Monday, September 30, 2013

The Modern Home Economist - Cooking Lessons - Stretching a Roast


I've seen this type of thing often in older cookbooks and budget-wise books and so when I stumbled upon it in one of the September issues of my vintage magazines, I thought it worth copying and sharing. It's uncommon to buy as large a roast as they might have done back in the day (4-5 pounds).  In fact, good luck finding one this large unless you're shopping at one of the wholesale clubs or having it specially cut for you.

If you happen to be a small family of say just 2-4 this is still viable with the typical roast we might buy today of about 2 pounds in size.  In fact, John and I used this idea not too long ago.  I'd kept a roast whole, planning it as a 'The family is coming to visit, let's have roast' dinner but no one visited during that time frame.  We were hungry for steak but the budget just plain didn't allow any room for steak.  I used a sirloin roast we'd bought and it worked beautifully for shish kebab, a small roast and two steaks.  So be assured you can use another cut of meat.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Morning Coffee Chat

Good Morning!  Isn't the sun bright?  Isn't the sky blue?  You'll have to forgive my mess this morning and my current lack of goodies.  I haven't had time to make a thing this morning and as you can see I'm in the midst of housework, but it's time for a break.

The world has taken on a golden hue.  The mornings are cooler, and the nights chilly enough that I personally can sleep quite comfortably without a fan running. The sun comes up slowly and orange-y and dies at night in a pastel sort of splendor or a blazing of fire red. It's lovely.  Despite all this coolness the grass and leaves are still quite green.  Were it not for the goldenrod and that lovely slant of the sun, and the date on the calendar page of course, I'd never know the season had changed.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Autumn's A Lark...






Oh, Autumn's a frolicsome, rollicksome lark--
The season for football and mellow brown ale,
For hiking and biking and rides through  the park,
On a purple-and-golden, red-leafed bridle trail,
For cool, snappy mornings and crisp afternoons
That makes life a breezy, adventurous thing,
For fresh, frosty evenings with big orange moons
And sizzling log fires and crickets to sing!

--by Avery Giles

Tried and True: Baked Beef Ravioli






It was sheer desperation and lack of imagination that led me to Pinterest to peruse my food board a couple of weeks ago...that and hunger.  I needed a dinner idea that would come together quick, included all the ingredients I had on hand at the time and  was fairly economical too.  This recipe seemed to be all those things rolled into one.  I've copied and pasted the recipe directly from BH&G site as it was written.  I'm including my 'version' down below that.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tried and True: Bess' Famous French Coconut Pie


This recipe has a story behind it...

My children and I love to cook...Well all except JD and he married Lori who loves to cook.  So they all love to cook and they all love to eat good food (JD included for sure on that one).  They all have partners who love good food and/or enjoy cooking, too.  So you'll understand that food is a mini test in our family.  You get a pass if you like to cook or appreciate eating good food.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Budget Stretcher: Leftover Makeover Corn Dog Bean Bake


We had a rather hectic weekend.  Shabat we came straight home from synagogue and made dinner at home.  It was the perfect meal for what turned into a rainy afternoon.  The temperatures dropped a little and our supper of baked beans and hot dogs seemed just right for a comforting sort of meal.  However, there were leftovers of the baked beans.  Since we like the vegetarian beans we find them only in the super tall calls, too much for two.  This week it worked very much in our favor as you'll see.

Weekly Menu Plan


The past two weeks have flown past and been busy as they could be.  Even our Shabat day kept up a rather hectic pace until we came home.  Then the skies opened and rain poured, football was on the TV, dinner was an easy meal and we snugged into our chairs and whiled away the last of the afternoon.   The week ahead looks busy enough as well.  John will be going back to work and the grand babies are coming to visit.  This too will be a hectic week and likely will fly past before we're half aware it's gone.

A new season is upon us...and didn't summer seem to just skid right away from us?  The golden rod is fully in bloom, the lovely big orange Harvest moon has shone all this past week, lighting the night so brightly you could see from the kitchen window to the bottom drive as though it were noon.  We had a beautiful Sukkot celebration last night under the night sky with a concert and dinner.  It was lovely and cool, too.  Just right for an evening under the stars.   It is a night for memory, a reminder of how summer ended and autumn began...

Hot Dogs, Baked Beans, Chips, Apples
The Honeycrisp apples are fresh in the market just now and boy are they good!  I don't normally by the higher priced apples in the market but they were so pretty and smelled so good that I did just that this week.  Worth every penny extra I paid...Watch for the leftover makeover of the hot dogs and beans.

A Year of Savings: 2013







Sept 15:  Busy morning and half way through I realized it was late and no dinner...I tried to think of anything I could make with what I had out (1 pound of ground beef) but nothing came to mind or struck my fancy.  I went to another source of inspiration: my Pinterest recipe board.  Found a recipe that sounded easy enough and used mostly items I had on hand, Beefy Ravioli Bake.

