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Date: Mon, 14 Sep 1998 22:55:02 EDT
Subject: Simple Times ~ Vol. 1, No. 8
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Date: Mon, 14 Sep 1998 22:53:53 EDT


Simple Times

A Free E-Mail Newsletter for Simple, Frugal Living
Circulation: 5,058+

Vol. 1, No. 8 - September 15th, 1998

This twice-a-month newsletter is distributed in conjunction with:

A Simple, Frugal Life


Frozen Assets:
How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month


Copyright (C) 1998 Deborah Taylor-Hough. All rights reserved.



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~ "Dear Readers"
~ Frozen Assets ~ "Help! My Freezer's Too Small!"
~ Simplifying ideas from the liveaboard boating lifestyle
~ The Lazy Chef does pancakes
~ Creativity vs. Cash at the holidays
~ Further "Pets on a Budget" ideas


Dear, Readers....

Hopefully we've gotten the bugs worked out with the Simple Times
formatting. The last issue arrived in many email boxes with the
formatting garbled and in some cases nearly unreadable. If your
September 1st issue was garbled, feel free to drop me a note at
<> and I'll send you out a fresh copy.
Sorry about the inconvenience.

In this issue we're introducing two new semi-regular features to Simple Times.

Ruth Payne Palmer will be joining us throughout the next few
months with her ideas for Creativity vs. Cash at the holidays.
Hopefully we can all get those creative juices flowing early
enough so that the holidays this year won't derail our best laid
frugal plans. Welcome, Ruthie!

And Gloriamarie Amalfitano (also known as "The Lazy Chef")
will be submitting occasional articles on simplified and easy tricks
in the kitchen. In this issue the Lazy Chef shares a simple idea
for preparing pancakes without all that "pourin' and a-flippin'
and a-flippin' and a-pourin'." She also includes a healthy and
inexpensive recipe for pancakes---but you can use the Lazy Chef
technique with any favorite pancake recipe of your own.

Simply and Frugally Yours,

(Deborah Taylor-Hough)
Editor, Simple Times Email Newsletter


"Help! My Freezer's Too Small!"
Copyright 1998 Deborah Taylor-Hough

One of the most common concerns I hear about preparing
meals for the freezer is this: "I only have the small freezer above
my refrigerator---how can I still do a full month of cooking ahead?"

For someone with only a fridge-top freezer, I usually recommend
starting with twice-a-month cooking, or just doubling and tripling
recipes as you go about your regular cooking during the week. As
you get used to the method and learn ways to efficiently pack your
freezer, you may eventually be able to store the entire month's worth
of entrees in your fridge-top freezer.

When I first began cooking ahead, we only had a small refrigerator
freezer. It was at least a year before I finally had a second larger
freezer to store my Frozen Assets---so it can be done. It just takes
careful planning.

Before you do a big day of freezer meal cooking, clear out all the
various non- essentials from your freezer. Wait until the freezer
empties later in the month before stocking up on frozen bread, ice cream, etc.

To save freezer space, use heavy-duty freezer bags for storing
most of your frozen meals rather than baking dishes or disposable
foil pans. When using freezer bags, remove all excess air (suck the
air out with a straw, or press the air gently out of the bag from the
top of the food toward the opening of the bag); freeze the bags flat;
and then pack them in the freezer carefully. To prevent a possible
landslide of stacked freezer meals, store your frozen bags of food
standing on edge---much as you'd stack old-fashioned record albums
(I'm dating myself a bit, aren't I?).

Another way to conserve freezer space is by preparing meals of
sauces to pour over pasta or rice. Prepare the pasta or rice on
serving day so it doesn't take up precious space in your freezer.

If you're in the market for a separate freezer but can't afford to
buy a new one, don't despair. Ask friends, relatives and neighbors
to keep an eye out for people moving out of state or updating
their kitchens. I've known many people who have found perfectly
good freezers for free just by making a few phone calls. Check
your local newspaper's classified ads under Appliances, and also
look through Garage Sale listings for any that are selling appliances.
Also, keep a look out at yard sales, tag sales, appliance repair
stores and auctions of dented whitegoods.


Deborah Taylor-Hough is the author of "Frozen Assets: How
to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month." Frozen Assets will
be available through local bookstores in December 1998, but can
be ordered now directly from the publisher by sending $14.95 +
shipping (shipping charge in the US is $2.95 for the first book
and $1 for each additional book---call or write to Champion Press
for standard shipping charges to addresses outside the US).
Autographed copies available on request.

