Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dairy Free Casserole report

It's been a super busy week for our family. Kids have had things everyday after school. And evening things. So I tried some casserole adaptations to accommodate hubby's dairy free needs and not have to make 2 dinners.

First up was shepards pie adaptation. Used smart balance spread in place of butter, drained the potato water into a bowl just in case. Then used some beef broth in place of the milk.

Worked well. Quite tasty

Tonight was chickenpox pit with stovetop as the topper. Again Smart balance in place of butter and I used an Aldi cream of chicken soup with water to thin it.   This soup has less than 2% cream in it. Better than the packets if chicken gravy mix where you add water, the first ingredient on that was lactose - not good at all.   I'm not home to try it since I'm at a school thing. I'm sure if it doesn't taste good they will let me know. Still trying to find some other things to try.   The idea of cooking a meat and 2 veg dinner every night is a real drag - especially when I'm stuck for time.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

50% off pink tags

Woo hoo. Hit goodwill neat school today with oldest child.  They are having a spring spirit week and Thursday is dress Throwback Thursday style - was hoping to find a members only jacket, settled for a pair of pastel shorts and 80s ish. Plaid shirt  (wearing our golf shirt with collar flipped up underneath it). Both items had pink tags so 2.49 for shorts and 1.99 for the shirt.  I'm sure the shorts will get more use even if it's just around the house.  Seeing as this child never has a desire to participate in these events other than color shirt day - or spirit wear days I was willing to splurge (a little).

I was good and didn't even look around for myself - although I may hit the goodwill closer to home, just to see if I can find a new pair of jeans or 2.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cowboy Caviar

Thought you might like this.....

Cowboy caviar from (I always make it with frozen shoe peg corn and black beans I also use Choula hot sauce)


2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salad oil
clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon pepper
firm-ripe avocado (about 10 oz.)
can (15 oz.) black-eyed peas
can (11 oz.) corn kernels
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 pound Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
bag (6 oz.) tortilla chips or 2 cups finely shredded cabbage


1. In a large bowl, mix vinegar, hot sauce, oil, garlic, and pepper. Peel, pit, and cut avocado into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to vinegar mixture and mix gently to coat.
2. Drain and rinse peas and corn. Add peas, corn, onions, cilantro, and tomatoes to avocado; mix gently to coat. Add salt to taste. Serve pea mixture with chips as an appetizer, or add cabbage and mix to make a salad.
Nutritional analysis per appetizer serving.

Need a shopping day...

Came to the conclusion that I need a big bargain hunt day.  Even with this allergy/cold thing I'm feeling the need to hit a goodwill(or2) and a a Savers and maybe some other thrifts/church sales.  Toss in an aldi and Xpect too - the kids are bottomless pits of appetite lately.

Not really hunting for any one or two items but need a time to just have a good poke around and see what's there.  Goodness knows I have enough Decluttering to accomplish here I do NOT truly need anything - but I would like to find replacements for some makeshift items that aren't doing a job (as well as I would like)  I intended them to.

Weekend review

I'm borrowing Mama Fish's idea....I too have a quiet morning (meeting at church later in the day). I have a load of whites in the dryer and a load on the racks that needs to be folded but I'm taking a quick break...
Middle of yesterday found the kids and I  attending an Eagle Scout ceremony in town.  We came home after and I zonked out on the sofa for nearly 3 hours, still trying to determine if I'm needing to switch allergy meds or if this is a nasty spring cold - the symptoms are the same for me in spring.

The kids entertained themselves with various quiet activities and hubby is out of town this weekend so it was nice and loafy here.  Dinner was a take & bake pizza ala Walmart I picked up Friday afternoon for the weekend.

After dinner it was a marathon of folding laundry and catching up on tv thanks to on demand thru cable.

Today's list includes - getting kids to put away their own laundry, work on homework for the oldest, change/clean the pets cage, attend my meeting in the afternoon, pour over the grocery ads and make my plan of attack for the week. I've been craving cowboy caviar & avocado on a bed of lettuce - hopefully the ingredients are on sale this week.

I will be so happy when it is finally really spring and the pollen settles down, I know it will get worse soon- I would love to hang the washing outside soon.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Gathering boxes

Gathering boxes for the Townwide tag sale at the end of May.  In those boxes will go gleanings from operation Declutter the house.  1st room on the list is the old playroom - it's to become a workshop/craft room for ME!  I grabbed some good ones at BJs this week to pack my purchases in - they're ready to be filled.

