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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Growing Your Own Vegetables from Scraps



Inspired by Sherrie Rose Cuchra

When you are cooking and preparing vegetables, do you just throw them away in the trash? Did you know that you can save these food scraps without throwing them away and you could save money on your grocery bill at the same time?  


There are few examples of herbs, fruits, and veggies that you can regrow using just leftover scraps you might have thrown away.

Tomatoes 
They are easy to grow. Do not throw away the seeds instead rinse off the seeds and plant them. Place tomato plants where they can get full sun. Tomatoes need lots of warm sunshine for optimum taste. 

Green Onions
After chopping the green onion for cooking, submerge the white end with the roots in a container with water (leaving the top of the plant above the water’s surface). You will notice it will begin to grow roots and the green part of the onion will grow back. When you need onions for cooking, you can harvest the green tops and the base of the plant will continue to grow.

Celery
Growing celery from leftovers is also not difficult. Leave the base of the plant intact when you chop up the celery. Did the same with the green onion, sit the celery base in water and leave it in the water for about a week. 

When you notice small and yellow leaves growing from the middle of the plant and the outer stalks will start to deteriorate, you can plant your celery in soil, either in a pot or in your garden. 

Romaine Lettuce
Growing romaine lettuce is similar to growing green onions and celery. Cut off the lettuce you plan to use and leave a couple inches at the base of the plant. The romaine heart can then be set in water. New leaves will start to grow from the center and the outer leaves will die (and should be removed). You can eventually plant your romaine hearts in soil and start growing lettuce in your garden.

Ginger
Try planting ginger if you bought too much fresh ginger root and fear that you won’t use the rest of it before it goes bad.

All you have to do is plant the leftover ginger with the newest buds facing up in moist potting soil. Ginger is a tropical plant, so it prefers humid conditions. Green shoots will come up out of the soil and the roots will spread out. You should be able begin harvesting pieces of the root when you need it after about four months. 

Pineapple
You can regrow a pineapple from its top. Cut off the fruit’s top with a quarter of an inch of the fruit still attached and then scoop out the fruit and let the top dry for a few days. Then press the top into a pot of moist soil media and water regularly. You can also try planting the pineapple top directly into potting soil.

Set your pineapple plant in the sun and keep it away from anything that might dry it out. Pineapple plants typically take around two years to begin producing fruit, but in the meantime, you’ll have a tropical house plant.

Potatoes
When potatoes start to grow eyes, many people might throw them in the trash. These eyes, while not ideal for eating, are actually the beginnings of a new plant, so rather than tossing old potatoes,  grow them.

To grow potatoes, chop them up into a few pieces with a couple of eyes on each piece. Then plant the pieces in moist potting soil and soon they’ll begin to sprout. To grow sweet potatoes, plant the entire potato in moist potting soil.

Once the potatoes sprout, you can actually take cuttings and plant those separately to produce more plants.

Peppers 
Jalapenos and other peppers are very easy to regrow. Take the seeds and plant away. They grow fast, love the heat and require very little care to produce a whole new crop of peppers.

Garlic
Sometimes garlic cloves start sprouting before you can use all of them. Instead of throwing away sprouted garlic, plant it. It’s easy to take care of and can be grown again and again. Simply plant a clove in soil (sprouted end up, with the papery layer still on) and place the pot in a warm, sunny location. Once the shoots begin to grow tall, you can cut them back to cause the plant to put its energy into making a bigger bulb of garlic. When your garlic bulb is ready to be harvested, you can plant one (or many) of the cloves so you can keep the growing cycle going.


Lemongrass 
Just place the root end in water and let it start to grow. Once it has been established, transplant it to a small pot and let it mature. Then you can trim the grass to use as you please! 

Your grilled whole chicken taste good if you put lemongrass inside the chicken.
Onions
Onions are another vegetable that can be easily grown from scraps. Simply cut off the root end of the onion leaving only a small amount of the onion flesh attached. Plant this just beneath the surface of the soil in a sunny location, and in a few months you should have a new onion. You’ll know the onion is ready when its stalk starts to turn yellow.

