Monday, February 18, 2013

Homemade cleaners, beauty products, stuff I never thought I'd try...

Since I've been a SAHM and we have cut our income almost in half, I have been very interested in ways to save money, save time, simplify, and overall make a safe and happy home for my little family. 

Homemade cleaners and beauty products have been on my radar for a while now.  I am becoming increasingly concerned about chemicals present in our house now that we have little ones who stick everything in their mouths hanging out here and while I don't spend much money on beauty products, I spend a small fortune on cleaning supplies.  If these homemade natural recipes make my home safer and save us money, what am I waiting for? 

To be honest, I haven't pulled the trigger yet because I do not trust such things.  If vinegar really sanitizes, why did they make bleach?  I was raised to trust and rely on chemicals to sanitize my world.  And make my own shampoo, conditioner, body wash...?? Really? But those ready to buy bottles at the store require not thought at all.  But, I guess that's what I want to change.  I want to put some thought into what we use on our bodies and in our home.  I am not a hippy dippy chick or an environmentalist (not that those are bad things, I just am not), but I am woman who loves her family who wants to make the very best decisions for them.

So, all that being said, I am going to start some trials of all the natural homemade recipes I have seen that have piqued my curiosity.  I'm still not sure how I will decide on all of them.  For instance, am I going to swab my toilets after washing with homemade cleaner and after a store bought cleaner and have them tested at a lab for bacteria levels? Probably not, but it seems like that would be a good thing to know.  We'll see.

Anyway, here's my list of things to try that are already in the works:

-No Poo (shampoo) hair washing
-Homemade body/face wash
-dry brushing
-coconut oil as a moisturizer

That's all for now.  So I guess it appears as though we will start with the personal care items huh? 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Microfiber Magic!...Oh and hello again.

Long time no blog! :)

Yes, I stink at blogging. I was busy being pregnant and then busy figuring out how to balance the kid and everyday life.  I still don't have it down quite yet.  Next week maybe...

All I have for you today is a little tip.  It is not a new tip, but one I was hesitant about myself.  So, I am letting you know, I have tried it and it is awesome.  Use microfiber towels on your sweeper instead of the disposable sheets sold in the box.  I thought they wouldn't work as well and the people who suggested it might be those weird frugal people who use (and reuse) old rags as toilet paper. Creepers.

But alas... it works!  And dare I say BETTER than the name brand disposable rags.  The microfiber towels I bought were cheap too ($5 for a pack of 10 at Walgreens...this was a while ago, so I'm not sure if they still have them). 

So, give it a shot.  Considering how much a box of those costs, I think this will add up to be a significant money saver over the course of a year (and not disgusting like the t.p. rags).

Friday, August 19, 2011

What's Baking?

Lately I've been busy baking something extra special. A bun. As in a baby! I am 20 weeks along today (due January 6th) and can not believe we are half way there! We found out last week that we are having a precious little boy. We love you baby and can't wait to meet you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Homemade Pimento Cheese

Recently my husband and I took a weekend trip down to Charleston, SC for a friend’s 60th birthday celebration. The night before the party we took the opportunity to try one of downtown Charleston’s exceptional restaurants. We chose Magnolias and we were not disappointed. My husband was particularly awed by their grilled filet of beef topped with their house made pimento cheese. We had never thought of pimento cheese as a topping for steak and my honey just loved it. So, guess what he requested the next time we grilled steaks?
There are probably many places I could have just picked up some pre-made pimento cheese, but where’s the fun in that? So after perusing various recipes on the internet, I decided on this which I adapted from several different recipes. We both really like how it turned out and we used the leftovers on our sandwiches instead of sliced cheese and other condiments foe the rest of the week. My particular favorite was turkey, pimento cheese and bell pepper.

