Saturday, December 15, 2007

Some frugality, some not so

We've been doing some frugal things and some not so frugal.

My partner needed a good keychain for her keys from work. She wanted a carabiner type thing. We were going to buy one till I remembered that a small maglite flashlight I had gotten as a gift from a place I worked at. It had a keychain just like that with it. So, no money spent.

We did go to a play. This is the first time we've done something like this in the five years we've lived her. We could never afford to do anything like this. We bought tickets for "A Christmas Carol". We enjoyed ourselves immensely and felt it was well worth it. Maybe not frugal, but we got a great deal out of spending that money.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Frugal Cooking

I take a lot of my inspiration from Katie at my favorite blog, Frugal Veggie Mama. I had some leftover stew with pinto beans, corn, some brown rice and diced tomatoes. I read through some of her old posts and came across two I used. One had Ruthies cornbread recipe and one mentioned a sort of cornbread chili pie.

So I took my beans and corn, added in some tomato paste, water, some fresh mushrooms, chili powder and cumin and some onion/garlic powder. Made the cornbread and put it in a pan, making sides to it. Here's how it turned out:

The other day I made sourdough bread from my 1834 Oregon Trail starter. Turned out great, with a good sourdough taste. This morning I made Fronch toast with it, a recipe from Vegan with a Vengance. Very filling. Here's what a slice of the sourdough looked like:

For lunch at work today I have black bean soup with homemade corn chips. Love this soup!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Getting Ready

I've been getting ready for Thanksgiving here. Luckily both myself and my partner are off on Thursday. I've been cleaning out the refrigerator of leftovers so we'll have room for more leftovers!

I had some pasta sauce sitting there and I had bought several boxes of Golden Grain multi-grain spaghetti at 50% off, so I made a nice baked spaghetti with parmesan puffs. They didn't puff all that well, but they tasted okay.

I'm going to try some different things with the stuffing. Definitely add some pine nuts. My partner also loves those toasted, just to munch on.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 12, 2007

Tasty Eating

My body has been rebelling lately at all the junky food I've been feeding it. So I'm trying to turn over a new leaf. I went to Dr McDougalls Free program and printed up some recipes. Today I'm trying the day one recipes. I made the savory chickpeas and put them on some whole wheat bread (after letting it sit overnight to blend the flavors). I also made my version of black bean soup and also made up some baked corn chips to put in the soup.

For breakfast, I made steel cut oats, a new favorite. I had only eaten quick cooking oats before and no matter how thick I made them, they were never thick enough. The steel cut are chewier and just what I like. I soak them overnight then just heat them up for about 10 minutes in the morning. I put in a little bit of maple syrup and some cinnamon.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Busy, busy

I've been quite busy recently. Working full time of course, taking care of the apartment and yes, doing some cooking. I've made a couple of recipes from Isa's Veganomicon. The chickpea cutlets were quite tasty. The creamy tomato soup came out all right, but I didn't have enough tomatoes to make it correctly.

I needed a new non stick skillet, as my previous one had the coating starting to peel. I had a $35 gift card from Sears from work, so I bought a T-fal 9 inch skillet, (made in France). Didn't cost me anything due to the gift card. It has a black enamel on the outside and a neat red spot in the middle that changes when the pan is preheated.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday cooking

I was home so I did some cooking on Thursday.

First up is some skillet cornbread, using Ruthie's recipe. It came out fine, but a bit dry for my taste.

Here is it, fresh out of the cast iron skillet:

And here is the first slice:

I also made a new recipe, Potato soup with whole-wheat dumplings. It made a mess of my stove, but it tasted good.

This last one is homemade biscuits. I followed a recipe from Hillbilly Housewife. I did sub Earth balance for shortening. This is the first time my biscuits came out high and fluffy. I was so happy!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Change Begins at Home Award

Wow! My friend Katie has nominated me for the Change Begins at Home Award. This award come from Melanie at Bean Sprouts:One Family's Search for the Good Life.Melanie states that the award is for bloggers who live what they preach, who try to make the changes in their own lives that they would like to see in the world.

I've had fun sharing what I learn on my frugal journey here. And along the way, I hope I've given ideas to those who have stopped by to read. My main contribution so far has been a really tasty, soft crust, whole wheat bread recipe that lots of bloggers have tried and loved. And that is very gratifying.

