Tuesday, September 29, 2015


I got tomatoes canned as pasta sauce.

I dehydrated onions for onion flakes, celery, celery leaves,diced carrots and diced red bell peppers.

I canned bell peppers (sweet pickled) and beets pickled and regular.

I froze shredded zucchini, freezer slaw, asparagus beans,red noodle beans and green tomatoes I breaded.

I sold a baker's rack and picnic table with 6 chairs.

I went to a community yard sale with our son (and walked most the time as it was easier to park and then go get the car if needed which saved on gas). Scored some Christmas decorations to replace the ones that have worn out for next to nothing plus got another strainer (think tomato strainer if you can) to help with straining the apples I will start doing this week.I got some baking dishes to split with my son also. I also bought the baker's rack that I ended up selling to my son.My want vs his need for his new home. Plus he offered me twice of what I paid for it... which was $5. I picked up a blanket for 50¢ for a gift and another one for $1 to line some curtains with for upstairs for this winter.

I got started on washing cold weather clothes,bedding and curtains.

I gathered some seeds from my wild flowers to share with some others that have asked for seeds.Plus I think I will plant some in another area where we lost some bushes.

I saved 25% on my groceries combining coupons,sales and clearance.

One more round...

It's a mindset to get into when you want to make your pantry last, ONE MORE ROUND...what can I do to make this (whatever) go one more round...IN SEASON as much as possible.

Google what to do with leftovers , how to make things last.

Local store had chuck roast on sale. I haven't seen this price in 3 yrs LOL.Hubby and I talked about whether we should buy some, how much to buy, what we wanted to make with it BEFORE we bought any. SO we bought some....Since I was using our basic grocery money I had to figure out how to stretch the meat as far as it could go. I cut up part of it stews and noodles while the biggest went in the oven.I do this before it hits the freezer BECAUSE one , I don't need a 3 lb piece of meat for my dinner AND I can cut the "fat" scraps out to put back for broth later. The count was 10 meals....but I know it will make closer to 20 -30 instead ...WHY? Because just like the roast that we ate that night  and the next night as left overs and then the next night as "philly cheese steak" and then the next night as beef and veggies in cream sauce over pasta and then the next night as beef and veggies (and more veggies) over rice with curry spices added and last but not least it's in the freezer waiting have more veggies (not much beef left after the 4th meal) to be served as soup.

Look at what is your basic needs are and ask what you can do to extend that....can't think of anything...ask someone in their 80s and 90s and they can tell you what they did especially if they grew up in the Great Depression.

Coffee grounds can be reused with just a little fresh ground added to it, even in an automatic coffee maker.Then it can be composted. I don't use as much as the directions say either.

One tea bag can make 3 cups of tea if you heat the last cup of water longer or just use a tea kettle to brew the tea to begin with. Then composted and another time I don't use as much as the directions say.

Wash those veggies before you peel them including that onion (cut off root first) and save the peelings in a gallon freezer bag or container in the freezer. When full cover with with water (no need to thaw) and simmer 30-60 min to make veggie broth. I keep the broccoli,cauliflower and cabbage (that veggie family) in separate bags as they are strong flavoring but works great when you are making broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage soup. If you are saving water, use that rinse water to water your plants.

Bones from meat go in a pot to make broth (I can or freeze or use for soup that night).

Potatoes....peel thick and make potato skins, peel thin and boil and make potato water that you can use in bread making, gravies (the starch will help thicken the gravy) and potato soup or any soup you want to thicken. Even with Hubby and myself I go through 100 lbs of potatoes between Oct and March...sometimes I am out in Feb.Sometimes I toss the thin peels in the freezer and make the "broth" later.

My cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans get reused.( Mom would buy these for me for my Christmas gift,she liked the vanilla extract and vanilla powdered sugar along with mulled cider I would make her). Fruit stones (pits), fruit peels make jellies and jams and sometimes liqueur. I make my own vanilla extract. I zest my own oranges and lemons when I get that fruit in the fall and winter. I zest the citrus fruit, juice it or eat it and then boil what is left to make "fruit water".I also peel the citrus fruit and candy them for Christmas gifts.

