Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hint of Orange Iced Tea

There is a small food business based in Knoxville, Tennessee called Petro's Chili and Chips. 

What is a Petro you may ask?


A Petro was first introduced at the Knoxville Worlds Fair in 1982. Sort of like a Frito Pie, it is created by layering corn chips, chili, cheese, tomatoes, green onions, sour cream, and black olives in a cup. They are delicious, but what I love the most about Petro's is their Hint of Orange Iced Tea. 


Petro's used to be located in Chattanooga way back in 1988 and I would occasionally enjoy one. Sadly, they are only based in Knoxville these days, so rather than make the long drive there, I figured out years ago how to make my own orange tea at home. 


To make my own hint of orange iced tea at home I use a combination of regular sized tea bags (7 bags) and Orange & Spice tea bags (3 bags). Several companies make Orange & Spice tea bags. This one just happens to be from Bigelow tea company. I have often used the Lipton orange tea bags as well. 

What I do to make the tea is to boil some water, about two to three cups worth, remove from the heat source, add the tea bags to steep and then cover with a lid. Once that is done I add as much sugar as I desire to a gallon pitcher, add the steeped tea, stir until the sugar dissolves, and then fill the pitcher the rest of the way with cold water. Then I pour some of the tea over a glass of ice and enjoy. I store the rest in the refrigerator to keep it fresh as long as possible. 

The tea is so good and refreshing. I hope you try it and let me know what you think of it.  :)

Belinda

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Saving Money with Soup

Image Credit
Serving soup for your main meal several times per month really helps to stretch your grocery budget. A bowl or cup of soup along with your choice of bread or sandwich is a terrific budget stretcher. 

We have several soup recipes that we make on a regular basis. Here are some of the ones I am including in our menus during the next month. If the recipe is not included simply click on the title to be taken to the recipe. 


15 Bean Cajun Soup

This is an easy recipe located on the back of a Hurt's 15 Bean Cajun bag of beans. You can add ingredients to your liking such as onions, smoked sausage, etc. to make this your very own recipe. I always add onions to mine and make sure to include the spice packet that comes with the beans. This is one of those tried and true family favorites. 
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My Sister Tina's Potato Soup

This soup is a tried and true family favorite. This recipe came from my sister who made it for us several years ago and we've been making it ever since. This is one of my daughter's favorites soups. 
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Taco Soup

This soup originally came from J.D. Roth back when he ran the Get Rich Slowly website. I looked for it on the website the other day, but it was no longer there. Good thing I had it on my blog, so I could link to it easily. This is another tried and true family favorite. 

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

1/2 a bunch or 10 ounces Broccoli
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons Flour
4 cups milk
4 to 6 slices American Cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Steam broccoli and cut florets into bite-sized pieces. Drain and set aside. Melt butter over medium heat and stir in flour. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until bubbly. Add 1 cup milk and stir until smooth. Add remaining 3 cups of milk and cook, stirring constantly, for 7 to 10 minutes or until it just begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and add American cheese and stir until it is completely melted. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top each with cheddar cheese. 

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Use It Up Soup

The most money saving soup I serve is one that incorporates the leftovers in my refrigerator, which I take and turn into soup.  Examples of these include the Mashed Potato Soup and the Vegetable Beef Soup I've made. 

What are some of your family's favorite soup recipes?


Belinda

Monday, December 28, 2015

Broken Laptop

Hello Everyone!

My laptop stopped working last week and was in the repair shop until today. I was finally able to go today and pick it up.

I'm going to just move forward with my blog rather than go back and write about Christmas.

I do hope you all had a wonderful holiday though.

Looking forward to a wonderful 2016. :)


Belinda
~ Live within your means ~

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Will Soon Be Here

On Friday evening we decided to go Christmas shopping. Our first stop was to JC Penney armed with a $10 off $25 coupon. My Mom wanted a new blanket for Christmas, so that was on my list. I found one she wanted, which was originally $52, but was listed as 50% off that day, so after my coupon I paid $16 plus tax. This was similar in price to one I looked at in Walmart, but much better in quality. 


