Places to Party

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Growing My Own....

$2.19 just for sprouts. Even for the basic ones.
They go up from there!

Sprouts that is... sprouts... Come on this is still a family friendly blog!
Anyway, while the calendar says it's spring, the weather outside begs to differ. In an effort to try to eat more healthy and loose a chunk of weight, I decided to start eating more salads...but have you priced a decent salad out lately? $8-$12 for a salad and some of them are pretty basic. Besides, I don't even like lettuce so the prospect of spending that much for a vast quantity of something I don't like, offends me to my frugal soul. So what is someone to do in the midst of what still appears to be winter?


If you have been to any health food store you may have noticed these fancy little sprouting jars. I'm not even sure of the cost but it just amazed me how there is always someone trying to complicate and make money off of a simple concept. I've been sprouting my own sprouts of various kinds for about ten years now. It's nice to do it at home as you can control what exactly you want to eat and it's great to have something really fresh even in the midst of winter. To sprout all you need is the following:

  • Sprouting Seeds: I've bought these at both health food stores in the bulk section (to mix your own at home), in a container (like these) or (even cheaper) at ingredient stores like Niblack/Tadco. They should run  you about $6-$9 for a large container that will last you at least a couple of months if not more (depending on how much you sprout). You can go cheaper still in the bulk section getting only what you want.
  • A  Clean Canning Jar
  • Water
  • Plastic Wrap and something to poke a hole in it
  • A Rubber Band

    First step is to open your seeds and pour about 1/8-1/4 cup of seeds into your canning jar.

  • Types of seeds you can sprout include:
    • Alfalfa-pretty bland. Maybe at most a grassy taste.
    • Clover-has a sweet tang
    • Radish-tastes just like it's vegetable
    • Fenugreek-personally didn't like. They use this herb in place of licorice in candy making a lot.
    • Broccoli-Neve done broccoli but it is supposed to be a powerhouse in the world of cancer fighters

    Secondly, add water to cover, cover with plastic wrap and poke some air holes (one or two will suffice) in the top of the plastic wrap. Band it with a rubber band to hold in place and soak your seeds for 8-24 hours.

     After soaking, drain the water off and put in a window to catch some sun.

    Fourth step is the important one. Rinse your seeds twice a day with clean water. Typically, I put in enough water to cover, swish it around in the jar and gently strain it using my fingers over the mouth of the jar to strain out the water. You may loose some of your seeds this way but not much and you'll have quite a bit at the end anyway. Drain all the water out of the sprouting seeds. Any seeds/sprouts sitting in water will start getting and off spell and get mushy. If you see any mold, throw out the batch. If you don't rinse your seeds/sprouts twice a day they will start to dry out. You can salvage them if you miss one rinsing but too many will put too much strain on your developing sprouts and they may dry out and die.

    Do this until the sprouts have reached your desired level of doneness. Typically I go for about 4-5 days. When you finish you will have about twice as many sprouts as what you bought in the grocery store for mere pennies. This is also a great opportunity to show your kids how plants grow hydroponically and to show them how great it feels to be self sufficient.

    Now a side note. I have been doing this for at least ten years and never had an issue with any type of food poisoning. I've read that sprouts can pic up salmonella but I firmly believe if you take commonsense precautions and not say, rub your sprouting seeds all over raw chicken or a contaminated surface and always rinse your seeds with clean hands, you should be perfectly fine.

    Happy Sprouting!


    Monday, March 18, 2013

    New Vintage

    Oxymoron? No, let me explain. Today's adventures in crafting is still keeping us in the kitchen this time with towels. You see, recently I've come into possession of a large bag of household linens. Unfortunately, the majority of these were either stained beyond recognition, or damaged beyond use. I live by the motto however, make do or do without and so the few that were still in serviceable condition are gaining a new life through embroidery. A cross-stitcher myself, I rarely have walked outside that avenue of embroidery for reasons unknown, but I now thoroughly understand why our mothers and grandmothers would enjoy doing it... it's easy and fast! The local Joanne's has these wonderful Aunt Martha transfers that can be quickly ironed on to your project and then, once embroidered, easily launder out. You can easily finish one in one sitting or even over a couple of nights. It is also a great use for using up old floss colors because if you are like me, you probably have a bag full somewhere. The only thing I haven't figured out yet... why cups seem to have such a problematic equilibrium issue.... The always seem to be falling off a shelf somewhere....

    Monday, March 11, 2013

    The Little Loom That Could...

    Ok, a not so secret secret. For years I coveted a loom. I actually took not one, but two classes to learn how to weave only to never really get the knack of stringing the warp onto the loom. Of course the cost of $400-$1500 for a loom also dampened my spirits a bit. Additionally, I have no desire to weave anything other than rag rugs so that cost is simply something I couldn't justify. So imagine my delight when I went to Country Treasures Quilt Shop in Brockport, NY and discovered these little gems! For approximately $150, you can purchase a large rug loom that is perfect for using up all those scraps of material left over from quilt projects or simply start to put a dent in your fabric stash. Additionally, for those who want to make their looms, there are instructions that you can purchase (on the Ebay periodically) for making your own loom for considerably less. Of course the frugal person in me would have loved to make one but the realist knew that would probably happen the next time I could walk on water so I bought one.

    Close up showing the loom's "teeth"
    The loom actually uses material for the entire thing including the warp so it's perfect for those "near miss" fabrics that you bought for a project and didn't use. After warping, you simply weave back and forth and the end result is so much better than you could ever buy. My rug weighs in at probably five pounds (using my five pound cat as a general comparison to gauge weight) and is absolutely so comfy to stand on while washing the dishes. I am so delighted with the end result. It suits my frugal nature to a "T" to use all that fabric that looks at me so accusingly awaiting the day I actually get some time to create all those quilts I bought it for!

    The end result... wonderful use of the fabric stash!