Sunday, January 31, 2010

The great recipe hunt

Have you ever looked for a recipe but couldn’t find it? I had one of those experiences this past week. I want Chinese food – real Chinese food not Magic Wok Chinese food.

I told my Stepmom I know I have a recipe for it. (Have you all seen the picture of all my cookbooks?) At that time I thought I knew which cookbook had it. I was wrong . UGLY PICTURE WARNING!!!
So that leads to this idea. Since I go thru each new cookbook and put a Post It on the page of any potential recipe I’ll write them down and post it on the front of the cover!!! How smart is that?! I’ve done 5 so far.
This is expanding my cooking since I keep finding new recipes that appear good, cheap and wholesome for my family.

By the way yes I found the recipe it was in the fourth book I looked in.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blessed day and God is good

Just a few goodies from our Feed Your Neighbor food box

Today I received a call from our park manager, Alice. She was going to a local church that was giving out food boxes. All that we needed was the social security card and ID for each person in the house. I told her I would like to go and she said I had an half hour!! Yikes I was just waking up – talk about moving quickly.

We went over with 2 other ladies from the park, we got our numbers and waited our turn. I was getting nervous I kept hearing please sign that you don’t make over and an dollar amount. We’ve had so much turn down that we make to much money to qualify for help. I wait my turn and give the lady our information – she asked me to sign (without asking about our income) that we did not make more than $xxx per week. Heck no I get that about every 2 weeks so we were way under the income limit.

I was given a #2 for the number of people in our household. Talk about generous we received:
Choice between rice or Great Northern Beans – I chose rice
All below are 15 oz cans
Can of pears
Can of green beans
Can of sweet potatoes
Can of applesauce
Can of spaghetti sauce
Bag of spaghetti to go with it
Bag of powdered milk - looks like 3 pounds
Canister of what I call shelf milk – the stuff that sits on a shelf until you open it
2 condiment size bottles of Dijon mustard
huge bag of mashed potatoes – I think like 2 or 3 pounds
bag of French bread slices
chunk of Beef flat Iron steak
6 eggs
jar of peanut butter – creamy
Tube of Crest toothpaste – large tube
Roll of toilet paper
Box of corn flakes
Box of Mac & cheese (gave to another of the ladies in our group)
1 green pepper
4 apples
4 oranges but one was bad
single serve size of Glucerna cereal (with a $2 on top) but I did have the choice of that or a single Stove Top Stuffing
12 oz can of tuna – huge can!!!
20oz can of off brand Beef Stew (like Dinty Moore)
can of Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup
They also offered condiment sizes of honey, jelly and mustard or it could have been Mayonnaise. I refused them I have more than enough of that stuff.

As the workers are helping me choose my stuff and bagging my things I was just amazed. Way more generous than I expected – all I could say was Thank You and Bless you.

Funny thing the powdered milk, the rice, the cereal and the toothpaste were all on my shopping list for this week!!! And you should have seen my joy when I saw that lone can of cheddar cheese soup. I have a couple recipes that call for it but it is so expensive. I about burst into tears as I was walking out – they are so kind and I am so grateful.

We are making plans to attend the event every month and I’ll be telling my son and Kelly about this place.

Now I thought it would be fun to when I use one of the products to make a post and see how far these will last. I see 4 possible meals (the steak, the tuna, the spaghetti and for lunch the beef stew), lots of side dishes and all the powdered milk is wonderful.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My kitchen day

I spent a good part of today in the kitchen. No I didn't do that much cooking. I started with some scrapbooking - 4 pages of our wedding pictures.

Then we are down to the end pieces of the loaf of bread so I made a double batch of bread dough. One is a loaf and the rest are the rolls we needed for dinner.

Oh and that is one 2010 goal down - making bread. i enjoyed myself and will keep doing it especially the rolls. So fun!!!

Plus the required cooking of dinner (didn't take a picture) chili with a new recipe using beef roast.

Don't forget washing dishes but then I cooked so I have to do after dinner dishes also.

Then I decided to change my dishes and put out what we got for our wedding, Fiesta Wear!!! That lead to totally rearranging shelves since Fiesta are heavy dishes they have to go on the bottom.

