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.
More and more people are returning to their roots. This recipe is a contribution from a friend, MaryClaire Threston. Her mother, Mary Threston created this recipe many years ago. Her suggestions include using only chuck roast; the pre-cut cubes you can buy at the grocery store are too tough.
You are going to need a large pot for this recipe!
4-5 pounds of chuck roast- cubed
4-5 stalks of celery
1 large onion- peeled and diced
2 quarts of crushed, canned tomatoes or stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup sugar
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
Brown the cubed meat in hot oil using a frying pan. Transfer browned meat to soup pot. Add a quart of water and simmer while preparing vegetables. Wash the parsnips, onions, carrots, and celery. Chop the vegetables into bite sized pieces. If the tomatoes are not crushed, then dice them into small pieces also.
Add the vegetables including the tomatoes to the simmering beef cubes. Add the sugar and salt at this time. Simmer for one hour. Taste before serving to see if the soup needs more salt. Remember salt is one of the most important ingredients of soup!
Enjoy good, healthy inexpensive eating and God bless! You can use caramelized onions which may cause the soup to have a smoother flavor.
Autumn is the time to enjoy cider while watching the colorful leaves falling. Soon winter will be here. Are you prepared?
One way our family prepares for winter is to dehydrate apples. The Pennsylvania Germans call it schnitz. Drying apples in the dehydrator is one way to preserve apples for the winter. If you do not have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate them in the oven at a low temperature. Be sure to watch the oven. You could keep apples in a basket in the cellar for the winter, but if one goes bad they could all start to rot. Another drawback to eating whole apples in the freezing weather, is you will have a mushy mess if you leave one in your vehicle and it freezes.
In contrast dehydrated apples can be left in a vehicle overnight and in the morning the apple pieces will taste fine, because they do not freeze. Dehydrated apples that are kept in an airtight container will last for many months even more than a year. Dehydrated apples can be rehydrated to make applesauce and apple pies. Schnitz also consumes less space than regular apples. Be wise and do not eat too many at a time because the dried apples have more calories per ounce than regular apples. Schnitz is a healthy treat the whole family can enjoy.
Do you have an abundance of cantaloupe?
One way to save some of that sweet goodness to enjoy during the winter is to make some melon marmalade. This recipe is an inexpensive way to preserve the summer bounty of cantaloupe. There is no pectin needed, which makes it less expensive to make than other jams. As anything worthwhile, this recipe takes some time to complete.
16 cups of cubed Cantaloupe or other orange-fleshed melon
3/4 cup of lemon juice (bottled or fresh)
4 cups of sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
7 one cup jelly jars with lids and rings
In a large pot(6 quarts or larger), place the cubed melon. Pour the sugar and lemon juice over the melon and let it sit for an hour. While the melon is sitting, collect enough jars to contain six or seven cups of the marmalade. Place the jars into a different large pot big enough to hold them and cover them with cold water.
After the hour has passed, turn the heat up to medium high and begin to cook down the cantaloupe mixture stirring continuously. After you have cooked the mixture for about forty minutes, turn on the heat under the jars. Once the jars come to a boil, reduce the heat but keep them boiling for ten minutes then turn to the lowest setting until the cantaloupe marmalade is finished. Add your lids at this time.
When the cantaloupe mixture is thickened so it looks like thick applesauce, turn off the heat. Stir into the mixture a teaspoon and a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg. If there is any foam, scrape the foam off and discard it. Place a jar funnel into a hot empty jar just removed from the pot of water. Scoop up some of the melon marmalade with a ladle and fill the jars to within a half inch of the top. Wipe the tops of the filled jars and place a lid on each one. Tighten on a ring to each jar. Replace jars back into the pot of hot water. Allow jars to cool in pot of water until they are room temperature. After they are cooled, wipe each jar and mark it with the words Marvelous Melon Marmalade and write the date on the lid as well. Put away in a dark cabinet or on a shelf away from sunlight.
Last winter I paid $10.00 for a bag of frozen blueberries. Because I did not get my kids and myself to the blueberry patch last summer, I had to pay ten dollars for berries! At the local patch where I usually pick, the blueberries are $1.10 per pound. A pound of blueberries is approximately a quart. I encourage everyone to get to your local growers this spring and summer to pick to your hearts content.
Try to harvest and preserve enough for one year. Blueberries are so easy to preserve. You pick the blueberries. You rinse the berries in cold water. You bag them in quart freezer bags and put them in the freezer.
In our area you can pick by yourself: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, cherries, and pumpkins. Explore what is available in your area and then bring in the harvest. Preserve the food and then give yourself a pat on the back for being prepared!!
Food picked fresh at a local grower whether you pick it yourself or they pick it for you is so much healthier for you. Picking food together as a family will draw your family closer together. Remind your children that we are doing this task together to be healthier, to save money, and to spend time together. Your kids may not appreciate it now, but someday they will. Proverbs 6:6-8 reads, “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.”
