Posted on 19 February 2013 by noelskitchen
This year, as our family decides to live more frugal, we decided on kicking it up a notch in our composting. We’re looking forward to a bigger and better family garden this year and that’s going to require us to pay more attention to the soil we grow our foods in. All those wasted food scraps that didn’t go to the chickens, will be re-purposed as wonderful organic compost. I’ll also be a little curious on how much less garbage we put out (it’s usually a lot) and how much more recycling we have each week.
Right now, I’m re-purposing an old Folgers coffee canister placed on our kitchen counter to save our kitchen scraps. When it’s full, we’ll take it to the garden. To keep it fresh smelling without all those nasty odors, I’m using my baking soda shaker to sprinkle in every once in a while to balance the chemicals and reduce odor.
Here’s a list of what kitchen scraps we’ll be saving for composting:
- Peels and rinds from fruits and vegetables
- Coffee grounds (we don’t have paper filters but you could compost those too)
- Tea bags and tea grounds
- Paper towels, paper napkins, brown paper grocery bags (use these all the time in the garden to keep weeds away)
- Cardboard boxes
- Egg shells and egg cartons (not the Styrofoam ones)
- Stale bread
- Potato peels
- Old newspapers
Just throw all of your scraps into your kitchen counter top compost bin, coffee canister or bucket and empty into the compost pile once it is full. Just make sure to “stir” your kitchen compost frequently while it “cooks” to give it a little air–you can also add a little dirt/soil from the garden to the mix to speed up the process and minimize smell.
Saving those kitchen scraps is just another way our family is living more frugal these days. How about you? Is your family saving kitchen scraps for compost?
Posted on 17 February 2013 by noelskitchen
So far my grocery budget has worked well. I haven’t had to run to the grocery store for anything yet but I noticed we were running low on milk. When we had our second fridge/freezer in the garage, I was able to purchase milk and store half gallons in the freezer. Since that fridge/freezer broke down and it wasn’t worth the money to fix, I’ve been just using the one in the house. So when it comes to buying milk, I’m down to just buying two gallons.
So with just a little bit of milk left in the fridge, I decided to give powdered milk another try. I tried it before with just straight powdered milk and couldn’t fool my kids and had to use it just for cooking with because they wouldn’t drink it. This time, I’m trying a mixture of 1/2 powdered milk and 1/2 real milk to see if they notice. So what do you think the odds are of them noticing the 50/50 mixture?
Clearly, I won’t tell my kids about this little experiment. So after I mixed the 2% milk with the powdered milk, I used a permanent marker and put a black dot on the milk jug and placed it into the fridge to get cold.
I’ll let you know later in the week how my experiment goes. Hopefully, they won’t notice the difference and this will be an ongoing way to frugally save on our grocery budget.
Does your family drink powdered milk? Do they like it or not like it?
Tags: Baking Soda, DIY, Frugal Living, Green Living, Handy How To's, Make It At Home
Posted on 12 February 2013 by noelskitchen
I no longer use those harsh chemicals to clean my home. I’ve become quite the green living guru when it comes to the cleaning products I now use in my household. First, I started making my own laundry soap and then I started using easy to use homemade cleaning products that are right in my pantry.
Baking Soda: Good for Cleaning and Economical
Baking soda is my frugal handy household helper and something that I always have on hand in the pantry and I use it quite frequently around my house especially in the kitchen. It’s inexpensive and it has no harsh odor smell when cleaning. Shake a little bit in a pot for soaking overnight, use as a mild abrasive to scrub my kitchen sink or as a deodorizer for my kitchen compost bucket that’s sitting on the counter. Open up a small box in your fridge and freezer and it keeps those nasty odors away. I use it on all my cutting boards with a little bit of water and lemon juice so my board always stays nice, fresh and clean.
