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Thriving In My Thrifty Week–June 13, 2022

Toward the end of last summer, I was only getting a few strawberries each time I picked. I washed them and put them in a large baggie in the freezer, and ended up with about 8 cups, mashed. Today, I used that large bagful, together with the last 3 baggies from 2020 that had been lost in the freezer, the freshly picked ones from my bushes and a few from some my sister gave us to eat.

I made a double batch of jam and canned 17–1/2 pints. I will be u-picking or buying more berries to freeze for smoothies, and likely make more jam once it dries up a bit.

This flowerbed is looking great. The dahlias in the back come back every year. Rob grew the marigolds from a Dollar Tree packet (4/$1 at the time of purchase). The poppies came up volunteer from last year’s poppies and so did the nasturtiums. The geraniums were wintered-over by Rob, in the greenhouse. A neighbor told me last week she paid $9 for one geranium and $7 for one impatient. I told Rob he was worth a fortune…but not just for his geraniums:)

This flowerbed is shaping up, too. The dahlias are Rob’s project. The nasturtiums came up volunteer and I transplanted several volunteer zinnias into this area.

We helped chaperone a party for the 5th grade Sunday school class we teach. It was at an indoor trampoline park. Jake got to go with us, and had so much fun bouncing. We had fun watching all the kids we have been teaching have so much fun. Our church’s Children’s Director had to set it up as a birthday party to reserve one of the little eating areas, so the kids had pizza and pop and each got a pair of socks as part of the experience. Those kids moved up to mid-high last week, and yesterday we got a new batch of students. We are looking forward to getting to know these new-to-us kiddos and have lots planned for them.

Our local Safeway had a grand re-opening celebration. The store was recently renovated and, although it stayed open the entire time, it was kind of hard to navigate at times. Patsy and I went down early. I grabbed my groceries–about $20 worth, as that’s all I needed, and was given this bag of groceries, along with a bag of granola which is not pictured. Patsy was buying an item for herself and was given a bag, as well. I love having new bags, too, as some of mine are getting sad-looking.

The groceries were in limited supply, but there were fun activities that were going to start, so Rob took Jake by there a while later after he picked him up for the day. To our surprise, Rob also was given a bag of groceries, plus many free products and coupons from the produce area. Now I have coupons for free salad dressing, baby potatoes, sourkrout, and more, along with the free products he got. Jake got to sample things, play games, spin wheels, and ended up with chap stick, which he adores! Although it would have been fun to stay at Safeway all day, they came home and left the hot dogs and Mac and cheese behind for others.

Patsy cut Rob’s hair. He just couldn’t find time to go to the barber shop, so he had her do it. It is cool for summer now.

I took the kids to the library and got books and movies.

We have 3 birthdays in 8 days, for 3 daughters. I made cupcakes and a spaghetti dinner for Patsy on Tuesday, went to dinner with Abbie on Wednesday, and am still waiting for the 3rd one to happen this week. I sent Jake and Rob to the mall to buy gifts and they did a great job using coupons at Bath and Body Works, and got what I asked for at Macy’s. I made the cupcakes and Rob decorated them.

Those two also went to a few yard sales. Jake was given all kinds of Pokemon items, which he loves. We will be helping with the reception for our niece’s wedding this fall. A loose plan has been formulated for decor of the food area, and now Rob has some items to source. He will be looking at yard sales to see what he can find. For instance, they want a cookie bar. Boards will be placed between 2 old, but decorated rustic ladders and used for shelves for platters of cookies. Crates and baskets will add height to the food display. Food will be simple, but decorated with garnishes to look catered and fancy. Rob’s 100 dahlia plants (that’s kind of a joke–not sure how many he actually has) will hopefully give some blooms of good colors and we will use those and chrysanthemums–probably white mainly.

We will be using things around the house, as well. Our niece asked me and Jake’s mom to organize the reception and do the cooking. Our husbands just got lucky and get to help as well:). We are all very excited! Rob sent a text to quite a few of his friends saying: I need ___, ___, and ____ for a wedding reception I’m helping with. If you have any of those items that you never want to see again, let me know, because I won’t be returning them. If you want to keep your things, do not feel bad, I just want the things people are finished with. He got quite a bit of response already, even offers to go through basements, etc. He’s going to gather up what he can and start from there re-using the items. My sister and I can add bows, paint things, etc. , if needed. We are a long ways out from this event, but I will certainly post when that day comes, or items are finished. Not only is this a frugal way to do things, it uses items that are simply languishing in basements and putting them to good purpose. It’s win-win!

