Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Tomato order is done………..

At the end of May, I talked to a man who offered our church group a chance to purchase some produce at a great price. He was the friend of a farmer, from Hempstead, Texas, who’s main crop was tomatoes and watermelons. He also grew a smaller crop of squash, bell peppers, cucumbers, and cantaloupes. They offered us a 33 lb. box of steak tomatoes for $ 11.50 a box, same poundage of roma’s for $ 10.50 a box, big watermelons for $ 3.00 each and so forth. With food prices on the rise, I knew it was a good deal. I talked to our church group and they were excited about it so we scheduled some canning classes to teach people how to can tomatoes. Since we are not allowed to collect money on church property, we sent out the order form via email and had everyone mail in their “outside” orders.

Since many of the ladies were going to can their tomatoes, we ordered 30 copies of a book called, “So Easy to Preserve” at $ 15.00 each. The book is put out by the University of Georgia, it is 375 pages of information on canning, freezing and drying and it is awesome. I had pre-ordered these books and put it on my charge account and prayed that we would sell them all. I offered them as a first come, first served offer, letting people know that I only had a limited supply. Well, we sold all of them and are working on order # 2. Once you see the book, it sells itself.

Back to the tomatoes: To make a long story short, we ended up buying almost 300 boxes of tomatoes, over 300 watermelons, and assorted boxes of the peppers, cucumbers, squash and cantaloupes. The order was so big that we divided the orders into two groups and had two different locations to deliver to. Thursday morning our first delivery was made and we off loaded the produce, inventoried it, divided it up and send it home with all of the purchasers. Each person that ordered a book picked it up with their order. Everything went off without a hitch. Yesterday, Friday, the second order was delivered. They were short seven boxes of roma tomatoes and 4 watermelons. With a few apologies and some refunding, the delivery went relatively well. We did these deliveries around 9:00am. and were finished by 11:00am. We have been getting rain in the afternoons, so we missed the rains on both days, thank goodness! I had planned to take pictures of all of this but I was so busy with the deliveries that I just didn’t have time to take any pictures.

Now, the good news! The farmer is considering doing a co-op with us. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will come thru. We will get fresh produce at below grocery store prices and make shopping a little less strenuous. Farm co-ops are an up and coming way to help you, the consumer, save money and help the farmer sell his crop.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggidy jig....

Well, I'm home from my week at the beach....It was fun and I had a great time with my two sisters, brother, and three other young family members. It began with me finishing off paying bills, turning in the tomato order and a flurry of other little odds and ends. I spent some really quility time with my family and what more can you ask? I sat under the beach umbrella reading and watching everyone else. My sisters and brother fished and swam till they could move no more. I walked on the beach, watch the pelican and sea gulls hunt for fish and walked barefoot in the sand. And yes, Jamie Dawn, I watched the "moon shine" over the water. It was a full moon and it couldn't have been more beautiful. We went crab hunting one night when it got dark and found one big crab and two small ones. Before we could head back to our camper, the large crab decided to "canablize" one of the smaller crabs. We decided to throw back all of the crabs and just head back. One of my favorite things to do was watch the pelicans flying over the water. They would start out sitting on the water, then they would fly, and then they would make a "dive bomb" for a fish down below. They looked like comokazi pilots making a bee line for their target.

To make a long story short, I did get some sun, coming home with a mild sun burn. We shopped on the Strand, we went out for pizza at a fabulous little pizza place, we walked our leggs off, we went to WalMart every day for ice and food, we played Chinese checks with a new champ every night, we barboqued, we ate water melon, we took down the owning on the trailer in record time when a storm came in on us quickly. We were lucky that we were around to do the job, some of the other campers were not so lucky and they had their ownings ripped off in a flash. All, I can say is, I had a great time. I can’t wait till next year…..

