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Free Magazines

I love magazines but found I was spending too much money on them. I've cut back on the amount of magazines I buy now trying to save money.

I have found a few FREE magazines that I really like.

Kraft Food & Family Magazine I have recvd this magazine for several years now. It is a quarterly magazine filled with really good, simple recipes. To sign up click on the above link.

Lowes Creative Ideas For Home and Garden is a really neat magazine. They also have two others; Garden Club and Woodpost. Take all three, they are free!

If you live in New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachussetts, Conneticut, or New Hampshire then you are eligible for Price Choppers free magazines. They offer 6 different ones. You do have to have their AdvantEdge card first. The magazine subscription requires you to enter your card number.

Nestles has a biannual magazine also. It's called Everyday Eating and is geared for diabetics. Although it's just healthy eating if you ask me. The site also has a few coupons to print off.


My first CVS shopping experience

My first trip to CVS as a shopping hound.

My biggest tip for CVS shoppers is if you are going to buy anything that is going to earn you an ecb, divide your list into two separate orders. Buy ecb earners on first order so you can immediately cash them in on your second order.

I did this so I wont have to worry about carrying them with me, expiration dates, etc. There may be a time when I'm not able to divide my orders like this and will have to save them for a later date. But for me just starting out, on a very limited budget, and trying to build my pantry up, it helped me a great deal.

How do you think I did?

First order:

2 Palmolives 1.49 each ( 2 ecb's)
3 Energizer AA 8pack 5.29 each (5 ecb's)
1 Tums EX 4.69 (2 ecbs)

Used a .40 off palmolive coupon I printed off of couponloop,
each pack of batteries had $1 off coupon on them,
had a $2.00 off mfg Energizer coupon I printed off internet at their site
and used one of the pdf coupons 5/15 expired 12/30/07

My total I paid was 14.43 BUT

It printed out $9 worth of ECB's which I then used on my second order:

order two:

4 Puffs kleenex, buy one get one free (8 total boxes) 1.69 for the first four
1 Maxwell coffee, buy one get one free (2 total cans) 4.39
1 Maybelline mascara, buy one get one free (2 total) 4.99
1 Lays chip, buy one get one free (2 total) 3.49
1 cvs sevr cold medicine

coupons used:
1 maybelline mfg coupon $1
1 Maxwell coffee mfg coupon $1
the email from cvs $4/$20
cvs coupon from their site $2/10
1 pdf file cvs coupon $5/$15

and $9 ecb's!

My total was $2.93. Combined with the $14.43 My TOTAL OOP was $17.36
on $76.49 worth of merchandise.

Quick Easy Frugal Baked Ziti

For me, this recipe has it ALL. It's quick, easy and frugal. What more could you ask for?

1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 jar water
1 lb pasta (rotini, penne, ziti, elbows, shells)
8 oz shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, mexican, mont. jack)

Mix sauce, water, and uncooked pasta in 9x13 pan. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes (depends upon type of pasta used). Remove cover, stir, top with cheese, and bake until cheese is melted.

Serve with garlic toast and a salad.

Variations: add mushrooms, eggplant, zuccini, or any other vegetable you need to sneak in on your kids. It doesnt take much. Meat can also be added. 1 lb of ground beef, italian sweet pork sausage, ground turkey or 2 cups cooked chicken.


Free From Sears

Over at Coupon Mom's place she has a link to a Sears coupon $5 off any tool or lawn and garden purchase of $5 = FREE!

Here's the link she posted:

Sears Expires 1/22/08

5pc Craftsman screwdriver sets (phillips or slotted) are on sale for 4.99


Kroger Stores

The Kroger Corporation owns many stores under many different names.

Here is a list by state with the banner named used.

Alabama Kroger
Alaska Fred Meyer
Arizona Fry's, Smith's, Fry's Marketplace
Arkansas Kroger
California Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Foods Co.
Colorado King Soopers, City Market
Georgia Kroger
Idaho Fred Meyer, Smith's
Illinois Kroger, Hilander, Food 4 Less
Indiana Kroger, Jay C, Pay Less, Owen's, Food 4 Less, Scott's
Kansas Dillons
Kentucky Kroger
Louisiana Kroger
Michigan Kroger
Mississippi Kroger
Missouri Kroger, Dillons, Gerbes
Montana Smith's
Nebraska Baker's
Nevada Smith's, Food 4 Less
New Mexico Smith's, City Market
North Carolina Kroger
Ohio Kroger, Kroger Marketplace
Oregon Fred Meyer, QFC
South Carolina Kroger
Tennessee Kroger
Texas Kroger
Utah Smith's, Smith's Marketplace, City Market
Virginia Kroger
Washington QFC, Fred Meyer
West Virginia Kroger
Wyoming Smith's, King Soopers, City Market


Our Frugal Christmas

We exchange presents with my parents, my two sisters, 1 brother, 1 sister in law, and one brother in law, their two kids, and an aunt and uncle who have no kids/grandkids.

We decided last year we would be buying either thrift store gifts or making handmade gifts.

I think there was a couple of the men (my husband being one) who were very skeptical about this plan of action for Christmas.

Well their minds have been changed. Christmas was wonderful, and nobody went into major debt on the gifts we exchanged at my mothers. Now if they went into debt buying gifts on their other side of the families, then shame on them.

