Thursday, November 6, 2014

300 A Month Challenge, Menu and Goals

Been busy getting all the stuff moved home from where we were farming, got the last load last night. Kind of sad to close that chapter of our lives. We were able to fine a couple of places to go with cows for a little bit, so hopefully it will give us some time to find something else so we don't have to sell off a bunch of cows.
I have an area north of the house, I was wanting to do some pallet and raised beds. I got a ground cover put down and ready for wood chips.
We have still been hunting, just not very much with having to get all the stuff moved.

I did get my Christmas list done and everything bought for the homemade gifts and a few of the bought gifts bought. I told Andy I was going to be all ready 2 weeks before Christmas he just laughed. So no matter what I have to be ready haha.

This weeks menu

Mac & tomato
grilled cheese
Chicken Noodles

What ever fruit I have and crackers with the soups.

Elk Steak, Cheese potatoes
Swiss Steak , Mash potatoes
Stew, crackers

What ever vegetable and bread we want to go with it.


Pancakes, French toast, cereal, Scrambled eggs, Oatmeal. 

My canning this weeks was a little short but here is what little I got done.
14 quarts of stewed tomatoes
22 pints apple pie jam
5 pints apple syrup

I didn't do to bad on my spending.
I bought a lot of Halloween candy on clearance sale, milk was on sale for 1.99 a gallon  I got 4 so I could can some of it. Toilet paper, Epsom salt, ginger root, jalapenos, and  horseradish for a total of 117.65

My November total so far is  117.65

Year total 615.63 plus 117.65 is 733.28

I have 466.12 left for the year.

I finally got all the fall decorations put up. I got Joleens cap and gown ordered for graduation ( can't believe she is graduating)  Also got her senior pictures done they are going to be so good.
This week I am hoping to get the November daycare lessons put together(I am way behind), Pineapple canned, and my fridge cleaned out. A friend of mines husband got a deer so I told her I would help her can the meat ( she has never canned anything or used a pressure cooker)

What are your goals for this week?



Friday, October 31, 2014

My Holiday Schedule

I want to have  as stress free holiday season this year so I have made myself  list to try and follow every week, so I am not rushing around the last minute like a crazy person ha ha . 
So here is the weekly schedule I came up with. Counting this week their are 9 weeks until Christmas (can you believe it?)  

Oct ( starting the last week in October)

Week 1
Get the rest of my fall decorations put up in the house. I
 have the outside done.
 Start my Christmas card list. This will take a little longer since
 most of my addresses were my computer that died.
 Gift list made
Week 1
Gift list finished,
Buy supplies for homemade gifts,
Start on making homemade gifts.
Week 2
Work on Homemade gifts
Start wrapping what I have.
Start buying the gifts we are buying.
Week 3
Plan Thanksgiving meal.
Clean house for holidays
Christmas letter written and start on Christmas cards.
Keep working on Homemade gifts.
Wrap what gifts I have.
Make cookie dough and freeze.
Week 4
Cook for Thanksgiving.
Cards ready to mail.
Work on Homemade gifts if time allows.
Wrap what gifts I have.
Week 1
Fall put away.
Christmas decorations out.
Mail Christmas cards.
Wrap what gifts I have.
Finish buying store bought gifts. 
Week 2
Finish putting up decorations.
Finish up Homemade gifts.
Buy stocking stuffers.
Bake cookies and breads
Week 3 
Clean house
Finish wrapping
Enjoy the Season.
Just hang out and enjoy.
Week 5
Take down Christmas decorations.
Clean house and get ready for a new year.
I am hoping I haven't forgotten anything.
I will also be doing holiday stuff with the day care kids,
Crafts, stories  and I will be doing the Elf on a shelf with them for
the first time have to admit I am a little excited about this.
So what are your plans for a stress free holiday season? 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

300 Dollars a Month Challenge and Very Stressful Month

Been a very stressful month so far. Right after my last post we found out that the farm land we lease to farm and run cows sold and we have until November 6th to have everything off. So a  month to get all the equipment, fuel tanks, cows, a barn full of hay, 8 stacks of hay, panels, and a ton of other stuff off. We are busy trying to find a place to go with all the cows. We went and talked to the new owner he said we could have until the first of the year to get all the hay off and some of the cows but everything else needs to be off by the 6th. We sold all our calves, didn't keep any replacement heifers and are going to sell several older cows. 
We have figured out what to do until spring then not so sure after that. Hopefully we can find a new place. 
One of my gardens are over there, will have to take down all the panels and post on it.  
Been working on all that and trying to get the yard ready for winter, some stuff planted and a  couple of other things done to the yard. Plus all the canning to finish up as well as hunting.

