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posted: 6/12/2013 6:00 AM

Frugal living: Making potato pancakes and regrowing green onions

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By Sara Noel

Q. I saw your tip for raising green onions from the roots of store-bought green onions. I am trying it, but I'm not sure how much water I should be using. So far I have just 4-5 root ends in a lot of water, and I change the water as it get cloudy. Am I doing it right?

C.D., email

A. I use a Mason jar or drinking glass roughly one-third filled with water. The water line hits right above the roots. I change the water daily.

Q. I'm always looking for good, simple recipes to make for my family. Your crisp recipe appeared in my local paper, and I thought I would give it a try. The recipe called for apples, peaches or pears but mentioned nothing about strawberries. Could cherries be used? How about canned fruit? (It doesn't get much easier than canned.) What other fruit possibilities are there, and what quantities should I use of each?

Karen K., email

A. You can use any fruit you like, including berries. You can use pie filling, too. If using canned fruit, be sure to drain it first. The amount of fruit used stays the same. If you prefer more crisp, you can double the topping.

Q. My mom had a stroke. She's been working hard to rebuild her strength and movement. Since her stroke, she can't stand the taste of meat. My concern is she's never going to build muscle if she doesn't start getting more protein! Can you recommend some inexpensive high-protein foods that aren't meat?

H.M., Ohio

A. The majority of people think of meat first when it comes to protein. But vegetarians and vegans don't eat meat, and they are able to get enough protein. If your mom's only restriction is meat, there are plenty of sources of protein for her, and you'll also discover that many of these foods will be cheaper. Try foods such as cottage cheese, cheddar or mozzarella cheese, almonds, eggs, Greek yogurt, quinoa, beans/legumes, grains (wheat germ, oatmeal), dark green vegetables, various fruits and seeds. If she doesn't like beef, she can still opt to eat fish and poultry. I would ask her doctor for a list of more specific suggestions to fit her needs.

Q. Is it possible to make potato cakes with mashed potato but without flour?

Dawn, Arkansas

A. Yes. You can add seasoned bread crumbs instead of flour. Add an egg to 2 cups mashed potatoes, add seasoned bread crumbs, form into patties and fry in a pan with a little oil. You can add parmesan cheese, meat, onion, etc., too.

Q. Dear Sara: Thanks for the tip on soaking in Epsom salts for splinters. Can you give me a recipe for this? I need to know the salt/water ratio, how long to soak the affected part, etc.

Pam, email

A. You can mix a paste of Epsom salt and tea tree oil. Use cup Epsom salt and 5 drops of tea tree oil. Remove paste after a minimum of 10 minutes. You can add 2 cups of Epsom salt to your bath water and soak, too.

• Sara Noel owns Frugal Village (, a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. Send tips, comments or questions to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106 or

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