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Are You a Mustard Lover??

August 16th, 2007 at 03:24 pm

Some people are into mustards, some aren't. I can tell the older I get, the more I enjoy mustards. Must have something to do with taste buds. I've never been into ketchup, maybe due to all the kids and seeing it used as a food group sometimes!

I'm going to be in mustard heaven since my box of 3 new mustards from Grey Poupon arrived today. Can't wait to start experimenting with them in some of my recipes.

Tonights meal is homemade pot stickers & rice, so mustard probably isn't going to make an appearance til tomorrow. My favorite recipe comes from one of my first kids. Round steak slathered with mustard, then lay in a spear of dill pickle.....roll up and wrap with a strip of bacon. Brown, then simmer for 3 hours. Tastes oh so good!

Since moms kitchen didn't have any mustards, these are a welcome addition!

Our 99 cent Dinner

August 12th, 2007 at 09:42 pm

Yes, we did manage to go out to dinner for 99 cents. Sort of. Of course, it meant I had to go inside a casino! Totally out of my comfort zone here....

Took mom & her twin to a tribal casino for a late lunch/early dinner & we all used the 99 cent menu. Totally yummy was the review all round! I had salmon fish & chips and a strawberry shortcake for dessert; had to be the best one I've had .....ever.

After our meal, the twins spent time (and money) playing games while I sat & waited. (should have brought my knitting) A fun day & budget minded at least on my part. Never have been a gambler & today was the first time my mom hasn't actually shoved a ticket at me and told me to Spend It!.

We tried like everything to watch a DVD from the retirement community we are all pondering. Can't get the machine to go. Not sure what the problem is, I'm used to my set up with the DVD in the TV and it's just a one button deal. This one is a bit older & no matter what combo I tried, nothing. Because of moms moves lately, no book could be located either.......and by then, we didn't care if we saw the advertising blurb. We're just going to go & see it for ourselves.

I've been babying my knee, somehow I've tweaked it about a week ago & it has HURT. Tonight is the first night I think I'll be able to sleep without it waking me up. Just in time for a walk around Greenlake this week. Meeting a friend for a visit & a walk & was hoping I didn't have to limp all the way around! Will give it a go tomorrow & take a practice walk!

On a Roll

February 19th, 2007 at 07:18 pm

Another email in the IN box today.....sold another book on Amazon.com. Two days in a row, a record of sorts here! With todays holiday, I'll be mailing both of them tomorrow & then just sitting back to see the $$ added to my Paypal account. Pretty easy money. This was one of the original ways I tried when beginning the $20.00 challenge here a year ago.........and it's still plugging away.

RE; putting ME on my 2007 goal list....I walked again this AM for an hour. (in the pouring rain, mind you!) Enjoying the walk and the company; one of the women who answered my Craigslist post for walking partners. It makes a huge difference to me if I've got someone to meet at the trail....otherwise, I could come up with dozens of creative answers as to why NOT walk.

Spent nothing ........used a bit of gas to get to the trailhead...but that was it. Thought I was going to sew, but it was too cold in the sewing room to concentrate. Will try again tomorrow; hoping for a warming trend here again.

Continued the Cooking From Scratch lessons today for the non cooking tenants here. They bought the ingredients & I showed them how to make ranch dressing (a food group for them I think) from scratch. Everyone agreed it was better than the stores. Duh!! We did pancake syrup last week...not sure what next weeks "lesson" is going to be. I always forget how spoiled I've been; to have everything home made all the time. I can't imagine how much money that has saved over the years???

Veggie Deprivation

January 11th, 2007 at 08:00 pm

Reading the posts about the veggies is making me realize how few fresh veggies we've had around here since the produce from the garden was finished up. This isn't the greatest for our nutritional status, but it's the way it is. I've got veggies canned or in the freezer & that is just how things are through the winter here. We do add some fresh things in occasionally....but it's a treat when we do.

I'm anxious to get some things planted, but now.....even more so. Onions, zuchinni, asparagus......they all are yummy.....and FREE (almost) if I raise them myself. I do think my absolute fav has to be brussel sprouts, which I didn't get any starts for this past summer. I'm going to be camping out at my local garden supply store this spring, to be sure & get my quota. (not sure I know that number....as we've been able to eat whatever I grow in previous years.)

Heading to the freezer before turning in tonight & taking out a package of cooked butternut squash.......The soup of the day tomorrow will be curried Thai butternut! Has to be one of the yummiest things I've tasted lately.

I'm disappointed we're still iced in, as I had set up a walking partner for tomorrow AM. There is no way I'm driving in this stuff....there are more vehicles in the ditch than on the roads around here! I will just have to wait til next week to meet this woman. The treadmill again!

Off to do my Really Cold Weather prevention plan tonight.......bank the fire in the wood stove....leaving a slow drip of water to keep the pipes from freezing up and opening the under sink cabinet doors; only because my dad taught me that one. Not sure if it really helps or not, but we've not had anything freeze up either. Tonights overnight temp is supposed to be a whopping 16. Yuk!

Dinner Impossible?

January 5th, 2007 at 12:45 pm

It's a new show being advertised on TV lately; not that I'm planning to watch......but it sums up our current menu planning/ cooking/ eating situation here.

