All posts by DSpudis

Homeschooling mother of ten. Wife of one husband. Christian.

Frugal Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the giving of thanks.  The Pilgrims gave thanks to God for enabling them to grow food in the New World so they could stay in the New World and worship God as they believed the Bible showed them, they should.

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, we should celebrate with sense.   Do not make 5 different vegetable dishes if only two are needed.   Freeze extra leftovers do not just throw them away.  Have Thanksgiving at home and not at a restaurant so you can enjoy all the leftovers.

Boil down the turkey carcass or the bone from the ham after the majority of the meat has been eaten.  Boil the bones until the marrow is out of them.  A healthful broth will gel when cooled.

Spend time with family.  Eat the delicious meal together and then stay to play cards or a game. Spend time purposing to be grateful and giving thanks to God and others around us!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Cabbage Concoction

Do you have an abundance of cabbage this year, but you do not need any sauerkraut?

Why not try my cabbage concoction? Cabbage needs to be sautéed before it can be frozen. Here is a delicious way to preserve your cabbage and make in advance a delicious, healthy entree to enjoy during the cold winter months.

Ingredients include: bacon, onions, cabbage, tomatoes, garlic, salt, and peppers.

You need:

8 pieces of bacon

2 small onions or 1 medium onion

1/2 large cabbage

1 large tomato

4 pieces of garlic, 4 teaspoons of minced garlic can be used if you do not have fresh garlic

2 peppers- bell or hot

1 teaspoon salt

The most time consuming part of this recipe is the chopping. Prepare all the ingredients for the  concoction first. Chop 2 medium sized onions. I used red onions because that is what I had in the garden. I have also used Vidalia onions. Dice the garlic. If you do not have fresh garlic, you can use minced garlic. Shred the cabbage. We used half of a large head of cabbage. Dice one large tomato. Chop the hot peppers or even a green bell peppers; this ingredient is optional. As always I recommend letting the kids help!

Fry 8 pieces of bacon in the frying pan. Remove the bacon from the pan to a small cutting board. Put the onions into the hot bacon grease. If the bacon is lean, you can add up to 4 teaspoons of olive oil. Cook them stirring occasionally and cut up the bacon into small pieces while cooking the onions. When the onions are starting to turn brown, add the tomato and garlic. Stir it a couple times for about 15 seconds then add the cabbage and bacon. Do not forget the salt! After about three minutes add the peppers. Stirring requires caution at first. After the cabbage begins to cook down then it gets easier. Keep stirring until the cabbage is thoroughly cooked. If you grasp the mixture between a metal spatula and a pair of tongs, you can turn the mixture more easily.

Keep stirring the cabbage until all the cabbage is completely mixed. Put the lid on the pan and turn the heat to low. Let the cabbage cook for about twelve minutes on low heat. When the cabbage is thoroughly cooked, turn the heat off and let the mixture cool. When the mixture is cool, place the entire mixture in a freezer bag and freeze it.

In the winter simply remove the cabbage concoction from the freezer and let it thaw. Remove from bag and place in baking dish. Bake it at 325 degrees until warm about 40 minutes.

Fruit Leather Made Easy

Strawberry Fruit Leather made at home!

You need a dehydrator for this recipe.

Use a can of canned pears. This recipe is a great way to utilize canned pears leftover from the previous year’s canning. Open the can or jar and pour the entire contents into a two quart saucepan. Turn the heat to medium high. Stir until the juice starts to simmer. Take a potato masher and crush the pears to make the mixture look like applesauce. You can stop here and pour the contents onto the solid tray that fits on a shelf in the dehydrator. Or…. show your creativity by adding one cup of another fruit to the simmering mixture. Our favorite is strawberries. You can take a cup of frozen fruit, add it to the simmering pear sauce and again apply the potato masher. Keep mushing and mixing until the mixture is uniform. Use fresh fruit if you have it and simmer until it is sauce.

