Sunday, January 31, 2010

last day of Jan Eat from the Pantry challenge

Tonight is also take the trash can to the curb so I cleaned out refrigerators and am very proud to answer not one bite of food went in the trash. I have ended up with about 1/2 cup of cooked spinach in the taco casserole along with the last of the taco meat, last of the hamburger, last of the salsa con queso, the last of the stale tortilla chips along with the last of the sliced black olives. I will top it with the last of the salad, last of the tomatoes and last of the salsa....but not the last of the sour cream. Might add more cheese, have taco cheese and con queso cheese in frig

Since I will be gone for 2 wks starting Tuesday, I made dinners for the freezer for hubby, there is some lunches for him to pack for work the first week I am gone.The following week he will be at classes for work on first so will just buy it.

I've already decided that we will eat from the pantry again in Feb so I am taking my notes of what is in the pantry and what I will need to buy.

lesson learned this month: it does not help to stock up on something, then put it in a spot you don't normally use to store it.. I doubled the month non-food items by putting the first buy in the garage and then forgetting that it was there. I know make notes that I post in my control journal( which is where I am building my pantry list very slowly LOL

until we meet again

blessed be

Thursday, January 28, 2010

eating from the pantry

I am worried...we ate mostly from the pantry.Did eat out a few times, examples like when son re-enlisted, my bday ..more of a celebration than "oh I don't want to cook thing."

I do have empty spots in the pantry and freezers. The two refrigerators are full but that is because the 3rd refrigerator died and I had to quickly shove condiments in to the other two.

I guess I should first say that my groceries is food, non food( dog items, paper products, meds etc) and eating out including that cup of coffee at the gas station ...

STILL we spent $786.02.That was AFTER the savings of $102.52.Hubby just shrugged and said "you saved over 10 % and your goal was 5%...I'm more like "have I lost my every loving mind!!!!"

Granted my fool proof savings plan was not in affect.Namely my youngest that can make you justify spending money on better t paper than the cheap stuff didn't go with me.

I kept the receipts for the whole month to see what I bought and where I can cut because that is just way over the budget.

Twice I bought non-food for a total of $488.67. Except for toilet paper we are set for the coming month. I make my own laundry soap for my HE washer.Have for over a yr and I use white vinegar for fabirc softener. Still buy cheap dryer sheets for when I use the dryer. Part of the reason I love 50 degree and warmer weather is I can use the clothes line.Give me a Monday morning that is decent and I am happy with hanging out the laundry...I side track. I made a list of what I bought and then removed what was really not needed and wouldn't affect our lives.Namely I elimated some of the dog treats...they get carrots now instead of a certain treat and I break biscuits, dentals etc in half so everything will last twice as long should cut that bill in half. I also have started using purple rags from really thought I was going back wards there. I use one for windows and mirrors,one for bathroom and one for the kitchen cleaning , throwed them in the wash with throw rugs.I have noticed the paper towels that used to not last a week are now still hanging around for 3 wks or more. There is no lint on the mirrors and windows and I am a wash the windows weekly freak.In the old house I washed the windows inside and out every week since they tilt in.
Eating out was $125.72 that included feeding our son.That is about double with our normal eating out.I have already planned a nice meal for Valentines day and our anniversary.
Foodwise was on budget..$293.15.I planned for $300 for the month.NOW add this in to that amt.I bought meat for Feb because it was on sale and it was just too good of a price to ignore. ( I did get it with youngest's blessing) That meat cost $111.65 OF the $293.15.Meaning I spent $181.50 for food for this month alone not including the eating out amt.
non-food is definately on the radar to be cut down
best get back to the pasta sauce making and I roasted a turkey last night for dinner so I need to debone it and make broth from the carcuss .
Blessed be

Monday, January 25, 2010

home canning

Yes I can year around. Fruits and veggies in season are no brainers of canning. I don't can much meat beyond my mock mince.


regularly I can broth and pasta sauce.

Yesterday I made beef broth, chicken broth and veggie broth AND pasta sauce with meat and veggies and pasta sauce plain.I processed the quarts last night after a dinner of corned beef hash and french toast ( used up the last of the store bought bread). Tonight after dinner I will can the pints before going on to making more veggie broth. Still trying to catch up with that from Tday and Christmas.Have 5 gal bags of veggie peels still in freezer.

on top of this I am putting an extra cooked dinner in freezer for hubby to eat while I am south working for 2 wks....

on top of trying to catch up some what on the never ending to do list....

have a blessed day

Saturday, January 23, 2010

thinking of spring

Feb is just next week...

