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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is Extreme Frugality Embarrassing? Should It Be?

After rescuing a huge bounty of free produce last week from the farmers' market, that would have otherwise ended up in the trash, I decided to head back to the farmers' market yet again yesterday to see what goodies I could glean this time.
While I ended up with a huge haul (this at the right is but a fraction of the free stuff I got), some things happened during my food rescuing that left me a bit unsettled and in a bit of a quandary, wondering about what I should do.

On top of that, quite a few comments on that last post mentioned that they wouldn't do such a thing, as it's "out of their comfort zone" and a friend told me that in her opinion, that's "just beyond frugal".
A few days ago a neighbor invited me to pick apricots from her tree, and I did, climbing her tree and picking all the hard to reach apricots. A different neighbor saw what I was doing and said that he'd be too embarassed to climb a tree to pick fruit.

I think it boils down to something that I didn't completely get until yesterday. Most people are too embarrassed to do extremely frugal things.

I've mentioned that I'm not embarrassed to be extremely frugal, and for the most part that holds true. Until something happens to me like what happened yesterday. And then, while I'm still not embarrassed, it bothers me and makes me rethink whether I want to be doing what I am doing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Free Ways to Make Learning Fun

My kids love the computer. I'm not surprised at all, because, after all, mom spends a decent amount of time on the computer each day... My kids are always asking me to use the computer, and I've let them use sites like Starfall.com so that their going on the computer is learning filled and not just time wasting, but I was always looking for more educational and age appropriate sites for them.
This guest post by Nancy Evans, a freelancer who writes about lots of different topics including parenting and money saving, really piqued my interest and I hope you'll enjoy it as well, because the topic is...
Educational sites for kids!

Have you ever wondered why some kids seem to wholeheartedly embrace educational activities like reading, practicing their math facts, doing scientific experiments and more while other kids want seemingly nothing to do with educational activities? If you child falls into the latter group, you may be wondering what you can do to make learning fun for your child. After all, kids who find learning to be fun may ultimately develop a love of learning. Here are some great ways to make learning fun:

Hearth and Soul Blog Hop


Hearth & Soul Hop
Welcome back to yet another edition of the Hearth and Soul blog hop. This is where you get the chance each week to share your favorite food related posts with the other visitors to the hop, and you get to check out theirs as well. The Hearth and Soul Hop is about food that not only nourishes our body, but also nourishes our souls.

Here's a recap of some of the rules for participating:


Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome.
As much as many of us are interested in frugality and green/natural living, this is a food blog hop; there are many other blog hops where you can share those posts of yours. Please keep your non food related blog posts off the hop.

All the hosts at Hearth and Soul care very deeply about this blog hop, and make an group effort to be sure that every post is commented on. We also Pin and Tweet many of the entries. You don’t find this with every blog hop, and in exchange for our efforts, we respectfully request that you include a link in the actual blog post you are sharing back to one of the hosts, either by worded link or using our badge. It is not enough to link using a communal blog party page. People rarely click on these links and it is unlikely they will find the Hearth and Soul hop using these sort of pages.

Homemade Insect Repellent/ Bug Spray Recipe

Since we got married, Mike and I have always lived without an air conditioning unit. In our first apartment, though, we had a terrific cross breeze; we were at the top of a mountain, and a breeze would blow up the mountain, through our apartment from one side to the other, cooling the whole thing, provided we left our windows open.
Only leaving our windows open meant lots of annoyance- we had no screens and the open windows invited all sorts of bugs into our home, including many flies, moths, and mosquitoes.
During that time, we really wanted to take advantage of the refreshing cross breeze, but didn't want to suffer from itchy bug bites. I came across recipes for homemade mosquito repellent, and while I can't say it keeps 100% of insects away, we would be able to sleep with our screen-less windows open and not wake up all covered in bug bites.

