Friday, October 31, 2008

Classic Lemon Loaf

I haven't posted a new recipe in a while. This one is super simple and really good. It's from the October edition of the Chatelaine magazine.

As usual I altered it a little bit.

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose/plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large lemon
1/2 cup butter or marg
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup milk

Glaze:

3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar



In a bowl, sieve the flour, salt, baking powder together, and then stir in grated peel of a lemon. The recipe calls for the peel of 1/2 a lemon, but I like to be able to taste the lemon.



Cream the sugar and butter together until smooth. Whisk in a mug, the two eggs, the milk and vanilla and gradually add it to the creamed mixture. Mix well.



Add flour mixture, mixing in with a wooden spoon. DO NOT OVERMIX.



Pour into a lined loaf pan (2lb) and pop into a preheated 350oF oven.



Cook for 55 to 65 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean.



Now this is where me and the recipe differ. The recipe says mix the lemon juice and sugar together, and put it on top of the loaf.

I say put the lemon juice and sugar in a pan, and bring to the boil, then pour on top of the loaf.

Which ever way you decide to do it, as soon as the loaf comes out of the oven, skewer some holes in the top of the loaf and pour the glaze over top. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and leave to cool.





Now here is a Martha Stewart minute, a tool I just love in my kitchen. Its a lemon zester. I got mine from Lee Valley Tools, and although a little expensive, it's worth every penny.



I just wanted to add I got the parchment liner for the loaf pan from here when we were in Britain last.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Skywatch Fridays

These photos were taken from the car. It was a stormy sky and it ended with a stormy night.




For more Skywatch Photos click on this link.

Cutting your food bill Part 2........

So last week we in theory, made an inventory of our freezer, fridge and pantry, and we made a menu plan for the week, right? RIGHT!!!!! Did you at least plan a menu for the week, that in itself is a life saver, as you don't have to think what should I make for supper tonight, just look at the list!!!!

Here is our menu for this week. As you can see it's heavy on the ceaser salad side this week, only because I have a jar of salad dressing that needs to be used up in the next couple of weeks.



One of the best way to save money on groceries is to buy them in a "basic or no frills" type of store. You know the type of store that probably doesn't have a deli, or a butcher, or a fancy bakery in store. Now some of you don't have a choice as to where you can shop. If you do check out these basic stores. More often than not they sell the same name brands as the fancier stores, and nine times out of ten they sell them cheaper. If you must buy your meat fresh from a butcher, then of course go to the butcher, otherwise I have had no problem with shopping in these kind of stores. At the basic grocery stores its not as fancy, but honestly if you are only having to spend an hour a week there, who cares? If you can save $5 by shopping there instead of the fancy dancy store, isn't that $5 better in your pocket rather than the grocery stores?

Also buying no name brand items is also a money saver. I will say there are certain things I won't buy no name, like Heinz Baked Beans for example. One thing I will warn you, if you haven't tried a particular brand before only buy one at a time to see if you and your family like it.

Last week I touched on the subject of buying reduced meat, veggies, fruit and even bread. If you have a freezer buying reduced bread is great, pop a few loaves in the freezer and you have it on hand all the time.

I also buy cheap cuts of meat and pop them in the crockpot to cook. One of my all time favourite meals is Cola Beef I buy the cheapest cut of beef, normally on sale for $1.99 per pound (haven't been able to find it for less) and because of the slow cooking and the cola (it does not taste of cola) it makes a super tender roast of beef.

I also find that using your crockpot saves you money and time. Pop everything into the crockpot first thing in a morning, and by supper time its all ready to go. To make some meat dishes like stew stretch I also use less meat and more veggies. Check out this site for some good crockpot recipes.

Again for those of you who are short of time, prep everything the night before and then just throw it all in the crockpot in the morning. Making things from scratch not only saves you money but you at least know what is in that meal and you can alter it to suit your family.

Buying fruit and veggies in season is also a money saver. For us in Canada its Fall/Winter so of course its that time of year for root vegetables and apples/pears. For those of you "down under" its that time of years for Summer fruits and salads. I must say though that nowadays it is easier to buy off season fruits and veggies as all countries seem to import more and more things.

Still it's better to take advantage of what is in season. Although I know by mid February I will be craving summer salads and fresh strawberries, but that's human nature isn't it, craving what you can't have!!
I do keep an eye open in other areas of the stores, as sometimes stores have other items on clearance, which combined with coupons will also make great deals.

