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Monday, April 20, 2009

Frugal & Green Living

I've wanted to write about some of the strategies that have worked for me and my family through the past few years. We have been GREEN for many years-way before it was trendy! And we have looked for economical ideas to help with the bottom line for even longer.
I laughed recently because our local newspaper recently ran an article about saving money in tough times and one of the biggest ideas was to eat at home more! Since I've always loved to cook, we rarely eat out and often we are disappointed in a pricey dinner out when we realize we could have had it at home, in more comfort, for a lot less! So I'll be posting lots of recipes and ideas that work for us on a practical level but I won't be giving you many ideas on how to save on eating out! Right now it's just my husband and me since one son is in college at Cal State Fullerton and the other son and his wife live on the other side of the country. Many of my recipes or ideas will feed four, but we plan to eat leftovers for lunch or freeze for additional dinners. (I'll let you know what you can freeze safely) All will be very tasty!
GREEN for us is also frugal and a time saver- when we consciously recycle, reuse and compost every thing possible, we spend less on trash fees and save on soil amendments. We also save on buying new seeds or pots to transplant seedlings. We don't have to buy new as often and find new ways to use old things. but on the other hand, we also keep energy costs in check by spending a little-an example is a recent purchase of a new Energy Star Washing Machine, Dryer and Refrigerator. We have saved a bundle by upgrading older appliances, and also recycled the appliances so they can be 'reused'. You have no idea how low our water bill dropped when we switched to a new Maytag HE washing machine!
So I'll try to talk about several different things in each post. Today, I'll give you a quick and delicious recipe that everyone will love: Alfredo Sauce. First a small note- I only make this when Grocery Outlet http://www.groceryoutlets.com/ has 3 packs of Boursin cheese (5.5 ounces each) for $1.50.
Alfredo Sauce:
2 tablespoons of canola oil
2 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of 2% milk- warmed in the microwave for 1 minute
one 5.5 ounce pack of Boursin cheese

in a saucepan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the warmed milk. It will begin to thicken. When it starts to thicken, turn the heat to low and add the crumbled Boursin cheese, whisking constantly. When all the cheese is incorporated, you are ready to serve!
Serves 4

We serve this over steamed Sapghetti Squash, but it is equally good over whole wheat pasta.
Nutritional information for the Boursin cheese is found at http://www.boursincheese.com/about/facts.htm Round this out with a nice green salad and a loaf of free french bread from Albertson's surveys, www.albertsons.com and you've got a great meal! (You do call in on the suveys from register reciepts, right? We eat free french bread at least twice a month and win all kinds of other free stuff by simply filling out computer surveys or calling in--and with the "Do Not Call" Registry, and an unlisted phone number, we don't get harassing calls, either. )
One GREEN Tip:
for years, I have had a small metal bowl on the kitchen counter for compost scraps and 'greywater'... dead flowers, water that ran in the sink to get warm, broccoli ends, onion skins, garlic skins, celery ends, carrot tops, coffee grounds,potato peels, strawberry hulls, you name it, it went into the compost bowl! Every night, rain, shine or snow, it goes into our homemade composter and eventually into the garden soil. Free soil amendment! Just remember- no meat, oils, sauces etc. http://www.howtocompost.org/
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