8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1 c extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
1 c sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/4 c pepper jack cheese, grated
1/2 c light Duke’s mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
4 oz chopped pimentos
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
3 dashes hot sauce
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients except half of the grated cheese in a food processor until smooth.
Once blended put the other half of cheese in the processor and pulse until combined. I like to do leave it a little chunky. If you want it completely smooth that is fine.
Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Red Flannel Hash

I don’t know if I was an overly picky eater as a child, but I do remember not being very open-minded. I wanted to stick with foods I knew. The basics. So, when I saw this bright purple recipe in the latest issue of Cooking Light, and thought, “Wow! That sounds delicious and I would really like to try something different”, it made me think of my Mommy. She spent years trying to get me to try new things with little success. She might even be annoyed at how easily this magazine convinced me to try something so different. Sorry Mom! I think it’s like when you can’t get a new jar open. You try and try and try, but you can’t get it to budge. So, you finally breakdown and ask your husband to help and he pops it open no problem. Psssh! You definitely loosened it for him. Get it Mom? I’m the jar and I guess Cooking Light magazine is your husband? Just go with me on this one. Thanks for loosening my lid Mom!

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 8 ounces ground turkey
• 1 cup chopped red onion
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1/2 small head)
• 2 cups grated beet (about 3 medium beets or 1 to 1-1/2 canned beets drained)
• 1/2 cup water
• 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add beef to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring to crumble.
2. Add onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until translucent.
3. Add cabbage, beet, water, vinegar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook about 10 minutes or until cabbage begins to wilt and liquid almost evaporates. I chose to cook this a little bit longer to make the cabbage a little tenderer. I recommend that you taste the cabbage until it is cooked to your liking. I think I cooked mine for about 15-18 minutes and it still had a bite but was definitely not crispy any more.
4. Spoon 1 1/4 cups hash into each of 4 serving bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon yogurt and 1 1/2 teaspoons dill.

Nutritional Information (thanks Cooking Light for always providing this info!):
Calories 187 • Fat 9.8g (sat 2.2g, mono 6g, poly 1g) • Protein 14.3g • Carbohydrate 12.7g • Fiber 2.9g • Cholesterol 31mg • Iron 1.9mg • Sodium 577mg • Calcium 50mg

Adapted from Cooking Light March 2011 issue

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gooey Butter Cookies

“Gooey” is not an appetizing adjective to me. There used to be an old Taco Bell commercial with the Chihuahua advertising a particularly cheesy burrito and the little dog kept saying, “Gooey, gooey cheese”. I think that’s what did it for me. Take any word, associate it with Taco Bell and it takes away the appeal to me.

However, “gooey” might be moving up a notch or two in my book after making these cookies. These cookies were beyond delicious. Love, love, love them! I think you will love them too.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar for rolling and dusting

  1. In a large bowl with a mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Beat in the egg, then beat in the extract. Beat in the cake mix.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to roll (2 hours to overnight if preparing in advance).
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Place powdered sugar in a bowl set to the side.
  6. Roll chilled dough in to tablespoon size balls and then in the powdered sugar.
  7. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart and bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and gooey.
  8. Cool completely and sprinkle with extra powdered sugar if desired.

Cinnamon Pound Cake

This holiday season was SO busy for us. It was so busy in fact, that I am just now posting some of my favorite recipes that I made.

The goal of this year’s (OK, it’s last year’s now) baking was easy and quick (and preferably delicious). I found this recipe on a fellow bakers
blog. It was a big hit and so easy to make. I am definitely filing this one away for future use! I even found a pretty Christmas wreath shaped bunt pan to use.

  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 yellow butter cake mix (don’t use white cake mix – it has to be butter)
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 8-ounce container sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a bunt pan.
  2. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle half of the mixture in the greased bunt pan – shake it all around to coat the entire pan.
  3. Mix cake mix with pudding, oil, sour cream, eggs and other half of cinnamon/sugar mixture.
  4. Pour into pan and bake for 45 – 50 minutes until springy. Cool for 20 minutes before taking out of pan.