Saturday, September 26, 2009

Some of the Benefits of Blogging

Yesterday, I posted a tough post for me. I got an excellent response from my readers and I am going to look back to that comment section as a source of encouragement if writing this blog gets tough again. Thank you for that. So, I had been putting together a list of ways that you, the readers, have improved my life and thought today would be a good day to publish it, since you gave me so much yesterday.

MONEY SAVED

I have shaved $0.04 per pound off the price of cheese. A reader suggested Sam's Club as a source of cheaper cheese. I had a one day pass, and now I have better cheese than I had for a lower price. I may get a membership and save even more.

Due to some suggestion about starters, I will be saving about $0.06 per loaf with my bread.

HEALTH TIPS

Someone spoke up about the nitrates in hot dogs. If they had just said that hot dogs are processed junk, I would have discarded the comment. But by specifying nitrates, I was able to look it up, find some excellent info linking nitrates to cancer and share it with my husband. He, the hot dog man, is now on board with finding alternatives.

A reader pointed me in the direction of a new milk source that may be cheaper, is definitely healthier, and that I can make my own dairy products with. Making my own dairy products has been something I have done in the past, but for some dairy, cheese and butter, the dairy I use most, it is cheaper to buy.

It was also a reader that suggested sneaking grated carrots into food. This sparked my interest and allowed me to find and adapt (aka make cheaper) an excellent carrot bread recipe. This carrot bread insures that even my husband is eating veggies.

My sciatica is gone. A reader suggested a stretching exercise and now, my sciatica is gone! I do this exercise once a day, and if I get any pain, I do it again.

CREATIVE INSIGHTS

It was a reader's question that got me experimenting with my crock pot as a dehydrator, and I'm glad I know I can do it.

A reader suggested solar ovens, and I think I've figured out a way to do it without adding another appliance to my small kitchen, so stay tuned.

I've bought alfalfa seeds, mung beans and brown-green lentils to start my sprouting experiment. This reader tip could also go under health and money saving, as sprouting is a great idea all around.

RESOURCES

I have had so many resources suggested to me. In areas of health, money saving, and for creativity, people have supplied me with their favorite links and book titles. Most of the books have gone on my reading list and you will probably see more changes to my life as I incorporate new ideas. The links that have been suggested are always helpful for me to get a more well rounded picture, even though I don't always agree with their viewpoint. Some resources I was already pretty familiar with, but I hadn't spent much time on stretcher until it had been suggested a few times. Now I'm hooked, and it's one of my favorites.

BLOGS

I love blogs. My most favorite blogs are on my blogroll, on my sidebar somewhere. But when someone comments or starts following me, I check out their blog if they have one. I like everyone's blog, and there are a few I now read regularly that I really enjoy.

Berean Wife - A Bible based blog
Intended Temple - A health blog
Happy (Atheist) Homemaker - A new blog
Teaching Kids About Money - A family finances blog
The Adventures of Captain Cleavage Warrior Princess - A funny blog

The only way that readers can communicate their great ideas and tips is through the comment section. That's why I love comments. So, if you have something to say, please comment. You may be changing my life for the better.

26 comments:

Amber said...

I'm glad that you're listening to what some of your readers have to say. That shows growth, which is a good thing.

Now please, stop eating that dollar tree sausage! It's just mystery meat and there's no way to know what they put in it. Use coupons and shop sales and I guarantee it you will be able to stock up on some quality sausage at some point!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry about the anon - I can't seem to ever get my Google ID to work. Maybe when my farm work eases this winter I can get the problem figured out.

Ditto the Dollar Tree sausage. The cheapo ground beef too. Not only fed on cheapest-energy-cost basis (basically whatever crap they will eat that is cheapest), they use the byproduct/waste grains from ethanol production which contributes to insanely high levels of e. coli in the animals. E. coli scares me way more than GMO issues!

Hangnin there and don't mind those trolls at all - after all, traffic is traffic!

listipton said...

I just wanted to let you know that I LOVE your blog!! It is truly and inspiration and my husband loves that I'm bringing home frugal tips. You're doing a tremendous job and I hope you continue for quite a long time! Thank you again for your lovely perspective!

Anonymous said...

Guess I could include a source, eh?
"The researchers studied the carcass quality of cattle fed distiller's grain and found, after three rounds of testing, they had nearly twice as much E. coli 0157 in their gut as cattle that were not fed the ethanol byproduct.

Nagaraja said this was a very interesting finding that was "likely to have profound implications in food safety"."
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/91095.php

Search distiller's grain e. coli for many more.

Anonymous said...

Hi, thank you for allowing annonymous comments, now I can tell you how much I love your blog and how much more money we're saving because of it:)!. You've inspired me (and my husband) to save a lot more and waste a lot less, thank you:)
I was raised with second hand clothing, home cooked meals, and not a lot of frills and I have very good memories of my childhood. We lived with my grandmother so we didn't have a lot of space either, but I don't think it did me any damage;)...keep on going the way you're going, you're a good mom:)

Mrs Mills:)

Rachel said...

