Freezing Veggies

 

 

I remember as a child, my mom working to the bone, and still sparsely any food in the cupboard. 

There was this one summer in particular; we somehow ended up with lots of garden fresh veggies and fruit of all sorts.   A friendly neighbor helping an overworked mom, I am sure.

baby cooking

Mom and I spent the entire weekend, canning and freezing these lovely treats that were given to us so generously.

 

bus groceries

When I finally got to go grocery shopping; I told myself to just get a few things since I was taking the bus.  Unfortunately, I don’t listen very well and ended up with a half a basket full of deals and edible treats!

I bagged and doubled bagged the best I could and proceeded to put my arms through the handles, and in the process, a gentleman asked if I had it okay.  Being of Scotch-Irish and Welsh decent, nothing can stop this tenacious redhead and I continued with my 12 bags of groceries down the walk to the bus stop.

I set my bags down, and asked others to double-check as I didn’t want to board the wrong bus.  A nice girl helped me get my groceries onto the bus so I could swipe my boarding pass and sat with my loot wondering how I was going to reload.  I still had to change vehicles when I got to the East Side Exchange Station.

bus2

I managed to resort my stash and managed to change buses when it was time.  When I finally made it to my stop, the bus driver lowered the bus so I could step off easier.

I muddled across the busy thoroughfare to my building.  I stared at the stairs and thought better of trying.  I set everything down and carried 3 at a time into my apartment with two anxiously awaiting fur pups that were very excited to see me.  Only smashing one loaf of bread and one egg in the dozen.

Since I got carried away with buying fresh veggies from the produce isle and no way could I eat all of these treats by myself; I remembered when my mom and I bagged and froze our dispensations.

I spent my morning dicing and bagging veggies for various recipe starters and meals.

A tidbit of history-freezing food was introduced back in the 1930’s by a man named Clarence Birdseye.

There are many sites on the web that have lots of good info on freezing guidelines.  Here is one example that I used.

hooch

BTW, my first batch of Hooch came out yummy!

Hugs and Hope

Diane

dtc recipe 7

Then and Now

I don’t know why I am so fascinated with the Great Depression; I guess it has a little to do with my living situation as of late.

My mother was born in 1934.  I remember growing up (we didn’t have much then either), of her telling stories of what it was like living in that time.  From using cereal box cutouts for soles of shoes to her mother having to use Rations to buy food for her family of 9.

ration book

Depression Glass.  When I was in college I remember having to do a public speaking project on artifacts and I chose a cake plate that I still had that belonged to our family.  I remember it as a young child.  It had a small chip in it and it was green.  I don’t have it anymore.  One day, I will build my collection up again.

Depression glass is clear or colored translucent glassware that was distributed free, or at low cost, in the United States and Canada around this time.  Much depression glass is uranium glass. The Quaker Oats Company, and other food manufacturers and distributors, put a piece of glassware in boxes of food, as an incentive to purchase. Movie theaters and businesses would hand out a piece simply for coming in the door.

depression glass

S&H Green Stamps were trading stamps popular in the United States from the 1930s until the late 1980s. They were distributed as part of a rewards program operated by the Sperry & Hutchinson company (S&H), founded in 1896 by Thomas Sperry and Shelley Byron Hutchinson.

green stamps

Quoted from allabouthistory.org; most characteristic of life during the Great Depression was the widening gap between the “haves” and “have-nots.” Unemployment rose from a shocking 5 million in 1930 to an almost unbelievable 13 million by the end of 1932. It would be rural America that would suffer the greatest. Unemployed fathers saw children hired for sub-standard wages. In 1930, 2.25 million boys and girls ages 10–18 worked in factories, canneries, mines, and on farms. Children left school to support their families.

The harsh reality of life during the Great Depression is vividly recalled by Travis (12 yrs) who found his father behind their Massachusetts house, crying and heartbroken. “My dad was the strongest man I knew, but the Depression brought him to his knees.” While starving children in the Appalachians chewed on their hands, nearly drawing blood, nursery school children in Philadelphia played an “eviction game.” Toy furniture would be piled up in one corner of the room, then picked up and moved to another corner. “We ain’t got no money for rent, so we move. Then we get the sheriff on us, so we move again.” 

children 1930

I look out my kitchen window, I see children playing with the mouse trap boxes and collecting grass hoppers with them, eating a hotdog on a piece of white bread with ketchup; using the Diet Pepsi cans as soda bombs for some kind of childhood game.

kitchen window

We’ve come along way, haven’t we……

I did finally get my Food Card, and took my bus trip to the grocery store. I will save that story for another day.

I am also learning how to make wine from grape juice.  I will tell you how that goes.

