The Luxury of Frugality: FREE Beauty...

Delight in Ordinary Things.

It isn't a secret...I'm known for liking pretty things.  I spend way too many hours on Pinterest and perusing your blogs...all done for the sake of feeding this insatiable love of beauty.  It wasn't all that surprising then when a wave of appreciation came over me the other day as I surveyed our kitchen counter.  It was laden with fresh, locally grown vegetables (very frugally garnered from our favorite farm stand) as they rubbed shoulders with humble hand~fulls of the climbing roses I rescued from the trimmings pile as Mike pruned the two rose bushes on our back patio. Stuffed into glasses and set next to the fruit from our recent visit to the farm stand, they smelled heavenly and looked luxurious and lovely.   "Free beauty!" I thought to myself...much too lovely not to document with a photo and share with all of you good souls.
Sending love and good thoughts to all, as always.

Tracey and Family

P.S. And it's especially nice to find free beauty in ordinary and/or discarded things...don't you think?!!


The Luxury of Frugality

"Every state of society is as luxurious as it can be."
--Samuel Johnson

Many people confuse luxury with opulence.  To understand luxury you must look at the true sense of the word.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines luxury as "something....conducive to pleasure and comfort," so to indulge in luxury you need only to focus on what brings you pleasure and comfort.  Does luxury have to mean diamonds and servants?  Or can if be a plump down comforter on a cold night or a bowl of wild blueberries picked at the peak of that fruit's brief seasonPracticing frugality allows you to organize your life and thinking in such a way as to control your own happiness.  One way this is done is by allowing yourself to delight in ordinary things and occurrences.

As Thoreau so eloquently stated,"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor."

Make a conscious decision, at this moment to appreciate what your own life has to offer in the way of frugal luxuries. 



Stocking the Holiday Gift Pantry: Easy Candied Grapefruit


Have the holidays been on your mind lately?   I gave them some thought the other day as I was peeling two large grapefruit we found at the farm stand.  The peels were so pretty ... and such a nice solid thickness for making candied grapefruit ... within minutes I had them bathing in a homemade simple syrup (about 1/4 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water) gently simmering them for about thirty minutes.  After removing the peels from the syrup with a slotted spoon, I set them to dry on waxed paper and sprinkled them with granulated sugar.  The finished candied grapefruit will be used in homemade granola to be included in a Breakfast Gift Basket as well as prettily packaged in small, parchment paper lined boxes and given as token gifts alone...or included in other gift baskets.  Judging from your blogs, it's my guess you all are way ahead of me!

Sending love and good thoughts to all, as always.

Tracey and Family x0x

Note:  I forgot to mention that I like to use organic granulated sugar whenever I can ... also ... I save the leftover simple~syrup and use it to flavor and sweeten tea...iced and/or hot!


Note:  I put some of the thicker (already candied) peels into the dehydrator for a few hours to  encourage complete drying.



Cookery: A Useful Accomplishment...Or How to Eat A Giant Zucchini

" ' Lounging and larking don't pay,' observed Jo, shaking her head. 
 'I'm tired  of it and mean to go to work at something right off.' 
 'Suppose you learn plain cooking; that's a useful accomplishment, 
which no [one] should be without,' said Mrs. March."
--Louisa Mae Alcott, Little Women


 I was practicing the art of cookery today and wanted to share the results of making use of just one of those super~sized zucchini I had  mentioned HERE (bought from the farm stand, 3 for $1). 


My goal was to make small pizzas...using the zucchini as the crust. However, that idea was nearly squelched after seeding the centers--due to the gaping hole in the center of the zucchini rounds! 

I got around this by slicing very thin pieces from the narrow part of the zucchini and using it to cover the'll notice I also did a similar trick with a Roma tomato.  They both turned out tasty!

Here is a photo of the miniature zucchini pizzas as I put them into the oven.  I'm not sure if you can tell, but they are topped with marinara, mozzarella, diced tomatoes and (a few) pepperoni.  I baked them for 35 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven and they were delicious!  I don't have a picture of the finished product as both my phone and my camera battery died on me!  Note:  While we thought they were quite good, I'm not sure if children would be too excited about these as the zucchini becomes soft when cooked and must be eaten with a fork thereby losing the coveted status of finger~food...but Rosie and I liked them a lot!

While the oven was still hot, I decided to use the remains of my low~carb feast (primarily the zucchini)  to make oven-baked zucchini fries!

This was surprisingly easy to do!  I cut up the remaining, seeded, zucchini into same~sized pieces (see picture above) and set them aside while I put about a cup of bread crumbs, a teaspoon of garlic salt and about two tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese into a zip lock bag and shook them up.  Next I dipped the pieces in an egg wash (one egg with a bit of water, well beaten) and them dropped them in the bag with the seasoned bread crumbs until they were covered.  I placed them all on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet where they were baked in the preheated 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. 

 I served them forth using leftover marinara from the pizzas as a dipping sauce!

I still have two huge zucchinis to eat up...hmmm...perhaps I'll take the easy way out and grate and freeze them for recipes during the winter...or am open to suggestions!

Sending love and good thoughts to all, as always.
Tracey and Family



"Potential Accomplishments" and The Natural Magic of List-Making: Creating a Master~List


"All things on earth point home in old October....--Thomas Wolfe


As you probably already have guessed, I am a list~maker and leave very little to memoryIn fact, the only thing I really leave to memory is where I put my lists! I've found that lists are an invaluable tool for staying focused. My memory is on overload most of the time so I especially love the idea of a Master List of Potential Accomplishments and have long used this tactic to unburden myself mentally.

