Thursday, May 31, 2012

REPOST- My favorite DIY Catsup Recipe

This originally was a post when taking a personal challenge from Beth to make my own catsup- This is the best tasting DIY catsup recipe I have found

As accustomed as I am to not having original thoughts shut me up on this blog, today I think I will copy Fake Plastic Fish. Yesterday Beth made wonderful mustard and eliminated one more plastic condiment bottle from her clutches. Today I will make Catsup in an effort to eliminate a plastic bottle from mine!
This recipe is from the All Things Frugal site. I unashamedly stole it. First gather your ingredients:
1 Can Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Cumin
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar

Mix together, cover and refrigerate. (Note the human power mixer I used whereas Beth used an electric blender). *Electric-power consuming Fake Plastique Fish? Fake plastic Fish is really an Electric Eel?

This is how much I got out one batch plus about enough to cover two weenies- Refrigerate and it should keep for a month

The taste of this is very similar to chutney I buy at Trader Joes. Very sweet and good. And while the initial expense of the spices seems far from frugal, I would imagine one could buy them in bulk for a fraction of what I paid. You should also note that keeping in the spirit of FPF, I tried not to buy too many plastic bottle spices- I chose Colman's Dry Mustard (In a tin) and used my Trader Joe's cinnamon (in a glass bottle)- Any way I can now say that I will not buy ketchup in plastic bottles again. Thanks Beth. As far as the frugal goes you use just a small amount of the spices that cost wise it should be good.
*I tease Beth unmercifully in this post. But she is one cool fish, and her campaign against plastic usage is important and sincere. Anything I can do to help reduce plastic waste is always OK by me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Down Sizing

Egads- The thought of downsizing is scary! I was thinking about my impending retirement, and went and looked into an Urban Condo in downtown Burien- 500 square feet, parking for 1 vehicle! What a lifestyle change for me that would be! There are P-Patches on the roof though and the condo is green- construction. And it is right next to Romeo's favorite park! But weighing out the pluses and minuses... I don't know if this is the time to make a move or not. But I am really tempted by the thought of no Yard or D.I.Y. Work, A much simpler life, and being able to go when I want!
All photos Burien Town Square Condos

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Living Plastic Free

My "Fake plastic fish" friend, AKA Beth Terry wrote a book. About Plastic Free living. (three guesses on the topic, and the first two are wrong). And while I am big believer in Re-Using and Reduction, I would gladly give it up for a plastic free world. Besides it is too hard to find re-uses for all that plastic junk! Look for it here or at Amazon (yes it is available for Kindle)

Monday, May 28, 2012

10 Things Your Dog or Cat Would Tell You....

I found this on facebook, substituted Romeo's picture. But boy thinking back of all my dogs (Pepe, Sniffy, Charlie, Bingo, Binky, Spike, Max, Topaz) and cats(OG, Tuffy, Sammy) I find this to be so true:
10 Things Your Dog or Cat Would Tell You....
1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. Any separation from you will be painful: remember that before you get me.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me- it is crucial to my well being.
4. Do not be angry at me for long, and do not lock me up as punishment.
5. You have your work, your entertainment,and your friends. I only have you.
6. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don't understands your words, I understand your voice when it is speaking to me.
7. Be aware that how ever you treat me, I will never forget.
8. Remember before you hit me that I have teeth that could easily hurt you, but I choose not to bite or scratch you because I love you.
9. Before you scold me for being uncooperative,obstinate,or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I might not be getting the right food, or I have been out too long, or my heart is getting too old and weak.
10. Take care of me when I get old; you too will grow old. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say: "I cannot bear to watch" or "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for me if you are there, even my death.
Remember that I love you.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Independence Days Challenge for the week of 5/25

Plant: Celery plant, Tomatoes, beets
Harvest:some herbs- arugula, some mint, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, foraged some Alaskan Fire Weed all to make a great salad!
Local Foods: Bought a bunch of Leeks at the farmers' market to make leak and potato soup!
Community: Got into a little "guerrilla" gardening by gifting some Impatiens to a local coffee shop and planting them in there front planter box
Making Do (Repair, Re-use, Reduce, Recycle): 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shake... Fold! And Help Save 571,230,000 pounds of paper!

I know everyone is trying to remember to use cloth rags to dry their hands. But what about those times when you forget to put one in your pocket or purse? Well Joe Smith shows how we can save 571,230,000 pounds of paper could be saved if we follow his advice in the video. You can do it all with one towel! Next year Toilet paper!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

RE-POST: SWP's 2.0

This week I am re-posting my favorite way to make self watering or SIP's- Self Irrigating Planters!

Perusing the global buckets webpage, I saw an idea to make one out of 1 bucket and the top from a 5 gallon water bottle. So I had to to try one.

Take an ordinary water bucket-cut the top, drill a bunch of holes, put a rage over the pour spout, make sure to drill or cut a hole for a 1" or larger piece of tubing to go into - this is how you are going to add water to your planter!