How To Make A Baking Soda Shaker
Simple! I had an extra parmesan cheese shaker sitting in the cupboard and filled it with baking soda. Or if you have a mason jar handy, fill it with baking soda, screw on the lid and find yourself a hammer and large nail. Tap a few holes in the top and Voila! A baking soda shaker. I place mine on the kitchen window sill next to the herbs and my flower pot.
Considering the cost of baking soda (I can get a 5 lb. container at the Cash and Carry supply store for just $4.39) and the diversity of use, I consider baking soda to be one of the best bargains out there.
What are your frugal cleaning tricks in the kitchen? Do you have baking soda shaker?
Tags: Bleach Pen, Frugal Living, Handy How To's, Homemade Cleaning Products
Posted on 09 February 2013 by noelskitchen
In previous posts, I mentioned that our family will be living more frugally these days. Not only do I make my own breads, butter and jams but I’ve tried my hand at making laundry soap from scratch and cleaning supplies. So I was excited when I found a great frugal way to make my own bleach pen/dispenser to get rid of laundry stains using an ingredient I had on hand in my pantry–Cornstarch.
Frugal Kitchen Ingredient Spotlight:
Cornstarch has many culinary uses, but it is most often used as a thickener for sauces, gravies and fruit pie fillings. Cornstarch thickens very quickly and easily, and forms a clear sauce after cooking, rather than an opaque one. It has roughly twice the thickening power of flour, and while it is flavorless after cooking, it does need to be cooked for a short period to remove any starchy flavor from the starch, as well as to give the mixture it is used in a chance to thicken.
How To Make Your Own Bleach Gel Pen/Dispenser
I don’t use bleach pens on a routine basis frankly because I think their too expensive and don’t last very long. But they are great for stains on clothing and cleaning grout. So being able to make my own for just pennies to me is thrilling! Plus, I’ll be recycling my used up dish soap container to store it in. Nothing goes to waste when your living frugal.
Here’s how to make your own bleach pen/dispenser:
In a saucepan, add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch to a cup of water. Stir until completely dissolved. Place mixture on stove and continue stirring until it comes to a boil and then turn the stove off. The mixture will become quite thick.
Allow mixture to COOL COMPLETELY…then add 5 to 6 Tablespoons of bleach. It should result in a nice gel, like the one you can see in this picture below.
If yours is thicker or thinner…just adjust water and/or cornstarch until you achieve the result you are looking for. (I took this picture of the gel on a brown paper bag so you could see how thick it gets.)
Pour mixture into an empty squeeze bottle or empty dish soap dispenser for dispensing.
Just imagine how much you can save by making your own bleach gel pen/dispenser!
Just imagine how much you can save by making your own bleach gel pen/dispenser!
Tags: Buying In Bulk, Cooking From Scratch, Frugal Cooking, Frugal Living Tips
Posted on 08 February 2013 by noelskitchen
Beans are a great asset to the frugal kitchen. Keep several pounds on hand for a cheap protein and a delicious frugal family meal.
I always have a variety of dried beans on hand to cook with in my pantry because cooking with dried beans costs substantially less than purchasing the canned beans and I can control the ingredients and amounts of preservatives, etc. that goes into the beans.
I usually buy enough beans to fill up my containers that I keep on top of my fridge which usually lasts our family 5 to 6 months sometimes longer. I soak and cook 4 to 6 cups of beans every week. (Hey, we can’t be eating tri-tip steak or other fancy meals every night!) I make bean soups, chili, burritos, salads that are just as good. And if I find that I don’t have the time to throw beans in the crock pot, after I soak and drain them, I’ll place them in quart size freezer bags and label them “ready for crock pot”. That way, when I do have the time, I just have to pull them from the freezer and cook.
Soaking the beans is always a key step regardless of the cooking method you choose. Make this your weekly ritual like it is for me. If you forget to soak the beans overnight, they can be soaked for 2-3 hours in the morning.
They’re frugal and a good family meal.
Do you cook with dried beans? Want to give them a try?