Monday, June 11, 2012

First Book Illustrations Are In--Introduction To My WALL OF WONDERS

June 11, 2012

Yesterday at church I got to see the first illustrations for the book, LESSONS AND BLESSIN'S--they are great! I am so excited how all this is comin' together. God knew exactly when we would need to come back to Texas, and when we would start attendin' our little cowboy church so we would meet up with the folks who would get me in touch with all the right folks so my dream of havin' a book published would come to pass. And not just any book--one that may actually help lead other folks to Jesus. It don't get no better than this!

Okay, today, I want to share with ya’ll one of the secrets of my success concernin’ Thriftology…

…My WALL OF WONDERS.

{{shiver}} oooo….sounds so excitin’, doesn’t it?

Well, it should. My ‘WOW’ is something that I have put together over the years, through careful study and thoughtful accumulation. In short, it consists of all the gadgets that help me to save money as I feed my family.

When you first walk into my little ‘cowboy cottage’, if you look to the left of the door you will see the WOW. It is a large utility shelf that I found at the curb one day when comin’ home from town. I asked the lady of the house if she was getting’ rid of it, and she told me to help myself.

So, I took it completely apart, and put the tube shelf supports into Obie’s backpack, since mine was full of groceries. Then he and I each carried at least two of the shelves as we walked bck to our house.

Once home, we cleaned off some grease and dirt that had accumulated on the shelves from bein’ stored in a garage, and once assembled, I began to put my small appliances on it. Turns out that just about every one fit on the shelf, except for a few that are just too big.

As I was lookin’ at my WOW one night, I thought that perhaps a series of posts about the different gadgets and why they made the cut, while others didn’t would be useful. Maybe by sharin’ my experiences will help ya’ll to decide if something could help you in your efforts to save money and put good meals on the table for your own family.

First, of course—every cheapskate, tightwad or thriftologist’s dream machine—the crockpot. I have two of them, both free. One was from a thrift store that had put the pot into a ‘free’ box simply because it had no lid. As it turned out—I had a box of different types of pot lids, and sure enough, I found one that fit the crock exactly. If I hadn’t had a lid at the time, I would have used foil to cover it while cookin’ until I DID find the right sized lid. So don’t turn your nose up at a crockpot without a lid at a yard sale—especially if it’s only goin’ for a buck or in a ‘free’ box. With a bit of ingenuity, you can use them quite efficiently.

The other crockpot was left here when the other occupants moved out, and the owner told me I could have it if I wished. If I wished….I’d have TWENTY of the things if I could!

I use them to cook soups, stews, etc, the usual bill of fare for frugal cookery, and I also make my fenugreek tea concentrate in them. I simply put two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds into the pot, fill it the rest of the way with water, and after settin’ it on medium heat, I let it brew four about 4 hours. Then I turn it off and let it steep overnight. In the mornin’ I strain the seeds out and funnel the liquid into a gallon jug, then fill any remainin’ space with water, to make a full gallon. This is your concentrate. You can drink it like this, but it’s a bit strong for most folk’s tastes. It is also very, well, I guess slimy is the best word I can use. However, if you have a cough—a few sips of the concentrate helps to soothe irritated tissues.

To make a refreshin’ drink that is really good for you—you take two cups of the concentrate and put them into a half gallon jug, then fill it the rest of the way with water. If you keep this mixture cold—it will be very nice to drink on a hot day. I always have a glass with me as I go about my chores. I have read that it helps with many different things, such as diabetes, chronic coughin’, and one lady at my church who drinks it reported that her blood pressure started goin’ down and she had to have her doctor adjust her medication. I dunno about any of that, but I know it’s very refreshin’ and is easier to drink a lot of instead of plain water.

As far as cookin’ soups, main dishes, etc—it’s great. Angela Coffman, over at www.groceryshrink.com, has a wonderful crockpot cookbook that she offers as an E-book. I have it, and I love it. I like to make small briskets in them, and if you EVER get a chance to get some plain ol’ pig’s feet from your grocery store, you can pop those into the pot, cover with water, let cook all night on medium, and the next day sort out all the small bones and any gristle. Put those aside for your dogs—they LOVE them. Next, pull out all the meat and place it on a platter, then put it in the fridge to chill. The natural gelatins in the pig’s feet solidifies around the meat and when it is sliced, you get a delicious cold dish for lunch. And let’s not forget that broth left in the crock! You can cook rice, noodles or potatoes in it, use it in gravies and sauces, or, if you have a lot of it—add it to your dog’s dry food—they will ADORE you for it. When I yell “PIG JUICE!”—I get mobbed. I tell them I squeezed a fresh pig just for them.

You can use a crockpot for makin’ home made yogurt. There all kinds of easy recipes online—over at www.simpledollar.com, Trent has a good photo tutorial on how to make it.

Of course, dried beans are a natural for crockpots, with the slow even heat makin’ your job easier.

Here is a family favorite of ours that is so easy to make and very tasty, too.

Southwestern Chalipas
Ingredients
1 (4 pound) pork roast
1 pound dried pinto beans
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 quart water
1 (16 ounce) package corn chips

Directions
1. In a slow cooker, combine pork roast, pinto beans, chile peppers, chili powder, cumin seed, oregano, salt, pepper, and water. Cover, and simmer on Low for 4 hours.
2. Shred meat, removing any bones and fat. Cover, and continue cooking for 2 to 4 more hours. Add more water if necessary.
3. Place corn chips on serving plates. Spoon pork mixture over chips, and serve with desired toppings.


Crockpots aren’t just for evenin’ meals. You can make several types of breakfast foods in them—just put the ingredients in at night, and you can wake up to a healthy, delicious breakfast without a lot of work.

Havin’ a holiday party? Use your unit to keep spiced apple cider warm, or cheese dips nice and melty for pourin’.

If you run across those tiny units that are used for potpourri, you can clean them really good and use them to keep small batches of salsa and other dips warm.

If you are into craftin’ with hot glue—drop your leftover glue sticks into a small unit, and keep it on low. You can them simply dip the stems of artificial flowers or other craft components into the melted glue and attach them to whatever you want.

A crockpot is one of those machines that every serious thriftologist needs in their kitchen. It can save you time and money, since you can start a meal early in the mornin’ before you leave for work or a day of errands,, and by the time you get home—you have food ready for dinner, and by just addin’ a bread (from your trusty bread machine—more on those later), and a salad, you can keep from havin’ to order out for pizza, or make a last minute dash to the drive through window.

Well, I got chores. Later ya'll.
© 2012 by Evelyn Edgett

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