Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Some Days You Just Gotta...

September 19, 2017

Hey ya'll, it's me!

Some days, with all the insanity in the world, all the 'offended' people popping up everywhere, and with all the uncertainty in life, you just gotta...



Post a photo of a kitten sleeping on an angel blanket...


Well, I got chores. Later ya'll.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Money Savng Adventures For Last Week

September 17, 2017

Hey ya'll, it's me!

Good golly Miss Molly, it's been busy round here this week, and it's about to get even busier this coming week, as our family works to prepare for the 9th Annual Trail Ride For St Jude's Children's Hospital that our church, Western Star Cowboy Church is putting on. The Redneck will take off Thursday and Friday, and we will have a 4 day weekend, riding, cooking out, fellowship and singing around the campfire. If you love trail riding and you are in the area, here's the website for more information:

http://westernstarcowboychurch.com/2017-st-jude-trail-ride.html

Okay, on to last week's savings.

Monday I called a company about the razors I had purchased, because they are just awful--the heads swivel, and I kept nicking and cutting myself, no matter how careful I was. They sent me a coupon for a replacement product, and I found a package of regular razors that should do the trick. Seriously, one should not have to go to the ER because of leg shaving!

As ya'll know, Monday was the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. It was a day of mourning our nation's loss, yet also a day of celebration, because we are still here and kicking as a nation.

I cut up one of the watermelons we bought, and it had wonderful thick rinds.


Most melons today are grown for thin rinds, which may give more melon flesh, but I think it lessens the flavor. This rind went to the horses, but next summer I want to try watermelon rind pickles. Anyone have a good recipe I can try? Please post in the comments.

Tuesday I cleaned my fridge, and then I made packages of biscuit mix to store in the bottom drawer. I don't make a big package of mix, It's just easier to grab a bag, dump it and a cup of milk (or sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc, whatever you have on hand--it all works) in a bowl and mix it up. 


I put 2 cups of flour (all purpose), 1 Tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt into the food processor (you can also mix it up in a bowl with a pastry blender or just a fork) then add 1/4 cup of shortening (I use the butter flavored Crisco or when the budget allows, real butter!). Whir it around until it's all mixed.

I use a big funnel to pour the mix into a Ziploc bag (I reuse the bags, simply storing them in a bigger bag in the fridge or freezer), and then I store the bags in the bottom drawer of the fridge until I'm ready to bake. Then I add 1 cup of milk, mix well, knead gently for a bit, pat down and cut out. I place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. This week I will make up pancake mixes also.


Wednesday I started reading Loving My Actual Life, Relishing What's Right In Front Of Me, by Alexandra Kuykendall. In the book's description, it says,

"In this entertaining and relatable book, Alexandra Kuykendall chronicles her nine-month experiment to rekindle her love of her ordinary "actual" life. After wiping her calendar as clean as a mother of four can, Kuykendall focuses on one aspect of her life each month, searching for ways to more fully enjoy her current season. By intentionally adding one thing each month that will make her jump for joy, she provides a practical challenge women can easily replicate. With humor, poignancy, and plenty of personal stories, Kuykendall weaves together spiritual themes and practical application into a holy self-awareness, showing women how a few small changes in their routines can improve their enjoyment of this crazy-busy life."

I've already gotten some great ideas. She writes with humor and without bragging. She admits when she makes mistakes, making the reader rejoice with her when she succeeds. I highly recommend it.

Thursday was our library night. We got a few DVDs and books, and while talking with one of the librarians, I found she is moving, and she has a china cabinet she wants to give me! We are now trying to coordinate picking it up, and I can't wait to show photos! I have been wanting one for a while, and this is old enough that I can paint it to give it a new look. 

Friday Obie's new comforter set arrived--it's gorgeous, and perfect for the look we are going for in his room. An unexpected blessing--I was moving something in his room, and a part of the carpet came up in the corner. There are nice wood floors under that ugly, 20 year old carpet! WOOT WOOT! He will be going to his father's the last weekend of the month, and I will use that time to rip up carpet, clean and wax the floor, and put everything else in his room. I'm still figuring out how to strip his dresser, I have to get the bolts for his drawer pulls, paint the side tables (they are actually old wooden camp chairs), and finish putting the decorations on his new headboard (an old butcher block table top), then bolt it to his bed frame. At some point I want to find him a touch lamp and a nice western looking cross for above his bed. I may have to do some of the projects at a later time, but I can at least have the furniture put in his room. I have to remember that this isn't a half hour decorating show, and I don't have helpers or a big budget. However I am a mom who loves her kid, and I have a great imagination and lots of elbow grease to apply!

