Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Whole wheat rolls

I made some whole wheat rolls from a recipe at recipezaar (which I really like). It was a huge hit with my partner.

Link for the rolls here

It does use one egg. Came out soft. I just subbed whole wheat for the white flour and added a little vital wheat gluten. They rose beautifully.

Hope you all had a great Christmas!!


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas things

Haven't been doing much of late, beside cooking and cleaning and working out and rehabbing my shoulder. Made wonderful whole wheat bread today and I'm making rolls from scratch for Christmas. We're not having anything fancy, just staying at home. Looking forward to the New Year!

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by, commented and especially those who have really made my day with their wonderful comments about my soft, tasty whole wheat bread. :)

Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 08, 2006

Need help with Biscuit recipe

I may be able to make whole wheat bread, but I have problems with biscuits. I've made this recipe about 4 times and while they are okay, they could be better. I've tried white flour and whole wheat, regular milk and soymilk. They never really rise or get fluffy at all.

Here's the recipe I'm using:

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter or margarine, cold
3/4 cup milk, cold

1. Preheat oven to 425 F Mix first 4 ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or a fork, or two knives, until crumbly.
3. Add milk.
4. Stir until it forms a ball.
5. Add a bit more milk if necessary to make a soft dough.
6. Roll or pat to 1 inch thick.
7. Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter or a floured glass.
8. Arrange on a greased baking sheet.
9. Bake in 425 F for about 10- 12 minutes or until risen and nicely browned. (in my oven it usually takes 15 minutes).

Any suggestions?


Friday, December 01, 2006

Oatmeal comparison

I keep an eye on what we eat, not just how much it costs. I try to avoid certain ingredients. I decided to compare oatmeal. I used Quaker Oats since they have a variety of products and the info is easily available. I would buy oatmeal in bulk, to save money.

Starting with the heartiest oatmeal. Quaker Steel Cut Oatmeal. 1/4 cup dry (40g)

Calories 150, from fat 25. Fat 2.5g Sodium 0 mg Carb 27g Fiber 4g Protein 5g

Next, Quaker Old Fashioned Oats 1/2 cup dry (40g)

Calories 150, from fat 25. Fat 3g Sodium 0 mg Carb 27g Fiber 4g Protein 5g
Ingredients: 100% NATURAL ROLLED OATS

Last, a new Quaker product, Quaker Weight Control Oatmeal. It comes in Cinnamon, Banana Bread and Maple/brown sugar flavors. These stats are for the Cinnamon version. 1 packet (45g)

Calories 160, from fat 25. Fat 3g Sodium 270 mg Carb 29g Fiber 6g Protein 7g

The calories and nutrient profiles are almost identical. However, the weight control oatmeal has several ingredients I try to stay away from. Whey protein doesn't bother me but it can cause mucus and congestion in a lot of people. I especially do not like Acesulfame Potassium and Sucralose, both artificial sweeteners, which I do not trust.

I am sure even if you bought the Quaker brands instead of bulk, the Weight Control oatmeal would be more expensive, for oats which are perfectly fine by themselves, without all the added chemicals.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Funny Wal-Mart Story

My partner works at Wal-Mart. For Christmas, they wanted their cashiers to wear Santa Hats. So, did they go to their Christmas section and get some? No, they went across the parking lot to the Dollar Tree store and bought them there!

So I guess the moral of the story is, when Wal-Mart can't afford to shop at Wal-Mart and must shop at Dollar Tree, it's time to worry about the economy.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Save on Prescription Drugs

This post is for those who live in Oregon. If you don't have prescription drug coverage and are a resident of Oregon, you can get a discount card for prescriptions free from the State. I'm not sure how much the discounts are, but I do know when the measure to expand this program to everyone (not just seniors) came up for a vote this year, no one was against it and the state said expanding it would actually save them money, due to bulk purchases.

Anyway, you can send in the very very short application after December 7, 2006, when the new program takes effect.

For you Oregonians, here is a link:

Oregon Prescription Drug Program.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Oven Fried Potato Wedges

I had a few potatoes from a ten pound sack that were getting old, so I made oven fried potato wedges. Came out really well. Used some olive oil, garlic powder and rosemary. Some organic ketchup and yum! a meal.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Great bread again!

I made my soft crust whole wheat bread again (recipe at this link).

It came out great again. Put one in the freezer for later in the week. My partner loves that bread and so do I. We use a presto bread cutting guide I picked up at Goodwill for a buck, still in the original box. Makes nice even slices.

No cooking today, my partner is off work and she did the cooking. Nice to have a day off!!


Saturday, November 11, 2006


Well, no bread or cookies today. I did spend two hours at a bubble tea shop writing. Got my daily quota done.