Our second stop was to Bath & Body Works where they had their tubes of lotion on sale for $4 each. My daughter bought the Twisted Peppermint last year, and I fell in love with it, so I bought three tubes for Christmas. One for Mom, one for my daughter, and one for me. These are regularly $13, so $4 is a really good price for these. And the scent is so good it reminds me of Christmas. 

One of my favorite things about Christmas, as an adult, is unwrapping the ornaments each year. Some of them hold such sentiment that it's like opening a treasure trove into the past. They are stored in a popcorn tin from 1990 that I won as a door prize at work that year. Each ornament is lovingly wrapped in tissue paper, which I remove and press by hand and place back into the tin until it's time to wrap them up again. 


Some of my favorites are the Baby's First Christmas from 1997 that I received as a baby shower gift in 1997 from the X-Ray department at the hospital where I worked that year when I was pregnant with my daughter. 


This is a mailbox made by my daughter's grandmother. I rescued it years ago and I am confident that if I hadn't it would be gone or ruined by now. My daughter and I never met her as she passed away from cancer in 1987. Every year when we open the ornaments I tell my daughter the story of her and she will have this to remember the grandmother she never got to know. 


Some ornaments make me sad like this one. My niece gave me the one on the left, which includes my exdh, the year our daughter was born. The one on the right was a gift from my sister in 2006 and includes just the two of us. 


This one is from my own childhood. A craft kit we made back in the 1970s and made into a shoe with my name on the bottom in my Mother's own handwriting. A keepsake for sure. 

I could go on about some more ornaments, but I won't. My daughter decorated the clocks to look like reindeer. 



And here is one of our trees, we put up two because the first one's lights would not come on, so we decided to leave it up as well as the bigger one. My picture of it turned out blurry, but I will include it in a future post. 



It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 


Belinda
~ Merry Christmas ~

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday

Sunday Dinner is Salmon Patties, Green Beans & Onions, Mashed Potatoes & Peas, and Sweet Tea to drink. 


This was the free lunch from Chick-Fil-A I received when I subbed one day a couple of weeks ago. It was delicious. :)

And here is a sweet note from one of the teachers I subbed for this week...


Here is a photo of a free water bottle I received at school one day and one from the auto dealership where I had my oil changed recently. They left it in the cup holder of my car.  :)



We are spending the day putting up the Christmas tree a little bit while playing and relaxing on the computers too. We are taking our sweet time decorating. 

How are you enjoying your Sunday?

Belinda
~ Merry Christmas ~

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Refrigerator Dying

Welcome Saturday, which is the day we normally catch up on chores and prepare for the upcoming week. 

This Saturday is a little different though. I've spent the morning cleaning out our refrigerator. About six months ago I noticed the refrigerator was hotter than it should be, so I vacuumed the coils and moved it away from the items on both sides to help it breath. 

This past week I noticed it was running nonstop and several items in the freezer were thawed out. I pulled it out and vacuumed the coils again and noticed the back of the refrigerator was frozen in one section, so I unplugged it and took the salvageable items and put them into the chest freezer. I mostly use the chest freezer, so we did not lose much. 

This refrigerator was bought in 1986 when we moved to Tennessee and so it is almost 30 years old, but it is slowly dying and will have to be replaced soon. I will not complain though as that is a long life for a refrigerator. 

For now, the refrigerator section is keeping things cool enough and the freezer keeps water bottles very cool, but the ice cube trays are a mixture of ice and water. It is a just a matter of time before the refrigerator is kaput. 

As a result, I've been shopping this week and making arrangements for a new refrigerator. And I've been cleaning the old one out today. We are planning on replacing the refrigerator this week. Like the old saying goes, In with the new, out with the old. 

Belinda 
~ Live within your means ~

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Inexpensive Sources of Food

You know the old saying, Different strokes for different folks. The ways that I find to save money on food may be different than ways you or other people find to save on food. I've ran across many people over the years who do it differently than I do. 