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–April 27, 2021

I finished sewing a dress for Patsy. I’ll try to put up the pattern number and more specifics later in the week, if I get time. I used a thinner cotton from JoAnn’s, purchased on sale several weeks ago. I find the thinner weight of cotton drapes better, and is less expensive for dresses that take over 6 yards like this one. I used a pattern I bought last summer and made a different view than I did last time. Patsy found a belt she rarely wears that looks great with the dress. All told, I spent around $25, and am very pleased with the results.

Rob found a lot of bags of these chocolate chips for 99c/each. He grabbed a bunch, shared a few and we froze the rest. He also got some very inexpensive lunchmeat and cheese. I found gf hot dog buns in the same discount store, and have been using them for sandwich buns. I wish I had bought more than 2 packs, but there weren’t very many, and they were gone when I sent Rob back for more. Gf anything for $2 is a great deal.

I did a lot of large batch cooking. Some was for meals for us, which we ate or I froze. Some items were for others in my life, also either eaten or frozen. The girls and baby came over after church on Sunday, so we ate some then, too. I made meat loaf, mini meatloaves, lentil-potato soup, zucchini muffins, apple crisp, peach crisp, chicken-rice soup, salmon, a huge batch of white rice, potato salad, salads, and a few other things. I was able to use lots of little things that sorely needed using, such as a lot of Granny Smith apples from the school lunches, some sad and sorry celery, some baby carrots from the school lunches, a few peaches that had been lingering too long in the bottom of the freezer from 2018, plus some newer ones, gf rolled oats from a 25-lb bag Rob got for $10 a while back, Jasmine rice, also purchased on clearance in a 50-lb bag, thinly sliced turkey cooked and frozen a while back for sandwiches. I pulled lots of little baggies of various bits from the freezer and used them. I love it when that happens.

Rob was able to deliver tomato plants he grew to lots of friends and family. I planted a few in the garden and Patsy put Walls-o-Water around them. We’ve had 10 of those mini-greenhouses for years and years, but don’t always remember to use them. I’m waiting to plant most of my tomatoes. I have lots of nice plants saved aside for our garden. We need to deeply till most of the garden before I can plant the rest of it. The very small area Rob tilled up was done using the small tiller, and I also dug in there with a shovel to get down deeper. That small tiller doesn’t get deep enough. We will till it all in a couple of weeks or sooner. It’s really early yet, for gardening around here.

I went to Safeway and redeemed a handful of Monopoly prizes and bought groceries. I grabbed the 99c/milk (1/2 gal.) and a few other things to use in all that cooking I’ve been doing. But, for the most part, I was able to draw from the pantry and freezers for most of those items I cooked. Patsy loves playing the Monopoly game from Safeway, but we didn’t shop there very many times during the game. So, we were not wining much, obviously, as we were not getting tickets. However, the game is about to end, and we were given extra tickets when we shopped. Some other shoppers didn’t want their tickets, so we happily accepted them, as well. I took J shopping, and got a handful then, plus some when I shopped. Patsy entered every code into my phone app and actually won enough tokens to add to what we had to get a $25 Safeway gift card! We were so far from having enough before this week, I thought we were not going to win one this year. Free items she won: several bottles of water, vinegar, French bread, lemon juice, 2 gas rewards, $2 off our order, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and some barbecue sauce. Now, she has another group of free items loaded onto my card/phone to get next week. I am very thankful she is willing to do this to stretch our grocery budget.

The baby likes flowers. His Mama took this picture. I watched him several times lately, usually for a short time. On Sunday, I took him home from church and played with him for a little, until the girls got there. I gave him a pansy to touch and hold, since I knew it’s edible. Good thing. He ate an entire petal! Just down the hatch. Boy was I surprised.

I guess he was hot.

