Friday, February 29, 2008

Frugal Friday -

This is my first Frugal Friday Post and let me tell you it isn't easy to come up with ideas. Every idea I had has already been written about several times over. I know I live a very frugal lifestyle but it isn't easy to identify that one great frugal thing I do that saves a ton of money, the truth is it's all the little things that add up to save me money. Today my Frugal Friday post is nothing new and note worthy I'm sure every other person does this too, but hey I want to join in the frugal fun and I've got to write about something.
When you make a big batch of soup...........ready for the great frugal tip (more like a frugal reminder)...........freeze your soup leftovers for a future meal. Just portion out some of your soup into containers and after they cool pop them in the freezer. I know nothing life changing but hey this is a really great thing to do. First you don't have to feed you family soup for days on end trying to finish it off and second, you have a meal in the freezer ready to go for those last minute meals or perhaps as a gift for a sick friend. I happened to have made Chicken Noodle Soup the other day and while it's good it's not my favorite soup and I didn't want to eat bowl after bowl, but now tucked away in the freezer I have a meal that really didn't cost me anything.
Just make sure you don't overfill your container, you need room for all that liquid to expand when it freezes.

Why I'm hesitant to have a garden

This is my only patch of dirt for planting, short of digging up a patch of grass (not recommended within the housing guidelines) it's adjacent to the house and is covered by an awning, it gets a little sun but is mostly shaded. Visually, it's a perfect spot for a colorful flower bed. The problem as you can see is that every time it rains my little dirt patch is over flooded with water. The picture you see above was taken after just 15 minutes of rain, all that water can't be good for plants that need a little nurturing. I have visions of a container garden, not for flowers but for herbs and small vegetables like peppers. My only restraints come from wanting to garden frugally and make it portable that way if the it rains too much I can move my garden in the shed for a little shelter. Ever try to move a heavy planter full of dirt and live plants? it isn't easy. I don't want to head to the garden store and buy up several of their biggest planters and stands with wheels to put them on, it could easily cost a small fortune. My plan, keep my eyes peeled at yard sales and thrift stores for planters or something that can be used as a planter and to recruit my husband, perhaps he can make me some plant stands with casters for movement.

Bagel Neglect

Look what happens when you toast an already very ugly homemade cinnamon raisin bagel under the broiler and then walk away with the oven door closed to check e-mail. What's that smell permeating the kitchen and soon house? It's not so bad I think I can salvage my ugly bagel if I scrape off the black crusty edges and smoother it with cream cheese.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


In the mood for making bagels but lacking my favorite baking cookbook, I headed over to Tammy's Recipes where I was first inspired to make bagels months ago. Surprisingly I've never made Tammy's Bagels, my first and only recipe came from my baking cookbook and it was so successful (well...except for the one time I forgot the salt) that I've never tried any other recipe. Tammy's recipe was spot on, the bagels were delicious and satisfying. For the first time I tried making a variety of bagels, I made Cinnamon Raisin, Sesame, Onion with Poppy seeds, and of course a few Plain. My Cinnamon Raisin Bagels were a disaster, they didn't form nicely and fell apart during the boiling stage, my guess is that I mixed in to much stuff in the dough-I added brown sugar to the raisin cinnamon mixture to make it sweeter but it just made the dough sticky and hard to work with. Needless to say they didn't make it into the picture as I had fears someone would see them and decide never to make bagels if that's how they turn out. My suggestion is to forget mixing in stuff and just top the bagels with any additions you desire. I may try a Parmesan flavored bagel next time.

Thift Store Find

I picked up this gem the other day at the Thrift Store. I saw it two days prior and passed it by but the more I thought about it the more I wanted it and for 50 cents I gave into my desires. I think it's a butter slicer at least that's what I'm going to use it for. It's very heavy for it's size and I have no idea what the 18 stamped on the side means. My plan for this kitchen gadget is to cut perfect sized pats of butter and then cut the pats into shapes for a festive touch when we have company for dinner. You know hearts for Valentines, stars for the Fourth of July, leaves in the fall and so on, if only I can find some cute mini cookie cutters to make those prefect shapes.

The only problem with my new find, it only performs one task. My husband has a rule in our kitchen, he doesn't meddle much but he has asked that every item, tool, and gadget must have multiple functions or as our favorite celebrity cook Alton Brown says "no uni-taskers allowed." My husband has a fear that if left unchecked our kitchen would soon be overrun with useless and unused kitchen gadgets. This is not an irrational fear as i do have a love of kitchen things. That being known I must find another use for my new toy the butter slicer or risk it being banned from the kitchen and given back to the thrift store; and me out 50 cents.
I wonder if this little guy can slice cheese for crackers?...........

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made cookies! Inspired by Crystal's kitchen tip at Biblical Womanhood and a bag of chocolate chips on sale for 75 cents. (it's to bad I couldn't find a coupon to sweeten the deal) I baked one pan full and froze the rest of the dough in preformed balls ready to bake for next time.

Making my own greeting cards – I don’t need a whole lot of stuff to do so

This is my first Works for Me Wednesday Post. Card-making is something that works for me. I love being crafty and I love making cards. I have a large assortment of card making things and craft stuff. I have got pretty papers galore but sadly all of it is somewhere on a boat along with all my other household goods patiently waiting to come home.

