Thursday, December 30, 2010

Simple Knitted Dishcloths & Washcloths

These make great gifts and you can make them slightly larger and use them for lovely wash cloths. I use the 48 stitch size for both dishcloths and washcloths, if you prefer a smaller dishcloth just use 44 stitches.
Bundle 2 to 3 together in ribbon and add to a gift basket of kitchen items, or for wash cloths in a baket of bath goodies. You can of course just give them as they are, or keep them for yourself. They are lovely to share and much nicer than store bought.
Here's what you'll need:
Size 8 knitting needles
I like Lily Sugar'n Cream yarn - 1 ball makes 2 dishcloths. Use any color you like.
.Cast on 3 stitches
  • Row 1: Knit across row.
  • Row 2 Increase one stitch and then finish knitting across row. Repeat this row till you have 48 sts on needle.
  • Row 3: K to last 2 sts; k 2 together to decrease.
Repeat Row 3 till you are back down to 3 sts again. Cast off. Use a small crochet hook or a needle to weave in loose ends. 
These last a long time and make a good project for you and your child.
Submitted by Linda @ Penny-wise

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dishwashing Soap

1 ounce liquid castile soap unscented
2 cups water
1 tsp. vegetable glycerin
5-10 drops of lavender oil if desired though not necessary
Combine soap and water in a jar. Add glycerin and lavender if using. Stir well. Add a few teaspoons to a sink full of warm water or add to your dish cloth.
For Crystal Clean Glassware:
From time to time, soak your drinking glasses in a solution of vinegar and water, this will make them sparkle.
Clean Ceramic Tiles:
Clean ceramic tiles with ½ cup vinegar to 1 gallon warm water. Keep your tiles clean longer by wiping with a mixture of tea tree oil and water.
Easy, natural, and inexpensive!
Submitted by Linda @ Penny-wise 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Favorite Whole Wheat Bread

This is Heather's favorite whole wheat bread recipe from The Urban Homemaker. Enjoy!

(instructions are given for using a Bosch/large mixer and by hand)

Add 6 cups warm water to your Bosch mixer
Melt coconut oil to make 2/3 cup - add to the mixer
Add 2/3 cup honey
then 3 Tbsp. yeast (I recommend SAF)

Then start grinding. You'll need between 16 and 18 cups of flour, depending on which flours you use and the humidity.  You can also use pre-ground flour from the store.  It's your bread.  Do it how you want!

Add 2 Tbsp. sea salt
1/3 to 1/2 c. vital gluten*

Jog it on "M" for a few seconds to get it slightly mixed, then go to Speed 2 for 6 to 10 minutes.  Kiss your mixer then go read a book while it does all the hard work for you.

At this point you can bake it, but I like to let it rise once, then punch it down, put it in pans and let it rise again.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. This makes 4 to 6 loaves, depending on the size of pans you use.  You can also make rolls, hamburger buns, etc with the dough.

To grind I follow this crazy method: I add in a bunch of white hard wheat (I use a Whisper Mill). Once it's ground I measure 8 cups into the Bosch. Whatever is left over I put in a gallon size baggie to freeze. Then I grind some kamut (I just throw a bunch in). I measure out a few cups into the Bosch and throw the rest in the SAME baggie as the wheat. I grind something else, use some for the bread then put the rest in the SAME baggie as the wheat and kamut. I use this "mystery flour" for making pancakes, muffins, waffles, whatever. Or bread. Sometimes I have no idea what kind of flour is in my baked goods, but I know it's whole grain and I know it's fresh. (If you don't use the flour right away, it should be stored in the fridge or freezer). 

I love to mix and match flours. I regularly use white hard wheat, kamut, spelt, barley, amaranth, millet, flax, brown rice and quinoa for bread. It's a tricky balance since some of those are non-gluten flours. Sometimes you can use them as an "extra", like yesterday I made bread using the normal amount of flour but added a cup of amaranth (not ground into flour) to give it a "crunch". I have found that I can add about 2 cups of non-gluten flour and have the bread turn out just fine.

I grind the quinoa, flax, millet, and amaranth in my Blendtec. They are too small to grind in my Whisper Mill. 

To make this without a Bosch....
First of all, you probably want to halve the recipe unless you have big strong muscles, or a husband who will knead for you, or a bunch of kids you can recruit for cheap labor.

