Frugal Tip #8 – Lemonade with Stevia

lemonade_resized

We’re experiencing an early summer in Ohio and higher than normal temperatures. We love to sit on the front porch of our Victorian home and sip a cool drink while reading a book. I adapted this recipe for lemonade from healtheating.sfgate.com and food.com

Since I have to watch my sugar intake, I use Stevia as much as possible. Stevia is marketed by a variety of companies so it’s important to test the sweetness level of your brand. Start with less and add more as desired. Of course, you can substitute sugar for the Stevia, but I think using Stevia makes for a healthier product.

Things You Will Need

– 7 or 8 medium to large-sized lemons or about 10 ounces of lemon juice

– Dishcloth or paper towels

– Cutting board

– Sharp knife

– Citrus press, reamer or strong hands

– 1 or 2-cup measuring cup

–  Large pitcher (64 ounces)

–  Large mixing spoon

– Stevia, either as a powdered extract or liquid concentrate (I use individual packets)

Directions:

  1. Rinse the lemons with warm water. Pat them dry with a dishcloth or paper towel.
  2. If the lemons are not stored at room temperature, place them in a microwave and heat them on high for 20 seconds. Remove lemons from microwave and allow to cool slightly. If the lemons are stored at room temperature, skip this step.
  3. Roll each lemon on the counter with your flattened palm. Slice the lemon in half with a sharp knife.
  4. Place one of the lemon sections into a citrus press or reamer, with the cut side down. Use the press to squeeze lemon juice into a measuring cup or squeeze the lemon onto the reamer using a side to side motion. Discard the seeds and put the lemon peel aside. Repeat until all lemons are squeezed. You may reserve a lemon and slice it into thin pieces to use as garnish with each serving.
  5. Make sure to add the pulp of the lemons to the water mixture.
  6. Pour 2 quarts of water into a large pitcher. Add the lemon juice from the measuring cup. Mix well with large spoon.
  7. Measure stevia and place it into the pitcher. I use prepared stevia packets. I generally use one packet of stevia per cup of water, but I like my lemonade on the sweet side. Start with 2 teaspoons of powdered stevia extract or liquid concentrate for 64 ounces of lemonade.
  8. Take the reamed lemon peels and slice them into quarters and add them to the lemonade mixture.
  9. Chill the lemonade for at least 2 hours. Serve over ice.

Note: I generally use 1 lemon for each cup of water.
Frugal Lemon Water

After I’ve drank all of the lemonade, I reuse the lemon peel pieces and make lemon water.  Add 64 ounces of warm water to the lemon pieces, stir, and chill.

It’s healthy, and I get to use the lemons twice. If you want to make it a little more flavorful, add additional lemon slices.

Dietary Facts:

1-8 ounce glass of lemonade made with stevia has 5 total grams of carbohydrates.

1- 8 ounce glass of lemonade made with sugar has as much as 25 grams of sugar.

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Frugal Tip #7 – Make Deli Salads Yourself

Hi everyone!

I’m sorry I haven’t posted for a while. I’ve been writing a book—a memoir. I promise to be more faithful in the future.

I recently saw macaroni salad at the deli and was shocked to see it priced at $3.99 per pound. It’s simple and economical to make it yourself.

Today, I have a favorite recipe to share. It’s originally from the Lehman’s 40th Anniversary Commemorative Cookbook. Lehman’s is an old-fashioned hardware and products store in Amish Country located in Mt. Hope, Ohio. Mt. Hope is in Holmes County, Ohio where a large settlement of Amish live and farm.

I’ve altered the recipe a bit to suit my family’s tastes.

Note: I like my macaroni salad more on the wet side, so I double the sauce.

