Saturday, June 4, 2011

Life is Good!

Life is Good... Well, Hello again. I have been gone for a while...but I am sure that each one of you understands. Life just takes over sometimes. Family and jobs come first. So I hope that each of you have been doing well. That you have had a wonderful and prosperous Spring. And that you survived the floods, storms, rains, and tornado's. We had some flooding in our basement, but nothing like some folks. Our hearts and prayers go out to ALL that were affected.

Summer is here unofficially, if you are going by the calendar. Yesterday, the heat index was above 100 degrees and  it is only the 3rd of June. I can't imagine what August is going to be like if we are that hot now. I may have to come up with an outside kitchen quickly, so I don't overheat the house when we start canning alter this summer.So, here are some of the things that have been happening in my world the last few months: 

Our daughter, Michele, graduated from high school. The two weeks before her graduation was filled with year end dinners, awards ceremony's, presentations, etc. She has received 10 awards/achievements and scholarships (woohoo!). We are so proud of her. She is planning on going to our local college this fall. majoring in Early Childhood Intervention. She loves children, especially child with disabilities.

Our son, Kendall got his drivers license and a part-time job as Chester Cheeto, but we won't let him drive to work just yet by himself. So, we are still in the mode of taking and picking up each day, especially now that school is out and his sister is working and can't be the errand girl anymore. 

I changed jobs. I took a position as the Director of Development for a non-profit organization called LifeSource International. We serve the community in many ways; Food Pantry, Clothing Pantry, Kid's Life After-school and Summer Camp programs, Senior Citizen assistance, professional Counseling, Adult Education, Monthly meal outreach & Food baskets, and medical referrals. Thus, I have been trying to settle into a new job and rearranging all my normal routines (since I go into an office each day and not work from home).
In between all the busyness I planted a garden, flower bulbs and plants. Now I am just waiting until they all burst forth in all their loveliness.

So there you have it...all my excuses for not being around much the last month.

Life is good and we are blessed. Even though, I haven't gotten to get out much and find any good deals at flea markets or yard sales. Nor have I gotten to home-can anything, just too busy and tired when I get home. Nor have I gotten to read any good books, other than some grant writing books for work. But, I cannot complain..we are all safe, we have a roof over our heads, we have jobs, and food to eat.  Life is Good!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Garage Sale Find...What is it?

Okay, so the other day it was so beautiful out. Spring has sprung and my Knight was stir crazy from being in the house for 3 weeks (burn injury). He so wanted to get and do something. So, we decided to take a drive and see if we could find a few yard sales. We did. In fact, we found some pretty good deals.

A few antique/retro green water goblets that matched my grandmother Hilda's set which I inherited ($1 for 2). Found Shell-Belle a pair of brand new white GAP pants (marked $42, for $4). An old fashioned kitchen scale that can weigh up to 25 lbs. of "whatever" for a $1. A couple of shirts for $.25 each (Sonoma brand). And a few other odds and ends.

Then we found this ----> (see pic)

Know what it is???

When I first saw it on the table I thought it was an oddly shaped syrup pitcher. That is until I picked it up to see if the slide-lid worked. Too my surprise there was no slide. When you pressed the lever on the handle something else happened.

Have you figured it out yet???

It is a HONEY pitcher.

When you press the lever on the handle it raises a plug at the bottom of the pitcher, so that it will dispense honey at a slowy and gently rate without any mess. Then when you release the lever it closes and you set it back into the holder. Which also catches any drips.

I did a little research on the internet about it. It is not an antique. But it still a very useful item, especially since we use honey a lot at Red Bud Cottage. I found the pricing to be anywhere from $9 to $19.95 for this item, not including S/H or tax.

So for $3, I got a unusual item for the kitchen that will come in very handy, useful, and make for a good conversation piece.

Have you found any good deals as of late?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Senior Prom

Prom time is here! My baby girl is off at her Senior Prom. It seems like only yesterday that I was giving brith, changing diapers, helping with homework, and driving her everywhere.

