Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My!
Hello there! Thought I'd answer questions, make replies to your comments from March. I'm going to do this a wee bit differently. I'll answer or reply to all comments on regular posts together. Meaning I'll answer all on Menu Plans and all on Frugal Friday in a lump. I thought it might be a little less confusing and link heavy that way.
Mar 2-8 Lena, the recipe for Tuna Roly Poly is simple enough...but I never got it made...The can of tuna is still sitting in my pantry. It's a biscuit dough base with tuna but you can substitute salmon or chicken either one. The recipe I've linked to is online. Mine is an old cookbook and similar. I'd leave out green olives entirely if your kids dislike them.
Sarah, I cut bell pepper in half lengthwise, so each half has a stem end and blossom end. I use porcupine meatball mixture in my peppers, with the meat and rice raw if I'm cooking it right away, using cooked rice if I mean to freeze as the freezing does dry out the rice and makes it all but inedible if you leave it raw. I cover with tomato soup and grated cheese then cover with foil or lid when putting in the oven. You can most certainly use a little water in the dish if you choose.
Mar 9-15 Kathy, I checked the 'parts' this past pay period at Aldi: Cargeenan in those, too. I don't really like the frozen boneless breasts. I picked up breasts locally this week at the small town grocery and they were very good. I've always liked the meats locally, it's just the produce is so often not the best that I tend to avoid the store unless they have a great loss leader. But whole chickens at $1.69/pound? And they aren't much larger than a Cornish game hen... Do I sound terribly old to say that once upon a time $.99/pound was a good price on a chicken and commonly the birds weighed in anywhere from 2.5 to 4 pounds for a fryer/broiler.
Sarah, Maddie has always had a collection of things. Sticks, pipes, odd gloves or shoes she picked up heaven knows where, soda cans, plastic bottles etc. This year, she's kept it simple: sheets, rugs and blankets that were meant to help keep out the cold and protect her and the cat. She drags this bedding to place all around John's car and that's where she sleeps. I pick them up, she drags them back out. This past week I tossed two of the torn sheets, and washed and put away the blankets. The rugs went into the trash too, but I have my recent bath rugs in the shed for next winter.
Mar 16-22 Sarah, to answer your question about the chili mac: I prefer to freeze chili and then cook macaroni later if we decide to have that meal. I too have frozen some pasta dishes with success. I do not cook my pasta before assembling the lasagna so I never have overcooked in that dish. I do prefer pasta to be a little more undercooked al dente to freeze.
As for the yeast products in our home come Passover I did used to pack it all up and take it to Mama's. Other friends, who were Jewish, stored their's in their cars but in the Bible it says there's to be no yeast in the house, nor on the property. I talked it over with John and we determined that we'd try to follow the Bible on this. Last year, when we were in the very midst of that testing season of trusting God, I felt strongly that I should throw away every single item that contained yeast as Passover neared. I don't like to waste but I felt that trusting God to provide the funds to replace those items was a test I needed to go through. And so I did. This year we're trying to use up those items that might contain yeast. I took a couple of items to Samuel when we visited that I thought he'd like to use. I have purposely worked hard this year to not store items in my pantry that might have yeast simply because I do not want to throw them away. I will go over my things and double check but I am pretty sure that at this point, I have only bread in the house with yeast. I will happily toss any remaining come Passover.
I have read many accounts of the ritual of 'cleansing the house' and even putting away the dishes used through out the year and bringing out special dishes and pots and pans reserved for just this time of year in Jewish homes. I don't do that. I try to clean well but I don't do a big Spring cleaning while preparing for Passover. I confess, I did wipe out the drawer where I sometimes store bread sacks to be sure the crumbs were cleared up, and I wiped out the freezer where I keep bread as well.
Mar 1-7 Rhonda, we put that gas card aside for vacation. They had the same sale again towards the end of the month, but it was our short pay period and I couldn't manage that card then. However, I do mean to keep this up when I can get the deal. I think they will make great gifts for the kids, and a nice way to set aside gas funds for trips to visit them as well.
In fact, I've decided to keep my eyes open for similar deals on pre-paid credit cards for the same reasons. If I can get $50 worth of product for $40...I'm ahead!
Pam, thank you so much for praying for my booth. That means a great deal to me!
Mar 15-22 Terri, I can't take credit for using that corned beef broth in making soup. I gathered that tip from the same site that had the recipe for the corned beef. I didn't get my potato soup made, so put the broth in the freezer after I de-fatted it.
