Saturday, October 29, 2005

Price book

I wrote before that I was setting up a price book. I have a really good memory, and I've found if I take the time to write things down (longhand, not typing) it sticks in my memory even better. So now I do look through my price book, mostly when I'm at the computer going through the online ads. But being able to remember the best prices really helps in the store. If I see a good bargain, I know it's a good bargain. Plus, I do a lot more of thinking 'nope, not a good deal although it looks like one'.

So, I am getting better at buying frugally. Plus using the library as a place to get DVD's has worked out great.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bread making

I'm making a loaf of whole wheat bread today. I only make one at a time for now. Two reasons. One, I'm still learning this fine art and I'd rather mess up one loaf than a whole bunch of them. Two, my partner and I take about 2-3 days to eat a loaf. Once I get the hang of it, I'll make multiple loaves and either freeze the dough or make extra loaves to freeze.

I got the video "Escape from Affluenza" from the library. Quite interesting, about simple living and frugality. It's good to see frugality in action, so to speak.

My partner is much better now, but I'm still fighting off a cough and sore throat. I HATE being sick.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Both I and my partner have had colds the last few days. I've found that Walgreens has some really good prices on OTC medicine. I've also been researching old time home remedies, since my partner can't take a lot of OTC medicine due to bad reactions.

Any suggestions or websites would be welcome! Please post a comment if you have anything that might help. Thanks!


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Back from vacation

I'm back from my trip with my partner to the coast. We had a great room, stayed in our budget and had a great time! Of course, I do have a page with a few pictures. Click here to take a look.

It was great just to spend time together. No tv, phone, or computer.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Chicken and dumplings

I'm glad my partner is pretty easygoing when it comes to food. I had chicken in the freezer that I had cooked and stripped. The recipe for chicken and dumplings called for peas and carrots. Didn't have either, so I used frozen corn and some fresh cauliflower. It came out tasty, although my partner did give me a hard time about it not being 'colorful enough!'. Dumplings came out nice and fluffy.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Waste not

Yesterday was a use up things so they don't spoil kind of day. Because of my partner's work schedule, I was up and back home by 6:15am. I had the remains of a ten pound bag of potatoes that I'd had for about two weeks. I was worried about them going bad, I had already had to get rid of two of them. So I pulled out 3 of them (fairly small russets) to microwave for dinner. The rest I sliced up and made potato scramble. This will provide 4-5 meals for us. I also sliced up a LOT of apples into my Nesco roaster and started some apple butter. I still have some apples left. I think I'll take a couple on our trip to use as snacks.

I could make an apple crisp but I don't know if we can finish it off before leaving on Tuesday, so I think I'll wait. Ditto on a fresh loaf of whole wheat bread.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Writing a lot

I feel that part of being frugal is not just about saving money. It's about investing in yourself, your family, and your health. In addition to this blog, I have two others. One is about my writing, fiction mostly. That is called NW Writing Adventures.

The other is one I feel very strongly about. It's called Real Health and I'm very proud of it. I am trying to live not only frugally but healthily, and improving my health, which has not been the best. This blog chronicles my efforts, links to useful articles and articles I've written about health.

I've always felt that having a variety of interests is a good thing. It keeps your mind active and helps you to keep your mind open to learning new things and seeing things from a different viewpoint.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Vacation frugality

In less than a week, my partner and I are off for a couple of days at the coast. This is our first vacation in 2 years. We've done a couple of day trips, but that's all. I'm trying to be frugal about this one too. We will eat out once. Otherwise, we are bringing food. Our room (which we got a great rate on for a room right on the ocean) has only a refrigerator and coffee maker so we can only cook things with hot water. But it will be fun anyway!


Monday, October 10, 2005


I have my price book set up (mostly) and I use it when I go through sales ads. We needed a few things today, so I checked the sale prices through (a GREAT resource) and then found that Wal-Mart was cheapest on the items. So I went there, but they didn't have the type we wanted. So I'll have to wait, because the next cheapest place to get it is a buck more. Not worth it.

Frustrating to know where the best price is, but can't get what you want.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Spanish rice and crockpot apple butter recipes

I've tried two recipes these last two days. Thought I would share them with you.

First is Spanish rice. I'll give the recipe then the changes I made to it.

Serves 6

1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, minced
2 tomatoes, peeled, quartered
15 ounces tomato Sauce
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons vegetarian Worchestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 cup brown rice
2 tablespoons salsa
Stir all ingredients together. Cover and cook on low 7-10 hours.

I didn't have 15 ounces of tomato sauce so I used 8 ounces tomato sauce and a can of Rotel tomatoes with chilis. I put it in my Nesco Oven and cooked it for 5 hours on low. Spicy and tasty. Probably should have cooked it a bit less though.

Next is Crockpot Apple Butter.

8-10 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I use Granny Smith)
1 cup apple juice (I juice my own, but you don’t have to)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine in a crock pot the apples first, then spices, pour apple juice over all and stir to distribute. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Stir often to help the apples break down. Uncover and cook on high for 2 more hours to reduce liquid. Cook as long as you need to get the right consistency. Makes about 2 cups. (Added extra: the whole house smells like apples and cinnamon!) ENJOY!

I used Gala apples, 8 of them. After 4 hours covered and 2 hours uncovered, I blended it, continued cooking it uncovered, for another 3 hours. Made about 1.5 cups. Didn't use cloves, but my partner loves the taste.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Cooking and cleaning

Yesterday was an organizing kind of day for me. Straightened up around the dining room table and completely reorganized the kitchen countertop. Cleared it, cleaned it and reorganized it so I had room for the microwave, my Waring Pro blender and my new Nesco roaster oven. I even ended up with a bit more counter space for cooking!