My how the time flys! In a month she will be graduating from high school and focusing on college courses. The funny thing is; is that she has already been to a few college courses...I was prego with her during my last year of college. And she attended my graduation ceremony at the age of 5 months.

She was 2 weeks old when I started back to classes for my last semester. Her Aunt, who lived close to the campus, watched her for us. I made my scheule so that I could go to a class, then go to her Aunt's house to feed & check on her, then go back to class each day.

Enough of the memories....


You have become a beautiful young woman! 
You have made all of us very proud (Bill & I and your Dad & Lynne).
We wish you all the best as you begin this new chapter of your life.
Keep your focus on the goals you have set for yourself and you will suceed.
But, most importantly always keep CHRIST first and foremost in your heart and life.

Love you!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Miracles, Blessings & Homemade Burn Salve

   Just as I thought everything was getting back to "normal" a few weeks ago, in regards to blog posting, canning routine, and just normal life; a huge "curve ball" was thrown into the mix. On March 17th my Knight was burning leaves and an unexpected "surprise" was in the fire. A spray paint can had unknowingly found its way into the hot flames.  As the can got hotter and hotter it exploded and released its pressure and last bit of paint. Acting like a blow torch, it sent large flames in the direction of my Knight, who was shirtless. Causing 2nd degree burns from one side of his abdomen to the other and from his belt-line to just below his breast. His left fore-arm also sustained 2nd degree burns. The intense heat singed his beard, mustache, eyebrows, and hair on forehead. Plus, other minor burns on his hands, nose, and chest. (no pics...too gross)

   After a trip to the ER, a concoction of pain meds, tons of anti-biotic ointment and gauze, lots of bed rest, and lets not forget the many many PRAYERS that were sent heavenward by countless friends and family, we are beginning to see healing of the wounds. His arm is the first to show signs of good healing. Today he was able to go without the bandages all day, while keeping it moist with salve (see recipe below). The salve is so that it doesn't dry out, crack, and then cause more pain. It should also help to reduce scarring.

   Though we rejoice in seeing this healing, the pain to the nerve endings are still there. This is what causes him the most discomfort. Second degree burns are the most painful of all burns, because the nerve endings are exposed, yet not damaged as they would be in a 3rd or 4th degree burn. And since the largest wound is across his stomach area; it becomes almost impossible to get into a comfortable position, since we use are stomach muscles to sit, turn, bend, lay down, etc.

   As we look at this "curve ball", we find MIRACLES throughout it all. First miracle, he had on jeans and shoes. Not shorts and sandals. Thus, keeping his feet and legs from getting burned. Second miracle, he was shirtless. If he'd had a tee shirt on it could have caught fire spreading the flames on up to his chest or around to his back. Third miracle, he had his hand up in front of his face lighting a cigarette (this is the one and only time I will be grateful he smokes) breaking the wind from the lighter when the explosion occurred. This act saved his face, eyes and ears from sustaining burns. Fourth miracle, his hands didn't sustain any major burns, just a few first degree on the back of the hands. His passion is playing his guitars. Fifth miracle, the bottom of the can flew past him at an extremely high velocity of speed embedding itself into the deck beam that were behind him. Had that hit him it would have been as a large bullet, causing sever damage or possible death. 

   There you have it, 5 Miracles in a matter of a few seconds that could have changed this whole unfortunate situation into something much more worse than it is. Now please don't think I am down grading the severity of his injuries. I am not. They are extremely bad, grotesquely ugly and very painful. But, we can see that our Lord and Savior was protecting him. For that, we are very thankful.

   Blessings have abounded. Family and Friends have rallied around us and provided us with wound care supplies, ointment, bandages, meals, and financial help. We are so BLESSED to have such caring and giving people in our circle of relationships. How can we say "Thank You" enough for all that each of you have done to help our family get through this? Words do not seem enough to express what is in our hearts.

