Monday, July 16, 2018

Homemade Harissa Recipe, Tunisian Hot Chili Pepper Condiment

I love spicy food, and when it doesn't come already spicy, I enjoy adding a kick to it with hot sauce or some other spicy condiment. This is evidenced by the fact that I have no less than 8 different recipes for homemade hot sauces and condiments from around the world and suitable to different diets on my blog. (Refined sugar free Thai sweet chili sauce, sweetener free Paleo sweet chili sauce, refined sugar free sriracha sauce, probiotic green Tabasco sauce, nightshade free Paleo hot sauce, zhug- Yemenite hot pepper paste, horseradish and beet khrayn, and white horseradish khren.) That can't possibly be enough variations of spicy condiments for one blog, so let's add another, harissa, Tunisian hot chili pepper condiment, which is used as a staple in North African cooking, and added to many of their dishes.
I rarely use actual cookbooks, but this recipe happens to be a combination of two different harissa recipes in one of the few cookbooks I have, Saffron Shores, by Joyce Goldstein. I tend to make different varieties of hot sauces when I get past prime hot peppers and bell peppers, so I like to roast my bell peppers first to make them last longer. I don't generally roast my hot peppers, but feel free to do that if you want.
This recipe is suitable to nearly every diet, from vegan to Paleo to low carb, other than nightshade free diets.

Homemade Harissa Recipe, Tunisian Hot Chili Pepper Condiment

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Welcoming the Newest Addition to our Family

My youngest child is nearly 4.5 years old. My kids have asked me when we'll have another kid. I've constantly been asked by people when I'm due because my belly protrudes.
Well the thing is... Today we added another member to my family. But this time I didn't have to go through 9 months of hell and labor to have this baby. No, this baby is a fur baby, and to have her join our family the only labor was taking a long bus to and from another part of my country to bring this baby home.

Meet Snickers, our new puppy. Well, puppy is a relative term, as she is approximately 15 months old. She had been living with a family that didn't have the ability to give her enough attention and hence looked for a family that can give it to her.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Homemade Easy Apple Chips Recipe

Unfortunately, within the last week, our spare refrigerator/freezer that we keep on our back porch completely died, and all the stuff in the freezer spoiled. Luckily, the stuff in the fridge survived, but got to the point where they needed to be used up right away. And with half the freezer space I originally had, freezing produce to preserve it was not an option.

One of the things I had in the fridge was a large amount of apples that I got for free, because they were past prime.

I divided up the apples, and the ones in worse condition, I cut out the bad parts and made the rest into applesauce which I then water bath canned. And with the rest, I made apple chips. Super easy. And of course frugal, paleo, vegan, gluten free, and allergy friendly.
Here's how I made them.

Homemade Easy Apple Chips Recipe

Budget Too Tight? The Importance of Creating Wiggle Room

Every frugal person knows how hard it can be when there isn't wiggle room in your budget. Nancy Evans here explains the importance of creating wiggle room, as well as suggestions of how to achieve it. 

Does your household presently live on a tight budget? Do you balance out every month with nothing leftover? It’s great that you’ve developed a system that’s allowed you to financially cover all of your expenses, but having a budget without a buffer could backfire. Unfortunately, life isn’t predictable and you simply never know when you might need additional funds to get something done.
A budget with no wiggle room doesn’t leave you with many choices. You can take the money you had set aside for something else and throw off your budget, sacrifice something you may have needed or wanted, or go into debt by borrowing the money or charging the extra expense.

Why You Need Wiggle Room

As none of the above-mentioned solutions seems to benefit you, it would be best to start creating some wiggle room - a few hundred or thousand dollars set aside. Here’s a closer look at why it pays to build a buffer in your budget.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Replacing My Broken Suitcase Wheel With a New Homemade Wheel

Last year when I decided to start traveling frugally on my own, I purchased a small suitcase that fit the dimensions allowed as carry on for most budget airlines. I tried to spend as little as possible on my suitcase, but even so it wasn't so cheap. Unfortunately, though, I guess it was too cheap to be well made, and after just one trip one of the wheels started giving me trouble. In the middle of my second trip the wheel completely died on me, stopped turning at all, and was completely unusable. Because it stopped turning, it ended up being dragged, which caused it to completely disintegrate, making it look like this..

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Helpful and Money Saving Travel Hacks

In the past I would have said that I'm not a frequent traveler, but now that I think about it, ever since I've been married my husband and I have traveled at least once a year on vacation with our within our country, and then five years ago I traveled to the US once for work, and then within the last year I flew abroad twice very frugally and am preparing for another trip (I'm leaving tonight in the middle of the night to the airport), and I have to say that I'm getting this traveling thing down pat, and have figured out some tips and hacks that make traveling go smoother, as well as saving money. I use these tips when traveling abroad, but many are also useful when traveling even within your country.

