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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Working it--less time in the kitchen

Kitchen time
Since there is only me, I prefer not to be cooking a meal each night and washing many pots. Of course, when I actually get out the pots and pans each night, there are leftovers from days before. One-dish meals work for me, but that is not on the agenda for this week. Even if I decided to cook each night, there are leftovers to work into the meal. To others, my meals may seem redundant. Of course, I really like each and every meal I prepare, so boring is not part of my experience.

Chicken again for the week
As usual, I am cooking chicken again. Today, I boiled four leg/thigh quarters and one breast. Right now, I am salivating for chicken and dumplings. On Monday, only the dumplings will need to be made and the dish assembled. Three of the legs will go tomorrow to the donater of two of the quarters. She does not like the thigh. Four thighs and one leg have been stripped of meat. The broth is in the refrigerator waiting for the fat to congeal in the quart. That is the hard part of chicken and dumplings--preparing the chicken and broth.

Four more breasts are boiling in water placed in the same pot. I should have just put the breasts in the first broth. But, I did not. Actually, I should have used a larger pot the first time. But, I did This breast broth will be refrigerated until that fat congeals, and both broths will make chicken and dumplings.

Heavy on the dumplings?
I know. I know. But, since I replicated exactly my mother's recipe for chicken and dumplings, I am just totally hooked on it. Besides, it will soon be too hot to cook the dish.

Pasta for two meals is just about done. I will cook the cabbage and carrots later today.

I have many meals in my repertoire for which I can use all this chicken meat. I don't really assign a meal to a day. But, I will have many meals--lunch and dinner to choose to put together and eat from Sunday to Friday. It is chicken all the way this week!

1--chicken and dumplings for four meals with green beans
      (This dish will have four small thighs, one small leg, and one half breast)
2--rest of alfredo sauce (needs to be consumed today) with chicken and pasta for one meal, salad
3--chicken, pasta, and basil pesto for one meal
4--chicken sandwiches with Romaine and cheese for four meals, lunches, probably
5--salad--romaine, tomatoes, chicken for two meals
     (#2-#5 will use the other four breasts)

That's twelve planned  meals from 4 thighs, one leg, and four breasts. Maybe I should freeze some of the cooked chicken since there is more than enough. Hmmmm.... No, all the pieces are really small.

Along with the chicken portion of meals, I will have the Romaine, tomatoes, cabbage/carrots steamed, green beans, sweet potatoes, and potatoes. Maybe I will use the Classico Traditional Basil Pesto with the pasta. Whatever leftover I find in the refrigerator will be eaten, incorporated into a meal or snack.

I snack on fruit and pecans. There is a bag of oranges that I must eat. Sometimes, if I am becoming hypoglycemic, sliced cheese and a dozen Wheat Thins may be another snack.

Breakfasts will be:

1--2 scrambled eggs with cheese, glass of milk
2--2 scrambled eggs with sausage, glass of orange juice and glass of milk
3--cold cereal with banana and milk
4--cooked oatmeal with raisins, glass of milk
5--chicken and dumplings if I want them

I love beans
A pot of navy beans sound delicious. I can make a meal of those. They will be cooked in water with no seasonings. Nope, no salt, no pepper, no ham. Okay, beans are on the stove!

Leftovers for hens
I purposefully don't strip every smidgen of meat from the chicken bones. The hens now have five meals  that will give them fat, protein, and productive busy-work. The busy work will keep them from pecking each other and being pecked when I decide to confine them to their 10'x10' pen. I am in awe of how clean they can pick a bone...nothing, no gristle, just slick. They also get the outer cabbage leaves and any trimmings.

Hens get apple cores and bruises, banana peels and bruises, potato skins that are cooked, eggs shells, bits of cooked chicken gristle from my plate, and a special bowl of oatmeal. Of course, they get the produce donated to them. Did you know that banana peels are people edible? They are.

Your turn
Does anyone have an approach to cooking like I do--planned leftovers? Or, maybe you think my approach is lacking variety? Can you actually make a weekly menu and stick to it?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Honey Hut

No, this is not the same as the Sugar Shack. However, the honey is a pleasure.

Visit one of my favorite blogs, Root Simple, and learn about the healing power of honey. BBC and Root Simple do not need my help to tell you the merits of honey. Click and visit them. Did you know that honey is valuable as an anti-microbial?

Do not give honey to any child under one-year-old.

Today, I went to a local beekeeper who sells honey from their charming Honey Hut, located in front of their home. Customers purchase on the honor system. The windows above raise for access to the honey and to keep the honey from the elements. Of course, I had to look at all the jars and choose one. Nope, I did not get the quart; I pondered which to get. I wrote my check and hurried home.

First, I had to get a big spoonful and put it in a small bowl and just taste my honey, savoring it in tiny bites. I was so surprised at the taste. Maybe it is just my imagination, but I thought I tasted flowers. Now, I have never tasted flowers, but this had a  taste that correlates with the aroma of flowers. Hmmmm..... Then, I mixed peanut butter and honey and had a sandwich. Really, I do believe I ate too much honey.

Later tonight, I will decant the honey from the quart jar to 4 half pints. I think it will last longer without becoming grainy if I put it in several small jars, having only one that is continually opened. Maybe I am wrong.

Best of all, most of the honey is sold in glass jars.

I can see how beekeepers like My Roman Apartment would have plenty of gifts for Christmas for close friends. She even runs a bee rescue from her backyard.

Now, I want a hive. The city approved of my hens but was adamant about no bees. Since I am allergic to bee stings, I suppose it is for the best.

Your turn
Do you have bee hives? Okay, I am envious. At least, tell me you buy local honey as directly from the beekeepers as possible.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A host of golden daffodils

First daffodil--February 23, 2011

How many is in a host? Really, let's have a little suspension of disbelief.

So, there was only this one daffodil on Wednesday when I took this picture two days ago. But, the next day there were dozens. Today, there are more. You are getting a two-day old news flash. Isn't it marvelous how Nature shakes off winter and presents herself? First, it seems she comes and peeks shyly. Then, emboldened, everything else shows itself.

Remember when the daffodils first came up on January 1, 2011? They were no more than two inches high. I am continually amazed at the economy of nature. 

If only vegetables spread and persisited like daffodils, I would have quite a large garden with little effort, no buying seeds, and no wondering if seeds were going to germinate. Not spending certainly suits my parsimonious bent.