Courtney, I never really worried about HFCS in foods but reading labels you become very aware of how very many products have it...and not where you'd expect either! Many savory foodstuffs. I am more cautious now about it. My mom used to make baby formula and her 'recipe' called for corn syrup. She commented one day that as a baby they had to find an alternate formula recipe because I was allergic to corn syrup! Now that made me sit up and take notice, so I have tried to avoid whenever possible except on occasion..I mean what is pecan pie without the corn syrup? Not Granny's pecan pie!
I am not a big one for health food or avoiding foods as a rule. I tend to follow Granny's advice which was simple and to the point, "Moderation in all things." I try to keep that in mind and find it wise indeed. So I see no harm in giving your kids crackers occasionally that aren't from the health food or organic section. I just wouldn't make it a daily treat. Your pocketbook will appreciate it as much as they will.
As I said earlier in this post, I discovered that all fresh chicken at Aldi has cargeenan. I shall either start buying chicken elsewhere. Live and learn and avoid, right?
Pam, it sounds to me like you're keeping things balanced despite the overage in the renovation budget. You are right in that you often don't know what you're getting into when you renovate until you're in it. I believe that fixing things right underneath pays a high dividend in the end.
Glenda, So very happy that you shared your frugal week with me. I need to sit down and work out on paper what a 'real' pantry includes for us. That was something I meant to do...Oh my saggy baggy memory! I very much would like to have six to twelve months. We have just one fridge, one small freezer, one medium freezer and have devoted the guest/craft room closet to food storage.
The cookbook I turn to most often was originally published around 1910. I find the recipes are delicious and frugal. Although it's gone through many printings, what changes is illustrations not the recipes. I also 'try' the recipes from my vintage magazines as well and find that the majority of those are keepers.
Rebecca, I could only chuckle at your propane delivery being inconvenient...I used to run to the door to greet the guy but these days I tend to 'hide' inside to avoid greeting him. It's always when I've been doing the dirtiest work and look haggard that he shows up, lol. He's just rolls up the receipt and puts in the storm door latch.
The first coffee chat of the month generated quite a few lengthy, reading worthy comments. I like when you all get chatty right back at me! Thank you...
Maranda, I look at designer rooms and photos a lot, but like I really want my home to be welcoming and comfortable and homey. As a source of inspiration designer photos are great. I've refined my look overall and been mighty mindful of what shows up in a photo on the blog...One of my favorite photos however is anything but 'designed'. It is just as it actually was that particular morning and there's my empty flour bag atop the canisters...
The books do make it seem like home to me. When we were moving into our home, we did so very slowly. Every night when I got in I'd load our SUV and the next day after work I'd drive to this house and unload and then home to do it all over again. It was tedious and tiring and tough. One night John came here with me and we unpacked the boxes of books and put them on the bookcase. I will never forget the deep sigh of satisfaction he gave as we sat down on the loveseat to rest, nor his comment, "Now it looks like home!" and he wasn't even a reader at the time. Books just lend an ambiance to a house that even non-readers appreciate.
Stephanie, You were perfectly right about the rugs at Dollar General. I mean to pick up a second set as back-ups. I got all three for less than I paid for one for the small bathroom!
I agree that God's timing is always just right...and for you it likely saved your home.
Pam, total sympathy on having your kitchen stuff strowed all over. I hope that the renovation is complete and you're all organized once more.
Sarah, I didn't 'need' new towels either but I wasn't happy with the look in my bathroom. I put those towels away and will give them away later or possibly use them at another time. I never know, lol.
The rest of your comment is very read worthy and I encourage any reading this to go that post and read through it.
Dee, you are quite right. I wasn't close to my grandmother, much as I wanted to be, but I felt very close to her after her death, far more than I had in life. I miss Granny terribly but I know that she's with me. I hope/pray that I am as well loved and deeply missed as she is at the end of my life.
Tammy, In St. Augustine some of the graves are written in Spanish, French etc. I love to picnic in graveyards. They are quiet and peaceful and seldom do I have company, so I feel safe if I'm alone.
And no, I've not really adjusted yet to daylight savings time. I feel off kilter, but I will get there.
2nd Coffee Chat post: Dale, my girls and boys all are hot tea fans. I am convinced my aversion to hot tea is psychosomatic, lol. Granny and Grandmama always assured me as a girl that drinking the hot sweet tea (meant for iced tea) would make me sick and to this day I feel ill when I drink hot tea! I have been a fan of coffee since earliest memory. I'll just bet your lemon yogurt tea bread would be tasty as can be. You just bring it along next time you stop by!