Shove it in the 5 gallon bucket- pour side to the bottom

Fill with water up to the pour spout, fill with dirt and plant! I put a cayenne pepper in this one- now it goes into the green house for warmth!
Note- You may want to add a few "overflow" holes in the bucket... just put them beneath the level of the water bucket top (where you cut it off), and above the spout! Save the bottom of the water bottle for a bucket, or re-use as a planter!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Re-Animating Celery

It's Alive! It's Alive!
I am a re-animator. I make new celery grow from the cut off remains of celery I buy in the store! I found out about this one day on my Facebook/Pinterest feed so I did a search on google found a few webpages with instructions, like this one from Farm Bell Recipes blog and knew I would have to try it for myself. So I took a bunch of celery, chopped it, put it in a shallow bowl with a little water... and it started growing new leaves in three day time... update I planted my two week old celery plant in my spot at the community garden. Now time will tell if I get a decent bunch or not!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Guerrilla Gardening is back!

I don't know if you would actually call it "Guerrilla Gardening" or not. But I did gift a flat of Impatiens and planted them in the front flower box at Burien Press, in honor of their third anniversary. Just because they are nice people and great for the community. They always are donating coffee for public events, charity auxtions, etc., and their coffee shop has become a central location for people to meet, talk and take a rest. Add to that they are very important to the local art scene with shows and such right in their place of business.

Nice thing is the owner said he will water them over the summer. And I don't have to worry about the city removing them!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

BLOG REPOST: Eating the dandelion day by day

This week's repost is one I did on the joys of eating dandelion flowers; note Binky, my yorkie, has since passed away but still keep Chile away from Romeo- especially if she is licking her chops!

My apologies to Lord Tennyson. This post is dedicated to Ms. Chile- who advocates eating bugs, rats and god knows what else (keep her away from my yorkie!) - This is but a simple weed flower, that grows in everybody's yard, especially mine- finally something that Everyone can grow and harvest! Y'all welcome to stop by and get all the dandelion flowers you want!

Dandelion Fritter Recipe and a video:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blanche Marriot's Complete hanging garden!

How do you fit a big garden in a small space? You do like Romance Author Blanche Marriot and make a complete hanging garden! She really used her brains on designing this neat little overhead garden in a compact space!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Ohhh Muggsly...  you are so jealous. Don't worry your still my number 1 go to mug. But sometimes you gotta add a new mug or in this case a Mason Jar. I recently bought and tried a "Cuppow" a new lid that turns an ordinary wide mouth Mason Jar into a clever commuter mug. BPA free and dishwasher safe, I am hoping for a good long life from Number 2.

I was not paid or reimburse in anyway for this product endorsement. Just like the product and thought I would share!

Monday, May 14, 2012

One Small Change: No Plastic poop bags? Awww shi......

Normally I don't forget a biodegradable poop bag when I take Romeo out for his walk. But when I do, it takes some panicking and general WTF thinking as to what to use to scoop the poop! Recently,  I took dog out for a walk and stopped and had a coffee and a pastry. They put the cookie in a small paper bag, like the one pictured, Which I then subconsciously put the bag in my pocket. Good thing, because later, Romeo had to take a dump. And I opened the container I keep his poop bags in and it was empty. I did not panic. I simply remembered the cookie bag in my pocket and it worked wonderfully. Takes a bit of figuring out to make a mess free scoop, but it is do-able! I have since then figured out how to use lunch size paper bags  for the same purpose. Maybe I will go and buy some of the "cookie/pastry bags" at Costco or Cash 'N Carry and forget about the biodegradable plastic bags, since the paper will definitely decompose!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

NALC Food drive 2012

DIY Insecticidal Soap

You all know I think the world of Dr. Bonner's soaps, both liquid and bar. But did you know it makes a great insecticidal soap when you (or rather, your plants) get attacked by aphids and other related crawly things? Well it does. It disrupts insects’ cell membranes, and kills pests by dehydration. Or rather it gives them a big case of Bug Diarrhea!.

Insecticidal Soap Spray
1 to 2 tablespoons Dr. Bonner's or other pure Castile liquid soap
1 quart water
Combine ingredients in a bucket, mix, then transfer to a spray
bottle as needed. Or if you are like me and have two or three empty Dr. Bronner's bottles in your shower just refill those and squirt it on the affected plant.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


This is a repost of an old post from 2010 that seems appropriate for the warmer weather. So drink up and enjoy!