Many people go off budget when it comes to eating than in any other area of their budget. From expired food to overspending at the grocery store to eating out. Making a weekly meal planning ensures that you actually use the items you already have, purchase only what you truly need, and avoid harried trips through the drive-through on busy nights.


The ability to manage your money in this one isolated area of your life overflows into other categories of your spending. For example, planning your meals will help keep you out of the stores, which will help reduce any impulse purchases. 

Eat at Home ~ This will save you so much money over eating out. So many families overspend by eating in restaurants on a regular basis. I love to eat out, but I know that if I do it several times a week I am not going to have enough money to cover our basic necessities and that won't work for me. Eating at home saves me money and here are some of the ways that I do that...


Shop at Discount Grocers - Such as Save-A-Lot, Aldi, The Dollar Tree. These will definitely save you money over big name grocery stores. Just the other day I found Secret deodorant at The Dollar Tree for $1.00 whereas I normally pay $1.96 for my favorite brand. These types of stores can definitely save you money. 

Shop the Sales ~ I use this tool over every other tool listed here. Every Wednesday I gather up the sale ads or look at them online and figure out which food items are at the lowest possible price and then I go and stock up on them. by doing this, I ensure that I am buying food at the lowest price possible for me. 


Couponing ~ The one website I use regularly for coupons is Couponaholic. If you see me mention I used a coupon for an item, 9 times out of 10 I have printed it from the Couponaholic website. 


Warehouse Clubs ~ Gale over at Faithfulness Farm and Brandy over at The Prudent Homemaker are two people that I know of that shop at warehouse clubs to save money. My friend Anna pays for her membership just with the savings they receive on medicine. 

Take an Inventory ~ The first step in managing your food supply is knowing what you have on hand and that means taking inventory. You can read about food inventories I've done in my home here and here. It is much easier to save money when you know what you have on hand to make meals with. 


Use the Food You Have ~ Have you done an inventory of the food you have on hand? How many meals can you make out of that food? You might be surprised by how many meals you can actually make with the ingredients you have on hand. The other day I came home and made some rice and then opened up a can of low sodium mixed vegetables, which no one had been eating, and mixed them both together. They were so delicious and very inexpensive. 

Salvage Stores ~ If you are fortunate to have a salvage grocery in your area be sure to shop there for inexpensive sources of food. We are fortunate enough to have United Grocery Outlets or UGO in our area. I have made posts here and here detailing the great savings we have found at our local UGO. Salvage stores are not like regular grocery stores that get new inventory each week, but rather sell items that traditional grocery stores won't sell any longer. They can be hit or miss, but we have found some great deals at our local one. 


Free Food ~ Don't overlook sources of free food. We have a friend who gives us free food regularly. My Mom has shared food with us before as well. Some people volunteer at an event and are able to take some free food home afterwards. Free food sometimes shows up at work events as well. I know just last week I received a free lunch from Chick-Fil-A while subbing at the middle school. 


Stockpile ~ We stockpile. I coupon for items that we use regularly, that have a long shelf life, when they are at rock bottom prices. And this reaps many rewards for us. Amy Dacyczyn referred to it as The Pantry Principle in The Tightwad Gazette. It is buying food at the lowest possible price and stocking up to last you through until the next sale.  

Crash & Burn ~ Do you check out the dented can section of your favorite grocery store? There are usually good deals to be found there. I always visit these areas in our local grocery stores. I have found some of my best bargains in the Crash & Burn section. Just the other day I found a five pound bag of rice for $1.00. 

Eat Leftovers ~ Oftentimes I've read that people don't like to eat leftovers. My family definitely eats leftovers and they enjoy them. My daughter loves to heat up leftovers from dinner the night before for breakfast the next day. This is definitely an area that will save you money, which leads me to my next point. 


Avoiding Food Waste ~


When food reaches the use by or sell by date it doesn't mean it needs to be thrown away. The dates found on food items are suggestions made by food companies to ensure peak quality and do not indicate food safety. Food manufacturers make more money when consumers  toss food they think has gone bad.  Some people discard food when it's reached this date, but the truth is many foods can be safely consumed after these dates. For example, I never toss out buttermilk as it is good long after the use by date has passed.


