Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Messy Room

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I have a room in my house that is a stye. It is my sewing room. I am embarrassed to show it all over the www. But, be that as it may, you benefit from the veiwing of this room. You see, this room is going to become Nadia's room and Nadia's current room will become the baby's room. So that means that my sewing room will be delegated to the basement. Bummer. Oh, I knew it would happen, I enjoyed it while I had it and maybe it will work out better this way, I dunno. But you should see our basement!! That's another post for another time.
Anyway, my grandmother died two weeks ago. A few months before she passed away I inherited all her sewing stash. There is a lot of good fabric in there. A lot that I know I will use and a lot I know I won't use, not that it's bad, I just won't use it. So today, a day when I felt like doing little more than laying on the couch, I plopped myself in the midst of this mess and sorted through my sewing stash. Man, I've got so much. Here is what I am going to do. I made some preliminary piles of the fabric and patterns I want to give away. And what I want you to do is tell your other bloggy friends who sew. I want all of this to be gone, but I don't want to throw it away, that would be just wrong. I won't post the pictures of what I am specifically giving away just yet, I still need to sort more. But keep checking.
Here's a short list of what I am giving away:
  • Patterns
  • Cotton/Cotton blend fabrics
  • Woolens
  • Moleskins
  • Cotton strips for a braided rug
  • A skirt that was cut, but didn't make it to the sewing machine and now it's too big for me (pattern included)
  • Large scraps
Not all of the fabrics are scraps from sewing projects. Some are uncut. Most of the woolens are uncut and some have a lot of fabric there. I still don't know how I will sort it out, but I'll figure that out later.

Here are a few pictures of the stuff I'm giving away:

So keep checking back and I'll post the 'lots' later, maybe in a few weeks. Give me some time, I feel horrible. Oh, I am going to say that I do ask that whoever gets whatever, that they pay shipping. Other than that, it's free.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Frugal Living Part 2

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In The Home
Here are just a few ideas of what I do for our frugal living in the home. Not as much as kitchen living, but it all adds up.
  • White vinegar is a wonderful cleaner. I make a vinegar water solution to clean countertops, windows, mirrors. It cleans so much better than windex and it doesn't have that chemical smell. Actually it makes me hungry for a salad most times.
    • We used it for fabric softener and brightener for a long time when we couldn't afford nor tolerate store bought fabric softener. We use a natural brand now.
    • The vinegar water solution is great for freshening a room or carpet. Since we cloth diaper Nadia (and I suppose anyone who has a child in any diapers would have this issue) her room can get a little whiffy. So I spray the pails, the carpet and then the air with it. It doesn't cover up the odors. It really gets rid of them. This is also good for cooking odors or if someone has been smoking. You can basically use this as a homemade febreeze.
  • Bleach cleans a toilet bowl nicer than the other stuff I've used. I know it takes away from the non-chemical thing I'm trying to get at, but it's the only chemical I use. Well I used to. We can afford the natural cleaner now.
  • Try to go as paperless as possible:
    • Rags, rags, rags! They are better for cleaning, won't tear up, or leave lint, they are more absorbent and nicer on faces. Just throw em in the wash and you have em for next time.
    • Cloth hankies. Especially nice for cold and allergy sufferers. You can make some out of leftover flannel scraps you have laying around. These are usually the best for this purpose.
    • Have dry erase boards for notes, lists, to do lists and such
    • Save bad printouts for notes to the store, or for drawing papers for the kids
  • Use cloth diapers
  • Sew yours and your families clothes
  • Repair clothes when you can
  • Iron your own clothes
  • Shop consignment, yard sales, thrift sales, church rummage sales (don't pay full price for anything)
  • Save up things you don't need taht would be yard sale worthy and have a yard sale
  • Don't throw anything away until you are sure you have no use for it
  • Before you buy something ask yourself these questions:
    • Do I NEED it? (and really think about this, is it a real need, or is it a want)
    • Can I make it?
    • Can I borrow it?
    • Can I buy it used somewhere?
  • If you do think you need it, wait one month and if you still need it, then shop, research for the best price- chances are if you have to buy it right now, it's impulse and you don't need it anyway.
  • Use cloth wipes
That's it for in the home. Please let me know what you think. I know some of these things seem like 'well duh'. But maybe not. Sometimes we need reminded. Remember, whether we are rich or poor the Lord has given us resources, be it money or other things, to live on. He calls us to be faithful, generous and good stewards of all our blessings. We are continuing to revamp our way of living. We are not perfect and a lot of these ideas are ideals to shoot for. It takes time to change.

