The cost of food – Butter is beautiful, but lard is also lovely. And so are gingersnaps.

Christmas is over for another year.  One of my favorite Christmas activities is Christmas baking but I didn’t do as much this year as I usually would. What slowed me down this year was the cost of ingredients, specifically the cost of butter. Continue reading

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Frugal Endeavors –

Winter is a good time for reflection.

November 21 – 28, 2017

I like quiet weeks when nothing exciting happens. My digital diet left me with more time to do the things I like to do as well as a few things that save us money. This is what we did this week.

My neighbour went off to New York (!) with our local choir to sing at Carnegie hall (!). I am so happy that she got to be part of this performance. I helped out by staying behind to feed her cats. She passed over a jug of milk that would expire before her return. I used it to make yogurt as part of the Food in Jars mastery challenge for this month.

We covered the windows and doors in our drafty living room with plastic. In the past we have found that this chore does make the room feel warmer. Thankfully the mild weather this week means that we have not been burning as much wood.

The local library sets up shop once a week in our village. I went for a walk down my hill to the library to pick up a book I reserved online. Exercise and a new book to read, can’t ask for more than that.

I borrowed a couple of DVDs from a friend. The Man and I spent a lovely night cuddled up on the couch watching Harry Potter and feasting on snacks from the freezer and cheese bought on super sale at work.

I had to pull two packages of our made in store, rich, and gooey Cinnamon buns off our shelves  because they had reached their “best before” date. I brought them home to tryout a bread pudding recipe, which worked out really well.

Stash Busting:

Less time on my computer meant that I had more time to sew.

I made another ornament as part of this year’s Ornament Along using materials I had on hand. The bead in this ornament were recovered from an old tshirt that was also used to make a hair band and a yoga type waistband for a pair of pajama pants.

Ornament number 8 is ready for the tree. #ornamentalong #stiptreeornament

A post shared by L. Rimbey (@hiproofbarn) on

I finally got around to making two sets of Christmas pajama pants from flannel I purchased on deep discount earlier this year. I used the elastic from a thrifted pair of pajama pants that were repurposed as quilt fabric for one pair. I will have to venture out to buy elastic for the other pair.

My youngest child asked for new pillow cases for Christmas. I repurposed and old sheet to make two envelope style cases and used a free embroidery pattern I found online at Flamingo Toes. I am inordinately happy with the fact that I used up an entire skein of embroidery floss from my stash.

That was my week – How was yours? Leave a comment and tell me all about it.

Sweet dreams.

Experimenting with Laundry Detergent

I have been making my own laundry detergent for almost two decades. I switched to using a powdered version instead of a liquid version because it takes so little time to make and requires almost no storage room. However, in the last year or so, I have noticed a white residue on my clothes and I don’t think my homemade detergent is rinsing out.

Time to try a new variation.  Continue reading

Making Salsa using Canned Tomatoes

Salsa header

 

Tasty and affordable tomatoes and peppers are not always available year round.  I picked up several tins of tomatoes for a dollar each a few months ago and a few cans of tomato paste. The other day in Extra Foods I came across these:

Peppers on sale Peppers around here are prohibitively expensive when they are not in season.  I grabbed these and dug out a recipe I had from many years ago.

 

Recipe card

You can tell a successful recipe by how messy the recipe card is.

This recipe makes a small quantity of fairly mild salsa.  It works for the two of us and should carry us through until tomatoes and peppers are in season and on sale. The recipe can be found here:

Recipe for salsa using canned tomatoes

 

 

 

Salsa ingrediantsTo make this salsa, you will need the following:

  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) of canned tomatoes. One liter of home canned tomatoes would work very well.
  • 2 cans (7.5 ounces each) of tomato paste. It seems that tomato paste is the victim of size inflation.  My tomato paste was 6 ounces.  It worked fine.
  • 1 Red Pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 Green Peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tsp coarse pickling salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (I used 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano (I used 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 to 1 tsp Cayenne pepper. I used two chili peppers dried from last year’s garden.  I removed the seeds from one pepper.
Cooking in the pot

Salsa cooking is so colourful and pretty.

Combine all the ingredients into a heavy pot and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Get the water boiling in your canner and sterilize at least 4 pint sized jars.

After 1 1/2 hours, fill sterilized jars, add lids and rings, and place in canner for 15 minutes.

Remove to a draft free location to cool for 24 hours. Check seals and label

I ended up with 4 pints to add to my pantry.

The approximate cost for this salsa breaks down as follows:

  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) of canned tomatoes bought on sale = $1.00×2 = $2.00
  • 2 cans (7.5 ounces each) of tomato paste = $0.62X2 = $1.24
  • 1 Red Pepper bought on sale = $0.43
  • 2 Green Peppers bought on sale = $2.58
  • 2 cups onions (about 2) = $1.38
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar = about $0.31 for the name brand stuff
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar = about $0.03 cause Buy-Low has sugar on sale right now for $9.98 for 10kg. There are about 64 tablespoons in each kg of sugar. In case you were wondering.
  • 2 tsp pickling salt = negligible.
  • 1 tsp garlic powder = $0.05.  I bought a large container from No Frills last year for about $3.00. Its still going strong. Looking at prices from other retailers, the price of garlic powder averages about $0.01 per gram.
  • 1 tsp orgegano = free, dried from last year’s garden
  • 2 chili peppers = free, dried from last year’s garden

Total = about $8.00 for 4 pints, or $2.00 a jar.

Not bad considering it is on sale for about $4.00 a pint.  I was surprised that the most expensive ingredient was the green peppers, even though they were on sale.  I’m glad we planted some in the garden.  Using home-grown green peppers would drop the price to $5.44 for 4 pints, or $1.36 a jar. The salsa itself is satisfactory, if you like a mild, not too chunky salsa. I ended up with 4 pints plus a little extra, which I used for this recipe: Crockpot Salsa Chicken. Even though we thickened the sauce for the Crockpot Salsa Chicken with corn starch it was very good and it passed The Man Test (meaning the man liked it and will take it for lunch the next day).

Salsa ready for the pantry

Salsa ready for the pantry