I think he would have crawled out of the outfit, if allowed. My sister ordered a bunch of larger clothes for him. Just in time, I think! Rob and I went thought the Union Gospel Thrift Store and found several outfits for the baby, skirts for Patsy and myself and a few baby books. I even found a Land’s End swim suit top in the style I usually buy, in my, that looked like new, for only $4.

The Kroc Center (Salvation Army) gym and pool is open. We took Michaela down there today for the first time in over a year. I took an exercise class and walked in the “Lazy River.” Although I do a lot of walking with Rob, I am sore tonight in different muscles. It’s good to work different parts of my body. Good thing we went. It sounds like the Governor will be closing things down on Friday again, due to the rise of Covid in Oregon. We will keep walking when we can.

Homeschool Outdoor School–August, 2019

I have been planning an outdoor school experience for Patsy for a few weeks. When Jake heard she was going camping and doing school, he insisted on some school, too:). He was always going camping—he loves it so much. So, along with the notebook I was making for Patsy to do, I had to make one for Jake, too. For his, I had Rob run off some word searches from the internet, and let him do those. I planned lots of fun, outdoor activities, as well, along with “messy” crafts that were perfect for doing outside.

Here’s where the big surprise came in…..I wrote the date down wrong. Really, I did! So, we woke up on Saturday and I leisurely asked Rob to look up which campsite we had, just for fun, and YIKES! we were due down there at the coast that day!!! I called my sister to see if Jake could go with us earlier than we had planned, so they packed him up, came over and helped us get ready and hustled us off on our adventure.

The very first day, there was a ranger program about agates. Rob took the kids down to it and they were hooked! The ranger gave them each 2 agates and they spent hours hunting for more down on the beach in 3 different places. On the 3rd beach we tried, they finally found some. They were excited.

Patsy did bookwork each morning, like language arts, Bible, math, and science. Jake did a few word finds. I read aloud to both of them, mostly things Patsy needed to hear for school–good for them both. I also read a beloved Boxcar Children book to Jake in the evenings. In the afternoons, we did fun activities.

Patsy had chosen 2 simple cooking projects to do on the trip. One was trail mix …

and the other one was Camping Haystacks–mostly a can of chili on top of Fritos with some salad toppings. She loved it! I mean, who wouldn’t want chips for the main part of dinner, right?

Patsy and I went clamming and caught nothing. Jake and Rob did not walk out with us, but instead, Jake dug for gold. He did not find any gold, either, but he made it clear that if he had found any, it was, and I quote, “ALL MINE!”

The weather was amazing. It was in the upper 80’s (or warmer) most of the time. There was wind or a breeze frequently. I heard we escaped some awfully hot weather back in the valley. In this picture, we had gone for a drive and stopped to feed some seagulls.

Patsy and I took a few walks. I have been working on training our dog— if she pulls, the “Haltie” on her nose (black leash) tightens on her nose, which she doesn’t like. If she isn’t pulling, I let her run on the blue leash and let the other one hang loosely. I only tighten the black one if she pulls. I have no idea if anyone else does it that way, but it’s working well. She managed to walk calmly through the entire campground full of dogs and children without going ballistic by the end of the time. I’m starting to take her places with more and more people and animals, and she’s not comfortable, in fact shivering and shaking on the crowded beach one day, but I want her to get used to it.

We read books about fall and decorated fall cookies. I had hoped to bake them before we went, but with our hasty departure I couldn’t, so I had to make them in the camper. It worked, but the oven isn’t the best. Of course, this activity was geared for Jake, but no one argues with cookies around here.

Patsy did another craft..a coconut oil-brown sugar scrub. They both folded some origami animals as well, and decorated sunglasses with duct tape. They had a lot of squirt gun fights.

The tree was a favorite perch all week.

Our other nephew came down the last night after he finished work. Jake immediately roped him into game playing. We had a great visit, although short, and we all headed back to the valley the next morning.

I had Rob develop some pictures of our activities and we put them into a notebook for each kid so they would have good memories to keep about their fun outdoor school.

I am very satisfied with the fact that we are now most of the way through the first 4 weeks of school with Patsy. I hope to finish week 4 today. I love getting started in August. It will give me more leeway during the year when I get super busy. I also love the fact that we could take school on the road, get a lot done, but still have so much time to enjoy the outdoors. It took a lot of planning and a lot of supplies for so many crafts and hands-on activities, but I love to do that.