Wordsworth was born in the Lake District in Northern England. He and his sister, Dorothy, took a walk and saw the field of daffodils. She noted it in her journal in an entry. Wordsworth waited something like two years to write the beautiful poem:       
(your turn is at the bottom of the page, beyond the poem.)

The Daffodils

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils,

Beside the lake, beneath the trees, 
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,

They stretch'd in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay: 

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they

Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:—

A poet could not but be gay 

In such a jocund company!

I gazed, and gazed, but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.
                                                       William Wordsworth

Your turn
Is your heart dancing with the golden daffodils? Mine surely is. What is blooming in your yard? I suppose no one loves Wordsworth, one of the major Romantic poets, as well as I do? Raise your hand if you do.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Please scratch my Fancy

Fancy in her chair, talking to me

My hen likes to be scratched! She just loves people. This is such cheap amusement. I don't need a wild safari. I have Fancy.

My exbf was doing some yard work for me yesterday. As he sat at the patio table outside the side door, taking a break, the hens came around to the side of the house where he sat. Of course, they present themselves for the dastardly act the rooster usually performs. They have no rooster to perform this obligatory service. Little Fancy (all hens) spreads her legs on the ground to brace herself for the rooster pounce and sort of pulls her wings up and slightly out. I liken it to sticking your elbows out and shrugging your shoulders at the same time.

He said Fancy seemed to like being scratched. She lowered her wings and sort of let them hang. Usually, chickens have their wings held neatly and closely to their bodies. When they become overheated in the summer, they let their wings droop and hold them out from their sides to relieve the heat they feel. Of course, they walk around with their mouths open and the combs sort of droop.

Anyway, Fancy was still out there when I came out with a snack and drink. He showed me where he scratched--just above the tail, where you can see the demarcation of feather groups. The other hens don't hang around us. She does.

Okay, if you put your hand on your hen's back when she presents herself to you, Almighty Food Procurer, and then give her a little firm shake on her back, she thinks the deed has been done. Afterwards, she will give herself a good shake, "Whew, that's over with."  Yes, but that was safe s**!

Fancy never stays long after the back patting or shaking. However, she kept returning for the back scratching. Amazing. Maybe hens don't appreciate the swiftness and violence of the rooster. Someone, teach rooster's better technique. I would, but I am terrified of roosters.

By the way, that broken chair was relegated to the chicken's pen.

Your turn
Try this back scratching with your hen and let me know what happens. Do your hens seems to like this?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Black bean brownies

No pictures! Did you notice for the last few days? I could not find the cable to recharge my battery. Finally, I found the cable. Then, I discovered the camera is not in the case where I always replace it. So, I am baffled and will continue to search for the camera.

In the meantime, you know what brownies look like. Imagine brownies with lots of fiber and no flour. You get one fruit, a vegetable, and lots of good-for-you fiber.

This is the time of year when people are on diets. I don't know about you, but I hate to give up chocolate. So, chocolate is eaten every day when I want to lose weight. Never have I been on a diet. I just change my lifestyle. Of course, a lifestyle change was what put on the weight--I gave up walking when I had a torn meniscus. Okay, I walked little and ate more.

Here we go.

Black Bean Brownies
350 degrees, 30 minutes

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 can black beans, drained (mashed, whirred to pulp, whatever)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup instant oats (I used the whole grain Quaker oats)

Mix, use 8x8 or 9x9 inch pan, lightly greased with butter, Pam, or Crisco. Drain the beans.

The first time I made these, I was too lazy to put the beans in the blender or use a potato masher. I just gave more than few hopeful mashes of the fork and let them be.

When I tasted the baked brownies, the beans had the chocolate flavor infused into the half mashed beans. I knew there were no chocolate chips in the brownie, but the half-crushed beans tasted like chocolate chips and had the texture of chocolate chips. No matter how often I told myself I was eating beans, they still tasted like chocolate chips.

Today, will be blender brownies all the way. Only half the beans will be whirred with the ingredients in the blender. The other half of the can of beans will be just mashed a bit.

Admittedly, these do taste like bananas--chocolaty bananas. But, is that a bad thing? Not for me. Maybe applesauce could be used instead. I don't know. I might try that next time. I might put an egg white in with the applesauce or maybe powdered egg white.

When I made these the second time, I added 1/8 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. I could not tell that added anything to the yummy taste. Next time I will leave out salt and vanilla. Yes, I experiment.

Your turn
How did you like these? Come on, give them a try.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My urban homestead

Uh oh, it seems I infringed on a trademark by using "urban homestead." Urban homestead! There, I said it again.

My urban homestead consists of three hens, a scuppernong arbor, wild grapes, and elderberries. There is a nice garlic every year, but I have yet to pull it up. That is a sad little urban homestead. Oh, yeah, there are hickory nuts, but they don't count! They are useless. They only serve to roll as I step on them and make me off balance. They stain my fingers if I try to pick them up. I would just starve to death for all the sustenance I could get for them. It would take more calories to crack and pick out the meat than I would actually be able to consume.

Soon, I hope there will be all sorts of plants here, enough to make a difference in my life. What does it take to make a difference in my life? Plants grown without pesticides make me happy. The fruits of my labor being canned, frozen, or dehydrated. I do recycle and participate in other activities that make me more self-sufficient.

If Thelma stays broody, we may just have some hatching happening. Then, I will have baby livestock on the old homestead!

What I plan to plant:
green beans
hot peppers
Bell peppers
red and yellow peppers
roses with hips for vitamin C
sunflowers for seeds
Pumpkins, maybe
squash, maybe
potatoes, maybe

I desperately want an Excalibur dehydrator. I need a new pressure canner. I am buying 1/2 gallon Ball jars. I believe I have plenty of the other sizes. Hopefully, I will be dehydrating and storing in canning jars. Or, I will be water bath or pressure canning.

My barrel is opaque and white. So, the barrel will need paint before I can grow potatoes.

On my agenda: dehydrating fruits, vegetables, and eggs.

I am very afraid, but I will try canning meat this year.

Before the summer is over, I want to make a quilt.  Maybe I will take to wearing a bonnet. However, I will NOT be carrying water or birthing cows. Okay, I don't have a cow on my urban homesteading lot. That really sounded homesteady didn't it?

By the way, click here to find out what the "urban homestead" issue is.

