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Personal Freedom vs Living Costs

We are brought up thinking that money can buy happiness, but freedom of time is what really leads to happiness. Yes, having money can give you the ability to choose how you spend your time, but this has more to do with your cost of living than it has to do with how much you make. If you can reduce your cost of living to the point that you are living substantially within your means, can stay as debt free as possible, can build savings and wealth, and can find ways to earn money that either doesn't require your time (like residual income) or is time you would be spending doing what you love to do anyway, then that will lead to true security, personal freedom, and happiness. Think of it kind of like a business. In business, you want to generate profits and invest those profits to build more profits. Here you want to generate time savings and invest that time to generate even more time savings. To generate that savings, you need to first consume less than you produce, then s
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Cabbage Slaw Curtido

I keep seeing a pickled cabbage dish from the Caribbean called curtido pop up on cooking shows and chef competitions. It's used as a flavor and texture enhancer to main courses like fish or side dishes like rice and beans. It seemed like the perfect thing to add to my own recipe collection. I found a recipe from the Mexican Please blog and tweaked it some to come up with my own version. It starts with sauerkraut since I typically have that laying around but feel free to substitute fresh cabbage. Ingredients 3/4 cup sauerkraut 1/2 cup grated carrots (one large or two small) 1/4 cup diced onion 2 tbsp diced pickled jalapenos (about 8) 1/2 tsp oregano 1 tsp salt 1/4 cup vinegar 1/4 cup water Directions Mix the vegetable and seasonings in a bowl (everything excluding the vinegar and water). Add the mixture to a pint size mason jar. Combine the vinegar and water mixture in a glass or pitcher and pour over the mixture in the jar. Make sure the water line sits above the mixture. If not,

"Orange Chicken" Green Beans

I am a big fan of Panda Express Orange Chicken. It is so decadent and delicious yet so reasonably priced. I do occasionally treat myself to it but am always looking for a healthier and easier homemade version. In this recipe, I started with a Panda Express Orange Chicken copycat recipe but substituted the chicken for green beans which accomplishes making it both healthier and easier. If you have the ingredients on hand, this dish can be whipped up in 10 minutes or less, but satisfies that craving for something rich and delicious. Ingredients 1 pound fresh green beans 1 tbsp water 1 tbsp oil 2 cloves minced garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/8 tsp chili flakes 1/4 tsp ginger powder 2 tbsp sugar 2 tbsp orange juice 2 tbsp white vinegar 1 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp corn starch 1 tbsp water 1 tsp sesame oil Directions Remove the stems from the green beans and trim to one inch lengths. Wash beans and place in frying pan with 1 tbsp water. Cover and cook on medium high for 3-5 minutes until tende

Vegan Zucchini and Cheese with Green Chiles

One of my favorite dishes as a kid was shredded zucchini covered in a cheese sauce. It was a way my mom snuck in some vegetables by masking it as mac and cheese. As much as I'd love to have it again, I know all the cheese and dairy wouldn't make me feel very good.  Well, now that I have a fantastic Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe, I figured it was time to take a crack at this dish again. Only this time, I wanted to make it more adult by adding diced green chiles and jalapenos just like they now do here in Colorado with traditional mac and cheese.  This dish did not disappoint. The creaminess came through (even with the cheese and dairy) and the green chiles and jalapenos adding a savory, spicy addition that balanced the richness well. Now I have a perfect dish to use up a good portion of my bountiful zucchini harvest. Ingredients 2-2.5 pounds of zucchini - shredded using a box grater or Cuisinart with the shredder attachment 1 batch of Vegan Mac and Cheese Sauce 1 4oz can of green

