Cold Coffee Latte (3 ingredients)

We found these drinks at our local Aldi store. They are $1.89 for a 13 ounce bottle, or $2.19 each if you use Instacart. We quickly became addicted fans.

They were soon eating into the grocery budget, so we decided to replicate them at home. We finally came up with a 3 ingredient recipe that is so close we can’t tell the difference. This recipe for a half gallon costs a few cents less than a 13 ounce bottle at the store.

It begins with 6 cups, measured on the coffee carafe, of strongly brewed coffee. I used 1/4 cup of coffee for the 6 cup measure of water on the coffee pot. In a half gallon pitcher I combined it with 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and stirred well. I then topped the half gallon pitcher with plain almond milk. (Our household suffers from milk allergies and a mild case of lactose intolerance)

Stir well and chill for a few hours.

To recap, combine the 3 ingredients:

6 cups of strongly brewed coffee

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

Top the half gallon pitcher with your choice of milk.

Chill well.

You can experiment with adding chocolate, caramel and vanilla. I haven’t tried any variations yet, but I’m sure I will.

Air Fryer Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Air Fryer Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Grilled cheese on sourdough in the air fryer. I used Everything But the Bagel seasoning on the bread. I was able to use less than half the amount of usual butter by using the air fryer.

If you want to try this in your air fryer, brush melted butter on the bread and put it together buttered sides facing out and toast it on 400° for about 4 minutes. Turn the slices over and toast for another 3 minutes or until you achieve your desired texture.

Add your sliced cheese to the inside and cook another minute.

If you’re using seasoning, add it at the beginning to the top slice, and to the other slice when you flip it. Parmesan cheese is really good on the outside as well. If you use another spice blend, parm might be too salty so I recommend you use it by itself.

Ooooh, next time I’ll try a bit of marinara sauce and meatballs on the inside with parm on the outside.

Slow Cooker Pork Loin Roast

Pork loin roast is in the crock pot for #McDinner.

Pork loin is a great, versatile protein when it’s on sale. You can grill or broil boneless chops as thick or thin as you like. I like to cut one in 5 roasts. They fit in the smaller crock perfectly. We get 5 meals, plus leftovers from one loin. On sale they average between $9 and $13 dollars for a full loin. Simply cut, wrap, bag and freeze each portion. One of those portions would easily feed a family of 4.

Today I seasoned the loin roast with Himalayan sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and a pinch of dried sage. (My fresh sage died with all the late spring, early summer rain.) I topped the roast with fresh thyme, parseley, 1 sprig of rosemary and 6 oregano leaves, and 5 carrots. If you are using baby carrots, wait to add them.

Set slow cooker on low for 6 hours. Then add potatoes and sprinkle with seasoned salt and black pepper. Cook an additional 2 hours on low or until potatoes are fully cooked.

If you want gravy, combine 1 cup of apple juice with 3 tablespoons of corn starch. Mix until well blended and there are no lumps. Transfer the liquids from the crock pot to a small sauce pan. Add in the apple juice slurry and cook until your desired thickness. Season with salt & pepper to taste. I do love adding a tiny pinch of red pepper to the gravy.

Chandelier upcycled

I found this rubbed bronze finish 3 light chandelier at Habitat for Humanity’s thrift store, The Re Store for $3. At first I planned to put it in my kitchen. Then i decided to make it a solar powered outdoor light.

My husband and I cut the wiring out of it and saved it for a decorative birdhouse that I want to upcycle into a hanging lamp. We then used epoxy to put in solar lights that only cost $0.97 each.

For a total of $6.97 I now have a fixture outside that casts just enough light on my sidewalk to walk up to the front door.

I kept the saucer globes from the original chandelier, and will make a candle holder collection with them. I won’t need to buy a lamp kit when i convert my $5 birdhouse into a lamp. Eventually.

Slow Cooker Green Beans & New Potatoes (Low Sodium)

When the doctor put my husband on a low sodium diet, I had to learn to cook again. The doc said nothing out of a can or a box, and no seasoning packets. Those things were staples in my pantry.

Now we actually prefer the new seasonings I came up with. This one is among our favorites.

Green Beans with New Potatoes

In a slow cooker combine:

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 1 pound new potatoes
  • 1.5 tsp season salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 thinly sliced onion OR 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tsp Orginal Mrs. Dash or your favorite salt-free seasoning
  • 2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Toss all ingredients to coat everything.

Cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 hours.

Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken

Tonight’s supper:
Whole chicken slow cooked in the crock pot. It is seasoned with salt, lemon pepper & paprika on a bed of onions, carrots, garlic & celery. Topping the bird are fresh herbs; parsley, thyme, sage, dill and Italian flat leaf parsley from my herb garden.

