Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mama always said, "Go wash those mitts!"

In a much earlier post, I wrote about how to save some money on soap HERE. That post explained how to turn all of those leftover soap slivers into liquid soap. I have recently discovered a way to stretch this reclaimed investment even further. The current rage in the soap industry is foamy hand soap. Almost every public bathroom soap unit has been changed to dispense foam and you can purchase personal use foam dispensers for your home as well. I am usually a little late for the dance, so I discovered this just recently via one of my Ibotta rebates. Having purchased a bottle of the foamy soap, it quickly ran out in my household of ten. That got me researching how I could refill the dispenser with my own soap solution.

Here's how:

Items needed:
  • 1 foaming soap dispenser (you'll need to purchase one filled and wait until it's been emptied)

Start with any normal, thick, liquid hand soap of your choosing. Fill the empty, foamy soap dispenser about 25% of the way with this soap. Then, add warm water to fill the bottle the rest of the way (leaving a little head room for the plunger to fit back in the bottle without spilling any out). Tighten the plunger and shake the bottle well to mix the soap and water solution.

That's it! All ready to go and tackle those dirty hands.

Friday, May 1, 2015

DIY Clips for Your Chip Bags

Have you ever paid your hard-earned cash for a package of chip clips? I remember paying nearly $10 for a pack of plastic clips at a home kitchen-supplies party. Well, how does FREE sound? A lot better to my ears. Let me show a quick and easy way to do it.

Look in your closet for those plastic hangers that typically hold pants, skirts or shorts on them. You know, the hangers with the clips on either end. 

Using a serrated knife, cut through the plastic of the hanger so that the clip can be separated from the body of the hanger. 

I can usually cut part of the way through the plastic and then snap the remaining part of plastic off cleanly. 

Repeating the process on both sides, you should end up with two clips and the interior body of the hanger (which you can either discard or use for some other re-purpose).

Keep your eyes open in your local super center or department store parking lot because for some reason this type of hanger seems to get abandoned there often. 

One man's trash is another man's treasure!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Saving Big in the Grocery Store with the Ibotta App

This post contains affiliate links.

This topic is a bit out of the kitchen, but still relevant to saving money for the home. I have been couponing for years (long before there were semi-reality shows about it). Yes, I am a guy and I clip coupons to save money. It was my job as a kid to clip the Sunday coupons for mom every week. Now that I'm the family chef and grocery shopper, it seems a no-brainer to continue that tradition. The creation of internet coupons has been a real blessing as far as added savings. 

In recent years, many starry-eyed homemakers are walking the aisles of your favorite grocery stores with huge notebooks full of every coupon they can trade, clip or peel off of every package in the grocery store. I dabbled in this method for awhile until, after stepping back, I realized how much time I was spending clipping, sorting and organizing every month, I decided to give up this effort. Honestly, many of the coupons being offered today are for processed foods which I don't eat anyway. I do still peruse some internet coupons and clip a few that I know I'll buy (usually health and beauty aids).

One money saving option I recently discovered and signed onto is Ibotta. This is a phone app that pays you for purchasing certain grocery items. It's like a reverse coupon. You purchase the listed item that you would have purchased anyway, submit proof of purchase (via your smart phone) and then earn cash back. The app regularly introduces users to products in the hopes of sparking your interest in something new. There are also a fair amount of generic savings on such things as a loaf of bread, 12 pack of any brand of soda, a gallon of white milk or different produce items.

If you connect your account with your friends' Ibotta accounts, you can get additional savings. Together you can form a team and unlock bonuses if you reach established savings goals. In less than 3 months, I have accumulated over $140. That is pretty good savings for stuff I would already be buying. Adding my paper coupon savings on top of that and it's quite a bit of money back in my pocket.

Wanna try it out? Click here to join now.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

QUICK TIP: Turn Leftover Pickled Jalapeno Juice into a Tasty New Condiment

I make salsa a gallon at a time, so I typically need a full can of jalapeno peppers as one of the ingredients. A can of pickled jalapenos usually includes some carrots and onions, so I dice up all of these solids (in the Mexican aisle of the market this condiment is called escabeche). After removing the solids, there is quite a bit of juice left behind. I add a portion of this juice to the salsa because it adds some zip. And in an effort to be thrifty, I save the rest of the juice. I put it in a clean Mexican beer bottle (for effect) and use a shaker top that I removed off of an old vinegar bottle. 

The plastic shaker top fits into a standard beer bottle opening perfectly and it allows you to shake out just the amount you prefer. Use this jalapeno juice in place of a hot sauce. Having had the additional veggies in it, this juice is a bit more flavorful than just plain jalapeno juice. It adds a good zip to your dish.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DIY Repurpose Condiment Bottle Tops

Save the tops from all of your condiment bottles and discover the myriad ways you can re-purpose them. I keep a container of varying sized lids and squeeze bottle tops in a cabinet. Many of the tops are simple screw tops, but a few of them (like those on shaker salad dressing bottles) will need to be pried off. This kind typically can be just as easily popped back into the opening of the new bottle.

So where can you re-purpose these tops?

  • Barbecue sauce bottles typically have a wide, round opening that allow the sauce to pour out rather quickly. I suppose this is less of a problem in a household of adults, but around here over-pouring condiments are a regular issue. I replace our BBQ sauce lids with tops from squeezable bottles which allow the kids better portion control.

  • The plastic screw tops from mayonnaise jars fit nicely on small mason jars. Obviously, these tops won't work for canning, but they are great for storing and you never have to contend with an old rusty lid again.

How can you re-purpose a bottle top?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Feeding Fido Nutritious Whole Food: Making the Most Out of Chicken Legs

Most store bought pet foods are just as junky as the processed foods sold to humans. Read the ingredients. If the first ingredient is not meat, it's trash. Most list the first ingredient as corn meal. Also beware if the meat ingredient is something other than MEAT. Some key words to look for are animal digest (which is what was in the animal's stomach when it was slaughtered), meat byproducts (which can be organs and sinew) or bone meal (which increases the protein content of the food but provides little nutritional value to the food).

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Kefir Cream Cheese and Other Ideas for Adding Kefir into Your Diet: part 2

So now that you have made your first batch of milk kefir following my instructions, what do you do with it? I have personally found a few simple ways to enjoy it. If drinking the kefir, you can try it straight up or add a bit of honey (not too much though because honey has antibiotic properties that will kill the good bacteria). You could also add some chocolate or caramel syrup.

Wanna try something a little more impressive? Make kefir shakes or smoothies. I blend some bananas, blueberries and strawberries into a quart of kefir, adding a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar for extra sweetness. You can also blend any combination of fruit but, stay away from citrus as it will curdle the kefir.