And the winner is...

According to the random number generator at, the winner of the Scrimpalicious 2-Year Anniversary giveaway is...



Tammy, I'll be contacting you shortly about which of those five fabulous prizes you're going to choose!

Best of Pinterest: Pumpkin Pictures

For those of you who aren't on Pinterest (or who are, but can't get enough), I decided that today I was going to do something slightly different and collect a series of photos and links that qualify for the title of best of pinterest.

Call it my own spin on Wordless Wednesdays. Well, not quite wordless, but almost.

Circle Pumpkins
If you're looking for Halloween decor ideas, pumpkin carving inspiration, or just like looking at pumpkin pictures--today, this is the blog for you.

Home Remedies: DIY Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

It's apple cider season, and you know what that means, right? Well, for one thing, it means drinking tons of apple cider. But it also means making apple cider vinegar.

That's what I have brewing in that gallon jug right there.

You may wonder why I have it listed as a home remedy instead of a cooking ingredient. While this makes for a delicious cooking or salad vinegar, we started consuming (and now making) raw vinegar for health reasons.

The health benefits of raw vinegar are numerous, but the thing we were most impressed by is its effect on blood sugar.

Menu Planning Monday: Week of October 10

I've been having a rushed weekend and Monday so it took me a while to get this menu plan out. You'll notice that lots of soup is on the menu again. I love soup in the fall! Fortunately, so does Mr. Scrimp.

For a free printable version of this
menu planner, go here

Don't Forget: Giveaway!

Have you signed up for the Scrimpalicious 2-Year Anniversary Giveaway yet? You still have until October 15th to enter for a chance to win one of these five neat prizes!:

  • On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, by Harold McGree
  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1, by Julia Child
  • Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, by Michael Ruhlman
  • A scarf, t-shirt, or cardigan from Maggie's Organics
  • Roma Traditional Style Pasta Machine 

DIY Pottery Barn Anchor Paperweight/Bookend

I was reading the most recent Pottery Barn catalog a couple of days ago when I saw this photo:

Honestly, I'm not a giant fan of the idea of covering a couch with denim, and that coffee table has too much glass for my preference. But... do you see the cute anchor on the second shelf of the table? The little cast-iron bookend-looking one?

I certainly saw it, and I was taken with it immediately. It isn't for sale, though (and it would be out of my price range if it was). So, I had to come up with a way to make a copy for my own space. It worked out so well that I figured I'd share the how-to with all of you!

The Pottery Barn version isn't even for sale, but I can't imagine it being cheap. My version isn't quite as sturdy as cast iron, but it only cost me about a dollar.

Five Dollar Decor: Maps

I have a longstanding love affair with maps. I particularly like the pretty antique ones, but the ones pulled from the atlas are just as good, if you ask me. I like to look at them. I like to think about them. I just like having them around. They are cool. I am a map enthusiast.

I would do this

And you know who else was obsessed with maps? Winston Churchill. So you can wipe that condescending look off your face, smartypants. Maps are awesome.

I haven't done all of the projects in this week's Five Dollar Decor post, but I think I can honestly say that is only because I don't have the time to do all the projects I want to do. Someday, though. Someday.

Recipe: Pureed Cauliflower (Mashed Potatoes Substitute)

So, I know I've mentioned before that Stupendous Man and I eat a low-carb, primal diet. Primal here means cutting out sugar and grains (we still eat dairy) and we modify that further by making it full low-carb.

So far, we've both seen a lot of success with it. We've each lost about two pounds a week since we started, with no hunger and not really any stress to speak of. But the weather has been cold, and sometimes you really just want something warm and comforting and salty and buttery and... well, let's just be frank. Sometimes all I want to eat is mashed potatoes.

But, since I can't eat mashed potatoes, I've had to find substitutes. Enter the humble cauliflower.

I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that pureed cauliflower tastes exactly like mashed potatoes, but I will say that it honestly tastes close enough that if you can't or won't eat potatoes but are missing some of that delicious mashed potato goodness in your life, this is a totally acceptable and delicious substitute. 

Five Dollar Decor: Upcycling

This post was supposed to go up on Friday, but automated posting failed me, so here it is now!

"Upcycling" is a word I love. It has a nice ring to it, and is my favorite example of modern word invention. We aren't merely recycling something. Oh no. We are taking it and elevating it. We are upcycling.

One man's trash is another man's awesome oil lamp.
But, when you get down to brass tacks, upcycling just means "taking something and making it somehow awesomer," doesn't it? Exactly. And nothing could be more appropriate for the theme of "Five Dollar Decor" than taking things you already own and turning them into new things.