Rounding out the menu will be steamed broccoli, roasted cauliflower steaks and the carrots under the chicken.


This is the version we like best. It has shortcuts, but it is still as good as my all day simmered version. In a large skillet, brown 1 pound ground beef and 2 links of Mild Italian sausage with casings removed. Drain after the meat is brown.

On a cookie sheet, arrange a single layer of sliced pepperoni. I used about a third of a 16 ounce package. Cook at 350° for 12 minutes. Remove pepperoni from pan and allow to cool. Drain the oil from the pan and add 6-8 ounces of fresh, sliced mushrooms. DO NOT SALT! Bake 20-25 minutes until crisp. Let them cool in the pan.

In your large skillet with the browned and drained meats, add 1 can of petite, diced tomatoes (I prefer low sodium) and 1 can of Hunt’s Zesty & Spicy pasta sauce

To the mixture, add:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbls onion powder
  • 1 Tbls garlic powder
  • 1 Tbls dried oregano
  • 1 Tbls + 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

In seperate pan, add 12 ounces of Rigatoni noodles to rapidly boiling water that has been seasoned with 1 tsp salt. Cook until noodles are al dente. Drain and immediately fold into sauce.

Add 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese. Crumble the crisp pepperoni and mushrooms and add to the mix. Top with 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella, and pour into a pan prepared with cooking spray.

Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Note: it really should have sliced black olives, but I don’t like them, so I omit them.

Slow Cooker Pork Loin

I have to be frugal. It isn’t a choice. When meal planning, I have to look at ads (LOVE the Flip app!) compare prices and match coupons with sales. I try to keep my proteins below $2.50 per pound. Luckily, in my area there are fantastic stores that do a great job of competing for our business. Instead of paying $5.99 and up for center cut pork chops, I buy a whole pork loin when it goes on sale for $1.89 per pound, and cut them myself. I also pick up one for roasting in my slow cooker. This is what I cooked for dinner tonight. I normally cut my pork loins in thirds for the slow cooker. It is just the two of us, plus I like to cook for my mother. On average, I pay $10 for a whole loin on sale. Cut into thirds, I pay about $3.33 total for meat for dinner. This feeds 3 people a VERY generous portion, plus 2 large pulled pork sandwiches. Recipe: 1/2 cup water in the bottom of the crock. Place loin, fat side down Halve 3 small apples (I prefer Granny Smith but had Gala on hand) Halve 2 onions Place around the loin. Generously salt and pepper the loin. Sprinkle on:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Dried thyme leaves
  • Pinch of ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low 8 hours. Remove and discard the apples. Add carrots and potatoes and cook an additional 90 minutes on high, or 2.5 hours on low. Sometimes I assemble and season the night before, refrigerate, and set it on low the following morning. To my followers, I haven’t abandoned this blog. I’ve just had a very difficult two years. I will be posting more and more as time goes on. Thank you for the emails and messages asking if I’m ok. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers you have sent me. They are much appreciated, as are you!

Home Made Italian Sausage

With the price of beef so high, I am exploring ways to cut costs on other meats. I’m trying to keep the total cost of all meats at a 2.50 per pound average.

Just a 20 minute drive away is the neatest meat shop. Ozark Meats in Grandin, MO. It is clean as a pin! By far, the cleanest butcher store/meat processor I’ve ever visited.

I called them about a week ago and asked for fresh, never frozen ground pork. They called me when they ground my 10 pound order. Today we picked it up, along with 25 pounds of ground beef, frozen in 1# packages. It was on sale for $3.99 per pound. Their ground beef is like ground sirloin. You never need to drain it because it is so lean. That is a huge savings in itself with no product lost.

We came home and started the spicing and mixing process. We mixed two pound at a time, so if you are trying this recipe with only one pound of ground pork, please reduce the spices by one half.

2 pounds ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of sage

Combine well and divide in half, and place each half in a freezer bag.

For the HOT version, adjust to 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon cayenne.



As much as we sometimes hate having an empty nest,  we have been having fun lately doing whatever our randomness brings.  Last week we went to a St. Louis Cardinals game. We found a great bargain on tickets on one our local Facebook swap groups, and 12 hours later we made the three hour drive to Busch Stadium to watch my boys of summer. 

When I found out that Styx would be preforming locally (and good music locally is rare) I expressed to my hubby that I’d love to go.  2 days later he surprised me with tickets.


Hubs and I parked at the venue







What an amazing show! If you get a chance,  go see them.  They play the classics as well as more recent music.  I forgot how very talented they are! A mixture of electric and acoustic guitar Here is the link to their 2015 touring schedule.

Rock on dudes!