Monthly Archives: October 2012

I started my day at a church sale on Saturday

and then went to another.

I bought (at the first sale) a chafing dish, a double boiler, a canister set, and a desk organizer. The second sale was all cloth stuff, I bought a rug, 4 napkins, 3 kitchen towels, 3 shirts, and a PJ bottom. Sixteen items total. Everything but the chafing dish from the first batch was intended for resale, 3 items. The 3 kitchen towels were bought for resale as well.

The desk organizer is damaged and apparently arrived that way, so it will just go to the dump, fortunately, it was one of the cheapest things I bought. Of the 16 items, 1 is going to the dump, and 5 are for resale, but the remaining 10 items are staying here, sigh.

I donated a magazine to a library sale. I had 3 books in my hand to donate to the 2nd sale when I discovered it was just cloth stuff. I’ve also given a friend a book, tossed another 2 books, and sold a brass lamp and 3 magazines.

The largest quantity of stuff came from the box of office supplies I found in the living room. These were the store’s misc. office supplies: rubber bands, paperclips, etc. The various bits were added to the other office supplies.

Energy Saving Meals, Money Saving Recipes and Where to find Them?

For years I’ve been searching out money-, energy- and time-saving recipes and menus.

What kind of cook books do you have? Look for? Where do you find your most frugal recipes? Online is wonderful, but there are 1,000s of online groups, blogs, and websites focused on frugality in some form, so I don’t talk about online sources below. Many of the types of books I talk about are probably available in an electronic format, but I like just old fashioned books. (I was a book dealer for over 20 years, what did you expect?)

One type of book I looked for has menus and recipes where foods are cooked at the same temp. and more or less the same amount of time.

One pot meals qualify, and one pot recipes are the easiest to find. Almost every major cook book has some one pot meals in it.

Being me, of course that wasn’t good enough. I had to find more, more books, with more recipes!

I found quantities of these menus and recipes in two places: money/energy saving cook books from electric utilities and cook books from electric appliance manufacturers.

Both of my books from the utilities are from around the 1980s energy crisis. Most of the others with one temperature menus/recipes are from appliance manufacturers and published from the 1950s- early 1970s.

Menus in these books are divided by cooking method: stove-top, broiler, or oven meals. The appliance manufacturer’s menus are more extensive than those from the utilities.

Here’s an oven menu: Orange Ham Slice, Scalloped Potatoes, Steamed Carrots, Apple-Cheese Pie

Cook at 350, for 1 and ½ hours, or less.

First of all, I’d likely include a green salad, or something else, and would probably not serve potatoes and pie at the same meal.

Secondly, the menu is for 6 people, much too large for us. It would be easy to make the ham slice into a smaller meal, as the specified piece of ham is 1 1/2-2” thick, about 2 lbs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 2 lb slice of ham, and I’d certainly hesitate before buying one! I’m assuming a 1 lb ham slice would work.

I have the same issue with the scalloped potatoes. The recipe specifies 1 quart of peeled, thinly-sliced potatoes and although I could make that many and freeze the extra, I’d probably halve this recipe too. The carrot and pie recipes don’t specify so much food that I’d hesitate to make them as written.

Thirdly, I hardly ever cook a meal with this many ingredients. The ham recipe uses 7 ingredients (there’s an orange glaze), the potatoes  7. The carrots use 2. And the pie uses 6. That’s 22 ingredients total.

What I’d probably do is mix up the ham glaze ahead of time (6 ingredients) as well as the sugar-cinnamon/butter and the pie crust (4 ingredients). I’d still have to cook four things using 12 ingredients, but that’s within my comfort zone!

One big problem that I have with many of the older recipes is that they cook vegetables to mush. The carrot recipe above has you steaming the carrots for the entire hour and a half they specify for the ham. I’d probably only put the carrots in for the last twenty minutes or so.

When I researched money-saving cooking, I also decided to also look for recipes created when times were really tough or food was rationed.

People lived with rationing and had to come up with creative ways to cook & eat palatable food with what they could get. I have one cook book from WWI and two from WWII. I find them fascinating reading.

The book from WWI contains recipes which directly address the shortages: wheat-less bread, sugarless desserts, meatless soups, etc. One of the WWII books has the best, easy vegetable soup recipe selection I’ve found: lettuce soup, onion soup, corn soup, etc. The recipes aren’t fancy, but simple and the soups lend themselves nicely to additions or modifications, depending on what’s available.

Another category of money-saving recipes can be found in the “put it together now, cook it later books.” I have two of these with recipes from Bed & Breakfast inns. The recipes aren’t necessarily extremely frugal, although some are, but they are designed to serve a crowd and be easily put together the night before. Usually the food is refrigerated overnight, then cooked and served the next morning.

You can also find recipes of the prepare it now/cook it later type in “easy hostessing” books (easy party hosting, stress-free entertaining, etc). Almost always the recipes are the same as those for the B & B’s: mix, freeze or refrigerate, then cook or heat just before serving. I have more of the make now/serve it later books than I care to think about. These are easy to find! Also in this category are the Once a Month or Mega Cooking books.

Not Exactly Sure

what I’ll do today. It’s a dump day. I’ll take the last load of trash to the dump I wanted to on Sunday. I didn’t take it because we had a party to go to.

A lot of what I did WAS general outdoor cleanup. I have various piles/groups of things around the yard I’ve gathered together over time. Some of these are “put away” but many aren’t, they’re piles of things to be put elsewhere, things on LANDING PADS. So, today I took 2 loads o’ junk to the dump, I did NOT go to the thrift shop (It was close!) and I dealt with a lot of the misc. groups of stuff outside.

