Category Archives: frugal living

You Know You Make A Lot of Bread When…

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This is a 50 pound bag of Organic Hard White Wheat.  It is the type of wheat that we use most often.  We use it to make our white bread and in the majority of our baking.  The one place where it’s really hard to substitute for all purpose… making Norwegian pancakes.  For that, all purpose flour is the best for making those deliciously yummy crepes.  Hard White Wheat is more nutritious than all purpose, but let’s face it, man can’t live without an occasional Norwegian pancake.  If you’ve had them, I know you agree!

We go through about two loaves of bread a week.  Tonight, I’m trying a new Cinnamon Raisin recipe.  I hope it turns out.  I’ve been thinking about Cinnamon Raisin toast all week!

Tri-Berry Jam

Yum!  Is there anything better than homemade jam?  We go through a bunch of jam at our house.  We use it in oatmeal, yogurt, on toast…  We make it with fresh, local ingredients when we have the chance, but the next best thing is organic berries from Costco.  It still works out to be less expensive to buy the berries and make our own than to buy organic jam.  Plus, we get the added benefit of knowing exactly what is in our food, especially when we eat a lot of it!   The recipe I used this time around can be found here.

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Summer Salsa

Salsa making is in full swing at our house!  I made three jars last night and two today.  I still have at least another three pints to go.  With the kiddos around, I tend to do everything incrementally.  That way I’m not elbow deep in something, and have to stop it entirely.  I should be done with the last batch this weekend.

First Batch

I started by following this recipe.  However, I have never seen Clear-Jel, so instead of tomato sauce and Clear-Jel, I added tomato paste to thicken it up.  I also added more green pepper than it calls for and plenty of fresh cilantro!

I never thought I’d love canning, but it’s great.  It doesn’t take that much extra time and you have goodies all year long. I love to go to the pantry later on in the year and pull out summer fresh salsa or homemade jam.  I know exactly when it was made, what went into it, and where/how the ingredients were grown.  I usually only do jams and salsas, but this year I’m hoping to branch out – pickles, pie filling, anyone?




Tomatoes Galore

Today’s Harvest

We are swamped with tomatoes this year.  We basically have them in some version at lunch and dinner – on their own, caprese salads, thrown into other dishes, etc.  Salsa making is on my ‘to do’ list today!  Last night we had tomato pie for dinner.

To me, tomato pie is synonymous with pizza.  But in the south, it’s an entirely different dish.   It was recommended by someone from the CSA we’re in.  (Joann Thomas sent out a recipe that she had in the Pie Lab Cookbook).  I decided to give it a try and I’m glad I did.  Easy to make, delicious, and uses up some of our tomato surplus!  Here is my variation on her recipe.

Tomato Pie

For the crust:
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. oil
2 T. sugar
2 T. milk

Blend all ingredients and pat out in pie plate.
Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.


For the pie:
2 -3 large chopped tomatoes (I used Heirloom tomato for their flavor)
1 large chopped onion
2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
garden fresh basil, chopped

Saute chopped tomatoes and onions. Stir in flour to thicken. Pour mixture into precooked pie shell. Combine mozzarella, cheddar, and mayo.  Pour over the tomato mixture. Top with basil.
Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes.




Tonight I made Trent some really comfortable flannel pajama pants. They’re worn in, super soft, perfect kind of pajama pants. How do I know? Well, they used to be mine. I wore these pajama pants religiously in college. They were actually my college roommate’s, but I eventually inherited them. Anyway, along the way, they got a big hole in them. A patch would look funny so they sat in my closet in a bag of clothes intended to throw away or be given to goodwill. Alas, the bag never made it to either destination. So during naptime today, I decided to go through the bag. I realized there were so many items in the bag that could be repurposed for the boys to wear. So now, Trent has a a great pair of pajama pants!


Menu Monday

Lately, I have not been in much of a cooking mood so I’ve found myself in the 4pm hour thinking, “oh bother, what am I going to make tonight?” This has also caused us to eat out more than we should. I know that it makes financial sense and is a sanity saver to plan meals ahead of time. My problem is that I never feel like eating what’s on the menu. On THAT day, I always want something else. Anyway, we have plenty of food that needs to be eaten up this week so I’m stating it on here, in hopes that then I will actually follow the plan. So in our fridge… we have leftover chicken that needs to be used up. We also have apples, hamburger and marinara that need to be used up. So for this week: I’m thinking chicken rollups; caramel apple pork chops, spaghetti, and chicken pot pie (if we still have chicken leftover after the rollups tonight which I’m thinking is likely). Tonight is definitely the rollups. As for the rest of the week, I can’t commit to which day will be what.

Extending the Life of Cloth Diapers

We use Bum Genius One Size diapers at our house. I love them. They have adjustable snaps so you can use the same diapers from about 7lbs all the way up to about 35lbs. It alleviates having to have multiple stacks of diapers in different sizes. They are also SUPER easy to use because they basically go on like a disposable diaper. Plus, after a year of use – they still look great,except for the velcro. Yep, after a year of non stop use and daily washing, the velcro has abandoned its function. So, we had to either repair the diapers or buy new ones. While we have saved bunches of money by using these diapers (the initial cost was made up in about three months), these diapers are not cheap to replace. Each diaper costs about $18. So we opted to fix them. You can actually buy the snaps that match the diapers (100 snaps for $3). So after ripping out all the velcro and adding snaps, our old velcro diapers now look like this:

Ta Da!
The tutorial can be found here

Baseball Cards? Think Again.

No, I don’t collect baseball cards, but I do use the convenient little storage pages for coupons! I started couponing when we decided that we would transition from being a two income couple to a one income family. You can save a TON of money on your grocery bill by using coupons. After couponing for a few months though, I found that we had enough toothpaste to last us a decade and we were eating a lot of canned soup and frozen pizza. So I continued to coupon, but I also changed my shopping method. I’m not a fan of preservatives. I like the food we eat to be as natural as possible. So instead of using the coupons for granola bars, I used the coupons for oats and started making granola. Instead of using the coupons for spaghetti sauce, I used the coupons for tomato paste and canned tomatoes and started making my own marinara. We even make our own ice cream. You can make a ton of food by just having a few staples on hand. We save money on the staples (milk, eggs, flour, butter, etc.) by buying them at Costco. So I coupon compromise. We still use coupons for dairy items such as yogurt and sour cream. We use coupons for some of our meat. Sausage and tuna regularly have coupons available. We use coupons on frozen vegetables and rice. We keep our pantry stocked, but not overloaded. And if I have a few spare things of toothpaste, I just bypass the toothpaste sale that week. (Even though with couponing, toothpaste is almost always free or nearly free.)