AMISH MACARONI SALAD

1 lb. of elbow macaroni

4 eggs, hard boiled

2 Tablespoons of onion, chopped  ( I use a whole, medium onion)

2 Tablespoons green peppers or 2 tablespoons of sweet relish

SAUCE:

½ cup of mayonnaise (Miracle Whip)

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons vinegar

½ teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons of mustard

2 tablespoons milk

Cook macaroni 10 to 15 minutes. Drain under hot water for ½ minute then under cold water for 1 minute. Coat cooked macaroni with a little olive oil. Mix the sauce together. Then chop 3 of the eggs into sauce and mix. Add macaroni and sauce together and mix well. Put into a 1 ½ – 2 quart bowl. Slice the last egg on top of the macaroni salad and refrigerate letting sauce soak into the macaroni. Serve and eat. Serves 6.

Enjoy!

Frugal Tip #6 – Visit a Farm Market for Savings on Meat, Cheese, and Vegetables

By – Frugal Broad #1

Late summer means fresh vegetables from the backyard garden and getting ready to make back-to- school lunches. Unfortunately, our garden isn’t very large this year. Our raised vegetable beds had just enough room for six tomato plants, four green pepper plants, some green beans, and two zucchini plants. An inventory of the cupboards and refrigerator showed that we needed to add additional things from the store.

A trip to a farmer’s market in Plain City, Ohio, about 20 miles from home, yielded fresh items from the source. Despite the gallon of gasoline it took to get there and back, we still saved quite a bit money. This particular market also offers deli meats, cheeses, eggs, butter, and other staples such as flours and spices from Amish country and other direct sources.Adjacent to the market is a small farm where fresh vegetables are grown. The market buys whatever vegetables and fruits it cannot grow on its own, but the markup is low.

This week, I compared the prices from the items I bought at the farm market to the major chain grocery store that I usually frequent. Here’s what I saved:

FARM MARKET PRICES 

Candy Onions 2/$1.00             $1.00

Cucumbers 2/$1.00                  $1.00

Butter/Amish County              $3.89

2 lb. bag of Mexican
Shredded Cheese                       $7.50

2 lb. bag of Mozzarella
Provolone Shredded Cheese    $7.50

1 lb. Colby Cheese, Sliced          $3.99

1 lb. Marble Cheese, Sliced
Regularly $3.99,                          $2.99 (On Sale)

1 lb. Roast Beef                            $5.29

1 lb. Ham Off the Bone

Regularly $3.99                           $3.19 (On Sale)

TOTAL FOR ALL ITEMS:       $36.35

 

NATIONAL CHAIN PRICES

1 lb. of Candy Onions            $2.29

Cucumbers 79 cents ea.        $1.58

Premium Butter                     $4.89

2 lb. bag Mexican

Shredded Cheese                    $8.29

2 lb. bag Mozzarella

Provolone, Shredded              $8.29

1 lb. Colby Cheese

Regularly $7.99                        $4.99 (Sale)

1 lb. Marble Cheese                   $7.99

1 lb. Roast Beef                           $8.99

1 lb. Ham Off the Bone              $8.99

TOTAL FOR ALL ITEMS:       $56.30

Purchasing my items at the Farmers Market saved me almost twenty dollars. Even if I subtract the cost of gasoline, I still saved almost seventeen dollars.

So, this week’s tip is to look for a farm market in your vicinity. The store may not grow or supply all its own food items, but the overhead and markup is usually lower than the chain supermarkets. In addition to saving money, we had a great time driving out to the country and viewing the fields of flowers and sweet corn and the pastures full of farm animals.

Coming Next Week: How to Save Money on Meat

Frugal Tip #5 – Gardening for Dummies

By – Frugal Broad #2

I have a severe fear of flying and stinging insects, so I often try to postpone or delay any type of outdoor activity (painting the garage, weeding, etc.). I am fully aware of this little problem (and also completely apologetic) because I know my lack of participation often drives Frugal Broad #1 crazy. That being said, there is nothing more frugal than growing your own vegetables in the summertime. Biting into a juicy tomato or stir-frying your own homegrown sweet peppers is more satisfying than you can imagine.  Not to mention cheap.

Many things grow well from seeds: sweet peppers, hot peppers, we’ve even had good results with green onions around our house.

