Saturday, December 23, 2017

Frugal Christmas Gifts #3 and Life Happens

So, I had quite a few pre Christmas posts planned, but life was derailed this past Thursday.  My dear husband had a heart attack and has been hospitalized.  But good news, today I brought him home!  We will be celebrating Christmas with just the three of us quietly at home.  We've cancelled our plans, so he can rest.  I feel so blessed.

The Ulta ad today shows that many of their Holiday gift packs are 50% off.  From skincare to cosmetics this is a great time to pick up something extra for a friend (or yourself).  The same is true from the hardware store (mine has cute seaside themed ornaments), to the drug store (CVS had Yankee Candle decorations marked down).

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all.

God bless,

Friday, December 15, 2017

Frugal Christmas Gifts #2

Sometimes it's fun and a bit more memorable to put a few of your favorite things together for a gift.  How about a cute little (or not so little) Totoro mug, silicone lid (keeps your drink hot) and some honey ginger crystals.

Sooo cute!

God bless,

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Frugal Christmas Gifts

Three Christmas gift ideas in one post!

I love to buy gifts from Etsy.   It's nice to support a small business and everything I've purchased has been unique, handmade and creative.  I recently purchased the garnet and silver ring from Stamey Creek Creations which is located in North Carolina by the John C. Campbell Folk School.  The young woman that owns the store has attended classes at the school all of her life and has recently started working in sterling silver.

On my nails in the photo (yes, I'm a Mennonite that wears nail polish) is Zoya nail polish, which is free of the five bad chemicals often found in nail polish.  Zoya has been having the Twelve Days of Christmas with a new sale every day.

Yankee Candles has some very nice Christmas scents.  I usually order from the Yankee Candle online store, which has personalized candles and their large candles are two for $36 right now.  They also have some cute Christmas themed decorations.  I like to keep a couple of the small jar candles on hand for last minute gifts.

I also picked up some food bags at the dollar store for my homemade granola.  It makes a nice hostess gift and is a quick Christmas morning breakfast when served over yogurt.

Have fun!

God bless,

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all of you have a peaceful and love filled Thanksgiving.

Let's recap a few of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes:

Cranberry sauce -

Sweet potato casserole -

Some people love mashed potatoes, but I prefer fried.  Here is my recipe for easy fried potatoes:


1 bag fingerling or small Yukon gold potatoes
salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup water

Wash the potatoes and cut into halves or quarters.  Put oil and butter into pan and heat on medium until hot.  Pour in water, bring to a boil, then cover and lower to simmer.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Then remove the lid and raise the heat back to medium.  Add salt and pepper. The water will evaporate and the potatoes will begin to fry. When the potatoes are nicely browned on the bottom turn them with a spatula.  When crispy and brown on several sides they are done.

 I almost forgot.  Here's my recipe for cornbread stuffing:

Enjoy your day!

God bless,

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Rebates and Coupons with Ibotta and Ebates

For the last six months I've been using two apps on my phone to earn rebates on my purchases.  They have proven to be reliable and easy to use.

To use Ebates you don't need an app, but one is available.  Log in to Ebates on your device, choose the store you want to use, then enter that store's website through the Ebates page.  The Ebates page for the store will list any available coupon codes.

Make your purchases as normal and Ebates will calculate your rebate and add it to your account.  Several times a year they will mail you a check.  Easy Peasy.

I've found Ibotta much easier to use through the app.  Through the app choose the store you will be using, choose items that you buy, then after you have shopped send a photo of your receipt to them and scan any barcodes they require.  Some of the rebates require that you watch a 15 second video commercial.  I have the rebates sent to my PayPal account.

For very little effort I've managed to get over $50 in rebates in the last six months and with Christmas coming it's nice to get a little money back.  If nothing else the rebates have covered the cost of shipping for my online purchases.

Happy saving!

God bless,

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Hurricane Irma Cleanup

One of the big complaints in my area have been how long it has taken for the county to gather debris from people's yards in unincorporated areas.  At first it wasn't that bothersome, but as the debris dried out it became quite a fire hazard.  We occasionally get opportunistic burglaries by people coming off the beaches at night and stopping in our neighborhood to burglarize unlocked cars.  Our fear was of someone throwing a lite match into one of the debris piles.

Our other fear was if a new hurricane hit our area that the larger branches laying in the front yard would become projectiles.