Then to top all that off have been having problems with my computer can't open any documents, quick books, pictures or anything called my computer guy he came and looked at it I have a encryption virus you know the one where they want you to pay hundreds of dollars to unlock and then you are not guaranteed  that you will be able to get into it. We have lost 6 years of taxes, QuickBooks (mine, Andy's, and my dads) a ton of documents, pdf files and pictures. I did do some back up about a year ago and have been working on getting hard copies of everything but always seem to be to busy to work on that much ( lesson learned the hard way, always backup to flash drive and hard copies). So do not open any e-mails you are not 101% sure of what they are. The way I got the virus I opened an e-mal I was pretty sure I knew what was, needless to say not what I thought it was. 

We did get a cow elk hunting that was all we even seen though, still to hot for them to be out of the high high country. More on the hunting trip later.

Katie is in Kentucky for the National FFA convention I know she is safe but I am still worrying about her every day.

Now for the 300 month challenge

For Oct. I had already spent 15.85

This is what else I have spent.
City Market had pineapple on sale for 99 cents I got 32 to can, cans of broth for 50 cents I got 20 cans at 10.dollars, and 25 pounds of sugar for 11.00
Wal-Mart had 5 packs of Kool-Aid for 44 cents I got 20 for 8.80 and some bath tissue for 9.98. for a total of 71.78
 Helps when we spend all our time hunting can't go to town haha.

Total for October 87.63
Total for the year had 528.60 add 87.63 for 615.63

583.77 left for the year.

The Garden is pretty much done we did get another 50 pounds of tomatoes.

My Canning total since my last post
14 quarts apple pie filling
22 quarts Mexican steak
3 quarts elk stew meat
7 quarts salsa
28 quarts chipotle tomatoes
20 quarts jalapenos
10 gallons frozen bell peppers
16 pints peach zucchini jam
12 1/2 pints peach zucchini jam
28 pints strawberry zucchini jam
11 1/2 pints strawberry jam

This next week I will try to finish up apples, tomatillos  and tomatoes. Get the pineapple canned then maybe I will be caught up on canning for a few days.

What was you able to get canned this past week? Did you find any good deals on groceries?

Have a great week. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Where I get most of my food

I received this e-mail fro a reader

I'm a widow and  I take care of my dad and live on a smell budget I was wondering if you could please tell me where is the best place I can get bulk supplies. With all that is going on in the world I wish to be as papered as possible. Thank you for all your help. I'm looking for herbs me flour, cornmeal, pure essential oils. Any thing I can make to help out my budget and take care of my family. I do not have raw milk so can I buy store bought milk to can.
Thanks for all your help'

I thought I would share my answer with all of you.

It kind of depends on where you live as to what you can do. We have wheat, beans potatoes, green chilies, corn, and onions all grown locally. I buy my wheat from the mill [which is packed as seed wheat, if you do that you need to make sure it isn’t treated] My flour from the mill. One of my babysitting kids dad farms pinto beans so I trade beans for daycare, the potatoes and onions from the packing places I but 1000 pounds of potatoes and dehydrate, can and freeze to last all year. Same with the onions and corn. The green chili I but straight from the farmer. I also get produce from bountiful baskets if you don’t already do this you might want to look into this just go to to see if you have it in your state.

I get my baking soda and salt from the feed store they sale 25 pound bags of sodium bicarbonate [baking soda] for about 10 dollars I also get 25 pound bags of stock salt for about 10 dollars [ it is cleaned it is a little larger grains but it is all we use I have iodine supplements that we take for iodine].

