You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2013.

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We’ve been having some crazy weather these past two weeks. One day, its winter. One day, its spring. Lather, rinse and repeat.  We’ve also been pretty busy so there hasn’t been much time to get creative in the kitchen.  In an effort to provide a decently nutritious meal without committing a lot of time, I pulled out the trusty crockpot.

What I created was a soup. I prefer to call it ‘Clean Out The Kitchen Soup’.  Anything in the fridge and pantry that needed to get used up, went in.  How easy and frugal was that?  What I ended up with was a very hearty and flavourful soup which pleased everyone. I’ll just call this a win 😉

Don’t you just love your crockpot?

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FoodWasteFriday

Hooray! Back to no waste again this week. I’m ecstatic about that and being able to see some sort of bare shelf space in the fridge. I like knowing what we have in there vs digging about trying to see.  Everything is visible with a quick glance. *thumbs up*

How’d you do?

On Friday’s, I share what food items that I have ‘wasted’ by letting spoil during the week from forgetfulness and/or neglect. Kristen over at The Frugal Girl has inspired me to publicly post in hopes of reducing waste. (Food Waste Friday is now being co-hosted every other week with Simply Being Mum – pop on over to take a peek!)

In honour of Earth Day, I thought I’d post about a homemade eco cleaner 🙂

One of my favourite scents is citrus.  Especially when it comes to cleaning products. There’s just something about that scent that is very clean and refreshing to me.  (BTW: there’s nothing as awesome as the scent of a freshly cut orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit I tell yas! 😉 )

I have been noticing a lot of homemade orange cleaner recipes popping up all over the internet and since I already had the ingredients on hand, I figured I’d try my  hand at it.  What’s the worst that could happen, it doesn’t work & I have to toss it?  I’d only be tossing pennies away.  Yes. I know they do add up but if this cleaner works – I will be saving a lot more pennies having tried this lil science experiment and slowly replacing store bought cleaners with this thus saving me a small fortune!

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What you will need: 

orange (or any citrus) peels, vinegar and an air tight jar

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Place peels in the bottom of the jar and fill with vinegar. Tighten lid.  You’re done. Yep, that’s it. Easy as pie right?   Now, while I only have one orange’s worth of peels in the jar, I plan on adding more as I continue to eat them until the jar is packed full. I chose to only fill the jar half way because I’m not sure how this will turn out.  (Trying to prevent waste here remember?)

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This needs to sit for two weeks minimum in order to create the yummy smelling magic.  Give the jar a good shake once a day. Apparently the vinegar smell disappears and all that’s left is the awesome orange scent. We’ll see. Is it so wrong that I’m giddy with glee with anticipation?

At the end of two weeks, pour the vinegar mixture through a strainer into a spray bottle. You can either use it at full 100% strength for tough/stubborn messes OR mix with water with a 1:1 ratio. You can use this anywhere where you’d normally use a vinegar cleaner.  Apparently you can re-use the rinds two more times and achieve the same effects but the colour won’t be as strong.

So, I have my jar of rinds going and will report back in about two weeks with my findings and review once I’ve started using it. I can’t wait!!

So tell me, have you ever tried making your own citrus cleaner? How’d it turn out?

FoodWasteFriday

Waaah-waaah! Food waste this week. 😦 There was a surge in grocery shopping at our house this week and in order to make space for everything, I scooped out the last serving of salad, wrapped it up and returned it to the fridge. Without the large tub of salad that normally sits in the fridge, there was plenty of room. Unfortunately the bowl of salad got shoved to the back. (and left to die if you ask me – just sayin’!)  I found it this morning as I was trying to re-organize the fridge and pull forward any leftovers to help ensure they’d get eaten.  It wasn’t a gross watery, moldy mess but it was definitely beyond the point of eating.  So sad about the salad, was hoping to have it for lunch today.

How’d you do?

On Friday’s, I share what food items that I have ‘wasted’ by letting spoil during the week from forgetfulness and/or neglect. Kristen over at The Frugal Girl has inspired me to publicly post in hopes of reducing waste. (Food Waste Friday is now being co-hosted every other week with Simply Being Mum – pop on over to take a peek!)

Cheese was on sale!  The logical thing for me to do was to buy some and process it for future use because this family seems to be in an anti-cheese type mood these days.  Only thing left to do was to shred it and freeze it so we can just pull as needed from the big deep freezer.

(BTW: the sale is over now as you can see by the dates on my baggies but it was $2.99/500gr block of cheese. I picked up 3 blocks: old cheddar, marble & pizza mozzarella.  The deal was too good to pass up!)

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Since someone pointed out to me that the pre-shredded cheese you buy at the grocery store has a powdery substance added to it, I have been waiting for a sale on cheese to make my own.   At least I know it’s just cheese.