TO some Groundhog's day on Feb 2nd foretells of the spring to come

For Celtic or Pagans ,Feb 1st is Imbolic or Oimelc festival to celebrate Brigid who started out as a Celtic goddess and later became revered as a Christian saint.

This festival was replaced by the Catholic church with Candlemas that is held Feb 2nd

To gardners, this is the time to think of what to plant in the garden, seeds to start now, what worked and what didn't.

For me, it's a time to start the spring cleaning. I start with decluttering the month of Feb and then the actually scrubbing of walls and floors in March and then in April change out the heavy drapes/curtians and bedding for warmer weather items and pray I don't freeze in bed due to a cold snap here in OH.

With where we are renting any gardening will have to be done in containers so I will start looking at what containers I can use, what I have and what I need.Seeds I have LOL though I imagine I will do a walk thru the seed catalogs any ways.

Have a blessed day

Friday, January 22, 2010

my money saving at the grocery store and home

I take my youngest. Really.Even though she is my baby ( who is an adult that has worked full time, been laid off and buried one of her own children) she is my baby.

We started going to the store together when she totaled her car. Funny how you learn things about your kids.

Coupons are required and if you don't have any you get the lecture.

If it's not on the list you don't buy it.You have to give her your list unless you have proven you can stay to the list...and on budget.( she prefers you to bring cash or a debit card)

If you list buy 2 then you better have a really really good reason for buying 3 and just being on sale is NOT enough.

name brand does NOT go in the cart unless there is NO store brand of that item.I told her that her dad didn't want the store brand fritos because they were greasy.She called him and told him to put them on paper towels, nuke in microwave for about 10 sec and then blot with another paper towel.Now if I am going to the store with her( she does have a car again) he will stop and do the "chip shopping" .LOL

I drink coke classic in a plastic or glass bottle.Any soda pop in a can( or any Pepsi) will trigger my acid reflux and I prefer coke classic.Her answer was to not buy ANY. Hubby gets it with the chip run along with his Vernors ginger soda.It's not like we drink a 12 pk a week...maybe a 12 pk a month if that.Don't think of buying water unless she's tasted your water and agrees it is nasty.

She doesn't buy paper plates( she is 25 yrs old with a family of 6), she washes dishes after every meal( no dishwasher).She doesn't buy paper napkins.( face cloths stand in line of napkins)She doesn't buy paper towels( will use them if given to her) has rags for that.She doesn't buy tissues,cheap toilet paper will do. If I hadn't been there ( hee hee) when she was born I would swear she wasn't mine

Her brother ( okay he is my son SMILE) is single, not married and has not lived with anyone beyond barricks. He doesn't buy paper plates( I thought it was required of single guys),he doesn't buy paper napkins( uses cloth ones like his mom), doesn't buy paper towels often( when he has none he lays his cooked bacon on a cooling rack and lets the grease drip into a meat platter, then scraps the grease into a bowl for using to fry his eggs or potatoes in later), doesn't buy tissues BUT does buy a really good toilet paper because he doesn't want to blow his nose on cardboard.
I wonder where their habits came from.

I used cloth napkins when they were growing up instead of paper napkins. Still do that most the time unless I get given paper napkins.I am still using up the paper napkins that someone gave me for Tday dinner. My kids blame my mother for me having paper napkins and paper towels.Yes I grew up with that right along with the box of tissues so I guess they blame her for that one also.

BUT I make my own laundry soap, fabric softener, shower cleaner, use windshield fluid for window cleaner, baking soda for scouring powder, vinegar,baking soda, and boiling water to keep drains cleared,a damp rag to dust with ( furniture oil once a month)laundry soap to scrub the carpets and I have been known to take the bottom off the empty box of tissues and put a roll of good toilet paper in it with the cardboard tube removed beside my bed.

I've also been known to add a scoop of coffee grounds to the old batch to make a second pot of coffee.BUT hey, I'm not as bad as Grandpa and do it until half the pot is actually grounds instead of coffee.

