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.

 

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  • 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!

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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,

Lori

Happenings On The Homestead

The Z Man bagged another nice buck last weekend which fills his tag for bucks this season.  I can tell he is a little melancholy about being finished with deer season, but I am so happy that we have P-L-E-N-T-Y of meat in the freezers.

I’m so proud of the Z Man.  I swear he is like the deer whisperer.  It’s almost as if the deer come to him.  He enjoyed his hunting this year.  He bagged a 10 pointer, a 8 pointer and a 7 pointer.  I canned one and the other two are in the freezer.  We are so very blessed.

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I was not able to help Z Man with the processing because I’m still pretty limited with the use of my left hand from cutting my finger.  He did a fine job with it.

We got the bacon from hog #2 smoked.  This is one of the most beautiful sights…  I wish you could smell it!!!

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This bacon will be sliced, packaged and frozen.  No nitrates or unknown ingredients here, just pure pork goodness.

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When smoking bacon it’s not necessary but it is best to leave the pig skin on the meat to keep it from shrinking up a lot.  Last year I removed the skin prior to smoking the bacon, but this year I left it on and look what we ended up with.  I know this can be used for something great, I’m just not exactly sure yet what that is.  I think I’m leaning toward dehydrating it a bit for dog treats.  Lucky dogs!

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I needed to bake an apple pie to take to work for a birthday present…  The Z Man requested one too 😉

I decided to add some dried cranberries for extra zing.  Delicious, especially with a big scoop of ice cream.  It’s the holidays, we’re supposed to indulge a little bit.

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I made a batch of yogurt because we always have yogurt in the fridge.  Yogurt, fruit, granola and a drizzle of maple syrup is almost as good as that cranberry apple pie. 😉

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Right before thanksgiving I bought a large bag of carrots and potatoes.  I know, I know, but I wasn’t about to let them go to waste.  They will make an easy, quick, and lovely stew with the canned venison.

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Hello, my name is Lori and I’m addicted to canning.

What fun things did Y’all get into over the weekend?

Till next time,

Lori

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.

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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.

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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,

Lori

 

Homemade Chicken Stock

You really should be making your own chicken stock.  It’s one of the easiest things in the world to do and it is 1,000,000,000,000 times better than anything you can buy at the store.

This is what I did on Saturday and Sunday.

I started with chicken bones I had been saving in my freezer along with some onion, celery and carrot scraps then I let this pot low simmer on the stove for 29 hours.  I added extra water to in once.

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This is why I love to make my bone broths in the cooler months, because I can cook it on my wood stove and not have my kitchen stove on for 24 hours.

While my stock was cooking away, I got busy using my electric pressure cooker doing 1 whole chicken at a time from the freezer.  I cooked the 3 laying hens that the Z Man and I harvested from our flock earlier this summer and I cooked 3 of my Polyface Farm roaster chickens.  I pressure cooked them for 20 minutes each then let them cool and picked the meat from them and put the bones in the stock pot.

After all the chickens were cooked and the meat was in the jars, I  filled the jars with chicken stock from my stock pot.  Then 7 quarts of chicken meat went into my pressure canner at 10 lbs of pressure for 90 minutes.  The chicken stock, 25 minutes and 10lbs of pressure for quart jars.

In total I ended up with 7 quarts of canned chicken and 18 quarts of chicken stock.

The canned chicken will be great in chicken and dumplings, chicken pot pie, chicken soups, buffalo chicken dip….  A great easy quick meal no matter what recipe I use.

This is good for you food at it’s best.  There are many healing properties in homemade bone broth.

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I mean, just look at that beautiful golden rich stock.  Mmmmmmm, I can’t wait for some mashed potatoes and gravy!

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Canning is not difficult and it’s not dangerous if you follow the basic safety practices.  Yes it takes time and it takes work, but it’s something that I find pleasure in doing.

Even if you don’t have a pressure caner, you can very easily make this stock and freeze it in individual containers and it would still be just as lovely.

And why not get extra goodness out of that roasted chicken by using the bones for stock.  That’s a great way to stretch a dollar.

Till next time,

Lori