Wednesday, January 30, 2013

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Bargain Baby Cereal Uses

As many of you know by now,  Dave and I are devoted bargain shoppers. We hit the jackpot with one of our recent finds. We found boxes of baby cereal for only 10¢ a box, and powdered, milk-based baby formula for only 50¢ a can!  There was a great variety of the baby cereal, too . . . oatmeal, oatmeal with bananas, rice, and multi-grain. I really stocked up!

So what would we possibly want to do with all of this baby cereal and formula? There are oh, so many uses!!! Today, I will stick mainly with the baby cereal.

First, there are the cats. With business down to nearly nothing this winter, it has been a real struggle to keep all the little darlin's fed. With a little creativity, it can be done, and healthfully, too. I take an old large roasting pan and dump in one box of baby cereal. I then add a few scoops of the powdered baby formula on top (I do not recommend using the soy formula, as it sometimes makes them pretty sick, and you can't use the milk-based long term), a dribble of leftover meat drippings (if I have any, optional), add some water and stir until the right consistency for my cats' tastes. And VOILA!!! 10 very happy and satisfied cats for only 25¢!

One of my favorite uses for the oatmeal or the multi grain cereal is as a binder in Chili. When you are making a big pot of homemade chili, a little baby cereal can give the texture that something it seems to be missing. After you have cooked your chili as long as you want to, add in a sprinkle of baby cereal (I like oatmeal the best and a little will do ya), stir, and let it simmer just a few more minutes. If you don't think you have added enough, you can then add more, but start with just a little. The purpose is to enhance your chili, not make meaty baby cereal. It thickens the sauce/broth just a little, giving the chili some body, and binds all of the ingredients smoothly together.

I tried making some bread with some of the cereal and it turned out great! I replaced about 1/2 cup of the flour with 3/4 cup of the multi-grain baby cereal in my bread machine and it was wonderful! The outside of my loaf was a little crustier than usual, but it was golden and great with a pot of homemade soup.

Last night I made pancakes for dinner. I thinned my batter down just a little bit (just a LITTLE) and added in a good sprinkle of the oatmeal with bananas baby cereal. Then I stirred in some frozen blueberries and cooked as usual. That was so good that when I run out of baby cereal, I just may have to buy some more to make those pancakes again!

We would love to hear what your uses are for extra/leftover baby cereal! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Indigestion.. Too much or not enough acid?

Recently I went through a bout of the flu and let me tell you, it was no fun. The actual flu part has been over for at least two weeks now, but the lasting side effects still linger. For the most part, I am on the mend and just a little tired still, but one problem just keeps persisting. . . . . INDIGESTION.

I have not had indigestion this badly in a long time. Some days it gets so bad it makes my heart flutter and flip flop in odd ways (it aggravates another issue that has long been under control). So of course, I have been desperate to remedy it.

In the past I just reached for an antacid tablet. There was a time in life when I and one of my kids lived on those things, usually bringing relief for only a few minutes, but over the years I have learned that there are ingredients in those antacid tablets that I really don't want in my body. I also read one day awhile back that it is a misconception that indigestion is always caused by too much acid in the stomach when often times indigestion may actually be from not enough acid in your stomach, Antacid tablets would then make the problem worse. Well, I CERTAINLY don't want my indigestion to get worse! Without enough of the proper acid in your stomach, food doesn't digest properly, what isn't digested will just sit there, resulting in unwanted (and sometimes dangerous) bacteria growth.

I did a little research and, sure enough, MOST (not all) indigestion is caused by NOT ENOUGH acid in the stomach. It does result in acid being pushed up into the esophagus, but that is because not having enough acid in your stomach makes all of that area work improperly. So my search was on to find something NATURAL to relieve my indigestion. I had noticed that when I drank my hot cup of Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey (which I was using to remedy something else), I would often begin to belch, so I decided to begin there with my searching. Sure enough, it is a wonderful remedy for indigestion!  It makes sense as the vinegar adds acid to the stomach and both the vinegar and the honey kill many unwanted bacteria that may be further causing the indigestion/reflux problem.

