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Monday, March 2, 2015

Foraging Plantain- Wild Food and Medicine

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There's one plant that I forage all the time, and it's one of those plants that, even if you don't plan on becoming a full time forager, that I suggest you learn. Because it is simply one of the most useful plants out there.
And it's pretty easy to learn how to forage it.

Plantain.

No, I'm not talking about the plantain that is related to a banana. This is another plant named plantain- scientifically named plantago.

There are many different species in the plantago family, but although they differ somewhat, they all have the same basic properties.

Super healers.

Not to mention edible.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments This Week and Accountability For My Struggles

I had a long exhausting week, and I suspect this next week will be even longer. Fortunately, filled with good things, but that doesn't make it any less exhausting. Because of that, I feel my list of frugal accomplishments is shorter than usual...


And, because of that, I got super backed up on laundry. I used my dryer a few times, and had to rewash laundry that was left in the machine... I think once or twice.
And I think I used a grand total of 6 cloth diapers. But that's 6 more than none, so especially in light of the fact that I was sooo behind in laundry and swamped, I'd say that's something to be proud of.
Now as for food waste... Well, as much as I tried to revamp leftovers as much as possible to ensure no food waste... Because of being busy, I ended up missing some stuff in the back of my fridge, so some produce spoiled, including some oranges, a tomato, and a few beets...

So, here's what I did to save money this week:

Score Sweet Deals at Ski Spots Across the US

I have to admit, I just adore snow and snow related sports. Skiing being my favorite. My dream is to one day fly to the Swiss Alps and go skiing with my family there... So this guest post, by Joy Nelson a professional freelance writer in Seattle who occassionally writes for Hipmunk, about how to be able to get the best deals for a ski trip really spoke to me, and started me dreaming again.

There is something magical about a mountain covered in a thick blanket of snow. The crisp air, the quiet atmosphere, the breathtaking scenery — they all add up to create an unforgettable experience. Mountains even look good naked; spring and summer are great times to visit areas that are famous for their winter sports. Whether you like to sit inside with a cup of hot chocolate and take in the view, shred up the slopes, or enjoy warmer mountain air, a visit to one of the country’s best ski spots is always worth it.

I’m not a big skier myself, but I adore the idea of taking in all that the nation’s towering peaks have to offer. Hence, I put together a list of some of the country’s best ski spots along with ideas on how to enjoy them on the cheap.

Vail, Colorado


Image via Flickr by lauraelizabeth

Friday, February 27, 2015

Honey Mustard Roasted Fennel Recipe- Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan, GAPS Legal Options

 photo IMG_0196_zpsxf4qllfn.jpgYesterday when I was at the farmer's market, I wasn't able to find such a large selection of cheap, reduced rack produce. The one thing I did manage to find a lot of was fennel bulbs- I came home with a huge shopping bag full, at only 25 cents a pound.

Fennel, also called anise, has one of those flavors that you either love or you hate. I am in the love-it category.
I generally eat fennel raw in salads, but it tastes phenomenal cooked- its licorice type flavor is a bit more mild when it is cooked, and its texture is almost creamy.

Honey and mustard are the perfect flavor accompaniment for fennel's licorice like taste. This is my go-to cooked fennel recipe, and it is what I'm serving for supper. Absolutely delicious.

P.S. The fennel bulbs bought in the store are similar but different from wild fennels, which are all fronds, no bulbs.

Honey Mustard Roasted Fennel Recipe- Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan, GAPS Legal Options

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Easy Homemade Pirate Costume

Ike asked me to make him a pirate costume.

Gladly.

I love making costumes.

I could always buy costumes for my kids for dress up and the like, but I have never done that.

Because as much as I love experimenting and creating in the kitchen, I also have so much fun coming up with costume ideas for my kids, putting their ideas into tangible form.

And I knew that a pirate costume would be super easy to do, not to mention super cheap.

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Ike in his costume. Sorry for the terrible editing job...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gluten Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free Sugar Cookies and Hamentaschen Recipe

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The other night I was in the mood of eating something, but wasn't sure what. All I knew is that nothing that I had in the house appealed to me. Not the fruit, not proteins, not carbs... and then it hit me! I want junk! (The funniest thing happened, actually. I went over to Mike and told him "I want junk" and his phone happened to be on a setting where it heard what I said, and loaded a page that said "The effect that junk food has on your brain." Hahaha!)
But anyhow, I wanted junk, yet it's not something I keep in stock in my house regularly.
What to do, what to do.
Maybe I'd make cake or cookies?
But most of my cake and cookie recipes are cocoa based, and I was out of cocoa powder. A problem of epic proportions, I tell you!

And then my friend posted a link to this sugar cookie recipe, and I was so excited, since even though I was running low on ingredients (I'm going shopping just as soon as I finish this post- haven't really been shopping in nearly 2 weeks), I had everything needed for that recipe.
Well, not quite.
I wouldn't be making that recipe as is- I do things gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free, and ideally egg free. I decided I'd attempt to convert that recipe to suit my dietary needs and preferences- and while I was at it, decided to turn them into hamentaschen, traditional Jewish triangle shaped filled cookies.

