Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hungry for spring!

I dragged out some wild food books over the weekend and spent some time looking through them, finding a few recipes to try this spring and summer, as well as deciding to try a couple of "weeds" that I've not eaten before. It was a good way to spend an otherwise boring winter afternoon, but it really got me fired up for spring!

Dandelions will be in grave danger this year, I can tell you. I'm so looking forward to fresh greens and more. One of the books I rediscovered is "Dandelion Celebration" by Peter Gail. Curious, I tried to track him down and actually found a blog he wrote, but the last entry was in April of last year. I'm hoping that he just got busy with other things and will return soon.

That little book was what really got me started on dandelions and I'm still learning about them. Not only can you eat the leaves as cooked greens, you can eat them raw in a salad or sandwich. You can steam the buds and eat them with butter, fritter the flower heads or add the flowers to cookie dough... make dandelion coffee and, of course, dandelion wine. All for free (how frugal is that??)

Then you can sprout the seeds for a midwinter green, or you can bring in a plant or two and have greens year 'round. Dig the roots for a cooked vegetable, too.

And so my weekend went... and so I'm hungry for all those good, free, wild foods that won't grow here just yet.

If you haven't tried wild foods, do yourself and your food budget a favor and try dandelions this spring. You might be able to find a copy of Peter Gail's book at a library, but if you can't, there are many dandelion recipes on the internet. Just remember to not gather them from lawns or fields that have been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides or that are close to highways or busy streets.

Have you had any experience with dandelions or other wild foods? I'd love to learn more!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Update on my site

I just finished adding a few more files to Click on the "Frugal" link on the upper left hand side, then on "Uncommon Uses for Common Things" to find the newest ones.

Let me know what you think.

I know... I'm very slow at this. Life and work tends to get in the way!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tax time

It's tax season and what have you done? Are you in better shape, tax-wise, than you were last year? Do you have the records you need? Will you take every deduction due you? Have you arranged affairs so that some of your savings are not taxable now? How about your income? Will you pay straight income tax on all of it?

If you're not sure, it's time to spend some time at the IRS web site. An afternoon there could save you a week's wages or more. Is that worth your time?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Braving the new economy

Despite claims that the recession is over, the economy just doesn't look good from here... does it from where you are?

A lot of people are cutting back, trying to pay off debt and build up savings, "just in case." They're trying to get themselves into a situation where they should have been long ago. In a way, that's good. And in a way, it's bad because it takes even more money out of circulation.

There seem to be more layoffs and company closings, just as many home foreclosures with almost a feeling of quiet panic in the air. We all see the economy through our own eyes. If you've lost a job or a home, it's worse; if you're still working and have your home, it doesn't seem quite so bad.

Either way, it's different. It may never go back to where it was, which in a way is good. And in a way, it's bad.

The worst part, for many, may be adjusting to it. The economy is not what it was and it probably - even hopefully - will never be the same. Ever spiraling inflation, new, pointless products "invented" every day, malls and credit cards and high fashion followers make for a shallow populace.

I think America is better than that. Given a chance, we will survive and be the better for it.

Friday, January 1, 2010


There's a lot to be said about going into a new year, but I'll keep it brief.

Do you think that just because it's a new year, you can do things you couldn't do in the old year? Or that you can do what you did last year, only better? Or that you WILL do things in the new year that you wouldn't do in the last year?

If you answered "yes," you're not alone. Many people make resolutions to start this or lose that or save this in the days of the year ahead of them. Often, this resolution is a catch-all without any specific plan. "Save money," can cover a lot of territory.

You can save money by cutting back on what you buy. Cut out the junk food and the overspending on clothes and the house and you'll save money. Have a certain amount sent automatically to a savings account each pay period and you'll save money. Turn out the lights, turn down the heat, take faster showers and you'll save money.

Just how do you want to do it? Make a plan. You will never get there if you don't know the way. Following a plan is like following a road map. Look to see the distance, count the miles and decide what is the best way to go.

Of course, you have to have a destination; how else will you know when you get there?

1. Decide on your destination
2. Make a plan - decide how best to get there
3. Follow the plan

Sounds simple, doesn't it? It is, if you stick to the basics. Put it on paper or on the computer where you will see it. Work at it. 2010 can be the year you make it happen.

A Frugal and Happy New Year