I do buy herbs and spices that I don’t grow myself or are able to pick from the area, from bulkfoods .com

Some of my vitamins and oils I get from puritans

I make some of my EO they are not as strong but work for some of the things that I need them for.

We grow a lot of our produce. I plant enough to can and freeze.

I have chickens for eggs and feed them sprouted wheat.  

I also go to the feed store and get cracked corn to grind for corn meal and buy whole corn to make masa for tortillas and tamales.

I buy milk when on sale and can it to use for cooking [not very good to just drink].

When butter and margarine are on sale I get a lot then freeze and can it.

I also buy sour cream and cottage cheese on sale then freeze and dehydrate them.  

We raise our own cows and hunt elk and deer for meat. If you have to buy meat look in the marked down bin. When I had to buy meat I would cut a pound of hamburger into quarters and just use a quarter pound in most everything, you can also add grated carrots to your hamburger to add a little bulk to it.

I watch for sales and try to only buy on sale and get enough to last all year. We don’t live close to a Costco or sams club.

I try to cook everything from scratch.

I sew and mend a lot of our clothes.  

If you haven’t read my frugal tips you can read it to get a few more ideas on how I save.

I hope this helps some you might look at what is produced in your area. If I didn’t cover something just let me know and I will try to answer.  

So what are some of the things all of you do to stretch your budget? 

Monday, October 6, 2014

300 Dollars a Month

Well I am not doing to great on this, I think I picked the wrong time of the year to start this. This is the time of year that I buy most of the stuff to last all year so it will be interesting to see how it will be in the winter and spring.

Here is the totals for September
I was at 341.57 then I spent 73.18 at City Market on raspberry's that were on sale for 88 cents I bought 46 so I could freeze them for my Raspberry plum jam and then they still had sure-jell still on sale so I got 15 more of them and 4 gallons of milk. 98.00 on bountiful baskets, I got 3 baskets and 2 cases of apples to can. So all total 171.16 then add 341.57 for a September total of 512.75 so I am over by 212.75 for September.
This past weekend I spent 5.85 on Chipotle peppers and 10.00 on tomato powder for a total of 15.85 to start October.
Sept 512.75
Oct. 15.85
Year total 528.60
671.40 left for the year.

The nights are starting to get colder and there is snow on the mountains so we had to pick all the garden we did cover several tomato plants but picked the rest. We picked 253 pounds tomatoes 35 pounds bell peppers 25 pounds  jalapenos  15 pounds tomatillos I haven't weighed the cucumbers, or cayenne peppers yet.

This isn't even half of it.

My Canning total since my last post
33 pints Green Chili
20 pints zucchini jam
28 quarts rotel
28 quarts tomato basil
20 pints raspberry plum jam
half gallon celery dehydrated
3 heads of romaine lettuce dehydrated
sage, yarrow, comfrey, oregano, cilantro, lemon verbena, lemon balm, and basil hung to dry.

We went to set up hunting camp this week end we go hunting next week so I have to have all the produce put up by Thursday a very busy week ahead haha. Not to mention get stuff cooked and ready for hunting.

I got Joleens dress finished for homecoming [at the last miniute I might add.]
Katie barrowed a dress so I didn't have to make hers thank goodness since I was so behind.

So I guess we kind of know what the goals for this week will be. Tomatoes , peppers, zucchini, apples and getting ready for hunting.

Have a great week.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Zucchini Jam

What to do with all that zucchini you have froze, canned, dehydrated, made breads, pies and all kinds of stuff well make some jam.

Start by cutting and deseeding your zucchini. Then grate your zucchini. I grate a lot so I can do several batches at a time.
Put 6 cups grated zucchini in a pan and add 1/4 cup lemon juice. Cook for about 10 minutes until the zucchini is clear. 

Add 5 1/2 cups sugar and 1 can of crushed pineapple.[ If you want a real firm jam you can add a package of sure-jell. It will set up with out but not as firm]
 At first it will look like it isn't enough liquid but it will be. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. .  

