Monday, April 30, 2012

Homemade From Scratch

Busy morning, got up at 5 and used the rotary cutter and cut up several sheets to use for rag rugs.  Then I made some "Cream" soup substitutes that I was inspired to make by the blog below that Renee sent me.

I used the recipe took out some things and added some things to come up with my own version of "Cream of Chicken Soup", "Cream of Mushroom Soup" and "Cream of Celery Soup".   Can't wait to try them, I will have to come up with something to use one of them this week and will let you know the verdict.  They were really simple to make with ingredients that I had on hand.  You will see that I used several dehydrated things that I had.  The celery was purchased and done at Thanksgiving time when it was on sale, the mushrooms I just did a month or so ago when Aldi had them on sale for 49 cents for 8 oz and the onions I got at Aldi's a couple months ago for 49 cents for 3 pounds.  I also have in my cabinets some dehydrated carrots that my grandson Brandon grew and gave me last year, tomatoes and peppers from my garden, organic grown Yukon Gold potatoes that we purchased last October when we were in Colorado, 50 lbs for $8, sweet potatoes that I got on sale for 19 cents a pound at Thanksgiving time, pineapple chunks, orange slices and lemon slices that I got on sale the first of the year.  Sure hope that Aldi has the mushrooms again soon as I use them a lot and they are very good. I dehydrated apple slices but they got ate up real fast.

The 3 jars in the front middle are the cream soups, the rest are some of the ingredients that were used.

  The green tape is painters tape; I always use it on my jars so when I take it off it won't leave that sticky tape residue.

Cream of Chicken Soup

1c. Dried Milk
3/4 c. Corn Starch
1/4 c. Dehydrated Celery
1/4 c. Chicken Soup Base
4 TBSP Dehydrated onions
1 Tsp Dehydrated Basil
1 tsp Blk Pepper
1 Tsp Parsley
1 Tsp Dehydrated Chives

Mix all ingredients together in the blender. For 1-10oz can of condensed soup combine 1/3 cup mix with 1 1/4 cup of water. Heat until thick. Add diced chicken if desired.

Cream of Celery Soup

1c. Dried Milk
3/4 c. Corn Starch
1/4 c. Dehydrated Celery
2 TBSP Chicken Soup Base
3 TBSP Dehydrated onions
1 Tsp Dehydrated Basil
1 tsp Blk Pepper
1 Tsp Parsley
1 Tsp Dehydrated Chives

Mix all ingredients together in the blender. For 1-10oz can of condensed soup combine 1/3 cup mix with 1 1/4 cup of water. Heat until thick.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

1c. Dried Milk
3/4 c. Corn Starch
1/4 c. Beef Soup Base
3 TBSP Dehydrated onions
1 Tsp Dehydrated Basil
1 tsp Blk Pepper
1 Tsp Parsley
1 Tsp Dehydrated Chives
1/2 c. Dehydrated Mushrooms

Mix all ingredients together in the blender except the mushrooms, add them to the jar and mix by hand. For 1-10oz can of condensed soup combine 1/3 cup mix with 1 1/4 cup of water. Heat until thick. 

You don't have to use the blender to mix them but I like the spices very fine and if the picky eater grandson is here he will never know what is in it.  :)

Later, take care.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Today I made two batches of soap and used the 2 new wooden soap molds that we made.  The liquid for the first batch was made from cantaloupe that I cut away from the skin, added some water, simmered it and then ran it through the blender.  The soap will be a light orange color and have added vitamin C in it.  The second batch I used the tops of the strawberries that I cut up the other day,  I added some water, simmered them and then ran them through the blender.  The color will be a light brown (not red as I had hoped for) and this too will have some added vitamin C.  Tomorrow night or Tuesday night I will take them out of the molds and will use my free miter box (got it at the garage sales we went to yesterday) to make the cuts nice and even.
Using fruit and vegetable scraps to color the soap is a real money saver.  I am making use of things that I would have gave to the chickens or thrown away.  When I get some cucumbers this summer I will try and make some soap with them.  I read that cucumber soap is very good.  Two weeks ago I used some of the true buttermilk that I had froze when I made some butter.  I don't bake a lot and use the buttermilk and had just been giving it to the chickens or putting it down the drain; now I will freeze it and use it to make soap.  Both batches I used tallow, used vegetable oil, sunflower oil and coconut oil. 
Buttermilk soap

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Thanks Gina for being my very first follower.  To follow my blog scroll down to the bottom right side and fill out the info requested.  Thanks everyone for reading.

Soap mold

Soap Molds
                                These are the 2 soap molds Ron and I made; they should hold 4 lbs each. 

