Saturday, February 4, 2012

Some Substitutes For Everyday Items

I should be sweeping the kitchen floor, right now, but I thought it would be more fun to share to great "substitutes" for some items I use everyday. Sorry, I don't have pictures to go with said items. I am on uber crunch time today (when am I not?). Anyway, I have recently discovered that.......

Cheap hair conditioner (accidentally bought on a grab and not look moment at the store) makes the BEST shave gel. No razor burn, no knicks, and super smooth skin.

An old toothbrush (properly disinfected in the dishwasher, so that you don't get eye cooties) is a great brow brush/ eyelash  groomer.

The lid off an ice cream bucket is a great substitute for a cutting board for cutting smaller items like fruit or cheese.

Clothes pins are great for closing the tops of chip, cookie, bread, etc. bags. They keep a tight seal and stay in place!

A metal bundt cake pan is great for freezing ice rings for parties. Freeze extra punch or water into ice rings. To use just set the pan in warm water  (just enough to go up the sides, not over the top) for a few minutes to release the ice ring.

These are just a few of my favorite way to reuse everyday household items.

What are some of your favorite ways to substitute and reuse items around your house ( I do love, love, LOVE handy ideas)?

Oh, and just so this post isn't totally pictureless, here is the picture of my daughter's Sweet Sixteen cupcake tree. You will be happy to know the stand was constructed out of scrap glass, and thrift store candy dishes. The cupcakes were baked with love (and sugar)!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fabulous No Roll Pie Crust

I just had to drop by today to share the BEST recipe I have ever discovered (okay, I discover great recipes all the time, but this is in the Top Five, DEFNITELY)! For me, desperation is usually always the mother of invention. Since, I am generally always trying to squeeze at least three seperate things in the same time increments, desperation is USUALLY my middle name. If multi tasking were an Olympic sport, I would be in the running for the Gold! Anyway, I digress.

I had an obscenely large amount of browning apple slices left over from a little party I hosted over the weekend (more about that later).  Of course, you all know that throwing said apples away would pain me GREATLY! Unfortunately, all efforts to feed the unattractive apples to my Dear Family, backfired! Apparently, eating brownish orange apple slices did not appeal to them. On to Plan B, then! I will just turn them into pie! Oh, wait! I only have nano seconds to throw a pie together........STINK! What to do? What to do?

Allrecipes to the RESCUE! No Roll Pie Crust is one of the best inventions, EVER in my book! It as easy as can be.  Spray your pie plate with cooking spray. Toss all the dry ingredients together  in the pie plate. Then stir in the wet ingredients. Pat the dough along the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Fill with your favorite fruit filling. Top with a crumb crust (so the apple don't dry out), and bake for 350 degrees for 50 minutes. No chilling, no rolling, no's FOOL PROOF, and flaky, too. I don't think I will be going back to the old fashioned, labor intensive pie crust, any time soon.

Fool Proof Pie Crust
(makes enough dough for one 8 inch pie)
Find original recipe HERE

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons milk (I used half and half)

Follow the directions above. If you want to bake the empty crust , bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Don't forget to prick the crust all over with a fork, cover crust with aluminum foil, and fill with dry beans to keep it from shrinking and bubbling.

You may have noticed from the picture at the top of the post, that nobody had a problem eating the icky apples once it was turned into pie.

P.S, For the crumb topping, I sifted together:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Then I cut in 3 tablespoons cold butter until it resembled coarse crumbs.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Well, Hello and Merry Christmas

I have been so touched by the comments and e mails many of you have sent me! It has really helped me get through a rough patch, to know that so many of you enjoy and look forward to my posts! I have not died, or worse, went over the deep end and started living a lavish lifestyle. My life has just simply spiraled out of control, and I found myself needing to focus on my family, for a while. Never fear, everyone is doing fine, and as soon as the holidays are over I will be back to share what's been going on in my life. I am also excited to share alot of fun, and uber cheap ideas that I have been knee deep in the last few months. I also want to share ways your can make healthy lifestyle changes, and not kill your budget. Plus, my son made me feel a little guilty the other day, when he asked me with some concern, "Mom when are you going to start blogging again? I liked clicking on your blog, and reading our weekly menu. Then I knew what we were having for dinner!". Apparently, he hasn't realized it has been hanging on the fridge, written on a piece of.....PAPER!