My paternal great-grandfather used to edge the backyard with cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, and broccoli bushes (these all take a good amount of space to grow). He had his own homemade greenhouse which was made from plastic and cheap wood scraps. He had a serious green thumb, which I unfortunately did not inherit. Thankfully for my digestive system, Frugal Broad #1 has a green thumb of her own.

We usually grow tomatoes too, but those grow best from a plant. You can usually find them at a farmer’s market for a good price – but don’t balk at paying a high price. Tomato plants at our house go nuts. Last year we had more tomatoes than we knew what to do with. You can make your own pasta sauce, pizza sauce, blanch and freeze them whole; the possibilities are endless.  In the end, one plant can give you a ton of tomatoes, and it is cheaper to grow them yourself than to pay $3.99 or $4.99 a pound.

Invest well, and reap your rewards!

Frugal Tip #4 – How to Save Money

By – Frugal Broad #1

I was brought up by a depression era grandmother. She saved everything—plastic lids, margarine tubs, aluminum foil, bits of waxed paper, and of course used wrapping paper. She also used canning jars as storage containers. Multi-colored buttons, large and small, could be found in a Mason jar tucked away on a shelf by the sewing machine.

She also saved money. Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters were dropped into glass jars, one by one. When the jar was full, she’d go to the bank and ask for paper coin wrappers.  Then, she would divide the change into their respective piles and count it out until she had the needed amount to fill each wrapper. Fifty pennies filled a penny wrapper; 40 nickels in a nickel wrapper, 50 dimes in a dime wrapper, and 40 quarters in a quarter wrapper.

When the coin rolls were filled, Grandma lugged them to the bank and turned them in for dollar bills. She’d tuck the dollar bills into a cloth wallet and use the money for whatever necessities were needed that week.

“They added up,” Grandma once said. “Your grandfather and I bought our first house with all the change I saved.”

Today, things are still tough financially for many of us. But I still have two glass jars on a shelf in the kitchen that we regularly dump our change into.  When the jars are full, we cash them in. The proceeds often pay for our family to eat dinner out. The dinner tastes especially great because it was paid for with change.

Frugal Tip #3 – The Frugal Broads All Purpose Dip & Marinade Recipe

By – Frugal Broad #2

When I was young, I created a recipe using hamburger and Worcestershire sauce on the stove, dropping little dollops of cooked hamburger in the beautiful brownish-black liquid, and then pouring it into a bowl and eating it. I added spices, and realized after a few meals that I liked the sauce so well that I could just drink it by itself.

So, I created this recipe. I call it “dip” but you can call it whatever you want. The best part about this recipe is that it uses things that you probably already have in your cupboard and fridge.

In a bowl, to taste:

  • A healthy amount of Worcestershire sauce (I usually go about halfway up a small soup bowl)
  • (a sprinkle across the top of) Lawry’s season salt
  • Italian seasoning or oregano
  • Dried minced garlic (if you don’t have this, you can use garlic powder – just do not use garlic salt because then it will be inedible)
  • (optional) a dash of Liquid Smoke
  • (optional) a dash of butter

Do not stir. Put in a microwave for about 1-1 ½ minutes or until the dry ingredients have completely mixed, (it will boil in the microwave).

I use this to dip chips in (my family thinks I’m a bit crazy, but it’s good, I promise), and to marinade hamburgers and steaks with. It’s a simple recipe, and is extremely diverse. Feel free to find a flavor profile that you like. If you don’t like Italian seasoning, feel free to omit it and add something else. The good thing about marinades and dips like this is that they usually take very few ingredients to make, and you can do them yourself.

It saves money since you probably have the ingredients in your own kitchen and pantry. And you don’t have to buy those overpriced prepackaged mixes.

Frugal Tip #2 – Learn to Cook Soup from Scratch

Frugal Tip #2 – Learn to Cook Soup from Scratch

By – Frugal Broad #1

I was reared by my Italian immigrant grandmother.  I watched grandma cook and learned that the most wonderful foods came either directly from the garden and were made from scratch. I don’t remember eating anything from a can until I was 18 years old and had to cook for myself.