Menu Planning Monday: Week of October 3

Well, October is here and here with a vengeance. It's cold and wet and I have a throat tickle that is making me very suspicious of its long-term intentions.

This is going to be a weird week for us, food wise. We're continuing to eat low carb, with great success. Mr. Scrimp has lost about 15 pounds since the beginning of August and I've lost 17 1/2. Yep, it's true. By and large, it hasn't even been difficult. But some weeks are easier than others when your groceries are chosen at the whim of someone who doesn't know about your dietary restrictions.

Scrimpalicious Anniversary Giveaway - CLOSED

Hey friends! I just checked my calendar and I'm shocked and amazed to realize that it is almost the two-year anniversary of the beginning of Scrimpalicious.

The first logo was nowhere NEAR
as cute as this

This has been a wonderful two years and I've loved writing my blog and sharing my thoughts, projects, recipes, and ideas with all of you.

So, to thank you for sticking with me through it all, I've decided to have a giveaway. There will be one winner, who can choose one of the following fabulous prizes. Each one of these has been chosen to celebrate one of my favorite blog entries from the last two years.

So, what do you need to do to enter?

Facebook: How to Get Likes, Blogs, and Site Pages Back on Your Feed

With the recent Facebook redesign, I've noticed something. Scrimpalicious facebook posts that were being seen several hundred times are now being seen only 10-15 times on average. Basically, because of the new facebook algorithms, if you don't comment on the Scrimpalicious facebook page, you're never going to see when new posts come up.

If you ask me, it sounds like someone broke it.

For some of you, who follow Scrimpalicious in a reader or via email, this won't be a problem. For the rest of you, there are two things you can do.

1. Comment! Visit the Scrimpalicious facebook page and do some interactions with it. Leave comments. Answer questions. Ask questions. Share photos of your food or craft projects. Whatever it is, the more you do it, the more likely you are to be notified when new posts come up.

2. Make a list. This is what I did to make sure that I can still follow my favorite facebook pages and blogs. On the left-hand sidebar of your facebook page, you should see a section called "Lists." If you click on this, it will take you to the List page, and you will see that facebook has given you the option to create a list by clicking the "+ Create a list" button. If you click this button, you can create a new list (I called mine "Blogs and Sites") and manually add the blogs whose facebook posts you like to follow. Some of the ones I added were Cheeseslave, Real Food Whole Health, and Food Renegade, but there are more. They will not always show up on my facebook feed because of this, but the Lists sidebar will now alert me with a little (#) if there are new posts by those people.

And as always, if you're not yet a fan of Scrimpalicious on facebook, I'd like to ask you now to consider going to the page or clicking the "Like" button on the right hand side of the blog. You will be able to access syndicated blog posts, extra links and content, questions and discussion. Plus, you'll make me feel good and increase the likelihood that Scrimpalicious will be able to offer more giveaways and guests posts in the future.

Showdown: Store-bought vs. Homemade Broth or Stock

Time for another Homemade vs Store-bought showdown! This time we're going to look at broth and stock.

I spent time gathering data on both broth and stock. You'll notice I'm using these terms interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same thing. Broth is made by boiling meat and vegetables in water without bones. Stock is made by boiling meat, bones, and vegetables. I always make stock rather than broth. It has a higher nutritional content and better flavor.

I found some things out that really surprised me. For instance, did you know that it costs 2/3 more to buy broth than it does to make it at home? Yep. I have specific numbers under the cut.

And now, the showdown.

Menu Planning Monday: Week of September 26

Another week is here! We're having lots of beautiful fall weather and it's making me want soup and casserole and other warm, cozy foods. You may see that reflected in my menus this week. :)

To download a high-res, printable version
of this menu planner, go here

I have been spending a lot of time on Pinterest lately, looking at gloriously delicious fall recipes and beautiful pictures of leaves and frost, and thinking about sweaters and slippers and swishing through leaves.

Have I mentioned how Autumn is my favorite season? I feel like I have, but I thought I'd remind you all. Do you love it as much as I do?

Five Dollar Decor: Wreaths

Fall, for some reason, always feels to me like the beginning of wreath season. Perhaps because when I was growing up, hanging a wreath was part of the late-fall preparation for Advent and Christmas. Perhaps because trick-or-treating meant seeing a lot of doors and a lot of wreaths. Whatever the reason, I think about wreaths most when the days start to get shorter and the weather starts to get colder.