Emily, this is in reference to the e-mail I sent you about paper products being added to foods. If you look on the pkg and one of the ingredients is cellulose, that is a paper by-product that is added. I looked on my ketchup and cheese, and it is listed on my package of Great Value grated cheddar cheese. My husband said it is added to grated cheese to prevent clumping.

Anonymous, thanks for posting about the beef. I know from experience that i feel terrible after eating beef.

Emily said...

Anon, thanks for the info. I have a bittersweet relationship with the concept, "We are only as healthy as the soil our food comes out of." Switching to a higher veggie carb diet and eliminating animal protien because the animals were fed poorly will not change my diet. My veggies and grains will be just as unhealthy, with a different set of vitamins, protiens, carbs, etc. Where my husband and I thrive more on high protien, we are choosing animal protiens, non organic with their set of problems, over more non organic veggies, that also have their own set of problems. We cook our beef thoroughly though, so E coli is not a great danger. Also, GMO is more dangerous, not because of health alone but also because of the social implications. I appreciate the link, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Rachel, I'm laughing that you are concerned about "paper by-products" (AKA cellulose) in your food. Cellulose is the main component of cell walls in green plants. It cannot be digested by humans and is therefore referred to as "dietary fiber." Here is a page from Colorado State University about it: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/FOODNUT/09333.html. Yes, cellulose is in paper...just like water is a component in many industrial chemicals.

I highly doubt food processors are visiting paper mills, scooping up the sludge (by-product), and adding it to your ketchup. If you have some evidence to the contrary, though, by all means send a link in this direction!

Emily said...

Anon, it's listed as "powdered cullulose to prevent caking." What they put in food is from wood pulp. Look up your own facts before attacking informed readers.

http://www.omri.org/cellulose_final.pdf

Berean Wife said...

Emily,

Thanks for the kind words.


Just a commentary on the food discussion.

It is being a wise steward to do the best we can to feed our families in the most healthy way available, however there is no reason to make finding healthy food overwhelming. There are no perfect foods, all foods, meats and vegetables, are suffering from the fall of man. Processing just adds to the problem.

However, the Lord spent much time in the Bible pointing out how He was the Lord over everything, even the food we eat. Think of the times in Scripture that feeding of His people is mentioned.

Joseph - saved grain in the seven good years for the seven lean years, all due to God’s warning.

Israelites in the desert were fed manna, quail, and water, for forty years no less!

Elisha - purified the pot of poisonous stew. Made a whole city's water healthy. Fed 100 men from a small knapsack.

Jesus - turned the water into wine. Fed the 5,000 with the 5 loaves and 2 fish. Fed the 4,000 with 7 loaves and few fish.

Those are just some samples of how the Lord will care for those whom He has called. While we should do our very best, we shouldn’t become consumed with feeding our families. Sometimes just having food to eat is more important than the long-term "potential" risk. But the Lord is in control of it all. So thank Him and enjoy. :)

Now I think I’m hungry,

Berean Wife

Devon said...

I guess I'm wondering why the cellulose thing is such a big deal...I'm not at all informed about stuff like this, largely because I personally have different fish to fry and don't care (beyond avoiding nitrites, etc.), but if it's wood pulp, it's natural, isn't it? From what I understand people in some countries eat bark to help with digestion, so I am unsure what the problem with cellulose is...is it just because it's a preservative? And in that case, aren't there worse things to use as a preservative?

Anonymous said...

"We cook our beef thoroughly though, so E coli is not a great danger." Of course, but when the bacteria die they produce toxins which remain.

Emily said...

Berean Wife, I always love to hear your wisdom, thanks.

Devon, I agree that the powdered cellulose is not my biggest fish to fry either. It is derived from wood pulp, but chemically processed as well, so not healthy. Rachel had a valid comment, and it was ignorantly attacked, so I stepped in.

Devon said...

Ah, ok. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy you're getting some good information from your readers, in return for all the information you provide on your blog.

I used to be a HUGE Dollar Stretcher reader for years, but it's fallen by the wayside recently. Thanks for the reminder... I'm going to check it out again. I've incorporated so many good ideas from that site into my frugal life.

I found you before all the controversy began, so I've looked back over some of the older posts to see what people were saying. I assume that you've deleted some comments (and at least one post), and it appears that some people have deleted their own comments as well. Perhaps second thoughts about being so rude to a sweet stranger, who strives to help others by sharing helpful information?

I think that the critics should scrutinize their own lives, and look closely in the mirror before throwing stones at anyone else! Not ONE of them is better than ANYONE else on this earth. Period. No one is perfect, we just do the best we can. The huge egos, and audacity of people that CHOOSE to put their nastiness and judgement on others just baffles me!

I wish you nothing but the best, and think you are a great wife and mother.

Jen

Anonymous said...

