Essential Traditions/Real Food Real Frugal

The archives for the old Essential Traditions blog and the old Real Food Real Frugal Blog

My Grocery Deals & Freebies This Week!

The picture on the right is all the stuff I got for free this week!! I was able to get $21.32 in free products, plus my first copy of Country Living Magazine (a free subscription!). Here’s how it broke down…

2 packages of Chex Mix. The Chex Mix was on sale for 10/$10 ($1 each). I actually got 8 of them, but 2 were free because I had 2 internet printed coupons for $1/1. I purchased these at David’s.

1 8-pk of 8-oz. bottles of Ozarka water. These were regularly priced $2.69 at Brookshire’s. I had a store coupon for a free package that I got from their Kids newsletter that they send out to card holders.

1 package of Dove chocolates. These were purchased at Walmart for $3.68. I had an internet printed coupon for B1G1 Free. So I purchased one and got one free.

9 rolls of Rolaids purchased at Brookshires for $7.02 ($0.78 each). I had 9 coupons for $1 off any Rolaids product from last Sunday’s paper, so they should have subtracted $9 from my receipt, but they would only honor the coupons for up to the actual amount of the product so I was only credited for $7.02 (the actual amount spent).

2 bottles Suave body wash, purchased at Walmart for $1.97 each ($3.68 total). I used 2 coupons from last Sunday’s paper for B1G1 Free. I paid for 2 and got 2 free.

1 bottle Suave Kid’s body wash, purchased at Brookshires for $1.99. I used 1 coupon from last Sunday’s paper for B1G1 Free. I paid for 1 and got 1 free.

Free subscription to Country Living Magazine.

So my grand total for free items (not including the magazine) was valued at $21.32!!

My grand total for all coupon usage was $36.79 ($5.30 at David’s, $17.76 at Brookshire’s and $13.73 at Walmart)! I save that amount from my total from all my grocery shopping.

I did really well at Brookshire’s. MY total savings there (including coupons and sale prices) was $38.14. I paid out of pocket $38.49, so I saved about half! Not too shabby!!

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Next Week’s Menu & Some Recipes

I don’t like to scedule my meals on certain days, I just list the meal I’m planning for the week and then cook them in the order I feel like cooking them.

Cereal x 2
Oatmeal x 3 (remember to soak overnight!)
Scrambled Eggs & Toast x 2

Hot Dogs
Suddenly Salad
Peanut Butter & Jelly x 3
Macaroni & Cheese with Tuna

Chicken leg quarter, broccoli & rice casserole (remember to soak rice overnight)
Pot roast with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots.
Orange Pork chops with green beans and rice (remember to soak rice overnight)and applesauce
Brisket (sliced) with beans and coleslaw (remember to soak beans overnight)
Brisket (chopped sandwiches) with squash casserole
Lentil chili with left over brisket (remember to soak lentils overnight)
Turkey smoked sausage with sauerkraut.

We will probably cook the brisket all day on Sunday to eat for Sunday dinner. We can usually get 2 meals usually off of a large brisket and still have enough left over to season beans or lentils (letil chili this week).

Here are some of the recipes:

Susan’s Leg Quarters, Broccoli & Rice Casserole

1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
Enough water to cover rice
2 tbsp. whey
4 chicken leg quarters
2 cups water
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped broccoli

Soak rice overnight covered in water and whey. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place chicken quarters in a 9×13 inch baking dish and bake in preheated oven, covered, for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine rice, water, soup, sour cream, crushed garlic, minced garlic and broccoli. Mix well. Remove chicken to a platter and drain oil. Spread rice mixture in the bottom of the baking dish, then arrange chicken on top of rice. Bake uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.


Susan’s Orange Pork Chops

4-6 pork chops
orange soda

In a skillet melt a couple table spoons of butter. Braise both sides of the pork chops. Pour the orange soda over the pork (just enough to cover) and lower the heat to medium and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Drain off the soda and serve. I know this sounds really strange, but it’s really yummy! It’s also good with a sprinkle of cinnamon.


Susan’s Yellow Squash Casserole

4 yellow squash, chopped
2 onions, chopped
3 grated carrots
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Boil squash and onion in a small amount of water for 5 minutes. In a bowl, mix together the boiled squash and onion with the grated carrots, cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Mix together the seasoned bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and butter and spread on top of the squash mixture. Cover and bake for 1 hour.

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Questions & Comments

Question: My husband works outside building and welding. He sweats a lot. the crystal was not very effective. Cant wait to try this. He is sensitive to almost ALl deoderants…. can you tell me what the cocnut oil does? thanks. Lisa Willmon, Central Texas

Hi Lisa!! Where in Central Texas are you located? You can email me at I’m in Central Texas as well. Coconut oil has anti-biotic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, so it helps to keep the bad bacteria and funguses as bay, which helps to cut down on the smell. It’s also very soothing and moisturizing.