   Now that his arm is past the point of infection, we can now use a salve to keep the wound area moist instead of the expensive triple antibiotic ointment we were using. So since, I am one who likes to use Natural products I have a recipe for a Beeswax Burn Salve that I will make. This salve is similar to the formula used for the better known: Burt's Bees Salve. Which can be rather expensive when using it in the amounts that we will be using it. Thus, we will be making our own. Saving our ever fading checking account from further drainage. (severe injury + no insurance + no work = ever fading checking account)

Homemade Burn Salve

Homemade Burn/Wound Salve
This salve can bring soothing and healing to; burns, minor cuts, cold sores and rashes.

1 quart of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 ounce fresh calendula herb flowers
3 ounces beeswax, grated
cooking thermometer
5 drops Tea-Tree Essential Oil - for calming the skin and fighting infection
10 drops Lavender Essential Oil - for soothing wound area and promote healing

Mix the olive oil and the flowers in a crock-pot and heat to a 175 degrees F overnight (You can do this in a double boiler/saucepan on the stove on low heat, but the longer the flowers are infused in the oil the stronger the infusion and final product is). Strain the oil from the flowers, then discard flowers.

Place the oil in a saucepan over medium heat (kept in over a double boiler). Add the beeswax and stir. Allow the wax to melt. When the mixture is fully melted, add essential oils if using.

Then pour into a jar. (I like to use a large mouth "squatty" jar for easier access to salve.) Let cool completely and secure with lid. Use: apply with fingers to burned, cut, rash or wounded area. Can leave moist over area or rub into skin leaving it soft and moisturized.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Where Does The Time Go? + Onions, Bananas, & Soup

I cannot believe that it has been well over a month since I last blogged.  The time has just flown by. You know "LIFE" it sometimes has a way of throwing us a few curve balls along with the normal everyday workings.

We are preparing for our daughters Senior Prom and Graduation. It is so hard to believe that my baby girl is graduating high school. She has surely grown up to be a beautiful young lady. I am so proud of here.

On another note....Spring is right around the corner...One of my favorite seasons of the year. With the coming Spring time comes the flowers in bloom. We have daffodils already in bursting forth and showing they beauty. Soon the Iris, Daylilies and Dogwood will be bursting forth.

Veggie Soup
Then comes the garden...fresh fruit and veggies. Woo who...I can't wait. Even though I can all year round, I just love the burst of adrenaline that comes with a garden for the " stocking of the larder" as the veggies and fruit ripen.

Speaking of canning, this afternoon I made a huge pot of veggie soup consisting of: spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, homemade chicken broth, and spices. I cooked it until it was about 3/4 of the way done, then ladled it up into hot sterile quart jars and pressured canned. Now I have lots of wonderful home canned soup ready to 'heat -n- serve'.

Onions in Freezer
I also had a whole lot of bananas, so I made 16 dozen Banana Oatmeal Cookies. I would have made more but ran out of oatmeal. Will have to get more from the store tomorrow. Of course, we ate some, then we froze some for later. I still had bananas that needed processing, so I made up a batch of 'Banana Nut Bread Jam'.  But, still had bananas....I guess more jam and cookies are in my future for tomorrow. (Jam Recipe Below)

I also chopped up about 10 pounds of onions. Sorted into freezer bags and placed in the freezer. I haven't found a good way to can them, except to caramelize them. Caramelizing them takes a lot of time, butter, and onions. The end product is excellent, but reduces to about 1/8 of what you started with. So, I just peel, chop, and freeze.

Banana Nut Bread Jam
Banana Nut Bread Jam

3 Cup of pureed bananas (I like mine a little chunky)
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups walnuts, minced (some like the nuts toasted)
1 package powered pectin
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix bananas, nuts, lemon juice, spices and powered pectin in large heavy bottomed pot. Stir constantly while bringing to a full boil. (Watch carefully as mixture is thick and will scorch on bottom if not stirring) Add sugars all at once. Stirring continuously. Heat until brought back to a full boil. boil hard for 1 minute. Ladle jam into jars leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a BWB for 10 minutes. Adjusting time for altitude. Makes 6 half pints or 3 pints.