Anyway. Have fun. I welcome your comments.

Frugal Living Part 1.5 (Beans)

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I wanted to add this little tidbit about beans, since we eat a lot of them. I only ever buy dried beans. I used to cringe when I had to make a bean recipe and didn't have any beans soaking or cooked, but I've come up with a great way to keep ahead of the game.

Most one pound bags of dried beans can make 6-6.5 cups of cooked beans. Most cans of beans are 1.75 cups of beans. So if you can buy a can of beans for .50 and since I freeze my beans in containers of 2C each, that means I'll save about $1. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but when every penny counts, a buck is a lot. I've been there, where a $1 meant being in the red or in the black. So if this work isn't worth it to you, then skip this tip. Keep in mind, I haven't bought beans for a long time, so I don't really know how much beans are in a can. They might be more. But usually dried beans are cheaper. And, if you buy them in bulk, they are even more cheaper. Plus, dried beans do not contain all that sodium. A nice plus.

Anyway, this is what I do to make my beans. I put the beans in my crockpot with water to soak and then after they have soaked for the needed time, check the bag, I cook them. Often it might be all day, or just a few hours. Make sure to check them, or they might overcook. Then I drain and pack them in reusable freezer containers. When I need them for a recipe, just zap em in the microwave for a few seconds and there you go. Pure beans. No additives or salt.

Like I said, this might not be worth it to you. But it is to us, since we've gotten away from salt and we really notice it when something is highly salted.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

9 Weeks

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I thought maybe you'd like to see just how much I've popped. I know it's not so much baby, but I did not look like this until at least 16 weeks with Nadia. I was running around in 12's yesterday, fully unbuttoned and unzipped. And my size is a 10. The legs are way too big, so I know it's belly. I am 9.5 weeks. And yes, there is only one baby in there. I can't believe how fast I've grown!! This pic is all maternity clothes. A special thanks to my MIL for getting the pants and the top. Isn't it cute?? I bet she had fun shopping for maternity clothes again.

Drum Roll Please

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Again I feel like super woman. I have made pitas. Gee, my self esteem should be skyrocketing by now. I've made granola, and I've made pitas. I'll tell ya, I've been trying to make pitas now for years. And they never, ever turned out as nice as these did. I am so excited. They were easy, soft, tasty and they actually have a pocket. Nadia had a grand ol time watching them puff. Here is a recipe for them. There seems to be a flourish of pita-makers right about now. Must be the cold weather or something. But I am super excited because the best thing to eat with hummus is pita! And I can't find pita anywhere in these parts. And hummus is one of those good for you foods that tastes great and works with a pregnant sick belly. A least this one. I don't think I'll ever buy pita's again. These are too good. I feel like how I did when I was able to make sandwich quality bread. It feels good. I love being a homemaker!!

Now I just gotta make some nice aprons. Here is a really good article on aprons, that I like. I do think homemakers need to feel they are 'on the job'. At least this one. With every other job you had things that showed your authority in the job, and with a homemaker, sometimes not a lot. So have a read on that.

And the other ladies doing pitas these days? Read on their success.

Chelsea's Pita's

Jessica's Pita's

Friday, February 22, 2008

Favorite Soup Recipes...

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I've got a lot of favorite recipes, so I am breaking them down to breads, soups, beef, chicken and fish. (Although we don't eat much beef, it tends to be expensive and I had a nasty reaction one month to eating it.)

Remember that soups are a great way to use up wilting veggies. That may sound gross, but come on, you are going to soften them anyway.

Anyway, here are a few of our favorite soups that we make often and they are frugal!

Lentil-Veggie Soup - Obtained from The Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes by BHG
This is a crock-pot recipe, which is great, saves time too. Easily doubled. Great with a homemade crusty bread and butter.

1C dry lentils
1C chopped onions
1C chopped celery
1C chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
.5 tsp dried basil
.5 tsp dried oregano
.5 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 14oz cans of vegetable or chicken broth (3.5 C) (I buy the bouillon, or use my homemade, the stuff in a box or a can is expensive)
1.5C water
1 14.5oz can italian-style stewed tomatoes (or just diced, stewed, crushed, whole chopped, whatever you have on hand)
.25c snipped fresh parsley (I've never used the fresh, just used dried added with the other dried herbs)

1.Place everything in a crock-pot. Stir. Cook on low for 12 hours or high for 5-6. Discard bay leaf. Stir in parsley if using fresh.