My parents, sisters, brother, and brother in law all loved their gifts my husband and I purchased for them.

Here's a run down on what I gave them....

Mother: I made her a 2008 calendar, each month had a picture of one of the family I had taken throughout the year and listed all birthdays and holidays ($ the cost of 12sheets of paper and printer ink). I also chose a dozen pictures taken through out the year and took them to CVS and printed off 4x6 prints ($3.48) and put them in a photo album ($1) purchased from Dollar Tree for her. A brand new 9 pc set of ginsu knives $1. The total for these two gifts was less than $6.

Father: Two dress shirts purchased from Thrift Store for $2.99 each. Total $6

Sisters: Both received a photo album like mothers ($4.48). And a couple of other small things from thrift store that totaled approx $3 each. Total gift each $7 approx

Sister in law: Scored BIG at thrift store for her. I found a make up bag collection from some pricey line such as Liz Clairborne that was brand new still in the box. It had the large one for home and a smaller travel one to carry in purse. It's original price tag was $39.99. (Can't imagine paying $40 for two make up bags, but I'm sure someone did for a gift, that's why it ended up unused in a thrift store) My purchase price $5. hehehe I was elated when I found it. It was so pretty and her. I also printed off a 5x7 photo that had been captured of her and my brother at a reception. He was giving her a loving kiss on the cheek. The frame was $1 from Dollar Tree. Total gift $6

Brother: a brand new unique pocket knife for $4 and homemade jalepeno jelly $3 Total $7

Aunt: Another BIG score. A brand new still in the box butter crock. Original price $19.95. She always has butter setting out. It was $2.50

Uncle: Another brand new pocket knife (both found at the same thrift store) for $4 and a new magnifying glass $2. Total $6

Brother in law: He is a sculptor. I took pictures of all his pieces and made him a portfolio on dvd for him to promote his work $2. He collects wolf figurines. Found a small one for $1 Total $3

Niece: A purse filled with lip gloss, nail polish and other girlie stuff bought from Dollar Tree Total $6

Nephew: A MU ball cap $6 and a small hand held game $3, total $9 (he's so hard out of all them being 15)

Total for All this year $65.50 compared to last year $165 for all.

Not bad hugh? My goal had been $50. I didnt quite make it but almost.

I only have one child living at home. Part of his Christmas was thrift store buys, (see http://kittytigerskitchen.blogspot.com/2007/12/frugal-christmas-shopping.html) part of it was discounted new purchases. I am so disapointed with one of the new purchases, that had it not been given by Santa it would be going back.

My other BIG find was for my 2 year old grandson. A Sponge Bob chair! I found it in a load of trash at work. New and still in the plastic bag. The bag had two small holes and the cover had gotten two spots of mud because of the holes. I took the cover off, threw it in the washer to freshen up. It looked brand new. I dont know for sure how much it would cost to buy, but it was free for me. woohooo! He was so proud to sit in his little man's chair to open his gifts.

All the thrift store purchases for him and my grown family were BIG hits. All thrift store purchases I recvd as gifts were awesome!

I will be shopping ALL year this next year for Christmas at thrift stores. I've already got an idea on how to do a more effective job too.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends.

We are off to grandma's for Christmas dinner.


A Christmas Eve Tradition

For the last three years my son and I have made the treat he leaves out for Santa. Last year we made brownies. This year we made my grandmother's Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies. They are soooo yummmy and brought a warm feeling to my heart thinking about my grandmother. I miss her dearly.

Grandma's Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies

2 c flour
1 c quick oats
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 c applesauce
1/2 c raisin (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Cream sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Drop by spoonfuls on to sprayed cookie sheet 2" apart. Bake 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not overbake!


A Frugal Christmas

Shortly after we moved to our home in this small town of 900, our closest neighbor to the north of us moved in to their home. They are an elderly couple who sold there home of over 40 years due to crime and violence. They have several children and tons of grandchildren who do visit them quite often, but we none that live close. My husband and I keep an eye on them.

For Christmas I usually buy a fruit basket and we go over and visit with them for an afternoon.

This year fruit baskets are outrageous, even for a small one! I made my own and saved big time.

Basket $1
3 Macintosh apples $1.29
2 asian pears $1.96
3 clementines .66
mixed nuts .75
Total $5.66

My biggest problem was wrapping it. How do you think I did?

Here's how the sprays I salvaged from a load of trash at work came out. I kept them very simple.

2 evergreen sprays $ FREE
2 bunches of poinsettas $ FREE
2 rolls of ribbon $2.00
Total $2.00

I think I might add a few pinecones. What do you think?

Everything is wrapped and under the tree.

It looks like a lot, but I'm so satisfied with what we spent this year! Nothing was put on credit cards..... YEAH!

Happy Holidays to your family from ours!


Do You Pick Up Pennies?

See a penny, pick it up.

I am amazed at the amount of people who blog about the money, in particularly the pennies they find. I am also amazed at the amount of people who intentionally throw away all their change up to a quarter.

I have a change jar, mainly pennies, and have had for years. I have used the money in it for various reasons. It has helped me out several times when in a pinch and money was tight. I havent had to use it for quite some time and I think I will count it at the end of the year and start tracking how much I add/find in 2008.

Do you save change? Do you pick up a penny if you see one on the street, in a store, etc? Do you have a change jar? What do you do with your money in the jar and how often?


