December 30, 2012
December 10, 2012
I have been posting in Microsoft Word and will upload as soon as our internet is up and running.
Thanks to a wi-fi signal I was able to post this.
December 01, 2012
Why are these ornaments on a cookie sheet? I put them on these so that they will lay flat and I can easily put them up high enough so the dogs won't get to them. Yes, I am constantly trying to keep things away from our puppy, Molly. I should have straightened them out a little more for the picture, but I am not a photographer and didn't think about it.
November 25, 2012
Here is Recipe No. 1 and it is for Broccoli Chicken Rice Casserole.
3/4 cup instant brown rice
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon margarine
1/3 cup dry soup mix (see recipe that follows)
1 1/4 cups water
1 - 16 oz. pkg. frozen broccoli florets or chopped broccoli
2 cups chopped cooked chicken *
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
Prepare the rice according to package directions. In a Dutch oven or deep pan, cook onion in margarine over medium to low heat until golden. Add dry cream soup mix to pan, stirring to mix well. Stir in water. Heat to boiling. Cook and stir until thick.
Add frozen broccoli, cooked chicken and cooked rice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is nearly heated through. Add cheese and heat until melted. Internal temperature should register 165 degrees.
* 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts makes about 2 2/3 cups chopped cooked chicken.
You can freeze this recipe after you assemble it. To serve, thaw and reheat in the oven or on the stove.
This casserole was served to us for lunch and it was in a casserole dish and they had sprinkled the cheese on top and heated it in the oven (350 degrees preheated oven) until the center of the casserole reached the desired temperature. This was served with canned apricots, tossed salad and brownies.
To make the brownies they took a dark chocolate brownie mix and added 1 can of pumpkin to the dry mix and mixed well. Then bake per the package directions. Yes, just 2 ingredients. When they were cool they sprinkled the top of the brownies with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar.
I have to tell you that this casserole was delicious and filling. I am sure that you could easily substitute leftover turkey for the chicken. The brownies were very good and it was nice to have a chocolate fix.
Here is the recipe for the dry soup mix. I have always wanted to try this recipe ever since I saw it in one of my Tightwad Gazette books, but I always worried that it wouldn't taste as good and would be a waste of money. Well, I can attest that it was delicious in the casserole. I plan to use it instead of the canned version as it is definitely healthier and I know what the ingredients are that go into the soup mix. Nothing hard to pronounce in the ingredient list.
Dry Soup Mix
2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sodium free dry chicken bouillon
2 tablespoon dried minced onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Place in a storage container and seal tightly. Store in a cool dry place for up to six months. Stir or shake well before each use. To use as a substitute for 1 can of condensed soup, mix 1/3 cup dry mix with 1 1/4 cups of water. Cook and stir on stove top until thickened. This makes the soup in the condensed soup form as it would come out of the can.
November 21, 2012
Not only have baking items been on sale but there have been the sales on canned and frozen vegetables, canned fruits, canned broths, soups and of course turkey. I have also been fortunate to snag some good deals on beef roasts and hamburger. My freezer is stocked, my pantry is stocked and I have plenty of paper products too. I have enough laundry products to last a year. I even have two hams in the freezer for Christmas.
So what's the big deal? In three weeks we will be "empty nesters." In other words, it will be just me and my husband. My goal is to buy very few groceries over the next 3 months. The only groceries I will be purchasing will be perishables. The rest I have on hand and will make meals from these ingredients.
I need to do a complete inventory of what is in my freezer and pantry and I will post that inventory. Then I will post what we are eating and what groceries I purchase. I'm excited about doing this because I have saved money on buying items on sale and stocking up, and I will be saving time by not having to buy a lot of groceries each week. Planning and actually buying groceries can take up some time if you are using coupons, searching the ads and then planning a trip. I'm also looking forward to the convenience of having the majority of what I need right here in my own home.
November 17, 2012
I attended a seminar at our local County Extension office on healthy meals in minutes and I am now attempting to cut the sodium in my diet and am going to make as many things as practical from scratch. And then there was yesterday at noon when all my commitments ended and I got to go with my husband to Des Moines to Living History Farms for him to pick up his race packet for a cross country race that he is running right now. A fun drive of 1 hour, just him and I, talking and enjoying each other's uninterrupted conversation and then a nice lunch in at the "Machine Shed" restaurant. Then it was off to browse books at Barnes and Noble.
