For all of you that didn’t make it to the Hanover Home Life Show here is the part of the Prudent Living booth that was devoted to my blog! I had such fun interacting with the many folks walking through. If they shared a frugal tip they got one of our Prudent Living cookie cutters! I was also giving away free recipe cards. If you would like a pdf of the recipes I gave out, leave a comment below and I will send you a link!

Home Show, Prudent Living booth

Home Life Show

I love popcorn; lately I’ve gotten into the habit of buying microwave popcorn. An easy snack but not the most cost efficient! I do have a plastic container that I can use in the microwave that works pretty well but I’m trying to get away from using so much plastic especially in the microwave. I came upon this tip recently of making popcorn in a paper bag. I’ve read this before but never tried it, would it work?

Toss ¼ cup of popcorn kernels with 1 tsp of olive oil.

popcorn kernels, prudent living

Popcorn kernels tossed with olive oil

Pour the kernels into a small paper lunch bag. Fold the top of the bag over twice. Place the bag on it’s side in the microwave on the carousel.

popcorn, microwave

Bag with kernels on it's side

Cook on high for 2 minutes or until the pops are 5 seconds apart.

Remove the bag from the microwave and carefully open the bag.

paper bag uses, popcorn

After popping, remove carefully!

Pour into a bowl and season as you like it. I found it was delicious with just a little salt.

grain, popcorn

Freshly popped popcorn.

Warnings: I have read that the paper bag might catch on fire so this method isn’t recommended. I have not had any trouble but I do lay the paper bag on its side. I also stand close by to keep an eye on the bag while it’s popping!

Earlier this week I told you how to store ginger. One of our favorite recipes that uses fresh ginger is another recipe adapted from our beloved Pei Mei’s Chinese Cookbook. You can use any green vegetable such as Bok Choy or broccoli. I use a large shallow non-stick pan to cook this meal and use less oil then the recipe calls for.

1 pound lean beef (flank steak)
15 pieces of scallions
15 slices ginger (quarter large)


½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp oil

Seasoning Sauce:

oyster sauce, sesame oil

Ingredients for seasoning sauce.

2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp sesame oil


1 pound green vegetable (bok choy, broccoli)
½ Tbsp wine
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Slice the beef very thin into 1” squares, put in a bowl and marinate for ½ hour at least (longer is better). Slice the beef when it is still partially frozen as you can cut it into very thin slices. Then add in 2 Tbsp oil and mix well.

beef, Chinese cooking

Remove any fat and slice beef thinly.

Chinese cooking, beef

Beef in marinade










Boil the green vegetable in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and stir-fry with Tbsp oil, season with wine, salt and sugar, set aside.

green vegetable, broccoli


Heat oil in wok add beef and stir fry until done. Remove beef and drain off oil from pan.

Use another 2 Tbsp oil to stir fry scallions and ginger,

ginger, chinese cooking

Thinly sliced ginger

Chinese cooking, scallions


add beef, stir quickly over high heat, add the seasoning sauce.Beef and Broccoli, Chinese cookingbeef and broccoli, Chinese cooking Stir until thickened and heated through. Add broccoli.







Serve over rice and enjoy!

Chinese cooking, beef and broccoli

Beef with Oyster Sauce

Linked to Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms

Linked to Foodie Friday too!BWS tips button, GooseberryPatch, Saturdaydishes

Come visit Prudent Living’s Booth at the Home Life Show in Hanover, NH this Weekend (3/16-3/18 Friday through Sunday, Leverone Field House, cost $3 a person) and invite your friends! Bring your kids to watch the trains, and enter 2 contests for your chance an IPOD TOUCH or a WONDERMILL!

grain mill, wheat

WonderMill grain mill

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday I will be at the Upper Valley Home Life Show in Hanover, NH. Prudent Living will have a booth that will highlight the benefits of prudent living and sustainable energy use with a model train village called Sustainable, just over the mountain from the town of Consumption Junction.

I will be sharing prudent tips on home gardening and the perfect potting soil recipe.

potting soil, seed starting

Seed starting mixture

I will also be giving out a baker’s dozen card deck of my favorite recipes. Stop by and enter for a chance to win an iPod Touch and a top-of-the-line home grain mill, which grinds raw grain into flour. I really hope all my local readers stop by and say hello.

For those of you who live too far away to come to the Home Life Show you still have a chance to download the recipe cards. For anyone that leaves a comment on my blog this Friday, Saturday or Sunday I will email you a pdf of the recipes. I don’t want any of my faithful readers to miss out on the opportunity to have this delicious collection of 13 of my favorite recipes, a real ‘bakers dozen’.