Apples is another, fresh, frozen canned for pie filling or applesauce, Peelings and cores make juice,jelly, fruit leather and apple butter. 

Pumpkins get cooked down, first as a veggie (it's a squash) then it's pie fillings and pumpkin butter, fruit leather ,and dried and ground for later use to add pumpkin powder to cakes and muffins and pancakes etc.

Add a little water to those jars of condiments to make them last a bit more or even better make them yourself if you can cheaper than boughten.

Add water to shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap (even if you make your own), fabric softener(or use watered down white vinegar), dish soap...about 1/3rd or 1/2 water to whatever.

 I took the leftover veggies that didn't amount to a cup and tossed them in eggs to make what we call big egg (frittata).

Leftover bread was made into crumbs (or croutons) and bread pudding.

Make it go one more round.

NEXT...making room for the pantry

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Making it last...side note

When I stayed with my Nonna , for dinner she would cook  (3 lbs of beans)bean soup on Sunday morning before church so it would be ready for lunch when we got home. Bread (not corn bread) was baked on Saturday for Sunday's meals. Sunday night we ate leftover bean soup and more bread. There was 5-6 at the meal. Breakfast was toast with jam and coffee or hot tea. Lunch was sandwiches on homemade bread, somethings just butter on the bread (she had milk cows).

Monday she added more water to the bean soup and what ever veggies she had. Might be corn and green beans, might be peas and carrots and Saturday's bread.

Tuesday she would add more veggies and more water and Saturday's bread.

Wednesday she would add potatoes and more water and Saturday's bread

Thursday, more water, onions maybe some veggies and rice.

Friday was more water some tomatoes fresh or that she canned and pasta broken up and Saturday's bread broke into the bowl with the soup poured on top of it.

Saturday was FRESH bread and pasta with tomato sauce and whatever veggie was in the garden or in the pantry she had canned.We all looked forward to Saturday.

About the only thing I saw her buy at the store food wise was orange marmalade, the rest of the jellies and jams she made and olive oil otherwise it was lard from the pigs they raised.

She knew how to make those beans last and it wasn't until my 20s did I realize she only baked bread once a week because the oven she used was outside and baked close to 50 loaves at a time. Didn't want to waste the wood.

SIDE NOTE I bought white vinegar twice a year to use for cleaning that wasn't on the basic list. I used Fels-Naptha soap for dishes, laundry and bathing until Mom started buying us castile for body soap.  Toilet paper was whatever was cheapest and we were careful about how much we used. I didn't use paper towels or paper napkins or kleenex until the oldest was close to 8 when we went to Kleenex.  My kids will still question me if there is paper napkins in my house with paper towels.I use cloth napkins and have the same ones for the last 20 some years.They are stained but clean.

One of the first things I have done is separate NON-food items and food items.

Starting with the basic foods... whole grains, organic etc wasn't going to happen. I'm putting food on the table...fast food it wasn't happening. Getting up out of the bed at 4 am to bake bread sucks but it's what got bread on the table and warmed the kitchen at the same time.

Think protein instead of meat...and make sure you are only feeding each person one correct serving size.

When I have a beef roast I serve it the first day as a roast, the second as a casserole and the third day as soup (if it has bones I toss them in pot to make broth)...I keep the fat off it and strain it into ice cube trays to flavor other food or make gravies.

I tried to make meatloaf at least every other month, hamburger was stretched with bread crumbs, cracker crumbs or oatmeal even when making patties. Hamburger gravy, or sausage gravy was few and far between.  Casseroles (homemade hamburger helper) or pasta sauce (1lb of hamburger to feed 7-9 of us) was about it a couple times a month.

With a turkey or chicken (when the family size got to the point of it taking 3 chickens I started cooking 1 turkey). I serve the first night as a roast, Toss the bones into the pot to make broth ,the second as blue plate special, the third as casserole and the last as soup or noodles or dumplings. Not much meat left on that bird especially a chicken. YES I strain the fat also. (Think Schmaltz of Jewish food).