One section I do use a lot of coupons in, is the cleaning aisle and the toiletries/personal items aisle. I also use coupons in the paper goods section.

I have saved quite a bit of money by making my own laundry detergent and fabric softener.

Buying in bulk sometimes is a money saver.....I say sometimes, as you really do need to know our prices. Also make sure its something you will use before the item expires. For example buying 6 romaine lettuce for $3 is a great deal as long as you don't mind eating romaine lettuce for the next six nights, as you know they won't keep for too much longer!!

Big batch cooking or once a month cooking also helps you save both time and money. When I worked outside the house, I used to spend a Sunday afternoon preparing meals for the upcoming week, it took two or three hours, but it was so handy to have those meals ready to go after work. One site I like that has a lot of good bulk recipes is this one I haven't signed up for anything on there, I just use the "free" recipes.

Another site I like is the Kraft one, it has a variety of recipes on there that will suit everyone.

I think everyone has their own favourite recipe sites, with money saving recipes on them..........if you like put a link on your comment, so we can all share.

I did some canning this year for the first time in years, and have to say we are enjoying the fruits of my labour. The pears are really good as is the jam. However, if I hadn't got the raspberries for pretty cheap, it wouldn't have been worth my while, the same with the pears, I got them for free, so it was a good thing to do. If I had, had to pay full price for the raspberries and I had, had to pay for the pears, I probably would have found it cheaper to buy these items.

I still haven't done an inventory of my pantry, as I have a good idea of what's in there. Here are a couple of photos of my main pantry.




We have another double upper cupboard with baking things and spices in. Then the over flow of other things I have on shelves in my laundry room.

I hope some of what I have talked about has given you some ideas. As always I welcome what you have to say.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I am not impressed!!!

I sent a memo to you know who up there, asking that he only sends us snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and that's it!! So why is it this morning I am seeing this?



Okay I know in the scheme of things, it's not six feet of snow, but for heavens sake it's only the end of October!! I also know up north they have already had snow. But why is it no one ever listens to me????

Thank you for listening to me whine!

(I also need to read my instruction book for my camera on how to take snow falling out of the sky photos!!)

Watery Wednesday

I took these photos of the Nottawasaga river the other day when we were out. As always click on the photos for more detail.




For more Watery Wednesday photos, click on the link.

50 + 1 Recipes for Brussels Sprouts

Have to say this is not a favourite vegetable of mine, but dh loves them.

1. Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts

2. Kielbasa with Brussels Sprouts

3. Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts

4. Baby Carrots And Brussels Sprouts Glazed With Brown Sugar and Pepper

5. Brussels Sprouts in Mustard Sauce

6. Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts

7. Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios

8. Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Almonds

9. Baked Brussels Sprouts

10. Almond Brussels Sprouts

11. Brussels Sprouts and Rice - this sounds sort of okay

12. Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Parmesan

13. Little Cabbage Hash - I remember my mother always telling me Brussels sprouts are just baby cabbages.....yeah right!!

14. Shredded Brussels Sprouts Sauteed with Sweet Onions

15. Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad

16. Brussels Sprouts Pasta

17. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

18. Brussels Sprouts with Red Pepper

19. Braised Brussels Sprouts

20. Butter Bean and Brussels Soup - Here is a link explaining what Butter Beans are.

21. Cream of Brussels Sprouts Soup

22. Meatball and Noodle Soup

23. Brussels Sprouts in Beer

24. Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts

25. Brussels Sprouts with Cream and Nuts

26. Bubble and Squeak - this is one way I actually like eating Brussels Sprouts

27. Pasta with Brussels Sprouts

28. Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Hazelnuts

29. Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Zucchini

30. Oven Baked Brussels Sprouts

31. Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts

32. 24-Karat Brussels Sprouts

33. Baked Brussels Sprouts au Gratin

34. Brussels Sprouts Souffle with Corned Beef

35. Brussels Sprouts in Beer Batter

36. Brussels Sprouts Pie

37. Brussels Sprouts and Chicken Stir-Fry

38. Buttered Brussels Sprouts

39. Salsa Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

40. Shredded Brussels Sprouts in Cream

41. Snap Peas and Brussels Sprouts Saute

42. Sprightly Sprouts and Cauliflower

43. Whole-Wheat Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts and Red Bell Peppers

44. Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

45. Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

46. Roasted Beets with Rice, Collard Greens and Brussels Sprouts

47. Cheesy Gratin of Brussels Sprouts

48. Quick and Easy Candied Brussels Sprouts

49. Sour Creamed Brussels Sprouts

50. Asian Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

51. Brussels Sprouts with spiced breadcrumbs

So there you go. I will say this was the hardest one so far to find recipes for. I am still not a fan of Brussels Sprouts, but there are a couple of recipes there I may try.

