Friday, January 20, 2012

A yummy way to use up those chips.....

My kids have always poked fun at me because I hate to throw things away.  Even food.  After the veggie tray is picked over, I make soup.  When there are only crumbs left in the tortilla bag, I make Taco Casserole.  It is really simple to make and so inexpensive.  Just brown a pound of ground beef along with some chopped onions.  Add a can of tomatoes (I like using my home canned ground tomatoes), a 32oz can of refried beans and spices to taste.  I add salsa for a little spice or peppers, salt, pepper and a little chili powder. Add about a half cup to a cup of water and throw in all those chip crumbs to equal a cup or more.  Top with cheese and bake until the liquid is absorbed.  Yummy!

I dump the remnants of the chip bags into a plastic bag and add to it until I have enough.  I do the same with bread crusts.  You can put frozen bread crust or stale bread in a blender and make crumbs for meat loaf.  You can put it in the oven and toast to be used in stuffing.  You can also butter, toast and season for delicious home-made croutons....

This country throws away way too much food each year.  The trick to reducing the waste is:
1. Buy what you need.  Sometimes buying in bulk is not your friend.

2.  Use your freezer.  Freeze that stale bread or abundance of veggies before they can mold or spoil.

3.  Get creative.  The internet has a wealth of recipes for using your leftovers.

Until next time.....keep saving!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Starting the New Year!

Welcome 2012!  I am so looking forward to starting a new year and putting the old one behind me.  Of course, I know that you all probably have a whole bunch of resolutions.  I know I do.  I resolve to declutter, reuse, and of course, that dreaded four letter word:  DIET.  So I am trying to keep track of my calories, and as I was going through my calorie book, I decided to look at some of my most favorite dining out dishes and see how they would fit into my plan.  Did you know that the Wisconsin Mac and Cheese from Noodles and Co has a whopping 1050 calories????  That is almost my entire calorie allotment.  And the filet of fish and large fries at McDonald's is almost the same!

Well, this got me to thinking about other things that we may overdo.  There are certain things that we wastefully use without even knowing it.  Did you know that a dryer sheet is excessive?  You can actually cut the sheet in half and it will control the static just as well in the dryer.  I keep a scissors on the wall above my dryer so I can cut up the sheets.  It also comes in handy when you have laundered that shirt for the last time.  You know, the one with the torn elbows, or frayed collar, or both.  I still cut off the buttons and save them.

There is also shampoo.  First of all, shampoo does not differ that much from one to another.  Its job is to clean your hair and scalp.  It is a waste to put your money into the expensive brands.  If you want to make your money count, buy a better, sometimes pricier conditioner.  And another trick....this is especially good if you have teenagers at home.  Your shampoo can be diluted as much as 50%.  Water just makes it suds up and teens seem to dump on alot of shampoo in the shower.   If they are going to dump on alot, let it be watered down.  They don't have to know.
If you've got some ideas,  let me know.  One thing about saving doesn't cost anything to share ideas!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I love the Dollar Store!

Just a short post to let you in on my newest dollar store craft idea.  For $1 each, I bought a kitchen whisk and a bag of Christmas chocolates.  I simply squeezed the chocolates into the whisk (they all didn't fit, so I had to sample a few) and placed a cellophane bag around it and added a holiday ribbon and bow.  This is a great gift for a secret Santa, Aunt Millie, or as a hostess gift.  You could add a recipe, an oven mitt, or tie onto a package. 
Gotta run! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Has it really been that long?????

I have really been neglecting my blog because I have been so busy with holiday craft shows and bazaars.  I did a show at Blackstone Country Club, one at Cider Days in Lakewood, Overland High School in Aurora, Red Rocks Country Club in Morrison, Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show at the Merchandise Mart in Denver and now I am at Grandmother's House Holiday Boutique in Centennial.  But one exciting thing has come of all of this....I have been asked to do a segment for Colorado's Best, a noontime show on Channel 2 here in Denver.  I will be showing how to turn regular household items or items that you might find at the dollar store or thrift store and turn them into gifts for even your pickiest person on your list.  Some of my ideas are my snowman muffin tins, my santa paintbrush ornaments, a kitchen kiss whisk, my spindle angels, children's personalized aprons, and so much more.  Tune in on November 23 at noon to see my segment, or check out my other blog for tutorials:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Save those beer bottle caps!