Have a blessed day

Thursday, January 21, 2010

To do list

I could not function without my to do list. I would walk around wondering what in the world I should be doing and what I was missing.

on the other hand, not knowing might be bliss because looking at today's to do list I can already tell you that it's going to have things bumped to tomorrow and the next day and the day after etc.

Just when I think I am going to catch up, be able to do the daily items and add some me time or another project I would really like to do....the list grows until it's beyond finishing for the day, week, month..okay possible year.

at least dinner is coming from the pantry.I do have beef bones in the oven roasting to simmer later to make broth.I prefer to roast them first. I have a pot of veggie peelings simmering to make veggie broth. My surveys are done, my emails checked including facebook( another new thing) and I have the bills paid for the month.Positive positive positive.

on to the next to do ...SMILE EVERYONE

blessed be

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

what I do in the kitchen

at one time or another I will hear about some comment my kids and grandkids will say about me....good, bad and the ugly.

the kitchen ones usually make me laugh...

best dinner meals they had as kids...beef and veggie soup with home made bread.Beef and noodles over mashed potatoes and home made bread.Chicken( sometimes it was turkey) and noodles over mashed potatoes and home made bread.Home made chicken( sometimes turkey) noodle soup and home made bread.Pancakes or waffles for dinner. Let me tell you I wished I had a camara to take the picture of their faces when I told them these were the meals where I was scrapping the barrel to feed them and any of the half of dozen kids that was their friends that sat down to the table. I was a widow, worked for myself doing odd jobs so I could be home when the kids went to school and got home.I didn't get any kind of assistance.If I could get a turkey for the price of two whole chickens or less.I got the turkey. Beef for noodles and soup was from the beef roast I tried to have once every 4-6 wks when it would come on sale( still will do this if you watch the prices of it) Flour...noodles, home made bread,pancakes and waffles. Biggest lecture the kids will get is not keeping basic food in the house for this reason.If you have to chose between soda pop and flour and eggs, the flour and eggs had better win.

I don't throw veggie or fruit peelings away( wash all fruits and veggies first including the skin of your onions) I put them in a gal. freezer bag and freeze them until I have a full bag and make broth with them.

I home can my broths or freeze them, mostly can them since it keeps me from having to think about thawing it to begin with.

I keep around 1 cup of potato water from boiling potatoes in the frig ( sometimes 2 if I know I am making gravy a couple times that week) for gravies.Helps thicken it.Bread and gravy will keep hunger away

I don't throw away bones of any kind until they have been simmered to remove any last bit of meat falls off and I have a decent broth. I've even had my kids ( including my son in law that tried to snatch his mother's turkey carcuss at Tday) give me poultry carcusses to make broth with. I usually give back half of what ever I get off it.Easy enough for me to deal with, throw it in the roaster, cover it with cold water and bring to a simmer.Let simmer until the meat falls off bone.Cool, remove bones, separate meat and then strain broth.Rumor is I'll have a heart attack if I see you throw your carcuss away... I usually stop that from happening before it gets to the trash can.

I throw odds and ends of bread in freezer to make bread crumbs.I gather cracker curmbs,chip crumbs, cereal crumbs and stale tortilla chips also. We don't eat enough cookies but when the kids were little I kept those also to sprinkle over yogurt for snacks

Odds and ends of pasta, rice etc goes into casseroles or soups.

I'll make soup from anything, hobo soup( different cans of food), crisper drawer soup, leftover soup, there is nothing left in the house to eat soup LOL.

I get meat marked down, cut it into the size I am going to use, trim it( trimmings go into broth making) and I try to get enough to pieces for stir fries since it doesn't take much meat for that.

if the cupboards are bare, call mom is the motto I think my kids have.I've even had one ex son in law's girlfriend call me and ask what to fix with what was left in the cupboards that she thought was bare.He gave her my number. Funny how they seem to think the cupboard is bare when it's isn't yet there. No , they might not want to eat what is there but let's get with reality.Think Great Depression or pioneer days where what ever they had had to make it until the garden came on or they were able to get enough money to go to town that was 5 days away one way.

Even with all this there are still times food will get away from me and I have to pitch it. I lecture myself worse than I lecture the kids.They think this is funny...that's okay, the grandkids will be up there in a couple years and start having their own families and I'll hear the very same words out of MY kids' mouths.