So thanks Katie and Melanie!

The rules for the award are:

1. Nominate three bloggers who epitomise "Change begins at home"

2. Link back to the person who nominated you, and link back to this post

3. When you receive the award, you may display the "Change begins at home" button on your blog.

The three bloggers I want to nominate are:

1. Johanna3 at Tropical Vegetarian Family

2. A Frugal Living Blog by a Frugal Guy

3. Frugal Homemaker Plus


Friday, September 28, 2007

The Rains

It's 2am and I am sitting here listening to the rain. The rains (fall, winter,spring) have come to Portland. Forecast for the next week is rain, or showers and highs 58-60. A lot of people around here don't like the rain, which is hard to avoid, since it rains mostly all the time from now till about April. I'm different, I love the rain. It's great to sleep when it rains, everything gets green here. And the constant overcast gray days don't depress me.

On frugal notes, all the stores here are starting to sell reuseable shopping bags. Our local Fred Meyer is selling them for 99 cents. This week they are on sale for 79 cents. I didn't pay for mine, I got a coupon in the mail from them to get 3 for free, which of course I took advantage of. My only problem with them is remembering to take them with me. I have to get into the habit of putting them in the back seat of the car.

I also took advantage of a sale at Fred Meyer's to get a good deal on a Rival Crockpot, six quart.Since my partner and I now have quite different schedules most days, she tends not to cook much so I'm stuck with trying to make something for myself late at night. Plus she doesn't eat as much as she should either. The crockpot, which I've never had one before, once I get used to it, will help with that. I can start a meal before I leave and have tasty food when I get home.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Cooking frugally

I've been finding some good deals at the store. I had a $10 off coupon at Safeway. I picked up some chicken breasts that were 50% off, and a whole cut up chicken, also half off. I froze the breasts and made chicken soup and then chicken salad for sandwiches out of the whole chicken. Safeway is not the cheapest store, but they have some good deals and I really like their meat.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Good numbers

I recently got health insurance, so I went for a physical and some blood tests. I am very happy to report that my numbers are the best they have been in ten years (which is when I started keeping copies of tests). I mostly very proud of my blood sugar, which was 82. And my cholesterol, which at 167 and 47 HDL, is at it's best level ever. I've always been around 200 before.

Eating healthy has really paid off. I am also seeing a naturapath, since I don't like taking drugs.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bean soup

Lately I have been addicted to bean soup. Super easy and cheap. For example, yesterday I took a can of black beans from Trader Joes'(79 cents a can). Opened it and poured it in without rinsing into a pot. Added some water, a few squirts of Braggs, some onion and garlic powder and the item that really does it for me, Gourmet Garden cilantro paste. It comes in a tube and you have to keep it refrigerated. I use about two toothpaste head sized pieces of paste and heat all of it up. It just tastes great!

I also will make chips from corn tortillas and put them in the bottom of the bowl before heating the soup. It is all so tasty!


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Eating too much?

Everyone is aware that there is an obesity epidemic in the US. I think a large part of it is that we have no sense of what we should be eating. You see enough supersized portions at restaurants, they begin to look normal.

We are supposed to eat 5-6 small meals per day, about 300-400 calories each. Well, I found this great post with pictures. It's called What Do 300 Calorie Meals Look Like? it is very interesting to compare how much you should be eating to how much you are eating.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Yes, I'm still here. I've been busy working. I will say it is nice to be able to continue our frugal ways AND put money in savings. It's been a while since we had anything extra in the budget. I'm also getting caught up on our utilities instead of being slightly behind.

Had a rear taillight on the car go out the other day. We bought the bulb at Wal-mart (with my partner's discount of course!) and changed it ourselves. Fairly simple and saved the cost of having someone do it.

Didn't take a picture, but dinner last night was tasty. I dredged some cut up chicken breast in flour and stir fried it a little while. Then I put in some water and braggs, and tossed in some farmer's market fresh green beans. Then added some frozen broccoli and more braggs and then some Barilla plus spaghetti. The flour, water braggs made a light coating over everything. Some mixed spring greens on the side completed the meal.