Here is the nutritional information:



Next week its Sweet Potato.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Odds and ends, this and that, bits and bobs.....

Ever had one of those blogging days when you just think to yourself what am I going to write about today? Well today (Monday) is one of those days. Not sure how you all do it, but I tend to write a post one day to be posted the next day. I have my posts published around 1am our time so that there is a new post for you to read in North America when you get up in a morning. I guess its also there for your morning reading in Europe as well? It's just you guys down under that have to wait until late morning, early afternoon to see what I have written about today.

I do pride myself on being pretty organized and do tend to write a number of posts ahead of time. My weekly recipe posts I was working a month ahead of time. I have been lazy and I am still working on November 14th's post. I think it's because the veggies I am choosing are more unusual and its harder finding the recipes. I know this weeks Brussels sprouts one was a real doozy finding 51 recipes, but I persevered and found 51.

Then there are some weeks when I could write six posts in one day, but I find one per day is more than enough, other than when I do the photography posts, you know the Watery Wednesday, Skywatch Friday and Today's Flower posts. I do those posts as I enjoy taking photographs, and seeing what other people have done, inspires you to experiment and to try harder.

When I write a post I want it to interest you as much as it interests me. But as I generally lead a pretty boring life, some days its hard finding things to write about.

For example, this is what I did today.

Got up, had my breakfast, read the newspaper and did the sudoku puzzle while eating my breakfast. I then finish my cup of tea, while I do my daily journal report for my column that I have on Phancy Pages I also catch up on my emails etc.

I then went for a shower, and cleaned the bathrooms. I threw a load of laundry in the washer, by this time its nearly 8:30am. I called my mother, but she was having her lunch and told me she would call me back. I then washed some dishes, made some fish cakes for supper and prepared a romaine lettuce for supper. I hung the laundry on the clothes horse to dry and did a couple of little jobs.

By this time it was 9:30am and my mother called me back. We talked until nearly 10am. I made a cup of tea, went and got the mail and read the mail while I was drinking my tea.

By this time its 10:20am, so I went upstairs and gave that a good clean. It didn't take too long, as we only use two of the four bedrooms, so I only ran the duster over the two bedrooms we don't use. I polished all the oak staircase down, and then hoovered all downstairs as well. Just for added excitement I am including a photo!!!



By this time its after 11:30am. Did a couple of little things before 12 noon. Had lunch at 12 noon and watched MASH while having my lunch. I then wrote a bit more of this post. I then went and did some sewing for a while and finally finished off my nephews quillow for Christmas. Came back downstairs and did the ironing. Surfed the net while I had a cup of tea.

I then made an apple crisp. Now while supper was cooking I popped in to visit some blogs and over at Cathy's she has a couple of You Tube clips which are so, so funny, here is a link to one of them.

After supper things got super exciting I watched the news, had a shower, then watched both my soaps, Eastenders and Coronation Street. Then watched Little People Bigger World, then went to bed. What a day, eh!!!

Actually this post didn't turn out too bad, as I added a couple of recipes, that I had posted ages ago, a couple of other links, a funny and even a photo. Not bad for having nothing to say!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Memories a bit of Fun

This was originally posted on Tania's blog, and I thought so much of this was so true. This is originally from Australia, in case you were wondering.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1920's, 30's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks some of us took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a Ute on a warm day was always a special treat. We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds, KFC, Subway or Red Rooster. Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn't open on the weekends, somehow we didn't starve to death!

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Fruit Tingles and some fire crackers to blow up frogs and lizards with.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......

WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.

We built tree houses and cubby houses and played in creek beds with matchbox cars. We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape or DVD movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no Lawsuits from these accidents. Only girls had pierced ears! We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross buns at Easter time.......no really!

We were given BB guns and sling shots for our 10th birthdays, We drank milk laced with Strontium 90 from cows that had eaten grass covered in nuclear fallout from the atomic testing at Maralinga in 1956.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Mum didn't have to go to work to help dad make ends meet!