Spoon the mixture onto the solid tray that fits on the shelf of your dehydrator. Be careful not to overflow the tray. You may get a bowl of fruit sauce to enjoy for lunch! Set the dehydrator at 135 degrees, leave it for twenty to twenty-four hours. When you have to carefully  scrape it off the tray and it looks like leather, it is finished. The kids love it. It travels well. Just roll it onto a piece of wax paper and put it in a zippered bag to keep it fresh! Enjoy!!

Carmelized Conundrum

Ever have too many carmelized onions? You do not want to waste them and just throw them away. Here is a new idea for me at least. Find those ice cube trays in the cabinet. Wash them, so they are nice and clean. Fill them with the carmelized onions and put them in the freezer. When they are frozen, pop them out of the trays and into a freezer bag. Close the bag and put them back in the freezer until needed. You could thaw one cube per person and put them on your hamburger to make an onion burger! You can put several in a pot of soup you are making. You could thaw some to have with sausage sandwiches! Keep thinking!!!

The Shield of the Weed Warrior

When you plant your garden in the spring it is nice to put down weed barriers to lessen future demands on your time. I save my paper bags from sugar, flour, potatoes, and from the grocery store. You just cut a hole in the paper and place it around the newly planted plant. It works great for any kind of squash. Tomatoes like having the paper around them and it reduces their chances of getting blight since that disease is born in the soil. We put paper under our watermelons and cantaloupes.  Sometimes we cover the paper with wood chips or grass clippings.

There has been so much rain this summer that the weed barrier in our garden has worn away or perhaps washed away. To keep weeding to a minimum, I have been cutting pieces of paper from grocery shopping bags and slipping them under my plants. Place a two or more rocks on the paper to hold it in place. Works great! Saves time and money!

So, do you understand the title? Weed barrier is the shield of the Weed Warrior!

Ready, Set, Time to Can Those Vegetables and Fruits!!!

Canning season is almost here. Are you ready? You need a source of fresh vegetables or fruit. Is your garden producing an abundance of fresh vegetables? Do you have a local grower you can buy fresh vegetables from? You need many clean jars. Do you have a supply of new lids? Is the cabinet or shelf clean where you are going to put all of your newly canned treasures?

What about your canning equipment? Is your canner in working order? Do you have funnels, ladles, and a sharp paring knife?

How about spices? Go through the recipes you use for canning. Do you need more pickling spice, cinnamon, dill seed, or salt? If you start to plan now, then get prepared, your 2017 canning season will be more enjoyable and rewarding.

Budget Busters-Shoes

You and your spouse have carefully planned how much you can spend on groceries each month. You have switched from buying prepared foods to preparing your own food at home.

You go to the mall to look for a birthday present for your niece. While walking through the mall, you notice a sale at the shoe store. You go in just to look around. Next thing you know, you are leaving the store with three new pairs of shoes! You have busted your budget!!

If you are trying to save money, you should only be buying what you need. How many shoes do you need? Philippians 4:19″And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

We live in the country. We do not have sidewalks to walk on. I have an old pair of sneakers for walking down the road when it is muddy or for working in the garden. I have a pair of good sneakers for walking when the road is nice or going to the ballfield in. I have one pair of boots for winter. I have a pair of what we used to call boondockers for when it is cold and slippery. I have a pair of shoes for everyday. I have one pair of dress shoes for special occasions and church. For the summer I have one pair of sandals. Seven pairs of footwear is all you need. I also own two pairs of dress boots but they were gifts.

How many shoes do you have? Many women have fifteen, twenty, thirty pairs of shoes for one season. Many men have multiple pairs of boots for hunting or fishing. Too many shoes mean you are wasting money!

Quality shoes can be quite an investment. A pair of shoes may cost around $200.00. We need shoes, but let us do our shopping. Ask your mate whether he or she thinks you need another pair of shoes. Your spouse is there to balance you, if your mate does not think you need another pair of shoes, you do not need them.

If you and your spouse agree you need shoes, there are great sales. Shop around for exactly the type of shoe you need. Then wait while keeping track of sales, buy the pair of shoes on sale and save up to fifty percent! Budget kept! Having money in the bank is not the ultimate goal in life! But…having money in a savings account is wise. Work out a budget! Agree to keep it! Keep your word to your spouse!! Ask God to help you! Proverbs 28:6 “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity, than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.”

