Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Random Tidbits

I have some random things and pictures I need to unload out of my head. You know the feeling, stuff that clutters up your brain and rattles around in there until you decide what to do with it. Well, I've decided to put it all in one post, tidbits and stuff that's happened this month, sort of a way to sweep out the old and welcome in October! Dang! October already? Really?
The garden is still giving us tomatoes. The temps are going anywhere from the 60s to the 80s during the day and drop to the 50s and sometimes lower at night. It was pretty chilly today, most of the windows stayed shut, so I may have to pick all the green ones and make that green tomato salsa I've heard about. We haven't been overwhelmed with tomatoes but I did manage to can 10 pints of chopped tomatoes and it looks like I may be able to can a few more tomorrow.

One day, when the husband had a day off from work, I made up some pie crusts and chopped up some apples for making and freezing mini apple pies. Hubby picked up a mini pie maker at a yard sale somewhere so we tried it out and it's a nifty little thing. One side cuts out the crust, other side folds and seals the edges.

Pretty soon, the girls took over and edged me and the husband out of the pie-making operation. We ended up with about 50 mini pies to go in the freezer and the ones with ripped crusts got baked and eaten. They were tasty! I also made and froze 2 regular size pies. I planned to make 4, but my pie crust was not cooperating with me that day and kept crumbling. I gave up and pressed the crust into a rectangular cake pan and made a deep dish apple pie with crumb topping. We are still eating that, it was so good, but it's a lot of pie! I would make it again if there was going to be a crowd coming over to eat.
I finally used up the last of the apples from the 6 bushels we bought. I canned another 6 quarts of applesauce tonight for a grand total of 70 quarts! I originally planned to can 100 quarts, since the 52 quarts I canned last year didn't make it to the next apple season, but I got to thinking-- Baby is not eating applesauce daily like he did before, so 70 ought to do it. Plus, I'm tired of apples. I'm tired of peeling them, coring them, chopping them, stirring them, eating them. And being chased by bees when I take the apple leftovers to the compost...


My coupon-cutting is time-consuming, but effective in saving us money. I have to do my "homework" to search out different websites for coupons and deals and then sit down to match up coupons with prices for cheap deals. I am not complaining, we are eating well. My local food store had a bargain sale on store-brand mac 'n cheese for 10 cents a box and spaghetti for 59 cents. The husband loves spaghetti, it's his #1 favorite meal, so we eat a lot of that, at least once a week. And I love mac 'n cheese-- who doesn't? With trying to save money, I have been making it from scratch, but with a deal like this, I'll happily buy some. The photo above is what happens when you let your 3 year old put away pantry items: boxes of spaghetti and mac 'n cheese stacked anywhere she could put them. We ended up buying 60 boxes of mac 'n cheese (do the math, that equals $6!) and 60 boxes of spaghetti.


I made a meal tonight that cost less than $2.00 to feed the 6 of us:

1 box of mac 'n cheese- .10

1/2 lb ground beef- .75

2 tomatoes- free (garden)

1 carrot- .20

1 tube biscuits- .75

Total: $1.80 for a yummy tomato/mac 'n cheese/beef (with grated carrot hidden in the sauce) dinner


The bright side of saving all this money is that we have a little extra money for other things-- like fixing my van. We have been having trouble with it lately. The tires needed to be replaced- they were bald in front and leaky in the back; we had to pump air into the back tire before we went somewhere. Bought 4 new tires and now something else is happening to the engine. It sputters and lurches and then shuts down. Our neighbor mechanic is working with us, replaced this and that, still no go. Hopefully we will pinpoint the trouble soon and it won't cost too much.

I have been "trapped" at home lately, because the one vehicle that works is the husband's truck, which is a stick-shift and 6 of us don't all fit. I am counting my blessings, we have a truck that works and if that means I have to stay home and give him the grocery list to shop for me, then so be it.


I think my head is not rattling anymore. Thanks for listening. :o)


Carol said...

It's good just to get it all out sometimes isn't it!! I found that with my last post...writing about the uni course helped put it into some kind of perspective and made the prospect of starting it a bit less scary!!

I'm not surprised your fed up of apples but I think you missed a could have had a go at cider!! I reckon if anyone could make a lovely home cider it would be you :-)

C x

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Mac N Cheese for 10 CENTS!!???? What is this wonderful store you shop at !!???? That is SO cool. :)

Ok, I'm super curious, how many jars of jam/jelly/apple sauce/ ECT. have you canned this year so far? I can't keep track, I was wondering if you did? It's a ton that's for sure :) Too cool :)

Shermay said...


The "mini pie maker" is actually potsticker maker (I recognized it as I own one, too). However, I've never thought it'd be used for mini pies, too! Neat! It's a great tool to make potstickers if you ever decided on that one day. Smile.

Nice blog, btw!

jenny said...

Carol-- A cider press is on my wish-list of items I'd like to buy. Funny thing, the girls and I all prefer apple cider to apple juice. Apple juice is boiled and cider is just pressed. Makes a big difference in taste.

It does help to purge things out of your head and onto paper. Some people talk it out, I write it out. :o)

Gringa-- let's see..
8 1/2 pints of Walnuts
9 pints of strawberry sauce
5 pints strawberry jam
6 1/2 pints cherry jam
9 pints maraschino cherries
6 qts rhubarb juice
5 qts, 1 pint pears
6 qts rhubarb sauce
14 pints rhubarb/strwbry jam
3 1/2 pints blackberry jam
13 pints crazyberry jam
6 pints plum jam
1 qt and 10 pints chopped tomatoes
6 pints wild grape jelly
70 qts applesauce

And all that does not include what went into the freezer-- strawberries, mulberries, chopped rhubarb, mini pies, corn, shredded potatoes, fruit sorbets.... and what was dried on the dehydrator: 15 qts of dried apple slices and dried cherries

I think I can put away my jars and canning supplies now. :o)

Oh! And the food store is Food Lion. I don't think they have any in Mich.. they are an East Coast chain.

Shermay-- It had instructions for different types of crust, but no recipes, so we assumed it was a pie maker. I've never had a potsticker before, I should try it some day! Thanks for the info! :o)

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Good CRACKER JACK that's more than I thought! WHEW!! *wipes sweat off brow just thinking about it all* WOW. Cherry jam? *drool* I hope I can do things like this someday :) SOO so cool. :)

Mark M.....s said...

Mini Pie maker? Hmm interesting.. my WVa folks called it "turnover". I love to eat those apple turnovers. I have tried other fruity turnovers like peaches and blueberries. Soft crust like it's pliable and ready to eat. No glaze or any kind of coating on it. I don't bake pastry so I don't know how women in my family keep those turnovers soft and so good to eat.

I am drooling already.