The Complete Tightwad Gazette

tightwadOur financial situation has changed quite a bit over the last several years.  We’ve had to tighten our belts, loosen them a bit, tighten them again, and just when we thought things were getting better we had to tighten more.

I’ve pulled out The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn to re-read.  It’s a compilation of the bygone newsletter The Tightwad Gazette.  The book is a bit outdated, and while everything she presents in her book may not apply, the book itself can be a good read to find ideas to apply to your situation and put you into the frugal mind set to come up with your own ideas. It’s one of the books I think everyone could benefit from reading.

Amy’s personality made being frugal fun, not drudgery.  Her wisdom and experience really helps you refocus the way you see things.  One of the things I like about this book is all the creative ideas for repurposing.  I have to be careful, I have a tendency to save everything thinking it could be useful one day. lol

The book also has recipes.  Here is a recipe we like from The Complete Tightwad Gazette for Bean-Bacon Chowder (just in time for fall!) I make my own versions of this quite a bit.

Bean-Bacon Chowder

6 slices bacon, cut up
1 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
2 medium potatoes, peeled
1/4 tsp crushed dried thyme
1 22-oz jar of baked beans or substitute homemade
1/4 cup snipped parsley

Cook bacon and onion in a saucepan until bacon is lightly browned and onion is tender. Blend in flour. Add milk; cook and stir until bubbly. Dice potatoes; add with thyme, 1 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes or till the potatoes are done. Stir in beans and heat through. Top with parsley. Serves six.

Genesis 41:35-36 – And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.

Recipe: Pancakes from Scratch

pancakerecipe1aMy grandmother’s cookbook. Even though the copyright is 1946 (the year before my mother was born) I use it often.  The pages are a bit brittle and yellowed, the cover is loose…but it is always the first place I look for recipes.

THIS is my main pancake recipe.  So versatile, I switch it up using fruit, seasonings, make it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  We actually have these more for dinner than breakfast.  By request.  Hubby loves pancakes. I also use almond or coconut milk since I’m not supposed to have dairy and I use honey instead of sugar.  And pancakes pancakes1aare frugal too.

Honestly, homemade pancakes don’t take much longer to make than boxed pancakes and taste so much better in my humble opinion.  And the fresher your ingredients, the better they taste.  And did I mention they are frugal?

Here is the recipe for you:

pancakes2aSWEET MILK GRIDDLE CAKES

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon melted shortening

Mix and sift flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.  Add milk, well-beaten egg, and shortening and mix well.  Drop by tablespoons on a hot griddle, greased well, and brown on both sides.  Serve hot with marmalade or honey.

I’d love to hear about your favorite pancake recipe, and if you try this one, I’d love to hear how you like it.  Until next time…grace and peace!

John 6:47-50 
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.

Recipe: Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkinseedsWe don’t carve up pumpkins faces for Halloween but we do enjoy pumpkin recipes like pumpkin pie in the fall and at holidays. I bought pumpkins that I will be turning into pumpkin puree and put into the freezer.  I’m hoping to get this done today.  One of the great things for me about pumpkins is all the pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are one of the most nutritious and flavorful seeds around, and a fun, frugal snack. Roasted pumpkin seeds are not just great to snack on by themselves, but I also like to toss them into salads and even stir fries too.

Wash seeds and remove remaining pumpkin stuff from them. My grandmother always soaked the seeds over night in salted water. I don’t. lol Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread seeds on a cookie sheet sprayed lightly with oil, sprinkle with a little salt if desired, and place in the oven for about 30-45 minutes or until dried and lightly browned. Stir several times while they bake. Don’t over bake the seeds.

Another recipe is to coat the seeds in melted butter or oil before baking.

You can season the seeds with any kind of your favorite seasonings. I really just like the lightly salted ones…but hubby likes them spicy hot…so I’ll coat some in his favorite hot sauce before I bake them. Seeds will keep for a couple weeks or so in an air tight container…but ours never last that long.

Recipe: Pumpkin Bread

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Baking local grown pumpkins to make puree.

I’m not a fan of pumpkin spiced everything.   I do, however, like homemade pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. My Aunt who recently passed away mid September gave everyone pumpkin and banana breads every Christmas.  I looked forward to that every year.  Quite a few years ago when we were going through some hard times and money was tight, I took that idea and started baking Christmas gifts including pumpkin bread. I even shared my homemade honey wheat bread and Amish white bread with my Aunt at our family Christmas. But pumpkin bread is one of my favorites and is a favorite of several in our family. Here is the recipe I use.  It isn’t my Aunt’s recipe, never as good as hers because of all the love she put into it, but this is my favorite recipe to use and it makes delicious bread.  It makes three loaves and I think it tastes even better when you use fresh pumpkin puree.  It isn’t hard and you don’t have to use pie pumpkins.  You can use any good pumpkin.  Just cut it in half, clean out the pumpkin guts, and bake in a 350 F oven until tender.  A knife will go through it easily.  Scoop out the pumpkin, let it drain for a while in a cheese cloth lined colander, then freeze.  I freeze mine in 1 cup portions.  I’d love to hear what you think if you try this recipe, or if you make your own puree.

Ingredients

3 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 cups white sugar
6 eggs
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour three 9″ x 5″ loaf pans.

In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves then stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes to one hour. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.

Recipe: My Granola

OK…I really don’t have a real recipe.

I typically use whatever I have and just mix it together. But I do have a ratio I go by.  I have found that 8 cups dry ingredients to about 1 cup wet ingredients works the best. But you can play around with the ratio and find what works the best for you.