The backyard people qualify & are using food stamps these days.......as well as I'm taking them to our local food bank 2X a month too. This yields plenty of food for them however, some pretty odd combinations of items neither of them knows much about.

So, I've begun a new deal of offering to teach them how to turn their items into dinners (or lunch & breakfasts too, for that matter). Started by leaving out a couple of my Taste of Home magazines which they have been enjoying and commenting on. Take their comments and steer them towards their "pantry" they are accumulating and see if we can come up with something similar for them.

Todays meal had to include the fresh peppers they got at the food bank yesterday, so we're using the last of the new years pork roast, a jar of their salsa, one of their onions, and simmering it all to go in soft tacos (tortillas also from the food bank). Have the dried beans soaking, waiting to simmer them up and make re fried beans to go with the meal and I think we're set...... with a couple added fresh items from our fridge.

If you don't know what to do with items, food bank donations are almost worthless to some. I'm not sure if my new dinner game is going to make an impact or not, but I feel better. They might learn something, and worse case is they don't..........but they will be on clean up on the nights I cook for/with them. I can live with that!

Learned they are both crazy about bread pudding, so that will be next on the list to turn the leftover bread & bakery items into a "new" dessert.

Dinner Impossible.........Not around here!

Record Breaking Weather

November 22nd, 2006 at 07:58 pm

Living in the Pacific NW, I'm used to rain; but this is getting way past the ridiculous stage now. We've just shattered our own record of the wettest Nov. on record and there are days left in the month.

My yard is so wet I'm beginning to question how septic tanks work when the ground is so saturated. (Having it not work is not a pretty alternative) Hoping by some magic, the system still functions even tho we are all building arks here.

Beyond the rain, life continues here. I got paid for another months private knitting lessons, in addition to taking on an Emergency hemming job so someone could wear new slacks to their family dinner tomorrow. I had assumed my ad wouldn't pull anyone in this week due to the holiday, but it has been the busiest so far. Nice.

I'm up to speed for the dinner tomorrow, as well as the overnight company. Hoping to get to sleep early so I can be up with the chickens (literally) & get the pies in the oven before the cheesecake has to go in.......then the turkey, and on and on. Just need to get the clean linens on all the beds & I'll be good to go.

Sold another book on Amazon........plus received another invite to evaluate a product I had answered a survey about. Love those.

Did get the battery charged on the new Sonic Care toothbrush system & wow, I've never had cleaner teeth. What a deal this is. Even came with a travel case.

Hope everyone that will be observing Thanksgiving has a blessed day indeed!

Adding a Meal + Two

November 21st, 2006 at 10:15 am

I am usually ready to add more potatoes to the pot, and set out more plates.....round up a couple extra chairs (we don't have dishes OR chairs that all go together...who cares anyway??), but today I'm doing a mini dinner; BEFORE the holiday. A new one on me.

Got a call last night from a friend who will be picking up the Autistic Wonder Child who used to live here, then they will both be coming here for of all things.......haircuts and the Mini Thanksgiving meal.

Fortunately, with a pantry & freezer up to par here, I set out a mini turkey tenderloin roast to thaw....and I've got oodles of pumpkin for a Pre Holiday pie. Can't imagine dealing with life without my well stocked larder here. Makes the odd seem almost normal. Anyone else offering hair cuts with their pies??

Knitting student cancelled today, so I have more time than usual.....love when things just seem to work out! I'm crossing things off the Master TO DO list and have time to spare. Heading to the sewing room for the afternoon while the pie is baking, have an order due next week, 20 small cushions for hand made rocking chairs from a local craftsman.

Back to work here............

Catching Up

November 20th, 2006 at 05:40 pm

I've been playing a long game of "Catch Up" here, and I'm not winning! Seems I get more behind each day/week.....

Spent a couple days last week at my moms, getting some BIG things off her list, but not making any headway around here. I'm having a Thanksgiving dinner, plus overnight guests here for the week end, so this week is pretty booked.

Started last night.......during the middle of the night. I couldn't sleep, so I got my tablet & started making lists. Shopping, TO DO, what to cook when sorts of lists. Finally got to sleep around 4AM. (can't wait for lights out here this evening!!)

Did the shopping for the week today, and have a couple of the menu items started already. (gotta love things like frozen salads, etc.......a do-ahead dream)

Sold a book on Amazon yesterday, so got it mailed today. Would love to see this little venture a tad more active. Not going to get rich with this one. But, no expenses on this either.

Did have to spend money today, on a new feeder for the chickens. They had quickly outgrown the chick feeders and needed to graduate. I have no idea where the feeder is from the old house, so this was a stupid expense, replacing something I already have......had??? Should last the rest of my lifetime however. Plus, I now have it set up so I won't need to fill grain containers 2X a day! Nice.

Picked up fabric for a customers order, re lining slacks.......which is such an easy do, but people are willing to really spend on this repair.... Should get this done & be paid the first week in Dec.

Anxious to try my new SonicCare toothbrush system from BzzAgent. Just got it in the mail today & will set it up this evening. Probably needs to charge, now that I think of it......

