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Currently Browsing: Frugal me

Chili!

Otherwise known as cleaning up the leftovers. πŸ™‚ I never make chili the same way twice. It’s one of those really yummy things that you can just toss just about anything into and it still tastes good! Sometimes I use leftover meat sauce from spaghetti, sometimes ground beef from tacos, sometimes whatever meat is floating around in the fridge waiting to be used. Typically it’s beef though. Today’s chili is brought to you by barbecue pulled pork, taco seasoned ground beef, green chillies, and quinoa! That was the fridge’s donation, that is. I added a couple cans of kidney beans and some tomatoes. Plus the spices. I never measure, but I usually use some garlic powder, cumin, sometimes seasoned salt, pepper and of course a good large dash of chili powder! Or if I’m feelin’ fancy I’ll use this spice combo that I found once online. It’s an interesting idea to put coco powder in chili, but this spice mix actually tastes really REALLY good without being overly “spicy” and the kids love it! Try it sometime, it really is good! 1 tbsp hot chili powder (or 2 tbsp medium) 2 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp cocoa powder 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1 tbsp Lawry’s seasoned salt 1/4 tsp black pepper 1 tsp onion powder 2 tsp paprika powder 2 tsp oregano But on days when I’m feeling too lazy to put together the spices I just do like today. πŸ™‚ I’m looking forward to dinner with some yummy 100% (gluten free) organic corn bread! πŸ˜‰ It will be my first time trying that recipe so I’ll letcha know how it goes. Anyway, next time you have some random leftovers (even veggies work) just toss them all in your crockpot, add some “chili fixin’s” and voila! Dinner!!... read more

Freezer Jam and Swiper

I never did my post on my first attempt at making my own jam. After scouring the internet for recipes and how to’s I kinda figured I just needed to jump in and do it. Plus I like the idea of making my own to use on the kids’ sandwiches rather than more processed store stuff. However, I’m not sure that it has any less sugar in it than the store bought kind. πŸ˜‰ I opted for freezer jam because I was completely overwhelmed with the concept of trying to can anything. Eventually I want to figure that thing out as well, but it’s baby steps for me. πŸ˜‰ Here’s what I used. Some ziplock containers that I think were 1/2 cup size. I wasn’t sure how quickly I’d got through them once they were opened, and I didn’t want it going to waste. Since I also have started using it in the homemade yogurt that I send with Stu for his lunch, I probably could have done larger containers, but these worked out fine. I found this “real fruit pectin” at Wal-Mart near the canning stuff. I looked at different ones on amazon, but I’m pretty sure this one said “freezer jam” specifically on it somewhere, so that worked out well. I used the recipe that was conveniently on the inside of the label. Sugar of course, without it the jam won’t “set” unless you use a special kind of… something besides pectin. Dunno, not an expert, at all! And Strawberries, of course! They were on sale and just begging to be used in jam. Plus they smelled fabulous! In fact they smelled SO fabulous that while I wasn’t looking some little swiper came into the kitchen and began to help herself. I was so amused by it, that I didn’t even rescue her from eating the stems, she chowed down on several, greens and all before I put an end to it because I was afraid I’d have nothing left for jam! At one point she made a mess when she was trying to chew a huge strawberry in her little mouth and juice came squirting out. I asked her to clean it up so she got the dish towel and proceeded to “wipe” it up with her foot. I think someone has been watching mommy. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, you smoosh up the berries with a potato masher… …combine the pectin and sugar… … add the sugar mix... read more

Dryer Ball

I’m making Mickey Mouse cake pops today. My stomach is in knots because I’m SO nervous about them turning out. As if my sweet 4 yr old is going to care. πŸ˜‰ I think I may be a perfectionist deep down somewhere that I’ve buried and every so often it unearths itself in the strangest of places. Anyway, if they are a success you’ll see them, and how I “done it” and if they are not, you will probably still see some in the birthday photos, but I won’t mention them, and neither should you. πŸ˜‰ Ha ha ha! But this post isn’t about the cake-pops it’s about the dryer ball I teased you about the other day. I got the idea from a pinterest thing, of course, but I’m too lazy right now to find it so I’ll just leave you with what I did. First you need a pair of socks, long-ish, and some essential oil of your choice. I did Lavender, but I’m going to try Eucalyptus sometime too. Fold up one of the socks in half and drop a few drops, maybe 15-20, of the oil directly on the sock. Fold it up a bit more like so… and stuff it into the toe of the other sock. Then twist the sock and fold it into itself again. and again… until it’s completely twisted into a nice little ball. Toss it in the dryer and add your clothes! They are going to smell AWESOME!! And it’s just a hint of fragrance, so if you use lavender, you don’t need to worry that your manly, man is going to smell like a bunch of flowers. πŸ˜‰... read more

