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Old 05-19-2008, 11:48 AM   #106
wdw_dine_junkie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chelley00 View Post
I've started making homemade products of the convenience foods I buy for us to take for lunch to work/schools or for breakfast, and it's really cut back on our budget. Once a week or so, I make a huge batch of waffles, pancakes, granola bars, cookies, muffins, breads, cereal/fruit bars etc and put half in the cookie jars and the other half storage containers in the freezer. As the cookie jars get low, we can pull more out of the freezer. I have invested in a big stash of plastic to-go containers and we use those instead of plastic bags to pack those items in. It takes some time, but I usually do it on Saturday mornings or Sunday evenings and we're set for a week or two.

I bought a ton of white "barkeeper" towels from The Dollar Tree 2 for $1. We're using those instead of napkins, paper towels.


A friend of mine has been making her own laundry soap and is in love with. She sent me the recipe so that's my next project.

Would you mind posting your recipe for granola bars?
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:13 PM   #107
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A lot Great ideas here! I'm gonna try some.
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Old 05-19-2008, 01:19 PM   #108
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I stretch the hand soap a little differently. I had purchased the expensive "foam soap" dispensers from Pampered Chef about a year ago, of course the dang dispenser broke

But the instructions were to fill the bottle about 1/3 of the way with liquid hand soap and the rest of the way with water.

So I found the Dial foam hand soap on sale at Kroger for $1 and bought a few. Instead of throwing away the dispensers once they were emptied, I continued to refill them the same way as the Pampered Chef ones. We've been using them ever since and it stretches one liquid soap refill bottle a LONG way!

I also never use more than 1 lb of ground meat (turkey in our case) for my spaghetti or chili recipes, even though we are feeding 6. To stretch the spaghetti sauce I first saute chopped celery, onion, carrots, and garlic in a little olive oil and then brown the meat with it and add the sauce when its ready. To stretch the chili, I just add an extra can of beans.
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:09 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by wdw_dine_junkie View Post
Would you mind posting your recipe for granola bars?
Here are the 2 I use most often. I got both of these from Allrecipes.com, but tweaked them a little according the reviews. I've added wheat germ or applesauce, dried fruits and nuts, peanut butter and sunflower seeds to both recipes for variety, and I've used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose.


Chewy Granola Bars (more of a cookie type bar)

INGREDIENTS
4 1/2 cups rolled oats (can substitute Rice Krispies for some of the oats to make them a little lighter)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips (I usually leave these out)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9x13 inch pan.
In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter or margarine, honey and brown sugar. Stir in the 2 cups assorted chocolate chips, raisins, nuts etc.
Press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.





Playgroup Granola Bars

INGREDIENTS
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract



DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:13 PM   #110
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A tip I got from this board:

You don't need a full dryer sheet. I rip mine in half and never notice the difference.
I could never do this, I use 2-3 per load I just love the smell..
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:34 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by Motherofboys View Post
To stretch the spaghetti sauce I first saute chopped celery, onion, carrots, and garlic in a little olive oil and then brown the meat with it and add the sauce when its ready.
You just reminded me! A good way to stretch a jar of sauce (in addition to what you're already doing) is to add a can of crushed tomatoes & simmer it all together. Actually if you've done all of that sauteeing & browning already you're well on your way to a quick homemade sauce...just add your crushed tomatoes & some tomato paste. You'll be skipping the sodium & additives in the jarred sauce.

I don't use jarred sauce (I make a huge pot about once a month & freeze it in bags...another budget stretcher ) but my mom used to use this trick when she was working full time & only cooking for the 2 of us.
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:35 PM   #112
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i use butter containers
Me too!! I prefer to keep the ones that don't have writing on them. Great for Jello and to make your own pudding, so much cheaper, and if one gets tossed then o well. I always buy the little butters now.
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Old 05-19-2008, 03:22 PM   #113
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I stopped using the heated dry cycle on my dishwasher and also use the china/crystal setting and cut my washing time from 104 minutes down to 35!

I read earlier in this thread that another poster uses the dryer for only towels and jeans. We hang the jeans to dry and throw them in the dryer when they are fully dry (and hard and stiff) for only 5 minutes, and they soften up as if they were in there a whole hour!

LOVE the tips here, keep them coming!
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Old 05-19-2008, 05:13 PM   #114
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I shop for produce at the Asian markets.

