Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Weekly Goals Update: Week 49 & Freezer Challenge

1.  Disaster Preparedness
I abandoned this one early.

2.  Makeover the Garden
Planting was and is still on hold as more rain is in the forecast.  I do have a plan for getting garden peas in the ground later this month. W and I have discussed some plans for next year's garden.  I just need to rein in my grand plans and settle on a plan that will work for the space we have.

3. Organize Recipes
Hmmm....I am beginning to think it is not going to happen.  The weather is definitely cooler, but I end up spending my time crocheting.  I do need to devote an hour to this each week and just get it finished.

4.  Have 13 No Spend Grocery Weeks - Done
I am going to stay out of the grocery store at least one more week before this year is out. 

5.  Focus on Saving
This year I have focused more on handmade gifts.  Unnecessary purchases have been kept to a minimum.  We have been eating from the pantry and freezer.  Decorations are things we already had on hand.  With winter fast approaching, I expect we will stay home a bit more.

6.  Etsy Shop
I got in an order of yarn this week so I can start making samples of some spring items - Easter baskets, baby things, etc.  I plan to be much more organized next year.

Freezer Challenge - I should have done a better job at keeping up with what I used from the freezer.  I remember a few things - ground meat, chicken, ham, peas, milk, eggnog, wheat flour, and beef broth.  I wish I could say I had made a huge dent, but I think things are going well. 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Weekend Book Reviews: Cookbooks

Cooking with Nonna:  The Holiday Cookbook by Rosella Rago and Adriana Trigiani has 150 Italian holiday recipes.  This cookbook has a good mix of recipes divided by holidays.  My favorites from the book were the dessert recipes.  The "bones of the dead" cookies were my favorite by far.  The grandmother or nonna profiles sprinkled throughout were interesting to read.  This would be a nice cookbook for Italian cooking fans. 

Elisabeth Bailey's The Make-Ahead Sauce Solution is an unusual freezer cooking method.  Rather than freezing entire meals or entrees, cooks can freeze sauces.  The sauces can then be used in a variety of ways:  over pasta, potatoes, meats, etc.  I think this is a good option for someone with more limited freezer space or for those who do not want 20 servings of the exact same thing.  The sauces are divided by type ranging from Americas, Asian, cheese/wine, Mediterranean, and pesto/salsa.  You are sure to find many sauces to fit your family's tastes. 

Dry by Clare Liardet is full of flavorful but non-alcoholic drinks.  When I first started reading through the cookbook, I found myself marking recipe after recipe to try.  The recipes serve from one to four.  They are perfect when you want a special drink for yourself.  They could easily be multiplied for a larger group.  A few of my favorites are the tropical morning smoothie, blueberry julep, roasted peach lemonade, and espresso mint martini.  This is one cookbook that I will definitely be adding to my bookshelf! 

Cooking with Scraps by Lindsay-Jean Hard teaches cooks to take the normally discarded parts of foods and turn them into delicious meals.  Many of the items will be familiar to extra thrifty cooks.  I commonly use my homemade bread ends or bread that did not turn out just right to make bread crumbs or croutons.  Apple peel/core jelly is a favorite at my house, and no good southerner would consider turnip greens to be scraps.  Even I learned some new things.  I never would have imagined making a cake with banana peels.  It is an interesting cookbook for those wishing to make the most of what they have.

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christmas Ornaments

This week I have a Christmas party to attend with my church's Women's Ministry group.  I knew I needed to provide two dozen cookies and a Christmas ornament.  I had a long list of to-do items and sort of pushed it to the back of my mind.  I knew I had plenty of ingredients on hand for making cookies. 

I did intend to pick up a Christmas ornament for myself and one for my mom while out running errands.  It completely slipped my mind though.  I headed to Pinterest for a handmade ornament idea.  I ended up with two nice ornaments.

The best part is that I made them with items on hand.  I had the plastic Christmas ornaments left from last year.  The glitter and ribbon/tulle were in my craft supplies.  I used my Cricut and some scrap vinyl to cut the words. 