Your turn
Do you have an urban homestead, no matter how modest? Do you strive for more seff-sufficiency?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How to milk a cow... Breastmilk cheese... Camel milk

Today, I am going a bit afar from my goal--living more frugally, honing my parsimonious bent, and entertaining. Well, the milking could be entertaining.

This has been a burning desire of mine--to learn how to milk a cow. Could you say it is a life skill that I need?  Okay, this is not how I wanted to show you this video. But, the link should work. Testing, testing, testing...

There are several videos at this site. Breastmilk cheese is the subject of one video.  Want to know the benefits of camel milk?

Your turn
Is it just me, or is making cheese from breastmilk just bizarre? Do I need to adjust my thinking? Raise your hand if you, like me, do not milk a cow.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How to can for fair competition

I won
Yes, I did it! This was in 2009, my  first ever and only attempt at entering anything at the fair. I was soooo nervous. I believe I entered 4 jars of canned food and won blue ribbons on 3 jars: tomatoes, cherry juice, and fig jam.

Other wins
I have a drawer full of ribbons and one trophy and two engraved wall plaques that I have won through the years, since I was eight-years-old. However, I have never entered any food or woodwork anywhere, not even in the fair....back to canning.

Improve your chance of winning
After the fact I read a publication about  how to can for fair competition. I know it may seem like it is too early to think about the fair, but foods will be ready for canning soon in many places. Just keep the points in the article in mind. If the judges cannot decide between two jars of canned food for the blue ribbon, the one that has a Ball lid on a Ball jar may be their choice over the Kerr jar with the Ball lid.

I had none the first year. I just picked from all the jars I had canned. Then, someone told me that some people pack one jar especially for the competition. That is fair. Maybe if I do that, my chances of winning will be greater. 

Your state
This information was from the Alabama County Extension Service. Surely, it is similar to rules for your state. But, check to be sure. Alabama guidelines cannot hurt your chances of winning.

Cash prizes
I was not in the least motivated to win a prize. But, I did not turn it down.

Your turn
Have you ever entered canned goods in the fair? Have you won a prize?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Raising children is like walking barefoot at night without a flashlight through the chickenyard

Fancy on the side yard swing
Okay, I just love that saying--not that I would walk barefoot through a chickenyard at night. Go ahead, paint it on a plaque, embroider it on a sampler, write it in frosting on a big pizza-sized cookie. (picture is a rerun since my camera batteries are low)

Location, location, location 
Lately, I have been navigating the yard with an eye to the ground in order to avoid "gifts" from the hens. Rain washes it away, but this six days of dry weather is doing nothing for clearing my yard of poop. Why do they seem to love leaving squishy gifts right on the path I have worn in the St. Augustine grass in my yard? Poop on a weed over near the fence! Of course, the lawn is nice and crunchy this time of the year, not lush at all.

New-found perch
They hang out on the porch more lately. Fancy decided the porch railing is closer to the doorknob. She knows that is the key to getting in the house. No, I lied about that. Fancy just wants closer to me. Besides, the knob sticks right out, looking like a good perch, yet unexplored.

Car insurance
I went to visit the friend of a friend who had chickens and was going to share supplies with me. I needed chicken wire. She donated a huge roll to me. Her car was in a "stall" that was completely encased in chicken wire. She had obviously used the supports to her building to nail the chicken wire. I was puzzled. "Why do you have your car enclosed with chicken wire?" It seemed the chickens like to play, climb, and just hang out in the bed of the truck, the top of the cab, and any part they could manage a foothold. "So they will not cover it in chickens**t."

No, this is not about rearing children at all. I just wanted to share that little saying with you. True? Right?

Your turn
If you have chickens, raise your hand. Must you navigate around poop in the yard or on the porch? Do you handle this with tolerance and good humor?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shelf of shame update

After--ta da

Remember my shelf of shame, my nightmare shelf? It is now my dream shelf. My goal on February 7, for cleaning the shelf was February 18. I am well within my self-imposed limits.

Yes, it was cluttered and junky, a condition that had prevailed for quite some time. In the last two years, I obviously had not thrown anything out.

There were four Ziploc bags, some as large as a gallon, that had a tablespoon of this and that. Two had powdered sugar. That is what I do with opened containers/boxes at some point. Plus, I was fighting meal moths this past year.

Red food coloring and vanilla
Besides spilled cinnamon, spilled toothpicks littered the floor of the cabinet. Way in the back I had a plastic bin from a safari (dumpster diving). It hooked onto one of those heavy cardboard displays. Since this was all clean and usable, I snagged the very clean plastic trays that had only held books in the store. In there and all over the place were bottles of food coloring. Oh, yes! four bottles of red food coloring, maybe from Red Velvet Cake making days? The three boxes of four colors did not have red left. sigh...isgh...sigh. See, I cannot even organize s.i.g.h. in the right order. You know how it goes--do I have red food coloring at home? Well, better to have two bottles than none when I get home and color these eggs/make this frosting/make this red velvet cake.

Candles, food coloring, and cake decoration are held by a little freezer box, old and trash picked. I got about a hundred of these and donated them as organizers. Too bad I did not keep more. See the cardboard box holding 88 cupcake papers? I have at least a dozen more of these. Back in my cupcake days, my mother gave me about two dozen of these boxes of 88. She found them dirt cheap. Yes, I share these boxes with others. The rest are in the laundry room on a high shelf in their own box.

If you are super-organized, just go away. Well, I was super-organized once-upon-a-time. my back is causing an hour's tiny chore to evolve into a week's work.

On to the rest of the shelf. I have an abundance of vanilla extract and empty bottles. Yes, the bottles are saved because they are small and glass. I will tell you the plan later for those. Vanilla was bought when prices were low, on sale, and with coupons. Apparently, I go through lots of vanilla.

Where? There were few bottles or tins of spices. As you can see, a round cake pan is holding most spices I own.

Most of my quart jars are small-mouthed jars. Aha! I just washed a large-mouthed Ball jar, so I opened a new box of confectioner's sugar and emptied it in the newly-washed jar. When I find Confectioner's sugar practically free with a coupon and a sale, I buy it for future use. One day, the sugar canister was empty when I wanted sugar for my oats, so I used the opened box of 10-X Confection's sugar (easier). Combining the empty jar with a box of sugar today resulted in more space in the two shelves above the shelf of shame.

In order to use liquor for flavoring, I just purchase miniatures. Those have their own tiny plastic box on the shelf.