Coffee filter wreath by Craftberry Bush

It's hard for me sometimes to find wreaths that I like. Too much clutter or kitsch and I'm instantly turned off. But a lot of people are out there finding ways to make beautiful wreaths with not a lot of clutter for not a lot of money.

A New Arrival + DIY Book Boxes

Last week, Mother in Law Scrimp took me to a new antique shop that opened up by her house. It's amazing. Everything in the store is purchased cheaply at estate sales and re-sold just as cheaply. I just had to take advantage of it.

Are you ready to see what we bought? Are you? 

Ok. :)

Excuse the grit on the floor underneath it. I didn't sweep up after Mr. Scrimp and his brother carried it inside. 

It's a lovely art deco-style buffet, with beautiful old hardware. There are some dings and nicks here and there but really it's in excellent condition. 

I think the thing I am most in love with is the beautiful, simple woodwork:

Home Remedies: DIY Cough Syrup recipe

Well, it's that time of year again. The students are back at school and the teachers are coming home with colds and giving them to their wives.

"But Mrs. Scrimp," you may say, "you told me that you take elderberry extract religiously and almost never get sick!"

Oh yes. You're right. I said that. It's even true. Except, I hadn't started taking it yet because I'm a dummy and don't always follow my own good advice. Do as I say, blog readers, not as I do, or you too may end up like me--sick and sad.

But, if you are sick, there are lots of things you can do to make yourself feel better! Consider buying some Yogi Cold Season tea, or Gypsy Cold Care from Traditional Medicinals. Or, you can make cough syrup at home.  And I can tell you how.

Menu Planning Monday

Oh my goodness, is it Monday again already? Unbelievable! This weekend went by like a flash.

We made it to the farmers market this week, which really helped supplement our food supply since we didn't get much meat from our CSA. The produce available at the market is starting to change and we're seeing fewer delicate, summery vegetables and more apples, squash, and other hardy plants.

For your own free, downloadable menu
planner, go here

That's ok with me, though. We're halfway through September, and I am looking forward to eating more fall foods.

Showdown: Dried Beans vs. Canned Beans

Mr. Scrimp and I eat a lot of black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and pinto beans. We recently made the switch from canned beans to dried, and I'm here to tell you about why we did it, how it worked, and whether we're going to stick with it.

I had my doubts about this, and so did Mr. Scrimp. Dried beans require so much time. So much extra work. They are so much less convenient. And as far as taste and health benefits... well, there isn't really a difference, is there?

Turns out, I was wrong.

Five Dollar Decor: Decorative Letters

It's back! After a nice, long, break, and by popular request, Five Dollar Decor has returned. I'd like to thank Pinterest for making it possible for me to once again return this feature to the blog. Without it, I'd still be stuck in the doldrums, with no inspiration for what to write about next.

And then... inspiration struck!

Everybody seems to be really into decorating with letters lately, and I am totally ok with that. You could go to Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters and pay beaucoup bucks for them, or you could go to your local craft store, spend an hour with some mod podge or paint, and whip up your own on the cheap.

I, predictably, favor the latter. Want to know how to do it? Here are five different styles for you to try.

DIY Old-Fashioned Book Covers

Have you ever had a pile of books that looked like this...

and found yourself wishing that instead, they looked like this?

Well, wish no more, my friends! It is now in your grasp to have many leather-bound books, and an apartment that smells of rich mahogany. Ok, well, maybe not quite, but you can transform your bookshelf into a beautiful display of faux-antique volumes with this awesome and easy tutorial from Hydrangea Girl.

How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying: Tools

Welcome to Part 3 of How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying! Follow the links to find part 1 and part 2, where I cover ways to stop psyching yourself out and how to use lists to keep yourself organized.

This time, I want to talk about making sure that you give yourself the right tools to accomplish your goals. For me, these tools include organizational materials, good cleaning supplies, sturdy appliances, lists (covered elsewhere) and charts. In fact, I've created another Anthropologie knockoff for everyone--this time, it's a chore chart (for adults!). Honestly, I don't know why I didn't make one of these sooner just for my own use, because I've been needing one.

Full-size printable download
at the bottom of the post.

Honestly, a chart is just a list by another name, so I'm not going to focus too much on that particular tool. Instead, I'm going to talk about the homemaking tools that I've found I just can't do without. Stock up on these, and homemaking will become just a little bit less of a hassle.

Menu Planning Monday

Wow. The response to last week's printable menu planner was way bigger than I expected! Thanks for visiting, everyone!

