Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Snow's Coming

It's been getting colder all week.

Monday, we had rain all day. Today, it was warmer around the edges...but there's a faint coolness that promises a change. A big one.

The clothes on the line are finally dry. (The sleeping bags from camping, however, are not.) I need to clear everything out and put it away before tomorrow night, when...

First on the docket: stack fresh firewood by the back door.

Take the hoses off front and back faucets...after the chickens' water is filled, and the flowering kale gets one last hopeful spritz. (We've been playing Russian roulette with the faucets for weeks.)

Flannel sheets on the bed.

Pull out the turtlenecks and heavy sweaters. Thick socks, too. (The Brick has been teasing me for weeks about not wearing socks. Soon, he'll get his wish.)

Hot coffee and something warm from the oven. Looks like it might be:

Laura Ingalls Wilder's recipe for gingerbread...she was famous for this. I made some Monday night, while it was raining. Good! (From Full Bellies, Happy Kids)

Granted, I don't have to do everything this blogger does.

The mountains are already white. Our turn is next. (Denver may just get rain, but we're a thousand feet higher...at a projected 32 degrees for a low, that means white stuff for us in Castle Rock.)

     I don't mind, though -- snuggling with the Brick is a pleasure worth any number of chilly moments.

Monday, September 29, 2014

An Encouragement

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Rain

A wonderful weekend in the mountains, being heartstruck by the fall colors -- wave after wave of bright yellow (and occasionally bright orange) leaves assault the eyes and senses. We may not have Michigan's mesmerizing reds...but boy, do we make up for it in the other autumn colors. Against the mountains and pine forest, they're amazing.
     Today, it's been bleary and rainy all day. Drippy gray skies, lots of rumbling and grumbling. (Charley and Abby are very nervous about all this, and have spent the day huddled near my feet -- they hate all the thunder and fuss.) 
     Don't feel sorry for us, though -- we get so little rain here that an all-day event is a wonderful thing. Sure, my wash is on the line...but it can handle an extra rinse. Meanwhiel:

23 things only left-handers worry about. This list must have been written by a right-hander. They don't realize how often left-handers have learned to adapt. How do I know this? Yes, I'm left-handed. You can also find out who else is...

Famous left-handers, that is.

Make your own bacon bits. (From Creative Savings Blog)

"Sometimes I'm a hermit." (From Cash Cow Couple)

Ten commandments of small-space living...including how to make this insanely cool side table. (From Apartment Therapy)

Barbara Brackman's report on the recent American Quilt Study Group conference. Next year, it's Sept. 9-13 in Indianapolis. Boy, I'm tempted...

"I lived off the land..." but it's not what you think. (From the New York Times) 

Thirteen freebies you can take advantage of.  (From AARP)

Should you give gifts of things you got at the thrift shop? (From Fine Diving Chicago)

A white orca -- only one other sighting has ever been noted.

Have a great week. And go play in the rain!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Treasure Hunting

It's been a restless week. I have plenty of work to do -- don't want to do it. (Even degenerating to the point that dishes and laundry got done quicker!) The Brick has had a ton of deadlines -- didn't want to do them, either. It's probably wise that we're headed up into the mountains this weekend, to do some four-wheeling, see the fall colors and soak in the Princeton hot springs. We wouldn't be any good for anyone, otherwise.

Maybe we'll do some impromptu treasure hunting. Colorado's Western Slope is full of old mining town sites that still have a ruin or two. Maybe we'll find some gold or silver! These people did...

Do you believe this story of roll after roll of coins shoveled out? (I'm not sure I do...but intriguing, nonetheless.)

How about this suitcase of silver ingots, discovered in Cincinnati, OH:

Crusader gold found in Israel...a pouch of gold coins was hidden under a potsherd (broken pot), then discovered by archeologists clearing a site near a Crusader castle.

Or seven million dollars' worth of gold, found in a survivalist's home in Carson City, TX. (Ironically, though he didn't have close family, the policeman who discovered the cache was a distant relative.)

Even beads have been found.  And here's a story of gold being hauled out after 9/11, from a delivery tunnel underneath the World Trade Center. Weird.