Barnes and Noble is one of those places that have happy memories for our family. About twice a year we would take a Saturday and drive to Des Moines to Barnes and Noble. That was back when I was working and with two incomes it was nothing for us to spend at least $200 for our fill of books. When we walked into Barnes and Noble yesterday I instantly was taken aback by the sudden happiness I was feeling. It was the music, the displays of books and the smell of coffee and treats. There is just something about it. I looked at several books, making a list of several, so I could check and see if our library (yes the one that I now work at on Saturday afternoons) carries any of the titles. It was an enjoyable hour of nostalgia and then it was time to get on the road and get home to feed our dogs.
But wait, there's more. My youngest son and I decided at 8:00 p.m. last night to drive around our community stopping at every convenience and grocery store looking for Twinkies. With the Hostess company going bankrupt and with the good possibility that Twinkies will no longer be made, we decided that we needed one last Twinkie. We were able to find two packages at our last stop. Now, I haven't had a Twinkie in years because they are junk food and high in calories, but I just had to have one last one as a remembrance of my childhood. So, we each had a package and we went home to eat them. I have to say that they must have tasted better when I was a kid because I could have easily stopped after one bite. Then I remembered that when I was a kid my mom couldn't afford the real Twinkies and we bought a cheaper competitor's brand that is still now being produced, which tastes better. Oh well, it was fun to drive around in my husband's truck with my 19 year old son on a quest for Twinkies.
Now, it's over.
I have the next 5 days to get ready for Thanksgiving and I have 5 weeks to prepare for Christmas. I have already purchased 2 turkeys for the holidays. A few good deals were to be found this week adn I have purchased nearly everything I need for baking goodies. I need a sale on M & M's and then I am set to bake.
I don't know how I did it, but I effectively got my schedule cleared in order to have time to prepare and celebrate the upcoming holidays AND BLOG!!!!!
November 09, 2012
October 28, 2012
This was very, very good. Give it a try. I wonder what other variations I can come up with. I'm thinking that I may add a layer of apple butter with streusel on top the next time.
Oh and by the way, yes I am still on a diet but I am enjoying treats in moderation. (Hi Debs.)
|Our Labrador retriever, Griffey.|
We continue to take her on her morning and evening walk with our other dog, Molly. We have been loving her a lot and until last week I even was able to take her on walks on the local rec trail through the woods. I would love to take her more often but she has a lot of trouble getting in and out of our car.
|Walking the Rec trail, one last time.|
After her walk tonight she stumbled and fell and had trouble getting up our back steps. I am wondering if she will make it to Thanksgiving and I am also wondering if I will be able to be with her when she is put down. I will find the courage to be with her as she deserves to die with her family loving her.
In the meantime she is on homemade dog food. Here is the recipe the Vet gave me.
3 cans green beans
3 cans yellow wax beans
3 cans stewed tomatoes
3 cans carrots
1 pound browned hamburger
1 pound cooked rice
6 cooked potatoes, cubed
I keep "Griffey's stew" in the fridge and feed her around 2 to 3 cups in the morning and in the evening. She devours this food. The first week I gave it to her she gained 1 lb. I looked at her tonight after helping her in the house and realized that she is looking boney and losing weight again.
So, until the time comes when we will have to put her down, Griffey will be getting her homemade stew, pain killers, play time, walk time and loving time.
Dogs do bring joy to our lives. It is always sad when we have to say good bye to much loved pets, but I wouldn't trade the joy and memories that these pets bring us for anything.
Here is a picture of a portion of the rug. The size is 10 x 8 feet and we have two of these rugs in our living room.
Well, when we brought the rug out of the basement at the end of September I could smell the dog urine immediately. I had my husband and son take the rug outside and drape it over the railing on our deck until I tried to figure out what I could do.
Now when the dog was wetting on the carpet my husband told me at the time that he would buy me a new rug as he wasn't ready to put the dog to sleep. The problem is this rug was purchased 10 years ago and was expensive - $750.00. I knew that it was out of the question to replace this rug and I also knew that I love my husband and I was willing to wait to see if the dog got better.