Pork, so few and far between, I would try to have a pork roast on the first day of fall with root veggies and carrot cake...anything to bring a little cheer into a life. We were living in poverty and little things make the difference in the days. Pork  fat is good lard when strained. Blue plate special, BBQ pork sandwiches...now I would add Brunswick stew.

Ten large eggs equal around a pound (sometimes it's more than a pound)...keep that one in mind as the price of eggs goes through the roof. You don't mind paying over $5 for a pound of meat...same should go for eggs WHICH will feed you more per person.

Think a pot of soup on the stove AT LEAST once a week. We floated between beef and vegetable soup (leftover chuck roast), tomato soup (chicken noodle for the child allergic to tomatoes), potato soup, bean soup (change what beans) and chili soup (heavy on the beans and light on the meat) Once in a great while I would make beef stew (with and without dumplings)

Along that line would be chicken and dumplings, chicken and homemade noodles, beef and homemade noodles, tuna noodle casserole, scalloped potato and ham chunks, along with boiled dinners....cabbage,potatoes and carrots boiled together in ham broth, green beans ,potatoes and onions in ham broth (or ham fat),and enchilada casserole (heavy of the beans and light on the meat).

Then there was what I called the blue plate specials...beef,chicken, turkey,ham or pork sliced very thin on bread stuffing or slice of bread, with a side of mashed potatoes covered in gravy.

If dinner was pasta the next day's lunch might have been left over sauce over bread or rice or leftover pasta with butter and garlic powder.

Bean soup got strained to make refried beans with cheese  bean burritos and enchilada casserole. Sometimes made into baked beans.

IF there was potato soup left I would add corn for corn chowder and/or chicken for chicken and corn chowder.

Dumplings and noodles/pasta stretched many a meal.Bread fills tummies very well...cornbread was served with beans, and then the next day served with brown sugar syrup for breakfast or a snack or a dessert at the meal. I tried to make mush the same night so I could have fried mush the next day...I'm about the only one that will eat it any more. Did the same with leftover oatmeal. I now have a recipe for oatmeal bread from Mary Ostyn over at owlhaven.net that I have used.

Next will be ONE MORE ROUND

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Why my pantry is full.

This what I have hanging in my kitchen. I've had it so many years that I can't remember who gave it to me and hadn't thought to write it on the back. It's just on regular printer paper and in a sheet protector. So if you gave it to me...thanks.

Waste not, want not.

Use it up,wear it out, make it do, or do without.

They weren't ready for hard times when the Great Depression hit. A lot of folks weren't living the good life anyways, dirt poor and poverty was already in the home.

I didn't live through those times but my parents did. I did live through my parents getting a divorce which meant Dad wasn't there to put the garden in or fish and hunt for meat for the table. Food took the hit and Mom and I went hungry more than once. reminded her of the times she went hungry during the Great Depression as a child. My brother moved back home and my Mom's youngest sister moved in for awhile also. Between the four of us we were able to get the garden planted and food back on the table. None of us fished or hunted...meat became a condiment instead of the main course.

Could I feed my family if something happened?

At home now there is  Hubby,myself and our 2 dogs. There have been many times I pulled from my pantry for others, including my children and grandchildren. I now share my bounty with my Dad on a regular bases. Not that he can't afford food but being alone and in his late 80s he gets tired of cooking for one and eating his own leftovers. I wouldn't have it any other way and Hubby is fine with it.

There was a time Hubby's work went down to 3 days a week after decades of overtime and even years he had to take vacation to not work 7 days a week all the time....we weren't prepared and lost everything. The only thing that was "okay" was I had enough food to feed us for 6 mos. My fear was the food would run out before the garden was producing again or worse that the garden wouldn't produce enough like now when I watch over half of the crops rot before they are even ripe.

My "win" against this nightmare is to keep a good pantry when I was in my 20s and 30s this was this list...