One of the best memories I had was watching my grandmother make homemade chicken soup. The following is derived from the original Italian Wedding Soup recipe passed down from her to me. There are many ways to make the soup. Some people add curly endive or escarole to the soup, others add a seasoned mixture of veal and ground beef and make miniature meatballs.  In my family, we keep it simple.

The soup makes quite a few servings. It’s an inexpensive way to feed a large family or crowd. We usually make it on Sunday and eat it for the rest of the week, but it also freezes well.

I can’t prove it, but if I have a cold and make this soup, I always feel better afterwards.  The following are approximate measures. You should alter them to your taste.

 

Frugal Broad’s Basic Chicken Soup Recipe

1-12 quart stockpot

10 quarts of water

1 large stewing or fryer chicken (choose a plump one) – I prefer an organic chicken

4 ribs of celery chopped into small pieces

Approximately 1/3 cup of celery leaves, chopped finely

1 pound bag of baby carrots, chopped into small pieces

1 large Vidalia onion, chopped finely

1-16 ounce box of acini de pepe or alphabet pasta

4 Tablespoons of seasoned salt (to taste)

2 Tablespoons of freshly ground pepper (to taste)

1 Tablespoon each of Italian seasoning and parsley

1 quart of chicken stock (optional)

Directions:

  1. Remove the neck, gizzard and other parts from the inside of the chicken
  2. Rinse the chicken thoroughly (inside and out) and pat it dry
  3. Place the chicken in the bottom of a 12 quart stock pot and cover it with water until the pot is about ¾ full (about 10 quarts of water).
  4. Add the chopped carrots, celery, celery leaves, onion, and seasonings.
  5. Simmer the mixture on low (water should be barely bubbling) for 4-5 hours.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a large plate or platter.
  7. Remove the chicken from the bones and carcass. We only use the white meat but you can use both white and dark if you like.  Save the unused chicken to top a salad or casserole.
  8. Add the boneless chicken back to the stock pot and bring mixture to a boil.
  9. Add the entire 16 ounce box of pasta.
  10. If needed, reseason the stock with salt and pepper to your taste.
  11. Note: If the stock isn’t rich enough (maybe the chicken wasn’t fatty enough) then you can add a quart of good quality chicken stock. A stewing chicken is larger and will give a richer broth, but I often use a plump fryer chicken. The secret to this soup is to choose a plump chicken and to simmer the soup on low so that the stock will be nice and rich.

Serve steaming hot and sprinkle grated Parmesan or Romano cheese over each bowl of soup. We like to serve garlic bread with ours.

Enjoy!

Frugal Tip #1 – Save Lids, Containers & Invest in Tupperware

By – Frugal Broad #2

Growing up with Frugal Broad #1 and my paternal grandmother, there was one thing I noticed that they had in common,  both of them had tiny collections of plastic bins and lids, tucked inside of each other in a cabinet.  I remember asking my grandmother where she got all of them – and she told me that she saved them over the years

“Lids and containers from the butter,” she told me, “You can’t microwave them, but you can still clean them out and use them.”

And use them she did.  Leftovers went into them, and they were plopped in the refrigerator without a second thought.  She not only had butter containers, but containers for whipped topping, and anything plastic she could clean out with soap and water.

This was one of the first frugal tips I learned.

When I pressed Frugal Broad # 1 for more information on this (she’s my Mom, she knows everything), she confirmed that saving old lids and containers were a good way to save money.

“Most people just throw these away,” Mom told me.  “It’s like the Tupperware we have in the pantry, some people don’t know when to make a good investment.”

And for the record, Tupperware is a good investment.  It’s the best waste of your money you will ever make.  Yes, they’re expensive, but you can sometimes find the larger containers, or older containers at garage sales.  No matter what price is on the tag, just pay it.  I promise you’ll never regret it.  Tupperware lasts forever.  If that was never a tag line of theirs, it should be.  We have a set from the stone age still keeping our flour and sugar bug-free.

Smart investments will last you a lifetime.