Friday, December 22, 2017

Last Post Till After The New Year

December 22, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

I decided that I will be taking off from posting until after the New Year starts up. I wanna concentrate on my time with the Redneck and my son, and just relax, so I won't be logging on the old laptop much at all.

I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you for reading my blog this year, and really thank you for commenting--it helps me make choices on how to proceed with my little corner of the Internet.

The Redneck called to say he is taking us out to Julio's Mexican Restaurant in Chico, Texas, so we can have a special dinner with Obie before he goes to his dad's in the morning for Christmas. I have spent the afternoon getting 'gussied up'. I think I look pretty darn good for 60! I love my new gel polish, it's called Anarchy. Yes, I love black polish.

Well, I gotta finish getting dressed and feed horses. Next year y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Mashed Potato Pancakes

December 21, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

I was doing an inventory of the pantry, fridge and freezers to make up my grocery list for the next two, weeks, and I found a container of mashed potatoes from a few days ago. I hadn't been particularly into the idea of leftovers for lunch, so instead I decided to make a simple dish that my grandmother made when I was a kid.

First I gathered my ingredients--mashed potatoes, about a half cup of chopped onion, eggs, flour, seasonings (I used Lowery's Season Salt, but you can use Cajun seasoning, etc), and oil to fry the pancakes in.

I mixed everything together, but decided that it needed a little extra. I looked through the fridge and found a package of shredded Colby jack cheddar cheese.

I stirred in the cheese and added a little more flour to stiffen the dough.

Yup, looks good!

I use an ice cream scoop to keep the size consistent, and after I put the dough into the hot oil, I use the back of the scoop to press it down into pancake shapes. 

Let them fry for a few minutes, flip over, and fry a few minutes more.

I served them with some of my salted cabbage and the last of the pickled beets my friend gave me. There may be only two pancakes on the plate, but Obie and I were so hungry we actually finished off the whole platter!

I know it's a simple, 'po folks' kind of dish, but it tastes good, is filling, and CHEAP--the holy trinity of cooking as a Thriftologist! 

Well, I got chores. later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Video Of Last Saturday's Whirlwind Of Blessings

December 20, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

I told you that last Saturday was a whirlwind of blessings, and I would have to do a separate post to explain what all happened. After trying to type it all out several times, I said to heck with that, and just did a video instead.

Please excuse my appearance--I was winterizing the well house, and my horse kept 'helping' me!

Well, I got chores. Later y'all
© Evelyn Edgett 2017

Monday, December 18, 2017

Money Saving Adventures For Last Week

December 18, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

I have so many AIMS (Adventures In Money Saving) this week, I may have to do a two parter! I will have to do a separate post on Saturday's whirlwind of blessings, because it was wild, I tell ya!

Okay, buckle up buttercup, here we go.

Monday I made two crock pot meals so I could get everything done without worrying about cooking later in the week. Of course, while the weather was nice we had the windows open to enjoy the fresh air before the icky stuff showed up later in the week.

I used a lot of the leftovers goodies from the church Christmas party to make a few cold plate luncheons for Obie and I during the week, plus a lot of the veggie plate leftovers went into some nice big salads for supper.

I even picked up some seaweed sheets and made nori maki (seaweed, rice and veggie) rolls one day.

We are still enjoying the salted cabbage I made a few weeks ago. Anytime I didn't have enough salad fixings for all of us, I make a salad for the Redneck, and Obie and I enjoy the cabbage.

I have been wanting some house plants, but I don't have enough stretch in the budget to purchase them, so I will be asking for some cuttings from friends for ivies, aloe, spider plants, etc. I will start them in water, then transplant them into potting soil in containers. For now, I am starting a few avocado seeds on the window sill. I need a few small sweet potatoes for vines too!

I am still doing the online surveys for Amazon gift cards, and I am enjoying having a little extra money for fun stuff. I love the scents of leather and gun powder, so when I found a body wash from Outlaw Soaps called Blazing Saddles, I had to try it. It came in, and it really smells like leather, but the gun powder doesn't really come through. I don't care, it still smells amazing, and it feels great on your skin. It also comes in a cute burlap gift bag.

I signed up for the free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime. I am impressed so far! Not only  have a gotten free two day shipping with several things I have ordered, there have been additional discounts on the products I ordered! Now, to be honest, I normally don't order enough online to justify the monthly fee, so I won't be keeping it past the 30 days. If my online ordering habits ever increase to a certain point, however, I will definitely be subscribing!  

I ordered the Redneck's Christmas gift--a Cody Jinks CD he has been wanting for a long time while on the Prime trial. I got a new copy, at a good discount, and free two day shipping. I wanted to get it wrapped and put away so I could surprise him Christmas morning when I bring his coffee. 

