Wednesday, July 1, 2020

We Got a New Pool -- How Much It Cost and What We Needed

Growing up I didn't really know anyone with a backyard pool. I mean, I knew people with baby pools, wading pools that anyone over the edge of 2 or 3 wouldn't really appreciate, definitely nothing an adult or teenagers could enjoy. I assumed that in order to have a real pool you needed to be extremely wealthy, so never even thought about having one.

Fast forward a bunch of years, and my friend Libby, who, while not extremely frugal, is pretty money conscious, and isn't "rich" by any stretch of the imagination, tells me that she has a pool that her whole family uses. I was shocked, because, as I mentioned, pools in my mind were for rich folk only. But Libby taught me that you could have an above ground pool that fits in your backyard, which you then put away for the winter, and it is pretty affordable.

And so, it was a dream of mine to get one once we had our own backyard. But things happened and it never was a priority and I never got around to getting one. And then corona happened, and with everyone more or less stuck at home (even once things are opened, just for comfort's sake) I decided that this summer I'd be getting one.

And then I went to my scratch and dent store, and what do you know- they were selling a 3 meter diameter, 1 meter deep, round pool, for a very affordable price. So I got it.

We set it up, but I honestly was clueless about what I actually needed, and how many more expenses there would be involved, so I turned to friends with pools and joined various Facebook groups to learn more.

Here's what I ended up needing for the pool, and how much it all cost me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Visiting Florida? Check out these water safety tips all families should follow

As you'll read next post, my family just got a new pool. Water safety is super important, and it is definitely on my mind now. Here's some very important water safety tips to keep you and your family safe this summer.

When the weather is unbearably hot and humid, there’s nothing better than jumping into a cool pool or taking a swim in the ocean. And when you’re visiting Florida, it’s simply a way of life! Florida is a wonderful place to take your family on vacation, but it’s important to remember that just because you’re on holiday, you and your family aren’t immune from disaster, injuries and accidents.

In fact, a large proportion of accidents that take place in Florida are water-related. With drowning being the number one cause of accidental death. This is particularly worrying if you have young children, or if you're travelling with teens who might not take water safety seriously.

No one wants their holiday marred by a terrible water accident, whether they’ve slipped by the pool, fallen from a broken ladder or diving board, or drowned – reach out to an Ocala personal injury lawyer if you want more information about PI cases. So, read on for some simple water safety tips all families should follow.

How We Dealt With Our "Bathroom Issue"

One of the most important things, in my opinion, as a parent of two autistic kids, and honestly kids in general, is to get on my kids' team and figure out why they are doing what they're doing, what their needs are, and try to work with them. I find there are some parents of autistic kids that view their kids as having problems that they need to try to fix, but I would never take that approach. Instead, I try to understand the reasoning behind their behaviors that I find difficult, and either find a way to accept these as unique quirks of my kids that don't need to be changed, or find an alternative for them that meets their needs while taking into account the needs of other family members. To do this, I ask for advice from other autistic adults, as well as family therapists and my kids' school therapists.

So a little more than a year ago I wrote about bed time issues in my family, and the advice I followed from my kids' therapist which ended up really helping. The kids went to sleep more easily, but still, Rose was coming into my bed in the middle of the night and it was making it really hard for me to sleep and made me wake up all touched out. I figured out a solution that helped her be able to get what she was looking from me in the middle of the night- touch- via massaging her as I put her to bed. But there was still another factor. My bathroom.

In our small home, we have two bathrooms. One that is off the main hallway, and one en suite in my bedroom.

Rose refused to use the regular bathroom. She only ever would use my bathroom. She wanted me right outside the bathroom as she used it, and if I was in the bathroom, she would have an accident instead of using the other bathroom.

And since she was coming to my bathroom in the middle of the night, she ended up in my bed despite what I was doing at bed time.

Things to Consider Before Starting a Family

Are you thinking of starting a family? It's a big decision, life altering and important. For that reason, it is good to be prepared. Here's some suggestions from a reader about things to consider before starting your family.

Whether you are newly married and feeling broody or you have been in a stable relationship for years and feel now is the time to try for a baby, there are a number of important considerations you ought to make.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Foraged Mallow Chutney Recipe -- Making Chutney From Wild or Store Bought Greens -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo

I know, I know, I know, this isn't the most flattering picture, but sometimes weird looking things can taste terrific, and this is one of them.

So, my garden. I had really big dreams for it when we purchased this house, thinking of what I'd do with it. I mean, from the way my dreams were, you'd think it was a whole bunch of acres with so many options. But really all I had to work with was a small front yard and a small back yard. And while my dreams included having wild plants in the back yard (as long as they weren't thorny), and the front for growing vegetables, it didn't really end up working out that way. The front yard did have my vegetable and herb garden but the back yard got overgrown and it stopped my family from wanting to go outside to spend time in it. My kids begged me to put down Astroturf so when I saw it being sold cheaply at a discount grocery store, I bought some. My kids cleaned the yard out of the dried weeds... and then we never laid down the Astroturf.

Then there's this winter where my yard blossoms and I think about how nice it is to have a yard filled with live green stuff, all edible. And then it grows and grows and overtakes the entire yard, again making it not pleasant to go into the yard, and this time I decide that I'm finally going to put down that Astroturf so my yard could be a pleasant place to go. But I looked at the yard and how green it was and I couldn't stomach the thought of just tossing all those edible goodies into the trash (no, we don't have a compost, it's dangerous for dogs...) so I decided that before I cleared the yard, I would pick as many greens as I could and make something delicious out of it.

The yard was nearly all filled with mallow, gigantic leaves, as we usually have here, so I picked a large amount. I was trying to decide what to do with all of it, and then I was in the mood for Indian food, and figured almost everything tastes good as chutney, an Indian sauce, that goes terrifically with curry. Chutneys tend to either be sweet and sour or spicy, and after googling whether the concept of chutney made out of greens even existed, I put together this recipe, basing it off a bunch of different chutneys I saw made with spinach or other greens. Its a little bit spicy, a tad sweet, and though it looks like swamp paste, it really makes your lentil dal and rice really pop. (I also made beet chutney, recipe to be shared in a bit, as well, if you were wondering what else that was.)

If you don't have mallow, you can make this with whatever greens you do have, though I'd recommend a green that isn't overly bitter. If you aren't a forager, feel free to do this with spinach, kale, or swiss chard, and if you are a forager, things like sea beet, chickweed, sow thistle, milk thistle, and amaranth greens would all be lovely in this.