New shelf paper
What? No way! This plastic shelf liner is only 34 years old! Shame on you for thinking those thoughts. This piece of shelf liner from 1977 should last me the rest of my life. Seriously! So, it is a bit wrinkled.

Pick up your jaws and shush the tsk, tsk-ing. Yes, I can hear your tongues clicking.  I did consider some new liner. I was going to get it. But, when I washed this liner, it came almost clean. Actually, it is clean, just stained with cinnamon. The problem with the old liner will exist with what I found--grid lines. These grid lines are what is holding the cinnamon. This slightly stained old piece is clean--hot water, Dawn, vinegar, Clorox, dishcloth, toothbrush.

Right now, this week, I just refuse to go from store to store searching for plastic, smooth shelf paper. We will survive, folks.

I can still hear you.

From store to store I have gone, buying what I thought might work. Nope! So, I made returns. I have returns for today. What I kept--set of three shelves from Walmart. Cost--just under $10. I could have purchased plastic containers for organizing. None were large enough to use on the wire shelf without wasting space. For now, the square brownie/meatloaf pan works.

Additions and deletions
From another shelf I took baking powder, cornstarch, and maple syrup; these went onto the shelf of shame with no trouble at all. After consolidating toothpicks from two shelves, I tossed two empty boxes. I keep toothpicks in a plastic frosting box. Otherwise, they escape and free range in the bottom of the cabinet. For a long time, I have suspected they breed. Quit shaking your head. I needed colored toothpicks once. Someone who came here frequently wanted round toothpicks. Cleaning is best done with the little flat toothpicks. So, that makes one extra box, and I am going to quit sweating and trying to justify one whole extra box. (One toothpick container is a small, plastic jar with a metal screw cap, containing 150 toothpicks. There is a 32 cent sticker on the top.)

We all love the gritty corners of people's lives
Don't deny  I suppose everyone feels better for having seen my shame. You know you do. The perpetual neatniks can be proud of their accomplishments. The messy ones can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they are not alone. The young can use this as a cautionary tale. You-who-just-decluttered-the-kitchen-shelf,  hold your breath and try to hold the line.

Your turn
Do you recognize yourself in any of this? Has less than perfect health caused you to slack up on your chores? If you are young, do you see how your mother or grandmother might need a GENTLE helping hand?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Solving three problems at once and saving!

4.5 ounces of strawberries
A bowl is a bowl
I never thought much about the size plate or bowl I used, I just used what I had and had always used. But, I solved several problems at once. I had identified the problems separately, but at last I found one solution to my problems.

Things I want
1--run dishwasher less
2--get more days' dishes in the dishwasher
3--spend less on food

One day, I was at a garage sale and phoned a friend to confirm she wanted more of the Corelle she bought years ago. Her family had expanded by 10 grandchildren. Yes, she did want two whole sets for only $18. The woman took my money and boxed up the dishes. I saw a set of six little Corelle bowls and asked the price. "Free." This made my day.

Months go by
I used the tiny bowls occasionally. Finally, it dawned on me that if I used the tiny bowls, more dishes would fit in the dishwasher, possibly stretching the time between necessary running of the dishwasher. The cereal bowl I used for fruit was down-sized to the tiny, free bowl.

When I need a plate for a sandwich, I now use a salad plate. Sure, it is a little crowded making a sandwich on that size plate. When I need a salad plate, I use the saucer for the cup when I eat crackers and cheese. The little bowls now hold fruit for eating. Of course, if I am eating a meal or a bowl of soup or cereal, I do use a plate or soup/cereal bowl.

Other options
I have three small sets of antique glass bowls--berry bowls or dessert bowls. I never had used them because I did not want to break them. Well, they were just special. Not anymore. They are all the size of the bowl with the strawberries.

$ Savings
When I use the dishwasher less often yet for more meals, I save water, electricity, and dishwasher gel.

Added bonus
I know the experts say to use a smaller plate when you are trying to lose weight. That is not my goal when I use a smaller bowl or plate. Getting more in the dishwasher is the goal. I am tired of having dishes to wash by hand when they won't all go in the dishwasher. PERIOD.

I will eat the same sandwich on a salad plate that I will eat on a dinner plate. But, if by some smallish, remotest chance I eat less, weight loss should ensue. Yay for me.  However, I will eat the same apple or orange cut into the small bowl. I know where my kitchen and the goodies and second helpings of everything reside. And, I will get more if I wish. That is all about willpower or lack thereof. Using a small bowl probably will not deter me from eating too much.

By the way
Don't suggest I forego a plate when assembling a sandwich. I don't prepare sandwiches on the counter. I don't use paper plates or paper towels or paper napkins. Slicing tomato on the counter or a cloth napkin is not happening here. Carrying a sandwich in my hands anywhere just results in a trail of crumbs or filling. Not me. You may, if you please.

It works
Dishes were washed last Tuesday. Sunday morning, I washed four days of dishes. Most fit into the dishwasher. If I had not used a smaller version of everything I usually do, I could not have fit them in and I would have had to run the dishwasher last Friday or Saturday.

Small savings add up
Someone else can figure the difference is cost in former and present dish washing habits. However, I do know that using the dishwasher 91 times per year as opposed to 121 times should be a number worth considering. Does anyone know or want to figure the dollar difference there is in those two usage numbers? What is the cost in electricity, water, dishwashing liquid, and cost of dishwasher to wash dishes one time? Then multiply that by the 30 times I won't use the dishwasher if I go the frugal route of dishwashing--using smaller dishes. The savings will be 25% of what I would normally spend.

My motive
To be honest, I was not trying to save money or save anything else. I just did not want to have to do dishes so often. Laziness aka herniated discs fueled the desire to wash dishes less often. I know I need the exercise, but the back does not approve and complains. When I was much younger, washing dishes by hand was just a repetitive, mindless chore. I dreamed and planned. I thought about how cute the children's little mugs were, how I really liked the stainless steel flatware Mama gave me for a gift, how I enjoyed using the little silver spoon my grandmother gave me. Dish washing was pleasant. Now, dish washing is just painful.

Environmental savings
As a bonus the environment will suffer less. I use less electricity, water, and dishwasher liquid. When the environment is less stressed, less money will be spent on the solution. Okay, there is the money angle and environment angle. Who would have thought that my dishwashing life would be measured out in small bowls?

