Wednesday, July 28, 2010

FOOD OR FRUIT

Good morning my friends! How are you doing this wet Wednesday morning? I'm good really... just tired of the rain! I had some more good experiences with my freecycling and I got some bills paid and a little shopping done too!

Ok gotta say I love my readers, so its time to address all the comment questions from yesterday!

I had a couple of emails asking me if freecycling was really worth the time and what type of things have I been able to find. Well, let me tell ya... it IS definitely worth the time. If for no other reason than recycling and peace of mind you are helping the earth, even if in just a little way. I have received alot of great items thru the years. I have also given alot away for others to use/have. I found a 6 month old (almost new) fridge for my parents right after the storm, a full size bed for my DD, and even a NICE 20 in. color TV for my son about a week ago. The last few days, I have got LOTS of baby items... new foods, diaper bags, diapers, a wipes warmer, monitors, and more. I have gotten nice clothes, lots of yarn for my mom (who crochets), crafting supplies, coupons, and lots more things. Even animals! You can post what you are looking for and people can email you. Its so worth it. Just think about all that totally usable stuff going in the garbage and cluttering our world! So I hope that answers your questions and helps you!

To Jean: Good to see you! Ok you asked about the Christmas Challenge "rules"... well basically on this Christmas Challenge, I plan to make as much of each gift AND presentation as possible. I plan on making personalized gift bags for the gifts (when necessary), etc. All edible gifts will obviously be done at the "last minute" but if the supplies for those gifts are shelf stable, then they will at least be bought ahead of time to ensure we have them. This challenge takes a bit of planning but I think it will be turning out super spiffy. My gift giving will cover a large range of people... from babies to seniors, women and men, manly to feminine, and everything in between! The Challenge I presented to my readers is that you do the same. Make a list of everyone that you need to give a gift to during the holidays and each day MAKE a gift. I am almost at my 250th posting and have brought tons of crafts for just about everyone. Then share with all of us what you have done for who... and you can email me pics if you would like- and let me know if I can post them here... I think it would be fun to see what you guys and gals are up to!

As for my brother, he is physically alright. I was just worried about him because his kitty passed away. He has had that cat for a long time and was his "buddy" during a very rough time in his life. He of course played the "manly man" about it, but I KNEW inside he was crying... so I paid even more special attention to him than normal (which is crazy closeness anyway LOL) the last few days. But he is much better now. He buried her in the back yard at mom's house... where all of our favorite animals end up LOL.

And finally... the baby. He is my "soon-to-be-nephew" you could say. My OTHER brother (the middle one) is involved with a young lady with a small baby. They plan on marrying sometime in the future and he truly loves this child. So they are struggling young parents trying to start a life. As once BEING one of those "young parents" I know how difficult it is, so I extended the offer to help with the baby. He is a commercial driver, but fixing to change jobs to be a correctional officer and she just took the test and received her cosmotology license. She recently interviewed and got a job but they can't afford daycare. My brother and her also prefer to have the baby with someone they know and trust... aka... ME LOL! SOOO... Aunt Nay will be watching the baby for long periods of time at minimum of 5 days a week... sometimes more. Trying to start a life is hard, and when you are young with limited resources, its even harder. So I am excited to help these 2 make themselves into productive members of society so they can provide this baby with a better life. And I commend and am very proud of my brother for stepping up and being a real man and taking on the very challenging situation of a "ready made family"! He makes me well up with pride... and doesn't even know it!

To Tabitha: I plan on probably taking pictures and sharing them every week or so actually... rest assured I will share them... as this is part of the Challenge. Shoot, sharing is the whole purpose of this blog, so yes you will see them and not have to wait until Christmas. LOL!

And to my mommy: I messaged you about the gift so quit guessing LOL! I am glad you are inspired to finish your projects... its a start! You will get going and then want to keep going... I know you LMAO! Where do you think I get it!? I am so glad the cats are getting along too... those first few weeks I had my doubts. But I stuck with it and I am glad I did! Rebel has a playmate again now! YAY! Maybe he will lose some weight LMAO!



