Monday, November 26, 2018

Cyber Monday

Gas prices are lower here due to an oversupply of oil right now. Last time I looked it was down to $2.05 per gallon, which is much better than we've been paying this year. 

We've been keeping the heat off for the most part except for the bathroom when taking showers. I like having a lower electric bill and keeping the heat off helps. Blankets, warm hoodies, socks and hot drinks all help in the process to save money.

Pictured above is a Cherry Pit Bed Warmer that I made last year. I first learned about them years ago in a book from Mother Earth News. We saved cherry pits every summer to be able to make this. 

Last night I heated this in the microwave and put it under the covers at the foot of my bed.  It definitely kept that part of the bed warm for a long while or as long as it took for me to fall asleep. 

It definitely helps to save money by keeping the bed warm since I kept the heat off last night. 

My Christmas cactus was in bloom for Thanksgiving this week. I think it bloomed early because it was unusually cold here for this time of year. 

We sold our old dog house over the weekend. None of our pets were using it, so it was time to go. We earned $25 in the process. 

We haven't been out of the house since last week saving gas money and wear and tear on our cars. My plans for now are to go out on Thursday as I have to work that day and do any errands afterwards. 

How is your week shaping up?

~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, November 23, 2018

My Frugal Week of Thanksgiving

For my North American readers, we hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and spent it with the people you love. We spent our day with friends and family and had a wonderful time. 

Since the weather has turned cold we've been enjoying many cups of warm tea. I've been enjoying Peppermint Chocolate, Tumeric/Ginger, and Hazelnut Cookie. 

Bailey has been enjoying Echinacea and Throat Coat. She is still on the mend after having strep throat and is on her second round of antibiotics.  

We've also been enjoying some homemade hot chocolate. 

Hot Chocolate

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
dash of salt
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan combine sugar, cocoa, and salt. 
Add water, bring to a boil.
Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
Stir in milk and heat to serving temperature. 
Do not boil. 
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. 


This week I brought down the blankets that I keep in the living room to cover up when we're cold. I shook them out and then washed them. I'm careful to shake blankets out after summer storage to get rid of any spiders. Once my girlfriend was bitten by a brown recluse spider after not shaking her blankets out. 


We stocked up on pasta this week. Publix had it on sale for buy one get one free and we had coupons, so we paid 57¢ per box. We still had some from the last time we stocked up at Kroger, so I did not buy as much, but we did buy 30 boxes. 


Our electric bill this month was only $137, which is a huge savings for us. We've not been running the heat or the a/c and it showed up on the bill. We can check our usage daily online and that helps me to know what appliances are using more electric. For example, when we wash bed clothes, I can see more usage than on days where we don't wash multiple loads. 

This week I was able to cash in my earnings from Inbox Dollars. I have a check coming to me for over $30.00, which I will used towards Christmas. It's easy enough to earn money from Inbox Dollars and you can sign up here and start earning money too. 
Today is Black Friday and we have no plans to leave the house today. I would much rather be at home than out in the crowds, so we're staying home today and working and enjoying our home. 

I hope you have a great Friday!

~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Day Menu

This past week I've posted several of the recipes I use to create our Thanksgiving Menu each year. I hope you've enjoyed reading the recipes and where each one came from. 

I've decided to place them all on one page, so they can easily be found. 

Thanksgiving Day Menu

Turkey or Ham
Cornbread Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Broccoli Casserole
Brussel Sprouts
Cranberry Relish
Relish Tray
Deviled Eggs
Crescent Rolls

Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie
Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
Jello Salad

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving Day Recipe Series ~ Jello Salad

Growing up jello salads always graced our holiday tables. This one is a particular favorite of mine when using pistachio flavor pudding mix. It makes a very special side dish or dessert. 

Jello Salad


1 - 8 ounce can mandarin oranges
1 - 20 ounce can crushed pineapple
1 -8 ounce container cottage cheese
1 large or 2 small boxes jello (any flavor you prefer)
1 - 16 ounce - large container cool whip 


Drain oranges and pineapple. 
Pour jello over oranges and pineapple and mix well. 
Add cottage cheese and mix well with a hand mixer. 
Add cool whip and mix again. 
Refrigerate until ready to eat. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Thanksgiving Day Recipe Series ~ Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie


2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (9 inch) pie shell


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
In large mixing bowl, beat eggs until light and foamy. 
Add flour, sugar and brown sugar and beat until well blended. 
Blend in melted butter. 
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. 
Pour into pie shell. 
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. 
Remove from oven. 
Serve warm with whipped topping or ice cream. 
~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Thanksgiving Day Recipe Series ~ Broccoli Casserole

This is another tried and true family favorite recipe. 

