Hard Times


Tighten Your Belt This section is devoted to the lowest priced, most affordable ideas, meals and recipes. Everyone goes through hard times. Sometimes they last a week or two. Sometimes they last a year or two. Sometimes they last longer. Everyone has to live through them now and then. This section is a collection of ideas, meals and recipes to get you through. For the most part, these recipes and ideas are gluten free and dairy free.





Beans, Peas & Lentils


Cookies & Bars

Dairy-Free Alternatives

Fish & Seafood

Frosting, Icings & Toppings

Ground Beef or Ground Turkey

Ham, Hot Dogs & Sausage


Pies, Pastry, Crisps, Cobblers & Crumbles


 Rice & Other Grains

Salads & Dressings



Soups & Stews


  11 Responses to “Hard Times”

  1. I am trying to make my own version of Crystal Light. I purchased Kool Aid with a coupon and have eons of no-sugar sweetner packets. Any idea of the proper mix. LOL I’M WASTING A LOT OF KOOL AID AND SPLENDA. Thank you.

    • You could also just mix with no sweetener in your pitcher. Then use however many packets you normally use for a cup…try what you’d do for tea?? I’d say 2 maybe 3 pks. Coolaid is more bitter than tea cuz of the citric acid.

  2. Hi Wendy, I would go with 12 to 16 packets of sweetener, depending on how sweet you like it. When I use Sweet N Low to sweeten Kool-Aid I use 12 packets, because of the aftertaste. This makes it sweet, but keeps the aftertaste of saccharine down. With granular Splenda I use 2/3-cup. So I think 12 to 16 packets should do it. If you like it /very/ sweet, you could go with 20 packets of Sucralose (Splenda). It’s really a matter of trying it one way and then adding more if it’s not sweet enough. Good luck with it. If you get the time, let me know what you decide upon.

  3. Thank you Miss Maggie for the reply. I appreciate this. I used 8 packets splenda. I guess I wasn’t using enough of it. When Kool Aide is free again (with coupon), I’ll use your ratio. I think Kool Aide is leftover powder, from their jello factory. Again, TYVM.

    • Happy to help Wendy.:)

      • My sainted great grandmother used to always say, “tough times don’t last, but tough people do”. She was about the toughest person I’ve ever known. Had 2 daughters and one died at 16 months with a combination of measles and whooping cough. Then her older daughter married a jerk (my grandfather!) and have 7 children in 12 years. And she had a serious heart problem to boot. She opted to have a hysterectomy in 1925 and developed an infection and of course they had no way of fighting it and she died within 4 days after the surgery. And from what I’ve heard it wasn’t a very pleasant death. My great grandmother stayed with her son-in-law to help raise the 7 children and he remarried almost immediately, but that lasted all of 6 weeks. Then his next marriage lasted for a long, long time, and how she did it I have no idea. My great grandmother and her daughter’s replacement worked so hard just to keep the family functioning. Then the 1929 crash and my grandfather, who was a welder for the railroad, was laid off indefinitely and moved the entire family from Alabama to Missouri and started over. There were no frills. Just lots and lots of backbreaking work, but my great grandmother never lost her determination to come out on top when was all said and done. When I was little we used to talk frequently about how hard life could be and I always marveled at how she still had this little twinkle in her eye and and crooked little smile.

        If I could say that I had a role model, then it would have to be my mother’s grandmother. One of the strongest women I’ve ever known and for her family, she would do anything to pull them through tough times.

        What a woman Willi Bertha Nance was. When I remember her I’m proud of her and the fact that I had the privilege of knowing her.


        • What an inspirational story. I am often reminded of just how good we have things today, and how easy it is for us, as a society, to overlook the luxuries and abundance we live with. The amazing health care available today, even as expensive as it is, is one of the biggest luxuries of our modern age. Thanks for sharing this story. Your family had some really amazing women, including you. 🙂

      • My great grandmother had a lot of sayings that didn’t sound so great when I heard them as a kid, but now that I’m old, those sayings are pure platinum. One of her favorites was, “Tough times don’t last but tough people do.”

  4. Miss Maggie, I just want you to know how much I appreciate your work over the years onine. My husband and I are in a lot of debt and, to pay it off, I have committed to a small grocery budget. I also shared this site with my daughter who receives WIC and food pantry foods. Thank you for teaching a new generation how to live within their means!

    • Thank you Jodi. I know about debt and it is a struggle to overcome. You and your husband deserve a lot of credit for admitting to yourselves that there is a problem and that you have to take steps to solve it. So many people are still living in denial about their debt. I know Fred and I did for several years. It was so scary we just pretended it didn’t exist. Taking the bull by the horns and doing what you have to do to overcome it is a courageous choice. I’m happy you’re finding my website helpful. It wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t been in your exact same situation myself. Every little bit helps. Hope your daughter finds it helpful too :-).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: