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Five Frugal Things


Power outage edition

Tuesday 60 mile an hour wind gusts left 230000 homes in the Pacific Northwest without electricity. During the 25 hours I was powerless:

1) I kept the fridge & freezer closed, (no food waste)

2) Used a portable gas stove, gas stove

3) Bundled up, bundle up

4) worked on a craft project right under the skylight until dark,crafts

5) Read by candle light and went to bed early. (I use 3 mirrored tiles to reflect and therefore multiply the light given by each candle)candle light


Less frugal neighbors went out to eat and spent the night at a hotel.

Do you have any frugal tips for dealing with a power outage



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Chrispy Mandarin Pork

You may remember my recent 50 cent Cookbook acquisition.

I shared the Shrimp Florentine recipe from it.

As I thumbed through the bargain books it was this picture that made me put the book  in my basket.crispy pork

I love Chinese Restaurants. This picture made me feel I could achieve a restaurant quality dish at home.

It was delicious. I’m not a fan of peppers so I omitted them.

my version

my version

Frying is always messy, but well worth it. Next time I’ll try it with rice sticks. I’ve never made them before. The left over are almost as good as the original meal but the breading on the pork is now soggy and the oranges all but disappeared in the freeze- thaw process. With my eating style I’m used to this kind of thing.

If you want to make it too here’s the recipe:

Crispy Mandarin Pork

rice sticks or long grain rice

shortening or oil for deep-fat frying

1/2 cup “Biscuit Mix”

1/4 cup corn starch

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 egg white

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 lb. boneless pork cut into 3/4″ cubes

1-11 oz. can mandarin oranges

2 medium carrots, thinly bias-sliced

1/3 cup catsup

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon granules

2 medium green peppers, cut into 3/4 inch pieces

Fry rice sticks in hot oil (375 degrees) about 5 seconds or until sticks puff and rise. Drain and keep warm (or cook rice according to package directions)

Stir together biscuit mix, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and sesame seeds. Combine egg white, soy sauce, and 1/4 cup water, add to dry ingredients. Stir in pork.  Fry pork in hot oil (365 degrees) for 2-3 minutes. Keep warm.

Drain oranges, reserving liquid. In a 4 cup glass measure add enough water to equal 1-1/4 cups. Add carrots, microwave for 5-6 minutes until crisp-tender.

For sauce, combine catsup, sugar, remaining cornstarch, vinegar, and bouillon. Add catsup mixture and green peppers to carrot mixture, microwave on high 4-5 minutes until bubbly stirring every minute. Stir in orange sections. Microwave 1 additional minute. Serve pork and sauce over rice sticks or rice.

How do you say Bon Appetit in Chinese?

What’s your favorite Chinese Food?

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Thrifty Haul

Until 1964 Highway 99 was the North-South corridor through the pacific coast states. Unlike California and Oregon, much of the former route of U.S. Highway 99 in Washington still exists as local roads and regular city streets. In my area Highway 99 or Aurora Ave N as it is also call is a Thrift Shoppers dream. One day I’d like to start in Everett where Highway 99 is known as Evergreen Way and work my way south into Seattle visiting all 10 second hand stores along the highway. Actually, I wouldn’t, as much as I like thrifting 10 stores in one day would be just too much.

On Saturday I needed to go into Shoreline for an errand. Coincidentally it was on Aurora Ave N. So I included a visit to Deseret Industries and Salvation Army. After leaving SA my route home passed Goodwill, my third thrift store for the day.

Here’s my haul:

Deseret Industries $8.21

Deseret Industries

Salvation Army 93 cents

Salvation Army
93 cents

Goodwill $12.01

Goodwill $12.01

Deseret Industries:

  1. I plan to use the skirt pattern to refashion this thrifted dress.I’m sure I could adjust the hem line w/o a pattern but this 50 ₵ purchase will take the guess work out of it.

    dress to refashion

    dress to refashion

  2. I restocked my supply of Hot Glue Sticks 50 cents
  3. remembering how hard it was to find a hairbrush last time I needed one I picked up two 75 cents each.
  4. Emergency rain poncho- I like to carry one in my car that I can offer to the people begging in the rain at the freeway on ramps. 50 cents
  5. ribbon- to add to my craft supplies $1.00
  6. doll pattern -because I am a sucker for stuffed dolls
  7. Eddie Bauer sling pack $2.00- I’m going to try to sell this on Craig’s List for $10, but I’ll keep it for myself if it doesn’t sell.
  8. Bib- 50 cents I have a sewing project that requires a small amount of waterproof fabric this will work perfect.

Next stop Salvation Army where I picked up a brand new box of Q-Tips. Perfect timing my supply is pretty low.q tipsFinal Stop: Goodwill

  1. 3 mini scrub boards $1 to use next year on the Oregon Trail Big Day
  2. Canning Book & wide mouth funnel $2 for my next Craig’s List canning kit
  3. a bar of soap 50 cents
  4. Fabric markers-  $1 another addition to my craft supplies Maybe I’ll use them to make the faces on the rag dolls
  5. 5 lbs. of Wild bird seed $5.99 Retail value $10.IMG_2073thistle feeder
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5 Frugal Things

Its been POURING down rain outside. A good time to catch up on indoor projects but first, this needed to be fixed:down spout

It was an easy fix even if my camera and I did get soaked.

the white blob is a raindrop on the lens

the white blob is a raindrop on the lens

I came it to dry out and warm up with a cup of tea because November has arrived and I still have not turned on the furnace. thermostatMy goal each year is to turn off the furnace May 1st and leave it off until November. Most often on both ends of that time period there are days I turn the furnace on “just to take the chill out of the air”. I’ve avoided even that this fall.

My second-hand shadow striped sheet wore out this summer torn sheet 0343so I made a replacement fitted sheet from a King Sized flat sheet from Deseret Industries. $6 DI sheet

I cut the sheet down first, to make a piece of fabric 26 inches longer and wider than my mattress top. Then I sewed box corners and hemmed it. The final step was to insert elastic on the corners.

new sheet

A break in the rain invited me out for a walk in the park. As I passed the school I saw that the dumpster was overflowing. Mostly holiday decorations, old trophies, broken desks, but this caught my eye.dumpster find I’m hoping it will work as a stand for my bird feeder.bird feeder But if not it will make a great plant stand.

Up until recently the only time I wore scarves was on cold winter days. I never wore them as a fashion accessory, but for some reason my taste have changed. The last time I was at Goodwill this  one caught my eye.SCARF $2.99 (less 30% green tag special.


  1. DIY downspout repair
  2. no furnace yet
  3. homemade fitted sheet
  4. Dumpster dived stand
  5. $2.10 Goodwill scarf

Now it’s your turn. I’d like to hear about your frugal ways too.

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