Monthly Archives: November 2016

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 11 – November 27, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters!  I hope that you all had an amazing week!  If you live in the US, you perhaps celebrated Thanksgiving.  I am happy to report that we had a lovely meal with my husband’s family, and it was so yummy! I do have to admit that the days prior to Thanksgiving were not “exactly” what I had planned on, but we pulled together and made it all work out. In the end, we all arrived at the table with many things to be thankful for, and I am grateful for the help and kindness that others could offer us this past week.

So, what have I learned recently that I feel like I need to share with everyone? I learned how to save and extend the life of both kale and spinach. The week before Thanksgiving, it was obvious that we needed to clean out the fridge, consolidate left-overs from big containers to little containers, find room to house a farm fresh turkey, and roll up the sweater sleeves and do a little scrubbing in our fridge. It is times like this that I make some of the grandest kitchen discoveries!

We happened to have some kale and spinach (in very large containers), and they were both approaching that “not so fresh” point. Did you know that you can freeze your own kale and spinach? Hmmm, sounds rather silly when I write it out like that, but the answer is yeap, you can! And in the process of learning how to do both, we tried out a new recipe, which was another keeper – even our son enjoyed this soup recipe. I will undoubtedly plan on bringing this recipe back to the table.

I do have to admit, I went ahead and just chopped and froze the spinach, then did the research.  Apparently, one should blanch their spinach first, unless you plan on using it within a few weeks.  Whew, dodged the bullet on that one! And, I am happy to report that the spinach that we used in the soup recipe seemed fine, even though I did not blanch it.  Here is a link on how to freeze your own spinach: http://www.simplycanning.com/freezing-spinach.html

Fortunately, kale is one of those items that you can blanch, or not blanch, depending on what you would like to use it for, and how long you think it might be in cold storage. Check out the instructions here: http://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/garden-to-table/can-you-freeze-kale And this link has several other how-to-freeze links listed at the bottom. I bookmarked this page, as I can see that I am going to be referencing a lot of these tips.

Speaking of freezing, did you know that you can freeze up squash, as well?  Oh, the joys of squash keep amazing me!  I had a huge garden fresh squash from my cousin’s farm, and it was much more than I could use in 2 baking dishes (yes, it was massive!), so I froze the other half for later.  I followed the fresh freezing method in this link and can’t wait to bake these little gems up. http://www.thekitchn.com/two-ways-to-freeze-winter-squash-178166

My sister in law, brought a delicious squash dish to the holiday table this past week, and I think that my frozen squash would turn out great in the recipe that she shared with me:  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/116200/garlicky-baked-butternut-squash/?lnkid=usspnt

And here is the link to the soup recipe (that uses frozen spinach) that I have been raving about: http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/cherylrsquos-tortellini-and-spinach-soup

As you can see, it has been a busy couple of weeks learning how to save and preserve food and trying out new recipes. Of course, each time one can preserve in their own home, they are not only creating a positive impact on their own health, but one is also cutting down on their overall assortment of items to the landfill. Especially when one reuses simple items like zip lock baggies. Wash, dry and reuse!

Another item that we can consider removing from the landfill is paper towels.  Yes, I have them.  I very rarely use them, but they are great when one has a wicked mess that you do not want to put through your laundry machine. So, consider ditching paper towels and use dish or microfiber towels in your kitchen and household cleaning routines. They are washable and reusable, and will save you cash. Paper towels are pretty pricey for how long they last.

With the South Dakota air chilling up and drying out, I know that my skin is crying for some relief! Consider making this Clementine Hand Scrub, and if you love it, consider making this as a hand-crafted holiday gift. Wouldn’t this be adorable in little mason jars?! I must give this recipe a whirl and see how it works, but don’t clementines just sound heavenly?! http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/1002093/diy-clementine-hand-scrub

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you have a delightful week!  Enjoy preserving your greens, please enjoy a hearty soup or squash recipe this week.  If you have a dish that you are in love with, please share it with me! And I hope you love the clementine hand scrub!  Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Read the Thrifty Sisters, both new and old by visiting https://thriftysistersliving.wordpress.com/ or find our latest posts on Face Book https://www.facebook.com/ThriftySisterNewsletter .