So, I and a couple of our neighbors decided to complain after a month had passed.  They made phone calls and I wrote an email.  I guess the squeaky wheel does get the grease because the county showed up yesterday to collect the debris.

The county had a contract with a local company to do debris cleanup, but the company decided they could make more money further south, so they didn't fulfill their contract.  I'm sure one of the county attorneys will have a field day with that.  So, we had to wait until the county hired a company from Louisiana to clean up.

All I know is that getting ride of the debris is a relief.  And that we are blessed that we had only damage to trees.  We have our lives, home and work.  So say prayers for the people in Puerto Rico that have been left shamefully without adequate assistance, the people flooded out in Houston and the people that have lost their homes and loved ones in the California fires.

God bless,

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Peanut Sauce

We made it through Irma and have spent the last few weeks cleaning up the yard.   It's frustrating to still have the quite large pile of debris in the yard, but our county is moving slowly.  Fortunately, there was little damage to the house.

Now for a quick peanut sauce recipe to whip up to add flavor to meals and salads.


1/2 cup of shelled roasted peanuts
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 tsp. finely grated ginger
juice of 1/2 lime

Soak the peanuts in water overnight.  Drain, add other ingredients and blend until smooth.  Mine didn't come out smooth because I only soaked the peanuts for a few hours.  To transition this sauce into a salad dressing add oil and more lime juice until it reaches the consistency and taste you prefer.

I served mine drizzled over chicken tenders.  Yum!

God bless,

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Yep, I'm stuck at ground zero with my family because the weather reports kept changing.  We had made reservations on the east coast through next week, but then the forecasters said it was going to hit the east.  So we decided to stay put here on the west coast and, surprise, Irma is now going to pass over my area.  There is no gas or lodging available pretty much in the whole southeast now.

My husband and daughter were on vacation, so my brother in law and nephew came over to help me put up the metal hurricane shutters. When dear husband and daughter got home we got busy cleaning up the yard of possible projectiles, and filling our six gallon containers with drinking water.

In the last few days we've purchased a portable grill, easy start charcoal, canned goods, and filled all our prescriptions.  I was surprised to find the grill and charcoal on an end cap at Walgreens and CVS. We were originally planning on digging a hole, lining it will foil, place a grill over the top and cook with firewood.  We are iffy on whether our gas grill was safe to use as we haven't used it for a while.

Besides our drinking water we have filled pots and pans with water and will fill our tub when the time comes.  I plan on taking a nice hot bath before I do that though.

And what do you do when you are most certainly going to lose your electricity?  Why you decide to can all the meat in the freezer.  Which is what I'm doing while we speak.

Station 1 has the hot lids, hot broth and clean jars.

Station 2 is the actual American brand pressure canner.

One of the meats to be canned: poached chicken.

When I'm done the canner can be used to store more water.  It was a way to provide food for my family and make sure nothing was wasted.

In my free time I'm checking out rentals on Zillow.  I've found a couple of cute houses in both Georgia and North Carolina.  I also have an open invitation to stay with my brother and sister in law in California.  Or with my best friend in Georgia.  That may be nice for a few weeks.  All we need for dear daughter's schooling is a computer, printer and reliable internet, so there are many options.

Pray for us as we are praying for others.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Frugal Kitchen: Chicken, Hominy Soup

Another quick and easy recipe with a big flavor payoff.


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lime, juiced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. hot sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can hominy, drained
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. olive oil

In a pot brown the chopped onion in oil, add diced garlic and cumin and continue to brown for one minute.  Add chicken cut up into bite sized pieces and continue to brown for a couple more minutes.  Add the other ingredients and chicken stock to just cover.  Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer.  Cook until the chicken is tender and fully cooked through.

You can serve this with lime wedges and hot sauce on the side, so people can spice it up to their taste.  Add a side salad and bread or crackers for a complete meal.


God bless,

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Frugal Kitchen: Pressure Cooker Coconut Oatmeal

I love Irish oatmeal, not rolled oats, but the kind in the can that is the oat grain broken into pieces, not smooshed flat.  It's nutty flavored and has a satisfying tooth to it.  The drawback is that it has a fairly long cooking time.  We can remedy that by soaking the oatmeal overnight and/or using a pressure cooker.


1 cup Irish oatmeal
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

In your electric pressure cooker on sauté or a separate pan melt the oil, then add the oats.  Stir constantly to coat the oats with the oil and lightly toast them.  Dump the rest on the ingredients in the cooker, and set the delay to start cooking 1/2 hour before you want to serve them.  Program the cooker to cook on the Porridge/High setting for 14 minutes with a natural exhaust.