Also got an invite from a food co, to participate in a survey. I'd requested a sample from the freebies pages here ages ago. There was a list of thank you gifts they will send when I complete the 20 minutes..... Nice!

Timers' ringing, means I'm due back in the kitchen. Hope everyone is up to speed on their Thanksgiving prep....

Adding 2 More for Thanksgiving

November 13th, 2006 at 08:07 pm

My "Little Dinner" is getting bigger it seems. We were 5 adults which seemed small compared to previous years, but was just about right for the house I thought.

So much for what I thought. Smile

I learned that my one guy that comes on the week ends, didn't have his usual place to go on Turkey Day as he calls it. So, it would be just he & his mom, in their apt. (she can't cook, they don't really have a functional kitchen either) So, tonight I asked them if they would like to come for dinner then my guy can just stay for a long week end, so his mom still has to do just the 2 trips to my house. With about 5 seconds, she replied....."Sure!" They're bringing the beverages; so one more catagory crossed off.

Next, I get a call from my mom & yes, her twin is coming too. Early in the day to help with dinner & they will bring a salad, fresh veggie & 2 pies. (reminded them there were just 7 of us!!) They then asked if they could stay overnight......so we'll bump the kiddo out of his room, toss him in the living room on the aerobed and have the twins in the bedroom. Too fun. But, now we've got meals to plan for Friday!!! Smile

So, my one little dinner has spread out to a couple days, several meals and we're up to 7 adults. (still haven't got a commitment from the new couple out back in the trailer.....planning in my head for 9, just in case.)

Love the pantry & freezer for holidays....as I've got many of the items I'll need already put away here. I will be spending some for the food, but nothing over the top. All my baking ingredients are already in the pantry, bread has been set aside for the dressing, other people are bringing items.........so I think I'm getting the turkey roast and whipping cream. Not bad!

Located the staple gun & received a free to me battery operated drill..........so I can finish the Re-Do on the Freecycle table event before Thanksgiving. I have free fabric too....the cushions are in great shape, so a little work and the set will be all ready to go. I actually LOVE the table & chairs .......couldn't have found anything new that I like as well. Gotta love it when that happens!

Fortunately, no one I know expects anything but a fun day here; so I'm not compelled to pit myself against Martha. We'll be reasonably cleaned up, the food will be outstanding & plentiful and everyone won't have to worry about a think. We don't stand on ceremony, or which fork to use...or any of that. (although I would love to set a formal table once before I die... Smile )

So, it's looking like a no to low stress day.........plus I'm feeling really good about having others here that wouldn't have somewhere to go otherwise.... I used to think I'd like to go help serve holiday meals at the mission in town or something, then I finally realized I do that......just at home! (on a tiny scale)

Still in Harvest Mode Here

November 12th, 2006 at 10:30 am

So much for relaxing the entire day ....I just couldn't resist getting a few more pumpkins roasted up and in the freezer.

I did one yesterday and am feeling compelled to get the rest of them cooked up and in the freezer before we get another freeze & I loose them all.

Just chop in hunks, (saved all the insides for the chicks....they love all the gooey stuff) toss in the oven & roast til tender. Scrape off the rind and cool.......(saved the rinds for the chicks too). Put in zip locks, label and toss in the freezer.

So, the ovens chalk full of pumpkin & I haven't even made a dent on the pile at the front porch. At this rate.....perhaps I'll be done at Christmas! Smile
I think all my pumpkin is going to be headed to the soup pot, as we have a new favorite soup here Creamy Pumpkin/Curry Soup. It's a lick-the-bowl sort of event!!

Freecycle Finds & Other Ramblings

October 16th, 2006 at 08:28 am

My 2 tables I picked up yesterday were terrific. Particularly love the rattan topped sofa table. All oak! And another end table, also oak.......plus the gentleman had found another table by the time I got to his house, so I got 3 gorgeous tables for a bit of a drive. What a savings! I've been furniture shopping with my mom the past few months and can't believe the price tags! This was WAY more my style.

Not even sure where I'm putting these....but they will all find homes either here or at my moms.

Todays freecycle deal is more downspout and gutter material, aiming to get it in my mini van since I don't have a reliable person with a truck around here. With the Navy mans help, we'll get gutters hooked up to the outbuildings and make my 2 rain barrels functional before next garden season.

It's a no spend day here....as is typical.
I'm planning to spend the bulk of the day in the sewing room. I've got clients coming towards the end of the week; for some reason 3 of them all with draperies needing hemmed. Easy jobs, but boy......have they taken up the space in the sewing room. Piles and piles of draperies!

The new little couple in the 4th bedroom is soooo young and soooo in need of almost everything. They make me so grateful for my parents. I can't imagine parents that would just not be there for kids like these. Anyway, they are safe, dry and happy to be here. The last 3 months they have been staying in one of the Seattle areas Tent Cities, so this place looks pretty good to them. Hopefully, they will take advantage of the situation & make some headway towards getting their lives on track. They have 2 interviews and a medical appt set up for today, so it looks like they are moving forward.

Cooking Note: Thanks to others here for continual inspiration to concoct new meals from existing items. We had a delightful Thai Braised Chicken dish last night...using up one of the many cans of coconut milk I have for some reason. Totally yummy. Fun to create and nice to get out of my cooking rut here.