Cabbage 
Cabbage should be started out by placing the root end in water. Once the roots have started to grow and leaves appear you can plant it in the dirt. Cabbage gets quite large so make sure you give it enough space. The actual part you eat will appear in the center. Do not let it get too big or it will lose much of its flavor.

Try this and in few months you don’t need to buy as much produce and you can save a lot of money for your grocery bills!






Monday, January 6, 2014

VEGAN SHEPPARD’S PIE – RECIPE


RECIPE – VEGAN SHEPPARD’S PIE
Contributed By Steve Black

TOPPING:

ONE MEDIUM CAULIFLOWER HEAD
ONE MEDIUM PASNIP
½ CUP OF ALMOND MILK (APPROXIMATE)

BOTTOM PART:

5-8 OZ OF TVP (TEXTURED SOY/VEGETABLE PROTEIN) CHUNKY VARIETY (CAN SUBSTITUTE DRIED OR BAKED TOFU)

½ ONION

½ RED PEPPER

1 CARROT

1 LARGE CLOVE OF GARLIC

PEPPER, RED PEPPER FLAKES, CHIPOLTE OR CHILI PEPPER, SOY OR TAMARI SAUCE, BASIL, THYME, ROSEMARY

½ CUP WATER OR VEGETABLE STOCK

4 CUPS HOT WATER

COCONUT OIL

OVEN PROOF BAKING CONTAINER

SET OVEN FOR 375O

PUT THE TVP IN THE HOT WATER AND LET SOAK FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES, SET ASIDE.

IN A BLENDER, CRUMBLE THE WHOLE HEAD OF CAULIFLOWER & PARSNIP, SO IT IS LIKE SNOW.  REMOVE AND PUT IN A MICROWAVABLE CONTAINER, MICROWAVE FOR 2-3 MINUTES, LET COOL.  WHEN COOL, SQUEEZE OUT THE MOISTURE THROUGH CHEESE CLOTH OR A CLEAN TOWEL. 
PUT THIS MIXTURE IN A FOOD PROCESSOR WITH THE ALMOND MILK, AND MIX UNTIL SMOOTH.  REMOVE WHEN IT IS IN A “MASH POTATO” CONSISTENCY, SEASON WITH PEPPER, THYME – SET ASIDE.

CHOP THE ONION, RED PEPPER, CARROT, GARLIC, ETC. SAUTE IN THE COCONUT OIL, ADD SEASONINGS (PINCH OR MORE, OF EVERYTHING, LIGHTLY WITH THE CHIPOLTE, UNLESS YOU LIKE IT SPICY) AND A LITTLE SOY.
SAUTE’ FOR ABOUT 7 MINUTES, ADD THE TVP, STIR WELL, ADD WATER OR VEGETABLE STOCK TO CREATE A GRAVY, BE SURE “NOT” TO MAKE IT TOO WATERY.

PLACE THE MIXTURE IN AN OVEN PROOF CONTAINER, PLACE CAULIFLOWER MIXTURE ON TOP AND SMOOTH IT OUT WITH A SPATUAL.BAKE FOR 20-30 MINUTES, UNTIL BUBBLY.  LET COOL AND SERVE WITH A VEGETABLE, LIKE STEAMED BROCCOLI.
 
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This guest post was Contributed By Steve Black. Steve is a professional magician based in the USA outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

www.SteveBlackEntertainment.com

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Traveling Tips for Frugal Lifestyle Champion


Living frugally or living as a frugal lifestyle champion doesn’t mean that you have to MISS out on that one time a year break from everyday life! There are many different ways that you can save you a ton of money while traveling and experiencing a wholesome family fun vacation! 