Here in Vermont it looks like it is going to be a beautiful weekend, hope to see you at the Home Life Show!

seeds, hybrid seeds, heirloom seeds

Seed collection

Whether you are planting seeds directly into your garden or starting your seeds early you will have to decide whether you want hybrid seeds or heirloom seeds. Organic is another choice but the first decision will be heirloom or hybrid seeds. What’s the difference?

Heirloom Seeds

heirloom flower seeds

Heirloom flower seeds

heirloom seed collection

Heirloom seeds

An heirloom seed is a seed that can be traced back at least  50 years. They have a history of being passed down within a family. They reproduce through pollination. They are considered true plants because they’re exactly the same as their parent plants. Heirloom vegetables are chosen for flavor. They’re not generally as “uniform” as hybrid fruits, nor are they as predictable. They haven’t been bred, but chosen; gardeners will choose their best fruits and harvest the seeds from them.

Hybrid Seeds

hybrid tomatoes, hybrid vegetables

A hybrid seed is a seed that has been “bred” and grown specifically to aid in their production and resistance to disease. They are made by breeding two different plants together to get a third variety – the hybrid.

Although a hybrid plant produces a more dependable and uniform harvest, sometimes taste has been sacrificed (they were originally bred for commercial growers, more fruit, longer storage etc.), so profit was more of a concern than taste.

Another problem with them is that most hybrid seed from the vegetables you grow will be sterile; this means you can’t save the seeds. If they aren’t sterile, however and you can get one to grown you have no guarantees what kind of plant you’re going to get because they aren’t the exact replicas of their parents. Seed companies love to sell hybrids because it is much more profitable. You have to keep buying your seeds from them year after year!

Saving Seeds

Using heirloom seeds gives you the option to save your own seeds and plant year-to-year. This is a great way to save money. I’ll talk more about this at the end of our garden season.

saving seeds, heirloom seeds

Saving seeds

I grow both hybrid and heirloom seeds in my garden. There are some hybrid varieties that do so well that I grow them despite the fact that I can’t save the seeds. Whatever you decide enjoy your time in the garden!

ginger, Chinese cooking

Fresh Ginger

Do you use fresh ginger in your cooking? When you purchase fresh ginger you usually buy a large section of root. However you may only need a small amount in your recipe. What do you do with the rest of the root? Years ago my mother took a Chinese cooking class, in the class she learned this wonderful tip for storing ginger and I’ve been using it ever since.

Peel the ginger root. Cut the root into smaller sections and place in a glass jar.

peeled ginger, storing ginger

Peeled ginger in a jar.

storing ginger, frugal tip

Peeled ginger








Pour sherry over the ginger until covered.

ginger, storing ginger, sherry, frugal tip

Pour sherry over the ginger.

Store in the refrigerator. The ginger will stay fresh until you have used it up and you can even use the flavored sherry in cooking if you like.

ginger in sherry

Ginger ready to be stored.



Frugal Tip Tuesday:

I’m sure many of you have fond memories of those delicious icebox cakes made with the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers.

surprise cake, icebox cake

Surprise cake ingredients.

In all the years of enjoying them I never thought to make them as individual cakes. However I came across this recipe in a book called Cook What You Love by Bob and Melinda Blanchard. This recipe makes the most elegant but extremely simple dessert. You make it several hours ahead or even a day ahead so the cookies have time to soften and then serve as a fancy dessert the next night. Good enough for family or company!

1 ¼ cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee powder
24 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
Crushed Chocolate Wafers for garnish

Using an electric mixer beat the cream, sugar, vanilla and coffee together until the cream holds its shape.

whipped cream, dessert

Whipped cream with instant coffee

Spread about 1 Tbsp of the cream onto each wafer. Stack 6 wafers together for each serving, alternating the wafers with the cream and pressing slightly so they hold together.

cookies, prudent living

Wafers and whipped cream

Spread the remaining cream over the outside of the stacks to cover the wafers completely. I use a little wax paper under the first cookie to keep the plate clean.

Using wax paper to keep the plate clean.

Using wax paper to keep the plate clean.

Once the cookies are covered with cream I remove the wax paper.

Once covered, remove the wax paper.

Once covered, remove the wax paper.

Chill for 4-6 hours or overnight. Sprinkle with crushed cookie crumbs and serve.

Ready to serve.

Ready to serve.


Surprise Cake

Surprise Cake

Liked to: MeandMySweets, SaturdayDishes, FoodieFriendsFriday, Sweet2EatBaking, GooseberryPatch

Never Miss a Post!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Find Me


Nancy’s Archives

Linked to some of my favorite link parties!

Nancy On The Home Front