Dumpster Diving ~  Last but not least, I saved this one for last as some people are turned off by this concept, which I understand. If you're interested in the topic you can Google it and find all kinds of information about it. There was a lady on the old AOL message boards named Mary who used to Dumpster Dive and she found enough food that she was able to share it with friends. 


Be sure to browse through the archives here at the Frugal Workshop to read other ways we save money on food such as buying food in large industrial cans for example. And of course, my readers are a wealth of information on inexpensive sources of food. So please share with us how you find these sources. 

Belinda
Live simply by not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday & This Past Week

Thinking back over the week I sit here feeling blessed. Even though I had been sick last weekend, I ended up working every day this week. Some days the call came late, but I worked all week. 

One day the class I was subbing for had no car riders, which meant I was able to leave on the bus bell. When I walked out of the school building, students from about three different busses pulled down the windows to say, "Ms. Richardson!" and wave to me, which is like music to my ears. 

One day I doubled up on two classes simultaneously and one day I worked half a day in the classroom and the other half in the office, which I loved because I was able to see so many students, parents, teachers and friends and had delightful conversations with many. At three o'clock on Friday I was tired, but it was a good tired. I love what I do even though it can be challenging some days.  :)



I spent part of last weekend making and packing snacks for my daughter to have in her bag at school in case she needed them. I made her more granola bars and packed those on Saturday. On Sunday I made her some popcorn on the stovetop and packed it into ziplock bags as well. 





Meals this week included...

Sunday Dinner
15 Bean Cajun Soup
Cornbread










This is always a huge hit here and was enough for Sunday dinner and lunch on Monday. 

Monday
Vegetable Soup
Cornbread

I started out this soup by sauteing onions in tomato juice. Then I added carrots, white, sweet, and red potatoes, canned tomatoes, frozen lima beans, frozen green beans, kidney beans, tomato sauce/salsa, frozen yellow peppers, macaroni (from my huge container) and several different spices like bay leaves, curry, salt, pepper, Hungarian paprika, smoked paprika, and celery seed. This made a large stock pot full of soup, which lasted for several days this week including lunches, which is what I took for Tuesday's lunch. 

I have this lunch time Crock Pot, which I bought from Amazon a few years ago. It works perfectly to bring to a teacher's room who has no microwave. I just fill the metal container, place inside, and then plug it in when I get to the teacher's room. I used it twice this past week. 



Tuesday
Tacos



Again there was enough leftover to take for Wednesday's lunch. 

Wednesday
Egg Salad Sandwiches 








I was still feeling under the weather, so this was an easy dinner with plenty left for lunches. 

Thursday
Chili Tacos









Friday
Bean & Cheese Enchiladas











Saturday

Leftovers



This weekend I read "The Frugal Homebody" by Homespun Seasonal Living. It's a good blog post about staying home and not spending money. Just enjoying the things you have sort of like I was writing about last weekend. I like Kathie's style of writing and I think my readers will too, so if you get the chance go to her blog and read the article.  


Today I am cutting up strawberries because I was blessed with fifteen pounds yesterday. 


How is your weekend shaping up?
Belinda
Live simply by not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Saturday

I have loved this Saturday! I was able to stay home and just relax and bake in the kitchen and hang out with my daughter and have such an enjoyable day. It turned chilly here a little today and so we enjoyed some hot chocolate too. I also made up a gallon of sweet tea for us to enjoy with dinner tonight. 



Today I baked up some fruit that I didn't want to lose. First off was this Southern Living banana bread recipe.  First photo is of it going into the oven and then afterwards when I had it cut up for eating this week.  



I also had some Granny Smith apples that needed using up. I read a recipe in the Betty Crocker newsletter this past week for Apple Dump Cake, which I made although I did add some cinnamon to the apples. 

The apples used in this recipe were given to me, the cake mix bought on sale, and I did have to spring for the butter, so this cost me right at $1.00 to prepare at home. 

Here is a picture of it.