In our current apartment, we fortunately do have screens, but unfortunately, the bugs here seem to be really smart and know how to come into our apartment despite the screens... and so, I mix up a batch of mosquito repellent and get a bit of a relief.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sprouted Lentil Vegetarian Chili Recipe

I think I have this love/hate relationship with chili. I've tasted bad ones, and I've tasted really terrific ones. I used to think that all you had to do to make chili was mix some beans with tomato sauce and chili powder, but I've found chili like that to be sorely lacking something to make it hit the spot. Lots of times I've tried out various recipes, and discovered that what really makes a chili hit the spot is lots and lots of vegetables; the specific vegetables used is less important. Here is a recipe I've made a few times recently. The addition of the allspice adds a richness to the chili, making it a real winner. I especially like that this chili is made with sprouted lentils- in this weather, I'm finding that lentils sprout very, very quickly, and once sprouted, the lentils are much more easily digestible than they usually are, and cook even quicker than they would otherwise. You can use unsprouted lentils for this, you just may need to adjust the cooking time, and possibly add more water.
I like to serve this chili over cornbread or rice, or wrapped in tortillas.
I tend to make this in the pressure cooker so it cooks much quicker. With no pressure cooker, you can do it in a regular pot, jut the cooking times will be a bit longer.
(Best part about this for me is that all the vegetables I used in this are vegetables I got for free at the farmer's market, making this a dirt cheap meal.)

Sprouted Lentil Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Friday, May 25, 2012

Making Homemade Paper from Trash- No Special Equipment

When I grew up, it was my job to take out the recycling on garbage day. I'd sort out the metal and plastic and glass recycleables and bring them to the tree lawn, then I'd put the newspapers and papers and cardboard boxes in a brown paper bag and put that in a separate pile on the tree lawn. Recycling is a little thing we can do to at least minimize the amount of damage we're doing to the environment on a daily basis.
Where I live, though, there is no recycling pick up, and without a car, its very hard for me to make it to the drop off points with all my stuff, yet each time I put something in the trash, I can just visualize the mountains of trash that we just keep on generating day after day.
I like to do my part and rescue as many things from the trash (and therefore landfills) as possible, and if doing that saves money in addition to be less bad for the environment, then that's even cooler.


This homemade paper is made entirely out of recycled old paper products, which means that when my kids want paper after paper after paper to color pictures, I don't need to keep filling up the waste basket with more and more trash; I can reuse their old pictures to make new paper.
The paper ends up being a bit thicker than regular paper, more like card stock than anything else. You can trim it to shape or leave it with rough edges for a "rustic" look.


So, here's how to make paper. And no, it doesn't use any special equipment, only things that most people already have in the house:

Making Homemade Paper

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My "Shopping" Trip at the Farmer's Market

On Sunday, I was in the city and went with my friend Cara to the farmer's market. I got so many things!
(I had planned on writing this post on Sunday, or at the latest Monday, but Lee has chicken pox, so I've been a little distracted...)

Here's what I got in the market:
6 heads of cauliflower and some more cauliflower leaves
3 bunches of celery
1 bunch of swiss chard
A ton of onions (probably 4-5 pounds)
Some strawberries
1 cantaloupe
A few carrots
A few small zucchini
2 cucumbers
1 red pepper
1 banana
1 nectarine
1 loquat
1 bit of fennel

Total cost: $0

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hearth and Soul Blog Hop


Hearth & Soul Hop
Welcome back to yet another edition of the Hearth and Soul blog hop. This is where you get the chance each week to share your favorite food related posts with the other visitors to the hop, and you get to check out theirs as well. The Hearth and Soul Hop is about food that not only nourishes our body, but also nourishes our souls.

Here's a recap of some of the rules for participating:


Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome.
As much as many of us are interested in frugality and green/natural living, this is a food blog hop; there are many other blog hops where you can share those posts of yours. Please keep your non food related blog posts off the hop.

