Leftover Pie!

December 10, 2009 at 9:46 am (Homemaking, The Domestic Economy) (, , , , , , , , , )

When Nathaniel was out of town for a couple of days I wasn’t very motivated to cook for just one person. Fortunately, I had made a huge batch of taco meat (5 lbs) before he left. We had tacos at least twice, then I figured I’d munch on it the rest of the week while he was gone. But after about 3 days of taco meat, I began to have mixed feelings.

So, I decided to make use of the leftovers in my fridge—using them to jazz up my taco meat. I had some creamy corn leftover from a church function, some rice from stir-fry night, and some green onions just begging to be eaten. Toss in a can of beans and cream of mushroom soup, top with cheese, bake, and voila! A new meal! I was even able to mix it all in the pan—so very few dishes to clean! This filled a 13 x 9 inch baking dish…so I’m not sure what I’ll do when I’m tired of my taco meat in this form…freeze it???

This was fun and just reminded me of a tip I could share on living frugally. Since the baby has arrived, it’s been a challenge to keep up with normal household responsibilities. I asked and Nathaniel agreed that I could cook in bulk and we could eat the same thing for several days in a row if necessary. This saves me time and money. Eventually, I’ll turn this into cooking in bulk and dividing into portions to freeze so we have a greater variety during the week. But for now, this works, and works well. And it has given me lots of opportunities for making “Leftover Pie”. In the past I’ve been less-than-praiseworthy when it comes to using up items in the fridge before they go bad. This has been a fun way to avoid that! Having a few cans of cream of mushroom soup, corn, beans, and other staples on hand means you can stretch out just about anything!

What kind of “Leftover Pie” have you made lately???

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Non-stick cooking spray?

October 20, 2009 at 7:32 pm (Homemaking, The Domestic Economy) (, , , )

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When I read the care information…

…for the set of pots and pans we received as a wedding gift, I found that cooking sprays that you buy in the store are not recommended—they actually can harm your cookware (and some would argue they’re not good for you anyway). Instead, the instructions suggested taking a small squirt bottle and filling it with the oil of your choice. So, I tried it and it works quite well. I keep a little bottle of olive oil near the stove (not too close, you’re supposed to keep stored oil away from heat sources), and whenever I do stir-fry or cook eggs I just grab it and spray the pan. It won’t come out in an even mist, but it allows you to control the amount of oil you put in the pan and coats it well enough. I found a small squirt bottle for less than a dollar in the bathroom/beauty supplies section of a local grocery store.

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Skip the Stores!

March 2, 2009 at 3:06 pm (Homemaking, The Domestic Economy) (, , , , , , , , )

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Are you in the market…

…for clothing, shoes, or home décor? And would you like to save a few bucks while you’re shopping? (Who wouldn’t?!?) Before you head out to your favorite department store (or even Walmart or Target), check your cheaper options first. Thrift stores and garage sales are excellent places to find great deals on all kinds of items. I recently bought a shirt at the Salvation Army Store for $2. Later that day, when I was in Walmart, I saw the same shirt still on sale for $12! Ah…success! Also check out Good Will, or any locally-owned thrift stores you know of.

 

Garage sales are perhaps a better resource if you live in a metropolitan area. Get the newspaper ads on Thursday or Friday and map out your plan of attack. Think about where the more expensive neighborhoods are and be sure to make them the priority. The folks with the most money will have the nicest stuff and will probably have barely used it! I got a never-worn name-brand sweater for a dollar! And if you’re looking for rugs, furniture, wall-hangings, curtains, or baby clothes and toys, garage sales (or the ad pages of your newspaper) are the place to start! Keep in mind that if you go garage saling on Saturday only, the sales that started on Friday morning are probably not the ones you want to focus on—they’ve already been picked over. You want Saturday only garage sales unless you actually have time to get out there on a Friday. When Saturday morning comes, get out there early and bring cash! And set a budget—all of the interesting things you’ll find at garage sales can tempt you to spend more money if you’re not careful!