Question: Hi Susan! I really love this tutorial. It really turns out with a nice effect. I have never made any kind of quilt before, but sure would love to try and give this a go sometime. I do have one question though. What does “stitch in the ditch” mean? Thanks for sharing this tutorial. Blessings,Andrea

Hi Andrea! “Stitch in the Ditch” in quilting is where you sew on the top of the quilt, through all layers (batting and backing) in the seams of the quilt top. Hope that make sense!

Comment: II am a huge fan of this store called Susie’s Deals! They carry clothes for everyone, men’s, women’s, and kids too. I always know that I can walk in to one of their stores a come out with a big bag of really cute stylish stuff for $25! Everything in the store is sold for $5.99 or less and you can even find things that are 2 for $5.99! Their web site is they have store in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah too. (savvy)

I will have to check them out. It does appear that you can shop online as well, but you have to read and agree to their terms. I cannot personally recommend this site, as I have not ever used it, but their prices seem to be good.

Question: I enjoyed seeing your week in modest dress, thank you for doing it. (o:I hope you don’t mind me asking–I was wondering I remember in the past that you practiced head covering. Do you not do that anymore? Blessings, Michele

Thanks Michele! I really enjoyed doing that series, and will probably do another one once cool weather gets here this winter. I did practice head covering about a year or so back, but quit at my husband’s request.
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1930’s Marital Scale


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

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Invisable Nine Patch Table Quilt Tutorial

This quilt was made totally from fabric scraps I had laying around. I tend to save all my scraps for just such projects. Any piece that is at least 4×4, I save to make scrap quilts with. This is such a fun way to quilt and it’s also really frugal. I often find scraps at yard sales for really cheap as well, so I stock up when I find them. I also accept fabric scraps from friends and family. Most people don’t think to use fabric scraps…they are just the useless left over stuff from a sewing project. But, to me, they are future scrap quilts. Don’t think you can make something pretty using small fabric scraps? Then read on!

For this tutorial, you will need:

4 (4 inch) squares from nine different fabrics (36 total). You will want a variety of tones (light, medium/bright, dark
4 (2 inch x 15 inch) fabric strips for border/binding
1 (22 inch square) fabric for backing
1 (22 inch square) quilt batting
Sewing machine
Basic sewing & quilting supplies
Matching tread

First of all cut out all of your fabric squares, you need a total of 36. Then cut out your binding strips, backing and batting. I use a rotary cutter and mat for this process. I also have a 4 inch quilting ruler that I use to cut out the squares.

Use a 1/4 inch seam throughout

Take a 4 inch square from each of the 9 different fabrics and arrange them in a pattern that is pleaseing to you.

Not pictured – Sew each row of squares together and the press. Then sew the 3 strips of squares together to form a complete block. Press.

Make a total of 4 blocks. Blocks should be 12 inches wide. Press.

Take each block and cut it in half vertically (6 inches is half). DO NOT SEPARATE OR MOVE UNTIL AFTER NEXT STEP.

Next cute each block in half horizontally (6 inches is half).

Now you have four 6-inch squares (per one 12-inch block). Now cut all remaining blocks the same way. When you are done, you should have 16 (6-inch) squares.

Now comes the fun! Layout the 6 inch squres into a pleasing arrangement. There are many ways you can lay them out to get all sorts of different patterns. Play around with them until you get an arrangement that you love.

Next, you will sew the squares together into 4 strips of 4 squares each. Press. Sew the 4 strips together to form the quilt top. Press again.

Now you’re going to sew on the border/binding. Sew on a strip to one side of the quilt. Then sew on a 2nd strip to the opposite side of the quilt. Trim of so that the border strip is even with the edge of the quilt. Next, sew on the 3rd and 4th border strips to the other 2 edges of the quilt.

Now you will want to make the quilt “sandwich”. Place the quilt top, face down, on your work surface. On top of that add the quilt batting. On top of the quilt batting, add the backing fabric (right side facing you). Now starting from the center and working out, pin the “sandwich” together so nothing shifts.

Now, using the stitch in the ditch method, begin quilting your piece, going through all fabrics/batting.

Finally, turn your piece so the back is facing you and turn over the extra border fabric to the back to bind the quilt. You will want to mitre the corners and turn under raw edges before you stitch. Stitch in the ditch around the binding. You’re done!

Here’s what the front of the quilt looks like.

This is the back of the quilt.

I was making this one to go into our Etsy store, but there are a few flaws, so I get to keep it for myself!! This is such an easy pattern that even a beginner could do it. It looks really complicated, but it’s not. This project could easily be finished in a day (it took me 5 hours to fininsh this one, start to finish), so it would be great for a quick gift. It’s a very versatile pattern and could easily be adapted into a larger quilt or baby quilt. I will definately be trying this pattern again..and again!