This week we weren't able to make it to the farmers market, and our CSA didn't include any meat, so things are a bit slim on the in-stock provisions side. Toward the end of last week we sort of fell away from following the menu plan strictly (read: I didn't bother thawing the tongue) so there are some unexpected leftovers for me to work with, and the rest I'll supplement with a quick trip to the grocery store.

Recipe: Liver and Onions

I know some of you read the title of this blog post and immediately wrinkle your nose in disgust (hi mom!). Well, wrinkle no more. If you've tried liver and you hate it--well, fine. To each his own. But I maintain that this is a delicious thing to eat. Mr. Scrimp and I enjoy it on a fairly regular basis.

This is a simple recipe and most of what it requires is time... and an enjoyment of liver. I first started eating liver because I was anemic, and it turned out that Mr. Scrimp and I both had a taste for it, especially with onions. Make sure, by the way, that you have enough onion to go with your liver. The sweetness of the onion compliments the richness of liver perfectly.

Reversible Napkins and Placemats

Centsational Girl shares a great tutorial on how to make quick and easy reversible napkins and placemats, to add a personalized touch to your dining room.

I love the patterns and colors she chose. I also love the idea of having placemats that, when they get dirty or boring, can just be flipped upside down for a quick change. Or, you could do an "everyday" fabric on one side and a more formal, prettier fabric on the other. Have company? Don't go rummaging through your linen closet for the pretty table linens. Just flip the placemats upside down!

For the tuturial and a lot more beautiful pictures, visit The Centsational Girl.

Recipe: Pickled Onions

Want to feast your eyes on something beautiful? Look no further. Behold and gaze upon one of the most beautiful sights known to the food preservation world:

I had to make it extra-big. It's just so pretty.
I know they look a little bit like strawberries. I know they look like Valentine's Day in a jar. But those, my friends, are pickled red onions about to be processed in a water bath.

As you may remember, I like canning in small batches. It takes the fear out of it for me, and makes it a fun, quick project instead of a long, tedious one. I filled three half-pint jars with pickled onions, processed them, and had the kitchen tidied up and from start to finish it only took me about an hour.

If you love pickled onions but don't love canning (or just aren't ready to try), this recipe is for you. Pickled onions can be made without canning and will keep just fine in the fridge for several weeks.

Elderberry Extract: How to Make it, and Why

Do you know what this is?

It's medicine. But not just any medicine. As you may have inferred from the reused bottles (salad dressing, curry paste, and jam, respectively), this medicine is 100% homemade. 

The three bottles above hold three different kinds of extract. Just like vanilla extract (which you can make by this same method, by the way), the method can be simplified down to "add some plant matter to some vodka and wait."  Today, what I'm going to talk about is the tall bottle of elderberry extract--how to make elderberry extract, and why you should.

Raw Milk Ohio: Part 2

For Part 1, go here.

When we last saw our intrepid heroes, Mr. and Mrs. Scrimp were on their way to the market to meet the mysterious "Joshua," a raw milk distributor who was to weigh them in the balance and see if they were worthy of receiving his goods. 

In all seriousness, though, we weren't really expecting things to be that crazy. Maybe a five minute chat about the summary of the contract, a few minutes reading it over, a signature, and we'd be on our merry way.

Well, not quite.

Menu Planning Monday & Free Menu Planner

Every Thursday, we get a big load of food from our CSA. On Saturdays, we go to the farmers market and fill in any gaps that we feel like our CSA didn't fill for the week. Then, it's time to eat!

However, if we don't plan out what we're going to do with all of our delicious produce, I know we're going to lose some of it to rot. Food from a CSA usually doesn't last as long as food from the grocery store, because it is almost always perfectly ripe when picked. So, it's important to have a plan for how we're going to use the delicious bounty of our local harvest without letting any of it go to waste.

I used to plan a menu and then go grocery shopping based on that plan. Now that we eat almost exclusively local, seasonal foods (at least during the harvest months, when the only non-local things we eat are organic canned beans and coconut milk), I have to reverse the process. Someone else picks the food I'm going to get, and I have to be creative to make it all work for us. It's been an exciting adventure trying to figure out how to do that.

Eventually what I did was to come up with a dual-function shopping and menu planning list (as you see above). It works in either way--you can fill in all your available ingredients and then make a menu plan from those, or you can write a menu plan and choose the ingredients you'll need to buy to make it. But it's all there together so you always know exactly what food you have or need, and what you're going to be eating.