Add the yeast and honey to the water and let sit for a few minutes. When it's all foamy, add the oil and a few cups of flour at a time. Keep stirring and adding flour until you've added it all. Add the salt and gluten with the last of the flour. Feel free to dump the bread onto a floured counter at this point and knead it like crazy (you can use oil, water or flour to keep your hands from getting super sticky). There are many wonderful ways to knead bread, but I just push it around, smack it a few times, pick it up and drop it, let my kids smoosh it, all sorts of things. You just want to keep it moving for about 10 minutes, until it's smooth and shiny with little bubbles near the surface. You can either 'pan' it at this point and bake it, or put it in a large bowl and let it rise for about 30 minutes. Then punch it down, form it into loaves and let it rise again. Bake as directed above.

Here's the recipe without all my commentary.
6 cups warm water
2/3 cup oil (I prefer coconut)
2/3 cup honey
3 Tbsp. yeast
16-18 cups whole wheat flour (or a mixture of flours)
2 Tbsp. sea salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup gluten*

*I have had great success using 3 Tbsp. of lemon juice instead of gluten.  I have also used only 3 Tbsp. of gluten and had the bread turn out just fine.

Written by Heather @ Penny-wise

Monday, December 27, 2010

We're Back!

Hello, all!

I sure hope you and your families had a wonderfully blessed Christmas holiday. Our family sure did! We even added a new member to our family--a mutt named Sally Mae.

But, in our house, when the last Jesse Tree story has been read, the last present opened, and the last slice of cheesecake has been eaten, Christmas is over. That's right; all our decorations came down today and were boxed up for another year in the garage. It was such a joy for my five-year-old daughter to help me take all our ornaments off the tree. She handled each one with care, and it seems our time taking the tree down was just as special as our family's time of putting it up! Don't you just love moments like that?

I (and Linda and Heather) took a few days off to focus on our families, but now we're back in business. Posting will resume tomorrow morning, so stay tuned for lots of great (and simple) money-saving ideas. I know there is another cleaning product recipe waiting to debut, as well as a scrumptious whole wheat bread and even a handicraft idea for you amateur knitters out there.

Also, we would love to hear your penny-pinching ideas.

Got a great, meat-less or gluten-free recipe? Share it with us!

Know something about freezing or dehydrating food? We want to know it too!

We're asking for your frugal-living tips, recipes, and ideas. Our e-mail address is, so start typing!

We want to make 2011 our best money-saving year yet!

Written by Lindsey @ Penny-wise

Friday, December 24, 2010

Turkey Pot Pie

Pretty soon many of us will be looking at our leftover Christmas turkey wondering how we can make another meal from it. Hopefully, we've already given you a few easy options, but here's another.  A pot pie is one of the easiest ways to use up cooked meat.  Whether you have a little or a lot of leftover meat, you can make a pie. The following recipe is really easy and very delicious. The filling can be made any time and frozen for future use.  If you are pressed for time, you can use a ready-made pie crust from the store; however, I prefer homemade. 
(you may substitute with chicken or beef if you choose)
For Pastry
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt (if desired)
1/3 cup shortening
4-5 Tbsp. cold water
1 beaten egg
For Filling
2 Tbsp. margarine or butter
3 medium leeks or 1 large onion chopped
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
¾ cup chopped red sweet pepper
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
¼ tsp. Salt to taste if desired
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half, light cream or milk
2 ½ cups chopped cooked turkey (or chicken or beef)
1 cup frozen peas 
For the Pastry Top:
In a medium mixing bowl stir together 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour and salt if desired.  Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle one Tbsp. of cold water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork.  Push moist dough to sides of bowl.  Repeat with 3-4 Tbsp. of water until all mixture is moistened, then form into a ball.
On a floured surface roll dough into a rectangle about 1/8” thick. Trim to be 1” bigger than a 2 quart rectangular baking dish. Cut some shapes with a cookie cutter to decorate the top from scraps of dough, then set aside.
For the Filling:
In a large saucepan melt margarine or butter over medium heat.  Add the leeks or onion, mushrooms, celery and sweet red pepper; cook for 4-5 minutes until tender. Stir in 1/3 cup flour, poultry seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt if desired, and black pepper.  Add the broth and half-and-half, light cream, or milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in your cooked chopped meat of choice and the peas. Pour into your baking dish.
Place pastry top over the hot mixture; turn edges of pastry under and cut an x into top.  Brush with beaten egg, place pastry shapes on top and brush again with egg.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until crust is golden brown. Cool about 20 minutes before serving. This will serve 6.

