In life, as in a garden, you reap what you sow.
~Nancilee Wydra- Feng Shui in the Garden
Nothing makes me feel better than being outside on a warm, sunny day working in my garden. I relax and have time to think. The stress melts away as I pull weeds and dig my hands into the soil. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when the flowers bloom and the fruits and vegetables bear fruit.
When harvest time comes I enjoy sharing my bounty with friends and family.
Gardening is a wonderful way to relax, enjoy nature, live green and save money. Growing your own fruit or vegetables can dramatically slash your grocery bill.
Just a few plants can keep you stocked for months. (continue reading…)
When I started gardening, I ransacked the seed displays and catalogs in search of new tomato varieties to try. Over the years, though, I’ve settled in to a few reliable favorites, and with life catching up to me and a book to write, I have less time to be experimental with the veggie patch. Sure, maybe one day I’ll give those white cherry tomatoes a shot, but for now, I have my snacking tomato, my dehydrating tomato, my salad tomato, my paste tomato, my yellow tomato and my all-purpose slicer and vegetable soup tomato. No need to mess with what works.
Now that I know what tomatoes grow well in my garden and that my family will eat, I save the seeds from one year to plant the next, sparing me the temptation of the seed catalogs and garden center displays. Seed saving is as old as agriculture. While most seed saving is as easy as letting a plant produce mature seeds and collecting them, tomatoes are a bit trickier. Although I’ve grown tomato plants from seeds that I saved by simply spreading the seed glop out to dry, rinsing and fermenting the seeds using the process detailed below produces a much higher germination rate with just a little bit of work. (continue reading…)
In the movie Food, Inc., there is a scene of a family going through a fast-food drive-thru, spending somewhere around $12 for a meal for the four of them. The family laments that, even though they know that the food they get through the car window is causing major health problems, the fast food is cheap, and, well, fast. It’s what they can afford, and what they have time for. The family is busy and doesn’t have time to cook.
The next scene shows the family shopping in a supermarket, demonstrating just how high the costs of fresh produce are, to prove that families are priced out of healthy eating. But how cheap is this fast food, really? Setting aside the related costs of the health problems that come from eating a diet heavy on fast food, purely in dollars, how much does it really save to eat through the drive-thru? (continue reading…)
We all want to live an organic, green lifestyle. But we might find ourselves discouraged sometimes because the price of organic food, cleaners and other household items can seem costly and prohibitive. It’s true. If you switch from shopping at Wal-Mart to Whole Foods, your grocery bill will skyrocket and your spending money may disappear. That’s why Whole Foods has received the nickname, “Whole Paycheck.”
But, there are ways to live organic on a budget. The tips and tricks on the list below will help you keep your bills from ballooning, while still achieving the organic lifestyle you desire. (continue reading…)
Hamburger Helper and similar boxed meal kits are convenient, but leave something to be desired in the area of nutrition. They usually use white-flour pastas and a string of additives in the flavorings, and can contain up to half of an adult’s recommended daily allowance of sodium in a single serving. Plus, they tend to be scant on the vegetables.
By making your own dinner kits, you can control the sodium content and eliminate synthetic preservatives. Plus, you can slip in a serving or two of vegetables into each portion and save some money over the premade, preservative-laden commercial dinner kits. Dehydrated vegetables, which are easy to make at home and very economical when the vegetables are in season or purchased at a farmer’s market, are an easy way to incorporate vegetables into the meals with no extra prep time after work. Make a few of these dinner kits up ahead of time for quick, no-effort dinners on busy nights. Precook and portion out the meat for even easier weeknight prep. (continue reading…)
Being “green” minded is about being careful with resources. Money counts as a resource too! Far too often we hear the excuse that natural products are expensive. Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive. Finding ways to incorporate and innovate will reduce food waste and save tons of carbon and cash. And here’s the trick: you don’t have to be a kitchen whiz to stretch your organic food budget further.
Bread Ends Two Ways
Hoagie rolls, French bread, and the heels of sandwich bread always seem to have odd bits left behind. Bread pudding is delicious and easy. The same egg mixture used for French toast can be stirred through mixed bread cubes and baked for a no-fuss pudding. Adding walnuts and dried fruit kicks it up. Want a savory salvage? Make croutons! Seriously. Slice bread leftovers into cubes or rounds and toss with olive oil and seasoning and bake to crisp. Lemon Pepper seasoning makes tangy croutons for summer salads. Mixed Italian blend herbs or any herb blend you have a surplus of will work splendidly. (continue reading…)
Times are tough financially right now: we’re feeling the extra strain on our wallets. But is your energy meter feeling the strain, too? You could be wasting unnecessary energy (and money!) around the home. Fortunately, some simple tips can help you become more energy-efficient, save money and benefit the environment, too.
Problems With Energy Production
Most electricity comes from power plants, which use coal and oil. Coal generates 49.7 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. (1). Oil and other fossil fuels, made of plants and animals that died millions of years ago, are also used in producing energy. (continue reading…)