I have been a member of the Bluebird Gardens CSA for 4 years and have signed up for a fifth year. They are located by Fergus Falls but make deliveries to the Fargo Moorhead area and various towns in Minnesota. Depending on what size share you purchase you will get a weekly box of vegetables from about the 2nd week of June through the middle of October. Click the link above for a listing of share sizes and prices. New for 2015 you can purchase “Build a box” shares instead of weekly boxes and you can determine what will be in each box. Another difference of the “Build a box” is that you will need to go to the farm to pick them up. I have been getting the share size and it works out to $20 a week for the summer. In most cases you will receive more than if you were to spend $20 at a grocery store or farmers market. It is an even better deal if you freeze or can extras from the weekly boxes or if you pick more at the farm.

It is a great way to get a variety of vegetables and also to try things that may be new to you and you normally would not purchase.

If you join by December 20th your name will be put into a drawing for a variety of prizes.

Along with the weekly deliveries, you will also receive a certain number of tickets (depending on the size of share you purchased) to go to the farm if you want and pick more of certain produce.

I have really enjoyed being a member and receiving weekly boxes the past few summers.

There are other CSAs in the area, but Bluebird Gardens is the only one I am familiar with.

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Nancy Kvamme

I recently purchased a turkey breast and tried this recipe. It uses cranberry sauce and I used pineapple juice instead of the orange juice.

It is made in the crockpot but you could cook it in the oven also, until the turkey breast is done.

It was nice and juicy and tasted great.

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Nancy Kvamme

The photo above shows some of the books I recently added to my Little Free Library for Christmas. They include both children and adult titles.

My library is located at 3022 18th St S, Fargo. Stop by to see what titles are available. You can take a book, leave a book or both.

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Nancy Kvamme

For a different snack, I recently tried this recipe for Ranch crackers. Unlike some recipes that you bake after adding the oil and seasonings, this one you stir or mix every 10 minutes or so for an hour.

The recipe calls for saltine crackers but you could also use oyster crackers or other crackers.

I used this recipe to make the ranch dressing mix.

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Nancy Kvamme

It may seem like you don’t have time for extra things now, but it will only get worse the closer we get to Christmas.

Mary Hunt from Debt Proof Living is doing a 40 Day Christmas Challenge. It started on November 6 and each day for 40 days (weekends off) she will share something to accomplish to get ready for Christmas.

One of the first ideas was to make a holiday budget. Make a list of all expenses you plan for the holidays such as gift giving, decorating, hosting parties, dining out, etc and divide by the number of weeks or paychecks until the holidays. That way you have a better idea of how much to budget each paycheck so you don’t end up with debt after the holidays.

If you don’t have any money left over from your paychecks, look for ways that you could possibly cut back on for a few months.

By taking a few steps now, you may be able to avoid or relieve some of the holiday stress you usually experience.

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Nancy Kvamme

I saw this post on Facebook this morning from a radio station broadcasting from a car dealership. It is November so when it says no payments until 2015, you are without payments for a month or two.

0 down, 0% interest and 0 payments until 2015! Plus you get a free Ipad when you buy a new vehicle!

Many people think car payments are just a way of life. As soon as they get a car paid off, they may think they need to upgrade to a better and newer car.

It may mean to make some sacrifices but you may be able to free yourself from car payments.

Suze Orman suggests not financing a car that you cannot pay off in three years.

If you are currently making car payments, when you get the loan paid off, put that amount of money in a savings account each month until you NEED to buy a new car. Even if you don’t have enough to pay for the entire amount, at least you will have some saved and won’t have to finance the entire amount.

When considering how much to spend on a car, other things to consider are interest, taxes, license and registration, insurance, gas & oil changes and other maintenance. The newer the car, the more likely it will cost more to insure and license your car.

If you are need of a vehicle, one method Dave Ramsey recommends is buying the least expensive you can afford. He calls it a “beater car”. Then continue saving money and upgrading as you can afford to.

I have personally paid cash for the last two cars I purchased. When I get extra money or bonus at work, most goes into account for a car or other items I am saving for.

It may not be easy but may be worth the sacrifice without the pressures and stress of car payments and when you consider what you are saving on interest charges.

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Nancy Kvamme

I recently came across a recipe for Crazy Cake. A cake without butter, eggs or milk. This recipe is for a chocolate cake.

I had some pumpkin to use up so searched to see if there was a recipe using pumpkin. I found this recipe.

Here is a recipe for a single size cake using a mug.

I made the pumpkin cake and it tasted great. Instead of frosting, I sprinkled powdered sugar over it while it was still warm.

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Nancy Kvamme

I posted last month about a series that Jessica was doing at Good Cheap Eats on ways to save on grocery expenses. Here is a recap of the 31 posts.

You should be able to save some money by just implementing one or two of these ideas. Some include ways to make you meal preparation more efficient to allow time for other things.

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Nancy Kvamme

My sister gave me some extra apples they had and I tried some new recipes with them. I have made the following recipes today.

Apple Cinnamon muffins. I didn’t have apple sauce so I added a little more oil and water to make the batter a little moister.

Apple Cocoa Snack Cake

Apple Crisp

Apple Raisin Quick Bread. I left the raisins out of the bread and added some granola I had instead.

I am planning on trying these recipes yet today with the apples I have left.

Apple Doodles

Apple Peanut Butter Cookies

Crockpot Apple Butter

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Nancy Kvamme

A big part of Halloween for many children is the candy. I wrote a previous post about non candy treats. The post was written last year so the date for the candy trade in is incorrect.

You may have heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project. The campaign encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies by providing non-food treats for trick-or-treaters and painting a pumpkin teal – the color of food allergy awareness – to place in front of their house along with a free printable sign from FARE to indicate they have non-food treats available.

There are many events planned throughout the area such as Trunk and Treat events at local churches and other sites.

One of the local events is the Haunted mall at Moorhead Center Mall in Moorhead on Fri, October 31, 4pm – 10pm.

This is a description from the website about the event.

Come out for a spooktacular time. Great activities for the entire family including a haunted mall, costume contest & pumpkin carving.

I will have a table at the event and will be handing out Moonjar savings banks while supplies last.

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Nancy Kvamme