And as for the bunny... oh don't get me started! Let's just say, however many bunnies that woman had before mine- SHE LIED TO EVERYONE. I guess I am not surprised really... considering the battle she and I had in the first place. But Rescue is definitely NOT a dwarf bunny! She has HUGE ears and is almost half the size of the cage I thought she would be in for a long time! UGH! She absolutely loves her fresh veggies... her favorite is alfalfa. I can't keep that stuff in the house anymore! She also is in love with the honey nut sticks I got for her. AND she eats tons of the rabbit pellet food too! I think she is part pig LMAO! But I love her and if I had to do it again, I would do it in a heartbeat!

As for your cactus jelly you brought up (and yes Dad is right, you DO instigate LMAO but its all gravy!)... that falls into the jelly recipe I gave yesterday LOL! So in essence, I beat you to it! LOL!

Keep those comments coming everyone... I love to hear from you all!



Ok well it's that time. Its day 2 of the Christmas Challenge YAY! Today I will be making stockings. A group of people on my list (4) do not have Christmas stockings. So I am making 4 custom Quilted Christmas stockings. One person will be receiving penguins (her favorite animal), one music (not my daughter LOL), one monkeys, and one classic cars. There is one more person in the house but I already made him one! I know I have penguins and music fabric (in the crate no doubt YAY!) but I am not sure on the other 2... they may have to wait. Hmmm... I also have to finish up a couple of things from gift number one from yesterday... now you see why its 150 days? LOL... that way if you don't quite get it done in one day, you don't have to worry! Plus it gives me time for the other projects I have going on too!

Now for those of you who don't have a need for stockings, you DO probably have a need for washing clothes right? Alright... well some people are totally against anything with chemicals- including dryer sheets. But you want that nice smell of freshness in your laundry, so what do you do? You take about 30 minutes at max, make this craft, and smell like a garden all day! Check it out!



Craft Idea of the Day: Clothes Dryer Fragrance Pad

Materials:

Desired cotton fabric
Sheet wadding
Sewing Machine access
Fragrance oil or essential oil of choice (Lavender works well and lemon scent is nice too)

Directions:

These dryer fragrance pads are great. When you place it into the dryer the fragrance will come wafting through and penetrate through all your clothes.

Start by cutting out what size pads you want , approx. 5cm X 5cm is suitable.

Cut your fabric into the size you require allowing for stitching.

Sew 3 sides of your fabric closed and slip in the sheet wadding through the last opening.

You will need to either begin hand sewing or machine sewing this end closed.

Just before you complete the closure Sprinkle some lavender oil into the Project or sprinkle your drops of oil onto the wadding prior to placing it inside.

And when the fragrance decreases add some more drops of oil !

You can use essential or fragrant oils for these mat's, Fragrant oil is much cheaper and can be bought from good craft supply stores.

If you have old quilts cut them up for wadding.

Now for today's FANTASTIC EDIBLE FLOWER. Today I am expanding on something my mother brought up in her comment yesturday. Many plant blossoms are what turn into the fruit or veggies we eat. Squash, Okra, cucumbers, berries, etc. BUT did you know you can actually EAT some of those flowers before they turn into the fruit? Yep... including today's star... the Squash blossom! The squash blossoms are very popular in both Latin and Italian cooking. Squash blossoms don’t keep well. The day they are picked they are beautiful. The second day they are looking tired. By the third day they have shrivelled and are covered with black spots. Use them quickly. If you can’t use the right away, store them in the refrigerator until you can. They will keep for two days. Ok, so I am bringing you a couple of popular recipes for devilishly delectable Squash Blossom treats! Eat & Enjoy!



Squash Blossom: Cucurbita pepo species (aka Zucchini Blossom)

Tastes like: sweet, nectar flavor.



Battered Squash Blossoms
(With or Without Stuffing)

The Batter:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fat-free chilled milk, beer or water

Cheese-Mushroom Stuffing:
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 tablespoon mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoons fresh basil or parsley, minced
16 large squash blossoms, washed
Canola oil for frying

1. Prepare the batter first. Sift together dry ingredients, then whisk in milk, beer or cold water until smooth. Cover and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Leftover batter can be stored for up to two days. If it is too thick after refrigeration, add a few drops of water to return to original consistency.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. In a bowl combine the ricotta cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, mushrooms and basil. Open the blossoms and spoon about one 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture into the center of each. Avoid overfilling the blossoms. Twist the top of each blossom together to close. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

3. Pour the oil into a skillet to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat over high heat until a small cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown within seconds.

