Sunday, September 30, 2018

Why I Bought 180 Packages of Chocolate


On Friday I got an amazing deal for Reese's Pieces from a scratch and dent store that I passed en route to a friend's house. Each box containing 18 packages was being sold for $2.85 or nearly 16 cents per package. So I bought 10 boxes, for a total of $28.50 for 180 packages. I posted it on Facebook and I got a lot of surprised reactions. Many people in shock as to the price, but many more asking what I'd do with quite so many packages. Does anyone "need" 180 packages of chocolate?

So while I could just answer why I bought these, I realized that what is missing in this discussion is the context in which I bought 180 packages of chocolate. 

I don't just buy a ton of chocolate when I see it on sale, I buy a ton of everything. When I see gluten free cereal at 95 cents a box, I don't just buy one box, I buy 20. (Or more. Depends on how I can carry things.) When I see boxes of gluten free flour mix on sale at $1.40 a box or less, I buy 15. When I see cans of hearts of palm being sold for 71 cents a can, I buy 10 or 20. When I see olive oil being sold in five liter jugs for $28, or $5.70 per liter, I buy 2 jugs. When I see potato starch being sold at half its regular price, I buy 10 bags. When I make it to the store that sells broken cashews cheaply, I buy 10 bags. When I see gluten free spaghetti being sold at 70 cents a package, I buy 10 or 15.
It's a regular thing with me.
That's how I shop.
It's how I stockpile.

Just because I have 15 boxes of gluten free flour mix doesn't mean that for the next while, most meals I make will be based off that flour. Just because I bought 10 packages of spaghetti doesn't mean we'll be eating meal after meal of spaghetti.
Just because I bought 180 packages of Reese's Pieces doesn't mean that we'll now be eating gobs and gobs of chocolate.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Sushi Salad Recipe -- Easy, Vegan, Gluten Free, Flexible, and Frugal

I grew up eating sushi back when it wasn't as famous around the world as it is today. (Back when you couldn't get sushi from the corner grocery store or from pizza places.) My mom made sushi from scratch, but we only really had it for special occasions, since it was a lot of work to make. (On extremely special occasions, we went out to a sushi bar, and that was amazing.)

Since having my own home, I've made sushi multiple times, not just for special occasions, but I must admit that the amount of work entailed, also in cooking the rice just so, preparing the fillings, and rolling it up makes it lower on the list of priorities of things to make, since I need to be able to set aside the time entailed.

I realized, though, that the thing I and my kids like best about sushi is the taste; the way it's rolled up is nice and all, and makes for a fun meal, but if I could have it more often with less work, I'm totally fine without it being all rolled up pretty. That's where sushi salad fits in. All the taste of sushi, none of the work! And I've even figured out a way to make sushi salad into a super quick and frugal meal using up leftovers, which is a real perk.

Sushi salad is flexible, and only needs a few base ingredients.

7 Ways to Buy the Perfect Pair of Wedding Rings on a Budget

Many people have emotional attachments to wedding and engagement jewelry, specifically that the amount of money one spends on it, the more they are able to prove their love. But I disagree; it's not about money. You can have something beautiful to represent your love and commitment, and still do it on a budget. Here's some tips from jeweller Serendipity Diamonds on how to create the perfect pair of personalised wedding rings on a budget.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Coloring With My Kids

I've been looking for ideas of things to do with my kids that are low mess, don't involve tech, are frugal, and won't be too much work for me. Something to do with the kids in our time together, bonding activities, and I thought about coloring. Mandalas specifically, because they're very calming and relaxing and meditative, almost.

My boys are away with their grandmother on a trip, more on that when they get back. Today the girls and I did some coloring together.

I searched the internet for free mandala coloring pages and found and printed these.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Recent Frugal Accomplishments While Super Busy

My life has taken a drastic turn; if you saw my since deleted post, it's because of that, but I was asked to take it down. Lets just say that things have changed and I've now begun to work out of the house more than I was in the past; some days I am working 8 hours out of the house and some days only 4 or 5, but predominantly I am doing cleaning, which is lots of physical labor (but fortunately pays terrifically in my location) and also cooking for people. Because of that, I haven't had that much time available to do things to save money, but I still have managed to do some frugal things, and I wanted to share my recent frugal accomplishments that I managed to fit into my super busy and, I'll admit it, tiring life.

I mentioned the other week that I discovered a "free store" where I got a bunch of terrific free clothes and other household things. One of the things that I got was a gorgeous dress for my daughter, Rose, but there was a seam that opened up. I managed to sew it closed using a "sewing machine stitch" that my mother taught me as a child, and got it fixed in less than five minutes, and now Rose has a gorgeous dress to wear.