Please excuse the cluttered kitchen its small!!! Thank you for stopping by and blessings. Laura

Monday, January 25, 2010

Book review - Thrifty Cooking for Wartime

I really enjoy the challenge of sending the librarian down to the basement of the Main library. You know sometimes you find the best books down there. Thrifty Cooking for Wartime by Alice B Winn-Smith is one of those fabulous finds.

The book was written in 1942. The author created a written list of cooking “rules”. I find that these are not really rules but common sense old time housewives sharing of knowledge.
How about those end pieces off your loaf of bread? Do you eat them or do you throw them out? Do you make bread crumbs or croutons with them? Do you save your bacon grease or toss it out? Mrs Winn-Smith gives you all kinds of suggestions on how to feed your family and yet save the all important budget.

Here is one suggestion she gives a recipe for pancakes or griddle cakes as they were called. Then she gives you suggestions for possible changes such as: adding apples, banana. Changing into buckwheat cakes, corn cakes, Dollar cakes, Ham cakes, nut cakes, orange cakes, Rye cakes, sweet-milk cakes and whole wheat cakes. Such a wide array of variations and it is like that for most of the recipes in the book.

I enjoyed this book so much that it may well be placed on the purchase list. I bet I can find it on

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2 recipe reviews

Both from same book Reader's Digest Like Grandma Used to Make

Ham & Egg Pie

1 pie crust (either homemade or store bought)
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella or swiss cheese (6 oz)
½ cup finely chopped low sodium ham
2 Tbsp flour
1 ½ cups low-fat milk
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites (in addition to the whole eggs)
½ tsp finely chopped herbs
1/8 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pie crust in 9 inch pie pan and bake for 15 minutes (or until light brown). Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl mix ham, cheese and flour. Spread in crust.

In same bowl mix eggs, egg whites, milk, herbs and pepper. Pour over ham mixture. Cover the edges of the crust. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes or until set. Serves 6.

Homemade pie crust

For 1 crust
1 ¼ cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp cold water

For 2 crusts
2 1/3 cups flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup cold water

Mix all ingredients. You can add up to an additional 1 tbsp of water if needed.

Bake as directed in recipe.
Results: very good. My spices were parsley and Chives. And I used 1 of the planned uses for the whole boneless ham I bought for the Jan $16 challenge.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Finding Joy

We have had no sun peeking out since Monday Jan 11, just overcast days. This is the downside of living in Toledo during the winter. You can handle the cold but no shining sun is hard to do. So here is my joy list:

Cardinals in the yard and chirping in the pine tree.

Tweet who when he wants attention clicks like he is blowing a kiss. Simba who greets you with a meow as he is hogging the heat in the living room. A husband who loves to “smuggle” you in your sleep. I in return snap pictures while he is sleeping.
My son AJ and Kelly, the joys of my life. I don’t get to see him often enough but I am happy knowing that he loves the woman he is with and she loves him. My dining room table full of fabric waiting to be cut for quilt squares. The ducky bathroom – how can you stay angry or depressed with all these lovely ducks smiling at you? No definite count but somewhere around 65 if your curious. The shadowbox that I got when my mom died. I remember decorating it with my great grandma as a young girl. The Hummel figurine was my grandmas. The Mexican donkeys that hang from a hallway window to remind me of a wonderful trip and beautiful friends.

I hope that my small measures of happiness will also provide you with happiness.

Blessings to all, Laura

Monday, January 18, 2010

Awesome shopping trip at Walgreen's

Transaction # 1
3 – 12 packs Diet Pepsi
2 – 12 Pack Regular Pepsi
1 bag of Tostitos
1 jar of Tostito Cheese sauce

Pepsi was 5/$15, The chips and chip 2/$5 = $20 – the following coupons $1.00/2 Pepsi 12 packs x 2 & .55 off Tostitos and cheese sauce = $17.45

Received a $10 register reward PLUS I have a Coors rebate spend $20 and buy the 12 pack and get $10 back

I made money on this deal :)

Transaction #2
4 – Nyquil/Dayquil products @ $5.00 each = $20.00 And these were the bonus size bottles so I got 20% more free
2 Neosporin Lip health 2/$8.00
1 box of drink mix (individual packets) $1.00 (Had to get it so the coupons/item number worked out and I can send it in the next soldier box for Sunday school)

used 3 $2.00 Nyquil coupons plus a $1.50 Nyquil coupon, 2 $3.00 Neosporin lip health plus the $10 register reward from the pepsi deal = $5.50. Plus the Nyquil had a satisfaction guarantee on the bottle so I can send that in for the purchase price back ($5.00) total 50 cents

PLUS I received a $10 register reward for the Nyquil and $3 for the Neosporin.

