It's pretty hard to buy organic produce on a tight budget. Here's a little bit of help for those of us who can't quite afford to go that route.
Have you heard of the "dirty dozen?" These are the fruits and vegetables that can carry the most pesticide residue. If you can afford any organic produce, these are the ones you'd want to look at first: Peaches, strawberries, apples, nectarines, pears, cherries, raspberries, imported grapes, spinach, celery, potatoes, and bell peppers. Obviously, even organic produce should be washed before eating as it can come in contact with many contaminants.

Of course the grocery stores sell special sprays for washing fruit and vegetables, and I know families who use it religiously. While one 16 ounce bottle of pre-made veggie wash will set you back several dollars, here's a version you can make for just pennies!

1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix all together in a big jug or empty 2 liter pop bottle. There will be a bit of fizzing with the soda and vinegar mixing. When that subsides, the mix can be poured into a spray bottle. Spray produce thoroughly and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse in clean water.

Fresh fruit and veggie season will soon be here-remember to give your produce a bath.

Be sure and read all the way to the bottom of the newsletter for this week's tutorials. We have some good ones for you!

If you haven't visited my blog this week, you missed out on some great tips. Here is some of what we talked about:
- how to lower expenses on dental care . . . I received LOTS of great comments and advice so be sure to check it out!
- Learn how you can get FREE books!
- We discussed changes we've made during this recession . . . What's YOUR biggest change? (Be sure and read the comments!)
- I shared some tips for frugal drinks while on traveling (and received some more tips from my readers as well)
- And some last minute St. Patrick's Day help - Gluten-free recipes, free curriculum on the holiday, a beautiful wreath to make for your front door, and an easy t-shirt idea for the family.
More wonderful tips and ideas are coming next week, too!
This Week's Recipe
This was one of the recipes I cooked last week and I had a few requests for it. I receive the weekly menu mailer from Traditional Foods and this is one of the recipes that can be freely shared with others. I also posted a delicious recipe for homemade rolls on my blog last week - they would go well with this yummy soup! 
Beef and Lentil Soup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 pound ground beef
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup dry lentils, sorted and rinsed
1/3 cup quinoa, amaranth, rice, or a combination, rinsed, optional
4 cups tomato juice
2 cups beef stock
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
dash Worcestershire sauce

In a soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and cook ground beef, carrots, onion and celery until beef is no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 90 minutes or until lentils and grains are tender, stirring occasionally.

Serve with bread or cornbread.
- You can substitute ground turkey or stew beef for the ground beef.
- You can use any oil - it doesn't have to be coconut oil.
- This recipe can be adapted to be gluten-free. I use gluten-free soy sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce, just in case.
- I've made it with rice and quinoa and both are good.

Molly's Money-Saving Digest

This third edition of Molly's Money-Saving Digest
is full of new, creative ways to provide for your family's needs while remaining within your budget--just what you expect from Molly! In this issue she's rounded up lots of fresh inspiration and information, so don't miss this one!

A few of my favorites from this month:

-Info on making your own adorable oilcloth lunch bag (plus you can see mine!)

-An EASY hummus recipe (SO much less expensive than the grocery store)

-A wonderful article by Amanda Bennett, on how they taught their children about financial responsibility and encouraged an entrepreneurial spirit

-An amazing bulletin board project! I've seen lots of creative bulletin boards, but this is my favorite, by far

-Several articles from women who have found ways to work from home, sharing all the nitty-gritty details

And so much more, it's hard to pick favorites! For only $4.95 these inspirational Digests are well worth the price. Use one tip and recoup your investment. Then . . . print out each Digest and place it into a "Molly Binder" for future reference! You'll create your own Frugal Library in no time.
This Week's Tutorial
Here are a few links to various tutorials that I came across this week.

Make an Idea Book for your Home - do you have dreams of remodeling areas of your home? Or maybe you just want to redecorate with new curtains or decor. This post will show you how to save all of those ideas you come across in magazines, books, etc.

If you haven't visited The Nester's site before, you'll want to. It's a real treasure, filled with truly doable decorating tips and ideas.

Make Your Own Natural Baby Products - includes directions for making your own baby wipes, baby powder (talc-free), baby bath milk, baby oil, and dryer sachets
Free Toddler Girl Dress Patterns - nothing is better than FREE!

If you have a project that you would like to share, we'd love to see it! Email me at
We Want to Hear From You
Molly needs your help! What are some ways you reach your financial goals? Have you furnished your home with thrift store and yard sale finds? Have you paid off a bill earlier than planned? How did you accomplish that goal? How do you budget for larger-ticket items? Have you saved thousands on a home improvement job? What steps did you take to do that? No money-saving tip is too small. We feature these stories in our Molly's Money-Saving Digests each month, and our readers love them! Email soon! If your story is featured in a future Digest, you will receive that issue FREE!

Until next week! 
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Do you have something to share?  Write to us at  All submissions become the property of and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC ("TOS") and will not be returned.  Making a submission constitutes full consent to the Econobusters' Submission Guidelines and Release, and a grant of unlimited permission and continuing, non-exclusive rights for and TOS, to print, publish, broadcast and use all portions of your submission, including without limitation your full name, on and other Internet websites owned or operated by TOS, in Molly's Money-Saving Digest and all other electronic, digital and print publications produced, created or published by TOS in accordance with the Econobusters' Submission Guidelines and Release posted at Econobusters.  TOS will make reasonable efforts to withhold personal names if requested at the time of original submission.
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