Written and submitted by Linda @ Penny-wise
And from all of us at Penny-wise...MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Garlic-Lime Chicken

I don't know about you, but we're always looking for a good chicken recipe in our house. Here's one that's sure to be a hit in yours.


1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 Tbsp. lime juice

In a bowl, mix together first seven ingredients. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken breasts.

Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Saute chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about five minutes on each side. Reduce heat, remove chicken from the pan (keeping warm), and add the broth and lime juice to the pan, whisking up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking until sauce has reduced slightly. Add chicken back to the skillet, coat thoroughly, and serve.

Nutrition Facts per Serving:
Calories: 343
Fat: 11 g.
Protein: 55 g.
Sodium: 612 mg.
Cholesterol: 147 mg.

Side suggestions:
Roasted asparagus--preheat oven to 400 degrees, lay asparagus in a baking pan or dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and a dash of thyme, bake 10-15 minutes.
Baked potatoes--Christie recommends Yukon Gold.
Steamed baby carrots--add a little butter after steaming and sprinkle some nutmeg on top before serving.
Steamed French beans
Whole grain bread

Our friend Christie says, "I made this recipe tonight (from Saving Dinner), and it was outrageously delicious!"

Submitted by Christie

Do-It-Yourself Frozen Waffles

Tired of paying grocery store prices for my usual brand of organic, whole wheat waffles, I decided it was time to try something new. I wanted the convenience of frozen waffles (without the hefty price tag), and I wanted the wholesomeness of homemade waffles. I owned a waffle iron. I knew how to make waffles from scratch. Why not put two and two together and save a few extra dollars? I searched the Internet high and low for a waffle recipe that I would be proud to serve my family--one without too much oil and sugar, one that would be a good source of whole grains and fiber, one that I wouldn't feel guilty about. That's why I started buying the box of six organic, whole wheat waffles to begin with, wasn't it?

Well, turns out I couldn't find the *magic* recipe. I've never been a follow-a-recipe-to-the-letter kind of girl anyway. I finally bit the bullet and came up with my own recipe, and we LOVE it! I am happy to share it with you. I will list the exact ingredients I used, but you can feel free to substitute what you already have on-hand:


3 cups Bob's Red Mill whole wheat flour
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill flax seed meal (can substitute wheat germ)
1/2 cup Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. organic sugar
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine:

2 sticks butter, melted
4 cups organic, fat free milk
4 large eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. local honey
2 tsp. real vanilla

Pre-heat waffle iron. Slowly whisk wet ingredients in to dry ingredients until a batter forms. Don't over-whisk, but make sure most of the lumps are out of the batter. Add batter to your waffle iron, making sure not to overfill. Cook until golden brown. Remove to cool on wax paper.

To freeze, make sure waffles have cooled completely, otherwise they will stick together. They can be wrapped in foil or put in a gallon-size or larger freezer bag and frozen. When you're ready to cook, simply take out the waffles, pop them in the toaster, and serve with the topping of your choice. You may find these waffles have enough flavor (not necessarily sweetness) to serve with just a little butter.

Other toppings we like:
Peanut butter and raisins
Strawberry fruit spread
Pure maple syrup
Local honey

This recipe made 28 waffles on a Krups Belgian waffle maker. The number and size will vary, depending on the brand of your waffle maker.

Calculated savings from what I was buying before: $17.68

I don't ever want to go back to buying boxed waffles again!

I hope you and your family enjoy these waffles!

Written and submitted by Lindsey @ Penny-wise

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sprouting Grain

Our farming ancestors consumed grains in either a fermented, soaked or in sourdough form or a semi-germinated form. Grains were kept in sheaves and stacks in the fields before being brought into storage. The fast modern farming techniques prevent grains from partially germinating before being ground up and denatured.

Sprouting grain seed produces more Vit. C, increases the Vit. B content, and Carotene. Most importantly, it neutralizes phytic acid, which interferes with the absorption of iodine and other minerals as well. Sprouting also breaks down complex sugars that are difficult to digest (like pre-digesting) and enzyme inhibitors.