Turkey Soup- Obtained from Miserly Meals by Jonni McCoy
This is an awesome and fresh way to use up leftover turkey. I really liked this recipe. This is great with a nice green salad and biscuits.

turkey leg or part of carcass (this is nasty to me, so I skip the bones and just do the rest of the soup. This can make it greasy, IMO.)
6c water
1c chopped, cubed turkey
.5c chopped carrots
.25c chopped celery
.25c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 T italian seasoning
15oz can stewed tomatoes (again, diced, crushed, whole tomatoes chopped will do here)
1c uncooked rice
1tsp pepper
3tbsp chicken boulion, more or less to taste

Place the carcass with water in a large pan. Add the remaining ingredients and place over medium-low heat. let simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
When it is done, remove the carcass and pull off as much meat as you can, adding it back into the soup. Discard carcass.

Potato Soup
I have been making this recipe for eons. It is a lower fat recipe and I take it to the sick and those who need uplifting. It is a good soup that is easy to eat, easy on the stomach, but filling.

3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 large carrots, sliced
2 large celery, sliced
1 large onion
6tbsp butter/margarine
6tbsp flour
3tbsp chicken boullion
1c milk
2 pieces cooked bacon, crushed (can be pork or turkey)

Place the potatoes, carrots, celery and chicken boullion in a large pot. Cover with lots of water. Bring to a boil and simmer till veggies are done. Take a large bowl and place a strainer in the bowl. Pour contents of pot in strainer/bowl combo. You need to save the boil water.

Place butter in same pot, melt and saute onion till soft, keep the heat low. Then over medium heat add flour and stir till combined. Add milk all at once, salt and pepper to taste and stir till bubbly, not long. Add veggies, stir to coat and then add as much of the reserved water till desired consistency. You will need to serve this immediately, or keep adding water. The longer it sits, the thicker it gets. Just before serving add the crushed bacon. This adds that nice little touch.

There you have it. Our fave soups. Please let me know if you try any of these. I've got so many more soups that are vegetarian that are wonderful!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Very Bad Combo

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Did you know that dill pickles and hummus do not go well together? Hork. With all the advice I am giving out lately, I figured I'd save you the uckiness I feel right now. Learn from my mistakes. Do not pair dill pickles and hummus, even within a few hours of each other. You won't regret taking this advice.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

And We're Dancing....

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We got an offer on our house today!!! YAY!! We accepted the offer and so we are just waiting on them for their approval for the loan and the inspection. If it all works out it looks like we will have a closing date of March 19. Please pray everything goes smoothly. We really want to be out from underneath this house!! Thanks for your prayers! I know they are working!

Favorite Bread Recipes....

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Here are a few of my favorite bread recipes:

Whole Wheat and Honey Pizza Dough
This pizza dough is the best I've made yet. It's low fat, low cal, and my hubby and daughter love it. It doubles, triples and quadruples well. I will sometimes make a large batch and freeze the rest so that the next time I make pizza I just have to take it out and let it defrost on the counter and in a few hours it's ready to go.

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 C. warm water
2 C. whole wheat flour
1/4 c wheat germ
1 tsp walt
1 tbls honey

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a small bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes
3. In a large bowl combine flour, wheat germ and salt. Make a well in the middle and add honey and yeast mixture. Stir well to combine till smooth and springy. Cover and set in a warm place to rest for a few minutes.
4. Roll dough on a floured pizza pan and poke a few holes in it with a fork.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 5-10 minutes, top with your best yummy toppings and bake until desired crispiness.

French Bread - Obtained from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger
This bread is the most basic you can make. It is frugal, because it doesn't have oil, so it is also low cal and low fat. You can, and I suggest you do, substitute up to 3 cups of whole wheat flour or other flour. Otherwise the white flour doesn't give it any hardiness to cut it. I use white whole wheat flour. It fakes you out, makes you think it's all white. It is so easy to make. I am going to assume that you know how to basically make bread, so I am not going to put all of the instructions on here, she has hers step by step, which is nice for the novice. If you do not know how to make bread, do not have a bread maker, or if you have a good sturdy stand mixer, like a KitchenAid or are simply going to do it by hand (which is great therapy) please see this article for instructions. Most basic breads can be made by this method. It took me about 6 months of practicing to make really good bread. But my bread comes out everytime now.

