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Home > Archive: March, 2007

Archive for March, 2007

Another no spend day for me and free fajitas!

March 18th, 2007 at 06:08 pm

Today's been another no spend day for me. DH had to do an install and needed something from the hardware store so he's spent something. I don't know how much since he isn't home yet but it shouldn't be more than a few dollars.

We have more greenies peeking out from the soil today than we did yesterday and it's great to see the growth! Especially the tomatoes since gardening is all about the tomatoes for me. We have all varieties up out of the ground now.

My son and his girlfriend went out for Mexican food and brought me back beef fajitas. They were great and they were free! So the leftovers that don't get eaten tonight by DH will be eaten tomorrow for lunch.

I'm going to bed early tonight since tomorrow is going to be a busy day at my mother's house. Relatives from Iowa are coming in so Mom and I have some things to do before they arrive. Smile

Recent freebies

March 18th, 2007 at 07:50 am

I've gotten some pretty decent freebies lately and here are a few:

A Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce cookbook to go with the 25 coupons they sent me for free sauce

A coupon for free Coffee Mate

A sample of Airborne On-The-Go

A sample of DiabetiDerm foot cream

A 2007 calendar from Mrs. Smith's Desserts with a nice coupon on the page for each month. I don't buy these products but my mother does now and then so I'll give her the calendar and coupons

Samples of Garnier Fructis hair products

A coupon for a full size jar of Noxzema

Ahh, few things say lovin' like sumpin that costs nuttin!! Smile

This week's dinners

March 17th, 2007 at 11:31 pm

We have a fridge full of leftovers so Sunday night is YOYO night. In the fridge are leftover purple hull peas, hamburger steak, onions and mushrooms in brown gravy and plenty of vegetables. We also have two gallon size zipper bags of cornbread. So, we'll each have whatever appeals to us. Here are the rest of the week's meals in no particular order unless otherwise stated:

Monday night - Chicken and dressing made with whatever cornbread doesn't get eaten tonight and some canned chicken in the cupboard. With it we'll have a light gravy and leftover vegetables.

Spaghetti made with a sauce from one of those huge cans of tomatoes I dealt with recently. We'll have it with green beans, salad and garlic toast.

Soup made with ground beef, any leftover vegetables languishing in the fridge, more of that sauce in the freezer, and seasonings.

What my other half calls "big ass" salads meaning they have just about everything one can think of on them.

Sloppy joes with low carb tortillas, spinach and salad.

Scrambled eggs, turkey ham and toast.

Can't sleep, too little on TV and too much on my mind

March 17th, 2007 at 10:31 pm

It's after midnight and I can't sleep. It's 63 degrees out and I sat on the porch awhile hoping the beautiful night might help me relax and feel sleepy. No such luck. There's not much on television but I have some old John Wayne movie playing. I can't see the screen from where I sit but I can hear it. I still love the sound of his voice...

I have way too much on my mind. The wireless install jobs are going okay but there aren't very many of them yet so DH isn't making much money. We're getting behind on things again and it makes me very nervous. I've filled out job applications but there isn't much hiring going on right now and going to another town isn't an option. We've gathered some things to put on eBay so I hope that works well. The last few things we listed didn't sell or sold for very little so I'm a tad reluctant but we'll see how it goes. Hopefully they'll bring in a little cash.

At any rate, it's a good thing I don't have plans for later today. I have the feeling I'm going to be tired...

Broccoli and tomato plants, garden beds, and homegrown conspiracy theories

March 17th, 2007 at 07:25 am

So, this morning bright and early we walked outside to have some coffee and check on our plants. Here's a bit of what we saw:

This is bed 2. Right now all that's visible is broccoli but there's also fat man beans and a lot of other good stuff planted there.

This is a closer picture of the broccoli plants which are doing very well.

And here are the 24 tomato plants we got FREE at the local hardware store. Most of them had gotten a wee bit cold recently and had a bit of brown on them so they just gave them to us. We think we'll lose 2, maybe 3, of the 24 and that's not bad at all.

And here are the two beds we've planted so far. The tires in the background are stacked and used to grow tomatoes and squash.

And now for something completely different...I figure we all should
Make our own conspiracy theory at least once in our lifetime. Why not?

Catching up - haven't posted in a week. Why?

March 16th, 2007 at 03:08 pm

Because Spring is here!

