Patsy asked "How do I find Chronicles of a Thrifty Homemaker" and "Penny Ann Poundwise" blogs?
www.ChroniclesofaThriftyHomemaker.blogspot.com or PennyAnnPoundwise.xanga.com Neither of those blogs will contain all of the content you'll find here though. I'm merely sharing the Money Saving sorts of posts between the three blogs. This blog remains my 'home' where I express opinions and just generally share my thoughts a bit more freely.
Anonymous asked me to share the Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe. The original recipe was Rhonda's and I altered it just slightly to suit me. Here you go:
Rhonda's Red Enchilada Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, chopped fine, about 2 1/2 ounces
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons granular Splenda or Sugar
16 ounces tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
In a medium pot, cook the onion in oil until soft and slightly browned. Add the garlic, spices and sweetener. Cook and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce and water; bring to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes about 2 cups
Can be frozen
Karla asked three questions: How do you maintain your inventory?
I put like items together, so you'll find most of the canned goods in the kitchen; paper products in laundry and bath, personal care in bathroom, and in the guest room closet we keep beverages, condiments, whole grain cereals (grits/oatmeal), canned meats, pastas and tomato products. I check expiration dates and try to keep them in order of date, so that I never have an expired item. It works fairly well, but occasionally I find I have too much of an item as expiration dates come up or I miss using an item before it expires. I use common sense to determine whether I use an item after the expiration. Sometimes I will if it's an item I know to be shelf stable while unopened and sometimes I toss.
Would you share what you purchase and at what stores?
Not to sound smart aleck but I purchase what we normally eat. I divide the majority of my shopping between Publix, Aldi and a meat market we discovered near our home provides all the beef we eat and many of the frozen vegetables I use are sold in 5 pound bags. I buy chicken wherever the best sale is as I've not found the chicken at the meat market remarkably superior to other places except their wings. I occasionally pick up a few things in the local Dollar General and Hometown grocer. When I want spices or herbs I make a short trek down to the next county to the Mennonite store and buy them from their bulk purchases which are far less expensive than any I've found elsewhere.
I try to shop seasonally for fresh produce and fruits. I purchase these wherever they are the best and the best priced. I never allow cheap prices to dictate whether or not I purchase a food unless it is clearance priced, looks decent and can be consumed or frozen immediately. Some items I purchase at Aldi (most especially long-life vegetables like potatoes, cabbage, etc) but we seldom purchase fruit there. Usually it's too much for immediate use. I buy apples by the pound rather than bagful due to my husband's preference, unless I am making apple pie in which case a bag works just fine. I do buy oranges by the bagful, usually at Publix as I've found Aldi's bagged fruits inferior a little more often than not.
Canned goods may be bought wherever I find them well priced or best stocked. I am not brand loyal but if I find a store brand inferior I'll drop it like a hot potato. I normally try a single can purchase of a store brand before stocking up too heavily and at most four cans of some item might make their way into the pantry because in soup, even an inferior brand is okay, usually.
I typically buy in cans: tomatoes (diced, sauce, paste), spaghetti sauce (I just plain like it whether I add to homemade sauce or I use it heated and as is for a quick and cheap dinner), three bean salad, carrots, potatoes, green beans, green peas, corn (whole kernel only), beets(1-3 cans), kidney beans, black beans, red beans, refried beans (1-3 cans), pimentos or roasted red peppers; cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery, and cream of tomato soup; Pineapple juice, bottled cranberry, grape and apple juices; evaporated milk; instant potatoes, a couple boxes of mac and cheese, pastas (various shapes but heavy on elbow mac and spaghetti), yellow, wild, and white rices; oatmeal and grits; canned chicken, tuna, Spam, turkey chili, beef stew and chicken dumplings; peanut butter; a variety of condiments, heavy on mayo, ketchup and yellow mustard, maple and cane syrups, grape, apple, raspberry, strawberry jellies; dried beans in smaller quantities of whatever variety I might choose and that is pretty much it.
I tend to stock oyster, saltines, butter, graham crackers and granola bars but try not to go too heavy on those as many of them have yeast and we must remove those from our home during Passover. Flour, sugar, cornmeal, cocoa, chocolate chips, vanilla; dried cranberries, raisins, cherries, blueberries and tomatoes; walnuts, peanuts, pecans (from my own trees usually), pistachios, almonds (I keep nuts in the freezer as they are oily and often go rancid if kept at room temperatures).
I'm sure I've forgotten something or left something out, know that I didn't list yeast and baking powder, flavorings, etc. though I use them, but you can see that it's pretty straightforward foodstuffs.
What I want to stock more heavily: coffee, tea, whole grain cereals, honey. These are areas where I typically run low or out because I never buy enough to really stock up.
Frugal blogs, sites, or cookbooks?
I don't consistently follow any blog for long. I belong to a closed yahoo group of homemakers that remains small and we share a great deal and they often inspire me. I get inspiration from all sorts of places outside of the computer though. Magazines, articles, ads, books I'm reading, friends, memory, restaurants, trial and error here in the home. I had the 'advantage' of growing up in a financially unstable household, an equally bad one in my first marriage and as John likes to say we were so strapped that we were only 'po' we couldn't even afford 'poor', lol. Experience is a grand teacher if you pay attention and learn and I did. I had the advantage of grandmothers who grew up during the worst of the depression years and lived a rural life all of their lives. I learned to forage, cook from scratch, and lived by that old adage, "Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without." I do love vintage homemaking magazines from the 1930's through about 1959. They are just chock full of using what you have to make something new.
I will say I've never turned down the opportunity to read and explore any book that claimed it would teach me to save money. Honestly though, I find being thrifty and frugal FUN. And I think that it is a terrific creative pursuit as well.
KellyJo asked: Have you ever made your own laundry soap?
I made two batches of the liquid laundry soap. We used it for a bit over a year total and even a little beyond. Our water here is very soft and I found our whites became gray and dingy and our colored clothes looked faded. A few washings with store bought detergent whitened things up once more and the colored clothes stopped looking faded. I suspect that the soap was being used too heavily, or was wrong for our water (meaning the bar soap) or simply wasn't rinsing out as thoroughly as it needed to. We've had trouble with certain brands of shampoo and dish soap and dish detergent clogging drains here due to their reaction to our soft water (we don't have a water softener unit it's just naturally very soft). I've been thinking I'd like to try making it again and using a vinegar rinse but since I only do sheets and towels and John takes care of clothes, it's his preference to use store bought detergents.
Now...It's gotten quite late for me to be sitting here still writing, so I shall close for the evening. Thanks to all of you for taking time to comment. So many of you have commented of late, I suspect seeking to stretch those budget dollars is the reason. I hope you'll continue to find my posts useful.