Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Photos of the week

My grandson is four!!!

This is an old Southern home that has been turned into an accountant's office, and is located right beside the CVS where I shop. Imagine the sound this huge old tree made when being uprooted during Hurricane Irene. The city workers had quite a job cleaning up the portion of the tree blocking a major street in town, but this part of the tree hasn't been removed yet.

Cat on a hot tin mailbox!

Freezer Inventory

The thing about freezer cooking is that you must continue to put more food in the freezer consistently in order to keep the inventory up. You also have to keep a list of what is in there in order to know what you have and make sure you use what you have. I've really been enjoying having a variety of meals and meal starters in the freezer.

Sunday, after the power came back on, I did some batch cooking of chicken breasts that were on sale this week for 99 cents a pound.

Here's a list of what is in the freezer now:

Browned ground beef and onion (1)
Individually wrapped baked chicken breasts (5)
Shredded BBQ chicken for burritos (1 bag)
Baked cubed chicken (1 bag)
Great Northern beans (3 bags)
Chicken Broth (several bags)
Oatmeal muffins
Slices of banana bread
Shredded boiled chicken (1 bag)
Vegetable beef soup (3 bags)
Hamburger Patties (4)

These are the freezer foods we've eaten since I began seriously putting them away:

Chicken pot pie and dressing
Italian chicken
Chicken Tetrazinni
Hamburger stroganoff
Chicken Pastry using a bag of broth
oatmeal muffins
banana bread

Most of my freezer inventory is made up of meal starters. During my next batch cooking session I hope to freeze some side dishes and possibly complete meals. I think some bags of rice would be handy.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Good Night Irene

Hurricane Irene has gone on to hassle some other people. Our damage was minimal because Irene's track was east of us. We did have high winds and lots of rain.

The zinnias didn't like it:

The plants have been carted back to their places:

A little rearrangement:

Hopefully this week will be quieter! No hurricanes or earthquakes I hope!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Work Night Sewing

I had a request to make some burp cloths, so I've been working on that the last couple of nights after work.

Here's my work in progress.

I love to pick up unusual fabric from the remnant bin at fabric stores and fabric departments. I just check the size to make sure its big enough to use. Actually, no matter how small it is I can usually use it in a quilt. This Boyd's Bears flannel was a recent find. It was about 22 inches wide, just big enough to make two burp cloths. I washed, dried and ironed the fabric before beginning. Then after placing the fabric right sides together, I cut 2 sets of rectangles about 11 by 22. I traced around a cup on the corners to make them round. Then I sewed around the edge leaving an opening for turning. After turning and pressing, I sewed a decorative stitch around the edge.

I think these will be so soft for a baby to lay his or her head on Mom's or Dad's shoulder.

Here are a couple of the burp cloths that will be quilted. So far I've finished the tops, but will make the quilt sandwich, quilt and bind them over the next few days.

The burp cloth sets will include three quilted ones in pinks and two of the flannel Bears ones.

On the to do list! Some how over time the Grandma Quilt that I have been hand quilting has become a work space for all the scraps I have been pulling to make burp cloths, mug rugs and various other sewing projects. Its right beside the ironing board, so I just reach over and find the color of fabrics I need, iron it and then cut it. Its turned into quite a mess, so I plan to straighten this out and actually start the hand quilting again, after several months of not touching it.

In fact the condition of the entire sewing room has deteriorated to the point I need to straighten it out so I can enjoy sewing more.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quilts and Quakes!

Two rare events happened yesterday! I finished a quilt and we had a rare earthquake. Feeling an earthquake is the weirdest feeling. I wish I had known it was coming, so I could have paid more attention. At first I thought it was someone working on the roof of our office building. Then I thought it was a freak tornado or storm, but the skies were blue. When it was over and I told my coworkers it must have been an earthquake. They thought I was crazy, but it wasn't long before we found out it really was an earthquake.

Of course, there was no damage from the earthquake. Now if Hurricane Irene will stay out to sea, we can get back to normal around here.

Here is the quilt that I finished. My summer quilting has been almost nonexistent. Time to get back on track!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pantry Possibilities

Sometimes you have to use your imagination to come up with some food storage ideas. Most any nook or cranny of your home can serve this purpose, if you just look around.

Not all of them have to be utilitarian either. Some can even add to the charm of your home.

Here are a few areas that make up my pantry!

Just be sure to tell family members where everything is, so no one panics when they need a certain food item.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend Freezer Baking

Lately on Saturday mornings I have been doing some batch freezer cooking. This past Saturday I dedicated my time to doing some baking. The yield: Brownies, oatmeal muffins and banana bread. I packaged them into individual servings and popped them in the freezer for some quick breakfasts and lunch box treats.

The brownies were from a box mix, but the oatmeal muffins and banana bread came from the Hillbilly Housewife Website HERE and HERE. I loved the way both of them turned out. The muffins are healthy and not too sweet. The banana bread came out moist and tasty, thanks to the step by step instructions. The recipe called for grated orange peel, which I didn't have on hand. I will definitely be making more of these with the grated orange peel to freeze and to give as gifts.

Here are a few pictures of my freezer baking session:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Freezer Cooking Report

This is the first week that I really put the freezer cooking I've been doing to the test. The result: YUM!

Three of our nightly meals were from the freezer.

