Tuesday, April 28, 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

Monday, April 27, 2020

Easy Frugal Vegan Homemade Bagels Recipe

I'll be honest, while I've known how to make homemade bread pretty much since forever, most of the time my kids would prefer store bought bread to homemade, and even if they'll eat homemade bread, they don't want it when its no longer fresh, unless its made into french toast.

Recently, though, I made bagels, and the kids loved them so much, even when they weren't fresh, and got upset at me for not making enough. They asked me to keep them in stock in the house for sandwiches. Previous times when I'd made bagels, they were difficult to make, had lots of different ingredients that I didn't always have on hand, but this new recipe I made them with, based off of this one, is made with ingredients any cook should/would have in the house, and they come out terrific.

Because I am gluten free, I can't tell you what these taste like, or how they compare to other bagels, other than giving the solid glowing reviews from my kids. I can tell though that they're fluffy, easy to cut, have the outside that is just the tiniest amount tough to give it that chewiness that bagels need.

Hopefully you'll love these as much as my kids.

I know these will be a staple in mine.

This recipe makes 16 normal sized bagels, or 32 mini bagels. If that's too much for your family, feel free to cut the recipe in half.

I made gluten free bagels as well, but that recipe still needs tweaking before I post it.

By the way, when I say easy, I don't mean its a recipe that takes five seconds to make. There are quite a few steps or it wouldn't be bagels (bagels need boiling then baking), but no special equipment needed, or special ingredients. The only thing not easy about making this is the steps.

Easy Frugal Vegan Homemade Bagels Recipe

10 Online Slot Tips To Bet More Wisely

Listen, I'm not a gambler, never have, never will be. But for some people, its a form of recreation, and as long as they budget for it as their fun money, and stick within their means, its up to them if they want to take that risk or not. But in addition to just budgeting for it and spending only that, there are some other tips you can use when using online casinos that will help your money stretch further. Here are some of them sent in from a reader.

If you are looking for online slot tips to increase your odds of winning, you have come to the right place - click to play. Below are 10 practical tips you can use to increase your odds of winning and playing better slots.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Easy Fruity Iced Tea Recipe, Tastes Like Fruit Punch, Extremely Frugal

Something I noticed is that when I stay home, I often don't remember to drink, and even though I don't exert myself tremendously, I end up dehydrated by the end of the day. For that reason, among others, I decided to start having tasty drinks available at home, and you know me, that means made from scratch. I mean, to be honest, with everything going on in my life and extra stressors, I have been known to "cheat" and buy ready made foods sometimes, because sanity is important, but drinks are just so easy to make from home that I don't see any point in buying them. While I and my family certainly enjoy lemonade, I wanted to mix things up and have other types of drinks available.

I make this iced tea, which I call "iced fruit tea" but my sons insist that it tastes like fruit punch, and I should call it that. While I say fruit, its doesn't really matter which- I use pretty much any of them that have a red color (those usually contain hibiscus) whether its rosehip and hibiscus, wild berry, pomegranate, strawberry, cranberry. The flavor will vary slightly, but either way it'll be delicious.

As for the cost of this, especially compared to a bottle of store bought iced tea or any store bought drink...  Using bottled lemon juice, this costs approximately 30 cents to make 1.5 liters. Definitely a good cheapskate bargain. And as you see, it takes only approximately 30 seconds to make.

I was debating at first if I should post this or not, since it is such an easy recipe, and I don't even usually measure, just make it to taste, but I'm trying to remember that what might be simple to one person might not be obvious to another, and people do appreciate the easy cheapo recipes too.

Easy Fruity Iced Tea Recipe, Tastes Like Fruit Punch, Extremely Frugal

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Using Study.com To Help Educate Your Children During the Coronavirus Shutdown

I think there right now in the world there is not a single person completely unaffected by coronavirus, and one of the biggest changes globally is how many schools are shut down. I've previously written about how I am trying to keep sane during this time, while trying to work from home and having my kids with me nearly full time, being forgiving of myself and not trying to be the perfect parent, which means mainly letting my kids do whatever they want, entertaining themselves, using screen time of their choice, but suggesting that they watch educational channels or use educational websites, and pretty much ignoring the schoolwork sent from their teachers, because it just wasn't doable.