Back to work...but I can't wait to blow this popsicle stand. Who knows what we'll discover!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pavlov Strikes Again

....except in our case, it's the scooping noise in the food bag.

I wonder what the fourth kitty was looking at?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Saving on Your Food Budget, Part II

...continuing on Part I of this subject. These are some of my favorite ways to save money on food. I'm hoping they'll be of help to you, too.

*BOGO, sales, markdowns.  Have you checked the clearance bins? (That should be a regular stop - it only takes a minute or two.) Look for a salvage store -- my own favorite is the Fri/Sat Store (near Arvada Center) in Arvada, CO. (Yes, it's only open on Fridays and Saturdays.) 
*Nothing wasted –“bits and pieces” angle. I hate knowing that now and then, greens go black and food goes bad in my refrigerator.  Good ways to minimize this: soup, smoothies, and crumbing breads (or making croutons) after they go stale. (Chickens are also a big help in getting rid of uneatables...they honestly don't care.) 
     One of my favorite ways to use this idea when asking friends for dinner -- I will serve soup and rolls, a good salad or fresh fruit first. An appetizer or first course fills guests up nicely before the roast or other expensive protein dish comes out. 

*”Will volunteer for food." I enjoy sharing with friends on group projects -- and often these have something to do with food. If you're helping out by setting up/cleaning up, or in the kitchen, you invariably will be offered leftovers to take home. Do it! This helps the event organizer, but it also gives you freebie extras for future meals.
    One final thing: tithe your good fortune. If you see a fantastic bargain on fresh apples -- and they're out there right now -- buy extra, and give them to a friend who could use the help. (Or encouragement.) Don't forget the librarian who's helped you, the pastor who listens to you, and the neighbor who is so reliable.
     Kindness is important in itself -- but kind actions often have unexpected results. 
                           You will never regret doing them. 

BARGAIN RECIPES   (generally serve 4…but can often be stretched to serve more)

Willo Auger’s Caramel Corn:  6-8 cups popped popcorn, poured into a paper bag. Mix ½ cup butter, ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup corn syrup – nuke for 3 min. until bubbling, then stir in 1 tsp. baking soda until foaming. Pour carefully onto popcorn, fold bag over and nuke twice, 1 min. each time, punching bag to keep popcorn loose. Pour into large bowl, mix in 2 cups chopped nuts (or not), enjoy!   Options:  For a lighter version, double the popcorn mixed in. Makes an excellent Christmas present, wrapped in cellophane with a ribbon tie. Good for gift baskets!
Peanut Butter Cookies (no gluten!): 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix together and form into balls – bake at 350 degrees for 10-11 min. 
Cup Cookies:  in one large mug, mix 1 egg, 3 Tbl. brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. vanilla, 1/3 cup flour, 1 Tbl. butter, 1 Tbl. chocolate chips. Microwave 1 ½ - 2 minutes, eat while still warm. (Can be doubled, then poured into 2 mugs.) 
Davy’s Delight Brownies:  Nuke ½ cup butter until bubbling, then add 1 ¾ cup sugar, 6 heaping Tbl. cocoa, 1 tsp. vanilla, ½ tsp. baking soda, 1 Tbl. olive oil. Stir in ½ heaping cup flour quickly only until mixed, then spread in greased 8” square pan. Sprinkle with nuts or choc. chips – any extra ingredient is a “crank.” Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min., until set to the touch. Cool a bit before cutting. Easily doubles – substitute ½ cup applesauce or baby prunes for low-fat version.

Blogs:  Poorgirleatswell.com, Moneysavingmom.com, Frugalupstate.com
Helpful Books:  Tightwad Gazette, More-With-Less Cookbook, Cookbook for Poor Poets, Good Cheap Food, any Depression era cookbooks or memory books

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Birth Days and Other Significances

Yes, today is my birthday. 
     Bratwurst for breakfast, a lovely hour or so just reading for the heck of it...and back to work, doing the usual wash, getting reports done...and so on. Tonight, the girlies are coming down, and we'll go out to supper to celebrate. 
     The Brick put in a second nesting box, arguing that the chickies needed the room. I pooh-poohed that. We've seen three chickens stacked on each other in one area, while two other sections were wide open and available. But within 24 hours, one egg was laid in each of the new nesting sections. He was right! 
     Now I'll go out and celebrate my natal day by -- shoveling out the coop. Ah well.