Tip: to shred your own, chill the blocks for a good hour before shredding, to make it easier on yourself.

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While the cheese was chilling, I started prep by labeling my baggies with the amount, type of cheese and date it was frozen.  I used sandwich sized Ziploc’s.

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I chose to freeze the cheese in 1c portions as most recipes call for that much if not 2c at a time.  Also, I only use about 1c of cheese when I make homemade pizza 😉  Each 500gr block made bout 6 cups loosely packed.  For some reason my pizza mozzarella only made 5c – maybe it wasn’t as chilled as it should’ve been?

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Once all the cheese was bagged with the air squished out (remember, air is the enemy in the freezer), I rolled/folded the excess bag over to make lil logs.  I placed all them sandwich bags into a medium sized freezer Ziploc and tried to squeeze all the air outta that bag.

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Voila! I now have 17 x 1c portions of cheese ready to be pulled at a moment’s notice. The other bonus, the one freezer Ziploc takes up much less space then one of those pre-shredded cheese bags.

Do you process your own cheese to save money as well?

Just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the victims, families, survivors and unsung heroes of the 2013 Boston Marathon tragedy.

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To mix things up a bit, we decided to go out as a family for dinner vs cooking at home. The bonus (besides not having to cook nor clean up) is eating dishes we’d normally never make at home. =)   Not shown were bowls of steamed white rice to fill in the gaps from all these delicious dishes.

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Broth made from veggies & pork bones
(good way to prime your stomach for some good eats if you ask me)

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Boiled shrimp/prawns served on a bed of bean sprouts
(there was a dipping sauce but I didn’t think the shrimp needed it nor tried it)

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Lamb stew: lamb, dried bean curd and Chinese mushrooms in a delicious broth topped with scallions – served on a burner!

(they gave a plate of lettuce leaves to soak in the broth as well. Yuh-UM!)

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Sauteed snow pea shoots with garlic

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Dessert:  hot soft tofu with a ginger simple syrup

Dontchas just love quality family time? Especially when its over a good meal? 🙂

FoodWasteFriday
Yesterday, I decided to make a huge crockpot full of soup with plenty of vegetables and some bean soup mix I found in the cupboard.   I didn’t put it there but I am not going to waste it.   Having said that – I cleaned out my fridge yesterday of any ‘iffy’ looking veggies. I was ruthless and well that soup is pretty ‘hearty’ as the hubster put it LOL. So because of that soup, I have no waste to report this week! 🙂

How’d you do?

On Friday’s, I share what food items that I have ‘wasted’ by letting spoil during the week from forgetfulness and/or neglect. Kristen over at The Frugal Girl has inspired me to publicly post in hopes of reducing waste. (Food Waste Friday is now being co-hosted every other week with Simply Being Mum – pop on over to take a peek!)

While at the Lindt Chocolate store, I came across a variety that I had never seen nor tried before. I bought a few to share with friends and family and we all did a mini tasting.

I must say, I’d never think to pair champagne with milk chocolate. True to Lindt’s form, the chocolate was very smooth and the champagne aspect was almost awkward? To me it did not taste like any champagne I’ve had before but more along the lines of the alcohol filled chocolates you see around Christmas.

It’s not my favourite but its also not the worst I’ve had.

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Have you tried these before? What did you think of them?

Easter has come and gone.  In my experiences, most that don’t follow the religious aspect of this holiday focus on the marketing of  cute toys and/or traditions of  super delicious treats be it baked or made out of chocolate.

This year the hubster gifted me some new nail polish!  (He’s seen the difference in my hands – as in when the nails are painted, the hand care factor goes up and the sandpaper hands tend to disappear)

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From left to right:

OPI – Sprung / OPI – Miami Beet / essie – Bahama Mama / OPI – Women’s Prague-ative

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I did a quick trial run to check out the new colours and of course I couldn’t decide on which colour to use first. (the colours are in reverse of the  order shown above)

So, whats your pick?

In case you’re wondering, the hubster and I spent Easter visiting friends out of town while attending their ‘Goodbye Party’ as well.  Oh and there may have been a visit to a ‘Sugar Shack’ as well. Mmm….maple syrup!

Today was a nice day. In fact so nice – despite being breezy & overcast – it was 16*C! The hubster and I decided to have friends over for an impromptu BBQ dinner. He even took the time to clean up the grille using Zep Stainless Steel Cleaner. Huge difference after the grille took a beating through the winter. (Note to self: buy a BBQ cover this summer!)

While he was cooking, I used the time to survey our garden beds and saw a beautiful sight which told me Spring was well on its way. I got so giddy with glee that I called him over to see what I found.

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Now if that’s not an indication, I dunno what is. But I do know that it’s time think about our garden for this year!! 🙂

How was you beautiful Sunday?

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