Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dinner on a Budget

Jake had a job interview this morning, but we are still extremely tight with money until one of us gets a position somewhere. God has continued to provide for us and our daily needs, but he also gave us the sense to not spend any more than is utterly necessary since things are so uncertain. With that, I'd like to share with you the recipe for one of our favorite meals, and it can be made on less than $3 to feed a family of 5. I'll break down the cost of ingredients, but remember that I say $3 for the recipe because the measurements of some of the ingredients don't equal the cost of the entire purchased item.
Here is the recipe:
Chipped Beef on Toast
3 cups medium white sauce
3 packages sliced, roast beef (Carl Budding is a good brand)
2 or 3 pieces of toast per person, torn into pieces
Prepare medium white sauce as directed. (see below)
When sauce is thickened, cut beef into small pieces and mix in.
Serve over toast.
Makes 4 servings.

Medium White Sauce (1 cup serving)
2 tbl butter or margarine
2 tbl self rising flour (if using all-purpose flour, add ¼ tsp salt)
1 cup milk
Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour. Add milk. Stir over medium heat until smooth (no lumps). Continue stirring until thickened/bubbly.

Now I'll break down the shopping for the Chipped Beef ingredients. These prices are what I generally find at Kroger, but you may be able to find them somewhere for even less. (If you do, let me know!)
1 loaf of bread: $1.29
3 pkgs Carl Budding sliced beef @ $.50/ea: $1.50
1 lb. self rising flour: about $1.00
1 pkg of margarine: $.60
1 gallon of milk: $3.25

So your total grocery bill (without tax) is $7.64, and most of that was the milk. All of the ingredients for less than $10, and you can use the rest of the flour, milk, and margarine for other cooking, or go get another loaf of bread and some more beef to make more chipped beef. Applesauce and peas are good sides with this dish, and also cheap. Enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fresh Wave of Creativity Part 4: Jeans remixed- Perfecting My Pleats

I now have a long piece of "fabric" made up of my denim strips which measures 70 inches long, and my waistband base which measures 40 inches around. How to make it fit? My answer (at least for now) is to pleat the fabric so that it will lose the inches that are too many around the top, while not sacrificing the flowing, pretty volume around the bottom. I divided 70 by 40 and came up with 1.75. So, I marked my fabric every 1 & 3/4 inches along the length of it:

Once it was marked, I paired the sets of lines right sides together with each other, putting the extra "fold" of fabric on the wrong side. I then sewed about an inch downward to make the pleat hold:

When all of the pleats were in, I set the right side edges of the fabric and base together and sewed them. The result was exactly as I expected it to be:

There are 2 sides to this now: 1st, I have achieved my goal! The jeans are now a skirt! However... the flip side is that it is too short-easily fixed by adding more strips to the bottom edge before making a hem line. And, more importantly, when I tried it on, it wasn't exactly flattering. The pleats fall right at my hip line and make me look a little wider than I'd like. I think I'm going to take the pleats out and sew the panels from the front center of the base towards the back. This means I will have to call on my very best sewing friend, Mr. Seam Ripper, to pull out some of the panels. I may leave a few pleats to add some volume around the bottom. I'll keep on playing with it. But at least it's a skirt.

Fresh Wave of Creativity Part 3: Jeans Remixed- Break Out the Sewing Machine!

We ended our last update on this project with a lot of strips of denim and a waistband/base section to sew them onto. The next step after getting all of my strips cut was to simple sew them all together. Facing right sides together, I sewed each strip to another one down the long edge, alternating wide and narrow strips. Like so:
The end result was one long piece:
I trimmed the edges to be more even (not shown). Now how do I attach this long piece to the base? See my next blog for the answer!

Something Else From the UK That I'm Thrilled About...

Some of you have heard me mention my favorite comedian, but I've never blogged about him. In fact, I've never been to one of his shows. I'd have to scrape up a few grand to do that because he makes his home in Edinborough, Scotland, and is currently on a tour of Australia. His name is Danny Bhoy. He's cute, he's funny, and he'll poke fun at just about anything. (Just ask those rats from Noah's Ark, they'll tell you.) I first saw Danny in 2006. Comedy Central was playing on mom's TV (this is how bizarre it is that I follow this guy- I don't even have TV!) and they had a show on of different international comedy festivals. I think the one of Danny was in Montreal, Canada. I'd have to go look to see what he was wearing to make sure, (he had a brown plaid shirt on, as opposed to the Australia tour 2007/08 footage I've seen where he's wearing a white shirt.) ANYWAY, he was talking about what countries of the world have for breakfast and it was sooooo hilarious! He joked about Scotland having the worst food in the WORLD. (Haggis! I've tried it! He's right!) He poked fun at the Germans for eating liver, and took a pot-shot at the French that I thoroughly enjoyed. (Not that I have anything against the French, necessarily, but everyone else seems to so it was very amusing.)

The funny funny stuff he said just kept playing back in my head (yes, IN his fabulous Scottish accent, too!) so I looked him up on Youtube. My husband and I laughed for at least an hour until our sides hurt!
I have a few complaints with Danny, but they aren't anything serious enough to keep me from overlooking them and checking in on his website and on youtube for more funnies. One thing is, I don't like his potty mouth. But I have seen comedians who dropped words a lot more often; so much so that I couldn't find any humor in the joke for all of the offense from the language. Danny is his own person and though I'd be happier if he'd clean his mouth out a bit, it's his gigs and I can watch and laugh or not watch and miss out. So there you go. Danny is also definately (as also referenced by the above) NOT a Christian. It was also pointed out to me, though, by a friend who grew up in England that church and God and all are put across TOTALLY differently (if at all) over there than how it is here in the heart of the Bible Belt in the South. So once again, I don't really like it when Danny says something that openly mocks my religious views. But he generally stays away from that (generally) and makes hilarious fun of the Australian Parliamentary Sessions (which I've never seen but can now never look at without laughing), Pretentious Food (you've got to hear it to understand; I can't even begin to relate any of it...), the size of the Country of Australia (insanely big!), and how the Scottish bagpipes in the history of music are the missing link between noise and sound (it's true!). Danny also does a fantastic accent impression of the Jerry Springer show contestants from Alabama. I'm told by my British friends that Jerry Springer is one of only a few American television feeds they get over there and I was asked if all American television is like that. Great. Just Lovely.

So, wrapping up, I LOVE the comedy of Danny Bhoy. If you get the chance, go to youtube and look him up. You'll laugh. A lot. I promise. Now if he would only tour the Southeastern US.... Danny, if you ever read this, I'm looking for a chance to see your show. Either you come here, or I'll have to come into a few thousand dollars so I can visit you. Either way, I'm still a big fan.