Most of these travel hacks and tips are things you need to prepare in advance, which is why they're on my mind now that I'm getting ready to travel in just a few hours. However, if you get these things ready in advance, it can make the difference between making your trip enjoyable and relaxing, or stressed out and financially taxing.

So, in no specific order, here's my helpful and money saving travel hacks:

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


Yesterday evening I walked into my kitchen and slipped on some water on the floor (no idea why it was there) and hit my head really hard (imagine like in the movies, I went splat). I had my husband call a doctor who paid a house call. He diagnosed a concussion, but not bad enough to need to go to the ER, and gave me warning signs of what to look out for if it should worsen, for me to need to go to the ER. Fortunately had none of those. But I did have a nice "healthy" panic attack. Which is hard, because symptoms of panic attacks can also mimic concussion symptoms. But the doctor took that into account and helped me calm down and fortunately it's not so bad.
Today I'm still in pain but less than yesterday. I'm going to be taking it easy, because my son and I are supposed to be going abroad on Friday and I needed to be all rested and mostly healed by then. I've spoken with a few doctors and am taking their advice. No need to worry, I just wanted to update you on what's going on.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Preparing For My Next Frugal Trip Abroad To Craiova, Romania

People might have wondered in the past why I decided to go abroad twice in the last year, and yes, part of it was because I discovered that I could, once I discovered a way to get really cheap airfare, so that I could even afford to travel abroad. But now that I came clean about my mental health struggles, perhaps you'll understand a bit more, that this was something that I literally needed. I needed a break. Parenting and not getting a break for 10 years straight takes a big toll, even when your kids don't have special needs, but at least 2 of mine do. Add to that the fact that I was homeschooling more or less until the start of this past school year (and one even this past school year) meant that I never got a break, and my brain screamed out that I needed a break desperately. What I needed was a good heavy dose of self care, and time without children, time that I could take care of myself and do what I needed to do to get me in a happy head space. And it worked, and it really, truly helped.

But my children really wanted to come abroad with me. Each time I traveled, they were sad about being left behind. They wanted so desperately to come, but I myself knew that if I were taking my kids, it would not be a vacation. It would be a stressful burden (as much as I love them) and it wouldn't qualify as the self care I so desperately needed.
One thing I did agree to, though, was that the summer after each kid turned 10 years old, I'd take them abroad. By the time the kid is 10 they're old enough and responsible enough that we can actually do things together, without too much whining.
And specifically the summer because my husband generally works less in the summer, making it easier for him to take care of the kids while I'm gone.

Unfortunately the summer is also the most expensive time to travel, meaning the trip can't be as frugal as other trips I went on. (No 10 euro each way airfare like my trip to Belgium in December.) But I looked on SkyScanner.com and plugged in July and August and the cheapest trip I found was to Romania. Not Bucharest, but a small city, Craiova. Ok, there was a cheaper trip to Poland, but since I was there last summer I decided to pay slightly more and go someplace I haven't already been. Of course it is more than "slightly more" since I'm now paying airfare for two instead of one, now that I'm taking my nearly 11 year old son, Lee.

For this trip, I paid round trip airfare $192.60, or $96.30 per person, which included a 25 on time arrival guarantee fee, which I decided to pay for my peace of mind. (If the flight gets delayed for more than an hour, we'd get 232 dollars, which is more than we paid for the flight.)

Friday, June 29, 2018

Chicken Waldorf Recipe -- Paleo, Easy, and Delicious

Growing up my dad liked to make what he called Waldorf salad. Only he didn't make his with chicken; his was totally vegetarian. I was recently looking for ideas of easy, healthy meals to make, and a friend recommended chicken Waldorf salad, only hers had the addition of pineapple and grapes, but my dad's version never had that, so I decided to make it his way.
I've made this a few times since then, especially using chicken scraps, especially deboned chicken left over from making chicken broth, and it tastes quite terrific, and my entire family loves it. Its the perfect summer chicken salad, and I highly recommend it. I make mine egg free using my homemade flax seed based vegan mayonnaise, and it is paleo, quick to make, frugal, and in general just a great dish that can easily be served as a side dish or as a meal in one.

Chicken Waldorf Recipe -- Paleo, Easy, and Delicious

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Why It's Worthwhile To Go To A Psychiatrist

I've talked recently a few times about going to therapy, and how it can change you life. I happen to really like my therapist and have found going to her to be very useful. Some people, therefore, might ask whether there is any point to go to a psychiatrist if they already have a therapist. What can a psychiatrist actually do that a therapist doesn't already do?

Here's my thoughts on the matter.

First of all, I want to start off by saying that this certainly differs from location to location, but where I live you can get free therapy covered by your health insurance, with one caveat. You first need to go to a psychiatrist who then refers you to go to therapy, which is then covered. If you don't first go to a psychiatrist, you will generally need to pay privately for therapy. So going to a psychiatrist can help save you money on therapy. That's one.

Share This