Now some wonderful recipes:

Stuffed Green Peppers

1 package (10 oz) frozen corn kernels
1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups shredded reduced fat Cheddar cheese, divided 6 green peppers. tops removed & seeded

Combine all ingredients, except 1/4 cup cheese and green peppers. Stuff peppers. Arrange peppers in crockpot. Cover, cook on low 6-8 hours (high 3-4 hours). Sprinkle
with 1/4 cup cheese during the last 30 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, one turn of the pan
24 large gourmet stuffing mushroom caps, stems removed and reserved brushed with damp towel
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, half a turn of the pan
3/4 pound sweet bulk Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, chopped
20 stems mushrooms, finely chopped
1 rib of celery and green, leafy top from the heart of the stalk, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (10-ounce) box chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 slices white bread, toasted and buttered, chopped into small dice
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano, 2 handfuls
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and mushroom caps and season caps with salt and pepper. Saute caps 5 to 7 minutes, until they are lightly browned and tender on edges. Turn caps up and let juices drain away from caps. Transfer caps to a small nonstick baking sheet. Wipe out skillet and return to heat. Add a touch of oil and sausage to the hot skillet. Brown and crumble sausage for 3 minutes. In a food processor pulse and chop the garlic, add mushroom stems and pulse to chop the mushroom stems. Add celery, onion and red bell pepper to the mushrooms and pulse to chop. Remove mixture from the processor and saute veggies and mushrooms over medium high heat another 3 to 5 minutes. Add dry, defrosted spinach and stir into stuffing. Add chopped bread and cheese to the pan and toss stuffing until bread is moist and stuffing is combined, 2 or 3 minutes. Fill caps with stuffing using a small scoop or large spoon. Place caps in hot oven and reduce heat to 450 degrees F. Bake 6 to 8 minutes to crisp edges of stuffing and set stuffing in mushrooms. Transfer stuffed mushrooms to a serving plate.

Herb and Garlic Grilled Vegetable Platter
Recipe By : Real Food for Real People - Serving Size : 6
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 Zucchini -- or yellow squash, sliced
1 small Sweet Onion -- cut into wedges
12 medium Mushroom Caps -- cut into wedges
1 medium Eggplant -- thick sliced
2 medium Bell Peppers -- asst. colors, sliced in chunks
1 cup Lawry's Herb and Garlic Marinade with Lemon Juice

In large zip baggie, combine all ingredients and marinate in refrigerator for 30
minutes or overnight. Either thread onto skewers or place vegetables in grill
basket to grill over barbecue until tender.

May cook in skillet until browned and tender.
May broil or oven roast at 450ºF until tender.

Picnic Idea: A great recipe to take along as a picnic side dish, to top a main
dish salad or to wrap up in a tortilla as a vegetarian sandwich.

Wrap Party Tip: Wrap fillings can be made up ahead and refrigerated. When ready to serve, allow vegetables to come to room temperature, place on buffet with tortillas and let guests serve themselves.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 91 Calories; 1g Fat (5.7% calories from
fat); 4g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 1075mg
Sodium. Exchanges: 2 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Have a great week everyone! The tomato order is being delivered on Thursday. I will take a few pictures of that event, so be ready folks......

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dollar Stretcher Tips and Real Age Advice

Removing Wallpaper

A great way to remove wallpaper is to combine one cup of fabric softener with a pail of warm water. Sponge it on the paper and scrape. This works really well! If the wall paper is stubborn, gently score it with a fork. Roz in Canada
Note from Lucy: I know that this works because my SIL is a dry wall man and he does this all the time.

Shipping Small Fragile Items

When I had to ship something fragile, I put the item into a resealable bag, but I didn't close the bag all the way. Then, I inserted a straw into the bag and pinched the bag around it. To inflate the bag, I blew into the straw and then I quickly closed the bag. I packed it in a box with crumpled newspaper. I promise it works! Rachel B.
Note from Lucy: I shipped a package last Thursday. I bubble wrapped the item and then packed it into a small box with peanuts. Then I put this package into a larger box with the rest of the items and used more peanuts. We got word today the everything arrived in tip top shape.

Roach Free

A method of killing roaches is to mix equal parts of cornstarch and plaster of paris and then leave it out (in plastic lids under dressers, etc.). They eat the mixture because of the sugar in the cornstarch and the plaster hardens and kills them. My family lived in Brazil for many years, and this stuff worked miracles on reducing the roach population. KW
Note from Lucy: This sounds like an interesting way to rid your house of roaches. Has anyone ever tried this?

