If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Monday, September 24, 2018

pumpkins and pumpkin spice cookies

Good morning 
Below are some cloth pumpkins that I made yesterday, for my daughter at her request.  
They are circles, with a running stitch pulled up, then stuffed with polyfill. 
The stems are made from strips of brown fleece, tightly rolled and hot glued.  

If you want to make pumpkins but don’t want to sew or can’t sew, I found this really cute and simple method to make pumpkins from old clothing items. 
No Sew pumpkins by Fresh Vintage 

Below is our front porch, decorated for fall.  
The mum has lots of buds but they aren’t opening.  If they don’t open soon,  I’ll take them back to Lowe’s.  

Here is the recipe I used for Pumpkin Spice cookies, if you’re wanting to do some fall baking.   It’s a cookie recipe I’ve baked many times.  They are great made with just vanilla and they taste like fall when the DIY Pumpkin Spice is added.  

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

1 C butter, softened (I use real salted butter, not margarine or spread for baking)
2 C brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 t vanilla (I omit this when adding pumpkin spice) 
2 1/4 C flour 
1/2 salt
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
3 cups of oats- rolled or quick- both work fine 

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric  mixer until smooth.  
Add eggs, one at a time and beat to combine. 
Add vanilla and/or pumpkin spice as desired and beat about a minute. 
Add flour, salt, baking soda and powder. Beat at low speed until combined. 
Add oatmeal and stir until combined. 

Now preheat the oven to 350.  
Line your cookie sheets with parchment. 
Make large balls with dough, I use a 2 ounce cookie scoop. 
Put dough balls on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.  Slightly flatten each ball, use your fingers or the bottom of a glass. 
Bake about 12 minutes, or just until set.  

With a 2 ounce scoop, one recipe makes 3 dozen good size cookies. 

DIY Pumpkin Spice 
3 T cinnamon
2 t ginger 
2 t nutmeg ( I left this out because my nutmeg didn’t smell right)
1 t cloves
1 t allspice 

Mix together and keep in a tightly closed container.
I added a little more than 1 T to the oatmeal cookie recipe.  Yes, I know eating raw eggs in cookie dough is a No-No but I tasted the dough before I baked it and after adding more spice,  I think a slightly rounded T of spice mix is just right.  

Happy Fall Y’all 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Peppers and tacos and cookies

Hello, on my to do list was to deal with a bunch of jalapeños my husband grew.  
For some of them, I used my friend Dawn’s recipe.  

Dawn’s freezer jalapeño poppers

I think these will be so nice to pull out and bake some whenever we like.  

With the rest of the jalapeños, I found a very simple candied jalapeño recipe and did that to the rest of them. 
Candied jalapeños are really good on a cracker with a smear of cream cheese.  

Supper was lentil tacos in crunchy shells with naked okra.  

My grandsons that live on a farm gobbled up the lentil tacos.  In fact the oldest grandson ate 4. 
He is not a picky eater but he never mentioned anything about the lentil tacos being different from the beef tacos he has always had before.  

I really think the lentil tacos would appeal to anyone that likes tacos.  They are seasoned up just like beef taco meat.  

Gavin and Braeden really do live on a small farm.  Their daddy has beef cows and their momma has dairy cows. The boys help with both.   
This is one of their guernsey calves right after they showed her at our county fair.  

Yesterday, I baked 2 batches of cookies.  Most of them are for this weekend’s cookout.  
I used this recipe for the chocolate chip ones except I used semisweet chocolate chips and I made mine just regular cookie size 

Cookie Madness is a great blog, written by a regular mom who won the Pillsbury Bake Off maybe 10 years ago.  She bakes lots of cookies and other desserts and you can trust her recipes and advice.  

The other is a recipe I’ve used for lots of years but I added homemade pumpkin spice blend.  They have no real pumpkin in them.  

That’s what’s been cookin’ here. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Hello ——-To do list, CVS deals, no meat recipes

Good Monday everyone
My husband was out of town for a few days, helping his family in Arkansas.  
He brought me these pretty yellow roses ❤️
And if you look in the background, I did order more fabric and sewed a curtain for the dining room window to match the bench cover. 

Here’s my to do list for the week.  I didn’t decorate it this time.  
Even though it’s plain, it will help me stay on track.  

