Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Get Himalayan Pink Salt Cheaper Than Stores- Turning a Salt Hunk into Usable Salt

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In general, in life, I try to have things in as natural a form as possible, non refined, without man made chemicals added to it in the production process. This is why I try to make as much from scratch as possible, and try to stick to the non refined form of something, such as non refined sweeteners.
Salt is one of those other things that are generally consumed in the refined form, so that the salt you eat is stripped of all its nutritional benefits, pretty much, and then has chemicals added to it, like free flowing, anti caking agents, etc...
I have heard about the benefits of Himalayan pink salt, how it includes in it over 84 different minerals and trace elements, but unfortunately, the cost of it is daunting. At Iherb, Himalayan Pink Salt usually costs a couple of dollars for less than half a pound - the cheapest I've seen is $5.93 per pound, plus shipping.
So I bought it just a few times and used it sparingly, though would like to use it more often.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments This Week


Hi y'all! It's that time of the week where I am excited to share about all the different ways my family managed to save money over the course of the past week!
This week I have some super exciting news to share, which saves money and time... and I've been waiting so long to be able to post it! Anneliese, now 2 years and 8 months, is fully potty trained! She's been potty training on and off for the past few months, and for a while now was just wearing diapers at night and to poop, but now she is 100% of the time in diapers, is dry at night and poops on the toilet, so good bye diapers for Anneliese! Now its just little 5 month old Rose in diapers, and she is cloth diapered!
Unfortunately I discovered that the place where I was going shopping to buy cheap meat and chicken, etc... is currently closed until the end of the summer, so I've needed to spend a little more when I need to buy that.... But at least I've managed to find other stuff cheaply, even if not the meat/chicken.
I also am happy to share that, though it is summer, typically a time when people are tempted to spend a lot of money on summer activities for the kids, I've been good about that and have been keeping our summer activities super cheap, if not free.

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

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Homemade Yummy Refried Bean Enchiladas Recipe- Vegan, Gluten Free Options

I decided that I'd be making vegan food tonight for supper, and wanted to change it up from the lentils I've been making a lot lately when I decide to cook vegan. In my freezer, I had frozen cooked kidney beans, which I cooked in large batches and froze in can sized portions.
My kids are not bean fans, and I'll be honest, beans aren't my favorite food either... but my wallet loves them, so I decided to try to make them into a fun and tasty dish, that would be so flavorful and appealing that you'd forget that it's made with beans instead of meat.
Enter enchiladas.
Awesome filled tortillas, baked with a delicious sauce and cheese..
Typically filled with gluten, dairy, and meat. Though I figured out how to make them with egg in place of the gluten. And then discovered that egg makes me sick.

So, this is how I made my gluten free, vegan enchiladas.
They're pretty versatile.
And of course, while I made mine entirely from scratch and gluten free and vegan, you don't have to make yours vegan if you don't want to. And you don't have to make them gluten free if you don't want to.
It's just a general idea more than an exact/precise recipe.

Homemade Yummy Enchiladas Recipe- Vegan, Gluten Free Options

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fluffy Pancakes and Flat Bread Recipe- Gluten Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free, and Xanthan Gum Free Options

 photo IMG_1079_zpsf7e7d5dd.jpgI wanted to share this recipe for pancakes that I've been making for my family lately for breakfast (since I'm trying to wean my family off of cereal and milk). They're vegan, cheap, and I make them gluten free (though you can just as easily make them not gluten free). They're based off of this recipe, and I serve them with jaggery syrup, though you can just as easily serve them with maple syrup. When I want to increase the nutritional value of the meal, I often make a peanut butter jaggery sauce for it instead.
Just a note- this recipe doesn't make so many- I need to double it for a family my size.
You can make these without the cinnamon and vanilla and use them in place of slices of bread for a sandwich, whether closed or open faced.
I usually make my pancakes without any xanthan gum in my flour mix, since its expensive and I don't find it necessary, but if you're making yours gluten free and want a flexible pancake, you might want to use a tad of xanthan gum.

Fluffy Pancakes and Flat Bread Recipe- Gluten Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free, and Xanthan Gum Free

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Collecting Useful Things that are Free or Cheap

This is a guest post written by my friend R. She's an awesome person, and we love bouncing frugal ideas off each other.

Hi, this is a guest post from a friend of Penny's. I live near where Penny does, my husband works at an hourly job for a relatively low salary, I'm currently looking for work, and we live in a relatively expensive area of the city. Oh, and we don't have financial support from family. Naturally, this combination lends itself to a frugal lifestyle, by necessity. Penny has become my frugal guru in addition to being one of my closest friends.