What I like is that when I sprout my grain, I can make items which are not as tasty or successful after soaking, like pastries and muffins. I add it to my soaked granola and yeast bread during kneading and I don't have to think ahead the night before to soak it. I can make it in bulk with little active participation on my part.  Even though cooking with it reduces it's vitamin profile and it lacks the enzymes as is usual in baking, it is still more nutritious and more digestible than a non-prepared whole grain.

So far, I sprout only the high-phytate and high gluten grains like the red and white hard wheat and soft white wheat for bulgur. You can sprout most grains, legumes and seeds; though I've only just soaked and dehydrated seeds for the same reasons and have no urge to sprout them. The Nourishing Gourmet has a great article on soaking seeds and nuts.

Difficult seeds to sprout are flax and oat seeds. You shouldn't sprout alfalfa, as tests have shown that they inhibit the immune system and can contribute to inflammatory conditions.

I let my grain soak in water over night in a half-gallon ball jar with plastic sprouting lids. I drain the next morning, rinse and prop-up to drain into a bowl until the sprouts (they're tendril like) that are coming from the end of the seed are about 1/8 to 1/4 inch long after about 2 days (I've  not gone longer than that). Then I dry them for a couple of hours in the dehydrator between 95 and 105 degrees. It's recommended to store in the fridge, but I usually use it very quickly, so it goes into a tight-fitting jar on the counter.

More detailed information can be found in Nourishing Traditions, and recipes using sprouted ingredients at various Nourishing/Nourished Blogs (including GNOWFGLINS) promoting traditional foods and traditional preparation, given to us by God's Design.

Sprouted grain is higher in vitamins and more easily digested than its unsprouted counterpart. Sprouting neutralizes grain’s naturally present antinutrients which bind up minerals, preventing their full absorption.   The grain does not need to undergo further soaking or souring and is therefore suitable for quick breads, cookies and cakes in a way that sourdoughs and soaked flours are not.

If you don't have sprouting lids for your Mason jars, here's an easy way to sprout your grains:

  1. Start with clean grain, I used organic hard white wheat; take care in sorting through it to make sure all pebbles and grains with poor appearance are adequately removed.
  2. Rinse grains thoroughly.
  3. Add grain to a ceramic or stainless steel crock, pouring filtered water over the grain until the grain is completely submersed under several inches of water.
  4. Soak the grains overnight in warm water.
  5. In the morning, pour the grains into a fine mesh sieve and rinse them well. Cover with cloth.
  6. Throughout the day, rinse the grains multiple times (I repeated 3x)  taking care to stir them so all grains are rinsed evenly.
  7. Continue rinsing the grains for two to three days until the grains have sprouted to your liking.
  8. Rinse the grains one last time, drain them and dehydrate them to grind into flour.
This is not a labor intensive process; just requires thinking ahead. Only a few minutes of your time is required a day.

Written and submitted by Rachel

Star of Bethlehem Cookies

These cookies are simple to make and quite delicious--a great family activity to prepare for Christmas.


4-5 oz. all-purpose flour
2 oz. superfine sugar
4 oz. butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa
vegetable oil or cooking spray for greasing
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Place 2 oz of flour, half the sugar, and half the butter in a bowl and mix until the mixture is crumb-like. Add the vanilla and half of the egg yolk and mix again until the mixture comes together. Form into a ball, wrap in cling-wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
Make a second batch of dough with the remaining flour, sugar, butter, and egg in the same way, adding the cocoa with the flour and omitting the vanilla. Chill as before.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a couple of baking trays. Thinly roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, sprinkling pin with flour to prevent sticking. Use three different-sized star cookie cutters. Place the biscuits on the trays. Gather and reroll the scraps to use all of the dough.
Bake for around 10 minutes, or until lightly colored, then remove and immediately loosen with a metal spatula. (Biscuits will break when moved if left even for a few minutes.) Leave to cool and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Family Night Idea: Make up a batch of these cookies along with your favorite hot holiday beverage. Sit around the fireplace or just around each other and read a heart-warming Christmas book. We'd like to suggest An Amish Christmas, The Polar Express, or The Jesse Tree Devotional Book
Submitted by Nicci

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Baking with Whole Wheat

There are three categories of wheat flour: soft, hard, and durum flour. Knowing which of your baked goods to add them to is important. Today, we will focus on soft and hard wheat flours.