So what have you all been doing lately in the kitchen? Canning, Baking, Freezing?
In the craft room? Sewing, quilting, crocheting, etc.?
In the garden? Prepping, pruning, or planting?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Cinnamon and Honey

   I received an email this week from someone that gave all kinds of wonderful benefits of consuming the combination of Honey and Cinnamon. I thought I would share them with you all here on this Tuesday Tip.
   I did do a little research and it seems that this is nothing new. Most of the sites that I found were of foreign countries that have been using this combination for centuries. 
   I do say that if something this natural and healthy has this many benefits than we should be using it more often. I would however recommend that you use the honey in its purest form. Meaning don't buy it pasteurized. Get RAW honey and preferably get it where is comes from your general area, not half way around the county. Doing this also has its own benefits, by helping with allergies and pollen within your region.
   I will forewarn you that this is a long post, but I do hope that you will find it beneficial. I have resorted to start consuming more honey and cinnamon. I think I will make the "tea". Enjoy.

Honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot. It will do what some call turning to sugar. In reality honey is always honey. However, when left in a cool dark place for a long time it will do what I rather call "crystallizing".   When this happens loosen the lid, boil some water, and sit the honey container in the hot water, after turning off the heat and let it liquefy. It is then as good as it ever was. Never boil honey or put it in a microwave. To do so will kill the enzymes in the honey.

Cinnamon and Honey

Bet the drug companies won't like this one getting around.  Facts on Honey and Cinnamon:  It is found that a mixture of Honey and Cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also accept honey as a 'Ram Ban' (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases.  Honey can be used without any side effects for any kind of diseases.

Today's science says that even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm diabetic patients. Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada , in its issue dated 17 January,1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by honey and cinnamon as researched by western scientists:


Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply on bread, instead of jelly and jam, and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack.
 Also, those who have already had an attack, if they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heart beat.  In America and Canada , various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as you age, the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and veins.


Arthritis patients may take daily, morning and night, one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. If taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the
doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week, out of the 200 people so treated, practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain, and within a month, mostly all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis started walking without pain.


Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder.


Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water, given to a cholesterol patient, was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours.   As mentioned for arthritic patients, if taken three
times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.


Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and clear the sinuses.


Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from the root..

According to the studies done in India and Japan , it is revealed that if Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.


Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacteria and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacterial and viral diseases.


Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.

A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ' Ingredient' which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age.. Take four spoons of honey, one spoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of water and boil to make like tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans also increase and even a 100 year old, starts performing the chores of a 20-year-old.

Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it next morning with warm water. If done daily for two weeks, it removes pimples from the root.


Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections.


Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. If taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.


Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder for one month three times a day.

Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens, who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts, are more alert and flexible. Dr.. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and
sprinkled with cinnamon powder, taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M. when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, increases the vitality of the body within a week.


People of South America , first thing in the morning, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water, so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.


Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing. Remember when we were kids? We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it!

Who Knew That This Combo Could Do So Much For The Body?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Normalcy, PLEASE Return!!!!