Your turn
Do you hate to wash dishes in the sink or dishwasher? Do you want to stress the environment less? Can you use smaller dishes to have less impact on your wallet and the environment? Who has done that math problem about the cost of usage?

I found a penny today

Glorious Day
And, the sun shone all day. It's 4:30 and 64 degrees out. It must have been warmer earlier. Plus, I found a penny on the pavement when I went to get a Sunday paper. Can it get any better than that? Not the money part, just everything converges to make a perfect day.

Yes, that is the very penny I found, scratches and all. Life is a lot like this penny, imperfect and with value. That is the best picture of my table that I have ever

The hens decided to try their scratching success in the neighbor's yard. Thankfully, the neighbors were not home! The girls test boundaries. I had not checked on them in over an hour, so they wandered. They had to walk all the way to the street in front of the house and go around the neighbor's fence. Now that they have been there once, it will be hard to keep them from heading that direction often. They would surely tell me the bugs are more plentiful on the other side of the fence, juicier, and more accessible.

It is hard to believe that yesterday there were remnants of snow from a snowfall last week lingering under trees in the shade all day. Nothing here says cold, winter, and especially not snow.

I was able to hang three loads of clothes outdoors on my one little line. Of necessities, all three were small loads--black pants and blouses, load of light colored blouses, underwear and pee cloths.  Sunshine, coupled with a brisk wind, dried everything, even sweatshirts, in record time.

My shelf of shame has everything removed from it, and I muddle about, trying to figure out the best storage arrangement. I know what the best arrangement is, but I cannot find the pieces to fit the spot. Here is where parsimony comes in. But, practicality may have her say, also. The parsimonious side of me may try to not spend any money by using things I already have. The practical side of me will just spend if I must to get the shelf in a usable condition.

All day long, I have felt like doing a Snoopy dance.

Your turn
Do you feel like doing a Snoopy Dance for any reason? Did you find money? Did the sun shine with the promise of Spring?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Two sites: Make/save money online and in real life; How to write a better blog

Today, I have two sites for you with multiple sites within each. There is so much to discover in these two blogs that I won't burden you with another half dozen  sites. We will save that for later.

Buck Weber tried many ways to make money "I have been experimenting with making and saving money in the real world and online. This blog serves as a list of ideas I have discovered and/or tried. I invite you to dig in and see what you can find."

Get past the candlemaking for a real compendium of money-making ideas. What I really like is the fact he tells which ones worked and why. Okay, maybe candle-making is just your thing.

CatsEye Writer has a list of blogs to help people write better blogs. Try it you; will like it. The article was written Dec 25, 2010, and there is another on Dec. 31, 2010 that you will want to read. Check out her services, also.

Your turn
Have you had experience with any of these primary sites or the ones the authors offer?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Can't you just buy eggs cheaper at the store?"

running to meet me
 While I talked on the phone last night as the snow fell, I was bemoaning the fact that I might have to carry the three hens in my arms to their pen this morning. The last time it snowed, they just sat on the porch in their pen for about an hour. (In case you don't know, after a raccoon killed one of my four hens, the remaining three have slept in a small cage inside the house by the side door.)

The hens refuse to walk in snow. This guy knows I feed them food of the same quality as I eat. He knows I cook oatmeal with eggs and powdered milk for them. He once had chickens and cows on 110 acres along with a huge garden. He said he never went to the pains I do.

He know I am frugal because I like to be and because often I must be frugal. Well, I suppose I don't have to be frugal, but it just seems the best course of action. That's how I managed to pay off house and car last year.

So, cost is the only thing he pays attention to when we talk. He was finally exasperated as I moaned about hen transfer in the snow. "Can't you just buy eggs cheaper at the store?"

Heart disease
He needs a heart transplant, has had heart attacks, and still has not figured out that food is a front line defense against disease and a good treatment for what ails him. This is the same guy for whom I called an ambulance last week. (It may be too late for a food cure.)

Cheaper at the store?
His question is one many people ask those who raise their own food, whether it is eggs, meat, or crops. Isn't it really cheaper to buy food at the store than it is to raise it? We won't even consider other points for raising food, like fossil fuel used to ship food to us, pesticides, preserving heirloom seeds, self-satisfaction, exercise, sunshine, a hobby, something families can do together, and a host of other benefits.

No hormones, no pesticides
My hens have never had food with hormones or pesticides beyond the first week of their lives. I rescued them from a common life. I can happily and proudly that Fancy, Thelma, and Louise live an uncommon life. They spend many hours scratching and pecking in the earth. They are supremely happy hens. When I let them out of the pen, they rush about eating bits of green grass (weed?).  Everyday, they get a bowl of oatmeal with an egg cooked in it along with powdered milk and just a bit of water. If I have meat for them, they get that instead of egg. About once a week I give them a can of tuna in their oatmeal. I won't even name the fruits and vegetables that are on their menus each week.

One supplement
Each day, I crush a Vitamin D into their food and sprinkle diatomaceous earth over their food. In a separate Corelle water bowl, apple cider vinegar is added to water.

Eating green food
They must eat green foliage to form the omega-3, the same omega-3 that is currently used to prevent heart disease and treat heart disease in humans. Remember, in the past when all our cattle--chicken, cows, goats, etc--were pastured on grass, all eggs, milk, and meat contained omega-3. I feed them salad beyond human consumption (just a little off, not a lot), either mine of castoff salads from a market or two. Hens love anything green. Desperate one day to provide them with green, I gave them some of my canned turnip greens. They pounced on it and did not hesitate until every speck was gone.

Eating local
Eating eggs from my yard is the ultimate in "eating local." Not one ounce of fossil fuel is consumed in obtaining the eggs.

Fancy talks
My hens talk to me. Okay, Fancy is the talker. She jumps up in my swing to sit by me or just stand, look right at me, and carry on a conversation. Friends have seen this and are fascinated. This is not just a senile, old lady who says Fancy is special. My senile, old friends think the same as I--she is talking to me. She craves human attention. She wants to be a companion.

Cruelty to hens
After seeing the cruel treatment of battery hens, I had to have my own hens. I am happy that they are never harmed. They see the blue sky everyday and have the earth under their feet. They live like I imagine they were intended to live. (Okay, if it is overcast, none of us see the blue sky.)

Vulnerable animals
Hens are so vulnerable. A cow might step on you or butt you or run really fast. A goose can inflict a wound. Pigs can be dangerous. Goats butt. Hens can do nothing in defense.  Yes, I know they all can be brutalized by humans with weapons. They all can be overpowered at any time. But, hens are so little and helpless.

