Monday, January 29, 2024

My Frugal Kitchen ~ Cooking from Scratch ~ What We Ate This Week


"In the house of the wise are stores of choice food..."
~ Proverbs 21:20a

My Frugal Week

Bailey and I stopped in at Mckay Used Books the other day while out running errands. My Dad had a love for Native American Indians and he had a huge book collection on the topic. He told us last summer to take his books and trade them at McKays, so we've been doing that slowly. 

On this day we ended up with $44 in trade credit and I used around $17 of the credit to purchase eleven new to me books with nine of them being cookbooks, which I love to read. As you can imagine, my cookbook shelf is really full right now. 

Tip of the Week

From the Little House Living website,
*Note, for a recipe calling for Cream of Chicken soup you can easily substitute 1 cup cream + 1 cup chicken stock + 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer that mixture together for a few minutes on the stove until it thickens. 
What’s for Lunch & Dinner

 ~ We had a rough day at the attorney's office, so we decided to use our last gift card from Dad and went to Olive Garden for an early dinner. I had the Cheese Ravioli ($6.99) with Italian Sausage while Bailey had the Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara($20.99), and we both had salad and breadsticks. 

I was a little surprised at the menu prices and noticed they have made their menu smaller and the dishes cost more, which seems to be a theme with restaurants in these days of higher cost of goods and wages. It's one of the reasons we do not eat out very often. 

On a side note, they charged us $16.99 for my lunch, so I called them to let them know we were there at lunch time. They happily refunded our card for the difference. 

Tuesday ~ Cheeseburgers & Fries, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles.

Wednesday ~ Boston Butt Pork Roast, Macaroni and Cheese, Green Beans with Onions. I used one of the cans of Campbell's French Onion soup that we brought over from Dad's pantry. I cooked the roast in that and it was one of the best roasts we have ever had. I will definitely be using this soup in the future.

 ~ I had a bag of Progresso Minestrone soup that was gifted to us from somewhere, so I put that in the crockpot along with some chicken broth early in the day for lunches. For dinner I took a package of Cajun Sausages out of the freezer and served that with mashed potatoes, and green beans with onions from Wednesday. #nofoodwaste #useitup

Friday ~ I was bone tired from cleaning downstairs, so I came in and made some Little Cheese Smokies from the freezer and opened up a can of corn and called it good. 

Saturday ~  Sausage ($1.58), Stir Fried Cabbage with Onions & Ginger, Green Beans with Onions.  We ate every last drop of the cabbage. It was delicious. LOL

Sunday ~ Seasoned Chicken Breast, Carrots, Broccoli, and Cauliflower Vegetables, and Salad. Chicken was bought on markdown at Food City. 

What’s on the Menu for This Coming Week

Ham & Beans
Salmon Patties
Pulled Pork
Chicken Enchiladas
Soup Beans, Greens, Cornbread

These are the items we have on hand that I can use to make meals this week. Be sure to come back next week to see what sides we serve with these main dishes.

We are serving at least one meatless meals this week to save money on meat.

What’s been on the menu in your home this past week?

Homemaker at Heart
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27

Friday, January 26, 2024

Fourth Frugal Friday of January 2024


Welcome to Frugal Friday! 

My Frugal Week

I am so happy that the weather has warmed up this week. It's around 65 in my bedroom/office with no heat on at the moment and I am thrilled!

Attorney's Office

On Monday we went to our rescheduled appointment at the attorney's office to make a property transfer. My brother, sister, and I are having my Mom's land and my Dad's land transferred into our names. 

My Mother died without a will, and while my Father had one about twenty years ago, we have been unable to find it. Tennessee state law says that upon the death of a property owner with no will, the land automatically goes to the children, but we have to do the paperwork.  

The attorney said this would be like putting a puzzle together and in order to save money I can do some of the leg work myself as he charges $250 per hour. So, I've been creating a timeline of their lives and the purchases of land they've bought and sold here in Tennessee. I've been in contact with the Register of Deeds here and been obtaining property deeds to sort it out. 