Faux Febreeze

Faux Febreeze
A cheap alternative to buying Febreze. This will cost about 5 cents to make and the scent is much nicer too.

1 1/2-4 tblsps fabric softener
25 oz water
New spray bottle

Mix fabric softener and water in bottle and spray on furniture, carpeting, pillows, shower curtains, etc. Be sure to do a fabric test where it cannot be seen.


How Classic Games Have Changed

Growing up my sisters and I usually always got one new game for Christmas.

I'm not talking about a new game system or video game for one. I'm talking about a board game that takes interaction with other people. Monopoly, Scrabble, Yahtzee, Battleship, and Clue to name a few. My family also loved to play cards. Rook, Uno, and later we bought from our school fund raiser a card game nobody had ever heard of...Skip Bo. After several years of Skip Bo only being available through fund raisers it was bought and marketed out in the big discount stores. The last couple of years a new favorite has been Mexican train dominoes.

It amazes me how these classic games have evolved and increased in price. You have electronic Monopoly, Battleship, Uno, and Yahtzee.

I like to stick to the more basic, non-electronic versions when buying for my boys.

The game bought this year is...

It comes in a compact case. I'm hoping it will be a good down to earth game my husband, son and I can play together on the cold bleary days ahead of us. The price was reasonable and frugal compared to other games too. $9.99


Double Duty Olive Oil

If handling your fresh spruce leaves you with sticky fingers, pour a tablespoon of olive oil onto a cloth and rub hands until clean.

Bonus: the oil is a great moisturizer for dry winter skin.

Frugal Christmas Recipes

Chocolate Cookie Bark....
1 pkg semi sweet baking chocolate
1 pkg white baking chocolate
2 Tbsp peanut butter
10 Oreo's
Place chocoalte and white chocolate is seperate microwaveable bowls. Microwave until completely melted, following directions on package. Add peanut butter to white chocolate; stir until well blended. Crumble half of the cookies over chocolate in each bowl; mix well.
Drop spoonfuls of chocolate mixture onto wax paper covered cookie sheet, alternating the colors of chocolates. Cut through the chocolate mixtures several times with a knife for marble effect.
Refigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in air tight container in refrigerator.

from Carol at Frugal Finds From Your Frugal Friend

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls
(from cooks.com)
16 oz. peanut butter
1 lb. confectioners sugar
1 c. butter
1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
In mixer beat peanut butter, sugar, and butter until well blended ans smooth. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls. Place on a baking sheet and chill 20 minutes. Carefully melt chocolate in saucepan. Using a skewer, dip balls into chocolate to cover. Set on waxed paper lined try until hardened. Store in refrigerator

from Amity at Home Basics


Running An Efficient Household

Last January one of my goals I set was to get more organized.

I lived in a suburban community all my life until two years ago when my husband and I moved to a very small community (900 pop). I found that I couldnt just run a 1/4 of a mile down the road to Wal-Mart or the grocery store any longer. I needed to start planning meals, shopping once, and if I didnt have something, make do with what you have. The nearest grocery store being 8 miles one way, and the nearest big box store being 10 one way. Gas prices soared and I couldnt afford to waste gas and the time for useless trips.

My sister in law received a Household Organizer for Christmas. It was really fancy and well laid out. I decided I wasnt going to spend $50 (or more I'm sure) on buying one. I figured I could find what I needed off the internet.

Well a year later and I'm well on my way to learning to break old habits, getting my organizer together and becoming more frugal.

a) Meal planning: I now have a Master List of the meals we eat most often.
b) Stocking my pantry & freezer: Based off my Master Meal List I know how much of what I need for a year.
c) Being a Super Saver Shopper. I read story after story how shoppers were waiting until rock bottom prices came along to buy grocery items and stocking up again. They say the grocery stores run on a cycle of sorts. When these rock bottom price sale comes along double it up with coupons and save even more.

After hours of searching for printable worksheets for meal planning, pantry & freezer inventory, places to print coupons off the internet, etc. here are my favorite tools.

The Utah State University Extension has a FABULOUS tool. It's A Management Plan for Home Food Storage The first thing it has you to do is print off a "Food Storage Planner" chart. List your 10-20 most served meals.
After doing this I had 26 meals. Some I only serve during the winter. Some I only serve during the summer. Now when I'm asking myself "What's for dinner" I can take a glance and see if there's something we havnt had in a while and see if I have everything to make it.

After you are done filling out this planner you will know exactly how many cans of tomato sauce, chili beans, corn, green beans, etc. you will need in your pantry to prepare your meals for a year. That way when you do catch the rock bottom sale price you know exactly how much to buy to last a year.

Then you take an inventory of your pantry/freezer. They have a printable form for this also. That way when you do catch the rock bottom sale price you know exactly how much to buy to last a year. You may not be able to buy enough of an item when the BIG sale is on, but you will always know where you stand and what you have in your pantry to prepare what meals.

Now I know what I need and how much. So my quest moved on to learning how to save on what I buy. I found CouponMom.com

The two things I'm concentrating on from that home page (cause it can be overwhelming) is the Grocery Deals By State and the Virtual Coupon Organizer. I printed off the two free ebooks found under the Grocery Deals by State and they had useful information in them to get me started.