For those of you who live in Florida, this is a must in Hurricane season.

A Secret Inside

Be careful with new product packaging. For example, Wal-Mart had a new package on paper towels that said, "New Bigger Sheets." It was the same price. Sounds good, right? You need to check the square feet per roll! The sheets might be bigger, but they have less square footage per roll. My Wal-Mart not only decreased the roll size, but they also raised the price six cents! Luckily, I had bought all the old packages just before the price increase, so I'm set for a few weeks. Terri

More Efficient Freezer

A freezer runs better when as full as possible. If you need to fill it, just put ice in those areas. It will save money, and you will always have ice ready for those hot summer days coming up. Sue G.
Note from Lucy: If your freezer goes out it is important that you not open the door to the freezer. You can also insulate the freezer by wrapping it in newspaper and then wrapping it in a blanket. You would be amazed how well this works. Of course keeping a full freezer is important too.

Natural Garden Protection

I sprinkle my eggshells around my shrubs. It is a deterrent for slugs. The eggshells also add nutrients to the soil. Mary Jo in Alamo, TN

RealAge Tip
4 Foods for Better Immunity
Your immune system is responsible for helping fight off everything from the common cold to cancer. A tall order!

Send in some reinforcements so it doesn't get battle fatigue. Here are four foods your immune system loves.

Sweet, Creamy, Steamy, Crunchy . . .
Oranges, yogurt, tea, and pumpkin seeds are the order of the day when it comes to giving your immune system a treat, according to RealAge experts Michael Roizen, MD, and Mehmet Oz, MD, authors of the best-selling (and now newly expanded and updated) YOU: The Owner's Manual. Here's how these four superfoods help:

1. Oranges are chock-full of vitamin C, an antioxidant vitamin that helps your immune system fend off disease-causing invaders. Other good C options: bell peppers, strawberries, cantaloupe, and broccoli. Or take 400 milligrams of vitamin C three times daily. (Look up more C sources.)
2. Yogurt (unpasteurized) contains Lactobacillus acidophilus -- a healthy bacterium that helps thwart fungus-related infections. Or take a 20-milligram acidophilus supplement twice daily. (Here's another great natural fungicide.)
3. Tea is full of flavonoids, powerful vitamin-like substances that reduce immune-system aging. You'll also find them in oats, onions, broccoli, tomatoes, apples, and berries. (Boost your berry intake with this Triple Berry Blender Blaster.)
4. Pumpkin seeds are great year round, not just at Halloween, because they contain zinc -- a nutrient that's been shown to help reduce the average length of the common cold. (Find out how zinc can make exercise easier, too.)
Are your immunizations current? Get a checklist with this vaccine assessment.

RealAge Benefit: Protecting your immune system can make your RealAge as much as 6 years younger.

Note from Lucy: I'll be leaving town early Monday morning to go on my yearly trip to the beach with my two sisters and my brother. Last year I didn't get to go because of TF's gall bladder surgery but this year is all go. I can hardly wait to feel the ocean breezes on my face, feel the sand between my toes and just listen to the waves come in and go out....I bought a new beach unbrella this year and I plan to use it as I sit on the beach and do my people watching. I will read my magazines, listen to the radio, enjoy the company of my family and just chill.....No phones, no computers or TV. I'm looking forward to walks on the beach, barboque, watching the moon shine over the water and my trips to Wal Mart to just look around. lol......

See ya a week from Monday......

Sunday, June 08, 2008

We lost our Missy last week.....

Last week was full of ups and downs. On the up side, I have been clipping hedges, tree limbs and lots of over growth in our back yard. Last year I didn’t do much clipping and the yard was beginning to look like a jungle out there. I decided to hire a young boy from our church to pick up all the chippings. He is trying to earn money for his scout camp and I decided he would be the perfect fit for this job. He came over in the mornings, while it was still coolish, to do the work. Well, last Thursday, he came with his younger brother and they started to work. I opened the gate so that the boys could come and go as they pleased. Missy, our dog, came out to keep the boys company. I usually don’t worry about her because she stays near the house and does not wonder. She played with the boys for a while and then went back into the yard.