All the hosts at Hearth and Soul care very deeply about this blog hop, and make an group effort to be sure that every post is commented on. We also Pin and Tweet many of the entries. You don’t find this with every blog hop, and in exchange for our efforts, we respectfully request that you include a link in the actual blog post you are sharing back to one of the hosts, either by worded link or using our badge. It is not enough to link using a communal blog party page. People rarely click on these links and it is unlikely they will find the Hearth and Soul hop using these sort of pages.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Home Remedies That Worked For Us

Skeptical about using antibiotics and other prescription medication on your family?  Short on cash or lacking insurance, making a doctor's visit and buying the prescribed medication unmanageable financially? Unable to make it to the pharmacy but need to deal with a medical issue? Here are some tried and true home remedies that have worked for our family, oftentimes working even better than prescription or over the counter medications.
No, I'm not a doctor, nor am I any sort of medical practitioner, either alopathic or naturopathic (is that a word?), nor am I qualified to give any advice. This is just my sharing my personal experience with you; before using any of these, discuss them with your medical practitioner. I am taking no responsibility if these don't work for you or if they cause further issues for you.
(And in case you're wondering why all the disclaimers- it can be illegal to "dispense medical advice on a blog" and can possibly land you with jail time, as with this case. So this isn't medical advice, just some "anecdotes".)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cauliflower Leaf Pakoras Recipe- Indian Style Fritters- Gluten Free and Regular

One of the things that allows me to be as frugal as I am is a total lack of shame in being frugal. Being embarrassed of trying to save money, that people will look at you askance, will stop you from pursuing certain frugal ventures that could have saved you lots of money, had you been willing to ignore what other people may or may not think of your frugality...
Me?
I'm not ashamed of my frugality, not one bit. (If I were, I wouldn't be having this blog...)
In fact, I take pride in the fact that I live within my means. I take pride in the fact that I prevent nutritious foods from entering landfills, and instead use it to make my family delicious food. I take price in the fact that I mange to strike lots of bargains and get many things free. I take pride in my ability to make do and for not being "high maintenance."
And that's why, when I go to the farmers' market, and I see the vendors throwing out food that is totally nutritious and edible, just because most people either don't know what to do with it, or can't be bothered to do something with it, I have no problem walking up to the vendors and saying "Hey, were you about to throw that out?" When they confirm that, I say "Can I have it?" and they are totally cool with that, but wondering why I would want it... And then little old ladies who see that exchange look at me with a smile, because they, too, often know what its like to be frugal and to save every last drop of edible food, often because they grew up during the great depression or because they grew up in times of war. They start telling me "You know, you can cook that by..." and I start jotting down their suggestions in my mental recipe book and file them away for future use.
Last time I was in the market, the vendors were tossing out a ton of cauliflower leaves and stems that they hacked off the cauliflower bulbs. I knew they were edible, so I came home with a massive bag filled with those leaves... and then tried to figure out what to do with them.

Upon googling "Cauliflower leaf recipes" I came across this site, which included a recipe for cauliflower leaf pakoras, which are naturally gluten free and vegan. (Pakoras are Indian style fritters.) I made my recipe based on what they had there, with lots of changes, of course.
You can make these pakoras with any greens you have, whether collard greens, mustard greens, kale, broccoli leaves, swiss chard, or of course, cauliflower leaves. I've also included a variation that is not gluten free, and therefore uses no specialty ingredients, and is also cheaper. The gluten free variation is high in protein (making these a full meal), though, while the other is not.

Cauliflower Leaf Pakoras Recipe

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Upping the Ante- a New Challenge

Every once in a while, I like to up the ante a little bit and take on a little challenge, to push myself to the limits to see just what I'm able to do, if push came to shove. I've heard of people doing a "no spend month" challenge, and while that's a little impossible in my situation, because we can't usually go a whole month without buying food, I decided to do a "$1.50 challenge", see how long I could go with only spending $1.50 on groceries.
 I've done a "no shopping challenge" in the past, and this is similar, but the difference is, when I did the no shopping challenge, it was winter/early spring, when foraging was at its peak here, and now, most of the plants around have shriveled up and dried out/died; I'll have to be extra creative to figure out how to get enough veggies when the foraging pickin's are slim. On top of that, when I did my "no shopping challenge", I started out with a relatively well stocked pantry/fridge, but this time around, I started my $1.50 shopping challenge this past Tuesday, when I hadn't been grocery shopping in 3 weeks already. By Tuesday, my grocery shopping list of things we were out of (or almost out of) was already 27 things long, and that wasn't counting produce...
Speaking of produce, there wasn't much in the house either...
But that only makes this challenge even more of a challenge, even more fun for me. Because it'll push me to really kick it up a gear, to forage more, to make sure to not waste anything, and to be even more creative with my cooking.