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Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 10 – November 20, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! My goodness, how a week can change things here in my neighborhood!  Last weekend I was writing about having the opportunity to take my mower out for one last whirl around the yard (which was glorious, by the way!), and on Friday week we have several inches of snow on the ground and the lowest temps of this fall over the weekend.  Although the outdoor gardening season has come to an end at my home, it will give me time to work on indoor projects. Ha!  Lots and lots of indoor time between now and next spring…

One of the most important projects I do over the long winter months is tackle the copious amounts of “stuff” that accumulates over the months I would rather be outdoors. When I was growing up, my Dad would always tell us girls to just put things away, and not touch it twice.  The concept was why put something down “just for now”, when you could take that extra 2 seconds and just put it away – done, end of story for that item.  I hear his voice in my head EVERY TIME I lay something down and think, I will just put this here, for now.  And most of the time I pick up that little item, and put it in its place. If I don’t, guess what I have by the end of the week – a giant pile of clutter that takes way more than just a couple of minutes to put away. Most of my clutter items that I have are projects that need to be finished, or started. I figure that is what winter is for – lots of indoor project time.

I fully realize that for many of us, it is holiday time and we may be running through the house with a laundry basket picking up the random clutter and shoving it into some arbitrary closet moments before our family arrives at the holiday table.  I have been guilty of that, too. But, consider making a life style change – don’t touch it twice!  If you got your hammer out, just put it away when you are done with it.  Do yourself a favor and don’t let it hang out on the kitchen counter all week.  That just puts a guilty reminder that you must do it later, and who needs more guilt tucked into the back of your mind? We don’t need to purposefully keep putting ourselves through that misery! Just put the hammer away, seriously! You will feel so much better about it, and yourself!

For an uplifting, guilt free read about keeping the clutter at bay, feel free to read this short article.  And may you be inspired to begin the holiday decluttering. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/ill-just-put-it-there-for-now.html

For the past couple of weeks, I have been writing about how we can limit the loads that are sent out to the landfill. If there is one change you should adopt today, it’s bringing your own reusable bags.  I fully realize that this is a no brainer, and many of you may already be doing this.  And we all slip, and forget to put the bags back in the car, or even just remember to bring them from the car into the store, but if we all could bring in one reusable bag, at least once this year, we could save millions of plastic bags from the landfills each year.

And this week, with Thanksgiving looming in the future, keep the plastic containers and lids, and send home left overs with your loved ones.  You reuse, and there is no guilt about having to return the nice Tupperware containers back to their respective homes!  I am embarrassed that I epically fail at returning these items in a timely manner, and they do clutter my counter, sometimes for a ridiculous amount of time. But if you were to send leftovers home with me, a reused container would be perfect, and I would applaud your re-usefulness, and your kindness!

Are you thinking that this might be the week to try some new holiday recipes? Some people love the thrill of new recipes at the holidays, while others like to stick to the tried and true traditions.  If you are looking for some new ideas, or want to try these out prior to the next family gathering, here are 15 different recipes that would be great at a family gathering or something new to try out. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/15-uniquely-festive-thanksgiving-recipes.html

Oh, and speaking of recipes – did you try out the cauliflower soup from last week’s newsletter?  We made it earlier this week, and we call this recipe a keeper!  It can also be used as a base for many other flavorful combinations.  It was easy, quick, warm and hearty, and heats up amazing for lunches the following days!  In case you missed it, here is that link again: http://www.recipetineats.com/creamy-dreamy-cauliflower-soup/

Recently, I had to close my very first email account.  In there, I found a treasure trove of little tidbits that I had been tucking away to share with the Thrifty Sister. This little gem comes from Britt. It was in a forwarded email that was floating around in 2012, but I feel like a lot of these tips still ring true today.  With the upcoming holidays quickly approaching, we do need to use some common sense.  Our neighborhood has seen a rash of thefts and its always a good reminder to lock our homes and car doors when we are gone, but here are some other common sense ways to keep you safe.

