always serving cold fried chicken, potato salad, cole slaw, applesauce and pickles or pickled beets.

I am going to try to start practicing that. Either something cold or something simple such as soup, crock pot meal, or a meal in the oven prepped the night before for Sundays and leave the dishes for Monday morning and treasure GOD's day of rest

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog's day

He might be forecasting an early spring here in Ohio but it's pretty nasty outside today.

I spent the day giving the 1st floor (it's the main living areas) a good cleaning. Haven't did much more than a kiss and promise since Christmas with Hubby and me both sick since then.

I fixed a steak and split it between us, neither of us eat as much as we used to before getting sick,might try to keep that as a habit...the eating less not the being sick.

Opened a can of potatoes and a can of corn from the canned goods that was Mother's. Sliced up some fresh mushrooms to go with it and called it dinner.

Thawed some chicken breast. There was several in the package and they were frozen together. I freeze my separately so I don't have to use the whole package but I don't turn food away. I prepped 3 meals out of it for this week.

Going to call it a night and do some pleasure reading.

Blessed be

Friday, February 1, 2013

The start of February

We are under a winter weather advisory for the next couple days. I checked the groceries out of habit. We had just decided 2 days ago we didn't need to go until Tuesday when we would be already in town.

We had sausage that I mixed in with canned potatoes, eggs and canned sausage gravy as a skillet meal. I served toast with it and added apples on the side for fruit. The canned goods came from Mother's pantry and the rest from our own.

Today we ate leftovers and canned fruit (again from Mother's pantry). Friday is our piece day if hubby doesn't work the weekend. Good day to use up leftovers.

I finished going through my Mother's stuff we had brought home, kept what I would use (which was less than what I wanted to keep) and divided out the rest between my 3 children.

Thoughts rolled around as I washed 6...yes 6 Tupperware containers for  veggie trays. She wasn't using them, they were buried where she could no longer get to them.  

So here's my's frugal to take care of what you have,but if you aren't using what you have you are no longer frugal but a spendthrift wasting your time (housekeeping and maintenance) and money (especially if you have to rent a storage unit). As I scrubbed the bottom of her pots and pans, I can remember her lectures of if you don't keep the bottoms of your pots and pans clean, it takes longer for the heat to reach the food and cook it so you are wasting energy. So true but somewhere along the line she stopped caring if she was wasting energy.Still these pans are over 55 yrs old and still in great shape so I will be using them. I already pulled my old ones to pass on to one of my kids.She has have that set already anyways.

Have a Blessed Day

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lessons I have learned from the Pantry Challenge

Lessons I have learned from the Pantry Challenge.

  If I tell Hubby it has to come from the pantry he doesn't walk around the store and do the "oh,look, let's try this" line with me.

 We had to make a run to the store today to get more supplies for the cookies I was doing for Operation Thank You to send to the deployed troops. I ran out of brown sugar anyways. Lesson learned, I don't stock brown sugar after Christmas baking is done. I need to put back a Cookie fund for the times I bake for OTY.

 I need to do more baking of our breads. I've gotten lazy in this area even though most of everything else is made from scratch.

I need to focus on eating more of our squash.

We saved more money than I thought we would and used it in areas that we would have struggled to get the money around.

Both of us has been sick and neither of us felt like cooking. I need to prep some meals for those times and keep that in stock.

We have decided to do the Pantry Challenge during February to use up what canned goods came from my Mother's pantry. It will be interesting because there is plenty of canned gravy and we don't really eat that much gravy. Probably will have "blue plate specials" to use it up. And that statement of "blue plate specials" just showed my age. Oh well...SMILE

Been dealing with a horrible migraine for 2 days so calling it a nite

Blessed Be

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 28 of Pantry Challenge.

Jessica over at goodcheapeats has decided to end the Pantry Challenge today.

Like me, she actually started in December. Check out her blog for how she has done.

 I saved 50% of what we normally spend. We ended up adding non-food and eating out into the total also so we really did good. We cut down eating out by 50% also and I can actually say except for the Chinese Buffet I haven't missed it until I got sick. I always crave fast food when I am sick...figures that's when I can eat it anyways.

 We spent the savings on garden seed and some other odds and ends we would have been scrimping to pay. I even bought some foaming hand soap from Back and Body that Ree over at Pioneer Woman had talked about for myself as a birthday present. Better late than never I thought.

 As for the Pantry Challenge, Hubby and I have decided to go at least until the end of February. We decided this on the following reasons: 
  #1, we will save enough money to finish paying for the garden supplies.

  #2 we will be able to clean the pantry without moving a lot of food in March/April when I do the spring cleaning.

 #3 we won't be wasting our resources buy throwing away food that went bad because it wasn't eaten.