They were amazing.

I sent them with my husband to work the next day, and he was sure they were store bought, they looked so perfect.

And they were easy too, not finicky like hamentaschen recipes (especially gluten free) I've tried in the past.

But of course, you can just make these as regular sugar cookies, as originally intended, rolling them out and using cookie cutters to shape them.

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After making a half batch the first time, I ended up doubling the recipe and making it again today, this time without eggs either. Again, perfection. This recipe below is the doubled recipe. Feel free to halve it or even quarter it depending on your needs.

I highly, highly, highly recommend this recipe.

Oh- and in case you were wondering- yes- they filled that craving for junk. And they were definitely not junky!

P.S.- Nope, not pregnant. Just was craving junk. It happens.

Gluten Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free Sugar Cookies and Hamentaschen Recipe

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Amazing Deals and Steals That I Got Today

I left my house today with an empty stroller, and came home with one packed to the gills. Since everything that I came home with was frugally obtained, and purchased with thought, I figured I'd share a little about what I got, and why.

The reason I went out today was to go to the thrift store- I have a great thrift store a short walk away, with terrific prices and a decently large selection. I needed some outfits for Rose, and at 28 cents per article of baby clothing, I figured it was the first place I should look.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Making Mallow Mayonnaise- Wild Mayonnaise From Foraged Ingredients

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I love making things from scratch. For many reasons, top among them that they're cheaper and healthier. But I also get a kick out of knowing how to do things that others don't, like I'm part of this club that knows all these secrets that used to be a way of life, but now people forgot.
And as much as I love making things from scratch, I like even more when I'm able to make something completely, completely from scratch, without needing to buy anything (or almost anything) from the grocery store- I like being self reliant, and I just find it very enjoyable and amusing to try these things out.
Making my wild sushi is one such example of things that I do, not just as a money saver, but because I just thought it was a neat thing to do.

The other day, I saw a post on a wild edibles group, by forager Leda Meredith, in which she used the gel from mallow seeds to make a meringue like dessert. I thought that was super cool! I'd seen her use mallow and mucilaginous mushrooms as an egg replacement in a vegan recipe, and the two things together clicked in my mind, and I thought- why not mallow mayonnaise?

Even though mayonnaise is usually made from egg, I've been successful at making a vegan mayo using flax seeds instead of egg- it's my go to mayo around here- so I figured- if mallow is mucilaginous like flax seeds, maybe it would also work for mayonnaise?

And then, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I'd try to make a mayonnaise completely from wild plants, no store bought ingredients whatsoever (other than salt- still haven't foraged salt). I started listing off ingredients in my head that I thought I'd use for my mayo- mallow seed gel as the base instead of flax seeds, olive oil made from my mother's olive trees, black mustard seeds I'd foraged in the summer and were sitting in my cabinet, foraged sumac instead of lemon juice or vinegar, and pink peppercorns for an extra kick. I was so psyched up, sure it would work, even though I was taking a gamble!

Well, I am happy to say that my intuition paid off- it worked and tastes pretty good!
The texture isn't exactly like mayo- it's a drop runnier- but it really does the job and tastes good as well! I've since used it for coleslaw, salad dressing, and in tuna fish.

Totally wild mayo- who woulda thought it possible?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments This Week and Accountability For My Struggles

To be honest, I'm a little exhausted- went to bed a little too late a few too many nights in a row, so its hard for me to keep my eyes open long enough to even write this introduction to my post...
But I didn't want to leave you without this week's post, so... about this week and frugality:


We had a snow storm and lots of rain this past week, so I don't think I line dried anything- only used my dryer. However, on the up side. I didn't end up washing any loads of laundry twice because I left it too long...
Also because of the storm, I didn't use any cloth diapers..

And as for throwing out food... I think this was a pretty good week, not much ending up in the trash...


Here's what we did to save money this past week:

Friday, February 20, 2015

Delicious Carob Muffins Recipe- Vegan, Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free Options- Allergy Friendly

 photo carobmuffins_zpsaa6794d2.jpgWe're in the middle of a snow day here, and while a big part of what I want to do is just huddle under a blanket and watch a movie, another big part of me is in the mood of baking, since eating delicious baked goods right out of the oven, while amazing any time, is even more of a treat on a chilly wintry day.
So I'm going to leave you with this awesome recipe for carob muffins that I made the other day. I made mine gluten free and refined sugar free, but you can make yours with gluten and white sugar to keep down the costs if you don't have nay food restrictions. It is naturally vegan- no need for any egg replacements. It is allergy friendly- top 8 free.
Carob is said to taste similarly to chocolate, but to be honest, it doesn't taste exactly the same, just similar. But it also tastes kind of like spice cake somehow, so ends up being really tasty combined with cinnamon.
This is now my go-to recipe for carob powder, and since I have a lot of carob growing nearby, can't wait to make some more carob powder (soon as the snow melts) so that I can make these muffins again.

This makes 18 muffins.

Delicious Carob Muffins Recipe- Vegan, Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free Options- Allergy Friendly

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