I want to wish you all a VERY HAPPY HOLIDAYS, and look forward to catching up with all my FABULOUS bloggy friends, after the New Year! I love you all, you are a great inspiration to me!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thrift Store Fabulous

I love, love, LOVE thrift stores!  There are several thrift stores in my area, but lately I have found Goodwill to have the best prices. I love that our Goodwill is clean, organized, and the employees are very friendly and helpful. I also like that every week a certain colored tag is 50% off. This week's tag is red. I stopped by looking for jeans for the kids for school. I didn't find any in their sizes that would work, but I did find some fabulous things, anyway!

Today's treasures included:
  • A vintage quart milk bottle - $.99
  • A glass cake stand  - $2.49 (it was a red tag item)
These two items are going to be a birthday gift.
  • A small vintage Pyrex container (it is going to hold sponges on my kitchen sink) - $.99
  • E bay for Dummies (Dear Hubby wants to start selling some of our unwanted items on E bay, and doesn't have a clue how to start) - $1.49 (it was a red tag item)
  • Three pairs of shorts for the boys - 2 pairs were $3.99 each, one was $1.49 (red tag)
  • A brand new Target Home brand fabric shower curtain (I have been looking for a new shower curtain for the upstairs bathroom. The one that we are currently using is 14 years old and pretty worn out) - $7.99
 Today grand total spent was $25.13. Not bad considering the shower curtain alone would have cost at least that bought new at the store. I do love a good treasure hunt! Have you found any fabulous items at the thrift store, lately?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

This Week's Menu 7/24

(this week's Bountiful Basket)

Summer just seems to be flying by! I can't believe that it is the last week of July. It seems like we were just celebrating the Fourth! Sigh, now it time to start thinking about back to school shopping. My children are really not pleased every time I mention  S-C-H-O-O-L. I get a collective glare of pig eyes every time that CERTAIN word comes out of my mouth. You would think it was a four letter word! Anyway, taking inventory of the boy's closet is number one on the to do list this week. This week I am also attempting to liven up the menu a little bit. I have been perusing Taste of Home and Cook's Illustrated magazine.  I found several good recipes to try. I mean, I guess it's pointless to subscribe to cooking magazines if you don't actually cook any of the recipes out of them! This week we will be eating the following culinary masterpieces (snicker! snicker!):

BBQ Chicken
Green Beans, Potatoes, and Bacon
Banana Blueberry Muffins
Water Melon
Mango Crisp

Migas ( Taste of Home recipe)
Flour Tortillas
Cantaloupe and Watermelon
Lettuce and Tomatoes
Leftover Mango Crisp

Three Cheese Baked Ziti (Taste of Home recipe)
Easy Breadsticks
Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Ham and Cheese Paninis
Slices Peaches
Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Chicken Fried Steak with Country Gravy (Cook's Illustrated)
Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower
Leftover Night

Grilled Hot Dogs
Baked Beans
Fruit of Some Kind

What beat the heat recipes have you been cooking at your house?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

History Always Repeats Itself

As I was hanging this particularly LARGE  load of "delicates" outside to dry this afternoon, I was struck by the thought....

That "History is destined to always repeat itself!".

P.S. Can you tell that I live in a predominately male household?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Making Scrub Sponges Last Longer

I really like to use Scotch Bright scrub sponges to wash dishes (and scrub dirty counters). 

I can usually buy them cheaply with coupons (especially at Costco).

 Two make the sponge last twice as long, I cut it in half with a sharp pair of scissors.

One half of the sponge is just the right size (especially for kid's size hands) to wash dirty dishes. I always place my sponges on the top rack of the dishwasher when I wash a load of dishes in it to disinfect them.

You need to keep sponges dry between uses, so that they don't become a breeding ground for bacteria. An old plastic berry basket in the drying rack works great for hold drying sponges (and the lids to water bottles, so that they don't don't fall down the garbage disposal).

This little trick my not save me a ton of money, but every little bit helps!


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