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Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013, 12:03 p.m.

MyPlate on My Budget: Grow money on trees

  • Sweet Bay Laurel.

    Jenny Bardsley

    Sweet Bay Laurel.

  • Sweet Bay Laurel.

    Jenny Bardsley

    Sweet Bay Laurel.

Can I follow the USDA thrifty food plan and feed my family the Choose MyPlate advised daily nutrients? That's the question Rose McAvoy and I are asking this March with MyPlate on My Budget.

It's the end of week 2 and my dwindling food budget is making me creative. A lot of recipes call for bay leaves. As I'm sure you know, those are super expensive.

Luckily my friend, local artist Tina Marohn, has a Sweet Bay Laurel growing in her backyard. (Check out Tina's beautiful artwork here.) Tina has offered me fresh bay leaves before, and often gives them out as Christmas gifts. So I finally took Tina up on her offer.

Tina gave me about $50 worth of leaves AND let my daughter play with her cats. You can't get service like that at the grocery store!

I'm drying the bay leaves on my dining room table in a vase. They look really pretty sitting there, and smell good too.

The ease at which Sweet Bay grows in the Pacific Northwest has really got me thinking that I should plant one ASAP.

Bay leaves are like money growing on trees. You can cook with them, gift them, and donate them to your local food bank. How sweet is that?

Follow MyPlate on My Budget on Pinterest.

Story tags » CookingPersonal Finance

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