The Joy of Giving from the Frugal Kitchen

We all have our favorite cookbooks — books we actually cook from, books with stained, dog-eared pages and good recipes that come out the way they’re supposed to and make our families happy. Years ago I bought such a book, “Once a Month Cooking.” The authors’ premise is that by carefully planning, shopping and preparing, you can make a month’s worth of meals in one day — saving a significant amount of time and money in the process.

While I’m still working my way up to the all-day cooking marathons the book promotes, I often do mini-marathons and stock our freezer with a week’s worth of great meals. So you can imagine my excitement when I was at an event for the Colorado Authors League a few years ago and ran into one of the book’s co-authors Mary Beth Lagerborg. Right then and there I became one of her biggest fans and groupies.

Mary Beth generously agreed to guest post for us today, and I think you’ll enjoy her thoughts about how thriftiness and a generous heart can co-exist in the kitchen:

The Joy of Giving from the Frugal Kitchen

Frugality gives us a heady sense of accomplishment. We’re creatively using our resources. We’re realizing that we really can spend leaner and cleaner.

But frugality takes a hard edge if we pull back from giving.

When we visited my husband’s grandmother in her vigorous years, she always had spritz cookies on hand for us, to serve with coffee. Later, in a retirement home, she invariably saved cookies off her meal tray, wrapped them in a napkin and stored them in her bedside table so she would have something to give visitors. When I unwrapped that cookie I wanted to slip it discreetly into the trashcan – but I knew that it was important to her to know she still had something to give.

A meal is a simple, valuable gift – whether it’s

Read more

Garden Dreaming – Part II

Juddie's garden in Melbourne, Australia
Another view from Juddie's garden

Today, we’re very fortunate to have Juddie from Flightless Boyds in Melbourne, Australia guest posting about gardening. Her blog is one of my favorites; whenever I visit, I feel like I’m on a mini-vacation. The fact that we’re in different hemispheres is vastly interesting; it can be -10° and freezing here in Colorado, and I’ll click on Juddie’s blog and learn that she’s dealing with a heat wave and it’s 44° C (111° F) in Melbourne. Along with her generous gardening photos and musings, she posts about vintage illustration, design, food, and whatever strikes her fancy. You must visit. But first, read about her garden dreams…

Where the wild things are

How wonderful to be asked to write about my dreams for a spring garden! I’m a horticulturalist who dreams about gardens every day, sometimes planning additions to my own small inner-city plot, at other times wistfully imagining the landscapes I could create in vastly different conditions of climate, scale, and circumstance….

I live in Melbourne, in south-eastern Australia. Our climate is warm and dry, sometimes likened to that of California or the Mediterranean coast. We’ve had to adapt to the devastating effects of more than 10 years of drought; water is increasingly scarce, and gardeners preparing for spring planting must do all they can to ensure the survival of garden plants and wildlife through the searing heat of long, arid summers.  Temperatures in summer in Melbourne will often exceed 40 deg. Celsius; dry northern winds blow like a furnace across the landscape for days on end, and the watering of gardens using the municipal water supply is forbidden by law*.

Despite the difficulties presented by our climate,

Read more