Sunday morning a lady at church gave me two bags of clothes after she purged her closet. After lunch I went through them, and I now have a few more goodies to wear.


I got about 10 new pieces, but this one is my favorite--it's sort of like a dashiki, and I have always liked those tops. I am thinking that with a pair of black leggings and a long sleeve black top, this will be beautiful for winter.

What have ya'll done to save money this last week? Please comment below.

Well, I got chores. Later ya'll.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017












Friday, September 15, 2017

Fearless Friday! I Experiment With Teff Flour

September 15, 2017

Hey ya'll, it's me!

My friend Eleanor is moving out of state soon (bad news), and she had been getting rid of all kinds of stuff, which I end up with (good news). I consider myself a 'stuff rescue and re homing expert'. Most of the things I get from folks gets donated to charity, or given to someone I know who has a need for it.

Some of the items I have been blessed with lately have been different grain products. They now reside in my freezer while I research ways to use them. This week I found a few recipes for teff flour, which according to one website is:

"Naturally gluten-free, teff flour is stone ground from fresh, whole grain teff. Teff is a staple of the Ethiopian diet and a nutritional powerhouse of protein, fiber, and iron. Substitute all or part teff flour in recipes for healthy and delicious pancakes, bread, and baked goods."
nuts.com/cookingbaking/grains/teff/flour.html                                                                                                                                                               
















































Sounds interesting, huh? So I found several recipes that looked good, and decided to try teff burgers, but I made the patties for serving with a gravy of some type instead of on a bun.

                                                                                                                                                                   I used the recipe from Bob's Red Mill website--this is the link http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes/how-to-make/teff-burgers/



                                                                                                                                                                   

I put one cup of flour into three cups of water, along with sesame oil, garlic and thyme, then brought it to a boil. Turning it to a simmer, I let it cook 15 minutes.


I spread the cooked teff mixture into a shallow pan and let it cool.


Using my ice cream scoop as a measure, I made several patties. Oh, for a texture reference--the stuff feels like cold Play Doh!



The recipe calls for cooking spray, but I am of the opinion, "When in doubt--add butter." So I cooked the patties in melted butter. They actually look a little like hamburger when cooked.


I had some spaghetti sauce leftover from another recipe earlier this week, so I made a tomato gravy, then added some of the patties back into the gravy to soak up the goodness.


The finished product, with a serving of my cauliflower 'rice' salad on the side.


No, it doesn't taste like meat, but it's pretty good. Of course, the ironclad test of any recipe at this house....


Obie likes it!

Now, teff flour is kind of expensive. Bob's Red Mill sells a pound and a half bag for $7.29, so it's probably not going to be in my budget after this bag is gone. However, it only took a cup of the flour to make a decent amount of patties for lunch, with some left over for another meal later. I even had some of the patties break up, and I will add seasonings for taco filling for lunch next week.


No one in my family is a vegan, but I do enjoy trying new things, and it was a free food, and as a Thiftologist, I am all about the free nutrition! 

Well, I got chores Later ya'll.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017

























 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Money Saving Adventures for Last Week

September 10, 2017

Hey ya'll, it's me!

It's been a pretty good week, got a lot done, and I think I like the menu planning gig. I am still assessing the savings potential, but as far as not having to wonder what I will be making each day? That absolutely ROCKS. Even if I have a glitch, like today I realized that I hadn't taken a roast out for Sunday dinner, I can easily switch a menu around with another day's. Instead of roast, we had enchiladas for supper, and the roast will be in the crock pot on Tuesday. I've also found some new recipes that my family likes, and they have been added to my menu ideas. I have a few menu planning sheets I downloaded from a couple of sites, and I will be trying them to see how much more efficient I can be. I'll let ya'll know which one I like best.

This week we have been able to turn off the AC and fling open the windows all over the house to enjoy fresh air, due to much lower temperatures. It's been glorious to fall asleep with breezes blowing over me from the windows above the bed. And airing out the house after a summer of the house being shut up has been refreshing. Between that and using my clothesline as much as possible, our electric bill will be a lot nicer!

I made mashed potatoes this week, and I always drain the water I boil them in into a container. When I mash them, I use the hot water instead of milk to make them smooth. You can add powdered milk if you wish, but I have never had anyone be able to tell the difference.


Also, when I boil potatoes--or pasta of any type, I place a wooden spoon over the pot, and for some reason, it won't boil over. I keep the heat on medium high, and I haven't had a problem yet.