So now it was September and I had a smelly rug on my back deck and I knew it was ruined and no way could it be used in our home again, at least that is what I thought.
Sometimes the best ideas come from pondering the problem over a period of time. I started to think about all of the spot cleaners, rug cleaners and the detergents and vinegar that I had used over the years to spot clean the carpet. Most of those products leave a residue and end up holding the stain or smell to the carpet. It seemed to me that I needed to get some water on the rug and see if I could just douse it enough to rinse out all of the old cleaning products and see what happened.
I rinsed the rug one half at a time. I just draped 1 half of the rug over the railing and using the garden hose on the jet setting I power sprayed cold water at close range on that rug. Suds streamed off of the rug. I took my time and fortunately I picked a very warm day to do this as I was getting soaked. Then I took the hose to the back of the rug and did the same thing, finishing with a final rinse on the right side of the rug.
The rug sat in the sun for a day and while still damp I poured the following product all over the rug.
|Simple Solution: Urine Destroyer|
After I applied the Simple Solution to the rug ( I saturated the rug) I left the rug on the back deck for a week to let the sun do it's magic work too. I knew that the fresh air and sunshine would help refresh the rug.
All in all it took a little over two weeks to complete this process as I was working with a large area rug and I could only clean one half at a time. When we brought the rug in the house the only smell was the light scent of the Simple Solution. I did spray the rug once with Febreze after we had brought it back in the house.
It has been 3 weeks and the rug still smells great. Even when I sit on the carpet I can't smell any urine at all. It truly is a clean rug.
What was the cost of the cleaners? It took 6 bottles of the Simple Solution for a cost of around $36 plus tax. That is a lot cheaper than buying a new area rug.
October 24, 2012
For the cake:
1 yellow cake mix
1 (16 oz.) can solid packed pumpkin puree
1/4 cup butter, softened
For the Streusel:
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup quick oats OR 1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the streusel ingredients and set aside. Blend the cake mix, eggs, pumpkin puree and butter. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour half of the cake batter into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle with half of the streusel and spread the remaining batter over that. Sprinkle the top with the rest of the streusel. Bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
October 19, 2012
October 16, 2012
October 10, 2012
My oldest son and his wife have recently announced that they are expecting a baby in March. This will be our first grand baby. I can hardly believe that I am going to be a grandma, something I have been hoping for, for a long time. Now my thoughts turn to things I can make for the baby and ways I can help my son and his wife throughout their pregnancy and after the baby is born.
My youngest son leased an apartment as of yesterday and will be moving in to his new place this weekend. He is in college and wants to move out and live on his own. So we spent today getting utilities set up and fine tuning his budget. I was at Goodwill purchasing two lamps and a little plug in hamburger maker for him. My thought was that it will be easy for him to buy a lb. of hamburger and take 1/3 of it and make a hamburger quickly in a hamburger maker vs. going to a fast food restaurant. He will be on a tight budget but he is excited to be living on his own.
I will be going back to Goodwill tomorrow to see if they have any dishes that would have come in on tonight's truck and other kitchen items. Then it is off to Wal-mart to get a microwave and toaster and then to Dollar General for some cheap silverware, a shower curtain and shower curtain rod.
He has already had a lady that is going to give him a table and chairs. We have a bed, living room chair, love seat, end table, floor lamp, desk and bookshelf he can have. I have been hanging on to some of our old furniture for just this purpose. We also have plenty of towels and sheets for him to take with him. He can raid my pantry for food and cleaning supplies that he needs too. I really hope he wants the cleaning supplies and he uses them. My feeling is that when he has his own place, he will keep it picked up and clean, because it will be his place.
Our college girls will be moving out at the end of December and in January we will be "Empty Nesters." So, life is changing in our family and it is very exciting.
But don't worry, I will be back to blogging regularly from now on. In fact I have already written a couple of posts but wanted to post my news first. Next up . . . creating that price book we talked about last week.
October 02, 2012
I haven't had to keep a price book for quite some time because I knew the prices of everything I purchased. Now that prices have dramatically changed, I am making up a new price book. This is so frustrating.
The past month or so I have been kind of going on a whim and a prayer when it came to buying some of our groceries. There were the obvious deals such as 4 boxes of Cheerios for $5.00; but there were the other items that I wasn't so sure about.
