Monday, November 30, 2009

Homemade Reusable Swiffer Wet-jet Pads

So, have you noticed how expensive Swiffer Wet-jet Pads are?? Not to mention the added waste that ends up in the landfills. I LOVE my Swiffer, but I needed a cheaper and more earth friendly alternative (read here about the huge trash swirl). I needed something thick and absorbant and something with some texture to make the pads. So I found these at our local Ross store:


They are 12x12 microfiber cloths. Since the microfiber doesn't fray, I just cut them into thirds.

This resulted in three pads that were slightly smaller than my Wet-jet surface. When I used them, it seemed to work out well. However, next time I might just cut the cloth in half to make them a little bigger.

These are great because they stick to the velcro on the bottom of the Swiffer very well and are quite absorbent. When I'm done with them, they go in the bucket with all my other dirty cleaning rags and get washed along with them. Easy! It is very simple step to being more frugal and green.

In tomarrow's post, I'll tell you how to refill your used Swiffer solution bottle with your own homemade cleaning solution!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Making your own Gatorade

We had a terrific Thanksgiving!! The dinner was the best one yet in my opinion! I can post the recipes if anyone wants them, just let me know!

On to todays post... I came across this recipe for making your own gatorade (or rather, a gatorade type drink) on the Dr. Oz Show . They have not posted it on his website, but luckily I had the show DVR'ed. It's terribly simple and can save you a ton of money. Also, you know exactly what you are getting- no artificial sweetners, preservatives, ect. So here it is:

Electrolyte Drink

1 liter of water
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt (or regular salt)
2 T agave nectar or honey
Fruit juice (optional)

Mix together. Add a little fruit juice for flavor if you desire.

Easy right? Now this won't be Kool-aid type drink, but it is a good option for a workout or dehydration from illnesses.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Our Thanksgiving Menu

Roast Turkey
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Broccoli
Corn Fritters
Clover Leaf Rolls

Deviled Eggs
Mini Spinach Quiche

Pumpkin Pies (one sugar-free with whole wheat crust)
Pecan Cranberry Pie
Lemon Meringue Pie

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Grinding Your Own Flour

This is something I have been exploring recently. I learned that whole grain flour loses many of its key nutrients in the first 36 hours  after it is milled. This means that grinding it on an as needed basis is key to maintaining its nutrient value. You can buy a flour mill or a mill attachment (for stand mixers) but they are fairly expensive. So I decided to try using my Magic Bullet to grind flour. I used the grinding/ whipping blade (the flat one) and organic whole wheat berries. It worked like a charm! I have used it to grind rice, oat, and spelt flour as well. In the long run, I might invest in a good flour mill (that would probably result in a finer flour than the Magic Bullet) but for now this method works great!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Homemade Oatmeal Bath

I was originally inspired to post this because of my poor little 11 month old nephew who contracted... duh duh DUNN... Chicken Pox! The poor little guy was COVERED with it so we found a recipe for homemade soothing oatmeal bath and adjusted it a little:

Homemade Oatmeal Bath

1 cup each Oatmeal, ground to a powder (food processor, blender, or use baby oatmeal cereal), epsom salt, powdered milk. *Also, you can add 1 cup of baking soda if using for Chicken Pox or Excema*

Mix all ingredients together and store in an air tight container. Use 1/2 cup (or more) for each bath.

This is a very frugal alternative to buying oatmeal bath and it worked great on my sweet little nephew!

After seeing that The Nourishing Gourmet was hosting a Handmade Gift Carnival, I figured this would make a good entry! This would actually make a great gift for a new mother (to use for herself or the baby!) or really for anyone who takes a bath (which should be everybody!). You could jazz it up with a decorated jar and some ribbons- possiblities are endless!

A Fantastic Frugal Find!

Okay, I couldn't resist the alliteration! This is a good one for all you coffee lovers! My mom and my husband are MAJOR coffee drinkers, and they have to have the cream and sugar with it. I love coffee too, but I don't drink it as much because of my high blood pressure. However, when I do, I would describe my drink as being mostly creamer with a little coffee! We all love the liquid creamer the best but it can be quite pricey (over 2.00 for a 32oz. bottle). This would be ok if we just used a little bit- but we use alot! So my mother went on a mission to find a better option... and she succeeded! She figured out how to turn powdered creamer (which is much cheaper) into the liquid form. It worked great and actually tasted better than the liquid we were buying! Maybe it just tasted better because it was cheaper!! Here is the recipe:

Homemade Liquid Creamer

2 cups boiling water
2 cups powdered creamer
2 cups cold water

Mix the powdered creamer with the boiling water, until creamer is dissolved. Then combine the mixture with the cold water. Store in the fridge. Easy! This recipe make a little more than a quart of liquid creamer.

The cost difference is drastic: The CoffeeMate liquid creamer is $2.98 per quart. The CoffeeMate brand powder is $3.25 for 22 oz. The 22 oz. powder makes 3.2 quarts of liquid. It would cost us $9.50 to buy the liquid and only $3.25 to make it!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fun Friday: Healthy "Lunchable"

Okay, everyone has probably given their kid a Lunchable for a quick meal, right? Well, I decided that they were too expensive and likely full of things that aren't very healthy (is that real cheese??). So, today, when Corky asked for a "wunchable", I substituted with my own version!

I used diced, fresh, pears, whole wheat crackers, and real cheese. I used a cookie cutter to make the little cheese flowers. She was so excited about the cheese...

You could easily create many variations, using chunks of chicken, berries, carrot sticks, pretzles, ect.