I did make TVP sausage and Table for Two's Potato Corn Chowder. Unfortunately, I fell asleep and burned the brown rice I was making. Not too badly at least.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Brussels Sprouts

Part of our dinner tonight was a recipe from Vegan with a Vengance. I love this cookbook.

I made Roasted brussels sprouts with toasted garlic. We've had it before and we both like it. Neither of us really ate brussels sprouts before.

Tomorrow I plan on making 2 loaves of bread, baking some chocolate chip cookies and maybe use up the last of the potatoes and make Potato corn chowder from Table for Two. I am also going to a Nanowrimo write-in at this bubble tea shop. Went last Saturday and it was nice. I'm about 3K words behind, but I'll make it up soon.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A fixed oven!

Ever since we moved into this apartment, (1.5 years ago), we've had a problem with the oven. It's gotten worse as time has passed. We have an oven thermometer inside and to get the right temperature, we would have to make adjustments. For instance, to get a temp of 400, I'd have to set the dial at about 360. It made baking things quite an adventure.

Monday we had some problems with the lights in the kitchen, so I called the apartment manager about that and about the oven. The guy came today, fixed the light problem and fixed the oven. The sensor rod thing wasn't attached in the right place. So now it works.

Baking should be a lot less interesting now. I like it!


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Payclix a ripoff

I received something from my apartment management company, which is a very large company. It promoted a site called payclix.com. 'Free registration' 'no monthly fees' 'pay your rent online'. So I went to look at it.

Yes, registration is free. If, however you want to make a payment online, you pay. To save the apartment management company time and processing costs (by sending in a paper check), for that privelege you get to pay this payclix place either $4.95 for a direct debit from your checking account (ACH) or you can use Visa/Mastercard credit card, or Visa (and only Visa) debit card for a fee of $19.90. Each month. What a ripoff. They want you to pay for saving your landlord money.

Mind you, this won't work for us. Even if we were stupid enough to do it. We have a Mastercard debit card, which they don't take.

I sincerely hope no one is dumb enough to do this. Personally, I take the check down in person and get a date stamped receipt.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Frugality vs Value/Health

I love a bargain. Even more so now that I am living a much much more frugal lifestyle. But I think a lot of people think being frugal means you buy the cheapest of everything, especially when it comes to food. In my case at least, that's not necessarily the case.

We spend a lot less on food than we used to, but we also eat much healthier food than we used to. One example is bread. We eat whole wheat bread. Sometimes I buy 100% whole wheat bread from the store (no hfcs of course) when the price is good. But I also make whole wheat bread at home. Now, I certainly could buy really really cheap flour to make bread and biscuits and so on with. But I don't. I feel it worth the extra money to buy Bob's Red Mill flour, which is a high quality flour. Now, I do try to save money on the Bob's Red Mill products. Luckily the company hq/store is about 3 miles away, and they have the best prices in the area. So I go there. If you buy a case, you get 10% more off a good price. The point is, I am willing to pay a little more to get high quality ingredients for something I make.

The same principle applies to margarine. I could buy all kinds of cheap margarine. Instead, I pay more for the green Earth Balance Margarine spread and the Earth Balance buttery sticks. They use healhier oils for their margarines, we love the taste and it spreads great. This is another case where a healthy option for food trumps saving a little money buying the less healthy product.

So, just because you are trying to be frugal, does not mean you can only buy and use the cheap stuff. I figure it's worth it. I might spend ten bucks a month more on margarine and flour, but that healthier option might one day save me 50K in medical bills. Well worth it.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Chocolate chip cookies

I promised my partner chocolate chip cookies on her day off, so I made them today. She also loves the dough, so I let her have quite a bit of that too. :)

I just used the standard toll house recipe, using Earth balance sticks instead of butter of course. They came out chewy, just the way we both like them. I found a site called Cooking for Engineers which had a very interesting article about how to make cookies either chewy or more crunchy. It looks like a fun site.

I used Trader Joe's semi-sweet chips, which are at least a dollar cheaper than the name brands. This was also the first time I used my KitchenAid mixer to make cookies. Worked wonderfully.

Also, my friend Katie at Frugal Veggie Mama tried my bread recipe and really liked it!! I'm glad that it is cool out now and I can bake bread and such as much as I want.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Baking Adventures

Yesterday I made muffins and biscuits. The muffins were a standard type of recipe and I added some Trader Joe's cocoa powder. They came out ok, but not a lot of flavor. Needed more sugar, maybe.

The biscuits came out better. I usually just make drop biscuits, but this time I rolled them. The first batch came out good, the second batch was more rolled of course and they came out flatter. They still tasted good though. My partner is having a couple for breakfast with apple butter (homemade of course!).

I'm actually going to have to buy more baking powder in a month or so. This is the first time in my life I've ever actually baked so much I need to buy more.

I also made crockpot spanish rice for the second time. It's really good and I'll eat it for lunch and I'll mix in pinto beans for a dinner or two for us.

