Saturday

The Art of Frugality... Recent Practices


"How simple and frugal a thing is happiness."
~Nikos Kazantzakis 


As with most people, the advent of the new year has us combing the budget to patch the leaks... reassessing our spending habits... and battening down our spending in order to accommodate a tighter budget.  Because of this I've been especially inspired by all of the frugal ideas found throughout this wonderland of Bloglandia.  Sending gratitude and thanks to all who so generously share their life~enhancing frugal strategies... you are very appreciated.

Here are a few simple ways we've been practicing the art of frugality in our realm of reality recently.
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One of my goals for this year is to do more planting of edibles in our little garden.   I've already planted the herbs I received for Christmas (see picture in previous post... I'll write a longer post on our garden plans soon).  

I finally tried this great idea that's been rolling around Pinterest for awhile:  Instead of throwing out the stub of our organic celery I put it in a bit of water on the window sill and use the leaves in cooking.  If all goes well it will eventually go out into the garden with our herbs, cabbages and kale!  I did a similar strategy using organic Romaine lettuce cores (cut from store bought lettuce) with great results.  They sprouted on the window sill where I harvested a few of them to top Tostadas.  I eventually planted them in the garden but our resident raccoons immediately dug them up and ate them! Perhaps the next batch will be put into pots?
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I'm also trying another classic idea to further enhance our tiny edible garden: Organic green onions are stored in a glass of water.  After using the green stems (leaving just enough to reach the top of the glass) I'll allow them to sprout and then plant them in the garden.  I hope the raccoons don't have a taste for onions... but we'll find out!
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 Several months ago I bought a huge bag of California garlic from Costco and had several bulbs remaining.  After doing a little research in my gardening books I found that planting garlic with your other herbs and vegetables may deter critters (i.e., raccoons and munching insects) from digging up and/or nibbling on your garden edibles.  With so much garlic not being eaten, I decided to plant several of the cloves.  This is my first time planting garlic bulbs but my research tells me that one little clove produces twenty more...that's a very good return!  And if it keeps guard over the rest of the garden all the better.  Also...if you're wondering why I'm showing the garlic cloves in a jar it's because I soaked them for about an hour in a 20 to 1 solution of water and peroxide.  These were all planted about three weeks ago and they are all sprouting beautifully (photos to come).  I will keep you posted!~~~



Inspired by need, I dug out some of our thrifted vintage silver plated flatware and soaked it in an aluminum foil lined stainless  pot filled with water and sprinkled with baking soda and a bit of salt.  It worked fairly well to take the first few layers of the very dark tarnish from them but elbow grease had to take over from there!  We use these for our everyday flatware and I never tire of the pretty shapes and designs.
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Citrus abounds out here in southern California so I am doing my best to preserve the fruits of this winter season via dehydrator (seen above) and by freezing the juice.  Mike bought me a juicer for our anniversary last year (at my request) and we've made a healthy habit of it since.  Fresh oranges, lemons and grapefruits are delicious additions to our morning juices.  They are especially frugal as we get most of our citrus free from my father's trees or for a song from the local farm stand.  I plan on using the frozen lemon/orange/grapefruit juice to add to our juices and smoothies when citrus isn't so abundant and/or well priced.
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Thank you again for the abundance of ideas and inspiration everyone puts out here... it is so motivating and nudges me to action!

Sending love and good thoughts to all.
Warmly,
Tracey and Family
x0x

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14 comments:

La Table De Nana said...

Tracey..I just did my silver like that also:) Years ago there was a metal piece you could buy and add calgon and it would work..but this is far more economical..and did the cutlery so nicely..wish it could work for bigger objects? Well it could..

I will try your celery..adds such a nice color and taste..:)
Great ideas..It's so nice to think this way..and one gets such pleasure!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

I remember that metal piece too! It came in a kit...wish I had it today although it was rectangular and wouldn't have fit in my big stockpot. ;)))
I like your idea of using this for bigger pieces...tea pots and serving dishes...perhaps a large shallow basin for trays (perhaps a busboy tray?). So many possibilities.

I'm looking forward to seeing how you like the celery trick! I agree...thinking this way is a pleasure...and so satisfying...almost like a fun game or working on an art project!

Love,
Tracey
XoX

Nana said...