Footy had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

Our teachers used to belt us with big sticks and leather straps and bully's always ruled the playground at school. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

Our parents got married before they had children and didn't invent stupid names for their kids like 'Kiora' and 'Blade'.....

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 70 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned

HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

And YOU are one of them!

CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good. And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?! PS -

The big type is because your eyes are shot at your age

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Today's Flower

Dh bought me a bunch of flowers back on the 10th of October (when this photo was taken).



Today is the 26th of October and here is what the flowers look like now:



They should last until later in the week, which means I should get around 3 weeks from them which isn't too bad as we do have the heating turned on. However I do change the water every other day and they are kept in the living room, which does tend to be a bit cooler than the rest of the house.

Please click on this link for more of Today's Flower's photos.

This is so keeping me out of mischief, and look out for those turtles crossing the road!

I just can't get enough of it, I can check it at least half a dozen times a day and it still fascinates me.

What am I talking about.....that Sitemeter thingy I have at the bottom of the blog.

My number one favourite thing is the world map with all the dots on it. I want to thank everyone for visiting. I have visitors from Malta, Vietnam, New Zealand, Africa, Middle East, Poland, India, just to name a few places. I get so excited when there is another dot from a place I haven't seen before.

Then there is the "by referrals" section, and that is such an eye opener. For instance, someone did a google search on "Celine Dion Opening Act," and up pops my blog as an example.......who knew that??? Isn't Google marvelous, I did not know that would happen. Then some poor soul, popped in kidney bean lasagna in Google and up pops my blog for baked bean lasagna..........LOL They must have wondered what on earth had happened!!!!

This one was neat, someone put in "rona sunshade gazebo top" and up popped my blog, I hope my review was helpful? Maybe my blog is doing a public service of sorts?? And here is me thinking I am rambling on about nothing.

There are so many different statistics to look out it can keep you occupied for ages, well it does me.

We went for a ride out in the car today (Saturday) and here are a couple of photos, they were taken from the car:





Isn't that cute, having a warning sign for turtles crossing. I will say its a pretty busy road, and we all know that turtles don't exactly walk with a speed of knots now do they? So I am guessing there must be a pile of squished turtles on the road if they do decide to cross the road.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

These quizzes were made for me and Ten Cheap Ways To Be Happy!!!!!




What Your Taste in Chocolate Says About You



You are sweet, mellow, and easily satisfied.

You don't like anything too intense and dramatic.

Deep down, you're a kid at heart... and you're nostalgic for the past.



You are full of life and vigor.

You have an amazing amount energy, and you keep very active.

Some people feel like you can't focus on them. You do tend to be restless



You love the feeling of accomplishment. You enjoy doing what's important.

You feel lost when you have to do frivolous tasks or hang out with shallow people.







You are Milk Chocolate



A total dreamer, you spend most of your time with your head in the clouds.

You often think of the future, and you are always working toward your ideal life.

Also nostalgic, you rarely forget a meaningful moment... even those from long ago.



My favourite chocolate is milk chocolate, I even use milk chocolate chips in my choc-chip cookies........

Okay, confession time here!!! I have absolutely NO self control when it comes to chocolate, I mean if its a huge bar or a small bar I will eat it. Also chocolate gives me migraines, so you would think I would be careful when eating chocolate, think again.

I adore white chocolate and I love mint, so one year I got two boxes of white chocolate After Eights for Christmas. So of course I stuffed myself, and ended up with the mother of all migraines. This was a number of years ago and I still remember how ill I was. However, if you gave me the same boxes again, I can guarantee I would do it again!

Now dh being the love that he is called in at the Lindt Chocolate factory outlet store the other day and brought me a huge bar of chocolate home, so guess what I have been snacking on these past couple of days......I now have a rotten headache, but that chocolate was sssssooooooo good!!

Thank you to Gaynor for posting these quizzes on her blog!!

I also saw this article about 10 Cheap Ways To Be Happy, and when I was reading it, I thought, they're right, you don't have to have a ton of money to enjoy yourself.

Now one of the things was to complete an incomplete crafting project, if anyone doesn't have one to complete, I will be more than happy to send you mine!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I am obsessed, I need a favour, my hair AGAIN!!! And see how the world would vote in the US Election.......

