Sunday, April 26, 2020

What I've Been Reading This Week...

Food Security 101

Sharing Bar Soap Cannot Make You Sick and is Way Better for the Environment


Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Monday, April 20, 2020

Magic Crust Pizza

Magic Crust Pizza

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 cup pepperoni slices
1/2 pound Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 cups pizza sauce
2-4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup black olives, sliced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. 
Grease and flour a 10x15 inch rimmed baking sheet.
Combine flour, salt, oregano, garlic powder, pepper, eggs, and milk, and mix.
Pour batter into prepared pan and tilt pan around until bottom is evenly coated. Sprinkle the cooked meat and pepperoni over the batter. 
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and drizzle with pizza sauce. 
Sprinkle evenly with cheese. 
Add olives or additional toppings if desired.
Bake until cheese is bubbling, about 5 more minutes. 
Slice, serve, and enjoy!


Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Thrifty Thursday ~ April 16, 2020

Bones' Smokehouse in East Brainerd destroyed by tornado.
The white building in the left background is one of our local Goodwill stores. 

What a week this has been here in Tennessee. The National Weather Service confirmed four tornadoes came through our area on Easter Sunday. 

Thankfully we were spared here, although we lost power for over forty hours and when it was finally restored we had no water. 

On Tuesday one of our local well companies came out and had to install a new pressure tank. Thankfully we are back to semi-normal here now. 
 
Gas is down to $1.29 per gallon here this week. I was able to fill up my car for just over $17, which seems unreal to me. 

My economic stimulus check came this week. I'm saving it to pay bills while I am off from work during this pandemic. 

Frugal Things This Week:

Our Verizon phones were paid off last month, so our cell phone/Internet bill will be $80 less in April. This couldn't have come at a better time. 


I made a mask for my Mom this week. I upcycled a scrub shirt we bought from a yard sale and used the ties from the back of the shirt as the ties for the mask. 

In My Frugal Kitchen:

I made an impossible zucchini pie using a Betty Crocker recipe in order to use up the last of our zucchini. 


I also made some Ham and Cheese Muffins using another Betty Crocker recipe. These lasted for several days for breakfast this week. 

On Sunday I made a loaf of English Muffin bread. I've always wanted to make the English muffin bread, but never did until now. 






Here is the recipe if you're interested:

English Muffin Bread

Ingredients:

3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. I heated mine for two minutes. Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Using an hand mixer, beat at high speed for 1 minute. Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal. Scoop the dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible. Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it's just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, till it's golden brown. Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

How has your week been?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Friday, April 10, 2020

Frugal Friday ~ April 9, 2020 ~ Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe Included!

Good Friday morning to all my readers. Fridays are normally exciting for me since they mark the end of the work week. Exactly four weeks ago today, on March 13, was the last day I worked.  

We have sheltered in place for the last 28 days due to COVID-19. 

We are not sure how long this new normal will last, but hopefully we will come out on the other side in a better position than when we started. 

I read an article today on the AP website about how we are revisiting forgotten household skills

For my own household that has been true. In fact, as long as I've been on my frugal journey, I've found ways to save money this week that I hadn't always realized before this started.

I'd say it has a lot to do with having to stay home, which forces us to use what we have here and to make do with what we have on hand. 

I can recall my grandfather telling me they ate cornbread made with water during the Great Depression. After staying home for four weeks, now I realize why they would do that, and have actually thought about what alternative we could use for our buttermilk in our cornbread. I hadn't really stopped to think that this generation would have to think about things like that.  

We normally buy our bread at the bread outlet inexpensively compared to the grocery store prices. But, we are not going to any stores, and although I've made bread several times over the years, I realize that now I'm going to have to make it for real if we want bread to eat. 

LOL, I am up to the challenge. :)

This new way of life has given me a lot to think about and a new mindset, a more frugal can-do attitude that is forcing me to be even more frugal. 

So this week we have eaten all of our meals from home and they were seriously cooked from scratch. These days I'm thinking about how I handle food in the kitchen. 

I believe I've used more flour these last four weeks than I have in the last year. Now I find myself thinking about having to ration what I have left. 

I'm cutting back and using less, so I can make our food stretch as far as possible. And even though I have done that in the past this time feels different. There is a real purpose/urgency  behind this more so than any other time I can recall. 

This week for the first time I put a container in my freezer to hold small amounts of leftovers to turn into soup in the future. I have never done the soup container in the freezer before this. 

I was creative in the kitchen before this started, but these days I find myself trying to think of and create meals like I've not done before. We are using everything we have and like Frugal Queen told me once, "now eat all of that and don't go to the grocery store again until it's all gone."

Non-Frugal Things We Did This Week

This week I switched one of my prescriptions to mail order via CVS. And although I ended up paying more for it, it was worth it to me since we are sheltering in place. 

Items We Bought This Week:


We purchased this box of 96 toilet paper rolls for 50¢ each, but now the company website has been taken down and is no longer available. 

We bought ten pounds of white popcorn from Blain's Farm & Fleet. At $1.99 for two pounds I considered this a good deal. 

How we Entertained Ourselves:

We played board games this week. One of them was Ticket to Ride. 


