I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out
Frugality is founded on the principal that all riches have limits.
Without frugality none can be rich, and with it very few would be poor.
“There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.”
“The way to wealth is as plain as the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality: that is, waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industry and frugality nothing will do, and with them everything.”
― Benjamin Franklin —
“He who will not economize will have to agonize”
Our house had no window coverings when we bought it. I was OK with that. We’re out in the country with no close neighbors.
Also, our previous house was dark and I enjoyed the light coming in the windows here, and I didn’t want to block that. It always felt like living in a cave in that other house, but this one is light and bright.
I have managed to put minimal window treatments up in all the rooms except the kitchen. I didn’t know what I wanted there and I truly didn’t want to block the light.
It’s interesting how things are presented to you when you look. At an estate sale, I found these lace curtain panels. They were $.25 each. I bought all 8 of them. With a little cutting and hemming, they will work well on my kitchen windows.
I call this serendipitous frugality. We were looking for other items at that estate sale, but these curtains were there waiting for me. The lesson of this little story is that opportunities present themselves when you are looking and, sometimes, it will only cost $2.00.
On this anniversary of a tragedy, remember that freedom isn’t free.
I’ve been making yogurt for about a year. I like the texture of Greek-style yogurt, so I drain the whey from the mixture. The problem is what to do with the whey. I did try replacing the liquid in a bread machine recipe with the whey. It was OK but not great. The bread was a bit dense.
Somewhere online, I found that whey could be substituted for buttermilk, so I tried this route by making buttermilk biscuits. They were tender and flavorful, so I think this was a success.
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1 cup whey
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Combine dry ingredients in the bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.
Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. If using a food processor, pulse until reaching the proper consistency.
Add whey and mix until moistened.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and gently pat the dough until it is approximately 1/2” thick. Fold dough over several times and pat out again until it is 1” thick.
Using a round cutter, cut out biscuits and place on a cookie sheet. For soft-sided biscuits, place the rounds close together.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until light, golden brown.
There is something to say for having a few meals in the pantry for those times when you can’t think of what to fix or when your time is short.
This easy carbonara for two requires only 6 basic ingredients. (Seven if you want to add a handful of peas) It might be argued that this really requires 8 ingredients if you count the salt a pepper. OK. So maybe it’s 8 instead of 6. Still, not many ingredients and they are all things I keep on hand.
Spaghetti Carbonara for Two
4 ounces spaghetti
1 clove garlic, minced
2 strips bacon, diced
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring salted water to a boil in a large sauce pan. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water; drain well.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet, over medium heat, until crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Reserve drippings.
Saute garlic in drippings until fragrant. About 1 minute.
Add pasta to skillet. Working quickly, stir in egg mixture. Add reserved pasta water a small amount at a time until it is smooth and creamy. Fold in bacon, parsley and peas, if using, and top with additional Parmesan. Serve immediately.
I reported some results from the one of the orange cleaners I made about four weeks ago in this post. The recipes for each cleaner are here. This time, I want to report on the fermented cleaner.
This cleaner I diluted 1:8 (1/4 cup solution in 2 cups water). This was the recommendation from one of the websites I looked at for information.
In a side-by-side test, I think the first cleaner won. It’s not that this one didn’t clean things. It did. Both cleaned, but the vinegar seemed to cut through the gunk a micro-second faster. Maybe the solution was too dilute. Perhaps I should use the 1:1 that I did for the first cleaner to get a more accurate result.
I still stand by my story: there isn’t much difference in the results between the 2 solutions.
Homemade maple-flavored syrup. Who knew? I ran across this idea in my frugal travels around the internet. It just wasn’t one of the things in my experience database. I don’t remember what we used as a child because I think that pancakes were a rare thing in our house. I do know that, when I grew up, I liked jam on pancakes better than syrup.
My local store carried maple extract in the baking aisle, so I gave it a try. It’s nowhere near the real thing. It tastes fine, easily as good as any of the maple-flavored syrups from the store. (Maybe I’m not the best judge of that, though) It is, however, quick and easy to do and there’s a bit of cost savings, too.