You can make this recipe in a regular pan by following the instructions and cooking covered for about half the time listed on the can/box.  The soaking overnight reduces the cooking time considerably.

Serve with milk, a teaspoon of sweetener of your choice and some fresh fruit.

This recipe made four servings.  It refrigerates well and can be reheated with some liquid in the microwave or stove top.


God bless,

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Frugal Kitchen: Electric Pressure Cooker

I've been missing for a few months and I apologize.  I had to have surgery to correct damage to my face from MOHS surgery to remove a deep basal cell carcinoma.  The scar tissue had wrapped around the facial nerve and had to be carefully removed by a plastic surgeon.  Fortunately, I am on the mend.

A few months ago I found a Gourmia (another popular brand is Instant Pot) electric pressure cooker on sale at a very reasonable price.  A couple friends of mine had been raving about theirs and the ease of putting in frozen meat, spices and some broth, then setting it to start cooking a half hour before they are due to arrive home from work.  I decided to give one a try because I am notoriously bad at remembering to defrost meat in time to cook dinner.

My grandmother used to do a great deal of her cooking, particularly wild game, in a pressure cooker.  She had nine children and innumerable grandchildren to cook for and the pressure cooker allowed her to cook quickly and make the tough meat nice and tender.  However, the grandchildren were not allowed in the kitchen while the pressure cooker was in use because when the old pressure cookers blew they did so in a spectacular fashion.  These new pressure cookers are much safer because the pressure is monitored automatically by the cooker.  Also, the nonstick pot is much easier to clean.

So far I love this cooker.  I've made stews, precooked meat for other recipes, and have been exploring the many recipes available on Pinterest.  Tomorrow I am going to make a porridge using coconut milk and Irish oatmeal.  I'll let you know how it works out.

I love to make deviled eggs, but you never know when you'll get a batch of eggs that doesn't peel nicely.  Well, pressure cooking the eggs for a few minutes guarantees easy to peel eggs.  Super easy.

So look around for sales and consider trying these electric pressure cookers.  I'm serious when I say don't pay more than half price for one.  If you can't find them at a reasonable price now, wait until the Christmas sales start.

Take care.

God bless,

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Frugal Kitchen: Paleo Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

As far as cabbage rolls go, the preparation time for this recipe is pretty small.  Around the 45 minute mark.  I've started trying to lose weight again, so the substitution of cauliflower rice for regular white rice helps to reduce the calories.


1 lb. lean ground beef
1 package frozen microwave cauliflower rice
1 cabbage
1 small onion, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper


33.5 ounces tomato sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Pull cabbage leaves off of the head and boil them until they soften or, if you are making a large batch, you can remove the core and boil the entire cabbage head until the leaves soften.  Lay cabbage leaves on a plate to cool.

In a bowl mix the meat, cauliflower and spices together.  Remove the spines from the cabbage leaves and place a large spoonful of the meat mixture in the middle.  Fold over the sides and roll the cabbage up.

Place a small amount of tomato sauce mixture into the bottom of your slow cooker or large pot.  Place all of the cabbage rolls in and cover with the rest of the tomato sauce mixture.

Cook in the slow cooker on high for 3 hours.  In a regular pot on the stove bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer, cook 2 hours.

This is a simple variation of the cabbage roll.  Sometimes I like to add raisins to either the stuffing or the tomato sauce for extra sweetness.  It just depends on your taste.  Enjoy!

God bless,

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Frugal Kitchen: Easy Rice Pilaf

I just noticed that almost all of my recipes start with "Easy".  Oh well, the life of a busy mother.

Easy Rice Pilaf Ingredients

White or brown rice, as much as you need for your family
Chicken Stock, follow rice instructions for the amount of needed liquid
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup diced carrots or 1 8oz can petit peas
salt to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 scallion finely diced

In a skillet add oil, scallion and carrots.  Cook until lightly browned.  I used my rice cooker for this recipe, but you can use any pot or pan that you normally use for rice.  Add rice, stock, cashews, raisins, salt and all the ingredients from the skillet.  Cook as you would normally cook rice.  Fluff rice pilaf and serve with meat or vegetables.

This dish allows for a variety of substitutions.  Use the stock, nuts and vegetables of your choice.  You can vary the dish based on the type of protein you are serving.  I served the pilaf with some reheated, left over chicken.


God bless,