Hugs and Hope

DTC

 

cc 4

Sasy’s Tips-Price Matching at Walmart

Hello fellow savers,

Summer is upon us and the cost of feeding those hungry active kids can be overwhelming. Well here is an easy way to save money on the go without clipping coupons. Who has time for that! lol
IMG_20170612_190125
Let me introduce you to the flipp app. It is so very easy to use! It gives you all the sale ads for what ever zip code you put in.
Download the app from your play store. Once you are have it on your phone, put a zip code for a fairly populated area. I live in the fort worth area, so I use 76109.
Then just cruise the ads and tap the ones you like, the app will circle the item & place it on your shopping list for easy access in the store. Or, if you know of a certain item, search for that item specifically like Pepsi. The app will find all sales in the area for the zip code you have set.
A few things you need to know:
Items MUST be EXACT brand & size/quantity per package as listed in the ad when price matching.
For store brand items, like milk or eggs, Walmart will pricematch their store brand item for same size/quantity.
For produce, it cannot be a certain brand unless you are buying the same brand. Like oranges, if you buy the cutie brand has to be same size/quantity as the ad. But for loose produce without a brand name, just bag up how ever many pounds you need and they will price match the unbranded, loose produce, per pound item that you choose. I did tomatoes earlier.
For meats, its a little different. Make sure meat does not have a specific product name on it like Johnson, or Oscar Mayer. For hamburger, it has to be the same level like 80/20, Angus, or like butt roast etc., and must have the per pound dollar amount in ad. Like if its hamburger meat in the ad without the per pound amount listed and all it says is “family pack”, Walmart will not price match that.
Things you cannot price match:
Buy this get that
Buy this get this for a penny.
Items MUST have a specific price listed. But you can do this: $1.99 each when you buy 3, so in this instance you would buy three of the listed item @ $1.99 for each item. I did that with Dr. Pepper 12 packs the other day. Amazing deal.
Once your at the register, let the cashier know you are price matching. I like to line the items up at the register in the order they are listed in the app so the process will be smoother.
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Here is the price matching I did at Walmart earlier. Its not much, but I am on a budget.
2-liter Pepsi – price matched to CVS @ .99
18 count eggs, price matched to Fiesta @ .87
Roma Tomatoes, price matched to Savers Cost Plus @ 2 lbs for .99
5 lb bag of potatoes, price matched to Supermercado Teloapan @ .99 for the whole bag!!!
I also purchased some Brat sausages and pork chops, but could not price match them because I just couldn’t get them to match up. I only paid 12.19 by price ​​matching, no coupons needed, I cut my grocery bill more than half!!!
But you can easily see how much you can save on grocery cost without clipping coupons or driving all over town to catch the good deals. There are a ton of snack and drink items for the kiddos on sale right now. Just look, you will be amazed at how much you can get for pennies on the dollar!!
I truly hope my tips and tricks help you guys. Let me know! Any questions, no problem, I am happy to help! Saving money makes me happy!!
Happy Savings Everyone!
Sasy 💖

Living on a $20 a week Grocery Budget

 

 

I have had some great experiences and adventures surviving in this crazy life of mine and this morning as I was having my coffee and going through all of my social media stuff and reading emails, I came across a post about how to live on $20 a week on groceries.  I didn’t read the post (shame on me) but it did remind me of when I actually had to do just that.  The fun part was I had a teenager still living at home at the time, the last one to leave the nest.

surviving

It was back when I was trying to come back up from being laid off my job after working there for 10 years.  I had been on an involuntary sabbatical for about 9 months.  I had definitely depleted all of my reserves and right about that time I was really scrambling for some hope.  I remember visiting my agent friend at the insurance office, (telling her I could only pay 1 month of insurance instead of the full premium) she looked at me and said ‘hold on’.  She got on the phone and called a local trucking company that desperately needed office help.  I drove directly to the company and was hired on the spot.

The answer I was praying for!

 

The pay was less than I wanted to be comfortable, but was just enough to pay my bills and leave me with $ 40 a week for gas and groceries.

 

So, with my upbringing of always having to be frugal and my mother who taught me how to make a meal with very basic ingredients; I put my skills back to work and my daughter and I ate on  $20 a week.

minion

 

This time of year is always tight for most of us.  Taxes are due, recovering from overspending during the holidays, in my case, hours are being cut way back since spending has taken a nosedive.  Or for whatever reason or situation any of us are in.  I thought I would share some of my old standby grocery budgeting tips that has got me through many tough times.

 

gravy-ring

Staple items:

 Powdered milk- you can use this to add to regular milk to make it stretch and also use it for cooking so you’re not wasting precious real milk.

Baking Mix- you can make biscuits, pancakes, scones, breads, cakes, dumplings gravy (flour is best, but it will work) the list is endless

Dry Beans- a very good source of protein.

Can tomatoes and sauce- for soups and sauces

Dry noodles- for soups and sauces

farmers

Your local farmer:

 Check around the outskirts of town and visit with your local farmer or neighbor that has a garden and ask them if you can take excess fruits, veggies and eggs off of their hands.  Or do a skill swap with them.  You would be amazed at how much gets thrown away that is perfectly edible.

