Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Food You Might Be Throwing Away

Broccoli and cauliflower stems and hearts  can be eaten raw or in a stirfry of just cooked along with the rest of the vegetable. They're a great addition to a salad and a treat to eat out of hand. They're chock full of nutrients, so don't toss them! 

The leaves of both broccoli and cauliflower can be cooked just like any other green. You may not have enough to make a meal at one time, but you can blanch and freeze them and/or add them to other greens. 

If you can find beets with the greens still on them, grab them! Not only will they keep better, but the beet greens have a mild flavor that many will enjoy if they don't like the stronger flavored greens. Eat them with or without a little salt and that's all they really need, but some people like to put butter on them.

You may not realize that carrot tops are edible. They taste a little like carrots but with their own unique flavor, so sample some before deciding. Eat them cooked, in soups, stews or casseroles. You can dehydrate them for use later. 

Radish greens taste a little like a radish, but the texture can put you off if you eat them raw. Cook them like you would any other green and they're good, although you might not get enough from one bunch of radishes. You can blanch and freeze or dehydrate them. If you decide to eat them raw, chop them into small pieces in a salad to minimize the fuzzy texture. Try them anyway. 

Cabbage hearts are another treat somewhat like cauliflower and broccoli. They taste kind of like a mild turnip. I had always trimmed cabbage close to the heart, then cut the heart out of the remaining "stubble," then it occurred to me that even the stubble was edible. Cook it all together if you wish and you won't waste a thing. 

Candied orange peel, anyone? It's a rather expensive ingredient in fancy dishes around the holidays. You can candy them yourself by boiling them in a simple syrup. Dip them in melted chocolate to make a special treat. 

Wash your potatoes before you peel them and the potato peelings can be deep fried quickly to make a great snack. Add a touch of salt or your favorite spice. 

There are many other things we throw away that I won't list here for now. The next time you're preparing vegetables for a meal, think about the scraps that you usually throw away. The chances are they are edible and good food.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Ten Extreme But Practical Frugal Tips

 Think you're as frugal as can be but you still can't save enough money? Nonsense. I've been "in the business" for years and I still find frugal tips I'd never thought of. You may find some of these tips extreme, but they're completely practical and totally frugal.

1. Use cloth "toilet paper." How's that for an extreme opening shocker? It's practical, though, especially for women. Cloth can be washed and reused many times over and that's frugal. Tip: You can make these from flannel or cotton. Cut a four or five inch square and sew two pieces together at the edges with a selvedge hem. Keep a container handy to put them in once they're used and wash them with underwear and handkerchiefs.

2. Yes, handkerchiefs. Those paper tissues are not practical or frugal, either in terms of money or the environment. Why buy something to throw away? Once you've used cloth handkerchiefs, you'll never go back to paper, no matter how plush (and expensive) it is. Extreme? Maybe. Practical? Absolutely.

3. Frugal gift wrapping tip: Never buy wrapping paper. That can be as expensive as the gift and that doesn't make frugal sense. Make your own or use newspaper or brown paper bags. A good tip: you can sometimes get roll ends of newsprint from you local newspaper. It's frugal and makes great wrapping paper which you can decorate according to the occasion. A container of water paints is cheap and will go a long ways to make your gift wrapping awesome.

4. This tip isn't extreme, but not many people do it: Make your own cream soups. A quick, frugal recipe: One cube of chicken bouillon, 1 TBS cornstarch, a cup of milk, a teaspoon of onion powder and pepper to taste. Mix cornstarch with cold milk, add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick. Add other ingredients: Mushrooms, chicken, asparagaus, tomatoes or whatever.

5. Here's a practical and frugal tip: Clean your bathroom with shampoo that you don't like. Soap is soap and shampoo is excellent for cleaning tubs, sinks, walls and floors. More extreme tip: You can use it mixed with water for a liquid hand soap.

6. Do you think it's extreme to use baking soda in place of scrubbing cleansers, antacids, deodorizers and laundry boosters? It's a lot more frugal and it's very practical, since it's safe, has no chemical smell and it works.

7. Use vinegar in place of window cleaner, meat tenderizer, hair rinse and a lightener for age spots, among other things. Tips for using vinegar frugally are all over the internet, but basically, it's an acid that eats away minerals (hard water deposits, bones...), a mild bleaching agent and a frugal but effective grease cutting cleaner.

8. Really extreme grocery tip: Don't buy water at a thousand times the cost. When you buy produce by the pound that's been sprayed with water, shake the water from it so you don't have to pay for it, too. Avoid meat that has water added. Another extreme tip: When you buy drinks or other liquids in clear containers, pay attention and choose the one that's the fullest.

9. Extreme tip for saving water: If you need to water gardens or houseplants, keep a container under the kitchen faucet. You'll be amazed at how much clean water otherwise goes down the drain. You can use it to clean or for pets, too.

10. Dishcloths and washcloths were once called dish rags and wash rags. Guess why? Made from discarded pieces of clothing, they were used to wash dishes, bodies and walls, floors or whatever else needed it. If you're frugal, you'll still use real, homemade, hemmed rags for cleaning. Tip: Don't use the same rag to wash dishes as you use for other cleaning! And don't buy rags. Go through the clothes you've set aside for donations or to throw away and make your own. Natural materials are usually better than manmade.

Frugal tips are extreme only if you don't feel confortable using them and that's okay. Everyone has their own idea of what's acceptable. If you're in a bind financially, though, rethink your limits. Practical frugality can make a big difference in your bottom line.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Why You Should Stock Up

 And pay attention. I said "stock up" not hoard. We know the difference even though we tend to split hairs and argue over it. Hoarding is bad for your mental health and bad for others who can't get what you have taken away from them. 

Stocking up is having enough to do you through problematic times, no matter what they are. 

Stocking up for disasters is usually the first thing that comes to mind. If you live in hurricane prone areas you stock up one way and if you live where blizzards could keep you home for days and days, you stock another way. If you "prep" or stock for other possibilities you will have another goal in mind. 

There are as many reasons for stocking up as there are for having different lifestyles, but the one basic thing is preparing for the unexpected. 

Job loss
Major storms
SHTF - a scene where everything falls apart (who knows?)
Peace of mind
Being able to help others

I'm sure there are other or expanded reasons many of you have. 

What started this post today was when I was asked to help a family who had fallen on hard times. With a couple of young children and little food until payday, they needed help. I was able to go to my pantry and fill three grocery bags with meals for them. 

It didn't leave much of a dent and there is only one thing I need to replace soon. If/when other things happen, I intend to be ready for them, too. I hope you are.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Never Throw Away a Tshirt



You can make excellent cleaning rags from them, no hemming required. They are especially good for dusting.

You can use them in place of tissues for colds and allergies. They wash well and again, no hemming required

They're great for braiding, knitting or  crocheting anything from floor rigs to bath mats to chair mats. 

They are ultimately washable and reusable. They are economic and planet saving when you reuse them. 

There are other ways:

Layer, quilt and make handbags, shopping bags or laundry bags.

They make excellent coveralls for kids when they are into messy projects like painting.

Cut the back out, put some yarn through the sleeves and you have an emergency tie on apron.

 If, after all this, you decide you really don't want to keep them, see if someone else wants them. You might want to give them this list of uses first or they will think you are trying to give away trash. ;)