Today instead of a tip for frugal living, I am going to give you a recipe. The recipe is something special for the holidays but inexpensively made. I have not made lobster bisque before today, but have enjoyed it at some local restaurants. My husband says this recipe is as good what we have eaten at restaurants. After the holidays you can usually find imitation lobster and imitation crab on sale which makes this recipe frugal.
- 2 packages imitation lobster
- 4 tbsp. butter or olive oil
- 4 sticks of celery
- 1 small onion
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 2 cups homemade tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried or frozen thyme
- 4 cups venison broth
- 1 stick butter
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 2 cups half and half
Chop celery, onions, and garlic into small pieces. Add 4 tablespoons butter or oil to soup pot. Heat oil or melt butter in pot and add in celery and onions. Cook them until tender for about five to six minutes. Then add the garlic, cook for about three more minutes or until you can smell the garlic.
Add the flour to the celery mixture while mixing constantly. (If you have ever made turkey a-la-king with leftover turkey meat, the technique is the same.) You can easily burn the contents of the pot at this point, so do not walk away. Heat for two more minutes.
Slowly add the venison broth and keep stirring until all the pieces of the mixture are floating. Add the salt, pepper, dried thyme and then the tomato sauce. ( I used leftover sauce with venison meat already in it.) Next, add the imitation lobster. Bring the soup to a simmer and simmer for ten minutes while stirring slowly.
After the soup has simmered ten minutes, turn off the heat and set up your blender. Pour some of the soup into the blender and puree it. Place the pureed soup in another pot and puree the rest in the blender. Return all soup to the first pot. While slowly stirring and with the heat on low, add the butter. After the butter melts, add the heavy whipping cream and the half and half. Shut off the heat and serve it warm. Saltine crackers went well with it.
I hope you enjoy this meal.
What is the least expensive way to make your favorite pickles? Do you have a favorite type of pickle; and you cannot replicate the taste in your homemade pickles? Do you have some room in your refrigerator for a bunch of pickles?
To make refrigerator pickles you make your own brine. You bring the brine to a boil and dip the slices of cucumber in the brine. Instead of making your own brine, take a jar of pickles in which you have eaten all the pickles but still have all the brine left. Cut up enough cucumbers to refill the jar. Be sure to use freshly harvested cucumbers that have not been dipped in wax. Make the pieces no bigger than 3/8 of an inch thick.
Bring the brine to a boil in a saucepan. Dip the pieces of cucumber in the boiling brine. Put the pieces in the now empty jar which will start to heat up the jar. When the jar is full of dipped pieces, pour the heated brine which should have boiled for about five minutes on top of the pieces of cucumbers. Replace the lid on the jar. Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate them. In about two days, they should be ready to eat.
Now is the time of the greatest portion of the harvest. Tomatoes are ripe which can be made into stewed tomatoes, canned tomatoes, salsa, tomato sauce, and wimpie sauce. Apples are ripening which can be made into applesauce, canned apple rings, and schnitz(dried apples). Pears are ripening which can be canned in quarters, made into pear sauce or dried. Peppers can be made into pickled peppers as well as being a big part of salsa. Peppers can be frozen to be used in chili .
Break open a canning, cook book and see what looks interesting. Then go to your local grower or a farmer’s market and see what is available. The only way to find out if you are able to preserve food for the winter is to try. I taught a woman how to make salsa last year. When we were finished, she kept repeating,”I can make salsa!”
She has taken courses in college and traveled but she was still overjoyed that she could make salsa and can it for the winter. I have many rambunctious boys in my home so I hide my jars of canned food in cabinets, but many women display their hard work on a decorated shelf in the kitchen. Our usefulness to others increases our value to others and our own self-esteem. Preserve the plenty!!!
Officially canning season begins on August 15, but there is much to harvest right now. Strawberries are finished unless they are everbearing, but the harvest continues. Cherries, black raspberries, red raspberries are being harvested right now. Blackberries and blueberries are ripening as well.
When picking berries always use a hard container such as a bowl or plastic container. Summer is a great time to reuse and recycle. When you go berry picking use an clean, used yogurt container or cottage cheese container. Give the little ones one of these free containers and hold the bucket yourself. You can take a clean bucket and pour the smaller containers into the larger container until you have enough.
If a friend offers you free food for the picking, you should take advantage of their offer within 24 hours. Your friend is trying to preserve the bounty God has provided and share the blessing. If a person has a bounty of strawberries for instance and has a day when she cannot get out to the patch and pick, she calls you to pick. If you do not get there that same day, some of the berries will rot and be wasted. Did you know that?
If you go to a friend’s house to pick, you will be getting the freshest produce that you did not have to plant or weed around. You didn’t have to feed the plants or water them. At times pruning is involved to produce that food, and you did not have to do that. Please, if someone offers for you to come pick some food, drop everything and go. Try to process the food or eat it that day. Life is busy. If you pick berries and you do not have time to process them that day, you can wash them, put them in the freezer bags and into the freezer. If you lived elsewhere in the world, you would go because you would appreciate what a blessing free, usually organic, food is to you and your family. Americans tend to take food for granted, but not us we appreciate every blessing and delve into every good opportunity!