For dry ingredients I usually start with at least 3-4 cups of rolled oats. Don’t use quick or instant oats…they don’t work well for granola. From there you can add dry ingredients like your favorite chopped nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans etc.; favorite seeds like sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, ground flax etc.; coconut (I use unsweetened); wheat germ etc., you could even add cereal like rice krispies if you like. Add more oats if needed.  For wet ingredients I like to use honey, maple syrup and/or molasses with a teaspoon of vanilla (or your could use almond extract), and a generous pinch of salt. You can add a 1/4-1/2 tsp. of your favorite spices like cinnamon (it is easy to over spice, so less is more to start!)  1/4 cup of your one cup of  wet ingredients should include your favorite oil (or you could use butter if you like). Coconut oil is my favorite for granola.

Mix together all your ingredients and bake on a large cookie sheet or other baking pan. I use a big roasting pan. The lower oven temperatures work the best…about 250-300F. Bake about an 1 hour until granola is lightly browned, mixing every 10-15 minutes or so.  Let it sit for a while in the oven to cool.

Once your granola is cooled you can add about 2 cups of your favorite dried fruit like raisins, apples, cranberries, etc. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks…if it lasts that long!

Do you make your own homemade granola?  If you do, I’d love to hear how you make yours.  And if you’re trying it out for the first time, I’d love to hear how it comes out!

Grandma’s Cookbook

It is a cool and calm morning here @ home. The only sounds are the wind blowing and all the birds chirping. We got rain a little bit ago and now the sun is trying to peek out. It has been a while since I’ve been able to sit outside and enjoy my morning coffee.  I’m going to take a chance, though, and get some sheets and blankets washed and hung outside.  If the weather man is right, shouldn’t have any more rain until tonight.  But you know how often they are right!  Ha!

oldcookbook1

Grandma’s cookbook.

I have the dough for Honey Wheat Bread rising.  I know it will be hot and muggy again today, so I’m trying to get it done early.  I don’t grind my own wheat (maybe one day) but the recipe works for me.  Hubby loves this bread so it is my go-to recipe.  He also likes rye bread, but I haven’t found a recipe that I can make successfully that he likes.  I’ve made a lot of “bricks”.  My favorite bread is sour dough…and I haven’t been able to make and keep a sour dough starter going so that hasn’t been successful either.   Practice makes perfect my grandmother always used to say.

oldcookbook2

The new “grandma’s cookbook”

oldcookbook3

Both the old and the “new”.

recipeturtle

Not many cookbooks today would have recipes for Turtle A La King.

Speaking of Grandma…I have her cookbook out and I’m flipping through it looking for recipes to try.  Older cookbooks are much different than the ones we have today.  This one is from 1946…would be the year before my mom was born.  This isn’t actually Grandma’s cookbook…hers was so worn and beaten with no cover, falling apart and many pages falling out and missing.  So several years ago I found the same one on Ebay and have been using that one.  It is old and some of the pages are fragile…a couple are even loose, but it is still “grandma’s cookbook”.  The only difference really was that the “new” one has thumb tabs.  And all the pages.  And a cover.   This is the cookbook I used when I started learning how to cook and one of my treasures.  I had no idea what a slow oven or a quick oven was until I read this cookbook.  It even has recipes for things that many in today’s picky world would find…um…unappealing…like Turtle.  It has a chapter on Ration Cooking (Saving Food and Expense for Victory), one of Meal Planning, Entertaining, Setting the Table, and Canned Foods (how to buy).  It is very cool in my humble opinion!

So…do you have any treasured family cookbooks or recipes?

Favorite Finds Friday

Here are a few of the most interesting, fun, practical, weird, frivolous, informative, creative, yummy, etc. finds I have found on the internet this week.  Let me know what you think!

woven-rag-rug-1Woven Rag Rug from Craft Passion

I’ve always been interested in rag rugs, but never had the patience to sit down and try to make one.  Which is funny because I do have the patience to sit and crochet a big afghan.  This project is a great way to recycle those old sheets into something useful other than rags.  It doesn’t look too hard and the finished product is really nice.  I’d love a couple of these for my kitchen!

Hidden-sources-of-BPA-and-why-alternatives-may-be-worseHidden Sources of BPA (And Why You Should Care) from Wellness Mama

A couple years ago Hubby and I made a concerted effort to remove sources of BPA in our home.  We’ve done a lot since then, replacing a lot of plastic with glass and metal.  That was actually the easy part.  There is a lot more BPA (and other junk) in our lives than we realize, like canned goods.  It is really hard to find canned good that don’t use it, it’s almost easier just to avoid buying canned goods when possible.

CreamOfMushroom-800x533Homemade Cream of Something Soup by Once A Month Meals

I find that so many recipes today start with a can of “cream of (fill in the blank) soup”.  Convenient, yes.  For most people.  But not so convenient if you need or want to avoid some of the ingredients they contain (especially dairy for me), if you are concerned about BPA inside the cans, or if you plain just run out.  This recipe for Homemade Cream of Something Soup is actually quite handy to have on hand for everyone and even has instructions for freezing.  I made a tuna casserole with this and it was great!

hot-process-soap-recipe-2Homemade Hot Process Soap Recipe in a Crock Pot by The Prairie Homestead

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making soap.  She mentions a fear of the lye, and that has always been why I hesitated.  I even have the lye, I just haven’t been brave enough to actually try it.  This article has given me a little encouragement in the direction of trying it, and maybe this weekend while the guys are fishing I can muster up enough courage to do it.

That’s all my finds for this week.  More next time! If you come across something you think I might be interested in (or maybe you posted it yourself), leave me a comment and I’ll check it out.

Colossians 3:23 – And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.