However, I know that there are many parents who feel differently than I do, that really appreciate having their kids have structured learning, especially because it can keep their kids busy and on a schedule, often while their parents are trying to work. In my opinion, there's no one right way of doing things, but as I already wrote about my personal relaxed strategy for now, using a very child led, unschooling style, relaxed homeschooling during school closure, now I wanted to share some tips for people who are trying to keep their kids on a more strict learning regimen during this time.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Easy Cheap Vegan Candied Popcorn and Popcorn Balls Recipe

"Mommy, did you make caramel popcorn?" my kids asked me. No, this isn't caramel, caramel has dairy in it, specifically butter, and this has none of that. There is another popcorn based dessert similar to this called kettle corn, but there are big differences between that and this- namely the proportions of oil and sugar, and the amount of precision that it needs to be made with, otherwise it'll all burn into a big mess. This dessert is closest in taste to caramel popcorn, but not exactly.

So how did I make it? Well, years and years ago I posted a recipe here for sesame candy (one of the first recipes on my blog, when I still didn't know how to format recipes) and this time decided to use the same sugar candy mixture and pour it onto popcorn that I popped in my popcorn maker, and voila. It was super easy and tasted terrific and everyone enjoyed it and asked me to make it again.

The one thing you need to be aware of is that once you make the sugar candy mixture, you have to work quickly. But beyond that, it's easy as pie.

If you want to form these into popcorn balls as I did, its a bit more work, but nothing serious.

Additionally, mine were very candied, but you can add more popcorn to change up the ratio of candy to popcorn, it's up to you.

Easy Cheap Vegan Candied Popcorn and Popcorn Balls Recipe

Tips For a Lifelong Relationship

I am, by far, not the right person to go to for relationship advice, since I don't exactly have the record for lifelong relationships, but I always appreciate reading about how to improve and build up relationships. This post from a reader was an interesting read and I hope you find it useful.

Being in a long-term relationship can be pretty trying at times, once the honeymoon period is gone; when the butterflies in your stomach stop fluttering. When you are no longer blinded by the immense infatuation that you have for your partner, this is when you start to notice their flaws and unfavorable character traits that may get on your nerves at times. Couples tend to fall out after a period of time, as they are no longer able to stand each other. The one that you were once head over heels for, is now someone whose guts you hate. However, things do not have to be this way and there are several steps you can take to ensure that your relationship does not fall into a rut. If you desperately want your relationship to be long-lasting, here are some tips for you!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Lowering Grocery Bills Even with Corona Precautions and Restrictions

I'd say that I'm pretty good at lowering grocery bills. (I got our monthly grocery bill down to $170 a month for a family of 4 a few While at the moment my grocery bills aren't as rock bottom as I've been able to get them in the past, that's because I utilize my frugal strategies to get higher quality things and specialty ingredients for lower prices than most people are able to. The problem, though, is that with corona virus lock down restrictions, and other precautions, even the more frugal of us can find themselves stumped, because most of our frugal options seem to no longer be available.

For example, the open air market where I'd be going grocery shopping for past prime produce has been closed for weeks, and the scratch and dent stores have been closed as well. There have been restrictions on traveling, even for grocery shopping; you're allowed to leave your home to go shopping for food and meds, however intercity travel for these things and even traveling between zones of cities for things has been banned if there are local options. The cheap grocery store that I go to in the nearest city, therefore, is no longer an option.

Online grocery shopping, as many people are using during this current situation, to prevent the need to leave the house and interact with people and potentially put themselves at risk, comes with a premium, extra delivery fees per order. And because of the fees each time you get a delivery, or the concern about exposing yourself to more people and places, and because of that people aren't going to various stores to shop and are going as infrequently as possible, all to minimize exposure, hitting up sales in various shops, buying what is cheaper in each store, and price comparing- all these options have virtually been taken from us. Add to that that many stores are out of many items, and its even harder, its just a difficult time to frugally grocery shop.

