Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pickled Green Tomatoes

The past couple of weeks we have been having regular frost and even a night of snow showers (gasp!).  Before the first frost I went out to clear out the garden.  The only thing left were tons of green tomatoes.  Not wanting anything to go to waste I picked them all.  After sitting in the garage for almost week I decided to make pickled green tomatoes.

You slice 4 lbs of green tomatoes.  Add  4 onions and 1/4 cup of salt.  Refrigerate over night. 
The next day rinse well and add 4 chopped green peppers.  Make a spice packet of 1/2 tsp celery seed, 1/2 tsp mustand seed, 1 tbs whole allspice and 1 tbs whole cloves.   Combine it all in a crock pot. 

Add 1 lb of sugar and 1 quart of vinegar.  Cook on low for 2 hours.  Ladle into jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. 

I ended up with 5 pints.  Not only did I use up the remainder of my garden produce but I now have a Christmas gift for my father-in-law.  He loves receiving home canned food! 

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Photo Shoot

Each year we have family pictures taken for our Christmas cards.  It can get really expensive.  Especially since we usually have a minimum to spend in order to get the disk.  We need the disk in order to use the photos on photo cards.  I was inspired when Monica posted about taking photos in front of an old truck at an auto shop.  I looked at a few ideas of Pinterest and then started brainstorming.  Here is what I came up with. 

 I love, love, love the way it turned out!  It is so.... well... me.  :)

I gathered a quilt, table cloth, bench that was in our shed, a bucket from my grandparents farm and some garland out of the Christmas decorating tote. 

Using some stakes and a piece of scrap wood Chuck created this tripod for garland to wrapped around. 

There is a small pile of sticks from the last time we cut grass and some were gathered to create a star topper for the tree. 

Then the fun began and we started snapping away.  We borrowed my mother-in- laws camera (her camera is better then mine) used a tripod with the camera timer.

 You can find the bunting letters here.

As you can tell not all of the pictures were great, but we were able to capture a few good ones. 

I used things we had on hand to make my backdrop and then we wore clothing we already had.  Instead of printing out pre-made photo cards I created a collage using Picasa and then uploaded it to Snapfish.  I have a credit for 4x6 photos that I earned using my Coke rewards.  All that had to be paid was shipping for a whopping $1.25!  This is something that we will certainly be doing again. 

I don't want to give everything away for those who receive Christmas cards from me.  Once they have been mailed out I will share the collage I made.

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Be Back Soon!

I wanted to drop in and let everyone know I am taking a little break.  The boys I watch are in vacation for a week and Megan is on fall break the next two weeks.  I plan to soak in as much time with my sweet girl as I can.  Be back soon!

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

2 Chicken Breast = 5+ Meals

Well I did it! I stretched two chicken breast much further then I originally thought I could. I was able to get five meals out of them. I will say up front that the meat was stretched... really, really stretched. So, here I go with a picture heavy post.

I started out by boiling the chicken. I added salt, pepper and a little bouillon to make a nice stock. I then diced the chicken into chunks and divided them into thirds. 

One of the thirds was divided in half and then diced into smaller pieces. 

The stock was then divided into two pans.

I needed diced carrots to add to one of the stock pans.  While I was doing this I diced carrots for another meal.  No sense in making a mess peeling and slicing later in the week. 

While one pot of stock cooked my diced carrots the other one was used to make dinner. 

Meal #1:  Chicken and Noodles with a side of green beans. 

I could have made this meal more cost effective by making my noodles.  I had a bag in the freezer so I used them.  Normally I would have used half a bag but wanted left overs so I used the entire bag. 

I ended day one with a small container of finely diced chicken (not pictured), a container of diced chicken and raw sliced carrots, a container with stock, finely diced chicken and cooked carrots and a large container of left over chicken and noodles. 

Meal #2:  Chicken and Rice Soup, homemade cornbread with honey butter.

This is by far my favorite kind of soup and the honey butter could be dangerous! 

Meal #3:  Chicken Pot Pie

If you use an egg wash be sure to save the left over!  I put it in the frig to add to scrambled eggs the next morning.

After I filled the ramekins I had some of the pot pie sauce left. (sorry no picture, it was blurry) Be sure to save that also!

Meal #4:  Chicken/Egg Salad with crackers and a side salad

Meal #5:  Chicken Noodle Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. 

This is where all the left overs come into play.  I added the chicken and noodles to a large pan then added some chicken broth.  The sauce from the pot pie was mixed in and then I added water to get the desired consistency.

After all of this I still have leftovers!

Some stock for the freezer and then soup for lunches.  I imagine most of the liquid from the chicken and rice will be absorbed.  I might be able to use it as side with some grilled chicken.  Hmm, something to ponder.

I had so much fun doing this!  I know you might think that is strange, but it caused me to spend time in the kitchen (which I enjoy) and to be a little bit creative.   If push came to shove I could do this every week and make it work.   I told Chuck what I was doing at dinner during meal #1 and all he said was that he noticed there wasn't as much chicken in the dish as normal.  :)  He was a good sport and did not complain one time.  He is a meat and potato kind of guy so to avoid a revolt I will serve more then chicken and won't stretch the meat quite as far next week! :)

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Reducing the Budget

Over the weekend Chuck and I had a serious conversation about how the government shut down could impact Chuck's job.  We decided that we needed to tighten things up and reduce the amount coming out of our budget.  Of course there are some things that are set and can not be reduced.  The mortgage payment and piano lessons to name a couple.  (Yes, I know piano could be eliminated, but at this time we want to make the sacrifice for it.) 

The grocery budget is one area that I am working to reduce.  I am going to be watching the sale ads closely.  I could have done without these items, but the prices were really good.  I used $9.60 of my grocery budget and this what I came home with.

The spaghetti sauce was $0.99 each if you bought four.  I had one coupon that took $0.40 off of that.  The oatmeal was also $0.99 each if you bought six.  These are all items we use on a regular basis.  I will especially use the oatmeal as the weather get cooler.  I really like waking up to crock pot oatmeal on a cold, snowy winter morning.  Keeping a stockpile of items bought at rock bottom prices is one way I can reduce the grocery budget.

Another way is to stretch the groceries that we already have.  One of the most expensive items is meat.  This week I am going to see how far I can stretch two chicken breast.

Later this week I will show how many meals I was able to get out of them.  If time permits I will share some other things this week that we are doing to reduce spending.  Any ideas?  Please feel free to share them!

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A Little Touch of Fall

Welcome! Step on in and take a little around.

I put out a few fall touches.  Just a few as I am trying to keep things simple.  I found this wonderful burlap at the fabric store.  Isn't it adorable?! 


Many of the items I used are handmade.  If you would like to she how they were made here are the links.
Thank you for stopping by... I hope you enjoyed your peek! 
May your day be filled with joy and contentment!