So now I'm getting back to the basics and keeping a price book. I need the information in order to make wise purchase choices but I also know that it will be kind of sad. Why? Comparing today's prices to the prices in my old price book is sad. Actually it's even worse if I go back to the very first price book I ever kept from 18 years ago. I came across it recently and under beef I had chuck roast listed as $1.49 a lb. Now that's really sad.
Having more stuff does not bring contentment. This is something that a lot of people need to learn. Many people seem to think that once they have a certain something that they will then suddenly be content. They constantly chase after the one thing that they can buy that will bring them happiness. Perhaps it is the new I-phone that just went on the market or it could be as simple as having the latest movie on dvd. These bring temporary contentment and then you are out to find the next thing that will make you happy.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not against having things. I am just saying that we make too many emotion tied purchases. The phrase “You can’t buy happiness” is very true.
Right now having more stuff would mean that I would have to work full time. I don’t want to do that at all as I like the freedom that I have by being home and being my own boss. It took me awhile but I now embrace the belief that contentment does come from within yourself.
5. Quit looking at what others have or own. They may not own it after all.
Yes, you may feel a little envious when you see a new car that a friend has just purchased and you would love to have the same car, but is the car payment worth it? Do you really think that when you drive a new car down the street that everyone walking down the street stops to say “what a cool car, that lady sure is successful and smart and pretty and makes wise choices and makes a lot of money and so on.” I pass many new cars every day and I never think these things. Usually I am thinking “please pull over and let me get by.” I am an impatient driver.
Think about this the next time you want what someone else has. What difference would it make in my life to go out and purchase what that person has? Would it suddenly bring me happiness and contentment or would it make me miserable because of what it cost me? Do I really need it? Would I be happier with more money in the bank and not having the stress of another debt payment?
Back when I worked at the law firm, we handled a lot of different cases. It was the divorce cases that were interesting because each party had to file a Financial Affidavit listing all of their assets and liabilities. It was very eye opening to see the debt listed. It was not unusual to see multiple credit cards maxed out in the thousands of dollars. Next up was the mortgage and the car payments. I often wondered if the thousands of dollars of items that were purchased on credit was a great trade off to the marriage. Does anyone ever say “I am so happy that we have all of this credit card debt and I am happy because of it?” I don’t think so.
Finally, to wrap all of this up, the bottom line is this: Contentment comes from relationships. It is the people in our lives that bring contentment, would that we cherished them as much as we should.
Sit down now and make a choice to invest in relationships. I firmly believe that if you are happy with your relationships – spouse, children, other family, and friends that you will be happier and more content beyond anything money can buy.
September 26, 2012
September 24, 2012
After I have served these on the traditional buns, I freeze the leftovers for later use. When I make homemade pizza, I dollop leftover Sloppy Joe mixture on top of the pizza sauce and then I top with colby jack cheese or a combination of mozzarella and cheddar. For something a little more gourmet I add some diced onion on top and when the pizza comes out of the oven, top it with some sweet pickle slices.
Another leftover idea is to spread the meat mixture in a small pan and top with biscuit dough or another one of my favorites is to make meat tarts. When I bake a pie crust I take the leftover crust dough and put it in a ziploc bag in the freezer. I take some of the leftover pie crust and roll it out into small circles, put some of the Sloppy Joe mixture on one side of the pie crust circle and flip over the other half of the crust. Brush a little water around the edges of the crust and seal with a fork. Prick the top with a fork and then bake until the crust is brown and the meat mixture bubbles through the top.
You can sprinkle some cheese on the Sloppy Joe mixture before you encase it in the crust or sprinkle a little bit of cheddar cheese on the top crust before you put it in the oven.
Think of leftovers as an opportunity to be creative.
September 23, 2012
Next Post: 3. Quit tying contentment to what people think of you.
I've missed not having time to sit down and write a post. This week I'm back at a normal schedule and let's hope it stays that way.
September 16, 2012
September 11, 2012
The above picture of our puppy Molly, taken when she was just a few weeks old, symbolizes contentment to me. She is sleeping after having a nice meal and having been played with. Now she has settled on our back porch for a nap and she looks very contented and happy.