I now have the last two sunday papers coupon sections and I will be ready next week to see what's on sale and if there is a coupon I can use.

I feel like I'm well on the road to being a more frugal cook and shopper. I'm excited about implementing these tools. I've been using the Utah State Extensions plan for a few months now and it has saved me from unneedless trips and wasted gas/time.

Let me know if you find these tools useful or if you have found something you like better please share it with me!


Some of My Christmas Finds

I was unpacking more Christmas decorations this morning. I found a sack that I didnt recognize in the storage room with all my Christmas decorations. I opened it up and this is what was inside.
It was a sack of Christmas items I pulled out of a load of trash last year after Christmas. There was sticks of artificial poinsettas, ribbon, 3 douglas fir sprays (brand new, never been used, still has the price tag on them) some lights, etc.

I pulled the ribbon, sprays, and poinsettas out.

I need to spice up my railing around our stairs and this will do the trick. I'm not very creative, but I'll post a pic after the damage is done.

About 3 years ago (when my hubby was working at the same place as I) he found this wreath. Isnt it cute? It was also brand new, still in its box when he brought it home.
I added a few floral picks to the wreath to dress it up a little.

Last year I also found two of these Christmas trees. I put one up in my country kitchen and one in the family room.

The little table that it sits on also came out of the trash. The kitchen has 9 windows around the dining area. I always hang 6 stockings from each of the 6 full windows to symbolize my neices and nephews that I no longer get to see. The stockings came from an over-freight store for .10 a piece.

We have so many Christmas things pulled from the trash there is no way for me to display them all so I rotate the stuff on display from year to year. I just don't understand why people throw this stuff away! There are so many who could use it.

A lot of the stuff found has also been donated to a couple of churchs. Two years ago we saved every bicycle that came through. There was a couple that was going to Texas for the winter and we gave the bicycles to him. He switched parts around repairing the bikes, painted them and then loaded them up and took them to an orphanage near where they stay for the winter. Every child in the orphanage received a bicycle for Christmas that year. In the spring when our friends returned they brought us pictures of the kids with their bikes. It was a really heart warming experience.


Learning to Live More Frugally

Living life frugally means many different things to everyone. There are many ways to be frugal.

I am always on the look out for new ways to be more frugal. I found a new site today that looks promising in helping me to cut back my shopping expenses.


The registration was quick and easy. After entering your personal information there are about a half a dozen pages of other offers, if you arent interested just click SKIP at the bottom of the page.

They dont just offer coupons. The big thing I wanted to check out is the alerts you can sign up for telling you what will be on sale the upcoming week.

Make sure you download CouponMom's free ebook. It explains the cycle supermarkets put everything on sale. This concept I've heard of before but had forgotten.

I understand using coupons isnt the only way to be frugal. I used to use them quite often. I think I will incorporate into my way of living again.

If any of you have found any special deals at the big box stores, let me know.


Tortilla Pinwheels

Ham & Cheese Pinwheels

1 pkg. flour tortillas
2 (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/3 c. Miracle Whip
2 tbsp. green onions, chopped
1/4 c. black or green olives, chopped
2 to 2 1/2 oz. pkg. sliced pressed cooked ham or dried beef

Remove tortillas from refrigerator so they can warm to room temp for eaiser rolling. Combine cream cheese, Miracle Whip, onions, and olives. Spread thin layer of mixture on tortilla. Arrange ham or beef over cheese. Tightly roll up tortilla. Wrap individually in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight.

To serve cut into 3/4 inch slices. Makes about 64 appetizers.

For Crabmeat version:
Omit ham and black olives,
add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and
1 can crab meat (5 oz. chopped imitation crab) to mixture.

Hidden Valley Ranch Pinwheels

4 12" flour tortillas
2 (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 package (1 oz) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (4 oz) green chiles, diced
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced black olives

Mix cream cheese and dressing mix together. Stir in cheddar cheese. Spread on tortillas. Drain vegetables and blot on paper towels. Sprinkle evenly on top of cream cheese.

Roll tortillas tightly. Chill two hours. Cut rolls into 1 inch pieces. Serve with spirals face up. Makes 3 dozen. Serve with salsa sauce.

Variation: spread thin sliced ham on tortilla before rolling

CFL Bulbs Are Not PERFECT !

According to energystar.gov, “If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs.”

BUT they can cause problems if not used correctly.

My husband came home and said one of the guys he works with was having trouble with his furnace. The man called a repair man. The first thing the repair man asked him was if he had recently replaced any bulbs with a cfl bulb. He told him that in the last week since it had gotten really cold he had received several calls that people's furnaces were not working. He had found in 6 cases that there was a new cfl bulb installed in the home that was the problem.

I asked my husband if the co-worker told him if the repair man had explained how the cfl bulb would interfere with the furnace and he said no. I wanted to know so I googled to see if I could find out. I didn't find anyone who explained this but I did find out about these problems I didnt know about.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps can’t be used with a dimmer, unless they are one of the newer types specifically designed for dimmer applications. If that is the case, the packaging and the bulb will clearly state that it can be used in a circuit with a dimmer.

CFLs should never be installed in a fixture that encloses the bulb without ventilation. While conventional bulbs can withstand very high temperatures (with some decrease in bulb life), CFLs will quickly self-destruct if they get too hot.

