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I was resizing pictures from a recent park trip and somehow this one got in the mix. Although I don’t usually showcase my kiddos on this blog, I thought you might be interested in knowing more about the Green Smoothies we have for breakfast almost every morning. They are a great way to incorporate more superfoods into your diet! As you can see, my daughter enjoys them! 🙂

This is what it looks like after we’ve pureed a couple big handfuls of spinach with a little liquid (water or juice) and added in some ground flax seed, bananas (3-4 fresh or frozen, in chunks) and a bit of plain yogurt. Since we don’t have a blender we use our food processor.

Now we add in the frozen berries (Costco is our friend!). Depending on how many smoothies we want, we use 2-4 cups of frozen berries. I usually have to stop the processing and scrape down the sides a couple of times. In addition, we sometimes add more liquid at this point until we reach the consistency we like. Lately we’ve been drinking it with straws – so much less messy!

Voila! Our final product, along with eggs I hard-boiled in our rice cooker. A yummy, nutritious breakfast for the whole family!

Seriously. You can’t taste the spinach. Just try it before you gasp in disbelief, okay?

In what year were you born? 1933

Where did you grow up? Poplar Bluff, MO, so in the country

Did you get any education/specific training after high school? If so, what? Nursing school for three years; earned my RN degree.

Where have you lived as an adult? Poplar Bluff area, Fayetteville, Ark., back to Poplar Bluff, Sikeston, Mo., Kansas City, Mo., St Louis Mo

What has been one of the most challenging times economically in your life?
The most challenging time was when my husband got out of college. I was pregnant, and  had premature twins, so I was not working and he got his pay checks once a month.

What are some lessons that you learned during this time to make resources stretch?

  • I had a small garden
  • I walked to the grocery store (had 1 car and husband took it to work)
  • We bought mostly grocery items on sale and made meals from those.
  • No clothes dryer, put everything on the line.
  • Bought only clothing that was on sale.
  • We also took no vacations.
  • We went to the library and checked out books every week instead of buying them for the children.
  • Bought toys and  clothes at garage sales.
  • Saved water in gallon jugs from the water faucet until it got hot instead of letting it go down the sink to wash dishes or shower. We then used it on plants outdoors and inside, mopping floors.

What are three (or so) key tips you would like to give to those younger who are figuring out how to manage a household, run a family, and/or become better stewards of the resources God has given them?

  • Don’t buy anything that you can get by without.
  • Save cash to buy furniture or a car.
  • Don’t put things on credit cards unless you can pay for it monthly without fees.
  • Don’t buy any costumes, make them with the items you have around the house.
  • Use coupons, but only for things you absolutely use or need.
  • It’s cheaper to make meals instead of buying box or ready prepared foods.
  • Use all left overs, either in soups or combined dishes.

Carol R’s Recipe For Cranberry Chicken

Serves 4-6

1/2 cup flour
1/2 salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Dash ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, optional
Cooked Rice

  1. In a shallow dish combine four, salt, pepper.
  2. Dredge chicken in flour mixture.
  3. In a skillet melt butter or margarine over medium heat.
  4. Brown the chicken on both sides. Remove and keep warm.
  5. In the same skillet add cranberries, water, brown sugar, nutmeg and vinegar if desired. Cook and stir until the cranberries burst, about five minutes.
  6. Return chicken to skillet. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is tender, basting occasionally with the sauce.
  7. Serve over rice.

I’m so excited to start this new series! Awhile back I got the idea to interview my mom with the intent of picking her brain for information you all would find helpful. In the process of talking with one of my readers about this, we brainstormed how great it would be to interview many different women who are further along in the journey of life.

Our goal is to get to know these ladies a bit, find out some things they’ve learned in the course of their lives, and glean helpful info as we seek to live our own lives to the fullest. Essentially, we are going to “chat with mom”!

If you know of someone you think I should interview for this series, please contact me so we can go from there. frugalouis (at) gmail (dot) com. In addition, if you have a question you think I should add to my interview form, please leave a comment to that effect on this post. Thanks!

And now, without further ado, the chat with my mom, Ruth B!

In what year were you born? 1944

Where did you grow up (and if from the STL area, what high school did you attend)? Kirkwood, MO—KHS ’61 (rah, rah!)

Did you get any education/specific training after high school? If so, what? College of Wooster 4 years

Tufts University—Eliot-Pearson Dep’t of Child Study—Ed.M in Child Study (early childhood education)

Where have you lived as an adult? Wooster, OH; Chicago, IL ; Evanston, IL; South Bend, IN

What has been one of the most challenging times economically in your life?
Actually, I don’t think it was when we were unemployed, although those were tough—I remember more stress a bit later, when things just were very tight. I remember a really fun Christmas, when both we and some cousins were really (for us) broke, and had just simple little gifts. We shopped at the international store that was up the street then, and found little gifts for $0.10 and $0.25.

What are some lessons that you learned during this time to make resources stretch?

  • I found out that there lots of kinds of dried beans to use and cheaper meats, to stretch food costs.
  • Also, not stopping for iced tea or coffee and…
  • not buying new clothes. Thrift stores!
  • God provides — through friends, through thrift stores having just what we need (plaid shirts, no buttons on collars!, in my son’s size, $0.10 each!!), for mysterious boxes arriving—cowboy boots for our younger son and no one knew where they came from…God’s loving attention to detail!

Have you had other factors in your life that have led you to live a more frugal life? If so, please share. My Home Management Resources training has reinforced the “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without” policy.

What are three (or so) key tips you would like to give to those younger who are figuring out how to manage a household, run a family, and/or become better stewards of the resources God has given them?

  • Keep track of EVERYTHING that you spend—use an envelope and write everything down!
  • Plan in some fun money for yourself and the family.
  • Give faithfully, as God shows. He pours back.
  • Have a family meeting every week—it’s like therapy. You know that you can get something off your chest and so can make it through until then. Include a fun dessert and maybe a game.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us? See family meeting tip above—this is something that I wish that we had done more faithfully during the growing up years.

Would you please share a favorite recipe, stain removal tip, or other simple key to managing a frugal household? For stains, Basic H (now H2) usually works, or soaking in Nature Bright (both Shaklee products).

Ruth’s Recipe:

Toad-in-the-Hole

Serves: 2-3

1/2 pound sausage (links or bulk)

oil, if sausage is lean

3 rounded Tablespoons flour

2 eggs

pinch of salt

Milk – enough to make a thin batter

Gravy (leftover is fine)

1. Preheat oven to 425 or 450.

2. Brown sausage well in heavy skillet (cast iron works best).

3. Make a “Yorkshire Pudding” or popover batter:

-Mix flour and salt in a bowl; make well in the center.
-In separate bowl, mix eggs until fluffy.
-Stir eggs into flour/salt “well”.
-Beat until smooth while adding enough milk to make a thin batter (like liquid whipping cream).
-Beat well – lots of air bubbles are good.

4. Pour batter over cooked sausage in skillet.

5. Bake in hot oven until brown and crispy, about 15-30 minutes (if using 450 heat, turn down to 375 after first 8 minutes).

Serve immediately with gravy and your choice of veggies. Enjoy!


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