Soft Wheat: This flour, sometimes called 'pastry wheat' is used mainly for bakery-type products such as pastries, cookies, muffins, cakes, and pie crusts, because of its slightly sweet taste. Soft wheat flour can also be used to make gravies and crackers.

Hard Wheat: This flour contains more gluten than soft wheat flour, therefore it is better suited for bread and rolls.

A combination of these flours can be used for waffles, pizza dough, and biscuits, if desired.

When baking with whole wheat flour, a few adjustments are necessary. Products made with white wheat usually end up "fluffier" than those made with hard, red wheat. Red wheat is heavier, and will make your baked goods taste more like wheat than the sweeter white wheat. It is best to turn your oven down 25 degrees when baking with hard wheat.

Try substituting whole wheat flour for white flour in your baked goods. It will "bulk up" your foods, add fiber, and cut down on those empty carb calories.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Healthier Pumpkin Bread

If your family is anything like mine, pumpkin muffins and bread aren't just reserved for fall. We LOVE pumpkin! Kids love pumpkin because, when paired with delicious spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, it's just plain good. I love pumpkin for the same reason, but also for its health benefits. Pumpkin is a good-for-us-food, packing more than just flavor into that orange body. Pumpkin (canned and fresh) is high in Vitamins C and E, Potassium, and Fiber; and pumpkin is a great plant source of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. Now that you know how good pumpkin is for you, try our friend Hope's recipe for muffins (or bread) with less sugar and fat!


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
2 cups or 1 can pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream together butter and sugar and add in eggs. Mix dry ingredients into wet mixture until well-blended. Fold in pumpkin. Pour into 2 buttered loaf pans and bake for 1 hour. (If making muffins, cook time is lowered to 25-35 minutes.)

As always, feel free to experiment with different types of flour, substituting all or part of the sugar with honey or agave nectar or stevia, or simply doubling or tripling the recipe to share with friends and family.

Submitted by Hope; written by Lindsey

All-Natural Hand Sanitizer

What a wonderful concept! A hand sanitizer without all that alcohol. Seen in Mary Jane's Farm, this hand sanitizer is sure to find a place in your home (or car or church nursery or your hubby's office).


1/4 cup witch hazel
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
1 tsp. vegetable glycerin
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
10 drops tea tree oil
1 glass jar with lid

Put all ingredients in the jar and shake well. Dab a bit on your hands and rub in.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Turkey/Chicken Noodle Soup

Need another way to utilize those holiday turkey leftovers? Try this healthy and comforting classic.


up to 2 lbs. chicken or turkey, cubed and cooked (or less - I only use a few handfuls)
2 medium onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
3 large carrots, sliced or a few handfuls of baby carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
several quarts of turkey/chicken stock OR 3 to 6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 c. or so frozen peas
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. tarragon
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. rosemary
pepper to taste
pasta (I like to use egg noodles)

Fill a 6 quart pot about 3/4 full of water (or turkey/chicken stock). Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Add the spices and bouillon cubes (if not using stock). Simmer an hour or so. Bring to a boil and add the turkey/chicken and pasta. Cook on a low boil for 20 minutes or until the pasta is done. A few minutes before you turn it off, add the peas.

  • Substitute potatoes or barley for the pasta to turn this soup into a stew.
  • Leave the pasta out altogether or use rice pasta for a gluten-free soup.
  • Increase the amount of veggies used to make it less soup-y.
  • Beef or sausage would be a great variation. Just use beef broth instead of chicken broth.
  • This soup freezes well. Don't add the pasta before freezing, though.
And don't wait until you've got leftover holiday chicken or turkey to make this soup. Any time chicken goes on sale, stock up. Use it to replenish your supply of homemade broth and cooked chicken. This soup just gets better with age, so make enough to have leftovers for a few days.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Big Whole Wheat Biscuits

Hope writes, "As we have moved to eating only whole grains, I tried many recipes for whole wheat biscuits and finally tweaked some until I came up with one we love. This makes about 12, big, fluffy biscuits."


2 cups whole wheat flour (Hope uses hard white wheat.)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar or honey
1/3 cup butter or coconut oil (or a combo of the two)
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter or oil until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.

Written and submitted by Hope.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Food Co-ops

Our friend Rachel writes:

I have been able to save money by using a co-op to purchase high quality groceries, bulk organic grains, nuts, dried fruit and beans; some co-ops also offer fresh produce. Being part of a co-op allows you to purchase at discounted prices based upon the purchasing habits of the other people involved. There are also monthly sales that can reduce your costs even further and allow you to really stock up.