Still Eating From the Garden

October 8th, 2006 at 04:18 pm

Summer is definately gone, the leaves are starting to color up here in the Pacific NW and I've got a fire going in the wood stove.

But, after a short walk to the garden, I just put a couple acorn squash in the oven for dinner. They will be yummy with a little maple syrup drizzled over them!

Salad is also courtesy of the garden.....diced cucumbers & tomatoes with a bit of mayo/sour cream dressing.... tastes like it's still the middle of summer!

The main dish is from the pantry: home canned beef tips and veggies. I'm going to heat this up in the oven, with a topping of home made biscuits with snipped chives, fresh from the herb garden.

It may be more work than going to the grocery store, but this sure tastes better. And, this particular meal took only a few minutes to prepare & is happily going to cook on its' own. (giving me more time for my wintertime hobby of knitting!)

At this stage in the garden game here,
it's just a matter of watching the weather report and waiting. I will want to get things indoors prior to the first real frost...but until then, things are still ripening on the vine here and we're eating for close to nothing!

Possible Tenant & a New Customer

October 6th, 2006 at 07:51 pm

I pulled in one of the phone calls & have a new customer.........a fairly easy job as soon as I match some thread/yarn to the existing trim on a sweater. Have a week to accomplish this one.

Got a great email & phone call from the ad for another tenant/room mate person. The gentleman is coming tomorrow AM for a walk through/interview. Praying this works out, he said he is willing to pay the price I asked. This would be another temp situation, he only needs a place til Spring.

My sewing ad seems to be working better now that summer is over.....maybe everyone is going through their closets!! I will need to spend some time this week end finishing up the jobs I currently have...I'm a firm believer new jobs won't come in if I'm behind here.

And, lastly, an odd little tip I got in my email this past week or so. A cooking tip. I don't know about you, but when I'm cooking from scratch all the time, especially baking.... I end up with extra egg yolks occasionally. I do what my mom told me to do which was put in a small dish, cover with water and seal up in the fridge. Then, the catch was to remember to use them in something; the best I could do was french toast or something......and I usually forgot to do that. Well...the tip I'm going to use next time is to just pop them in a little boiling water & cook them to a hard boiled stage. Then refrigerate and use as grated egg yolk on salads. I think I'll be much more likely to use them up rather than tossing them out with this tip.... proving I'm never too old to try something new!

Zucchini Status Report

August 6th, 2006 at 06:43 pm

You know all the jokes about zucchini...and the instructions to leave them on strangers porches, ring their doorbell & run... Smile

Well, I'm almost to that point again this year. I go along great for a few weeks in early summer, picking the tiny little veggies to chop and eat fresh in green salads and anxiously await the time when I let one get big enough to slice & fry for the yummiest of appetizers.....and then it hits.

I've somehow missed a couple veggies on my ONE plant and I've now got 2 that are a great size to stuff with sausage & onions and call "Zucchini Dinner Boats" and 2 more that are approaching the size of baseball bats.

What to do? Put Zucchini in the cake! Yes, that's right. It makes a delicious addition to dessert, however I confess I don't tell many people here what's IN the cake!

I've included the recipe here, just in case there might be one or two of you who have let your zucchini plant get away from you again this summer!

Zucchini Chocolate Cake
(one 13 X 9 inch cake)

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
4 Tablespoons baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves

2 cups finely diced zucchini (Be sure to chop, NOT shred this)

1/3 cup chocolate chips

Cream margarine, oil & sugar. Add eggs, vanilla & buttermilk. Beat with electric mixer until well blended.

Sift dry ingredients together & add to batter. Beat until well blened, then stir in zucchini

Pour batter into greased & floured 9 X 13 pan. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 -45 minutes or until it tests done.

No Spending as a Habit

July 31st, 2006 at 07:27 pm

As a matter of course now, there was no spending again today. With my change in work status, (30 days today) I decided to really tighten up on everything until I could figure out how much I was able to make. Still can't tell what the money in aspect is going to look like, too early to guess too.....need to give my ads probably 6 months to be accurate.

So, no spending it is. I can do this. I've done it before out of necessity, and later on by choice for different reasons each time. So, nothing new. Spending money is truly what is out of character for me. It does show me I have all I need, and then some. Blessed indeed here and more than content.

All meals out of the garden and freezer these days. Yummy home made burgers this evening with a fresh salad and steamed new green beans. Add to that; most of the condiments for the burgers were home canned too, or fresh from the garden. Again, I'm stumped when I continue to run into people that don't garden, never have and don't want to. Even when they complain about the price of groceries they won't entertain the option of planting anything themselves.... Seems like one of those simple solutions to a problem to me!

Worked in the yard today and set up a free to me bird bath in a new garden. Looks great......now it just needs some plants. Will keep an eye out on freecycle for something suitable, or put in a wanted post next Sat.

Last day of the month, I think I've done what I'm supposed to have done re; the part time job and their data base. The only time I find out any info is when I've done something wrong, or omitted something....... There are no directions, or templates to follow. What a silly way to run a business. I know if I've done something outside the lines, I'll get an email tomorrow.........I'm saving the emails, making myself my own procedure book of sorts.

