Sunday, January 18, 2015

Come by for a chat...

The New Year is here! It feels like 2014 flew by is such a flurry. I remember when I was a young mother and how long the days seemed ... but not any more. Not sure what has changed but I rarely finish my 'to do' list each day.

December was a busy, busy month but a lot of fun. My work at home got behind with all the celebrating, so I'm working through  FLYLADY'S  'House Blessing' and 'Zone' work each week to catch up. I've already accomplished so much.  I've been using her housekeeping plan as a guide for over 10 years. It's the only plan that has ever worked for me. I love it! I don't follow all of her suggestions but the 'House Blessing' and 'Zone' work have made a huge difference in how I keep house. 

Our '1st' Christmas! We celebrated Christmas 3 times this year!
My winter garden is doing very well. I've been harvesting broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Swiss chard and collard greens and oranges. I should have enough garden veggies to last a minimum of 3 more weeks. I froze some broccoli to use once the garden is finished. I've started a list of veggies and herbs I want to grow this summer. My daughter in love used graph paper to draw up a plan for her vegetable garden. I liked that idea and hope to start working on mine in the coming weeks.

Cabbage from our backyard garden!
I have a few sewing dates this month with family and friends. I'd like to make as assortment of gifts  for next Christmas to cut costs. I don't want to put it off until next fall because it won't happen if I do. I hope to work on a new apron pattern and a fancy pot holder to start off. I also hope to make a couple of quilts this year.

.My big goal for this year is to memorize more Scripture. I can't even put into words what God's Word has meant to my life. I decided this year to try and memorize an entire chapter of the bible. I felt like my thoughts really needed a project to focus on so I chose Romans 8 because it's one of my favorite chapters. I started slowing down when I got to verse 8. Thankfully, I ran across this booklet that has a great method for memorization. I just finished verse 16 this week. This old brain has trouble with the order of some of the recent verses I've memorized but if I see the first word then I'm good from there. :-)  I'm more interested in hiding God's Word in my heart than knowing the order perfectly so I'm enjoying the journey instead of stressing about my imperfections. It's been a delightful practice!

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV (Letters in bold are my emphasis)

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A Typical Frugal Day in my Home

So, here are a few things I've been up to:

1. The price of bacon costs nearly as much as a steak these days, unless it's on sale. I buy 1 package a month IF it goes on sale for less than $3 a pound. I cut the bacon into 6 sections, put them in baggies and freeze. It adds a little variety throughout the month without breaking the bank.

2. I always have a lot of  cilantro leftover when I buy it for a recipe. I tore off the leaves and packed them in a ice cube tray and filled each section with water. I froze it and then placed the cilantro ice cubes into a large freezer bag and labeled it. Now I don't have to run to the store when a recipe calls for cilantro unless I need it as a garnish or in a dish that isn't cooked. The frozen cilantro works great in soups. 

3. I've never tried making a Fritatta. Can you believe it? We eat a lot of eggs for breakfast so I decided to try one. We really liked it and I was able to stretch it for quite a few breakfasts.  I used this recipe from Pioneer Woman called, Sunday Frittata. Here is the link to the recipe.

Sunday Frittata

4. This is another new recipe that we really enjoyed. I made a large pork butt roast and used a pound of it for this recipe.

Posole Verde
1 pound of boneless pork (I used cooked pork and cut it into cubes)
A few tablespoons of oil
(2) 15 oz. cans hominy, rinsed and drained (I used 1 can)
(1) 16 oz. jar salsa verde (I like 'roasted' salsa verde)
2 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion (I used 1/2 onion), chopped
1 4oz. can diced chiles (I used roasted chilies from my garden)
5 tsp. jarred garlic or 5 cloves
1 Tbsp.  cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
* Optional Toppings: avocado, radishes, chopped cilantro, lime wedges and sour cream

*  Season pork (if you're not using cooked pork) with salt and brown in oil until brown on all sides. Stir in hominy, salsa, broth, garlic, cumin, onion, and spices. Add salt to taste. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or put it in a crock pot for 41/2-5 hours (use raw pork if you cook in the crock pot).
* Use toppings, if desired.

5.  Our orange tree is full of fruit this year. I've been taking the peels and putting them in a small crockpot along with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and lemon peels. As  the 'concoction' heats up it sends a nice fragrance through the house.

Camelia is in bloom. 

6. I've been able to harvest 4 cabbage heads out of my backyard garden so far. There are 7 heads left in the garden. I use it to make coleslaw, Crack Slaw, Fried cabbage and eggs for breakfast and the new recipe listed in #8. I also like to throw a handful into my soups and stews.

7. My neighbor offered me some Meyer Lemons from her tree. They have such a wonderful flavor and I was thankful to get some for free.  I squeezed the lemons and then poured the juice into ice cube trays and froze them to use in recipes or in a cup of tea.

8. This new recipe is a keeper. I took it to a pot blessing and it was well received PLUS my husband liked it. I used the cabbage from my garden. It was very yummy. I made a few changes to make it lower carb.

3 c. shredded cabbage
1 carrot, shredded
1 onion, diced (I used 1/2)
1 red bell pepper, diced
 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
 (I used a small handful of 
jarred jalapenos)
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro (I used more)
1/2 c. oil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar (substituted 2 Tbsp. Erythritol and 1/8 tsp. stevia to taste)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrot, onion, red pepper, jalapeno and cilantro. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Pour over vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
8.  It's time to clean out the my old bill invoices from 2014 to make room for 2015. I'm  shredding the paperwork and putting it in the compost pile. I cut up the pages that are blank on the back to use for note paper. I keep notepaper in almost every room of my house so I can write down a thought before I lose it. (Losing thoughts happen a lot at my age! Ha!)

9. I'm running low on 'fast food' freezer meals for breakfast and dinner. So, this week I spent some extra time in the kitchen making low carb muffins. I put them in the freezer for a quick breakfast choice on Sunday's before church.

10. A law has been passed in California that plastic bags can no longer be used in large retailers starting in July of this year. I use their plastic grocery bags in my kitchen garbage can and for other purposes.  I don't want to add anything else to my grocery list. I remember my mother using newspaper to line her garbage cans. So, I decided to start saving any newspapers that come through my door so I'll have a nice supply by July.  .

Saved, Re-purposed or Reused:

- Cotton from my vitamin bottle (reused to remove fingernail polish)
- Clean and dried plastic bags and reused as food storage bags (walnut bag, Erythritol,etc.).
- Bacon grease (used in place of oil to sauteed veggies or eggs)
- Washed, dried and reused tinfoil (no dairy or meat).
- Comics from the newspaper to use as wrapping paper for the younger grandchildren.
- Twistie ties from the veggie department.
- Buttons from an old shirt that no one else would want. I put them in an empty Altoid tin and then placed the tin in my 'button box'.
- Chicken bones (soup broth)
- Empty glass jars from salsa, artichoke hearts, etc. (used for leftover grease before it goes in the garbage can.
- Paper bags from the grocery store. (I use these to dry flowers and veggie seeds). 

So what is new in your home? What do you have planned (Lord willing) for this coming month? I always learn from you ladies!

Blessed to be home,