 The last reason really hit home this weekend when my step brother and I cleaned out our parents pantry. By today we counted up the food that had went bad and realized that my kids and their families (total of 21) could have been fed for 2 weeks with what we threw out.

That makes me very sad because our parents didn't have money to waste like that. I do understand that they forgot what they had because nothing was organized and it was all shoved in different cabinets and some was even in boxes and sacks in bedrooms and the hallways. What was still good I have split between my kids and us.

So now I have more in my pantry than I did when we started the pantry challenge...Guess that is reason #4.

We are going to think about some RULES for ourselves for the Pantry Challenge in February.

 Tonight is leftovers or smoked sausage and mac and cheese if Hubby decided to cook because I have had a horrible migraine since last night and it isn't going away. Have a good day. Blessed Be

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 26 and 27 of Pantry challenge

Yesterday we spent the whole day across state to our parents. We ate bfast on the road, Subway steak,egg and cheese on flat bread , we worked through lunch at my step dad's trailer with my step brother. Since Mom died in Nov I've been doing what I can to help get the trailer around so my stepbrother can live with my step dad who has Alzheimer's. For dinner we ran through a Mc D's drive thru so we could see my brother for a few minutes before he left Dad's. Not a very healthy day for the menu.

We did clear out Mother's pantry. The shame of it is we had to throw away enough food that would have fed my daughter's family of 9 for 2 weeks. BUT that's not all. My step brother kept enough groceries to feed him and Pop for 2 months. We brought home enough canned goods to fill the bed of our full size truck. I've sorted out the canned goods and split it between us and the kids. Still our share (which was basically what the kids won't eat, can't figure out why none of them eats beets.) filled 2 shelves in the butler's pantry. We will use that up before going back to use our own.

Today was leftover steak,egg and cheese on flat bread, we just snacked for lunch and dinner was the odds and ends of leftovers in the frig.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 24 and 25 Pantry Challenge, running low of favorite tea.

I side tracked last night after dinner dishes was done to work on a puzzle we are doing as a gift for another family member.

 We had the meat loaf from the deep freezer, mashed potatoes (potatoes were bought in Nov for Tday dinner) and corn from the deep freezer.Bread, butter and jam rounded out the meal.

 I pulled a container out of the freezer in the mudroom frig. I could tell it have chicken pieces and carrots and potatoes, other then that I was clueless as to what it was. This morning I checked it, it was thawed enough to transfer to casserole dish. I think it's what was left from chicken and dumplings but I don't know what it has potatoes in it if it is.

 Oh well, right now it's in a casserole dish to warm for dinner tonight, I will add bread, butter and jam or apple butter to go with it, maybe cottage cheese,applesauce and beets. I might make a fruit crisp to go with it also. Depends on the puzzle.

 I had a friend ask me what was my point of doing the pantry challenge, I wasn't really going without anything. I am but I just don't acknowledge it because I know how to substitute pretty well in the kitchen. That was knowledge that I had before becoming a personal chef.

We ran out of chips and we are low on chocolate bars. Those are hubby's two junk foods. He eats peanut butter on his chocolate bars before going to work.I got him 2 small bags of chips at Aldi's the other day and that's all until next month.

I am running out of my favorite flavored tea. I have enough for 2 more tea pots. I've been tossing in some home made teas from my herbs.

 I have an herb and spice pantry of over 100 different kinds.My apple mint that I also use for tea is real low and my plant died so I am really having to be careful of how often I use it until I get a new plant in and producing.

 I am out of some types of pasta.I am out of some types of rice.I am out of chuck roast and don't have any roasting chickens.I am out of sub buns, hot dog buns, ciabatta bread and Texas toast garlic bread.
Because there is only the two of us I put our breads in the freezer and only pull out what we need as we need it. I do bake, I used to make all of our bread except for one loaf of sliced bread a month. We don't eat bread as much now days.

I am out of tomato sauce and fire roasted tomatoes that I make tomato bisque out of. Need to plant more tomato plants this year.

I am low on some dried fruits that Hubby favors and he has acknowledged that he is going to have to use the others up. YEP, he asked for them and then hasn't used them. He adds them to his yogurt for his lunch/snack at work.

I am out of eggrolls, I use that for lunch a lot of times or snacks. I am almost out of  pot stickers, that hubby likes for snacks when he isn't working.

I am out of Italian green beans until the season comes back in. Yes I noted to plant more of that type of bean.

There are bare spots in the pantry, in the freezers and in the frigs. That's okay. In fact I changed where I stored a couple things.

I used the last of the onions we raised last year. So I will have to buy onions until next I need to plant more than I did last year.

I don't look at the grocery ads. I don't go to the store for milk or bread, hubby does that because he drives past the local small store on his way home from work and he gets just exactly what I say we need. If he sees a good sale and thinks I might be interested he will call and ask...not just buy like I would.