Goals related to $$$ for August

#1 had better be, get the rental RENTED.
#2 continue building the sewing business
#3 send emails to local home schooling groups, advertising the sewing and knitting (thanks to a fellow blogger here for that tip & reminder)
#4 shop and purchase the supplies for the projects the Navy man is going to be taking on this fall.

I would be thrilled if I get that short list completed......

Back Home & Busy Already

July 29th, 2006 at 08:15 pm

Just a quick update........had an entry almost ready to post and my PC decided it needed to update Firefox all by itself and bleeped me out of my blog. Drat. Too old and too tired to re do it totally.

Was at moms. Worked for a couple days canning and freezing my produce from the tiny garden here as well as her apple trees.
Lots of food "put up" as it used to be called.

Got home to find most of my pesky little TO DO list items were finished....The Navy has arrived!! He came running in the house when he found out I was home, as he was BORED he said and needed more to do. Glad to oblige, as I really hate seeing able bodied people just sitting around.........we tackled the garage and have him a place to build a work bench now. In the down time, while I was trying to figure out where to put everything, he slicked up the pump house, figured out how the pump works, taught me how to turn the water off to the house and created a TO DO list for tomorrow. I'm going to have to do some serious thinking in order to keep up with him! We're only on Week #1 of 52 weeks!

Mowed lawns, finished an order for a customer a day early so they could come this evening & pick it up.........which they did.......so $$$ IN today and no money spent. Nice!

I did treat my mom to dinner out last night, as we had a coupon for one dinner free.......and we had worked at cooking type tasks for 2 days, it felt good to let someone else cook.

We got to see the new grandbaby too yesterday, he now weighs 11 lbs and is doing pretty well. Still using an odd car bed thing, as he tends to stop breathing in a normal sit up type car seat....looks sort of like a baby bathtub.

Time's up. I've worked so hard today, sitting down isn't a good plan.......I'm falling asleep here at my desk. A very productive couple of days...

My 10' X 10' Garden

July 22nd, 2006 at 04:54 pm

I was lazy this past spring. Being new to this house & yard, I only prepped a little patch of ground for garden space.

I had brought some plants with me from the old house, so in they went....... People gave me starts from their yards, so I stuck them in the same piece of ground. I bought some perinneal seeds online (cheap) and stirred the seeds in the same area....

Then, it was time to put in some veggies....and into the same place they went. Bush beans next to the cosmos which I had never planted before.....who knew they got so huge?? More sugar snap peas since we always seem to use them up before they make it to the kitchen....and 2 huge packets of onion sets for a stunning border. Certainly I could squeeze some radishes in somewhere too...and now I've got 4 little spots of radishes in different stages.

Had to have a couple zucchini plants since we're all hooked on fried zuch. slices and then there are the strawberry plants we were given....

The garden has jumped it's boundaries a bit and I did get another little strip of ground cleared out for the squash.....but the deal is; a garden doesn't have to be huge to fit in bunches of plants.

I'm sure planting flowers and veggies together benefits both, as well as it makes for a much more interesting gargen patch. I've heard that the flowers bring beneficial insects to your garden....and also help to insure polinization of your veggies. Whatever the experts say, I'm loving having my beans next to my cosmos!!!

Flash & I were 'talking' about why is it more people don't garden??? Between her coupons and the coupon train I have jumped on here........and my garden.......we sure aren't paying full price for anything these days and we're definately eating better too. I will have to ponder the question further as I enjoy my gardens' bounty again this evening! Smile

What A Great Day

July 18th, 2006 at 07:39 pm

Wow, when the good things start happening.......it is amazing. Our Navy commander drove in today, will be bringing his RV tomorrow. So, rent from him starts this week.......

Met with the 2 that will be moving in this week with their 5th wheel unit....they are prepared to pay $225 rent. Yikes, I wasn't thinking they were going to be able to scrape together any money!!!

Our little man with the VW bus is here this week "camping" and getting a break from living in his low income housing downtown Seattle. He is just too cute. And, paying rent!!

Still advertising the room/house share bit.....and had another bite on that ad today. Supposedly, a woman is coming tomorrow to check us out. Perhaps we can meet her and not scare her off? Smile Keeping my fingers crossed & the prayers going up!

Got a call from dtr & new grand baby is now 10 lbs!!! Doubled in weight already, she says he looks like a real baby now! Grateful he is OK, even born so early & tiny.

Had enough snap peas from the garden to saute in butter & garlic for my dinner. Totally enjoyed them....absolutely yummy.

Going to lash myself to the sewing machine this evening.......Might even work on the dreaded black sparkly blazer... Smile

Berries.............3rd try on the picture

June 18th, 2006 at 09:50 am

Let's just add this to my last entry....in place of the mystery gardener picture.

Nothing Beats Free

June 18th, 2006 at 09:39 am

As if fresh picked strawberries weren't yummy enough..........how about picking them right outside your front door?? And, if that didn't top all.......the plants were the same ones I got this spring for FREE!