I used the burlap bag from the body wash I ordered, some red tissue from a gift bag we received, and a ribbon from another gift. I wrapped the CD in the tissue so you couldn't see what it was, sipped it into the bag, and tied it with the ribbon.

I think it makes a nice masculine looking gift. Oh, if you're thinking he will read this and know what he's getting, don't worry--he LIVES this blog, he ain't gotta READ about it!

I ordered a couple more CDs, and again, there are some perks with the Amazon Prime. Songs Of Anarchy Seasons 1-4 and Leonard Cohen's I'm Your Man. That was the very first Leonard Cohen album I ever owned, and I wanted to replace the one I used to have. (I love his music, I mean, come ON--lyrics like "It's Fathers Day, and everybody's wounded" CLASSIC!)

Last week's survey earnings were $25. Not bad for just giving my opinion. 

I have been enjoying the wax warmer I got in the Christmas party gift exchange. It came with cinnamon wax cubes, but I was wondering if I could use pieces of a scented candle. I had a big flat piece of one that came in a jar that I loved, but it had gotten to where it wouldn't light anymore, so I removed it from the jar so I could use the jar as a storage container. I kept the wax disk on a saucer on my writing desk. Well, I cut the disk into four chunks and put one in the warmer. It WORKS! So now I can use up ALL the candles I get in jars, and nothing goes to waste.

Our family enjoys when I read books at the table (when we drive anywhere, I am the 'designated reader'), and we really enjoy funny books. I recently ordered books 1-4 of the Bill The Vampire series from Amazon for my laptop Kindle. Each evening after I finish eating, I read a chapter of this, and it's hilarious (warning--vulgar language and some other unsavory elements, so not for younger readers). We are on the second book right now.

Speaking of Kindle books, have you tried Book Bub? I can't just insert the link here, because it keeps taking you to MY page, and you need to go to the home page so you can get your own account. Just look up Book Bub. They will have you sign up, and then you can let them know the types of books you like (romance, fantasy, etc), and then let them know you are interested in the free ebooks. You can check the site each day and choose some great free books to download from Amazon and a few other sites. I prefer real books, but these are good for when I can't hold one, and I can just press the arrow buttons to turn pages. 

Friday night our church had the 'premiere' of the movie we made over the summer, A Return To Faith. It was great, we had free popcorn and sodas, kind of like a date night for us. A lot of folks showed up, and it was so much fun to watch the movie with everyone laughing and enjoying the message of the film. And of course, we had to watch the BLOOPER REEL! Honestly, I had no idea I could mess up my lines so much! We ordered our own copy, and I will let y'all know how to get your copy if you are interested. The money raised goes to cover the expense of making the movie, and also towards the church new building fund.

I had a big can of pumpkin pie filling, but I didn't want to make a pie, so I did a search to see if there was anything I could make with it. I found a site, Yummly, I put in Pumpkin Pie Filling, and then answered a few questions about how many ingredients I wanted to use, quick, etc. I found a recipe for cookies made with the filling and a cake mix. I picked up a mix on sale yesterday, and I will bake them up later this week. 

Almost forgot--at church yesterday, my friend Renee gave me the most beautiful dream catcher. I will post a photo after I get it hung in my bedroom. The first cat to get ANYWHERE NEAR IT DIES. (just saying)

Now, this is the end of this post, but as I said at the beginning, it's not the end of the Money Saving for last week. I will do a separate post later this week about Saturday, cause it's a stand alone tale all by itself.

Well, I got chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017

Friday, December 15, 2017

Making Christmas Gifts In Spite Of A Low Budget--And A Movie Premiere!

December 15, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

Tonight our church is finally able to have the 'premiere' of the movie did this summer, A Return To Faith. It will be at the fellowship hall, and we all just bring our own popcorn and snacks. I can't wait to see how bad my acting was! The blooper reel alone should be hilarious.

A month or so ago I posted about using blackberries, sugar and vodka to make liqueurs, and the batch I made has been 'aging' in the fridge until today, when I was ready to make a few gifts for friends.

My problem was I had no money to buy small canning jars and lids. I wanted the fancy 'quilted' pattern. But the money I was supposed to get this week is late, so instead I went rummaging in my cabinet where I keep empty glass jars, bottles, etc, that I have cleaned and stored for keeping broths and other foods to store in the freezer. I found enough jars and canning lids to use.

First I washed everything in hot soapy water, and rinsed them in hot water.

Then I poured the liqueur into as many jars as it would fill. I only make small batches to ensure a good taste. I ended up with seven pints and one cup in a smaller jar (I will enjoy that one by myself later in the week!).

I wanted some type of cover for the lids, so I cut squares from brown lunch sacks I had, and slipped them under the rings, on top of the lids. I wrote the names of the folks who will receive them.

I think they turned out kind of cute. I would have liked to have had pinking shears to make the edges more decorative, or maybe even squares of holiday fabric. I packed them into a box with paper to cushion them for the ride, and I will give them out after the movie and fellowship time is over. 

