Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

  For those who celebrate, have a safe, fun and frugal day!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Drying options

Got one of these little numbers on my stock-up trip.  (Actually, the actual one is a bit more garish, LOL!)

  But it should nicely expand my drying capacity, especially when I hand wash things.

 Not sure where I could hang it for outside use.  Perhaps I could hang it on the porch and tell the neighbors it's a mobile!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lotsa tomatoes

  Been in stock-up mode here at the Casa de Chaos ... must be the change of seasons.

   Anyway, took the annual trip to my favorite salvage/bulk food stores to replenish the pantry ... which was getting bare spots in certain areas.

      I was definitely hoping for some good prices on canned tomatoes, since the garden wasn't going to come close to filling that gap this year.

      Found them ... in one of the two crazy deals on this trip.   A box of 18  cans of tomatoes (14.5oz) for $2.99!  The only catch ... no individual labels.   (So I'm going to be really annoyed if I have 18 cans of green beans, LOL!)

     Crazy deal No. 2 -- a 10 lb bag of  ziti for $3.90!  

    Guess what's for dinner?


Saturday, October 20, 2012

No sprouts

  Seems that another big grocery chain is no longer selling fresh sprouts because of contamination fears:

  I don't eat a lot of fresh sprouts ... unless I'm at a salad bar -- and now I'm wondering about that.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A seedy post

  No, no ... not gardens again ...  (and not anything else ... shame on you, LOL!)

  We're talking squash seeds here.  Roasted squash seeds, to be exact, which is one of my favorite fall snacks.

   I've found you can roast just about any kind of squash seed ... acorn, butternut ...  the thick Hubbard seeds may be the only exception. (I've practially burned them and they still don't get a crunch.)

   I like to soak the seeds in a sour-cream sized container of salt water (use at least a couple of tablespoons of salt) for at least 24 hours.  A couple of days is even better, just shake the container once in a while.

      Then, I drain the seeds (don't rinse) and spread them out on a cookie sheet.  Roast at about 250 degrees, stirring occasionally for about an hour, or until the seeds are crunchy.

     At my house, the seeds are the foundation for trail mix ... a good way to use up those tiny bits of raisins,  nuts and chocolate chips that might be hanging around the pantry.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


 I've been pushing a bit harder these days to use what we have on hand, rather than buy something new:

For a recipe that called for buttermilk, I used the old lemon juice in fresh milk trick. Worked well, and I saved the $4.49 cost of a can of buttermilk powder.

For another recipe that called for a pumpkin pie spice mix, I hit my favorite online recipe site and figured out how make my own, using spices already in my pantry. Saved $3+ by not buying a premixed tin.

         Found out that using leftover spinach instead of cabbage in a soup recipe worked just as well.

     I did strike out on substituting powdered milk for a recipe to avoid making a special trip to buy fresh milk. Oh, well, at least the milk was on markdown.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dinner for a rainy night

On my own for dinner tonight, so I combined:

2 cups of homemade chicken broth, left from another dish (plus another 1/2 cup water)

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1 stalk celery

A handful each of frozen chopped onions and peas

Salt, pepper and garlic powder

Let the mixture cook until the carrots were tender, then added 1/2 cup of leftover rice.

Soup! I had two  bowls, with some homemade bread. And there's still enough for one more small bowl.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Garden report: All done

    Shut the garden down over the weekend ... we had freeze warnings, though we just escaped with frost.  But at this point, there wasn't enough left to worry with in the main garden.

   So, maybe a dozen and a half green tomatoes (lost another 6 to bugs and critters), a half dozen peppers and a few green beans. 

   The tomatoes and peppers are sitting in a box ... they'll ripen soon enough.

    Pulled most of the basil for pesto ... will need to cut more parsley and mint to dry.

   I do have some lettuce in pots that's about ready to harvest, so we'll have homegrown greens a bit  longer.

   So, we'll enjoy what we did harvest ... and hope for better next year.


Monday, October 8, 2012

All things apple

   Things are just applicious here at the Casa de Chaos.

    Made the annual run to the apple orchard, and not only bought some "eating apples," we sprung for a half-bushel of "seconds."

    It was rough year for apples here; the prices are up. To be honest, the regular apples don't look much better than the "seconds."

    Anyway, so far, I've made applesauce, apple butter and we've had apple pie and apple bread. 

    Still have plenty left, though ... better haul out more recipes!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bright idea: Binder clips

  I've discovered that these little beauties can be very handy in the sewing room.

   I needed to hold a tape measure steady at one end while I measured a couple of long pieces of fabric.  Tried a spring clothespin, but that wasn't holding the tape as tightly as I needed ... so grabbed the binder clip in a pinch (ha, ha) and it worked!

   I suspect it also would be good for holding stacks of fabric (like quilt pieces).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

September freebies

Another eclectic month ...

1 pair sunglasses

1 sunscreen

3 pens

Tricalm creme

2 bandage holders (with bandages)

1 Arnold Palmer half&half

1 No.5 energy drink

1 Powerade

Monday, October 1, 2012

Garden report: closing early

  I'm keeping a close eye on the weather reports again ... the forecasters are predicting a hard freeze by the end of the week. 

  Had a feeling this was coming after our early frost ... but still, this is very early for us ... I normally don't worry about the freeze until Halloween.

   So it looks like this week's big project may be to shut down the garden.  Not that there's a lot left at this point ... maybe a dozen or so small tomatoes and a few peppers.

  I do feel badly about my mum, which I overwintered from last year and planted in the spring.  It's grown quite large, but hasn't bloomed yet.

  I'm not sure how hardy it is, but I'll cover it and hope for the best.