I'm the same "anon" as above talking about cellulose.

Like I said, if you have information to the alternative, let me know, and you did. I'm still not seeing any evidence that it is "not healthy" as a food additive, even when synthetically derived, but thank you for providing the scientific evidence you linked above.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to come back for a third comment and apologize for my harsh tone with Rachael above. I've just seen a lot of "junk science" on the Internet lately, and I guess it's getting to me. *blush* I'm sorry; I didn't mean to "attack." I'm just weary of the "Oh, no! There's XYZ in our food supply!" that seems so rampant lately (not just on this blog). Much of it is unfounded and alarmist in nature and as someone with a scientific education, I find it frustrating.

Emily said...

Anon, I hope you can share some of the info you've learned and if you see me posting alarmist links and info, let me know. I might not believe you, but if you provide a link to an alternative viewpoint, I'll read it and consider it.

runfornanny said...

Hi Emily! I just found your blog the other day. It is very interesting! I am a major coupon clipper/sale shopper so this kind of thing interests me. Do you by chance have a CVS near you? I combined CVS's extra bucks program with my clipped coupons and rolled over the same $20 or so extra bucks for a year and stocked up on (for free after the deals) toothbrushes, toothpaste, deoderant, shampoo, conditioner, soap, shaving cream, razors, paper products, etc. I donated bags and bags of personal hygiene items to charity as there was just too much for my husband and I to use. Just wanted to share the tip, there are some websites I can share with you if you are interested I used to help figure out the deals.

Emily said...

runfornanny, we probably have come to different conclusions on coupons, as you may read in my blog, but I'm glad you've found my blog and I hope you find it interesting. I hope you share your frugal tips.

Penny Saver said...

Have you read the cookbooks "More with Less" by Doris Longacre and "Extending the Table" by Joetta Handrich Schlabach? If not, I HIGHLY recommend them!

They're written by Mennonite missionaries and are full of recipes for simple, whole foods interspersed with comments about the people served by the missionaries. More with Less is a great all around cookbook, and Extending the Table is more international foods. Everything I've cooked from them has been tasty and they don't call for highly processed junk. They have one called "Simply in Season" which is based on seasonally available foods, and a book called "Living More with Less," which isn't a cookbook but is a frugal living idea book. All of them are good, but I especially like "More with Less" and "Extending the Table."


You might also be interested in doing an Amazon affiliate program to make a little extra money on things that you use and recommend. Books that you like, kitchen supplies that you use, etc. can be linked from here and you get a percentage of any sales when someone links from here.

Emily said...

Penny Saver, I'll have to look into those books. I've made $0.09 already with the Amazon affiliate program, but I don't like it. In order for me to make money, someone else has to spend it. I've only linked the Tightwad Gazette and soap nuts to my Amazon affiliate links, because those I think are worth spending money on. Although I read a lot, there is little I would recommend others spend money on. I've made some money through Adsense and swagbucks, which no one has had to pay for me to earn, so I prefer those.

Rachel said...

If anonymous comes back to this post, let me explain. i posted what my husband told me about cellulose so that others will be informed. Is it harmful? The FDA says not, because they allow it. But the FDA allows a lot and too much of certain things is harmful. Sugar is harmful, it puts weight on you, which in turn leads to variuos diseases and health concerns. There is good evidence that pesticides are harmful to our bodies, yet crops are sprayed with them. I just want to share what I know with others. Yes, I buy ketchup and grated cheese, so I did not become an alarmist when I learned about cellulose. But one reason we do things a certain way is because we don't know any other way. If Emily can teach us to make ketchup, it will be cellulose free, and I would be willing to give it a try. I can also buy block cheese and grate myself, and sometimes I do. I have a few health issues, dr.s shake their heads over one of these and say "we just don't know that much". But I want to feel better, so I may have to make changes in my diet to bring about some level of relief and healing. If making my own foods from scratch, getting rid of pesticides, additives, etc. don't cure me, its certainly not going to hurt me.

Penny Saver said...

True, someone needs to spend for you to make money on Amazon, but if they're going to spend anyway to buy something you're suggesting (like soap nuts) might as well get a cut! I didn't see your links to amazon with either the Tightwad Gazette or Soap Nuts. Perhaps those links could be more obvious, and you could say something like, "If you're going to buy at Amazon (with your Swagbucks gift certificate!), starting here supports this blog!"

Anonymous said...

For more on E. Coli and meat safety see http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/10/05/beef-industry-gets-a-closer-look-as-story-of-paralyzed-woman-hit/2#comments

Tammy said...

Hi Emily, Not sure if this would be the right spot to post this, but I am going to try to make cheese--Heavenly Homemakers has a great recipe for mozzarella. (Have you ever checked her site, it's great!) I found the BEST deal on rennet from Cheesemaking.com. Not sure if it's a money saver, but I like projects. Also, you can make ricotta with the leftover liquid from the cheese. (Heavenly Homemakers again)

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