I came into the house for a quick break and decided to wash the dishes, then I sat down to read the paper. TF got a call and he had to leave go do his job. He waved good buy and went outside. Within a few minutes, I heard Missy screech out in pain. I ran to the back door and TF was running in shouting that he had run over Missy. I looked outside and Missy was pulling herself thru the gate and to the back door. She wasn’t crying, but you could tell she was hurt. I ran for the front door and called Alec to come quickly. In the mean time TF grabbed a towel and gently placed her on it. He and Alec lifted Missy into my car and the boys and I took her immediately to the vets. All of this time, Missy never utter a sound of pain. I prayed that she was only slightly hurt, but it was not to be.

I vet put her on an examination table and had me pat her while she examined her. Missy is 13 years old and has been incontinent for the last year. The vet said that she was hard of hearing, which TF and I had suspected, and she had cataracts on both of her eyes. Her leg was fractured in several places and would need surgery. The vet gave me this look that I knew was no good. She said that with Missy’s age that the surgery would be tough and it might not take if she has soft bones. With being incontinent, hard of hearing, and almost blind the doctor said it would be better to put her to sleep. Tears were rolling down my cheeks and I could hardly see, but I called my husband and had the doctor tell him what she thought was the right thing to do. I know that I didn’t want “puppy”, which is what we called her, to suffer any more pain. Deep down inside I knew it was the right thing to do, we both knew that we had to let her go.

Dr. Marshall, consoled me and did what she had to do. Missy was gone in a matter of minutes. I went out to take care of my bill and had to tell the boys what had happened. Alec understood right away but his brother Joseph, kept asking when we were going to take Missy home. I had to explain that Missy was going to a different home where she would feel no more pain. It was hard walking out of that clinic without my dog….I cried all the way home. TF has really had a hard time with this because he is the one that ran over her….He hated to put her thru so much pain.

This is how a day can go from the top of the roller coaster to the bottom in a matter of minutes…..On the way home I explained to Alec, thru my tears, that life is like a roller coaster. We have lots of ups and downs and it doesn’t matter how many we have that counts, what matters is how we handle them…….end of story.

Sorry, no frugal news this post. Have a great week everyone. Check out TF’s blog, here to see a picture of our Missy.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Unnamed Meme!

OK, is my meme....

In your entire life, have you ever...

gone on a blind date? Yes, once and it wasn’t fun. I never did that again.

skipped school? Nope, I never did.

watched someone die? I had to watch my dad die and it was really hard. He withered away for two weeks in the hospital and at the end I was praying for the Lord to just take him. I did not want to see him suffer any longer and he died that night.

been to Canada? No, never have.

been to Mexico? One year on vacation to the Rio Grande valley, we crossed the border at Matamoras for two hours and it was the scariest thing we ever did. Some Mexican got into my dad’s car and drove like a wild person. That was the last time we ever did that!

been to Florida? Yes. TF’s parents live in Vero Beach and we go down there to visit them once or twice a year now. My daughter is there right now to visit with them and she got to see the space shuttle take off. Oh yes, I have also been to Disneyworld. My dad, two sisters and my brother along with my son and middle daughter camped down there one year around the 4th of July. We saw a terrific fireworks display over the Indian River.....Awesome!

been on a plane? Yes, and we will be getting on one in July to go to New York City for a long weekend trip to see Yankee Stadium before it is torn down. I also was on a plane 3 weeks after 9/11, it was almost empty. I think there were about 10 people on that plane. There were also 3 middle eastern men on the plane. One of the men sat up front, one sat in the middle and the last one sat in the back of the plane. I think every person on the plane had their eyes on these men. I almost didn't get on the plane, but I figured that they wouldn't dare try it again.....I arrived safely in Denver..

been lost? Ocassionally, but I always find my way.

been on the opposite side of the country? I live in Houston, and I have been to Florida, New York and there around, to Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Big Ben Park. I have never been to California or the West Coast.