Again a money maker :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Recipe review - German style Beef Roast

German style Beef Roast

Quick & Easy Sensational 5 ingrediant recipes

1 (3 lb) boneless beef round rump roast
1 912 oz) can of regular cola (DO NOT USE DIET)
1 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
¼ tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place meat in a 4 qt Dutch oven. In a bowl combine cola and ketchup then pour over meat. Cover and cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender. Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm.

For Sauce: Stir brown sugar and pepper into the meat drippings. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer uncovered about 10 minutes or until slightly thick. Skim off any fat. Serve meat with the sauce.

8 – 10 servings.
Review: YUMMY!!!! This cookbook was a Christmas present from my stepmom. this recipe was very easy and quick to make. Although the diabetic in me cringes at the thought of regular soda instead of diet I wouldn't even try to use diet. The sauce was wonderful over mashed potatoes and it honestly was helped by the sugar.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

After Christmas shopping

My one and only after Christmas shopping trip for 2010. I went to Michael’s for some scrapbook paper not even thinking that they would still be offering any Christmas stuff. My lucky day!! I got the following:
A big huge drum basket (80% off) - $2.19
2 different sheets of scrapbook paper – 41 cents each
A big huge spool of ribbon (15 yards 70% off) - $1.59
Small spool of blue ribbon – 99 cents
Santa glove (I thought it was a stocking and 70% off) – 99 cents
Holiday stickers (I’m thinking I’ll use them either for scrapbooking or for a Christmas card next year) – 44 cents
3 different animal things – 2 were 13 cents and the other was 15 cents. Unsure what to call them they don’t hang nor do they have posts to plant them somewhere

My justification for buying these is as follows (although Greg did not ask) the animals things and 15 yards of ribbon are in the bucket for my mom’s wreath next year. The scrapbook paper well I went for travel paper (for the San Antonio pictures) so I got one garden theme and the lovey dovey ones are for our wedding pictures. The stickers and the blue ribbon are for cards or scrapbooking (you can always use little do dads right?). And the basket well how can you say this cause I wanted it - it is so cute!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The deer has returned - we think

We've known that deer have been visiting the back part of our lawn. We've seen them at various times. Well at least one is visiting this winter. We were able to see the tracks running behind the trailers 2 to the North and 2 to the South of ours. A nice clear trail, no squirrels or stray cats to bother these footprints. Kind of nice knowing that they are visiting even during the winter.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bonus post

I just found this beautiful video. I'm sharing with everyone. The awe and beauty of the guy just brings tears to my eyes. Look at his gnarly wrinkled face (you can see his experience) and then listen to his wonder - makes him young again. Enjoy

$16 a month meat challenge - January 2010

Ok small secret here my husband and I are on Food stamps. During the recent recertification (done yearly) we were alloted $16 a month for assistance. I admit I was not very grateful at first but I said thank you and accepted the help. Even the caseworker got a laugh when I said good thing I know how to use my coupons isn't it? After a couple hours I got to thinking just what good that $16 is and made a list. Well I am starting a monthly series of what good that $16 is. This month I bought a boneless ham for $15.89 as close to $16 that I could get. I paid $1.99 per pound and it weights 7.98 pounds.Ham & egg quiche (1/2 cup)
Pizza for 2 meals (1/2 cups each)
Ham & potato or bean soup (1 cup)
Button Ham biscuits for 2 meals (1/4 cup each) These are side dishes and new recipe
Amish farmer breakfast (1/2 cup) New recipe but it looks like a big omelet with potatos in it also.
Now all the meat for those meals has been chopped and in is a container in the freezer. I'm thinking I can reach in and dish out the amount I have specified.
In addition the following for main courses:
2 slices for Apple Sauced ham slices (dinner last night and another new recipe). The picture and recipe for that will get posted tomorrow - it was so yummy!!!!
6 slices have been cut and wrapped in packages of 2.
2 lbs for Apricot baked ham (another new recipe and there could well be another meal from the leftovers but I am not counting it)
1 pound will get ground up for ham balls (new recipe)
2 slices are in the refrigerator for lunches (the oops I goofed cutting slices).

