Monday, February 12, 2018

How to Make an Awesome Lunch With Ramen Noodles

Known as a cheap meal, ramen noodles sometimes get a bum rap because of their salt content and maybe just because they're cheap.

While it's true that the bouillon flavoring that comes with ramen noodles has a lot of salt, so does any kind of bouillon, unless you opt for the pricier, low salt version. I still don't know how omitting an ingredient makes a product more expensive, but I digress.

Ramen noodles can make the basis of a really good and really quick lunch.

Use two packages of noodles for a family. Bring a pot of water to boil, using about half what the noodles call for.

Other than that, you will need:

2 eggs, beaten
A double handful of chopped raw greens of your choice: spinach, collards, dandelion greens or other wild greens.
1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup of chopped, cooked meat or crumbles like ground beef. Meat can be anything you have: Poultry, ham, beef, etc. Leftovers are great and a combination is fine.

Put the frozen vegetables in first because they take the longest to cook. Chop the greens and meat and beat the eggs while the vegetables are cooking. Add noodles and greens at the same time, wait a minute or two, then drizzle the beaten egg into the boiling soup, stirring gently as you do. Add the meat last and cook just enough to heat through.

Serve with crusty bread and condiments like pickled beets or other vegetables and/or cheese slices.

There you go. There's a hearty, almost healthy and entirely cheap meal.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Frugal Crafting

Do you enjoy crafts, but hesitate to buy craft supplies that seem so expensive? They're not always necessary. I have been browsing through some craft blogs and while most of them have great ideas, so many of them list materials that seem unnecesarily expensive. Jars, paint, posterboard, all kinds of paper punches and cutters, beads and so on. There's a better (frugal) way!

Here are a few substitutions:

For posterboard, try cardboard, pasteboard (from shoeboxes, tablet backs, shirt forms, etc.) cardstock if you already have it. Glue two sheets together if you need to.
For beads, check your jewelry for something ready to sacrifice, or your button box, Some buttons are beautiful and can be made to fit the situation. Learn how to make paper beads and you'll never have to buy them.
Mason jars - this is an easy one. Save any unique jars that you come across. Labels will peel or soak off and if the lid labels won't come off, you can paint over them.
For paint, first look around for what you might have. Small jars of leftover acrylic paint is great, but wall paint or even house paint, works too. Don't forget that nail polish is basically paint. If you just need a tiny bit, a bottle of cheap nail polish will save you money on small projects, and look at all those colors!
Special paper or foil for crafts: Check your gift wrap supply. And don't forget the alumimun foil, wax paper and freezer paper. Of course, it helps if you save odds and ends of foil or pretty paper throughout the year.

I keep a craft stash that includes odds and ends of ribbon and lace from old clothing, elastic from the same source, very inexpensive floral wire, odds and ends of paper, cloth and other materials. I have saved, at one time or another, a few empty food cans of various sizes, shoeboxes, facial tissue boxes and old plastic table cloths.

They all came in handy. For instance, I had a black plastic lid that just fit a small glass bowl that I wanted to use for refrigerator storage. The lid had the logo of something or other on it, and to make it more presentable, I cut a circle from an old tablecloth which had a pumpkin on it and glued it to the lid. It looked like it belonged there, honest!

Crafting doesn't have to be an expensive hobby. Paying a lot of money to make something kind of defeats the purpose, as far as I am concerned. Look around at what you already have and use it.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Thank you!

I was surprised and humbled by the number of warm and encouraging responses to my last blog post, and I thank you all very much.

One of the most asked for posts was regarding food. I started a blog called Basic Food Saving Ideas awhile back but just couldn't get it going or keep it going, so I might close that one down and transfer some of those posts here so that more of you can find them. I have a lot more ideas and recipes to share, too!

Basic tips were called for, too, and in that I will no doubt repeat myself. Frugal living covers all aspects of life, from food to insurance to crafts to anything else you can think of and I have written on much of it, but there is always something else to think about.

How to reach young people and families also seems to be a concern. That will take some work, but I will tackle it. Every generation has its challenges and since I am of the older one, I sometimes have trouble relating to the younger. Thank heavens I have children and grandchildren who can guide me in some areas!

All told, it looks like the blog will be active and I will do my best to address the concerns and questions you have. Feel free to email me any time.

And thank you again!