You might wonder why I am attempting such a challenge. A few reasons.
1) Because though I know how to forage and all, I have been lazy about it and haven't been doing much foraging at all.
2) Because I've been a little too wasteful in the kitchen, a little too careless with the food I buy, so that some ends up going in the trash, unfortunately, because it spoils before I discover it in the back of my fridge. With fewer veggies in the house in general, I'll be making sure to get the most out of everything and not letting anything spoil and go to waste.
3) Because I'd like to save some money if I can. 

And no, in case you were wondering, its not because we are destitute and can't afford to spend more than $1.50 on groceries. I actually have a wad of cash in my wallet at the moment, that any time I want to, I can go to the grocery and buy what I'd like, I just am choosing not to at the moment.

So, at first I was going to do a no shopping challenge... But then I rounded up every last produce in my house that I could find...

Doesn't look like a whole awful lot, does it?


1 large bowl of cauliflower greens. (I used up half of them on Tuesday before I took this picture.) I got these for free at the market- they were throwing them away and I knew I could put them to use.
4 onions.
3 large beets.
2 carrots.
3 jars of homemade pickles.
6 store bought lemons.
9 organic lemons I foraged myself.
One mason jar full of organic preserved lemons (which I picked and prepared myself.)
One mason jar full of purple sauerkraut (homemade)
3 bags of frozen whole tomatoes (remember those 50 pounds of tomatoes?)
6 potatoes.

That't it.

How long do you think I could make it last?

That was the challenge.
Well, almost. 
I decided I needed more carrots to be able to do this challenge, so I gave myself $1.50 to go to the store and pick up as much as I want with that money... and found carrots on sale, so I supplemented what we had in the house with 2 bags of carrots.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Do You Puke Your Guts Out When Pregnant?

You might remember me mentioning in a few blog posts about my sister, Violet, having a very rough pregnancy, being hospitalized a few times even, due to having incredibly bad Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), extreme nausea of pregnancy. 
I didn't have the easiest pregnancies in terms of nausea, etc... and I was puking occasionally throughout the 9 months of all three of my pregnancies, but in comparison to my sister's pregnancies, I was healthy as a horse. Visiting my sister in the hospital made me realize just how lucky I was to only have bad nausea, and not terrible, debilitating, dangerous nausea like my sister had. Fortunately, at the end of a very long, and very eventful pregnancy, my sister gave birth to a baby girl... in a moving vehicle on the back seat of my father's car on the way to the hospital, and now is on her way towards recovery from her 9 months of starvation. Today is the First Annual Hyperemesis Awareness Day, and my sister asked if she could write a guest post on the subject of Hyperemesis to help spread awareness. 




What is Hyperemesis? 
90% of pregnant women experience morning sickness in some form or another. Regular morning sickness is referred to as NVP- Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy. Hyperemesis on the other hand is severe morning sickness, so severe that often the mother is unable to eat or drink ANYTHING. She has to deal with weight loss, dehydration, malnutrition etc.
Many potentially life threatening complications can arise if left untreated or undertreated. HG affects approximately 1-2% of pregnant women world-wide, in various degrees of severity. Some woman only require IV hydration a couple of times, while other cases are so severe, for example, that in 1855, Charlotte Bronte, the author of Jane Eyre, died of starvation and dehydration, when she was 4 months pregnant.

My story: 

Hearth and Soul Blog Hop


Hearth & Soul Hop
Welcome back to yet another edition of the Hearth and Soul blog hop. This is where you get the chance each week to share your favorite food related posts with the other visitors to the hop, and you get to check out theirs as well. The Hearth and Soul Hop is about food that not only nourishes our body, but also nourishes our souls.

Here's a recap of some of the rules for participating:


Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome.
As much as many of us are interested in frugality and green/natural living, this is a food blog hop; there are many other blog hops where you can share those posts of yours. Please keep your non food related blog posts off the hop.

