Sunday, October 27, 2013

Are you being frugal? (Also, a reduced sugar grape jelly recipe!)

What kind of squash is this? Is it a delicata?
I stopped in at a grocery store that I don't typically shop. They had a huge bin of all sorts of squash and gourds all jumbled together and they labeled them only as, "assorted". Not very helpful. I assumed they were edible. They were very good.

On the frugal front:
1.) I put my dried heirloom pea seeds in an envelope, labeled them, and placed that envelope in a sealed baggie, then into the freezer for a couple of weeks. I'm not sure if this is the right way to save them. But it's my current plan. I also cut a couple pieces of pantyhose and fit them over two drying flower stalks on one of my heirloom lettuces out in the garden. I then cut a couple of stalks that had fallen over and put them in a window to continue to dry. When the buds dry up I will shake them into a bag and see if I get any seeds. Again, I don't know if this is the right way or not. But it's the plan that I have right now. I have a second type of heirloom lettuce out in the garden. But it never sent up any flowers or stalks. So I'm not sure what to do with that one. Guess I'll just count it as a loss and maybe plant a little earlier next year and hope that that longer season will provide seeds to save. Suggestions are welcome, of course.
2.) I received a Keurig sample in the mail. It has 4 cups in it. It's going in my Christmas stockpile of little goodies. It will likely be given to my s-i-l (no, I don't think she reads this...) as part of their family gift. I'm planning on doing one big stocking of random goodies for her, my brother, and their two young teens. We'd agreed to not doing any gifts this year. But I can't help myself sometimes. Also received two sweet coffee drink mix samples that will go in a stocking for someone else.
3.) Low-sugar Grape Jelly! Finally made some! This was made with a quart of grape juice that I thawed from our freezer from Dad's grapes last year. I did have to add some sugar, as our grapes are extremely sour and the xylitol & stevia hadn't quite done the job. This was frugal as I had everything already.
4.) Canned applesauce. Unsweetened, of course. Love having this during the winter months. Normally I freeze applesauce. But there's no freezer space right now. Also dried some apple slices and rings. Plan to do some more of those.
5.) Picked the last of the broccoli from the garden. Used it to make beef & broccoli.
6.) "A" ran out of dining dollars at her college. Rather than spend a ton of money at the store to feed her for the week, I went through our freezer and divided some veggies into single servings so she can make a couple stir-fry meals, baggied a couple chicken breast strips so she can add to those, found a block of cheese, gave her a bag of garden green beans and a bag of sliced almonds to dress them up with, baggied up a couple servings of spaghetti meat sauce and found a box of pasta in the pantry. We still need to stop by the store and pick up some toilet paper and a small package of steak/beef for another stir-fry option. Oh, and I found a small package of frozen hamburger and a packet of meatloaf seasoning, for which I had recently just bought some disposable mini-loaf pans. She'll also take some dried apple slices for snacking and a couple small potatoes from the garden.
7.) I've been unplugging a couple of power strips each night that our laptops, television and game system are plugged into. There was more than a $40 difference from our last bill. But the air conditioning that Ma & Pa use now and then hasn't been used either. So I can't really tell. Anyone do this and notice any savings?

Low-Sugar Grape Jelly
(adapted from Ball pectin package) 
(makes 2 pints)
3 & 1/3c unsweetened grape juice
6tsp lemon juice
2 - 0.4oz packets Ball Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin
1tsp butter
1/2c xylitol
1/2c Stevia In The Raw
30 drops liquid vanilla stevia
1/4c sugar

Heat juices over high heat. Whisk or stir in pectin gradually. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Add butter, stir until melted. Mix xylitol, powdered stevia and sugar in a bowl, then add to juice mixture. Bring to boil again, stirring constantly, and boil for 1mn. Ladle into two clean pint jars and place lids on. Let sit to cool for about half an hour. Then store in refrigerator.


  1. Wow you are so resourceful and creative Becky! I grew up making homemade applesauce, jellys and jams, and eating veggies from our garden and everything tasted divine! Your jelly sounds yummy. Never tried unplugging power strips although surely it would save some small power usage. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Yes you are resourceful aren't you. I have made peach preserves once when we had a peach tree in the back yard. It was an all day process peeling and pitting all the peaches - but so good.
    Of course I can't or don't eat grapes, apples or peaches any more - but I do enjoy an occasional bite.
    I can't wait till my back yard is fixed enough to plant some fresh veggies.
    Have a good one. :-)

  3. I was looking at your weight loss ticker! You are doing great!

    I would be curious to hear if unplugging things drops your bill. I read that it's a very small savings but every bit will help.