I will be starting my seeds in another week. In the meantime I thought I’d review an interesting book for you – The “Have-More” Plan by Ed and Carolyn Robinson. This book was originally published in the 40’s. Since then it has been reprinted 22 times and is available from Amazon for a very reasonable price.frugal living, prudent living, book review

Here is what Amazon has to say about the book:

It has been Ed Robinson and wife Carolyn’s dream that every family can own a home and a little land. Their classic book, The “Have-More” Plan, was written in the 1940’s. The book has been kept in print unchanged because it is still, after 70 years, a useful reference for the home gardener. Over 500,000 people have now discovered how to do things in ways that work simply and well. Ed said, “…poultry, goats, lettuce, and home canning haven’t changed much in the generation since The “Have-More” Plan was first published. Today home gardening seems on the verge of a giant step forward: We can now get more produce on small plots by using plastic cover-ups over raised beds to extend growing seasons. This ushers in a new era for home production.”

This book is full of valuable information especially for those of us who are pursuing the prudent way of life. There is information on landscaping your property, making space for your garden, and details on any livestock you might want to raise. Ed and Carolyn firmly believe in raising at least part of your food and have extensive information on getting your soil in shape, which vegetables are suitable for your area and harvesting your crops. They have a large vegetable planting chart which will help you decide how far apart to plant certain vegetables, how deep to plant the seeds and common pest problems.

vegetable planning, chart, gardening

Vegetable Planning Chart

Although some of the information in the book may be outdated, such as the pesticides they recommend, overall it is a wonderful little book full of valuable information for anyone who wants to live a more self-reliant lifestyle… it’s well worth the cost!

For some time I’ve been interested in learning more about homemade hand creams and homemade soap. In researching various recipes I came upon a recipe for lip balm and decided to give it a try. I was amazed at how quickly the recipe came together and the end product was wonderful.

lip balm, homemade creams, prudent living

Ingredients for Lip Balm

I used our own honey and our own beeswax, which gave the lip balm a beautiful honey color.

beeswax, homemade lip balm

Grated beeswax.

The vitamin E oil is squeezed out of Vitamin E capsules; you get about 3 drops out of one capsule.

Vitamin E, lip balm

Squeezing Vitamin E out of capsule.

I had several 1 oz metal tins, which I used to pour the lip balm into. I ended up with four 1 oz containers when done. Here is the recipe I used:

6 Tbsp almond oil
2 tsp honey
4 tsp beeswax, grated
5 drops vitamin E oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil
8 – ½ oz lidded pots

In a double boiler, melt almond oil, honey and beeswax together. I used a tin can placed in water.

Melting wax and oil.

I used a tin can to heat up the oil and melt the wax.

Remove from heat, allowing mixture to cool slightly. Add vitamin E and peppermint oils, stir until well blended. Spoon into pots and allow to cool before covering. Makes 8 – ½ oz pots.

lip balm

Finished product.

lip balm, prudent living

Peppermint Lip Balm

This blog is linked to Frugal Tip Tuesday!

As promised I will share my Killer Brownie recipe from my husband’s family. I have to admit I am a recipe collector! I not only have numerous cookbooks but I also have several recipe boxes full of recipes I’ve collected over the years. The first recipe I asked for was in grade school, I asked my best friend’s mother for her macaroni and cheese recipe. It was something I don’t remember my mother making and I thought it was delicious! Since then my collection has grown. I’ve mentioned before the collection of family recipes that my mother-in-law gave me when I was engaged.

recipes, cookbooks, collections

Well loved recipe collection.

It is a wonderful collection of delicious and well-loved recipes. When my grandmother-in-law passed away I inherited her recipe box. What a treasure, this brownie recipe originated from the recipe box but was also passed along in the collection of recipes from my mother-in-law. I will pass it along to you.

brownie recipe, recipe boxes

Original Recipe

recipe box, recipes, prudent living

Gram's Recipe Box.









Killer Brownies

2 eggs
1 cup of sugar
½ cup butter
2 squares of Bakers Chocolate (semi-sweet)
½ cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ tsp vanilla

Melt the butter and chocolate over hot water. In a bowl, beat the eggs till light add the sugar and continue to beat. Add chocolate mixture, then flour, baking powder and salt. Then add vanilla. Spread in a 8×8 pan and bake 325 for 25 minutes or until done. I’ve also baked this recipe in a pie pan for brownie pie.

I then made a basic cream cheese frosting and spread it over the brownies (I doubled the recipe for the brownies). Once the frosting was spread I sprinkled on some of the crushed candy canes. What a delicious treat!

candy canes, brownies

Candy Cane Brownies

frosting, homemade, cream cheese

Basic Cream Cheese Frosting

I also made the Peppermint Sauce, which despite its bright pink color is delicious. Poured over vanilla ice cream I can enjoy the taste of peppermint stick ice cream year round! This recipe is very easy and can be made in a matter of minutes. If you missed the link here is the recipe:

peppermint sauce, prudent living

Peppermint sauce ingredients

Peppermint Sauce

1 ½ cups crushed peppermint candy canes
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow crème (fluff)

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture is smooth and the candy is melted, stirring occasionally. (I left some of the candy bits un-melted)

peppermint sauce, ice cream topping

Stir until melted.

marshmallow creme, peppermint candy

Combine ingredients in a pan.

