Friday, May 31, 2019

Easy and Delicious Chewy Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

I really wanted a good chocolate chip cookie, but the gluten free ones I purchased recently were quite unsatisfactory for me. My 9 year old son, Ike, wanted to do some baking with me and chose to make cookies. The first batch we made was coconut macaroons and then I decided that while we already were in the middle of baking, might as well make some chocolate chip cookies. I was trying to find a recipe that didn't call for butter or margarine, and came across this one by Chocolate Covered Katie which looked good, but was with gluten, and used some ingredients I didn't have at home, so I decided to tweak it. The first time I made it, I accidentally added too much liquid, tried compensating by adding more flour, but apparently it wasn't enough, so I ended up with something that tasted good but the texture was truly lacking.

However, based on many factors, I knew it was worth experimenting with this recipe some more, and I'm glad I did, because now I got perfection. These cookies are crispy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside, and they taste delicious. They don't have any strange ingredients, don't need any egg replacements, are allergy friendly, not made with any expensive products, and are just wonderful overall.

You can make this recipe with wheat flour if you want, or standard gluten free flour mix as I did. I wanted to let you know that if you can't eat xanthan gum, I actually made this recipe with a gluten free flour mix using 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin as a binder instead of xanthan gum and it was perfect. (Editing to clarify because I got a few questions on this. If you use store bought all purpose gluten free flour mix, it already contains xanthan gum. If you are making your own all purpose flour mix, you generally add your own xanthan gum, but I added gelatin instead and it worked wonderfully in this recipe. But if your flour mix comes ready made, you can ignore this comment.)

I also wanted to note that these cookies do spread a little bit, but not so much. Leave space on your cookie tray for that.

This makes approximately 20 cookies, depending on how big you make them.

Easy and Delicious Chew Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

The Best and Worst Reasons to Borrow Money

Is debt always bad? This post from a reader explores the different types of debt, and which are better and which are worse to have.

In the world of finance, debt is a contentious issue. Some people will tell you there’s never a good reason to borrow money, while others rely on debt constantly.

If you’re trying to make up your mind, any number of experts will tell you the same thing: there’s a time and place when borrowing makes financial sense.

When that time is for you depends on a lot of factors. But generally, you can draw that line by following this basic guide. Check in with this list to make sure you’re borrowing for the right reasons before you apply.

Monday, May 27, 2019

How Depression Can Mimic Credit Card Debt and How to Deal Effectively

I have to say that I really like my therapist, and that she gets me and how my mind works, and therapy with her has been so helpful for me. Sometimes, though, she shares an insight with me that speaks to me so well that I feel the need to share it with others. And that happened in our session today.

One of the things I struggle with a lot is feeling negatively about myself, and because of that I end up basically giving up and acting in a way that makes me feel even worse about myself.

Today, my therapist pointed out that basically what happens with me is like debt. That I'm so used to swiping my 'I feel like crap' credit card and each time I do that I build more and more emotional debt. Each time I feel down and then use that as an excuse to hide from the world and stop doing what I should be doing (and instead sleep or watch movies or just generally feeling down and therefore sluggish and non productive and mopey) it gives me even more reason to feel bad about myself and that emotional debt gets worse and worse and worse.

As soon as she made that comparison I saw exactly what she meant and was able to see my pattern much more clearly. It certainly mimics credit card debt, in that the debt makes people not have money to pay for things so they swipe their card to pay for things and their debt grows and their payments grow and they have even less money available for their financial needs and use the credit card even more until they're in this black hole of debt.... Very much like this black hole emotionally that I get into. (To give an example of how this works in practicality... something gets me down. So because I'm feeling down I decide that I don't want to do anything so I stay in bed all day and cancel my work for the day. On top of that, I ignore what's going on in my house and the place becomes a royal mess, and then the mess in the house and my feeling yucky about myself makes me snap at my kids, and then I feel even worse, and the cycle continues...)