I've included my list (a knockoff of the Anthropologie style "What to Eat" and "All Out Of" notepads) at the bottom of this post as a downloadable file so that you can print it out and use it too! It's been formatted to fit a full 81/2 x 11" page so you have plenty of room for writing and can store week-by-week copies in a binder if you want.

Want to see how I do it? Below the cut, I've shared this week's food supply and the menu I made out of it so you can see what I'm talking about.

Anthropologie Rosette Bedspread Tutorial

I am almost speechless with admiration over this beautiful Anthropologie-inspired duvet made by Kirstin of kojodesigns. I don't know what I love most about it--the awesome low price? The fact that it completely captures the beautiful appeal of the much more expensive original? The simplicity of the project?

Nope, I can't decide. I love everything about it equally.

Kirstin used jersey (pillaged from t-shirts and some king-sized sheets). Sarah at This Crazy Blessed Life recreated the look using Kirstin's tutorial, white muslin from Wal-Mart, and an Ikea duvet for a total cost of (brace yourself) $53!

Compare that to $288 for the king-sized version at Anthropologie and you can color me totally impressed.

Ballard Hacking: Homemade Weathervane

One of the things I love to see more than anything else is ideas and inspiration for how to copy upscale, expensive things accurately and on the cheap. For instance, I cannot even handle the way that Tracy from Tracy's Trinkets and Treasures created a free  version of Ballard's $149 horse weather vane.

Tracy's horse is made out of wood and paper. Ballard's horse is made out of wood and cast iron. But, displayed on a shelf out of reach where it isn't likely to be damaged, does it really matter if your weather vane is just cardstock?

I think not.

Check out the whole process over at Tracy's Trinkets and Treasures.

Raw Milk Ohio: A Thrilling Tale of A Covert Operation, Part 1

Recently, as those who follow us on Facebook are already aware, Mr. Scrimp and I purchased an interest in a local dairy herd. We did this because we really wanted to start drinking raw milk. But, because Ohio raw milk laws prohibit sales of unpasteurized milk, we had to work pretty hard to find a safe, legal source.

Photo credit

I am going to share the story of how we came to be investors in a cow (or group of cows), because I want everyone to know what we had to go through here in Ohio to exercise our rights to food choice and food freedom. Sadly, I will not be able to share the real names of anyone involved in this story, because even though no laws were broken, the ODA have still been known to open investigations that often end in the unjust arrests of farmers involved in providing raw milk here.

The whole thing felt like some sort of drug deal or espionage. And, although everything we did was legal, according to our state and federal governments, it sort of was.

How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying: Make a List

Welcome to Part 2 of How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying! For part 1, you can go here.

Today, I'm going to talk about a strategy to help you get your mind in gear. I use this for cleaning, packing, organizing, cooking, and grocery shopping, and it has saved my life. It's three short words... are you ready?

I love these things

Make a list. It doesn't have to be long, fancy, or full of detail. Just make one. Most people respond really well to the sense of accomplishment and organization that comes with a list that's neatly crossed-off for the day.

Below the cut, I've shared with you some sample lists and ideas for how to incorporate lists into your daily life. Feel like you don't have time to make lists? You'd be surprised! Sometimes all my lists for a day take only five minutes, and I can write them while I drink my morning coffee.

I used to just jot all my lists down on the backs of envelopes and receipts as I thought of things. That's fine, but it's not super organized and if your list gets lost, you might be in trouble. So now I use Google documents to organize my lists online. I work on the computer all day, so if I think of something that needs to be added to a list, I add it right when I think of it.

Wooden Dice

I am really excited about this project idea from The 36th Avenue. Mr. Scrimp and I love games of all kinds, and I think a couple of oversized, antiqued wooden dice would make a great piece of decor for our living room.

Aren't those great? I love the wood grain and the distressing. They'd be wonderful on a corner table, or perhaps as bookends!

Wood Dice Tutorial via Dollar Store Crafts

Recipe/Tutorial: Canned Peaches

Edit: This recipe has been updated to include a variation using honey in place of white sugar.

I just finished doing a little canning, and it was so quick and easy that I felt like I just had to share with you how to take advantage of the tail end of fresh peach season. That's right--today's easy-peasy things you should always do at home lesson is how to make canned peaches.

The only special tools you absolutely need for this are canning jars and a pot that will fit them plus enough water to cover them by at LEAST half an inch. I used 1/2 pint jelly jars from Wal-Mart ($8/dozen) and a soup pot.

Project: Dixie Cup DIY Garland

I am totally in love with this dixie cup garland from Hey Gorgeous. It's so pretty! And I LOVE Christmas lights--I bought a few strings the year we got married and am constantly moving them around the house and putting them up places all year round. Who says white lights are just for Christmas?