Budget Busters-Buying Hot Drinks

Buying hot or cold drinks on your morning commute can be a budget buster! Stop and think! Want to learn how to save $570.00 per year by changing one habit?

Let us do the mathematics. You can buy one hundred tea bags for $3.00 on sale. If you use one tea bag per cup of tea, the tea costs you three cents a cup. My daughters will use two tea bags for a large cup of tea so that cup of tea costs about six cents. The water from your tap is a negligible expense. The cost of heating a cup of water is also very little money. A cup of hot tea costs $2.00 at the donut shop on your way to work. Times that amount by fifty weeks a year. Take that number and times it by five days a week. The tea for two hundred fifty cups of tea costs seven dollars and fifty cents per year if you make it at home. The same, daily cup of tea, when made by another person costs $500.00 per year.

Now, let us do the math for coffee. A can of coffee at the grocery store is about $8.00 on sale. At times the price can be even less. You are supposed to use a tablespoon of coffee for a cup of coffee. The mathematics for the coffee is a little more difficult. The can we have reads, 210 six fluid ounce cups. We usually drink eight ounce cups. Multiply 210 by six, the product is 1260 which we divide by eight. The mathematics is not perfect but we want to find an approximate amount of how much it costs us to make a cup of coffee at home. The answer to that division problem is exactly one hundred fifty-seven and a half.

Let us say the approximate answer is one hundred fifty. With one can of coffe, you can make approximately one hundred fifty cups of coffee. The coffee to make one cup of coffee at home costs a little over five cents per cup. If you put half and half in your coffee, it is going to cost a little more. A cup of hot coffee at the donut store is $2.39 per cup. If we times $2.40 by five days a week, the product is twelve dollars per week. Times twelve dollars per week by fifty weeks. For that pampered feeling of having someone else make your coffee every day, it costs you six hundred dollars a year. Two hundred cups of coffee made at home costs you ten dollars a year. With half and half perhaps thirty dollars a year. Do you see why there are so many people out there willing to make you a cup of hot “joe” for your morning commute?

If you get up ten minutes earlier, make your own hot coffe for example, you can save yourself five hundred seventy dollars a year. So how much is that feeling like royalty worth to you? Are you going to keep spending or start saving? It is up to you to stop the budget busting habit of buying coffee on your way to work! James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up!”

Budget Busters: Snacks!

Do you have a budget? Are you controlling yourself to stay within the confines of your spending plan? How much of your income is expendable?

Most people, like you and I, are trying to save money. Sometimes we are blind to the ways in which we waste money. The temptation to break our budget is often unnoticed, until we go over our receipts at the end of the month.

Most of us go to the grocery store for much of our food. Since we are on a budget, we watch what we are buying. We may buy less snack foods. For instance buying pretzels instead of potato chips is a healthier choice and you are getting more food for the same amount of money. At our grocery store, pretzels sell for between two dollars and two dollars and fifty cents a bag.

Now, we stop at the pharmacy on our way home from work to pick up a prescription. We are hungry, so we buy a bag of healthy pretzels. That same bag of pretzels is four dollars and fifty-nine cents! Buying the bag of pretzels is a budget buster! You have paid more than twice what you would have paid at the grocery store for the same item!

How can we avoid the pitfall mentioned above? One way is to discipline yourself and just say no to buying snacks on the way home from work when you are hungry and tired. Another way to combat the temptation, is to keep healthy snacks in your vehicle, that you bought at the grocery store when you did your weekly grocery shopping. My family keeps containers of dried apples in our vehicles. If the container is kept closed the apples will keep for a long time. Dried apples do not spoil when exposed to freezing temperatures. We dry our own apples in the fall, when apples are inexpensive.

We also keep bags of granola and pretzels in our vehicles, on which to snack. Small jars of peanut butter that you can dip your pretzels into, turn the pretzels into a more balanced snack by incorporating protein.

To stay in control of your finances, check your receipts at the end of the month. To avoid the budget buster of snacks bought on the spur of the moment, keep healthy snacks with you as you travel.