CSE for the Holidays: Corn Pudding

I’m putting my steal of a sale to good use! Such a classic southern dish, and I just now getting into it. It’s strange I’ve never had it before until now.

That’s my picture, but it’s not my recipe. You can get it here. I like this one because it doesn’t use so many eggs, so much milk or cream, and it’s still so good! I did saute my corn with red onions and added some chili powder and cayenne pepper, but everything else I kept the same.


CSE for the Holidays: Butternut Sqaush Soup

So…you’ve been mooching off other people all year and they are just sick of it. So they are eating at your house to eat up all your food! Or, you’ve been passing up social outings cause you can’t afford them and decided to redeem yourself. Or you are always the one to host holiday dinners and need to figure out how you’re going to do this AND stay in your budget.

Food is one of those many areas where we tend to let it all go. With three holidays in such close proximity, that’s alot of money! This feature is for recipes that stay in my 99 cents/pound or under rule. The food is cheap, but it doesn’t taste like it.

Winter squashes are great. They’re not only cheap, but very versatile. In my opinion, everyone needs a good butternut squash soup recipe. This one has fresh ginger and nutmeg. I use coconut milk for creaminess, but you can use whatever creamy liquid you like.

Butternut Squash Soup
2 tablespoons oil
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 small white onion, chopped
3 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
5 cups of water or stock (vegetable or chicken work fine)
1 cup of coconut milk (or whatever creamy liquid-evaporated milk, half and half, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

In your large soup pot, heat your oil on medium heat. Add your onions. Cook until they soften and are translucent. (If you don’t have any stock, let your onions cook down until they are golden brown and leave brown bits in the bottom of your pot. When you add the water, you de-glaze your pot and get all the flavor!)

Add your squash and your ginger and nutmeg. Toss to coat in the oil and onions. Add your water or stock, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 20-30 minutes or until squash is fork tender.

Remove from heat, and blend with a stick blender, or a regular blender in batches. Add your coconut milk and salt.

Serves 6 as a starter

Pet Love: DIY Cat litter bags

There are lots of tutorials for how to make your own cat litter boxes. The ones I like are here and here. There’s even a tute on how to make your own cat litter here. You can always use your shredded junk mail too. I just haven’t found a tute on how to make your own cat litter liner BAGS.

I used to buy these:

They’re great and everything, but I just realized that I’m buying twice the plastic: one type for trash and one type for the litter boxes. I can do better than that!

I know that you can use all kinds of different materials to line your litter box, but I wanted a bag. It’s just easier to deal with and I needed a big enough sized bag to fit the jumbo litter boxes I use.

I had left over jumbo trash bags from the big clean out we did a few months ago, and it was really simple to convert them to use in the litter boxes. I haven’t gone back to specialty cat litter bags since!

Turn the iron on the synthetic setting (no steam) and grab some parchment paper.

I use these. There are at my dollar store.

Unfold the bag.

Cut in half.

Now your going to seal the shorter open part of the bag. Cut a piece of parchment that will fold over the opening. Just cut one piece that’s long enough, then fold in half. Place the short open end of the plastic bag inside the folded piece of parchment.

Run you iron forward then backward across the parchment.

Now your edges are sealed and ready for use.

So easy and cheap.

Coupons! I finally get it!

I have never really gotten into clipping coupons in the past, because they are mere trickery. Too many conditions are put on them to save any money by just taking a 2×1 piece of paper into the store with you. “Save $1 on any three items”, “Save 25 cents on …(are you kidding me? 25 measly cents???)”, “Save $2 when you buy 8 rolls or more!”. Let’s be serious. You can save more by buying cheap house brands, no coupon necessary.

Let’s not mention the fact that most coupons are for products and novelty food stuffs that I don’t eat. I wouldn’t try them with a 50 cent coupon either.

Today though, I finally understood how to use these things. You can’t use them by themselves. You have to use them with a store sale to save money. For example, I found a coupon for Bird’s Eye frozen veggies. I miss broccoli, so I thought I would look into this. The coupon says “Save $1 on any three bags, excluding Steamfresh.” Well, at one of my local stores, they were selling Bird’s Eye brand (2 lb bags) of frozen veggies “buy one get one free”! Yee-haw! With my coupon, I racked up! Each bag ended up costing me about 75 cents per pound in the end.

For die hard coupon cutters, this is not new news. They’ve been doing this for years! But for people in my age bracket (18-34), using coupons like this could mean we might be able to get more than a quarter tank of gas and actually eat more than ramen noodles for a week.

You only sacrifice a few hours a week to save a whole lot of money. You do have to leaf through the coupons and the sales circulars to match up the bargains, but for me, I get a very good return on my time investment. And hold on to the coupons that you couldn’t match up this week. Next week is a brand new sale, and you can get the double roll toilet paper you had a coupon for last week!

Washing machine blows!

from familyhandyman.com

After more than 20 years, the washing machine decides to jump too high! Something separated in there and now it leaks all over the floor! Yay! It’s definitely not the end of the world and it’s only water, but it didn’t make for fun times for me, especially since I was already running on lack of sleep AND it was a low hormone day! Nothing got water damaged except for my 40 pound box of cat litter and only the bottom of the box.

Decision is split among the house as to what to do next. I say fix it. It’s lasted this long without any problems whatsoever, so it can’t be anything other than replacement parts we need to invest in, which would cost way less than a brand new machine. The other camp says buy a new one. This one is over 20 years old and the headache of trying to fix it is more than they are willing to deal with.

I don’t think we can really afford a new machine. If the other camp really wants to get a new one, I’m trying to persuade to get a good used one. No need to go the retail route.

Stash Busting!

How silly is this! I was reading a book on making your own skincare products, and it listed various ingredients needed to make certain treatments at home, like guar gum, lecithin, glycerin, aloe vera gel, borax, and beeswax to name a few! I own all of this stuff!

I currently have 10 different kinds of gluten free flours in my refrigerator!

I own egg replacer and powdered egg whites, but still buy real eggs!

I have 14 different colors of sequins.

I’m not even going to discuss the many yards of fabric in my possession. It currently occupies a WHOLE ROOM!

I have several boxes of mini toiletries I’ve collected from various hotels I stayed in when I was a flight attendant.

That’s just the beginning!

So, I’m on a spending freeze and only buying absolute necessities, so that I can put a dent on all this stuff. From the looks of it, it’s gonna be a long time before I have to buy any of this stuff at any store.