Hen antics
I love their hen antics. If I had a video of them trying to run on ice, slipping, correcting, and slipping in the other direction, squawking, flapping their wings, and finally reaching the pen like nothing happened, I would be a happy woman. They entertain me daily.

Back problems
Since my back has gotten so much worse, if I did not have to go out numerous times during the day to check on them, feed and water them, or haul them in my arms to and fro between the house and pen, I honestly think I might never leave the house some days.

Benefits-let me see:

*eggs with no pesticides or hormones
*eggs that will improve health
*free eggs
*local eggs
*eggs in the backyard
*clear conscience

Today, for the first time, one of the hens pooped on the iron handrail, right where I need to hold it for the last huge step up to the porch. That, I could do without.

Sure, I need to eat beef and chicken that is all that my hens and eggs are--free to roam, healthy, and local. I don't. But, I eat little meat for the sake of my present and future health. Unfortunately, we cannot always trust labels to mean "humane," "grass-fed," "and organic" just because they say so.

Your turn
Do you consider the cost of eggs  raised in your yard or a local yard? The cost of eggs and the cost to the hens and our own humanity are all figured in the cost and cannot always be expressed in dollars and cents. Do you suffer when you see videos of brutality against hens? Have you done anything about it? No, I don't think your quitting eating eggs will help one hen. I did all I can do. Can you?

Snow Cream and Southern Snow Thoughts

No snow available here
Yes, I love snow cream. You say the snow is dirty? So what? It has never killed me yet. You must never scoop yellow snow or snow that has the residue of a footprint of a cat or dog or human. Never scoop all the way until you touch grass, the sidewalk, or the car. Scoop carefully, skimming the surface. Of course, a foot of snow would make the scooping easier. But, we never get a foot of snow down here in the South. I live halfway between Birmingham, Alabama and Huntsville, Alabama.

In Memphis, TN, in 1963, on the 23rd of December, if I remember correctly, we had 23 inches of snow. Up until that time in my life I guarantee you I had not seen 22 inches of snow in all the years put together that I had seen snow. I was sixteen, so this was a really big deal--snow! For seven years of my life, we lived in Jackson, Mississippi. You can see we did not live in areas likely to get any appreciable, measurable amount of snow.

It was so glorious. We had snow ice cream often each day. Mama would mix the milk, sugar, and vanilla. We kids would scoop great bowls and soup pots of snow. Of course, with five children and two adults, lots of snow was needed to produce enough snow ice cream.

Someone from the North commented that he thought we used the snow in an ice cream freezer like we used ice. He was horrified to know we would eat snow. S.N.O.W. Yesiree we did. We worked on strengthening our immune system. Parts of our home never did get warm in frigid weather, but we could eat ice cream in the warm dining room, kitchen or living room.

huge snow melt

Snow supplies
Tonight, I went to get the proverbial milk and bread to tide me over since I heard the "s" word. (Seriously, I really did need milk.) Only, I had bought six loaves of bread last Friday and only needed milk to hold me over during the predicted 3-5 inches of snow. Aha! The milk left in the gallon jug is just enough enough to make snow cream.

In the South we strip the shelves of milk, bread, eggs (my hens supply those for me), cookies, bologna, and Pop Tarts. It's not that Southerners think pop tarts and bologna are survival food. Okay, huge steaks and most mixes of any kind are gone. People are preparing to stay in for days or to cook out on the grill. It's really hard to say.

School's out
Most of the schools close for an inch of snow. With kids home from school, someone is going to be hungry all day long. I suppose the thinking behind Pop Tart purchases is that if the electricity goes off, a rare occurrence where I live, then everyone can stuff pop tarts and bologna sandwiches in their mouths. This will silence the kids and fill their stomachs. Actually, there is never much of anything left in the stores just before a snow or rumors of snow. Lucky people and early birds get the PopTarts and bologna.

If I were planning on losing electricity for a week, I would not get pop tarts and bologna and bread to survive. What would I get? I usually don't want to run out of milk, Cokes, or bananas. If I have those, I can survive anything because whatever else I have to eat will be just fine. If the electricity is off, my milk will survive in some of the unheated rooms in my house. Right! They will all be unheated! Cokes will be so cold they won't need any ice.

Peanut butter sandwiches, tuna, turnips straight from the can, bananas, apples, prunes, oranges, pecans, and raisins would fill my stomach. Sure, I would be frozen like a popsicle, but I would not be hungry. And, I do like Pop Tarts and bologna sandwiches.

As you can see from the pictures, there is not enough snow, smooth snow, left for snow ice cream. Dimpled snow is a sure sign of danger from animals walking, birds pooping. This snow is all dimpled, so there will be no eating snow cream. After I wrote the snow meander last night, another good inch fell. At 8:00 a.m. the scenes above faced me.

I am so sad! There is a quart of very, very sweet milk, laced with vanilla, sickenly sweet, just sitting in the refrigerator with no snow expectations for a week....sigh.

1 qt milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 or more gallons of snow, maybe Varies.

Heat half the milk to dissolve the sugar. Stir. Don't scorch the milk. Add vanilla and the other half of the milk. Cool. Put the cream mixture in a large bowl. Dump in some snow, stir, dump more. You may not need all the snow; you may need more. Stir quickly and completely. Eat while still firm.

The mixture before the snow will be very sweet and strong. Snow dilutes sickeningly sweet taste.

Your turn
Do you eat snow? Do you ever make snow cream?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meatloaf and more: cooking for the week


This meatloaf will be used for at least four more  meals. I cooked the meatloaf on Saturday and had potatoes and green beans and unsweetened tea, plus the meatloaf missing from the pan. I just love this square pan for meatloaf. I prefer thin meatloaf.

Black eyed peas
This time, first time ever, I cooked in a large, deep iron skillet instead of the iron Dutch oven. Notice the hand-carved maple spoon utensil. One scoop with that is more than a serving! I cooked these on Sunday.

Time to eat
The color on this picture is horrible. I had little meatloaf because I ate a bit of meatloaf earlier. It's so good I could eat it all, but I won't so I will have three more days of this. I have already had one, plus this meal, and three more...yum.

The coleslaw has grape tomatoes cut in half. I found a pint at the market for $1.67, about $2 cheaper than at the grocery store. The slaw will last two more meals. I have more cabbage, shredded. But, you know how slaw does not last long.