I found this recipe in a Ronald McDonald cookbook in the early 1990s.

It's an easy recipe to make and delicious. 

Broccoli Casserole


2 packages or 1 bag chopped broccoli
1 stick butter, divided
8 ounces Velveeta cheese
25 Ritz type crackers or 1 sleeve crackers


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook broccoli and drain well.
In a small pan heat half the butter and all of the cheese over low heat, until creamy.
Add to the broccoli and place in a buttered casserole dish.
Melt the other half of the butter.
Crumble the crackers until fine and add the melted butter.
Mix well.
Sprinkle on top of the casserole.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes

~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, November 16, 2018

Thanksgiving Day Recipe Series ~ Sweet Potato Casserole

Here is another tried and true favorite family recipe, which came from my friend Joan Beene in Evansville, Tennessee. She gave this back to me in 1990 when we lived in Graysville, Tennessee. 

Sweet Potato Casserole


3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Topping Ingredients:

1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flour
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix casserole ingredients together and mash. 
Place in a buttered casserole dish
Cover with topping
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes

~ Living within our Means ~

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Thanksgiving Day Recipe Series ~ Cornbread Dressing

Cornbread Dressing


2 pans cornbread
2 - 14 ounce packages Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing Mix
1 bunch celery
1 onion 
2 sticks butter
2 packages onion soup mix
12 cups chicken broth - can use 3 boxes (32 ounces each) or  6 cans (15.5 ounces) 


I start making dressing by baking two pans of cornbread. I make my cornbread by adding four cups of cornmeal to three to four cups of buttermilk and then baking that in a 375 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. 

I don't use the cornbread mixes, but use 100% cornmeal as I do not care for the flour mixed in with my cornbread. 

While the cornbread is cooling, I chop up the celery and onions and saute them in a skillet with butter until the vegetables are soft. 

After the cornbread has cooled, I take my largest mixing bowl and crumble the cornbread into the bowl. I then add the Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing Mix and stir well. 

Then I add the celery, onion, and butter mixture along with the onion soup mix and a little bit of sage (approximately one tablespoon). 

After that is all mixed together well, I start adding the chicken broth. You can use homemade or store bought. I add enough to make sure the dressing is well moistened. 

This makes a very large batch and what I usually do is put some in a 9 by 13 inch pan to bake in the oven for that day and then put the remainder inderin the freezer for another day. 

Then I bake this in a 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes, uncovered. 

This is a tried and true family favorite recipe used by three generations in my family. 

When I was growing up, my grandmother worked for Pepperidge Farm and this was just one of several Pepperidge Farm products that graced our holiday tables down through the years.

~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Thanksgiving Day Recipe Series ~ Cranberry Salad

Listed below is a recipe I've used for Cranberry Salad since 1993. This recipe came from Mrs. Nova Roberson who lives in the Sequatchie Valley region near the Cumberland Plateau here in Tennessee. 

My family lived there in Pikeville for eight years and it was a wonderful place to live and we have fond memories of the time we spent there. 

We've used this recipe almost every year since Mrs. Nova gave it to me going on twenty-five years now. It's a tried and true family favorite with us now and the holidays wouldn't be complete without it. 

Cranberry Salad


One pound cranberries (bags are 12 ounces now & work well without the additional 4 ounces)
2 cups sugar (I like mine tart and only use 1/2 cup)
3 packages cherry Jello (some years they have cranberry, but not always)
3 cups hot water
6 oranges (deveined and chopped)
1 - 20 ounce can crushed pineapple
1 cup pecans, crushed


Crush together the cranberries and sugar in a blender or food processor
Dissolved the 3 packages of jello in hot water
Mix with the cranberries and allow mixture to cool
Mix the oranges, pineapple, and pecans and add to the cranberry mixture
Store in the refrigerator.
Freezes well. 

I hope you try it and like it and if you do please drop me a line and let me know how you and your family enjoyed it. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, November 11, 2018

My Frugal Week ~ November 2018

Thank You!