Today I plan to make bread and Monday or Tuesday I'm going to make chocolate chip cookies for my partner. I don't have a recipe so I'll have to check my cookbooks.

I also want to try VwaV Fetticine Alfreda. A local veggie blogger raved about it and I do have pine nuts in the house.

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Potato corn Chowder

I finally got around to making Table for Two's Potato Corn Chowder yesterday. It came out great! When I eat it, I add just a little bit of salt. The veggies are all cooked, yet still firm. I love that it turns out so creamy. I use very little soymilk to the blended potatoes.

Here's a closeup picture of all the loveliness! :) No celery though, I don't have any.


Sunday, October 15, 2006


I've also switched to the new Blogger beta. I don't notice much change yet.

I've been cooking a lot lately. I tried making seitan yesterday. I've made it twice before and it came out great. This time it was not very good.

It's rainy and cool here in Portland today and so I think later today I will make some of Jo Stepaniak's Potato Corn chowder from her book Table for Two. I love a lot of the recipes in that book. I make 1000 island dressing for salads from a recipe of hers.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Busy, busy

I've been busy the last few days. I've made VwaV Peanut butter oatmeal cookies, chicken stock, bread, cooked a beef roast and sliced it up and put the drippings in the freezer for yorkshire pudding. I've shopped, being very frugal and getting a lot of good deals. I love Trader Joes. It allows me to shop healthy, without breaking the bank.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Well, I made my improved bread recipe again today and the crust came out great again, softer, instead of rock hard. You can take a slice and fold it to make a half sandwich. So, here's the recipe. This makes two average size loaves of bread or one quite large one.

3-4 cups whole wheat flour (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten (Bob's Red Mill again)
1 tsp salt
3 tbl olive oil
4 tbl honey
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 pkg regular yeast or 4 tsp yeast

Measure out the first three ingredients into a bowl, set aside. Mix in
a bowl the water (110-120 degrees), olive oil, honey and yeast. Slowly
mix in the flour (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer). Dough should be not
sticking to the sides of the bowl. I usually end up using 3 1/2 cups
of flour. I let my mixer knead the dough for 7-8 minutes. If you
knead by hand, knead for 10-12 minutes. Wheat bread needs a longer
knead time.

Place in oiled bowl in warm place, covered by a towel or plastic wrap,
for about an hour or until about double in size. Punch down, turn out
of bowl. I make the dough into a ball and use a serrated knife to cut
in half. Shape each half into a rectangular roll and place in loaf
pans. Cover and let rise about 45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for
25-30 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped.

I'd love to hear how this recipe works for you.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Frugal Reading

I got the most recent issue of our library newsletter. Some interesting statistics I wanted to share. I go to the Multnomah County Library here in Portland.

We had the highest circulation per capita of any library in the country, plus the lowest cost per circulation. I guess the library here is frugal too!!

One statistic that really struck me. Multnomah County (Portland OR) has a population of 692.823. Cardholders number 455.296 or 66% of population. That's amazing to me. Circulation last year was 19.589.530 or 28 items per capita. I guess we do read and watch DVDs during our overcast, rainy winter!

I take advantage of the library. I hardly ever buy books anymore and I get virtually all the movies/TV shows/audio courses I use from the library. The ultimate frugal resource!


Friday, September 29, 2006

Food list

Yesterday I went through the shelves, the freezer and refrigerator and wrote down what food we have. Since money has been really tight lately, we haven't been able to restock like we normally would.

So I printed out the food list and made menus for the next week, till we get paid again. I don't know if other people who are trying to be frugal do the same thing (the food list, not the menus). It's rather interesting to see what you have that hasn't been used in a while and what moves quickly.

I'm making bread today, but using up an old box of bread machine bread mix, which I'm making the regular way. I'll do my recipe in a couple of days.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Finally great bread!

I've been making bread for a while now (although not much during the summer due to heat). Anyway, my loaves haven't been as light as I'd like and the crust was rock hard. I did a little asking around and research online and made some modifications today to my recipe. It worked great. One, I ended up with 2 loaves instead of one. The crust is softer, more like store bread. And it tastes great!

I increased the honey and olive oil, increased the vital wheat gluten a little and increased the Kitchen Aid mixing time up to 8-10 minutes. I also changed the temperature and time spent baking. I'll try this recipe again next time and if it still works, I'll post it here.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Corn day

Yesterday I was busy cooking. I cooked up some brown rice in the good ole Nesco Roaster, I made homemade polenta and corn muffins.

For dinner, my partner had leftover chili with the corn muffins, which is from a recipe from Jennifer at the Vegan Lunch Box. Moist, sweet and it doesn't crumble. They tasted great.

For my dinner, I sliced up some polenta and broiled it. Didn't make it real crispy. My partner had some for dessert with butter and syrup (it's a southern thing). I had it with pasta sauce and Trader Joes Meatless Meatballs.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pizza Picture!

