Monday, February 18, 2013

Spaghetti Sauce

This morning I made a big batch of spaghetti sauce and portioned it out to freeze for quick meals later. I don't like onions and it's hard to find a commercial spaghetti sauce without onions so I have always just made my own. Trust me, it's very, very simple and has no recipe. I just use tomato sauce and sometimes tomato paste and then add whatever seasonings I have on hand to taste. That's it.

Then I put it in small, meal-size containers and freeze it for later use. We normally eat angel hair pasta which cooks super fast, so even on crazy days we can have homemade spaghetti on the table in about 5 or 10 minutes!

You might think that the sauce is pretty plain and it is but I do add a good bit of seasoning plus keeping it plain for freezing allows you to add whatever other ingredients you have on hand the night you cook it. Sometimes if I have ground beef already browned I will throw it in. I also sometimes put green olives in my sauce (Jason is crazy and doesn't like green olives). My point is that you can make it your own before you eat it.

We also use the healthy pastas. You know the ones that taste like white pasta but are better for you. So not only is this a make-ahead, quick and versatile meal, it is also healthy. What more could you want?

I took a picture for you guys but apparently didn't send it to the computer before deleting it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

New (to me) TV for my sewing studio

I mentioned earlier than I'm sewing more now. When I purchased my new longarm machine and frame I needed more room than I had available upstairs so I moved my sewing studio into our basement. It's an unfinished basement but my very sweet husband has been doing what he can to make it a great space for me. Plus, having all that space is wonderful and I'm much more organized now that I have lots of pegboard to use.

My longarm frame is 10 feet wide, so you can see the need for space. I usually spend 2 or more hours at a time in the studio so Jason put a small TV down there for me to watch or just listen to music on. Well, it was pretty small and I had to squint a lot to see it but was grateful to have it nonetheless.

Then I was in the Habitat for Humanity resale store on Friday (to get more cabinet knobs) and saw that they had their televisions 75% off. Wow! I checked out the supply and found a 25" TV that would fit the bill nicely and get this, I only paid $12.50 for it!!!!

They had the televisions playing so I knew that it worked and a nice young man at the store even carried it to the front for me and then to my car for loading.



If you have a Habitat store, Salvation Army or Goodwill store in your area, make sure to check them out frequently. There are all kinds of goodies waiting for you.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

New cabinet knobs

I was in the Habitat for Humanity resale store the other day and found some bronze metal cabinet knobs for only .50 cents each. They're normally around $2.00 each in the stores and these were brand new, still in the packs. I started with 7 for our master bath cabinets and loved them.

So I went back for 2 more for the guest bath cabinets. Then discovered that they matched the metal tile decorations that are in our kitchen. So, you guessed it, back to habitat I went for more. I will say that I did not make special trips for these. I took a chance and waited until I was already in town for other errands to get more to save on gas.

In total I bought 42 pulls and only paid $21.00 for all of them and they're brand new. In the store these would have cost me a minimum of $84.00.

Here are my old knobs. They were brass and I painted them black.



Now check out the new knobs and how well they look with the tile decorations.


I love saving money, especially when you get brand new items like these for next to nothing. Trust me, I would have never spent the $84.00 for these knobs in the retail stores but gladly paid $21.00 at Habitat.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Salsa at Home

I love restaurant salsa! In fact, in the past I would swing by the restaurant and get just salsa to go. Then I would make my own Mexican inspired meals at home using the good salsa. But it's not always convenient to get salsa from the restaurant. I have tried many, many times to make my own salsa but it has never turned out as good as what you get at a restaurant. I have also bought the salsa in the jars but it's way too chunky for me. I like my salsa smooth.

Well, the other day Jason brought home some salsa in a jar because he thought it would be more like the restaurant salsa, but it was still too chunky. But I had an idea, maybe I could put the salsa in the food processor or blender to break it down more to my liking. It had a great taste, it just needed to be smooth for my picky taste.

I checked online some and discovered that the blender was the way to go. So, this morning I dumped the jar of salsa in my small blender cup and hit puree.


I used my smaller, smoothie cup instead of the big blender pitcher to make sure the salsa would get blended well and to clean up a small container instead of a big one. I also let the cup sit on the blender for a minute to let the salsa drain down from the top and get to the blender blades. I rinsed out the salsa jar to get rid of the leftover chunks also.

And here's the after....



Wow! It's perfectly smooth! I'm so excited. I put the salsa back in the clean salsa jar and back in the fridge. It will be so much easier now to stock up on salsa and have it the way that I like it. Of course, if you don't want it as smooth as this, just don't puree as long.

You can use salsa for quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas and countless other meals or just as a side or snack with tortilla chips. If you like thin chips too, Tostitos now has a Cantina style chip that taste a lot like the chips you get at Chili's. They're so good and now with my smooth salsa, I'm all set.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Start and New Blog

Well, now that you know I am not working anymore, maybe you're wondering what I am doing. I am getting used to being a stay-at-home wife, trying to get healthier and also I am quilting. That's right, I quilt. I am sure that I have mentioned that before but I have taken it to a new level now.

I now have a longarm sewing machine and frame that enables me to quilt easier and faster than before. Quilting is something that I have enjoyed for a long time and now I have more time to do it both for myself and for others.

I'm starting to dabble in making quilts for sale or by special orders. I have started another blog to share some of my older quilts as well as the new ones. You can visit my new blog at www.sewtonya.blogspot.com and I will also put a link on the side of this page to it.

I hope you enjoy seeing my quilts and sewing projects and who knows, you might see me set up at a booth one day selling them.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Thankful for Thriftiness

I'm sure thriftiness isn't a real word but it should be. The last time I published a post was about our paying the mortgage off and being debt free. I don't think that statement will ever be said or written without making me smile. That was around the late part of June and boy am I glad now because at the end of October I lost my job.

I can't tell you how much it helped us knowing that we didn't have that house payment to try and make anymore, let alone on one salary with all the day to day bills. As a family we decided that it would be best for me to not return to the job market. So with a lot of budgeting, money watching and more of our being thrifty, I think we will be okay on one salary.

It's still scary but I can't tell you how glad I am that we've been thrifty all along and also worked so hard to get debt paid off. I wish I could help more people to see that being frugal or thrifty doesn't have to be a bad thing and can often be your saving grace. It was for us.