I am using things that would have sat longer if not got used at all. I don't want to use up the favorites and then be stuck eating a bunch "why in the world did I buy this" type of food.

I know we have eaten out or bought take out food 4 times since Jan 1st. I know tomorrow we will eat out also. So my thoughts are on that is 5 times in 31 days (as I know we will eat home the rest of the time). That is half of what we have been eating out. So that money has been saved and we have ate healthier also which helps when we both got the flu and I got 2 different flues.

My goal for next month is to do the Pantry challenge again, to drop the eating out down to 2 or 3. I would just say 2 but Valentine's day and our anniversary is in Feb and if I say 2 then I will feel bad if it is 3. Since we didn't eat my birthday dinner and it's in the freezer maybe I will talk Hubby into just eating it instead of us going out.

I know I need to make some pizza crusts for the freezer for those times it's "I want a pizza".

Puzzle calls,

Blessed be

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 23 Pantry challenge and grocery store

Felt better today, not well but better.

 With the weather forecast saying it's going to get worse we made a small grocery list of perishables we needed. I checked the grocery budget and realized with eating from the pantry this month that not only was I able to order half of our garden seeds but I could buy ingredients to make cookies for Operation Thank You to send to the deployed soldiers.

I don't keep cookie making ingredients on hand, flour yes but that is about it because we don't eat many cookies...well we would but we over do it when we do. I don't buy store bought cookies very often either. We do make over 100 dozen cookies for the kids and grandkids and Operation Thank You at Christmas time.

So today while at the store I got our perishables, about $10 worth, some personal items, dogs treats and the cookie dough ingredients. AND still had money left in the food budget.

I pulled canned corned beef from the pantry, plopped it in a casserole dish, topped it with what was left of the jar of kraut in the frig to nuke in the microwave for dinner. I will top it with the shredded Swiss cheese I pulled from the freezer and serve it on the deli rye bread that was in the freezer also.  I will serve it with cottage cheese, pickled beets and applesauce. The standard 3 things that is usually on the table, some times it's pickles instead of beets.

While out in the garage I pulled a meatloaf out of the deep freezer to thaw for tomorrow.

If we hadn't been eating from the pantry this month I wouldn't have had the garden seed like I did and I definitely wouldn't have been able to  buy ingredients to make cookies for our deployed soldiers. Just a little reminder to myself of what I can do when I manage our resources better

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 22 Pantry challenge

tea and popcorn from the new air popper hubby bought me for Christmas.

Yep that's what I had for dinner. Back to being sick and that's what I was craving. At least this morning I made us cream of Wheat for bfast.

Hubby had chili that I had canned last month with Fritos and he talked of buying potato chips before the end of the month. I think I am not the only one craving them along with peach gummy rings...thanks to Ree over at Pioneer Woman.

Going to make more tea and call it a night. Tomorrow is another day.

Stay warm and stay safe

Blessed Be Juls

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 21 Pantry Challenge.

10 more days this month, plenty of food , plenty of fresh produce.

10 more days until I get grocery money. Potato chips, I am craving potato chips.

10 more MONTHS of food in the pantry/freezer...but not enough potato chips....

I vacuumed bagged shredded pork and ham slices and ham chunks. Which means there are now 8 more meals in the freezer.

 Have different broths in the frig for the fat to harden for me to de-fat tomorrow and can the broth. I will strain the fat into ice cube trays and freeze it then bag it when it's frozen (and LABEL). That shout was at myself for not labeling another batch. I had to melt a cube and taste it to figure out what it was.

Tonight I cooked green beans and diced potato and ham chunks together. As a child this would have been the meal Mother put on the table with corn bread. But hubby grew up on the farm with beef and pork always in the freezer so he isn't satisfied with that type of dish so I grilled ham and cheese sandwiches to go with it. He was happy. Tomorrow I will have the leftover green beans with leftover corn bread for lunch.

I can tell you now with the weather we are having right now that we will be having chili that I canned last month for dinner tomorrow. I just looked at our weather gauge (we live on a farm in the boonies) and the wind chill is a minus 25.

I will be doing some baking tomorrow. Good way to help keep the house warm by using the oven.

Stay safe, stay warm.

Blessed Be

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 19 and Day 20

Yesterday when Hubby got home he fixed pancakes for brunch. But come dinner time neither of us felt like eating let along cooking. So we did a run to Wendy's. He got a sandwich and I ended up sharing part of my sandwich and fries with the 2 dogs. I would say we haven't recovered from the flu yet.

 Last night I ordered the first half of my seeds and plants for my gardens. It was a great feeling because I used the money we saved from the grocery budget and we aren't robbing Peter to pay Paul or waiting for what little tax refund we get.

