Monday, June 30, 2008

A New Natural Foods Store!

I love natural foods stores. And a nice large one just opened in my town! Yeah!

It's right by CVS, too. How convenient.:-)

Up until now I've been occasionally driving to another town 30 minutes away to find some of the harder-to-find natural foods that I use regularly. So I'm excited to have this store so close.

We visited the new store yesterday. It is very nice. I didn't buy anything on this visit but scoured the store looking at their selection and noting the prices.

The bulk section isn't as large as I had hoped but still they have most of the grains and legumes that I would normally buy. Prices are comparable to any health food/gourmet store, of course. (Read: expensive!)Many items are out of my price range but with buying grains/legumes, some produce and watching the sales and using coupons, I should be able to come out pretty well.

Some items I noticed that I will go back for(armed with coupons) are:

-Yogi teas, on sale 2/$5(I have coupons too for this. I love the Breathe Deep tea for asthma attacks.)

-Muir Glen tomato products ranging in price from $.89 to around the $2 range.($1/1 coupons) This was regular prices; cheaper than the regular grocery stores here!

-Cascadian Farms frozen veggies on sale for $1.79.($1/1 coupons)

-Local peaches for $.79 a pound

I'm doing my grocery shopping this week so I'm hoping to take advantage of some of these Grand Opening specials!

Homemade Hummus - Several Different Ways

I'm joining in again with Jenn of Frugal Upstate's Frugal Food series. This week's frugal star is beans!

One of our favorite bean recipes is Hummus. This Mediterranean dip or spread is made with chick peas/garbanzo beans and is so good for you! It's one of our favorite snacks too.

Hummus is easy-peasy and inexpensive to make. No need to buy the $3 little tubs at the store! If you can operate a food processor or blender you can whip this up in no time!

I'll give you the basic recipe that I use then list some possible add-ins that are so so good for variety! I don't really measure the spices; I just add to taste and so on.


1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas/garbanzo beans,drained or cook your own from dried beans
1/2 cup tahini(or less depending on taste; you can leave this out if desired, it does give a more authentic taste, though)
Olive oil(I start with about 3 tablespoons.)
Minced garlic
Lemon juice
Sea salt

Puree beans in food processor or blender. Add tahini and small amounts of other ingredients. Continue to add until desired taste and consistency are reached. I like it thick enough so it's not runny but thin enough to spread.

Serve with fresh veggies pita bread or chips or tortilla chips. Keep in refrigerator. This stays fresh for awhile in the fridge but can also be frozen with good success.

Now here's the fun part!

While blending hummus add your choice of the following:

-crushed red pepper flakes
-drained and chopped artichokes
-fresh herbs such as basil
-drained jar of roasted red peppers(our favorite!)

I know some of these add-ins are really not that frugal, yet they are fun to have when there's a little extra $$ in the food budget!

I have also done this with white beans instead of the chickpeas(minus the tahini) and it made a delicious bean dip as well.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back In The South

I arrived back home from Oregon at midnight on Saturday night.

I'm glad to be home!

Both of us suffered colds during the past week. We're pretty congested now. Hopefully, we'll be completely back to normal soon.

In the meantime, though...I have a house to clean, laundry to wash, clutter to wade through and a yard that needs tending(think jungle after about a month of no attention).

Pace myself. This is how I'm operating this week. By tackling a few areas each day, the house will be pretty much back to it's relatively clean, lived-in state by the end of the week.

I can always hope that I'll get my much-loved routine back, too.:-)

I'll be posting throughout the week so stay tuned!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Frugal Friday: Hotel Discounts

This week's frugal tip comes from my discount-savvy father-in-law! Thankfully, he shared this with us and our travel budget has benefited from it already.

When traveling, stop at all state Welcome Centers(rest areas at state lines) along the interstate. They often have free hotel coupon booklets available for their state or region.

The ones we picked up on our trip to and from NJ are good for the summer. So whenever traveling, it's a good idea to continue to pick up the most current booklets. You just never know when you're going to need a hotel!

These contain hotel coupons for specific areas and exits. Most end up being half price when you use the coupon. Some restrictions apply such as no previous reservations-walk in's only or are only good for Sunday through Thursday. Some don't allow to use your hotel discount/priority cards in addition to the coupon and others do. Just read the fine print and you're good to go!

We stopped for the night in Virginia last Saturday and because of the no previous reservations rule, ended up stopping at several different hotels at the same exit before finding one that had room for us. So that took a little extra time, but that's not a bad trade-off for a room that was half-price!

