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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rising Prices

We are all beginning to feel the cost of higher prices. Our grocery budget use to be $100 per week for the two of us. Trying to prepare 3 meals per day for that price is getting more and more difficult to do.

Meat seems to be the most difficult thing to find at a price I want to pay these days. So I thought I would list some money saving tips.

1. Shop the sales - then stock up. We all have heard this before. My maximum price per pound of meat use to be $2 per pound. This is getting harder and harder to find. When I do find meat at a price below that I buy as much as I can afford.

2. Use it all. Bits and pieces of meats and vegetables can be made into pot pies, pocket sandwiches, and casseroles. Bones can be made into delicious broth. To make broth I add the bones, some onion tops (with the skins still on), carrots, celery, garlic, salt and pepper to a pot of water. Boil until you have a rich broth. Strain and freeze.

3. Use your freezer. If you don't have one I would suggest searching Craig's List for one. I bought one about 5 years ago for $15 and just got rid of it this summer. Freezers are great for being able to stock up and saving those little bits of leftovers. I keep a bowl in the freezer and when there is just a spoonful of vegetables leftover, I scrape it into the bowl, broth and all. When the bowl is full all I need to do is add it to some broth, some leftover meat, and maybe some tomatoes, and I have soup. Think about the frozen dinners you buy at the grocery. If they can freeze it, so can you.

4. Stretch you meat. Ground meat is easy to stretch, What you use to stretch it depends on what you are making. If you are making a meatloaf or burger, add oatmeal. It is very filling and adds fiber. You can also add shredded vegetables. We all need more vegetables, carrots make an excellent addition. Bread crumbs and rice also, make good stretchers.

6. Make it yourself. The web has a knockoff recipe for just about anything you want to make. Recipes for boxed pasta & rice dishes, meal helpers, most convenience foods can be found on the web. If you make it yourself, you can add more pasta or rice and less meat. Even if you do buy the box meal, use 1 pound of meat for 2 boxes, or 1/2 the meat called for. Or you could just add a 1/2 cup more pasta or rice than comes in the box, then add about twice as much water as you do rice or pasta. You will never be able to tell the difference.

7. Don't waste. Keep an eye on what's in your fridge so that you can use it up before it goes bad.

8. Use the web. Search for recipes on using leftovers, casseroles, soups, stews. There are recipes out there for even the pickiest eaters.

9. Shop early in the morning. Or ask the someone in the meat department of your grocery store, when they mark down meat. Managers Specials are often a really good deal. Most stores still guarantee the meat. I have had about 3 incidents when the meat was bad and got my money back every time. The most recent time was from WalMart, I didn't even take the meat back to them. I just told them it was bad and they refunded my money. I learned today that the Honey Baked ham store sells ham bones. I am going to test this out and see if it's worth it or not. They are said to still have up to 3 pounds of meat on them. I will let you know what I find out.

10. Be open minded and creative. So you have never cooked the cut of meat that's on sale, I'll bet if you try it, you'll like it.

11. Use that slow cooker. It can turn a tough cut of meat into a melt in your mouth feast.

Hope this is useful to someone. I know it helps to remind myself sometimes.

Many blessings,

Friday, August 26, 2011

Revisit Homemade Hand Soap

Well, I am not as amazed with the liquid hand soap as I was upon first making it. It turned out really thin, so I made another batch using 1 quart of water and 1 bar of soap. Then I added all of the soap from the previous batch back to it. It did get much thicker. But I don't like the way that it doesn't lather and it rinses off too quickly. I don't feel like my hands are getting clean. I know that it isn't the bubbles that cleans but it just doesn't feel as if the soap stays on your hands long enough to do the job.

I will continue to use the soap I've made and try to find other uses for it. Even though it was free, I don't feel like it was worth the effort. It may be that I used Ivory soap and if I used a different kind I might have liked it better. For now I will just chalk it up to a learning experience.

I have been putting up lots of tomatoes. They have really come in with a vengeance. I can't seem to stay ahead of them. But that's okay with me. I will have lots of good tomatoes all through the winter to make soups and stews with and I am happy about that.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Amazed & Exhausted!

It has been a long weekend. I think I need to go to work tomorrow to get some rest. Yesterday we spent almost 13 hours in the car. We went to Louisville and took Greg's mom down to the country where she grew up. April and Lily went with us and it was a good day. But we didn't get home until 10:00 pm.

After we got home I decided to try this:

I have to say I am totally amazed! I got Ivory soap, free last week at Kroger. I don't usually use Ivory, but it was free and I knew I would use it. Then I came across this recipe for homemade liquid soap. She made hers for $3.50 a gallon, I think. Since I got the soap for free I decided to give it a try. Ivory is very easy to grate. It only took about 30 minutes all together. When I went to bed last night I was sure that I would not have anything that remotely looked like liquid soap when I got up this morning. It looked like a white looking thin liquid when I went to bed. When I got up this morning, it was a totally different thing. It was very think. After running the mixer through it again, it thinned out. I filled both of my dispensers, and empty bottle of the refill size of liquid soap, a quart canning jar, and half of another quart. We have been using it all day and can't really tell much difference. Of course it only smells like Ivory soap, and it rinses off really fast, like Ivory usually does. But for free, I'll take it.

The rest of the day today, I have been cleaning, doing laundry and putting up corn. I also have made brownies and am about to bake cookies. I had the two mixes that are about to expire so I have got to use them before they do. Also, I hope to pick peas today and get some of them put up. But we had rain early this morning and the garden is pretty wet. Unless it dries up a little I will not be able to do that.

Hope you have a great day!