 The thought that crossed my mind was if we eat from the pantry the rest of the year I might actually be ahead financially...on the down side of that is I will still have to replace the pantry.

 Tonight we have left over pasta from the other night so I am adding onions,bell peppers, mushrooms, black olives and pepperoni and some pizza sauce and topping it with pizza cheese for pizza spaghetti as my youngest used to call it.

 So we are back to eating from the pantry with the goal to be able to order the rest of the garden or at least part of it with in 2 weeks. Enjoy the day. Blessed be Juls

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 18 Pantry challenge and life style choices

Today is my birthday. Happiness in that I am older,( can't wait to turn 56 so when the kids call me an old crone, I can say YES I AM)the bills are paid, there is a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in the pantry and GOD in my heart. Even though I am sick with the flu, I am happy that I am HOME and not in the hospital like so many others. I also am still, birthday and sick going to have to do the laundry, pick up the house and make dinner.

Today I pulled pasta from the pantry, a can of tomato puree from the pantry, a garlic bulb from the garlic basket and will add some basil leaves from the plant that is struggling to survive in the planter on the dining table.There are mushrooms and broccoli in the frig. I have flat bread in the frig also so I might make a bruschetta just because it is my birthday. There is prosciutto in the freezer that I can top it with along with fresh basil, olive oil, and a little bit of shredded provolone cheese. Even with thinking what to take from the pantry that I acknowledge my kids call Mom's grocery store. I am thinking of how to make what I have last the longest possible time and yet eat well.

To me my pantry is not just come canned goods in a cabinet (on in my house on shelving units in the basement or under furniture depending on the house at the time). It's a life style.

It's a life style that reflects the importance of putting food on the table for my family (whether they are living with me or not) in good times and bad when there is no money for groceries.That choice comes from growing up without enough food and going hungry after my parents were divorced and Mom didn't handle the finances very well.

It's a lifestyle of choosing to buy $20 of groceries that can make a week's worth of food(not always balanced but filled the tummies at the table) or a delivery of pizza or fast food drive thru for one meal.

It's a lifestyle of gardening and processing that food for the pantry even when I had no place to grow anything. Containers on the porch and in front of windows during the winter and farmers markets and even the grocery stores when things were in season and cheap.

It's making food last and not wasting.It's using the little tiny bits that aren't worth a meal and turning them into casseroles, soups or in pasta or rice dishes. Or as hubby does, in to beans or eggs.

My dad who grew up during the Great Depression told me I was too frugal in my kitchen. I would be a match for his grandmother. To me that was high praise as she not only fed herself but her childrens' children and neighbors in the small community they lived in the foothills of the Appalachians in southern Ohio.

It's hoarding when you don't eat it and it goes to waste, it's a pantry when you do eat it and it doesn't go to waste.

It's making plan overs for the left overs.

It takes thought and sometimes more time then you want to give.I would rather sit and figure out how to make the food last then watch a show or movie on tv. I would rather read a cookbook than watch tv also.

But think about this..

take 40% of your grocery money and throw it directly in to the trash can...think I am crazy? The average family of 4 throws away 40% of the food they buy in a month...SAME THING.

Buy 20 lbs of potatoes and toss them in the trash can....WHAT? The average person tosses 20 lbs of food in the trash each month.

On the average of a 4 person family, $2,275 a year of food goes in the trash. That is around $189.58 cents a month.

I had some families take pictures of food left on the plates after each meal and pictures of what they threw away that went bad in the frig,freezer and pantry. Only one family had less than a plastic grocery bag of waste and it was going to the compost pile. Which means there was no meat, meat by products or oil/fats in it. The others...well lets just say that they now wrap the leftovers on their children's plates for snacks that they always ask for later and soups, casseroles etc are now served a couple times a week. The best news was the one family went from $1000 a month for groceries (no non-food) to $400 a month for groceries and was able to fully stock the freezer they were able to buy with the extra money.

If you lost your job TODAY, would you have food to serve your family a month from now WITHOUT government assistance or the local food pantry?

When we moved here, my youngest was worried we would go without food because the only thing she saw in my pantry cupboard was pickles and beets. Bills were high due to medical bills and the outlay of moving expenses(moved closer to hubby's work). My son in law that moved us started laughing at her. Informed her that yes the cupboard only had pickles and beets. Under the bed was canned beans and canned meats, under the couch was canned veggies and under the chairs and love seat was canned fruit. There was canned goods in the office closet, canned goods in the tv room closet, home canned soups was in the garage and dried goods stored in the furnace closet. We weren't going to go hungry. She immediately called and asked me if I could give her some canned soup.

Dinner to go

Blessed Be Juls