My Green House

My little green house (homemade) has tomato and pepper plants.  I looked in it today and I have some little tomatoes already.  At this time of the year I usually don't even have plants in the ground but have had the plants in for about 4 weeks now.  This has been a really warm spring, now if we could get several days of some rain that would be nice.

Garage Sales

Had a good time this morning going to some garage sales.  Ran into Gina and she found some stuff for me.  Got several silicone molds, not sure they will all work for soap but for 25 and 50 cents I'll try.  Got some canning jars and should have enough now.  I will always pick them up if I find them real cheap.  Can't find any place to have the old caners that I got at the auction a couple of weeks ago tested.  They used to test them free at area farm extension offices but because of liability they can't do them anymore.  The lady said they did not know of anyone or anyplace to get it done. 
Renee went to see if she could get the silicone stuff that she saw on Friday and they weren't open today.  :(
Since I've been gone all day I have stuff to do.
Later, take care.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Today is my oldest daughter's birthday, Happy Birthday Gina.

The light at the end of the retirement tunnel is closer, moved the date up to May 11th.

Got some wood tonight at Menard's, my very favorite store, and Ron and I made 2 soap molds.  I will take pictures tomorrow. 

My daughter Renee saw some silicone bread pans and molds at a garage sale that were pretty dirty and didn't know that I would have loved them and could have cleaned them up (use them for soap molds).  She did get a new package of 2 silicone ice cream cone cup cake pans for 75 cents, I am jealous.  After work I tried to find the sale with the pans but could not find it.  Of course trying to find a location that Renee is directing me to to the best of her memory was a lost cause before I started.  :(  She is going to go in the morning to it again and if the stuff is there she will pick it up for me.

A small community by us is having their town wide garage sales tomorrow and we will go to it.  There is always this small farm at the edge of town that has vegetable plants and I have had the best luck buying them there, you have to go to it first because they sell out really fast.  Maybe I will find some silicone molds, wish me luck.
Later, take care.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Aldi has strawberries and pineapple again this week for 99 cents.  If you dehydrate, dehydrated pineapple is delicious.  Make sure when you buy fresh fruit that it is ripe and sweet before you use it.  Take the pineapple home and let it sit on your kitchen counter for a couple of days before cutting it.  Also on sale are navel oranges 4 pounds for $1.49 and Kiwi 1 pound for 69 cents.  As always you can take the Aldi ad with you to Walmart and they will price match, this is what I do.  Walmart doesn't run out of fresh fruit and vegetables like Aldi and in my opinion they are fresher and in better shape.


                                    This is Millie, she greets everyone who comes down our lane.

                                         This is Mortimer, he greets you by the front door.

                                         The flowers smell oh so nice and are a pretty shade of pink.
                                         Please note that at our house the ants are bigger than the frogs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No Cost Face Lift

No not for me but for my kitchen.  Menards had kitchen hardware on sale a week ago for $2.49 and when you sent in the rebate you got your money back.  Just changing out the cabinet knobs has made a huge difference and for free.  Watch the Menard's add because every week they have several items that after the rebate they are free.  I have gotten all sorts of outdoor cleaning products free by doing this.  I used some last year to wash my shed, I use some regularily to clean the garage and have some that I am going to use when it gets warmer to clean the brick on the house.  I can clean for free.  Later, take care.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Frugal advice

I came home from work today and cut up two 1 # boxes of strawberries and 3 large pineapples.  Both of these items were on sale this past week at a national supermarket.  This store is not one of my favorites so I took the ad to Walmart and price matched.  I got the strawberries, pineapples and some cantaloupe for 99 cents each.  The strawberries are cut up and ready for some strawberry shortcake that we will have later this week.  The pineapple is all cut up and in the dehydrator.  Dehydrated pineapple is absolutely delicious, nothing like that sugar laden stuff you buy at the store.  My granddaughter Hannah  loves it and ate almost all I had the last time she was here.  The leaves of the strawberries went to the chickens and the little bit of strawberry that was attached to the leaves went in a small pan of water, simmered until soft and then put through the blender to use in a batch of soap.  The pineapple skin went to the chickens and the core is simmering and will go through the blender and I will also use it for soap.  Right now in the freezer you will find some orange peelings and avocado skin and seeds that I will boil and use for soap.  Using fruit, spices and herbs are the only thing I use for color and fragrance for the soap.  Why pay for something to color or add fragrance to soap; neither one of these does anything to get you clean.
For supper tonight we had pulled pork, the pork was on sale this winter for 99 cents a pound so I purchased a lot of it, cooked it in the crock pot, cooled it and added BBQ sauce.  I then packaged it and froze it; it makes for a simple convenient meal.
I seldom ever purchase something unless it is on sale.  If you have a freezer buying meat when it is on sale is the only way to do it.  The same goes for pantry items, stock up when on sale, don't buy things at full price.
Later, take care.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Beautiful Monday