Although many of these tips you may not be accustom to, but if used, you will see the savings that you will make by using these tips versus your traditional traveling accommodations. You will also find that you can still have the fun and excitement of a vacation even though you are doing it the “frugal” way! 


Tips for taking a “frugal” but fun family vacation:

Opt in to Localized Hotels and Inns vs. Commercial Hotels---
  • Try staying in local hotels and inns where you can still give your family a nice place to stay during your vacation but save a ton of money on rates for your entire stay.  Although your local hotels and inns will not have all of the accommodations or glitz and glamour that a commercial hotel has, they will still serve the purpose and also give you a homey feeling. 
  • When you are planning your trip, be sure to research and find the best deals for hotels and inns that are in the area you are planning to vacation to.  Making the transition from commercial hotels to local hotels and inns will put money back in your pocket at the end of your vacation and you can still have the fun and exciting time with your family, even if it means letting go of some of the accommodations.

Save on Eating Expenses during Your Vacation--- 
  • bring your own food purchased from a grocery store. This is by far the easiest way to save money and even if your hotel or inn that you are staying in might not have a kitchen,
  • opt in to having a family picnic at a local park… something the whole family will enjoy! 
  • However, if you still want to treat your family to a night of restaurant cuisines, then try going to local diners, cafes, and restaurants.  Every city has them, so they can easily be found and will save you a ton of money versus your top rated and well known restaurants.                                                                               

Look for Cheaper Airfares--- 
  • think smart and find the cheapest air fare that will get you where you need to go, but not cost you an arm and a leg to do it! 
  • research and find out what others say about a particular airline… if most of the feedback is good and positive experiences, then you probably will have one as well and at a fraction of the cost of what you would normally be spending using a commercial airline. 
 

Save during a Road Trip Travel---
  • pack your own cooler filled with drinks, snacks, and even sandwich meat.  This will cut down on your expenses dramatically… everyone knows a stop at the gas station for gas is an expense in its own let alone what you spend per drink or snack for each member of your family.  
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  • do some research when planning your vacation and find prices of gasoline at each of the gas stations on your route.    
  • be sure to pick the cheapest rates and plan your route accordingly to those specific gas stations. 
Although a little time is involved in planning a “frugal” family road trip, it is well worth the savings that you will be saving in the end, we promise you!  Plus you will take great pleasure in knowing that you provided your family a fun filled and exciting road trip to wherever you plan to vacation to for a fraction of what you would normally be spending on your average road trip that you are accustom to.

Plan Event and Off Season Vacationing---
  • Do some extensive research and find events that are cheap to attend. 
  • find local area museums and parks that are very inexpensive to tour and can be booked in advance during your vacation time.  Your family will love these attractions and so will your pocket book!
  • determine the time of year you plan to take your break from the “real world.” 
  • look for cities that host tourist attractions and offer lower their rates during off season. A lot of the times they will lower their rates during off season of course to draw in more tourists, which can pay off for you in the long run.  Not only do most of the attractions and events lower their rates but most of the hotels and inns do as well in the surrounding area.  So not only will you save on the fun your family can have at the events or attractions but also on your entire stay while vacationing to a particular city. 
 

 

Saving Money on Your Utility Bill

Did you know that averagely a family will spend around $2,000 a year on utility expenses?  We know, it’s a staggering number when you put it into perspective!  However, there are ways for you to cut those expenses literally in half, which will save you not only money but energy that you are using as well. 

Here are a few tips to help you with saving money and energy on your next utility bill and in the end put more money back into your pocket!


Programmable Thermostats – These are magnificent little devices that can literally cut your heating and cooling expenses by as much as $200 a year! They are very easy to find and are very inexpensive. When shopping for a programmable thermostat you want to choose a thermostat that has the Energy Star label. This means that the government has tested and proven the device to be an energy saving and efficient product. 
By using a programmable thermostat:
  • You can adjust when you want the heating and cooling to come on during the day and night. 
  • You can set specific times for your heating and cooling to be used.
This way you are only using the heating and cooling when you are present in the home and adjustments can be made for when you are not at home or are sleeping. And can be a great way for you to start cutting down on your utility expenses and should be practiced when starting your new and improved “frugal” lifestyle!