This is my Lady Banks Rose that is entwined with a Pin Oak tree. This time of year it begins to bloom and it's just lovely.

And this is Carolina Jessamine growing on one of our fences. I just love this stuff. It's so bright and colorful and smells so good!

My oldest son was on spring break from UT in Austin and came to spend a few days with us. It was great to have him here. I always enjoy his company and miss him when he isn't here. Here's a picture of him taken two days ago:

As you can probably tell, he wasn't really impressed with me taking his picture but he at least looked at the camera!

Two of my five step-children have been visiting, too. They're going home today but we've had a great visit and I'll miss them when they're gone.

Oh yes, we've been working steadily on our garden beds, trying to revamp the ones we'd made back in 2004. We're doing square foot gardening again and have two beds made and planted at this point. We also have 24 tomato plants in pots and quite a few other seeds being kept toasty in the yard which is just loaded with sun shine these days. I noticed this morning that we have Straight 8 Cucumbers and squash and melons sprouting and there's one tiny roma tomato plant sprouting.

I also have some black elephant ears seedlings I've been pampering. They're finally starting to come along, too, with all the sun and warmth.

Today I worked in the yard quite a bit, mainly cutting dead stuff from around the Lady Banks bushes. They've been on this property for quite awhile and think they're the bosses. Sometimes I think they are, too. Man, those things just go where they want and do what they want! The things are about 20 feet tall now and reach above the oak tree! I'll post pictures of them when they're fully bloomed.

Today's been a no spend day for me. I've just piddled around the house and yard and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tonight's dinner is Great Northern Beans and cornbread. We'll probably eat dinner while watching a movie borrowed from an acquaintance. Tomorrow we won't do much but we'll more than likely check the garden and sit on the porch enjoying the beautiful weather.

Happy spring to everyone!

Chicken soup with homemade noodles

March 9th, 2007 at 04:45 pm

Last night's dinner was a chicken seasoned with Cook's Choice
Brisket Rub and roasted with potatoes, carrots, and onions. We also had black eyed peas with smoked turkey leg leftover from lunch. The chicken I roasted served me, DH, my mom and stepfather with plenty left.

So tonight I used some of the leftover chicken, the vegetables, and a little of the juice mixed with some broth and seasonings and made a nice chicken soup. To it I added some homemade noodles and it was great!

Here's a picture of a bowl of the soup:

DH didn't want any but I had a bowl and it was tasty and very filling. I love homemade noodles and they're so easy to make. Here's my recipe:

1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp milk
1 cup flour

Mix egg, salt and milk; enough flour to make stiff dough. Roll thin, let stand 20 minutes. Roll up and slice 1/8" thick; spread to dry for about 2 hours. Drop in boiling broth and cook 10 minutes.

I don't worry about the noodles being perfect as long as they're savory. I love these noodles with some fresh basil and ground pepper added to the dough. They're even great with some cheese added to them.

So, if you get bored and want something different to do with your leftover chicken and veggies, try this! You won't be sorry.

Cat in a tree...

March 9th, 2007 at 05:03 am

My cat, Bob, was in a tree in our front yard this morning. Of course, he was in the tree because he thought he could sneak up on the birds that were also in the tree. I got a couple of pictures of Bob...

Bob's just a plain old gray Tabby cat but he's special to me. Smile

My mother's coffee cake

March 8th, 2007 at 08:29 pm

My mother made the best coffee cake when I was a kid. She didn't make it often but when she made it, it was so tasty. I used to love a little piece with a small amount of coffee.

When I went to her house Tuesday to help her clean, I had a little bit of her coffee cake. She hadn't made it in many years and I didn't have the recipe so I hadn't eaten it in many years but it was just as I remembered. The stuff melts in my mouth and while it's sweet, it isn't sickly sweet. It's simply excellent. It's also frugal and easy to make!

She gave me the recipe and here it is, from her old cookbook she got when she and my dad married.


1 beaten egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp melted shortening
1 cup sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Combine egg, sugar, milk and shortening. Add flour sifted with baking powder and salt. Mix well and pour into paper-lined 8x8x2 inch baking pan. (Denise's note-Mom doesn't use the paper but oils and flours the pan well)
Sprinkle with mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp flour, 1 Tbsp melted butter, and 1/2 cup broken nuts. Bake in moderate oven (375) 20 to 25 minutes.