My substitutions were the cost cutters: I used 1 pound of ground beef instead of 1 3/4 pound as the recipe called for, savings $2.99.  I didn't have canned tomato soup.  I substituted 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce, adding in 1/2 tsp sugar and 1 tbsp of flour.  Consistency became same as canned soup as it cooked.  I paid $.25 for the tomato sauce.  A can of tomato soup costs a good bit more.  Savings: $.75.  Fresh Ravioli
costs $3.00/9 oz. on sale.  I used a package of freeze dried, shelf stable cheese ravioli that cost me $.89.  Savings: $2.11.    Yes, the dish was economical, my way.  Even better, I put half of the casserole in the freezer for a second meal.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Budget Stretcher: Leftover Makeover Fried Grits


Growing up in the South I learned early on to not only like grits but to love them...when they are made right!  It's really an economical hot grain to add to a breakfast menu or to let stand on it's own as a bowl of cereal.  You can eat it as you like it: with cheese, with scrambled eggs stirred in, with butter, or even with sugar and milk if you like, though I confess we've never gone that far in this household!  

So yes, grits truly are a standard in my home for breakfast.  I've learned over the years to make just enough for breakfast and not have leftovers, but the other morning, I slipped up and put in too much salt, so I made some more grits to mix with the two salty grits.  I didn't quite get the balance right but near enough that the grits were edible.  However, I had an abundance of grits.  There were leftovers.  

Linking to: 

Morning Coffee Chat





Good Morning!  Come on in and join me for coffee...I'm only just getting to my second cup.  I've been up for HOURS this morning, though it's early yet.  John had an extra shift to work and I got up to make him breakfast and then started housework.  I still have a little ways to go with that, but I've worked hard enough to break my first sweat of the day and I'm ready to sit back and relax a little.  Ignore the clothes in the basket.  They are going outdoors here in a bit to be hung on the line.  Trouble is if I take them out right now, well then I must feed the silly cat and dogs right now, too, and that means my coffee will be cold before I get a chance to drink it.  I'd rather stop and enjoy it and have a chat first.  I have priorities.

I must say sincerely that I've had the worst time sleeping this past week.  I purposely worked really hard on Wednesday and worked all day long.  Did I sleep Wednesday night?  Nooooo...No I had 'committee meeting' in my head when I lay down and though my body was weary and my eyes felt like sandpaper, my thoughts went round and round and round and round.  I finally got up and wandered about the house.  I wrote in my journal and read through a magazine.  I took a melatonin in the hopes that would push me over the edge to dozy land and it did.  I crawled into the bed, lay my head down and drifted right into sleep and that was the exact moment John got up for a few minutes which woke me and that was that.  No more dozy land, more committee meeting.  I was already forgetful and prone to frustration before Wednesday night rolled around.  I was downright irritable yesterday morning.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Modern Home Economist - Taking Care of Ourselves: Foot Massage


It's been a few years since I wore high heels, but my feet ache all the same some days, especially after a day filled to the brim with housekeeping!  This caught my eye in one of the September issues of Woman's Day (1950 I think).  It was John who convinced me to soak my feet in a warm Epsom salt bath when I had had a particularly long day and my feet hurt terribly.  I couldn't believe how just that small thing made them feel so much better.  

Next time I overdo I'll follow all the steps in the tutorial below. 



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan

Gee I wish my fridge looked half so full.  It's end of pay period and it shows!  There's one lonely potato, one onion in the bin under the cabinet.  There's half a loaf of bread and a head of lettuce in the fridge along with a dozen eggs and a pound of butter.  Even our stock of frozen beef is getting low.  Time to do a nice stocking up shopping trip once again. I have plenty of pantry food items (well all except decaf coffee) but the produce and meat supplies are thin.  That's the way it goes.  Always one set of items that are low, low, almost gone.  Personal care products, over the counter meds and first aid supplies, paper products.  I guess I might as well face it: groceries are like laundry and dishes.  They always want to be done again!

A Year of Savings - 2013





Sept. 8:  We had a busy day Saturday and it felt we'd hardly had time for the deep rest we needed.  I decided it was a day to spend taking it easy, once dinner was taken care of.  John made us a yummy breakfast, I started dinner (a pot roast) and the day went along all by itself after that.  Pot roast was cooked atop the stove instead of in the crockpot.  I had real mashed potatoes...what?  Seriously do you know how prolific instant potatoes have become?  I peeled my potatoes and cooked them then mashed with a bit of warm milk and butter as seasoning.  They taste sooo much better than instant, take only a small amount of time to cook.  The truth: it may actually  be cheaper to buy instant.  I just prefer to pay the extra and have the full flavor.