Although my husband and I are relatively newlywed and don't have children yet, we do plan to eventually, and I have enjoyed collecting baby things for free or cheap since I've been married, even knowing we don't need them yet. Neighborhood bulletins and email lists are good for this; just a couple of days ago I went to a previously-­unheard-of neighbor's moving sale. I got a pack- and-­play, a bib, a play mat, a baby carrier, a nursing pillow, and some baby lotion, plus a first-aid kit, for a combined price of just over 20 dollars—and then I messaged Penny, begging her to let me show off my frugal skills by writing a guest post.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Total Expenses on Groceries this Past Month- Breakdown and Analysis

I must admit that I've been feeling very lazy lately. The summer heat does that to me, as does not getting enough sleep... So that's why, although I've had this data for the past few weeks, I haven't actually written up the breakdown and analysis of our grocery bills for the last month we recorded- from June 23-July 22...
But finally, here I am, plugging away the numbers and doing the concentrating that I haven't been in the mood for.
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For the record, I decided to take a break from recording exact grocery expenses... I haven't been tracking our groceries this past month, other than keeping a very rough idea in my head. I will start tracking again, perhaps in September, perhaps in October... Who knows. But for now, sharing the data from the last month.

First off, the grand total- $508.32. I have to say I'm very surprised. I thought it would be much higher than that, especially since I wasn't able to go shopping in my usual super cheap places this month for various reasons, but even so it was low. It definitely can be lower, as you will see in the breakdown, but I'm happy that after two higher months, we're on a downward trend. I hope it continues.

If you take a look on the graph in the upper right hand side of the post, you can see how our grocery expenditure has fluctuated, but now seems to be on a downward trend...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments This Week


I have to say I'm proud of myself this week. This summer heat and lack of sleep (for various reasons) is getting to me, and its hard for me to be inspired to be frugal instead of super lazy, but even so, I pushed myself and all in all, we had a great week that barely cost us a cent. So that was pretty terrific.
Another perk is my husband figured out a way to change the settings on our washing machine so it uses less electricity, and consequently, our last electric bill was lower, just because of the times he did the wash. So now that he taught me the trick, hopefully our next month's electric bill will be even lower.
And despite the heat, we've barely used the AC, and even don't even use the fan most of the time, so that was certainly frugal.

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

Ginger Mango Chilled Soup Recipe- Gluten Free, Vegan Options, GAPS Legal

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The other day when I was in the farmer's market, I saw a big box of mangoes about to be thrown out. Why? Because they were super soft, and the vendors knew they couldn't sell them that way.
But I? I love overripe fruit, especially mango, since it is delectable and sweet when overripe. So I brought the entire box home.
Unfortunately, these overripe mangoes, while delicious, were rather on the fibrous side, so I had to figure out a way to get the most of the mangoes' goodness without getting a mouthful of mango "hair".
I figured a chilled mango soup would probably hit the spot on a hot summer day. I got the very basic idea from this recipe, but then played around with it and made it my own.
Everyone in my family really loved it, including each kid of mine, despite the raw onions and ginger in it. There were no leftovers.
If your mangoes aren't overripe, you may need to add a drop more honey to give it the sweetness it needs.
P.S. Don't expect this to be a sweet soup- while it definitely has sweet notes, it is definitely more of a savory than sweet dish.
This soup is GAPS/Paleo/Primal friendly, and if you use a vegan sweetener, is completely vegan as well. It also is allergy friendly. I'd say this soup is good for every diet, other than for people who don't do well with raw onions.

Ginger Mango Chilled Soup Recipe- Gluten Free, Vegan Options, GAPS Legal

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pressure Cooker Lentil Vegetable Risotto Recipe- Vegan, Frugal, and Easy


I like one pot meals. I like cheap meals. I like easy meals. And I like yummy meals.
This meal fits all those criteria- its got your protein, starches, and veggies in there, is packed with flavor, and is pretty frugal, to boot. It's pressure cooker lentil vegetable risotto, and it's awesome.
Fennel bulbs are cheap where I live when they're in season. I know they're relatively expensive in some places, so if you live in a place where they aren't cheap, feel free to replace the fennel with another veggie, like half celery and half zucchini, or chopped cabbage.
This is made in a pressure cooker, but if you don't have one, feel free to make it in a regular pot, in the traditional risotto fashion, or in a crock pot.
I was inspired by this recipe.

Pressure Cooker Lentil Vegetable Risotto Recipe- Vegan, Frugal, and Easy

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Homemade Hair Donut/Bun Maker From Socks- Tutorial

 photo IMG_1077_zps30f5e889.jpgIf you've been following my blog for a while, you'd know that one of the things I get the biggest kick out of is taking things that were destined for the trash, and repurposing it into something useful. I love doing that with food, and that's when I do it the most, but I also really enjoy crafting and making useful items with "trash".
Take socks, for example. Often they get holes on the bottom, especially mine do, since I alwayls wear socks around the house without shoes, and that wears through them pretty quickly. So when socks are no longer usable (and I mean after I've already darned the small holes), I've actually made some projects with those socks.

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