Thursday, August 30, 2018

Homemade Frugal Healthy Doggy Treats Recipe Made with Foraged Greens

Our dog, Snickers, has so far been a great addition to our family, and we really love her. She came to us mostly trained and well behaved, but there's been a few times that she caused trouble, chewing up some shoes (fortunately none that were needed) and some toys. I asked some trainers why she was doing that and what could stop her from destroying things, and I was told that based on her genetics (we know she has border collie and lab in her) she's smart, and if she doesn't get enough brain stimulation, enough things to work her brain, she'll make trouble. 

I purchased a Kong Wobbler toy for her that dispenses treats if she can figure out how to get them out (in addition to a few other things to stimulate her mind) but wasn't sure what to do about the treats for this toy, since we aren't feeding her kibble, and in general are trying to keep her away from grains (and especially gluten), and just give her a whole foods, mostly meat and somewhat plant based diet. I didn't think the wobbler would work with the wet and mostly raw chicken and fish parts we've been giving her. I needed something dry and small for this.

Monday, August 27, 2018

My Latest Super Frugal Shopping Trips

I've had a pretty intense and crazy past few weeks, lots going on, a million errands to do, and not enough time on my hands. Part of that is my kids are starting school this week (today was Anneliese's first grade orientation, Rose and Anneliese start tomorrow, and Ike starts next week) and I've had to run around like a chicken with my head cut off getting everything they need for school, among my other errands. (And for the first few days of Rose's school she won't be getting a lift home, so I'll need to go into the city to pick her up.)
Time is short and money is too (all those school supplies and uniforms, after the expenses of the summer!) and I'm currently looking for ways to make my life easier, save time, and save money, something that isn't always an easy combination. This was done by two trips to the scratch and dent stores (two different ones) while I was en route to other errands. (Yes, I may just have brought some of these groceries with me to first grade orientation today.)

I'm so excited to share these with you, because they were pretty awesome finds!  Fortunately, I managed to find some super cheap groceries that make my life easier (not needing to make things from scratch) and I'm so excited to share them with you. Anyone who wants to comment about the health of these or lackthereof, you're invited to keep your mouth shut. Thank you!

Apologies about the state of this pic, I didn't go home first to take a picture; this was taken at the bus stop on the way to orientation, and I left half there, so wanted to take a picture first.

Turing Chores into a Fun Time for Kids

Getting to get kids to do chores is something most parents dread. Here's a post from a reader about how she turns chores into something fun for the whole family. I'll have to implement some of them with my kids.

Parents all have their own methods for getting their kids to do their work. Some of them yell at the kids until they scamper around like mice to do their chores for fear of their parents. That’s not a method I recommend. In fact, I would recommend the opposite- getting your kids to enjoy the work they do. You may get them to do the work by threatening and punishing, but you will not get their heart. If you make the chores fun for them, maybe even give them an allowance, then you get them excited about what they are supposed to be doing. It may take a bit of extra work and require you to have a good attitude, but it is definitely worth it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Homemade Gluten Free Vegan Thin Mints or Mint Chocolate Wafer Cookies Recipe -- Frugal and Easy

The other day I was looking to make a dessert for the family but I didn't have any special ingredients to use. This often happens because things like chocolate chips and other dessert add ons are more expensive so I don't generally keep them in stock. I turned to friends for suggestions and got the idea to make snickerdoodles as well as mint chocolate cookies. As you can see from the title of this post, I wasn't exactly sure what to name it: I based my idea on a lot of different recipes for thin mints that I found. I used this recipe as my starting point. But I learned that even if its a thin minty cookie, it can't be called "thin mints" unless it's coated in chocolate. I personally enjoyed it more not coated in chocolate, in which case they'd simply be chocolate mint wafer cookies, but coat them in chocolate and you've got thin mints.
They're quite easy to make, and the only "strange" ingredient in it is mint extract, which I always have in my house. They're vegan, gluten free, and frugal, not to mention free of the top 8 allergens. Highly recommended. They were a hit with my entire family. You can easily make them with gluten flour as well if your family doesn't need to be gluten free.

Homemade Gluten Free Vegan Thin Mints or Mint Chocolate Wafer Cookies Recipe -- Frugal and Easy

Trying to save for a house deposit? Read this first!

Being able to buy a house is difficult, especially when saving up the down payment can be quite challenging. Here's some ideas from a reader with some radical ideas to save money for a down payment.