THINGS YOUR BURGLAR WON’T TELL YOU.

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste… and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

4.Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.

5. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.

6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.

7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom – and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

8. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door – understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.

9. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.)   10. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

11. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.

12. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me.

13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. (Find itathttp://www.faketv/.com/)    14. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

15. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

16. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing. It’s human nature.

17. I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

18. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.

19. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address. Parents: caution your kids about this. You see this every day.   20. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.

21. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

And there you have it, my Thrifty Sisters! Good luck tackling that clutter this week, please remember to use your reusable bags this week, save those reusable tubs and lids to send home leftovers sealed with love, enjoy the holiday meal prep – both traditional and new recipes, and most importantly, please remember to be smart and keep your family and home safe. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, from my home to yours!  And keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

And remember to create real holidays instead of a holidaze. Remember the spirit of the times and keep these helpful tips in mind if you feel yourself getting sucked in: Nothing has to be perfect. Focus on what is right and good. Ask for help and accept that your way isn’t the only way. The simplest choice is the best choice. Find joy in whatever you do and wherever you are.

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 9 – November 13, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! We are well into the season of Thanksgiving and gratitude and I certainly hope that you have been able to give yourself a break and give gratitude to yourself, for all of your daily hard work and improvements that you are making in this world.

Sometimes it is hard to find things to be grateful about.  Maybe you are under financial stress, or have loved ones who are terribly ill, or you are struggling to find a moment to just, well, “take a moment”. There are billion reasons we are incredibly tough on ourselves, and it feels like the world around us is not helping. And then, there are those hurt feelings. And even worse, the hurt feelings that one may have caused to others.

In our current society, we have experienced a lot of divisiveness that goes well past the political arena and spills into our daily lives.  Sometimes it is from random people – snippy or negligent clerks at stores, inconsiderate drivers, rude people in lines, etc.  And sometimes, we cause that pain.  And you know what, it is totally cool to apologize for your unkind behavior.  It is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. In fact, I make mistakes every day that I need to backtrack and apologize for. And I am SO thankful that I have the courage to do so. It’s hard to swallow that pill, but I can promise you that once you start showing a little compassion, it is contagious, and it will spread.

I’m including a short article about how to apologize, and it’s worth the read, but I am also listing the 5 highlighted points for your consideration. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/how-to-apologize-like-an-adult.html By no means is this an extensive list, but it sure is a good starting point. And if you are truly not sorry, then say you are not sorry.  At least you are being honest.

  1. Actually say the words “I’m sorry”
  2. Empathize with the other person
  3. Learn the apology languages
  4. Don’t undo your apology with passive aggression
  5. Don’t apologize when it’s not necessary

Last week I shared a tip about how to stop the madness in unnecessary waste heading from our home to the landfill.  Another item to consider either reducing, or eliminating all together, would be processed foods. Gasp!  What?!?!  I hear you, because, I too, fall in the convenience black hole of certain pre-made food items.  There are only 24 hours in a day and some days one just has enough time to make a minute’s worth of pizza rolls and call that lunch as you run out to the car with your plate in hand.  Talk about fast food! Unfortunately, most things that are heavily packaged are processed. Not only is the packaging wasteful, but processed foods are less healthy than their plastic-free counterparts. Consider filling your grocery cart with wholesome foods like fruits, veggies, bulk items, and supplement with a few of your favorite treats, and try to recycle as much of the packaging as you can.