My actual cost was for the vodka and sugar. I had picked the berries while we were up in the mountains summer before last and froze them. The vodka was inexpensive, but NOT cheap--cheap vodka is oily and makes a poor liqueur. Around $10 for it. The sugar was bought on sale for about $1.50 for 4 pounds, I used around a pound, so less than a dollar for seven pints. Jars, lids and paper for the top were all free, so I have seven gifts for around $11. Not bad.

Well, I have to go get ready for 'walking the red carpet' at the premiere. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Money Saving Adventures For Last Week

December 10, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

I can't believe the bi polar weather we had last week! We went from the 80s on Monday to below freezing on Tuesday. I had to play 'musical mutts' with the dogs coming in at night--Junior and his sister Ufi were in the laundry room with Sue the tomcat (don't ask), Angel in the man cave, and Fang, Poblano and Punky with the four female cats in the main house. Hopefully the temps will calm down and be more normal for this time of year.

Speaking of cats in the house, two of my little girls try to be a 'muse' to me as I write at my desk.

Stripe looks very distinguished, very 'literary'.

Her niece Stormy (aka Dust Bunny) just looks as if she is thinking, "Why don't you turn off that laptop and PET ME?"

Ah well, on to money saving adventures.

I have been baking some goodies for treats as well as the Redneck's lunches during the week. The house smelled great with chocolate chip cookies and magic cookie bars. The latter requires sweetened condensed milk, which let's face it, has gotten expensive. I make my own, using Rhonda Barfield's recipe in her book Eat Well For $50 A Week. I ordered her book over 21 years ago, and I still use it regularly. I re read it every January to see if there is just. One. More. place I can cut our food budget and still feed my family delicious, nutritious meals and snacks. Her recipe is so simple;

Mix in a blender (I think a really vigorous stirring with a whisk would do as well)
1 cup dry milk powder
1/2 cup boiling water
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons melted butter ( I REFUSE to use margarine) (I once used coconut oil when I was making double boiler fudge, but it never firmed up well)
Pinch of salt.

Whir it all together until well mixed. Can be used immediately, or stored in the fridge for about a week, or you can even freeze it. To use, simply thaw and add to whatever you are making.
Makes the same amount as a can of store bought, and can be used the same.

I also baked chocolate chip banana bread, banana muffins, and a huge batch of cornbread.

I used the last of the Thanksgiving ham to flavor a batch of slow cooker pinto beans. The beans were not only for dinner that evening, the leftovers made a great weekend lunch without my having to cook. The rest were frozen in a half gallon batch for a later meal.

I also made a plain batch of pintos in my other slow cooker. These will be used to make bulk bean and beef burritos, re fried beans and several other dishes, including bean patties. None of this took a lot of time or money, and will ultimately save both.

Monday Obie and I walked up to an old house a mile or so from the house, and gathered pine cones for a project the church is doing. We got exercise, the old yard got cleaned up, and the church got the project material--win, win, win!

As I posted last week, Obie and I went walking around downtown Bowie to enjoy the Christmas lights. I am hoping that we can go driving around to look at lights around Bowie closer to Christmas. I know it probably won't happen this year, but I would love to go to the Galleria in Richardson to see the giant Christmas tree on the skating rink and enjoy a Godiva Chocolate truffle--I haven't done that in years. Heck, I can't recall the last time I went to any mall.

Saturday night was our church Christmas party. We had a blast. Everyone brought finger foods, there was that 'wedding punch' made with sherbet and ginger ale. They did an orange and a lime. I complained that there was no tequila in the 'margaritas' and no rum in the 'daiquiris'! I'm glad our preacher has a sense of humor! 

We did a gift exchange, and there was a lot of 'stealing' and laughing, and even Obie got into the act, 'stealing' a big bag of popcorn. Of course, he then sat there and worried that someone else would take it from him! I told him to relax--if anyone DARED to try and take his popcorn, the whole church would beat them up! The preacher said, "That's for sure!"

Obie's popcorn and a little cast iron pan with a 'Honey Scented Apples' candle Obie gave me the candle.

I FINALLY got a new wax burner! I have been wanting one for a long time, and I stole this one when my turn came up. It came with a package of cinnamon scented wax melts. My kitchen smells WONDERFUL. Now, if I can just get another one when the family Christmas party happens in a couple of weeks!

When it was the Redneck's turn, he picked this gift bag of goodies. It's a 'movie night' gift bag, with chocolate, popcorn, a mug, and a DVD, all in this lovely wooden storage box. I asked what made him choose it, and he said, "I saw it had chocolate and a DVD--I knew you would like it." Now, wasn't that sweet?

After the party ended, we all pitched in to clean up, and as usual, the leftover goodies were offered to me.