I firmly believe there is a kind of a natural magic in list~making. The very act of writing out your potential accomplishments sends a message to your central nervous system and consequently you find yourself doing the very things you want to get done!


The following list is far from comprehensive and will of course be adjusted over time, however, it is a beginning.  The mere act of writing it out has already primed my thoughts and attitude toward my goals for the month the old saying goes..."the beginning is half the end".

October's Master~List of Potential Accomplishments
(In no particular order.)

  • This month my primary focus is on home and, specifically, de-cluttering and deep clean our oft neglected master bedroom. My micro-goals for achieving this are layered and consist of a series of tasks such as bringing the extra television downstairs to replace the old one in the nook...moving the sewing machine to the spare room (I hope to set up a separate area in there, once it's been thoroughly de-cluttered and reorganized)...painting the vanity...finding another place for the extra vintage suitcases stacked atop one of the well as a thorough vacuuming via the wet-dry vac...then spot cleaning...of the carpet...using the handy, multi-purpose mixture of Dawn dish soap, Hydrogen Peroxide and water

  •  Walk a mile at least once a week...on purpose

  • Exfoliate my skin at least once a week

  • While I'm thinking about exfoliating...I need to descale the glass shower doors in master bath using a citric acid solution

  • Continue going through and organizing all my old Frugal Times: Making-Do With Dignity and Frugal Luxuries newsletters along with my collection of vintage ephemera...  eventually scan and share them via blogs

  • Post on Frugal Luxuries blog at least once per week...try to write ahead and set to automatic post if inspiration strikes

  • Go over Christmas List and budget...prioritize purchases...begin shopping

  • Make a final list of holiday gifts I will be making myself and then write out a time line/step-outs for creating them

  • Turn over and feed soil in planters (if necessary, spray again for mites)

  • Make list of what herbs and greens I want to plant (and decide where to plant them) plant the seeds or buy transplants from local nursery

  • Do research on pavers and the like for our back patios as the concrete has tilted to crazy angles due to the ground settling in an odd way...find prices and compare...make a final decision

  • Keep a look-out for small, shallow garden shed to use as a potting shed (within our budget) this will help free up space in the garage for Mike (we will be able to keep shovels/rakes and other garden tools in the shed) and at the same time offer storage for all those necessary odds-and-ends that are making it look so cluttered

  • Continue to work on implementing my 'Daily 100'  (this is where I do minimal of 100 crunches/sit-ups and/or isometrics focused on the abs and lower back muscle groups).  Don't be too impressed yet...I'm only on my fourth day so far!

  • Finish mending the slipcover for the sofa in the kitchen

  • Paint the inside of two armoires in the living room...then reorganize them to be more efficient when putting all their contents back into place

  • Repair, paint and reorganize glass cupboard in kitchen (thin out excess via Craigslist and/or donations)

  • Find light fixture for kitchen (above island) have it available for the electrician to install when Mike has him in to look at other items

  • Fix broken glides and order handles for the kitchen drawers (decide if I want them for the cabinets as well)

  • Sand and then repair the small area next to sink in kitchen.

  • Do full inventory and organization of large pantry cupboard in kitchen

  • Order extra filters for the water filter

  • Make jelly for the pantry using seasonal fruits from the farm stands

  • Spend an hour each day (Monday through Friday) working on de-cluttering the spare room

  • Continue helping Rosie sell extra clothing and the like on eBay

  • Spend one afternoon or morning shopping my closet for cooler weather outfits

  • Clean out one large cupboard in garage

  • Go through Christmas/Holiday decorations and thin out...sell on Craigslist and/or donate

  • Make our seasonal (Autumn) menu list to choose from for the next few months (begin by planning to use items in our freezer and pantry)...remember to keep in mind Mike's lunches as well

  • Begin thinning out my massive book hard to do but a must as they are taking over our house :)

  • Listen to the audio version of those history books I've been wanting to read...also...catch up on my this while working on the de-cluttering (and other) projects.  Note: I play the movies on my computer or iPad and then carry it around with me as I work around the house

  • Put out autumn decorations 

  • Begin re-reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings...I soak up the wisdom buried in this book and try to re-read it every few years, however, because it's so very long, I find it works best to read it in increments (I like to call them "bites").  If time permits...I'll read one chapter each morning during my quiet time and another each evening before going to sleep.  I often implement this strategy when reading larger/longer books as doing so gives me something to look forward to...I find myself thinking about the story and the characters throughout the day...a true frugal luxury!

What are your goals for this month?

As October is the month I'm focusing on home I thought it was appropriate to scan and share this form from one of our old newsletters in the 1990' was also a part of our manuscript for my book  Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons.  Please feel free to enlarge and print it out it if you'd like to try it for your own personal use.


The original "FRUGAL LUXURIES" ~ Based on the books by Tracey McBride ~ Established 1993

A warm Thank You to all kind souls and kindred spirits who generously take the time to leave a comment...your encouragement, trust and support are deeply appreciated...please know that we read each and every message and will respond as time allows.


Frugal Luxuries
is a registered trademark.


"FRUGAL LUXURIES: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul" was written by Tracey McBride and published by Bantam Books, NY, in 1997. It was the first of its genre to synergize the elements of simplicity, frugality and gracious living.

After more than a decade, FRUGAL LUXURIES has never been out of print and is now more relevant than ever.

"It's our hope that a new generation, faced with a teetering economy, will also find this information helpful and enlightening."

Sending Good Thought to Our Special Band of Kind and Kindred Souls!

Frugal Luxuries Book I

Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons Book II

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