It’s true that the cost of renting a property matches that of paying a mortgage. And with the cost of living going up, saving can seem like a constant uphill struggle. Many of us are confident that we can pay out a monthly mortgage payment – we’re paying the same if not more in rental costs right? But it’s the illusive deposit that so many of us struggle to scrape together, leading us to wonder whether we’ll ever own our own homes.

So what can you do to help speed up the saving process? Here you’ll find a few helpful hints, tips and advice on how you can move the process along. Happy saving!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Homemade Gluten Free Vegan Falafel Recipe -- Grain Free, Delicious, and Easy

I have a lot of chickpeas in my house, but they just sit there since I don't always have the energy to cook things from scratch, and when I do, I want to make sure my family will eat it and it won't go to waste. Last night I put up a package of chickpeas to soak, intending to make hummus with it, when I decided last minute to switch it up and make homemade falafel instead. Because of that, this recipe is written using soaked chickpeas instead of dried or canned (however I did some research to find out how many cups dried chickpeas it would be if you're starting from that point and not with already soaked beans). And though I have two other falafel recipes written here on my blog, this one is get another, because it is not made with chickpea flour or lentils, but actually is made the standard way, with soaked raw chickpeas.
This recipe is completely gluten free, grain free, flour free, vegan, and using only standard ingredients that I have at home. I was even out of coriander seeds which I often put in falafel, and made them without, only with the spices I had on hand, and it was still awesome. I'd have to say that these falafels were some of the best I've ever had, if not the best. My children loved them as well, and I was told to make these again and again, that they enjoyed their falafel meal even more than pizza meals!
I served these falafel as one gets them in a falafel restaurant, together with a chopped tomato cucumber salad, hummus (which I made using the rest of the soaked chickpeas), zhug (hot pepper paste), homemade french fries using potatoes that were wrinkly and on their last legs, homemade tahini sauce, onion salad, and homemade gluten free flatbread, using only what I had in the pantry. A successful pantry challenge meal, frugal, healthy, and absolutely delicious! (And best of all, I was tempted to eat it even though legumes generally bother my stomach, and so far so good, my stomach isn't complaining!)

I highly recommend this recipe!
I know some people are skeptical about gluten free vegan falafel recipes, afraid that they'll fall apart when frying, but I can assure you that these hold together beautifully and don't fall apart at all. They result in a moist, delicious, and flavorful falafel ball.

Homemade Gluten Free Vegan Falafel Recipe -- Grain Free, Delicious, and Easy

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Purslane and Cucumber Gazpacho Recipe -- Easy, Paleo, Vegan, and Allergy Friendly

Hank Shaw, author of Hunt Angler Gardner Cook, has been one of my foraging and food mentors and inspiration along with Pascal Bauder and a few others. This past week I got a compliment from him, calling me the "Purslane Queen" because of how many different recipes I have come up with using purslane. It was quite the compliment and made me blush, and, of course, inspired me to make yet another dish with the purslane I had in my fridge that I brought home from my trip this past week. Unfortunately purslane doesn't grow in my neighborhood too much (there's some competition for foraging it here!) so when I find it, I get excited and bring some home.
It's been really hot lately, so I figured a cold soup, a gazpacho, would completely hit the spot. I decided to make a purslane and cucumber gazpacho, using mint from my garden to compliment their flavors, and I am so glad that I did.
Add this to my list of delicious dishes made from purslane, that the entire family loves, is healthy, frugal, and suitable to so many different diets. It is vegan, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, allergy friendly, low carb, nightshade free, and oh, did I mention super easy?

Highly recommended!

If you're not familiar with purslane, read more about how to identify it and forage it here, or you might be able to find it in your local grocery store!

Purslane and Cucumber Gazpacho Recipe -- Easy, Paleo, Vegan, and Allergy Friendly

8 Tips to Keep Fit Post Partum

Having a part time with your postpartum body? Here's some tips from a reader on how to keep fit post partum.

Pregnancy is very challenging. But the period following delivery is even more intense. Our body needs time to recover from the changes it went through in nine months. It is absolutely necessary to be very gentle with your body for at least six weeks postpartum. It might take even longer if you had a C-section.

Any fitness routine should not be taken into practice until and unless approved by a gynecologist. Every individual is unique and different. So don’t just adopt another person’s lifestyle just because it worked for them. With time you will understand the pace of your own recovery.