Friday I was up and cleaning like a fiend all morning. Around 11 o'clock my friend Eleanor called and said she was on her way to get me and my son, because she needed help packing stuff. She had her house for sale, and she finally has a contract. I will miss her horribly, but I am excited for her moving to Kansas. Thank heaven for Skype, we can keep in touch!

We went to her house, and spent the afternoon purging and packing, then the Redneck came from work to pick us up. We loaded a few goodies into our truck that Eleanor didn't want anymore, Like a George Foreman Jr rotisserie grill with all the parts! Later I downloaded the manual, and I can't wait to try 'air fried french fries'. 


We also got this swing and garden table! I will be repainting both--trying to think of a good color. Also, you can see there is a frame for an awning. The original one tore up after years of use. I was trying to figure out how to get another one, when I recalled reading on Lady Lydia's blog, Home Living several years ago how she had used a twin sheet to make an awning for some outdoor rest area. I looked at the frame and sure enough, with a little adjusting, a twin sheet will make a nice awning! I will post the results after I finish painting and making the awning. 


She also gave  me this potted cactus, which now has a place of honor on my porch. I think I need to re pot it soon, maybe separate it into a few different pots. The funny thing was watching my outdoor cats be confused at a plant that pokes when they try to love on it!


Saturday night I had to run to the store to get fresh salad fixings for the week. Whenever I am in  Brookshires, I always check the clearance areas for potential bargains. I found a great one in the dairy case. Four gallons of whole milk for....


$1.50 a gallon! They weren't even out of date. I grabbed them all, and when I got home I poured about a cup from each one into the gallon I have in the fridge, then I froze the gallons. Now, along with the gallon I already had in the freezer, I won't have to buy milk for at least a month. I'm the only one who drinks it, but I use it in making gravy, sauces and biscuits, so it's nice to have a supply on hand.


I also picked up my family's favorite magazine. These are always full of ideas, projects, historical tales (this month has a background of the Bowie knife) recipes, etc. I am looking forward to trying the mesquite pod drink listed in one article. As soon as I can I will get a subscription so the cost will be lower. We save every issue, and it has become a valuable resource in our quest to be as self sufficient as we can.


If you recall, I am working on redoing Obie's room in a more rustic/western style. Well, all the pieces are coming together, and hopefully I will be putting them together soon. I will post before and after photos I am so excited about this project. Today we went to Second Monday Trade Days here in Bowie, and I found some more elements for his room. I wanted some stars for the headboard I am making, and I found these three for $8. I have marked them where I need the Redneck to drill holes so I can attach them to the headboard.



He has a dresser that is real wood, and it had oxbow handles on it. Unfortunately, only two of the handles are are still intact, so I found another booth that has these handles to replace the broken ones after I strip and refinish the dresser. I am thinking of simply tung oiling it. There are also a couple of wall hooks that will be put on a wood backing to hold his jackets and 'gimme hat' collection. I paid $11 for all of them.


Now, this isn't for his room, but I saw this little candle holder, and I fell in love. The man sold it for $5. 


Here's a bit of a close up. Seriously, this is gorgeous.

While we were walking out to out truck I noticed that our neighbor who sells watermelons was there with a trailer full of sweet watermelony goodness (is watermelony a word? It should be). I bought two HUGE melons for $10. They will be dessert and snacks all week, and any excess will be frozen for smoothies later.

Now, while everything else for Obie's room has been showing up easily, the bedding part has been a frustrating search. I don't mind doing everything else as thrifty as possible, but I don't want to skimp on bedding. So this afternoon I went online and began a search for a new queen comforter with a rustic theme. I kept posting photos on Facebook and asking for opinions. Finally a friend posted a link to Overstock.com. I FOUND IT! It's red and blue plaid, microfiber, and MACHINE WASHABLE, THANK YOU LORD, NO DRY CLEANING BILLS FOR ME! And it was less than $50 on sale so I ordered it. I think it's going to be very nice with everything else I have planned for the room. I will purchase throw pillows from garage sales and recover them with more western themed fabric, and they will give a little 'punch' to the bedding. Also, I can buy a simple bed skirt from Walmart or Target for a finishing touch. I am so excited, I can't wait to get started putting all this together. I still want to find a touch lamp for the side of his bed--oh well, it will show up when it's time.

Well, I got chores. Later ya'll.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017




Monday, September 4, 2017

Money Saving Adventures Last Week

September 4, 2017

Hey ya'll, it's me!

Last week I decided to get serious about menu planning. I had never really done it, preferring to simply keep a well stocked pantry and freezers, and then plan for each meal from my stores. I usually just plan whatever will be for supper the next night as I am cleaning the kitchen after supper. But I have heard so much about menu planning, I decided to buckle down and try it.