In order to save on gas, we combined errands. So, we went into Publix for the juice sale and Food City for the sale on herbal tea. We also stopped by CVS for several Rxs. 

Tip of the Week

Rather than use a credit card or even worse, a payday loan, sell something you have to pay for unexpected expenses. 

Saving on Electricity

Last week I was reading over at the Cash Only Living blog and she mentioned recording their electricity usage everyday so they could see what made it increase. So, I've been writing in my calendar how many kWh we use each day. It's easy enough to do this by visiting our usage chart on our electric company's website. 

The highest recording reading during the recent cold spell was 95.82 kWh, which was a day we were using heat and laundering bed clothes. That is high for us and similar to our usage on days when it's very hot and we have the air conditioning running. The lowest usage was 29 kWh when the power was off for around six hours. 

One way we've been saving on electric this month is by using my Dad's propane heater. We bought these back when Y2K was a thing in 1999 and he later used them to heat his home. 

Since Dad had already paid for the propane, we are using them to supplement our electric heat, which is expensive, to save on our heating bill this month. This really came in handy during the recent cold spell. 


I received a free lotion sample in the mail from CeraVe this week. 

Funny of the Week

Oftentimes in bitter cold, like we've experienced lately, the decks on our house will expand and make a very loud popping sound because of the cold. We had concrete porches where I grew up in Illinois and never heard these sounds. 

 The first time our cat Archie heard the noise he ran and hid under my bed not knowing what was happening. Poor baby was scared!  LOL

Joy of the Week

Mrs. Sharon White, who writes at the Legacy of Home blog, had a contest in December and I was one of the winners.  I received a copy of her book titled, Wonderful Days at Home, in the mail this week. I'll be sure to do a review of the book and let you all know about it soon. 

Savings of the Week

The dial on our dryer broke inside last week, so Bailey did a little reading online and found a solution. To have a repairman come to the house would cost over $200, but she read that the dial can be bought on Amazon for $9. So, we bought the dial and it was an easy fix. What's funny is that dial was always hard to turn and now it turns very easily. Who knew?! LOL

Question of the Week

Do you know where we can buy Lord Chesterfield's Seasoned Butter Beans? 

From what I've been reading, I *think* they have switched over to the Margaret Holmes brand. Someone gifted this can above to us and we really liked them, so I was wondering and thought I would ask my readers. 

Saving Money YouTube Videos

Frugal Queen ~ Go Frugal or Go Broke

Frozen Pennies ~ Low Income Woman's Frugal Living Secrets

Saving Money on Entertainment

We've been watching Manifest this week as they've added more episodes to the 4th season.  A plane inexplicably disappears on a trans-oceanic flight and returns five years later after being presumed lost at sea. While no time has passed for those on the flight, years have gone by for their loved ones who have learned to live with their loss.

What I've been Reading This Week

 Iowa State University Extension ~ Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Passionate Penny Pincher ~ The Ultimate Guide to a Better Grocery Budget

Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.

Homemaker at Heart
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27

Monday, January 22, 2024

My Frugal Kitchen ~ Cooking From Scratch ~ What We Ate This Week


My Frugal Week

We let our Instacart subscription run out at the end of last year, and rather than pay the exorbitant fees of $8.99 service fee plus $6.99 long distance fee plus a good tip for the shopper/driver, we will just make do with what's here until I can go to the grocery store again. 

While we were housebound this week, I finished up the inventory of food in our pantry and freezer since adding food from Dad's pantry to ours. We have 61 pounds of dried beans! I'm not sure how long that many beans will last, but it's probably more than one years worth. I'm thinking of all the money saving ways we can use them this year to save money on food. The possibilities are endless. 

On Wednesday I busied myself in the kitchen since we were still housebound by cold and ice, and I did multiple tasks to keep busy. 