Just a reminder, chutneys aren't eaten plain. That's like eating ketchup plain. Eat it as a topping on our dishes, spread onto flatbread, or as a dip. 

Oh, and this recipe is gluten free, vegan, paleo, allergy friendly, and pretty much good for any diet.

Foraged Mallow Chutney Recipe -- Making Chutney From Wild or Store Bought Greens -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo

Is Your Dog Itchy All The Time? Don't Waste Time And Check For Allergies Immediately!

I have a deliciously lovable dog named Snickers. And while I've been lucky that she's overall healthy, she does have one minor issue, something called cherry eye, that cosmetic that at this point needs surgery to deal with it (but isn't urgent), and I'm planning on getting that done as soon as I can. But there are some other issues dogs have, and many times, they end up being related to allergies. Read more here to see if that is an issue with your dog.

Allergies are a huge issue in the human world, especially nowadays. From gluten to lactose to peanuts and more, people are now more than ever aware of the many allergies that people have to deal with on a day to day basis. The same, surprisingly, applies to our dogs.

Allergies vs Intolerance

Food intolerance can be a reaction to bad food. For example, if your dog eats spoiled food and experiences vomiting, then that is an intolerance to bad food. If your dog has milk and cannot digest it and has diarrhea as a result, then it is classified as food intolerance.

On the other hand, if your dog’s immune system responds adversely to a common food like rice in a bad way, that is a food allergy. There is always an immunological response in cases of food allergies, and that is usually determined via medical tests.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Talking With People (Yes, Even Kids!) About Consent

Especially as someone who has been through abuse, consent is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. As a parent of children, it is very important to me to teach my children about consent, both regarding being on the receiving end and on the giving end. My friend Zoe wrote this post explaining more about consent and about how to teach it to kids especially. I hope you find it as invaluable as I did.

I hate the tea analogy. You know the one-where someone says, “yes, I’d like some tea” and then the narrator explains that, “I don’t want it shoved down my throat every time I see you” should go without saying? Well, maybe that’s not exactly how it goes. But the gist of it is essentially that drinking tea once doesn’t mean someone likes all types of tea, that he/she has to drink it once someone puts it in a cup for him/her, that he/she should be forced to drink tea unconscious, etc.

I hate it. I mean, I’m happy that it clarifies so much, but I also think it’s only part of the conversation we need to have about consent.

7 Ways to Indulge Lavishly on a Budget

After having lived an extremely frugal lifestyle without taking care of myself at all, I broke. At that point I realized that you can't be so frugal that you never take care of yourself, never have any luxuries, because "all work and no play..." and all that... So I started taking time for self care, for little and bigger luxuries, that fit into my budget. Here's some suggestions from a reader on frugal ways to indulge yourself.

Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming about the luxurious life you could lead if only you had a little extra cash? Everyone gets carried away by this fantasy at one point or another. We crave beach getaways, fine dining experiences, and some much needed pampering.

The truth is, you can have a taste of luxury if you plan for it.

In this guide, we're going to help you create luxurious experiences on a budget that will leave you feeling refreshed and energized. And you don't need to save up all year to do so! Here are seven ways you can indulge right now for cheap.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Parmesan Salmon with Green Beans Recipe, Gluten Free, Grain Free, and Easy

I went shopping today and as I put my groceries in the freezer, I took out a small package of salmon that was "getting in the way" of nicely organizing my freezer, and decided to make it for supper. Then I was cleaning my refrigerator out and noticed I had two open packages of Parmesan cheese. And that, my friends, is how this recipe came about. I did some googling to see what generally goes well with Parmesan and salmon, and most of the recipes contained bread crumbs. I considered making some gluten free crumbs (out of cereal or crackers, not sure) but then decided to use some almond meal that I had instead. 

Oh, and to make it a whole meal I decided to put green beans in instead. Frozen ones, though.
I ended up with a delicious meal that, once the salmon was defrosted, took less than 15 minutes start to finish. I made it while I was playing a virtual game of Dungeons and Dragons, it was that easy.

This isn't one of my more frugal recipes, there are quite a few more expensive ingredients in here, but that's fine, not every meal has to be frugal. Sometimes you just want a dish that kicks butt and this is it, with the perk that its really easy, low carb, naturally gluten free, and delectable.

Try this one.

Parmesan Salmon with Green Beans Recipe, Gluten Free, Grain Free, and Easy

2 serving size salmon fillets
3 cups frozen green beans
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 pinches salt

1. Defrost your green beans. I usually pour boiling water over them and strain.

2. Put your green beans on the bottom of a baking pan.

3. Make sure your salmon skin has no scales if the skin is still on it.

4. Place your salmon fillets on top of the green beans.

5. Mix your Parmesan with almond meal, dill, garlic powder, and salt.

6. Spread your salmon fillets with dijon mustard.

7. Pour the Parmesan mixture onto your fish, trying to get as much of it as possible onto the fish. When there is no more room, pour the rest on the green beans that stick out from beneath the fish.

8. Bake for 10-15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 350, ideally on the higher shelves of the oven. Remove when you can flake the salmon or when it is cooked to your liking.


What is your favorite way to make salmon? Ever had salmon with Parmesan cheese before? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?

5 Affordable Gift Ideas for Daughters

Gifting. Sometimes its easy, but sometimes its really hard to think of that perfect gift for your special someone. Here's some ideas for gifting your daughters, sent in by a reader.

It's hard to shop for kids, especially when you're on a tight budget. Kids and teens can be picky, especially daughters. If they have expensive tastes, it can be even more difficult to find them something they will love for a fair price.

However, shopping affordably is not impossible. with the right inspiration and ideas, you can find the perfect present that won't break the bank.

Next time you're shopping for something to give to your daughter or niece, here are five ideas to help you find something perfect.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Gungjung Tteokbokki with Tofu Recipe, Korean Royal Court Rice Cake Stir Fry, Gluten Free, Vegan

I've posted before about how I make tteokbokki, stir fried Korean rice cakes, usually in a spicy sauce. While spicy tteokbokki is the most common as a street food in Korea currently, this recipe, gungjung tteokbokki, is the type of tteokbokki that was made in the Korean royal courts, and it is quite different from the other kind but no less delicious. Korean royal court tteokbokki is traditionally made with beef but making it with tofu is terrific and makes this vegan friendly, in addition to being gluten free and allergy friendly.

For this recipe I used the vegetables listed, but you can play around with this and use whichever stir fry vegetables you like.

