Project: TARDIS Baby Quilt

So, I know that of late Scrimpalicious has been much more heavily focused on cooking, food politics, environmentalism, and natural health than it has been on around-the-house stuff and crafts, but I just had to share. It's not every day that one of your best friends has a baby, and it's not every day that your best friend who just had a baby is also super into Doctor Who (and so are her kids). It's also not every day that two other friends offer to help pay for the fabric for you to make a totally awesome TARDIS quilt for your friend's new baby.

Well, the stars aligned and everything came together just right and just in time for me to make this awesome thing for my dear friend Stacie of Red Hog Farm.

TARDIS baby quilt? Oh yes.

How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying: It's Fine to Fail

Welcome to Part 3 of How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying! Follow the links to find part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Perhaps the title of this post seems like an oxymoron to you. If there is anything I have learned through years of attempting to learn how to be a successful human being, it is that success and failure are opposites.

Oh wait, are some of these pointing the same way? Hmmmm

When it comes to the day to day of "natural living" or "going green" or "environmentalism" or "eating organic" or "mindfulness" or whatever you want to call it, I reject that above statement. I say pshaw. Whatever. It's wrong.

Because it is ok to fail. In fact, it's important to fail. And it's important to understand how to fail and how to do it with grace.

So, I'd like to share some of my "failures" with you here and talk about why they really don't upset me.

Recipe: Coconut Flour Jelly Cookies (Paleo/Gluten Free)

It is not a secret among our friends that Mr. Scrimp and I are huge fans of Dr. Who. I know, I know, we can get in line behind the entire rest of the Internet. On a typical Sunday afternoon, we can be found having some sort of tasty Sunday dinner with family and/or friends and then settling in on the couch to watch the latest episode on Amazon.  This week is the season finale, which means no more episodes for six months, and I decided to mark the occasion by experimenting with a grain-free version of Jammie Dodgers (aka The Eleventh Doctor's favorite snack).

Basically, yum.
A jammie dodger is essentially an English linzer cookie. Or, in other words, a shortbread-ish sandwich cookie made with jam. My mom taught me how to make linzer cookies when I was a little kid and I have very fond memories of them. However, eating things with lots of refined sugar and wheat flours does not agree with me, so I had to come up with a way to express my nerdy devotion that did not involve gluten.

Enter coconut flour!

Home Remedies: Switchel (for Dehydration)

Here in Ohio, it's hard to say what is and is not seasonable in the spring. Last Monday it snowed. Today it's 80 degrees and sunny.

I made the silly mistake of thinking "Oh, it isn't that hot" and mowing the lawn at the very hottest part of the afternoon. Then I was sad and feeling a little sick. Fortunately, I know just the remedy for that!

Above: Syrup, vinegar, water, and beautiful alchemy

That, my friends, is a photo of a mostly-forgotten concoction known as switchel, swizzle, or haymaker's punch. What is switchel? If you've ever read the Little House on the Prairie series, you may already have heard of it!

Recipe: Cure Your Cold With Onion Quiche

I get the sniffles a few times a year, usually around allergy season. Because of the timing, I generally chalk it up to pollen and try to get on with my life, but there's something about the clogging of my sinuses that leads to a general clogging of the brain, which probably explains why, on a day when I was feeling all-around miserable, I decided that the only possible solution to my woes was to cook onions into some kind of pie.

Had I had my wits about me, I might have tried to get really fancy and make this a tart (or I would have put this project aside to do when I wasn't feeling quite so far under the weather), but it's really more of a quiche, due to the unashamed use of store bought pie crust and over-application of egg. Let's call it Onion Quiche, then. Whatever it was, it fixed my sinuses and it tasted delicious, so I win double.


Fortunately, I was present enough to take some photos, which means a recipe to share.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

A few months ago, Mr. Scrimp and I made the decision to break up with our CSA.

I wish we could say "Hey, CSA, it's not you--it's us." But that wouldn't be true. Well, not completely true, anyway.

The CSA model is wonderful, and I still recommend it if you are just beginning with real food/local food as an idea, or if you don't live in an area that is as local-food friendly as ours. I just think that for us... well, we've sort of moved beyond it. We ended up throwing out a lot of food last year because we had too much, or got things we didn't/couldn't eat, and we found new ways to eat locally and seasonably that didn't require a middleman.

And that--cutting out the middleman between my dollar and the farmer who grows my food--is a really important thing to me.

Cheap and Easy Recipes: Turn Tough Meat Tender by Braising

 Here in the Scrimp household, we braise meat at least two or three times per week. It is by far our preferred method of cooking. Why? Well, it's easy, it's quick, and it's a great way to make the cheapest cuts of meat taste mind-blowingly good. 

Braising is a type of slow-cooking that is best done in the oven but can also be done on a stovetop. All you need is a pot with a good lid. You can even braise in a crock pot, although my experience has been that meat braised in the crock pot does not turn out as well.

The best braising dish is a dutch oven. I have two of them, I swear by them, and I use them for just about everything. One of them is a discontinued Martha Stewart model that I got as a wedding gift, and one of them was a Christmas present last year from Mother-in-law Scrimp--the lovely red Food Network model below.

A dutch oven is made of enameled cast iron. It's heavy. It's a beast. It retains heat beautifully and it turns cheap cuts of meat into magic. If you're going to braise, I recommend getting one, because it just makes life in your kitchen better. 

Last night for dinner, I took a $3.99/lb cut of beef and turned it into something that we gladly would have paid ten times more for. And I didn't even need a recipe. All I needed to know was the secret formula of braising. 

Are you ready? Here it is.


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