Bottle caps are a big thing with scrapbookers and you can buy them at craft stores or on Ebay.  But I save my own!  The look is different when they have been crimped but they are still cool.  Paint your bottle caps your favorite color and decorate accordingly.  This is a free download of Santa Heads printed on my printer and cut out.  I have a one inch hole punch that I turn upside down to get it perfectly over the picture.  If you don't have a hole punch, you can just cut them out with a scissors.  Glue to dried cap. (inside)  You can decorate however you want!  I use a modgepodge filler to cover the photo and I dip the crimping in glue and glitter.  But there are many things you can do with them!
I added mine to an aged and stamped tag.  You could make a necklace, (maybe a little locket type necklace with your favorite photo inside.)  You might try funky earrings, a collage of photos when mounted to a board, a Christmas ornament, and the list goes on.  Get creative! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall is in the air!

When this time of year rolls around, I think of harvest and Thanksgiving.  Since our garden didn't do as well as normal this year, I made a trip to the local farmer's market and bought enough cukes, tomatoes, and corn for a nice winter stash.  My tip is this:  When shopping at a farmer's market, ask if there are any specials.  Most of the time they are posted, but I missed one.  The market clerk showed me a halfbushel of oversized cucumbers.  Too big for pickling but they were only $2.50!  I took them of course.  They made up nicely into dill and sweet relish.  I just scooped out the seeds and used the rest.  What a deal!

I also made dill and sweet spears and slices, ground tomatoes, salsa, pickled beets, rhubarb, corn relish, and bread and butter pickles.  I processed over 100 jars and had to freeze some of the tomatoes.  So here is another tip:  Be sure to save all of your jars and rings.  They can be kind of pricey buying new each year.  You can also find them at garage sales but just be sure there are no chips along the rim.  You MUST replace the lid each year though. 

Another tip is to save all of those plastic butter, cool whip, cottage cheese, etc, containers.  If you are like me, you save them and they soon become overwhelming so you throw them out.  I have learned to put them in a large garbage bag that I keep in my basement.  They are great for freezing you many veggies in.  For instance, last year I made so many loaves of zucchini bread that when I met someone new, I would say, "Glad to meet you.  Want some zucchini bread?"  Then I started using these throw away containers.  I shredded the zucchini and measured it out into one batch sizes and labeled and froze.  I also did this with pumpkin. 

Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not too old to try something new.....

I had quite the experience last week.  We were moving from one construction yard to another and we have greatly downsized.  We decided to sell some of the scrap metal rather than move it or dump it.  I had no idea!  This is a huge business.  On the first load, we were unloaded by the CLAW.  Yep, it looks just like one of those claw devices where you try to pick up the stuffed animals only it was like 1000 time bigger.  We had all sorts of scrap metal.  The claw threw it up on a huge pile of bed springs, washing machines, cars and other assorted junk.  On the second trip, we (Scott, my son, and I) loaded up aluminum cans and copper wire.  There was a huge line to get in.  It was so entertaining!  There was a truck a couple of slots ahead of us.  There were three men in this compact truck.  I assume they were out of gas because they shut the truck off and pushed it forward each time the line moved.  Behind us was an old van full of what we called Hippies, who obviously did not have air conditioning.  They were using rags to wipe their arm pits.  There was a literal soccer mom, who drove a van with a soccer goal strapped to the top.  My favorite though, was the older man on a bicycle who had a very new-looking lawn mower strapped to the top. 

Though it was hard work and very hot, I had an enjoyable time and pocketed around $700 for our efforts.  I believe I will go back!  Next time, with my camera!