This deli tray had a lot of pepperoni and summer sausage, along with cheese and crackers. The pepperoni will grace a couple of homemade pizzas for lunch in the coming days. The summer sausage and cheese will be added to omelettes, and the crackers will be enjoyed with salads.

There was a fruit tray and a veggie tray. each with a dip. The dips will be made into dressings, the ranch dip simply thinned with a bit of apple cider vinegar, the fruit dip with a bit of walnut vinaigrette. The fruits will be part of our breakfasts this week, and the veggies will go into a mega veggie stir fry. The containers will be washed and put aside to carry homemade treats to the next party. Can't forget the pumpkin pie and coconut cream pie we brought home! cut into smaller pieces, and then frozen, they will serve as treats after the new year.

These were an interesting gift from a friend. The husband's boss had tried to sell these gluten free 'flapjack' mixes in his store, but they didn't go over well. So he gave them to our friend, who in turn passed them onto us to try. You simply grind them up in a blender, mix with liquid and cook on a griddle. Anyone here ever try these? If so, how did you like or not?

And of course, I had to rescue the gift bags that folks tossed into the trash can!

This bag had a handle that slipped out of the bag side--a little hot glue, and this bag, along with the others, will be used to take a new set of gifts to the next party! 

This adorable bag came with Obie's popcorn--I'll put it aside for next year, maybe even stuff it to use as a decoration.

We stayed home today, to rest and to get ready for the new week. Obie and I did the grocery shopping while the Redneck took a nap. I did pretty darn good, stayed around $10.00 UNDER budget!

One last little item. While driving home down the country road, I noticed something blue in the ditch. Of course I stopped, and found this little blue Walmart basket, in good condition. I snagged it, washed it, and after I put a new label on, it will be used to help organize in my pantry.

Well, I got chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cold Temps, Cabin Fever and Christmas Lights

December 6, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

Any time that I begin to doubt that Texas weather is fickle, changes come along to remind me of that fact. In the past few days it has gone from 82 degrees down to freezing. So plugging in the heat lamp in the well house, digging out sweaters and sweatshirts, and playing 'musical mutts' at night to bring in the outdoor dogs to keep them safe from the cold are standard actions to be taken. Baking goodies and making rich hearty food, along with bringing out the makings for hot apple cider this weekend also fill up the day's activities. Yes, we are quite cozy here in our home.

We are also going STIR CRAZY from being unable to get out and do anything. Let's just say that Obie and I love our home centered life, however we enjoy getting out in the fresh air just as much, so cabin fever sometimes strikes when the air turns so cold it hurts your lungs to breathe. So tonight after supper, the Redneck handed me the truck keys and told me to get out for a time.

Didn't have to tell me twice. Snagging my camera, I told Obie that we were going to walk around and take photos of the lights downtown. He was in the truck before I finished speaking!

We got there just as the sun was going down, parked just before the section I wanted to go to. We walked about, enjoying the crisp air, and I took some photos.

This was the outside of The Brick Coffee House and Cafe. The lights were really moving, and every time I thought I had timed it right--they clicked off! 

I took some pictures of store displays. I love the little winged dachshund!

This display is gorgeous. I love how the skirt is a red tree. This is at Belle Rose Boutique. The street we were on is Mason Street. I had forgotten that the stores were staying open tonight--I had never been inside this store. I looked up and saw these chandeliers. Tracey Gilbow is the owner, and she  was very gracious to allow me to take pictures of them.

Nostalgia lives up to it's name--they carry many lovely things from days past. I couldn't resist this Santa with his nice or naughty list.

This street lamp put me in mind of the song It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas. Bowie takes great pride in making the town look festive for many occasions.

 I saw this little western themed tree, and had to show it off to y'all.

This is The Rack Sports Bar. I have told y'all about their cheeseburgers. If you come here to see the lights, you need to tune your vehicle radio dial to AM 1410, KNTX. The music and the lights sync up, and it's quite wonderful.

This is the window display for Thrift Angels, one of several thrift stores here. Now, is it just me, or does the headless mannequin in the red dress make you wonder if Santa offed Mrs Claus? You have to admit--it's a creepy little tableau!

These are the trees in front of The Brick. Again, I had a heck of a time catching the lights perfectly. I would get so flustered my hands would shake, hence the blurry results.

I want to go back tomorrow evening as dusk to re shoot the big tree in front of the newspaper office. It had gotten so dark by the time we reached it all I got was this floating light effect.

After we had walked about and enjoyed the displays, we went to Dollar General and Family Dollar to do a little research on holiday gift bags and containers to put gifts in. I saw some cute t shirts with slogans on them that I want to get later this month. By then it was around 7 or so, and we were ready to come home and bring the dogs and Sue the tomcat (don't ask) into the house for the night.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures, and that they inspire you to come visit our little community.

Well, I got snacking to do. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017