2 C warm water
1.5 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
3 C bread flour
1 tbsp salt
About 3 C regular flour

1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. (did you know that if you put a pinch of sugar in with your yeast and the water it will aid your yeast to meeting it's fullest potential in your dough later on? I do this everytime and it helps.) Stir and let sit till foamy about 10 minutes.
2. Add 2 c of bread flour, beat hard until smooth. Add remaining 1 c bread flour and most of the regular flour .5 c at a time until you have a shaggy dough that clears the sides of the bowl.
3. Turn out onto floured surface and BEAT YOUR AGGRESSIONS OUT OF THAT POOR PIECE OF LIFELESS DOUGH until you have a nice, smooth and springy ball. You need to let that dough know whose boss so that it will do your bidding.
4. Place the dough in a lightly greased deep bowl, turning once to coat the top and (this is so important that you do, my bread making took a turn for the better once I started doing this.) cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temp until tripled in bulk about 1.5-2 hours.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two portions and using a rolling pin roll out to a wide rectangle shape. Roll the dough up from the shortest end, pinching the seam shut and tucking and pinching the ends under. Repeat with other portion and place in greased bread pans.
6. Let rise again till doubled, this rise will not take as long. Maybe 45mins to an hour. Cover loosly with plastic wrap.
7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 35-40 mins until crusty and the loaves sound hollow when tapped.

Now I am going to add something that I've developed on my own to add stability to loaves when cutting. After the bread has baked, remove it from the pans immediately and place on a cooling rack. When the loaves are cool to the touch, cover with a clean, dry dish towel and let set overnight. If you put bread that feels cool to the touch immediately into a plastic bag, it will continue to condense and your bread will be soggy by morning. Letting it set overnight allows it to cool completely. If you cut bread that is hot, warm or not cool completely it will fall apart when you cut it. But the next morning, most breads are cooled and will cut very nicely. Afraid of stale bread? That's what the crust is for! The crust keeps the inside nice. After you cut it put it in a plastic bag and it will stay nice for at least a week. It's rare that I've had homemade bread grow mold. Most store bought breads do before my homemade breads do. And that's not because we eat them faster. I've had bread ends sit in my bread box for two weeks and not had a lick of mold on them. They are hard, so I put them in the freezer for stuffing or bread pudding later on.

Pilgrim's Bread - Obtained from More With Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre
This is the bread I just pulled out today from my oven. I forgot how much I love this bread! I don't know how frugal it is, but it is a nice variation from the French bread.
Combine in a bowl:
.5c yellow cornmeal
.3c brown sugar
1tbsp salt
Stir gradually into:
2 C boiling water
.25c oil (or applesauce)
Cool to lukewarm (I put mine out on the porch and it was cool in like 5 minutes)
2pkg dry yeast in
.5c warm water
Add yeast to cornmeal mixture
Beat in:
.75 C whole wheat flour
.5 c rye flour
By hand or stand mixer stir in:
4.25-4.5 c white flour
Turn onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Divide in half and shape each half into a loaf, as described above, place in greased pans. Cover and let rise again in warm place until double. Bake at 375 about 40 minutes. These rise nicely, and have a great sturdiness to them. Great for sandwiches.
I wanted to let you know of another great piece of advice about baking. See that white stuff on top of the loaves? It's not mold, it's flour. After I've formed my loaves and put them in the pan, I sprinkle a bit of flour on the tops of the loaves to keep the plastic wrap from sticking. If the plastic wrap sticks too much and pulls the risen bread, it can make it fall. So the flour keeps it from sticking, plus it makes it look so homey. You can slash your breads with a serrated knife, but don't go too deep. Do you know why they used to do this? In baking bread rises dramatically, sometimes the outer crust will become too hard too fast and the gasses are trapped. The slashing allows for some of the gasses to be released before it gets baked too far. In other words, it allows for rapid rising in baking. I have made most breads without the slashing and have never had this problem. But if you want, go for it.

By the way, I ate that piece of bread laying there, which, is really good with homemade hummus on it. I think I'll have another.

