Posts tagged ‘frugal living’

July 24, 2009

Forrest’s Frugal Friday: Cantaloupe

Bayfield09.001My little Forrest is a true-blue, science-guy. He’s the kind of kid who’s room is filled with aquariums, miscellaneous specimens and collections. He loves studying and learning about animals from furry ferrets to darling dragons (Rocky, the bearded dragon, actually lives in MY kitchen). From Biology to Botany, he’s an avid gardener as well.

Rocky the Kitchen Dragon

Rocky the Kitchen Dragon

This spring after eating a cantaloupe, Forrest decided he wanted to grow his own so he saved the seeds. We put the seeds in a baggie with a moist paper towel for propagation. Soon, he had a bagful of cantaloupe sprouts (he could’ve planted a field!).

Bayfield09.002He carefully planted the heartier sprouts in a milk carton. When the plants matured, he transplanted them into Grandma and Grandpa’s garden. Now, he’s in the garden whenever he gets the chance weeding, watering and hoeing his precious cantaloupe plants.

From a tasty cantaloupe snack one spring afternoon, Forrest now has 3 hearty plants with multiple flowers on each. If the weather permits, he could have a dozen cantaloupe. More importantly, my 7 year old has learned the frugality, wisdom and reward of seed saving.

Happy Frugal Friday!!

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. Genesis 1:1

July 10, 2009

Frugal Friday: Pannekoekens

pannekoeken-all_sign1Pannekoeken Huis restaurants gained popularity in the Twin Cities when I was in high school. A visit was not only a treat, but also an event. These delicious Dutch pancakes were individually made to order. When they were perfectly baked and risen, the waitress complete in traditional Dutch dress would run them to your table with shouts of: “Pannekoeken, pannekoeken!” in an attempt to arrive before the pannekoekens fell. Dining was an entertaining experience, but eating those amazing pannekoekens was divine – Mmmmmmm!

The chain of restaurants came and went, but the fond memories remain. Somewhere along the way, I was able to get a recipe for these Dutch wonders and have been making them for my little sweeties for years. (no, I don’t run around shouting, “Pannekoeken, pannekoeken!”)100_0171

A few years ago, I discovered that a few Pannekoeken Huis’ had reopened. My sons absolutely love Dutch pancakes so we took our them for a birthday treat. Alas, some things are better remembered. The pannekoekens were smaller, not as tasty and at about $8 a piece – expensive! 

Let’s see the ingredients for 6 pannekoekens is: 3 cups of flour, 3 cups of milk, a dozen eggs, 6 tablespoons butter = cheaper than one $8 Dutch pancake

Gourmet, international breakfast at home – now that’s frugal! Happy Frugal Friday!!P1010086Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Psalm 100:1

June 19, 2009

Frugal Friday: Leggo Those Eggos!

100_0230Remember watching those commercials as a child, begging mom to buy a box, and taunting your younger siblings with the “Leggo My Eggo” shenanigans? Eggos may be nostalgic, but there is nothing frugal about them.

A better option:

Make a big batch of homemade waffles (sprinkle some wheat germ in the batter for added100_0232 protein & fiber).

Freeze the extra waffles on a cookie sheet…

When completely frozen, pack in freezer bags… 

Pop in the toaster for a fast-food breakfast ala Eggos… 

Nutritious, convenient and a budget saver!

Happy Frugal Friday!

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods. Psalm 63:5a

June 5, 2009

Frugal Friday: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Caution: The grocery aisle marked Cookies & Crackers & Snacks – do not enter!  Unless you absolutely need something for a special occasion, I would avoid this aisle at all costs.

There are 2 basic reasons:

  1. Read the labels – preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and other chemicals
  2. Look at the prices – how much money for how many?

My cart rarely graces the cookie aisle, but does this mean my brood of bouncing boys is woefully without munchies? Are you kidding – we’d have mutiny on our hands! We (Drake and Colin are cookie chefs, too) make our own cookies, and it is a whole lot less expensive and much tastier. Plus, the smell of Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies baking is absolutely divine!

Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Over the years, I’ve made batches and batches of this chocolate chip cookie recipe so much so I don’t use a recipe anymore. Quickly the ingredients are pulled and returned to their shelves. Within minutes, the dough is oven ready – talk about fast food!