From the tiny little scraps of plants that I stuck in the ground, I picked enough this morning that everyone had a bowl of berries with breakfast. And, yes....they do taste just like summer!

I'll admit this is my first strawberry patch of my own. I've helped in my parents patch, but have never put plants in at my own place. (no idea why, maybe it was leftover from picking strawberries that summer when I was 11) Talk about an easy plant to grow, I've really done nothing but add some water on days we've had no rain. And, I've resorted to a bit of slug bait (all organic gardeners can collectively gasp here) so we didn't have to share the berries.

If I made any errors with these plants it is where I planted them. I wasn't ready for them when they were "gifted" to me, so they got planted in 4 different places. Not convenient to pick or water this way. Also one of the spots was not totally weed free, but the plants had to get in the dirt. This area is a nasty garden now, weeds win when placed alongside berry plants I've discovered. Lesson Learned.


OK, this isn't the picture I loaded, I've done it twice, I didn't even take this picture. Supposed to be the photo of my yummy berries. Who are these people?? How did I get in their garden??? This isn't my garden.............

I'll try my photo one more time, 3rd time's the charm, right??

Saving $ by Saving Food

June 17th, 2006 at 01:14 pm

When I clean out the fridge, I usually have the wok close at hand these days. In my not so distant past...I would have had some sort of trash recepticle to dump things into. Smile

I've managed to NOT toss food, other than into the freezer for later use, or into the stove for the next meal.

Todays lunch was a delicious wok full of fried rice, with dabs of leftover veggies and the meat from last nights leftover chicken. Add a couple eggs, some of the sorry looking green onions and it was a Hit!

Also took the ends of the watermelon and chunked it up, zip locked and tossed it in the freezer. Fruit slushies for dessert the next warm day! Just toss in the blender with a little sweetener & put in some fancy glasses .........my guys think this is the best.

It takes a bit more thinking and a lot more planning, but I know I've saved hundreds of dollars since January when I really began concentrating on the Leftover Overflow Department here at our house.

working, cooking....working, cooking

May 7th, 2006 at 11:26 am

That is it for this week end. With the 3 guys here this week end (all with special needs) it has been non stop cooking, then cleaning up and planning the next meal while still up to my elbows in the kitchen sink.

One leaves this afternoon, giving me a break....then I'm on the downhill side and it gets easier.

Found an almost done meal in the freezer; cooked, seasoned turkey taco mixture.....hamburger buns too.....which equals Turkey Taco Burgers for dinner. The kids are wow-ed. Doesn't take much imagination to float their boat!! Lunch is leftover spaghetti & meatballs with Italian Dunkers (toasted garlic butter hot dog buns!!) Can you tell I've found all the odd bits in the freezer for the week end??

I'm melting dipping chocolate now, going to dip a bag of pretzels for dessert.
Mixed up a quart of Cream of Whatever soup mix (I don't buy Cr. soups for recipes)
As long as I've got to be in the kitchen anyway, I'm going to make my time count. I've searched the freezer & pantry this week end and come up with quite a few meals & projects.......I always get a frugal shot in the arm when I do this, so it's good for me!

As soon as the meals for today are on auto pilot, I'm headed to the garage to do some re-claiming work. I had my sewing room pretty well functional.......but other peoples things have been encroaching.

Looking forward to Wed, Thurs & Fri.....heading to my moms again, for our ahead of schedule Mothers day visit. (I have to work next week end too) I'll be working on her house & yard, but she does all the cooking so I get a delightful break from the kitchen duty.

barn sale profits & other tidbits

May 6th, 2006 at 08:24 am

Wow, I'm duly impressed. My housemate person made just over $600. at her barn sale here yesterday. Plus, has an 'after sale' this morning and again tomorrow. People had to go to the bank, as she decided not to take any checks. So, there will be more.........she is selling a washer/dryer this AM and a baseball card collection tomorrow AM.
She did a much better job of advertising this time, pretty much a steady stream of vehicles coming in. Over half however, didn't buy a thing. Not sure why.........perhaps because she had too much stuff & nothing was priced? She's not the type to tweak anything to increase profits, so I'm not going to make suggestions.

The homeless gentleman has moved on, however his truck & trailer are still in the driveway. Pretty sure he doesn't have permission to park it anywhere else at this point. His excuse, he needs a ride back here to pick it up. (he has 2 vehicles........could only drive one)

Groomed one of the horses yesterday, with my autistic kiddo. What fun. I get my horsey fix and actually get paid for it (albiet, a bit late....she paid yesterday for April) But, it has solved an entry on my lifes wish list.....Have a horse. I tweaked this a tad, and yes.........I "have" 4 horses in the pasture; BUT........I'm not the one paying for them, rounding them up when they get out, repairing the fencing, buying the feed, paying for the vet or the farrier........ This system is much better; definately feeling older & wiser than I was when I put Have a Horse on my list. (last known actual list here is from 1982..... there were over 100 entries on my list then, I'm doing pretty good chalking them off!)

Working hard this weekend, all 3 boys here full time. And, I just got an email from my teen helper person......he's not able to come. (his mom is the culprit this time!!) So, my autistic kiddo is on the edge, since this helper comes just to spend time with him. Drat & fooey. Anticipating a LONG day here.