In honor of the latest BF story -- this very silly teaser reel about five hunters going out to get the ultimate trophy -- only the trophy gets THEM.  Blood, gore...and a very mean-looking Bigfoot star.

The Sundance Festival, on the other hand, screened LETTERS FROM THE BIG MAN, featuring a more shy BF. Go figure.

Ten interesting frugal-built houses, including this one:

A sailor reviews Robert Redford's movie All is Lost.(I have rarely watched a more frustrating movie. The "ever-resourceful" Our Man makes so many idiotic mistakes that even this rank landlubber noticed.  (See the movie here.) Interesting...yes. Heroic?  Ha.

Pizza joes. Ummm....these sound good. She's got a bunch more Sloppy Joe variations, too. (From Mix And Match Mama)

Easy Sandwich Rolls, from Frugal Upstate. She uses bread -- here they are, in tortilla form:

Traveling on pennies. (From Shanti Free Bird)

'Two-buck Chuck:' how it got its name, and why it's no longer two bucks. (From Five Cent Nickel)

Retiring in style -- or retiring frugally...where do most people put themselves? (From Donna Freedman)

Apple Crisp Refrigerator Oatmeal? Why not...make it tonight, have it in the morning. (From Betty Crocker)

A woman who thought her pregnancy had finished 36 years ago...it didn't.

This poor cat probably wishes it had NEVER gone into the building:

One of the funniest office note exchanges I've seen in a long time. It would be even more amusing if it didn't actually happen now and then!

And a ton of birthday freebies for you to use on your birthday!

Fall-ing into the season, from yours truly via Midlife Finance. Actually, it's an article about getting your house and vehicle prepped for the upcoming winter. (Yes, it's coming.)

 Fall colors are starting to show down here...and they're in full roar up in the mountains. 
Love this time of year.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Yet Another Chicken Update -- and Scotland says NO

It's hard to believe -- Scotland voted NO to independence from England. The vote was close -- 55% vs 45% -- and at least one large town (Glasgow) voted for separation. No matter.
     Wow. Is it my American sense of independence that's puzzled? It may have been uncomfortable in the short term, but I can't help but believe they threw a huge opportunity away here.

It's a pretty, sunny Friday...but the temp is slowly dropping. We're due to have colder weather and rain this weekend. Tomorrow is the funeral of a dear friend, Roger Marken. The Brick, friend Jo and yours truly will be singing at the funeral, then helping out afterwards at lunch. We've known roger and his wife Judy for some years now, since their move from California. Roger was quiet, thoughtful and had his funny moments. We will miss him very much. So will Judy, and his family and other friends.

I have work and grocery shopping to do -- but a few more things to tell you about.

After I read this Friend-of-chickens report, I figured you might enjoy knowing what's going on at the House of Brick lately in this department. (It's very amusing to have friends ask about the chickens' health, and what they're doing...)
     The 'baby' chicks, some red-combed beauties, have finally started to lay. The only problem -- they don't know that they're supposed to do it in the nesting boxes! We find eggs here and there in the coop, and I keep having to check in various places out in the yard. The stinkers...
     We need to butcher 3 or 4 hens who aren't working for their keep. Maybe this weekend.

No news yet on any more Bigfoot sightings. But then, Keith's not back from his hunting trip in the mountains. Have to wait and see.
    This is a cool video from Virginia..look ahead of the four-wheeler, and you'll see what they call the Woodbooger:

Maybe a coyote call will bring him in -- it sure helped for this guy.

Want a free potpie? If you have an account with a grocery store that's part of the Kroger family, you can download a FREE coupon for a Marie Callender's potpie. The store in our neck of the woods is King Soopers -- and you must download today (9/19) only. (You don't have to use the coupon, however, until early October.) Go here -- it's easy to sign up, too. Worth it, when you get a free item coupon every friday.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Will Scotland Choose Independence?

It's neck and neck right now, according to the exit polls...