Healthy Survival Cooking

I find survivalism very fascinating. Its useful when you go camping or just to save money. But what about when a disaster really strikes? Here's some tips from a reader on how to prepare healthy food when there is a disaster that affects your food prep abilities.

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When disaster strikes, you may not have the luxury of going on with your everyday cooking methods. Power and natural gas may not be available as a safety precaution. At this point, starvation is not an option. Instead, it is time to go back to the basic “primitive” meal preparation methods, also known as survival cooking. These are foolproof methods that will ensure you get something healthy in your tummy to push through the tough times. Let’s look at survival cooking tips you can adapt without compromising your health.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Look Who We Found!!!


Look who we found!!!!

We were so worried about our dog and the kids were petrified that she'd be hit by a car or something...

An hour ago we got a call from a girl who isn't a dog person but thought they found her. She sent us this picture of her and I wanted to be doubly sure it was her because we had a few false alarms (never knew there were so many dogs that looked like her) but wasn't her. She put me on loudspeaker and I called her and she reacted by barking so we knew it was her.

The friend whose house she ran off from went to pick her up from the girl who caught her, and then another friend picked her up until we were able to get her. 

And then my dad, whose house we have been staying at, drove me to pick up Snickers from this other city even.... 

We're currently in the car on the way back to his house and we're so relieved and can finally breathe.

I'm not sure who is more excited, Snickers, me, or the kids. 

I especially wanted to say thank you to everyone who posted about her, shared pictures, scoured the neighborhoods by foot and by car, and just in general did what they could to help us get her back! 

Bad News

Yesterday the kids and I were going on a family trip, and from there going away for the weekend. We had a lot planned and were bringing our dog along, but since she wasn't able to come to some places we were going (like a BBQ for single moms and their families) so I found a friend willing to watch her for a few hours in the city where we were staying.
Unfortunately, while we were at the barbecue, I got a call from the dog sitter that the dog ran out their door and they chased after her and weren't able to catch her, and eventually she ran out of sight. 

Secrets To Have A Frugal Wedding On A Budget

Wedding season has begun, and many of my friends are planning their weddings now. As you all know, weddings can get extremely pricey, often causing large amounts of debt. There are ways, however, to keep down the price. Here's some tips on a reader on how to do it. 

A wedding can sometimes be a very expensive affair. In recent years, marketing and advertising campaigns have convinced grooms and brides into throwing large amounts of cash in this event. The average wedding will now run you roughly twenty thousand dollars or so. However, you really don't have to financially throw down the equivalent of a house down payment or a brand new car to celebrate the beginning of your union. There are several ways you can, costs when planning a wedding that doesn't necessarily translate to being cheap. Hereinbelow are a few secrets of how you can make this happen.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Smart Ways to Invest Your Money in 2019

If you work hard and earn money, then budget well and don't spend so much, you might be lucky enough to end up with a nest egg of money, some savings. You can just keep it in the bank where you may earn a small percent interest, or you can make your money work for you and bring in larger returns via investing. This post by Nancy Evans gives some ideas how you can do that.

There are a number of good options when it comes to investments in 2019. One of them is the stock market. The trick is to start small and to gradually scale the market.

Out with the Old and In with the New Books!

For a while, there's been a project I wanted to get done, but it was very daunting. The bookshelf in my kids' room was so beyond horrible, stuffed to the gills, books shoved in every which way and on top of each other. I love reading, but seeing that bookshelf that way made me not even want to touch it, because I could never find what I wanted, and the likelihood of things coming tumbling down onto me when I pulled out a book was quite high.
I tried doing it one day when I had a friend over, but I didn't manage to get it finished in that time, and the pile of books on the floor and the couch was too much for me to handle, so all that happened was those books got shoved back on the shelf in an even worse situation than before.
Not pretty.
The other day though, the kids were away at their dad's, and I had free time. I decided that I'd tackle that bookshelf once and for all, and get rid of all the books I don't want, and organize the ones that were there so the kids and I could find what we wanted. The biggest issue was the amount of schoolbooks I had on the shelf, that I'd collected over the years thinking I'd use as part of my homeschooling, but then never ended up using for various reasons, and now they're all in school and won't be needing those books, so they're just a waste of space. I made a huge pile of all the books that I didn't want, those school books, kids books that I felt were so badly written so I didn't want to read them, books that had bad memories for me attached to them, and set them all to be given away.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