I’ve gotten back into weekly couponing at CVS.  
It does take planning, as many things do, and I think it’s very worth my time and fun too. 

Above is what I bought this week.  It was $109 before all deductions and just $22 after deductions and I got a pile of CVS extracarebucks to spend next week.  

Below is how I planned out my purchase plan.  I clipped the items I wanted to buy  from the sale paper and glued them onto a sheet of paper. 
This makes it easy to spot the correct item in the store. 

I try to always buy items that are on sale, offer extracarebucks, have coupons and if possible, also that I have CVS personalized coupons for.  Personalized coupons, called CRTs in couponing lingo, are coupons that print from the CVS red box or at the bottom of a CVS receipt.  

I also only buy items I know we will use, but I made a slight exception to that this week as I got some new vitamins that were free after coupons from Sunday’s paper.  

 Below I did some rough figuring to determine the actual amount I should spend.
It was pretty close,  I guessed $25 and it was a little less.  

The deductions circled in green are paper coupons either printed from coupons.com or from the newspaper. 
The deductions in Red are CVS CRT coupons, app coupons and extracarebucks from last week.  See how quickly they add up? 

Next week, I’ll start with $31 in CVS money.  

Meal prep
3 grands spent the night here this weekend, so before they came, I did some meal prep. 
In the crockpot Lentil Taco filling is cooking.  I mixed up pancake batter for breakfast.  It’s always nice to have a salad in the fridge. 
For fruit, I cut up a watermelon and put it in 2 containers and the rest is on the divided tray with plums and strawberries.  

I am still eating no meat and I like it just fine. 
I hesitate to call it vegetarian as I have used a few animal products we already had on hand when I started leaving off the meat.  And we definitely are not eating Vegan. 

Lentil Tacos are one of my favorites 

Slow cooker lentil tacos

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed 
1/2 t garlic salt
1 T chili powder
1/2 t oregano 
2 t cumin
Black pepper as desired
1 can of green chili and tomatoes- Rotel, 10 ounce or so (I used Aldi ones) OR 1 cup salsa 
2 cups water
2 bouillon cubes- vegetable bouillon would be vegetarian but I used chicken as that’s what I had 

Put all the ingredients in a slow cooker, stir, cover and cook on high 4 hours, until the lentils are tender. 
I had to add about a cup of water halfway through.  
So plan to check on the lentils a couple of times during cooking.  
You want the lentils to cook and not dry up but the finished dish should not be juicy.  
My crock pot cooks fast and yours may not cook as hot as mine.  

I served these on lightly fried corn tortillas with traditional toppings like onion, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa and sour cream.  It would be good in crunchy shells or flour tortillas too.  
While the flavor is almost identical to beef taco filling,  the texture is different.  
I don’t think you can fool anyone with this but they really are so good.  
We like them a lot and they are very easy and thrifty.  
One batch of these made enough filling for 3 meals of tacos for the 2 of us, making 6-7 tacos each time.  

Black Eyed peas are another favorite.  

Black eyed peas 

2 cups dry BE peas, washed and drained
1 diced onion
3 celery stalks, diced
1 1/2 t paprika
1 t thyme
1 t parsley 
1 t oregano
1 1/2 t Cajun seasoning like Tony Chacheres 
1 T dry chicken boullion- I would use vegetable to be vegetarian but I already have this in my pantry 
If desired 1 t Tobasco

Put all in a slow cooker and cover with water and another 2 inches or so
Cook on high- in my crockpot it takes 4 hours 

Serve with hot rice 

I made it simple batch of lentil soup but it was very blah.  I plan to try a more spiced up version next time. 
We also really like red beans and rice with no meat.  I’ll share that recipe soon.  

Today, I’m cooking a batch of refried beans in the crockpot and will serve them with quesadillas and green salad.  

We’re not eating meat but we aren’t eating anything people would call too weird either.  

Have a good week everyone ❤️

Monday, August 27, 2018

Eating differently- no meat?

Good morning 
I hesitate some to write this post because people can have very strong opinions on this.  
First, I want to say I am not anti-farm nor do I think animals have more rights than people.  
Second, I think what people eat is their own personal choice and I truly don’t care what they decide to eat. 