All the hosts at Hearth and Soul care very deeply about this blog hop, and make an group effort to be sure that every post is commented on. We also Pin and Tweet many of the entries. You don’t find this with every blog hop, and in exchange for our efforts, we respectfully request that you include a link in the actual blog post you are sharing back to one of the hosts, either by worded link or using our badge. It is not enough to link using a communal blog party page. People rarely click on these links and it is unlikely they will find the Hearth and Soul hop using these sort of pages.

How to Use a Smartphone To Save Money

I think most people, no matter how frugal they are, have things that they're willing to spend money on, here and there, the things that are important to them so they have meaningfulness and happiness in their lives and don't feel deprived. For some people, its cleaning help, for some vacations, and for some its going out to dinner. These luxuries are totally acceptable in a frugal lifestyle, so long as you make sure to budget them in, and cut back on other things as necessary to be able to afford them.
My luxury that I need is good, healthy food, homebirthing, and once in a blue moon going out on a dinner date with my husband (once or twice a year). My husband's luxury is technology, those little gizmos and gadgets that are proliferating on the market. Mike bought himself and me an Android smartphone, and the way he did it, at least, was smart-part of a deal that gave us better phone service for less money than we had been paying previously. While I don't necessarily recommend that people go out to get a smartphone, because they can be quite pricey, he and I have discovered a whole bunch of ways that you can save money with a smartphone, either because you can eliminate the need to buy certain other items, or because the phone itself allows you to save money.
How's this?
Via certain applications, aka "apps" on the phone, that you can download via an "app store".

My husband and I chose to forgo a data plan; we don't have any internet on the phones itself, but can pick up wireless internet in Wifi hotspots. There are enough Wifi hotspots around here that we don't really miss having internet on the phone. And if there's something for which we especially need the internet, we wait until we get home.
I've put together a list of different ways in which your phone can save you money, divided into two lists- one is ways your phone can eliminate the need to purchase something else, as there is an app that converts the phone to be used for that purpose. The other way is via apps that help you spend less money when you do need to inevitably spend.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Homemade Wonton Soup Recipe- Gluten Free and Regular

Nearly 2 years ago, I shared with you readers my recipe for homemade wonton soup. Wonton soup is very cheap to make, but still looks very fancy, which is why its my go to dish to make when I want to entertain company, but not spend too much money. Yes, it does take a bit of time to make, but not an insanely long amount, and the results are so good that I find it to be worthwhile to make the effort every now and then. Previously I've shared my recipe for gluten filled wonton soup, which I will share again, but now I've figured out how to make them gluten free, fortunately, which makes me very excited, because it means that once again I can have my favorite soup, and that's why I'm sharing mine with you. I'd looked all over the internet for gluten free wonton wrapper recipes, but all of them seemed to call for prepackaged mixes or expensive ingredients, so I made this one up based on my old recipe, and it comes out superb. When I served both my gluten free and regular wontons to my guests, no one was able to tell which was which, they were indistinguishable and both devoured. And for me, that means success, when my gluten free knock off tastes exactly as good as the real deal.

Homemade Wonton Soup Recipe- Gluten Free and Regular

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Raw Vegan Chocolate Balls- Gluten Free, Sugar Free

A few months ago I went to my first homeschooling get together (and have since been to another terrific one as well, this one hosted by a traditional foodie!) and met some really sweet people, concerned about health. But, although there was food provided in pot luck style, and though the dishes were all made with health, my view of healthy foods and their view of healthy foods in many ways differed tremendously- everything was vegan and full of soy, and on top of that, my gluten sensitivity made me unable to eat anything...
...Everything, that is, but these raw vegan carob flavored balls that this one lady made, which were sugar free and gluten free, which I then noshed on the whole time there.
I asked her what was in her balls, and after hearing "dehydrated, sprouted buckwheat, dates, and carob", I tried to get her contact info, so I could get the full recipe at a later date, but somehow lost that contact information and my chance of getting that recipe in full. I tried googling to find such a recipe, but to no avail, so this is what I came up with myself.
I switched the carob to cocoa powder, since its cheaper, and because I'm not in the camp that believes that cocoa is bad for you- in fact, I've read in many different places about the health benefits in cocoa powder, but if you cut out cocoa, feel free to use carob powder in its place. I'm not a "raw foodie" so don't particularly care if my cocoa is raw or not (not to mention cost), but if you want this recipe to be truly raw, use raw cacao powder in place of the cocoa powder.
I also used sprouted buckwheat in this recipe, but if you're able to handle oats, you can use oats in their place.
This recipe results in yummy chocolate flavored balls free of chemicals, gluten, sugar, and animal products, making these a recipe, like larabars, that are a hit no matter the crowd (unless you're grain free, and even then, buckwheat isn't a grain, but a pseudograin, related to rhubarb and sorrel).
One note- there's a good chance your hands will get really, really dirty when you make these, but it's worth it anyhow!