On Wednesday, the weather started to change. I enjoyed the cooler weather, and came home Thursday to a city that was considerably cooler than it has been, which was a relief. I gave a happy, sun-tanned boy back to his daddy and he’s going to spend the next couple of days snuggling with his mama. I’m going to put the house back together, can up some applesauce and start working outside in the garden and yard a bit over the next few days. Things are quite messy after 2 trips away, but then again, the work will always be here. Little boys and teen-age girls won’t.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–July 29, 2019

The last couple of days have been busy. A lot of produce has ripened up and we have been processing it like crazy. When Rob went up to my sister’s farm on Saturday to spend the day, she sent home peaches. These are New Havens and they will be frozen and made into jam.

This morning I picked an enormous bowl of zucchini. There were both yellow and green ones, and I also got some cucumbers. I made one pint of dill pickles and ground the rest of them for relish, because they were a little large. I ground the zucchini too, plus a bunch that were in the fridge. I got about 30 cups, so made a triple batch of relish. I had Rob buy some red peppers and I had onions from my sister’s garden. I used a very old hand-cranked meat grinder. I’ve had it for my entire marriage, and I’m sure it was old when I got it. It’s a handy tool and gives the vegetables a good consistency for relish.

We got 19 jars of relish. The beans needed picking, too, and Rob canned 7 quarts. It was nice to have his help today. I picked everything while he took Patsy to an appointment, then he canned the beans while I worked on the relish.

Patsy got to go to some lava tube caves called Ape Caves. It is in Washington state, and I was happy her youth group was going. It was an entirely new experience for her. It only cost $5 for gas, and the kids packed lunches, so it was also very economical.

Rob checked the Whoo-Hoo rack at Fred Meyers and found 2 boxes of Cheerios for 99c/each. He grabbed them. I didn’t shop for groceries except a very small handful of items we were out of. We ate a lot of garden produce, and I used some dried beans to make chili. Rob cooked a very small turkey we got for free or very inexpensively last Thanksgiving, and we used the meat on salads, a casserole and some soup, for ourselves and others.

We worked a lot this past week. We were able to finish making up the hours we needed from when the kids were gone with their parents on vacation.

I did a lot of deep cleaning and organizing. I filled my garbage can to the brim this week with things I don’t need anymore. I love filling it–after all, it’s the same price full or empty!

I also filled the yard debris bin this week. I’d love to fill it each week, but some weeks, I just can’t find the energy. And, I’m pleased because the front flowerbed (where I got the weeds from) was sorely needing to be cleaned out.

How was your week? Did you do anything frugal or fun?

2 Unexpected Blessings

We received 2 unexpected blessings this week. I just thought I’d share them, since I’m bursting with thankfulness and excitement this morning!

First, our daughter, who lives in Hawaii, sent us ticket vouchers to come see her. It was our Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts. We are blown away with surprise and appreciation. We are planning the trip now, and will go in a few months. Our aunt is going, too, and Patsy. It’s going to be so fun, and amazing!

The second thing is a little odd, but also amazing. Our local Fred Meyers store has a person who anonymously gives out money by dropping it into people’s carts when they are not looking. I had heard of this person from ladies at my exercise class. Well, last night, it happened to me! There was an unexpected $100 bill, signed “Bernie” or “Bennie” (I really can’t tell which one) in my cart–just floating around near my purse. I was so surprised and shocked! I NEVER saw anyone lurking near me, or anything. I have no idea how or who did that! When I mentioned the whole thing to the checker, she was not surprised, but was pleased for me. When I asked if she knew how to thank this person, she said they did not even know if it was a man or woman who did this, but her suggestion was to send up a prayer for them, and thank them that way. And, that is just what I did!

Sewing a Christmas Nightgown–Simplicity 9505–December 2018

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I wanted to sew a nightgown for Patsy for Christmas.  Several years ago, I ordered quite a few pieces of flannel on Thanksgiving night from the JoAnn’s website.  Then, before I knew it, we were packing, living in a camper, moving into this house and my fabric was stacked in the shop, in bins.  I am now able to access it easily, and pulled this piece out for this project.