The black eyed peas are delicious with no salt, just cooked in water.

I eat only whole grain wheat bread that has no preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup. But, with meatloaf I like Texas Toast with butter on top and browned under the broiler. Well, I won these huge buns that taste just like Texas Toast when broiled.

Best tomatoes in winter
The best tasting are the plum tomatoes. Other tomatoes taste horrible in the winter since they must be shipped here. Of course, the plum tomatoes are shipped here, too. For whatever reason plum tomatoes taste summer fresh.

Cooking for a week
I was sick of beef. I wanted chicken, so Sunday I baked chicken breasts on top of the stove. That makes--chicken, meatloaf, and black eyed peas already to eat. I can make slaw twice more. The tomatoes will last about five more meals. The chicken will be for lunch--sandwiches or in Alfredo sauce with noodles. Turnip greens were destined to be opened for tonight, but I was not very hungry since I ate a little bit earlier.

Some of the food will be sent back with exbf who is coming up Wednesday to help me around the house and yard. He likes for me to pack him a lunch in a Tupperware plate.

I will freeze a pint of the black eyed peas. I usually freeze several pints of each pot of peas. Eventually, I don't need to cook beans or peas, just remove from the refrigerator, especially on days I am in a hurry. I am not so tempted to get fast food or eat junk here, knowing I have good food available and fast. Besides, a pint of beans with catsup or greens (not both) are a perfect, healthy make-do meal.

Eating this every dinner for the rest of the week will be no problem for me. Turnip greens will be added to meals tomorrow. This is a frugal meal or meals. Because I cannot safely chop the cabbage, I do buy packaged, shredded cabbage and carrots. Maybe the grape tomatoes were a luxury and uncalled for.

Bell peppers and onion were scrounged from chicken food box. Meat and beans were free. I won the buns. Oats (1/2 cup) in the meatloaf were bought on sale with coupon. Cole slaw mix was on sale this week. I suppose the 6 meals for the week cost me less than $4. Actually, there will be beans leftover for several more meals beyond this week. That is less than $.50 per meal. Not bad.

Your turn
Do you have planned leftovers?  It was soup for me last week. All. Week. Maybe you don't like leftovers at all?

Nightmare shelf: Posting my shame


That is all I have at this point. Maybe if I expose this mess, I will get it done. It's actually been on my mind lately. There are two shelves above this. Neither is in this condition. If I moved the yellow canister, there would be more of the same.

Someday, in the future I will post it...when it happens.

Cinnamon spill
See the cinnamon under the oil bottle? Looking at this shelf makes me tired. How many times have I spilled cinnamon and cleaned it up?

You bet! There is even a plastic-coated bin about 6"x10" also full of spices. The names of the spices are on the tops of the bottles since that is what you see (tops) of bottles of spice. See, I am making progress. No. Not really.

January 18, 2011--my deadline for getting this messy shelf and the rack cleaned and straightened.

Another shelf?
I think I need a shelf across the back of this cabinet to hold some of the spices. Don't you think so?

A pin for the pouches of mixes or whatever is absolutely necessary. Across the room I have a bin of unopened pouches. Nothing slides or gets lost. And, it looks neat.

Reward or penalty
This always works for me. What do I really want to do? Hmmmm.......go to a movie? Okay, that's it. I can go to a movie if I get this completed by deadline.

There is not another shelf in the kitchen that looks like this. Nothing even comes near. Okay, the shelf with the Tupperware looks as bad. But, that is always in flux, mostly out onto the counter or floor if I am not quick to catch it. Really, that does not bother me. This does.

Your turn
Do you have an area that is chronically messy? Is it something that you consider doing, knowing in your heart of hearts that you won't anytime soon? But, you always have plans and regrets? This represents a problem with cooking. It slows me down. Things fall over or fall out. This is my nemesis. What is yours? What can you not conquer? 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Progress this week

sunflower boxes with cartoon effect from my camera
Yes, I spent a bit, but the things were greatly reduced. I don't like to send grandson used items. Well, at least so far I have not seen anything used that he might want. I do look. Cooking was at a minimum; eating and nutrition was Things disappeared. Money appeared. Decluttering happened on several fronts.

*When exbf came to help me, he took home the Vegetable Medley in Garlic (and vinegar) that I will not eat and the jar of cucumbers living in vinegar. (he forgot the apple cider)

*I used the leftover Pet Milk to make cornbread. With the one above, that makes three less jars in my refrigerator.

*Collected $60 from consignment shop. That's two large items out of the house and money in my pocket. My goal is an average of $50/month. That means I am behind. No, I have only $40 to go for February!

*Two bags for the thrift store are ready to go to the car.

*A quart of pecans went into a canning jar and into the freezer. I don't want to eat all at once or have them go rancid.

*Cornbread is in the freezer now. So, that will last another 2 or 3 meals.

*More items are in the car for the consignment shop--2 sunflower hatbox-type containers, child's folding card table, metal flower container. This is a home furnishings consignment shop. The brass valet is still there. I don't leave much at any one time.

*The side porch is cleaned off, decluttered. (Yes, I know I told you about that.)

*The box with my grandson's birthday gift was mailed today. He is the recipient of a $70 bathrobe bought for $10 and a pair of ear warmers. A $25 itunes card gotten with Swag bucks from Amazon will follow. The boxes to my daughter always have food of some sort--peanut butter, pancake mix pouch, large can of spaghetti sauce, 2 lbs pasta, tuna, large can of chicken. I have jar spaghetti, but I don't dare mail a jar. Valentine's cards (bought last year for a quarter) for the granddaughter to hand out at school were in there too.

*I am still eating from the pot of spaghetti and pot of soup I made over the weekend. The last of the spaghetti will be for lunch Friday, and the last of the pot of soup will be Friday and Saturday dinners. Lunches this week have been grilled cheese sandwiches or little pizzas using the spaghetti sauce.

*I rearranged some pantry shelves to hold more items. It seems I had been taking items off the shelves.There was room to add other items so that everything was more consolidated.

*Carried chickens from their Rubbermaid box to house through the snow and after dark on Thursday night. They were not happy campers. Did you know they try to hold on, brace their feet, and squawk lots when they don't want to go with me? I noticed I was carrying Fancy tail up. She tried to scoot past me on the ground. Since I had Thelma in the other arm, I scooped her up the best I could. Chicken save!