Energy Saving Light Bulbs
  • Convert all of your light bulbs in your household to Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs, also known as CFL’s. Not only do these energy saving light bulbs use 75% less energy than your average bulb but they also last 10 times longer as well which will save you money on purchasing light bulbs in a year’s time. Another great thing about using CFL’s is that they give out 75% less heat than your standard bulbs also.
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One practical way we suggest saving more money on our electric bills............

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Turning off Your Lights and Appliances When Not in Use
  • Make sure that you are turning off your lights if they are not being used. You wouldn’t believe how much money can be saved by doing this simple tactic. 
However, the biggest energy users in the household are your refrigerator, washer, and dryer. They will literally consume electricity up in a very short amount of time. 
  • Keep a check on the cooling elements of your refrigerator and clean them periodically to ensure that your refrigerator isn’t putting off more energy than it should be. You can find these cooling elements under your refrigerator and in the back of the refrigerator as well. 
  • Limit the amount of loads per day as for your washer and dryer. Try cutting down on the use of them. We don’t mean stop washing and drying your clothes altogether, but simply set one day per week to do all of your laundry. 

Many frugal families find it easier to set one day per week to do all of their laundry. Your key thing to making sure that you are saving as much energy as possible on lights as well as appliances is by making sure that they are turned off at all times when they are not in use.  Always REMIND your family that they practice these energy saving tips as well.  
 

Water Saving Tips
  • convert from taking baths to taking shorter showers.  Switching to taking showers vs. baths saves on the amount of water being used dramatically.  Getting the entire family to take showers as well is the key. 
  • lower the temperature of your water heater.  Adjusting your temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees will significantly help in your efforts to saving money! 
  • reduce the use of your sprinklers.  Try programming your sprinklers to run 3 days out of the week instead of daily… this is a big time money saver as well!  You can also purchase energy saving sprinklers that have been both tested and proven to save you on the amount of water being used per sprinkling session. 

You want to make sure that water is turned off when it is not in use, in cases such as washing dishes or brushing your teeth. 
 
  • checking to make sure that you don’t have any leaks in any of your water pipes.  A lot of the times people don’t think to check for leaks and their water bill could be decreased at a massive rate by ensuring that the leaks are repaired and no longer a leaking issue. 

Make sure that you educate your entire family on these energy saving tips and start watching the extra money in your pocket at the end of the month and cash in on the savings! Live as a Frugal Lifestyle Champion....

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Clothe Your Kids and Yourself on a Frugal Budget

Many people don’t realize that they can still dress fashionably without paying that "designer price tag", but you can! 

Here are a few pointers you may consider when deciding to start living as a frugal lifestyle champion....


Play Clothes vs. School Clothes--- Everyone knows that kids can be harsh on clothes especially when they are with their friends and playing in mud, dirt, and sand. You can save yourself money by making your kids change out of their “good” attire for school and public places and change into play clothes that you don’t care about getting stained or torn. 
Many people find cheap play clothes at secondhand thrift shops such as shirts, shorts, and pants for as cheap as Php50.00 / $1.25USD a pair. Why spend much money on clothes that are going to be messed up… in the end by providing your kids play clothes to change into after school, you will save yourself "tons" of money by not having to replace the “good” clothes as often.

Create Clothing Bins for Storage and Future Wear--- This is a great idea if you have more than one child and you can also use this for yourself and your spouse. What you want to do is create bins for clothes to store in your storage or attic. 
Each of the bins need to be labeled with the appropriate gender and size. You can also separate the bins in seasons if you’d like. If you have an older child and a younger child of the same gender, then this is a great way to store hand me down clothes when the younger child reaches the appropriate size to wear the clothes from the older sibling. 
Hand me down clothes are a great way to save money, and doesn’t have to be looked at as a bad thing. As long as the clothes are taken care off, they can virtually still look like new for the next kid coming up into the appropriate size. 