I do strawberry, peach, berry blue, grape, and orange, they are all good but my favorite is the peach and strawberry. 
Zucchini Jam
6 cups grated zucchini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package sure jell [ optional]
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 can crushed pineapple
2 3oz or 1 6oz box of any flavor jello
Put grated zucchini in a pan and add lemon juice. Cook for about 10 minutes until the zucchini is clear. 
Add  sugar and crushed pineapple.[ If you want a real firm jam you can add a package of sure-jell. It will set up with out but not as firm]
 At first it will look like it isn't enough liquid but it will be. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.
Turn heat off and add Jell-o.
Stir then bring back to boil for 1 minute pour into hot sterilized pint or half pint jars and put hot lids and rings on.  Process in a boiling hot water bath for 10 minutes.


Monday, September 15, 2014

300 Dollars A Month Challenge, Goals, and Menu

I have to admit this is a little harder then I though it was going to be. I have always tried watch how much I spend, but never really realized just how much extra I spend with out even thinking about it. Although part of it is I do spend extra on sales so I don't have to pay full price later on. So how did I do this week?

I spent 87.72 at City Market  They had Sure Jell [Store Brand] for 1.39 so I bought 20, They also had cereal on sale for 1.49 if you bought 10. I use these for snacks for the kids sometimes. They also had cheese on sale 3 16 oz. packs for 10.00 so I got 6 will put these in the freezer.
At Wal-Mart I spent 45.48 I needed a couple new pitchers. 2 coffees and I bought a couple boxes of Fruit and Grain bars for the girls to eat in the mornings And some frozen Burritos for after school [I know bad bad] I just haven' t had time to get some stuff made hopefully this week.
Bountiful Baskets I spent 58.00 on 3 baskets and a jar of Apple Cider Vinegar.
As you can see I got a lot out of my baskets this time.
Tomatoes, Bell pepper, broccoli, plums, lemons, corn, onions , chilies, lettuce, banana's, Japanese plums, and apples,
I also got a bottle of Vodka for 11.89 to use in tinctures.
2 more boxes of Green Chili for 40.00

So That is what I spent this week
87.20 City Market
45.48 Wal-Mart
58.00 Bountiful Baskets
11.89 Vodka
40.00 for Green Chilis
For a total of 242.57 for the week.
so with last weeks total of 99 dollars that puts me at 341.57 for the month so I have 858.43 left for the year. Already over my limit for the month As I said this is a lot harder then I thought it would be. Going to have to make a few more changes in the way I do things I guess.

This is what I picked from the garden this week. In a couple weeks I think I am going to have a bunch so I need to be very caught up on things.

21 pounds of bell peppers
50 pounds of tomatoes
13 pounds cucumbers
Was able to get a couple bags of dill and a small mess of green beans from some friend.
This weeks menu
Macaroni and tomatoes
French Toast
Chicken Soup
Grilled Cheese
Tuna Sandwich's
Will have Fruit, veggies or what ever I have on hand.
Crock Pot Chicken Fried Steaks
Beef Noodles
Smothered Burritos
Cheese Burger Pie
Swiss Steak.
As with lunch sides for dinner will be what ever I have and want to fix.
For breakfast I have homemade pancakes, French toast, and waffles in the freezer. Also have oatmeal, cream of wheat and eggs to choose from.

My canning total this week
14 qts Rotel
18 pints Plum Raspberry Jam
40 pounds of Green Chilies roasted and in the freezer.
4 pints pickled radishes
5 quarts pickled cauliflower
3 gallons bell peppers in the freezer [ I put these in 1 cup bags]

I made 3 gallons of powdered laundry soap, and a couple gallons of washing soda.
Hopefully this will last a while.

This Weeks goals

I got all the tomatoes, peppers, plums, green chilies, radishes, and cauliflower all put up. 
I haven't got to the zucchini yet is at the top of my list for this week.
It rained a little on the one day this week I could of worked in the yard so that and the herbs are still on the list.
I still haven't got the camper cleaned out have got to get that done.
The mending has also been put off I will try to work on it this week but very doubtful it will get done.
With  all the tomato's I will make  salsa, the peppers into the freezer, pickles made from the cucumbers, all my zucchini mad into jam, pie filling and shredded for breads, the plums into jam, the broccoli and lettuce [what we don't eat]  dried for green powder, corn in the freezer, apples into a pie, lemons juiced and canned then the peels dried.
I need to get the yard done before I can put out fall stuff so hopefully this week.