I have been dieting all summer.  I’ve spent 2 months following The Trim Healthy Mama plan and 3 weeks following Keto.  Both plans center around protein at every meal, and mostly from animal products.  In all that time,  I lost 10 pounds but was not happy with meals as I truly don’t enjoy eating meat.  I’ve been eating meat all my life but I’ve just got tired of it. 
So for now.  I’m not eating meat.  
I am eating a little dairy and eggs. 
So after some research, I learned it’s called “ovo lacto vegetarian” 
For now, I’m not concerned about GMO or organic, I see there may be some benefit in it, but for now,  I am not convinced.  

My husband is being a great sport about it. He’s enjoying the meatless meals I’ve prepared and has also enjoyed a little meat along the way.  
Grands have been here for meatless meals and they ate and never noticed a difference.  

I did not purge our kitchen and get rid of all animal products,  we will be reasonable about this and not wasteful, nor did I go out and purchase a bunch of specialty products.  I did buy more beans.  We still have a big freezer with many meat products inside,  they will get cooked for company in the future. 

And because I am trying to lose weight,  I am also avoiding sugar and refined grains as much as is reasonable.  

For breakfasts, we've eaten eggs most times. 
 Below we had eggs with hash browned sweet and white potatoes, and my husband had some precooked bacon from our freezer. 

I had a biscuit with all fruit jelly and an egg 

Another egg and toasted seed bread 

Hot tea with scrambled eggs on toasted seed bread.  

Sugar free, fat free vanilla  yogurt mixed with a tablespoon sugar free peanut butter and a tablespoon sugar free chocolate chips is so good, it’s called cookie dough yogurt in the keto and trim healthy mama world.  I really like it and it keeps me full till the next meal and it can be mixed up in a minute.  

I’ve also enjoyed eating fruit whenever I want- melons, berries, pineapple, apples and bananas.  

On to lunches and suppers, 
Naked okra, hash brown sweet potatoes, fresh fruit and some Tillamook cheese for protein.  

Black eyed peas and rice- 

Zucchini noodles mixed with a few spaghetti noodles topped with homemade sauce and cheese, sautéed spinach and onions and fresh fruit.  
At this meal, my husband skipped the zucchini noodles and only ate spaghetti noodles.  He is not a fan of “zoodles”

Red beans and rice with naked okra 

We’ve had fried rice several times.  This meal had bigger pieces of scramble eggs in the fried rice for protein,  

Below was an impromptu meal with 3 grands.  We had cheese quesadillas with fresh fruit, veggies and yogurt for the children.  I made my quesadilla on a low carb tortilla while the others were on flour tortillas.  

Below  was a meal when 2 grands were here- I set out peanut butter sandwich ingredients but nobody ate them.
The fried rice, made with the eggs stirred into the hot rice to cook them, was a big hit.  

Another meal with 2 grands here was bean and cheese burritos.  I put canned refried beans and grated cheese in tortillas, folded them up and heated them in a skillet with a bit of butter.  We liked them that night.  My son came by the next day and reheated the 2 leftover burritos and he liked them too.  

One day, we were in Oklahoma City and we ate at a Golden Corral, a buffet with lots of choices.  I had a salad topped with sunflower seeds, Mexican beans and cornbread and several vegetables.  My husband had a huge salad, some vegetables and 2 chicken legs.  We both skipped all the desserts.  

Another day,  I was gone all afternoon and hadn’t planned supper.  So I stopped at Walmart and got a bag of Italian salad mix and 2 Digiorno thin crust pizzas, one was spinach and the other pepperoni.  These were small pizzas, maybe 8 or 10 inch.  It cost about $11 total and was cheaper than eating out.  I really liked the spinach pizza but it was different from traditional pizza.  My husband is a big spinach fan but he didn’t like it, he did like his pepperoni just fine.  

For snacks,  we’ve had sugar free pudding, nuts, a few peanuts mixed with sugar free chocolate chips, and fruit.  

Our verdict? After 8 days,  I’ve lost 3 pounds and I feel really good.  
Someone at church commented to my husband that he was looking thinner but I don’t think he has weighed.  He was happy for the compliment. 
This way of eating does take planning but it can be very economical.  
We plan to stay with it and see how it goes.  

I do have a warning if you’re thinking about looking into this way of eating. 
Vegans use no animal products at all and some of them are such purists and activists,  they are not very “nice” or subtle.  You might come across some disturbing or very rude things looking for vegetarian info.  

