In cleaning out my freezer I found several frozen bananas, what better way to use them than making these delicious banana bars.

Frosted Banana Bars

½ cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt

½ cup butter
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners sugar
2 tsp vanilla

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.

banana bars, baking

Cream butter and sugar.

Beat in eggs, bananas and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture; mix well. Pour into a greased 15×10-baking pan.

cookies, bars, bananas

Unbaked banana bars

Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Cool.

baking, prudent living

Banana Bars

For the frosting cream butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Gradually add sugar and vanilla, beat well. Spread over bars.

cooking, Prudent Living, Recipe Box

Frosted Banana Bars

Makes about 3 dozen.

These bars are delicious without the frosting too!

Desserts, Baked

Frosted Banana Bars - delicious!

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To my faithful blog readers, you may not be aware but I am also a contributing author for the Prudent Living Magazine, a free online magazine. The issue launches today and is full of interesting articles including my article on The Summer Garden – Keeping Ahead of the Weeds.

online magazine, prudent living

Prudent Living Magazine - Summer Issue

Also included in the magazine is our reader’s favorite post of The Amazing Overnight Waffles!

waffles, breakfast, prudent living

Amazing Overnight Waffles

Are you ready to learn how to live a prudent, more sustainable life? Interested in ways to save money that are practical and make sense? Then you’ll want to read the latest issue of Prudent Living Magazine.

Prudent Living e-Magazine is a free, quarterly resource for how to live prudently, from suggestions for green home renovations and alternative energy solutions to gardening tips and health information. Prudent living is all about living smart, using resources wisely, preserving good health and safeguarding the planet. Written by experts in the prudent community–including our readers! –the short, tips-filled  articles are seasonal, practical and relevant.

In this latest issue you can also read about:

Off-grid living
Biochar: Soil Enhancement
Finance: Get Your Affairs in Order
And much more…

Are you ready to make good, intentional choices for daily living that work–for people and the planet? Click here to subscribe and receive Prudent Living Magazine in your email inbox four times a year for free.

Prudent Living – Because it’s Time!

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In taking the time to plant a garden and harvest your own food you are interested in growing what’s best for your family. Part of the reason I have an extensive garden is to know what we’re eating. I want the food to be organic and good for us. I have become more and more interested in growing heirloom seeds and learning how to save the seeds. I want to have control over what is being planted in my garden.

In an effort to learn more I recently enrolled in a Seed Saving Class, offered by Sylvia Davatz, a local seed saver. Sylvia has her own seed catalog, Solstice Seeds, where she highlights seeds from plants that have successfully grown in her Vermont garden. This class will stretch over the entire garden season. We meet in her garden once a month from May to October to address questions and issues around seed saving. Each two-hour class allows for instruction and discussion of the various topics of seed saving as well as an opportunity for questions and comments.

I can’t think of a better way to spend two hours than exploring someone else’s incredible gardens.

Solstice Seeds, seed saving

Sylvia's Garden's

Sylvia’s gardens are absolutely beautiful, very well thought out so she can space her plants to collect the seeds. As we toured the gardens Sylvia discussed overwintering biennials, and which plants are good candidates for overwintering both in the garden and in her greenhouse. We were able to view which plants were just being planted as well as which plants had made it through the winter.

spring gardens, seed saving

Well planned garden beds

There was a wonderful greenhouse set off on the edge of her property.

greenhouse, season extender


A greenhouse is a wonderful addition to the garden, especially here in Vermont where we have such a short growing season. There was spinach growing and potatoes almost ready to be harvested!

greenhouse, gardening

Potatoes about to be harvested

Numerous seedlings are waiting to be moved into the garden.

vegetable seedlings, greenhouse

Seedlings in the greenhouse.

seedlings, greenhouse

Vegetable seedlings










There is no heating source for the greenhouse and the ground never freezes! There is also a hand pump to supply water, what a wonderful idea!

water, gardening, prudent living

Hand pump in the greenhouse.

I would love to add a greenhouse to our property.

At the end of the class we gathered together and went over some important theory regarding seed saving. An important factor is to know the various types of seeds and why saving seeds is so important. I’ve discussed this before talking about the difference between heirloom and hybrid seeds for example.