     It has been a very long time since I have seen snow and ice last this long, six days, here in Arkansas. I am talking 30 + years. And the weatherman is telling us that more is coming in the next couple of days.
     Being from the South, if it snows one day it is usually pretty much melted and gone the next. I do believe that Arkansas has switched places with Alaska this last week. At least, it feels and looks as if it has.
     Our roads out where we live are still covered in all the ice and snow. And as some of it is s-l-o-w-l-y melting during the day, when the temp drops in the evening it all turns back to ice. Slick and dangerous, ice.
     Being snow bound is not the "norm" for us Arkansas folks. After nearly a week of being confined at home, everyone is getting antsy. People are trying to venture out to the store or restaurant, because they feel so cooped up or they didn't prepare well and are running out of supplies. This in and of itself is causing more vehicle accidents now than when is was really bad those first few days. Since Arkansas generally doesn't get this type of really bad weather much, it causes havok. Especially, since people have a hard time adjusting to: road conditions, being home more, spending time with family, or just slowing down in general (cause you can't move fast in this stuff or you will wish you hadn't).
     Even at my own home I see my own family "biting at the bits" to get out of the house. I keep telling them that there are plenty of things that they can do; clean a closet, organize a book shelf, catch up on laundry, or 'spring' clean the kitchen. But no one seems to want to take me up on any of the offers.
     If I would have had all this time off from work, I think I would have been able to accomplish some of our family resolutions. One being to "rid ourselves of stuff". I would have loved the opportunity to get into the "black hole" of a closet and purge some stuff. But I did not and could not, as I work from home (for the most part). Thus, I had no excuses as to not get to work. Especially, since my compute was from one room to the next. I did get a lot accomplished this week though in the administrative area of my job, but it sure put a damper on being able to get out to do the rest of it.
     Though I have enjoyed the time at home with my family, I find myself out of the normal routine of things, which gets everything out of whack. I will be glad when everything gets back to "NORMAL". Whatever that is.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Canning Inexpensively

I home can foods a lot. There is no denying it. If you were to see my pantry, it is mostly jars of food not cans of food. I enjoy canning and have been doing it for quite a few years now. But what if you want to learn or start canning more often, how do you get started?

I would recommend that you start s-l-o-w-l-y and do only one simple item/recipe at a time. Start with canning tomatoes or jam. These are easy, meaning; they don't require a lot of equipment or processing, the jars can be sealed using "Boil Bath Method", and you will have successful products. Which is important, because you want to like what you preserve and have gratification and satisfaction in an accomplishment well done.

Now canning is not as expensive as it might seem, if you plan, watch, be organized, and follow a few simple things.

1. If you start with canning "high acid" items that can be sealed using the Boil bath Method, then you can use a deep stock pot that you already have. As long as, there is at least 2 to 3 inches of room above the jars to the rim of the rim of the pot. This is so that you will have enough room for at least 1 inch of water above the jars and space for the water to boil without spilling over.

2. Watch for canning jars at thrift stores, yard sales, tag sales, flea markets, craigs list, local newspaper, etc. I am always picking up a jar here and there. Before you know it you will have several dozen. I have target prices that I try to limit myself too for different jar sizes. Quart size .75 cents or less each and pint and half-pint sizes .50 cents or less each. Just make sure and check that there are no nicks on the top of the jar or the lids will not seal.

3. Each year, early Summer and late Fall, the Sunday newspaper will usually have a coupon for $x.xx amount off 2 cases of Ball/Kerr canning jars. This is a great deal, since it brings your cost down to right around my target price for used jars and you get the band and a lid.

4. Check out your local discount stores for jars, lids, and bands. Some stores that I frequent are Fred's, Dollar General, and Wal-Mart. I recently found standard lids at Fred's for $1.00 box/12. Wal-marts price is about $1.50+ a box. So, I brought home 20 boxes, They are an off brand, but I have had no trouble with them not sealing.

5. Plan to continue canning. This is an investment, not just a passing fling. You will get the most for you money if you use and reuse your jars and equipment. One of my pressure canners was my grandmothers. So there was no investment in it by me, except to have pressure gauge checked periodically. I also have jars that are 20+ years old still in use. You have to be careful with how you store them when they are empty, so as not to chip the rim. Other than that, good jars will last a long time.

I do hope this gives you some ways to begin or expand you home canning endeavor. Just remember, start slow and simple, otherwise you might give up to soon. Keep you thoughts to how wonderful home canned food tastes. It is so much tastier than store tinned. And the benefits of having food items without all the added preservatives and chemicals, especially if you use organic fruits and veggies.

Happy Canning!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Recipe using HC Item: Peach Raspberry Lavender Jam w/Mock Angel Food Cake

Did you know that you can use Jams for more that just slathering on a hot buttered homemade biscuit or piece of toast?