From now on, we will definitely be picking up these booklets and using them for a more frugal night's stay when traveling!

For more frugal ideas and tips please visit Biblical Womanhood.

Live-Blogging My Vacation

My husband teasingly asked me the other day if I was live-blogging my vacation.:-) Well, not really! But I will give some details about what we are up to this week.

This has been a very relaxing time to spend with my parents and brother. There is no special event going on this week; just a visit with my family.

Monday- I arrived in Oregon by plane in the early afternoon. Some of my mom's family took my grandma out for a belated birthday dinner. I was honored to be able to be along this time, since I am usually clear across the country in South Carolina! A number of family members were present so it was a good time to see them.

Tuesday-My mom is having a bake sale next week. She had cookie dough all mixed up and I baked the cookies for her. Peanut butter, chocolate chip, molasses, and snickerdoodles-27 dozen in all. When I lived at home, oh, 12 years ago or so, I baked all the cookies for bake sales, so she was happy to have me here again to help! We ran an errand or two in the afternoon and visited our old neighbor who is now in a nursing home. In the evening, I went to see my grandma again. My cousin, Esther and her 4 children were also there. Nice to see them as well.

Wednesday-I get really bored when away from home since I like to work and do things around my home. I asked Mom what I could do around her house. She finally agreed to let me clean out the china cabinet. I washed the glassware and the shelves and loaded it all back in. I helped with a few other odd jobs as well. Mom also instructed me in how to root and transplant different plants. I'm excited to try these tips out at home!

Thursday- We haven't done too much yet this morning. I think we're going to clean and organize the pantry. Also run some errands with my brother.

I'm enjoying my visit but miss my husband who is 3,000 miles away!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday: Less Clothing ,More Organized!

Today, I thought I'd share about how I keep my clothing organized and easy to pick out and use! This simplified wardrobe has really helped during these last few weeks of hectic traveling with only a day or less between trips!

I have really pared down my wardrobe in the last while. This not only helps with storage and decisions about what to wear, but also is a big help to always have outfits that I know fit and that are my favorites!

I admit that I'm not the most exciting dresser around. I have mostly very basic outfits that I can mix and match, my favorites being a couple of khaki pants which roll up and snap to become capris and two black skirts. I also have a couple other skirts and shorts that I wear regularly. I have a top to go with each of these bottoms as well as a few extra shirts in case of spots and stains.

I wear very little jewelry and have a few pairs of shoes that go with just about everything. I really like boring, ok?!:-)

My very simple tip today is to hang or fold clothes together in outfits. I like to wear certain tops with certain bottoms so this just makes sense to me! Everything is ready to pull out and wear or in my case the last few weeks, ready to place in the suitcase.

I can be packed in only a few minutes by doing this.

Of course, having fewer clothes means more laundry! But I don't mind this. It's easier having fewer clothes to care for and organize!

Clothes organized and ready- this works for me!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Life As We Know It

Andy's grandmother passed away Tuesday, June 17. The funeral was in New Jersey on Saturday, June 21, where Grammy was buried next to her husband. We traveled to NJ starting out Wednesday night and arriving the next day, then coming back on Sunday.

We had a glitch with a pastor for the funeral, so Andy and his father officiated. It was very meaningful and of course, I was so proud of my husband! Andy gave the 'sermon' and his father shared memories of his mother(Grammy). One of the cousins read two short passages of Scriptures.

Throughout the viewing and funeral, I was able to meet many of Andy's relatives that I had not known before. In fact, the viewing was more like a wonderful family gathering with people laughing and sharing stories together. Grammy, the socialite, would have enjoyed the event very much!

One of Grammy's nieces graciously opened her home for our family. It was a blessing to be able to stay with family and not in a motel. What a wonderful hostess she was to us!

We hurried home in order for me to catch a plane to Oregon on Monday morning. This was planned previously as a trip for me to visit my parents. I am grateful that everything worked out so I did not need to change my flight plans! Even though I was very tired out from all of our hectic travel over the past two weeks or so.

So I am here in Oregon this week visiting my parents. I have some other posts up my sleeve and will be updating as I have opportunity.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Random Thoughts

I have lots of posts started and in draft form but by the time nap time rolls around I lack the brainpower to get them ready to post! Oh well...I guess I need to work on that.

I will be trying to get more non-cooking posts up. I love to cook so that's why my blog seems to be full of kitchen-related posts. :-) I do like to keep a little more variety here, though!