Go here for more, if you're not sure what's going on with this.

What's the tune going to be tomorrow? I wonder...

Dogged Admiration

Plain dog photos turned Jimmy Choo the bull terrier into art, thanks to a black marker and a few props. Says his owner, Rafael Mantesso, of Carangola, Brazil:

"After my divorce all I had was Jimmy, and blank empty walls. I realized they made a great white canvas background for light-hearted pictures with Jimmy as the star." 

A few photos here -- click on the link above for more. Woof!

(From Peoplepets)

The Bigfoot Story I Promised You

If you've been hanging out at this blog for any time, you may remember some references to one of my hobbies: stories about Bigfoot. I'm not obsessed with the Big Guy, but I do collect sightings, especially in our area, and try to keep on current news about him. Personally, I think he's some kind of unofficial primate that may migrate up and down mountain chains. (Many of the sightings in Colorado, for example, move up and down the Rockies, and often center in spring - fall, though there are exceptions.)
    My family thinks this is hilarious, and has had plenty of time teasing me about it.

Until now.

Daughter #2 and boyfriend Keith went bowhunting all last week. Here they are, reasonably cleaned up...but still wearing some of the gear. This morning, they got a shot off at a "dumdum elk couple," as Angel called them -- and barely missed. At least they saw something -- last week, it rained like crazy, did some snowing as well, and they saw very little.
     But they heard a LOT.

 They've asked to keep the exact location secret: Keith is headed up again this week, and they both feel that having extra people poking around will mess up the hunting potential. Suffice it to say that it is on the Western Slope, wayyyy up in the mountains (they had to hike more than 8 miles to their campsite) -- and no one in their right mind is going to be up there in the pouring rain, pretending to be Sasquatch.

No, this isn't Bigfoot -- just their dog Karma
 The first night they camped, they heard a series of strange howls, about 1/4 mile away. Must be coyotes, they reasoned.

Next day, they staked out a butchered elk carcass. Keith has a bear license this year, and they'd noticed that a bear had been visiting the carcass. They hoped he'd come back.
    Just before dark, with no sightings yet, Keith tried adding an elk bugle call -- and was interrupted right in the middle of it with a HUGE growl/scream not 20-30 yards away, at the end of the forest. Angel said it was so loud that she felt as if her hair was blowing back, comic-book style. And it was saying, "THIS ELK IS MINE. GO AWAY."
    So they did.

That night, they were snoozing in the tent, when about 3 a.m., the howls started up again. Only this time they were closer - a few hundred yards away. And they kept on. And on. And ON, getting louder. At times, a coyote group nearby would answer the screams back. The screams were accompanied by wood knocking.
    Meanwhile, A&K were in the tent, wondering if Mr. Bigfoot was going to come pounding through the side any minute. (I asked what they would have done if he had put his hand on the side of the tent. They both looked at me, then raised fingers, gun-style: "Blam, blam, blam.")

After AN HOUR of this, the screaming and wood-knocking suddenly stopped -- but they heard the crunching of leaves as something circled their campsite.

Then silence.

Had whatever-it-was tailed them from the elk carcass? They think so.

Both are experienced hunters -- Keith, in particular. Both know what a bear, elk or mountain lion sound like. I was assured this was nothing like any animal they'd ever heard --- "one of the freakiest things I've ever listened to," A assured me.

They never saw anything, nor did they smell anything unusual. (But A reminded me they were doused in elk urine at the time. "We probably wouldn't have noticed," she said.) But that kind of sound had to come from SOMEWHERE.

It will be interesting to see if Keith gets any more visits from Mr. S. He plans to take his IPhone up this time...I said, "Get a photo with him!" I'll post you on updates, if anything else happens.

Sent by nephew Andrew - I wonder if this BF knows the Colorado ones?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Is Scottish Independence Near?

I already mentioned why I think Scotland should vote to free itself from Great Britain. Well, that vote is coming up on September 18th. Not long.

And now the Queen has spoken. 

