Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Leftover Bread

One of the pitfalls of making your own bread is that it goes stale pretty quickly - usually within about 2-3 days.  Alas!  My heart distresses over waste! (Yes, I'm embellishing a bit :)  Anyway, when my bread is going stale, I just go ahead a replace it with a fresh loaf and slice up whatever is left of the stale and put it in the freezer in a big (gallon or 2 gallon) size ziploc bag.  You see stale bread is perfect for french toast  or bread puddings or those casseroles that require stale bread.  I personally love to use my stale bread for french toast in order to create my favorite concoction ever - the Monte Cristo!  And with a sandwich like that, you need your bread to hold up a little :)

If you want to know what to do with the bread loaf heels - buzz them in the food processor and freeze them - you now no long have to purchase bread crumbs!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Syrup Update

I don't know how may people actually try some of the things I post up here, but I hope a few people do.  A few months ago, I posted a Homemade Syrup recipe.  Now, I actually use this recipe and I will say that I haven't purchased pancake syrup in about 6 months - but I have also learned a few things about doing this that I would like to share:
  • don't place syrup into jar until it is completely cooled or you will have crystallization issues (of course if you are a homeschooler and need a science project, this a perfect example of crystallization project)
  • If you over-sugar the mix in order to get it really thick, you will get crystallization because a liquid mixture can only hold a certain percentage of sugar molecules before they start reforming again, when the mix is heated, it can hold more molecules, when it cools, if it is too concentrated, they will reform.
  • If you get crystals and don't want to waste the syrup, put the liquid and the crystals back in a pan with some water and reboil (I love organic chemistry).  then you can cool again to package, or serve warm.
  • If you serve the syrup warm or hot, your pancakes don't cool down very much while eating
Okay, that's about it for the kinks I've noticed in doing this - enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010


This is my new go-to books website.  You just type in the name of your book (or ever how much you can remember of it) and it pulls the list for you.  You click on the correct title and wha you get is not a file on 1 book (like Ebay), but a list of all of the books of that title and edition for sale listed by condition.  For instance, if you type in 'Nourishing Traditions' you get a few book covers to choose from, you click on the one you want and then your list pops up.  You get several listed under new, very good, good and acceptable.  There are also further descriptons available and you can see how sellers are ranked with the star system just like ebay.  You also pay with paypal.  I have purchased several books from them and so far I highly recommend it as a go-to source so you don't have to pay full price for a book you may need to buy rather than just rent at the library.  Of course finding it at the thrift shop is still cheaper most of the time, but you have to ravel to many and dig and you still may not find it.  I have a long term list for things to pick up 'just in case I see it on a thrift shop shelf' but more urgently needed items I get at half.com

****Correction - I was mistaken!  You can't use paypal - I hope you can soon though :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Proofing Bread

I am a breadmaker, and by that I mean that I make bread several times a week.  I can honestly say that so far in 2010 my family has not eaten commercial bread except for hot dog and hamburger buns - Partly because when i made my hot dog buns, my dough didn't rise for a looooong time and I ran out of time and had to buy some.

Anyway, I used to use the 'proofing bread' setting on my oven from time to time to control the temp so that my dough would rise properly, but now I use a different method.  Instead of leaving my oven on for 1 hour at the proofing bread temp, I just turn my oven on at 350 for 2 minutes and then shut if off.  The oven gets warms enough without geting hot, and the stays warm long enough to get the job done!  and of course it uses less electricity.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stainless Steel Cleaner

I have a lot of stainless steel appliances, and they need to be cleaned A LOT!  Stainless steel cleaner is pricey - usally about $4 a pop, so I have been working with some things I alredy have in my home that are cheap, environmentally friendly and kid friendly.  Oh yeah, and I don't want it to streak - turns out white vingear in water (1:20) does a good job, and so far, no streaks.  Cheap, easy, and if the kids get into  it and drink some - no worries!

**Ooops - 1:10 on the vinegar and water, course you can go higher if you need it!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For parents of active little girls

I have found that my youngest daughter loves to wear dresses! With the extremely cold weather...she has to wear some sort of covering on her legs. Tights are pretty, but my daughter loves to play hard! Tights are expensive, especially if your child is very active. Almost every time she wears tights, a hole appears. Our solution is to put on pants under those everyday dresses. They are easier for children to pull up & dress themselves, plus they offer more warmth than tights and are extremely durable. We save the tights for church or other more formal occasions. We have also found that when some dresses still fit up top, but are getting a little too short in the length, Using the pants helps extend the life of the dresses as well. Too-short dresses worn with pants or leggings (that you already have!) is so practical!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Experiment & Cream Cheese

Well, the shampoo is a bust, my hair felt nasty and I had to wash it with regular shampoo - I will have to work on that formula.

The Dollar Tree cream cheese was okay - the texture is not as smooth as regular cream cheese.  I used it in a recipe where it was melted and it did just fine.  I have not baked with it, and since there are texture differences, I probably won't.  It doesn't spread very well either, it crumbles.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

15% off at Gap

Had to go to gap tonight and get hubby dear some workpants, at the check out the cashier gave me a slip of paper to fill out a survey online for a 15% coupon - I did it and I got it, it took me all of 7 minutes to complete.
I have been watching some of those 'how things are made shows' on HD TV in the past couple of days, and I'll tell you, it's a bit scary to see what goes into our food, bath, beauty and even cleaning products.  So, over the next couple of months I will be performing some experiments in my home and on myself and I'll let you know how it goes.   I don't know if they will all be money saving because some of the conventional products I'll be substituting for are dirt cheap because of the cheapness of the chemicals they are made from.  They WILL however, be cheaper than the organic or all natural variations you could go buy in the store.

Experiment #1 - Shampoo
  • Have you ever really looked up what those chemicals are in your favorite shampoo? - Well, i would suggest that you do so you know how many carcinogens you are putting on you very vascular scalp while it's pores are wide open.  
  • My mix:  2oz castile soap, 2 tbsp baking soda, 1 tsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp glycerin
  • test time - 7 days (will be used for every shampoo)
  • hair type - for those of you who have never seen me, my hair is average texture, slightly thicker than average, shoulder lenght, not colored, and curly (well, not keri russel curly , but maybe the julia roberts slightly more than wavy type of curly - something along those lines)
  • I will not be using a conditioner or any other styling product during this time EXCEPT a curling iron when needed and a little hairspray.  no gels, foams, creams, glossers, puttys, etc.
Anyone else ever done anything like this?  What were your results?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year Thrift Shop Sales

With Christmas and New Year's comes decluttering - and therefore, the thrift shops are abounding with donated goods and having sales.  Just today I went thrift shopping and the sales were 50% all clothing or bag sales or basket sales with all the items in the bag or basket for $5.  I loaded up one with 5 tops and a book that I had been wanting for a while, all for $5.  The book was Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon which you normally have to pay at least $15 for plus shipping - so I was psyched to say the least!!!!

So take your want/need/wish list and hit the thrift shops and save some dough!