Finally, a no spend day for both of us!

March 8th, 2007 at 07:46 pm

Generally, if I stay home while DH is out I spend nothing and he spends money for gas, a soft drink, a snack, etc.

Well, today we both stayed home all day and spent nothing, zilch, zippo! Since we didn't go anywhere we didn't even use gas. Smile

We did work on the garden beds today and got a few things planted in pots. We also picked up some garbage around the yard and burned it.

It was a productive and cheap, cheap day! Smile

Monday Musings

March 5th, 2007 at 04:42 pm

Let's see. We made a deposit of $240 into checking today. We have to pay the electric bill tomorrow, though, and it's $216.51 so there goes most of that.

In today's mail I got four .50 off coupons from Del Monte. I'm not big on canned vegetables but when I buy them, they're generally store brand vegetables. However, Del Monte's carrots are, in my opinion, the best of the canned ones so I'll get some of those when they're on sale and use my coupons.

I've been cleaning the house and doing laundry today. Two loads washed and dried, another load washed. I'll take it with me to Mom's house tomorrow when I go to clean her house and will use her dryer. I'll also pick up any ironing she needs done and bring it home to be ironed here.

Dinner was scrambled eggs and toast. We're all tired and no one wanted a big meal. It hit the spot. Smile

The tomatoes..again

March 3rd, 2007 at 05:31 pm

Here's what I did with 1 can of the tomatoes.

I sliced two very large onions and sauted them with garlic in olive oil. Then I put one of the 6 lb 3 oz cans of tomatoes in a stock pot and added the onions and garlic, some oregano, basil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and a little sugar. I let it cook all afternoon, about 6 hours, and oh man, it's good!

After it cooled I dipped it into freezer containers and it's now in the freezer, ready to be used next time I need a good pasta sauce or even sauce for Swiss Steak.

The other can still sits on the counter. Maybe I'll get to that tomorrow.

We watched the lunar eclipse

March 3rd, 2007 at 05:28 pm

In this part of the world it wasn't too exciting but we watched it, anyway. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the telescope focused well (we think something's wrong with it) but watched it with the naked eye.

Okay, now I've seen a lunar eclipse - my year is set. Wink

Ideas needed for using two 6 lb cans whole tomatoes

March 2nd, 2007 at 06:54 pm

I have two 6 lb 3 oz cans of whole tomatoes and I need to do something with them. I'm thinking I might make one can into spaghetti sauce for the freezer. I'm not sure what to do with the other can. I don't have to do anything with it right now, I guess, but I'd like to do something productive that would get it out of the cupboard.

The secret life of Wee Black Doggie

March 2nd, 2007 at 02:32 pm

Just a few minutes ago I was at the kitchen sink and I glanced out the window there behind the sink. That view is of our front yard and the road in front of the house. I noticed an unfamiliar car stopped in the middle of the road, right in front of our house. I said to my husband, who was sitting on the couch in the living room, "Do you know who that is?" He walked to the door and said, "No" and headed out.

About that time the woman driving the car got out and headed up the little hill toward our house, leaving her car in the middle of the road. She had a blue bag in her hand but I couldn't see what it was. Well, it turns out she is the neighbor who lives kind of behind our house. She told DH, "I have dog food with me to give to Blackie." and handed him the blue bag of Kibbles and Bits. He was about to ask who Blackie was when Wee Black Doggie, our chow/shepherd mix ran to stand by DH. The woman put her hand out to pet him and he backed up a bit then relaxed and allowed her to pet him. The woman said, "Hi there, Blackie!" and explained to DH that Wee spends time at her house and she feeds him Kibbles and Bits. Huh? He does run around a bit but I've never known him to go behind our property. The lady asked if we were the ones with the shepherd and told DH that "Blackie" and the shepherd ran around together a lot but the other dog hasn't been around in awhile. Neither of us remembers ever seeing a shepherd out here but he just smiled and went along with her. She then asked if we were the ones who had the pig. Uhhh no, no pig here. But there is a hog pen on the property and we were told when we bought the place that the previous owner had a pig that got out.

So at any rate, this stranger dropped off a bag of Kibbles and Bits (which contained a $1 coupon and $2 coupon for K&B, by the way) and talked to DH about what a great dog he's been to her and how she hadn't seen him in a few days so she wanted to try to find him and make sure he's okay.