I have also got to start on Joleens homecoming dress. I have told the girls that if I make their dresses I will buy all the fabric and stuff to make them but if they want a store bought they have to buy then themselves. So Katie wants to buy one and I will make Joleens
Well another busy week planned maybe I can get the biggest portion done.

Have a Great Week.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Navajo Fry Bread and Navajo Tacos

We love Fry Bread although I don't make it as often as my family would like. Mine is ok not as good as my Step Moms or my sister's but passable and I use a mixer and a roller instead of by hand and then patting it out by hand, never could get the hang of it. [ My Step Mom says my hands are the wrong color haha]. Any how here is how I make it.
Navajo Fry Bread 
4 cups flour
2 Tbs. baking powder
1 1/2 tea. salt
3/4 cup powder milk
1 1/2 Tbs. shortening
2 to 21/2 cups very warm water
You can mix this by hand or in the mixer.
First add all you dry ingredients.

Mix together
Then add your shortening [you can use lard if you want] and mix.
After the shortening is mixed in slowly add your water it needs to be very warm not so hot it burns your hands but almost hot.

Mix or knead until  a soft dough is formed then knead or mix for a few more minutes.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a flat ball.

Grease your bowl and put the dough back in.

Cover with a warm damp towel and place in a warn place to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Pinch off medium apple sized balls.
Pat out with hand or use a rolling pin to about 1/8 to 1/16 of an inch you don't want it to thin or it will be crunchy. 

Put about 1/2 inch of shortening in you pan and heat to almost  smoking [needs to be very hot]. cook until golden brown then turn. 

and cook until golden brown on the other side.

 Let sit a few minutes before serving so they can soften a little.

For Navajo Tacos put a piece of bread on a plate and cover with Chile then top with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cheese. Yummy Yummy.
Sometime when I fix mine or smaller kids I will tear the bread before I cover with chili, then you don't have to try and cut it when all put together.   

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pickled Radishes

If you have an over abundance of radishes here is a way to use them and not let them go bad.and they are sooo good. and really easy to make. I use a lot of my over large radishes that are starting to get a little soft and are to big.

What I do is slice them into pint jars then see how many I have before I start the brine.

First slice thinly slice the  radishes and put into pint jars
Then for every pint you need
1 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vintage
2 tea. salt
1/4 cup sugar

put in sauce pan and bring to boil until sugar is dissolved remove from heat and pour into jars with the radishes put hot lids and bands on. Now you can put in the fridge and use with in a month or you can can it in a  water bath for 10 minutes.
It is best if allowed to sit for a couple days. The red will leach from the radishes and turn the vinegar red and the radishes will be all white.
I had some brine left over, and some cauliflower in the fridge from my bountiful baskets so I decided to pickle the cauliflower I will let you know in a few days how they turned out. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

300 Dollars a Month Challenge, Menu and goals.

I was over at budget 101 the other day and they are trying to only spend 200 dollars a month. Well I got to thinking about that and decided I would give it a try , only I am going to go with 300 a month [which would be 1200 for the rest of the year.]for every thing I buy except for day care supplies and my canning jars. I will not include the canning jars because they are more of an investment then a expenditure. The reason I will do 300 instead of 200 is I will also work on my food storage with this 300. I have the garden and will try to make everything from scratch.

This past week I spent 59.00 at Wal-Mart I did buy 2 loaves of French bread for pizza which I could of made from scratch but was in a hurry. I also got 10 cans of tomato paste a gallon of vinegar  and which I need for my salsa that I am canning. And ne I bought 2 cans of coffee {yes I know that isn't very frugal but it is one of my bad habits] I don't know if my family would be able to stand me with out my morning coffee haha. The other 3 things strawberry extract which I was out of and didn't have to use in my syrup the other day, a vacuum belt and T.P..

I also got 2 boxes of green chili to can, they were 20 dollars a box.

So in all I spent 99.00 dollars that leaves me with 201 dollars for the rest of the month.1101 dollars for the rest of the year.