Green onions are 5 for $1 vs 89 cents a piece at the grocery store
Yellow onions 69 cents a lb vs 99 to $1.29
Strawberries are usually a dollar cheaper than regular grocery stores
Pretty much everything is cheaper

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Old 05-19-2008, 08:22 PM   #115
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Another good book for ideas like this is The Complete Tightwad Gazette.
I love this book. I think I still read it once a week. It always has a great idea for something.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:03 PM   #116
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My mom taught me to keep and extra shower pressure rod in my tub/shower. It is pushed all the way back against the wall when not in use, but to dry clothes I just pull or roll it out to the center. It works just like a clothing rod and I hang the clothes on plastic hangers. I can even pull the curtain on the drying clothes so they cannot be seen if I have company. Those rods are pretty cheap too.
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Old 05-20-2008, 12:15 AM   #117
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Questions about all of the good ideas

1. Someone please explain the concept of the SOAK cycle on the washing machine? I have never used it.

2. Rottiemom, (I think that is who it was) Would be willing to share your recipe for Spaghetti sauce?

3. Someone mentioned making cleaning supplies out of vinegar and baking soda. What are the portions and what would I clean with them?

4. Last question, I live alone and struggle constantly with not wasting food. I have run out of freezer space because when I make something I freeze what is left over. And I cannot justify turning on the oven for 1 piece of chicken or steak, etc... After awhile I get burned out eating the same leftovers. Does anyone have suggestions on what I can do differently?

This is a fantastic thread and am definitely going to be subscribing to it.

Thanks for everyone's help.
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:40 AM   #118
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1. Someone please explain the concept of the SOAK cycle on the washing machine? I have never used it.
I use soak when I wash my electric blanket, because it's on the instructions. I also use it when I wash the backdoor rugs, because the dirt gets so ground in.
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:07 AM   #119
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2. Rottiemom, (I think that is who it was) Would be willing to share your recipe for Spaghetti sauce?
It was me & I don't even really have a recipe anymore, per se. I start with sauteeing onions & garlic (occasionally peppers/mushrooms/zucchini/eggplant too) in a stock pot with a little olive oil until soft. Then I add about 4 cans of tomatoes (2 crushed, 2 whole) and a big can of tomato paste. (you can add red wine or chicken broth at this point if you want).Add oregano & basil (fresh if I have it) and a pich of sugar then let it all simmer for a bit on low, stirring to make sure that nothing burns. Instead of adding salt I stir in a little grated parmesean at the end (save the rinds from the parm to toss into the sauce).

For gravy meat- What I like to do is cook some boneless pork ( making sure to brown it) and then toss it into the sauce for the simmer. By cooking it first you remove most of the fat but then adding it to the sauce adds a depth of flavor & makes the pork pretty much fall apart. But you can use ribs or pork chops, too. I always cook the gravy meat separately & then add it in near the end. So I keep things like meatballs & cooked sausage in the freezer, ready for gravy, pizza, calzones, etc. So especially if you're cooking for one, you can toss in a meatball or two right from the freezer.

Quote:
4. Last question, I live alone and struggle constantly with not wasting food. I have run out of freezer space because when I make something I freeze what is left over. And I cannot justify turning on the oven for 1 piece of chicken or steak, etc... After awhile I get burned out eating the same leftovers. Does anyone have suggestions on what I can do differently?.
Do you have a toaster oven? Before my son was born I used to use mine nearly every night to cook dinner for my husband & I. It takes much less time & power to heat than the oven & does a really good job. I could fit a 9" pie plate in mine so things like corningware casserole dishes were no problem. So things like extra chicken would get turned into things like enchiladas or pot pies, beef into shepherds pie & the leftovers all became something different. I could use it to roast peppers, melt cheese for nachos, even bake biscuits. Very, very handy. This might be a good solution for you.
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Old 05-20-2008, 08:11 AM   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoohHappens View Post
My mom taught me to keep and extra shower pressure rod in my tub/shower. It is pushed all the way back against the wall when not in use, but to dry clothes I just pull or roll it out to the center. It works just like a clothing rod and I hang the clothes on plastic hangers. I can even pull the curtain on the drying clothes so they cannot be seen if I have company. Those rods are pretty cheap too.

Thanks for this tip!! I have storage/space constraints and I have no good spot to put a clothes drying rack. Hanging the damp laundry all around the house is driving my family nuts. Especially ds. It's amazing how much you can hang on a set of bunk beds. Anyway, problem solved!! I'm off to buy a second spring rod for the shower!
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