One of the things I love most about this project is that it is totally customizable to match your own personal style and color preferences. Because the cups are covered with scrapbook paper, you can go as wild and crazy--or as conservative--as you want. I'm thinking a series of bright mustard yellows with some grays or brick reds thrown in.

Dixie Cups are cheap. I actually have a mostly-unused package sitting around that need to be used up. I think it's time to pick up some cheap scrapbook paper.

Alternatively: Recycle wrapping paper, tissue paper, newspaper, brown paper shopping bags, or magazines instead of buying scrapbook paper.

DIY Dixie Cup Garland tutorial via Pinterest

How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying: Stop Looking at the Whole Picture!

Welcome to part 1 of How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying. This is written particularly for those of you who see the blogs and magazines and tv shows of fabulous people and immediately feel guilty and inadequate.

You know she's watching Living right now.

That's right.. now you can discover the fabulous secret knowledge that successful home-makers have always known! 

Are you ready? I am about to give you five shocking domestic secrets that Martha Stewart doesn't want you to find out!

Well, not quite. But I am going to give you a piece of advice that you might not have heard before: Stop holding yourself to someone else's standards, and stop looking at the whole picture. 

Wondering what I mean?

Fruit: How to Choose the Best

Let's keep on with our back-to-the-basics approach of the last week or two and talk about some of the simple, basic skills that everybody should learn if they want to improve the way they eat and cook. Today, the topic is going to be fruit--specifically, how to choose the best fruit from that big, appealing pile at the market.

This is a skill that you have to practice, but it definitely gets easier with time. Whether you decide to choose local, organic, or conventional is a decision I will leave up to you. This is about making sure that when you go shopping, you find the best, ripest, tastiest fruit out there.

Five Essential Ingredients for a Functional Kitchen

If cooking at home is still a fairly new thing for you, I'd like to help you out by letting you know about a few tools that are really essential for having a successful, functional kitchen.  If I had to start my kitchen over again from scratch, these are the first five things I would insist on making sure I got.

It can be really overwhelming to know where to start when you haven't already been doing the domestic thing for years. I'd like you to treat this as a sort of quick-start guide for spending more time in your kitchen and being more productive while you're there. 

It's taken me a while to work out exactly what should be on this list. How long? Well, I've been keeping house with Mr. Scrimp for two years. Before that, I shared an apartment with my best friend. I've been responsible for several kitchens at this point, and I've worked in a lot more.

These are the tools I can't do without.

How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying

I've learned a lot of things about housekeeping in the last two years. I've learned how to make pasta. How to make jelly. How to take smells out of a sink. How to decorate with no money. How to grocery shop on a budget. I still have a long way to go as a homemaker, but I am definitely getting there.

The one question that I have been asked most often since starting Scrimpalicious is "how do you do it?"

I have a full-time day job, I've had a broken foot for the last five months, I have hobbies in which I am very deeply involved. What I don't have are the oodles of time that a lot of blogging homemakers seem to have. Much as I would love to be a stay-at-home, I'm not. Between work, hobbies, and social life, I usually only have a few hours a day to do all the things I'm doing.

And yet, I get it done. How? Well, I guess I've just picked up a few tricks along the way. I'd like to share them with you, because if I've learned anything it's that being busy doesn't have to stop you from having a home that is, if not Martha Stewart, at least not worthy of a spot on Hoarders.

So, for the next few Wednesdays, I'll be sharing a series on How to Succeed at Homemaking Without Really Trying. You might be surprised how much you can get done with very little time.

Be sure to become a fan of the Facebook page or follow @scrimpalicious on Twitter so you don't miss a word.

Home Remedies: For Mosquito Bites

Mr. Scrimp and I spent quite a bit of time outside over the last few days. He was clever and used bug spray. I was not.

We both ended up with a truly ridiculous number of bites--although I admit, Mr. Scrimp got far fewer than I did. I started counting them and got bored after bite number 33 just on my legs.

Fortunately, my front yard is a source of an excellent bug bite cure, one which I learned about years ago: plantain.

That's right. I'm talking about the ubiquitous, find-it-everywhere annoyance that is the second most-common turf weed after dandelion. If you are responsible for yard care, I imagine that this little plant makes you tear your hair out.

But don't mow it down! If you have a yard full of plantain that hasn't been contaminated by commercial fertilizers or pesticides, there are a lot of useful things it can do.