We're both a bit puzzled that Wee Black Doggie would be hanging out at another house without our knowledge and that this woman seemed pretty familiar with him and he seemed familar with her. And he used to run around with a shepherd? When? Where? We've had him since he was a tiny pup and we've lived in this house since 1998. Wee Black Doggie appears to have another "family" in the neighborhood. Stranger things have happened, though..

It just goes to show you, don't think you know everything your dog does when you're not looking. You probably don't. Smile

Friday doings...

March 2nd, 2007 at 12:46 pm

I've washed a load of clothes and a load of towels and hung them on the clothes line to dry.

DH and I moved the antenna away from the house and closer to the fence. Since we did that, we haven't lost our connection - it seems much more stable. We didn't gain any speed but not dropping every few minutes is worth something!

I straightened up the kitchen, swept the floor, and made more tea. Earlier today I browned the ground turkey for tonight's goulash. We'll have that with spinach and green beans and rolls with butter and everyone will be fat, sassy, and very happy.

Today we got a water bill for $35.22. That's the lowest it's been in a long time. This is the first full billing cycle since we've initiated a couple of changes.

One thing we did is put a brick in the toilet tank to reduce the water flow and I think that's helped.

We're basically down to three people now rather than four and the one who isn't here is the one who took 45 minute showers so that's helped. He still pops in now and then to shower but it's rare and I limit him to 10 minutes.

In addition, I've stopped washing dishes in between meals. I used to run a sink of dish water 5 to 7 times a day because I really dislike dirty dishes in the sink. Now I generally wash dishes 3 times a day, just rinsing anything that turns up between after meal washings. Surely that's made a difference, too.

Hopefully that difference will stick with us. Now if I could just make such a difference in the electric bill but that seems to be an impossibility.

Oh well, one bit of progress at a time...

Today's freebies

March 2nd, 2007 at 11:48 am

In today's mail I got 25 coupons for a free bottle of Country Bob's all purpose sauce, either original or spicy. 25!! And after I notified them about a pretty big ooops on their website a few days ago they told me they're sending me a free cookbook. I should get that soon. Smile

I also got 6 coupons for free Pepsi, 2 2 liter bottles and 4 12 packs.

Few things better than free sauce and free drinks!

Today was a good freebie day. Smile

My first attempt at Orange Chicken!

March 1st, 2007 at 03:49 pm

I've been craving Orange Chicken and the best place for it that I know of is about 2 hours away in Dallas. Well, we aren't going there any time soon so I decided to just try to make it. I looked over several recipes and took bits and pieces of them to create my own. I don't measure everything but this is close:

I skinned and de-boned 7 chicken breasts. Using my Better Breader, I lightly breaded the chicken chunks and baked them in the oven at 350 til done. I decided to lightly bread and bake rather than fry for carb and fat reasons. When the chicken was cooked I just put it all into a bowl and set it aside.

Into the wok I put about 1/2 serving spoon of orange marmalade I had lingering in the fridge. It's too bitter to eat on toast and I just don't like it but kept it thinking I might use it in a recipe. To that I added about 2 tsp pure orange extract, 1 tsp of minced garlic and some fresh ginger, minced. I didn't measure the ginger but it was about one thin slice. I heated all that through and mixed it well then added about 8 ounces of water with 2 tsp corn starch mixed in. I added about 1/2 cup soy sauce and stirred the concoction until it heated through and started to thicken. I tasted it, thought it needed something, so I added about 1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce and some crushed red pepper and let it heat again. Once it was thick, I added some Splenda, about 2 tsp or so and stirred some more. It needed more orange flavor so I put in a few more dashes of the extract and stirred it more. Then I dumped the chicken into the wok and mixed it all well until the chicken was well coated in the sauce. This made about 6 good sized servings.

DH thinks it needed more ginger, more orange, and a bit more sweetener but it was soooo close to Orange Chicken we get in Dallas. He suggested a bit of barbecue sauce, even, which would make it a bit sweeter and darker. Next time I'll add a few chopped green onions and a bit of shredded carrot and probably garnish it with those, also.

Anyway, it was excellent and here's a picture of some of it:

The total cost was about $16, which is a lot more than we normally spend on one meal at home! But it comes out to about $2.67 per serving which is less expensive than eating out. Smile

I put the bones with the little pieces of remaining meat on them in the soup pot and am cooking that for stock. I hate to waste!