I am a real mess when trying to pick out a store bought card, I stand in the card aisle for hours reading each card, crying or laughing at each and still not finding the one perfect card. With birthdays coming up and thank you notes due I can’t wait for our stuff to arrive before I make some cards. My other half would never let me run to the craft store and buy up a new collection of card making tools, it's a good thing for the both of us that there isn’t a craft store around. Starting with nothing I headed to the store, I knew I couldn't attempt to pick out a card after just browsing the card aisle so I headed to the nearby stationary/office/craft aisle. I picked up some scissors, double-stick tape, and a paper stack. There was only one choice in paper-lucky for me it was full of pretty patterns that I could work with. I spent $15 with most of it on the paper. I only need to make a handful of cards and I will recuperate the cost of buying your standard greeting card.

The birthday card I made yesterday is simple there are no embellishments or pretty ribbons it’s nothing fancy just paper and tape. It’s not my prettiest, most creative, eye-catching card however I still had a good time making the card and I’m sure the recipient will receive from it our thoughts and love.

Storing just a few eggs

This is my first Kitchen Tip Tuesday. Today’s idea is something that my family did when I was younger, I didn’t pay much attention to it until I started running my own house, now it seems I can’t help but try and remember all the things my mom did in the kitchen to make life easier.

When you have just a few eggs in the carton, cut the carton in half, this has two benefits. First it takes up less space in the fridge and secondly you don’t risk grabbing a half empty egg carton and accidentally dropping it because of the weight imbalance, (tell me I’m not he only one to grab a carton of eggs on the empty side and nearly drop them) It isn’t difficult to cut the egg carton but make sure you use good strong kitchen shears.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Apple Muffins

I made muffins today; I’ll wrap and stuff several of them in the freezer for lunch additions. I’ll keep just a few out of the freezer for some yummy snacking. I’m still waiting on some of my non-essential household goods to join me after our big move, currently I don’t have a muffin pan- you don’t really think it’s a necessity until you want to use it. I had to get creative. I picked up some cupcake liners on sale for 40 cents the other day, it’s been so long since I’ve bought liners, I like to use silicone cupcakes liners (they’re great and reusable) I’m not sure if 40 cents was a deal but it was cheap enough for me. I lined a large baking sheet with cupcake liners it held 24 liners nicely. My muffins didn’t bake up in beautiful round circles as they would in a muffin pan but they still tasted great. My muffins also didn’t form a nice muffin top, I blame the humidity, I can’t say if that’s the true cause but whenever my baking doesn’t produce picture perfect results I like to blame the humidity. My muffins smelled so good I had to taste one while still warm, you can see that there is a missing muffin in the picture; instant gratification has its consequences. These muffins came from a basic sweet apple bread recipe which I decided to make into muffins instead; I like the individual portions muffins bring and as a bonus no slicing. Reduce the baking time to 25 minutes. These are really good the next day, split in half, toasted, and spread with peanut butter. YUM!

Back to Blogging- Let's Start with Menu Plan Monday

In my neck of the woods it’s a late Tuesday morning, but better late than never. With a little nudge from my mama it’s about time I continued on with my oh so new and yet so neglected blog. What better way to jump on the band wagon than by sharing menus, it’s my first time sharing my menu online but with a little help from Organizing Junkie I’m sure it won’t be my last.

2/25 Monday – Bacon and Onion Frittata with salsa – I was in the mood for eggs last night, I found this recipe which was tasty and of course I subbed in different cheeses because it’s what I had on hand. I used a combination of mozzarella, provolone, and Parmesan.

2/26 Tuesday – Leftover Pesto Manicotti – I made this a couple of days ago, it’s your basic cheese manicotti recipe but I didn’t have any fresh basil or parsley so subbed in a bit of prepared pesto to the cheese mixture for flavor and color. I used a bit much, which wasn’t a bad thing just different and enough so that the dish deserved a name change from Manicotti to Pesto Manicotti.

2/27 Wednesday – Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches – Just your basic Soup and Sandwich meal – one of my favorite combos; I love soup!

2/28 Thursday – Homemade Pizza topped with whatever I have in the fridge and pantry, I have pepperoni and a can of pineapple in the pantry there are probably a few more toppings lurking around. This won’t be entirely homemade, I’m using a jarred sauce as I have yet to make my own – still in pursuit of some fresh basil and flat leaf parsley. I’m just going to have to grow my own herbs.

2/29 Friday - Leftover Pizza

3/1 Saturday - Leftover Chicken Noodle Soup – I know I know leftovers two days in a row but leftovers don’t get eaten without a plan, and there’s no use wasting food, You’ve got to eat ‘em while they’re still good.

3/2 Sunday – Snacks – I know this sounds crazy but there’s nothing better than a casual eat with your hands meal on a lazy Sunday, it’s not completely unhealthy and it is super easy. My meal will include cheese and crackers, cut up fruit, celery with peanut butter, carrot sticks, and apple muffins. If it seems you need a little meat you can always add some ham to the cheese and crackers and make some stackers. It’s a perfect, healthy spread that’s just right for lounging around the house after church and enjoying the last fleeting moments of the weekend.