Raw Vegan Chocolate Balls- Gluten Free, Sugar Free

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Homemade Stevia Extract Recipe

I try to make our home be as healthy as possible, and I try to eat and feed my kids as healthily as possible, but I'll be honest, we do cheat sometimes and eat things less than ideal. The one absolute no no in our home, that we won't compromise on, no ifs, ands, or buts, are artificial sugars like sucralose, splenta, aspartame, and the like. No matter what, we won't ingest those things in any way, shape or form.
Our family cut out white sugar from our diet (for the most part, anyhow), and you might think that I'd use artificial sweeteners as flavorings now, but don't you worry, I'm sticking to my guns as much as ever about that, even when not eating regular sugar.
The sweeteners we use in our house are honey, both raw and cooked, date syrup, dates, frozen bananas, apple juice concentrate, and molasses. These work well in a variety of recipes, only there are two issues with them- they aren't so cheap, and they're still high in sugars/carbs and can mess with your blood sugar.

Stevia is a chemical free sweetener that is carb free. Stevia is a plant who's leaves are sweet despite not actually containing any sugars of any sort, which makes it a decent sugar replacement in recipes.
Or not. Because though the leaves are sweet, you can't stick them as is into your recipes- it won't work.
I have seen that they sell powdered stevia, but I don't trust that it really is chemical free, and in fact, I think I heard that its mixed with maltodextrin, corn sugar, so its not exactly free of carbs

The Move That Almost Was, But Wasn't

The past few weeks have been a little stressful for me. My current lease is up July 1st, and my landlord wanted us to let him know already (by next week) if we were planning on staying in the apartment or moving to another place, and if not, he was going to advertise that the place was for rent and look for new tenants.
Our rent is going up, and for a teeny tiny apartment like ours, was it worth it to stay?
We seriously were considering moving out, and started looking for apartments available in the area. We saw something, almost signed a contract on that place, then decided that we're not moving; we're staying in our apartment, at least for another year, perhaps two.
Friends of mine who knew about our apartment search wanted to know why the sudden change of mind, why we decided in the end not to move. At first I thought to keep that information to myself, because it involves my husband as well, and I only share his personal info with his permission, but I got his blessing to write about our choice, so decided to make this post. Perhaps it'll inspire you, or at the very least, satisfy your curiosity...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hearth and Soul Blog Hop

Hearth & Soul Hop
Welcome back to yet another edition of the Hearth and Soul blog hop. This is where you get the chance each week to share your favorite food related posts with the other visitors to the hop, and you get to check out theirs as well. The Hearth and Soul Hop is about food that not only nourishes our body, but also nourishes our souls.

Here's a recap of some of the rules for participating:


Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome.
As much as many of us are interested in frugality and green/natural living, this is a food blog hop; there are many other blog hops where you can share those posts of yours. Please keep your non food related blog posts off the hop.

All the hosts at Hearth and Soul care very deeply about this blog hop, and make an group effort to be sure that every post is commented on. We also Pin and Tweet many of the entries. You don’t find this with every blog hop, and in exchange for our efforts, we respectfully request that you include a link in the actual blog post you are sharing back to one of the hosts, either by worded link or using our badge. It is not enough to link using a communal blog party page. People rarely click on these links and it is unlikely they will find the Hearth and Soul hop using these sort of pages.