We had two jars of honey in the house and both of them had crystallized, so I placed them in a pan filled with hot water to make the honey pourable again. And then I put all the honey in one jar. 



Looks better, doesn't it? And much easier to use in this stage.  :)

Afterwards, I made some more granola bars for my daughter to take with her to school this week.  This batch made fourteen granola bars. These bars cost me under $1.00 to make at home, which is much cheaper than a box of granola bars bought at the store. 


Dinner tonight was hamburger, which I browned with some onions and worcestershire sauce, drained, and then added some Campbell's Beefy Mushroom soup. I served that over mashed potatoes with a side of carrots.  This dinner cost right around $4.00 to make because I used ground beef I bought on sale for $1.99 a pound.

Here is a photo of my dinner plate.


One of my readers, Patti, mentioned in the comment section last week that Brandy over at Prudent Homemaker had ordered some glasses online inexpensively. I did some research and the company is Zenni Optical and the glasses start out at $6.95 plus $4.95 for shipping. Such a great price!

I went ahead and used the eyeglass center at Walmart because I needed something right away. I found frames for $9.00 and with the lenses they cost me $38. I ordered them on Thursday and they were ready on Friday. I can definitely tell a BIG difference. 

Thank you for everyone who expressed concern about my foot injury last week. Although it is still bruised, it is feeling much better.  

Having stayed home all day today, we did not spend any money. We simply stayed home and used what we had on hand to make food and we did some simple chores around the house that needed doing. That is a big part of the frugal lifestyle for me. Staying home and not spending money, doing things that need doing around here. It may not be glamourous and people may tire of reading about it, but it is a part of being frugal for me.

I hope you all have a very pleasant weekend.  :)


Belinda
Live simply by not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Frugal Weekend

Today marks the beginning of a new month, a chance to start living the frugal life fresh or over if needed. 

This has been a busy week here.  I worked four days, went to the doctor for a routine visit, took my daughter for her annual physical and we both received the flu vaccine. 

We also both had visits to the eye doctor this week. My daughter needs new glasses and I also need glasses for the first time. I have become near sighted in the last couple of months and cannot see the board at school, so we will be shopping for glasses this week. 

I also took my car in for an oil change this past week. No cost to me as I paid upfront for a maintenance plan, but I paid cash in full for the car, so no payments for me. However, my car insurance did go up with the addition of the new car  and that was due and was paid this week.

Meals this week have included Chili, Chili Tacos, Macaroni & Cheese, Asian Salad, and Hamburgers. Friday night I made a potato casserole and served that with some green peas. I made a simple dinner of baked potatoes for today. 

I wanted to mention this website that I've been reading this week. I find it fascinating. She is trying to live a simpler life like they did in the 1940s and 1950s. 

Here is a link:

http://gdonna.com/

I was cleaning out the cat house today and putting in a new blanket, which I bought at the thrift store, for the cats. I accidently dropped the roof of the house on my foot and it is already bruising. I hope it does not bother me this week. 

I'm working two days so far this week. We have Tuesday off, since it is an election, and we will be running errands then and shopping for new glasses. 

I hope you all have a terrific, frugal week. 

Belinda
Live simply by not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2016.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Dinner & Other Things


Sunday Dinner is Potato Soup since we have so many potatoes on hand. 

Do you like my backdrop? My daughter was taking pictures for her Etsy shop, so she made a picture of the soup for me.  :)

Here is a link to the recipe I use in case you want it: Potato Soup




I received my first coupon for a free product from Sunbelt Bakery. It was easy for me to earn more than enough points (only 500 points needed) to receive this coupon. 

You can earn one too. 

If you're interested just click here: Bakery Fresh Friends 




We went to McKay's Used Books on Saturday and I traded for three new to me cookbooks. I really like the Marcia Adams' cookbook. She used to have a tv show on that I watched when I was younger. You can still see some of those old tv shows on YouTube. 


 We've really enjoyed our week off from school. 

Back to the grindstone tomorrow. 

I hope you all have a great week! :)


Belinda
Live simply by not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.