As you will have noticed I have been playing around with the look of my blog. Wish I'd left it alone, but never mind. While I was playing around with it, I lost my counter at the bottom, so I put a new one on called "Sitemeter." Now I have to say that is one of the neatest things ever. I have become obsessed with it, well with a section of it anyway. There is a world map, where there are dots which indicate where people are checking in from. I mean its great I just love it. I know little things amuse little minds, but this keeps me out of mischief.

Of course the most dots I have are in Canada and the United States, followed by Britain and Australia. There are the odd dot from other places, but I seem to have big gaps in Eastern Europe, Asia and South America.

So this is where the favour comes in. Do any of you know any other bloggers in the far flung corners of the world? I am sure you do. Would you mind asking them to pop over to my blog. They don't have to comment or anything. I just want to see some dots popping up in out of way places.......am I strange or what?

When I checked my world map on Thursday morning I got all excited as there was a dot in the pacific ocean, it turned out someone in Hawaii had popped in. I also had some one in Lithuania pop in, got all excited about that as well.

So pretty, pretty please ask your blogging friends to pop on by.



Now my hair..don't groan. This is so unusual, well for me anyway, that I thought it may interest you all.

About a month ago I started to experience an itchy scalp. So of course the first thing that popped into my mind was head lice......aaarrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhh!! However I also had a burning sensation on my scalp. I knew I hadn't been near anyone with head lice, but I checked myself and couldn't see anything.

It sort of went away, but every now and then, it would flare up. Anyhow this past week, I have been past myself with the itchiness and the burning sensation. I will say I had changed shampoo from Herbal Essenes to Pantene, so I figured maybe the Pantene was irritating my scalp, so switched to Dove, which is very mild. However things got no better.

So on Tuesday I got dh to check my scalp and he couldn't see anything. I decided to put itchy, burning scalp into Google to see what popped up and you won't believe what it said..........STRESS This was caused by stress??? Dh had a doctors appointment on Wednesday so I went along and got the doctor to look at my head, just to make sure there wasn't anything there. He confirmed my scalp looks perfectly normal, no dandruff, no head lice, no redness.

Isn't that the strangest thing you have ever heard? Now I will say I have had a couple of things going on this past couple of weeks that have made me feel a bit stressed, but nothing overly exciting. This has never ever happened to me before.

Now I need my hair cut and dyed, but honestly the thought of putting dye on my hair is not at all appealing as my head feel as though its on fire. I did however go and get my hair cut today, at "N's" house and she did a great job. I will be going back to her, as I can afford to have it done there and she is a really nice person. She also said she had another customer who has the same problem.

We agreed to keep off the dying of my hair at the moment, until my scalp settles down, so I am going to be very multi-coloured for a while.

Finally my friend "P" sent me this link and it is really interesting. Click on the link and see what you think.............it tells you what would happen in the US election if the world voted.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Skywatch Friday.

It was a gorgeous morning the other day, with a brilliant blue sky and wispy white clouds, oh and don't forget the moon!!!! Pretty unusual I thought? Click on the photos for more detail.






For more Skywatch Photo's please click on this link.

Saving money on your food bill, part 1............

I mentioned last week that I would do more posts on different ways to save money, so I figured we'd start with the food bill. I think most people who want to cut back, the first place they do it is with the weekly food/grocery bill. This will be a multiple post series, as there is too much information to put in one post.

Now everyone is different and everyone has different priorities when it comes to food shopping. For example, some families are huge meat eaters, some families eat organic foods, in some households, there may only be just the two of you, in others there may be 6 of you, but the basic principles that I am going to try to explain apply to everyone.

First of all saving money just doesn't happen, you have to work at it, and that in itself takes some time. For those of you who don't have a spare minute to yourself, you are going to have to work even harder at this to succeed, but succeed you will. There is method to this madness that I am going to have you go through, and doing this step by step will work.

The very first thing you need to do is set an hour or so aside to make a full inventory of what you have in your freezer, fridge and pantries, because despite how organized you feel you may be, I bet there are very few people out there that know exactly what they have in there fridge, freezer or pantry. Now if you do well done, you are a heck of a lot better organized than I am. I write down on a scrap of paper, what I have where, don't use a new piece of paper, that would be wasteful.

Now if you have word or excel on your computer, make up a spreadsheet of what you have where. If you don't know how to do that, write it out by hand indicating what you have and what quantity. I post my sheets on the front of my fridge where I can see it, you may want to keep it elsewhere. Here is a photo of my sheet.