Tomorrow I'll try to post some of my other favorite soups, meals and such that are healthy, easy for you and the pocketbook.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Frugal Living Part 1

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I've had a few questions about what we are doing or have done to save money. So I sat down and wrote down a list of the things that we've done or are doing at the moment to save and stretch our dollar. It's very rudimentary at the moment. And keep in mind this is what works for us, this might not work for others in their particular situation. Like, for instance, you might not have an expansive basement to hang laundry.
I plan on doing this in parts. And since I am in the kitchen most of the time we will start in the kitchen.

My husband gets paid bi-weekly, so after he gets paid I do grocery shopping. This is my method. We do not get a newspaper (one of the ways we save), but we do have internet and I can pull up my grocery stores sale ads for the week. I write down all the things I think I might use or need and then pull out all my cookbooks. Then I go to all my cupboards, frigde and freezers and write down all the contents. You can obtain nice little handi-dandi sheets for filling all this in at Cindy's porch. These are nice, but after you get the hang of it you probably won't need to print them off all the time. And I don't do this at every meal planning session, as I try to keep a running list, checking off what I use and adding what I've bought. I'm not perfect about it. Usually once I've gone through I have a good idea for a while what I have and what I don't have. At any rate, once I have all of the lists with me and my cookbooks, I sit down and try to plan at least suppers for two weeks. Since we have suppers with people and church functions I try to see if those are coming up and plan for that. If I am planning a special breakfast, say for Hubby's birthday or Easter Sunday, I write that down too. And I try to 'shop' from my home stash first, making meals that use the most of the stuff at home. Most of the time I need to get some things at the store, but my list is small usually everytime I go. Now, since we have a bit more money and a lot more room than our old house, if something is on sale and is a great price, I will stock up. If I know I'll use it and it won't go bad, I will get it and get as many as I can. Like diced tomatoes, we use a lot, they don't go bad, so I get a lot. But I only do this if I have some extra money. Like this week, 1# butter is on sale for $1!! Holy Cow!! That is unheard of!
Then with the list you've made up of things you need in the kitchen and around the house, go shopping. BUY ONLY WHAT'S ON YOUR LIST. Unless, you are like me and forget an essential because you use it everyday, like eggs and are like, duh, when you come to the diary aisle. But for things like Cadbury Cream Eggs, nope, sorry, you don't need it, your thighs don't need it, and your kids don't need it. I realize it's only $.50, but then you'll soon be rationalizing other more pricier things. It's a downward slope. Once you get used to telling yourself no, it gets easier and soon you'll know what you need.