Now if I have everything counted right and listed right that is 15 meals from 8 pounds of ham.

Thank you for reading and I hope that you will follow this challenge.

Blessings to you and yours.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

January Pantry donations

Well you can see the Wacky Mac - 3 bags. I bought it at a fairly decent price (75 cents each) but found out I don't like it.
2 containers of Dental floss - free
7 Reach toothbrushes - free
Plus I went thru some clothes and have 2 shirts, a skirt with the price tag still on it.
And a couple toy cars that I used to have on my desk at work.

That my donation for this month.

2 bar of Johnson Buddy bars (soap) - free

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Just a couple pictures of our yard and the snow. The apple tree and the neighbors back door. The field out behind our trailer. These are the woods over to the right of the trailer. Reallynice during the Spring, Summer and Fall when the leaves are out. There is also a depression that fills in from metling snow and rain and makes a small pond. Last Spring we had a momma and daddy duck spend the season in there. No babies.

Our streetlights. I love how the snow piles on top to give the light a top hat look. Later this season I'll make up a face and put it on long enough to take a picture.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Coupons for the New year

Truthfully I am finding it hard to mix my couponing with the more natural , homemade part of my life. No longer are the same old processed foods appealing – I enjoy making my own biscuits. The Pillsbury items have been sticking to the wrapper lately and they get messed up anyway.

There are still some things that I need to buy that I am using my coupons for. Although I may not eat the Rice A Roni anymore I still buy it for church or potluck needs. Every Wednesday I attend the potluck at church and the monthly Food Sunday donations. In addition now my Sunday School class will be sending care boxes to our military church members stationed overseas once a month. We will also be having at least one garage/yard sale this summer.

So being that yesterday was the first real set of coupon inserts for 2010 I was excited to get home from church. Greg had the papers sitting on the foot of the bed in their usual spot. I briefly glanced at the front page (didn’t want to appear too anxious) and then tore into the ads to pull out the inserts. Big huge week 5 inserts!!! And I had Greg buy 3 papers.

So I start pulling the coupons and then the necessary ads out, Walgreen’s, Rite Aid and Krogers. Greg says how are the coupons? I reply not very good, I don’t see some that I want and the others are disappointing. So I put them aside for later.

Jump ahead a few hours as I start to look thru the inserts – hey these don’t look so bad. I start clipping the ones that I will use; they go in a pile. I also cut the ones that my trader friend will use (I send her coupons weekly) they go in another pile. The final pile are the remaining coupons to be saved for another day.

Just for kicks I added up the coupons that I cut for us - $69.89 worth. And that did not take into account any doubling so the final will be a bit higher maybe $5 or $6 if I don’t double any of the $1 coupons.

Now put into terms that anyone can understand that $69.89 will pay for one month of our home owners insurance and 1 month of Greg’s cell phone (our primary phone) all for $4 - $3 for our papers and $1 for the guy who gave Greg the ride for his paper.
Happy saving and happy frugal living once again mixed.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

December 2009 freebies

I am borrowing this from another blogger (Thank you Shari :) ). I decided to keep track of the freebies and refund checks that I receive during the month. This is the December total:

Coke tote bag
Sauve refund check
Folgers coffee sample
Rite Aid Nov refund
Vista Print address labels
Mueller Pasta calendar/coupons
Philosophy gingerbreadman bath gel
VistaPrint T-Shirt
Red gold tomato tote bag
Vistaprint personal cards
$5 refund check

I will also be tracking my savings during 2010 so each month I will post those along with my freebies and refunds.

Tomorrow will be the first real coupons for 2010 and it looks like quite a fun time will be had cutting up 15 inserts. Well 15 tomorrow and 5 more Wednesday when I get my Dad's.