Gungjung Tteokbokki with Tofu Recipe, Korean Royal Court Rice Cake Stir Fry, Gluten Free, Vegan

Time to step up: How to help a loved one after they become disabled

Some people are born disabled, but for other people it happens later in life. If someone you love recently became disabled, here's some tips from a reader on how to be the best ally for them possible.

When someone we know and love suffers a huge physical or mental change, they turn to friends and family for emotional and even physical support. Having someone like you on their side through the biggest challenge they’ll ever face can make a huge difference in their ability to adapt to their new circumstances, their ability to recover quicker and even improve the quality of their new life.

When someone suffers as a result of a disease or even an accident that renders them unable to move, leaves them in chronic pain or robs them of their independence, it’s not easy for their loved ones to accept. Check out this Blair County personal injury lawyer for more information. There follows an adjustment period for friends and family who also need to come to terms with what has happened whilst they put the needs of their disabled loved ones first.

You may be wondering how you can help and support your loved one in their new circumstance. Here we'll take a look at some simple ways you can step up.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

I Wish I Could Be a Hunter

My hunter friend, Julie.

I have a lot of admiration for vegans.

Ok, you're probably reading that first sentence and then looking back at the title, then back at the first sentence, and becoming very confused. A post about wanting to hunt but starting with admiration for vegans?

But hopefully, as you read more, you'll understand.

I have a lot of admiration for vegans. I think its important that people be ethical with the food they eat, and think about not only nurturing their body, but making sure that they are considering the ethics behind that nourishment. And I think its great that the vegan movement has brought more awareness of the ethics of meat eating specifically to the forefront of our society.

I personally could never be a vegan, nor do I have a desire to be. My body doesn't tolerate a vegan diet. I have a very sensitive stomach, and vegan proteins in general don't agree with it. Add to that that my kids are picky eaters, and have now refused to eat lentils and beans are more or less a no go. Our meals at home nearly always are animal protein based. Because that's what works for us. And, to be honest, I don't think most bodies are able to get enough nutrients from a vegan diet, especially because vegan protein sources are some of the hardest to digest and with the least bioavailability, making vegan diets lacking in vitamin B12 and other things.

So though I don't want to be vegan, I admire the pursuit of food ethics that vegans have, and I have learned a lot about many of the problems in our food sources.

Benefits Of Getting Same Day Loans Online

Hopefully you aren't strapped on cash and can manage without a loan. But sometimes emergencies happen, and if you get stuck, here's one type of loan to consider, sent in by a reader.

Any person can experience a lack of funds, especially during emergencies. When your salary is still far off, you can borrow money from people you know or apply for the same day loan.

You can find many offline and online companies that offer same day loans. It’s up to you to select the one that fits your budget. What you should understand, though, is that a same day loan is preferably the last resort when one has no other to turn to.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Who's to Blame for Abuse, and Why People Get it Wrong

This is quite a personal and emotional post, much more personal that I usually do, and I wanted to share it because its a topic that matters a lot to me, but I just wanted to warn people that if abuse is a sensitive subject for you, you might want to skip this one.

I've unfortunately been the victim of abuse from so many people in so many circumstances throughout my life. The who's, what's, and how's of the situations are not relevant or important, but suffice it to say, unfortunately, this is something I have plenty of experience with. In addition to all that, I run support groups for various issues online and the vast percentage of the people in those groups have also been victims of abuse. So no, I don't have any PhD on the topic (though if the school of life gave out degrees I'd certainly have some), but something stuck out for me and I wanted to share.

People, even otherwise nice people, even people who you'd never expect to do so, generally blame the victims of abuse. Of course, it isn't done with those words, and if you asked them, of course they'd say "I'm not blaming you" but even so, they are.

Questions like "What did you do before that happened?" "What did you do that caused the situation to happen?" or statements like "It takes two to fight," or "You could have prevented the situation by just doing x" or "Why didn't you just?..." are so insidious and dangerous.

Because these questions often come from people who are otherwise supportive, who would agree abuse is wrong. And then if even they say things like that, it implies or straight out "proves" that the abuse could have been prevented by you, and therefore, it's at least partially your fault.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Korean Mung Bean Salad Recipe -Sukju Namul

I finally figured out how to make homemade mung bean sprouts that are just as good as store bought stuff, not bitter at all, and with the right sweetness and crunch. But that also means that I have a lot of bean sprouts at a time, so I'm looking for things to do with them.

This bean sprout salad is a traditional Korean recipe and can be eaten hot or cold. Its allergy friendly, gluten free, vegan, and depending on your definition of Paleo, this is paleo friendly as well.

Korean Mung Bean Salad Recipe -Sukju Namul

5 Budget-Friendly Habits Every Cat Owner Should Introduce to Their Household

I am definitely a dog person, not a cat person. We had a cat when I was a cat, but I'm not a fan. I love my dog though. However, for those of you who are cat people and have a cat in their household, here's some good habits to make a part of your routine, sent in by a reader.

As responsible and worrying owners, we want our pets to have the best possible life. We often feel bad about living on a budget and depriving them of fine foods and fun trinkets. While our beloved friends don’t know they’re being deprived of anything, it doesn’t help us feeling like we do just that. And we can’t but feel like it’s too much expenditure on the other hand. However, there are tricks to go about this, harder to incorporate in weekly routines, but wiser and more cost-effective in the long run.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Thai Coconut Salmon or Tilapia Recipe; Easy, Delicious, Gluten Free, Paleo

Every time I have salmon, I tend to make it the same way. With lemon and dill. And while that is delicious, and really lets the delicious flavor of the salmon shine through, this time I wanted something different. Coconut milk was what immediately came to mind, so off I was to google if there was even such a concept of coconut milk salmon (I mean, hello, why wouldn't there be? But still...) and quite a few results came up that were using traditional Thai ingredients. So I knew that would be the direction that I'd take this, and from there, I just winged it.

And the results were so phenomenal. It might have been the best salmon I ever had. The sauce is delectable and I loved dipping my gluten free bread into it after, and it was also amazing on pasta or rice.

So I decided to try it with other fish. And it is just as delectable with white fish, such as tilapia. Basically, it rocks.

Just note, when you make it perfectly, the fish should look a little more moist than in the pictures. I kinda overcooked it when I went to take the picture. It still tasted great, but not as delectable as when it wasn't cooked as much.

This recipe is gluten free, paleo if using coconut aminos, and simply an easy recipe to make. Totally make it if you're a fish fan.

Thai Coconut Salmon or Tilapia Recipe; Easy, Delicious, Gluten Free, Paleo

How to Optimize Your Bedroom for Better Sleep

Sleep. I love sleep. Once I'm sleeping I'm in an amazing dreamland world and don't want to wake up. But falling asleep at night? That's hard for me. Here's some tips from a reader on how to make your bedroom a more conducive place for sleep so that you are able to be better rested.

