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Friday, January 19, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, week 3...


Successes:
1.  We have a small bench in our shower that I use to hold my pump bottles of shower gel and shampoo.  It has been on its last leg (pardon the pun).  The wood was splintering, and the screws were rusted out.  With each pump of soap, I feared it was going to crumble into a pile.  I've been keeping my eyes open for over a year for a suitable replacement.  All of the choices were either very medical-equipment-ish, or were teak and expensive.  And since our shower is not large, I was afraid any of the choices would crowd the floor space.  Then last week I came across a small shower bench that looked more like a piece of modern furniture than a medical assist tool, and it was a pleasant $29.  Most importantly, it had numerous good reviews as well.  

2.  Since I was switching out the shower bench, I thought I'd clean the shower while it was empty...but I had no shower cleaner.  I found a recipe for homemade on Pinterest using equal parts vinegar and Dawn dishwashing liquid.  I sprayed it all over the shower walls and floor and left it to sit awhile to loosen soap and mineral build up.  I climbed in carefully (slippery stuff!) and used a scrub brush to go over surfaces and rinsed thoroughly.  It worked quite well.  

(In case you are wondering why you would need so much Dawn to clean the shower [I was] I read that the thickness of the Dawn makes the vinegar cling to the vertical surfaces longer so it can work.)  I accidentally had purchased a large bottle of Dawn on sale when I already had one, so I had that and vinegar both on hand, and no moolah spent for a specialized cleaning product.

Now my plan is to make a homemade daily spray to keep it clean (recipe also found on Pinterest).  The daily keep-it-clean spray uses water, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, a tiny bit of Dawn, and some dishwasher rinse agent.  Recipe with exact measurements here.

3.  Like a lot of the rest of the country, I stayed home due to the winter weather this week.  I missed a day of work I had scheduled, but I didn't wreck my car or slip on the ice and break anything (South Texans do not know how to maneuver on ice!), either of which possibility would have been much more expensive than my missed day of wages.

4.  I booked a day of work for next week.

5.  There is a sad health development for two of my sisters.  I told my third sister that I would accompany her to assist, which would have meant time away, plane tickets, and possibly boarding the dog.  Today she called me to tell me that the other sisters' daughters had things well in hand and we weren't needed after all.  Passing the torch.  Children to be proud of.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  hash--sausage, onion, potato, cabbage
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey's
Monday:  *Chinese
Tuesday:  Dublin Coddle
Wednesday:  leftovers
Thursday:  roast, dumplings, veg
Friday:  Spanish Rice

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What I'm reading Wednesday...

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

A beautifully written memoir by Dr. Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon who at age 34 was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.  

When I need something a little lighter, I switch to...

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

Also a library ebook.   In an age when a majority of people couldn't read or didn't have access to newspapers, traveling from town to town reading the news to groups of paying listeners was a living for the Captain, an elderly former soldier turned printer.  He is in the town of Wichita Falls, in northern Texas, presenting the news, when he is approached by an acquaintance to perform a service for a reward: returning a German settler child to her family near San Antonio.  She has been living with the Kiowa as an adopted member of their tribe after being abducted in a raid years before.

It's always interesting to read about my home landscapes in a different age.

Monday, January 15, 2018

I'm a smooth(ie) operator...

My number one goal for the year is to have breakfast every day...extra points if it's healthy.  :)  I figured smoothies were something I could manage, and would add more fruits and vegetables to my day.  I've been buying fresh fruit as well as frozen and using fresh vegetables.

I just noticed that my piece of ginger root looks like a little lobster.  :)
I love the Rubbermaid Brilliance containers for keeping the fruit in the freezer.  With the lid as well as the container being clear, I can tell easily what is in each one, and the way the lid is designed they stack easily and don't tumble around every time I open the freezer drawer.  (This opinion is not sponsored, I just really like them.)  I bought these specifically for this purpose, because I didn't want my fruit in the freezer confused with Carey's work meals.  

This one has a banana, a small orange, a few slices of frozen peach, some frozen blueberries, a handful of spinach, and a piece of sliced ginger.  I pour some coconut milk and some Just Black Cherry juice (100% juice good for inflammation from arthritis) over the top as well as a scoop of organic egg white protein powder, and blend.  If it's too thick, I add some ice cubes and/or a little water and blend again.

So far I have been really good at getting this made and consumed first thing every morning, even on the mornings that I've had to be out of the house by 7 a.m. for work.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, week 2...


