If you’ve been hanging out on Penny Thots, you know I like to write about chickens.
Partly it’s because they’re an excellent resource, including eggs and meat – full of vitamins and lean protein. And since you feed them, you can ensure you’re getting naturally delicious, pesticide-free food for yourself and your family.
They also help pay for themselves. With our flock (currently 15 chickens), we sell 4- 5 1/2 dozen eggs weekly…more than enough to pay for the chickens’ feed and some of their expenses. We still have plenty of eggs for our own use…and even some to give away. (If you’re curious, you can find out more via Part 2 and Part 3 about our chicken adventures.)
They’re also fun to watch! Whether it’s watching them chase each other around (or the dogs), chickens are a bossy, clucking source of entertainment.
If you’re thinking about raising chickens, doing it three seasons may [...]
Want to save even more money this month?
Try a Pantry Challenge. Basically, it means:
You eat out of your pantry for the next ___ (insert number here) weeks. Plus your refrigerator and freezer.
It’s become a tradition to do this in January, and again later in the year, for many bloggers, including Lifetime Moms, Aussie Budget Home Cooking and yours truly, for a few. Jessica at Good Cheap Eats leads the charge every year — currently she’s about Day Eleven or so.
Some people take the hardline, and barely buy any groceries — others give themselves a set amount of money to stock up on items like dairy, eggs and fruit. (Or sale stuff — who wants to walk away from 99-cent hamburger or marked-down broccoli, just because it’s not in the pantry!)
A Pantry Challenge does several good things:
*It clears out your food supplies. Those [...]
It was about three years ago when I first heard of the the South American grain, quinoa (for the uninitiated, it’s pronounced KEEN-wah). Supposedly it has an amazing taste and is packed with more nutrients than rice or corn. There are many reasons why I haven’t tried it yet. The supermarkets at which I generally shop (you do shop at more than one store, right?) don’t carry it yet. At least not in economical packages (I will NOT spend $4+ on a box that feeds two).
But there is another reason why I don’t eat this new wunderfood. Eating it may be good for you, but it’s bad for South American farmers. It’s a supply and demand problem. As demand increases, if the supply doesn’t increase by an equal amount, the price goes up. Since there is only limited acreage available in the Andes mountains where the crop was first [...]
All sorts of goodies travel their way down the gustatorial pike this holiday season. Why not keep your plans for Christmas or New Year dinner simpler? You’ll find this menu not only pleasing, ut a nice rest from the rich food you’ve been shoveling in all month.
A MENU FOR CHRISTMAS OR NEW YEAR (inspired by Peg Bracken)
Make up your own (more ideas are here), or choose a family favorite.
Ours comes from our New England colonial roots, and has been a winter favorite for generations.
1 quart milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 jar or tin oysters (the fresher, the bettter)
That’s it! Heat gently together, salt and pepper to taste, and serve with oyster crackers.
Good rolls, biscuits or sliced bread.
If you don’t feel like making ‘em, buy em!
A cold cut [...]
Every December, our daughters look forward to two special cakes: Sachertorte (directions and recipe here), and a creamy, buttery almost-fruity British Christmas cake. I found the original recipe in Tasha Tudor’s holiday book, TAKE JOY!
If you’ve never heard of her, Tasha Tudor, who died in 2008 at age 92, was an amazing, quirky artist who loved the clothing styles and living ways of the early 19th century. (She came by that eccentric nature easily, as the daughter of author Thornton Burgess and artist Rosamund Tudor. The family counted many American celebrities as friends, including Ralph Waldo Emerson.)
She lived for many years in New Hampshire, raising four children in a house without running water or electricity. Eventually, Tasha moved to a house in Vermont built by her son, copied from an old New England farm owned by friends. Tudor was best-known for her incredible illustrations for children’s books… although many adults were [...]
For my birthday this year, my daughter bought me two adorable little fruit trees. Though the fruit sounds strange, Limequat and Calamondin orange tree (“has a similar flavor to a lime or lemon”) but there are cherry, apple, lemon, lime, miniature almond and peach trees available online. The trees I have come from Duarte Nursery in California but my daughter bought them from our local Lowe’s. Their website has a list of distributors. Check out other growers online like Bay Laurel Nursery and Dave Wilson Nurseries.
“A cocktail fruit tree is created by taking multiple scion buds of either different varieties or species of fruit (still must be within the same family) and grafting them onto a rootstock. This will not affect the specific type of the desired fruit (scion), because the genetics of the scion and the rootstock were not mixed even though they are now one tree,” [...]
The spicy smell of gingerbread has been a Christmas favorite for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Take this crunchy cookie and make it into a house, and you’ve just indulged in a favorite tradition for the season.
Basically, gingerbread houses are one big cookie, cut into roofs and walls before baking, then spread with heavy-duty icing to “glue” them together. The resulting house then is lathered with candies, chocolates, marshmallows and such. Some people really get into it, like this version:
Yep, who else but…MarthaStewart.com
Others are fine with jamming various candies, and calling it good. The results can be surprising. This house looks complicated, but it’s actually very basic: gumdrops on the roof, outline icing for windows and door…and a drift of frosting ‘snow’ on top, dribbled down over the gumdrops in realistic fashion.
From Food Network
Whatever your temperament, this basic gingerbread [...]
If you’ve been hanging around the Penny Thots archives for a while, you may have seen my comments on raising chickens…. the original report is here. (Part II is here.)
Just in case you haven’t followed the Saga of the Brick Chicks, here’s a quick recap:
We have 15 chickens at present…assuming, that is, that the resident fox in the neighborhood allows us to keep up the current count. (He took two back in late August, on one unguarded summer evening, when our watchdog Charley was indoors, miserable with allergies.)
Three are ‘Production’ Reds – Rhode Island Reds that are specially bred to produce more eggs. They look like this:
They are mean, quarrelsome, bossy…and excellent layers. They also began laying eggs earlier than the others. Maybe I’d be crabby too, if I felt that urge all the time!
The rest are Australorps – a Buff Orpington breed refined [...]
supermarket isle containing staples such as pasta and rice
Every few months, the same advice on saving money at the supermarket crops up. You’ve heard the line: shopping the perimeter of the store and ignoring the isles will save you money and leave you healthier. The advice is good natured, but is also generally wrong. Okay, maybe not wrong, but at best only half right. Shopping the perimeter is a good way on how to not save money on groceries.
Why is this? The theory behind the advice to shop the perimeter is based on the idea that all of your staples, your meat, produce, dairy, etc. are going to be along the outer edges of the store. Meanwhile, the higher mark-up stuff, the processed foods, and the junk food that simply isn’t necessary are all going to be in the isles. So by shopping the perimeter, you get [...]