CFLs should be operated base-down. If operated in an inverted, base-up orientation, the heat generated by the fluorescent tube will rise, heating the bulb’s base containing the electronics, shortening the bulb’s life.

Like any fluorescent bulb, CFLs don’t work well in low ambient temperatures. Even when used indoors, if the air temperature is, let’s say, 50 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit, a CFL will operate at significantly reduced brightness until it has warmed up.

CFLs create rfi. They can cause tvs, radios, home alarm systems, wireless phones, cell phones not to work properly.

I wonder if the furnaces' thermostats were effected by the rfi? I also wonder if this may explain some problems my husband has been experiencing with his laptop. Hmmmmm, time to do some more investigating.


Frugal Christmas Shopping

My extended family decided last year that this year we would exchange gifts that were either hand-made or second hand items.

Last night I went shopping to a favorite thrift store. Here are a couple of frugal buys!

Dance Mania Mat- Regular Price $19.99. My thrift store $4.95, All kids stuff on Friday is 50% off, so I paid $2.47!

My husband was skeptical that it would work. The thrift store I went to always checks all electronics before putting them out on the shelf. I was confident it would work. It looked brand new! I brought it home, plugged it in and played a game of pinball on it before wrapping it up and putting it under the tree for my 10yr son.

Golf Putting Hole- Regular $29.95. Thrift store price $7.99. It too was brand new.

It's also wrapped and under the tree for my son.

Two items that retail for a total of $50.00 cost me $10.50!


How Frugal Are You?

Frugal: acquiring of and resourceful use of economic goods and services in order to achieve lasting and more fulfilling goals

Freegan: people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed

Ok, I'm not a 100% Freegan, but I do agree with a lot of their ideas and theories.

It amazes me what people throw away. I work at a trash transfer station. You would not believe the stuff people throw away! I dont understand why they dont make sure this stuff goes to someone who could use it instead of filling up our landfills. In the small town where I work there is two thrift stores alone that takes donations.

Just Monday I brought home 2 queen size fitted sheets, 2 queen size flat sheets, 4 queen size pillow cases....all brand new, matching, still in the packages. Very pretty and frilly. I threw them in my washer, and they now grace my bed.

My home is filled with stuff people have thrown away. Monday when I washed the sheets I used the last of some liquid fabric softener I brought home out of a load of trash. I had not bought fabric softener for over two years! It's now on my shopping list..... unless I find more.

I've always loved to shop at thrift stores and garage sales, now I shop even cheaper at work.

I'll post some pictures of some of the great finds I have brought home.

Tell me, how frugal are you?


My Book List

I love to read. I have always loved to read, but have found like so many women, not much time with raising kids, working a full time job and running a household.

I miss it and one of my goals is to set aside quiet time for me to start reading again.

On my list of books to read I currently have three.

The first is...


And third...

Has anyone read any of these? If so, what's your opinion of them? Are they a great read or not?


Frugal Living Tip #3 - Cooking Tips

The life of green onions, cilantro, parsley, and fresh herbs can be prolonged by washing them and then putting them in a tall glass of water (filled 1/4 full) in your fridge. It lasts so much longer storing them this way!

Dry Powdered Milk is great to cook with. It's cheaper than regular milk. I like Wal-Mart's Great Value Brand for the price and taste!

Red wine used for cooking can be stored in the refrigerator for quite a while. If you would like to store even longer, freeze in ice cube trays. After frozen dump into zip lock bag. Use a cube as needed!


I love stockings!

I love stockings!

I collect them and decorate my house with them. They are easy to make out of old clothes, reusing the fabric too.

I have some fabric waiting to be sewed into stockings this year. Time is getting short.... I better get going.

Here's a pic of our fireplace with the stockings hung from last year. I need to get them hung again tomorow. And maybe I'll also have time to stitch up a couple tomorow also.


I'm going to kill me a cat!

I thought it was cute when she was a baby.

Now I dont feel the same way.

All my other cats outgrew the need to climb the tree, but not Lily. She can destroy a tree in one evening!

(NOTE: I would never literally kill my cat. I have 5 cats and love them all)


Recycling Books aka Altered Books

I love this recycled book art!

Brian Dettmer carves into books revealing the artwork inside, creating complex layered three-dimensional sculptures.

British artist Jonathan Callan creates exquisite walls of art out of vintage/used books. The towering colorful melanges are like abstracted botanical, funghi or cellular shapes.


Have A Green Thanksgiving

Make Thanksgiving your first green meal and help reduce our country's reliance on foreign oil!

"If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That's not gallons, but barrels."
~ Steven L. Hopp, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

This week when shopping for your Thanksgiving meal keep a few things in mind to have a green Thanksgiving.

Buy as much organic food as you possibly can. The original Thanksgiving dinner was made with in-season produce and celebrated the harvest of autumn. Let's keep that tradition alive! Buying only locally grown food is one good way to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving. Locally grown food is good for your table, your health and the environment. Locally grown food tastes better than food that has to be grown and packaged for maximum shelf life, and it requires less fuel to reach store shelves. Locally grown food also contributes more to your local economy, supporting local farmers as well as local merchants.

Remember the three Rs of conservation: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Reduce the amount of waste you produce by buying only as much as you need and choosing products that come in packaging that can be recycled.

Carry reusable bags when you do your shopping, and use cloth napkins that can be washed and used again.