Queen Elizabeth has been supposedly careful to maintain her neutrality...after all, she loves Scotland, spends a lot of time there at her Balmoral estate, etc. etc. So did her ancestor, Queen Victoria. But that doesn't necessarily mean Victoria's decisions have always been in Scotland's best interests. (Nor have Elizabeth's, frankly.)

So what did she say? 

"Think very carefully about the future."

"But the popular British monarch didn't indicate a preference on how Scots should vote, carefully maintaining the neutrality that is her constitutional obligation.

Still, some may interpret her comments as a suggestion that Scots looking to embrace independence should be cautious about severing Scotland's long ties to the United Kingdom, which date back more than 300 years."

Uh-huh. Why would you expect to hear her say anything different? Why would the British monarchy want to give up a lucrative property...especially when it sets a precedent for other valuable chunks to start agitating for independence, as well?

This may be just the beginning for a very interesting state of affairs for England.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy Autumn!

No ifs, ands or butts.

(Photo from Kicks1015 via Facebook...)

Headed to teach my first Memory Quilts class for the Canyon Quilters in Sedalia this morning. It'll be at the Sedalia Firehouse Museum from 10-2... come join us!

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Fall

We're back to warmer days, after our first snowfall last Thursday morning. It was hardly a scraping down here in the flatlands, but the mountains got more. Evenings are cooler, though, and the plants are definitely slowing down. 
    Here in Colorado, we get two autumns: first, the mountains burst into golden flame in mid- to late-September. Then we get a warmer gold, orange and (if we're lucky) red-tinged landscape in early to mid-October. 
    I love this time of year.

Eleven myths about famous tv shows. (No, peanut butter wasn't used to make Mr. Ed talk. It was a piece of plastic under his tongue.)

35 photos (and stories) that give some hope in this big weird world. Like this one:

The Montana senator who (apparently) plagiarized his thesis -- and had it snap back on him years later.    Our Hero was forced to drop out of his political race -- poor baby.

Dare to be disappointed -- you may actually succeed better because of it! (From Making Sense of Cents)

Running a business out of a shoebox -- and making $10,000 from it. (From Vox.com)

Jason Mraz is planning on retiring at 40...even though he's currently making big bucks on his "Yes!" tour.  Admirable.

Six ways to make a platform bed with storage - easy. (From Apartment Therapy)

The "Simple Dollar's" plan for cheap, healthy foods..."if you take away one lesson, it’s that the best way to eat cheap and healthy while keeping your stomach full is to eat a variety of things, focusing on fruits, vegetables, beans, and rice, and using your grocery store’s weekly flyer as a guide." Even better, he's also given a terrific recipe index on his personal:

Best Cheap and Easy Dinner Recipes.

Chinese Coleslaw -- with ramen noodles! (From Brown Eyed Baker)

Living in your car, to pay off debt? One of Get Rich Slowly's readers is doing it.
     If you're thinking about it:

The top ten cars best suited to living in.  (Yes, I know this is weird. But thought-provoking...)

The checkbook -- an endangered species. (From yours truly via Midlife Finance)

Have a good week. Come back later for the second half of my "Save Money on Your Food" handout -- and even better, Daughter #2's Bigfoot (we think) experience. 


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bits and Quips from Mark Twain

...bless his little heart.

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.

Reader, suppose you were an idiot. Now suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.   (Seems particularly fitting, while we're in the grip of the upcoming elections...)

There is probably no distinctly American criminal class, except Congress.

His ignorance covers the world like a blanket, and there's scarcely a hole in it anywhere.

He is useless on top of the ground; he aught to be under it, inspiring the cabbages.

Take the lies out of him and he'll shrink to the size of your hat; take the malice out of him, and he'll disappear.

To be good is noble; but to show others how to be good is nobler and less trouble.

Always do right. That will gratify some of the people, and astonish the rest.

By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man's, I mean.

Providence protects children and idiots. I know because I have tested it.

It's not the parts of the Bible that I don't understand that bother me, it's the parts I do understand.

A banker lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.

The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.

It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.

If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do, you are misinformed.

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.

Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.

What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.

There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.

The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after, he knows too little.

Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.

The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

(Thanks, The Hypertexts.com...)

Saturday Musings

This is how I feel.