Until I retire next month I have been working 4 days a week; only 20 more working days and then I will come and go as I please.
Tried to separate the glycerin out of some of the used vegetable oil  today without any luck.  Did some wash, watered all the trees and the garden and sat outside and cut strips for rag rugs.  I also picked some lettuce, spinach and a couple of green onions and made myself a salad for my lunch for the next 3 days.  Renee gave me some radishes from her garden yesterday and I added them.
Today I also baked 2 loaves of bread.. Bread baking was done on Sunday until I started working 4 days a week.  I love the smell of the house on bread days.
Weighed the batches of soap I made last week and also calculated the cost of each batch.  I love making the soap and hope to start selling it.  My soap is not fancy looking nor does it have any fancy smell.  Fancy looks or fancy smell does not get you clean.  I also plan on selling rag rugs.  I would like to set up a stand when Spoon River Days come.  Please watch my blog for details about buying soap or rugs.
Right now the chickens are paying their own way with selling eggs.  They are even making a little money after buying feed' now the soap and rugs need to pay their own way.
Later, take care.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

April 22nd Earth Day, what do you do to help out our mother earth?  Here are some things that I am doing and maybe you can add some of these things to your list.

We planted 10 pine and 2 apple trees this year.

I go to a couple of grocery stores and get buckets with lids from their bakery (free) and use them to store my flour, oatmeal, rice and other items.  I have all I need right now but still get them and take them down to an Amish community that I go to a couple of times a month.  They give them to anyone who wants them to do the same.

I recycle old clothes and linens to make rag rugs.

I have my daughter Renee save her avocado peels and seeds and orange peelings.  I also save orange peels and put them in the crock pot with some water and simmer all day and put them through the food processor to use as the liquid when making soap.  It gives the soap some color and it is all natural.  So far I have used avocado, orange, clementines and pineapple to use when making soap. What doesn't get used for the soap I give to the chickens.

I render beef suet and pork fat to make soap.  I get the fat and suet from a local butcher for 50 cents a pound.

My daughter Renee's in-laws give me used vegetable oil to use to make soap.  They volunteer at a local American Legion and they save the oil when they change it out.  I filter it and use it to make soap.

I save all my soap scraps and use them in making laundry soap.

I feed all the table scraps to the chickens.  I also feed them all the vegetable and fruit scraps that I don't use for soap.

I have 2 rain barrels that I use to water my plants.

When the dehumidifier fills up I use that water to water my flowers and bushes.

I have fixed up a system to collect the water from the AC to water my garden.  In the middle of the summer I get about 10 gallons of water a day.

There are so many things that we all can do to help; just adding one thing helps to save our earth.

Later, take care.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21st

This blog is being started because one of my former co-works Noel and grandson Brandon urged me to do this.  I will try and blog about many of the things that I enjoy doing.  My retirement life will begin on May 25th and this will be a new and enjoyable time of my life.

Today I worked on one of my raised garden beds that has tomatoes and pepper plants.  I added a PVC frame and made a "green house" over it so I can encourage the plants until it gets a little warmer.  This is my first attempt at extending the season on some of my plants.  Right now I have garlic, red and yellow onions, lettuce, spinach and potatoes in the other 3 raised beds.  I have several herbs in one of the beds and in the PVC tube garden.  Sometime I will post a picture of the tube garden so you can see what it looks like.

After the garden work I finished one of the crochet rag rugs that I had been working on.  I taught myself how to crochet rag rugs by watching You Tube.  I was inspired to start making them after reading a book that was written in the late 1800's and they were using some old drapes to make some rag rugs.  I remember my grandmother making them when I was very young.  I asked my daughters to clean their drawers and closets and they gave me lots of t-shirts to use and I also did the same.  I also went to a couple of auctions and purchased 4 boxes of sheets that I am using to make the rugs with also.  The 4 boxes had about 24 sheets and a dozen or so of tablecloths and only paid $6 for everything.  I've given a rug to both granddaughters one of the grandsons and my middle daughter Renee took one for her kitchen.  I have one in my bathroom and one in my kitchen.   I enjoy doing them and it makes a nice thing to do to relax in the evening.  It also is a good way to recycle old linens and clothing items.

Well enough of my thoughts for today, later.