My frugal hints:

  • Always double the recipe
  • Bake and freeze  (if I don’t freeze them, they will get eaten instantly – out of sight, out of mind)
  • If you don’t have time to bake all the dough, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and crowd as many dough balls on as you can. Throw the cookie sheet(s) in the freezer. When the dough is completely frozen, put the balls in freezer bags and back into the freezer. When you want a pan of piping hot cookies, put the dough balls on a cookie sheet and bake as usual. Bake as many or as little as you want!

Hot chocolate chip cookies and cold creamy milk – The art of frugality. I’m feeling spoiled already!

Happy Frugal Friday!

She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. Proverbs 31:14

June 1, 2009

Granola Goodness!

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Modified the recipe a bit...

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Graeme added a little extra cinnamon...

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Granola & milk - YUMMY!!

 

May 29, 2009

Frugal Friday: Granola

A little knowledge CAN be a dangerous thing. And once given a smidgeon of knowledge, you are forced to make a decision. There is no turning back. Hence, the danger.

51210RGXETL._SS500_In my case, the little bit of knowledge has to do with cereal manufacturing. My parents are organic-certified producers and attend conferences on a wide variety of related topics. They introduced me to Sally Fallon‘s book, Nourishing Traditions. Her book offers a wealth of knowledge regarding nutrition, healthy eating habits and nurturing foods. She explains in her book that dry cereals are produced by extrusion. Grains are made into a slurry, poured into a machine called an extruder, and then forced out of a hole at high pressure and temperature. The shape of the whole dictates the shape of the cereal. If that isn’t enough, the shapes are slice, sprayed with a coat of oil and a coat of sugar. The extrusion process all but destroys any naturally occurring nutrients, fatty acids (these are GOOD), and even the chemical nutrients that fortify the cereal. During this process, amino acids become toxic. 

Faced with this wee bit of information, I have been forced to make a decision: no going back to manufactured cereal ignorant bliss!

So now this is how I shop: When I reach the dreaded cereal aisle, I pick up the pace (My little boys in the cart resemble test pilots going Mock 1). I zoom past all the colorful cartoon and beautifully styled food pictures to grab my precious jar of wheat germ and containers of oatmeal (and Irish steel-cut oats).  Quickly, I round the corner before they can even finish their sentences, “Mommy, can we get…” Actually, the boys have for the most part ceased to ask for cereal. Every-so-often, I will fall off the bandwagon and grab a box of whole grain goodness. Not being able to help myself, I read the list of ingredients. “Oh, that’s right, BHT…” (another one of those little bit of knowledge deals) and 95% of the time it goes right back on the shelf (The other 5% usually involves the need for Rice Crispy Bars).

acp_00_11So, we make do with instant oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, fraffles/wench toast, French toast, coffee cake, scones, home-made cinnamon bread, eggs, toast, porridge and the like. Years ago, my mother faced with many of the same breakfast challenges (four daughters rather than four sons) would make us home-made granola from the More With Less Cookbook (a must have for any frugal fanny with a health-food bend!). It was simply delicious! Armed with that memory, I have determined to find the perfect granola recipe and create my own convenience breakfast.

Granola is also a frugal response to expensive and nutritionally-challenged boxed cereal. It meets my frugal standards of being highly nutritious, tasty, nurturing and cost effective!

Happy Frugal Friday!

Wise men store up knowledge. Proverbs 10:14a

May 22, 2009

Frugal Friday: Time

Dost thou love life? Then waste not time; for time is the stuff that life is made of. – Benjamin Franklin

Frugal might be a trendy, buzz word right now, but what does it truly mean? In defining this word, Noah Webster referred toAstronomicalClock frugal as being “wise in the expenditure or application of force, materials, time, etc.”  In other words, we wisely use the resources God has given us. It is no small thing that Mr. Webster included time in his definition. Time is a such a precious commodity!

Lately, time has not been on my side. I’ve been rushing here and there busily crossing out tasks on my mental to-do list. Finally, I found some perspective and realized, “Oh my goodness, I have no joy!” Caught up in the various demands on my time and the “tyranny of the urgent,” I’d been completely drained of any pleasure in my work. It’s not about managing my time. Actually, I believe you can over manage your time. We have learned to cram into one weekend what others would do in a month of weekends.

Perspective and priority are two things to consider when spending time. Time is indeed money and saving money isn’t always saving time. Gaining a clear understanding of your priorities and looking at things through a clearer lens will help you spend your time frugally and with joy. This can be easier said than done especially when all the urgent tasks are seemingly noble.