Going to and from work, I've been trying to do calculations to make sure I'm not paying more for the bus than necessary. Most days I just get a transfer and my transportation costs are minimal, but some days I have a lot of errands to do, and since I plan those days in advance, I already know in the morning when I'm first getting on the bus that I'll be doing a lot of traveling, and then I buy a daily bus pass which works out so much cheaper.

Monday, September 17, 2018

To Filter or Not To Filter, That is the Question

I've gotten into many different discussions about people about whether or not you should have filtered water in your homes. Don't expect this to be a scientifically based post, because I'm not doing or sharing research about it, I'm just sharing my story.

Growing up, we drank tap water. That was our beverage of choice. Tap water, usually with ice cubes in it, or occasionally refrigerated. Sometimes we'd mix in Lipton's iced tea powder, but the rest of the time it was tap water.

I don't think I was even aware that people drank anything but tap water until I moved abroad. They say that when traveling abroad, sometimes you get stomach aches from the bacterias in the local water until you get used to it, so it's best to use bottled water for the first few weeks.

My husband, on the other hand, grew up with a filter in his house, and he was shocked that I drank tap water. He learned that it was unhealthy to drink everything that came out of the tap. Additionally, he was able to taste the difference between tap water and filtered water.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Papaya Seed Hot Sauce Recipe -- Paleo, Vegan, Nightshade Free, Easy

Hello there, I'm Penny, also known as the lady who doesn't like to waste any food, and even tries to find uses for things people didn't even know were food. Yes, I'm that lady who made chutney out of banana peels, and stew out of watermelon rinds, not to mention a whole bunch of other "weird foods" that I regularly eat. So of course, when I got papayas (from the reduced rack, an amazing bargain!) and I saw how many seeds were in them, I wondered whether or not those seeds were edible. And guess what? They not only are edible, they actually have a lot of medicinal benefits!

Once I discovered that these seeds were edible, I tasted them to see how I could play around with them in the kitchen and discovered that they tasted very mustardy, for some reason. Spicy and a drop bitter, with a strong flavor reminiscent of mustard seeds.

I love my hot sauces, and of course my first idea of what to do with spicy seeds is turn it into a spicy condiment. This is a great recipe for people who are off nightshades and therefore can't use standard hot sauces, and is paleo and vegan and refined sugar free, but isn't auto immune paleo friendly because all seeds, including papaya seeds, are a no go for people on that diet.

Oh, and it is super easy. Did I mention that? What's not to love?

Papaya Seed Hot Sauce Recipe -- Paleo, Vegan, Nightshade Free, Easy

5 Things You Shouldn't Forget Before Traveling Abroad

I love traveling, but I'm also very scatter brained. I am definitely the type to forget some very important things, and when traveling abroad, you do not want to be forgetting things at home! Here's a list of some important things to make sure you aren't forgetting before leaving for a trip abroad!

For those of us who love travel, thinking about a future journey fills our hearts with happiness. A trip abroad is exciting, whether for pleasure or business. However, traveling abroad requires a lot of care as well as preparation, since the traveler usually is very far from their comfort zone. It's important, therefore, that you are well prepared and don't forget anything before traveling abroad, or you might be up a creek without a paddle in a country you don't know how to navigate. A little preparation goes a long way.

Here is a list of 5 Things You Shouldn't Forget Before Travelling Abroad:

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Delicious Onion Rolls Recipe -- Vegan, Gluten Free, and Refined Sugar Free

My friend Barbara Ann raved about how amazing these gluten free onion rolls and told me that I have to try them, that they are egg free and could easily be made dairy free. I took the recipe she gave me and replaced the milk with water and melted butter with oil and butter flavoring, and wow, they were delicious. Easy. Perfect texture. Even my kids who supposedly hate onions loved these. The recipe was originally made with wheat flour, so if you don't need to be gluten free, feel free to use wheat flour in the recipe instead.
Highly recommended!
These can be eaten plain or sliced to make a tasty sandwich.
Unlike many gluten free bread recipes that taste weird not fresh, these are also wonderful the next day.

Delicious Onion Rolls Recipe -- Vegan, Gluten Free, and Refined Sugar Free

Good Snacks When Relaxing in the Bathtub

I love long relaxing baths. Here's some ideas from a reader for what snacks work well in the bath. My contribution to this post is cheese and wine. They're my favorite to enjoy while relaxing in the tub.

There is nothing in the world that relaxes the body and mind than having a warm or hot bath after a long and hectic day at work. Having your dip in the tub is even more relaxing since it allows you to calm and you can take your time since you are comfortable. But, have you ever thought of having something else to keep you busy while you take your bath, a snack or a drink maybe? Treating your body to a hot tub is incredible, but you can make it even more fun by having the following snacks as you bath.