Nothing like hearing your mother come out of your mouth SMILE

Blessed be

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19th Eat from Pantry challenge

so far so good though we did eat out the 18th since it was my bday. Picked up some meat, okay picked up some roasts that was on sale to have roasts,noodles, soups from for next month as we go into another eat from the Pantry thru Feb.

Mostly right now eating the leftovers that has been shoved in the freezers or throwing together casseroles from the canned goods mixed with either pasta or rice.
dealing with being sick, just finally recovering and still getting extremely tired and starting new physical therapy on top of it.
BUT even with all that the only time we ate out was my bday SMILE
now if I can catch up on blogging, emails, surveys and the home blessing
blessed be

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 14 and 15 Eat from the Pantry challenge

ick...uck...icky uck ...sigh.Wished I could get over this what ever I have.

am eating from the pantry though instead of going out for Chinese and spreading my germs.
Day 14 of Eat from the Pantry, hubby ate leftover meatloaf and I had leftover pizza.
Day 15 of Eat from the Pantry, hubby is eating chili as I write this and I had scrambled eggs
going back to drinking my ginger tea and hoping to get the headache to ease before it goes to full blown migrain.
Blessed be

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

works for me Wed

this is kind of a two fold because it connects to Eat from the Pantry challenge.
first off the food in the pics above was over flow from Tday dinner that wasn't used due to a couple families calling the day before saying they wouldn't be here. It has been eaten.Nothing went to waste.
Today or tomorrow, depending on how well I feel later today since I've been sick I will straighten the pantry, refrigerators and freezers up again and do a new menu from the pantry.
I'll probably have more empty spaces when I straighten it up.
have a blessed day

day 13 of pantry challenge( catch up

Eating from the Pantry is working for me YEAH...especially with being down sick

I've been using my coupon tracker to also keep track of any money we spend on food wheither or not we actually pay for it. I know myself well enough to know if one of the kids didn't pay for it, we most likely would have

One day 11 of the challenge I wrote we would have meatloaf etc. didn't happen. By time I got here from Columbus it was too late put bake a meatloaf so I fried up the hamburger( rinsed with hot water) and mixed it with the last box of mac and cheese for a casserole with some veggies.Normally I would have picked up something or ordered a pizza and chef salad for us.

Day 12 of challenge we had leftovers out of the freezer.I had therapy at dinner time so it worked good.

Today( day 13) we are actually having the meat loaf with roasted root veggies and custard pie all from the pantry. I am also making mock mousse for hubby to pack in his lunch instead of buying yogurt for him

Blessed be

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11 Eat from the pantry challenge

I never seem to be able to work a menu at home. For work as a Personal Chef, absolutely can do it and stay with it and come in at budget if not under budget. At home, my inner child runs the kitchen LOL
Sunday Day 10 of the Eat from the Pantry challenge we ate out for lunch. For dinner we had left over potato soup that I added a can of corn to to make it into "corn chowder".We went to see our one son re-enlist, he's working on being a lifer, (that's 20 yrs military talk) and he is working on being a civilan working for the military for life also ( 30 yrs).We took him out to eat for lunch at the local chinese buffet.Costs us $35 with tip. I took it out of the $40 left from the grocery budget.Usually I would take it out of the entertainment budget but there is ZERO in that budget this month. So we only have $5 for groceries until the 3rd on next month.
Day 11 of challenge.Today I am taking the youngest over to Columbus to get her driver's lisence back( YEAH) so my day is pretty much shot.She is an hour away from me and it's 1 1/2 hrs from her one way to get to Columbus.I hope there isn't a long wait for her to get thru it.I am making meatloaf, roasted root veggies with oranges and custard pie for dinner.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Eat from the Pantry challenge catch up

This is a "catch-up" from the last few days since I've been down sick.
Day 6th of challenge Wed we had stuffed pasta shells with homemade red sauce with tons of veggies in the sauce.Used up several items out of pantry and frig.
Day 7 Thursday we have enchiladas from the pantry,freezer and frig.
Day 8. I had soup and grilled cheese for lunch since I was sick but hubby brought home subs ( our youngest bought them for us) for dinner.
Day 9 which is today ,we will have leftover enchiladas for lunch and loaded potato soup and grilled cheese and peppers for dinner.Hubby bought me lemon lime soda so that's $1.50 out of the $41.56 we have left for the month for food. That's okay, it really doesn't look like we will need anything except milk before the 3rd of next month anyways.
have a blessed day

Hello, I am awake. LOL I have been on the couch sick for the last few days.Couldn't even focus to be on the computer or hardly read.Two of the things that tells hubby just how sick I am along with sleeping every time he turned around.