I've determined this year that I'm over having the kids build school projects on the dining room table - or at the end and we have to squeeze to the other side to eat a meal.  Nope - I'm clearing that space - Then if a project needs to dry or a break is needed between steps it can sit on the table out there.  

 The room needs nothing but a good sort/purge, vacuuming and moving my crafty stuff to it - from the 2 locations in the house.  Those craft items will also get a hearty purging - it's time!

Coffee review

Ok, the BJs Kcups are ok.  Not as tasty as the others - but it may be our water too - I will finish the box, but am prepared to hunt down my preferred brand or closer replacement.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

BJs heartbreak

Alright, maybe I'm being dramatic...just a tab bit, BUT my coffee is being messed with!
Don't mess with my coffee!  I only have 2 cups/day. They're important to me & the functioning of my family.

I prefer the San Francisco Coffee company rainforest blend of coffee pods.  I usually brew it as a 14 ounce cup - I drink it black so I'm looking for quantity and flavor.  Where does a Bjs come in?  They have for the last year or more been my best price place and 80 pods for $28.99 was a good price for the flavor I like.  Then there is the face those pods don't have as much plastic as the other more common k-cups.  Well, today I went and there were none!  Not even on the pallets stacked up high, I asked.  Seems they aren't going to carry that kind most likely - boo!  I came home with the BJs brand of plastic k-cups 100 for 37.99 - they better not suck!

I also liked the other kind because I could easily compost the coffee from the rainforest blend - I would cut the bottom off into the compost bin - less trash.  I have this thingy called a java jig by melitta but, I haven't been able to get the grind just right and it's more work than it was worth.

If these new pods don't measure up then I will start searching for a cheap source of the ones I do like or the correct grind for the java jig for my tastes.

Who else has had a store cease to arty what they like at all?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Where did the week go?

Zip zip zip...  Where is the week going?  I can't believe tomorrow is Wednesday already.  Last week I was away Wednesday evening - Sunday night on some volunteer training and now it's almost Wednesday again!

Of course there is tons of washing folding and putting away to catch up on - but the kids school has a music competition this upcoming weekend - so I will be helping to prep for that at school.

I was at church today for a quick minute to check on something - and they are setting up for the rummage sale - did a quick nose poke around - didn't see anything spectacular - which us good since I should be cleaning out here.

I may head back tomorrow though- with some donations and to buy the bread loaf pans they had - great shape $1 each!  There were tons of cake pans too - I should dig out some of the character ones I have  here and drop them off - I think I bought them there a while ago anyhow.

Otherwise it's just run run run.
Tomorrow needs to be a paperwork & laundry day - desperately so

At least it's a frugal activity :-)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Busy week here - not much to write about....

It's been a busy few days here on the Frugality frontline.
And it promises to be another week of up to my eyeballs busy - there isn't much to report on, it's been days of planning meals, keeping an eye on utility use.

On the grocery front - I used the in ad coupons at shoprite this week & stuck to my list - until I walked past the bakery section.  Then a loaf of fresh Italian bread followed me home ;-). It was yummy!

My kids are on vacation this week so we had to have snacks and more fruit in the house & more milk.

While they are home they will be cleaning their rooms sorting through the closets - I'm sure a bag or 2 of donations will come of it - I hope there are anyway.

I think this could be my only chance for a post this week - since I'm going to put my nose to the grindstone and get stuff done and not spend this week...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Serious lack of motivation here

It's gray and raw out there  not terribly spring like.  Finding it difficult to gather the motivation to do much - but drink tea and look longingly for spring out the windows.  Yet the list of things that need to be done is growing longer and longer,the good thing is most of this list will not cost me one red cent to complete and cross off the list.

The snow is nearly all melted from my yard and I'm hoping if we get some sun I can see some greenness come back to the grass.  As it looks today I think we may have lost a size able chunk of grass area to root consumption (grubs eat roots).  Time to order an organic treatment - that will totally send the neighbor into a tail spin, "Mr Chemlawn" already has spoken to us about the dandelions from last year (he hates them - I reminded him that they are the first food for bees in the spring and I don't use chemical pesticides). We live near the town lake and a cedar swamp which eventually feeds a brook feeding the CT River and that water then travels to LI Sound.  There is more than my lawn at stake here!