Best snacks to have while relaxing in the bathtub

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

7 Plant-Based Foods for Gorgeous Hair

I always opt to try to heal my body naturally first, before doing anything else. This article written by a reader, gives some great ideas about which foods you can eat to help improve your health and make your hair more beautiful.

Most people want to keep their hair healthy because it is more attractive and appealing. If you want to have healthy hair, there are a couple of things that you have to do such as changing your lifestyle. Today, there are tons of hair products on the market that could help you take better care of your hair. However, some come falsely advertised, and they may end up ruining your hair. That is why cautious individuals opt for plant-based foods that promote healthy hair growth. This article will list seven plant-based foods that could help to give you gorgeous hair.

1. Avocados

If you enjoy eating avocados, then you need to know that they can do much more than impress your taste buds and fill your stomach. You could use avocados to promote healthy hair growth and maintain its shine. Avocados are rich in healthy fats, which provide moisture to your hair to prevent hair breakage as well as keep it healthy so that it can grow. Additionally, avocados contain copper, which helps to strengthen your skin and hair. Copper is also useful in balancing your hormones so that hair can grow strong and healthy. If you would like to maintain the health of your hair, consider using avocados. Just apply the avocado paste on your hair and leave it on for about 30 minutes before washing your hair. Also, ensure to cover it to achieve the best results.

Discovering a Clothes and Houseware Share and Getting Amazing Things For Free!

My son requested that I buy him a certain type of jeans, and today I posted in some local groups asking where I could find what he was looking for without breaking the bank, and not only did I get an answer to my query, I discovered a hidden (to me anyhow) treasure!

A friend of mine contacted me and let me know about this "community store" that someone started as a service for the community. She has a small storage space and people bring whatever they no longer want in their home, and people can come and take what they want or need, and it's all for free. They have so much available, and are constantly getting new things, so I was told there's no problem taking so many things; by bringing home a large amount, I'm making room for the new things that come in.

I am so excited by my score! Here's what I brought home:

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Importance of a Well-Organized Kitchen

I'm a big cook, and organization is one of those areas where I am lacking skills. This post from a reader highlights some important reasons why I need to get my act together in this area!

The kitchen is one of the rooms in your home that are vulnerable to disorganization that hinders you from locating kitchen tools and accessories when you need them. Imagine the stress and hassle of locating your baking accessories in the kitchen and you have to search every cabinet and drawer to find them. After an unsuccessful search, you decide to replace them using the money you would have spent elsewhere. Kitchen organization is fundamental and has benefits for you, your family and home as a whole. If you are thinking of redesigning or renovating your kitchen, hiring a kitchen remodeling contractor like A+ Construction & Remodeling is a good idea.

Below is the importance of a well-organized and clutter-free kitchen.

Exciting Blog News- Free Foraging Video!

For many years, I've known that I should make a newsletter here on my blog, so that I can be in touch with people and let them know what's happening, but I really had no idea how to do it. On top of that, I wanted to have a give away to people to incentivize signing up, but I couldn't figure out what giveaway I wanted to give, nor the time or the energy to make it.

Someone recently gave me a push, and I made this foraging identification video for you! For some people, the write ups I wrote about how to identify different edible and medicinal plants haven't been enough, because some people are more visual learners. For local people, they have the opportunity to come to my foraging classes, and we have a great time learning about the different plants.

However some people aren't local, or for whatever reason they can't come to my class, so I decided to make this foraging identification video.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Lo Mein Noodle Salad Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Delicious, and Easy

This recipe for an Asian inspired noodle salad came to me completely by chance. I was at a friend's house and uncovered a piece of paper by moving something, and my friend rediscovered the paper and told me that it was a really awesome recipe from my friend Debbie, and after hearing how amazing it was, I knew I had to try it.
I made this delicious recipe already a few times, and served it to a few different groups of guests, and it was as terrific as my friend made it out to be. I approached Debbie to thank her for the recipe, and turns out that the recipe came from a cookbook that a private school in my hometown put out as a fundraiser. So that was pretty cool.

This recipe is not only super easy to make, its also flexible. You can leave out the vegetables if you don't have any, or you could use whatever you have available. Options to include vary from carrots, zucchini, and baby carrots (shown in the picture) to peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, etc... Totally flexible, basically anything that tastes good with soy sauce works here. You can decide if you want to add the vegetables raw or sauted, steamed or baked, you name it.

This recipe as I got it was vegan; I made it gluten free by using gluten free noodles, and then I made it non vegan one time by making it with honey so it doesn't have any refined sweeteners. Of course you can use coconut sugar or date syrup (or probably even maple syrup) instead. This recipe is pretty allergen friendly, unless you're allergic to sesame seeds.

To say I highly recommend this would be an understatement. Make it now! What are you waiting for?

Lo Mein Noodle Salad Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Delicious, and Easy