a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Why Buy Tartar Sauce & Cole Slaw Dressing When. . .

you can make it yourself --- quickly, simply, cheaply 
and much better!
Actually our chips were homemade chips not fries---
and, our coleslaw looked much better.

We had yummy fish, chips and coleslaw earlier this week.  I'll even admit to buying  the ready-to-bake Van de Kamp-brand battered fish fillets. 


I made the "go-withs!"

The following, like most home-made products, can't be beat for
  • tasting much better!
  • costing a lot less!
  • having no unwanted preservatives or other unnecessary ingredients!
  • being adjustable to your preferences!
  • they are almost as quick to make as opening the jar of the commercial varieties!

My Mom's Coleslaw Dressing
(Dave's favorite --- even over his own mother's which he loved)
Start with combining the following 
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard
1/4 cup vinegar
Then stir in enough mayonnaise (probably about one cup) to obtain the consistency you want.

You can adjust measurements to your taste.  Use immediately and/or store in refrigerator.  You can combine the dressing and cabbage ahead of time so it can absorb the dressing flavors. I usually use some of the dressing immediately and, for the next meal,  add more dressing and additional shredded cabbage to the leftover slaw. 

I find most store-bought coleslaw and the bagged pre-shredded cabbage to be fairly tasteless. Buying a small head of cabbage (it shreds into much, much more) will give you much greater flavor for less money with very little extra work.  We shred, chop, grate or slice---you choice--- it somewhat thicker than the packaged. 

Gail's Tartar Sauce  
This is one of those recipes without specific measurements. Please don't let that keep you from trying it; it is only scary the first time!  Just start with lesser amounts and adjust to your taste.   It is basically foolproof.  Occasionally if I have added too much of something I just increase the mayo.

In a small bowl combine of the following. Refrigerate until ready to use and refrigerate leftovers. 
Mayonnaise and/or Miracle Whip-type salad dressing (Dave prefers MW and I like Mayo so I often use some of each)
Sweet pickle relish
Finely diced fresh onions (I often use dried onion)
Small amount of sugar
Small amount of vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

We made the potato chips in the microwave! See my post for those. http://thecreativecheapskate.blogspot.com/search?q=potato+chips 

'till we eat again,
         Simply, Gail

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

In Troubling and Struggling Times. . . 3 Simple Questions To Help Us Put Our Lives into Proper Perspective

1. Did you have a choice of what to wear this morning?
2. Did you have more than one food item for dinner last night?
3. Do you have transportation other than walking?

If you answered "yes" to just ONE of these questions, you are among 10 percent of the richest people who have ever lived.

Think of that. No matter your individual financial means or struggles, your material wealth is beyond the wildest imagination of 90 percent of the people who have ever lived.

We may be struggling with the pains of shrunken incomes but no one that is reading this, on whatever electronic gadget,  is struggling with the severe stomach pains that result from not having enough to eat.

More and more of us are   having trouble making ends meet but most of us, regardless of our income, actually have much more than we need. Much, if not most, of our struggles are the result of having horribly confused our wants with our needs.

As part of that, let me ask three additional questions.

1. Do you need as many clothing choices as you have?
2. Do you need to eat out as often or spend as much money on food as you do?
3. Do you have more modes of transportation, including recreational, than you need or can readily afford? 

If you are a regular reader you know my blog is "muchly" devoted to teaching how to make do well with less --- and discovering great satisfaction and happiness in the process. And it is a process. 

I don't think I am pessimistic but I know I am realistic and I'd like you to humor me in the following exercise.

Let's do some assuming . . .

. . . that things are not going to get better soon
. . . that our government is going to shortly run out of its ability to continue bailouts or handouts
. . . that FEMA (our federal emergency management agency) will run out of means and manpower to assist  with the ravages caused by natural disasters or other emergencies.
. . . that we will need to depend upon ourselves to help ourselves in any given circumstance.

Doesn't elastic, no matter how strong, how well constructed or how well intentioned its guarantees, have the ability to stretch only so far or in so many directions before it loses its stretch? 

Is our ever-expanding, ever-assuring, ever-promising government any different?

Just in case ---- is it worth your time to spend some time determining between your wants and your actual needs?

AND/OR is it worth the pressure of being constantly in debt because you are too busy and too burdened trying to pay off or keep up with the stuff you thought would bring you happiness?

And then, just in case ---- to begin to make the necessary changes and/or preparations to enable your family to do and make do so that when the need arises you have what you need on hand to make your situation as comfortable as possible?

AND/OR would you welcome the peace and freedom you'd have (mentally and physically) if you took steps to eliminate the time and expenses involved in extraneous stuff.

It is a process --- mentally and physically. I'd like to ask encourage you to begin that process.

Note: After 16 months of writing thecreativecheapskate I have just learned that in the upper left hand corner of my blog there is a small rectangular area. If you float the cursor over it, the word "search" appears. And, also new to me, if you type a word (any word you want!) in that area it will bring up all of my posts having to do with that word.  (If you are saying Duh! you are just seeing another example of simple Gail rather than simply Gail!)

So, to get you started ----

Type Preparedness in that area and it will bring up all the posts I have written on this essential subject --- water, sanitation, light, grab 'n go bag and more.

What are a few to the positives being preparing provides?

. . . Increased self-sufficiency
. . . Personal satisfaction
. . . More control of resources
. . . Peace of mind
. . . A great load will be lifted when you free yourself from debt and from "stuff"

Are there negatives?

When the hour of need has arrives, hasn't the time of preparation passed?