You can use it for sauces on a variety of meats, baked into cookies or fruit bars, a sauce for ice cream or cakes and so much more.

Saturday's we treat ourselves here at Rose Bud Cottage. We typically don't have sweets during the week, so on Saturday I will make something like cookies, pie, or cake to last the weekend. Today was no different.

I was in the kitchen, my usual hang out place, straightening up and prepping for dinner later. My son comes in and says, "Mom, what you planning on for today?" I tell him that we will be having Venison Roast, beans, potatoes and glazed carrots for dinner. For dessert I was thinking of making a Mock Angel Food Cake with Peach Raspberry Lavender Sauce on the side.

His reply was, "Yum! I love today. It just keeps getting better. Why can't every day be like this?"

Mock Angel Food Cake
Great cake! Moist, easy, and only uses 3 egg whites!

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar or splenda or combo of both
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup milk, heated
3 large eggs, room temp

Measure first 4 ingredients into sifter and sift four times. This lets the flours get lots of air in them for a lighter fluffier cake. In saucepan, heat the milk just to the boiling point then remove from heat. Stir into the flour mixture until smooth. In separate bowl, beat the egg whites until still. Fold, do NOT stir, into the batter until no streaks remain. Turn into a greased and lightly floured angel food pan. Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Invert pan and let cool before removing.
Forgot the black-eyed peas, sorry!

This cake will not rise as high as a standard angel food cake, but it is still light and airy.

The rest of our menu for tonight's dinner consisted of:
Home-canned Glazed Carrots
Home-canned Potatoes
Fresh Black-eyed Peas
Venison Roast

Thursday, January 13, 2011

$82.78 for Only $8.15 ~ Now That's a Bargain!

I love shopping at Thrift Stores, Yard Sales, and Flea Markets. I never know what kinds of treasures I might come across at a really excellent price that can fit into our extremely tight budget. I am always on the look out for anything, home decor, possible gifts, linens, etc.  But since I practically live in the kitchen, except for when I am working at my job, I usually gravitate toward dishes, bake-ware, etc. I think I end up in those areas of the store because I am always on the look out for canning jars on the cheap.

Anyway the other evening, I stopped into a local Thrift Store (Potters House) and here is what I found:
I love cooking on pampered chef stoneware, but it is too expensive to buy new. So when I came across this little gem, a never used 8" mini baker by Pampered Chef for only $2.49, I couldn't pass it up.

Internet price: $23.95

Internet price for a NEW one is $23.95.

What a Deal! $21.49 Savings

Next, I found 3 Johnson Brothers Plates. Two match the set that I have (The Friendly Village) and a bread plate from a different set (Pennsylvania Fieldstone), but it matches close enough that no one will ever know it didn't really go with the set. I got a Dinner Plate $1.99, Salad Plate $1.79 and Bread Plate $1.29
Thrift Store ones - sorry about pic color

 Internet price for:
Dinner Plate $24.99
Salad Plate $8.00
Bread Plate $9.00

Savings of $36.92

Now the Best Deal of that Day...
 I happened across this Early American Press Cut Glass Syrup Pitcher in perfect condition for ONLY $.59 cents. We make our own pancake syrup here at Rose Bud Cottage, so this lovely piece will be great for those Saturday breakfast when everyone is here and we get to enjoy a hearty breakfast together.

Thrift Store find

  Internet price: $24.99
  Savings of: $24.40

 Now you see why I enjoy shopping at these places.....I find treasures, I    get to shop, and it fits within my really tight (and I mean-you can't squeeze anymore out of it) budget. Win! - Win! in my book.

Total Spent    =  $ 8.15
Total Savings = $82.78

Do you like thrift shopping, yard sales, or flea markets? What do you gravitate to, collect, or enjoy? Have you found a really great deal lately? Why not share....Would love to read about it.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Storing Home Canned Goods

This post is a re-post from June 2009 from a previous blog I had. Hope you find it helpful.

What does one do with all those canned jars now that you have put in all that hard work into preparing them? How does one store them?