I hope you enjoy these pictures of Sylvia’s beautiful gardens. I am counting the days until our next class in June!

spring garden, Vermont, prudent living

Sylvia's spring garden


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Buying perennials for your garden can be expensive. I have grand visions of what I want my gardens to look like but I also have a limited pocketbook. There are two ways to get around this, when your friends are dividing their perennials ask for the plants they no longer have room for. My original garden was created this way. My good friend Maggie, was dividing her perennials and supplied me with hostas, day lilies and iris. I have divided and divided these perennials over the years and am now in the position to give my extras away. Garden clubs also hold plant sales in the spring; this is another way to find perennials for your garden at a reasonable price. The plants you purchase at garden club sales have the added benefit of being grown locally. They will do well in your garden.

You can also divide store bought perennials. If you purchase a large hosta in a half-gallon pot you can divide it into a number of smaller plants. Just let it dry out a little before you attempt this. Dry soil and roots are easier to work with. Knock the plant from its pot, then with a sharp knife cut it into equal size rooted segments. If you already have hostas growing in the ground, you can increase your stock for no cost at all. Simply dig the clumps out and divide them. You’ll be amazed at how many plants you can acquire this way. Hostas recover from plant division very well. Just make sure you give them a little water after transplanting.

I am in the process of creating a new garden bed on the east side of our house, which is quite shady.

gardening, removing sod

Removing sod from new garden bed.

First the sod is carefully removed, this is saved and moved to another area of the lawn.

sod, grass, transplanting

Sod awaiting replanting.

There are some hostas growing on the side of the house already, which need to be divided. I can increase the garden bed (less grass to mow) and transplant my divided hostas at the same time. It’s a win-win situation. The clump is dug up.

hostas, perennials, dividing

Hosta clump

Using the shovel the large clump is divided into four smaller sections.

hostas, gardening, prudent living

Divided hosta

Each of the smaller sections are replanted into my new garden bed.

gardening, frugal tip

Transplanted hostas.

In expanding any garden in Vermont you are bound to find rocks, this one will be used in a garden wall!

rocks, Vermont gardens

Large garden rock!

You too can have beautiful gardens no matter what the size of your gardening budget. Spring is a perfect time to divide your hostas, especially if you can get the transplanting done before a rainy day!

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This recipe is a favorite of our oldest son. He’s just finishing up with his finals and will be home soon to enjoy a full cookie jar!

Molasses Crinkles

(Makes 4-5 dozen)

¾ cups butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
2 ¼ cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp salt

Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Molases Crinkles, cookies

Butter, sugar and molasses

In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.

chilled dough, recipe box

Wrap and chill dough.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

Roll teaspoonfuls of chilled dough into balls.

homemade cookies, prudent living

Cookie dough balls

Dip the tops in sugar and place on your cookie sheet, sugar side up.

molases crinkles, cookies

Unbaked cookies.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack. These cookies freeze well.

cookies, homemade

Molases Crinkles


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When I first started writing my blog, devoting Thursdays to talking about my pantry I thought I would write about what is in my pantry and why to keep a well stocked pantry. Since then I have realized that the term “prudent pantry” can mean so many things. It can mean living a prudent lifestyle, living within or below your means, or having food on hand to cook up a quick dinner.

This week I was glad that I had a well-stocked pantry and a well-stocked freezer. I had worked outside all day and all of a sudden it was time to make dinner! In a matter of minutes I had decided to cook a quick stir-fry. I checked the drawers in the fridge and found some broccoli, scallions and a half of a red pepper. Garlic and ginger I had on hand. There was some leftover rice and chicken in the freezer.

Chinese cooking, prudent living

Vegetables, rice and chicken.

Hoisin Chicken and Vegetables was on our plates in less than ½ hour!

Hoisin Chicken and Vegetables

1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup chicken broth
4 ½ tsp soy sauce
4 ½ tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3 cups broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
½ red pepper, sliced
1 Tbsp canola oil
4 scallions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 pound chicken breast, sliced
Cooked rice

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and broth until smooth. Stir in soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sesame oil; set aside.

Chinese cooking, prudent pantry

Seasoning sauce, ginger, garlic and scallions.

In a large nonstick skillet or wok, stir fry onions, garlic and ginger in oil; stir-fry just until the color starts to change.

saute, Chinese cooking

Saute garlic, ginger and scallions.

Add chicken and continue to stir-fry until the chicken is done. Remove and keep warm.

chicken, saute, Chinese cooking

Saute chicken.

Add broccoli and red pepper to the pan; cook until broccoli is crisp tender.

vegetables, stir-fry

Broccoli and red peppers.

Add chicken back to wok along with the seasoning sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce thickens and coats the chicken and vegetables. Serve over warm rice. Yields about 4 servings.

Chinese cooking, recipe box

Hoisin Chicken and Vegetables

It was quick, nutritious and delicious!

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