We are all aware of how important sleep is for our mental and physical health. Waking up feeling well-rested and ready for the day ahead can boost productivity levels and help you flourish in your personal and professional endeavors.

If you’re struggling to get enough shuteye, the environment you sleep in could be to blame. Your bedroom should be the one area of the home where you feel the most relaxed, so if stress levels are high and you’re finding it difficult to drift off, here are a few things you can do to optimize your bedroom for better sleep.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Homemade Japchae Recipe, Korean Glass Noodle Stir Fry, Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo Option

I love when there are foods from around the world that are naturally gluten free, that I don't need to make any substitutions to make them suitable for me. Japchae, Korean glass noodle stir fry, is one of them and has become one of the favorites in my family. Literally meaning mixed vegetables, it is sweet and savory and typically made with starch based noodles, like sweet potato noodles, but you can also make it with other starch based noodles, like bean thread noodles, or rice vermicelli. Starch noodles are more or less see through and are more chewy and stretchy and hardy than the rice vermicelli though.

While I wrote this recipe using these specific vegetables, feel free to play around and use whichever vegetables you like.

Traditionally in japchae, each ingredient is stir fried separately, then mixed together and seasoned, but I stir fry it all together, to make it easier and less time consuming.

You can eat japchae cold, warm, or hot. It is delicious all those ways. And while I made this just with vegetables, you can add whatever protein you like- animal proteins, tofu, tempeh, whatever, just cook them first.

This recipe is naturally vegan, allergy friendly, and is gluten free if you use gluten free soy sauce. You can make this paleo by using sweet potato noodles, coconut aminos, and paleo approved sweeteners. But no matter what your diet, it's delicious.

Homemade Japchae Recipe, Korean Glass Noodle Stir Fry, Gluten Free, Vegan

How Planning And Charities Can Help Parents Raising Disabled Children

I'm lucky that I live in a place where getting disability payments from the government for kids with disabilities is not so difficult (well, depending what the disability is). But for those that don't, the extra costs entailed by living in a society not designed for disabled people including kids can be quite costly. This post from a reader gives some tips on how to work with the situation to make life easier for the family.

Across America, there are over 2.8 million children living with a disability: roughly 6% of all children. Raising a child with special needs presents a multitude of challenges, both emotional and financial. Medication and accessibility modifications can quickly drain a bank account, while the difficulties of child rearing can be made all the more stressful. However, with the support of organizations and a few simple measures, it is possible to provide a healthy environment in which your special needs child can thrive.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Super Easy Ricotta Cheese Cheesecake Recipe- Gluten Free, Egg Free, Allergy Friendly

A while back I got a bunch of free ricotta cheese, something that I otherwise never buy. I put it in my freezer and took it out bit by bit to try to use it up. One thing that has become a staple in my house because of it has been this egg free gluten free cheesecake. It is so simple and easy and tastes amazing. No, it doesn't have a crust, at least when I make it, but feel free to make a crust if you want, and then pour this in. The ingredient list is so simple and short but the taste is amazing.

To be honest, I feel like I still need to play around with this to see if I can get other variations to work- like I can't imagine why it wouldn't work with yogurt or sour cream, with a bit of adjustment, I just haven't done that yet.

Unfortunately, my stomach doesn't like the ricotta cheese and rebels after I eat it (I'm able to have certain other dairy without issue but not this) but I eat it anyhow because it's so darn good.

While I generally make this plain vanilla since my kids prefer it that way, I often make it marbled with chocolate inside, because it's absolutely divine that way.

Super Easy Ricotta Cheese Cheesecake Recipe- Gluten Free, Egg Free, Allergy Friendly

10 Restaurant-Grade Recipes to Try Out at Home

I love going out to eat, in theory. But so many times it falls short, because the food I buy is very overpriced for something that doesn't even taste as good as food I can make at home myself for a fraction of the price. For that reason, I have started to make myself homemade versions of restaurant food. If you'd like to do that too, here's some ideas for such foods, shared by a reader.

Are you and your significant other craving for some of your favorite restaurant dishes but are both unwilling to pay the exorbitant prices that come attached to them? Well, why pay for such overpriced dishes when you can recreate them in the comfort of your own home? You can also adjust the ingredients that you add to your dishes to make them healthier. So channel your inner Gordon Ramsay and treat the process as quality time spent with your partner or your family. Without further ado, here are some of the top fancy foods which you can try that are extremely easy to follow in your own kitchen.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

An Awesome Frugal Haul From The Scratch And Dent Store!

I haven't left my house much these days because of Coronavirus, and because of my reluctance to take public transportation now, I haven't left my town much at all. The few times I did get to the city, I decided to check out the scratch and dent stores, but unfortunately I didn't find much there of use to my family.

Today, though one of the stores didn't have much by way of groceries my family would enjoy, the other scratch and dent store had some things that really excited me.

Here's the thing.

It's so useful to have a good relationship with store owners, especially frugal shops like scratch and dent stores. Not only do you sometimes get special sales, they also often point out to you dirt cheap items that are up your alley that you might have otherwise missed.

Take this shop today.

5 Things to Consider When Your Child Wants a Smartphone

Do your kids have smartphones? Though I didn't get my first cell phone until I was 17 and living away from home, the world is a very different place today, and locally, anyhow, kids as young as middle school need smart phones to be able to keep up with their classmates and even homework assignments. My two older kids, 12 and 10, each have their own smart phone, and I'm very glad for that decision, but for those who haven't gotten their kids ones, but are considering it, this post from a reader has some good points to consider.

You might have been dreading the day that your child asks you for their own smartphone, but you knew that it would eventually come. These days, kids seem to be getting phones younger and younger, and there’s no set age for parents to give their kids a smartphone, making it difficult for parents to decide when it’s a good time. If your child has begun asking you for their own smartphone, here are some factors to consider before you go out and get one.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Easy and Delicious Cream of Artichoke Soup Recipe- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly

Inspiration in the kitchen comes in all sorts of ways. Sometimes its by hearing what a friend made, seeing pictures of a food on facebook, or even going down the rabbit hole searching for food from specific cuisines. But sometimes its more interesting, like buying a 2 liter bottle of heavy cream, and trying to figure out how to use that up, remembering that I had a bunch of packages of frozen artichoke bottoms in my freezer, wondering if they could go together, googling it to see that such a thing exists, and then you end up with this most amazingly delicious soup with such little work.