1. Hamburger Stroganoff served over egg noodles: I froze 2 bags of browned ground beef and onion. The morning of the day I was to use it, I put one bag on a plate in the fridge. When I got home I dumped it into a frying pan, added the ingredients and heated it through. I cooked the egg noodles and heated a can of tiny sweet peas. This fed 3 adults for supper and provided 3 lunches.

2. Italian Chicken: On my freezer cooking day I cooked some boneless chicken breasts smothered in pasta sauce. After it finished cooking and cooled, I put the chicken and some of the pasta sauce in a freezer bag. In preparation for the meal this week, I put the frozen chicken on a plate in the fridge to thaw. When I got home from work I dumped it into a baking dish covered with foil to heat. After about 30 minutes I removed the foil and sprinkled some mozzarella cheese on top and baked for a few more minutes to melt the cheese. I cooked a small box of spaghetti to serve the chicken over and also fried some okra. To add a little more flavor to the spaghetti noodles, I added a tablespoon of butter and some Parmesan cheese. This was definitely a hit with us all.

3. Hamburgers: I froze hamburger patties, individually wrapped. After deciding how many hamburgers we needed, I placed them on a plate in the fridge to thaw. When I got home I just cooked the burgers. I also made potato salad. Delicious!

Eventually I hope to have a good supply of side dishes in the freezer as well. This week I was able to use some main dishes from the freezer, but had to come up with side dishes.

Saturday my plan is to do some baking. I want to make some muffins, brownies and cookies for the freezer. Sorry "Little Debbie"!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Pantry Plan

Question: If for some reason you weren't able to buy food, for what ever reason, how long could you survive?

Lately, I've been feeling the urge to stock our pantry so that we have plenty of food on hand in case of emergency and also to save money. I'm not going to take it to the extreme, but I think having a good supply of food is a smart idea. You never know when hard times will come or an emergency will happen.

I spent some time this week organizing my food storage shelves:

The steps I am taking to achieve a well stocked pantry:

1. Research on line and examine our eating habits to come up with a list of items to buy.

2. Organize the food storage areas that I already have so that the extra food can be stored properly.

3. Be vigilant about stocking up on staples during unbeatable sales, especially if the price can be reduced even further with coupons.

4. Keep an inventory of the pantry so that the oldest food will always be used first and so that I always know what is available for meals.

5. Plan menus and grocery lists around what is in the pantry.

6. Keep a list of recipes that use the pantry staples in many different ways.

7. Continue with my freezer cooking plans.

I don't have a walk in pantry or a basement to store food in, but I can use what I do have to the best of my ability, so that my family will be provided for.

Sorry I don't have any pictures. Camera problems this morning!

Happy Thursday!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blooming Tuesday - Mid August, 2011

Its Blooming Tuesday at Mrs. Green Thumb Jean's blog.We are creeping toward the end of an extremely hot and dry summer in Eastern North Carolina. We have watered our plants almost every single day!

Here are a few that are still looking pretty good.

A close up of a red Petunia right after being watered.

The Zinnias are still blooming, but I do need to do some serious dead heading!

Lavender Petunias:

Sweet Williams:

Yellow Four O'clocks:

A different view of the Zinnias:

Crinum Lillies:

This lime green Coleus has grown to be a HUGE plant!:

I love how these Gerbera Daisies mimic the ones on the flower pot:

The back door of a birdhouse:

I put these two pictures at the bottom so as to not freak you out too much!

The Cotton Field

A Southern Summer experience... walking barefoot through the sandy soil in a cotton field.

Lack of rain has kept the cotton from growing as big as it normally would and the soil is dry and powdery.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pantry Dreams

Back in the early days of my blog, I regularly participated in Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood. In looking back I did 57 of those posts! I thought it would be a good idea to repost some of the oldest ones, especially when I've got a busy morning and no blog idea in sight!

Here's one that goes along with the posts I have been doing this week. I hope you enjoy the re-post.

I love looking at pictures of pantries and thought you might like to see these pictures I found in a couple of library books. Having a pantry is a very frugal and economical thing to do and getting ideas from other pantries can be very helpful in getting motivated.

These books were published in the early eighties. I checked out several "organizing books" and noted that none of the newer books had information about pantries.

This is a quote from one page:

"The larder is an old-fashioned idea that's worth a second look. The handsome built-in storehouses featured here are great for cooks who like to stockpile canned and packaged foods when they're on special at the supermarket or who buy large quantities of their favorite fruits and vegetables at height-of-the-season prices.

If your larder is primarily for fresh produce, its best to keep it cool and dark. Use wire shelves or vents to the outdoors (cover them with fine window-screenmesh) to keep air circulating, and avoid storing any bruised or damaged produce."

So being frugal by having a pantry, aka a larder, is definitely not a new idea. But, most of us don't have pantries like these, so we have to make do with what ever we have. Any cabinet, closet or box can be the start of your own pantry.

Here's a post about my pantry with pictures that I did for Frugal Friday once before.

I hope these pictures will give you some great ideas for creating a pantry/larder or for improving the one you already have.

I especially like the pictures that have shelves for cookbooks.

Glimpses of Home - A Little Bit of Fall

I've been enjoying Fall.  I love this time of year. Having a hubby who is retired is great.  He does so many things around the house. ...