I simply mix a teaspoon or two of Apple Cider Vinegar (make sure it is Raw, with the Mother in it, preferably Organic) and a large spoonful of Raw Honey in a cup of quality hot water (not chemically laden tap water), stir and sip until all consumed. In just a matter of minutes I get great relief! In fact, I get far better relief than from any commercial tablets or liquid I have ever taken. From now on I will make sure I ALWAYS have these two ingredients on hand and I will never buy commercial antacids again.

The following articles give great detail as to how LACK OF stomach acid can cause acid reflux and/or indigestion:

Great Video Explanation by Dr. Patti Kim

From Livestrong

From NaturopathConnect

All of these articles are excellent and you won't want to miss any of them! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

(AF) It's Bubba's First Birthday!

Can you believe it?! Bubba is a year old already! He has turned out to be such an amazing dog. And just the fact that he has turned out so big and sturdy is amazing in itself, since a strange, unknown virus had hit the entire litter (the day I had scheduled to give them their shots, no less) and he was one of the very few surviving puppies.At one point, it looked like there was no way he was going to pull through, but he is a fighter with devoted determination and he did it!

Contrary to popular belief, he has the keenest of hearing.  He is even usually the FIRST one to hear the coyotes when they come up too close to the house. He is sweet, and gentle, and loving, but so ULTRA protective of me, the younger dogs, and everything on the place. He even seems to have an extra sense and knows instantly, when strangers come by, if they are good people or bad people, and I have come to truly value that opinion!

So tonight we are having a Surprise VIRTUAL birthday party for him over at his blog. Yes, he has his own blog! So come on over and join us if you like, and wish Bubba a happy birthday while you are at it. He would love the surprise. The party is HERE. See you there!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Dinner for only 25 cents!

My latest bargain shopping find was Sweet Potatoes for only 19¢ a pound. Not as good as last year's 10¢ a pound, but still a fantastic bargain! They were all medium to large in size (some as much as 2 pounds) and looked really fresh. As you can guess, I really stocked up.Good thing, too, because when I went back, they had raised the price back up to 29¢ a pound. It must have been a stock reduction sale. I hate it when they do that, though. I figure, if they are making money off of it at the lower price, it just isn't right to jump the price up higher because the stock is running low, or because people have had time to try it and and see how good they are. For the most part, I love that store, but I hate that part about them. I have lost count as to how many times they have drastically raised the price of an item as their stock begins to dwindle or when word of mouth spreads as to how good something is and interest picks up.

Okay, so back to the sweet potatoes. I LOVE a good, baked sweet potato for dinner. I can make a whole meal off of a sweet potato (and often do). So, needless to say, I have been thoroughly enjoying sweet potatoes for dinner a lot lately. And they are so easy to fix.

Since I heat my home with a wood stove, it doesn't take any extra energy (or cost) to cook my sweet potatoes in the wood stove. And let me tell you, you just can't beat the flavor of them cooked that way, either! I make sure the fire and coals are pushed to the back and a little to one side. At least leave some space where no coals are touching. Then, in the empty space (I like to use the corner, up against the hot cast iron, just inside the door) I put my sweet potato and close the door.  Every 20 to 30 minutes I give the potato a little turn. Depending upon how hot your fire and wood box is, and the size of your sweet potato, it could take anywhere from an hour to 2 hours or so to bake your sweet potato. I used a sweet potato that was about 12 ounces.

When removing the sweet potato from the wood stove, be very careful as it is extremely hot! BBQ tongs work great. Once done, I take it out, place on a plate, split open down the middle and give a little inward push to each end to really open the potato up. I top it off with big slices of pure butter (also purchased on a recent bargain find.... $1.49 a pound, but this, too, will be even less once we have our own milk-producing cow), and a generous sprinkle of Morena sugar (natural evaporated cane juice).  Sometimes I also add a small dash of True Cinnamon. And there you have it..... a most delicious dinner for only 25¢!!!

