Friday, September 28, 2007

Getting Away...

My friend Heidi and I are heading off today for a girls' weekend in Ashland. We're going to see at least one play, and hopefully another if her brother can get us tickets. At $50 a pop, I can't afford more than one ticket, but he's an actor so he can get some comps from time to time.

Hubby's home sick today, and I've been sucking down Airborne for the last three days in the hopes that I will manage to avoid getting it. We were at a family birthday party on Sunday with a sick toddler, and she was kind enough to share her germs with half the family!

This morning we were outside at 4:30 a.m. putting a tarp on the roof, since hubby discovered at 4:00 that there was water dripping down through the bathroom vent. Helloooooooooooo fall! We only had this roof put on two years ago, no way it should be leaking yet! But leaking it is, so we'll have to get it fixed. The joys of homeownership...

So yeah, I'm ready to get away for a couple of days! Just have to survive one meeting, and I'm outta here.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thanks Elaine!!!

Got home last night to find that my art card from Elaine arrived in the mail. It is SO CUTE!!!!!!!! I love it I love it I love it! I'm going to get some stick-on magnet stuff so I can give it a place of prominence on my fridge...I think that's appropriate, don't you? :-)

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Monday, September 10, 2007

September is...

...National Preparedness Month. Are you prepared?

What if a local or national emergency happened today?

Do you have a plan?
Do you have a 72-hour kit?
How long could you feed your family if all the stores were closed?
Where would you go if you had to leave your home?

Questions to ponder...

This has been on my mind for a while now. Must be the good Scout in me, and the fact that the anniversaries of both Katrina and 9/11 are upon us once again. We're not totally prepared, but I know we're better off than a lot of people. I know where we would go if we had to leave. I know what we would eat if we couldn't get to the store for a while. I'm not sure what we would drink, as we don't have any water stored at all. This is something I think about.

The dogs would have to rely on the cat to feed them (by HUNTING, not by sacrificing himself, for goodness sake!), as I haven't figured out a good long-term storage solution for dog food - we get those stupid little moths in a heartbeat. But we'd have light, and soon heat, and several different cooking sources. I could do laundry (assuming I get the water thing figured out) without a machine. Did you know you can do laundry with a clean toilet plunger?

It's not something anyone wants to think about, but it's something we all should think about. Here are some good websites:
Take 5 to Survive

And, of course, my favorite prepping forum, Mrs. Survival. Lots of good resources and great people there!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Apples Apples Everywhere...

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Picked all the apples off the tree this morning. I've been wanting to do apple pie filling for a while (it's been about four years since we've done any). Hubby likes to eat it on waffles. Unfortunately, my recipe uses cornstarch, and I've since found out that's a no-no in water bath canning. While it hasn't killed us yet, I figured, why take the chance?

So today I just canned apple slices in light syrup (when it comes time for waffles, I'll thicken and spice them). And I made juice out of some of the peels and cores, and made jelly from that. Took about six hours from start to finish, and I ended up with 13 quarts of apples and six half-pints of jelly. Could have had a lot more jelly, but I just flat out ran out of energy! So that'll do for now. I have just enough apples left to make a big crisp, so I'll do that tomorrow.

Now, you're probably thinking that isn't a lot for six hours worth of work. But, I figure that's close to $100 worth of canned apple pie filling and store-bought jelly, so that seems like a good trade-off to me. If the apples that grew on our tree were normal size, I could use my peeler/corer/slicer and make things go a lot faster, but we have these monstrosities that are about three or four times the size of a normal apple. So I have to cut them in wedges and peel them with a knife. So it takes a little longer. But, I watched some good movies while I worked!

All in all, it wasn't a big apple crop this year, but at least we'll be eating them for a while!

Free family-oriented e-books

Tawra over at is giving away 37 e-books until September 11. Lots of great topics - cooking, budgeting, activities for kids, and a bunch of other stuff. Check it out!

If you like getting e-newsletters, too, hers is a good one on a wide variety of budget-friendly topics.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pierogi with onion cream sauce

Someday, I will attempt to make pierogi from scratch. Until then, I like the Trader Joe's variety best but Mrs. T's is ok too!

1 box frozen potato and cheese pierogi
2 tablespoons oil, divided
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup cream (fat free half and half works nicely)
1 tablespoon butter

Cook pierogi in boiling water, according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms. Saute for five minutes or until onions are soft. Add cream and butter, stirring until butter is melted. Remove from pan.

Add remaining oil to the pan, and brown pierogis according to package directions. When they are fully cooked, add onion mixture back to the pan, cover and simmer for five minutes, until sauce is heated through. Serve immediately.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Waffle mix

I'm mainly posting this for me - so I'll know where to find it when I want it again. Guessing most of you don't keep powdered eggs on hand, even if you have powdered milk...but if you do, well, here you go! If you don't, this recipe is the same thing, just with fresh ingredients instead of powdered...

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons powdered egg
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container. To use, mix with two cups water.

Makes enough for one meal for hubby and me, with 1 - 2 leftover for the dogs...

Ready for Fall

Happy September everyone! As I sit here, at 6:30 a.m., with a cool breeze blowing on me, a cup of creamy hot coffee, and a cat snuggling in my lap (and patiently putting up with my typing because his head MUST be on top of my right arm), I am excited about the impending arrival of fall.

I love fall. It's my favorite season of the whole year. Falling, crisp mornings...the first frost...Halloween...the end of allergy season...the return of the rain (not that it ever left us this summer, it seems). It's a beautiful thing. As a kid, I was almost always thrilled (with a couple of notable exceptions during my teen years) with the prospect of going back to school and getting back into my routine after a fun-filled summer hopping from camp to camp. As one who generally loved school, and didn't get to see my friends much when I was out of school, this was an exciting prospect.

Since we bought our wood stove and should have it installed sometime in the next month or two, I'm also looking forward to cozy evenings in front of the fire with a good book.

Yesterday I went outside to check on our apple tree and discovered that they are ripe. We don't have a big crop this year, I think the weather affected it. But we have enough to do something with - our apples are usually about six inches in diameter, so it doesn't take a whole lot of them - so now I just have to decide what to do with them.

Last night I made an apple crisp and some applesauce. The crisp was dessert; the sauce went right into the freezer. I'm thinking this is the year to break out my canning equipment and supplies and put up some apple pie filling (hubby's favorite waffle topping) and applesauce (which I've been using as a fat substitute when baking lately). Our apples are no good for eating raw (completely sour with a weird, spongy texture that I've never experienced in an apple before), but they are excellent when cooked. I'm also going to try saving the cores and peels to make apple jelly, something I've never done before. My grandma used to make it and it was always good on toast.

So bring it on, fall! I'm ready for you!