This is what I picked from the garden this week.
55 pounds tomatoes 30 pounds cucumbers, 10 pounds bell peppers, 8 pounds of radishes and 1 small zucchini.
How are your gardens doing?

Our zucchini plants didn't do any thing this year so Andy's boss has been giving us their large ones [ do you know how wrong it is to have to ask for zucchini?] these are the ones they gave us I didn't weigh them but there is a lot.

I do have to admit it is a little challenging to try to spend a small amount there was a few other things I thought about getting but didn't because it would more then likely run me over at the end of the month.
So do you think you could just spend  200 or 300 a month on your grocery's ?

So this weeks lunch menu is
mini cheese pizzas and fruit
Chicken noodle soup and crackers
Pancakes and bananas
PB&J with fruit
Mac and cheese

Andy will get leftovers from dinner the night before.

Dinner menu
French bread pizza
Navajo Tacos [recipe here]
Pork chops
Mexican Steak
Chili mac.

 I will add sides to these depending on what I have.

For breakfast I have homemade pancakes, French toast, and waffles in the freezer. Also have oatmeal, cream of wheat and eggs to choose from.

Canning and preserving for this week
7 qts Turkey Broth
10 pts Corn Cob syrup
24 pts Frozen Corn
16 pts Cactus Pear Jelly
1 qt & 1 pt Corn Silk Tinture
12 dried Limes
1 Watermelon dried
6 Celery Stocks dried

This weeks goals are
All the tomatoes into salsa and canned, pickled radishes from the radishes, the bell peppers put in the freezer, I also have a case of plumes to get worked up I will make plum raspberry jam with them, all the zucchini worked up I want to freeze some and make jelly with some and some bread.
Green chili roasted and canned.
I still need to finish cleaning out the camper from week end before last.
Have some things that need to be planted in the yard.
Several herbs that need to be harvested and dried.
Back yard mowed and weeded.
The girls got their new cheer uniforms and they both need to be taken up a little.
Mending Andy's pants.
I am trying to make some  spaghetti strap shirts for the girls [ they wear these under all their shirts.].
Pantry and fridge cleaned out. How on earth a fridge get so ucky is beyond me.
Fall decorations put up out side .

Hope everyone has a great week looks like I will have a busy one.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Corn Syrup with Corn Cobs

Well I just finished 4 cases of corn I canned 3 cases and froze 1 case. Then I took the cobs of the last case and made syrup. It is very easy but just to warn you it doesn't taste like store bought corn syrup. I does have a little corn taste to it if it is plain but if you add a flavoring it is really good it seems give the flavoring a boost. So don't throw away your cobs make syrup also keep your corn silk to make a tincture [ I will post how to do that next.].

First take you cobs put in a pan and cover with water then bring to a boil and simmer for a couple hours.  

After cooked remove the cobs from the water the strain. I use a gallon jar with a clean knee high stocking attracted to the top with a rubber band or If I can't find a rubber band I just pin a piece of elastic together to use. so any how I strain the juice and pour back into a pan. 

Then I add my sugar It is a two to one ratio 2 cups liquid to one cup sugar I had 16 cups of liquid so I added 8 cups of sugar. I like a thicker syrup so I do add a couple extra cups of sugar. Bring to a boil and then simmer for a few hours until you have the desired thickness.

After it has thickened up you can use as is or you can add some flavorings. I pulled out 8 cups of liquid and added 2 teaspoons of maple flavoring,
To 4 cups I added 1 teaspoon of orange extract and 2 drops red food coloring and 2 drops of yellow,
To another 4 cups  added 1 teaspoon of raspberry extract and 2 drops red food coloring, 
I was going to add strawberry extract to the remaining 4 cups but realized I was out so I decided to experiment and added a teaspoon of almond extract to 2 cups of syrup and 1 teaspoon of butter extract with 2 drops yellow coloring  to the last two cups the butter flavored was real good and I will probable  do some of it again the almond was ok but not that great.  

Put in pint jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes be sure to adjust for your altitude I have to process mine for 25 minutes.
The food coloring is optional the only reason I use it is I process all mine at the same time and use the color so I can tell them apart when done. 

They sure turn out pretty.