First, I inventoried my freezer for meat. I found that I had enough meat for 21 meals--more than enough for two weeks, which is how often we shop for groceries. Then I sat down and wrote out all the meals that I can make with that meat, using not only the 'usual suspects'--tacos, meatloaf, roasts, etc, but also going through several of my cookbooks to find new ideas. I not only wrote down the name of the dish, I added the name of the cookbook it came out of, along with the page number.


Then I made a calendar, and wrote down all the events for the whole month. I have yoga each Tuesday evening at 5:30, and Thursday evenings are for library trips. On those nights, supper needs to be simple, and clean up quick. On Sundays, I planned for crock pot meals for after church, with enough for leftovers for the Redneck's lunch on Monday. Fridays can be easy fun meals, like tacos or homemade pizza. Nights there are no plans after supper, I can be a bit more complex in the meals I make. So far, so good.


Now comes the fun part. I sat down with the recipes and began to check my pantry for all the ingredients for the main dishes and sides. Even desserts and snacks were considered. Then I made my actual shopping list based on my inventory.


Friday night we went shopping after supper, and I got everything fairly quick and painless. I purchased store brands that I knew tasted good and had good value whenever I could. The only thing I couldn't find on my list was condensed Italian tomato soup. I bought regular tomato soup, and plan to simply add Italian seasonings. 

So far so good. We ended up going to a funeral Saturday, and to the meal afterward, so there was no cooking that evening. I simply put that night's menu on a later night in the month. I can't tell a difference in the costs yet, but it is nice to have meals spaced out a bit better. We will see how this develops.

While Obie and I like chicken, the Redneck is not a big fan of 'yard bird'. So I don't make it for our suppers, but I do make lunches during the week, when I have the time. I use one chicken breast for the two of us, and yes, it makes more than enough for the two of us.


First, using a sharp knife, I cut the breast into thin slices. I was going to show a photo of how I do it, but I realized that I couldn't hold the camera, hold the breast, AND slice the meat all at the same time! I will try to get the Redneck's assistance later so you can see what I do.



I put flour into a plate with seasoning. Today I used lemon pepper. 



I flour the slices evenly, patting off any excess. You don't want a thick coating, just a fine dusting.



Put a half inch of oil in my electric skillet (this was given to me by my friend Eleanor. It's older than the Redneck, and still works great). After a bit I put the end of a wooden spoon in the oil. The second photo shows what to look for. These bubbles around the spoon let you know that the oil is hot enough.



Fry the slices, about 3 minutes per side, until golden, then drain. Yes, that is newspaper I use for draining. I learned it from my grandmother, and it works quite well. 


The finished product, with leftover mashed potatoes and corn. 

One of my favorite ways to be thrifty is to appreciate all the little things in my life. I try to carry my camera with me all the time, to be able to share my little visual treasures.



This little mantis took up residence outside my kitchen window on a ladder. She didn't get scared, even as I put the camera close. 


While walking the other morning, I spied this 'fairy ring'. Fairy rings are mushrooms that grow in an almost perfect circle. But don't step into the ring on a full moon! The legend says that if you do, fairies will steal you away to their realm--unless you have a bit of iron with you. Iron is not good for the Fae, so many people used to carry an old horseshoe nail in their pockets. I figure, just don't walk into the ring!


Also during this walk, we saw this lovely flowering bush. I don't know what they are called, but I always think of my grandmother's home, because she had one. 


Can anyone tell me what it is? 


I always enjoy when I watch my cats play. I had dropped the lid to a can of cooking spray I was about to put in the recycle bin, and suddenly they had invented a new game! Talk about making do with what you have!


And of course, I find joy in the practises of my faith each Sunday. Here is the communion table we have the first Sunday of the month. Perhaps this isn't a way to save money, but it does help me to nurture contentment in my heart, and isn't that what thrift is really about--being content enough to not have to run after things all the time?

Well, I got chores. Later ya'll.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017






Sunday, August 27, 2017

Money Saving Adventures for the Fourth Week of August 2017

Hey ya'll, it's me!

I have been blessed beyond belief this last week, in all kinds of ways. On last week's blog post I got THREE comments, all from ladies who also have blogs--and really good ones too! I was so excited.

Tuesday evening I began taking yoga classes here in Bowie at Serenity Yoga. It was fabulous. The teacher, Charlotte. gave very clear instructions, nothing too hard even for me, and I haven't done yoga in years. She kept the pace steady yet challenging, and while I never got out of breath...I did have to grab my sweat towel a few times! There were real people in the class--not a super model in sight. and everyone was friendly and focused. They meet at 5:30 pm every Tuesday night, and she is looking into starting a class for Saturdays at 7 am. All this for only $5 a class!