Vegan Mac and Cheese Sauce

One of the things I miss most about my predominantly vegan diet is macaroni and cheese. It is so gooey, comforting, and delicious. However, it is also incredibly unhealthy and I can feel it afterward. I've been on the search for a healthy vegan alternative, and I think I found one. It comes from the Chocolate Covered Katie blog and her recipe pretty much nails it. It has the same creamy texture and decadent flavor but way healthier than all the cheese and dairy used in the standard version. If you have a craving for some delicious mac and cheese, give this a try. Your body will thank you for it. Ingredients 1/2 cup raw cashews or slivered almonds (or combo of both) - kids will like the cashews better because they won't have the specs from the almond skins 1 medium carrot (about 80g) 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 1 tsp apple cider vinegar 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp onion powder 1 tbsp flavor neutral oil (optional) 1/2-3/4 cup water depending on how thick or thin you want the sauce Directio

Soba and Swiss Chard Noodles

I invented this dish one night when I needed something fast and easy. I was thinking pasta originally but was out of pasta noodles. I saw we had some soba noodles though and my mind went to Japanese style flavors. I had all the ingredients for an easy Japanese sauce. I also had some Swiss chard and green onions from my garden to make it more nutritious and flavorful. I threw it all together, and it turned out amazing! For what started as a make-it-up-as-I-go-along dish may now become a new rotational dinner staple for me. Ingredients 1 tbsp sesame oil 2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp rice vinegar 1 tbsp Chinese wine 1 tsp raw or brown sugar 1/4 tsp black pepper or red pepper flakes 4oz dried soba noodles 4oz Swiss chard cut into strips to mimic noodles 1-2 diced green onions (enough for about 2 tbsp) Directions Mix all the ingredients except noodles, greens, and onions in a bowl and set aside. Boil water in a 2 quart or larger pot. Add the soba noodles and cook according to the directions. Half

Asian Stir-Fried Spinach or Swiss Chard

Given my morning smoothie routine, I always have either a bin of spinach in the fridge or some fresh Swiss chard from my garden on hand to add to my smoothies. That also means I have an ingredient ready for to be used in a quick dinner. With this recipe, I use Thai and Chinese flavors to transform either of these greens into a dish worthy of your favorite restaurant. Then add some Fried Tofu and Power Rice Blend with Quinoa. My inspiration comes from two recipes: Milk Street's and Street Smart Kitchen's Thai Stir Fried Spinach. I include the original Milk Street kitchen recipe as an alternative below but I found the flavor profile to not be quite right for my liking - too fishy, garlicky, and sweet. Ingredients 1/2 tbsp fish sauce 2 tbsp oyster sauce 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine 1 tbsp black bean paste 1 tsp sugar 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 2 tbsp oil 1/2 pound fresh spinach or Swiss chard (dice chard into 2x2 inch size pieces if using) 2 tbsp water (or use chicken or vegetable

Power Rice Blend with Quinoa

I love finding ways to take an ordinary ingredient or dish and hiding a more nutritious ingredient without even noticing it. In this case, I take plain short grain white rice (Calrose rice), perfect for Asian dishes, and add the superfood quinoa to turn it into a power rice blend. Quinoa is one of the few grains that has complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that your body can't produce on its own. But on its own, it can have a flavor and texture that isn't quite right as a perfect substitute for other grains. By blending it with rice, you now have a dish that is indistinguishable from plain rice, but the nutrition profile is exponentially better. Note, I prefer white rice but this recipe would work just as well with brown rice. Just change the ratios and cooking time to match brown rice. Ingredients 1 1/2 cups short gain white rice 1/2 cup quinoa 2 cups water 1 1/2 tsp salt or 1 tbsp chicken or vegetable bullion (optional) Directions Rinse rice a

Fried Tofu

Tofu is one of the great ways as a vegan to get lots of protein. It is so nutritious but the texture and flavor leaves something to be desired. One of the secrets to the texture part is frying the tofu in a sauté pan in a bit of oil. it transforms the tofu into something soft and squishy to something firm and meaty. Directions Start by heating 2 tbsp of oil (like vegetable, canola, peanut, or grapeseed oil) in a 10-12 inch pan over medium heat.  Cut a block of firm tofu into 1/2 inch slices. I cut the slices into 2x2x1/2 inch squares.  Once the oil is hot but not smoking, gently lay the slices of tofu into the pan. Careful because it will spatter. Cook the tofu on one side for 2-3 minutes until a golden crust forms. Flip and cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Remove and enjoy! Now for the flavor part, sprinkle with some salt and eat as is. Or add to any Asian dish and the tofu will take on the flavor profiles of that dish.