Recycle paper, and all plastic, glass and aluminum containers. If you don’t already have a compost bin, use your Thanksgiving fruit and vegetable trimmings to start one. The compost will enrich the soil in your garden next spring.


Asian Crockpot Chicken

Crockpot Asian style Chicken

6 whole chicken legs, or 4 chicken breasts (use whatever you have)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed
8 oz can tomato sauce

Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken in a
slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar,
garlic, and tomato sauce. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and cook
on LOW about 5 hours or until chicken is tender.



Buy Nothing Christmas 2007

Every year it seems Christmas gets earlier and earlier in the stores. By the time it's actually time to start thinking about Christmas (you know the day AFTER Thanksgiving) I'm sick of it! The true meaning of the holiday has been lost. It is so commercialized. It has become a money game. On the news they talk about how sales are up, compare years in the past, blah blah blah.

My family has decided to take back Christmas and it's meaning this year. We are exchanging gifts that are to be handmade, or garage sale/thriftstore buys. We refuse to go into debt to celebrate this holiday.

I was surfing the internet for a couple of ideas for a couple of people on my list. I googled 'handmade gifts' and found my family is not the only one who feels this way.

According to the "Buy Nothing Christmas" website it takes only a bit of creative thinking to come up with alternatives to excessive consumerism. They list over 50 ideas. Go over and check their site out.

Take the true meaning of Christmas back for you and your family.


A GREEN Fireplace Log?

For those of you who are lucky enough to have a fireplace to snuggle in front of, here's a better log for you! It's an idea that saves trees and utilizes a readily available product headed to the landfill.

Java Log! It's a clean-burning, planet-loving alternative to wood and Duraflame. Made from used coffee grounds collected from coffeehouses across the country (along with some soybean-based wax), the Java Log “burns better than wood, doesn’t have that chemical smell that most fake firelogs have, and is good for the environment,”

According to maker Jarden Home Brands of Muncie, Ind., the Java-Log diverts more than 20 million pounds of old coffee grounds from landfills and gives off a pleasant coffee aroma when it burns. The company also offers the Pine Mountain log, which combines sawdust and vegetable wax to make an all-natural log.

Both are available at www.pinemountainbrands.com, www.java-log.com, or at local Waldbaums or Walgreens stores.


Frugal Living Tip #2 - Grounds For Your Garden

Starbucks Coffee developed “Grounds for Your Garden,” an initiative to reuse coffee grounds, the largest portion of its waste. It’s a year-round program that offers complimentary bags of spent coffee grounds to customers, parks, schools and nurseries for composting. The waste reduction has become a popular way for North American gardeners to enrich their soil. Coffee grounds act as a green material with a carbon-nitrogen (C-N) ratio of 20-1. The grounds are packaged in recycled bags and made available on a first-come, first-served basis to customers.

The program was started nine years ago by a team of store employees who were inspired by the numerous requests for the store’s organic waste. Coffee grounds make up the heaviest portion of the waste in Starbucks stores making the “Grounds for Your Garden” program a significant waste-reduction effort.

Using coffee grounds in the garden is a great way to add organic matter to your soil. Coffee grounds are also a good source of nitrogen for your garden soil. Being naturally acidic in nature, used coffee grounds are wonderful for acid loving plants such as roses, blueberries, camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons and even viburnum. Should you want to use coffee grounds in the garden on plants that do not appreciate the acidity, you may need to add a limestone supplement. If you don’t drink coffee very often and there is no Starbucks in your are, you may find coffee grounds at your local coffee shop. Most are more than willing to give you all the coffee grounds your garden can handle.

Don’t add too thick of a pile of coffee grounds or mold may develop. A nice thin layer of coffee grounds around the trunk of the plant is all that is needed. One more added benefit of using coffee grounds in the garden is that earthworms love the used coffee grounds. They will feed on the coffee grounds and in turn aerate and fertilize the soil around your plants. You’ll always enjoy the rewards of using coffee grounds in the garden.


Spice Chart

Beans (dried) cumin, cayenne, chili, parsley, pepper, sage, savory, thyme

Beef basil, bay, chili, cilantro, curry, cumin, garlic, marjoram, mustard, oregano, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme

Breads anise, basil, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, lemon peel, orange peel, oregano, poppy seeds, rosemary, saffron, sage, thyme

Cheese basil, caraway, celery seed, chervil, chili, chives, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, horseradish, lemon peel, marjoram, mint, mustard, nutmeg, paprika, parsley, pepper, sage, tarragon, thyme

Chicken allspice, basil, bay, cinnamon, curry, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger lemongrass, mustard, paprika, rosemary, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme

Corn chili, curry, dill, marjoram, parsley, savory, thyme

Eggs basil, chervil, chili, chives, curry, dill, fennel, ginger, lemon peel, marjoram, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, sage, tarragon, thyme

Fish anise, basil, bay, cayenne, celery seed, chives, curry, dill fennel, garlic, ginger, lemon peel, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, marjoram

Fruits allspice, anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mint

Lamb basil, bay, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry, dill, garlic, marjoram, mint, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory, tarragon, thyme

Potatoes basil, caraway, celery seed, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, marjoram, oregano, paprika, parsley, poppy seed, rosemary, tarragon, thyme

