Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

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

(And if  you live in an area - like mine- where celebrations are being delayed due to storms, then have a Happy Halloween tomorrow, then!)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Use it up: Money!

  Well, yeah, I do a good job of that anyway ....

  Have started taking stock of a few things as we head toward the end of the year (and how the heck did that happen?).  

Realized that I had a few half-used gift cards  and a few "rewards" points from various stores.  So, time to put them to use! (And give my budget a rest.)

Couple of things that have helped: 
    I tuck a card or two in my wallet, so I'll actually have them when I'm in the store. (I have the bad habit of putting them aside ... oh, sure, I'll remember to bring them along ... not!)

    Since I can't remember exactly when those ECBs expire, I now enter those dates into the calendar on my phone.  Now I get a digital nudge ...

    So far, so good.   There was  enough  on one card to buy a small turkey breast (on sale) at the market.   And used some rewards points for stuff at the office supply store...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cheese recall

Thought I would pass this along:

Kraft Foods Group Inc. is voluntarily recalling some of its Kraft and Polly-O string cheese because they may spoil and change color before the expiration date on the packages.

The full story:;_ylt=A2KJ3CYPMGtS1SgA6sPQtDMD

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Garden report: All done

 It's a sad time of the year .... we had a heavy frost last night, and everything in the garden got hit ...

Spent part of the last two days bringing in all the green tomatoes, beans and eggplant.   All my potted herbs are sitting in the garage, waiting to be cut and dried....

So, off to the kitchen to preserve the harvest ;)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Apple butter recipe

Stacie ... as promised:

Crock pot apple butter

Approximately 3 lbs of apples.  I fill a 6-quart crock pot full of peeled, cored and sliced apples.  (Your mileage may vary.  It your cooker is bigger, adjust the spices accordingly.)

Turn crock pot on high and let cook for an hour or so, covered,  until the apples are softened a bit. If your apples seem to be a bit dry, add more water or juice.  Stir often.

At this point, I add:

2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
dash of salt
1/4 cup of apple juice or water

Pour spices over softened apples and stir. Cover again and let the apples cook down until it resembles a rather chunky applesauce. (This could take several hours)  I leave the cooker on high, though other recipes suggest turning it down to low.  I suspect this might depend on how hot your particular cooker gets.
  At that point, I use a stick blender to produce a nice, smooth mixture. A potato masher might work, too.

After that, I uncover the pot and let the mixture cook down until it is very thick and spreadable.  (and mixture will be very dark.)  Stir often to prevent scorching.

When done, let cool and load into jars.  Since this makes about a quart, I don't can ... just put the jars into the fridge, where they can stay for up to 6 weeks.  It also freezes.  

Beware ... this will take the better part of a day. My last batch took nearly 12 hours to finish, though my apples did throw off a lot of juice that had to be cooked down.  (Some recipes suggest letting it cook overnight on low.)  Next time, I'm considering making the applesauce part on the stove, then adding the spices and transferring it to the slow cooker to let it thicken. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Uh, oh ...

Today's thought:

When you open the garage door, you really don't want to hear a bolt hit the floor, then see a piece of the opener's mechanism swinging from the track ....

Oy .....

Update: DH bolted the bracket back into place, so crisis averted!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Now really ...

My doc prescribed a med to add to my OTC allergy drug during the worst of the allergy season. In fact, that was the prescription that inspired a previous post.

Apparently, my health insurer has now decided that this is a maintenance drug...   I recently got a  rather threatening letter saying that I MUST fill the prescription through their mail order pharmacy, or I will be paying more for the script. 

Really?  Geez ... I have all of 1 refill left.  (Haven't even finished the previous one.) I'm sure that the second refill just automatically flags the drug.   It would be nice if they inquired ... which, I know, is probably expecting too much.

Sorry folks ... threaten all you want.  It's not worth my time and sanity to jump through this particular hoop.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Apple time!

  For me, one of the best things about fall is the annual trip to the apple orchard.  Something about biting into a nice crisp apple on a beautiful fall day ...

But I digress.   We made the trip last weekend and picked up a small bag for "eatin' " apples ... and a half-bushel of "seconds" to use for cooking.  ( Not a bad deal ... $9 bucks, compared with $16 for a "Grade A" half bushel. And we could get an assortment of apples, too.)

So far, I've made a quart of apple butter.  Also plan to make a batch of cranberry applesauce, and some filling for crepes.   Oh, and I'm sure there's a pie or two in my future.

Apple Pie Bites seem to be the big thing this year.  Found this recipe, which is very tasty:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Turn off that light!

 ... which is hard to do when the light switch isn't working properly.   

       But, fortunately, it's an easy fix ... 54 cents for a new switch, a few minutes of my time and we're back in business.

      I wish the other repairs were as easy ... or should I say that inexpensive.  For the second month in a row, the casa de chaos has been walloped with 3-figure fixes ... the sump pump (which died during a rather rainy week) and the pump on the air bed. (in the past decade, we've also replaced both air bladders ... though I suppose by now it would be time to replace a conventional mattress, and would have cost a great deal more.)

      The dehumidifier has kicked off, too ... trying to determine if that  can be fixed.  If not, there's a potential replacement in the wings.   

     (And that's why an emergency fund is a good thing, eh?)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Score one Christmas gift

  Have been picking up a few gifts here and there for my flock of great-nieces and nephews. 
 As we were walking through Meijer on a late night foray for something else, I came across these on the clearance shelf:

Aren't they cute?   (and less than $4!)   But Auntie may have gotten the better present:  I just happened to look this up online.   It's going for $12 bucks!

Monday, October 7, 2013

September freebies

A light month, but some good things:

1 bottle pop
1 pkg hot dog buns (FAC)
1 lotion
1 dental treat for dogs

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bargain alert!

If  you're looking for a fresh pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern or other decorations (or, at my house, filler for pumpkin bread, etc ....)  Aldi is selling very large pumpkins for $1.99 this week.

© Bobbie Peachey
I bought two ... more on the whacking of the pumpkin next month ...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Stock-up time

  Happy October everyone!

   Made the semi-annual trip to the salvage/outlet stores to stock the pantry here at the Casa de Chaos. 

  Did manage to find some good deals, though prices seemed to be higher this year ... some things on the list weren't significantly cheaper than Aldi prices.

That said,  I did score:

      24 pounds (a dozen 2lb bags) of all-purpose  flour for $2.49.  (I was very pleased, as I was nearly out of flour, and baking season is nearly upon us.)

       1 case (12, 28 oz cans) of whole tomatoes for $3.99.

        28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes for 39 cents each.
        1.5 oz jar of lemon peel for $1.   (I don't use a lot of this, but the current jar is getting low, and I'd rather restock at that price than the $4+ I recently saw at the supermarket.)

      Also picked up several boxes of name brand cereal (including Wheatabix, which I  seldom buy) for $1-$1.50.

      (And I'll admit to a fair amount of snacks ... granola bars, various chips, crackers ...  It does keep us out of the vending machines at work.)
       Best of all, I found a new baking dish to replace the one that exploded!

       So, the pantry is filling up nicely .... next up ... fresh apples!