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.