Successes:
1.  I finally got around to taking my prescription for new glasses to get filled.  I thought I'd try Costco's Optical department.  The cost was $120 after insurance for new frames and progressive lenses (trifocal) with no line, no glare, etc.  They will be in within a week to 10 days.  Hopefully the quality is as good as the service was.  I declined the $40 discount to order a second pair.  My prescription didn't change much, so my sunglasses are still fine, and in a pinch my current glasses could get me by till they could be replaced.

2.  I turned in one of my survey validations for a free drink at Sonic.

3.  I've been doing a bit of menu planning and trying to avoid the grocery store.  Taking stock of the freezer confirms that we should be well fed for quite awhile.  I have a ham and a turkey bought on sale before the holidays, and some shrimp, bacon, sausage, and frozen chicken.  That is more than enough to hold us for a good while.  The produce section is the easiest to shop, so I don't mind running in to refill the veggie drawers in our fridge.

4.  I came across a book that I wanted to read.  Not available at library.  Ugh.  And I'm determined not to buy books this month.  Rather than caving on my resolve, I entered a request at library to have them acquire it through purchase or interlibrary loan.

5.  I worked two days this week.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  *pizza
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey's
Monday:  waffles, bacon, eggs
Tuesday:  *Tex-Mex
Wednesday:  Slow Cooker Dublin Coddle
Thursday:  *burger
Friday:  baked sweet potato

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Slow Cooker Dublin Coddle...

I've blogged before about Dublin Coddle.  My friend LB reminded me that it needed trying in the slow cooker.  It turned out SO delicious and was so much easier since I didn't bother with the layering and oven-cooking steps.


Part of what makes it so easy is my Ninja Slow Cooker.  (This is not a sponsored recommendation, I just LOVE my Ninja.)  It has stove-top settings, which makes browning of meat in its non-stick liner so convenient, and no extra pan to wash.  I just sliced the sausage and bacon and put it in the liner and set on 'high' stove-top setting.

While the meat started cooking, I chopped the onions and sliced the potatoes.  Carey had picked up baby carrots instead of whole carrots, so I used those straight from the package.

As soon as the vegetables were prepped, I stirred them into the liner with the bacon and sausage.  The bacon and sausage weren't fully cooked yet, but that was okay since it was going to slow cook for four more hours.  

I poured a can of Campbell's Condensed French Onion Soup over the top.  Then I almost filled the empty soup can with water and poured that over the top too, twice (or about 2 cups of water).  I pushed the potatoes down into the liquid as much as possible.  The soup is salty enough that I don't even add additional salt...maybe just some ground black pepper if I think of it.

Then I added as much torn kale (with large stems removed) as I could fit into the room that was left at the top of the pot to steam.  I put the lid on, and switched from stove-top setting to the 'high - 4 hour' slow cook setting.  When it's done, I stir the kale into the rest of the ingredients before serving.

It is SO good, and it is everybody's favorite...so much more flavorful than it is photogenic.  Jared said he could eat it every day, so I make it often, as I almost always have everything on hand.  And now it's even easier in the slow cooker!

Ingredients:
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
1/2 pound thick slicked bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, roughly chopped
5 to 6 potatoes, washed and sliced (I leave peel on)
3 carrots, washed and sliced (I leave peel on) or baby carrots
2 to 3 cups tightly packed torn kale, 
      washed and large stems removed
1 can Campbell's Condensed French Onion soup
2 cups water

Directions:
Cook the sausage and bacon a bit.  In the slow cooker liner mix the onion, potatoes, and carrots to the meats and toss.  Pour soup and water over top.  Top with kale.  Cover and cook for 4 hours on high slow cooker setting.  Stir the kale into the rest of the ingredients before serving.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Twist of Faith by Ellen J. Green

I got this one for free from Kindle First Reads.  When a young woman's adoptive mother dies, she comes across a photograph of a house, and her research into finding its meaning puts her in danger and brings up family mysteries.  I'm about a third of the way through.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Breakfast for Supper...

I heard that our grocery store is reorganizing their interior...rearranging whole sections, adding more freezer cases and another aisle...how are they going to squeeze them in?  I'll bet it makes me love grocery shopping even more!  Yeah, that's not going to happen.  

Word around the neighborhood is that it is a madhouse, and the renovations are expected to take a month!  I was thinking today about how to avoid it until the work is done.  I guess it's time to try ordering online and pick up curbside.

In the meantime, I had everything in the fridge to make breakfast for dinner last night.  Mmmmm...waffles!  I had Carey take the leftover waffles over to the kids.  They can warm them in the toaster for breakfast.
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