gone to Washington, DC? Yes, once, two weeks before 9/11.

swam in the ocean? Yep, Swam in the ocean outside of Vero Beach,Florida and, living in Houston, I have swam in the Gulf of Mexico many times.

had your booze taken away by the cops? Nope! I don’t drink so that would be an impossibility. If they want my Diet Dr.Pepper, they can have it.

lettered in a high school sport? No, I was in band all of my high school years…..loved it!

cried yourself to sleep? Yes, I think most everyone has.

played cops and robbers? Yes, but it was a long time ago. I did play detective once when my son sneaked out of the house in the middle of the night.

played dolls? Yes, I had a chatty Cathy….

recently colored with crayons? Yes, with two grandkids, it is a must.

sang Karaoke? Not in front of anyone!

paid for a meal with coins only? All the time! You are talking to Miss Frugal here!

done something you told yourself you wouldn't? Probably!

cheated on an exam? Never have! I had my chances but I just couldn’t do it. I have one of the biggest Consciences you can imagine.

made prank phone calls? If I did, I don’t remember it.

laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose? No, but I have laughed hard enough to pee in my pants.

caught a snowflake on your tongue? Yes, Don’t get that chance much here in Houston, but I have done it.

danced in the rain? Yes, I have danced, played, and skipped in the dirty gutter water while it rained. It sure was fun.

written a letter to Santa Claus? Yes.

been kissed under the mistletoe? Yes

watched the sunrise with someone you care about? One of my favorite things to do.

been arrested? Nope.

blown bubbles? I’ve blown lots of bubbles.

gone ice-skating. If you want to call it skating, I was on my butt more than on the skates.

been skinny dipping outdoors? No

had a nickname? Where do I start? My dad called my Lucy Belle or Lulu Belle. I’ve been called: LuLu, Luc the goose, Luc, Lucy Girl and a mired of other names….

been to Africa? No. Sounds like it would be fun.

eaten cookies for dinner? Yes and I have milk with those cookies to make it a complete meal.

been on TV? Not that I recall.

stolen any traffic signs? No

been in a car accident? Yes, several times. The first time I was around 11 years old and a lady ran a stop sign and hit my mom’s car. We didn’t have seat belts back then and I flew forward and hit my tooth on the dashboard. My tooth broke off and my mom was able to get my braces with the money she got from the insurance. Other accidents were minor ones and I was not hurt in any of them.

What is your....

mother's name? Louise Mary Hebner Spitler

favorite drink? Diet Dr. Pepper

favorite alcohol? I don’t Drink so I don’t have any favorites. Wait! I do like a virgin Strawberry Dakarie. (Did I even spell that right?)

birthplace? Houston Texas, The old Memorial Hospital downtown. It has been torn down now.

favorite vacation spot? Mountain areas of Colorado.

favorite salad dressing? Ranch

favorite pie? Chocolate Pudding pie.

favorite number? 3 or 5

favorite movie? Too many to put just one. Dave, National Treasure, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, Fried Green Tomatoes, Forest Gump, Fracture, and so many more.

favorite holiday? Christmas and I like Thanksgiving too.

favorite food? Fired Chicken is my all time favorite….

favorite day of the week? Any day that I wake up able to get up and go.

favorite brand of body wash? I don’t use body wash, I like soap.

favorite toothpaste? Well, right now I am using old fashioned, baking soda and peroxide. I mix it up and dip my toothbrush in and brush. Love it.

favorite smell? I have so many...Coffee brewing (I don’t drink it, but I like the smell), food cooking, the smell just after a rain storm, the fresh air smell up in the mountains and etc.

Do you have any...

tattoos? NO. None, nada, never.

body piercings? Same as tattoos!

Do you drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? A two door car, and I will never get another one. I have always had a 4 door car, then I let my husband talk me into getting a two door, that was a mistake!! With Grandkids - never again.

What do you do to relax? Read or watch TV all by myself. Sometimes, a guiet evening alone with my husband will do the trick....

How do you see yourself in 10 years? Alive and kicking!

Anyone who would like to do this meme....go right ahead. This has been fun.