Coffee Morning Chat -

Good Morning.  The cookie jar, as you can see, is woefully empty at the moment.  I keep meaning to fill it with homemade goodies but you know I've been bitten by a desire to clean and decorate and cozy up my home for the long months ahead.  Of course, I'm anticipating cooler weather which usually doesn't arrive as soon as I'd like.

I looked about me a couple of weeks ago.  The lawn was scattered with leaves from the trees, goldenrod was just budding to bloom in the fields surrounding the house, the sun was more golden somehow and slanted just so in that way that purports a change of season.  Next thing I knew I was itching to take down curtains and wash them, wanted to scrub the walls and so much more.  And that's just the indoors things!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Modern Home Economics: Sewing Lesson- How To Set A Sleeve


When I began sewing I thought putting in sleeves was the second hardest thing next to zippers.  Well, if I'd had such an easy tutorial as this I'd have found it a good deal easier, let me tell you!  I thought I'd share this find from a 1950's Woman's Day Magazine.  It was tucked back in the How To section and would certainly be worthwhile if you are removing sleeves and refitting.  There's even a small section on how to add a gusset which would help if you have sleeves that are too tight.


Monday, September 9, 2013

The Modern Home Economist - Sewing Lessons



I didn't mean to take such a long break between posts.  I've been busy, though, not just lax, but genuinely busy.  I really hadn't planned to do a post of blog links for this series but I stumbled upon this blog the other day.  Not only does Deby sew, she has a post related to links on sewing and highlights video tutorials in some of her posts.  I thought it really was a great site to tool around and learn a bit about sewing if you're a novice.  http://so-sew-easy.com/http://so-sew-easy.com/

A Year of Savings: 2013


September 1:  I thought today was going to be my 'rest' day since yesterday wasn't but I'm afraid I got caught up in being busy doing things about the house and I worked all day long!  I think it's the time of year, regardless of the heat, I feel rather energetic.

I washed the items I bought at yard sale and estate sale yesterday.  It's amazing how much nicer things look without the coat of dust on them.  I must say those from the estate sale were nicely cleaned before they put them out for sale.  I've found with greasy grime that a dab of dishwasher detergent on my cloth will lift the greasy film.  I always test first in an inconspicuous spot to be sure it doesn't bleach out any color, but it seems to be safe on non-cloth items.

Weekly Menu Plan - Busy Busy


I've been so busy lately and I do mean busy, not as in not managing my time well, but as in, "I'm tired, but there's so much to do" sort of busy.  The week ahead is looking to be every bit as busy as the one past. I want to get some things tagged for the booth, the usual housework and meals, I will no doubt make a couple of thrifting forays even though I will be shopping the shed for the most part, there's my day out with Mama, a book study class at synagogue, yard work if it's the least bit cool...Lots to do and be done.  Frankly my energy is high and I don't mind a single bit that there is plenty to do.  I think it's Fall Fever has a hold on me at present.  That whole business of readying self and house and yard for the winter months.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Coffee Morning Chat - So Much...

There's poundcake this morning to go with our coffee.  Come on in and have a seat and let's chatter away for a bit.

Did you have a good Labor Day holiday?  I worked, and honey I mean worked!, all through the weekend  but it was nice all the same.  I usually prepare for the weekend on Friday but this past week I didn't and I regretted it after.  That's likely why I spent Labor Day weekend working so very hard.  From what I've read online many of my friends worked hard, too.  It seems to be a popular notion among my set that Labor day is for work.

What was my motive for laboring so over a long weekend meant for rest, relaxation and fun?  Oh so many things!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Year of Savings: 2013


August 22:  We shopped only at Aldi today.  I came in under budget this week, by about $40.  Yep, and I'm counting it as a savings $40 because this week I actually held on to it and didn't plan to spend the 'extra' anywhere.

I set aside a certain amount of my allowance to cover the expenses of my booth rent, tags, and  a ledger book to keep track of my expenses and income from the flea market. This venture of mine is not coming out of the checking or savings account.  It's solely mine to thrive or fail with.  I don't want to tax our budget with an additional expense.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan - Summer/Fall


It's been a lovely weekend, a sad weekend and a busy weekend all rolled up in one.  I'll tell all in my morning coffee chat this week.  I had many plans for this evening, but the electricity went out.  And that too is a story of sorts that I'll share because I decided to just enjoy the dark and the quiet.

The week ahead isn't planned to be any busier than usual.  John's working this holiday, his regular work hours, and I'm going along just as regular as always.  Harvest Morning, errands, grocery list, grocery shopping, weekend preparations, etc, etc.  The only thing I am doing differently is taking time to check on my booth before we head off to do the grocery shopping.