Learn to can and freeze your goodies.  The internet has many resources to learn this almost forgotten skill.

can-beans

Grocery Outlet Stores:

 Ask around, check out the local paper and find those outlet stores in your area.  Those cans that look a little funky are perfectly fine most of the time.  Or that off brand that came from a different part of the country that we aren’t quite used to are also okay.   Do take the time though to learn what items could be tainted.  For example, jars that the lid has already ‘popped’ are no good and if the dent in the can is deep enough that it ruptured the integrity of the can could also be spoiled.  Also, the best before date on items such as mayonnaise and salad dressings are just a guideline for grocery chains.  These foods are still good beyond that date.  The dates range, so it’s a very good idea to learn the time frame on these items.

butcher

The local butcher:

 Talk to the butcher at your favorite grocery chain or your local butcher.  If they are allowed they can sell you cuts of meat that don’t look star quality at a discounted price.  Something definitely worth checking into.

 

Buy off brand: 

The quality of off brand items are just as good as or better than the name brand favorite 95% of the time.  Every once in a while this isn’t true, just have to do a little experimentation.

dsf

The Dollar Stores:

 Most of my paper goods, spices, vitamins, medicines and toiletries were found at my local dollar store.  Just have to spend a little time and do some comparative shopping to find the best deals.

 jar of money

No matter what your budget looks like, I hope this knowledge can help you make it stretch just that much further.  Thank you for reading, and I would love to hear your thoughts and tips too!

Celebrate Independence Day on a Budget

Diane's Thrifty Cupboard

Buying themed party supplies and décor can get very pricey, as well as the menu.  Here are some ideas I am using to make my outdoor celebration fun without breaking the bank.

The Basics:  I went to my local Goodwill Store and dollar stores and shopped around.  I found a white linen table cloth, some linen napkins and some red, blue, and white plates of different sizes.  I also found a nice assortment of glassware to use for cocktails and table decorations.

table2

The Main Attraction:  My table, where all the yummy food will be displayed is my focal point.  My finds at the dollar stores included aquarium rocks, flags, candles, ribbon, silk flowers and anything else that looked festive.  My layers started with the white table cloth.  The linen napkins, I dyed red and blue.  For the accents, I used the items I found.  This is where I got…

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Cinco de Mayo – What Does it Mean?

fiesta wreath

 

I grew up in a very multi-cultural neighborhood.  What I remember most was the Celebration of Cinco de Mayo.  The whole neighborhood would get together and share their favorite recipes, the grill would be going with any type of food you could think of!  Lots of music, dancing (and drinking) and everyone seemed happy.

dance

I loved enjoying the food and music and celebration that was going on in my childhood neighborhood and still do today!

Since this weekend is  Cinco de Mayo, it got me thinking about why the Hispanic culture get together to celebrate.  I always assumed it was like our 4th of July- boy, I was completely wrong.

I don’t want to bore you too much with a history lesson, so I will give you the short version.    According to history.com; Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—commemorates the Mexican Army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867).

A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States.

So, as you are wandering around the streets this weekend, remember to help celebrate culture and enjoy the many talents and foods Mexican-Americans have to offer.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Celebrate Independence Day on a Budget

Buying themed party supplies and décor can get very pricey, as well as the menu.  Here are some ideas I am using to make my outdoor celebration fun without breaking the bank.

The Basics:  I went to my local Goodwill Store and dollar stores and shopped around.  I found a white linen table cloth, some linen napkins and some red, blue, and white plates of different sizes.  I also found a nice assortment of glassware to use for cocktails and table decorations.

table2

 

The Main Attraction:  My table, where all the yummy food will be displayed is my focal point.  My finds at the dollar stores included aquarium rocks, flags, candles, ribbon, silk flowers and anything else that looked festive.  My layers started with the white table cloth.  The linen napkins, I dyed red and blue.  For the accents, I used the items I found.  This is where I got creative and used the glasses, like one would use with mason jars.  But, I wanted to go with a more sophisticated look.

table

 

The patio:  This is where it’s all going to happen, so it had to look just as festive as my table but, without taking away from the main event.  The food!  First I hung white Christmas lights around the edge of the patio; this gives a nice warm glow for when the sun goes down.  Along the edges I hung medium size Flags I found.   The patio chairs, I recovered with red and blue shams.

patio

The menu:  Pork and chicken kabobs with lots of veggies, Hamburger sliders with bleu cheese spread, Arugula Pesto Potato Salad for the main dishes.  Star shaped watermelon using a cookie cutter and seedless watermelon, and mini strawberry shortcakes for dessert.  Cocktails consisting  of Ginger Spiked Lemonade and Homemade Sangria for the wine lovers.  All served on festive dishes and glassware.  The grill I use is a portable charcoal grill, which sets on a pallet of cinder blocks.  I added concrete steps as a walk to the grill.

 

 

Have a safe and delicious Independance Day! I hope these ideas inspire your creativity to have your own unique festive party!