Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Blessing of Unexpected Sales

The more I get into using coupons and watching sales the more I come to realize how much God is taking care of my husband and I though our food bill.  I've known some Christians when times are tight a mysterious small check shows up to get them though the month, and others a old car goes without needing repairs, and for us right now I think some of it is unexpected sales that help keep us within what we can afford.

Let me take this week as an example.  We are going camping this weekend for a couple days and thus this week needed to get things bought that will be easy to cook while camping.  I mostly kept with things that would be lower cost, but I also added bratwurst one day.  Now here is the thing with hot dogs type foods, I dislike normal cheaper hot dogs (unless they are in pigs in a blankets for some reason) and bratwurst is so expensive (and fattening) for what you get that we rarely have them.  I added them though to the camping menu cause it would be a easy thing and my husband really likes them so I thought they would be a treat.  When I went to the store to get them I discovered that they were on sale this week.  They were normally like $4 and they were on sale for $2.50!  Cheese was another thing that is normally a more expensive item that I buy, and it happened to be on sale for the best price I can normally get it at this week.  Still not cheap, but more manageable.

This is not something I planned the trip around obviously or bought early when on sale to keep until now, but God still blessed us by providing for us not just what we needed, but what we wanted.

Thank you God for things like this and so much more!    

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Copper Bottoms

I like cleaning the bottoms of copper pots.  I know it may seem weird, but there is just something about scrubbing and working at it until its nice and shiny.  I like the fairly instant gratification of seeing something all dark tarnished emerge into something shiny and beautiful.  Yes, I do believe I just called a pan beautiful.  I think I'm either crazy or something.  I would normally blame it on becoming a homemaker and that messing with my mind, but my mom had copper bottoms on her pans and I loved doing it years ago.  (When I had the time that is, for some reason I never liked doing it so much when asked...)

I mostly have a set of stainless steal, but this past weekend my mother in law passed on an old copper bottom pan and so I started working on it this evening.  I just use a brillo pad for the whole process as it's what I have, but may see if there are any better ways to do it (...starts searching Pinterest...) cause I may not always have brillo pads around once these run out.  It's only about halfway done and my arms are starting to hurt, but it is nice to little by little see progress. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Yesterday I decided that for dinner I'd surprise my husband with a picnic after work.  He normally works too late to do it this time of year, but on one day of the week he is home early.  I decided on chicken salad as its something he loves and we have not fixed in a long time.  He just likes it plain with maybe a little cheese in it while I prefer something crunchy in it as well.  My ideal would be to add almonds, but celery is cheaper and better for me so i went with that addition to mine.  Even though it was bread day and thus I would have fresh bread to put it on, I decided to try my hand at making flour tortillas as wraps.

I found several types of recipes but they basically boiled down to adding either lard/shortening or oil.  I had read a couple places that the lard ones have the best texture, but I wanted to be a little more on the healthy side.  I decided to split it in half and use both.  I might try one other the other sometime, but I think these turned out really well.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 shortening
I just dumped the flour on the counter and then made a hole in the top and kept adding little bits of water and the other ingredients until it was all combined and worked it until it was smooth.  I then divided it up into 8 little balls and let it rest for a couple minutes.  I then rolled them out until they were about 8 inches around.  Okay, who am I kidding, they were not exactly round, but they were very thin.  I then heated up a large cast iron skillet until it was quite hot and then dumped one on and let it cook for a couple seconds until you get a couple brown spots.  I just made sure I did not cook it too long.  A couple got a little crunchy on the outside cause I left them on too long.  Then flip it for a couple more seconds and take off the pan.  Repeat with the others. 

I don't think I got them quite thin enough as they were a little thicker then store bought, but the taste was good and they were still thin enough to use as a wrap.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Interesting Marketing

I guess not everyone knows what to get if they are sick and hurt.  I was at Target this afternoon getting a prescription refilled and saw these little boxes on an end cap.  They were little boxes of medicine or other first aid items.  Like the the one labled "Help I have a Headache" contained store brand Tylenol, and the "Help I have a Cut" had store brand band-aids in it.   

I just found it interesting that someone thought of doing marketing medicinal items in this fashion.  It was very cute and easy to read if you did not know already what you needed.  I wonder if the Pharmacist gets any less questions from people with just a stuffy nose who have no clue what to take?  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blue Ball Mason Jars

I had seen blue mason jars online when I was looking up things to decorate with for my wedding and loved the look.  I had tried to find a couple on craigslist once but they were going for like $8-$10 if I remember correctly and that to me was just too much for a jar.  Well, I had forgotten about them until my husband sent me a text last Friday morning asking if I wanted any blue jars as they had four being sold.  You see, we were in Richmond for a wedding and I had gone to the bridal shower and he had gone to help my Dad and brother out at a Boy Scout yard sale sorting things to be sold.  I, of course, wanted them and paid $.25 for each of them.  I thought it was sweet that he (and my sister who was up there) thought of me enough when they found them to text me.

Once home I wanted to see if I could find out anything else about them.  As I was in Richmond I just used my phone and found the first website in my search that used the way the "Ball" logo to date jars within a couple years.  As I don't know any of the other "jar terms" I had to stick with logos as thats something I do know. 

I have two with lids that I think are from 1910-1923.

The other two do not have lids and are from somewhere in the vicinity of 1923-1933.

I don't know yet what I will do with them.  I might just use the lidded ones for bean storage until I have more space to decorate a room somehow with them.  I just love the pretty blue look of them.  


Of Smooth Hands And Baked Potatoes

I love going into someplace like Bath and Body Works or something similar when I'm at the mall to smell all the wonderful lotions and to try things out.  I can also remember two ways my mom would bake potatoes growing up.  One was to wrap them in aluminum foil with a little butter, and the other was to rub them with olive oil and then sprinkle course kosher salt all over them.  I've tried making baked potatoes a couple other ways, but these are still my old stand by way of baking them.  

These may seem like very different memories and they would be, if not for the fact that a couple years ago I wanted to see if I could make my own scrub for my hands to make them smoother.  I tried looking up a couple things online (this was before pinterest made finding things like this so so so so much easier) and while most called for essentual oils to make them smell good I did not have any at the time.  So, now I still use a simple mixture of a small nickel to quarter amount of olive oil poured out onto my hand, a little bit of sugar or salt, and sometimes if I'm not feeling lazy, a drop of vanilla.  I just rub this all over my hands and wash it off with water and a little soap.

Making baked potatoes is now a good excuse to scrub my hands as it uses up the oil already on my hands and the salt being used.  I usually pour out the salt into a separate small bowl as my hands get too dirty to be dipping into the bag of salt, but most times there is extra sticking to the sides of the bowl.

I just love feeling my hands afterwards!  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Simple Sourdough

So, I've been wanting to try a sourdough type bread for awhile as I LOVE sourdough, but have not been able to get a normal starter to work right.  I don't know if its just to cold in the apartment or maybe I forget about it too much.  The other day though my husband picked p at the library an Alton Brown cookbook and in it was a recipe for a sourdough without a starter.  Well, actually it did call for like a little bit of yeast so I don't know if its a true sourdough, or just a hybrid, but I decided to make it hoping it would taste a little sour like I love.

It was a little weird just leaving raw dough out overnight in a bowl, but this afternoon when I went to take it out it was all fluffy and pretty and super soft to the touch while punching it down.  The hardest part about all this was planning as the second rise took almost four my apartment.  

We ate it last night while the bread was still warmish with leftover corn chowder.  As it was not fully cooled it was a little hard to cut so we ended up just tearing some off.  I'll definitely be making it again sometime.