Sarah, getting lost is never fun for us. I'm sorry to say that we tend to be snippy at the least and very argumentative at worst. We've had some doozies of fights over being lost and frustrated over it. I say this sincerely, I am sorry it is so. I confess I don't mind getting lost on my own...but with John I just get anxious because he isn't happy at all if we're lost, not in the least.
As for time alone, I do enjoy it. I had my year and a half here at home with him working nights and home every single day and I kept telling him he has to find a hobby of some sort before he retires. I enjoy his company but he tends to be lead horse and spontaneous about what he's going to do, where as I'm a planner who likes to stick hard to the plan. I've loosened up a LOT since we've been together simply because I had to but I crave schedules and order after a bit...and he does too, but his never coordinates with mine!
Sparky, thank you for your comment about the new header. That is a photo of our front porch from inside the front door. The chairs were on Grandmama's front porch and I brought them home. They are very comfortable really and sturdy as can be.
Two of you reminded me of the drought in California...and I knew that was ongoing having heard a great deal of it of late. Just goes to show you how stuck I am that Georgia is the world, lol.
Sarah, I chuckled over your comment about the mashed potatoes in the Home Ec post. Lori and I were watching Heartland Table on FoodNetwork and gasped as the young cook added a WHOLE stick of butter to the potatoes as well as another WHOLE stick melted in milk to her mashed potatoes...Golly! That was an excess of butter in my opinion. Mama and I were eating out the other day and the restaurant served REAL mashed potatoes and they tasted just like I make them at home.
Melonie, the drought in Georgia reached pretty dire status a couple of years ago. Towns north of us were running out of water in their reservoirs, lakes drying up, etc. We are very fortunate that we live over a HUGE aquifer that has deep deep waters but that is not to say that we weren't dry here as well. But this past year we moved officially back into the well watered phase and we are deeply grateful for it! It's so good to see ponds and rivers at flood levels and just above normal levels.
Dale shared this tip: All of the grocery stores in my area have weekly trips around the store with a nutritionist, they explain how to use different foods, how to cook them and how to save money and eat well. Perhaps others have these as well.
Pam, your comment made me smile and brought tears to my eyes. I know that heaven is supposed to be full of mansions, etc and some will say that's exactly what they want. We used to say over my late father-in-law that as soon as we got to heaven we were going to find the kitchen because that was where he'd be, with something cooking on the stove and a pot of coffee...Granny would be there now, too...So I'll meet you in the kitchen, we'll have coffee there, okay?
about the back porch Ladies thank you all for your compliments on the house and the porch. I have suggested a few times that we need to shop for some more seats on the porch but my husband likes it as it is, lol. I'm sure I'll find something, new, used or already owned to add to that space and make it super cute, too but I do want to keep it uncrowded as well. So far I have a big, really big, grapevine basket that I hope to put some plants in for the space.
Angela, I love the egg basket for magazines, too. I also have an old coal scuttle that I keep my current magazines in (those that I don't want to save after reading). It could use a new coat of paint...fun to contemplate what colors I might choose. Definitely something bright and cheerful and noticeable I think.
As soon as the weather is pleasant enough to stay outdoors a bit, I'll be sure we have coffee chat out there on the back porch... Good idea!
Dale the thought of a small pond/pump on the porch is nice and I do have an outlet just around that corner...I'll keep that in mind as I'm trolling yard sales and thrift stores.
Ten Frugal Facts Lena, I have grown handfuls of food, never a full crop of anything. John is a city boy and his palate is adjusted to city type produce (aka grocery store stuff). I grew up eating from a garden and know the difference in tastes. I don't have enough physical stamina nor equipment to do a full scale garden on my own, yet (I keep working on that), but I do my few things here and there and try to buy fresh from local farm stands and put a little up for the coming year. My trouble is that I consider it such a luxurious thing that I tend to try to 'save' it. Here I am now with 20 packets of cream corn and I'd meant to eat them over the fall and winter!
Kathy, I stock in a really simple way. If there's a sale I buy two or six of whatever that item is, depending upon my finances and my need at the time. I built my pantry slowly and keeping it stocked isn't very hard once it's built. I haven't purchased wheat berries or other foods that are considered 'food storage' type foods but I do try to keep what we'd normally eat stocked. Right now I see gaps here and there in my storage that I want to fill but working with a lowered budget has temporarily slowed me down.
Technically speaking our tax 'refund' became the back porch...I feel your pain at using the tax refund to pay for medical bills, but I would do the same rather than carry them any length of time if you can avoid it. It seems to me that unpaid medical bills show up on credit reports sooner than any other delinquent payments and it hurts credit scores.