My Recent Scratch and Dent Store Shops

My last trip to the scratch and dent store one ended up amazingly, discovering a great treasure: super frugal gluten free vegan raspberry cookies that my family devoured. I had some free time the other day between errands, so decided to run to the scratch and dent store in the hopes that I'd be able to buy more of those cookies... but unfortunately they only had a few of the packages there, so I emptied out the rest of their very small stock, but some is better than none.

They also had toasted sesame oil, three bottles for $5.71, so I bought three of them, since that is something so extremely expensive locally and this is a better price than I can get anywhere.

3 Ways to Make Extra Cash for a Working Mom

We all know what its like to be short on both cash and time. Here's some tips from a reader on how to make some extra cash, even as a full time working mom.

Do you find yourself running low on cash but it seems as if all you do is work? You could find many ways to make an extra income that does not require hard labor. It can be hard for mothers to find time and energy to work another job to make another income. Today, it is quite popular for people to turn to side jobs to make ends meet and the internet provides countless options for that.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Juli's Gluten Free Pasta Salad

My friend, Juli, over at Pandemonium Noshery has so many great recipes to share with people from around the globe. This is one of her own unique creations, though, that she was kind enough to share with us. Looks delicious!

Have you ever hear anyone say "Necessity is the mother of all invention"? This recipe is proof of that. I had little left in the house one night and didn't want to make a late night trip to the store the night before a long day out but I also didn't want to leave my kids and my friend who was watching them with nothing to eat. And so I threw together what I had and hoped for the best. Since then I have made it quite a few times because we loved it so much.

Gluten free pasta, at least the kind I am familiar being made with different ingredients doesn't react the same way as wheat pasta. Instead of making the penna the night before and chilling I make right before and use water to cool to toss with the salad to keep the pasta from getting a dry and weird texture.

Juli's Gluten Free Pasta Salad

Monday, May 13, 2019

5 Classic Coffee Drinks That Are To Die For

I used to never drink coffee; loved the smell but hated the taste. Over time however, I learned to love it and even crave it and started drinking it on a regular basis. Unfortunately, coffee didn't do such good things for my mental health so I needed to completely cut it out, and now miss it. I do though occasionally have fake coffee with caffeine free substitutes. However, for those that love coffee, here's some great ways from a reader to enjoy it, and I'm sure many of these can be made easily at home.

Are you a big fan of coffee? If so, you are not alone. Millions of people wake up to a fresh cup of coffee every day. Of course, you have some people that like to mix things up a bit. They do this by adding extras to their coffee. Some go as far as to switch from traditional coffee to other drinks that have coffee flavors. What are the five classic coffee drinks that Americans love? Continue reading the article below to find the answer to this question and much more about coffee.


Americans flock into convenience stores and coffee shops every day to get a frappuccino. This coffee beverage is very unique; in that it is part of Starbucks’ ice blended coffee drinks. Customers can add toppings to their frappuccino to enhance its flavors. These toppings include sauces and whipped creams. If you are looking for a coffee drink that will wake you up, do not look further than the frappuccino.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Who Actually Deserves Charity? Who is Really in Need?

I'm in a local Facebook group meant to help people there who are struggling for whatever reason, and one of the things that is really wonderful is that instead of p
eople selling things that they want to off load, usually things are offered for free on that group, so that others can benefit. It seems that some people in the group got upset, and there was a to do about it, because some people were upset that people who "didn't really need it" and "didn't deserve it" were taking help meant for "more worthy people", that things weren't just being given away to anyone, but to people in need.

