Saturday, May 25, 2013

Healthier and Possibly Cheaper Recipe Substitutions

Healthier Recipe Substitutions

I was preparing a little lens on cheap grocery shopping and decided to touch on recipe substitutions that might help some folks save a little money. This started me thinking about recipe switches that might do the following:

  1. Be healthier
  2. Save money
  3. Be on hand if the original was not - i.e. be handy
  4. Taste just as good
My main goal was to be healthier, but if the alternative was also healthier that would be good too.  I put taste as no. 4, but it should actually be fighting with number 1.

Substitute Tomato Soup for Oil in Cake

Anyway, this one actually goes back to rationing days during World War II. It calls for using tomato soup in cake instead of oil. It cuts out a lot of the fat, and is an inexpensive substitution. You can see an example recipe here:

Unsweetened Applesauce for Sugar, Oil, or Butter 

This is another surprise that really works.  1 cup of unsweetened applesauce is naturally sweet, and it only has about 70 calories - or about 1/10 as much as a cup of sugar. If you use it to replace sugar, try it in something like oatmeal cookies. You can use it as a replacement for oil in sweet breads and cakes.

Stevia for Sugar 

This is a natural sweetener that is very low in calories and also provides fiber. Stevia is sweeter than sugar so watch the amounts. Also, at first glance it may seem more expensive, but again - you should not have to use as much.

Turnip or Cauliflower Mash for Mashed Potatoes 

Honestly, after I cook and season turnips they seem pretty much like potatoes to me. If you have some really sensitive eaters at your family table, try half and half. You can also grate cauliflower to replace rice. You'll do better on the calorie count either way.

Turnips made my list of easy vegetables to grow yourself.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Are You Saving Any Money?

Yeah, Prepper Dads Save Money 

Even though the main emphasis of being a prepper is trying to stockpile resources against the day when money could become almost useless, a true prepper dad also tries his best to plan for a more likely future. That is one in which money is still needed, and you face a situation where you need a lot of it.

I was, in fact, a bit alarmed when I saw this article : Americans Aren't Saving Enough For Retirement. 

Can You Set Aside A Buck A Day? 

Have you heard of people who don't have a lot of money but try to just set aside $1 a day no matter what happens? That way they have an emergency cache of cash to tide them over when things get tough. Here's a good plan for setting aside 5 dollars a day for the same reasons.

Do You Have Savings Goals?

One of the most important things you can do is to have any sort of goal. Let's say you just want to save $1,000 for the holiday season by December or make sure you have $500 in a cash account in case you need to buy a new tire or fill a cavity. Of course, a longer term savings goal that many Americans are giving up on is saving enough money for a comfortable and secure retirement.

Here's a free savings calculator you can use to illustrate what some of your goals might be and how long it will take to reach them. You simply enter your goal and the number of years you have to meet your goal. Then enter an assumed interest or return rate and the amount of money you have allocated already for your goal. That amount can be zero. Hit enter, and get back the amount of monthly contributions you need to make in case you fall short.

Boomers Aren't Saving Enough For Retirement - If Anything!

Do you need some more motivation? Look at this dire look at baby boomer retirement savings. Apparently, we aren't saving enough money, and some of us are not saving any! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Some Really Easy Produce To Grow Yourself

Easy To Grow Food 

Of course, one foundation of prepping for survival is food storage. However, we all know that a better long term strategy is being able to grow our own food. The type of food that you select will certainly depend upon the climate you live in.

For example, people in the north have long and cold winters, but may enjoy very fertile soil. In some areas in the south, soil is sandy and rain is scarce, but there is a long and hot growing season.

  • So you will want to do some research for your own climate, but these are some good general suggestions for lots of different areas. 
  • Practice now. You will already have supplies on hand AND have some experience if you really need it. Plus you will reap the benefits of delicious, home gown produce you can eat and share. Here's some instructions to starting a raised garden which is a good way to get started. 

Advice: Keep a rain barrel (or 2) in the backyard. You can make or purchase one, and I may publish an article later on this. Basically you will keep a supply of water for your garden that way. 

Turnips: Where I live you grow turnips one year, you've got turnips like weeds forever. These are very similar in a lot of ways to potatoes, and potatoes and even sweet potatoes are another suggestion.

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes: Have you ever left potatoes out on the counter for too long and had them start sprouting? Well, this is a sign that you could practically toss them in the ground and with any care at all - have vines of food growing in the yard.

Corn: In the corn belt, you can practically toss the seeds in good dirt and expect a decent harvest. If you live in an area where rain is uncertain, be sure you keep them watered.

Do you need some suggestions for a container garden kept inside or outside of the house? Research squash, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and several types of herbs. Practice now, and you may be thankful later.

Why I became a Prepper Daddy

Why are the Neighbors Calling Me Prepper Dad? 

Why would somebody like me - who would rather hire somebody else to mow the lawn - start to earn the nickname Prepper Daddy? I responded a bit to a series of articles on the web about one of the most famous prepper dads - Robert Kiyosaki. You may not recognize the name, but I'll be that you recognize his book's title: Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Instead of worrying about how people can get rich he's urging folks to stock up on food and implements. When you get to the end of the post , you can watch a video to learn more about this guy's change of direction.

Am I Getting Ready For Doomsday?

Personally, unless that thing under Yellowstone decides to explode - I suspect the economy will not just collapse us back into the stone age. On the other hand, the natural world doesn't make us any promises - as is made obvious by climate change over the last few decades. This is not a political statement - but just a statement of fact. The North and South Poles are obviously losing ice, and this is affecting temperatures all over the world. I think change will happen gradually and not in a moment, but I think some sensible preparation, or prepping, is always prudent.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad Prepper Dad Video

Here's where Robert K. is getting prepared. If you also want to prepare for the worst, in a sort of sensible way, look into some frugal food storage tips in the preppers section of Frugal Pig.