It’s High Time We Committed by texaskillet
April 30, 2011, 10:32 PM
Filed under: Clever Chickadees, inspiration, penny saver, texaskillet

Okay, I am ready.

For what you may ask.

To not spend money is my response to this very sensible question.

About a year ago, I was reading this article about taking a 14 day excursion from spending the green.

Yes, there is preparation. It’s not like you are trying to torture yourself, but certainly it causes you to have to think, vs. throw money at an issue just because you can.

Starting May 7th and ending May 21st, I will not spend one darned cent.

I plan to do the following to get ready for this thought provoking and hopefully spend altering experiment.

Yes, even the kids are going to be subject to having to wait. Oh dear me no, say it ain’t so. Haha!

Preparation may look different for lots of folks given the gazillions of lifestyles out there as well as family structures and routines which are hard to interupt.

Mine will look like this:

  1. Fill up the car. Around here this is an opportunity for tears. L I sincerely dislike my petrol dependency and am trying hard to severely reduce the habit.
  2. Grocery shop, fresh items included (that may be the hardest part of this), double check the pets food stores, this goes triple for the coffee stash. J
  3. Schedule my bus days and don’t let people F with them just because THEY need something
  4. Pay all bills that would be due before the 22nd
  5. Grease up the bike chain for alternative transportation
  6. Plan my weekends around local hikes that I can get to on foot, bus or bike. Possibly invite some friends to my place for dinner.
  7. Load my lunch card at work and plan back up lunches to take when I get sick of their salad bar and protein options
  8. Do all my laundry by the evening of the 6th and try to not do laundry during the two weeks. If laundry must be done then let it be no more than two loads of essentials. Essentials being the underwear, socks and possibly some athletic wear. Yahoo!
  9. Make sure to check the calendar to see if there are events I am to attend that require coin for one thing or another. If possible pay for those ahead of time or see if I can reschedule.

Am I missing anything? Does anyone have any interest in doing this with me? It doesn’t have to be the exact days I am doing it but I think it would be fun to overlap.

If you do want to do it.. what would your list look like? Ya know, if you don’t mind sharing. J


Raw and Crispy but kind of Crazy by texaskillet
April 28, 2011, 1:54 AM
Filed under: Clever Chickadees, raw, texaskillet, vegan

You can make these and you won’t even hate them…or at least I don’t think that you will.

So, I got some Red Swiss Chard from the Ballard Farmers Market and I thought .. okay, here we go again with this stuff.

After trying a dudes Dorrito replacement plan which was dehydrated Kale, I decided to have a go.

I have the dehydrator and I guess I am a little nutso over it at the moment so it made perfect sense.

I essentially washed the Chard, shook it dry, then used scissors to cut semi uniform strips. Then I used some Tom Douglas Tokyo Rub and sprinkled it over top.

Set the Dehydrator to 120 degrees and just let it run. They say that the food in the dehydrator stays about 10-20 degrees less than the temperature setting.

Anyway, what happened was most certainly Chard Chips, the only thing that I can say is that they definitely have distinct flavor, even when dried and seasoned.

If you like that, then awesome.

Here are some photos to get your juices flowin’. J

Trail Blazers by quornflour

I like cookies. When I make cookies, I like to put part of the batch aside in the freezer or the fridge for later. This way, when I want a cookie, I can just make one. It also keeps me from the whole batch. Sometimes I make a few and give a plate to my neighbor; sometimes I make the whole batch and bring them to work.

Today I decided I wanted a cookie, but I did not have any dough sitting in the fridge, so I decided to make some Trail Blazers.

