Cooking in my little kitchen.

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Life has been filled with change these days. Life coming, life going. We took on a little pup that wasn’t wanted and later that week I put my cat to rest. I didn’t think I’d be so sad but I did mourn her for a couple days, still haven’t disposed of her kitty dishes and haven’t been as motivated to feed the strays out in the front yard. Life slowed down for two days and bugs gathered in the water bowl on the porch where she used to hang out.

Then we have this new little life, Molly. She is a part dachshund and who knows what else, blond and small and all yumminess. We adore her, the boys play with her every day and haven’t tired of her yet. Sam loves holding her in his arms, it’s all he ever wanted. Arjan takes her out to the garden. The three of them can spend hours outside digging and playing. She chases them, they chase her and everyone sleeps well at night.

I know that it was destiny we should have her. We have been bestowed with so many blessings since folding her into our family. The first blessing was getting an appointment at the SPCA the next morning to spay and vaccinate instead of the usual two month wait. The next gift was when a secret fairy godmother (or father) sent us a $300 Winco card. It is some generous soul from my YouTube channel community, but they never put a name or address. Then the last gift to date was a big box of Starbucks coffee that arrived yesterday. About five bags of wonderful caffeine elixir which will ensure my survival.

We just started a summer of no spending (no extra spending beyond the mortgage, utilities, and food) so Bali could quit his second job but we could still save money. I had just started an envelope in my dresser drawer for extra cash and had just enough to fix and vaccinate little Molly. The Winco card enabled me to do my monthly groceries so I could use this cash. What a delightful thing!

So, I was so very grateful for the card and used it as wisely as I could. I used all the tricks and learned tips I could pull from my frugal files and made that card stretch till it could be stretched no more.

Besides a few extras like a little dog bed for $8 dollars, dog chews and three dog toys (we all got to choose something for the new furry child), the money was all spent on bulk and frozen foods. I loaded up on all the bulk foods and seasonings that I use for scratch cooking, organic and grass-fed meats, and frozen vegetables that we can’t grow. I now have a full pantry and freezer and groceries for the month.

The trick to making the grocery budget stretch is scratch cooking. Plain and simple. Very few convenience foods are cheap (boxed mac and cheese is one off the top of my head). I have been thumbing through my Complete Tightwad Gazette and am reminded of this with all the math Amy Dyczycn does with comparing packaged vs. homemade. Buying in bulk isn’t always cheaper so you have to price that out. I love bulk. I have bulk ranch dressing mix that turned out delicious and a cheese sauce powder we will try soon. We even ground our own peanut butter and I noticed that grinding it there was cheaper than buying peanuts in bulk and grinding at home. I do all my seasoning in bulk so I don’t buy too much and have it go old on me.

I also stay in the produce and meat aisle. I rarely venture into other aisles except for tomato sauce.

The other trick is to become a master gardener. I have two kitchen gardens as most of you know. Last year I had lots of foliage and little to eat. Even my zucchini was a flop. But it takes a good two to three years to get a garden producing well. It takes years and years for fruit trees.  Start now and learn all you can from gardening books, YouTube Channels like The Indian Gardener, Nancy and Hollis’ Homestead, Growing Your Greens, The Rusted Gardener and many more. Find a horse farm and see about free manure, get to the coffee houses and ask for buckets of grounds, and start a compost pile off to the corner of your backyard.

It isn’t until you start gardening that you really learn what the heck you are doing.

We are enjoying potatoes and onions this year, tons of zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I just harvested my mustard greens and spinach and replanted with kale and corn. I’m not buying much produce and just creating dishes around what my gardens are giving me.

This weekend we may take our first trip to the U Pick part of Davis Ranch and load up on produce for .30 cents a pound. This is where I will get enough tomatoes to can with and corn, pickling cucumbers, and a few watermelons to gorge ourselves on these hot days. Watermelon is known as “living water” it is so filled with nutrients and so hydrating.

Off I go now to shower after an early morning of pruning and harvesting my tomato plants and watering the corn patch. I’ll be making a delicious pot of Simply Sara’s Kitchen Minestrone for our brunch and throw in a batch of ingredient in the bread maker so we have fresh french bread to compliment the meal.

I’ll also be making some granola from page 27 in The Complete Tightwad Gazette.

I spend many hours in the kitchen these days with all the cooking, trying new recipes, washing dishes and sweeping the floor. With the radio and my homemade lattes, this is my happy place.

 

16 thoughts on “Cooking in my little kitchen.