Now the first thing you notice, is that I only have a list made up of my upstairs and downstairs freezers. Those are my "trouble spots" as far as I am concerned. I put things in the freezers only for them to re-surface months later with a bad case of freezer burn. I haven't got around to doing my pantry inventory yet, and I won't be doing a one for the fridge (I'll explain why later.)

So now you have those lists made up, the first thing you will probably notice you have bits and bobs of things and maybe multiple of other things....am I right? As an example, I have 5 breaded chicken fingers, 2 English muffins, a couple of pita breads, so I am going to make an odds and ends meal with a little of this and a little of that to use up these odds and ends.

To do that though would mean I would have to make a menu plan up, right? That is the number two thing that is key to saving money on your food bill. Now in Canada and the States the grocery stores bring out weekly flyer's telling you what's on sale or on special that week. I will say I have no idea what the rest of the world does? I am sure though all stores throughout the world have weekly specials?

Personally for me, I get my flyer's on a Friday night, I go through them and see what's on sale or whats on special that week. I am fortunate that I have all the major grocery stores all within a few kilometres from where we live. If however I only had the one store I would have to shop their specials only.

So by looking at what I have in the house, and seeing what is on special that week, I am able to make up a weekly grocery list. I mentioned earlier I do not need to do a list for my fridge, the reason behind that is that I buy produce and dairy products weekly. I also only buy what I know we can use before it expires. That seems like a simple point, but often you are drawn to those fancy dancy displays in the grocery stores and impulse buy. Which is all well and good if its a can of soup, but when its something that will only keep for a week, you really need to think twice about purchasing it, as there is nothing worse than having to throw out food, you may as well have thrown your money down the drain. That is why doing a weekly menu plan is so important.

Now so far we have probably spent a couple of hours doing your inventory and making a menu plan for the week. Now the thing is, once your inventory plan is done, that doesn't need to be re-done for a few weeks, as you can make changes right on the list you have put on the fridge. When it gets to the point you can't make head nor tale of what's going on, then it needs to be re-done. So on a week to week basis, your main time commitment is going to be planning your menu and looking through the flyer's, if you get them. Most grocery stores have web sites and they all have their flyer's online.

Everyone has different budgets for their groceries, and what is good for one doesn't mean it will be good for another. I know I try to keep my budget down to $300 a month, which is for me and dh. In that budget I include all toiletries, cleaning supplies, paper products and all food. Basically if you can buy it in a grocery store or pharmacy its part of my budget. If we had pets I would include pet food and if we had babies, I would be including diapers and baby formula.

Now I know some families that feed their families on less than the $300 a month, but for us it's the best I can do at the moment. I try to spend $75 a week, some weeks its more, some weeks its less. One thing I do, do is I stock up on things that we use and are on sale. For example, the other week one store had I Can't Believe It's Not Butter on sale for 99 cents. Normally its between $1.99 to $2.49. I bought 8 tubs, as I know that its generally on sale somewhere every couple of months or so. I saved $8 there, it will last the two months and I have room in my fridge to store it. If it only lasted a week, I would have only bought one. If I only had a tiny fridge I would have only bought a couple. I took these things into account before I bought them.

I also buy reduced meat and pop it straight into the freezer. There is generally nothing wrong with it, other than its due to expire in a day or two's time, so why pay full price for it? The only thing I would be careful about, is check how much it is per kilo or per pound, as sometimes even when its reduced you can still buy it cheaper when it comes on sale. I also buy from the reduced produce section, especially banana's, apples and pears. I make pear and apple sauce for dh's lunch and use the banana's for banana bread.

One thing you need to know is your prices. Some people have price books that they make up to tell them how much a good price for certain items are. I have been around for a while (40 + years) that I generally have a good idea if things are expensive or cheap. If you're not sure then by all means write things down.

Coupons.........I use them for certain things, however I am getting away from using them as I try to make more things from scratch. One thing I do, do though is call manufacturers or email them to tell them if I have had a problem with one of their products or really like their products. More often than not they send you coupons for their products. So if its something you use all the time anyhow, getting coupons for that product is a bonus.

So this is it for this week. I need you to make up an inventory of what you have food wise in your house, and make a menu plan. Next week I'll have more tips on how to save money on food.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Watery Wednesday.........

This is my entry for the week. What this is, is the spray from a boat we were riding on back in September. Click on the photo for more detail, its pretty neat.



For more Watery Wednesday images please click on this link.