I took a recipe I had used before and made a few tweaks, then a few more. Here is what you do:

Preheat your oven to 350⁰

In a bowl cream together:

  • 1 C Honey
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 C packed Brown Sugar
  • ¾ C Coconut Oil (alternately use: Bacon Butter, Butter or Shortening)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In another bowl sift together:

  • 1 ½ C flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Ginger Powder

Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix them together, then add some trail mix:

  • ½ C Shaved Coconut
  • ½ C Dried Apricots cut into 6 – 8 pieces each
  • ½ C Chopped Pecans
  • ½ C Sunflower Seeds
  • ½ C Chocolate Chips
  • ½ C Craisins

Once you get all of that mixed together add 3 – 4 Cups of Whole Oats

When you have all of this mixed together, put globs about 2 Tablespoon sized well-spaced on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown on the top. If you like a more not quite burned sugar flavor bake a little longer.

Cool on a rack and enjoy!

Fiddlehead Ferns: Fun with Foraging by texaskillet

There is this whole undercurrent of society that forages for fresh plants to eat. Of course we know that there are people who fish and hunt and kill stuff to eat, but what about the aforementioned grouping.

Last season my hunt for information started with my desire to eat Huckleberries. Of course you could say that I have been foraging for years, as I am sure many of you have. Whenever you went out with the family and your mom had you pick blackberries and put them in a bucket so that she could make her famous cobbler. Whenever you came across a crab apple tree and plucked a few, brought them home and cooked them up with cinnamon, sugar and sometimes a little nutmeg. Whenever you went on a hike and came across some salmonberries or thimbleberries and just couldn’t resist the temptation. The stories go on and on and the occasion to eat something growing wild does the same.

Over the last year as I have started to gather info but not yet the bounty of the wilds I have narrowed my search to a few things. Nettles, berries of all sorts, wild asparagus, apples that aren’t in someone’s orchard & FIDDLEHEAD FERNS. Fortunately for me I don’t like mushrooms so figuring out poisonous vs. nonpoisonous on those bad boys is not an issue.

You may be wondering what Fiddlehead Ferns are, as I was… how do you know when you can pick them or which ones are the right ones? I think I found the answers, but of course would be remiss if I did not encourage you to seek a local professional for guidance. It seems that ferns are non-poisonous in any land you happen to be in. There are preferences out there of course, but well… I am just not that seasoned. I checked the stream local to my house and there were fiddlehead ferns. The problem was, I didn’t yet have all the info. SO, when I got wind that someone was selling the crop they had harvested at the Ballard Farmers Market, I was all over it. Of course since then I know that you would clip right above the ground level and only take three from each plant so that the plant will continue to thrive. I mean you do want to harvest them next year don’t you? Also, I learned that these are only available for a few short weeks in the spring and really should be harvested before they unfurl. These are all good things to know. J I think that I will stay away from the extra hairy ones, that just doesn’t seem as palatable to me.

So how do you prepare a Fiddlehead Fern? Super easy.

-First take your stash and blanch them for 4 minutes.

-Remove them from the water

-Drain off excess and flip them over to a pan with butter, garlic, salt and pepper or really any kind of seasoning that you prefer.

-Sautee until they are the desired tenderness.

I hate hate hate soggy veggies so I go for no longer than 2 minutes. Wahlaaaa! Done and delicious!

I have no doubt that there are hundreds of other ways to use these. I tend to want to keep it simple so I can really enjoy the flavor and let my palate tell me how I will next use something. However, if you have something you have tried, please let me know about it. I need to plan. J







Apartment Garden, Episode 1: Seedling Starters by quornflour

It might be a tad late to be starting these, but it has been such a cold winter, and I was going out of town with no one to water them daily that I am just getting around to them now. I am sure it will be fine. Around Easter is great because you may have more egg cartons sitting around than you typically would.

It is a super easy little project that uses mostly recycled stuff that you may already have around the house.

Here is what you need:

  • Cardboard Egg Cartons
  • Lipped Cookie Tray
  • Potting Soil
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Seeds
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie

Start by cutting the cartons in half; leave the tab on the egg cup side on. Place the cup site in the top and place them in your lipped tray. I used aluminum ¼ cake trays.

Now, before you say anything, note that I actually fished these out of my neighbors recycling, so it is kind of the same as already having them, I am just giving them a second life. I would have used baking trays, but I only have one and it does not have lips so it would have just made a mess.