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Busy Saturday

My partner is out of town this weekend, so I took the opportunity to go do some things I've wanted to do for a while. I went to a Jewish Sabbath service, which is something I've always wanted to do. I enjoyed it. Then I went downtown to try Veganoplis, a vegan cafeteria. I had the buffet. It was pretty good and filling. Then back home.

Used my free from work bus pass for all this traveling. It was a nice day and not a bad way to see your city.

On another topic, I'm still saving money. I have an Emigrant Direct savings account, which I am steadily adding to. What I am also doing is whatever is left in our joint checking account when the next pay period comes around, goes into savings. That in addition to our $25 monthly savings deposit, is helping increase our joint savings.


Thursday, June 28, 2007


I have started saving money from each paycheck already. It's not a lot but it's more than I had a month ago. This check also started taking out for my 401k (no match, sadly). I love pretax deductions. I put in 27 bucks and change in, and it only cost me 16 bucks in take home pay reduction. We're also saving money from our joint account.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Bike commuters

I just wanted to share this tidbit from Willamette Week, a local weekly.

"According to the latest Census Bureau data, Portland has more bike commuters than any other US city, but that's just still 3.5 percent of Portland traffic."

Portland is very bike friendly and the weather isn't bad, although the cold damp of winter does discourage a lot of commuters, I'm sure.

I had a nice birthday weekend. Back to work this week all refreshed and ready to go. Made some New Farm Mac and Cheez for lunches this week. I love this recipe.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Waste not, have tasty soup!

I took a page from my favorite blogger, frugalveggiemama. (Hi, Katie!)

We went to a southern food restaurant last night after a concert at church and picked up some food to go. I got fried okra and a large container of red beans and rice. The okra was fine, but the beans were mostly beans and very little rice and pretty tasteless. So, what was I to do with all those beans?

I did what Katie would do! Today I put some of the beans and rice in a sauce pan, added 1/2 cup water, put in some Braggs, onion and garlic powder, a little salt, and a small amount of cilantro paste that I had bought a month ago but hadn't tried. I heated up the soup, crushed some tortilla chips in a bowl and poured the soup over it. Very tasty! I'm going to make more with the rest of the beans for later.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday Brunch

Today was Saturday brunch, brought to you by Vegan with a Vengeance : Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock. I made herb roasted potatoes, Fronch toast and scrambled tofu.

Everything was tasty. My partner tried the tofu, didn't care for it. She liked everything else though. Tofu is not my favorite thing, but it was good.

Eating vegan McDougall style is working out well.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

So far...

So far, my McDougalling ways are working out fine. I've been eating healthy and not starving. Cooking hasn't been much of a problem so far.

I got myself and my partner hooked on Nature's Path Optimum Power Cereal. It's super healthy, with lots of fiber and whole grain, but it's sweet enough for my partner but not too sweet for me.

I have been eating the red lentil loaf and mushroom gravy I made over the weekend. Today for lunch it's some homemade sourdough bread (my first try!) and spaghetti and meatballs. Golden Grain multi grain spaghetti, Trader Joe's Tomato Basil marinara (tasty!) and Trader Joe's mock meatballs. Oh yeah and some grapes. :)


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weekend cooking

I was busy this weekend cooking. I'm going to start eating the McDougall diet. I used to eat that way a long time ago and I felt great and I lost substantial weight, for pretty much the only time in my life. So I'm basically going vegan.

First, for lunch, I made Red Lentil loaf, from frugalveggiemama's recipe. Looks pretty doesn't it?!

To moisten it and make it even tastier, I made some mushroom gravy. I used some veggie broth powder I have around the house. I'm getting low on it and I don't remember where I bought it at. I need to mark the container.


I got a bunch of sourdough starters and I am trying one, it's called Carl's 1847 Oregon Trail starter. Yes it's really that old. I made a whole wheat loaf. As expected it took longer to rise and I don't think it will replace my usual whole wheat bread, but it's pretty good. You can taste more of the wheat and just a bit of the sourdough flavor.

Lastly, for my last omni meal, I had grilled chicken breast and Yorkshire pudding, which is a particular favorite of my partner.

So tomorrow I start, eating starch and veggies and fruits and grains. For my health and to lose weight, which I need to do desperately.