I recommend you call first to see if they deliver to your area,  then compare prices with your current costs, and find the coordinator. If you have more than one option, weigh the benefits of the two; for example, what kind of membership costs are involved? You may find it beneficial to use more than one.

It will be a little effort on the front end but the money savings and health benefits are worth the effort. With grain prices on the rise, now is a great time to plug-in to get your stock up.

The following information is about co-ops and bulk ordering companies that I am familiar with across the country; I personally use UNFI:

Country Life
Dutch Valley Foods
Walton Feed
United Natural Food (UNFI)

Frontier Co-op

Submitted by Rachel

**Currently, the operators of Penny-wise Women are not familiar with the use of co-ops, although we are thankful for this helpful information. As we learn more, we will add to Rachel's information. If any of you uses a co-op and can provide us with additional information, please do not hesitate to e-mail us.**

Simply in Season Cookbook Review

I should like to highly recommend the book Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. It is written in the same spirit as the More-With-Less cookbook.
The book is divided into the four seasons and has recipes using things that are in season for each time of the year; there is also a section with recipes suitable for all seasons.
Many times we buy things to cook that are not actually in season, and of course we have to pay top dollar for the item. This is a waste of money and in these days, with food priced as highly as it is, that is something to avoid. How handy it is, therefore, to have a book that helps us know what is in season! This book has excellent recipes to help us make meals based around the seasonal items.  There is a handy guide at the front of the book telling which time of year most vegetables and fruits are available, and then there are the chapters named for the seasons. There is a recipe index at the beginning of each chapter/season, and from my point of view, all the recipes are extremely useful and cost-conscious. 
Like More-With-Less, this is a Mennonite book; and though I am not a Mennonite, I very much appreciate the Mennonite view of cooking and thrift. Each recipe has a little thought or story accompanying it which is most encouraging, and I have enjoyed reading them very much. I have found the recipes to be diverse, simple to prepare, nourishing, and thrifty--all the things I look for in a cookbook. 
If you can start to use locally grown produce in season, you are bound to save money and make the most of the nutrition that comes with produce not traveling 1,000 miles to reach you. It will also be very useful for those who grow their own produce or for those who visit the local farmer's market. I highly recommend this book.
Written and Submitted by Linda @ Penny-wise

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hot Raspberry Dessert

Raspberries, fresh
Sugar, to taste
Corn starch
Vanilla ice cream
Good quality chocolate sauce
Whipped cream - fresh is best
Place raspberries in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar to taste. Let them sit for a while to soak up the sugar stirring occasionally, try not to smash berries. I do not add water but if the juice does not seem enough you can add water to make more liquid. Let the mixture come to a slow boil. Once boiling slowly, dissolve 2 tsp. of cornstarch in a cup of water and add to mix. Simmer on low until juice begins to thicken, this should only take a little while, juice should be syrupy.
Put ice cream in individual bowls, and pour over the hot raspberries, add whipped cream and chocolate sauce if desired; garnish with a mint leaf and fresh raspberry. 
What a simple, refreshing dessert!
Submitted by Linda

This Holiday's Leftover Turkey

If you're having turkey (or chicken) for Christmas dinner this year, chances are good that you'll have lots of leftovers. You know we all get tired of leftover turkey for days and days after Christmas, so why not re-purpose all that meat and bones?

Done correctly, you can have broth and meat for several meals just by treating your leftover turkey with some TLC.

First, remove all the meat you can find from the carcass. All that should remain are skin, bones, and fat. If there's enough, dice up the meat and freeze it in 1-2 cup portions. If not, use what's left to make a turkey noodle soup or turkey pot pie. That meat can be used later for casseroles, salads, and soups.

Then, jam all those bones, fat, and skin into a large stock pot. At this point you can break it up if needed.

Take two or three onions and peel them, then cut into four to eight chunks. Add them to the pot.

Scrub several large carrots (no need to peel) and cut them into two or three pieces each. Add them to the pot with the turkey and the onions.

Next grab four or five stalks of celery and wash them up. Cut into two or three large pieces (leave the leaves on) and add to the pot.

Now, fill the pot with enough water to cover everything if possible.  If your turkey is still sticking out over the top, fill it to within 6 inches of the top.