I made the homemade pizza again last night. First time I had ever used frozen dough. It came out great again. So I decided to take a picture. Tasted yummy!


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Yarn Finds

I've been trying to learn how to knit, mostly to save money. I did find out that many kinds of yarn are outrageously expensive. One sweater pattern I saw, were I to buy the yarn suggested, would have cost $150 in yarn alone, not to mention the labor involved.

So I was looking through my 'Learn to Knit' book and I needed different kinds of yarn and colors and weights to practice little projects on. I want to make my partner a heavy sweater/jacket for spring and fall, ultimately.

So, I went to a nearby Goodwill store. SCORE! I spent $2 on a bunch of random yarns. I have to untangle and wind some of it but still. I even came across a crochet hook (which can be of use in knitting, surprisingly) tucked in one large skein.

Even better, I found four new skeins of the exact yarn needed for the sweater I want to make for $4 total. Normally it goes for $5 each. So I snapped that up then went to Joann's to get two more skeins of the same color (where the yarn was on sale and I had a 10% off coupon. So now I am set! I'm very happy about my finds.

Being frugal can be fun!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

VwaV Pizza report

I made pizza today from Vegan with a Vengeance. I made the sauce just as she has it, and it came out great. I did puree it, since my partner doesn't like tomato chunks in her sauces.

I followed the crust recipe except for subbing one cup of ww bread flour and a dash of gluten flour for a cup of white flour. I put half in the freezer for another day. It came out great. It stretched out well and baked well.

I've never made pizza completely from scratch before. I also marinated chicken breast in olive oil, Braggs and some Mccormick all purpose seasoning and then grilled them. I like chicken on my pizza. We also had mushrooms and black olives on it. Took only 11 minutes at 475 degrees.

All in all, another great recipe from VwaV. I plan on making the chickpea-broccoli casserole from it tomorrow. It's started getting overcast and drizzly here, so that sounds really tasty right now.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Frugal Chicken

Fred Meyer had a sale on family packs of split chicken breasts. Now normally, I buy the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. But with the dearth of money lately, I've been looking for a cheaper alternative. So I bought 6 pounds of chicken breast for .99 a pound. I took the breast meat off, got a bunch for grilling later. Also ended up with some breast tenderloin pieces, which I used in a stirfry for dinner last night. And I put all the skin and fat and bones into my big stockpot along with 75 cents worth of veggies and made chicken soup/stock. I'm going to keep looking for these kind of deals and get a lot more food for a lot less money.

I also found the local Franz bakery thrift store. I'll have to stop by there and see what kind of deals they have. There is also a produce store that always shows good prices on their signs outside. I will check that place out also.

I can't wait for apples to get cheap again. They are so expensive right now. I like to give one to my partner for her lunch, but they have been so pricey, she's been getting canned pineapple chunks instead.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I've found some good deals at Fred Meyer's or Freddies, as most people here call them. I think we'll have enough money left after paying the utilities to be able to buy some of the things they have on sale this week. It will help if gas keeps going down in price.

Thank goodness for the great Multnomah County Library. It helps keep me well supplied with books and videos.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Ah Fall!

I love fall, autumn, whatever you call it. It's my favorite season and my favorite time of year. Since moving to Portland 4 years ago, spring has moved up into second place. Spring is beautiful here, all the trees and roses and flowers blooming. But I don't know, maybe it's because I always loved going back to school, but this is my favorite time.

Money has been really tight here for a while and will continue to be so for a while yet. I've had no luck finding a job. I'm either overqualified (for office work) or under-certified (for computer work). So, I'm doing my best to just make what money we have stretch farther.

Our utilities are mostly as low as they can go. Phone is basic, no long distance (we use a phone card) or caller id or any of that. Cable is basic, and costs $13.50 a month. We do have cable internet, but we've talked about it and we are not willing to a. give up internet or b. go back to dialup. Electric varies month to month. Summer is about $55 per month, up to $100 in the winter (electric heat). My partner and I did have a talk about heat this winter and what temperatures to use to save.

It's funny, I was a kid in the 70s and my father brought home from General Electric (where he worked) switchplates that said something about turning off the lights when you leave a room. I got into the habit of being very conservative about leaving lights on and I still am. I know that helps a little. I'd love to buy those compact florescent bulbs to save energy, but they are so expensive, we can't afford them.

Our rent has gone up $50 in the last year. Still, our rent is pretty low and we have a free storage unit. Car payment has about a year left and our insurance (with Geico) is pretty low. I check around every six months and haven't found anything cheaper. The only problem is to get low rates we have a high deductible, so we hope nothing happens, basically.