Have my food all planned out, which makes life easier......looks like it is going to rain, which makes life harder (no one can/will go outside). It will be a no spend day; there is no way I would put these 3 in a vehicle and even go to the end of the road for the mail!

I've been racking up the freebies in the mail, seems like there is something fun every day. And, what's with the free cat food? I've been surprised by how much there is out there. (and my cats are looking quite satisfied too!) I haven't missed a day for ages in checking the list here....sending for all that would be appropriate for us.

I have received a couple emails from companies that had offered freebies, apologizing that they couldn't honor the request, do to their info being posted on freebie sites. Thinking on this lately. Not sure what my feelings are; I can understand the companies situations, but honestly it has been great to try out smaller sizes of things, as well as not have to pay for that. Will have to ponder this a bit more.

My Own Brand of Frozen Dinners

April 25th, 2006 at 09:31 pm

Tonight, I reaped the rewards of cooking ahead. Granted I only had to cook for 2 tonight, but still..........I was only in the kitchen as long as it took me to say "Your dinners done". For someone who doesn't like to cook, this was a dream.

I have been dilegently cutting, packaging and freezing extra servings for the last couple months. I used to do this sort of thing in spurts. Since joining here, I've gotten more excited about freezing parts to dinners than actually putting a big dinner on the table.

So, today, I took out several big slabs of a pork tenderloin (have to call these pork chops for my autistic kiddo, then he eats them. If I call it a roast....no go) and a baggie of home made applesauce from the freezer. Microwaved a dish of leftover cauliflower from last night(when I cooked 2 heads instead of 1) and then zapped the meat & applesauce. Tossed a quick green salad and whoosh.......I'm out of the kitchen. Total time: less than 15 minutes.

Nights like this really make me see the benefit of the packaging and labeling. I've got pork, roast beef, turkey and ham all done the same way currently. Plus a few sides .........and several desserts.........all packaged up so I can take out however many servings I need. (the number I cook for changes from 1 to 6)

I can't imagine how much money this saves me. Since I'm no good with numbers, chances are, I'll never know....
And, the time saved is amazing. It truly doesn't take much longer to cook 2 times the food needed; tossing 2 tenderloins into the crock pot as opposed to 1??? Really. Took a bit of time to cut and freeze......but not nearly as much as cooking another meal from scratch.

And, to top it off, we get to skip the frozen meal aisle of the grocery store too!

My Betty Crocker Impression

April 23rd, 2006 at 05:17 pm

I did my best impression of Betty Crocker all weekend & I'm ready to hang up my apron (If I wore one!!) With the 3 boys here, I barely had time to get cleaned up before the next meal had to be started. As long as their plates are full, they really don't care what they eat......so it is an easy (if non ending) gig. Doesn't help that I hate to cook!

I snuck out this afternoon, while a burrito bake was in the oven......and planted flower seeds I bought on line. Hoping to get out this evening & get everything a light drink, mostly to keep the trio of kittens out of the flower beds.

Got a commitment from one of the boys family to continue using me for respite as long as we both live here he said! Sounds like a permanent thing to me. Now, If I could just get them to use me every weekend instead of every other...

No spending day.........wouldn't have been time! Smile

Soup's On & other ramblings

April 22nd, 2006 at 10:21 am

I've got a kettle of split pea & ham soup on ......the house smells delicious. (my kiddo calls this soup "just like baby food") Fortunately they all love it here. Brought the ham bone home from Easter dinner & tossed it in the freezer til I could locate my split peas. Found them yesterday & set them to soak. Soup for dinner tonight. How easy (and cheap) is that?? Yummy too. Hopefully, there will be extra for some lunches this week also.......that would be easier if someone DIDN'T like it. Smile

Bedding out on the line today.....gorgeous day here, although it was a frosty morning with ice on the bird baths!

I've found some of the planters & will be filling them with soil, so they are ready to fill with salad greens. Too cold yet, but I'm getting anxious. Having the containers all ready at least makes me feel a bit better.

I think I've held off mowing as long as I can. With gas prices so high, I'm just not going to enjoy this as much as I normally do, but it is starting to look like no one lives here!

Crossing my fingers, bowing to the east, praying, lighting candles ........all at the same time here. My autistic kiddo is on the edge today. (has been there for a couple weeks) But today feels awful to me..... My helper isn't coming this morning & my kiddo is trying hard to deal with that disappointment. I'm going to be the only adult here til late this evening..........so gearing up for a long shift today. 3 boys & me. Thank goodness only one is difficult. The other 2, always have been great, but by comparison, they are perfect! I've got as much done as I can, meals, laundry and I even snuck in a shower & hair wash... Wow, what a treat!

Company On My Monday

April 21st, 2006 at 07:01 am

I'm turned around with my work....this is my Monday. The first of the respite kids arrives this afternoon.

I'm also having my mom & my aunt come for brunch this morning; they will be sure to be gone by the time the school bus drops off the full time kiddo. (Not many people brave coming here when the kids are home! )

I've got a yummy sounding recipe for baked french toast, that is in the fridge, just ready to pop in the oven. The bacons been through the oven already & just needs to be warmed at the last minute. Juice chilling.....potatoes shredded & in ice water, will do those at the very last minute...