Add a few tablespoons vinegar to help draw out the calcium and a few tablespoons of salt.  We like sea salt. You can also add a couple of bay leaves, some ground sage and thyme, a little black pepper, and some garlic powder, if you like. 

Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and  let it simmer for several hours. If your turkey fits into the pot, cover with a lid while simmering. If not, it will slowly get soft and cook down and after a while you should be able to get the lid on. You may need to add a little water as it simmers to keep everything covered.

I typically start this the morning after Christmas (or Thanksgiving) and let it cook all day. If we want, we can have turkey noodle soup for dinner. 

Pour everything through a large strainer (or colander) into a massive bowl or pot. Pick through the bones to find any remaining meat, and add that meat to what you stored before boiling.  

After the broth is cool, package it in one cup to 1 ½ cup portions in Ziploc bags (or glass pint jars). Most recipes call for “a can of broth” which is about 1 ½ cups; but others say “a cup”, so I package them both ways. Freeze the freezer bags flat, like CDs, and when I need them I pull them out the night before or run it under hot water for a few seconds before adding it to a recipe. 

Submitted by Heather @ Penny-wise

Addendum: I (Lindsey) did this exact process just last week with some chicken breasts.  I had four, uncooked, bone-in-skin-on chicken breasts. I boiled them, adding the onions, celery, carrots and spices. After straining that initial batch of broth and de-boning the chicken, I put the bones and skins back in the pot, added more veggies, spices, and water and did it all over again. From those four chicken breasts, I yielded 7 cups of meat and 15 cups of homemade broth. It really is worth it to take the time to go through this process!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cabbage Soup


1 ½ Tbsp. Olive Oil
½ Onion, Chopped
1 Carrot, sliced (add other vegetables as desired)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 quarts chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste, plus bay leaf and thyme
1 small cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
Diced tomatoes with juice

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Stir in veggies and garlic; cook until onion is transparent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in broth and seasoning. Bring to a boil, and then stir in cabbage and rice.  Simmer until cabbage wilts, about 10 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes. Return to a boil, and then simmer 15 to 30 minutes, stirring often.

Here's a healthy, meat-free recipe to add to your collection! Enjoy!

Submitted by Cheryl, adapted from Hillbilly Housewife

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Do-It-Yourself Instant Oatmeal

Has anyone but me noticed how the price of boxed, instant oatmeal has shot up? I mean, seriously. It's oatmeal with lots of sugar, a few artificial flavors and colors, and fake fruit disguised as peaches 'n cream.

But, because it's so conveniently packaged in cute, individual servings, and because there's a Quaker guy on the front of the box, you better expect to pay over $3.00. Or, if you're like me and take a more organic approach, Lord help us. Not only do boxes of instant, organic oatmeal have six individual servings, rather than Quaker's eight, but they also cost between $4.00-$5.00.

Well, a while back, I quit that nonsense. I figured if convenience costs that much, I'll go the plain-Jane, regular, 'ol oatmeal route.

And then I decided convenience really was worth it, so I did what I normally do in these situations: I made my own.

The following recipe makes 15-16 half-cup servings of instant, flavored (sans artificial junk) oatmeal.

Easy, Do-It-Yourself Instant Oatmeal


8 cups instant oatmeal (any brand will do, even Quaker)
1 cup dark brown sugar (I use organic.)
3 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix everything in a large bowl, transfer to gallon-size bag or an airtight canister, and voila! you've just spent less than $4.00 for 16 servings of oatmeal. To cook, add 1 cup of milk and microwave or 1 cup of hot water to 1/2 cup of oatmeal.

Now, if you want to get crazy and vary it a little, here are a few "knock-offs" from boxed, instant oatmeal:
  • Add frozen blueberries before cooking with milk for Blueberries 'n Cream
  • Add 1/4 of a mashed banana after cooking with milk for Bananas 'n Cream
  • Cook plain oatmeal, then drizzle pure maple syrup and sprinkle brown sugar on top for Maple 'n Brown Sugar
  • Add 1/4 of a peeled, diced apple, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon before cooking for Apple Cinnamon
  • Add 2 Tbsp. raisins and 1 Tbsp. brown sugar for Oatmeal Raisin
All of the variations are to be used when cooking with plain, instant oatmeal (NOT with the recipe above) and are one serving.

Enjoy NOT paying $4.00 a box anymore for eight servings of oatmeal!

