Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pantry Challenge #21 ... 2015

Thank you to those who have purchased my e-book Yes, You CAN Have A Well-Stocked Pantry!  I’ve done very little promotion type stuff so the fact that some of you have purchased it anyway honors me … thank you!  And to those who have promoted it on their blogs and Facebook pages, my heart is overflowing with gratitude to you.  An extra special ‘thank you’ goes out to you.   As I’ve mentioned before, needing to turn my blogging into a source of income has been difficult for me.  I would much rather have continued to blog/write just for the fun of it but our financial situation suddenly changed the end of last year and thus the need to do otherwise was born.  I’m learning how to do this blogging for income thing as I go and sometimes it takes me a while to figure things out. 

My to-do list from last time:   

Finish vacuum sealing Cheerios.  Didn’t get done!
Vacuum seal oats.  Didn’t get done!

In addition:

I picked the first strawberries this week from the few plants we have.   These are the best tasting strawberries and I’m hoping to be able to transplant some of the runners into a new bed.

I also picked the first raspberries this week.  They are beginning to ripen.  The bushes are full so I must be diligent to check them morning and evening in order to beat the birds to them! 


I used a bar of lye soap to treat a stain on one of my husband’s dress shirts that had been dried in … after rubbing the bar of lye soap over the stain a few times; washing the shirt and then letting it hang dry I was delighted to find that the stain was gone!!!!

While we were away on our last trip we found cake mixes on clearance (after Easter sales) and purchased several.  Doing a few at a time, I’ve been putting them in the freezer for several days (to kill off any insect eggs that might hatch out later), removing them from the freezer and after they came to room temperature, wrapping each box individually in plastic wrap.  (Wrapping them each in plastic wrap helps keep the humidity out.) Then I store them in a tub especially for cake mixes.  This week I prepared 3 more boxes to go in the tub and added the last 4 to the freezer.

I harvested nettles, lemon balm, plantain, sage and spearmint.   I washed each one separately, put each one in my vegetable spinner to get all the excess water off, and then let each air dry until they were completely dried.  Letting them dry naturally saves us money on our electricity by not running the dehydrator.

Once the plantain had semi-dried I chopped it up and added it to a jar of plantain tincture I’m making.  I’d like to do one more quart of plantain tincture then I want to make some plantain oil for salve making.

The spearmint dried quickly and I crushed it and started a jar for 2015.  Oh my, did it ever smell good!

I harvested our garlic and spread it out in the greenhouse to cure for a couple of weeks.


I ran out of turmeric capsules and had to make some more.   I can really tell a difference in my arthritis pain when I don’t take it.

I purchased a ‘mosquito plant’ to keep on my front porch.  The mosquitoes are really bad in our area in the summer months and I’m hoping this will help keep them away when we’re sitting on our porch.
(The pot in the middle is the mosquito plant.)

I hung our laundry on the clothes line this week instead of using the dryer.  That’s another way to save money on the electricity bill.

I’ve officially declared Tuesdays as my laundry/sewing day.  This past Tuesday I did some sewing in and around doing 6 loads of laundry.  I enjoyed it so much that I’ve decided to do it every Tuesday if at all possible.  Here are a couple of things I stitched this past Tuesday:

(I'm making one of my granddaughters a quiet book.   I didn't get this page finished but got a good start on it.)

I’m down to one more jar of cider fire and this just won’t do!  I take it daily, it helps with my arthritis, allergies and helps keep my blood sugar levels normal.  (I am not a doctor; I’m just sharing what works for me.  Always consult your doctor for treatment of ailments.) I can find all the ingredients needed to make it locally except for fresh horseradish root and fresh turmeric root so I used gift cards I had earned through Swagbucks  and Bing to order these two items through Amazon.  I’ve done it before and have been very pleased with the product.  (See links below.)

I’m well on my way to earning another Amazon $25 gift card doing Swagbucks.   Go here to read some ways I earn Swagbucks.

I’m also well on my way to earning another $5 Amazon gift card through Bing .

We added $2.80 to our change jar.

My updated 2015 gardening journal can be found HERE! 

Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:
Start a batch of ‘Gwen’s Bread’ … it’s supposed to be better for you in the carb department than regular bread.  Gwen’s Bread is THM approved so I’m going to make some and give it a try. (Trim Healthy Mama … I do not follow the THM plan but do use quite a few of their recipes.) We miss the convenience of having sandwiches eating low-carb and if this bread works that would be wonderful!   (We currently use Joseph’s Bread (we purchase it from Walmart in the deli section) for making wraps, pizza’s, chips, etc.)

Gather all my squash recipes and make sure I have everything I need to start preserving squash.  By the end of the week, it should be ready and I want to be ready!  I plan to can 50+ quarts of squash this year as we ran out last year, make squash pickles (This recipe was shared with me by a reader … thanks Cindy!), and dehydrate some to grind into squash powder to be used as a filler in various dishes.  How do you preserve squash?

Forget about vacuum sealing the box of oats and the box of Cheerios that I’ve had on my to-do list for weeks.  They’re both still in their sealed bags and should be fine until I have more time to deal with them than I do now!   Am I the only one that puts things like this on hold … indefinitely????

My plantain should be ready for harvesting again by the end of the week as well as the nettles.  I think I can start harvesting some of the basil I planted this year too.  I’m keeping a close eye on all my herbs (and spices) and harvesting them when they’re at their peak if at all possible. 

Start another batch of cider fire.

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?

A Working Pantry

To Learn More About My E-Book, click on the link: Yes, You CAN Have A Well-Stocked Pantry!

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This post linked to:  The Art of Home-Making Monday
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