You can also shop secondhand thrift stores for future up sizes that your kids can grow in to. Remember that most secondhand thrift stores do have clothing items available that are from retailers of name brand clothing that literally still have the price tag on them, so take advantage of those savings and quality, even if your child isn’t that size just yet. 
You can easily store the clothes in a bin labeled with the size of the clothes and then when your child reaches that size you can use those clothes. You will be surprised to see exactly how much money you can save using this method… and still be able to have the name brand clothes that your children desire, just at a dramatically low price!

Shop for Discounts and Seasonal/Holiday Sales on Clothing Items to Store--- Each year clothing retailers will host a huge sale for all of their season ending clothes. This is a great way for you to get bargain prices on name brand clothes that the whole family will love. The trick to this savings is to shop for clothes that your child can wear for that next season or for the holiday, which is most commonly one to two sizes up from what they are wearing currently. You can great discounts on coats this way also. Many of the clothing retailers will have clothes marked down to even 80% off, which is a great savings and a way to get more clothing at a cheaper price. 

You may try doing this and you will be surprised how much you have saved yourself when you already have a wardrobe for both you and your family and spent only a fraction of the price that you would normally spend. Most department stores base their discounts per season, so keep your eyes peeled during the months of summer, fall, winter, and spring or holidays like Christmas for discounts and savings for the upcoming year’s wardrobe and save money the whole step of the way!

So the next time your deciding to hit up the sales and clearance racks for you and your families clothing, make sure that you use these helpful tips, strategies, and suggestions to save you cash and puts money that you would normally spend back into your pocket!    

Saturday, January 4, 2014

How to Shop as a Frugal Lifestyle Champion

One of your first steps to transforming your lifestyle into a “frugal lifestyle champion" is by changing your shopping patterns. There are many different ways for you to change the way you shop and come out with more money left in your wallet. 

Here are a few tips and suggestions that you may consider in shopping as a Frugal Lifestyle Champion.....


Plan Your Shopping Trip & STICK TO IT--- Many frugal families have found that taking one shopping trip a week cuts down on their living expenses as well as your gas expenses also. 
  • Keep a list on the refrigerator where members of your family can jot down “necessary” things that they need. 
  • Then on the set day, go through your list thoroughly and make sure that you have all of your necessities that are needed for the next week. 
  • You also need to plan your route to the different places that you will be shopping at. This can also help out on the amount of gas used to travel to each destination.  


Use Coupons As Much As Possible--- Coupons are very easy to find and let save you some money each week on common household items as well as food products. Your weekly newspaper most commonly comes out with a set of coupons each week that you can cut out and use for your next shopping trip. Coupons are a great way to start living as a frugal lifestyle champion and should be used each time you plan to go on a shopping trip for grocery and retail items...saving you MORE money at the checkout counter!


Use Wholesale Membership Clubs--- Wholesale membership clubs are places that you can buy items both grocery and retail items in bulk, saving you both time on shopping trips and money. Wholesale membership clubs is a great way to save money on everyday items that use which can be purchased in mass quantity at a lower rate than you would pay for the items individually. Although most of your wholesale clubs require you to pay a small membership fees you also receive additional benefits to being a member such as discounts on items such as store items, gas, tires, and much, much more.
For many people having an additional freezer in their garage or spare utility room and stocking up on frozen foods is a great way to buy items in quantity and using them for the whole month. You will be surprised at how much you save by using this method of shopping as a frugal lifestyle champion!!!