So for those who feel like they can't really be frugal anymore, which really sucks because everyone is hurting financially now, I put together a list of ways to lower your grocery bill, even with just shopping at one, possibly more expensive, store, that works even if you do a big grocery shop at once and not just waiting to stock up on sales.

Lowering Grocery Bills Even with Corona Precautions and Restrictions

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Fun and Educational Youtube Channels for Kids (And Even Adults) -- Screen Time Suggestions for Kids that Teach -- Part 2

Now that lockdown has continued for quite a while, some people who'd been strict about doing school at home have eased things up with their kids, and given themselves a much needed break. With all this extra time, you might be looking for things to do with your kids, or even suggestions of educational screen time for them.
The other day I posted a list of educational websites for your kids for when you're stuck at home. However, sometimes you just want to put on a show for your kids and you want it to be teaching them something. Here are a list of fun and educational learning channels for kids, nearly all with my kids' personal recommendations, that you can use in conjunction with more official curriculum those found on Study.com or through your child's school district, or just completely on their own. While these are educational, my kids like to watch these just for fun, because they are done in a way that is entertaining and engaging that they're learning without feeling like they're in "school".

I've tried to list these channels in order of age appropriateness, but you need to know your kids best and what is appropriate for them. I suggest watching the first episode with your kids to make sure its what you want them to be watching/that it's on their age level. I've only included channels available through Youtube for free.

Fun and Educational Youtube Channels for Kids (And Even Adults) -- Screen Time Suggestions for Kids that Teach -- Part 2

CBD Oil And Type Two Diabetes: What Is The Verdict?

More and more people are interested in learning about CBD oil. We've discussed it a few times already, but now I have more information from a reader to share with you- how CBD can be useful in aiding folk with type 2 diabetes.

CBD oil is created from a cannabis-derived compound called cannabidiol. And it appears to be taking the world over. Known for its many health benefits, the product has become rather popular nowadays. It is said to help with anxiety, depression, as well as certain autoimmune diseases.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Ways to Deal with Chronic Back Pain During a Lockdown

A woman in the yoga child's pose

Since December, I've been regularly going to a physical therapist to deal with pelvic and lower back pain. I've written before about how I have very loose ligaments in my pelvis which makes the whole thing sublux and cause me a tremendous amount of pain, and then a fall I had in later December on my glutes made things pretty painful, so that I can't sit or lie down normally for long periods of time. That causes a cascading effect and one part of my body or another is always seeming to hurt.

When I was able to go to a physical therapist, I'd get mobilized and have deep tissue massages plus I'd get the subluxed parts of my body pushed back into place. It was expensive, but it made my pain manageable. However, I finally arranged to get physical therapy through my health insurance and not private anymore, and that's when everything shut down. My first physical therapy appointment with the new PT was supposed to take place during my quarantine when I got back from Austria. And then since then all appointments that are not emergencies have been canceled, and while I am in pain, my back and pelvic issues aren't exactly considered emergencies.

So I've been having to figure out ways to deal with this pain at home, by myself, without even another adult to give me a massage. I'm not sure whether or not my issues count as chronic pain, but since they've been hurting me non stop since December (and on and off before that), I think they'd definitely be at least at least loosely referred to as chronic pain. I know everyone's chronic pain is different, but I decided to share some ways that you can deal with these pain issues without needing to leave the house to physical therapists, chiropractors, or masseuses.

Should I Purchase a Medicare Part D Plan?

If you're on Medicare, you might have heard of the additional plans possible through Medicare. This post from a reader explores whether or not part D is beneficial for you, and who should look into getting it.