The house has went south in a handbasket.

Except for last night, we have eaten from the pantry the whole time. Yesterday since I was sick, Hubby after working the night shift, got to take the youngest to get her wisdom teeth cut out( her hubby couldn't take her due to work), by time they drove 3 hrs to get there, spent 2 hrs getting them out and drove 3 hrs back, then hubby had to "sit " with her until her hubby got home from work.She bought us subs to eat when he got home.

We lost the refrigerator in the garage the other day.Luckliy I caught it and got the stuff out of the freezer into the old deep freezer that is suppose to be going to my oldest daughter.I still have stuff in the refrigerator part but am focused on getting what is in the house used up so we can bring it in.Loading everything up with veggies so we don't lose them.Now if I can figure out what to do with all the cream cheese and sour cream.

Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Works For me Wed

this is a coupon tracker.Since I don't use coupons normally and don't get the local newspaper.When I decided to try saving with coupons this year I wanted to make sure they were actually saving me MORE than I was spending buying the newspaper and spending on ink and paper to download and print. Just this month I covered all those expenses and I've only went once to the store.I shop for non-food once a month and major food shopping once a month also.

ALSO what works for me is the calendar that Marla sells over at I have used this several years now and my eldest is also using it for her family of 9.

Since we are expecting 3-6 inches of snow tomorrow I am going to go look at the menu and make sure that food is in the house and not out in the garage freezer or frig.

What works for you??

Blessed Be

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

day 5 Eating from the Pantry

Last night we ended up having tacos.I wanted something spicy to help clear sinus and ears.We had everything so we still ate from the pantry.

Today we have ate from the frig and tonight I will make pork and veggie stir fry using the last of the pork tenderloin from New Year's Day. Everything from the pantry again.Just going to find a recipe for ginger sauce to use with it.
I have chosen to NOT shove any leftovers in to the freezers. I think we could eat a month on those that have been shoved in the freezers right now.

Meantime while fighting my own ear/sinus issues. Our older dog,Tashy, had to have a bruise drained on her ear and get ear drops due to her ear infection. Been nice if she would have been scratching or had stinky ears so I would have known she had an ear infection. She thinked her ear on something and the bruise didn't dissolve on it's own so the vet drained it.She goes back in a week to get stitches removed.

we still don't have Hubby's truck back, been at mechanics since Oct 9th>hubby's 51st bday gift from his truck was the transmisson going out and having a area of rust( that wasn't seen without removing the bed or going under the truck) that was about to let his bed fall off. Sigh.

Right now I am going back to making veggie broth from my peelings I've been saving in the freezer ( recipe from Gayle over at and checking what is next on my to do list.

Blessed be

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 3 and 4 of Eating From the Pantry

Day 3 and day 4 of Eating From the Pantry.

Yesterday I went grocery shopping with my youngest and her hubby( and their youngest). She's good about making sure I stay on track with my groceries. They did buy us a frozen dinner for last night's supper since I was late getting back because we had to wait 2 hrs to get a prescrition for their daughter.Everything else came from the pantry.

It did mess up the menu I made but I can redo that today.

I did buy for most the month of produce.Most of that was root veggies and squash that will hold pretty much for the month when stored correctly.( I miss the root cellar)

Meantime I am now on meds for the ear and sinus issue which is making me blurry eyed and sleepy.SO I am trying to get computer work done real fast LOL
Blessed Be