Wish me luck!


Friday, June 08, 2007

The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It

I thought this was interesting (and a bit scary). It comes from the US Treasury Department. This webpage is called The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It. Go take a look!


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Portland thoughts

I've been working now for two weeks. And I commute via bus every day.I've noticed a few things about my fellow Portlanders and I just had to share them.

First, people here are very polite. About 80% thank the bus driver as they leave, even if it's from the back door. When the buses are full, people automatically move back to make more room when they are standing. Men (of all ages) hang back and let women get on the bus first. And I even saw a teenage girl give up her seat to an older woman. Not elderly, but older.

Second, there are a LOT of bike commuters. On an average day, I will see at least 75 commuters along my ride.And in general, bikes, cars and buses all coexist peacefully.

Third, I am constantly amazed at the number of restaurants in Portland. I go down this one street, NW 21st ave, where on one block alone there are 4 restaurants, all full when I go past about 5:30-6pm.

I've said it here before, but I will say it again, I do love this city. Oh yeah, and roses are in bloom everywhere!!


Friday, May 25, 2007

One year diet and cola free!

Today is May 25th. One year ago today, I stopped drinking all diet sodas and all colas. This is after drinking huge quantities of Diet Coke for all of my adult life. I stopped because of all the bad things I read about diet sodas with aspartame and so on. I also know that colas are bad for your acid/base balance and for your bones.

I've actually found it fairly easy to give it. 90% of what I drink is just plain, filtered water. I really enjoy it and drink it all day. I also drink chocolate almond milk sometimes, a glass of orange juice maybe once a month, V-8 and about once a month or so, I'll have a Fanta Strawberry soda or a Sierra Mist. However I have gotten so into the water habit, that recently I went out to two fancy restaurants (as a guest) :) and just had water.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sunday cooking

I did some cooking and baking today, preparing food for lunches this week at work. I know there is a refrigerator and microwave there, so I know what kind of things I can bring.

I made some sloppy lentils with kale. I also made some italian bread, which fell a bit but will work for a side at lunch and breakfast. I've been eating Nature's Path Optimum Power cereal with soymilk for breakfast. It's a very tasty, sweet yet high fiber, multi-grain and tasty. I also grilled up some chicken breasts.

I'll make some of my famous whole wheat bread tomorrow.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Portland Vegfest 2007

I went to the Portland Vegfest 2007, put on by the NW Veg group. I had a blast and came home with lots of literature, some samples and a nicely full belly.

Bryanna Clark Grogan and Julie Hasson gave a cooking demo with some very tasty treats then did a Q&A session in the Veg101 room. I attended two sessions there and they were very well attended. There were also salad samples in the back of this room from several restaurants and they were all excellent. This photo has Bryanna on the left and Julie on the right.

There were tons of exhibitors and lots of free samples. (Yes I'm all over the free food!) I did find out that this all vegan restaurant called the Pirates Tavern is actually about 4 blocks away from my new job. I told my partner we'll have to go on a Monday night, when they have live jazz.

Two pictures taken from the food court area should give you an idea of how many people were there. It was crowded but polite.

All in all, it was a good time, I learned a lot, tried foods that I will be buying in the future (and some I won't!) and I plan to come back next year.


Friday, May 11, 2007


The other day was a couscous day for me. I made Sweet Breakfast Couscous for, guess what, breakfast! :) It was nicely sweet. I don't remember where I got this recipe though.

Sweet Breakfast Couscous

1/3 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup couscous
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Put all ingredients in a pot.
2. Bring to a boil, cover, turn down to low. Cook for about 3 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, keep covered. Let rest for 3 minutes.

I used whole wheat couscous. It turned out great.

For dinner I made black bean and couscous salad. Didn't take a picture but it was a very tasty cold salad.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Yay! Got a job!

Well, it's finally happened. After 2 1/2 years of not working I found a job. And it only took 10 days total.

I posted on craigslist that I wanted a job as a dispatcher. I figured, what the heck, I might get a bite. And I did, from a company affiliated with Trimet, Portland's bus/rail company. I emailed back with my resume and they called me for an interview. That happened last Friday. They said they were very impressed with me and sent me for a drug test. I emailed details of my jobs on Monday and today they called and said I'm hired. I start on May 14th.