Raw Milk and Food Freedom

Certain portions of the news and the blogotwittersphere (that's what we're calling it now, right?) are still going crazy over the raid at Rawesome in Venice, CA yesterday.
Photo from LA Weekly

Mostly, the outrage is coming from raw milk/raw food devotees who feel, with some justification, that they are being persecuted for choosing to drink raw milk. But here in Ohio, raw milk is strictly illegal, so it isn't really a personal issue for me. I would drink raw milk if I could get it, but I can't and so I drink the best milk I can get and I'm happy with that.

You don't have to drink raw milk, or even approve of it, to get involved in food freedom issues like this one, though.

Tom Kha Gai / Thai-style Coconut Chicken Soup

Well, I haven't posted a recipe in a while, so I thought I'd share the recipe for the soup that Mr. Scrimp and I had for dinner tonight!

This is by no means a totally authentic recipe--it's my copy of the soup served at a local restaurant, and it's not as good as theirs (but it's close). I usually make a big big batch of this in our stockpot so we can eat it for several days, so this recipe will make you quite a bit of soup. A half or quarter batch is probably plenty.

Fed Raids Food Club in California

Twitter and Facebook pages run by real food advocates are lighting up this afternoon with the breaking news that private food club Rawesome has been raided by the Federal government this morning. Rawesome is a private food buying club that gives its members access to, among other things, raw dairy products.

Blogger Cheeseslave is on the scene and reports: "Rawesome was raided again by SWAT teams. James the owner has been arrested. They just poured at least $10k worth of milk down the drain. Bail is set at $123,000. Warrant: selling unpasteurized milk. If you're in LA please come right now to Rawesome at 655 Rose at Lincoln in Venice. We are standing out front protesting."

Rawesome was also raided last year. Selling raw milk is not illegal in California. There is no evidence that Rawesome's milk has made anybody sick. Why is the federal government arresting law-abiding citizens for selling food?

DIY Chandelier Project

Do you love that mid-century look for home decorating? Or maybe you prefer something a little more homespun than that? Now you can highlight either look with a fun, cheap DIY chandelier project, courtesy of Young House Love.

I am in love with this project! For the price of some inexpensive wire mesh and a couple packages of clothespins, you can install a cool, unique chandelier in your home. The example above went into a laundry room (very appropriate) but I can think of several places in my home where I'd like to put something like this.

Head on over to Young House Love and check it out!

Reminder: Become a Fan!

Do you wish you always knew when a new Scrimpalicious post was going up? Wonder no more! If you become a fan of Scrimpalicious on Facebook, you will be automatically notified on your home page every time a new Scrimpalicious post goes up.

Or, you can follow @scrimpalicious on Twitter

In addition to new post notifications, if you follow Scrimpalicious on Facebook and Twitter you will see links, questions, notes, and quotes that don't necessarily make it to being a full-fledged blog post.

So, what are you waiting for? It's fun, private, and free! And while you're at it, why not suggest Scrimpalicious to a friend?

Keep Your Arsenic Off My Dinner

It's time for yet another food segment here on Scrimpalicious. Today, we're going to talk about chicken.

Specifically, we're going to talk about how the FDA recently admitted that grocery store chicken contains small amounts of arsenic.

I have a few questions after reading the above-linked article on ABC.

I'm happy to hear that Pfizer agreed to pull the offending product. I'm glad to know that it's "only" a little carcinogenic poison in the meat that I buy to feed my family.

What I am not happy with is finding yet another piece of evidence that food in America is no safer now than it was a hundred years ago when Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle. I'm not happy knowing that people are adding dangerous things to our food supply without being sure, and I mean really sure, that it's safe.

Food Renegade also makes the excellent point that the arsenic being fed to these chickens is, according to ABC news, safe because the chickens are mostly excreting it. What does that mean? It means that the arsenic that those chickens are eating is being leached into soil, dumped into rivers, turned into fertilizer--oh, and ground up and mixed with the feed given to cows and pigs.

People ask me sometimes why we're so picky about where we buy our groceries.

This is why.

Finding Real Food

Found this on facebook, posted by a friend. Love it. Not sure who the original attribution should go to--if you know, tell me!

Click on the image to make it bigger.

Life Unedited

I've been thinking a lot lately about housekeeping mishaps. Like fashion magazines and stick-thin models do for body image, Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart Living create beautiful pictures of totally imaginary things and then make us all hate ourselves for not being having a living room as amazing as so-and-so who just finished renovating his vacation cottage in the Hamptons.