The problem is, after rent, car, insurance and utilities, we have about 50 bucks for every two weeks. Gas costs us about 20 bucks every two weeks. We can get bus tickets for 16.50 for 10, but we haven't had the money for that since our last batch ran out. So I mainly try to be frugal with the grocery money, such as it is.

I've been buying frozen veggies from Fred Meyers, that way I don't have the problem of varying produce prices and the problem of us not using stuff up before it gets nasty. I buy eggs 5 dozen at a time, which I get for 7 cents an egg. We buy whole wheat muffins and bread. I buy couscous, brown rice, oats, barley, tvp, and beans in bulk.

I do bake bread sometimes, but I have a problem. My crust always comes out really hard and neither of us really likes that. I don't know how to get it to be at least a little softer.

When we eat meat, it's more of a condiment than a main course. We've started to run into the problem of running out of staples, like mustard or pickles and having a hard time buying more. It's really quite a juggling act.

No real point to this post, except I'd be happy to hear any suggestions you have for stretching money further than we already are.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Some details

I wanted to clear something up here. I am not a vegan, I'm not even vegetarian. I eat eggs, chicken, turkey, some beef, shrimp. No dairy. I do eat vegetarian dishes often and I use meat as more of a garnish than a main entree. That said, most of the blogs I read on a daily basis are vegan/vegetarian.

I've been updating my price book. Prices do change over time as well as sizes change (sneaky stores!) I found out today that a local Albertsons is closing in October. I've found since the price book I hardly ever go there. It used to be fairly cheap but about 2-3 years ago they went to one of those 'preferred customer' cards and the prices went up. Even their sales aren't very good. My preferred place to shop is Fred Meyer's. Lots of healthy vegetarian options and good prices.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Frugal pays off

I've been doing the frugal thing for a while now. I've learned a lot. Now that money is tight for us, it's really starting to pay off. I know what prices are good and jump on a good deal. I've stocked up on things, so we don't have to run out and buy something full price just because we need it right now. We are eating healthy and have lots of good food available.

I guess I'm saying, stick with it. It will pay off, sometimes right away, sometimes in the long run.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Saving gas

Gas is still quite pricey here (about 2.92 a gal regular) so we've been trying to save on gas. My partner takes the bus sometimes to/from work. I plan trips to go in a circle, to avoid driving distances. I have also taken to riding my bike to the library and for some grocery shopping. That is very frugal, not to mention earth friendly and personally healthy.

I've been loving the Braggs aminos in stuff. I only wish I hadn't waited so long to try it.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Misc Items

I've been using Braggs and I like it. I did notice that I used a little too much yesterday and the taste stayed with me for a few hours. Today I used less and it was fine.

I've been getting harmful ingredients out of the things we eat. High fructose corn syrup, sodium nitrate, trans fats, MSG and so on. We eat whole grain and a lot more fruits and veggies. And, today my partner weighed herself (cause she tried on some shorts and they were way loose) and she had lost about 8 pounds in the last month and a half. Without really trying. YAY!

In a way, her being busy at work and a bit of a procrastinator, helped. I don't buy some foods she might like because I feel that they would be unhealthy for her. I tell her, go ahead, go buy them yourself. And she never gets to the store, so she doesn't eat the bad stuff! You who push the grocery cart, wield real power!! :)


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Braggs Aminos

After reading a lot about Braggs (from frugal veggie mama and others), I finally bought some. I've been using La Choy low sodium soy sauce. I bought some Braggs and did a taste test. Very very close in taste. The soy sauce is darker, but that's because it's colored. So, I'm happy with the purchase. I'll give it a try in cooking tomorrow.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Meatball comparison

I did the Nates/TJ's meatless meatball comparison test. Now, I've never had either before. I picked one from each package, about the same size. Heated them up in the oven. Cut them in half and tried them. They look the same, inside and out and I couldn't tell any difference between them. I did like them. So, I think they are at least made in the same place, if not by Nate's directly.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Meatless Meatballs

Did a little shopping this morning. Found a couple of nice frozen vegetable blends. One is called fiesta blend and the other a stir fry veggie blend. The fiesta blend has broccoli, carrots and about 5 types of beans.

I also went to Trader Joe's today. I bought some of their meatless meatballs. In the freezer I also have some of Nate's classic flavor meatless meatballs. I am wondering whether Nate's is the source for the TJ meatballs. The ingredient list is exactly the same, as is the wording for the cooking. I'm going to do a taste test later today or tomorrow and see if I can tell any difference.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Frozen muffins

A while back I had made quinoa muffins. They were pretty good. No way I could eat all of them at the time, so I froze them. Unfroze one today and it wasn't very good. It got hard and not very tasty. I only ate half. I like them because they give you fiber and protein. I'll just eat what I can. Not sure of any way to sort of recycle them.

