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    The Blog-National Indoor Gardening Month

    Before I forget congratulations to Dana for being the winner of the cake giveaway last week. February’s winding down and did you know that it’s National Indoor Gardening Month? I have a stack of gardening catalogs sitting on my coffee table right now. Although the yard is still covered in a couple of feet of snow, I’ve been thinking about the upcoming gardening season. Getting the vegetable garden planted is my first priority. I’m buying raspberry and blueberry bushes this year too. I’ll also try growing lettuce in containers again…wasn’t too successful last year!  Here’s a bargain I saw in the Lakeside Collection catalog http://www.lakeside.com/Sets-Of-3-Garden-Grow-Pouches/details.asp?I=FP3&N=36+10&Nao=6&R=916043011FP34 As well as flowers they also have cherry tomatoes kits.…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    How Not to be a Boring Cook

    I have to admit I enjoy eavesdropping. A few weeks ago I heard a lady complaining to her friend about how tired she was of cooking and eating the same meals day after day. It’s not only people who are trying to stay within a budget that get bored, but it happens to everyone at some point. We get busy so we reach for our favorite standbys or we get stressed and make the same comfort foods. When we’re on a budget there’s a tendency to go around the store in automatic drive putting the same old boxes of this and that into the cart instead of taking a chance on something new. Every so often I find myself…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Forget the steak… five reasons to love stews

     When the temperature dips there’s sometimes nothing better to eat than a bowl of hearty stew. It’s comfort food at its very best and some of my favorite food memories from childhood are indulging in a stew my grandmother had cooked. Meat, vegetables and a savory liquid that are simmered together for hours on top of the stove to take away the chill of a winter’s day. It’s not surprising that just about every cuisine in the world has its own version. However, the best thing about a stew is, apart from the fact it tastes so good, it’s the budget smart cook’s best friend. Easy on the Cook Stews are one…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Bargain Foods-Black Beans

    One of my favorite budget foods are beans…and they’re good for you too. No fat,  lots of protein and high in fiber which experts say most of us don’t get enough of these days. Plus, with so many varieties you might never get bored. Once upon a time I purchased canned beans thinking you couldn’t get much cheaper than that. I had tried dried beans but didn’t like the hassle of soaking them and then standing over the pan to make sure they didn’t boil over on the stove or worse still, stick to the saucepan. Well, that was until I heard about using the slow cooker. Now I’m hooked and won’t go back to…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Adding Flavor to Everyday Foods

    Food prices are creeping upwards again which makes me want to get maximum flavor out of all the foods I prepare. Over the years I’ve been experimenting with a few ideas and simple ingredients that are inexpensive- Select One Food Over Another The iceberg variety always seems to be the cheapest lettuce in the produce department. However, once in awhile it’s great to have some variety even if it does cost 20 cents more. Some of my favorites are romaine and red leaf. Another tip is if salad is going to be the main course, go with the lettuce with more flavor. The same goes for parsley. If I’m just using it a…

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    The Blog-Sometimes Bargain Items Are Awful

    Last week I learned a valuable lesson that not everything that’s a budget price is that great. Last month I bought a pack of eight rolls of toilet paper that were on special at the supermarket. It wasn’t until last week we started to use them and my husband was the first to complain. I quickly agreed that it was the worst toilet paper I’d ever seen. It looked fine on the roll but proved to be just one ply and so thin if you held it up to the light you could see through it. You’d have to use twice as much paper as other brands and hence save no money. Lesson learned, stick with…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Breakfast on a Budget

     Eating a hearty breakfast has many pluses. It keeps your blood sugar constant…no mid-morning or afternoon snacking. Studies have shown that people who eat a good breakfast tend to weigh less. Children do better at school. Best thing is breakfast food items are some the least expensive at the store. So why do so many of us skip the most important meal of the day? Probably because we don’t have time or find the same old foods boring. Here are some of my ideas for breakfasts that can be put together either the night before or even prepared at the weekend for week long eating. Oatmeal I have to say…

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