Please include a link back to one/any of the host sites (through worded link or badge). The Hearth and Soul Hosts include:

April of The 21st Century Housewife
Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen
Alea of Premeditated Leftovers
Elsa of Elsa Cooks
Judy of Savoring Today
and me, Penny of Penniless Parenting.

My favorite submissions from last week:
Preserved Lemon Rice- We've decided to try going off corn in my house in addition to gluten, because it seems that my husband's allergies flare up when he has corn, but that means we're down to very few basic starches, and we eat a TON of rice, and we're looking for some variety in our rice. On top of that, I have some lemons I had intended to preserve, so this recipe includes a link to her preserved lemons, which I plan on making today.
Indian Lentil Pancakes- Vegan, gluten free, legumes. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'd know that those are all things I love in a recipe. Don't let this recipe scare you with the indian names- dal just means lentils- just use whatever lentils you have for this recipe...
Making Homemade Colby Cheese- While we're dairy free here, and even when we were eating diary I didn't have a source of rennet... But I just had to share this, because I thought their homemade cheese press was ingenious, especially since they made it with milk jugs as weights...

Linky will stay open from 4:00 am Tuesday to 11:59 pm Thursday (Eastern time).

You can find the Hearth and Soul Hosts sharing links to entries on the Hearth and Soul Hop Facebook Page, Pinterest Boards, and on Twitter at @HearthNSoulHop through out the week.

Please feel free to use and share the Hearth and Soul Hop badge listed below to promote the Blog Hop.

Hearth & Soul Hop
Lets see your best recipes! Join up below!

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Thrift Shop Haul

My baby outgrew her 0-3 month clothing, but I wasn't able to really move her to the next size up in clothing, because I didn't have any, other than a few outfits a friend got me as a baby gift. A friend had passed on a few outfits to me as loaners, but even so, I didn't have nearly enough clothes for my baby to wear... but I wasn't looking forward to buying a whole bunch of new outfits, as babies outgrow their clothing sooo quickly; you don't get much use out of them...
I decided to pay a visit to my local thrift store, hoping that I might find something useful there, but at the same time, not really expecting anything either...

Oh boy was I surprised. I can't believe that I hadn't checked it out before! I came back from the thrift store with much, much more than I had hoped for. And it barely cost me a thing- only 10 dollars for the lot! Locally, even one baby outfit can cost more than that, especially nice ones, and instead, I got 40 items of clothing, most of it in perfect condition, for only ten dollars!

I got clothes for the size Anneliese needs now, for the next size up, and a few really nice pieces of clothing in slightly larger sizes. I also got a few pieces of clothing for the boys.

Here's the loot. 10 dollars for the lot!



Friday, May 4, 2012

Red Lentil Dal Recipe- Bengali Style

I love curry; I love ultra flavorful foods. What I like about using curry spices is that I can turn use these spices on so many different types of foods, from fruits and veggies to rice to legumes to eggs to chicken and fish.
Curry powder, unlike some people think, is actually not a spice, but a spice mixture. (Yes, there are curry leaves, which is another thing entirely, and isn't what people usually are referring to.) This recipe doesn't call for curry powder, but uses a combination of spices generally used in Indian cooking, which makes it be a curry as well. The official name for a dish like this though is dal, meaning legume puree.

I made this dish when trying to recreate a great meal I had at a local cheap Indian restaurant, and while not exactly like the restaurants (I think mine was tastier), its pretty darn good. I served this with my tomato chutney and white rice.

This is a pretty quick meal to prepare, though it does use a few dishes. Its very frugal, high in protein, vegan, and gluten free. All in all, a winner in my book.
I based this recipe off this one, adjusting it to taste, to make it easier, and to make it more frugal.

Red Lentil Dal Recipe

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Free Trike for Ike

 My 2.5 year old son, Ike, is a huge ball of energy. He's the type of kid that would be happiest if we lived in a log cabin in the middle of the woods; he'd be the type to traipse off to go exploring multiple times a day, climbing trees, chasing squirrels, etc... But alas, we live in a small apartment with no yard, so his energy needs to be used up somehow, which is why I try to take him out as much as possible to play outdoors.
I wanted to get a bike for Ike, but he's too little for a regular bike, but is the perfect size for a tricycle. We just didn't want to spend the cash to buy a trike...