I don't know much as far as details yet. I should make as much as my partner makes and maybe even a little bit more. This will double our income. We can pay off our one credit card, get some emergency savings and set some goals. I'm getting a book from my local library about couples and financial goal setting.

We're both excited. It will be nice to not worry quite so much about money, since we'll have some to save.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

I did more cooking today. Make spicy chili beans for tomorrow and some frozen fruit dessert, also for tomorrow. I also cooked up some garlic mashed potatoes and some homemade mushroom onion gravy. They both turned out pretty tasty.

I also made some chocolate chip cookies. They came out great. Tomorrow I'm going to try a breakfast couscous recipe. Then for lunch I'm going to the Bay Leaf Restaurant. My friend was there yesterday and said it was great. I've also read reviews of it by Jess at Get Sconed. Can't wait to try it.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

New places to shop

I've found some good deals at new places recently. One of our Dollar Tree stores added a freezer section. Now the items they have vary a great deal, but for a dollar I've gotten cheese raviolis and potato pierogies. Each package has been enough for a meal for myself and my partner.

Right next door to the Dollar Tree a store called Save-A-Lot recently opened. I checked out their corporate website and they are a 'limited selection' store. They don't have ten different sizes and varieties of diced tomatoes for instance. They also don't carry many brand name foods, but mostly private label. They say these are from major companies, just without the expensive brand name.

They sell canned vegetables for .25 a can. I've tried several varieties and they have all been good. I actually like their tomato sauce and pastes better (less sugar in them). Their shredded cheese is a better value than Wal-Marts. I'v also gotten good deals on hash browns. And they carry a brand of frozen hamburgers, called Holten, which I used to buy when I lived in Arkansas but hadn't found here. They are very tasty and cheap at Save-a-lot.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Food adventures

I've been baking and cooking like crazy lately. Yesterday I made an old favorite and a twist on something I've made before.

First up is Vegan with a Vengeance's Chickpea Broccoli casserole. Simple, but tasty.

Then I tried a recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen forum, Baked Seitan. It came out well, but I'm not fond of the flavorings and neither is my partner. My rule when trying new recipes is to follow it exactly (or as best I can) then change it next time. I'll be fiddling with flavors next time.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Doing it yourself

I have a recipe in my favorite cookbook, Vegan with a Vengeance : Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock that I want to try.

The problem was it called for chickpea flour and I couldn't find any. So I went to the bulk foods at Fred Meyer's, picked up a pound of dried chickpeas ($1.19 /pound) and brought them home. Tossed them into my Waring Pro blender and in about a minute, I have chickpea flour.

I am wondering if I can leave it out (it's in a tupperware container) or if I need to refrigerate it. If anyone knows, please leave a comment. Thanks!!


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lettuce and greens

As part of trying to eat healthy, we've been buying mixed spring greens. Lots of different types of greens, all nice and healthy and good for you. Unfortunately, for the frugal part of me, it's not so frugal. The pre-bagged greens are usually $2-3.50 per bag. New Seasons Market sells them in bulk, at $6.99 a pound. Still not a good value.

I think I may have found a more frugal, if slightly less healthy alternative. I buy a head of iceberg lettuce. (Not much in the way of vitamins there, I know). This provides bulk. Then I buy a bunch of spinach (at least for now, since I can find it fairly cheap). Add some spinach leaves. That adds some vitamin goodness. So for now, that works for us.

Our car lost all it's transmission fluid yesterday just as we got back home. Had it towed today and it was a tube had come loose. Tow was $72 and repairs, which included 6 quarts of transmission fluid, was $72. Not too bad.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spring 2007 in Portland

I went out to a local park last week and took some pictures. Spring is definitely here in Portland. Temperatures in the 50s and 60s and even 70 one day. I love this city.

Daffodils, tulips and all sorts of flowering trees and shrubs are in bloom everywhere.

I also wanted to put in a picture of the trees in the park. Remember, this is in the middle of a city. These trees are probably a hundred years old and about 60-70 feet tall.

I love spring!


Friday, March 23, 2007

Yet more benefits of price books

I've been using a price book and really keeping track of prices for about a year and a half now. It has really paid off. Yesterday was a good example.