The trash pile, mostly emptied due to the dump runs Sunday, is now just as tall as it was Saturday.  The junk wood pile is measurably smaller and the yard looks, (and actually is) a good bit tidier.

I moved bricks from their LANDING PAD to where they’ll go ’round the vegetable garden. I put tools away. I cleaned the trash cans. I swept the path. I hauled “junk” from various places and put it on the dump pile. I took two loads of junk (and 1 load of household trash) to the dump.

I called the antique store: I’ve sold a bunch of books. The folks working these days don’t tell me anything other than I sold books or something else. If I’m lucky they’ll tell me how many, but even that isn’t always true, which is why the sale totals are feast or famine — it’s how I’m getting the data! I do know what my total sales are, in terms of money, but not exactly what books I’ve sold.



I’m wondering. . .  In the past few weeks, since we seriously started working on purging stuff around here, my PTSD has shown itself by sudden bursts of panic, DH & I fought (!) about my safety issues, and I have been downright grumpy.

Okay, okay, I “get” this. The junk/stuff/mess is camouflage for me, I really do understand that. I also get that it’s a safety issue, and I know why. What I don’t know is what to replace the fear with?

I have focused on the goals: filling another target section, cleaning/using a certain area, meeting another calendar goal, etc. I can do that and push down the pieces of my character that got me here.  But as I get closer, the anxiety, etc. bubbles to the surface anyway, as depression (I’m fortunately an old hand at fending that off.) or snarkiness, or insecurity. Some of this is related to it being cold now. I purely hate winter and have at least a mild case of SAD (seasonal depression). But most of it isn’t.

The only way I know to go is through it, that is, to just do it and when nothing terrible happens tell myself, “See? It isn’t so bad.”

The last really LARGE component of my character I had to “reform” was the rage. I have a pool of rage tied to being in pain most of my life and my family being more concerned with their own sh*t than the fact that I was hurting, or just being inept, and figuring it was my problem.

The pain was, until about 10 years ago, constantly under everything I did, and before DH was what ruled my life. After we got together, that changed, slowly. Diagnosis and therapy 10 years ago got the rage to be manageable.

With DH’s support, I found a way to turn the rage on its head. I use it to slingshot myself in a healthy direction when it shows up. I can’t get rid of it. It’s directly tied to my flashback, that pain, but I can use its appearance as a mechanism for health, rather than self-destructiveness, which is what I did for years.

I don’t stop the rage, I’m stuck with it I think, it’s part of the PTSD. I don’t expect to be able to stop the anxiety about the house/safety issues either, at least not for a long time, if ever.

So, what I’m looking for is a similar way to turn the anxiety, fear, and increased agitation into a positive.


P.S. Cleaning up around our shed this afternoon gave me enough that I’ve filled another section of the target (6, 750 items out). It will appear below after I update the image. Yeah! That’s both types of goals in TWO DAYS! (Both a date goal and another 250 items out which fills a section of the target.) I’ll be unavailable tomorrow, so there won’t be a posting–until late– if there’s one at all!

DH is on a tear

cleaning out his hardware!!!

I’ve also put away craft items that wound up in his workspace and we went to the dump today too. There’s a large number on today’s tally that makes me sad. It’s books and magazines that got wet, 63 of them.

So today we purged or put away 122 123 items (I’d forgotten about the bookcase.). If we could just do this daily, for a month, we’d have a LARGE hole around here!


I thought, “Today is going to be bad” but it wasn’t!

This is what happens when you start a blog in the early morning, and then write on it all day, things change!

Early this morning: DH went to an auction early this a.m., and one of my fave community sales is today too! Not likely that we’ll cull/purge more stuff than we get. We’ll see, he’s on his way home, said he bought one thing.

Later still in the morning: I haven’t gone yet, and by the time I get there, it may all be junk, so I won’t want anything — again, we’ll see!

And this evening: I didn’t go. What I did do was clean out the “porch” in front of our garden shed. Hadn’t been touched (except to have stuff added to it) for probably at least 2 years. It was a mess! DH patched the roof after he came back, so we’re both really tired, but our home is tidier and more secure: both good!

I tossed two rotten pallets, used 2 pieces of wood, found homes for the 3 pieces of the summer sink, the 3 flower pot shelves, used the two big apple crates, tossed the 2 old small ones, found a use for a trunk, put away all the garden stakes, flower pots, and a box of shelf supports, found a home for the 4 shelf standards, and tossed 5 broken flower pots, 4 lg sheets of styrofoam, a plastic cover that’s been here longer than we have, etc. And, of course, I counted! DH has also started contributing as he’s been culling his hardware collection. Our efforts today yielded 166 things to go OUT, and we bought 5. So today was definitely a win!

Today’s tally is NOT wimpy, I did two today!

I actually have done two tallies today. The one before DH and I ran into a neighbor isn’t much to speak of, but I hadn’t done one in a day or so.
When I was in the storage yesterday I found a box of magazines that seemed to belong to a neighbor (Neither he nor I are quite sure how I got them?). I called & left a message; I said I’d take ’em to the dump if he didn’t want them. While taking a walk today, the neighbor was out and said he’d take them — so I came home and ran them right over (after counting them of course)!

There were 76 magazines in that box, and of course the box went too. So that was an easy 77 items OUT. Tonight is our first hard freeze, so I dismantled the veggie garden this afternoon, which generated more outs. I came up with 103 items out of here this afternoon, and since I haven’t gone anywhere since this morning’s tally, there’s nothing coming in. 😀