Vegan Zucchini Bread

I have had quite the bumper crop of zucchini this year so I've been trying to find new ways to cook with them. One of my favorite ways is zucchini bread. I searched for a vegan recipe and found one from the Nora Cooks blog . At first, I tried tweaking this to use my sourdough starter, but the bread kept coming out too gummy in texture no matter what I tried. I decided to ditch the sourdough starter part and stick to the recipe. I made a few tweaks like adding apple sauce to cut back on the oil and removing the ground flaxseed because I didn't have any. It didn't really need it in my opinion. Now I feel this recipe is near perfection for me. I've made it several times this way and enjoy it every time. Even the leftover batter is finger licking good! And no guilt with all the ingredients being vegan. Give this recipe a try even if you need to resort to store-bought zucchini. Ingredients 1/8 cup canola or vegetable oil 1/3 cup milk substitute 1/8 cup applesauce (or just ad

The Fed Has Already Killed Inflation

The Fed has already killed inflation. They and the market just don't realize it yet. Everyone is fixated on the year-over-year change, but that's not the right way to measure inflation in real time. There is significant lag in that data. We all know that prices were much lower last year than they are this year.  What is more important is looking at the monthly change in prices, not the annual. Are August 2022 prices higher or lower than July 2022, not August 2021, and by how much? That's what to measure and report on. See chart above comparing the year-over-year change to the one month change annualized. You will see the one month change annualized is more lumpy to report on compared to the smoother year-over-year comparison. But what stands out is that inflation measured this way is already below the Fed's 2% target for two months running. This means the Fed has effectively accomplished its goals, and should approach any further interest rate increases with caution. Fo

Homemade Concord Grape Juice

This is my third full year with my Concord grape plant, and it was my most productive year yet. I was able to harvest several pounds of grapes that all ripened right around the same time in late August. I am still battling with wasps and Japanese beetles so it requires some delicate clipping, but the harvest was well worth it. I had 5 pounds of Concord grapes and used 3 of them to create this grape juice. I froze the remaining two pounds to use in smoothies or as a frozen treat. The 3 pounds of grapes created a bit over 4 cups/1 quart/32 ounces of juice. The juice tastes so much fresher and more natural than store-bought grape juice. It's a little less sweet and a bit more tart but still has amazing grape flavor. Perhaps my favorite way to enjoy it is to add it to sparkling water to create a refreshing grape soda. This recipe was adapted from Grow a Good Life . Ingredients 3 pounds picked and cleaned Concord grapes 1/4 cup water Directions Add ingredients to an Instant Pot pressure

Ben Hunt Cause of Inflation

One of the economists and financial bloggers I follow is Ben Hunt of Epsilon Theory. He picks up on key economic trends and isn't afraid to shed light on ulterior motives and unintended consequences of government and corporation actions. He recently wrote a piece on what he views as the cause of inflation. It is a powerful piece and one to refer to as we uncover the consequences of our actions. From " Hollow Men, Hollow Markets, Hollow World ", July 9, 2022 And then came Covid. And then came the economic response to Covid, which was not only a resumption of full-bore QE and balance sheet expansion (about $2 trillion worth), but also the largest stealing pulling forward of wealth for direct distribution to the already well-off of any government program in the history of man. Again, I am 1,000% in favor of emergency government action to save an economy in general and to save jobs in particular. What our government did in reaction to the Covid recession and bear market was n