Salad Dressings basil, celery seed, chives, dill, fennel, garlic, horseradish, marjoram, mustard, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, saffron, tarragon, thyme

Salads basil, caraway, chives, dill, garlic, lemon peel, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme

Soups basil, bay, chervil, chili, chives, cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, marjoram, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme

Sweets allspice, angelica, anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, ginger, lemon peel, mace, nutmeg, mint, orange peel, rosemary

Tomatoes basil, bay , celery seed, cinnamon, chili, curry, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, gumbo file, lemongrass, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory, tarragon, thyme

My Mothers Pumpkin Pie

Pastry for 9-inch pie crust
2 large eggs, well beaten
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 teaspoons McCormick® Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 1/3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (15 ounces) Libby's pumpkin
1 can (12 ounces) Carnation evaporated milk

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 9-inch pie plate with pie crust.
2. Mix eggs, sugar, spices, and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Stir in pumpkin and gradually add evaporated milk, mixing well. Pour into pie crust.
3. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or cold. Garnish with whipped cream sprinkled with extra pumpkin pie spice if desired. Store covered in refrigerator.


Aji Columbian Salsa

Aji Salsa

1 medium roma tomato (get rid of the seeds) chopped
8 scallions (green onions) chopped
1 scotch bonnet pepper (ger rid of seeds & vein) diced
huge bunch of cilantro diced (1 cup)
¼ large onion chopped
2 limes sqeezed
1/4c water
pinch of salt

The difference between this and my pico de gallo recipe is mainly the amount of tomatoes.


Frugal Living Tip #1 - Home Remedies

Earache Relief: Pour one cup of white rice into a clean sock. Tie the sock to secure the rice within it. Place into the microwave for sixty seconds. Apply the heated rice-filled sock onto the ear. This creates a moist heat that will ease the pressure by helping the ear to drain the built up fluid. For best results reheat often keeping sock warm.

Grapefruit Soup: for cold'n'flu. Simmer 2 peeled grapefruit with enough water to cover and a pinch of cinnamon, salt & cayenne, until fruit collapses. Stir in 2T honey.

Nasal Spray: Mix one cup of lukewarm water, a half-teaspoon of salt and a pinch of baking soda. Using a bulb syringe, spritz the solution into your nose a few times, then blow your nose


Candy Corn

George Renninger, an employee of the Wunderlee Candy Company, invented candy corn in the 1880s and Wunderlee became the first to produce the candy.
The popular confection has been made with the same recipe - containing sugar, corn syrup and marshmallow - by the Jelly Belly Candy Company since around 1900. One serving (about 30 pieces) has 140 calories. One kernel has 3.57 calories. The National Confectioners Association reports more than 35 million pounds were manufactured in 2005, amounting to almost 9 billion pieces.

Candy Corn Recipe
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup white corn syrup
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup powdered milk
food coloring

Combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup in pan and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Turn heat low and boil 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

In a separate dish, combine powdered sugar, salt, and powdered milk. Add all at once to the mixture in the pan. Add food coloring if desired. Stir until cool enough to handle. Shape.

Makes 1 3/4 pounds of candy.


Mustard 101

Prepared mustard is generally made from powdered mustard, seasonings, and a liquid such as water, vinegar, wine, or beer.

American-style mustard is milder and made from white seed, flavored with sugar, vinegar, and tumeric.

European and Chinese mustards are made from brown seeds are are zestier and more flavorful. Dijon mustard is made with brown or black seeds. Chinese mustards are usually the hottest and most pungent


Baked Potato Soup

1 lb. baking potatoes, cut into cubes (about 3 cups)
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk
3 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, cooked, crumbled and divided
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. sliced green onions, divided
1/4 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream

PLACE cubed potatoes in large microwaveable bowl; microwave on HIGH 5 min., stirring after 2-1/2 min.

Add broth and milk to bowl; stir. Microwave on HIGH 10 min., stirring after 5 min.

Crush potatoes with a potato masher.

RESERVE 2 Tbsp. each of the bacon and cheese and 1 Tbsp. of the onions for topping; set aside. Add remaining bacon, cheese and onions to soup.

SERVE topped with reserved bacon, cheese, onions and sour cream.

VARIATIONS: Although the above recipe is wonderful, I like to KISS (keep it super simple). Here are two variations I have made off of this recipe.

#1 omitted bacon, green onion, sour cream and cheese. Chopped 1 part of Celery heart and 1/4 yellow onion to add to broth and milk.

#2 used 2 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in two cups hot water instead of canned broth.

The whole idea of the recipe is to be quick and easy. Preparing it in the microwave in this way does the job. From start to finish it's on the table in 20 minutes. I peel the potatoes somewhat. I have even made it without peeling the potatoes. I find cubing the potatoes is quicker and easier after they have been microwaved.


Pineapple Baked Chicken

4 chicken breasts
2 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Glaze: 1 can (15 oz.) crushed pineapple (I use chunk and crush myself), drained
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. soy sauce

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place chicken pieces, skin side up, in an ungreased 9-inch baking pan. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Combine all Glaze ingredients and mix well. Pour Glaze over chicken. Return to oven and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes, basting occasionally, until deep golden brown and tender. To prepare with thighs, bake for 20 to 30 minutes after glazing. To prepare with drunsticks, bake for 20 to 30 minutes after glazing. To prepare with wings, bake for 10 to 20 minutes after glazing.