Homemade Foamy Hand Soap

Do you like foamy hand soap? I didn’t have a preference for a long time, but gradually I’ve realized that the foamy stuff makes WAY less mess when you’re talking about littles learning to wash their hands. πŸ˜‰ A couple pumps of the not-foamy kind and you’re left with a sink FULL or overflowing with bubbles. Great fun! Not to mention a good excuse for playing longer in the water and drenching the sink, floor and hand towel all at once. Yes, I have experience! Anyway, I don’t like to buy the foamy stuff often because it’s expensive, and look as I may, I couldn’t find “foamy refills.” Enter Pinterest! One time while waisting time researching great ideas on pinterest, I came across a pin about DIY foamy refill. Imagine my surprise when I figured out that the main ingredient in those over priced foamy hand wash things is… get this…. WATER!!! Being the fairly smart person that I am, you’d think I could have figured that out on my own. Water + Soap = Bubbles!! But alas, I didn’t. However, I have fully taken advantage of someone else’s smarts, and am now making my own foamy hand wash. The first thing you’ll need, obviously, is a foamy hand wash bottle. SO go ahead and make that purchase. Just bite your lip when you want to scream that you are paying that much for a bit of soap and water. πŸ˜‰ No worries, you’ll make up for it later! I was actually given some amazing scented ones from Bath & Body Works as a gift, and yes, those are reusable as well!! Once you need to refill here’s what you do. Get your empty bottle (I like to rinse/scrub ours pretty well since the lads tend to leave dirt and gunk all over the spout) and your regular liquid hand soap to use as a refill. (commercial break: I will be doing a post later about making your own liquid hand soap, but right now we still have quite a bit left from our previous Costco purchases, so I’ll be using that up first) Pour about an inch worth of soap into your foamy bottle. Like so… (p.s. this shot was really hard to take because I was shooting with my right hand, and pouring with my left, but I’m right handed! The things I do for you, ha ha!) By the way, I have used this method with... read more

Essential Oils are Awesome!

I’ve been trying to do more natural stuff, ya know? I haven’t been posting too many “new” things because I hadn’t done any big projects lately. I did have a chance to stump a teen at the homeschool conference who was helping his mom at her booth in the “hall of books” (curriculum hall). This lady has a website and ministry/business (not sure which) of helping people save money by changing a few small things about their house and couponing and such. Anyway, her son saw me wandering around trying not to make eye-contact with the vendors, and he asked me if I’d ever tried homemade laundry detergent. So I pulled up and said, “Why yes, I have. I make my own!” That got the lady’s attention and we had a brief discussion of what I put in it. She was a little shocked that I used baking soda rather than “washing soda” and borax. πŸ˜‰ The point is though, that homemade stuff is WAY cheaper, and natural stuff is WAY better for you, oh yeah. So that brings me to today’s post. Many of the natural products used for various things from air fresheners to skin care products, to cleaners use essential oils. I had a hard time getting my hands on some oils, for they aren’t usually carried in most of the stores I shop in. But I found this sampler set on Amazon that has 6 different oils in it. They are little vials, but since you only use a couple drops in most recipes, they will last a LONG time. πŸ™‚ Anyway, I thought I’d tell you what I’ve been using the oils for. Deodorize bathroom: I can’t stand the ‘boy bathroom smell’ that greets me all the time in the lad’s bathroom, ugh! Now when I swap out the TP roll I put a drop or 3 of any oil inside the new TP roll tube, and voila! A deodorizer that spreads a little pleasant scent at every roll of the paper! πŸ˜‰ Some scents work better for this than others. My favorite by fare is the Lemongrass, but Sweet Orange and Lavender work well too. Eucalyptus not so much. Air Freshener: Another way I use it to freshen our inside air is to fill a small bowl with baking soda and drop a few drops of oils in it. I keep ours on the fireplace mantle, and every so often give it a... read more

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