Here is what I do. After my processed jars have set for 12 to 24 hours the first thing I do is to check and make sure the jars have all sealed. Then I remove the rings and lift the jar by the lid to verify a good seal. Once the jar has sealed there is no need for the ring. If by chance the food in the jar started to spoil you wouldn't be able to tell until you went to open the jar. But, if you take the rings off and store them without the rings, if the food was beginning to spoil it is possible that the lid would start to bulge or pop and you would be able to tell that it was bad immediately.

The second thing I do before putting away is to wipe my jars down with a damp cloth. This is to remove any residue on the jars and dry them. Thirdly, I label what it is and year made. Sometimes I just write on the lid or put a piece of tape on the lid and write on it, other times my daughter likes to make up fancy labels (especially if using as gifts). Then I place them on my shelves. They are best kept in a cool dark place, such as a basement, root cellar, or closet. Keep at temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees are best and ideal.

When placing on the shelves REMEMBER to rotate your stock. Move the oldest items to the front and the newest to the back. This insures that a jar doesn't get forgotten about and goes bad before it gets used.

I do hope this gives you an idea as to how to store those jars so that they last until you are ready to open it up and Enjoy!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Ball Canning Contest on Facebook

Ball Canning & Recipes Contest
Starting today Ball Canning is having a contest on their Facebook page (here) until January 14th at midnight EST. You don't have to be a canner to enter. You can be a crafter too. You just have to up load a photo of how you use Ball jars. It's that easy.

They will then select 10 winners through a random drawing for a Stainless Steel Canner with Canning Rack and Ball® Blue Book. Approximate Retail Price - $85.00.

Detailed contest rules and regulations can be found here.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Recipe using Home-Canned Items: Italian Cabbage Soup

Some have asked....What do you make with all those different home-canned (HC) items? "I don't can because I don't think I would every use the stuff."

With those thoughts and questions in mind, I am going to start sharing more of the recipes that use the HC items.

Today's I will be sharing what we call Italian Cabbage Soup. This is just a soup that I have made up that conforms to the diet that My Knight and I are on. We eat a lot of cabbage on this diet and have come up with numerous ideas for soups using it. Why soup? Because it is more filling. Some of the other soups we have came up with are: Chicken Cabbage "Noodle" Soup, Mexican Salsa Cabbage Soup, and Cabbage "Spaghetti"  and Meat Sauce.
Chicken Stock
Stewed Tomatoes

Italian Cabbage Soup - serves 2

1 pint jar of HC broth (chicken or turkey)
1 pint jar of HC stewed tomatoes (tomatoes, peppers, onions)
2 cups cabbage, large shreds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Pinch of Italian seasoning
8 oz. of ground meat (venison or chuck)
Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
Pepper to taste

Brown ground beef and drain. In sauce pan, combine all the ingredients and bring to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. This blends all the flavors.

If you like, you can top with some Parmesan Cheese, and croutons. For a more creamy soup add a few tablespoons of heavy whipping cream.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Food Channel Predicts Top 10 Trends for 2011

Look what just happens to their number one prediction? 
I love it...... Read the full article here.

Top 10 Predictions
  1. The Canning Comeback – “Putting Up” is gaining popularity for both economy and health.
  2. Men in Aprons – Layoffs have led to more men cooking.
  3. Local Somewhere – We care about hand-tended no matter where it’s grown.
  4. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – We’re tired of being told what we can eat.
  5. Appetite for Food Apps – Social media is our guide and our coupon source.
  6. Small is the New Big Business – Corporations are thinking like small businesses.
  7. Fresh Every Day – Rooftop gardens are just part of this trend.
  8. Chefs in Schools – Better flavor is possible in an institutional setting.
  9. Discomfort Foods – Change makes us comfortable with more change.
  10. Eating for Sex and Other Things – We are working longer, and want all the gusto.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without
This is the second of our family's 2011 New Years Resolutions. This saying, "Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do or Do Without" first came a commercial saying during the era of WWII (as noted above from the WWII advertisement). Even though I am sure that it was something that people had been saying for hundreds of years before it became a WWII poster.