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I started with this really old pattern.  I’ve used it time and time again.  But this time, I wanted something a little different.  I cut view C, but made the bottom straight instead of curved.  I also widened the skirt out quite a bit, tapering from the armholes down to the skirt bottom–I probably added 4 inches on each side to give it some fullness (so that’s about 16 extra inches of fullness because I cut it on both front and back).  Then, I cut a wide ruffle about 1-1/2 times the measurement of the skirt bottom, which I gathered and sewed onto the bottom.

It went together quickly and my only concern is that I cut that ruffle too wide, and the nightgown will drag on the floor.  That’s easy enough to remedy, if that turns out to be the case–flannel usually shrinks, so after it is washed a few times, if it’s still too long, I’ll cut it off and re-hem it.  I always put a ribbon bow on the front of these nightgowns to show which side is the front so getting ready for bed is fast and easy.

I was delighted to get another Christmas gift finished up, and used up a piece of fabric I’ve had for quite some time.  Even better, it’s something she really needs right now.  However, as has been happening lately, I ran out of pale blue thread. When I saw that was going to happen, I sewed everything that would show–the hem, the casing, etc.  Then, for the gathering threads, which I was going to throw away anyway, I used a bobbin of a totally different color, with the last bit of the pale blue on the spool.  It worked out, and I avoided a trip to the store today, saving both gas and money.  I will replace that color soon, to have on hand, as blues are something I use a lot of, the next time I’m near JoAnn’s.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 23, 2018

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This was a week of projects.  We were able to get a ton of them done, as we did not need to watch the kids.  One day, we worked together all morning to cut kindling from a large pile of boards we had picked up for free during the past few months.  I held the long boards and Rob ran them through his saw.  We got several large garbage cans full and several cardboard boxes, which we stacked in the greenhouse to keep them dry.

All the wood our friends brought us is now stacked in the woodshed.  There are just about 5 pieces that need to be trimmed to fit our stove, and that project will be finished.  There is another load, though, and we are super excited to know it’s on its way one of these days–that will give us enough for the winter.

Rob repaired the roof of the greenhouse.  He built it last year for me and used some plastic he had on hand.  It wasn’t the correct plastic and it disintegrated during the past few months.  He ordered the correct one, and installed it this week.  It was still great to get a season out of some plastic that was otherwise not being used.

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I got some peppers from the mark-down bin at Fred Meyers and cut them up to freeze.  I added some peppers I picked in the garden as well.  My peppers have not done great this year, but I will pick a few more before this season is over.

I also canned more tomato products this week, and another small batch of pear butter with the last of the pears from the tree that fell.

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The zinnias are blooming in several places in the yard.  I love them.  I found a few places where I may be able to save some seeds from them.  I’m wondering if the clove pinks below them will come back–or if they will die this winter.  Sometimes the dianthus family is quite hardy.  Time will tell.  They are from seeds my sister brought my mother from England, and I grew them in the greenhouse.  We got so many, my mother shared with me, and my sister, and now we have them in several places.

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I enjoyed looking at the flowers that are still blooming, despite the dry weather.  We did get a little rain this week, and I’m sure they all relaxed a bit!  The nasturtiums came up volunteer this year, and it looks like they are dropping some seeds.  Maybe next year, I’ll have more!

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There have sure been large bees on my flowers this year.

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My niece brought over a large box of apples from her mother.  I’m excited.  They look and taste great.  The family has already been munching away on them.  I probably will preserve a few if it seems like we won’t eat them all fresh.  Fun!

We cashed out part of the Ibotta account and used the money for an order from Azure Standard.  I ordered some cleaning supplies and soap for Rob since he doesn’t handle many soaps, but the goat milk one agrees with him.  I got bulk gf oatmeal, a lot of spices, salt and pepper, and more.  It was great to use rebate money for basic items I needed.   I shopped the sales and purchased some things like sugar, produce, milk, etc.  I got several free things such as French bread, several drinks, and a ready-to-eat dinner.