I try to celebrate my ridiculous mistakes and domestic calamities, in the same way that I try to celebrate women and men who have not been airbrushed, and food that is not full of chemicals. Mistakes are how we learn.

For instance, shortly after getting married, I learned a very important lesson about checking my laundry carefully to make sure nothing has been sorted wrong...

The following is a true story. I wrote this two years ago, but I've never posted it on Scrimpalicious until now.


I spent some time with Mr. Scrimp's mom yesterday. We hung out, made ice cream, and canned blueberry jam--and she gave me a huge bag full of fresh spearmint!

This stuff grows like a weed, but it is a super useful plant, and I'm really excited to have so much of it. I will be hanging this batch in my pantry to dry for easy storage and use throughout the upcoming year. For instance, did you know that spearmint tea can treat nausea?

This fall, one of our goals is to reduce our use of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and one of the ways we're preparing to do that is by making our own remedies at home.

Do you use any home remedies or herbs on a regular basis?

Summer Forces Unconditional Surrender

A couple of nights ago, our power went out.

Normally, this would be no big deal. But we happen to be in the middle of a monstrous heat wave, and even though it was only an hour before midnight when the power cut out, the house was still oppressively hot, and outside was not much better.

But, it turned out to be a great time. We called the power company to report the outage, went to CVS to pick up some cold drinks, and then came back and sat on our front step with our upstairs neighbors, our next-door neighbors, and another neighbor from down the street who we had never met before.

We stayed out there for nearly three hours waiting for the power to come back on, dripping with sweat, choked with heat, but having a great time. We met several of our neighbors who we'd never spoken with before, because as soon as everyone's fans and window air conditioners went off (none of the houses in our area have central air), it was too hot to keep sleeping and they all took to their porches and sidewalks.

I remember spending a lot of summer nights outside on porches when I was a kid, or hanging out in basements, garages, and even under bushes to keep cool.  Sometimes I sort of regret having air conditioning because it tempts us so strongly to stay inside all the time instead of getting out, getting used to the heat, and slowing down a little bit.

Would you ever consider getting rid of air conditioning in the summer?

Oak Park Hates Veggies

My post today is not about cooking, crafting, or sewing (although I've been up to all of those things lately!)

No. Instead, I'd like to tell you about a unique little blog I found. You see, the city of Oak Park, MI is prosecuting a woman there for growing organic vegetables in her front lawn. She claims that she isn't violating city code--they claim that she is, and that it is illegal for her to grow food on her own property where others can see it.

I encourage you to read her blog, do some research on your own, and draw your own conclusions. And if, as I hope, you draw the same conclusions that I did, I also encourage you to join me in contacting the city of Oak Park* to make sure they know that we find it unacceptable to punish a law-abiding citizen for making healthy choices on behalf of her family.

* in a polite and non-threatening way, of course!

Menu Planner

I really like to have meals planned out advance, even if it's just something like "chicken on this day, beef on that day," et cetera.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I saw this awesome menu planner tutorial. I included both the first one I found, at our perfectly imperfect life, and the one that inspired that, at Thirty Handmade Days.

As you can see, the menu planner (made of a decorated cork board) uses clips for each day so that meals can be rearranged on a weekly basis. It features envelopes for recipe cards and to hold a selection of meal choices to be pinned up.

I think this is such a cool idea, especially if you can find a cork board secondhand where it often costs only a couple of dollars. And, of course, there's no end to the styles or colors you can use. The only limit is your imagination and your materials.

Recipe: Peach Custard Pie

As it so often seems to happen around here, this recipe was so delicious that we gobbled it down before I remembered to take a pretty picture of the result. I did, however, find a pretty picture of fresh peaches!

And hey, the lack of a picture of the pie has got to be a good recommendation for it, right?

Why Keep Eating Poison?

GMO crops, conventionally grown corn and soybeans chief among them, can be found in a huge proportion of our foods these days. It's one of the big reasons that Mr. Scrimp and I changed our eating habits. We became convinced that we were eating foods that had been contaminated with poison.

A report at the Huffington Post now tells me that we were right, and I only wish we had run away screaming from conventionally grown food even sooner. You see, those GMO crops have been modified to be resistant to the weed killer RoundUp. They get sprayed with it again and again throughout the growing season. It cuts down weeds and increases crop production.

It also causes birth defects in mammals, and that has been kept secret from the public for quite a long time now.

I know there are readers of the blog who have maintained that Mr. Scrimp and I are overly concerned about GMO foods and conventionally grown vegetables. I hope this makes you reconsider.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...