Sunday, October 30, 2016
THE THRILL OF THRIFT
THE THRILL OF THRIFT
A few posts back, Leslie mentioned getting excited about discovering a new place to purchase groceries inexpensively. Leslie and I think alike! A few months back we found an Amish-run scratch and dent grocery outlet. Not only is it an adventure because it takes us down some roads lined with Amish farms that is like stepping back in time, but the store itself is like a wonderland to me. You just never know what you will find. This week we purchased lasagna noodles at fifty cents a pound and some K-cups (we have a Keurig but mainly use it to have a quick source of boiling water) ten cups for $1.75. I'm wary of the canned goods, but some things such as pasta, coffee, tea and sugar are certainly fine with us if they are slightly beyond their expiration date. I guess our palates are not that refined. They also had apples for thirty cents a pound, fresh picked from the orchard next door.
I remember in my younger days before the discovery of scratch and dent and bulk food stores, I used to buy the Sunday paper and study the sales and coupons like they were a treasure map; making menus that took advantage of what was cheap, mapping out my route so that I could do my shopping in the least amount of trips to conserve gasoline and time. I get as much thrill from the hunt of a good bargain as I would on any safari.
What fun it is to go outside and forage for pinecones and twigs to decorate our home.
The anticipation in waiting until you find that perfect item within your budget is better than Christmas! I cannot explain how pleasing it is too find the perfect sweater than goes with all your skirts at the thrift store or a brand-new-with-tags-still-on-it cashmere sweater from Bloomingdales, for the same price of $3.47, as the ugly Barbie pink and turquoise one from K-Mart. I always say that when it comes to the thrift store it costs the same price to dress well as it does to dress cheaply.
Could Starbucks serve up a better cup of coffee than this?
Another thing that brings me much joy is using up my yarn stash to make Christmas presents. I knitted these little slippers and a hat this week.
here. I also finished this scarf:
FREE KNITTING PATTERN
I also knitted these two dishcloths:
The yarn came from a cotton sweater that I unraveled. It has pretty lavender specks in it that reminds me of some beautiful handmade writing paper I had a lifetime ago when people use to send letters. Unfortunately, the sweater didn't work out for me. Aren't cotton sweaters the worst? They're so heavy and by the end of the day they are so stretched out the sleeves are practically dragging on the ground. So I was thrilled to re-purpose the yarn for dishcloths. The directions on how to unravel and re-purpose sweaters for the yarn is in the same link as the scarf above.
Anyhow, here's a quick and easy pattern to make the dishcloths:
Cast on 5 stitches.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: K 3, YO, K 2
Row 3: K3, YO, K3
Row 4: K3, YO, K to the end of row
Repeat row 4 until your diagonal is as wide as you like. Now decrease:
K2, K2 tog, YO, K2 tog, K to end of row.
Repeat last row until 5 stitches remain. Bind off. Weave in loose ends.
The size of the needles and the number of rows depends on what type of cotton yarn you use. I would suggest that you use the size of needles that is suggested on the yarn's label and just eyeball the width. It is a dishcloth after all!
I think some of these dishcloths will make a nice hostess gift when combined with some homemade soap and tied up with some red and white kitchen twine. Maybe a handmade apron too?
RECIPE FROM THE PANTRY (KIND OF)
Well! I couldn't let October pass without posting one pumpkin recipe could I? Here's a recipe for a pumpkin coffeecake that's quick to make up:
Pumpkin Coffee Cake
1 3/4 C. biscuit baking mix
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. butter (1/2 a stick)
1 C. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
Combine all the ingredients and beat for 3 minutes. Spread batter into a well-greased 8" pan. Sprinkle streusel over top of batter.
1/2 C. coconut
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1/4 C. biscuit baking mix
1/4 C. brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter, melted
Combine until moistened.
Bake cake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
I know that "biscuit baking mix" or as we call it around here, Bisquick, may not be a pantry staple but it does come in handy from time to time. I used to make a lot of those "impossible" pies; as in cheeseburger impossible pie, lasagna impossible pie, etc. It made for a quick meal, I will not lie. But did you know that you can make your own Bisquick from items you already have in your pantry?
Homemade Bisquick Mix
6 C. flour
3 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. salt
1 C. shortening
Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl until well combines. Cut in the shortening until it resembles fine crumbs. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to four months.
The beauty of making your own is that you can control the ingredients, i.e.: non-aluminum baking powder, sea salt, better quality flour and shortening. Plus you don't get any of the ingredients that you don't want like non-caking compounds.
THRIFTY THINGS WE DID THIS WEEK
Bought half a bushel apples from the Amish store for 30 cents a pound.
Bought 2 more cords of wood from the village for heating.
Knitted two Christmas presents from the yarn stash.
Finished a scarf . One less work-in-progress.
Ran carved a pipe from some scraps of black walnut. What will he think of next?
Turned down the thermostat and wore sweaters and slippers and heated the house via the woodstove.
Made some delicious pumpkin chili from our own pumpkins. This was so filling we only needed to eat one meal on the days I served it.
Played card in the evening for entertainment.
Our neighbor gave us a bag of cat food to help support the strays.
Gathered some twigs, rosehips and pinecones for decorations.
Hung our laundry on racks inside to dry.
Baked a large batch of baked beans that also heated the house while the oven was going. (We always leave the oven door ajar after baking - free heat)
Well, that's another week at the old Zempel boarding house!
From ye ghoolies and ye ghosties,
and ye long leggedy beesties
And things a'go bumpe in ye night,
Good Lourde delyver us .