I was happy with how both ornaments turned out.  I might try to bring one of them back home with me!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Freezer Challenge

Monday I opened my freezer to find something for dinner (lunch) and was greeted by this sight.

It was obvious that we have way too much food in the freezer.  It is impossible to really organize this so I decided it was best to start using it up.  I decided to challenge myself to use at least one thing from the freezer for the remainder of this month.

So far I have used:

Ground meat
Fish fillets
Tomatillo salsa
Thai seasoned ground chicken
Pasta with chicken and pesto

I am hoping to at least make a dent in it this month.  I do expect I will find some lost items that are past use.  So far everything has been just fine!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Weekly Goals Update: Week 48

1.  Disaster Preparedness
Ended early due to the weekly missions being too extreme.

2.  Makeover the Garden
We got about 5 inches of rain in just about 24 hours here.  I am very glad that I did not plant any seeds.  I am certain they would have been washed down into the creek at the back of our property.  Areas of the garden behind our house are under water.  I do not want to even think about the poor chickens.  Many of them have lakefront property.  Hopefully the excess water will be soaked up soon.  For now it is much too wet to think about planting anything.

3.  Organize Recipes
I spent all of my spare time crocheting.  I do need to buckle down or this one is not going to happen.

4.  Have 13 No Spend Grocery Weeks - Done
I skipped the grocery store again last week.  I will need to pick up a few things this week.  I am planning to skip at least one week around Christmas.  I try to stay out of the stores around the holidays.

5.  Focus on Saving
I did no extra spending this past week.  I was tempted to buy a few things but in the end decided that it could wait!

6.  Etsy Shop
I have been working on a few things to list this month.  I want to do one more push for winter items.  Then I will take a break and work on some general items and some spring things.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Weekend Book Reviews

Under the Knife by Arnold van de Laar takes a look at surgery through history.  I loved this book.  It was a mix of history, medicine, and quirky facts.  I found it amazing to read how we arrived at where we are in surgical medicine.  A few of the cases mentioned are a man who performed surgery on himself, Harry Houdini, and several royals.  This book was a touch on the gory side and a bit cringe worthy at times, but I loved it.  The author's writing style kept the topics from being dry and boring. 

Vannoy Gentles Fite's Essential Oils for Emotional Wellbeing is a comprehensive guide.  The author provides easy to follow recipes for a variety of products using essential oils.  I appreciated the extra information on choosing essential oils and using them safely.  This book contains too much information to take in all at once.  It will be an excellent reference guide.

Haunted World War II  by Matthew L Swayne seemed like a wonderful ghost story book that would mix ghosts with history.  The book started off well, but it seemed as if the author ran out of material.  It went away from ghosts and delved into the occult.  I found the historical information very interesting overall.  The ghost story information was pulled from other books.  It was a mix of hits and misses for me.

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Frugal Friday

We stopped by a local motorcycle shop to pick up some tires.  We had seen them laying outside for weeks and weeks so I messaged the owner to see if he wanted to get rid of them.  He told me to take all I wanted.  We got the three smaller ones which we will use on our dragon fruit plant supports.

The weather has made line drying clothes difficult lately.  I have ended up washing items that can be dried inside on the rainy days.  On the sunnier days I wash as much as I can of clothes that need tobe dried outside. 

In the kitchen - We ate leftovers.  It gives me a break from cooking and means that nothing goes to waste.  I made breadcrumbs with some bread ends and hot dog buns that did not turn out just right.  I also made gnocchi from scratch.  I have actually never eaten store bought gnocchi since making it is so easy. 

Starting a new business is not particularly cheap.  I took advantage of the "Black Friday" sales to purchase patterns. I was able to stretch my money further this way.

I have been taking advantage of the Dollar General Saturday coupons to buy pet food and household items.  It is an easy $5 savings on things I am planning to purchase.