Frugality

Tips for living a frugal lifestyle

Making Bread in a Breadmaker is Not Just for Wimps

Making Bread in a Breadmaker is Not Just for Wimps

At the risk of being accused of selling out to the world of electronic gizmos, let me say this: Bread making using an automatic bread maker is nothing to be ashamed of. And, as a matter of fact, using a bread machine can easily and reliably deliver healthy, wholesome bread for minutes of your time and pennies instead of dollars.

A Bit of Ancient History

I purchased my first automatic bread machine over twenty years ago when they were the latest new-fangled kitchen appliance. In those days, the only recipes available were those that came in the skinny little user manual that came with the machine itself. So early adopters such as myself had to learn the ropes the hard way: we invented them ourselves.

There was no internet in those days (circa 1990) but there were online services such as Prodigy and that is where like minded bakers would congregate and share bread making tips as well as our custom crafted recipes. For me it was a hobby and a delicious one at that.

My first machine was a Hitachi B101 which I purchased at Costco for about $200. It produces a tall skinny loaf with a domed top. Not real pretty to look at and tough to slice but heck, the results smelled and tasted delicious.

About ten years later I purchased a more compact machine for use on my boat. Let me tell you, there was nothing like sitting out at anchor with the generator quietly running and the aroma of fresh baked bread baking. I still have that bread machine, the Oster 2 lb. ExpressBake Breadmaker. Until about a month ago, it was gathering dust in my garage.

The Return of the Bread Machine Maven

Make Your Own Liqueur Part II-Coffee Liqueur from the Home Kitchen

Make Your Own Liqueur Part II-Coffee Liqueur from the Home Kitchen

Last week I shared a recipe for making a fruit liqueur using up all of those end of season fruits. Oh my gosh – I received a ton of e-mails. That made me realize that I have been slacking on my goal of providing articles relating to a stylish, yet frugal lifestyle. Also as I wrote last week, it reminded me that we all need to take a break from our prepping to do something fun, something interesting, and something just for the heck of it.

This week’s “embrace the moment” article will be spent making some homemade Kahlua coffee liqueur. And boy is this good. I first made this when I was in my early twenties. My neighbors at Empire Estates (if you lived in Seattle in the 70s you will recall this apartment complex) gave me the recipe and rest is history.

I am also sharing my recipe for a killer, Kahlua pound cake. Yummm!

Frugalista 2.0: 12 Silly Things SurvivalWoman does to Save Money

Frugalista 2.0: 12 Silly Things SurvivalWoman does to Save Money

Last week I wrote about 12 Frugal Tips for Living with Less Money. Most if not all of those tips were fairly benign. They were simple, easy, practical and common sense rules for pursing a frugal lifestyle. There was nothing controversial and certainly nothing to be be embarrassed about.

Today I present another list. These are my own quirky, funky and yes, crazy things that I do to save money. For some, this list may seem silly. For me, they are a way of life.

1. Cut used paper from the printer into scratch paper: Using my paper cutter, I cut a stack of 8.5 x 11 sheets into note paper and set them out in my desktop note holder. This only takes a few minutes and I get four pieces of note paper from each sheet. I have done this for over 20 years.

2. Re-use the back side of paper in the laser printer: A person can only use so much scratch paper. The rest of the paper spilling out of the printer is flipped over and used again, this time on the back side. But I don’t stop there. I also use the back side of documents and flyers that arrive in the mail. Since I am 99% paperless, nothing gets filed. Instead it gets scanned, flipped and added to the stack of “blank” paper destined for the printer. Nothing hits the recycle bin until it has been printed on both sides (or cut into scratch paper as described in #1).

3. Re-use remittance envelopes that arrive in the mail: Since I pay all of my bills online, I have no need for all of those envelopes that come stuff with bills that arrive in the mail. I slap a label over the pre-printed address on these so-called junk envelopes and I am good to go. I use these envelopes for all sorts of things: bank deposits, grocery coupons, receipts, you name it.

Is it possible to prepare for an emergency on a budget of $10?

Is it possible to prepare for an emergency on a budget of $10?

Not everyone is blessed with a decent job, no mortgage debt, no car payments, and plenty of food on the table. As sad as it may seem, the grim reality is that we all have friends, neighbors, and relatives that are scraping by with meager incomes and barely enough cash to keep the utilities turned on in their homes.

I have spoken one on one to many such folks and it is amazing how resilient they are. Many have given up the use of an automobile for all but essential trips. Others have either given up or cut back on their cable TV and have learned to make prodigious use of the public library.

Now let me set the record straight: I am not talking about the braggarts who pare down their 150 satellite channel lineup to 80 channels and talk/brag about their new-found, politically correct, austerity. No, I am referring to hard working folks who, with the rising cost of food and fuel, have no extra money and are struggling to come up with the cash to cover basics such as toothpaste and TP.

So therein lies the challenge. As I attempt to educate others on the need to be prepared and to be self-reliant, what do I say when the piggy bank is empty and there is little or no extra cash? Can I offer a family preparedness solution to what may seem to be an expensive proposition?

Making a red velvet cake or any cake for that matter

Making a red velvet cake or any cake for that matter

Cakes make people happy. That is simply a truism. I don’t know why but a cake can put a smile on the face of the meanest grump. (Not that you freely associate with grumps, right?) So take a cake, add a birthday and you get a really happy person.

Last week I baked a cake for SurvivalHusband’s birthday: a nice tall, double layer Red Velvet Cake. Was I intimidated at the thought? Nope. (Well maybe the layer cake part since baking in an oblong pan is way more efficient and a lot easier.) And here is why: I always start with a mix. It is easy, it is cheap, and with a few special add-ins, it tastes wonderful.

Today I would like to share with you my Magical Cake Recipe – so easy even a bachelor can make it with perfect results. (No disrespect to you bachelors out there but if you can cook, chances are some lucky gal has already snagged you for her own.)

So what is in your cleaning bucket?

So what is in your cleaning bucket?

As much as I hate cleaning, my friends often call me the Princess of Windex because I am always in perpetual motion, picking up this, wiping off that, and in general, keeping things tidy. The only problem I have with this honorary title is I don’t use Windex or any other harsh chemical unless they are a last resort. I am hooked on using simple, ordinary products for general cleaning, removing stains, and getting through the myriad of household chores that never seem to end. And so, for today, I offer you a list of those things that are in my cleaning bucket along with a few tips for using each item.

Fast Forward to 2011. This is the year to embrace self-sufficiency.

Fast Forward to 2011. This is the year to embrace self-sufficiency.

The first day of 2011 has come and gone and with it, a renewed energy to continue to focus on self sufficiency and personal independence.Personal independence and the ability to take care of one’s needs without reliance on others is a mantra that can exist anywhere, including cities, rural communities, farmlands, and remote outposts. It is time to take a preparedness inventory.