I am a big believer in letting companies know if a product doesn't meet my standards, or if it does meet of exceeds them. Monday I received two coupons from CLOROX for a free cleaning product, because I had called them to say that one of the newer products was just not as good as the others they offer. If you do call a company, be sure to have the packaging with you, so you can give them any information they ask for, and remember how much you paid for it.

Tuesday night after yoga, I stopped at the store on the way home to pick up something, and I took the time to check for CLOROX products that I could use my coupons on. JACKPOT!


I found a container of wipes for cleaning up surfaces in my son's bathroom, AAAAANNNNNND... there was a double package of toilet cleaner, which counted as ONE product, so I actually got THREE products free!



The Redneck wears jeans for work, and he carries a pocket knife in the front pocket. After a while, this causes rips in the pocket, so I spend a little time mending them by hand. I am amazed how just a few spools of thread and some needles kept in stock can save you a lot of money, if you just take the time.

Thursday night Obie and I had our usual library trip, and we go some good books and fun movies, including PIXELS. I had never seen it, and it was very funny. We visited with the librarians, and then we went to a nice little restaurant here in Bowie, for an introductory meeting of a health program that goes on for 12 weeks, and covers a lot of good material on how to be healthy not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually. My friend Eleanor came also. She is the lady who taught me massage therapy and other health related topics almost 20 years ago. She was my instructor, my mentor, and I am proud to say my best friend for many years. We listened as the lady explained all that the course entailed, and I was impressed--she covers many of the things that Eleanor has taught me over the years, and things that I have learned from my own studies. Then she quoted how much it would cost....it ain't happening folks. I honestly believe that it would be a good thing for someone just starting out on their health journey. However I have studied the topics that would be covered, and I feel that I have a good grasp of these subjects already. So you could say that I saved $150 in ten seconds last week, when I decided not to take the course!

Since the yard has been mowed, I have been able to use my clothesline again, and that has been great, not only to save money by not using the dryer, but the scent of line dried clothing is so incredibly sublime. Especially sheets and pillowcases!


For the Redneck's work lunches, I pack leftovers to save money. With his schedule the past few months, I haven't been able to fix him breakfast, so I had been buying him breakfast burritos at the store, simply for convenience. We ran out of them, and the grocery budget wasn't going to allow for buying more, so I decided to make egg muffins instead. They are extremely easy, they store in the fridge well, and they reheat quickly in a microwave. This week's batch began with frying chopped bacon, then draining the fat. (you can do these vegetarian style also)


I added chopped hatch chilies and onions back to the pan with some of the bacon fat, and sauteed them until soft.


My lovely assistant sprayed the muffin tins with cooking spray. You can also simply oil them.


After putting equal amounts of the bacon and veggies in each tin, I whipped one egg per tin and poured it over the other ingredients. Most folks just whip all the eggs they will use and pour a little bit into each tin, but that never works for me. 


Pop them into a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.


They come out like mini quiches. I take them out and place two into small containers. After they cool I put the lids on and store them in the fridge. Each morning when I pack the Redneck's lunch, I put one container at the top so he can have a hot breakfast when he's ready. A dozen eggs make six servings. I already have veggies, meats, eggs and cheese if I want to add it, so the cost per serving is very small--much cheaper than premade breakfasts. More important--I know what's in them.

I have been wanting to redecorate my son's bedroom and bath in a western theme. My budget however is small...tiny...minuscule...bare bones--okay, basically non existent. So I put the word out on Facebook to see if anyone had any western decor, bedding, etc, they were no longer using, and would they be willing to donate it to my project?

I hit pay dirt.

A young couple at our church let me know that they had some things I could use. Today after church they gave me all kinds of stuff for Obie's room. Here are just a few of the goodies they blessed us with:


I love the large spurs. I will paint them silver, and I am thinking I might use them to hold a curtain rod over the window. 


The wooden tissue holder will be flipped over and an arrangement of silk flowers will go in it. They even gave us light switch covers!


And just look at these pictures!





I am so thankful. With the money that these gifts are saving me, I can afford to buy a really good paint, and a western themed comforter at the Second Monday Trade Days here in Bowie. There are some vendors who carry them at a decent price. I will also be able to afford to buy new handles for the dresser in his room. There's a booth at Trade Days that has all kinds of western themed handles to replace the ones on it now. And yes, I will blog about the progress of the project!

Well, it's Sunday night and too late for chores. Later ya'll.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017