Friday’s Frugal Five

Today is a big day for a lot of people, some are happy about it and some are not and that’s ok.  But the certainty is that we are all together in this big ole thing we call life and we can choose to try and make the best of it, relying on no one but ourselves to better our lives, be happy and genuinely just try to be kind to one another.  That’s all, just be kind to each other.   Just my 2¢

  •  I made a big pot of (knock off Panera) broccoli cheddar soup.  It was delicious and the cost came in well under the Panera cost for a cup of soup.  I coupled that with Katy’s bread recipe which still kept cost around $1 per serving.  I put the rest of the soup we didn’t eat in the freezer.  I love easy pull from the freezer meals.
  • I was gifted some pure maple syrup.  I “put it up” with what I already had on hand in smaller batches to prevent it spoiling.  I’ve read mixed information about the shelf life of pure maple syrup, so I just decided not to chance it and sealed it up in pint jars.



  • Because of said soup in #1 I needed to go light the rest of the week with my diet.  It’s been 10 months since I quit the Prilosec (after a more than 20 year use of it) but too much of some things disrupt my digestive system.  So, veggies the rest of the week for me.  I stopped by two different stores and picked up a few veggies using 3 coupons that I had.  Here is what I bought and spent.  The mushrooms rang up wrong, $1.09 too high and I did take the time to ask the clerk to adjust the price which he did.  I’m going to do some experimental baking with almond flour and the enjoy life chocolate chips this weekend and all I can say it it better be damn good for the price I paid for both of them!  YIKES!


The fisher nuts were marked down so I stocked up on 2 large bags as I do use them in meals and snack on them quite a bit.  I love walnuts!

Kroger – $22.00

Walmart – $67.04 (fully paid with gift card)

Natures Outlet – $ 41. ($20 paid with a gift certificate)

Monthly grocery budget is $300 and I’ve spent $118.00

  • I used a gift certificate at Natures Outlet, the health food store and bought only what was on my list which was aloe juice and slippery elm, both are used for medicinal purposes to continue to repair my digestive system.
  • The Z Man has been working his butt off the last two weeks or so stockpiling wood for next year.   He is putting that new chain saw to good use.  We burn about 10 – 12 loads of wood every winter.  Like I mentioned before, wood is 100% our source for heat.  That’s a lot of wood… sometimes I feel like the Z Man is a slave to the wood stove.  But, neither one of us could imagine a $400 – $500 electric bill and don’t want to.  NOPE, DON’T WANT TO!

Your turn, what frugal fun have you had this week?

Till next time,


Weekend Eats and Hummus Recipe

I hope you had a great weekend.  We got about 6″ of snow this weekend, so we ended up staying in all weekend and watching football and that was just fine.

The babies got to play in the snow with the Z Man and they got to wear their new sweaters.


As for the chickens, well they are stronger than I am.  Every winter I’m always amazed how well they do in the cold weather.  Of course the Z Man always makes sure they have a cleared spot, fresh water and of course food.  I made a video of the chickens and you can see that on my Facebook page.  I can’t get it to upload on the blog.

I love to make soup and especially in the winter when we get snow.  This weekend was no different.  I made a big ole pot of potato soup, and this time I added a jar of my canned corn and I have to say it was fabulous.  I stole the idea from a friend who was making a potato corn chowder this weekend.  I’m pretty sure corn in the potato soup will be routine in the Z home from now on.  I added a little crumbled feta cheese on top.


I was craving some fresh veggies this weekend too, and luckily I had some in the fridge that needed to be used.  For some reason I was craving veggies and dip, so I decided to make some hummus.  This is maybe the 3rd  time in my life I’ve made hummus so I’m not really sure where this is coming from….

I googled hummus recipes and found one that I thought I could work with and tweak it the way I wanted it.  The recipe called for tahini and let’s just be honest, I have never bought tahini, and wasn’t even sure what it was till I googled it.  It’s a paste made from ground sesame seeds.  Not usually in my pantry, but at least now I know what it is.

I’m also not a big fan of garbanzo beans (also known as chickpea) but I did put up several jars  of great northern white beans this fall and thought it would be a good substitution for the garbanzo beans.

This is what I did…

In the food processor add…


  • 1 quart of canned northern great white beans (drained well)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Start blending and begin adding

  • 1/2 cup of good olive oil (blend to the consistency you want)

Chill hummus in fridge for a good hour so flavors can marry, then put into serving bowl and top with…

  • drizzle of olive oil (optional)
  • sprinkle of smoked paprika (optional)


This is really good hummus.  Give it a try, I think you’ll like it.


How about my vintage Tupperware veggie tray?  I can’t even remember how long I’ve had it, but it’s perfect and I love it.

How was your weekend?  Did you make a big ole pot of soup too?

Till next time,








Oh My Lard!

My go to fats that I use most frequently are coconut oil, olive oil, leftover bacon grease and rendered and skimmed chicken fat.

When you raise and process your own hog you end up with a lot of fat, which normally I just portion out in packages and freeze.  Sometimes I salt it, and sometimes I don’t.

This hog season I decided to try rendering down the fat into lard.

These pictures really don’t do it justice because you can’t see the actual snow white color of the lard.

There is absolutely no piggy smell to it, which just amazes me.

I’m so pleased with the results of our first time rendering lard.


It was so easy to do…

  • start with very cold fat
  • grind fat through meat grinder, or cut into small cubes
  • add 1/2 cup of cold water to your crock pot
  • put “cold” fat into a crock pot (no more than 1/2 the size that your crock pot will hold)
  • cook on low 1 to 2 hours depending on how your crock pot’s temperature runs
  • make sure to stir fat quite frequently
  • once you see all the fat melted and little beige/brown bits appear then strain the very hot fat through a fine colander.  Use caution here, it is hot.
  • Strain liquid fat again through cheese cloth then pour hot fat into jars for storage.


I’ve mentioned before one of my favorite blog sites is The Healthy Home Economist by Mary Enig.  She is also the author of Know Your Fats.  Here is some of what she writes about lard.

Lard is the second highest food source of vitamin D, after cod liver oil. One tablespoon of lard contains 1,000 IU’s of vitamin D. Also important, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so it requires fatty acids – including saturated fatty acids – to be absorbed and utilized in the body. Lard provides the perfect package of vitamin D along with the required fatty acid cofactors.  Other food sources of vitamin D, including pastured egg yolks and liver, pale in comparison to the amount of vitamin D in lard.

There is a catch, however: only lard from pastured hogs contains vitamin D, since the pigs must have access to sunlight to synthesize the D and store it in their fatty tissues. Grocery store tubs or sticks of lard are from confined, antibiotic-laden pigs and should be avoided. Purchase your lard from a butcher or farmer who can tell you how the pigs are raised.

What are some examples of fats that don’t fit these guidelines? Canola oil, corn oil, fake butter, cooking spray and reduced-fat dairy products. Lard, however, was enjoyed by your ancestors thousands of years ago. My great-great-grandmother, a hard-working Danish woman who lived to the ripe old age of 107, grew up on copious dollops of lard, homemade sauerkraut and gallons of fresh milk from the family cow. You won’t see it advertised on TV, either, because large corporations won’t make money promoting the products of your local farmer.

I love learning and adding another homesteading skill to our know how toolbox.  I think back to my Grandmother and my great Uncle Jimmy and I believe they would enjoy knowing that their traditions and lifestyles are revered in a healthy light and becoming the lifestyles of later generations.

I believe it’s important for us to remember the traditions of our ancestors and get back to the old fashioned way, the right way, the sustainable way of life.

Till next time,