Champion Press, Ltd., Northwest Office
3211 NE 116th St
Vancouver, WA 98686

Or phone in your order to (310) 281-2228


"Frozen Assets" belongs in every family's kitchen! One of
the best time and money-savers a busy family can have."
~ Gary Foreman, Editor, The Dollar Stretcher


Copyright 1998 Marilyn Michael

My liveaboard neighbors and I are called the "pointy-enders"
by those who dwell in square floating homes down the way on
Lake Union in Seattle. By choosing to move onto a boat I had
to shrink my life into 42 by 14 feet, join a social category with
a funny moniker, and was required to name my dwelling!

The daily concerns and joys of living on a boat are often different
than in landlocked dwellings. My style of life has been shaped
by certain interesting realities---movement, moisture, and limited space.

When everyone was asking if we’d felt Seattle’s earthquake
sometime back we laughed. We would only notice if our dwelling
stopped moving! At the dock we really don’t move a lot, just
constantly. Bungee cord secures a lot of things in my tipsy
world. At boat stores you can buy the wonderful stretchy
cord in whatever thickness and length you need.

Storing stemmed glasses is impossible. My neighbor has a
narrow shelf under which she affixed some small copper hooks
in a line about a foot apart. She then stretched a double length
of quarter inch bungee cord tight through the hooks. Stemmed
glasses hang there securely, even in bad weather. She used
space creatively, and the cord has lasted forever.

Having so much of the stretchy stuff around caused me to
invent Bungee Bubbles---mix 9 cups of water with 1 cup of
Joy dishwashing liquid. Take a yard of half-inch bungee cord;
hold in a big loop; dip into the mixture; lift it out and swing lightly.
The secret of great bubbles is high humidity and keeping foam off
the surface of the mixture. They look like huge crystal balls
floating over the water in the bay next to our boat.

Now, about that moisture, one of my neighbors said they
knew they were a committed liveaboard when one day they
decided that cultivating several strains of mold could actually
be considered gardening! No matter how hard we try, chips
and crackers quickly lose their crispness. A solution---spread
them in a single layer on a baking sheet, place in the oven for
ten minutes at 350 F, and let them cool.

For a long time we avoided the mildew-fueling moisture
assault of cooking rice and beans, then I discovered a $9.00
microwave rice cooker. In twenty minutes or so hard beans
can be salad-ready and the windows aren’t fogged.

Ever complain about lack of space? I have a house barge
neighbor who's lived fifteen years in 220 square feet. A
favorite galley space extender is a couple clear plastic
flexible cutting boards. A local variety store sells two to
a pack for under $4.00.

The lack of space on a boat caused a creative and truly
frugal move. I didn’t cotton to sharing the boat with a
cat box. So, I taught the cat to use the head (we have two
on-board). It involved a plastic colander with a hole in the
bottom placed inside the smaller size toilet bowl of the boat.
Cats in houses can be trained to stand on the seat (check
your pet store for books on the topic), but the movement
of the boat would have dumped our poor guy into the bowl
for sure. He learned in three days, and calculating the cost
of nine years of cat litter, we figure he buys his own treats
and more! Of course, when we travel someone has to come
in and flush for him.

Here’s a final tip for those who know who you are,
telescoping spider-getters. My neighbor found them at the
dollar store and treated everyone on the dock. It changed my
life. You’ve seen them, those large multi-colored dusting
wands. I can stretch it out and whisk up the biggest, ugliest
spider. Then shake them back into the universe from whence
they came before the scream emerges from the depths of my soul.

Those who seek the simple life should check out books on
boat and RV living---we’re experts out of necessity. The
liveaboard lifestyle may have divested me of 95% of my
shoes, honed my love of Tupperware and made me the
Baroness of Bungee, but it also slowed my life to seven
knots and I’m happy.


Marilyn Michael is a free-lance writer and columnist
for the boating magazine, "Nor' Westing." She is also
the creator of NEURO-THERAPY Training and
administrates a correspondence school that trains in that method.