So now that you know how this recipe came about, if you like artichoke, but even if you don't, try it out. It was nearly super easy to make- the one part that wasn't super easy to make is something you can skip if you want, it just makes it even better. My daughter who said she hates artichoke said this was delicious.

The ingredient list is relatively simple, so you'd expect the flavors to be simple and mild as well, but the flavor is incredibly rich and complex, I guess thanks to the artichoke which transforms what otherwise would be a relatively simple soup to something heavenly.

I have not tried to make this dairy free, but I plan on experimenting to see how it goes. If you want to try to make it dairy free, I'd recommend replacing the cream with coconut cream, or almond milk, or cashew milk, and use oil in place of the butter.

This recipe is gluten free and other than the dairy, is allergy friendly as well. Its also pretty frugal if you buy your artichokes at a decent price.

Easy and Delicious Cream of Artichoke Soup Recipe- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly

How to Help an Elderly Person Plan Their Finances

If you love someone elderly, you may have tried to help them with their finances, or have considered it. If that is something you'd like to know more about, this post by Nancy Evans is useful and informative.

Whether you are busy learning how to avoid probate, or you are mowing the lawn after your parents retire, it seems like there is always something they need your help with. Planning the finances of a loved one who is elderly is an important and delicate process. They have bestowed you with a huge amount of trust and believe that you will help them. If you really want to help, it is important for you to take some time and learn the basics of elderly finance. It is very similar to normal personal finance, but there are a few things you need to keep an eye out for when you are working with an elderly person. One of the top concerns on most elderly people’s list is making sure that they do not have their estate sent to probate after their death. You can take concrete steps with them to make sure that this never happens.

Monday, May 25, 2020

How to Make Homemade Non Bitter Mung Bean Sprouts Tutorial

I have a love affair with east Asian cuisine, and bean sprouts play a big role in such food. I've known how to make sprouts since I was a kid, but though I love sprouts, I hadn't made bean sprouts in years, and instead bought them from the grocery store instead. 

You see, grocery bought bean sprouts, made from mung beans, are crisp, long and straight and thick with a nice bite to it, and lightly sweet with a very subtle bean flavor. My homemade bean sprouts were curly weird looking, without any of the thick parts, and bitter. There was no point in making bean sprouts at home if they left me with an inferior product. I mean, I like homemade stuff because they are better, and I won't make the effort to do something from scratch if what I made isn't even good.

But lately I've been ramping up my production of Asian food, and buying box after box of mung bean sprouts from the grocery store was annoying, especially since they don't have the longest shelf life. So I wanted to see if there was a way to make homemade mung bean sprouts that taste just like store bought stuff. Or at least very similar.

I took to the internet, read lots of articles, watched lots of videos, in search of how to make the perfect mung bean sprouts.

And finally, I hit the jackpot. Now that I did it, I wanted to share this knowledge with you, so that you could also make this yummy vegetable for pennies.

How to Make Homemade Non Bitter Mung Bean Sprouts Tutorial

Pet owners! Are you familiar with the dangers of driving with your pet on your lap?

I have a lovely dog, Snickers. I love her. I want her to be safe and for our family to be safe, so I never would drive with her on my lap. Unfortunately, there still are many people that do drive with them on their laps; this post submitted by a reader elaborates the dangers in doing exactly that. 

If you have a dog, you'll know that they're not just a pet. They’re part of the family. They're like a child. We pamper them, feed them, cater to their every whim and love them unconditionally. And as owners, we get lots of love and companionship in return.

So, whenever we leave the house, the idea of leaving them behind simply won't be considered. And what dog doesn't love a drive in the car? Having your dog in the backseat of the vehicle is always the safest option, however, a staggering number of pet owners choose to drive with their dogs in the front seat and even on their lap.

But there's no harm in that, right? Wrong! Not only in some states is it illegal, but you're putting your dog's life and your own at risk – check out this website if you've been involved in an accident. Read on to discover the dangers of driving with your pet on your lap.

Tteokbokki, Korean Sweet and Spicy Rice Cake "Stir Fry" Recipe, Gluten Free, Vegan Option, Refined Sugar Free Option, Allergy Friendly

My last post here was about how I make homemade Korean rice cakes, called tteok, which have the texture of big chewy noodles. There are many different ways to use this tteok, but I have to say that this way, made into tteokbokki (pronounced dokbokki), by far, is my favorite way. Though it is called a stir fry, I wrote that in quotation marks because there is really no stir frying here at all. You end up with yummy chewy rice cakes, either in cylinders or medalions, in a delicious sweet and spicy sauce. 

There are many types of tteokbokki, but the sweet and spicy version is the most popular, and is commonly eaten as street food in Korea. Though the recipe I based mine off of uses gochujang, Korean chili paste, I don't have that, and honestly, my family  doesn't like things super spicy, so it works just fine with sriracha instead, though it doesn't have the characteristic red color you'll usually see in the spicy tteokbokki. 

I usually make mine vegan, though with fish cakes (here's how I make mine from scratch) is traditional. Tteokbokki often is made with soup stock, and I've made it with a variety of different types of stock, but lately I've just been making my stock by simmering up some dried shitake mushrooms in salted water, and then slicing up and adding the mushrooms to the final dish. This recipe is allergy friendly, and when made without fish and with coconut aminos is free from the top 8 allergens.

My tteokbokki recipe has been a hit with everyone who's tasted it (quite a few people by now), so I'm sure you'll love it as much as we all do.

TteokBokki, Korean Sweet and Spicy Rice Cake "Stir Fry" Recipe, Gluten Free, Vegan Option, Refined Sugar Free Option, Allergy Friendly

Tips To Help Your Child Save Money In College

Kids grow up so fast! My kids aren't yet college age, but they'll be there soon, so I appreciate this post from a reader on how to help kids save money in college.

Almost two-thirds of college students run out of money mid-semester, Financial Advisor reports. Generally high costs, unanticipated expenses, and lack of adequate financial aid are just some of the reasons for financial difficulty. While starting college is an exciting time for both students and parents, it’s also undoubtedly expensive. Fortunately, there are several ways you can help your child save money, avoid debt, and live comfortably through their college years.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Homeade Garaetteok, Korean Rice Cake Cylinders For Making Tteokbokki

I find when I'm looking for recipes to make, sometimes I end up going down the rabbit hole of recipes, usually from eastern Asia, looking at first one recipe and another and another, deciding that I needed to make every last one of them.