Ever since Karma, Daughter #2's dog, has been staying with us, I now have three pairs of eyes staring hopefully, instead of just two. Three doggy butts to scratch, three heads...and you wouldn't believe the race to be the first one outside at morning and night. Exhausting.

This is Karma, by the way. And yes, our Colorado mountains really do look like this.


Karma goes home tomorrow. Angel and Keith have been bow-hunting for elk...but no shots, so far. They did, however, hear something odd one night that A. thinks might have been...wait for it... BIGFOOT! (Or at least "the freakiest thing I've ever heard out in the woods." Her words, by the way.)

I'll tell you more, once she gets back. Meanwhile, there's half a cord of wood to stack (we got it in Denver today), and appraisals to send off. We actually got snow Thursday morning, but you wouldn't know it -- everything is back to green and warm.
     Go figure.

No, this is not a Bigfoot-ess

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Punterest (Groan)

Saving On Your Food Budget, Part I

Monday night, I gave a talk about ways to save on food to my local group at Creekside Bible Church. It was  a great way to solidify techniques and ideas I've been using for decades. Wanna know? Part I is here -- and stop by for Part II. It will be out soon.

*How much can you spend…and should you spend it all? I don't think you should. Keep yourself on a budget, and you'll have extra to pay off debts even faster. Over the years, our food budget has ranged from $25-50 weekly, depending on income and availability.

     One thing I've learned over the years -- spend a little more on quality items, and you'll never regret it. At worst, you just use a little less. Examples: real cheese vs. Velveeta, b utter vs. margarine (new studies are saying it's better for you, anyways), Ghirardelli chocolate chips (Hershey's too, in a pinch) vs the generic stuff. 

      Save on the basics, and you can afford to save on luxuries!
Do it yourself...or get your food from the person who does.
    *Grow your own veggies, even if it means growing greens in a windowbox. 
    *Hunt and fish -- and take advantage of the fresh protein. (The Brick is already having fun planning his upcoming hunting trip the end of next month.)
    *Consider small animals or chickens. I've talked plenty about our chicken-raising...and for some years in our old place, we raised rabbits for meat. 
    *Buy your veggies and fruits from a farmer's market -- or even better, from the farmer him/herself.
    *Right now, when garden and orchard produce is cheap, buy a lot -- and preserve it! Peaches, for example, can be washed, put in bags and placed straight in the freezer. (Use them semi-frozen for smoothies, crisps and pie.) Canning isn't difficult...and the sight of a deep red jar of tomatoes or golden-hued jar of peaches that you canned yourself...beautiful. 

BARGAIN RECIPES   (generally serve 4…but can often be stretched to serve more)
Breakfast Burritos:  For each – 1 flour tortilla, mix of refried beans*, choice of meat (cooked sausage, ground meat, bacon), choice of veggies (chopped onion, green pepper, tomato, etc.), cooked chopped or hashbrown potatoes. Add a tablespoon of green chili, salsa or leftover chili, then top with grated cheese – fold, then wrap in foil or store in individual sandwich bags. Freezes well up to 6 months – nuke 1 min. and go!   (Good made in bulk)         
 *canned pinto, black, kidney beans – or cook your own and mash lightly, adding any meat drippings.
Vichyssoise:  Start with 6-8 cups of chicken stock,  then simmer 4 large chopped potatoes, 1-2 sliced leeks – blenderize until smooth.  Serve warm or cold, topped with a spoonful of cream or sour cream.
Porcupine Rice:   1 cup uncooked rice, 1 lb. (or less) ground beef, chicken, turkey or pork, 1 can green beans, 2 tablespoons onion soup mix (or 1 tablespoon soup/1 tablespoon steak sauce). Brown rice and meat together, then add seasonings and beans, and simmer gently for approx. 20 min., until rice is cooked.  
 Options:  substitute or add more veggies (leftovers?), use 1 can mushroom/celery soup, add sour cream.

Blogs:  Poorgirleatswell.com, Moneysavingmom.com, Frugalupstate.com
Helpful Books:  Tightwad Gazette, More-With-Less Cookbook, Cookbook for Poor Poets, Good Cheap Food, any Depression era cookbooks or memory books