Yes, the peeling gets a little charred and I don't eat that part. But don't worry, it doesn't get wasted. I tear it into small pieces for sharing sake and my dogs eagerly gobble it up, thinking I have given them a really special treat. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Flu Shots and Decreased Immune Systems

What they aren't telling you is that when you get a flu shot, often times (most of the time) it temporarily weakens your immune system. Although you may begin to build immunities to the one influenza in the flu shot (sometimes more than one), it then leaves your body more susceptible to all the flu strains that AREN'T in the shot! It is a guessing game (educated guess, I am sure) each year as to exactly which strain of the flu is going to be out this year when they are making the flu vaccines, but if it is a different flu that is going around, or additional ones, taking the flu shot can actually INCREASE your chance of getting the flu, or anything else that is contagious for that matter.

Another thought of concern.... People that get their flu shots early may be more immune to the one specific flu that is going around, as they have had time to build the immunities before the flu season gets well under way, but those that run out and get it after the flu season has hit hard, may be making themselves more vulnerable to the flu. When you get the shot, your immune system is temporarily weakened, and it has to build up the immunities to the strain that is in the shot. If you are exposed to the flu right after you get the vaccine, but before you have time to build up the immunities to it, you may well catch the flu faster than if you had not received the shot. (Yes a doctor even warned me this years ago) Why does this happen? Because you just killed off your body's natural immunities to the flu and are waiting for the ones from the shot to kick in. 

It is my personal (and somewhat educated) opinion that, in MOST (maybe not all) cases, a strong healthy body, a good and proper diet, and ample rest on a daily basis, are the best defense for immunities to the flu.  Yes, I am currently battling the flu and I DID NOT get a flu shot this year. But it is, by far, the mildest case of the flu I have ever had and my body seems to be fighting it much better this time (I always get it, flu shot or not) and much faster. The following is a great article on the subject:

  Increased Flu Risk

  Natural Immune System

May you have a healthy flu season!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Dinner for Two for Under $5

Yes, we are very late with this post today, but that is because we had to live it, before we could post it.

It is no secret that finances are a real struggle right now, but then it is for a growing number of the population these days. We are both extra careful with how much we spend on food, while still trying to eat nutritiously, and we never dine out any more (for reasons of cost and food chemicals). Every now and then, though, it isn't about just the quick bite to eat without having to cook, but about the dining experience together, unrushed time together, relaxed time together, a break from the daily mundane, an actual date.

With us both having had a stomach bug, we decided we wanted something light, like soup. There is a little hole-in-the-wall, private owned Chinese restaurant that I absolutely love, right on our errand route. We don't eat Chinese very often because it is usually laden with MSG, but I have never had a reaction to anything that I have eaten at this restaurant and we enjoy the once in a blue moon treat. This evening, we decided that a bowl of their soup sounded like just the thing. It is usually a pretty calm, quiet atmosphere there, and very reasonably priced, too. 

Dave ordered a bowl of their Egg Drop soup and a couple of Egg Rolls. I also ordered the Egg Drop soup and a large bowl of rice. Their bowls of soup are generously sized and come with a large package of crunchy rice noodles. I love those noodles... I could sit and munch on them all day!  My rice was steaming hot, light and fluffy with some kind of leafy green vegetable cooked in with it. With a little soy sauce splashed over it, it was yummy! Fortune cookies were included with the meal for dessert. We both just got water to drink. Theirs is filtered and very good (and free).

So, we had two large bowls of Egg Drop soup, two large packages of crispy Rice Noodles, two Egg Rolls, a large bowl of steamed Rice, two Fortune Cookies, great tasting water, and plenty of condiments to pour over everything (including bowls of fresh made sweet and sour sauce). It was an absolutely wonderful meal, a great, relaxing environment, and best of all, great company. We ordered at the register, but they even served us at our table!

