Saturday, October 30, 2010

Personal Care Products From Your Pantry

With a total spending budget of 250 dollars per month there is not much left after food to spend on fancy toiletries. Over the last few months I have come across some recipes and ideas in various magazines and books. Here are some I have tried and found to work and actually enjoy. I feel like I can pamper myself without going to the drug store and spending loads of money on items.

  • Homemade facecloths. I cut up an old t-shirt into 6 inch squares and use it for make up removal or lotion application. It not only uses something I was tossing out but also is reusable! Just throw it in the wash and use again.
  • I tend to have dry skin. Very dry skin. Using coconut oil for cooking one day I got it on my hands. I rubbed it in and had such smooth skin! Now I use it as a moisturizer for trouble spots such as my feet, elbows and hands. At night occasionally I will put it on my feet then place socks on them. When I take them off I have such soft skin! It is like a spa treatment if I set those stockinged feet on a  hot water bottle.EFAGold Coconut Oil, Extra Virgin, Organic, 16 oz. Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil 54 oz Barlean's Organic Oils Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 16-Ounce Jar
  • Homemade aromatherapy- place a pot of water on the cook top or put water in a mini crock pot and let come to a low simmer. Add any of the following items or combination of: a cinnamon stick, drops of vanilla extract, 5-10 drops of essential oil, or a lemon wedge. Your house will soon smell like the warm scented water.Crock-Pot 32041-C 16-Ounce Little Dipper, Chrome
  • Mayo is a terrific skin conditioner. I use it on occasion on my face. Eggs help firm the skin, the vinegar balances the pH and oil adds moisture. Works as a great chemical free makeup remover too.Mayonnaise, Certified Organic, 32 fl. oz. jar
  • Get rid of eye puffiness with yesterdays black tea bags. Place cold or luke warm bags over each eye for 10-15 minutes. I great addition to a relaxing bath time.
  • A homemade dandruff treatment is steeping 1 heaping tablespoon of fennel seeds in boiling water and let sit until the water is at room temp. Strain seeds and pour the "tea" over your hair after you shampoo. No need to rinse!
I welcome any of your ideas for other pantry treatments for personal care products. Anyone have any to share?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tips for saving money on groceries

These are the last of my current grocery shopping tips. They can be applied to organic or non organic shopping.

  • Being a frugal shopper sometimes means you have to go overboard on purchases when items you use frequently go on sale. If organic free range chicken is on sale at Fred Meyer I buy 5-6 of them ( clearance price is 50 percent off) and freeze them!
  • I make and mash or grind my own baby food. It is really as simple as roasting a sweet potato and blending it up or peeling a ripe avocado and cutting it small. Nutrition at it's best. While we have been on vacation this week I cut up dates into small pieces from the local farmers market. On sale I have found pre-made organic baby food for 79 cents per bottle a good price for packaged, but compare that to the 50 cents I paid for an organic sweet potato that made me 2 cups worth of baby food!
  • Just say no to junk food. Even "organic" supposedly "healthy" pre-packaged food. It is usually expensive and high in calories. Instead make your own popcorn, Popsicles and cookies, They usually taste better anyways. Plus you know what's in them because you put it there.
  • Cold cereal can be a  budget killer. Especially the organic healthy stuff. Sure if you have a coupon you can pair with a great sale, go for it! But if not the most frugal healthy thing to do is find the best deal in town on organic oatmeal and serve that to your family. Dress it up with yummy toppings such as nuts, honey and dried cranberries. You know just like at Starbucks only you won't have paid 2.50 for it!Cascadian Farm Organic Cinnamon Crunch Cereal, 10.3-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 4)Steel Cut Oats Pinhead Oatmeal - Bulk 50 Pound Bag
  • This tip I have had fun with. Create your own personal pricing guide in a small notebook keep track of prices of items you buy on a weekly to monthly basis. Compare prices at all your local and online supermarkets. Keeping track of prices in a journal enables you to figure out where the items are cheaper and know if a sale or bulk prices really is a good deal. An easy way to start your guide is to keep your register receipts for when you have time to sit down and write out the items with prices. Writersblok Bamboo Small Notebook, Ruled, Pack of 4, 3.25 x 5-Inches (WBB701)
Always remember though "waste not, want not." It's one thing to stock up on great deals but make sure you can use it or store it. It's not such a good deal if you end up tossing it in the garbage.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Frugal Fall Tips Part 3

This list focuses primarily on how to save money on your food budget. Here are some things I have learned over the past 10 months.

