Saturday, November 28, 2009

Got turkey?

Are you down to the last bit of turkey yet? Don't toss the carcass. Break it up and put it in a large pot and boil it until the tiny bits of meat start falling off. Remove the bones and strain the broth, then pick out the meat and freeze it for later. Cover some of it with the broth and you'll have a soup almost ready to go - just add rice and/or vegetables. Freeze some by itself, too. It's good for salads and sandwiches.

Boiling it is the only way to get it all, so if you haven't done this in the past, you may be surprised at how much more meat you can get - and how many very, very frugal meals you can make of it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving thoughts

How far we've come from the first Thanksgiving! Men, women and children were thankful for simply surviving in the new world. The feast was a true feast. Food had been scarce and many had gone to bed hungry more than once. With this awesome bounty of harvest from field, forest and stream, came a heartfelt thanksgiving - one only those who have been without can truly give.

Today most of us sit in our warm kitchens, eating food bought from the supermarket, later watching football on tv, or visiting with friends and family. Sure, we say we're thankful, and we are, at least to a degree. Often it's a shallow and diluted thanksgiving, though, simply because we don't really know what it would be like to do without those things for which we so glibly give thanks.

There are those on America's streets who do know.

The homeless population is growing, still hurting. Children and families are the fastest growing group. Children just like your children and your grandchildren and your nieces and nephews, are without basic shelter and food, never mind the dental care and the hamburgers and the new shoes.

During this time when you think of those things for which you're thankful, take a moment and see what you can do to make a difference for these children, and for their parents whose hearts surely break a dozen times a day.

I'm partial to local charities - the food bank, the local Salvation Army, the churches and organizations that do what they can to ease the burden of not having a place to be.

Look around in your own community or town and see the need. You don't have to give to a charity if you find or know someone personally who could use the help.

Do what you can. Life is so unpredictable. It's possible that someone you know or someone you love or even you, will find themselves without a home. Pay it forward... just in case.

And do it with a thankful heart.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I know it's not Christmas yet...

But you gotta get a head start on these things! Here's what I've been up to the last few days:


Let me know what you think... you're my editors and critics at large. ;)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Got your Christmas shopping done?

Waiting until the last minute, whether it's shopping for Christmas or a vacation on the beach will usually cost more. I hate to put it off, because I won't have time to shop for bargains, to compare prices, to wait it out to see if I can find something better (cheaper, better quality, bigger...).

If you're waiting on a pay check or something else prevents you from starting yet, don't just sit on your hands. Look around, decide what you want to buy and find best prices while you're waiting. Then when the money comes, you'll know where to go and how much it's going to cost.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fresh pumpkin soup

I finally baked the pumpkin my daughter got for me today! I don't know why anyone would buy canned pumpkin when they can get fresh pumpkin. I have enough in the freezer for pies for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and plenty for pumpkin bread and cookies and even pumpkin soup, all for about two dollars. Ten cups of fresh pumpkin!

There was a little over a half cup left when I'd portioned it out for the freezer, so I made pumpkin soup for supper. I read a couple of recipes then I winged it because I didn't have everything they called for and I didn't have enough pumpkin anyway.

I made a cup of chicken bouillon, added about a teaspoon of dehydrated onion and a couple of shakes of powdered garlic. I cooked that, then thickened it with flour (mixed in cold water), then I put in the pumpkin, some salt and pepper, a strip of bacon that had been cooked and crumbled and a good dollop of plain yogurt.

Wow, was that good! The problem was that I can never duplicate the exact flavor because I didn't write any of it down and most of it wasn't measured to begin with. I'll try again, though, because this is going to become a stock recipe in my kitchen!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Heating tricks (Caution: extremely frugal tips ahead)

Winter time is coming on! If you haven't had a spell of cold weather yet, you probably will soon. Here are some extremely frugal tips to help you through.

Wait until you're ready to relax to put something in to bake. Heat from the oven will help heat your house and you, while you're not moving around.

While you're baking, put several stones in the oven to heat up, too. When they're hot, remove them (remember, they'll be hot) and put them in a heat resistant container where they can help heat a room. You'll be surprised how much radiant heat you can get from them.

Not baking? Stones or other solid objects soak in heat from the sun, so if you use them wisely, you can use this stored heat to raise temperatures somewhat. Put stones, cast iron or other solid objects where they will be in direct sunlight. When they get very warm, put them in your cold room or area and they will slowly radiate stored heat. The more you use, the more heat will be radiated.

Water will hold and radiate heat, too. Put barrels or other containers (metal or glass) of water in windows where they will be heated by the sun until you draw the curtains - then it will radiate its stored heat.

Don't run hot water down the drain. Let it set, even in a glass or cup, until it's radiated all of its heat into the room.

To warm yourself or family members, sun or oven heated stones (wrap in cloth if they're too hot), and bottles, jugs or cans of hot water, capped tightly, make great foot or hand warmers.

Use passive solar heating as much as possible, by opening windows to the sunlight - but close them as soon as the sun goes down or behind clouds.

Keep windows on the north covered with drapes, thermal blinds, or - new idea - bubble wrap.

Take advantage of small things, like heat from candles. Group several together in an area that doesn't get a lot of air flow and the area will be warmer.

Place lamps as low as you can, so heat from lightbulbs warm the air closest to you first instead going straight to the ceiling.

There are other ways to stay warm than turning up the thermostat.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Holiday articles

I'm going to send you away from the blog today, to a few articles I've written that are appropriate for this time of year.

First, are you wondering what to do with all that Halloween candy? Read this:
The Many Uses for Excess Holiday Candy

Then, if you're thinking about decorating for Thanksgiving, do it frugally:
Natural and Free Thanksgiving Decorations

And finally, cooking a Thanksgiving dinner can be ultra traditional and save you a lot of money:
The First Thanksgiving Menu - It Wasn't Your Grandma's Menu!

Enjoy. Or complain, commment, whatever. I feel like saying "Welcome to the holidays!"