I like having an organized kitchen. One, it speeds up preparation. I know where things are. Two, I like to wash dishes as I go. We do have a dishwasher, but I often clean things I need to use again soon. We have a dish drainer on the counter as well.

I made the Brown gravy recipe from Table for Two yesterday. It was quite tasty, but it doesn't reheat, you need to make it and use it right away. I'll try it out on my partner on Monday probably.

She just loves my apple crisp. I've been sending it with her as dessert for lunch every day. And yesterday, just before I dropped her off at work, she said something that really touched me. She said that when she's eating her lunch, she thinks about me and that I made this food for her, with love and care and it really makes her feel good.

That's what it's really all about, isn't it? :)


Thursday, October 06, 2005


Here in Oregon we are charged 5 cents anytime we buy a bottle or can of soda, beer, whatever. There are recycling centers outside almost all grocery stores where you can turn them in.

Now, while I am trying to drink more water, both I and my partner drink soda. So we do recycle.What I'm going to do is cash in the tickets when I recycle and put that money in an envelope on the side. It'll be nice to actually SEE some money that we're putting aside.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I have a few things to do today. I have to find room on the counter for my new Nesco roaster oven. I also have to make a loaf of wheat bread, try a recipe from my cookbooks and start taking notes from the books I have from the library. They all have to go back before our trip to the coast.

Late yesterday I also got the Compassionate Cook cookbook I ordered from for a $1.50. Haven't really had a chance to look at it yet.

My partner and I worked out a budget last night. The numbers are not good, but the things I'm doing to save money on food is helping.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Books and ovens

Today I got a visit from my friendly UPS man. I got (from, with a A9 discount and a $20 promo certificate and free shipping) The Complete Tightwad Gazette and Jo Stepaniak's Table for Two cookbook. And I got my Nesco 6 Qt Roaster oven. I plan to use it for slow cooking, soups, stews, you name it.

The cookbook is well done, with a lie flat binding. It has explainations of things like what is seitan. I'm going to make whole wheat biscuits from the book for dinner tonight.

Also went with my partner to the Portland Art Museum. First time we'd been there. They recently added a new wing. And, as I posted before, we had free tickets! It was a great time together. And in about 2 weeks, we are going to the Oregon coast for a few days. No phone, tv, or any other distractions. I can't wait!


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Apple crisp and Potato scramble recipes

Since I've modified frugalveggiemama's recipes, I thought I'd post them. I encourage you to make your own adjustments. That's part of the fun of cooking for me at least.

Apple Crisp

4-6 apples cored and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup melted margarine or canola/olive oil
3/8 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 c brown sugar
1/2 c oatmeal (I've used both quick cooking and old fashioned)
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Put the apples in an 8x8 oiled baking dish. Mix the remaining ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle over apples. Sprinkle top with a bit more cinnamon. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Potato Scramble (modified for two people)
4 medium potatoes scrubbed and sliced into wedges, I leave the skin on (if you need it to cook quickly, shred them)
1/2 onion, chopped
any or none of the following: chopped carrot, leftover chick peas, chopped broccoli
1/2 cup tamari (I use soy sauce)
1 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1 Tbs. maple syrup

In a heavy pot, brown the onions in a little olive or canola oil. Add the potatoes and stir frequently until they begin to brown. Add in optional items. Whisk together last three ingredients and pour over potato and onion mixture. Add water to just cover potatoes and cook covered until potatoes are tender. To make it thicker simmer with cover off once potatoes are cooked. Serve as is or as a crepe filling. This doesn't look pretty but it tastes great. Reheats very well too.


Goodwill shopping

Yesterday I made my first trip ever to Goodwill. Now, this wasn't my first trip to a thrift store. About two weeks ago, I stopped at a place called Value Village, and picked up two nice winter shirts for myself.

There are several Goodwill stores in the Portland area. This one is huge, a lot of clothes. That wasn't what I came for though. I had a list of some things I wanted to look for. I actually didn't find any of those, but I did find three things at a good price.

I used my George Foreman rotissierie to make 2 of the 3 chickens I got on sale at .58 a pound at Fred Meyers. I'll make the third one today. I strip them and save the meat in marked baggies in the freezer. Serving sized already of course.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Adjusting recipes

I got two recipes from frugalveggiemomma and have tried them both twice now. I made some adjustments the second time and wanted to share them.

The apple crisp, the first time I followed the recipe exactly. I had fairly large chunks of apple. My partner liked it, but it was a bit dry. So the second time, I sliced the apples thinner. I also used margarine instead of olive oil for the topping and added just a tiny bit of brown sugar. Then, when I baked it, I covered it with tinfoil for the first 15 minutes, then uncovered for the last 15.

Both of us like it better. The apples stayed a bit moister and the topping just worked better this way.

Now the potato scramble. Last time I basically used large chunks of potato, almost wedges. This time I sliced them thinner. It came out fine, but we both agreed the larger chunks tasted better. I also need to try making the scramble with red potatoes, which hold together better.

I haven't baked bread since the last one (with the hole in the middle!) because I found wheat bread on sale for 50 cents a loaf.

Tomorrow, I'm trying a Cuban black beans and brown rice dish recipe I found on the Whole Foods Market website.