The total cost for our entire dining experience . . . . . . $4.94! Yes, that was for both of us together, not each of us. I am so ready to go again, but then, I am also curious to see what other Tightwad meal we can come up with next. We will be sure and let you know.

What bargain dining experiences and ideas can you share with us?

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I don't have a television set up. I find it to be a HUGE distraction from my creativity and works, so when the switch to that 'little box' came about, I never switched over. I simply left my TV off and used that as the turning point to break away from watching so much television. I found that even if I had the TV on for just the 'white noise' as I went about my daily work, something on it would always catch my eye (or ear) as I walked past and before you knew it, I was sitting there watching for who knows how long, work setting undone.

There are; however, a few shows that I like to watch. And those shows are great to keep me occupied while I am working on my knitting or crocheting. Although I don't like a lot of the modern day technology, I do love being able to pull up the shows that I do like, at any time that I want (need), on my computer. It is wonderful to be able to watch them when the time is convenient for me and I can even pause them if I have to get up to tend to something, then go back and pick right up where I left off. When the grids eventually go down, that is one of the few things that I will actually miss.

Amongst the few shows that I really enjoy watching are shows like the CSIs, the Mentalist, Criminal Minds, Revenge, and NCIS. I was really bummed out the other day when it was too cold to do much of anything except sit bundled up close to the fire and knit, but those shows seem to have taken a break for the Holidays and no new ones were on. Then I decided to jump on over to Hulu and see if, just for kicks, I could pull up any of the ones that I watched in my youth.

I was so happy to find that there were several on there! I watched a few episodes of the old Emergency show, then I found Adam-12. Oh, how I use to love that show! I liked it even better than most shows because each of the incidents were actual cases. Actual cases ..... as I now watch that show, and keep that in mind, I am thrown by how the people on that show (and us viewers back then), were horrified at the crimes that were committed back then, yet those crimes committed today are viewed as something small and trivial. *shakes head*

If you look back at the shows that were popular during that time frame, you might be surprised to see that the "subject matter" of the shows that were so popular back then (Hawaii 5-0, Emergency, Adam-12, Rockford Files, Dragnet, etc), is basically the same as that of many that are on the air today. The BIG difference, though, is in the level of the crime the shows center around then, vs now. Back then, we watched the content of those shows with the "Oh, my gosh! That is horrible!" attitude. Now we go back and watch them with the, "Ah, that's nothing." attitude. And THAT is sad and scary!!!! Now, we watch today's much more violent crime shows with the same level of fear and disgust as we did the much milder ones back then. That speaks volumes for the way we, as a society, have allowed ourselves to become conditioned into down playing and even blowing off certain levels of crime, while being able to watch shows today such as Criminal Minds, then go right on to bed and sleep soundly, levels of crime that, once upon a time, would have given us hard chills and nightmares for weeks to come (just from one show)!

Those old shows were also much cleaner than today's shows. If some of the statements, and even innuendos, of today's prime time crime shows were expressed in those old shows, the insulted citizens of America would have taken a stand and the show would have been pulled off the air followed by an apology. I am truly enjoying the advancements of technology in that I can pull up a show at any time I want and enjoy it while I work on my knitting, but as I am enjoying all of those advancements, it has really brought to light the downward fall of our society, the drastic drop in our morals and increases in the acceptance of crimes that, though once deemed a big thing, are now viewed as trivial. Even more than I fear being hit with one of today's increasingly violent and gory crimes, I fear where this is all going. Looking back at those old crime shows, then looking at today's crime shows, I get physically ill at the thought of what the ones 20 years from now will be like. But maybe that won't happen. Maybe the grids will go down by then and we will all be living the Little House lifestyle once again. Wouldn't that be nice!