Now for a few "Waste Not, Want Not" tips:
  • Keep an old bread bag or other ziploc bag in the freezer for bread ends, stale bread, bagels, english muffins, any non-sweet breads. This process of freezing and thawing makes the bread even more dry, which is perfect for making bread pudding, stuffing, plain or Italian bread crumbs. All of these things call for dried out bread. And this is the perfect way to save up for it. I don't use eaten bread, I guess I'm a germ-phobe. That bread gets thrown to the birds.
  • Save potato and/or veggie boiling water by freezing in containers. Use as stock in soups and stews or wherever veggie stock is called for. The potato water you can use for making bread, increases the nutritional value of your bread.
  • Save turkey/chicken carcasses for making broth/stock.
  • Save clean veggie peelings/scraps to make into broth. (I've not had a whole lot of success with this broth. Can't make the flavor come out right.)
  • Keep an eye on all things in your fridge. Clean your fridge out regularly. If a food has been in there for a bit, freeze it till you can use it later.
  • Make double batches of soups - freeze the half you don't use. Saves energy costs for you and your bills!
  • Take advantage, as your money allows, of meat sales. Like Thanksgiving, I bought two turkeys. You can make several meals from the initial meal. The same for ham. While we are talking about Ham buy a smoked shoulder portion - tastes just like ham, but since it's not called ham you pay less. Freeze the leftover meat in 1# portions in good freezer containers and use later in stirfry's, meat pies, casseroles, or shredded for sandwiches.
  • Eat more beans. They are much healthier - less fat, just as much protein and iron as beef and a tone more fiber. Much cheaper. And you don't have to worry about hormones or something bad in the beans.
  • Use TVP in your ground beef. Half it till your family gets used to the taste and texture. TVP is interchangeable in any ground beef recipe. It is made from Soy (what isn't these days) and takes on the taste of whatever you season it with. So if you want 'ground beef' use beef boullion. I've found, though, that it works well in baked products, like casseroles. However, it just doensn't cut it for chili. So I use ground turkey instead.
  • Which brings me to this tip, buy frozen ground turkey tubes instead of ground beef. It's healthier and cheaper and you don't have the worry of hormones. My family can't tell the difference.
  • Lentils are a great meat substitute too. We make sloppy lentils, lentil tacos and other such things.
  • Make your own bread. Buy the flour and yeast in bulk and you will save money. It takes some practice, but with time you will be able to make beautiful bread, sandwich quality, that your hubby will say, "my wife made this, isn't it beautiful?" (Yes, my husband has actually said that.)
  • Use applesauce instead of oil. It's cheaper when bought on sale, unidentifiable in baked goods and breads. Sneaky way to get fruit in. Buy unsweetened.
  • Save bacon fat for greasing baking pans (don't do this if you are trying to loose weight. Kinda defeats the purpose.) Make sure you keep it in the fridge.
  • Put in a garden and can/freeze/dry what you will use.
  • Lettuce, spinach, onions and most salad greens do not need bees - they can grow in a container in a sunny window all year round.
  • Freeze banana's when they get too brown for fresh eating. Save for banana bread, muffins. They come out really mushy and soft, perfect for easy mashing.
  • When making pancakes, waffles, make extra and freeze for quick breakfasts later.
  • Use nonfat instant dry milk reconstituted in your baking instead of fresh milk. Cheaper and easier on the thighs.
  • Buy prefrozen chicken, fish
  • Compare per pound on items at the store to see which is cheaper. Sometimes the brand is cheaper, especially on sale.
  • Make your own granola.
  • If you can get WIC freeze the cheese if you can't eat it fast enough. Use cheese only in casseroles and such. We found that our grocery bill went down significantly when we cut out snacking on cheese.
  • Make yogurt from the milk
  • Crackers are easy to make, as are bagles, breakfast bars etc.
  • Make your own Bisquick. Check out recipes for easy suppers online using your homemade version.
  • Check out this website for making your own baking mixes and such.
  • I highly recommend Miserly Meals and More With Less. The money you spend on these two books (which you can get used) you will save with meal prep. They have done so much for my family health wise and financially.
  • Walton's Self Reliance has a ton of information on it about beans and meat substitutes.
I hope this has helped. I know it's a lot, but keep in mind this was through like 3 years of research and trial and error. I'm sure I will change some of this to better suit our needs as our family grows. I've discovered, though, that when I was trying to loose weight, it also fit with trying to trim our food budget. The high fat, high calorie things were also high cost. So trimming the waistline and the budget can go hand in hand.

I welcome questions and comments and ways that you do something different or better. I am always trying to do what I do, better.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How Does Your Garden Grow?

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Did I mention we are putting in a garden? It's one of the other ways we are saving money. And I am saving seeds from the plants so that I don't have to buy them next year. I am excited, although this is a new garden plot, so I'm a bit apprehensive if it will do well. We went a little overboard this year. Heh heh. Here's what we are going to plant:
Bush Beans
Sweet Corn
Juliet Tomatoes
Pickle Cucumbers
Slicing Cucumbers
Baby Romaine Lettuce
Mesclun Lettuce
Bell Peppers
JalapeƱo Peppers
Regular Tomatoes
Summer squash
Sugar Snap Peas
Sweet Potatoes
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Did we go a little overboard? Maybe, but I can't wait until it comes in and I can eat it!! Especially this year with being pregnant, I can eat fresh fruits and veggies to my hearts content and it's just what my body and my baby needs! I'm stoked.

Now, what, I ask, does a homemaker do with 15 frozen bananas? Why, she makes three loaves of banana bread!!

Yes, I know, there is only two loaves there, that's because the one is just about gone. The tripled recipe called for 1.5C of oil. I used 1C of applesauce and .5c of oil. That way it has some good fats in it. I am eating so very little that I am looking for high calorie. But didn't want to go all the way on it. Plus it's a good way to get my fruit in.

And I am so excited about this!! When I was pregnant with Nadia my dear Andrew got me a body pillow early on. I remember why now, I just can't get comfortable without it. I need some sort of cushion underneath my top leg. And it's not even the belly, I barely have one yet. So we've started using it again. Well we only have one cover for it. And since I hang all our laundry downstairs I kinda needed a new one. Since I have made pillowcases for Nadia's mini pillow that I made her, I refused to buy an expensive pillowcase. They run about $13. Well I took myself and my daughter to Goodwill, found a pretty queen size flat sheet for .99. I was able to make two pillowcases out of it and they look pretty darn good. Hubby is happy and I can change over the cases every week!
Ok, now that I have totally bored you to death, I'll let you go. That's why I put all the pictures in. In hopes that you'd read the whole way down, if not to just look at the pictures. Heh heh.