For further boating tips, visit Marilyn at her web-page,
"For the Love of Boating"


by Gloriamarie Amalfitano

--Gloriamarie's "Whatever's in the Caabbinet Pancakes"--

Dry Stuff
2/3 cup Whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup some other flour (buckwheat, oat, rice,
anything )
1/4 cup yet another flour
2 Tablespoon Wheat germ---or reconstituted TVP,
seeds, cooked grains (great use for leftovers)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Wet Stuff
1 cup Yoghurt (or buttermilk)
1 1/4 cup or more skim milk (or soy milk, rice milk, nut milks)
1 whole egg (optional, really, but I like the way it fluffs up
the finished product. I suppose you could use egg replacement
stuff. But I think that is much too expensive for what is
virtually egg whites with food coloring added. The Opinionated
Chef says: "Read labels and be warned!!") 1 tablespoon
Vegetable oil (I have tried to use less, but I don't care for the
finished product. I like the moistness it adds to the crumb
(I learned that technical cooking term form James Beard Bread
Cook book!!)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract (optional really, I suppose,
but I LOVE the flavor so I tend to use more)

The official way would be to get two bowls dirty, mixing
together the drys in one, the wets in another, then ading the
drys to the wets. Then one would have to stand over the
hot stove or waffle iron a-pourin' and a-flippin', a flippin'
and a-pourin' and the Lazy Chef hates that. She likes eating
the results, but not wasting too many motions.

The "Lazy Chef" Way:
In the Kitchen Aid Mix master: dump in all the wets.
Then add the drys, mixing briefly after each.

Grab a jellyroll pan (or two if the batch is big enough. I have
used one pan for a 24 serving batch), grease it with whatever
is your preferred method of greasing at the moment (and I
sure do hope it isn't one of those expensive vegetable sprays),
slop in the batter, slosh it around a bit to make it even---just
tilt the pan around. Why get a spatula dirty? Unless of course,
you're a klutz, in which case by all means bat the batter around
with a spatula since that is more frugal than spilling the batter
on the floor.

Bake at 350 F anywhere from 15-45 min or so depending on
how big a batch you clumped together. I bake it until it passes
the knife stuck in the center test. Take it out when baked. Let
it cool briefly before cutting. Cut into as many pieces as servings
you mixed up. Eat some now and freeze the rest.

The Lazy Chefs put hers into ziploc freezer bags and freezes
them. When she wants to use them, she takes out what she
wants. If they are stuck together, a hearty thunk on the counter
and they separate quite nicely. I stick them in the microwave or
toaster oven and there's breakfast (or lunch, or even dinner).

Other Lazy Chef ideas: you could also make up a batch of the
drys and keep in a container in the pantry---as long as the batch
did not included cooked grains or reconstituted TVP. Then all
you would need to measure out would be the wets.


by Ruth Payne Palmer

There is an old saying that I have taken liberties with to make
it apply to my situation. It goes something like this, "The Christmas
spirit is like cookie frosting. You can't spread it around without
getting a little on yourself." Through the years our family has tried
to spread it to the max giving gifts to not only family members but
also to neighbors and friends and all on a very limited budget. Not
easy you say? No, not easy but lots of fun and we have wonderful
Christmas memories to prove it!

We are fortunate that our friends and relatives are all of the "it's
the thought that counts" persuasion and seem to enjoy our creative
gifts as much as we enjoy their's. In this series I hope to pass along
some ideas of gifts we have both given and recieved and maybe they
will inspire you in having a creative, debt free Christmas.

In this first installment I am presenting a couple of gift ideas for
children in the eight to eleven age group which will take a little
time so you will need to start right away. This age loves gifts
that give them something to do. These gifts would be even more
effective if they were accompanied by a promise of personal help
from the giver---you know, some of that "quality time" that
everyone talks about.



Supplies Needed:
l. A folder with pockets inside and brads to hold the
pages (mine cost 35cents)
2. At least two plastic sheet protectors with paper
inside. One will hold stamps from your country---the
other foreign.
3. Stamp hinges
4. Stamps cut from old envelopes. Cut a little square
out of the envelope leaving the stamp attached.
5. A free booklet from the post office called

The folder can be decorated any way you wish. I cut
stamp pictures from a free stamp catalog (also from the
post office) and glued it on the cover as well as a label
("My Stamp Collection") which I printed on the computer.

Put all the supplies in a suitable box labeled

While you're at the Post Office ask about the free coloring
activity books available for youngsters. They make great
stocking stuffers. When my postmaster doesn't have
these items he is always good about ordering them for me.



Supplies needed:

l. One yard or less of fabric suitable for a child's
apron (a scrap or remnant of course!)
2. Bias tape to bind
3. A recipe book (either of your own making or
you could order one inexpensively as I did)

Cut a newspaper pattern for a butcher style apron.
You might have to hold it up to a child of similar size.
Cut the pattern from fabric and bind with bias tape
making strings to tie at the neck and back. I made the
pocket big enough for the cookbook to fit in.