Use Secondhand Stores to Your Advantage--- Some people find themselves flocking towards thrift stores for many household items as well as clothing items. What people don’t realize is that many of the secondhand thrift stores are not just items that were previously used by others, but they also carry items used from retail stores after certain seasons are over. 
Many of your retail stores will have an overstock of items and at the end of the season will not sell their entire inventory; therefore they sell them at an incredibly low rate to secondhand shops.  So a lot of the times secondhand thrift shops will carry items that have not ever been worn or used and most to all still have the price tags still attached. Many of the items are even name brand products that you are purchasing for a fraction of the retail price.

Furniture outlets and upscale furniture stores also do the same thing as retail sellers. When an item as reflected as an “old” item and they still have tons of the same items in inventory, they too will sell the inventory to secondhand thrift shops for an amazingly low price. Many people are too embarrassed to shop at thrift shops for fear of their reputation being labeled as the “lower” class.  Our thoughts on this particular subject are quite frank, “How are people going to know where you purchased the items or clothing unless you tell them?” 
Like we have said before many top brand and names are sold in secondhand thrift shops and in excellent to “new” condition. So why not take advantage of the low prices and save yourself barrels of money that you would be spending for the same brands and items elsewhere?


Buy Generic vs. Name Brand Items--- To live as a frugal lifestyle champion, you should consider buying some generic items such as ketchup or shampoos, etc. -- however we are NOT suggesting you buy items that are inferior or do not meet your standards but as you know there are some things that you can get with a generic label which are "quality". 
This is one of the easiest ways to live cheaper and save you more money on common household items and food products. 
Many of top stores are beginning to create their own brands to some of your favorite items at of course a fraction of the price for the same name brand items, like Wal-Mart’s “Great Value” brand or Puregold's generic items, etc.. 
Retailers such as those we mentioned above have set their own brand new trend providing the same quality products as their name brand competitors. Spending your hard earned money on generic brand products will definitely show you a valuable savings at the cash register! So make sure you shop generic on all of your items for your household and your food products.


Do Your Very Own Comparison Shopping--- Research and find the lowest price possible for an item that you use daily, weekly, or even monthly. Where you might find one item cheaper at one place than another, the next week it may be the opposite way around.  So make sure that you keep a close eye on items that you purchase frequently to make sure that you are getting the best deal around!


Try Online Shopping--- Like we mentioned before, you can find many great deals on the same items that you would find in stores right from the convenience of your own home.  The best part is you can find many items online for cheaper than you would normally find at your local grocer or retail store and can even find special coupons and code redemptions to help you save even more! 

Although you have to pay for shipping most of the time, there are other cases where retailers and other sites offer free shipping when you have spent a certain amount at their site. This can also save you some money because now not only you are getting the discounted rate but you are also saving gas and shipping rates! What could be better than that!  Many families have found this to be a very affordable and “frugal” way of life and find that there is more money in their pocket as well in the end! 


WARNING! WARNING! WARNING - Avoid Impulse Purchases --- And last but certainly not least, you need to avoid impulse purchases at all times. Many people will find themselves wandering the isles of retail stores and grocers and find an item that they feel that just “have to” have. This is where mind control works into your play. 
You have to be able to tell yourself, “No!”  If this is not an item that is in your budget or that is not a “necessity” then you simply need to walk away from the item. 

Now there will be instances where you have a substantial amount of cash set back that you can treat yourself to a "small item" every once in a while. Granted that this is not an expensive item that is. Remember your goals and keep your frugal mindset in mind at all times when you are shopping. 
After a while of living as a frugal lifestyle champion you will find it easier and impulse purchases become a thing of the past!  Remember and keep in mind that you are living cheaper now so that you can live "richer" later!

Shopping for everyday household items and groceries doesn’t have to be a "wallets worst nightmare" every time you ring up your items at the checkout. Using these helpful tips and suggestion when changing your lifestyle to a frugal lifestyle champion can greatly help not only your savings for your future or debt, but also helps keep more money in your pocket than you have ever imagined!  Trust us… stick with these strategies and you will see the difference on your next shopping trip for both you and your family!