Pour into an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator. Serve warm over ice cream or cake. Makes three cups.

ice cream topping, peppermint candy canes

Bright pink Peppermint Sauce.

There are several basic items you should have in your pantry. With these few essential ingredients on hand you’ll always be able to whip up a meal quickly.

Olive Oil
Vegetable Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Canned Tuna
Canned Beans
Chicken Broth
Tomato Paste
Jarred Marinara Sauce
Red & White Wine
All-Purpose Flour
Garlic & Onions

In your refrigerator keep on hand:

Plain Yogurt
Parmesan Cheese
Dijon Mustard

This is a basic list from which you can expand as your pantry grows.

I’ve mentioned the benefits of vinegar before. Olive Oil also has many uses such as for cooking, greasing pans and making salad dressings. Did you know it has many valuable uses beyond cooking?Olive oil, prudent pantry, prudent living

Olive oil has been used for centuries for personal care. It is a great skin moisturizer, in part because it contains linoleic acid, a compound not made by the body, but which prevents water from evaporating. Consuming olives and olive oil can promote healthy skin, as can applying it directly as a moisturizer. You can also add olive oil to a warm bath for a good healthy soak.oil, prudent pantry

Olive oil also has benefits for hair. Comb a bit through dry or frizzy hair to help tame and moisturize your hair especially in the winter or on humid days. In the book Clean Body, Michael de Jong suggests treating your hair by kneading a few tablespoons of olive oil into your scalp and hair. “Swathe your oiled-up curls with a shower cap and take a thirty minute breather. Then just shampoo as usual to reveal a refurbished mane that even Fabio would envy”, he writes.

A number of people use olive oil as a natural remedy for earaches. One suggestion is to “very carefully use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the outside ear cavity to help with earaches and excess wax.” Another suggestion is to heat up some olive oil in a microwave for 30 seconds and then apply to the ear that hurts for relief.

According to curbly.com, add a teaspoon of olive oil to your cat’s food to help prevent hairballs, as well as to promote a shiny, healthy coat. Olive oil is likely to be gentler on a cat’s system than petroleum-based anti-hairball lubricants. Plus, it has the benefit of coming from a renewable resource, as opposed to oil from the ground.

However you decide to use your olive oil it is definitely something to keep stocked in your pantry!

The days are getting longer and soon it will be time to start my seeds inside. However it is still a little too soon to start anything, even the seeds that take a while. I’ve ordered my seeds and they should arrive any day. While we’re waiting feel free to check out the latest issue of Prudent Living Magazine. It’s full of all sorts of information including a wonderful article on maple sugaring. Once you’ve had the real stuff you’ll never go back! If you’d like to read about gardening, read my article on Establishing Your Vegetable Garden. If you live locally be sure to mark your calendars for the 34th Annual Homelife Show, March 16, 17 & 18 in Hanover, NH. Come visit and enter our drawing for your chance to win a 32GB iPod touch, or a WonderMill – the world’s cleanest, quietest, easy to use grain mill. Hope to see you there! prudent living, online magazine

I wonder how many people end up with a pile of leftover candy canes after Christmas? I know we do. For some reason everyone likes to have them hanging on the tree but they never seem to get eaten up. I was looking at the pile of candy canes the other day and thought there has to be a way to make use of them rather then throw them out. After spending a little time on the computer I found numerous ideas!

candy, peppermint, frugal tips,prudent living

Leftover Candy Canes.

1. Stir them in your hot chocolate.
2. Use them to stir your tea.
3. Add them to a milkshake.
4. Break off the hooked end and dip the straight piece in melted chocolate.
5. Crush them.

peppermint candy, candy canes

Crushed Candy Canes.

crushed candy, frugal tip

Put the candy cane pieces in your blender.

The last idea had so many uses that I decided that’s what I would do. I took all of our candy canes and put them in the blender and made sugar cane sugar! This sugar can be used in many ways.

candy, peppermint, crushed candy canes

My container of candy cane sugar.

1. Ice Cream Sprinkles (I love this idea, Peppermint Stick Ice Cream is my favorite)
2. Cake Sprinkles
3. Cupcake Sprinkles
4. On top of whipped cream in your hot chocolate
5. Sweeten your hot tea
6. Sweeten your hot chocolate
7. Use the sugar in recipes

Use them in recipes, what an idea! I found all sorts of recipes that you could use the crushed candy canes in.

Here are links to just a few:

1. Candy Cane Fudge
2. Peppermint Four Layer Cake
3. Chocolate Peppermint Bark
4. Peppermint Ice Cream
5. Candy Cane Brownies
6. Peppermint Meringues
7. Candy Cane Cheesecake

What did I do with our candy cane sugar? First I made Candy Cane Brownies, I didn’t use the recipe mentioned above but I will share the recipe I used this Friday, it is a recipe passed down from my husband’s grandmother’s recipe box. I also made some Peppermint Sauce. I’m hoping it will remind me of peppermint stick ice cream! I’ll let you know.

This blog is a part of the Frugal Tuesday Tip!

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