Use the Sharpie and write on the tabs that you did not cut off to label the type of seeds you are planting.

Next, fill the cups with dirt, do not press it down but make sure all of the cups are well filled; you do not have to be neat about it. However, if you have a tendency to spill dirt, like I do, I recommend doing this par outside: saves on clean-up too.

Once the cups are filled sprinkle the tops with the cayenne pepper.

Yes, really. This will keep bugs away.

Make a little finger hole in the dirt in the center of each cup and put seeds in. I always put more than one seed in each hole in case one does not sprout. This might not be necessary.

Cover the seeds with the dirt filling in the holes and press it down so it is packed.

Then water the cups, this might take a few passes as you want to get the cardboard wet and let it soak up water to make sure that the cups do not dry out. You will want to water these 1 – 2 times a day and keep them in a warm place that does not have a risk of frost, like in your house. I like to put them near a window and a heater, so when they start to sprout they get sunlight.

Happy Sprouting!

Sprouting, Episode 2: Lentils by texaskillet

I said I would come back with the next installment of the sprouting adventure and well… here I am.

The sprouting of the lentils went well, but they are a lot less “sprouty” than the Quinoa, which is just something of interest that I noted.

With the lentils I combined them with a chop salad that I picked up at a local Italian restaurant. I was going for the; add raw to some raw and some meat proteins.

Kind of my M.O. at this point.

So here’s a photo of the biznasssss about 10 hours into it, loooook how cute they are!


And then the finished product after 24 hours, momma mia these are hesitant.

Of course it is, soak for 8-12 hours and then sprout for 2 days!


And here is a photo of the partially homemade and partially restaurant bought salad.

It made a delicious and satisfying meal, but what I did figure out is that lentils make my stomach a little uncomfortable.


Next up: Sunflower seeds for that ever popular Vitamin D. I think I will make a spread out of that for cucumber dipping. J

Jar Money by quornflour
April 18, 2011, 2:15 PM
Filed under: Clever Chickadees, inspiration, penny saver, quornflour | Tags: , , , , ,

I know many people who have a change jar, but if you want to maximize the savings try these clever chickadee tips:

  1. Do not spend anything less than a five:

    I know this might sound crazy, but if you use cash, do not spend anything less than a five, instead put all of your ones and change in the jar, the savings will add up fast. It will also help you think about what you spend money on, a dollar is not just a dollar, it is 5!

    Over the course of a year you could easily put aside as much as 800$ a year if you use cash regularly.


  2. Give yourself a weekly cash allowance:

    Instead of limiting the amount you spend using your card, get cash. This will limit what you have available and keep you within budget.

    If you have cash, but also do not spend anything less than a five you will find your pocket full of Jar Money.

    I use my allowance to cover things like: going out to lunch, getting drinks with friends, coffee out, and gas since I have public transportation options; basically anything that is not a regular cost like groceries and bills.

    At the end of each week, put anything that is unused into the jar as well.


  3. Do not steal from the change jar:

    Now that you are building up the jar of money it is tempting to just reach in and grab a few bucks when you want a cup of coffee, do not do it. Try taking out the paper money about once a month and relocating it to a box or a savings account so it is not tempting.


  4. Payback:

    If you ever lend a friend a few bucks, or get reimbursed for something, put that money into the jar as well, it is essentially money that has already left your account anyway.


  5. The Jar:

    Your jar does not have to be an actual jar, if you would rather see interest on these savings open a separate savings account just for this money. If you have on-line banking you can ask your bank to not have this account accessible on-line to avoid temptation.


  6. Street Parking and Laundry:

    If you live in a city or in a place with coin operated laundry, include a roll or two of quarters with your weekly allowance rather than taking from the jar, use only the quarters from the roll to pay for these known expenses. At the end of the week any remaining quarters go into the jar.

Once you do this for a while it gets easier, it also becomes easier to determine what your allowance should be. One year I managed to put aside over 2K, most of which would have been money I would have just piddled away. I used it to buy my DSLR and a few lenses.

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