  1. Good day Kate. Life is always full of surprises. I started my no spread year, May 1st after listening to a lot of your you tube channel and things have been going well for me. but challenging. I’m moving back to the house that I own and this means I will save over $1200 a month. I love living in the city but find it way to expensive. It is a special birthday for me this month and my children bought me a airline ticket to go to Ontario to visit them and all my family. I am so thrilled. Family is everything to me and makes life all worth while.

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  2. I’m sorry to hear you had to put your cat down. I’m still grieving for Punky from over a month ago. The blessing from that experience was that we finally found a vet who cares, and who has been able to help Fang get over his skin issues. I love spending time in my kitchen too, especially since I have taken up fermenting both water and milk kefir, and I’m about to start a new kombucha SCOBY from scratch. I’m also learning a new way to make sourdough starter and sauerkraut, so my kitchen will soon have lots of living concoctions brewing on the counters and in the cabinets. While this kitchen is a pretty good sized one, I recall living in the mountains in a 35 foot travel trailer, with my pantry, fridge and freezer out in the old cabin. Only the burners on the trailer stove worked, so I had a big toaster oven to bake in. Yet I turned out homemade breads and other baked goods, and cooked many a great meal in my tiny space.

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  3. Kate I love your vlogs and your blogs❤️I can see why your a writer you make everything so interesting and I look forward to anything you put up each day🙂you are a true blessing and I don’t think you really realize just how much you touch people lives💕we feel like we’re really there with you!what a blessing getting a gift card god has angels around I’m a true believer in that😘love watching you with your family it reminds me when my children were small and yummy❤️There still yummy even grown😉

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  4. Hi Kate thanks for the great blog. I enjoy reading all your blogs and watching all your videos. I am very happy you received such a generous gift. I am very sorry you lost your cat losing an animal can be very hard on you . I am now on a 6 week summer vacation. I don’t technically get that length of time. I choose to take it off each summer because the work I do is very physical and very demanding on my body. I am 55 years old and I am no longer interested and wrecking my body for the sake of money. So I have been watching a lot of frugal programs and I watch your videos to give me lots of ideas. I have enjoyed the time off for the last four Summers it has been great. My son is going to take me on a trip to Ontario this year. I am going to get to see my brother who I haven’t seen in 19 years. I also have another brother in thunder Bay who I would love to go see next year if I can. My son and I are going to travel together by car it will be a great time. It will be a great bonding time for my son and I and I am looking forward to it.have a great summer and don’t work too hard

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      1. i am a custodian for our school board it pays about 18.92 hour with medical . it pays well but food and everything is high here in nova scotia

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    1. Kim Rector, do you mind of I ask what it is that you do for a living? I will be 50 this September and have been a massage therapist for 27 years. As much as I try with new modalities it is still a very physically demanding career. It never occurred to me to actually take a chunk of time off yearly. This is one of my motivations for living a frugal lifestyle. Both my husband and I will not be able to keep up this pace of work until retirement age and so we attempt to lessen lifestyle cost. I love reading Kate’s blogs and find her very inspiring

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  5. So sorry about your cat Kate. I hate putting animals down, love them all to bits. I still have my Jenny’s waterbowl under the doorstep. My lovely Golden retriever. She had cancer and went home two years ago. I have two sweet little Cresties now. Love dogs! Molly sounds like a lovely little lady! She will be a great friend to your boys. Animals are such personalities.
    Summer has been rather a flop garden-wize, this year. Six degrees Ceslius this morning and constant wind. Have all my veggies and herbs, except the strawberries, in little green houses. Hoping the wild blueberries and the redcurrants will do well this year. Take care and have fun with your new furry friend. Hugs, Pam in Norway (Btw. love the way you call your kitchen your happy place. Lovely perspective, x)

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  6. Hello there! Thank you for your posts. You encourage to be creative about saving money. You’re such an inspiration living your life on a small income and being so content with what you’re able to create at home. I really admire that, keep up the wonderful wonderful attitude and work.

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  7. Hi Kate, I’m sorry to hear about your cat. It is really crazy how Molly came to you when she did. I’m glad your little family is doing well and your gardens are thriving this year. Keep doing what you’re doing, you help inspire others who are trying to be frugal and self-reliant like us. Thanks so much!

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  8. Hi Kate!!
    I love all of your homemaking help books!! Very motivating!! You have done wonderful things to your home inside and out. I also watch you on YouTube on my TV. Sometimes you say things and make me laugh. You have a good sense of humor. You have a wonderful family!! Keep on doing what you are doing!!
    😊👍🏻

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