Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cheerful Chickory

Never eat any plant you have not have had expertly identified. Please seek out a local expert before foraging any wild plants! Never forage in areas that may have been poisoned or sprayed. 

Earlier I posted an article on Using Delicious Dandelions and am going to continue with an article on using chicory. Like Dandelions, chicory is a food plant that is now considered a "weed" in the USA. Before it flowers it looks and tastes much Like a dandelion. It has saw tooth leaves and tastes much like endive or escarole. What most people are more likely familiar with is the use of roasted roots as a coffee amendment or substitute. In Cajun and French Cookery Chicory Coffee is perfect for dipping pastries! The beautiful blue blossoms are great in salads and teas.

Fresh Uses:

1) Fresh Chicory leaves chopped in salads like Endive.
2) Use Fresh chicory blossoms  in salads.
3) Steep chopped leaves and/or blossoms in hot water for an herbal tea.
Cooked Uses:

1) Make fried greens with onions and garlic. Simply substitute it for spinach or collards in any fried greens recipe.
2) Add to soups and stews that call for greens like escarole.

Dried Root:

Wash and dry the roots.

You can dry the root in a 200 Degree F oven and then grind. Use in any coffee maker with coffee for a more healthy coffee beverage, or use alone as pure chicory coffee.

The health benefits of  Chicory are many. Its supports digestion and gall bladder function.. Some herbal sites say it also helps detoxify your liver from all the pollutants were are exposed to daily. It may also have an anti-bacterial effect on "stomach bugs," but this is just recently researched. So don't dig that chicory up. Eat it!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Free Sex Offender Lists and More!

I didn't realize this, but many people didn't know that you can check for Sex Offenders in your area --- for Free. This is public information you can get any time on the Internet. And --no -- criminal convictions are Not Private! They are public information.

I recently had a chat with some women who were worried that someone in their neighborhood was a sex offender. They were very worried and fearful. When I told them just to check it at the state WEB site they had never heard of it. They actually thought this information was" private." Maybe some sex offender told them that... But anyway... Convictions are not "private." They are matters of public concern, so thus they are public information.

 Just go to any of these sites and click your state:

National Sex Offender Registry:
National Sex Offender Registry

Polly Klass Resources

Child Help USA:

Parent's For Megan's Law

You can find who might be living in your area and take appropriate precautions. When my son was small we found out a sex offender was living around the block just few houses away. After that my son never played alone in the yard. Just common sense.

So If you are concerned that a Sexual Predator is living near you just go to the WEB site and find your state. Happy Hunting.

If you want to just check to see that the person you are concerned about is some other sort of criminal, you can check a number of sites for free:

BlackBook Online

Check People.com

Remember..criminal records are NOT PRIVATE!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

There Really is A FREE Credit Report

There really is a free credit report. You don't need to join any "give us your card #" site in order to get this.

Just go to:
Annual Credit Report


The government mandates that you get your report free from the three major reporting agencies. If you go to the link above you can get all three reports at NO COST.

The reports are from

These are Big Three Credit agencies who most possible creditors will check for your credit.

It is worth looking at. We found that some bills we had paid off years ago are still listed on our reports. We are able online to dispute these.

It used to be in the "old days" that within 60-120 days of paying off a debt, it was removed from your report. But now with so many people in financial distress, it takes much longer to get these items removed from your credit information.. To get your corrections in process more quickly, file the dispute. 

Enjoy your Holiday!

all right belong to the author

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cheap Emergency Heat!

With all the crazy super cold weather this winter, some people need to be concerned about not just lowering their heat bills, but emergency heat if they loose power. We heat with all electric so its particularly an issue for us. Now we have two fireplaces, so we aren't going to freeze if our power goes out, but others particularly those who live in apartments, don't have that option.

1) If you loose heat take steps to immediately keep all your heat in your house. The fastest way you loose heat is it radiating out your windows.  To keep heat in your house seal them up! You can use blankets, quilts, or boxes and newspapers. One very effective way is to staple an opened cardboard box or old quilt across the window frame and then stuff to space between the glass and the covering with crumpled newspapers. This temporarily insulates the space until you get your power back on, and is an easily disposed of after the emergency is over. So cover any windows you don't need for light and seal in that heat!

2) Use black garbage bags or dark colored cloth on south and east facing windows to absorb heat and warm you home. I talked about how black absorbs heat in other articles:

 Save Money on Heating Bills with a Heat Catcher

 (think dark car seats in the summer sun...Ouch!!) and can be used to raise temperatures in your home. So hang the black garbage bags in those sun facing windows and heat your home while the sun shines. To help seal those heat producing windows against heat loss at night cover them with blankets, quilts, or cardboard, and take the cover down at dawn when the light comes back. You can produce an amazing amount of heat with these heat catchers. On a sunny day in mid winter when it was below freezing outside, the temperature in space along the sun side of these "heat catchers" was 90 degrees F. All that nice warm air was floating into the room to heat it.

3) Make sure you have backup source of heat for emergencies. There are small emergency propane heaters on the market. Make sure you get one with Carbon Monoxide detectors on it. Carbon Monoxide is a deadly gas produced when you burn anything. Normally these type of gases go up the chimney, but when using these emergency heaters its best to get one with an automatic detection if the gas is building up.

4)  Wrap up! Wrap up in layers like people did in the bad old days before central heat!

5) Keep everyone in one small area. Body heat from several people can keep a room above freezing.

Good Luck and Stay warm until the power gets back on!

Note: All rights belong to author Lili Pintea-Reed

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Plan for a Happy Financial New Year!


Time to start fresh for a new year. This is a great time to evaluate your finances, and plan for a better financial future.

To do this you need information. You need to understand where your money is going to and take control of the flow.

