Practical tips for budget living

Good morning! Today I am sharing some practical tips and tricks that might make your life easier.

Cooking hard-boiled eggs that don’t end up with the “peeling” problem. I have devised several ways to do this, but my favorite is to use a rice cooker. Use a small rice cooker if you have one. Mid-size rice cookers are cheap in dollar stores and you might even see a decent one for cheap in Rite Aid or Home Depot, or a tag sale or thrift shop.  Here’s how to cook the eggs: If you wish, put a crinkled piece of parchment paper inside the rice cooker to prevent cracking while the eggs boil. Add about an inch of water. Put in the eggs, as many as you want. Plug in the rice cooker and push down the heater to heat on high. The eggs will now boil. You can watch the cooker and time ten minutes from the time the water starts to boil, or, you can even walk away and not worry about burning the eggs! If you forget about the eggs because you’re too busy texting with your buddies, no worry! As soon as the water boils down the rice cooker will automatically switch to low heat. Because the heat is consistent you won’t end up with the peeling problem.

How to deal with a headset that hurts your ears. If you are wearing an over-the-head headset you may find your ears ache due to pressure from the headset. To obliterate that, wear a baseball cap under your headset! Alternatively, some of you may be able to tie your hair on top of your head with a low-profile clip. Now, your hair raises up the headset so it will not hurt.

Cutting down on coffee? Making a fraction of a cup of coffee isn’t easy unless you have an espresso maker. I do not. I’m finding that quantities smaller than one cup do not make well in a manual drip maker, so my guess is that making tiny quantities won’t work in an auto-drip either. I don’t want to make it ahead of time and store or toss out what I do not drink. Here is my solution:  I have a little trick I devised that you can do in a coffee press. You can buy an excellent insulated stainless steel camping one by Coleman (would recommend!) usually in stock at Walmart for $20. This is high quality and can’t be beat! No more worries about breaking those glass beakers! The insulation is great for those of us who only sip on coffee and don’t gulp it down. Add the desired amount of coffee into the coffee press. You can also add herbs of your choice. I drink Kidney Tea every morning so that is the herbal combo I use, now with added kick of a tiny amount of coffee!

How many mgs of caffeine in coffee? That depends on strength of the coffee and other factors, but as a general rule, a 16-oz cup of coffee is 200 mgs of caffeine. I have been using caffeine pills and have cut down to 50mgs every morning. I calculated how much fresh ground coffee would yield 50 mgs.

People do not realize this, but caffeine, in pill or liquid form, is indispensable for many of us suffering from the long-term aftereffects of high-dose antipsychotics. I am cutting down because over time I have needed the caffeine less and less. For a long time the benefits of coffee outweighed the potential harm to my kidneys, especially considering I didn’t drink multiple cups per day.

How to take herbs that require boiling but you do not want as a tea. Here is how I take Valerian Root. I have some pure Valerian root that was shipped to me from India for cheap. I ground that up in a blender to a powder. I realized that the Valerian still needed to be heated in water to extract the healing elements of the root from the powder. At night when I want Valerian, I put it into a pot with a small amount of water and add plain pasta. I boil these, partially covered, not very long, until the water is almost boiled out. Because you want the water to boil down and do not want the pasta or Valerian overcooked, you don’t want to start with too much water. Now I have pasta with Valerian! It actually doesn’t taste gross if you have it like that. I believe Valerian has to boil 10 or 15 minutes to get the full benefits.

Does Valerian work? I think you have to play around with the dose a lot to before concluding that it doesn’t. I suspect that a smaller dose may work better for some people. It doesn’t cause me to fall asleep but it does make me feel sleepy.

I am finding that 600mcg of Melatonin is about right for me. You may find 300 mcg works for you. The drugstore kind is overkill. For many it takes hours to kick in, meaning they have to take it during the day (who can remember that?). For me it takes more like an hour.

How to consume healthy fats. People do not realize just nutrient-packed nuts can be. Two Brazil nuts will give you a full day’s supply of Selenium. Do not consume more than two per day or you overdose on something in them. I also keep on hand hazelnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Be careful buying toasted nuts. Many are toasted with unhealthy oils. Buying the nuts raw will avoid the additives and other unhealthy things. I would suggest refrigerating them. I don’t consume almonds whole because they are too hard and bother my teeth. These I grind into a powder. MHT oil, if you can get it, provides many benefits. The only healthy butter is ghee, and I hear that if it is made from grass-fed cows it is free of unhealthy chemicals added to other types of cattle feed. Decent ghee is not hard to find. It is sold in many supermarkets now. Organic eggs are good for you and generally do not raise your cholesterol even though they contain it. High cholesterol comes from overall unhealthy lifestyle, organ failure, or from pharmaceuticals. So many people leave out the yolks, depriving themselves of the benefits of egg yolks (Yes, it used to be a sin to eat them!). Organic olive oil (extra virgin) is also good for you. Avoid olive oil “blend” because undoubtedly it contains canola oil. Almost all margarine is loaded with chemicals. If you need a nondairy alternative, try red palm oil. All commercial salad dressings overpriced, packaged, trendy junk. Why not save money and make your own at home?

Most Americans do not consume enough healthy fat. I am surprised at the number of people who think “low fat” will help you lose weight. Low fat diets often lead to eating disorders and yo-yo dieting. If you are yo-yoing, add more fat and you will be amazed at how well your eating evens out.

2 thoughts on “Practical tips for budget living”

  1. Great ideas. In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn they mixed coffee with chicory tea. I find coffee overstimulating now and may try mixing chicory in with half a cup of Joe. Don’t like the taste of decaf.

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