Tteok, Korean rice cakes, was something I discovered in one of these forays, when I learned about tteokguk, Korean New Years' rice cake soup, and garaetteok, the rice cakes that you use to make it. As someone who is learning names online, I must say I was pronouncing this wrong, and this video and others I watched corrected me. The garae is pronounced kara and the tteok is pronounced somewhere between tok and dok, so this dish is basically pronounced karatok.

Tteok is the name for Korean rice cake, and garae either comes from the word divide, or the word spade, according to Maangchi, the site that I learned how to make garaetteok from. People generally buy garaetteok from Korean stores, but I make it myself. I wouldn't say this is the easiest recipe, but it is a fun one to make.

Once you make the garaetteok, you can freeze it to use for another time. Or you can use it immediately. My favorite thing to do with them is making sweet and spicy rice cake stir fry, tteokbokki, generally together with eomuk, Korean fish cake, recipe soon to come on this blog.

Tips to Save Money on Eyeglasses

As a glasses wearer, I know that many times you feel the need to decide between looking good and saving money, but it isn't an either/or thing. Here's ways to save money on your glasses, from a reader.

Certain necessary aspects of life will follow you around and cost you money and there’s nothing you can do about it. From car insurance to mortgage payments and even buying your weekly groceries, money comes in and money goes out. That’s why today, we’re going to look at how to save money on something that some people have to live with: eye glasses.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

West African Chicken Suya Recipe- Spicy Skewered Meat with African Pepper Sauce

After making delicious sosaties, Afrikaans skewered meat, the last time I made a barbecue, I decided I wanted to explore different skewered meat recipes from around the world, so see which is my favorite. As I looked through my list of recipes to try, I was trying to find something without any special ingredients, using just what I had in my cupboard. This recipe for chicken suya fits the bill.

Also known as as agashe in Sudan, suya is spicy skewered meat dish from Western Africa, with origins in Nigeria. Suya can be made with beef, chicken, lamb, but I chose to use chicken since that is cheapest. There is no one set recipe for suya, with different regions having their own recipe, but common ingredients in the marinade (called yaji in the Hausa language) are peanuts, oil, onions, and spices. I based my recipe on this one, and as they suggested, served it with a pepper sauce. Because I was serving it with a hot pepper sauce, I decided to leave the cayenne pepper out of the marinade, and let whoever wanted to dip their suya into the spicy hot pepper sauce.

My kids all enjoyed this, but my kids said that the sosaties recipe was even better.

I had extra marinade after making the chicken suya, so I used it to marinate zucchini and mushrooms before grilling them on skewers, and it was phenomenal that way as well.
This recipe is gluten free and cheap, as well as allergy friendly if you're not allergic to peanuts. And if you are allergic to peanuts, I'm sure you could also make this with sun butter.

The African pepper sauce is a vegan condiment and can be used as a topping for anything you like, sandwiches, proteins, etc... Apparently, the blog of the person where I got the original recipe from actually likes to eat it with Nigerian donuts.

West African Chicken Suya Recipe- Spicy Skewered Meat with African Pepper Sauce

The Effects of Sexting on Teens and Ways to Combat It

As parents of soon to be teenagers who have smart phones, I, and many others are concerned about our kids' safety online, especially when it comes to things that have long term repercussions. Teens sexting, for example, can be very problematic with life long effects. Here's some tips from a reader on the potential issues and how to combat them.

Receiving and sending sexually explicit images or messages is quickly becoming the new normal for many teens. Parents tend to freak out when they first find a sext in their teen's phone. Sexting doesn't mean that your kid is deviant or they possess bad behaviours, it may simply be a way of exploring their sexual identity which is a healthy way of growing up. Sexting has some harmful effects on teens and parents need to employ parental control apps such as FamiSafe to track all the kid’s activities while online and offline.

The negatives simply outweigh the positives when it comes to sexting. The main issue according to various studies is that many teens aren’t able to discern between sexts that are consensual, non-consensual or those that are coerced. This makes them vulnerable and an easy target to cyberbullies and pedophiles. Below are some of the negative effects of teen sexting.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Homemade Corn Schnitzel Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Frugal, and Delicious

I am not quite sure why, but locally, there is this food dubbed "corn schnitzel". No, its not chicken or meat mixed with corn and made into schnitzel. In fact, it doesn't have any protein in it, but many people eat it as a protein substitute in vegetarian meals, since it is meat free. I have no idea where this dish even came from (but I'm sure there's a reason historically) but it is popular among the locals for whatever reason.

The one thing about corn schnitzel is that it is always sold frozen for ridiculous prices- I don't think I've ever purchased it since it costs so much for something that is essentially a crumb covered corn patty. But my kids told me they liked it, and I decided to see if I could make it myself at home, frugally, of course. And while I'm doing that, might as well do it gluten free and vegan to boot.

The first bite I took of my results, I thought to myself that it was a good start, but I didn't think I should share the recipe, but then I kept going back for another and another bite. It was addicting. I had my kids try it and they couldn't stop gobbling it up. It really is that delicious. They told me I absolutely must post it on my blog, so here it is.

These should freeze well as long as you heat them up in the oven or toaster. Unfortunately or fortunately, I haven't been able to have any of these last long enough for me to freeze them- my kids devoured them and then asked me to make more, which they then devoured as well.

While this recipe is totally gluten free, feel free to replace the gluten free flours and xanthan gum with gluten based flour if you desire. This recipe is also allergy friendly, not to mention pretty darn cheap. Just don't use it as a protein replacement since there is very little protein here. Use it as a starch in a meal, with a protein on the side.

Homemade Corn Schnitzel Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Frugal, and Delicious

Smart Financial Decisions to Make Going Forward

It can be tough to improve your financial situation, enough so that you can have a better financial future. People may be helpless and not know where to start. Here's some tips from a reader on things you want to keep in mind to improve your financial standing.

Having a playbook for how to manage life would be nice, but life doesn’t work that way. It is easy to slip through life unsure how to manage the next emergency and just living paycheck to paycheck. While there are plenty of things you cannot control, there are some steps you can take that put your finances on a more secure footing.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Homemade Iced Chocolate or Iced Mocha Slushy Recipe, Vegan Option

Its been getting hotter lately here and my kids wanted to have a nice cool treat. My son, Lee, had brought up that he loved iced coffee, something that a neighbor of his dad's used to make him. So I made him iced coffee, not just iced coffee, but an icey coffee slushy, but then I thought to change it up. Why not make something like that but with chocolate? Why do we have chocolate milk and hot cocoa, but not iced chocolate slushies?