I made BBQ Sauce and Homemade Ranch Dressing. I took my powdered sugar canister out of the cabinet, emptied it, scrubbed it clean, and put the new bag I bought last month inside of it. I wanted to clean the older 10X sugar out, because we don't use it much and it was a few years old.

In the winter time here is when my salt gets moisture in it and doesn't shake out very well, so I used rice to absorb the moisture one day, and the next day sifted the rice out, only leaving a few kernels behind to keep this under control. 

We've been drinking so much herbal tea to keep warm, so I went thru my tea bags and hot chocolate and got all those organized together. 

On Thursday I peeled and roasted a butternut squash and made a meat sauce for lasagne. I put the meat sauce into meal size containers and froze that for a later date. 

If you run out of aluminum foil, you can use items you already have in your kitchen instead. For example, we've been using a large cookie sheet to cover our 9x13 glass baking dish and it works well for this. I also used my largest glass lid to cover a pizza the other day to keep it warm until we could eat it. 

We ran out of almond milk this week and I had inventoried my nuts the other day and realized we had 14 pounds of dried almonds combined with what Dad also had. So I soaked some of them overnight and made almond milk with them on Friday. 

Afterwards, I dried the wet almond pulp in the oven and will make crackers with the dried pulp. This is a great alternative to store bought almond milk since the almonds were all given to us for free. Now I will keep some soaking in my fridge for when I run out of almond milk.

Recipe of the Week

Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash Soup


2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 6 cups)

1 large apple, peeled and chopped

½ cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon pepper

32 ounces chicken broth

½ cup heavy whipping cream


Spray 5 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. 

Add all ingredients except whipping cream.

Cover and cook on High for 4 to 5 hours.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. 

Stir in whipping cream.

Cover and cook on High for about 5 minutes until heated through.

Photo of the Week

What’s for Breakfast

Pizza Eggs (Bailey's Favorite Eggs), Yogurt, Oatmeal, Leftover Pizza. Beverages included multiple cups of Herbal Tea (I used my tea bags more than once to save money) and Hot Chocolate to stay warm, also freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice for the vitamin C.

What’s for Dinner

Monday & Tuesday ~ Meatloaf, Soup Beans, Pickled Beets, Glazed Carrots, and Sliced Oranges. I used two pounds of ground beef to make the meatloaf, which is enough for more than two meals and lunch. 

When I was inventorying my canned goods on Sunday, I accidently dropped a jar of spaghetti sauce on the floor and the lid popped, so I stored it in the fridge. Rather than use ketchup in my meatloaf, I used the spaghetti sauce and it turned out well. I try my best to avoid food waste even with an accidental jar mishap. 

The soup beans were left from Sunday night dinner. I soaked two cups of dry beans overnight and then cooked them in the Instant Pot the next day. It makes enough for dinner for two nights and some for lunch one day too. 

We ate all the pickled beets I made, but I saved the pickling juice and just added another can of beets sans the juice to make more pickled beets. It saved me money not to have to use more vinegar and sugar. 

Wednesday ~ BBQ Chicken Drumsticks, Butter Beans, Celery Sticks with Ranch, Pickled Beets, Orange Slices. I made my own BBQ Sauce and Homemade Ranch Dressing

Thursday & Friday ~ Tuesday evening I put four cups of dried pinto beans on to soak for dinners the next three nights. On Wednesday, I cooked the beans in my Instant Pot and I also put a pound of hamburger in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. 

This first night I made Bean & Cheese Enchiladas, and served them with Corn and Orange Slice, which I also served on Friday night. 

Friday ~ The second night I used more of the beans to make Chili. I also peeled and roasted a butternut squash to make soup.  

Saturday ~ Cracker Barrel ~ I had an errand to run, so got out of the house for the first time this week. Bailey and I decided to use the Cracker Barrel gift card from Dad. She had the Maple Bacon Chicken with Hash Brown Tator Tots and Apples while I had the Sunday Chicken with carrots and broccoli. All served with buttermilk biscuits. 