In My Frugal Kitchen this Week:


Ever since I moved to a more plant based diet I do not drink dairy milk, but rather use plant based milk. I was out this week, but realized that I had pecans in my freezer, so using my Vita-mix enabled me to make my own nut milk. 


On Tuesday I made a batch of Amy D's muffins, which you can read about here

I cleaned out all the Tupperware bowls and lids. I have done this before, but today I went thru all those lids that no longer fit the bowls. 

They should come with a disclaimer that Tupperware lids will shrink if not used for a long time. I've read that running one under hot water or leaving it in the sun will help it fit better. 

I've also read that apparently certain Tupperware is considered dangerous to store food now, but using them for other uses would be OK. 

When my daughter made homemade wipes this week she stored them in one of our old Tupperware bowls. If you missed that blog post you can read about it here


On Thursday I took the four zucchini I had from Misfits Market and grated them. I used some of it to make these two loaves of chocolate zucchini bread. I still have one cup left, so I saved it and will add it to something else I make this week. 

Here's the recipe in case you're interested:

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups shredded peeled zucchini

Directions

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended. 
Combine the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder. 
Beat into sugar mixture until blended. 
Stir in zucchini. 
Transfer to two  loaf pans coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

That's all the news I can think of to report from here this week. How has your week been?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Online Ordering During a Pandemic

We've been having trouble being able to order some items we need like consumables because many of them are out of stock. This has involved both outside store pick up and online ordering with shipping to our home. 

As a result, recently we've been using some companies that we don't normally do business with to purchase things. And we are willing to pay for shipping because we are not going inside any stores due to COVID-19 risks. 

One thing we have learned from this pandemic is that if you see something online and you need it,  to go ahead and order it because it may not be there or may be out of stock when you go looking for it again. 


We purchased this box of 96 toilet paper rolls for 50¢ each, but now the company website has been taken down and is no longer available. I don't know if these companies are fly by night companies or are just overwhelmed with how many orders they're getting. 

We bought ten pounds of white popcorn from Blain's Farm & Fleet. At $1.99 for two pounds I considered this a good deal. I've been satisfied with the service we have received from them and will continue to use them in the future as a result. 

We ordered some sugar from Fleet Farm but when it came several of the bags had broken open during shipment. They made good on them though and replaced those bags.  

However, they are not even listing sugar on their website at the time of this post and from what I can tell they've stopped offering to ship any of their food items. 

So, I called them and was told they were overwhelmed with online ordering of consumables and removed the option to ship those items from their website. 

They are working on this and hope to offer them for shipment again soon. I will order from them in the future because I thought their shipping was very reasonable. 

Also in the good news department, several stores have decided to reopen their online stores. The Dollar Tree has reopened their online ordering and shipping. And Hurst beans has said they are going to reopen their online store soon, which is great news!

Have you had any dealings regarding this? 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Saving Money with Homemade Sanitizing Wipes

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has hit, sanitizing wipes are almost impossible to find in the stores. 

The solution to that is to make your own sanitizing wipes, which is what my daughter did this week.

Now there are multiple tutorials online on how to make your own wipes, so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here. I'm just going to explain how we saved money by making our own wipes. 


This is a bottle of Lysol that we bought from Lowe's last year. This bottle is a concentrated formula, holds 144 ounces, and costs $8.18. 

When you mix the bottle of Lysol according to the package directions, you will end up with 720 ounces of Lysol because it's a concentrated formula. 

Target sells the 32 ounce bottle of Lysol that is NOT concentrated for $2.89. When I do the math on the 144 ounce bottle, 32 ounces of the final product costs us less than 40¢ to make. 

Image Credit

What a difference in price!

This week my daughter made homemade wipes using an idea she read about online using coffee filters.  She bought two packages of coffee filters and paid $2.98 for 400 filters. 

Now I've used the wipes she made with the coffee filters and they are strong and durable. I know many people, including myself, have made wipes with paper towels, but she found that the coffee filters are cheaper than using paper towels. Besides, paper towels are actually hard to find right now anyway. 


Doing the math again...200 cleaning wipes will cost me $1.49 plus 40¢ = $1.89, which is less than 1¢ per wipe. If you look at the prices of the name brand wipes online you will see that they range in prices from 3¢ on up to 15¢ each. 

"Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves"

That's what I have to share with you today. I hope you found this an easy way for you to save money. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Tightwad Gazette Muffin Recipe

Good morning! I hope you all are doing well today and staying safe and healthy. 

Today I decided to make Amy D's muffins for several reasons. 

1. We are low on butter with only two sticks left. 
2. We have vegetable oil, which her recipe uses. 
3. Allows me to use up ingredients that need using. 

Using vegetable oil allows me to save money and ration the butter we have left. We have a stockpile of vegetable oil due to a great deal we found in the fall. 

And I was able to tweak the recipe and use up some packages of grape jelly that were given to us. The jelly came from Hardee's and I used half a pack in each muffin and then covered them with more batter. 

I also had some dried cranberries I put in there and sprinkled the tops with some roasted cinnamon sugar that I mixed up this morning. 