Made some brown rice yesterday. I like brown rice and canned beans with spices or salsa as a quick meal.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Just a few things

I've been cooking a lot lately. Made TVP sausage and baked it instead of frying it. It turned out better I think. Also bought some jicama and we'll be trying that today. Yesterday I made the 'Amazing Mac and Cheeze Sauce" from the Uncheese cookbook. It was okay, but didn't taste quite right. Did go over the pasta nicely though.

The other day here in Portland I saw something I haven't seen in a long time. I was waiting at a corner, to make a turn. I was turning onto Powell, which there is 5 lanes across. I saw a younger woman (late teens early 20s) helping an elderly lady who was unsteady on her feet, to cross the street. I assumed it was a grandmother/daughter. But it wasn't. The older lady thanked the younger and they went their separate ways. That is one of the (many) things I love about Portland. People here are truly nice. You wouldn't think that you are in a large metro area.

Here, people avoid blocking crosswalks so pedestrians and bikes can cross. As you leave a Trimet bus, people will thank the driver. There are jerks and idiots as in any city. But you don't notice them much here, at least I don't.

Money is getting really tight for us now, so all of what I've learned about frugality I will have to use to an even greater extent. Luckily, I have stocked up over the past months, so I have all the basics I need. We will manage pretty well, I think.


Thursday, May 04, 2006


I made polenta from corn grits yesterday. In the evening, I used some of it to make polenta fries. A big hit. Tonight I'm using a recipe from vegweb for Polenta Tamale pie, except I don't have any ground soy meat, so I'm using Morningstar Farms beef strips. I've had those before, and they are pretty bland, but tasty if you use spices.

I've been enjoying orange juice with ground golden flaxseed meal in it in the moring and evening. Got the flaxseed from Bob's Red Mill, it's cheaper at the company store which isn't far from me.


Saturday, April 29, 2006


This past week I tried making tempeh bacon and tempeh sausage crumbles, using recipes from Vegan with a Vengance. I don't think there was anything wrong with the recipes, I just didn't like the... mouth feel I guess, of the tempeh. So I won't be trying that anytime soon again.

I do hope to make seitan later this week. I made (again from Vegan with a Vengance) roasted brussels sprouts and chickpea broccoli casserole this week. Very good.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Made a dishwasher detergent

Well, sort of. I used the recipe from frugalveggiemama for cheaper dishwasher detergent.

I had bought Seventh Generation powdered dishwasher detergent (for $4.29). Put in one cup of that, one cup of borax, one cup of washing soda. Did a test load and it worked great. Didn't put in any rinse agent, like vinegar, but the glases came out squeaky clean! So, it's a winner.

As we use up what cleaning products we have, I'll be substituting cheaper and non-toxic products.

Now I just have to find out if Bi-o-kleen hand dishwashing liquid can be cut with water. Trying to do that with softsoap did not work well. I'd like to use this stuff for handsoap too.


Friday, April 14, 2006

Personal care products

I've been using Jason Naturals Healthy Mouth toothpaste for a couple of weeks now. I really like it. I like the taste and it seems to have reduced the sensitivity in one tooth that needs some work. Unfortunately, my partner doesn't like the clove oil that's in it (I can't even taste it). The flavors are tea tree oil and cinnamon.

I am also using as deodorant Crystal Stick Body Deodorant. My partner will get one when her current deodorant runs out. I like it and it seems to work quite well.

Baking bread today and having more roasted brussels sprouts tomorrow. Got some huge organic sprouts at New Seasons yesterday.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies (VWAV)

Last night I made 'Big Gigantoid Crunchy Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies' from the book Vegan with a Vengeance.

I've never liked peanut butter oatmeal cookies but these are tasty. I used Trader Joes Natural unsalted Peanut butter. Since the recipe called for chunky PB, I shelled some peanuts I had and put those in. Mixed it up in the Kitchenaid and yum! And yes, they are huge.

So far, I've liked the recipes I've tried from this cookbook. I'm glad I bought it.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Garlic

I had this recipe from Isa Moskowitz's Vegan with a Vengeance. I was skeptical, but she came through. I only made a few sprouts, which I've never really liked before.

They were very tasty, easy to make and eat. And I loved the toasted garlic bits too. I guess I'll be adding brussels sprouts to my shopping list now!


Thursday, April 06, 2006


Did some shopping today. Stopped by a place called the People's Coop, which is really close to my house. It's a bit pricey, but they have all kinds of neat stuff.

They have just about everything in bulk. Cleaners, brown rice vinegar, agave nectar, all kinds of things. I picked up some slightly chunkier (although still smallish pieces) of TVP there. My partner really likes Russell's TVP sausage recipe and asked me to make more. So I made that tonight.

I bought some dish soap, forgot the brand, I'll write it down later. I"m planning to dilute a bit. I should have bought some powder dishwasher detergent, I'll get that later. I still have to find glycerin though, for making laundry detergent. What we have will last quite a while, still.