Will be cutting both mom & aunts hair; they're twins, so just one haircut 2X's. Fun couple of women, I hope I'm just like them when I get to be 83.

Raining slightly, which is great. I over seeded the repair patches in the lawn yesterday. Perfect timing.

It's a no spend day here. Love those. The chicken coop is getting a little closer to being totally framed up, there are 3 walls now up and the framework for the run is finished. "john" wants to finish now, since he has learned I won't finish paying him, until he finishes the job. (he has continued to ask almost every day now for some time.... slow learner!)

"john" update: He hasn't taken advantage of the situation here. But, he is trying to take advantage of me. The numbers aren't real good with my little program here, only 2 out of 6 have taken advantage of the offer & made enough money to move a step up on the ladder. This is the first one to try to take advantage of me. Asking for money, using supplies from here, when he said he was buying them, etc. We even have a couple things that have disappeared, with the most apparent being our extra gas. We'll see how this plays out.....
I'm always hopeful when we get a new person added to the "ranch" that they just get busy & save the money they can while living in a "no rent" district. Not this time, I'm afraid.

Slash Your Grocery Bills

April 19th, 2006 at 01:07 pm

Catchy title huh?? It's on the current cover of Womens' Day magazine. I have a free issue for some reason........when I picked it up this AM I went right to page 158 , anxious to Slash MY Grocery Bill.

Turns out it is a quiz, it starts off with.............

We all like to think that we're on top of our game each time we head down those food ailes...... These tips will save you big money the next time you shop. (I'm getting pulled in here......ready for the big tips!!)

Dinner in a Pinch;
1) You need an easy, cheap dinner that can be ready in less than 30 minutes. So, you head for_____________

(I've only got one answer here, My Pantry)
I couldn't believe the choices offered

-freezer case
-dairy case
-the phone for chinese take out

Gads, no tips here. The rest of the quiz was just as bad. No slashing involved.
I wouldn't want the grocery bill that came from following their tips either! I need to go look up the definition of slash!!

Clothes on the line, finally.

April 19th, 2006 at 09:34 am

Finally able to hang laundry outdoors. The weather is cooperating today.....breezy and going to be 61. The posts have been up, but just yesterday the wires got strung......so it is now usable. I don't think I'll ever have this much laundry at once! 5 lines.........3 poles......plenty of room for our whole household at once. I feel so much more frugal with a clothesline! Now, to just re train the rest of the people here, laundry only on days it's nice outside! Plan ahead....what a concept??

Still eating out of the pantry/freezer. Coming up with some great meals and doing a fair job of not letting things go to waste. Thanks Jeffrey for todays reminder re; food waste. Doing my part here! I have to use all sorts of tricks to keep ahead of the fridge (otherwise known as the closet where we put things to spoil). If I plan to wash a shelf every time I'm doing some real cooking, that makes me have to empty it. In the process, I can use, freeze or compost it. Aiming for the first 2, but at least with a compost pile, and a garden, it isn't a total waste. (just expensive garden additives)

Housecleaner here today.....my favorite day! Paid him at the beginning of the month, so no cash outlay for the day.

Free plants from mom to get into the garden.......have some done already, then realized I've got to get the wash done first now that we have the clothesline. If the things aren't out most of the day, they will still be damp.
So, plants this afternoon.......

My funny (but fairly pathetic) happening yesterday........ The other F adult here, that I've told needs to pay into the household to cover at least her half of the expenses...brought me a job application yesterday. Her best idea is for ME to get another job!! Gads. I've supported her for decades here, it is her turn, as I have told her. Need to do the conversation again this evening. No way am I going to get just any old job, the one she thinks is perfect for me is hardly enough $ to justify leaving home each day. She doesn't understand taxes & take home pay. Going to continue to push her to pay up!!

back to work here

April 17th, 2006 at 10:42 am

Spent Easter week end at my moms, it really was a great break. (she does a nice version of a Bed & Breakfast!!) The weather was so horrible, we didn't do yard work like planned. We had thunder, lightening and even some hail again. Nasty for Easter.

The biggest job I did was hang all her pictures and what nots on her walls. She was nervous about putting holes in her new walls! Things look so nice at her place, she has done some great work there.

I used her computer to keep up with email & blog reading here, but wow, what a difference. I'm so spoiled. She has dial up and I haven't used that for a decade or so........I had time to do other things while waiting for pages to load!! I'm thinking a cable modem is going to be on my list of things to keep, not cut here!

We had some great talks about property, her wishes and plans........have the next bunch of meetings planned out, (starts tomorrow with a developer) so we did make progress, just not in the yard!

Mom sent home most all the food, so I won't have to cook today, or much of this week if I get my act together in the kitchen. Aiming for a kettle of split pea soup with the ham bone!!

My autistic kiddo is due back here any minute. He left Sat AM to be with his mom for the holiday. He had a total meltdown after his mom got here, physically & verbally abusive to both she & I. I needed the break from him even more so after that event.....There isn't enough money to be worth doing this full time. Here's hoping he will be good to go for a bit now.........I'm still too pooped to deal with the crisis mode again.

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