Fortunately, with a little bit of "getting our hands dirty" and grabbing opportunities, we managed to get this working trike for Ike. Completely for free.

How?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Making Sneaky Pizza

Just a normal slice of pizza... or is it? Sneaky pizza #1.
Alternative titles:
How to use up leftovers, get your picky kids to eat foods, or lower the cost of your meals, and still have yummy food.


Pizza is one of my kids' favorite foods. Its the favorite food of most kids I know. In fact, make that most adults. I know few people who actually dislike pizza. There's just something about the combination of crust, sauce, and toppings that makes it a winner in so many people's eyes.

I remember that growing up, pizza would cost $1.25 per slice at the restaurant across the street from my school. Now, pizza costs closer to $2.50 or $3.00 per slice in the US, or so I've heard. And for me, one slice of pizza was never enough- it would take closer to 2 or 3 slices to satiate me. And when you add in the rest of your family, even if you buy pizza by the pie, it can be pretty darn expensive.
Even before I went gluten free, buying pizza rarely happened; pizza was something we made at home.

Of course, now that my whole family is gluten free and dairy free, its a no brainer that we don't buy pizza in a pizza shop, regardless of price.

I've put together some tricks to make homemade pizza as cheaply as possible and as healthy as possible without compromising on the taste (too much). I call it sneaky pizza, because what you see is NOT what you get. Its a good way to "trick" your kids into eating foods they might not be willing to eat otherwise, or use up leftovers so they don't spoil.

My older son, Lee, recently decided that he doesn't like lentils or beans. (Not that he actually dislikes the foods made with them, I think he dislikes the concept of eating them, and I think he picked this up from his very picky eater friend. If he doesn't know he's eating beans, he enjoys the dish.) This is a bit problematic for a gluten free dairy free frugal household, because we use a lot of beans and lentils as protein. Fortunately, sneaky pizza is a great way to get beans into him without him being aware.

Here's how you make "sneaky pizza":

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hearth and Soul Blog Hop

Hearth & Soul Hop
Welcome back to yet another edition of the Hearth and Soul blog hop. This is where you get the chance each week to share your favorite food related posts with the other visitors to the hop, and you get to check out theirs as well. The Hearth and Soul Hop is about food that not only nourishes our body, but also nourishes our souls.

Here's a recap of some of the rules for participating:


Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome.
As much as many of us are interested in frugality and green/natural living, this is a food blog hop; there are many other blog hops where you can share those posts of yours. Please keep your non food related blog posts off the hop.

All the hosts at Hearth and Soul care very deeply about this blog hop, and make an group effort to be sure that every post is commented on. We also Pin and Tweet many of the entries. You don’t find this with every blog hop, and in exchange for our efforts, we respectfully request that you include a link in the actual blog post you are sharing back to one of the hosts, either by worded link or using our badge. It is not enough to link using a communal blog party page. People rarely click on these links and it is unlikely they will find the Hearth and Soul hop using these sort of pages.

Please include a link back to one/any of the host sites (through worded link or badge). The Hearth and Soul Hosts include:

April of The 21st Century Housewife
Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen
Alea of Premeditated Leftovers
Elsa of Elsa Cooks
Judy of Savoring Today
and me, Penny of Penniless Parenting.

My favorite submissions from last week:
Dandelion and Violet Lemonade- What I especially love about this recipe is that not only does it use a foraged plant that nearly everyone knows how to identify and is very nutritious, but it is also not made with processed sugar.
Mediterranean Kidney Bean Burgers- Beans, gluten free- best combination in my opinion. I can't wait to try this out, but I'll probably work it out to use something in place of the almond flour to make it cheaper.

Linky will stay open from 4:00 am Tuesday to 11:59 pm Thursday (Eastern time).

You can find the Hearth and Soul Hosts sharing links to entries on the Hearth and Soul Hop Facebook Page, Pinterest Boards, and on Twitter at @HearthNSoulHop through out the week.

Please feel free to use and share the Hearth and Soul Hop badge listed below to promote the Blog Hop.

Hearth & Soul Hop
Lets see your best recipes! Join up below!

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