I go grocery shopping every two weeks. Between trips I write down things as I think of them, as they come up, as we run out. On Wednesday, I took my list and put it down on a sheet of paper. I list each store I go to then what I need to buy there. For the first time, I went through and estimated how much all the items would cost and I wrote this down next to the store name.

For Fred Meyer, I had coupons for toilet paper and english muffins. I also found a dollar off in store coupon for tampons I used. I bought everything on my list and the only two things I bought that weren't on the list was a head of lettuce and a large bunch of spinach. My estimate was $50. My total: $50.00!! :)

I was also on target for most of the rest. Wal-mart estimate $10, actual $10.31. New Seasons Market estimate $15 actual $15.63. Trader Joe's surprised me. The automatic dish washing detergent I use (along with washing soda and borax) was WAY cheaper then the Seventh Generation one I bought about a year ago. I estimated $30, actual was $20.

Of course, this works if you only buy what's on your list. Other than the lettuce and spinach, I did not buy anything not on my list.

I think I'm finally getting the hang of this frugality thing! :)


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Great chicken deal

I went to the library today to return one book and get two others, and the DVD set of "I, Claudius". On the way back, I stopped at a local QFC grocery store. I like this store, because it is small, friendly and open 24 hours. It's prices though, are a bit higher than other stores. However, when they have sales, often they are really really good sales.

I had talked to my partner about eating more chicken and less beef and she was amenable to this. So I checked out the meat counter. I found they had quite a bit of split fryer chicken breast that was expiring today. This is free range chicken, very good stuff. It was marked down to $1 a pound. I bought five pounds, which came in the form of six large chicken breasts. The three largest I put in my Nesco roaster and roasted them.

The other three I put into my stock pot with water, carrots, turnip, onion, garlic and lots of celery. Cooked it for an hour then took the chicken out. I let them cool a bit, then removed the skin and bones and put that back into the pot and cooked it another hour or so. The chicken meat will be put away for stir fries and chicken salad. The roast chicken will be used in sandwiches.

So for $5, I got five pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast and a huge pot of chicken stock. I'll put that in the fridge tonight (after removing all the veggies and chicken parts) and remove the fat tomorrow. Then store it in the freezer in various size plasticware.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cooking update

I've been busy cooking and trying new recipes lately, with good results.

First up is a Pizza Quesadilla. It uses mozzarella and cheddar cheese with pepperoni and italian seasoning inside. Very very tasty and good dipped in marinara sauce.

Then I tried a Potluck Chicken casserole. I grilled up some chicken breast, mixed it with a can of cream of chicken soup and some sour cream. Put that in the pan. Made a mixture of crunched saltines, melted Earth Balance and celery seeds. Put that on top of the chicken and baked for 30 minutes. Made some rice on the side and it was great!

Yesterday I made chocolate chip cookies. Well, I made some and the rest of the dough I left for my partner. She loves to eat chocolate chip cookie dough and this is way cheaper than buying it. The cookies came out great. Last time I didn't put enough flour in and they spread all over. It was nasty.

Then I made Challah (or since I made 2 loaves, Challot). Challah is a egg bread that is slightly sweet. It came out great, both my partner and I loved it. It's not a sandwich bread, it's a rip off pieces and have with butter or dip into stews. Very tasty and it looks nice too.

All in all, a good few days of cooking.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Pinto corn barley stew

Today I did what I think of as Katie cooking. Some leftovers, some new stuff and voila! A tasty dish.

I had a little bit of leftover homemade enchilada sauce and some pinto beans. I added some water to the sauce, a little seasoning, then added the pinto beans and some frozen corn. I cooked that down some while I made some barley. Here's the result:

It was tasty and filling. Ended up as more of a stew than a soup.

I love barley. I think it's not used as much as perhaps it should be. This great website, World's Healthiest Foods, is a great source of information on all kinds of good foods. Here's the page about barley. It's very healthy and it will hold up for about a week in the fridge.