I used brown sugar but if you want a lighter color, use regular white sugar. Most of the recipes I found online used white sugar. One used a combination of white sugar and brown sugar and one used corn syrup as the sweetener. I think any way you do it, it will be good stuff to pour on the pancakes.
Quick Maple-Flavored Syrup
2 cups water
4 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons maple extract
In a non-reactive pan, bring water to a rapid boil.
Mix in brown sugar all at once. Stir until it is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and stir in maple extract.
Pour into a sterilized jar and allow to stand, at room temperature, for 24 hours.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Sometimes the muse takes a day off. I can stand in front of the pantry or the refrigerator and not see anything to eat, just a jumble of mismatched items.
To get unstuck, I refer to a cookbook or, better yet, Supercook.com.
I really like this site. I can lump some of those unrelated things from the stash and they will magically turn into dinner. Well, maybe not exactly like that. What it does is offer a number of ideas on what to do with what you have.
I tried a couple of pairings that I though were unusual. They weren’t, really. Supercook produced recipes that used my ingredients.
Sausage and cinnamon: Sausage and Apple Breakfast Casserole
Carrot, mayonnaise, and chicken: Kung Pao Chicken Wraps
I tried American cheese, lemon and banana but this stumped Supercook. Take out the banana and it found: Ultimate Backyard Burgers. YUM!
It’s fun and knocks the stubborness right out of the muse. That’s a winner in my book.
Sometimes I engage in sarcasm. It may not be my best trait but, in all honesty, I just can’t help it.
I found a blog with a long list of tips to help live a frugal life. There’s nothing new under the sun, so there really wasn’t anything that most of us aren’t doing already. What struck me about the list was the inclusion of things that made me say: “Well, duh.” For example, one of the tips was to shop for things when they are on sale. Do we really have to be told that?
One suggestion was to turn your car off while waiting at a stop light. What could go wrong there? According to an article at Car and Driver, you will only save if it is a long stop and not the typical short period at a stop light. Also, the wear and tear may outweigh any of the savings of this practice. Let’s not even contemplate the scenario if the car doesn’t start again. Let the honking begin.
Another tip had me shaking my head and that was to use candles to warm up a room. Really? How many would you need in a room to actually change the temperature? Let’s not even consider the hazards that are associated with open flames. Don’t get me wrong. I like candles, but I think that their main purpose is ambiance. If this interests you, there is a way. Over at Lifehacker there is a tutorial that shows how to use candles and terra cotta pots to create a mini space heater. These tiny details were left out of the original frugal hint. I guess it wasn’t deemed important.
Other ideas offended different sensibilities. I bristle at the suggestions that border on unethical, such as replacing a meal with the free samples at the warehouse or grocery store. How many samples would you be comfortable in taking? Do you take the kids? If there is a large variety of samples that day, maybe you could call it lunch.I usually pass them by but, if I decide to try something, one is the limit. I just know that if I take more than one, a booming voice will come over the loud speaker, “LIMIT ONE ON FREE SAMPLES.”
A little over three weeks ago, I started making orange cleaners. I did two types and you can find the recipes here. They are done, and now it’s time to test them. OK, I admit to procrastinating on this. These things were actually done after two weeks. I guess I’m just not in a hurry to clean.
I used the vinegar-based cleaner first. I diluted it 1:1 with water and put it into a spray bottle. Next I tried it out on a few surfaces, which included the inside of the microwave, the glass door on the toaster over, a section of granite counter-top, and the glass-top range. It worked well but it wasn’t miraculous. I didn’t expect it to be really, but it did do what cleaners are supposed to do: it cleaned. The spatters inside the microwave wiped off easily, the counter-top shines, and even the glass looks good without streaks. The things I cleaned with it are clean! Isn’t that the goal?
It does smell better than plain vinegar, so that’s a bonus in itself. I know what’s in it. That’s a huge benefit. It works pretty well. That’s the goal.
Overall, this orange cleaner can find a place in my cleaning routine.