This recipe is yummy and even cheaper to make than chocolate milk or hot cocoa, because the milk is stretched with ice and water, as it is in coffee, but it tastes just as flavorful. And you can make this vegan using a dairy free milk instead of the dairy milk. I make mine with homemade almond milk and make the kids' using regular milk.

Sometimes I add a little instant coffee powder to it to give it extra oomph and make it ice mocha instead of ice chocolate.

It's such a perfect treat. Just beware brain freeze.

Note- you do need a strong blender for this, one strong enough to blend up ice. I use my Biolomix blender for this.

Feel free to play around with recipe with different sweeteners, or other additives (try adding mint extract for a peppermint iced chocolate), just keep the ice to liquid ratio the same, so that it has the perfect slushy texture.

This makes 6 cups of iced chocolate, which means each of my kids get one serving and then there's enough for them to each have a second half serving.

Homemade Iced Chocolate or Iced Mocha Slushy Recipe, Vegan Option

How to Order Quality Foods Online During COVID-19

Online shopping. It's a new norm. But for many it can be stressful, because how do you know if the quality of what you're getting is good, especially since you can't inspect it before it arrives? This is especially true with food. So here's some tips from a reader to help you ensure that you don't get scammed when it comes to online grocery shopping.

Things changed in 2020. While we were all still in the hype of the new year, life on our planet as we knew it was changing. When COVID-19 finally launched us into quarantine, the pandemic left many of us without the luxury of open access to our favorite stores.

Those who were already ordering food, groceries, and pretty much everything online, weren't as affected. But for those of us who were used to shopping at the open markets and getting fresh foods from grocers bi-weekly, things came to a halt.

If you're still struggling to order groceries online, here's a guide to finding foods you'll enjoy during this time.

Know Your Options

Friday, May 8, 2020

Easy and Delicious Romanesco Broccoli Recipe- Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly

Have you ever heard of romanesco broccoli? It's one of the weirdest but also one of the most beautiful (in my opinion) vegetables available out there. I had heard of it and seen pictures of it but never bought it since I didn't see any available, but recently I was given a few heads for free, and it made me really excited.

I wanted to make a dish that show cased its unique taste, sort of a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, with some nuttiness and a bit sweeter, while also showcasing its beautiful, strange, and unique appearance. This recipe was the result, and while it's simple, it ended up being the perfect thing to do with it. This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten free and paleo and allergy friendly, and though simple, it tasted terrific.

Easy and Delicious Romanesco Broccoli Recipe- Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly

How to Save Money with an Eco-Friendly Home

Sometimes, being "natural" costs money. But most of the time, frugality goes hand in hand with green living, because the same things that save money tend to be good for the environment. This article from a reader explores more on how exactly that works.

Becoming more eco-conscious will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but it can also save you significant amounts of money. Luckily, there are various affordable ways to make your home greener, minimize your environmental impact, and cut your monthly energy bills. Here are some of the best ways to create an eco-friendly home and save money:

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Pasta con Finocchietto Selvatico Recipe, Pasta with Wild Fennel Fronds and Homemade Sausage, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Frugal

My back yard, though I'd planned to take care of it and turn it into a pretty little something, was overgrown by what most of the world knows as weeds. As a forager, I know these plants are mostly edible and delicious, and I made sure to use the mallow overtaking most of my yard in many recipes, but eventually they started to mature and not be so good to eat anymore, so my kids pulled them up before our recent barbecue. However, I told my kids that though they are pulling up the mallow, there were two plants they couldn't touch- my wild swiss chard, officially called sea beet, and my wild fennel plants. Those two are some of my favorite wild edibles, and I wanted to make sure to always have a supply of those plants in my yard, so I wanted to leave enough that they'd go to seed and be able to grow there next season too.

The other day, I had very little produce at home, because I desperately needed to go grocery shopping. I was trying to figure out what to make, and then figured that I could make something with my mountain of wild fennel fronds there, and remembered a dish that I made years ago, a traditional Italian recipe, using wild fennel, pasta, and sausage. I didn't have sausage, so I decided to look up a few recipes for Italian sausage and use some of that seasoning with my ground beef, minus the fennel seeds, because no need to add that since I already will be having that via the wild fennel.

The dish came out really amazing. As in, it was probably my favorite way I ever had fennel, and was a true balm to my soul. But a caveat- it has a very, very strong fennel taste. Which is great if, like myself, you absolutely love the flavor of fennel, that black licorice taste, but if you're only meh on the taste of fennel, you probably won't be such a fan. I also used a ridiculous amount of fennel in mine- a large enough bunch that I couldn't get my hands around it, so if you like fennel but don't want an overpowering flavor, I can also suggest simply using less fennel than I did. 

If you don't have wild fennel, you can use the fronds from store bought fennel, but you'll need to use them from quite a few bulbs to get enough for this.

If you have ready made Italian sausage, you can just use that in place of the beef and all the spices, but if you don't, make this as written.

I made mine dairy free, but feel free to use Parmesan in place of the nutritional yeast if you don't avoid dairy.

Pasta con Finocchietto Selvatico Recipe, Pasta with Wild Fennel Fronds and Homemade Sausage, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Frugal

10 Micro-Trends of Quarantine

Corona, corona, the world is abuzz with corona. (Sing that to the tune of "Maria" from West Side Story. That's the tune I wrote it to.) Life has changed for pretty much the entire world, and because of that, lots of people are experiencing similar things. And because of these similar situations, there are trends that are happening now. Who knows how long they'll last? Here's a post from a reader exploring some of the interesting and cool and even fun new lockdown trends. 

People will always find something interesting that will keep them sane in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and continuous quarantine. When a trend starts to pique your curiosity and everyone out there is doing the same stuff, the next thing you know is that you’re trying it too.

When you’re obliged to stay at home, you have no other option but to do everything on your own. Make your own coffee, prepare your own food, watch movies at home, exercise at home, etc. You can’t go to any restaurant, coffee shop, gym, mall, or cinemas. Not at the moment. But the good news is, do-it-yourself things have evolved into “quaranthings.” These are the micro-trends that everybody shares on the internet.

If you want to do something new, fun, and healthy at home, try the following micro-trends of quarantine 2020:

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Easy and Delicious Chicken Sosaties Recipe- Afrikaans Skewered Meat Dish, South African and Namibian Shish Kebabs, Without Apricots

My friend Izel is from Namibia, a country that I really wasn't familiar with at all, but soon learned that it used to be part of South Africa, called South West Africa, until its independence. Its filled with similar types of people that live in South Africa, with a lot of Afrikaaners, and the Namibian dishes that my friend Izel talked about are also traditional South African foods among the Afrikaaners (and others). I'd wanted to try to make my kids South African foods, because of their South African heritage, but didn't know of many. However, most foods my friend Izel talks about are foods I can't eat, because they are gluten or dairy or eggs or a combination of all three (milktert I'm looking at you) or foods that I can't buy locally, like springbok.