On my list today

  1. Gather supplies for teaching a class on Saturday - church thing
  2. Fold laundry (God it never ends!)
  3. Call junkyard about the dead minivan (we aren't fixing or selling it's that dead)
  4. Research potential organic additives for lawn (milky spore/beneficial nematodes/pellitized lime)
  5. Stop at Agway for pet food & lawn additives research prices ideas
  6. Cook something for dinner fresh.  We've been in LOB mode since Sunday! 
  7. Possibly sort thru my tshirts.  The drawer is too full - need to purge some I think 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Uconn Freebie

Dunkin Donuts gave away free medium coffee if you have their app on your phone today!
Thanks Uconn ladies basketball!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Survived Easter

We survived Easter.  I have a meaty ham bone ready to make 15 bean soup with - very excited!
House is still pretty clean - a Super excited!!  Kids have a day off from school - once they wake up it will be spent working on some school projects they both have coming up and hopefully getting the youngest a haircut & school pants, kid grows like a weed!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Darned Socks

Not as in darned I don't like these socks....

More, I love these Merino wool socks so much they were darned today :-).   I wear clogs a lot and they are great for my back but youth on my socks.  I bought 3 pairs of merino blend socks are Ocean State Job Lot and I love them.  So you can imagine how bummed I was to see they were  starting to wear at the heal and ball of my foot.  I attempted to darn one pair today.

Problem, no darning egg.  Internet search recommends an incandescent light bulb great idea - but I have none - everything here is now cfl.  Enter a lacrosse ball!  Worked great, and, it's a hard rubber so there was minimal slippage once it was in place.  I darned one pair and will wear them this week to see how it feels before taking the time for the other pairs in need.

Online magazines - bummer

I don't subscribe to many magazines, any actually.  I read most online.  It's so much less expensive that way.  I love Mother Earth News & Backwoods Home.  Biggest bummer is for Backwoods, the free online version only some articles are available and it's a bimonthly magazine, so I'm done fast.

But, it's a frugal way to read them and since out town library gets fashion & decorator $ ladies magazines I'm finding it works so far...

Friday, April 3, 2015

Grocery store adventure - teaching hubby

Today hubby went to big y with me.  Of course we spent more than I would have alone - but I'm ok with it.  He looked thru the flyer this morning and asked questions...seemed shocked that off the top of my head I knew that the toothpaste in the flyer while a good deal, wasn't te best deal since the bigger tube is only 30 cents more at Walmart.  Once we got to the store I reminded him that some of the B1G2 sales weren't great deals.  As we went to get frozen veggies I found the last chance sale shelf! WooHoo!  Picked up 2 bottles of top are brand color care shampoo for $1.69 each.  I figure if I don't grind it works well enough the kids will use it - they aren't picky.  Key for me is knowing where in the store it's located :-)
There were probably a dozen bottles of 'bold' flavor store brand steak sauce for $.39 each.  If it were regular I would have grabbed several, but the youngest doesn't like the bold flavor so I skipped.

Still pretty happy though

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cooking dairy free - help!

Hubby has determined that lactose is what causes his tummy troubles.  Having had a serious bout with lactose intolerance for my college years (and a few times after) I can sympathize to a degree.  He is off all dairy - cow or goat, and lactose free.  Even plain yogurt and Parmesan cheese!  Good for him figuring it out - we knew this was a possibility after his last appointment.  Weirdly for me mine resolved after having my kids - like pregnancy was a reset button.

Where that becomes a problem for me and the kids is more homemade Mac&Cheese or casseroles involving cream of anything soup nights unless I feel like cooking 2 meals - seeing as those are my quickie dinners having to cook 2 doubles my time - not happening!

Now I have to figure out how to change over family favorites to satisfy all tummies and palettes.  I'm up for the challenge - just not the griping and whining I will be subjected to as the family cook.
There's a little resentment too - since I never required a whole house change when I was doing weight watchers.

Now it's 2 kinds of butter in the house vegan spread $4/tub! (he likes it, I think it's NASTY tasting) and real butter in sticks.  We tried this vegan 'mozzarella cheese'(another yuck from me and kids - he said it wasn't that bad).   And 2 kinds of milk (cow & unsweetened almond).

I told him I'm not buying special ice cream - too bad, have a banana!

Anyone have some good swap outs for dairy in casseroles?