So, what is out family's criteria for trying to meet this resolution for the year?

Use it up
-We are going to use up meal leftovers. By saving for another meal (example: lunch the next day) or combine several leftovers to make a new dish, casserole or soup. Hopefully this will help accomplish one of our other goals, which is to Waste Less. Items that we just won't eat or use up will be either composted or fed to the animals.
-We are going to use up household supplies and items that we currently have on hand (i.e. cleaners, toiletries, colognes, make-up, etc.), then we can make our own (which I prefer) or purchase (if making is not a good option). I will share recipes for cleaners and toiletry items i.e. shampoo, face scrubs, etc.

Wear it out
-We will be using items to their fullest in order to get the most for our dollars spent. This will include things like: furniture, clothing, bedding, towels, wash clothes, dishes, kitchen appliances, etc.
*Note: My Knight and I are going back on our diet (the one we did this last fall) starting this week, if we lose the same amount of weight as we did before, there will be a need for "smaller" clothing. We will be first shopping from home and seeing if we can "take-up" the clothing. Then we will shop from Thrift Stores, Consignment Shops and Yard Sales. Last resort will be buying new.

Make it do
-We will be making do with the items we currently have, which is way too much STUFF. We will be finding unique and creative ways to re-create uses and items out of the things/items/stuff we currently posses. This will help us accomplish another goal on our list, which is to recycle and reuse what we have. And it will help us to save more money.
*Note: One thing my sister, Amy, is doing is to not buy any wrapping paper or wrapping supplies for the year. Thus, she will be finding creative alternatives to wrapping gifts or recycling wrapping supplies she already has or receives during the year.

Do without
-This can be a tricky one....but our goal here is to find alternate ways to make do, trade, barter, share, borrow, recycle or recreate items that will get us the final product we would like or need. Now, I won't go as far as to say that we are going to go the whole year and not spend on anything....I don't think any of us (I am thinking one family member in particular - you know who you are) could totally commit to that. But, what I would like to see us as a family do is to begin to STOP and THINK about our purchases before giving into them.

Asking ourselves the questions:
Is there something that we currently have that will work or be just as compatible?
Can I barter, trade, or borrow for the item in need or want?
Do I really need it?
Can I make do without it?

All in the concept of really Simplifying our home and purchases.

Do you have any other ideas or concepts for each of these?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tuesday's Tips: Easy Breakfast/Snack for Family for Less than a $1.00

Starting today and continuing through the year, I hope to share tips and hints that will make that will be easier on the pocket book, helpful and overall making life a little simpler.

Don't be surprised to find tips and hints in many genres. 
Cooks in Training
Such as:
Low Cost Meals and Recipes
Cooking and Baking
Canning and Dehydrating
Kitchen Cleanup Tricks
Laundry and Bathroom
Homemade Cleaners and Toiletries
Plus, anything else that comes to mind.

Today's Tip:
20 Doughnuts + Holes for less than a Dollar

What you need
2 cans of off brand canned biscuits (.40 cents each)
Cast Iron Skillet
Powdered Sugar

Heat shortening in skillet over medium-high heat. You will want between 1/4 to 1/2 inch of melted shortening in pan.
While shortening is melting, open the biscuits and separate each, then punch out center. We used a hand-held apple corer; it is just about the right size for the holes. Also, prepare a platter with paper towels on it to absorb extra grease.

Once shortening is hot, gently place several holes or doughnuts into the pan. Do Not crowd the pan, but you can put several in at a time. After about 30 seconds flip the doughnut or holes over to brown on other side.

Once golden brown on both sides remove from grease and place on paper towels. Sprinkle with powered sugar while hot. These are best when eaten while still warm.

There you have it a simple and delicious (not so healthy) Breakfast or Snack for under a Dollar.

Do you have a simple and low cost recipe that that you would like to share? 
You can by simply linking it below or by submitting it in the comments.

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