Written and submitted by Lindsey @ Penny-wise

Food on the Table

Food on the Table is a free sale-finding, list-making, meal-planning Website. (Click the link to go directly to the site.)

First, you select your preferred, local grocery store (hoping they participate!).

Then, you enter in what meals or foods you're in the mood for, foods you can't eat, and other personal criteria.

The program suggests meals, trying to use sale items, based on your food preferences and how many meals you want to plan. If you don't like the site's suggested recipes, you can browse their entire collection or enter your own recipes.

The site will also produce a printable grocery list, so that you're on your way in no time. There is even a fun little graphic showing how much money you're saving by shopping sales.

We hope you'll find this resource helpful in planning your meals and saving money!

Submitted by Heather @ Penny-wise

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two Great (& Gluten-free) Soups

Our friend Sonya writes, "Here are two soup recipes that our family has made numerous times--for company and for our own family meals. They have three great benefits. First, they are soups you can put in the crock pot in the morning and let them simmer all day while you do schoolwork and life. Second, they are gluten-free. Third, they are also casein-free (no dairy). And I guess, you could add that they are quite delicious!

"They are from a wonderful blog, A Year of Slow Cooking
, where you can access the recipes for free or purchase them printed in a convenient book. I have the book and use it a lot, because all of the recipes in it are gluten-free. Enjoy!"

Chicken and Rice Soup


2 cups vegetables (your choice; I've used carrots, broccoli, and onion)
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup raw brown rice
1 tsp. herbes de Provence

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. The longer this soup simmers, the thicker it gets.

Pasta e Fagioli Soup


1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
1 jar (16.5 oz) pasta sauce
4 cups beef broth (Make sure it's gluten-free)
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup dried rice pasta

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Place all ingredients except pasta in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. One hour before serving, stir in pasta and cook on low until it is tender. The rice pasta will swell quite a bit.

Submitted by Sonya

Penny Pinching: Adapting Recipes

Adapting your recipes is one easy way to pinch your pennies. Often, recipes call for ingredients which can be lessened or omitted without changing the texture or flavor of the dish. Here are a few ways you can save money by adapting your recipes. (Shhhh...if you don't tell your family, they probably won't even notice!)

  1. Add beans to soups and stews. You can lessen the amount of meat a recipe calls for and add less expensive beans instead. You're still giving your family the protein and fiber they need without compromising their fullness (or your pocketbook).
  2. Decrease the amount of meat in your dishes. For example, if you normally use a pound of ground beef, try using 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound instead.
  3. Since you're using less meat, make up that quantity by adding extra veggies, brown rice, egg noodles, or beans (as mentioned in the first tip.
  4. Use meat and poultry in casseroles, soups, stews, and stir-frys instead of as the "main dish". One chicken breast can stretch to feed a family of six by cutting it up and adding it to a casserole with vegetables, noodles, and cheese. Most "main dish" recipes call for one chicken breast per person, which is much more expensive.
  5. Learn to make your own "cream of ..." soups instead of buying them canned. 
  6. In many baked goods, milk can be replaced with water. Powdered milk is also less expensive than regular milk. Add flavor and sweetness to muffins and cookies by using juice.
  7. Replace one egg with two tablespoons of water when baking.
  8. Reduce the amount of sugar in recipes. You can usually cut the amount of sugar in half without compromising taste or texture. This is better for watching your waistline as well!
  9. Don't let anything go to waste. Use your leftovers. Save leftover bits of meat or chicken to use in casseroles or soups. Veggies reaching their prime can be frozen to use later in a broth, stew, casserole, or soup. Don't throw away your fruit that's about to spoil; make a smoothie with it or freeze it to use in muffins later. Stale bread can be made into croutons, bread crumbs, and stuffings.
Remember: Use it up, wear it out. Make it do, or do without!

Just a few more ways a little effort goes a long way...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rose Vinegar Hair Rinse

We received this interesting and out-of-the-box recipe for a hair rinse (conditioner). It has just two ingredients: vinegar and rose petals.
Enjoy your roses! When they become wilted, remove the petals and place in a glass jar. Cover with distilled vinegar and set the jar in a sunny window for a week. Use about 1/8c. of the liquid mixed with water as a hair rinse. You can make two batches of rinse from one jar of petals.
What a great way to naturally condition your hair!
Submitted by 6boys1girl from the SCM Community Forum.