I have some Revere ware copper bottom pots. I read that baking soda will clean the tarnish off. Didn't work. I have 'Bar Keeper's Friend', that does work. Not sure if there is anything I need to add to the baking soda to make it work.

Just a lot of random stuff today! Tomorrow, steamed veggies! :)


Friday, March 31, 2006

Getting some sun!

It was fairly warm and sunny today in Portland, so I sat outside my apartment, read about half of Vegan with a Vengance, and got my Vitamin D fix. I wrote an article about why sunlight is important and especially for dark skinned folks living in the US, particularly the northern half.

I try to get about 15-20 minutes of sun (no sunscreen) whenever I can. I also supplement with cod liver oil pills during the winter here, when we get no sun.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Pizza night

We had homemade pizza last night for dinner. I made the pizza sauce from a recipe in Table for Two, and since I didn't have time to learn how to make pizza dough, I bought two premade crusts from New Seasons market, a brand call Vicolo. The crusts were whole wheat and cornmeal.

I also made Russell's TVP sausage (from Ruthies blog). It worked out great on the pizza. I didn't have chunks of TVP, just the small crumbly kind. I don't know if I've ever really seen chunks of it.

My partner and I put on whatever we liked and baked it for about 18 minutes. Very good.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Quinoa Muffin picture

I decided to post a picture of the Golden Quinoa muffins I made. They taste great. This picture is of one whole muffin and one split in half.

Today I'm making pizza sauce and trying Russell's TVP sausage for the top of the pizza.

Friday, March 24, 2006


I tried a Golden Quinoa muffin recipe from Bob's Red Mill. Their quinoa is high quality and already rinsed, which is really nice.

Here is the link for the recipe. It came out good, if a bit crunchy. I think the boiling water wasn't quite hot enough. But they are tasty.

I also used the Nesco to make brown rice and I'm making apple butter tomorrow. I plan on making frugalveggiemama's apple pull aparts sometime this weekend.

I'm trying to learn knitting. So far I'm not very good at it (stitches are super tight). Hopefully by next winter I can make us sweaters.

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Spring has sprung!

Here in Portland spring is well on it's way. The cherry trees are in bloom, a couple of flowering bushes are blooming, and daffodils are all up and the tulips are on their way.

The big planter I have outside the door of our apartment did hold fuschias. The last cold air/gorge wind blast we had killed them so I need to figure out what to put in them for this summer. Maybe pansys.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Food experiments

The last two days I've been trying new recipes.

First up was black bean soup. Not sure where I got the recipe from. It's supposed to be spicy, chili-like. It was pretty good, but my partner would have liked more spice and less water. Not sure if I'll make that again.

I made whole wheat muffins with brown sugar on top. They came out great. I also over the last week made 2 cornbreads. First one was a recipe from Bob's Red Mill off their cornmeal package. It was okay, but dry and crumbly. Next I tried a vegan cornbread recipe from Jennifer at veganlunchbox. It was a hit! Tasty and it held together much better.

Off a great recomendation from Katie at frugalveggiemamma, I made seitan from Vegan with a Vengance, which I had recently picked up. It was pretty good. Of course I'd never had seitan before, so hard to tell exactly.

Last night I tried making Breaded Seitan Nuggets, from Jo Stepaniak's book, Table for Two. It came out fine. You need to eat them hot (I used BBQ sauce to dip them in.) I need to make them crispier though. Otherwise, I liked them.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Going along

I've just been busy searching for bargains, finding ways to stretch what we have and planning for spring. We can't grown vegetables here, so I am looking into a CSA. There are several around here.

However, while we both like veggies, we don't like all of them and we are afraid a lot of what we get won't be used and thus waste our money. So we're still thinking about it.

Tried a couple of recipes, for wholewheat pancakes and bread. Both worked well. I still have a biscuit and a muffin recipe to try out.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

High gear

I'm going to have to shift into high gear on being frugal. Our money flow is reducing, so we need to make our money count.

I'm lucky to live about 2 miles from Bob's Red Mill, a wonderful source of whole grains and lots of other useful stuff. I got 8 ou of active yeast for $3.19, Fleishmann's 4 oz at the grocery store was $7.99. They have packaged flours of all kinds, beans, rice, and everything is also available in bulk. I did check and bulk is only cheaper if you only need a little bit. If you buy boxes of 4, you get an additional 10% off, and about 10 items are on sale each month. And it's kinda cool to be able to say hi to Bob, as in the owner. They also have a great, healthy restaurant there, with lots of vegan choices. They also have flaxseed, gluten free things, it's great.

I went there because we were running low on Bisquick. I saw the price and said no. We don't use it that much. Instead I bought Bob's whole wheat pastry flour, to make pancakes and biscuits and so on. Their stone ground ww flour is great in my breads.