Baby Back Ribs

I only wish you had smellovision. I just took these off a few minutes ago and my lord do they smell good. Letting them rest a bit before we tear into them. I got up at 5:30 this am and made some fresh rub for the ribs and pork butt, fired up the smoker and let the aroma begin.

My own Rub(well most of the ingrediants)

Seasoned Salt
Ground Cumin
Chili Powder
Garlic Pepper
Ground Red Pepper

There are about 3-4 other ingrediants that I have added myself to this to give my own little touch. Like any cook(and I use that term loosely) I can not divuldge all my secrets. Sorry

Mix it all up together and this is yummy on all beef and pork. I am in the process of a sweet rub for something different. This rub is kind of a southwest rub.
If you would like the exact recipe let us know we can post it also or via email.

Now to the ribs....


Traditional Mojito

According to Wikipedia, a mojito is a is a traditional Cuban cocktail that will get you mad fucked up.

The cocktail is easy to make and requires 5 simple ingredients.

3-4 mint leaves
2 tsp sugar
1 ½ oz rum
lime juice
club soda.

Muddle mint leaves in a tall glass. Add juice of one lime and 2 tsp sugar. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Fill glass ¾ full with club soda, add rum and ice.


Baked Stuffed Mushrooms

1 lb. mushrooms with caps
1/2 to 1 stick (4 to 8 Tbs.) of melted butter
1 cup bread crumbs
fresh chopped parsley
1 Tbs. oil
1 crushed garlic clove
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup white wine
1 minced medium onion

Remove mushroom stems and chop. Place caps on buttered baking sheet and set aside. Sauté chopped stems, onions, and garlic in oil. Mix other dry ingredients. Add them to melted butter and wine in a sauce pan and stir together. Mold a small amount on the cap. Bake 20 minutes at 350 F.


Tomato, Onion, and Cucumber Salad

5 medium plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1 Kirby cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
A generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, about 2 tablespoons
2 splashes red wine vinegar or Italian dressing
Coarse salt and black pepper

Dress the tomatoes, onions, and cucumber with olive oil, red wine
vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Let stand while you prepare dinner, about 20 minutes. Re-toss and serve salad with crusty bread for mopping up juices and oil.

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray



6 med Tomatoes coarse chopped
1 med onion
Garlic (can use powder, just a pinch)
¼ c Cilantro
2-4 minced Jalepeno
1 fresh squeezed Lime juice

Dice the tomatoes and onions into little cubes, the cilantro and jalapenos should be finely chopped. Once you've done this, toss all the ingredients together evenly.

Great served with ceviche, seafood, fajita tacos or just about anything. Pico de gallo can also be scrambled together with eggs for "Huevos a la Mexicana," just be sure to leave out the lemon juice if you try this.


Dog Treats from the Heart

3/4 c Hot Water
1/3 c Margarine
1/2 c Powdered milk
1 tsp salt
1 egg beaten
3 c Flour

In large bowl pour hot water over margarine. Combine powdered milk, salt and egg, with margarine and water. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Knead for a few minutes to form stiff dough. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into shape (preferably bone). Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool.



5-6 c of fresh tomatoes (3 cans of tomatoes)
2 t of paprika
1/2 t of cummin
1/4 fresh onion
3 t of salt
1 t of garlic powder
1 t black pepper
2 t of crushed red pepper
1 1/2 T of cilantro


Bloody Mary

Here's the classic Bloody Mary recipe. Enjoy!

1 1/2 ounces (1 jigger) vodka
1/2 cup tomato juice
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Tabasco to taste
1 celery stick for garnish
1 lemon wedge for garnish

Combine the vodka, the tomato juice, the lemon juice, the Worcestershire sauce, the Tabasco, 1 cup ice cubes, and salt and pepper to taste, shake the mixture well, and strain it into a tall glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish the Bloody Mary with the celery stick and the lemon wedge.


Freezing Tomatoes

Tomatoes may be frozen whole, sliced, chopped, or puréed. Additionally, you can freeze them raw or cooked, as juice or sauce, or prepared in the recipe of your choice.

Thawed raw tomatoes may be used in any cooked-tomato recipe. Do not try to substituted them for fresh tomatoes, however, since freezing causes their texture to become mushy. Tomatoes should be seasoned just before serving rather than before freezing; freezing may either strengthen or weaken seasonings such as garlic, onion, and herbs.

Preparation: Select firm, ripe tomatoes for freezing. Sort the tomatoes, discarding any that are spoiled. Wash them in clean water as recommended above. Dry them by blotting with a clean cloth or paper towels.

Freezing whole tomatoes with peels: Prepare tomatoes as described above. Cut away the stem scar. Place the tomatoes on cookie sheets and freeze. Tomatoes do not need to be blanched before freezing. Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes from the cookie sheets into freezer bags or other containers. Seal tightly. To use the frozen tomatoes, remove them from the freezer a few at a time or all at once. To peel, just run a frozen tomato under warm water in the kitchen sink. Its skin will slip off easily.


Cape Cod

1oz. Vodka
Cranberry Juice
Lime Wedge

In a Highball or bucket glass with ice add vodka.
Fill with cranberry juice.
Squeeze Lime and drop in the glass.