Today is Veterans Day, so I would like to take a minute and say thank you to all those who have served. And to my niece who is currently serving our country in the Air Force. 

Our can opener is going on the fritz, so I've been looking for a new one. As luck would have it, we found an old Swingway, made in the USA, last weekend at a yard sale for 25¢. 

It works so great, it's like slicing through warm butter. Needless to say this made me a very happy camper. 

This Saturday morning was cold and frosty, so we had to salt our steps. Reason was we wanted to get to Chattanooga for a consignment store sale where everything was 25¢. 

The owner is going out of business and wanted to get rid of as much as possible before donating the rest of her inventory. 

My daughter ended up with 108 pieces for her reselling business paying only $27 for the whole lot. I found a couple of Christmas ornaments.

This past week I was able to work three days as we were off Tuesday, so schools could be used for voting. As usual I packed my lunch and drinks.

This coming week will be the last week of school as students are off all next week for Thanksgiving Break. 

We found some great markdowns in the crash & burn section a few weeks ago on birdseed.

Yesterday we stopped in at Walmart and Fresh & Low to pick up a few things. I needed some salt and ginger and found some pizzas on markdown at Walmart. 

These were the BIG pizzas, so I made one for dinner on Saturday night. We saved the other one for another time. 

At Fresh and Low they had Tennessee Pride sausage on sale for $1.79 and cole slaw mix on sale for 88¢. Perfect for making Deconstructed Egg Rolls for dinner and at a great price. 

They also had sugar for $1.50 and the three pound bag of onions for $1.29, so we picked up those too. 

There was a black walnut tree close to the consignment store we went to on Saturday. 

There were dozens of them on the ground in a bank parking lot. I was surprised no one had picked them up already. 

Also this week I picked up a free copy of our hometown newspaper thanks to working for the school system.

That's all the news from here this week. I hope you've had a great week!

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, November 5, 2018

This Week In My Frugal Kitchen


Cabbage & Kale salad

Sunday & Monday

Salad (not pictured)
Garlic Bread

This is what you would call a truly frugal meal. I used pasta bought on sale (50¢), Italian sausage bought on markdown ($1.99), sauce - crash & burn (49¢), and made garlic bread out of brioche buns (38¢) on markdown. So, less than $3 and there is plenty left for another meal. 


When I did my pantry inventory last week I knew I had everything on hand to make Bean & Cheese Enchiladas, although I didn't have any enchilada sauce. 

I did have a package of California dried chilis however, and so I used a variation of this recipe to make my own enchilada sauce. 

I think I like it even better than canned enchilada sauce. 

Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli

Deconstructed Egg Rolls
Steamed Broccoli


I made a large stockpot filled with chili. Enough to last a few days at least. I think we will have chili tacos for dinner on Monday night. 

Beverages This Week
Sweet Iced Tea
Iced Herbal Teas
Apple Juice
Orange Cream Soda

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, November 4, 2018

My Frugal Week

This past week I was able to work two days and packed lunches and drinks both days. Both days I took my laptop with me to crosspost while I was working. This week I'm scheduled to work three days. 

Another task I accomplished while working was to sort out coupons and stapled like ones together. Doing this while I'm working saves time for me to do other tasks when I'm home. 

We went to Walmart on Thursday afternoon. We stopped and looked at the 50% off Halloween candy, but didn't buy any candy. We did pick up some bread and garlic chicken lunch meat on markdown. 

We went to several yard sales on Saturday even though it was a cold 34° when we left home. 

In my bedroom I have a lamp with a pull string chain and love the ease of of the pull chain. I've been wanting one for the table next to my chair in our living room.  

I've looked at the lamps at Lowe's and found one for $54, but decided to wait and see if I could find one second hand. Yesterday was the day! We found one for $1.00. I've already been using it and love it so much better than the lamp with the rotating switch. 

Waiting to buy the things we need or even want second hand helps us save money in our home. 

We also found a set of over the ear headphones for $1.00. I like these better than the in ear headphones and they are much more comfortable. 

November is here and I know I've been thinking about our Thanksgiving menu. I've been writing down what we plan on having and will be looking for sales on those items. I already picked up some dressing mix on closeout. 

How was your week? Frugal or no?

~ Living within our Means ~
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