I've kept up my price book and know just where to go to find the best daily prices. And I use cairo.com and my links to all the local stores online ads to see what might be worth buying.

We do have a lot of food in the house, so we will start using that up first, to limit the funds we need to spend on groceries.

Thanks to frugalveggiemama and others, I have a lot of great ideas and recipes to use.

Have a great rest of the week!


Saturday, February 11, 2006

I'm going to Iwerk World!

Okay, you're wondering about the title of this post. It has nothing to do with frugality, but it is funny.

The funniest headline I've ever seen, that was absolutely true: "Al Michaels traded by Disney to NBC for a rabbit". This article on Salon.com explains it, but the gist of it is:

Disney owns ESPN and ABC. They released Al Michaels from his contract with them (for baseball and football) so he can do football for NBC. ESPN get the rights to do some rebroadcasts of golf from NBC, as well as extended highlights from other NBC sports events. In return, Disney gets the rights to 26 shorts featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, created for Universal in 1927. The next year, the Disney company was started and Mickey Mouse was created.

And the title of the post? Well, Oswald and Mickey were created by Walt Disney, and his partner, whose name was... Ub Iwerks. I'm just glad they named everything after Walt!!


What I've Learned

I've been working on trying to be more frugal for a while now and so though I'd post some things that I've learned.

I keep a price book and update it regularly. I use cairo.com to find what's on sale at all the stores in my area. I visit several thrift stores monthly as I happen to go past them, to see what sales are upcoming.

I buy in bulk when I can. This is limited by the amount of storage we have in an apartment. I cook ahead of time when I can, use what needs to be used up or what's getting old, not wasting food.

Most importantly, I've learned to say no when shopping, to things we don't really need, or that are not healthy for us.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006


I usually buy brown rice in bulk from Fred Meyer's. It's .99 a pound, everyday. However, it does pay to read the ads. I found Fred Meyer had 2 pound bags of brown rice for .99. I bought 2 of them.

Across the street from Freddies is a thrift shop I go to. Their sign read 50% off Mon Feb 20. So I've got that down on my calendar. I need a few things that I can look for there.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Free is good!

Free is good and frugal right? And being organized is good too. I tended to have papers strewn about my desk, with little bits and pieces written on them. I don't do that anymore.

I found a site called Peanut Butter Wiki. It's free. Now, in case you don't know what a wiki is, it's web pages, which are very easy to edit. You can easily link pages. I use mine for two things. One is writing resources and ideas. The other is for frugal and veggie information. I have pages just for recipes, one that's a listing of meal ideas I've collected from Vegsource and others. Everything is there, and if I need a paper copy of a recipe, for instance, I just print that out. It's easy to setup and like I said, free.

You can keep it private, (which is what I've done) or you can allow selected people to view it and/or edit it. Give them a try, it's easy. They have a tour available as well.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006


On Friday, I made a red lentil roast, and it tasted good. My partner liked it too. But something in it didn't agree with us. So, we'll see about making it again.

I've been finding some great deals. Eating really healthy, and saving money. I've also been working out 6 days a week (Power 90 is the program) and I feel great and have lost 10 pounds.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Eating good and exercising

Yep, I've been doing both those things you're supposed to do. And enjoying it! I'm working out 6 days a week and loving it!

I'm also eating healthy and frugally. Lots of rice and beans and veggies and whole grains. I'm enjoying it all.

Tried a cheese fondue recipe from shmoo's mother. Didn't care for the taste.


Friday, January 06, 2006

Plans for Saturday

My partner is working 9-6, so after I take her to work, I'll come home and have breakfast.

I'm going to have oatmeal, with Grape-nuts added, and I'm going to try it with some added cinnamon and a little bit of real maple syrup.

I'll do my workout sometime in the morning.

Cooking tomorrow, I'm going to make hummus from scratch for the first time. Dinner will be a quinoa pilaf.

I may try to make mac & cheese again. I have two recipes, one from frugal veggie mama and another one.

My partner is enjoying the healthier eating. And we are saving money, even though we are actually buying some pricier stuff, like ketchup without corn syrup, and Earth Balance margarine. But home cooking is cheaper, even if an ingredient is slightly more money.

I made a pasta chili tonight from a McDougall cookbook, slightly modified. I used a can of Health Valley veggie chili, 8 ou tomato sauce, garlic and onion powder, 1/2 can of pinto beans and about a half cup of Pace Picante Mild. Mixed up with pasta and had some bread on the side.


Monday, January 02, 2006

2006 Resolutions

A day late, but what the heck! :)

Lose weight, a lot of it.
Continue to eat healthy, mostly vegan.
Get rid of foods with health-destroying ingredients, like hydrogenated oils, msg, yeast extract, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, and so on.
Drink lots of water.
Exercise 3-4 times a week.
Exercise frugality and save money!