Sunday ~ Breakfast for Dinner ~ Sausage, Fluffy Baked Omelet, Sausage Gravy, and Sliced Oranges. I will use the Swaggerty's sausage we bought recently for $1.58. I'll use half to make four sausage patties and the rest to make the sausage gravy. Eggs were 18 cents each and I used the free to us almond milk, so no cost there. Flour was 25¢ worth for a total of $2.91. The sliced oranges added $1.00 to the cost. 

What’s been on the menu in your home this past week?

Homemaker at Heart
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27

Friday, January 19, 2024

Third Frugal Friday January 2024

Welcome to Frugal Friday! 

My Frugal Week

My sister and her daughters, my nieces, came into town last Friday from Michigan. We spent Friday and Saturday going through our Dad's things and cleaning out. 

Unfortunately, we lost power on Friday afternoon, so it made it hard to clean without any lights. Our Dad was definitely a hoarder and his workshops, office, and living quarters need to be cleaned out. It's nowhere near complete, but with time and effort we will get it back up to par someday. 

We ended up trapping the mean cat and three possums last week! That trapping cage was money well spent. 

We had snow and later ice on Monday, so schools and several businesses were closed all week long. The attorney for our property transfer called me to cancel our appointment and said the roads would be treacherous later.

Temperatures were hovering around 5 degrees, so we added extra blankets to our beds, rather than turning up the heat at night most nights.

On Tuesday I finished up inventorying the food we have in our home and even made up a bag of items to donate to the Little Free Pantries. 


When we were cleaning up Dad's areas last week we found a large container of Tide pods, so we brought them home to use here along with more garbage bags and storage bags. 

Photo of the Week

This is how my Mom would bundle us up for school on those bitter cold Illinois winters back in the 1970s. 😂 

Question of the Week

Have you used or had issues with Kerr canning jars? I always like the Kerr canning jars, but in the last two weeks have had two break on me while stirring something inside of them. So, I'd like to hear from you if you h ave any experience with this brand of canning jar. 

Tip of the Week

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing during freezing temperatures. 

Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.

Homemaker at Heart
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Wednesday - Mid January Grocery Store Sale Ads

This morning I've been perusing the grocery store sale ads here and made up a list of items we would buy if we get to the stores before Tuesday. The temperature was only 6 degrees this morning and all schools and many businesses are still closed. 

If you are local to me and want a list of all the grocery stores we have for shopping here is my list. Southeast Tennessee Grocery Stores

If you are wanting to save money on your grocery budget, shopping the sale ads each week will help you accomplish this goal. What I buy for my family may be different than what you buy for your family. 

Some things, which might be a good deal for you, may not be on my list. For example, I only have four items on my list for this week because we are currently stocked up, but there are other good sales on meat and other items, which may be of interest to you. 

Food City

Celestial Seasonings Tea
20 count box
$1.99 with card limit of 4
This is normally priced $3.12 at Walmart, so a savings of $1.13 for every box.

Naval Oranges
$5.99 for the 8 pound bag
I paid $9.99 for this same back at Christmas, so another good deal. 


Ocean Spray Juice Cocktail
101 ounce bottle
Buy 1 Get one Free
Save up to $6.49
These are normally priced $4.34 at Walmart, so a savings of $1.09 per bottle.
We always saved these bottles for my Dad as he used them regularly for water storage and they have a good handle on them. 

Food Lion

Whole Chickens 99¢ per pound.

Homemaker at Heart
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27

Monday, January 15, 2024

My Frugal Kitchen ~ What We Ate This Week


My Frugal Week

I think the universe (God) smiled at us this week knowing we were grieving and blessed us with multiple free meals this week. 

Recipe of the Week

Scalloped Potatoes

A tried and true family favorite side dish, which I served on Monday.


3 pounds potatoes, sliced 

¼ cup butter

1 large onion diced

2 cloves garlic minced

¼ cup flour

2 cups milk

1 cup chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper


Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

To make the sauce, melt butter, onion and garlic over medium low heat. Cook until onion is softened. 

Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. 

Reduce heat to low. 

Combine milk and broth. 

Add a small amount at a time,  and whisk to thicken until smooth.

Bring to a boil over medium heat while continuing to whisk.  

Stir in salt and pepper and let boil for 1 minute.

At this point you can add one cup of cheese to make Au Gratin Potatoes. 

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 

Combine potatoes with sauce and place in pan.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes until golden brown.

Beverages This Week

What’s for Breakfast

Sausage & Toast, Oatmeal, Pizza Eggs, Cottage Cheese & Apricots.

What’s for Lunch & Photo of the Week

On Monday we picked up the free Firehouse Subs giveaway we won at Christmas time. We chose three ham and three roast beef. They were huge sandwiches and each one made two lunches. They included Duke's regular mayonnaise and Duke's spicy brown mustard, which was delicious. Each box lunch came with a bag of Lay's potato chips and a chocolate chip cookie.

What’s for Dinner

Monday ~ I took Bedder Cheddars out of the freezer to thaw on Sunday.  It was a rough Monday morning with phone calls for Dad, so I decided to do some self care in the kitchen since I enjoy cooking and made Scalloped Potatoes from scratch and served this with steamed broccoli. 


Tuesday ~ We used one of the gift cards from my Dad and had lunch at Red Lobster. We both had the Shrimp Your Way, which comes with two kinds of shrimp. Bailey had Garlic Shrimp Scampi and Shrimp Linguini Alfredo with the Creamy Lobster Baked Potato. I had the Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp and Walt's Favorite Shrimp with Crispy Brussel Sprouts. Of course, these were served with their delicious Cheddar Bay Biscuits. My coconut shrimp was served with a delicious pina colada dipping sauce. This was the first time I had ever tried Lobster and it was delicious with a mild taste. 

Wednesday ~ Repeat of Monday night dinner. 

Thursday ~ Baked Beans with Boar's Head Beef Hot Dogs, Scalloped Potatoes with Corn, and Glazed Carrots.  

Friday ~ After cleaning all day, we went out to eat to a local restaurant in Cleveland, Shane's Rib Shack. Bailey had the Chicken Tenders while I had the BBQ Chicken French Fries. 

Saturday ~ Homemade Chili that I pulled from the freezer. I love having foods like this, stored in my freezer, after a long day. 

Sunday ~ Fried Spam, Soup Beans, Spoon Bread, Pickled Beets

What’s on the Menu for This Coming Week

On Sunday afternoon after all of our family had left, I did an inventory of our canned goods in the pantry. Making an inventory of the food we have on hand always sparks ideas in my mind of what to make for dinner that week.

We will definitely be serving at least one meatless dish this week, but other than that I will be deciding each day on what to make. So, be sure to come back next week to see what we end up having this week. 

If you're interested in the canned good inventory, I'll add it to the bottom of this post. And if you're not interested, no worries. :)

What’s been on the menu in your home this past week?

Homemaker at Heart
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27

Canned Beans

Black Eyed Peas - 2

Butter Beans - 1

Chili Beans - 1

Great Northern Beans - 2

Pinto Beans - 4

Pork & Beans - 3

Canned Meat

Chicken - 5

Chili - 3

Salmon - 2

Spam - 3

Tuna - 25


Diced Green Chilis - 3

Enchilada Sauce – 28 ounce - 8


Beefy Mushroom - 4

French Onion - 2

Tomato - 2


Crushed Tomatoes - 28 ounce - 3

Crushed Tomatoes - 15 once - 2

Diced Tomatoes - 9

Spaghetti Sauce - 15 ounce cans - 8 & 1 jar

Tomato Paste - 1

Tomato Sauce - 15 ounces - 5

Tomato Sauce - 8 ounce - 4


Beets - 3

Carrots - 2

Corn - 4

Creamed Corn - 3

Green Beans - 50

Peas - 1

Potatoes - 1

Yams - 1

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