Andy's grandmother is very ill. She is battling cancer. Please pray for her. We were to visit her over the weekend and it is only a matter of time before she goes home to be with the Lord. It was horrible to see her so sick and so sad to tell her good bye. But we will be happy for her when she has no more pain!

ETA: Andy's grandmother passed away this afternoon.

The garden that we planted with friends is producing like crazy already. We have been eating zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, banana peppers and cucumbers so far.Yum! I've pretty much thrown the menu plan out the window for the time being so I can make the best use of the garden produce.

We want to make use of the neighborhood pool at some point. The cost is $2 per adult. Swimming would feel so good at the end of a hot Southern day. We've lived here 4 years and this year is the first that I've looked into using the pool! I've always wondered if it was open to the public but never checked into it before this year.

I really need to order my blender replacement. I want smoothies!

Happy summer!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Creamed Eggs

Today I'm joining in to share a favorite egg recipe for Frugal Upstate's Frugal Food Series!

My mom made this favorite egg dish a lot when we were growing up and now it is also one of my husband's favorites. We eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner-it's good anytime!

Basically, this is a white sauce with hard-boiled eggs mixed in at the end.

It's easy to make, delicious, and frugal too!

Creamed Eggs(served over biscuits, toast or even waffles)

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over low heat. When melted, whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour and a little salt(1/2 to 1 teaspoon;you can always add more before serving). When flour and butter mixture is smooth, gradually add 2 cups of milk, whisking and stirring constantly over low heat.

Let cook until thickened (usually about 5-10 minutes), stirring and/or whisking frequently so the sauce does not scorch.

Add several sliced, hard-boiled eggs. I also will often add a handful of shredded cheese to the sauce along with the eggs.

Serve over biscuits, toast or waffles for a yummy breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Serves 3-4

-chopped ham
-crumbled and cooked bacon
-a handful of green peas
-canned tuna, drained

For more yummy recipes featuring the incredible, edible egg, visit Frugal Upstate! Thanks, Jenn, for hosting this!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- 2 Week Menu

I plan my menus 2 weeks at a time to go along with my shopping schedule, so I figured that I would just share both weeks at one time today. Kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. :-)

For breakfasts, I will be choosing some items off this list. Lunches are usually leftovers. Otherwise I scrounge something up!

All freezer meals are marked with *.

Lunch-Potluck picnic with our church family. I took a layered nacho dip with tortilla chips and Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Bars.
Dinner- Layered Nacho Dip, chips, brownies

Monday-Baked Potatoes with bacon, cheese and sour cream, salad

Tuesday-steak with blue cheese butter, stuffed mushrooms, mixed green salad

Wednesday-homemade pizza, salad, fruit

Thursday-veggie lasagna*, homemade bread, fruit

Friday- eat out

Saturday-waffles, eggs

Dinner-wraps with cream cheese and olive spread and various chopped veggies and shredded cheese

Monday-Chicken Pasta Salad, muffins

Tuesday- Meatballs, rice, steamed veggie

Wednesday-Spinach Artichoke Quiche, sliced fresh veggies and fruit

Thursday-Chicken Orzo*, veggie or salad

Friday-Israeli Spice chicken chunks, tabouli, hummus and chips

Saturday-omelets, toast

For more menu planning inspiration, please visit I'm an organizing junkie!

Cool Breakfasts for Hot Days

Inspired by this post, I decided to make my own short list of simple breakfast ideas for summer.

The goal was to create nutritious breakfasts that would be light and filling but yet not heat up the kitchen.

Here's what I came up with based on our tastes and budget. Feel free to add your own 2 cents in the comments section!

All meals would be accompanied by some kind of fresh fruit which is what I try to do year-round anyways. Except the smoothies which are fruit. In that case, I would add some kind of grain on the side such as toast or a bagel.Whenever I make muffins, pancakes or waffles, I make a huge batch and freeze for fuss-free breakfasts and snacks later on. We eat breakfast pretty early in the day so I try to plan menus that require as little morning prep work as possible!

*Cool* Breakfast Ideas

~muffins or quick breads
~homemade granola bars
~yogurt- homemade or store-bought
~cottage cheese
~cheese chunks
~hard-boiled eggs
~cold cereal
~bagels with cream cheese
~waffles or pancakes
~quiche(made ahead and eaten cold)

I will probably still make a "hot" breakfast on occasion this summer but this list gives me a great start with summery meals to start our days!