This article was drafted by our team for women who are keen to go back in shape after delivery. Every woman wants to shed those extra pounds that they put on during pregnancy. While I agree with the fact that you should give your body at least nine months to go back in shape, I don’t think there is any need to put off your fitness routine while nursing the baby or after the suggested recovery period.
So let’s find out the lifestyle to adopt for keeping fit postpartum!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Delicious Onion Mushroom Pasta Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Frugal, and Easy

I'm obsessed with this most recent pasta creation of mine, and so is my family. It is absolutely delicious and east and it's creation came about completely by chance. I had intended to make a mushroom sauce with ginger and soy sauce, terriyaki style, but I was away and didn't have any ginger, so had to get creative. I knew that soy sauce and mustard made a terrific base for onion soup, so decided to play around with soy sauce, mustard, and onions, with the addition of the mushrooms. I had planned on serving that over pasta, but I ended up with so much liquid that I just cooked the pasta in the sauce, and I was in shock at just how amazing it tasted. It tasted so great that I ended up making two batches the same day because I realized the first wouldn't be enough because I wanted to devour it on the spot, and have since made it a few more times.

As written, the recipe is frugal, gluten free, vegan, dairy free, allergy friendly, nightshade free, and simply superb. You can add a protein like chopped cooked chicken or baked meatballs or even tempe or tofu cubes to make it a full meal.

I hope your family enjoys it as much as my family does.
P.S. You can also make this using a short cut: add some sauted mushrooms or a can of mushrooms to some leftover vegan onion soup and cook your pasta in that and you're good to go!

Delicious Onion Mushroom Pasta Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Frugal, and Easy

Introducing the Vliba Diaper Pail - The Stylish and Effective Solution for Diaper Disposal

I'm out of the diaper stage of parenting, and have been for quite a few years. Even when I did use diapers, it was mainly cloth diapers. I do know, though, that many people who use disposable diapers end up with special diaper pails to help contain the stink. Here's more about Vliba, a stylish and cost effective diaper pail.

Vliba sells a sleek and innovative diaper pail that provides new parents with a stylish and effective diaper disposal solution. The product was invented and first launched in South Korea and soon became a market leader because of its stylish design and effectiveness in odor neutralization.

The Vliba diaper pail is available in six attractive colors that match d├ęcor in a nursery or any other room in the home. The diaper pails come in white, baby blue, baby pink, red, black and gray. They have many safety features and come complete with up to 6 months’ supply of lightly scented, robust diaper pail refill bags that accommodate 1,125 newborn diapers. Also included is a sample pack of Vliba's individual diaper disposal sacks that can be used for diaper changes in the car, at a restaurant, at grandparents’ house or anywhere else as needed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

How We Went on a Super Frugal Beach Camping Trip with No Car

I wrote about our super frugal beach camping trip already, but now that we're back home, in civilization, I wanted to share about our last day camping, and what we did, lessons we learned, etc.

First of all, as our second time camping as a family, and as our first time camping at the beach, I must say that there certainly are perks of camping at the beach over camping in a forest, such as the ability to easily pop into the water to cool off, the entertainment of playing with the sand, the calming of the waves... but there also is a big benefit of camping away from the beach: there isn't sand everywhere!

Ways to Ensure Safe Drinking Water

In our old home, we had a water filtration system. But I honestly got so impatient waiting for the water to filter that I never bothered using it, and we didn't bring it to our new home. This post sent to me by a reader is making me reconsider using a water filtration system for our home.

Clean water as we know it is disappearing quickly. Water contamination is causing many places around the world to lose all access to their healthy water supply. Water is essential for our survival. We are bombarded with how important it is for us to drink water. But how clean or safe is the water we drink, even bottled water?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Our Super Frugal Beach Camping Trip, Day 2

So we're on day two of our first ever family beach camping trip, and second family camping trip ever. 

Here's how it's going so far. 

Family Vacations On A Budget: Useful Tips That Can Help You Keep The Cost Down

My family is currently on a frugal family vacation. What better time to share this post from a Jenny Johnson on how to vacation on a budget?

Family vacations can come with a pretty hefty price tag attached. Individuals spend approximately 10 percent of their income on vacations and more specifically, a family of four can spend between 8-9 percent of their overall income satisfying their family travel goals each year. For each additional family member there are additional flights, accommodation and spending allowances to account for and not to mention, kid friendly activities to fund. With this in mind, those looking to frugally maintain their families can easily think that family vacations are far out of their reach. However, taking a family vacation on a budget is not impossible. Check out these hacks to help you when planning and enjoying your family holidays; all without breaking the bank.