*Called 911 for a friend in another county who had been falling down (knees buckling and passing out) all day, sleeping too much, and was slurring his words. Since he has diabetes and has lost his little tester thing, he has not taken insulin. The instrument the paramedics brought only read up to 600. Thirty minutes after he gave himself insulin, it was still 600, so he administered more. Whew...thought I had lost a friend.

*I rearranged some clothing, discarding some. Now, I have more room to hang my other clothing.

*Magazines will find themselves re homed tomorrow. I love magazines, but they cannot live here after one year. Out they go. Either my hairdresser or accountant will get these.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Decluttering the side porch

No, there are no pictures. I should have taken a before and after, but I did not think of it.  It became dark as we finished. This is the entrance everyone uses, so it was important that it not look so trashy. Exbf came up and helped me. Actually, he did the lion's share. I cannot afford to hire anyone. Plus, I can trust him to take care of my things. He knows where I am telling him to put something in the basement. I would have to walk down the concrete steps to show a stranger or even a friend who had not been down there and put things away before. That would defeat the purpose of getting someone to help me.

He loves my cooking. He had a bowl of soup I made.   Then, I gave him a pint to take home. He will take the pint and make two quarts. He puts cans of vegetables and tomatoes in it to stretch it. Then, he does not have to cook. I made a huge iron skillet of cornbread. He ate a small piece and took the rest of the half skillet home. I froze the other half, four huge pieces.

Back to porch cleaning. He removed things I could not handle. I tried to help and tripped as I came indoors. Once again, I hit my head, and in the same place. If this keeps up, I will be addled. My knees were hurting and my left shoulder was wrenched in the fall. After I cried a lot and he tried to comfort me, I just sat and cried more.

One more time--back to porch cleaning. He removed everything except what I was carrying when I fell. He swept the porch and steps. It took him several hours. Somehow, I feel a burden lifted. I could not move my reel mower to the basement, nor could I manage to put the garden tools in the basement. I might use a tool every other day and then not for a week.

We left to purchase a trash can. This now holds my garden rake, yard rake, shovel, hoe, a pink stake, and the broom. After putting a cinder block in the bottom for me, he does not think it will blow over. My permanent solution will be an outhouse sized storage "building" that will afford shelter for my everyday tools and my reel mower.

All the leaves and outdoor trash are  now swept off the porch, the first time in probably two years that the whole thing has been swept at once. Oh, I swept around the door and part of the porch all along. The sand from the snowfall and ice of a few weeks ago is gone from the door mat, porch, and steps.

The best I could do some days was just stack one more thing on the porch, things I wanted. Lest you think I just keep cluttering it, I was not. There might be ten things taken to the street, thrift store, put into the trash, or given away for every one I put on the porch. Now, it all has a proper place in the basement if I kept it.

The perfectly good fan that I don't need, a 20-inch box fan that sat on the porch in its original box, is on the curb. If it is not gone before I go to bed, I will bring it back to the porch so it is not hauled off by the garbage men and end up in the dump. THEN, I will put it back out tomorrow or donate it to a thrift store.

A box of figurine planters remains. They will go to the consignment shop. The badminton rackets are in the trunk, ready to make a trip to the thrift shop, along with two goose neck lamps that I hope to restore.

It feels good.

Your turn
Did getting the side or back porch decluttered ever make you feel lighter? That's how I feel. My porch went from cutish to cluttered because of my inability to cope with the carrying.  It is far from cutish since there is a door and screen door still leaning. But, I have seen progress today. I will bet your back or side porch is a repository of clutter if you are not vigilant. Right?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jonquil Fever and Groundhog Day

Those are two-inch jonquils or daffodils in the picture. On the last day of January, I noticed that they were peaking through the soil, about two-inches high. No matter what Punxsutawney Phil says, spring cannot be too far away.

I believe. I believe. I believe.

Your turn
What has been the first sign of spring at your house?

Bread save

Very short bread loaf
Bread machine
As I mentioned, I am testing a $3 bread machine to mail to CA. Last night, I decided to "test" it again since I wanted bread, had one more box of bread, and really did want to see how a lighter crust would work. The medium crust was much harder and tougher than I like. My parsimonious mettle was tested.

After I put the little baking bucket back in the machine, I decided to watch Bonanza. Ooops, I decided the bread mix needed to go in the machine. I was terribly distracted and out of sorts. Vertigo had plagued me for hours. Bonanza was paused and the bread machine filled with the right amount of water at the right temperature. I put everything in the right order into the bucket.

Mystery machine
Bread machines are a little mysterious to me. The machine goes "wig wag" like something going crazy. Then, there is silence that is deafening. Did it break? Then there is a whirr. I always just look through the handy, dandy little viewing window put there, I am sure, so that people will NOT open the lid and ruin the bread.

This is akin to my looking under the hood of a car. It feels that way. I look, see nothing, leave.

Buttons and screen
The little screen displays the results of pushing buttons for all sorts of decisions about the finished bread. Last night, this added to the drama of the mystery machine. Since I have no bread book, I looked up the directions last week. Maybe I forgot them or never learned them. Anyway, I figure that L1 means I have chosen 'light' and 'cycle 1.'

When I first saw this about 10:00 one morning, I tried to reset the time on the bread machine. The different numbers that appeared just confused me, so I tried again. Finally, I just gave up, unplugged the machine and replugged it. Okay, I know that you know that was the length of time the machine would run. I was confused last night, once again--repeat performance.

Fragrant bread
Only the fragrance of the bread alerted me that I could soon have sweet bread and butter. Yes, I was prepared for the loaf awaiting me. I peeked through the window, wondering why I could still see some of the bread mix and all of the yeast.

After I yanked the bucket from the machine, I just figure the bread machine broke. Oh, NO! Not so! I forgot the put the little paddle in the machine, the paddle that kneads.

As you can see in the bread picture, the loaf is about one-inch high. I cut off two crusts and ate them. Then, I remembered the leftover filling from the blueberry pie I baked from filling I froze last year. I mixed the cubed bread with the filling and left it overnight.

The result was delicious. My saving the pie filling and ruining the bread produced a real treat for me.

Your turn
My orphaned blueberry filling and a bread failure formed the perfect marriage and produced a really tasty treat. Don't you just hate it when things go spectacularly wrong and seem to cost you money to boot? What is your favorite food save? Or, what is your family's favorite save?