4. Briefly dip each stuffed blossom into the batter, then carefully slip into the hot oil. Cook until golden on all sides, about three minutes total cooking time. Add only as many blossoms at a time as will fit comfortably in the skillet. Transfer with a slotted utensil to paper towels to drain briefly.

5. Sprinkle with salt, if desired and serve immediately.

NOTE: In place of the cheese-mushroom stuffing, try another of your favorite bread or meat stuffings.



Squash Blossom Soup

1/4 stick butter
1 onion, sliced
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound squash blossoms (about 4 cups)
1 cup half and half
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Grated anejo cheese (for garnish)

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Saute the onions, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook about five minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 10 to 12 minutes add the blossoms and cook 5 minutes longer.

2. Transfer soup to food processor and puree until smooth. Strain soup back into saucepan. Pour in the half and half and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and top with grated anejo cheese, a dry, crumbly Mexican cheese somewhat like parmesan, which can be used instead, for a somewhat different taste.

Well everybody... that's all for me. Time for me to get moving on some super sewing! I hope you enjoyed today's blog and will join me tomorrow morning for another exciting adventure of the life and times of The Frugal Mom! Until tomorrow... HUGS!

2 comments:

  1. OMG I have always heard about using these flowers to eat and those fried flowers make me want to run out and find some. Do they see them in the grocery stores? I saw those at farmers market one time but didn't know what to do with them so I passed them up. Let me ask if anyone in your family will adopt me? HAHA you have a wonderful family. Did your brother (the one with the baby) learn that mentality from your parents or you or what? I think its great he is being such a good man. And tell your other brother I am sorry for his loss and my prayers are with him. I don't know what I would do if I lost my kitty and don't want to think of it. That's the little rabbit you held in your hand? OMG she got big. Guess its just a sign you are taking good care of her. I want to tell you I have joined your Christmas Challenge as well. I only have 14 gifts to make, so I will be allowing more time for making each one as I probably won't finish one a day HAHA. And tell me how to make a stocking please? I need to make myself one. Take care and thanks for another great day.

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  2. Debbie "MOM"July 28, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Hi Tabitha! You are already a member of my family girlfriend! Anybody that loves animals is OK in my book. We all need to take care to help animals. I read an article in a certain "fish and game" magazine which my DH gets because an article on the front cover caught my eye. This A__ writes that people should quit being bleeding hearts and just basically let those poor little oil covered animals die because it costs too much and takes too much manpower to clean them and some usually die anyway. What he doesnt write about is the estuaries, and bay systems that the fish, birds, shrimp, crabs, and other creatures live in are all at risk, not just the oil covered birds. This guy needs to be strung up so to speak for his assinine attitude. Needless to say I plan on continuing to let him and others know how idiotic they truly are. I'M SORRY. I GOT ON A BIG TALL SOAP BOX DIDN'T I? By the way The Nature Conservancy Care2 website also lets you click for free to help causes you care for. From animals to breast canncer awareness to feeding the hungry. Check it out. I will let Renee know about it so maybe she can add a link! RENEE, ARE YOU READING THIS?
    I have never ate squash blossoms but it is one one the items on my list to try to make now that I have my new kitchen in my new house. I have seen it made on cooking shows but they always make it look easy so we'll see how it goes. I think I saw them on sale in H E B once. Not real sure how easy it is to find them. It seems like it would be to delicate to fry but they seem to hold up pretty well on those cooking shows. We'll see!!!
    I would like to comment on the freecycling. It seems like a good thing to do but you have to be quick. There are a lot of people out there with needs and this is one way to fill those needs. I unfortunately dont have a car so I cant participate because no way to respond but I have had a lady send me some kitty food coupons and like Renee said she has gotten a couple of things for me and DH as well. It is a good website if you have the means to participate rapidly. Otherwise, you lose out on lots of chances. Its kind of sad too. One lady was on the site asking people for things for her homeless brother who is miles away from her in a very bad way. It made me cry. She was asking freecyclers to take it to him since she cant. These are such tough times. Well, I'm going to get off here and go use my freecylcled yarn to make my crocheted animal to go toward my Christmas challenge. Til next time......

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