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I had a very nice visit with Harnet and Danait.  We just hung around their place, ate, visited, drank coffee and took Danait out for some air.  It was good to catch up with them as I’ve been pretty busy this summer, and haven’t gone up there as much as I wished to do.  Because I went alone this time, Danait thought I should play with her as there were none of the girls to play with.  Thankfully, her mom had a meeting with a lady there at the house, and Danait and I played and played, satisfying her, at least for a little while.  We fed the dolls, played “Baby Jesus in a manger”, took all the dolls to the hospital and fixed them up, she found broken toys to send home to “Uncle Rob” because he fixes things, and put blankets over our heads and howled like ghosts for a while.  It was truly entertaining, the things she thinks up!  Thank goodness for Harnet’s nice, strong coffee!

We ended the week feeling quite good about what we got accomplished, and are now ready for a busy, busy week watching the kids and keeping life going.  How about you?

 

 

Home-Canned Taco/Enchilada Sauce

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The 11 little jars on the right are the enchilada/taco sauce.  I was asked how I made it, and if it was a secret recipe.  The truth is, I am writing it down for my self as much as anyone else, because if time passes, it will be a secret–I won’t be able to remember what I did!

This is my second attempt at enchilada sauce this summer.  The first one was good, but we wanted a little more spice and a smoother texture.    My pamphlet from the county extension office states that you can change the spices without affecting the safety of the finished tomato product, but nothing else, so that’s what I did.

I took a large bowl of tomatoes and washed and cut them up.  Then, I put a layer of them in a pot on high and crushed them with a potato masher while they cooked.  When that layer was softened, I added more cut-up pieces and kept crushing and cooking until the pot was about 3/4 full.  You have to keep stirring, because this will stick and burn if you are not careful.  Then, I put these cooked tomatoes through my Foley Food Mill to get the seeds and skins out.  I put that puree back into the pot.  At this point, it was nice and smooth, mostly seed-free, but pretty runny.  I thickened it up with a combination of cooking it down and added some tomato paste until it was the consistency of taco sauce such as I would buy at the store.  Our favorite is La Victoria, and we usually get the mild, but sometimes the medium.

I used about 2 cups of paste in the large pot that was 3/4 full, but then it was too thick and so I had to add some water to thin it slightly.  If you are making this, the amount of paste you will need depends on several factors, which include the dryness of your tomatoes, the variety of the tomatoes, and the amount of time you cook the tomatoes down before you add the paste. Use trial and error until you reach the perfect consistency.  Each time you make it, it is likely to take a different amount because the tomatoes are so variable.  Taco sauce should be thicker than tomato juice, but not as thick as pizza/pasta sauce.  We buy our tomato paste for these kind of projects at Cash and Carry in the gallon cans.  I open the can, use what I need and then freeze the rest in baggies to use over time.  It is a real money-saver to purchase it that way instead of little cans for 50c-$1 each.  The last time we bought a can, it was slightly dented, and cost around $3, but it is usually a bit more than that.  Still a great deal.

This is my best guess at the spices I added to the pot:  1/4 cup mild chili powder, 2 Tablespoons dried oregano, 1 Tablespoon dried cilantro, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 Tablespoons ground cumin, 1 Tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper.  The truth is, I was putting in spices, tasting, adding more spices, tasting, etc. until it tasted right to me.  The chili powder, oregano, etc. added an underlying layer of flavor but there was no zip at all, until I added the cayenne.  It is not very spicy, just enough to give a little kick.  When I make it again, I will start with this mixture, then add more of those same spices and/or salt if I don’t feel like there’s enough.

I put the hot mixture into the jars and added 1 Tablespoon lemon juice to each larger jar (not quite a pint) and 1/2 Tablespoon to the 1/2 pints.  Then, I canned it for 35 minutes in a hot water bath canner, as instructed in my Ball Blue Book for tomato sauce.

This yielded the 11 assorted jars in the right hand side of the picture above.  If I get enough tomatoes, I might make this again this year.  It turned out yummy and we are already opening and eating it:).  At this rate, it won’t take long to use up those 11 jars!

A Little More Canning and What Did We Eat? September 20, 2018

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This week, I was able to get enough tomatoes for both pasta/pizza sauce and taco/enchilada sauce.  I’m super happy with the flavor of both.  I was surprised with more cucumbers when I looked under the bushes that really look as if they are dying.  So, I made more spicy pickles because I also found a couple more jalapeños and Serranos on those bushes.