The cookbook that I used was just darling. I ordered it
from GOLD MEDAL FLOUR. The cookbook was called
and it is probably still available since it states in the
cookbook that they are available until December 200l,
or as long as supplies last. They cost $2 each and can
be ordered from this address: Gold Medal Alpha-Bakery
Cookbook, PO Box 5119, Minneapolis, MN, 55460-5119.
Allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.


Ruth Payne Palmer enjoys living frugally, and has often
taught classes in her local area called "Creativity Vs. Cash."
She'll be sharing a series of articles on the topic of creatively
saving money on holiday gifts.


submitted by Simple Times Readers


We have a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation place in our
community (Alexander Lindsay Junior Museum) that has
a pet lending library. When my children were little, we
joined the lending library nad could check out a guinea pig,
a rabbit, a hamster, or a rat for a week at a time. The museum
sold food, but you could always buy it at the pet store and
keep it.

It so happened that based on that experience we decided
that guinea pigs were the right pet for us (rats came in
second, surprisingly enough), but it was a great experience,
and I would recommend it to anybody. I know there are
other places similar to this in California but I don't know
if they have them anywhere else."

~ Melinda M.



While working in Ghana (West Africa) in 1969-70, my wife
and I house-sat for a couple who had a medium-large black
dog, and a cat (while the couple was on sabbatical in England).

We pressure-cooked a lot of rice each day, then mixed in a tin
of sardines (or similar cheap fish) to give it flavour, extra
protein and oils. That was all. The cat supplemented this diet
with mice and rats, but the dog relied on us.

The animals loved it. When Allen Nunn May and his wife
returned, they exclaimed about how healthy their pets were:
it seems that their house-boy had been eating at least half of
the fish, thinking animals shouldn't be eating food good enough
for people. (Meat-type food was scarce/expensive then, and
even more so since then.)

We have cooked for a cat in a similar way here (in New Zealand);
the cat was used to more variety already, so we gave it
a couple of days of (cheapest) dried "biscuits" after
some days of the fishy rice. Alternating like this worked.

In comparison, a car bought new for $23,000 will cost a
total of perhaps $60,000 over its 13 year "lifetime"; there
may be people who can only afford a car if they commit
themselves to cooking rice for their dog.

~David MacClement



As a Vet Tech, I enjoyed the article on "Pets on a Budget"
by Jonni McCoy (Simple Times ~ Vol. 1, No. 7). I have a
few comments on the topic, as well.

When buying pet food, make sure you get quality pet food,
especially for a puppy or kitten. We had one of our dogs
live for 16 yrs on Purina (puppy to reg to fit and trim to
senior) So I know that you don't need our Vet food for your
animals (just don't tell my boss I said that!). If you have any
questions about what good food, read your bag, ask your vet,
and check out some web sites. I have seen a puppy on a generic
(from the store food) whose bones weren't very calcified on the
x-ray. The owner just tripped over the dog's leg and it broke!
It wasn't getting enough "stuff" in it's food. Not overfeeding is
one of the best things you can do. Pets have as many problems
as we humans do when they are overweight. The biggest thing
is back and hip problems.

Cooking in bulk is fine too... just check with your vet. You
can get vitamins to add to their food so they are getting everything
they need.

Another thing to try when you go to the veterinarian is to see if
maybe they have Vet Tech appointments. Some places do and
you can get your basics done a little cheaper. Here in VA we
(Vet Techs) can't give rabies shots, so most shots are done by
a Vet. Check it out.

What a good article. You wouldn't believe how many animals
end up in shelters or abandoned simply because the owners
didn't realize how expensive owning a pet can be.

~ JJ Sommerville, LVT


"You CAN live within your means!"

Does the above statement sound impossible? Is money just too
tight? The answer could be as simple as using a few of the easy,
money-saving ideas found in the helpful booklet, "Simple Living ~
One Income Living in a Two Income World." Learn dollar-stretching
tricks for your regular family expenses: gifts, cooking, grocery
shopping, clothing, entertainment, vacations, babies, and more!

To receive a free brochure describing the Simple Living booklet
(plus a free Mix-n-Match recipe), send a business sized self-
addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to: Simple Living Brochure
Request, c/o Simple Pleasures Press, PO Box 941, Auburn WA


~ A simple personal budget
~ Book review
~ And more!


Due to upgrades to the computers that maintain the
Simple Times mailing list and archives, the Simple
Times Archives have been off-line for several weeks.
The Archives should be back on-line again soon.
Thanks for your patience.


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