  • Make more meatless dishes. If you are like the accountant and don't want to do without, use meat as flavor enhancers rather than the main course. Add chopped meat to pasta, omelettes, rice, salads and stew. You will have fantastic flavor and cut down on your grocery bill. I can cook one whole organic five pound chicken fryer and get three meals and chicken stock out of it.
  • I have found a well stocked pantry of rice, quinoa, beans (cooked and frozen or canned), pasta, jarred spaghetti sauce, onions, and garlic provides for a quick easy effortless meal when I am in a pinch. When I don't feel like cooking and am tempted to spend money I shouldn't on a pizza or teriyaki I use one of my fall back foods: beans and rice enchiladas or brown rice pasta and jarred spaghetti sauce.
  • Another way to save is limit your grocery store trips. It's those "little" items and multiple trips that increase your grocery bill. I make a conscious effort to just make do and substitute in recipes.
  • This past year I have made an effort to stock up on fruits and veggies in season then blanch and freeze them or can.
  • I am new to meal planning. It seems to take time to perfect but as I having to figure out how to do it, I am finding that I am making better use of what I have and decreasing my food bill. Here is what I have discovered. Count up how many dinners, lunches and breakfasts you and family will be eating at home or packing, Cross reference your pantry with what's on sale at the grocery store and plan your recipes from there.

In my pursuit of living more frugally I have checked quite a few books out from the library. Here are some I recommend on saving money:

365 Ways to Live Cheap: Your Everyday Guide to Saving Money365 Ways to Live Cheap: Your Everyday Guide to Saving Money

I highly recommend using your local public library to check out these books!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

3 Affordable Nutritious Foods

The top bang for your buck nutritious foods are eggs, beans and quinoa. These foods are affordable on a tight organic food budget. I can buy a dozen eggs from a lady down the street for three dollars, a pound of organic beans for $1.69 per pound and organic quinoa for approximately $7 for 4 pounds at Costco. These three foods are my fall back foods at the end of a pay period when supplies are running low. I always have them on hand. Often pairing them with brown rice or fresh organic veggies. For the accountant I often use beef broth or chicken broth to enhance the flavors with meat.

Cheap, nutritious meal ideas are:

- breakfast for dinner. scrambled eggs with toast
- beans and rice in tortilla wraps
- breakfast egg wraps
- stir fry with quinoa and fresh veggies
- bean soup
- meatless bean chili
- quinoa salad
- crustless quiche
- omelette
- green salad with brown rice

Monday, October 25, 2010

Potato Kale Soup

 I wanted to make a soup with the homemade chicken stock I had so I decided on potato kale soup because that's what I had in my fridge left over from last week's Klesick box. I love soup this time of year. It warms you from the inside out! This serves 6-8 people, freezes well. Prep time is 40minutes to an hour.

  •  Ingredients: 1 bunch of kale, steamed
  • 2 Tablespoons of organic extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1 organic leek ( all my mentioned veggies are from Klesick or Fred Meyers)
  • 2 organic shallots (feel free to use two onions in place of the shallots. These were what I had.)
  • 3 organic carrots
  • 2 organic celery stalks
  • 1 small jalapeno
  • 5 medium to large potato's, washed and chopped but not peeled
  • 9 peeled, crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt
  • 1 cup of the milk of your choice ( I used organic Almond Milk)
  • 6 cups of chicken broth if homemade (4 cups of store bought plus two cups of water)
First Steam your Kale. The soup will taste to strongly of Kale if not steamed first.

 In a separate pot on the stove top place the coconut oil. Turn heat to medium and melt the oil. Then place the leek, shallots (or onions), garlic, and celery in the pot. Cook until onions or shallots are translucent.

Then add the carrots, potatos, spices and water. DO NOT add the steamed Kale yet. Simmer until potatos are soft.

Then add the Kale. Simmer for five minutes. Take about half the soup and puree it with the milk of your choice (about a cup of milk) then add it back to the pot. Simmer for 5 more minutes then serve! The only thing the accountant asked was "where is the meat". My reply "we are meatless tonight but it is made with chicken broth!" That satisfied him and he said. "Oh this is good!"

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