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Sewing Fun

Whew! It has been a busy, but fun day here! I have had so much fun sewing and got so much done! I finished up 4 tote/grocery bags and an apron. Three of the bags were for our Etsy store (It’s a Family Affair) and one was for a custom order. Here are pictures of the bags…

I also finished up a really cute apron for the Etsy store.
So as you can see, I’ve been busy today! It’s been a lot of fun sewing today, but WAY to quiet with the kids gone!

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My Coupon Binder

One of my readers, WVCountryRoads, asked to see pictures of my coupon binder, so here you go!

This is the front of my binder. I bought it at Wal-mart for $9.95. It has some nice pockets on the front. The grey mesh one holds my calculator and usually a pen or two.

The pocket on the front opens up to hold my highlighters, pens and my scissors.

On th inside of the front cover there is an expand-a-file. In these I keep my Coupon Spread Sheet, a spiral notebook, extra envelopes and un-filed coupons.

This is a look at where my catagory index pages start. I am planning on putting a baseball card holder in front of it to hold my store cards, just haven’t done it yet. I’ll go over my catagories in just a bit. The index pages are simply page protectors that I have slipped in a piece of paper with the catagory listing on and have indexed them using stick on index tabs.

This is and example of how I store my coupons in the binder. These are those plastic pages that hold baseball cards or other collectable cards. These work great for holding my coupons.

I got my catagories from Days to Come. I found it helpful to start there. Here is a listing of my Index pages along with the sub-catagories:

Medicines/First Aid
– cold/flu
-band-aids/first aid

Paper Goods
-toilet paper
-paper plates/picnic
-paper towels/napkins
-trash bags


-other dairy

-hot/cold cereal

-peanut butter

-all purpose
-other cleaning
-air fresheners


-pet food
-pet snacks
-pet toys
-kitty litter

-hair care
-lotion/skin care

-rash cream

Snack Food
-dried fruit/nuts
-snack bars
-premade jello/pudding

-lunch meats
-sausage/hot dogs
-desserts/ice cream
-frozen bread/rolls

-holds odd ball coupons like discounts to stores (currently some Lowe’s coupons).

-holds coupons for restaurants

I then have an empty page protector which holds an envelope that contains my “Give Away” coupons. These are the coupons I don’t need, but will use to give away or when I participate in a coupon train.

Hope this helps!

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Questions & Comments

QUESTION: Reading your post made me think of when I lived in Texas…LOL…I shopped the Temple HEB and Albertsons! I also worked at Scott and White Clinic in Temple from 1990-95. Are you familiar with it? We moved back to my home state of Kentucky but now I live in Ohio due to a job transfer. Here it is Walmart or Kroger…I’ve been thinking of looking into the drug store discounts as we do have a CVS and they just opened a Walgreens.I enjoy your blog!☺(Honest to Ya~Ya

I am somewhat familiar with the Temple area. My Grandmother lived in some retirement apartments there for a while. Are you in an area near the Amish? My brother-in-law finds some great deals at their farm sales and says that their vegetable stands and the Amish grocery stores are nice as well.

QUESTION: I’d love to see a picture of your binder for coupons. Also, what do you take your coupons in when you go to the store? (WVCountryRoads)

I’ll put a post up about my binder later today. I need to get some batteries charged for my camera. I just take my binder into the store with me when I go, that way, I have all my coupons ready for un-advertised sales. On Thursdays when I get the grocery ad papers, I go ahead and pull coupons for each store that I know I’ll be using though, and put them into individual envelopes for each store. I also take my coupon spread sheet and mark off call coupons I use.

COMMENT: Hi Susan-Just found your blog a few days ago, there are more deals at CVS.. I am a CVS weekly shopper and get so much free, recycling the ECB’s week after week, there is also a monthly booklet that is good from the first day of the month to the last day of the month. Also I have gotten this month, 2 listerine smart mouthwash on sale for $3.49 you can get 2, get ECB’s for $6.98 and there are $1 coupons out for this so that would be free plus a $2 profit, also CVS bandaids are FREE limit 2 also with ECB’s. I forget how much they are but you get the total back in ECB’s. When you go in to CVS look for the booklet, it’s red with monthly deals in them. They are great. I have a pantry full of free razors, shampoo’s, conditioners, toothpaste, mouthwash, bandaids, baby products, toothbrushes, make up (I don’t personally wear make up but I know some “young women” on my Christmas list and I give them a bag of HBA’s for Christmas all kinds of stuff and they love it). I keep all HBA coupons I cut out of inserts, because most of the time you can find ECB’s give for these products and it’s always more of a savings if you have a coupon to match up with the ECB’s given. We are lucky to have double and triple coupons here in PA and I do just as well grocery shopping. I did post a few things on my blog recently in case you are intersted.. Happy shopping, I am so glad I found your blog (Lisa)

Thanks Lisa for the tips! I really want to try my hand at CVS shopping, but will only be able to do in 1-2 times a month because the closest CVS is in Waco (30 minutes away). My husband has challenged me to see how good I can do at saving money at our local stores, with just 1-2 trip into Waco a month. Gas prices are so high that I would use more gas than what I would save to drive to Waco weekly. You have some great ideas though and I will be trying to get CVS’s monthly deals at least!