I’m on the road to recovery, and have purposed in my heart to find pleasure in the moment. Praying daily for wisdom, I press on toward the goal of being “a good and faithful servant” of all God has given to me.

Peace and joy!  Happy Frugal Friday!

May 15, 2009

Frugal Friday: Wild Rice

Wild rice is an amazing food.  It is high is protein, lysine and dietary fiber.  Beyond the nutritional value is the flavor.  Wild riceWildricecooked is just plain yummy!

Wild rice takes time to prepare, but it is worth the effort.  Rather than buy it pre-made in a can, this is what I do.  I cook the entire bag of wild rice and divide it up into 2 cups portions.  I use what I need and freeze the rest.  Most wild rice recipes call for about 2 cups so it’s easy to pull a bag out of the freezer and pop it into whatever I’m cooking.  I add it to brown rice as it is steaming for variety, flavor and added protein.  My famous “Minnesota Wild Rice Shut-out Soup” would be less than famous without it.

Pre-cooking foods in bulk and freezing them in portions rather than buying pre-made is both a healthy and frugal thing to do.

Happy Frugal Friday!

Taste and see that the Lord is good…  Psalm 34:8a

May 1, 2009

Frugal Friday

p1010079Frugal Living is an art form and a skill I wish to cultivate in my life and home. It’s not just about saving money, conserving resources and being green.  What makes it an art is combining frugal standards while creating a nurturing and pampering environment. In other words, your family feels spoiled and loved not neglected and deprived.

Case in point, my sister is very passionate about green-living, but her family never feels like they are being given a raw deal. She is very nurturing while holding a high standard of green-ness (see her blog: mygreenside.wordpress.com).

Being frugal is conservation at its finest, and my goal is always to be a good steward of all God has given me. It is fascinating to study the lives of generations past who excelled at economical living, and to glean what may be applicable for my family and our life-style.

Frugal Friday is born of a desire to share little tid-bits I am learning on the way. So for my first installment, I am sharing my smoothie recipe. My son, Colin, is a AAA hockey goalie and today marks the first weekend of this season.  He knows as an athlete what goes into his body before a tournament weekend will affect his energy-level on the ice. This p10100281morning was a smoothie morning…p10100291

Jane’s Smoothies Recipe

  1. Fill the blender half way with plain yogurt (not vanilla or any pre-sweetened varieties – you control the sugar!) preferably organic or homemade
  2. Add enough orange juice to blend
  3. Throw in 1-2 frozen bananas and handfuls of frozen blueberries & raspberries
  4. Blend and serve

So, where is the frugalness? Let’s start with bananas. Many stores discount bananas once they brown and you can buy a bagful for a reasonable price.  Peel them and bag them and pop into the freezer.  When you are making smoothies and malts, they are the perfect addition for nutrition, thickening and frosty flavor.

Blueberries are a lovely fruit!  In season, you can find pints for around $2. At this point, I buy as many as I can. (Last year most of the blueberries I froze for the winter months, I picked from a local garden. The benefits of picking and purchasing locally are numerous. It is more cost effective to pick-your-own berries while soaking in the fragrant smell of berries – heavenly! Also, you know exactly where your money is going and where your food is coming from.) I place them on cookie sheets and pop in the freezer.  This way they freeze individually so it is easy to portion out for recipes.  After they are frozen on the cookies sheets, I fill quart bags and stick them back into the freezer. Frozen blueberries are so much easier to work with when making scones, muffins and blueberry pancakes.

All the above could be said of raspberries. They freeze well, too, and it is best to freeze individually before you bag them.p10100773 Having frozen blueberries and raspberries make for a great pop-in-your-mouth frozen treat – better than candy!

Happy Frugal Friday!

He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son… Proverbs 10:5a

April 20, 2009

Frugal Meets Magical

Left-overs: Where frugal meets magical!

The left-over dry and stale Easter challah bread was magically transformed into a tasty, steaming bread pudding. A caramel-like sauce slathered the dessert and added a note of decadence to the whole affair. Yummy!! Additionally, the vehicle for this transformation was the crock-pot.  And, the left-over caramel sauce is just waiting to be poured over pannekokens one morning this week.

Here is my Frugal Flowchart:

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She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27p1010075
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