I’ll post some recipes we like later if anyone seems interested.  

However you choose to feed yourself and your family, happy cooking to you ❤️

CVS deals - last week of August

I almost didn’t go to CVS yesterday but after looking at what a few shopping hauls from other couponers on their social media accounts, I put together the deals I wanted and headed to CVS.
I used a few coupons from the 8/26 and 8/19 Sunday papers along with coupons from the CVS red scanning box and some extracarebucks I earned last week. 

My low out of pocket total really surprised me and impressed the store manager whose rang up my order.  
I spent $4.10, saving 95%, and got back $21 extracarebucks for next week.  I should also get $3 in beauty bucks when they credit in a few days.  

❤️ happy shopping everyone 🛒 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Summer shopping deals

Good morning, 
The week just flew by here and I don’t have many shopping deals to share but here are my best ones, and really my only ones because I just don’t shop much.  

At CVS- with sales and CVS coupons and extracarebucks and manufacturer coupons,  
all this came to about $23 and I got CVS bucks back for the next week.  

At Dollar General,  all of this was $11, using nothing but their digital coupons.  

My daughter has a side business where she decorates and sells these beautiful Yeti-type tumblers.  
She uses permanent inks and glitters and a rotisserie type turner and the tumbler has to rotate and cure for 24 hours.  I’m not really sure of the details but she is selling them faster than she makes them.  

So when I was in Walmart and saw these TAL tumblers,  which I knew were excellent quality, on clearance for $2, I texted her about them and she wanted some.  

I kept the short tumblers and some of the wine tumblers for my grands to use here.  They have about all graduated from sippy cups and  these insulated cups are so nice.  

I apologize that all of these sales are in the past and no longer available but I do want to encourage you to look online and find out the best sales at the local stores you can shop at. 
CVS shopping takes a lot of planning. 
Dollar General is easy,  you just need a digital account with them. 
And if you shop at Walmart, find out where their clearance aisle is and check it whenever you go there.  

Happy shopping everyone ❤️

My next post will be about what we’ve been eating and how we are doing it differently than ever before and really liking it.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

On to a few home spruce ups.......

I’ll show the shopping deals soon but now, I want to show a sewing job I just finished today. 

We bought a 6 foot long foldable bench at Aldi earlier this summer and it’s very practical for the our grands to sit on but it sure wasn’t pretty.  
I decided to try sewing a slipcover/dust-ruffle to cover it.  
I didn’t find much help on Pinterest so I just jumped in anyway. 
I ordered 5 yards of black and white buffalo check fabric on EBay.  It was described as tablecloth fabric and I was very happy with it when it arrived.  
It’s polyester so it doesn’t wrinkle and should be sturdy.  

Below is the bench without a cover. 

I just measured the bench and cut a piece for the top, then cut 2 long pieces for the sides and pinned them on, and 2 shorter pieces for the ends.  
Then I just sewed it all together and finished the seams so it will hold up to laundering.  

I don’t think Ducky likes it but that’s OK.  He won’t be sitting on it.  
I also added ties on the inside to each corner and middle of the cover are tied to the legs.  
The table runner is just the scrap of leftover but I do plan to hem it for a proper runner. 
I like the black and white checks so much, I may order more and sew up a new curtain for the window by the front door. What do you think? 

In the kitchen,  I cleaned out every cabinet and tried to clear as much surface as I could.  

The biggest change is the upright freezer was moved to the garage and our fridge moved back to the built in spot it was supposed to be in.  

The coffee bar moved into the breakfast nook.  

The kitchen seems a lot less crowded to me now.  

It’s hard to photograph and I didn’t take before photos but I spent 2 days cleaning out and organizing our pantry.  
Below is the view top to bottom.  

Above is the top half of the pantry and below is the bottom half.  
My favorite change is I switched out plastic storage baskets for Longaberger baskets.  I already owned several Longabergers and then I bought a bunch more  of them at a bargain yard sale in June.  

The crocks hold potatoes and onions. 
The plastic tubs hold things bought in bulk and things like extra bags of flour, rice, etc; 

These changes have made cooking much easier too as I know exactly what we have on hand and where everything is.  
I’ve got more sprucing up in other rooms to do and I’ll post progress when I get to it.  

Jeff and Rhonda

Jeff and Rhonda