The Tightwad Gazette Muffin Recipe

Here is a photo of them out of the oven:



This recipe makes twelve muffins, and is easy to double, which saves time and energy. You simply combine the dry ingredients together and then mix in the wet ingredients just until combined. Either spray or line your muffin tin and fill cups two-thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (give or take five minutes).

Basic recipe:

2 to 2 1/2 cups grain
1 cup milk
up to 1/4 cup fat
1 egg
up to 1/2 cup sweetener
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
up to 1 1/2 cups additions

Following ingredients are required:

Grain: Use 2- 2 1/2 cups white flour. Or substitute oatmeal, cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, rye flour or flake cereal for 1 cup of the white flour. Or substitute one cup leftover cooked oatmeal, cornmeal, rice for 1/2 cup of the white flour, and decrease liquid to 1/2 cup.

Sweetener: Use between 2 Tbsp and 1/2 cup sugar. Or subs up to 3/4 cup brown sugar. Or subs up to 1/2 cup honey or molasses, and decrease milk to 1/2 cup.

Baking Powder: Use 2 teaspoons. If using whole or cooked grains or more than one cup of additions, increase to 3 teaspoons. If using butter or sour milk, decrease to 1 tsp and add 1/2 tsp baking soda.

Salt: Use 1/2 tsp, or omit if you have a salt-restricted diet.

Milk: Use one cup. Or substitute buttermilk or sour milk (add Tbsp vinegar to 1 cup milk). Or substitute fruit juice for some or all of the milk.

Fat: Use 1/4 cup vegetable oil or 4 Tbsp melted margarine or butter. Or substitute crunchy or regular peanut butter for part or all of the fat. The fat can be reduced or omitted with fair results if using a “wet addition”.

Egg: Use 1 egg. Or substitute 1 heaping Tbsp of soy flour & 1 Tbsp of water. If using a cooked grain, separate the egg, add the yolk to the batter, beat the white until stiff and fold into the batter.

Optional Ingredients:

Additions can be used in any combination, up to 1 1/2 cups total. If using more than 1 cup of wet additions, decrease the milk to 1/2 cup.

Dry additions: Nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut, and so on.

Moist additions: Blueberries, chopped apple, freshly shredded zucchini, shredded carrot, etc.,

Wet additions: Pumpkin puree, applesauce, mashed & cooked sweet potato, mashed banana, mashed & cooked carrot, etc., If using 1/2 cup drained, canned fruit or thawed shredded zucchini, substitute the syrup or zucchini liquid for all or part of the milk.

Spices: Use spices that complement the additions, such as 1 tsp cinnamon with 1/4 tsp nutmeg or cloves. Try 2 tsp grated orange or lemon peel.

Jellies and jam: Fill cups half full w/ plain batter. Add 1 tsp jam/ jelly, top with 2 more tsp batter.

Topping: Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the batter in the tins.

Non-sweet combinations: Use only 2 Tbsp sugar and no fruit. Add combinations of the following: 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 3 strips fried and crumbled bacon, 2 Tbsp grated onion, 1/2 cup shredded zucchini, 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese. Spices could contain a tsp of parsley and a pinch of marjoram.

These made for a hearty breakfast or snack, and can be frozen and they cost less than cold cereal, which is a win-win situation.

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Saturday, April 4, 2020

My Frugal Week ~



Like many of you, we've stayed home every day this week due to the "stay at home" order. 


We are using up what food we have on hand, also like many of you, not going to the grocery store, and trying to be resourceful with what we have here. 


I took everything out of the pantry and cleaned and organized it better than it was before. 

On Monday I made up a new recipe for
cheese dip

On Tuesday I made a double batch of
Mexican Rice and included onions, peas, and carrots, so it had a lot of vegetables. I also used homemade chicken broth that I made and froze last week and used up some taco sauce that no one was fond of, but couldn't taste in the recipe. 

We had the rice for lunch that day with some tortilla chips and cheese. It is a very affordable and meatless dish to save money and stretch what we have on hand. I made a double batch, so we will use it as a filler for tacos one night this week too. 
               
I also made a batch of
Bean & Cheese Enchiladas for dinner on Tuesday. This was also dinner on Wednesday along with a cheese quesadilla on the side.      

On Wednesday I made a batch of
Banana Pancakes using up some bananas that were on the verge. Since I had my griddle out I used it to make the pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, and cheese quesadillas to go along with dinner. 

Other frugal things I've done this week include: 


We've been able to access the Tennessee Reads Overdrive website this week and watched Life of a King for free. This movie is based on a true story and was a really good film. 

Sewing...there is plenty of time to work on some projects. I also repaired several cloth pads for my daughter. 

We watched
Ratatouille for our family movie night this week.


We also watched Historian Jerry Apps remembering his childhood in Waushara County, Wisconsin in Farm Story on YouTube. His story is told through his personal memories and photos from the community. 

Apps evokes memories of a time when almost as many Americans lived on farms as in cities, and examines day-to-day rural life. Fieldwork was done with horses, cows were milked by hand, lanterns were the source of light, and community was essential for survival.



How has your week been? 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me to earn a living here at Frugal Workshop.
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