Some "sun Tea made in my frigidaire

I found this sun tea recipe on . A few things to add: you don't need sun to make sun tea- you can just put it in the frigidaire or just leave on the counter- the methods are the same, and when you use a large pickle jar or something simular, try saving the lid as you can use that rather than use a zip lock bag or plastic wrap to cover the top. I like that he mixes two teas- red rose which is a black pekoe tea, and constant comment a rather spicy sweeter tea.
* Sun
* 4 Red Rose tea bags or "black" tea
* 2 Constant Comment tea bags
* Ziploc bag or plastic wrap, big enough to cover opening
* Rubber band
* Something to stir the tea
* Approx. 3L pitcher
* Glass jug, (mine is an old olive jar)
* Approx. 10 tbsp of sugar or equivalent sweetner (I sweeten mine with about 5 tbsp. of agave nectar)

First, get 4 tea bags of Red Rose, and 2 of Constant Comment, and cut the strings off. Second, fill up the jar/jug with water and put the tea bags in, . Put a lid on the jar/jug and put it outside in sun. Or just stick it in your fridge or counter. When done take the tea bags out and add the sweetner and stir well. Serve with glasses filled with Ice.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ways to Recycle Plastic Pizza Savers

Pizza Savers- Those little plastic things to protect the pizza from getting squashed by the box lid. In the olden days many pizzerias solved this by making their own- out of left over pizza dough, then baking it to put it the middle of the box. But modern times apparently seemed to call for something new made of plastic instead of something sustainable, that was easily eaten (if not argued over by your brother and sisters as to who would get this special treat!).  The best way to end the confusion about what to do with the leftover Pizza Protector is to 1- buy pizaza from a pizzeria that doesn't use them or 2- find a way to reuse them. I usually try 1, but every so often forget to mention not to add the protector to my pizza, so I looked up on the internet and found this blog topic by Sew Many Ways blog. She has some great ideas on reusing these little pieces of plastic pizza protectors... from using them to keep your bobbin's and thread organized (if your sew) to using them for drying items you painted to using them to keep your kindle/or smart phone in place

Photo by Sew Many Ways blog

Friday, May 4, 2012

Independence Day Challenge- update for week of 5/4

Plant: Planted some basil, lemon balm, sage. Planted more peas beans, sugar pumpkin;
Harvest:Some pea tendrils and shoots; radishes
Prepare: Made a few more SIP's;
Local Foods: Are you kidding? The Burien Farmers' Market opened yesterday
Community: As I said before The Burien Farmers' Market opened yesterday!
Repair, Re-use, Reduce, Recycle: Made a few more SIP Planters,Saved some water bottles out of the public trash and used them in planters as the water "trap" for the Sub Irrigation part of the planter;

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Farmers' Market Opens Today!!!

You know, what's the big deal about farmers' markets... I go there and can never find any Farmers to buy.

O.K., I know that is not what Farmers' Market means. But I always wanted to use that line in a post. Cheap attempt at humor. So sue me.

Anyway a sure sign of spring, the Burien Farmers' Market opens today!!! Just in time , I am down to my last bar of handmade soap! And boy I need pasta! (I hope the pasta ladies are back... their chocolate pasta makes the best dessert with a little raspberry or blackberry jam mixed in) And it will be great to see all my favorite vendors for another season of local bargains galore! Romeo will have new places to mooch, get to see his buddies, and I will be overindulging on Czech pastries and corn on the cob!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sugar Free and Caramelly delicious!

Yo know what a challenge it is to have an extreme sweet tooth and diabetes? Well apparentely Smuckers does. They have a line of sugar free dessert syrups. While I don't care for sugar free chocolate ( they always taste so bitter to me, and not in a good way) I love their Sugar Free Caramel topping. Sometimes I use it on waffles or french toast for a break from sugar free "maple" syrup. (Yes Abbie the qoutes are for you... I know you love true maple syrup but a lot of use just can't) The Caramel topping is great on Sugar free Ice cream, better on fresh fruit! One of my favorites is to take a sliced banana and pour on the caramel. Or dip Apple or strawberries slices in the caramel. But sometimes you gotta mix it up!

1 Banana, sliced
1 apple, sliced
1/2 cup of strawberries, sliced
 1/4 cup Smuckers Sugar Free Caramel syrup

Mix all the fruit slices in a bowl, toss, being careful not to bruise the fruit. Chill for 1/2 hour, then pour on 1/4 cup of the syrup. Serve immediately!  Serves 2 (or 1 piggy person).

Substitute real caramel syrup for the sugar free if you don't have diabetes or other sugar related issues, or for other folks.

I am not paid or given anything by Smuckers for this review. I just like the product!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pea Shoots

I love pea shoots! I sometimes grow some in the winter inside just to use them in stir fry! Easy to grow inside- just plant some peas in a shallow planter, place in a sunny window and poof! You can start taking them when they are about 2" tall! And this is fun for the kids; a quick and easy to teach them about growing things!
In the garden, as your peas start growing and you start thinning, don't dispose of the thinnings! You can use the thinnings in the kitchen!
Pea shoots are the tiny, tender leaves and vines of young pea plants. Any type of pea will suffice, but sugar pod peas are the easiest types to grow for shoots and tendrils, since they tend to shoot up faster and stay light and crisp. Pea shoots and tendrils are tender enough to serve with no or minimal cooking. They are often tossed into salads or on top of soups. You can always add a few curls as an edible garnish. Pea shoots and tendrils are also a tangy addition to stir-fired dishes or simply steamed or sautéed as a side dish.
Wondering how to cook pea shoots? Here's an easy, quick and tasty pea shoots and tendrils recipe from Kim Knox Beckius, a blogger at