October 2009 - Posts - Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller
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Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller

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October 2009 - Posts

  • Basic Whole Wheat Bread: Think ouside the bread box

    You can stretch your budget and your menu with the one basic bread recipe that we send out with every newsletter.

    "How?" – you may ask. Simply look at the lump of dough differently. This is a mindset - just start thinking outside the bread box.

    Freshly Milled Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns

    Freshly Milled Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns


    The Basic "Fool Proof" Bread Recipe we send out second in our newsletter series can be shaped into:

    ~ Burger Buns
    ~ Hot Dog Buns
    ~ Hoagie Buns
    ~ Bread Sticks (filled and twisted or just plain, warm and toasty)
    ~ Bread Bowls for Chilli and Soups
    ~ and SO many more potentials….

    Even once made they can become other things if you don't used all of them up. Just a few left over could become:
    ~ Croutons (any of the above, even if it's one loan bun)
    ~ Garlic Bread (best for the hot dog/hoagie buns with lasagna and salad - YUM)
    ~ Toasted Crackers (slice thin on an angle [if not split for burger or hot dog] and butter/toast) - good with slices of cheese and a salad!
    ~ Open Faced Cheese Bread (top with mixed cheeses and broil) to go with soups

    So even as simple as the ONE recipe may be. Don't get stuck with it ALWAYS just being a loaf of bread! Shape and use it in multiple ways!

    Best Blessings!~
    Donna Miller

    Donna Miller is an author, teacher and entrepreneur. Her favorite roles are that of wife and mother to three home-school graduates. The Millers own and operate Millers Grain House which offers Organic and Chemical-free Whole Grains, Bosch Mixers, the NutriMill, instructional tutorials, recipes and more.

  • My Radio Show Goes Weekly! Every Tuesday at 7PM Eastern....


    We wanted to send out a little taste of the last two Radio Shows. Hopefully the player below works for you! If not, go here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/millersgrainhouse and just click the little black 'play' button to hear the last two shows...


    Also, we wanted to update everyone that we have moved to a different night (Tuesday) and are now WEEKLY!

    Tonight's Show (7 PM Eastern) is : Store- bought vs. home-made. Let's learn to label read! Yikes!

    GMO, trans-fats, palm oil, bisphenol-A....what?

    Store-bought may be easily accessible, but is it what is best and healthy for our bodies?

    Can we believe the labels or are there loop-holes?

    Isn't it cheaper to buy it than make it?

    How easy ARE some of those things to make at home?

    How convenient is it?

    You may ask" "Can *I* do it?" Yes, if I can you can! I'm here to help!

    Here's the number if you want to call in at 7:00 PM Eastern:(347) 934-0317

    Or, just jump into the chat room on the home page and ask!

    At least 10 minutes of the show is call-in/chat Q & A's....so just grab a cup o' joe or hot tea and hop on at 7pm Eastern on Tuesdays! Let the kids do the dishes...(o:

    Since the topic of stretching your food and kitchen budget without sacrificing REAL food and home milling are both such wide topics, each show will have a basic theme to help me focus. Guest speakers will be scheduled soon!


    10/27/2009 7:00 PM - Left-over magic ideas

    11/3/2009 7:00 PM - Some of the 'forgotten' grains add a lot to our diets

    11/10/2009 7:00 PM - Bulk buying and food storage

    11/17 & 24/2009 2-part Special: "Frugal & Healthy Thanksgiving Tips!"

    I'd also LOVE to get some suggestions for more topics from you as well, ! So email me some ideas or topics you'd love to discuss! Best Blessings and EnJOY!

    Donna Miller



  • My Tuesday Tip: Thrift Stores and Goodwill

    Today, I was able to go into town (that's 20 minutes away for us) and spend some time looking for items at good prices. It dawned on me that there is a type of store that is often overlooked by most of the population for some reason.  Thrift stores and the Goodwill stores are often not the first thought, if ever a thought at all for most people. Even I, who furnished our entire first home and early married years from garage sales, admittedly, I forget them from time to time. But not anymore...they are becoming my first stop shops!

    Not only do we have a new Goodwill (they moved the old one to this nice new building) we also have a local Thrift Store for a local charity.

    For reasons of budget, let me share what you can find at each:

    At Goodwill:

    · They do NOT keep things from only your area. They ship from all over adding variety.

    · They will let you test electrical items prior to purchase

    · Most have moved to larger and cleaner stores recently

    · They rotate their items so there is often new stock in each week

    · You can take your own items in for a tax deduction.

    · Everything you could want from a department store can be found in a Goodwill and often refurbished and in excellent working order.

    · All of this at usually only 1/8th - 1/4th of the cost you would pay for things new.

    At local Thrift Stores:

    · They are local, so items fit your climate even better.

    · Saves you gas and brings the local garage sale to you in one spot

    · You can take your own items in as a tax deduction.

    · The local clerk can usually keep your name and number to call if an item comes in that you are hunting.

    · They tend to rotate sales and items of interest with the season.


    For reasons beyond budget and saving your own money, the payout is even greater when shopping first at a Goodwill or Local Thrift Store. Goodwill employs many people with disabilities to sort, repair and refurbish the items that make it to the stores. This gives them jobs that are a service to us the consumer and plays a vital role in their own lives. Local Thrift Stores often are for a local ministry or charitable organization such as an orphanage or food bank for the needy. Buying local at the Thrift Store helps the community all the way around.


    Today, I surveyed the parking lot at Goodwill. There was a Lexus and a new Cadillac parked right in front. As I was walking in, a very nicely dressed woman my age and young son (also quite stylish) were entering to look for winter wear for him. Of course, he was going to grow and this is a smart Mama to buy used since it would only last as his size for a year at best.