Medicare Parts A and B, also known as Original Medicare, only cover hospital stays and medical insurance. It does not cover vision or dental care. Original Medicare also does not cover the cost of prescription drugs. However, individuals who are enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B can obtain prescription drug coverage through a Medicare Part D Plan. However, these plans require extra premiums. And other plans — such as a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) — may cover the cost of prescription drugs, which would make Medicare Part D unnecessary. But for people who have Medicare Part D, this coverage often provides a sense of security in knowing their prescription drug costs are covered.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Quick and Cheap Hack- Extending the Life of My Freezer Shelf

When we moved to our new home about 3.5 years ago, we bought a new fridge instead of the 30 year old friend we had second hand before that. And while I've been pretty happy with this fridge/freezer combo, especially that its been maintenance free since we got it (unlike our old one that needed regular maintenance), there are some things about it that really annoy me. First off, I can't adjust the heights of the shelves in the fridge, which means that I can't put larger pots in it, since they're all the same short height. Second, I only have one shelf in my freezer, instead of two, which makes it harder to store things in it and find things without them falling.

But probably my biggest complaint about it is that the freezer shelf is plastic, and since I fill my freezer a lot with things I buy on sale and preserve, and because there is only one shelf, the plastic shelf ends up with a lot of weight on it. Not surprisingly, it cracked.

The first time it cracked, I dried it very well from condensation, then taped it together with strong tape. It worked ok, but not perfectly, especially since the crack only went part of the way.

However, more recently it cracked again, and more severely, to the extent that I wasn't sure it would be usable anymore. But I'm not even sure if I can get a replacement part, but even if I could, replacing a not strong plastic shelf with a repeat plastic shelf is just a temporary fix. And anyhow, I have no idea if and when such a replacement shelf would arrive what with corona, if I could even find one.

Why Gift Hampers Are the New Gift Trend in 2020

When birthdays and other special occasions come around, its often hard to figure out what the perfect gift to give someone is. Sometimes, though, instead of getting just one gift, giving a gift hamper can be a great idea. Here's more from a reader.
Giving a gift hamper is becoming one of the most popular gift trends of 2020. People of all ages and genders love hampers, and they are available at a wide range of prices. Alternatively, you can prepare your own gift hampers if you are on a tight budget. Read on to find out more.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Easy Fish Free, Gluten Free Beef Pho Recipe -- Delicious Vietnamese Noodle Soup, Allergy Friendly

I was cleaning out my freezer (yay, spring cleaning!) and I had a bunch of beef broth in it. Part of that beef broth, to be honest, was something that I intentionally made to be able to cook Asian food with it, many recipes I never got around to yet, but I still needed to make room in my freezer. I also had some cooked beef, a roast that I had boiled and sliced to use for a steak salad, but had leftovers. I wanted to make something delicious that highlighted these flavors without needing to spend too much work or needing to go grocery shopping, and thought about making pho. 

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, prounounced fuh, that contains herbs, meat, rice noodles, and broth. There are so many different variations of it, but I wasn't sure I had the necessary ingredients for it. However, after googling it a bunch I put this recipe together that came out absolutely terrific. I can't tell you how authentic it is, because I'm not Vietnamese, nor have I eaten pho in an authentic Vietnamese restaurant, but from my research, it all seems pretty authentic other than soy sauce I used in place of fish sauce, and the kombu which I decided to throw in there to add even more umami, but you can totally leave it out if you want more authentic.

If you want to make this paleo, it wouldn't be officially pho then, but you can use zoodles or spaghetti squash instead of the noodles, and the coconut aminos option, and it will be totally paleo.

This recipe as is is gluten free, allergy friendly, and absolutely amazing. It was a hit with everyone that tried it.

Easy Gluten Free Beef Pho Recipe -- Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Signs You or a Family Member Have Poor Gut Health – and What to Do

A kid of mine recently needed to use antibiotics, which reminded me that I need to work more on our family's gut health. It's a good thing that I recently started making kombucha and kefir again. Read more about why gut health is important and what you can do about it.

During this crazy period of the Corona virus, maintaining well-being is more important than ever. A healthy gut is the key to overall wellness. Having good bacteria function in the tummy boosts the immune system, which will help keep the nasty stuff, like GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) away.

If you or someone in your family has poor gut health, then you may notice a few problems. If so, it is a great idea to try out microbiome testing, which is affordable and tells you exactly what’s going on. But in the meantime, let's break down what defines poor gut health so you know if you or your family member is suffering from stomach-related issues.