Sunday, January 3, 2010

3rd pantry and stretching it

This is the pantry cabinet or wardrobe depending on whom is
talking . I store mostly oils and vinegars and extra drinks in the top and most of my home canned goods in the bottom.
I can remember at one time having 1000 qrts and 500 pints of home canned food in my pantry besides anything else.Something I plan to get back to even if I have to buy it from the local farmers' market
This afternoon for lunch we had some Savorings mini bread bowl appetizers that was in the freezer, cheese stuffed mini sweet peppers and
I made pot stickers. I sliced the torn wrappers to fry later to drop
in soups. Used the extra filling from the peppers and the extra filling from the pot stickers to fill more wrappers to freeze for other meals. Probably got one meal if I don't serve anything else.
I thought it's not just about eating out of the pantry. Even though we have plenty and aren't about to go hungry. It's about making the pantry last.
my heritage showed that with making the garden feed the family until the garden produced enough to feed the family again.
It's about not wasting the blessing of food ( YES BREN I DO LISTEN)
when others go hungry or just simple starve to death.
My way of thinking has people calling or emailing me asking
what they can fix to eat when they "think" they have nothing
right along with my kids doing it. Even though they tease me about
stocking up, when times are hard they know we can put food on their
tables in needed. OR better yet tell them how to take that flour and 2
eggs and make noodles to go with the potatoes they do have. Soup out
of what ever veggies are in the frig or freezer along with some broth .
Now if I can get them in the habit of NOT throwing away their
poultry carcuss, beef bones and veggie peelings so they can
make broth ...sigh...
Blessed be

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Eat From the Pantry Challenge Day 2

Day 2 of Eat From the Pantry challenge.

We had leftovers from the pork tenderloin and roasted fresh
pineapple so I diced it up to put in a stir fry later this week.

We also had leftovers from the krat and pork so I shredded
the pork into the bottom of my crock pot , layered the krat over it, mixed up some homemade 1,000 Island dressing ( we don't use
it so I mix it as needed) and layered it over the krat and shoved
it in the refrigerator for today's dinner. Today I will reheat that casserole in the crock and then layer swiss cheese over it.Haven't decided if we will put it over the left over mashed potatoes or on sub buns that are in the refrigerator.

Bfast was on our own.

lunch will be pot stickers and some other appetizers that in the freezers.

Another day of eating from the pantry !!!!

2nd set of pantry pics...herbs and spice closet

Next set of pictures of my pantry.This is the hall closet that is really meant to hold the bathroom towels and such. I turned it into my spice and herb closet. I have over 100 spices and herbs.Yes I use them. I used them BEFORE I became a Personal Chef.I have to organize this closet about every 2 wks otherwise it looks like these pictures. My house ins company just "loved" me when our house burnt( we are living in a small rental right now) and they had to replace each and every one of them. I will warn you to NOT store spice and herbs around heat sources, it's like a bomb when they catch fire( good example throw a bit( less than 1/2 tsp) of black pepper on your stove burner and watch it dance)

Friday, January 1, 2010

tv room pantry

Since I have taken the EAT FROM YOUR PANTRY challenge , I decided to start posting my pantry... okay , this is only part of my pantry.This is my small bookcases and in the closet of the tv room.
I grew up with stocking for the yr since most the food came from the garden we raised.I have pretty much kept this up most of my life.Only now days it's mostly boughten goods instead of my own canned food( dreaming of being back in country with full garden) I've not adjusted to the fact I can be at a grocery store in 10 min. I do buy most of everything when it is one sale. Canned veggies and canned fruit go down in price when it's their peak season. I only buy apples and bananas thru the winter and use the canned and frozen in off season times.

Frugal Fridays

This a first for me ...
so my financial goals for this year are
# 1 pay all bills on time( no late fees saves money and builds credit score)
#2 increase my income. Hubby is holding at 40 hrs and that covers the household bills but leaves nothing for gas,food, meds, etc .Mine this last yr has been very low.
#3 pay off at least 1/4th of the back debt.We didn't get in this mess over night, we can't get out of it over night either.I want to be debt free in 4 yrs and have the rental sold within 2 ( our tenants are going to try to buy it this yr)
#4 rebuild savings.
#5 Hold retirement fund steady.

Happy New Year's Day.
Day 1 of Eat From the Pantry Challenge
bfast: eggs, bacon, home fries, toast, OJ
lunch: grilled cheese with baby bell peppers, Italian wedding soup, water
dinner: Krat with pork, Pork Tenderloin, and mashed potatoes.Ice Cream between snickerdoodle cookies, milk for me and coffee for hubby