50 + 1 Recipes for Celery.......

I can't stand celery, can't stand the taste of it, the smell of it, just do not like it, and NEVER EVER cook with it. Did I mention I don't like celery!! However it's good for you, and a lot of people love it. So here are some recipes:

1. Creamy Celery Bisque

2. Couscous with Celery and Pistachios

3. Braised Celery

4. Celery au Gratin

5. Celery Souffle

6. Curried Celery Salad

7. Celery Lunch Loaf

8. Braised Celery and Tomatoes

9. Celery Japanese Style

10. Stir-Fried Celery

11. Stuffed Celery

12. Celery Soda - I know I HAD to read this one, and its icky!!!!

13. Sweet Potato and Celery Root Fries

14. Broccoli and Celery Slaw

15. Celery and Portobello Salad

16. Classic Celery Root Remoulade

17. My Friend Vicki's Mom's Celery Salad

18. Celery Root and Potato Mash with Horseradish

19. Deep, Down, Underground Root Cellar Soup (Celery Root and Potato Soup)

20. Rockin' Celery Boats

21. Apple and Celery Salad

22. Baked Celery

23. Baked Fillets in Lemon Celery Sauce

24. Beef with Celery and Mushrooms

25. Braised Onion Ribbons with Celery

26. Celery Almond Casserole

27. Celery and Beans with Herb Scones

28. Celery and Cabbage au Gratin

29. Celery and Mustard Chicken with Dumplings

30. Celery Cake

31. Celery Croutes

32. Celery Leaf Fritters

33. Celery Pickle

34. Celery Sticks and Stones Salad

35. Cheese Salmon Casserole with Celery Sauce

36. Curried Celery Soup

37. Pan Roast of Celery Root, Carrots, Bacon and Cabbage

38. Pear and Celery Soup

39. Quick Celery Cheese Loaf

40. Roast Pork with Apple and Celery Stuffing

41. Salt-and-Pepper Buffalo Shrimp with Blue Cheese and Celery

42. Sesame Crusted Salmon with Celery Root Puree

43. Spaghettini with Flageolet Beans, Bay Scallops and Celery Root

44. Stuffed Celery Sticks

45. The Ultimate Peanut-Butter Stuffed Celery

46. Warm Lentils and Celery

47. Celery Croquettes

48. Celery a la Parmesan

49. Tomato Celery Salsa

50. Cheese and Chutney Stuffed Celery

51. Bulgur, Celery and Pomegranate Salad Recipe

There you go. You should have seen my face when I was researching these recipes, all I kept saying to myself was, yuck, icky, nasty etc, etc...LOL I really do hate celery that much!!!

Here is the nutritional information for celery.



Next week it is Brussels Sprouts

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bit of a mystery solved..........

For the past week or so every time I passed the dining room, I swear I could hear sobbing or crying. Very puzzling if you ask me. Finally I figured out where it was coming from. I tracked the noise down to my purse and discovered it was my credit cards crying. I mean the poor things were distraught when I pulled them out of my purse.

So I asked them what was up and they told me, they thought I had abandoned them, as I haven't used them in a couple of weeks. I was actually taken a back by this, as one, I didn't realize I hadn't used them and two, who knew credit cards had feelings?

So I sat down with them patting them on their heads, mind you it could have been their bottoms? And I told them, that yes I still loved them, yes I get great pleasure in using them, but I thought they needed a well deserved rest with all the exercise they have been doing these past few months. So I was giving them a break, not sure how long of a break, but a well deserved break.

That settled them down a bit, although my MasterCard wasn't as thrilled as the rest of them, as he gets used the most. Hopefully they'll all survive during their rest, I know one thing, Mr. Bank Balance will be a happy camper, as he gets a bit fatter!!!!

Seriously though, I have actually stopped using my credit card's, although as I said before the one I use the most is my MasterCard. I do have some bills charged right onto my credit card each month, as its easier and I can get the points. So I will never ever have a zero balance on my monthly statement, but at least it will be under $100.

One goal I have for myself this week, is also to do an inventory of the freezer and pantry, to see what I have in there, and hopefully eat out of them over the next couple of weeks, therefore reducing my grocery bill.

All this is going towards reducing our outgoing money and increasing our bank balances. I want to increase our emergency fund from 3 months living expenses to 6 months living expenses. That is a big goal, but is achievable if we put our minds to it.

