Maple Syrup Pie

Here is a dessert recipe that says New England, fall, Thanksgiving and lots of unwanted calories.

MAPLE SYRUP PIE

For the crust:
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
5 tablespoons butter, cubed
3 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:
2 eggs
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup maple syrup, preferably medium dark
Whipped cream, for serving.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make the crust by combining the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Sprinkle a tablespoon of ice water at a time over the dough, lifting and tossing it with the fork. When it begins to come together, gather the dough, press it into a ball and then pull it apart. If it crumbles in your hands, it needs more water. Add a teaspoon or two more water, as needed. Read more »

Halloween is not over.

candy, Halloween, EasterHalloween is not over. It continues for the smart & savvy. No, we're not talking about scaring your neighbors or staying in costume for another week or two. What we are are talking about is making some serious scores at the stores. What we are talking about is being a Frugal Yankee.

Here's what we are talking is to start looking for next year's deals. Stores are at clearing out their Halloween decorations, costumes and candy. Prices running 50% off, maybe more, are not uncommon. Some of it will be dreck, but poke around you'll find some goodies.

Here's an idea, start looking at the candy. Can it be used for Easter or even upcoming birthday parties? Perhaps unpacked from a larger package and then doled out individually. If your family are big candy eaters, then buying now is could be smart move. One hint from experience, don't tell them, freeze the candy and surprise them when least expected. Read more »

The McRib is Back

The McRib, a cultish sandwich from Mickey D's, is back. Hopefully you're not one who has decided that this is a must-have gastronomical delight. This sandwich is not gastronomical and as for a delight, well let's just say it's a delight if you have no self-discipline or you lack taste in food.
McRib, back
As is typical of fast food there is little to recommend this as food. First it has 1040 mb of salt. For those who are counting, that is just 50% south of your daily recommended amount of sodium chloride. Toss in a large fry and your body is getting smacked by the salt devil. It also has 29 grams of fat. Fat is the stuff that clogs arteries and makes thighs become cellulite homes. That 29 figure is again just south of 50% of your daily recommend amount. It also comes in a nifty 540 calories. So if you have fries or something else with this 'meal', you better be gnawing on celery sticks for the rest of the day.

But guess what? That's the good stuff. Read more »

Something's Fishy

The investigative reporters over at the Boston Globe dug up something fishy the other day. They found that 48% of the fish sold in restaurants is not what is advertised. For example, what was billed as Key West Grouper was in many cases Vietnamese Catfish.

The blame did not rest with the restaurants. Rather it was the wholesale brokers who either purposefully or not, but they were selling the fish under the wrong name.

The problem extends beyond mislabeling. Selling fish is big business, and a largely unregulated one to boot. The global dimension of fish mongering has been joined with dwindling stocks and rapacious dealers.

There is no easy solution to this problem and expect it to get much worse.

BTW: Vietnamese catfish is considered a success in the world economy, but they are grown on huge factory farms on the shores of the Mekong River. Farmed fish is an area rife with sanitary and other problems. Be careful what you eat.

3D RIP-OFF?

Frugal, 3d, 3D glasses, hollywoodBack when 3D movies made their appearance under it's new guise, there was a big question. Who will pay for the glasses? Will it be the studios, the distributors or the exhibitors? The question became moot as the studios picked up the tab. After all the exhibitors needed to pay for those huge upgrades to their projection booths just to play these new fangled 3D movies. Of course, everyone was happy when they realized they could stick it to the customers by jacking prices up $3, $5 or even more. Everyone made money and the consumers seemed to gobble Hollywood's new bells and whistles.

Now that 3D is starting to show some wear, that question of glasses is starting to bubble up again. As of May 2012, Sony will no lobber subsidize the glasses payment for their 3D movies. Other studios are expected to follow suit. So the new question is the cost going to be absorbed by the customers or is some other form of remuneration going to be developed. Read more »

What2Buy in October

October, saving, moneyOctober was originally the 8th month, not the tenth. Those ancient Romans made the change. So what used to be a hot summer month has become our month noted for gorgeous fall colors, Columbus Day holiday and preparing ourselves for winter.

When it comes to being frugal first look to the supermarkets for deals. The summer bounty has dwindled, but there are still good foods that offer good deals and good meals available. October is also the entry for some of the better traditional fall foods.

On the tail end of their season are broccoli, grapes, pomegranate, lettuce, spinach and sweet potatoes. New foods coming into season, and with increasingly lower prices, are apples, cranberries, pumpkins and winter squash. Read more »

DEBIT CARDS FOR DUMMIES

debitcards, frugal, finances
By now you must have heard that the big banks are planning on charging customers up to $5 per month for them to use their debit cards. For them it is simply another cash flow stream at the expense of the customers who bank with them.

There is no sense in asking their upper management to take less money or their overpaid CEOs to forego their 'bonuses' for either the good job or bad job they have don. No, they want to stick their hands into the pockets of the regular folks out there to make their bottom line look attractive to those folks over on Wall Street.

Now some savvy smaller banks are hoping to use this avariciousness to their advantage by offering better deals. One hopes there are enough smart, rural people out there who will drop those big banks and go with these smaller, more community oriented financial institutions.
debitcards, frugal, finances
But here's a thought. Read more »

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE

frugal, water, plasticOver the course of many years, the Frugal Yankee has talked to many water experts and there is a consensus, buying bottled water is most often a terrible waste of money. It is over priced, over hyped and a huge waste of resources. The plastic to make the bottles is just the tip of the iceberg. There is waste in the manufacturing process. There is the waste of using local ground water for sale at the expense of local inhabitants and a myriad of other downsides.

On top of all that, tap water is usually just as good if not better and with a cost of pennies to the gallon. One study showed that 1/3 of the bottled water sold in the US failed to meet the industry's own standards. Bacteria and other nasties were found in those ubiquitous plastic bottles.

Our good friend Jonathan Smith from NH Public Radio, found this instructive video featuring Penn & Teller who tell the bottle water story. Here it is. Read more »

Going Postal

Post office, FrugalThere are a lot of things wrong with the US Postal Service. It seems outdated. It fails to adapt to the new reality of shipping. Management says it is stuck with unwieldy employees and pay structure, but from this view, the main problem is none of these.

The main problem is the management itself.

How many times have you gone into the post office and have the person behind the counter ask you if you need stamps, packaging material, gift cards or a massage. OK not the last one, but it is obvious that management's way of dealing with THE crisis is to force the employees to huck everything they have in the hope of driving sales up. It seems, and is, desperate. Read more »

PRECISION SHOPPING

Retailers are pulling all the technological stops out to get shoppers more engaged with their store. There are more than a few companies developing software to engage nearby consumers through their cell phones. It can be a blatant sales pitch or a more measured approach.

The savvy retailers understand that 78% of mall shoppers use smart phones, know of shopping apps or have used desktops to find coupons. In 2011 and through 2012 they will be ramping up their seduction of your wallet. From signals using a smart phone camera to tell the prospective sucker, I mean customer, what's in the store to sending ads to clusters of nearby cell phones, the Proximity Shopping Era is rapidly descending.

Retailers in the big boxes are beginning to drool at the possibilities. They see customers already eager to shop, near their doors and all they have to do is lure them in. Yet they only see one side. Read more »

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