Possibly you are ready to branch out and try making your own condiments – and they would look so cute stored in a mason jar in your fridge! Besides, that pernickety ketchup bottle is always more trouble than it’s worth!  There are tons of great recipes out there on homemade condiments, just Google it! But here’s one site for your convenience.  You are welcome! http://www.chowhound.com/pictures/22-recipes-for-homemade-condiments

Maybe making your own condiments is not on your to-do list for this week.  How about some cute, crafty ideas on fall decorations that would be fun for you and the kids to do? Seriously, there are some super cute ideas, and it may even spark some creative handmade Christmas gift ideas! http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/g2257/creative-fall-craft-ideas/

And here is the “let’s try it” recipe of the week: http://www.recipetineats.com/creamy-dreamy-cauliflower-soup/

Well, my Thrifty Sisters, it is time to close on another post.  The sun is out, the wind is light, and I need to take advantage of the GORGEOUS fall weather!  The forecast for my neighborhood has some cooler, wetter weather by next weekend, and I am going to whirl my mower around for possibly the last round this year, and finish some of the garden clean-up that I have procrastinated on. May you find opportunities to express gratitude and heart felt apologies this week. Good luck cracking down on your load to the landfill, and enjoy some new recipes or crafty projects this week. And, as always, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 8 – November 6, 2016

Greetings Thrifty Sisters, and Happy November! I hope that you had a lovely end of October and each of you could make some outstanding memories this past week. We have been fortunate to be able to share good times and good food with some dear friends and family this past week.

With the election occurring this week, I think this would be a great time to remind each of us to take a moment to find gratitude in our daily lives, today and every day.  Often, gratitude is not shown enough throughout the year, and then we suddenly remember that we “should” (guilty word!) feel thankful around the Thanksgiving Season.

I know that I have spoken about the importance of gratitude, and how we need to express this each day. Often we hear from people that they do not tell their loved ones that they loved and appreciated them until it is too late. Let’s live every day with a little more gratitude and reap the benefits of a healthier life, and happier people around you. And, I’m not making this up – it’s a documented habit that can change not only our world, but others as well.  http://www.middletowntranscript.com/article/20151127/LIFESTYLE/151129857

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I bet some of you are already have your list and are checking it twice for the big day! Check out this article about some sweet time saving tricks while you are prepping for that family gathering.  I love these little “hack” tips! http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-holiday-hacks-that-will-make-cooking-easy-peasy.html

And with the big meal prep looming in the next couple of weeks (yikes, I just looked at the calendar!), let’s also start planning on how to reduce our amount of waste that will wind up in our landfills, as well as saving some cash-o-la! One way to help, is to stop buying single-serving items. Items that are individually wrapped or bottled are not only more expensive per unit than bulk items, but they create more waste as well. So, if you were looking for that excuse to use your growler, instead of buying that 6 pack of beer, this would be your perfect opportunity!

Speaking of perfect opportunities, I found this neat-o gift idea for the craft beer or “fancy” soda pop bottle person in your life. If you have mad wood working skills, check this link out.  And if you have access to reclaimed wood, this would even be more awesome! http://thenewhobbyist.com/2012/11/making-a-wedding-wooden-beer-totes/

Just this past week, we had the opportunity to try a new recipe, and create some fond memories with our dear friends Nanke and Tanya. I have also learned that I have been missing out on the grand wonders of the squash world. Since I wanted to make 2 dishes – one with chicken thighs and the other with chicken legs, I changed the amount of maple syrup and mustard to a half cup each and coated the chicken before adding it to the top of the dish.  I also added potatoes instead of the zucchini, and boy, was this a perfect fall meal! http://www.food.com/recipe/maple-glazed-chicken-with-butternut-squash-437015

And there you have it, my Thrifty Sisters!  It’s time to be grateful, and to keep sharing it with others around you, as well as be solid role models. It’s time to think about how much we “consume” and if we can make changes to lighten our load to the landfill. Enjoy the new recipe idea, and the kitchen hacks that can go well beyond the holiday meals. And remember to vote, if you have not already! And let’s also remember that we are all in this together, no matter what the outcome is.  We need to stop the hate and begin to stand together in unity. And, lastly, I am thankful for you!  Thank you for being YOU! Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Read the Thrifty Sisters, both new and old by visiting https://thriftysistersliving.wordpress.com/ or find our latest posts on Face Book https://www.facebook.com/ThriftySisterNewsletter .