Have a good evening!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Crunchy Me

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So I guess you could finally call me crunchy. I feel like Tom Hanks in Castaway "I HAVE MADE GRANOLA!" It was a cool experience. And a tasty one too. And to think I made a ice cream bucket-full of the stuff for a fraction of the cost of the store bought stuff. And it's better. And it was so easy. And I know what's in it. And Nadia likes it. So does Andrew. Here is the website I obtained the recipe from. I did add cinnamon and used .5c of flax seed, other than that, I pretty much followed the recipe. When it comes to cooking I don't really follow the recipes much anymore. It's more of a guideline, really.

We became 'crunchy' more out of necessity. Money was tight and we figured out that the 'poor' people of old actually probably ate a ton better than we do now. We had to cut out most meat and when we did use meat it was chicken, fish, turkey, or TVP. And it was used in a stew, or soup, casserole, something like that. It was hardly ever a slab of meat on our plates. We used a lot more beans and spent more money on fresh vegetables and fruit. I began to make all of our bread products and we ate more rice. And you know what? We found out we liked it!! Actually preferred it to the way we used to eat. So when money got better, we are still eating that way. I like it because I go to the store once every two weeks. If I run out of something for something I am making I either make a substitution, or go without it. We eat a lot of leftovers around here too. I sew a lot for the whole family. I watch ads for the grocery store and make a menu based around that and what I already have in stock. Here is a list of the resources I use to make our money stretch:

Frankferd Farms Foods - A co-op that, incidentally, sells a lot of organic stuff. Organic is more expensive, I don't buy from them for that, I do buy from them because a lot of the stuff I get is cheaper in say 50lb bags. And we use it up quickly because I make everything from scratch. This has only regional delivery, like most of PA, and Ohio, not sure of other places. They will ship. And you can pick up at the farm too.

More With Less Cookbook - This cookbook was and is a lifesaver. It's 30 some years old, but the recipes are so frugal, yet so healthful and so delicious! Nadia eats them and Andrew loves them. This cookbook not only gives you great recipes but it also has an educational part about pairing grains with beans for a complete protein, so that you can omit meat for meals.

Miserly Meals - Written by Jonni McCoy from the Miserly Moms books. This is another great cookbook for frugal meals. Again the meals are tasty and easy to put together. Mine is falling apart, I need to tape this one!

Cindy's Porch - Taught me how to 'shop' at home before I shopped at a grocery store. At the time our pantry was non-existent, but I did make good use of her advice and her lists.

The Hillbilly Housewife - This is a goldmine of information, recipes and menus. She has a $40 and $75 emergency menus and they are nutritionally complete. This is amazing. She even has health information and nutrition education. And she is a Christian. That is important to me, because she is exampling how to be a good steward of the money God has given us.

Sam's Club. I am a clubber. But only for certain things. And I have researched those items to be sure I am getting a good deal. I only go about every other month. It does have a club cost, but the fact that I can get 2# of yeast for a few bucks, as compaired to three tiny little packets for $2-$3, I'm sold. Like I said, I have a list for what I need and what I need is what I get. No more.

Tammy's Recipes - This is also another great wealth of kitchen information. She has everything from recipes to childcare on here and she is also a Christian. She just had a new baby, so I am watching this closely to see how she does food prep for a family with a new baby while nursing!! Ok I don't know if she nurses while she cooks, but you get the picture.

Anyway, since I like seeing pictures on blogs, I figured I'd post a few on here, as I have zip energy for writing right now. I'm just exhausted!! Anyway, enjoy!Handsome hubby....

My beautiful daughter.....

And my man and me.... (Nadia took this picture, can you believe it? She's not too bad for a toddler!)

Well I'm getting a strange craving for cottage cheese. These days when hunger strikes, I eat. Hunger doesn't strike much. Nausea does a lot though!

Hey can you pray for our house to sell? It's been 7 months and we are feeling the drag.

Have a great evening!

Friday, February 08, 2008


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The newest member of our family.....

Secret Revealed

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We are expecting a baby!! We saw the beautiful babe through an ultrasound today. I am just over 7 weeks along and am due Sept 24. We did get pictures, but I will post them later. Just thought you'd like to know!