From my friend, though, I learned about a South African and Namibian dish, a skewered meat dish, called sosaties, from the word sate, skewered meat, and saus, spicy sauce. This dish was brought to the Afrikaaners (the descendants of the Dutch Settlers in South Africa) by the Cape Malay ethnic group who were of various Asian descent, and while its usually made with lamb, it can be made with any meat. Other common ingredients are dried apricots, peppers, and onions.

Chicken is the cheapest meat I can get, so I decided to make those, and I didn't have apricots or apricot jam like many recipes I saw called for, so I was happy when the recipe I got from Izel didn't have any of that, just with various ingredients and spices I already had in my house. Because I have some kids that hate cooked peppers and other kids hate cooked onions, I decided to make them separately, some with just peppers, some with just onions, and some with both. By stretching them with peppers and onions, this recipe was able to make 14 or 15 sosaties with just one package of chicken breast. It was a big hit with my family, and a great way to make fancier food on a budget. (I mean, at least in my opinion, food on skewers just seems so much fancier than food off a skewer.)
I told my kids that these are South African shish kebabs, which is kind of silly, because so many cultures around the world have skewered meat recipes, but still these things are known by their Turkish name. This post has actually inspired me to make a series of posts on skewered meat dishes from around the world, because my family loves them so much, and so do many other people.
While you can cook these by pan frying them, roasting them, or cooking on a grill pan, I did this the more traditional way and made them on a barbecue, or as its known in South Africa and Namibia, a braai.

This recipe, as written, is gluten free, paleo, and allergy friendly. If you're vegan, you can probably do something similar to this by using firm tofu cubes instead of the chicken breast, and another sweetener instead of the honey.

Easy and Delicious Chicken Sosaties Recipe- Afrikaans Skewered Meat Dish, South African and Namibian Shish Kebabs, Without Apricots

First Time Mom? Here’s How to Get More Things Done

I'm already a few years past the newborn stage, but I remember those days like it was yesterday, those tiny little beings that rely entirely on you, entirely helpless, and often parents feeling helpless as well because those little creatures don't have many methods of communication with their caretakers beyond crying, so its often hard to figure out what they want. Add to this being hormonal just after child birth, and trying to fit a kid into your kids- this is a very challenging time, whether you're a first time mom or even third or fourth time around with a newborn. These ideas sent in by a reader are great ways to help keep your sanity as a new mom.

The experience of becoming a parent for the very first time is more than just a little overwhelming. Suddenly, there is a tiny little person who is depending on your for absolutely everything. You put so much time and effort into caring for them that countless other priorities, including self-care and housework, automatically take a backseat.

As you stare at the pile of dishes lying in the sink while breastfeeding your baby, or when you realize that it has been three days since your last shower, you may find yourself desperate to find a way to get more things done.

Here are some essential tips to help you multi-task with confidence.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Sukjunamul Guk, Kongnamul Guk, Korean Bean Sprout Soup Recipe- Easy, Allergy Friendly, and Delicious

You know what the problem with frugal recipes are? Different things cost different amounts in different places, so what might be a super frugal recipe for someone might not be so frugal. This recipe is one example of one that is practically free for me, but for someone else may be more expensive. But either way, it is tasty, and people need to figure out what recipes work with them with what they have available, and not just assume that something is frugal because it comes from a frugal website.

Anyhow, this recipe is from Korea and I'm not 100% sure what it's called, because as far as I know this bean sprout soup is usually made with soy bean sprouts, called kongnamul guk, with kongnamul meaning soy bean sprouts, but my recipe was made with mung bean sprouts, which are called sukjunamul. However, I looked all over the internet and couldn't find any results for sukjunamul guk which leads me to believe that this should be called soybean sprout soup (kongnamul guk) even when made with mung bean sprouts (sukjunamul). For those who don't care about linguistics or what things are called, apologies for the aforementioned paragraph, but I just had to explain that after I got so confused when trying to figure out names of different things.

So, in Korea, this soup is commonly eaten as a hangover remedy, or even as a light side dish for any meal. I'm pretty sure this is meant to be eaten hot, but I had it cold as well and it is just as delicious.

While you can make this vegan, like with a kombu and soy sauce broth, the traditional way is with anchovy broth or beef broth. And that's where I get to the whole "what is dirt cheap for me may not be cheap for you".
 The reason this is so is because a while back I got a few cases of canned anchovies for free, and I've been making my way slowly through them, especially since my kids refuse to eat anything that has anchovies in it. I then grew my own bean sprouts (finally got it right so it tastes like the store bought stuff, more on that in another post), and since that is the bulk of this recipe, anchovies I got free and bean sprouts I grew myself (so its very cheap), this recipe costs me nearly nothing.
I used 2 1.5 oz cans of anchovy fillets, which according to the Walmart website prices, would cost approximately $4 in the US, and the equivalent locally would cost $2.30, but as I got mine free that costs me nothing. Bean sprouts for a package here cost about $1.50 (and according to google most stores don't even sell bean sprouts in the US anymore fresh so I can't find information on the internet to price compare) and you use about 3/4 of a package, so this would cost people anywhere between $3.30 and $5 for this recipe, which still isn't expensive but isn't as cheap as mine that cost me less than 15 cents.
However, if you don't have anchovies or want to use something cheaper, you can make a broth with kombu and soy sauce, or beef broth from cooking, or even vegetable broth.

To be honest, I was a little wary making anchovy broth using canned anchovies, since the recipes I saw said to use dried anchovies, and I wasn't sure how that would affect things. I also was worried I'd end up with an overly fishy broth, but oh my, the anchovy broth was so delicious that I want to use it for other things as well, and while it had a nice flavor, it wasn't overly fishy at all, just had a nice umaminess to it.

Another perk of this recipe is it is just so easy to make, in addition to being really cheap, its gluten free, and its pretty allergy friendly as well, and it can be made vegan too. Depending on you who ask, bean sprouts are usually considered paleo friendly as well, so this works for paleo diets. Basically, unless you're like my kids and abhor bean sprouts this recipe is for you. (And if you are like my kids, well then, more for me!)

Sukjunamul Guk, Kongnamul Guk, Korean Bean Sprout Soup Recipe- Easy, Allergy Friendly, and Delicious

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