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One night I roasted a pan of sweet potatoes, white potatoes and acorn squash.  They all turned out great.  The Carnival acorn squash plant has been prolific and I just keep taking the biggest ones that look the most mature, and using them.  This is the 3rd one we’ve eaten so far.  There are quite a few left out there.  Some probably won’t mature, but several will.

We have had chicken with plum sauce twice.  Since I made a new batch, and there are enough prunes to do it again if I get around to it, I am glad that we are finding a way to use it in such a tasty fashion.

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We are still eating zucchini, although I’m happy to report it has slowed down to a manageable level.  It is nice to saute some zucchini with onion until just crisp-tender.  This is an old picture, so it doesn’t show the yellow crookneck squash, or the scallopini squash or the round ball squash that came up from the few seeds I planted from a summer squash mixture in early August.  The old plants are about done, and will probably die before long, so it will be nice to still have a fresh veggie when that happens for a few more weeks.

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I had Eritrean food with Harnet one day.  Danait was proud as can be of her bike-riding skills.  The bike and helmet were birthday gifts back in June, and she has improved a lot.  Since the only place she can ride is the parking lot of their apartment complex, there is a little routine they do, so I had to do it, too.  It consists of her riding off quickly, with the grown-up chasing her, all the while looking for stray cars and cats (there might be one, you never know!).  She was telling me they do it 3 times some days.  I was done at one trip around their course:)  It was a good workout.  Lunch was great. I took a salad to add to the food Harnet cooked.  Of course, she sent some home.  This time it was the red lentils she likes to make and some rice with mixed vegetables in it.  The girls here at home have been eating it as taco filling.

I got some pork cutlets on mark-down last week, so we used them this week.  Rob grilled them after marinading them for a while in one of his concoctions.  They were delicious.  We ate lots of salad, piles of tomatoes, some canned and fresh fruit, a few potatoes, and some other side dishes.  It’s going to be harder to plan dinner when the garden dies, but it’s still limping along for now.  I’m glad. It’s an awesome time of year when I have so much fresh produce.

 

 

 

What Did We Eat? August 31, 2018

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We had a wonderful get-away camping at the beach.  Other than one sandwich Patsy and I grabbed at Subway, we cooked all our meals in the camper.  We tried to keep things easy, except for a few special meals.

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One morning, Patsy and I went down to the bay and we were able to get these Cockle clams.  I turned them into the clam chowder pictured above.  We have enough frozen for one more batch in the near future.  It was our first time hunting for these kind of clams, and I got some extremely helpful advice from a man down on the beach, who showed us how to get them.  You are supposed to rake them, but we did not have a rake, so we scraped our shovel along the sand, and Patsy was even raking through the wet sand with her fingers, and we found over 20 between the two of us.  They seem to be found more frequently in places where the seaweed has been deposited by the tide.

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We went crabbing off the docks in Newport twice.  Thankfully, we found great parking spots that were very near the dock, and didn’t have to carry our gear very far.  The first day, we got these two and the second time we got one Dungeness and kept a couple of Red Rock Crabs just to give us a little more meat.  I had crab salad and just plain crab, and froze 2 small packages for the near future.  Rob fished off the docks while we waited for him to pull up the traps, but caught nothing.

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We did foil dinners in the fire one night.  The meat, carrots and potatoes turned out great.  The zucchini turned into mush.  I threw it away.  There were no takers for that one.  I had picked every single tiny one before we left, hoping that they would not take over while we were gone.

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The acorn squash turned out great!

The rest of the meals were salads, lunchmeat and cheese, corn from our garden, lots and lots of tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, and hamburgers one night for dinner.  Breakfasts were eggs, sausage one day, cereal, and fruit.  Most days, we threw some food into our little cooler and just ate out of that wherever we were when lunchtime came–dock, jetty, etc.

We had a great time, and ended up the week by purchasing tuna off the docks to can,    It was an unusual menu compared to what we more commonly have at this time of year, but I love seafood and will remember for other times when we can’t catch anything.  .