    Inside, although I was looking for specific items, I did find a wonderful find: A bread machine! Completely new and shiny for $8.00!  The local Thrift Store and Goodwill have moved to the very tip top of my memory for bargain hunting. First because of the far-reaching impact they serve, secondly for the great savings they offer, but now also for the surprise bonus of something that was not in the budget - that suddenly fit!

  • Time spent repairing vs. buying new and a third option.

    Of all things! My bread machine (of 15 years) finally completely gave out!  Pretty sure it's past its warranty. Oh wait! I think got it at a garage sale so there likely IS no warranty.


    I've done my due diligence with it over the years; soldering 'this' that broke, unscrewing and cleaning 'that' that leaked, reconnecting wires when there was a short, so what was different this time when it made that unfamiliar sound of ...... nothingness.....?


    Well the time this week has been limited. Frankly, I have it apart already; inside out and everything, but I still can't figure out the problem. Could it be that using something daily (often twice to three times a day) really DOES ware it out eventually?  Nah....couldn't be that.


    But alas, the disassembled machine is sitting in my pantry without a chance for revival. I mourn the fact that I cannot repair it. I got it when my baby (now 19) was 4. But bread must go on....with our without a machine.


    So if I spend even more time trying to figure out just what might be wrong, I don't bake bread at all! Now that's a problem here in the Miller household.  So, do I buy a new one?  The current answer to that is 'no'.


    There always is a third option when the time spent repairing something is not worth, well the time, and buying the replacement (either new or used) is out of the question for the time being. That option is to do without it.  Gasp! Yes. It is an option...although not a very popular one.


    I have two hands. These are my 'new' bread machines.  The bread is actually the same and I get some much 'kneaded' therapy (sorry, couldn't resist the pun). 


    Go ahead and spend time repairing before trashing and buying a new anything!  But remember, just because something breaks beyond repair - it doesn't mean we HAVE to replace it....there is always a third option.


    Best Blessings and Budget Stretching!

    Donna Miller


    HEY!!!  Party!!!  An invitation! -

    Come listen in or call in to my new Radio Show! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/millersgrainhouse

    THURS ~ OCT 15 AT 6:00pm EST

    Listen Live Online for FREE, ask chat questions for FREE or call in and ask questions over the phone! 

    Call-in Number: (347) 934-0317

  • Frugal Fix for a Frightening Fridge: Purge and Plan

    Our fridge (refrigerator) is a 17 year old, side-by-side fridge/freezer. It's narrow.  The light does not work. It actually won't turn itself off when the door is shut, thus heating up the fridge, which of course is quite counterproductive.  So rather than replace the whole mechanism on this 17 year of appliance - we have a dark and often scary refrigerator.

    I say 'scary' because, well, not only is it dark, but the darkness and narrowness of it lends to things being pushed way back into the recesses of the abyss and hiding indefinitely. If I wait to long to dive into the depths of the dark narrow fridge, I find a plethora of 'science experiments' such as: a tiny bag of olives now smashed to oblivion, the last bit of pineapples that are fermented into something at about a 19% alcohol level, home-made pizza that has fallen out of it's baggie (who knows when) and turned to a concrete wedge that could be a wall decor rather than food.  So with the scary thoughts of what I'll find in mind, I do one thing...every week....a Fridge Purge and Plan.

    Now it doesn't keep the fridge from hiding things to do this, it just keeps them from growing into nondescript items and thus it saves me money! Yay for that!

    My Fridge Purge and Plan is on the calendar each week the day before I make my weekly menu and list from the sales flyers.

    It consists of having these items handy:

    · Tupperware, Freezer Bags and the Perpetual Freezer Soup Container

    · Room in the Freezer (we have two other than the side-by-side, one for meat the other for...other)

    · A crock-pot ready and plugged in to GO ...

    I pull out all of the shelf items and find what I have that needs using first. These items go onto the earliest menus for the next few days and we use them up. I put them now at the FRONT of the fridge so I know where they are for using early on in the week.

    Anything that can be made into a soup or stew (two nights of left-over green beans, corn, potatoes, squash, peas, so on) goes right into the crock pot and dinner is now also made.  If I don't want to do the crock pot that night all this goes into my perpetual Freezer Soup container (see this video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBWx-SPRobQ&feature=PlayList&p=B895EFDBC11107FB )

    Last, if I know we won't use it soon, it goes to the freezer. I usually re-package/label it so I know what it is and when I need to use it from there.

    So once a week, doing the Fridge Purge and Plan or the Freezer, Fridge and Crock-pot Shuffle helps me in a few different ways. First it helps me to plan a frugal budget for the week’s meals, but then it also helps me keep my fridge less scary and stretch what I already have on into more meals. We can’t use them if they had 'rotted' back in the obscurity of the deep dark chasm that is my frightening fridge.

    Clean out your fridge and save money. How cool is that?

    Next post - I think I'll tell you what cleaning the OUTSIDE of it does for our budget!! Tune in again soon. Same bat-channel, same bat-station, same bat-time.... 

    Donna Miller is an author, teacher and entrepreneur. Her favorite roles are that of wife and mother to three home-school graduates. The Millers own and operate  Millers Grain House which offers Organic and Chemical-free Whole Grains, Bosch Mixers, the NutriMill, instructional tutorials, recipes and more.

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Surviving on Shoestrings Radio Show: http://radio.thesurvivalmom.com/category/donna-miller/ Visit our online store at: http://www.millersgrainhouse.com/store There you can sign up for the complimentary newsletter with a free healthy, whole grain recipe and tips on saving money each month.
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