How are you getting on with your money saving goals?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Busy Bee.........


Have to say today (Sunday) was a productive day. I did something that I know we woman hate to do, well at least I do. I cleaned out my closet. I also finally admitted to myself, that all my thin clothes were never going to fit again and I should get rid of them. That in itself is an accomplishment, if you ask me.

It was actually an eye opener as well, as I have hung onto some of these clothes for the past 20 + years. I will have to say there are a couple of "what was I thinking items" in my closet. Including a dropped waisted corduroy Laura Ashley dress with a big bow, circa Princess of Wales period. Along with numerous items with the lovely shoulder pads in there. Which I am guessing are all out of style now?

So now I have four big garbage bags full of clothes to send to charity and another garbage bag to throw out. Plus I have a ton more room in my closet and drawers.

I then tidied up the cold cellar, which is one of those places that always gets missed. Plus I got a ton of laundry done. So all in all a productive day, wouldn't you say?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Today's Flowers

I planted this Silver Lace Vine on our back fence earlier in the year, and have to say I thought it died, but its growing great and has produced these lovely flowers. As always click on the photos to enlarge the photos for more detail



For more of Today's Flower's photo's click on the link.

A great day in the garden.........

Considering its heading towards the end of October, the weather here in Southern Ontario has been superb these past couple of weeks. Granted the morning's are nippy and we have had a bit of frost, but as soon as the sun starts shining it warms up beautifully. We have such a lot of large windows in the back of the house, that it warms the house up, and as yet we don't have the heating on in the house. Which I have to say is unusual for us. Not sure how long this lovely weather will last, so I decided today (Saturday) was as good a day as any to tidy up the garden for winter.

I donned a pair of carpi's, a t-shirt and set to work. I was sweating while cutting the grass as it was so warm in the sun. I then tackled the veggies garden and dug up all the carrots. This is how many carrots I dug up:




Here are some of the butternut squash, I still have a couple of them left in the garden as they haven't ripened yet:



Here is my veggie garden all cleaned up for winter. I left the parsley and chives in, plus a strawberry plant. It's amazing how much my 4 feet by 8 feet plot produced this year.



I then tackled my garden by the back fence and got all that sorted out. Have to say was pretty surprised to find that we weren't overrun with thistles, they were still there, but not as much as they were in the Summer. I have some spring bulbs to go in, but I think its a little warm yet for those.



So all I have left to do is general maintenance and hopefully I only have to cut the grass one more time. Roll on the end of April, when it all starts over again!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Patriots Point Museum, South Carolina......

I had forgotten about these photos I took while we were away, so thought I'd share them with you.

Patriots Point Museum is where the destroyer USS Laffey, known as The Ship That Would Not Die, is berthed (is that the right nautical term?), along with aircraft carrier USS Yorktown . Also Treasury class Coast Guard cutter Ingham and the Balao class submarine Clamagore.

We are not big military fans, but thought this might be of interest, however due to one reason or another, we never got to visit the museum. However, when we went on the dinner cruise, we had to board the ship which was moored very close the the museum, and I got to take the following photos, which I think are really neat. As always, click on the photo's for more detail.







Friday, October 17, 2008

Another little quiz or two




You Should Be a Mechanic

(This is so not me, I am not mechanically minded at all, oh well.......)


You are logical, calm, and detail oriented.

You're rational when things are chaotic, and for you, reason always prevails.

And while you are guided by logic, you aren't a slave to it.

You're flexible when it counts. You are always open to being wrong.



You do best when you:



- Work with your hands

- Can use tools, machines, or equipment



You would also be a good architect or carpenter.






You Are Germany

(I find this very ironic that I would be Germany!! And I could only wish I had a behind like that!!)


You are a formal, polite person... even with those you know well.

You are quite serious. You are responsible and good at following rules.



You enjoy organization and planning. Structure helps you thrive, and you don't like surprises.

You take pride in your personal appearance. You keep your clothes and home tidy.






You Are a White Rose



You represent youthfulness and purity.



Your vibe: Sweet and heavenly



Falling in love with you: is like falling in love for the first time

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Skywatch Friday..........

A little background first on this weeks skywatch. We live in a large city, in a large subdivision. Where they built this subdivision it used to be farm land. They actually decided to leave this tree, which was a blessing and they have built a park around it.

(click on photos for more details)



All these photos were taken from below the tree.







For more of today's Sky Watch photo's click on this link.