So, I don't want to talk about that specific group and the to-do there, because I didn't see what went down, or the circumstances behind the posts there, but, inspired by that, I did want to talk about the concept of who "deserves help" and who "really needs it" and things of that sort. This is a topic that is especially meaningful to me because at many times in the past and even currently, I've been on the receiving end of charity, and I wonder how many people look at me and my life and say "Oh, she doesn't really deserve it" for whatever reason?

People are really judgmental, that's for sure. I know that in the past I really was judgmental, and its something I'm working on not being that way anymore. I think I've even written a post before about someone asking me for charity to pay for their children's diapers and formula, while I was cloth diapering and nursing so I didn't have to spend money on that. But as I go through my journey in life, I am starting to see more clarity about things like that, and how someone might seem to be rolling in dough actually can be struggling, etc.

I'll start with saying that poor people don't always look poor. Thankfully we live in an area that there are so many people that give away really nice things that one can be dressed to the nines without spending a cent. I know of some people whose self worth is very wrapped up in how they look, that they aren't willing to look like a charity case, and they've been known to go without food because they don't have money, but still will wear a fully made up face and be dressed really nicely. If clothes are something that matter to you, shopping thrift stores and getting things from places such as the clothes and houseware share and dressing in hand me downs can mean wearing only name brand perfect things, and makes you look like a moocher taking things that you "don't really need" but is far from the truth.

Money Making Ideas: Smart Ways To Boost Your Income

As a single mom, needing to be self supporting, I've come to realize that I needed to increase my income instead of just finding ways to be more frugal. Here's some tips from a reader on how to increase your income.

Nowadays, everyone is feeling the pinch. We live in an expensive time, after all, and whether we like it or not, things aren’t going to get any cheaper. In fact, they’ll almost definitely become more pricey. People who want to improve their finances usually start by trimming their expenses, but cutting costs like this will only make a difference for so long. This is why you should start looking for ways to make money too. There are lots of ideas to choose from, many of which require very little effort. With that in mind, here are thirteen smart ways for you to boost your family income.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

My Latest Extremely Frugal Grocery Trips at the Scratch and Dent Store and Beyond

A few days ago I went shopping at two of my favorite stores, scratch and dent stores, where you can get so many delicious goodies for extremely cheap, because their packaging got messed up or they're past their sell by date.
I was really excited to show you the pics from my shop, because what I got was certainly phenomenal deals for great products, and then I did another shop at a 'regular' cheap grocery store and wasn't going to share about that shop.... And then I thought, why only share the 'extra special' shops with you and not my 'real life' shopping habits as well, so, here it is. My extra frugal shopping trips' results as well as those from my 'regular' frugal (ish) shopping trip.

How To Stay Safe On A Motorcycle Trip

Where I live cars are really expensive, and gasoline is also ridiculously priced. For that reason, many people locally opt to use motorcycles to get around instead of cars. However, frugality at the price of safety isn't good, especially as motorcycles are known to be more deadline than cars. However, if you do want to get a motorcycle, pay attention to these tips by Nancy Evans, on how to ride one as safely as possible.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Dogs: The Best Natural Remedy for Anxiety

I love our dog, Snickers. She joined our family almost a year ago, and she has made such a big difference. She's been so wonderful on so many counts, but I definitely see what a big impact she has on the emotional health on everyone in the family. The biggest part, honestly, is that my sensory seeking kids, instead of using me for all their sensory needs get it out on the dog which makes me much more sane and less stressed out. Additionally, Snickers is amazing for hugs or cuddles or even to cry into her fur, depending on what I need.
Here's a post from a reader on how dogs help with anxiety, and how you can make your dog considered an emotional support animal.

Looking for a natural way to manage your anxiety?

That's an easy one...

All you need is a dog!

How Do Dogs Help With Anxiety?