Not only was this a more healthy option, but it was more fun! I'm sure she would much rather eat cheese flowers than cheese circles!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nourishing Crockpot Carnival

Today I thought I would participate in the Nourishing Crockpot Carnival hosted by! I am just beginning my journey of healthful eating (well we have been making small changes for a year, so we are on our way at least!). My contribution is called Chicken Crockpot Pie. The great thing about this recipe is that you put everything in the crockpot frozen- no defrosting!!! Hope you like!

Chicken Crockpot Pie

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breast, frozen
3 quarts chicken stock or broth (homemade is best)
1 med onion (I chop mine ahead and pop them in the freezer, then they are ready when I need them)
1 small bag (12 oz.) of frozen mixed vegetables or equivilent of vegetables that you prefer
2 potatoes, chunked or diced
3 Tbs. whole wheat flour

3 cups whole wheat baking mix (I use Hodgeson Mills)
2 Tbs. olive oil or melted butter (could also use coconut oil)
2 Tbs. milled flax seed
2 tsp. chopped parsley
pepper to taste
enough milk or water to make a thick but pourable consistency

 Put first five ingredients in crockpot, reserving 1/4 cup of the chicken stock. Cook on high 4-6 hours or until chicken is nearly done, depending on your crock. Next, in a small bowl, mix the 3 Tbs. flour and reserved chicken stock until smooth. Add spoonfulls of the hot broth from the crock, mixing to make sure there are no lumps. When the flour mixture is adequately warmed, add it to the crock and stir. Next, to make the "crust", In a medium bowl mix the flour, oil, flax seed, parsley, pepper and milk. You want the consistency to be very thick but pourable. If you make it too thin, it will fall to the bottom of the crock. Pour the mixture over the chicken/vegetable mixture and spread all over the top. Replace the lid and let the dough steam (like chicken & dumplings) for 25 minutes. Don't lift the lid!! The dough on the top of the "pie" will have a texture similar to a dumpling. Spoon into bowls and serve!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Corky!!!

My little baby is growing up too fast!! We had her third birthday party at Fun City, on Saturday. It was a Minnie Mouse party. She was so excited when she walked in and saw all the Minnie Mouse things! My mom and I made her a Minnie Mouse cake that looks like a cost a hundred dollars. However, I am pround to announce that it costed next to nothing - somewhere in the ball park of fifteen dollars!

She had so much fun playing in the ball pit!

Opening her presents...

Happy Birthday baby girl!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm alive... I promise!

Well, a break was needed- so I took one! I know I haven't been blogging for very long but My family and I had such a crazy summer that I needed to put priorities first- forget about blogging for a while- and get things in order! Things aren't completely "in order" but it's time to get back in the groove! So let's just play a little catch up:

The summer started out good- lots of pool time and playing at the local park!
Mid July, my family, along with my mom, took a trip/ vacation to Arizona to see my grandma. I will post on that later!
Early August, we achieved potty learning!!!! YAY!!!! More on that later!
Mid August, my dad who was already in poor health, began to deteriorate further. Within a week he had passed away. Although he was in bad shape, we didn't expect him to pass that quickly. I have four sisters (two of whom have small children) who traveled in from California for the funeral. My poor husband, who was very close with my father, acted as a permanent shuttle to and from the airport. Since my parents live in a rural area, it was an hour and fifteen minute drive, one way! He also kept all of us girls fed- nobody wants to eat and you forget to, so he reminded us and cooked for us (we developed a great love for quesadillas, he even memorized our specific orders!) Yeah, I know, he is just that awesome!
Needless to say, it was very hard on us all. It was interesting to see how our feelings manifested in each of us: One sister made a lot of jokes (she kept us laughing even in the sad times), one sister lashed out angrily at EVERYONE (she made us angry a lot), one sister was very sad and cried a lot (she reminded us why we were all together and what had happened- that was a good thing, in my opinion), my other sister was trying to be a peacemaker (she tried to make sure all the family was together for this hard time), all the kids (including mine) were confused and acting out (normal for a tragedy), and my mom was in business mode (she took care of everything... which is a lot! There is so much to do when a loved one dies. And you are expected to suck it up and take care of it all!). How did I handle it?? Well, I don't really know how I was that first week- I feel like I was in a fog. However, after all my sisters went home I COOKED. Yes, I cooked. I made bread, pasta from scratch, tortillas, rolls, lasagna, soup, tarts, cake, muffins, biscuits, cookies, more cookies, granola, granola bars... you get the picture. I cooked so much that I practically emptied our fridge/freezer and depleted our food budget for the month. I cooked more than our little family of three could possibly eat... so what did I do? I put it back in the freezer! I also made a lot of other stuff. Like bows for Corky, tutus, a place mat for her, a board to hang her hair bows on, ect. I guess for me, I needed something to do. Something that would keep me REALLY busy. I think I needed to be numb for a while.
After that phase was over, I became very irritated. Everything annoyed me: the way my house looked, if there were dishes in the sink, any amount of clutter, the fact that I don't have a headboard on my bed (we have wall hanging thingy), sometimes even my most comfortable clothing would annoy me (I just didn't like the "feel" of it). I realize now that I felt out control of things so I needed everything in my home to be controlled and in order. Sounds crazy right?? Nope. Just grieving!
Things are starting to get better now though. This is my absolute favorite time of the year so that helps my spirits. Also, today is Corky's third birthday! So I thought this would be a fitting day to begin blogging again.
Things are okay right now- the holidays are coming and soon it will be time to put up our Christmas tree! I have so much to tell you about but this post is long enough, so I'll save it for another!!