All purpose flour (bread flour when I can afford it)
corn meal (not box mixes)
oats (not instant)
baking soda
baking powder
salt and pepper (garlic powder when I can afford it)
dried beans
evaporated milk or dried milk (both when I can afford it)
lard, then it was Crisco then it was oil
tea (coffee when I could afford it)
American cheese
cheapest pizza cheese I could find
tomato sauce.
cheapest pasta I could find

Veggies were in season or what ever canned was on sale.It took 2 cans to feed us when it was 4 of us. I bought one #10 can of Veg-all (think restaurant size) every other month for veggie soup.

Fruit was what ever was in season or very very cheap. I didn't buy canned fruit or frozen fruit...way too expensive.

Meat was bought on sale or from the clearance bin....I tried to get a chuck roast, a whole chicken and hamburger....sometimes a pork roast in the fall. I got pepperoni from the local deli because I could ask for a dollar's worth and have it sliced thin and have enough for 4-6 pizzas if I was careful about the amount I put on it.

Sometimes I bought bread that was discounted, most times I made my own.

Peanut butter and jelly were only when I had extra money.

No one went hungry and many times the kids friends were in to eat also...never planned just stopped in to play and ended up eating. I don't remember a time that I ever said they couldn't eat because there wasn't enough...I stretched it or added more bread to the table.

Even today, now pushing 60 , with just us and the dogs this is still my main pantry list. I have change a few things...there is always olive oil along with what ever oil I buy. I buy Wondra instant flour for my gravies and sauces.I buy white and yellow corn meal. I like white for corn bread and some breading and yellow for mush and some breading.I use lard,Crisco and oil. There is an assortment of dried beans ( I grow part of them) and rice (which I can't grow)I grow a lot of the herbs I use now including garlic. I grind my own cayenne peppers to mix with red bell peppers I grow for crushed red pepper. We grow popcorn. I make my tomato sauce from the tomatoes I grow. American cheese is few and far between as we use other sliced cheese that is on sale for cheaper now days. I usually buy a colby jack shredded mix for the Mexican dishes or salads or sandwiches along with the cheap pizza cheese.

I buy our fruit in case sales from a local butcher that has it once a year in the late summer. I have almost 1400 sq feet of garden that provides a lot of the food we eat for a year. I fill in with food bought from the Amish produce auction and the Amish family that sells their extra produce in town.

We buy meat on sale or clearance as Hubby doesn't hunt and drowns plastic worms when he fishes.

Still this past two years I have watched the grocery budget spiral out of control...so it's back to the basics and that's the focus from here out.

Blessed be

Next post...making it last longer

Thursday, September 3, 2015

accomplishments last week and goals next weeke

Still a lot left of the list from last week. 

TO DO list

Create a workable schedule that reflects my health issues.

DONE (AGAIN) Deal with ants .

DONE Deal with mice prevention.

Finish refinishing son's desk.

DONE Finish packing son's stuff and place in loading area as it's packed.

Finish cleaning the shelves in the butler's pantry. (almost done)

Update pantry needs list.


Harvest peppers.

Harvest tomatoes.

Harvest assorted herbs.Weed this area.

Harvest Armenian cucumbers.

Harvest dry soup beans.

Harvest seeds for next yrs gardens.

Plant fall/winter crops.

Plant onions bulbs and  kalettes and lettuce that is ready for transplants.

Clear the pots that I did container gardening in and the flower pots that have annual flowers that have died.


Get out of bed at 4:30 instead of 7:30.

Ride stationary bike daily for at least 15 minutes.

Walk perimeter (which is 1/3 of mile) with dogs 9 times a day. I do this 3 times a day now.


Take some items to son that moved.

Check out another Sam's club in that area while at Son's.

Pick up my car that dumped antifreeze and brake fluid in front of my son's new home. It's at the repair shop.

Pick up a wedding card for the wedding we are going to this weekend

Buy the stuff on sale that we need for the family reunion later this month.


Harvest daily for fresh food for the table at dinner time.

Make pasta sauce with tomatoes from garden and can.

Make zucchini bread pancakes for freezer.

Dry peppers,herbs and cherry tomatoes that won't get ate.

Somethings didn't get done and food got passed to those that would use it.

Have a blessed week!