 

On the flip side, when you have too much stuff, remember that you can donate to the local charitable thrift store or to a local shelter. Or, if you need some cash, you can have your own garage sale or post an ad in the paper (just remember that newspaper ads aren’t necessarily cheap).

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My Love-Hate Relationship with Vinegar

February 4, 2009 at 3:34 pm (Homemaking, The Domestic Economy) (, , , )

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Posted by Lauren

Do you like vinegar?

Do you like adding it to soups, enjoy pickles that are soaked in it, and love sauerkraut? I sure don’t! I can’t stand the stuff! And yet we have two gallons of vinegar in our house as I type. I could do without the strong taste of vinegar, but it has other strengths that I’m quite fond of…

Did you know that vinegar is a disinfectant? It kills mold and germs and can make your bathroom and floors shine? Yep, this is why I love vinegar—or, at least, this is when I love vinegar!

*Pour a quart of white vinegar into your empty washing machine and run it through a small cycle to remove soapy film that builds up in the wash basin.

*Pour some baking soda down your icky drain and then add a 1/4 cup of vinegar and watch the volcano erupt, knocking the nasties loose.

*Load up a squirt bottle with vinegar and you’re ready to go, armed with a VERY inexpensive household cleaner that is guaranteed not to put harmful chemicals into the air of your home. And it’s one that you don’t have to worry about little ones getting into—first off, it tastes nasty (my humble opinion), and secondly, it’s safe for human consumption anyway! 😉 You can search online for more cleaning tips using vinegar. Perhaps you use vinegar for some other household secrets?  We’d love to hear them!

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Drier Sheets

January 14, 2009 at 7:43 am (Homemaking, The Domestic Economy) (, , , )

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Do you use drier sheets?

Did you know that you can cut them in half and they will work just as effectively? And you won’t have to buy them as often! When you open a new box, just whip out the scissors and cut the sheets in half, that way they’re ready to use for each load!

And when you’re finished with the load of laundry, stuff that leftover drier sheet into your sock or underwear drawer to spread around the good smell.

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

December 26, 2008 at 8:01 am (The Domestic Economy) (, , , , , )

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Folks always make fun of Abigail and Nathaniel’s Mom for her frugality.

What they don’t realize is that Marcia is a master at penny pinching–and it’s paid off. With two children in tow, her husband, Lane went back to college–and Marcia stayed home and ran a tight ship. Even with the surprise birth of a third child, Lane graduated with $1000. in the bank. Every year at Christmas, Marcia sits by, snagging wrapping remnants to reduce, reuse and recycle. She’s not just thrifty, she’s super creative and folks always compliment her package-wrapping!

Try salvaging used:

  • Bags
  • Ribbon
  • Bows
  • Paper (if it’s not torn)

The next year you can wrap your packages with gently used wrapping paper (that stuff’s super expensive), add a roll of tape to stick on bows and ribbon and even recycle the fronts of your favorite Christmas cards to dress up the fronts of presents and add “To/From” labels with a perfect message!

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Soda for Baking and Much, Much More!

December 9, 2008 at 1:33 pm (Homemaking, The Domestic Economy) (, , , , )

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Baking soda…

…is a very useful ingredient in the kitchen, but it is also an amazing cleaner and deodorizer.

*Mix a tablespoon with some water to make a paste and now you’re ready to scrub away grime from hard surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom.

*Throw some in your next load of laundry to make it fresher and to use less detergent.

*Use it in your dishwasher to reduce the amount of detergent you use there.

*Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and let it sit for a few hours and then vacuum it up-this can remove unwanted odors and may help to reduce mold.

*Dump some in your smelly kitchen sink drain and let it sit for a while before rinsing. Or even wash it down with vinegar if the drain is somewhat clogged!

*Use it to absorb odors in your refrigerator or freezer.

*You can even brush your teeth with baking soda!

Are there any other ways that you use it?

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