QUESTION: Hello Susan,I am just curious how you use 2 coupons when making a purchase – because I thought that usually the coupons have on them that you can only use one coupon on one item- I hope you are able to understand my question. I think it will be really neat to see how much you are able to save. Have a great week end!Lisa in Texas = PS> I am lucky cause I live with in about a 20 – 25 min drive to that Krogers in Cleburne that you were considering coming to – sorry you live too far away. (Lisa in Texas = ))

Hi Lisa! It’s always nice to run into a fellow Texan! On that deal, I actually got 4 of the Lifesaver gummies, but since I was listing things I got free, I only listed the 2 that I got free with the 2 b1g1 coupons. Sorry for the confusion! BTW, you are SOOO lucky to live close to Kroger’s! I would love to be able to get their double and triple coupons!

COMMENT: I am sure you can do it!! I recently constructed a gasoline calculator using Microsoft Excel which could help you figure out exactly how much money you are spending on each mile, etc. It’s at my blog Just search for Gasoline Calculator. If you don’t have Microsoft Excel, it should work with Open Office. I post some grocery money saving tips on my site and I’m also into NT. (Mrs. Accountability)

Mrs. Accountability thank you so much for the Gasoline Calculator! This will be a very useful tool. I’m going to post a link to it in this post, and the next time I update my template, I’ll add it to my links in the right column

QUESTION: Hi Susan, I will look forward to seeing how you do! No Aldi near by? I use zero coupons as I try to stay away from processed foods and never see coupons for bulk foods! I just watched the movie, “The Trip to Bountiful” and never realized Texas was so beautiful -the bluebonnets are amazing.Have a blessed week, Dee

Hi Dee! I don’t think we have any Aldi’s in Texas, at least I’ve never seen one (but Texas is a BIG place…lol…I haven’t been everywhere in it!). There is a Costo about 1 hour away and a Sam’s Club about 30 minutes away, but I’ve never really used either of them. I’ve never seen the movie “The Trip to Bountiful”, but I do agree, Texas is really a beautiful place…especially in the spring when all the wildflowers are blooming (Thanks to Lady Bird Johnson!).

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And The Winners Are…

For Giveaway #1
For Giveaway #2
Jenna Z!!
Congratulations ya’ll! I need you to email me at to claim your gifts. I sure hope you enjoy your gifts and all! I had so much fun with this giveaway, that I think I just may have to host one more often! So keep your eyes open, you never know when I’ll post one!
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Frugal Friday & Daily Update

I don’t have much time for the computer today, so I’m going to do a all-in-one update, if you’re here for Frugal Friday, scroll down a bit. Today, I’m getting ready to go to my Mom’s for the weekend and help them celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Their actual anniversary was on May 18th, but this was the closest weekend to that where we could get everyone together. We are going to have a nice party and that should be fun! After we get back, I’ll probably post some pictures. Until then….

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad! We love you!!

Also don’t forget that my giveaways end on Monday, June 9th. So, if you haven’t already, go on and sign up. I’ll be drawing the winner sometime on Tuesday! Sign up for them Here and Here. You could win a handmade apron, cloth grocery bag and a bunch of books OR a copy of my ebook “Nourishing Ways” and a 4 week subscription to the Traditional Foods Menu Mailer!
Now on to Frugal Friday! We constantly have SOMEONE who gets a rash, especially during this hot time of the year. Riley might have some diper rash or one of us olders might have chaffing or heat rash. Here is the recipe that I’ve come up with that helps on all of these things. It’s natural and inexpensive to make.

Rash Cream

1 cup coconut oil
Corn Starch or arrowroot
Calendula, Chamomile, Lavender, rosemary or tea tree essential oil (or a mixture)

Mix together the coconut oil and the essential oils. You want a total of 10-20 drop, depending on which oil(s) you use. Start stirring in the cornstarch/arrowroot. You want to add enough cornstarch so the mixture is really thick, kind of like thick mashed potatoes. Spoon into a airtight container. Use as needed to treat rashes. The coconut has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, it kills yeast which is a common problem that causes rashes, especially diaper rash. Calendula, Chamomile, Lavender and Rosemary are soothing and healing, they are also anti-bacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Tea tree oil is also anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. A combination of these oils make a very nice rash cream. The cornstarch/arrowroot powder help to keep the area dry.

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