I also used this site to find out about nuts. Everything you read is about eating almonds and walnuts. Neither are favorites of mine. I'll mostly only eat them if they are very finely ground and mixed in other things. But I do love cashews and I found out that they rate very high in antioxidants and in keeping your bones healthy.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bob's Red Mill deals

I love living just a couple of miles from Bob's Red Mill headquarters and store. I ran out of yeast and I was low on a few things so I stopped by there this morning.

Whole wheat flour was on sale, so I got 20 pounds for $8.06. I also got a free clip that is perfectly sized to close five pound bags of flour. I also picked up a few smaller ones, which work on the smaller size bags they sell and also work to close other bags, like frozen veggies and such.

I also got 8 ounces of yeast for $3.39. I know I might find flour a bit cheaper elsewhere, but I know that BRM products are fresh, high quality flours, beans, lentils, whatever.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Peasant bread and sloppy lentils

I tried some new recipes today and they all turned out great.

First up was a recipe from Italian peasant bread. Supposedly it tastes like the bread at the Macaroni Grill. Don't know, never been there. (Here's the link, if you're interested.)

I tried this with half wheat and half white bread flour. Tasty, smells great. Tried 4 different seasonings on top and they all came out great. (Rosemary, italian seasoning, onion/garlic powder, and Vegebase powder).

I bake a lot of bread and this one was very easy to make. It's not sandwich type bread, but good for tearing off and dipping into stews or soups. Or just munching.

I had mine with sloppy lentils. I've gathered about four different recipes for this, so I made kind of a generic version. Mine had red lentils, kale, celery, green pepper, onion, carrot and garlic. It was very tasty and good with the bread.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Heathy vegetable bouillon finally

I was shopping at my local Fred Meyer's this morning and found VegeBase, by Vogue Cuisine. I hate buying the containers of vegetable broth because I end up not using them quickly enough and wasting money by throwing them out. So I've been looking for a veggie soup bouillon. Most have too much sodium and have MSG. This one seems different.

A 1 tsp serving is 15 calories with only 140 mg of sodium and 1 g of protein.No preservatives, additives and is gluten free. It makes a tasty veggie broth. I think this one is a keeper.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Source for reduced cost building materials

I came across this today and definitely wanted to share it. Habitat for Humanity operates retail stores called ReStores. They sell donated used and surplus building materials. Everything they sell is donated and the proceeds go back into building even more Habitat homes in your area. This page will let you see if there is a ReStore in your area.

I think this is a win/win situation. You get cheap materials and Habitat gets funds for their work.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

How not to be frugal

I usually don't get into politics but this does have to do with money. Our money (if you live in the US). These are quotes from The Daily Reckonging, about Bush's new budget.

First about defense:

"The Bush budget includes about three quarters of a trillion dollars for
defense. But defense has little to do with it. Defense against whom? A
disorderly bunch of fanatics with explosives around their waists and
box-cutters in their hands? The amount of money in the 'defense' budget
earmarked for these guys is trivial. And rightly so...the danger they
represent is trivial. No dear reader, the defense budget can better be
described as hundreds of billions of dollars we don't have, to buy weapons
we don't need, to fight enemies that don't exist.

The whole spectacle is breathtaking...and, like all public

And here is the non-frugal part, that just boggles my mind:

"Nearly half a trillion in debt will be added over the next two years
according to the Bush plan. Americans have neither the will, nor the money
to ever repay it. They cannot even keep up with the interest payments. So,
now the debt feeds on itself.

For one year, the budget includes 624.6 billion dollars for defense. To
help put that in perspective, here's an interesting tidbit: the defense
budget is more than the budgets for the Department of Education,
Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, HUD, Interior, EPA, Homeland Security,
Justice, State, Transportation, Labor, NASA, Engineers, Judiciary, and
VETS. COMBINED. And with 63 billion left over."


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Quiet month

I haven't done anything much lately that seemed to deserve a blog post. I've been busy being frugal, because money has been very tight. I did find a great deal on Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal and Silk soymilk, so I've been eating a lot of cereal and soymilk lately.

As usual, I go to Trader Joes and look for what I need first, then follow up at other stores. TJ's is usually better quality and lower price. I don't know how they do it, but I'm glad that they do.

I've been working out just about every day and at the same time rehabbing (on my own) a bad shoulder bursitis. That is slowly getting better.

Still making my whole wheat bread and eating healthy.