1) To get started you need to make a complete list of your expenditures. This list needs to be complete. One of the biggest drain on tight budgets are small unaccounted for regular expenditures. Lunches eaten out, expensive brand morning coffee, etc. can chip away at even the best planned budget.

You need to completely list absolutely everything you spend your money on.

2) Evaluate these expenditures as unavoidable for example rent or mortgages, and avoidable like coffee from the expensive coffee shop, or monthly dress shopping expeditions.

3) Write down the your financial goals for the year. In order to stick to a budget you need a good reason. People who fritter away their money are those with no plan in mind.

4) Then with your goal in mind and your expenditures in hand look for those expenses  that are not essential to your survival. Do you really need that expensive cup of morning java? Can you bring your lunch to work and not eat out? Ruthlessly list all things not essential to your survival.You will surprised how much of your monthly budget may be going to these non-essentials.

5) Pick the non-essential item(s) that you feel you need as rewards for your hard work. I call this "Sanity Money. " These are those little silly expenses you need to treat yourself. It might be that expensive cup of coffee or that lunch eaten out. Depending on how much you want to save, for a start cut all of these but one. Try a week without all your treats and see if you miss them.

6) Study you essential expenses to see if you can save money by refinancing debts. Some ways this can be done are:
a) Refinancing a mortgage or car payment for lower interest.
b) Moving to a cheaper location.
c) Getting cheaper insurance for health, car and home.
d) Moving high interest credit to new low interest cards.
e) Rework pay dates on badly scheduled  bills to move them so you are not paying monthly late fees.

7) Try to see if there are ways to reduce costs on regular expenses. Use coupons, shop only for sale items, or buy at thrift stores.

Try this plan for two months a readjust as necessary. What you need is a plan you can stick to to better use your money in a more effective manner.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Make Money for the Holidays by Taking Surveys

If you want to get some extra cash for the holidays, you can make some money easily by taking paid surveys. A reader asked me to investigate paid surveys which she thought were all scams... but this is not the case. There are real surveys that pay and some will give you up to $5 just for joining them!! I found some legitimate surveys for you to join.

The way these paid surveys work is you join with your email, and then can take surveys which pay different amounts of money per survey -- depending on what company is paying them to collect the data for them. You will get an alert in your email that says you have survey waiting for you. Often you can click a link embedded in the email and go right to the survey. Otherwise, you can log into the particular survey site and locate the available surveys and what they pay. On the day this article was written one company has surveys which pay anywhere from $30 to $.50.

I have tried three locations for a period of a week. I've made around $40, so far which is hardly a ton of money, but is nice extra cash for my holiday fund! People who are in a more common demographic ..ie.. a young parent...  will most likely qualify for more surveys and make more money. But if you just make a dollar a day doing one survey by December 20th you will have $97 dollars saved for the holidays.

I have some friend who takes their surveys while they watch "their shows" on TV, and make that much every month.

If you are interested here are several companies which offer several dollars just for joining to get you started.

This site offers surveys, paid trial offers and emails which ask you to look at an add for money. It pays you $5 just for joining -- the highest of any of these survey sites.

This sites offers as many as ten surveys a day! They offer $2 bonus for joining.

This pays you a $3 Dollar value to join. It also has the lowest amount of cash you need to accrue to get your money.
Survey Round Table

This also pays you a three dollar equivalent to join.

I hope this helps you get a few extra dollars for the holidays!

Lili Pintea-Reed
All Rights Belong to The Author.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Delicious Dandelions!

Never eat any plant you have not have had expertly identified. Please seek out a local expert before foraging any wild plants! Never forage in areas that may have been poisoned or sprayed.

Dandelions are plants brought to the Western Hemisphere by European settlers. They have since gone wild all over both continents. Much hated by lawn lovers dandelions were originally a much valued green  by the original settlers, and soon after by Native peoples also. Packed with vitamins and easy to grow, the dandelion was carried all over the country. Eventually, this wonderful plant fell out of favor with suburban  lawn enthusiasts and is now seen as a intrusive " weed." When I was a kid I helped my Romanian Grandparents harvest dandelions for salads and fried greens. Yum!

Medically it has many vitamins found in green plants. It also has medical uses for the removal of body fluids and is a mild diuretic. So EAT your dandelions!

You can eat all parts of this wonderful plant. Many ethnic  recipes for  "greens" were originally for wild greens like the humble dandelion. The young leaves can be substituted for escarole and endive in green salads. The older tougher and more stronger flavored leaves can be stir fried and added to many ethnic for medleys. The blossoms can be used to make fritters and the famous dandelion wine.

Here are few ideas for you to get started. 

Green Salad:

Use any green salad recipe and substitute finely torn or snipped young dandelion greens for excarole or endive. Easy!

Warm Bean and Wild Green Medley

1 Can of white beans or garbanzos
3 cups of fresh wild greens (can be dandelion or a mixture of wild greens)
One small onion
One clove of garlic

Chop onion and garlic. Saute in oil until soft and translucent. While the onion is cooking, wash and tear the greens. Add to the onion/garlic mixture and cook until wilted. Drain the beans and add at the last minute and heat through. Some chopped tomatoes can be added at last minute. Makes a nice veggie meal with whole grain bread or is a nice side dish for larger meal.

Try and add greens everyday day to your diet to add fiber and healing vitamins.

For more ideas Check out these Frugal Living Books!
Complete Tightwad Gazette
The Complete Tightwad Gazette

Declare Your Financial Independence
Declare Your Financial Independence

Complete Cheapskate
Mary Hunt's Complete Cheapskate

Miserly Moms
Miserly Moms

You Can Afford to Stay Home With your Kids
You can Afford to stay Home With your Kids

Lili Pintea-Reed
All rights belong to the author