Hi Tracey;
Planting and gardening in January makes me want to move to California! I loved your idea about the garlic, and will definitely try it as soon as our cold weather breaks. (I really do love the cold weather!) Love and Hugs, Nana

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Hi Nana! So good to hear from you as always! I am so happy to see how well the garlic is working out in the garden. A word of caution someone gave me though...be sure to use garlic from the United States as some imported garlic may not work or has been grown in soils with high pesticide residues and the like. I felt pretty confident as ours was grown in Gilroy, California...I had a hunch it'd be right at home here. ;)))
Love,
Tracey xox
P.S. Yes, it's true...we are blessed with wonderful weather...although the past two weeks found us shivering in the thirties...a rarity in our neighborhood! Must admit I'm so glad to see the return of seventy + degree weather again this weekend!

Mary Ellen said...

Hello sweet friend!

WE went to NM as Bill had been asked to officiate at a wedding for some friends of ours. I usually put out an email to my friends when I am coming down so we can get together for lunch, coffee etc while I am down there. I felt silly in a way but decided to ask in the email if anyone had any jelly jars they wanted to get rid of as I make tons of jelly and give it away but often the jars don't come back. I came home with 4 or 5 dozen jars and all were happy to get rid of them as they don't can. So glad I asked!

bee blessed
mary

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Hello dear Mary Ellen!

So wonderful to hear from you. What a great idea to put out an open request for canning jars...so smart! Ask and ye shall receive!
When those run out perhaps try putting a "wanted" ad on Craig's List in their free section?

Hope you enjoyed your trip!
Love to you.
Warmly,
Tracey xox

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Hi Tracey,

I had wondered about the celery thing. I had seen it all over pinterest but I read that people had mixed results. I'm going to give it a try since it seems to work for you.
Planting the garlic was a great idea. We're still eating garlic I harvested in last year. It takes a while for it to grow here - don't know about CA.
I love reading these posts of yours - always such good ideas and inspiration!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

I feel the same about your posts Manuela...you always inspire me to action! (Spent too much time on those gardening links you posted last night ;).
I am excited about the garlic... I'm not sure when and how to harvest but I'm thinking it will be ready in July and then just pull it out! I'm a garlic nut so am looking so forward to enjoying our home grown version! Yes, that celery trick worked great...as did the Romaine hearts...now if I could just keep those racoons from digging them up!
Love,
Tracey
x0x

Storybook Woods said...

I am impressed. You go girl :-P
There is nothing like fresh herbs and garlic. I love to use the garlic tops, like green onions. You live with such mild weather, you can really have an amazing garden. Enjoy xoxo Clarice

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Awww thanks Clarice. I hope you are feeling better and healing well. You are so right...fresh herbs and garlic are powerful ingredients that can really transform an ordinary dish! I put garlic in so many many things its a staple at our house. And herbs...i'm always looking for new ways to use them. One of my favorites is to toss them in salad. I love to snip just a few herb leaves and toss them into an ordinary green salad for that pop of surprise! I especially love mint leaves...crumble a bit of feta or goat cheese, add a sprinkling of dried cranberries, toss with a light vinaigrette and you have a natural feast!
Love,
Tracey
XoX
P.S. we are finally over our long cold snap..yay!...it's going to be eighty today!!!

Eve said...

Citrus (at a frugal price) is not abundant here in NY at the moment. So dehydrating when it is is a great idea. My question is, what do you do with yours?

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Hi Eve! I'm glad you asked!!! I will be doing a post on it one of these days but I use it to make flavored tea...i steep a few dried slices in the teapot with tea when I'm in the mood for citrus flavors. You can do the same with dried fruit as well...blackberries and strawberries are delicious as is candied ginger and even candied citrus...it strains out with the loose leaf tea. Dehydrated fruits have a much stronger flavor than fresh so you don't need much! I also like to grind the dried fruit in the food processor to make a citrus powder. This is a tangy addition to smoothies and juices plus I think it adds a vitamin c boost as well! I've also used the citrus powder in baking (muffins and quick breads and cookies) to make them citrus flavored!
Love,
Tracey
XoX
P.S. loved your post on those unfinished sweaters!

Mrs.Rabe said...

What really great ideas!

I am going to try the celery and romaine idea.

I love frugal tips like these and had forgotten the one about the silver. I have a few pieces that need to be cleaned, so I'll give this a try.

Deanna

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Hi Deanna!
I have romaine on my window sill right now and it's growing rapidly! I transplanted the celery but the squirrels dug it up and ate it! I thought it was the raccoons until I caught the squirrels in the act...they also dug up two of my garlic bulbs but didn't eat them. I just replanted and they're doing fine. I'll be planting the romaine near the garlic to see if that might deter the wild creatures from feasting on them! :))).
Love,
Tracey xox

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.

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"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.

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