Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Frugal and All Natural Home Remedies

Lat night I couldn't sleep because I had a wicked case of the dry winter skin itches. A very good friend of mine told me that you could put oatmeal inside of an old stocking or knee high and tie it up nicely and use it in the bath for itchy skin. Well this turned out to be just the sanity saver that I needed last night and it worked like a charm. This got me thinking about other all- natural, chemical free and of course frugal home remedies and these are the things that came to mind...

Ginger Root for tummie troubles: take a piece of ginger root and grate about 1 tsp or more if you like. boil some water, add grated ginger root, boil about 5 min., set aside and let cool, strain out ginger root and enjoy. It has a tangy lemony flavor. You could also use ginger tablets or ground ginger.

Use Rice to make a heating pad. Use an old tube sock and fill it full of any type of rice you have on hand. Tie a nice tight knot in the top and put in the microwave for a few min. You have an instant heating pad. I have gone a step further in my home and used an old terry cloth robe and sewed up a good size heating pad. These retain heat for quite some time.

Lime Juice for dandruff: Shampoo your have like you normally would and then in the last rinse use some lime juice. This will remove dandruff and make your hair nice and shiny.

Frugal Hot Oil treatment: 2Tbsp. olive oil, 2Tbsp. Veg. oil, heat until just warm. Spread on wet hair, especially around the ends, Wrap your hair in a warm towel (fresh from the dryer) for 30 min to 1hour. shampoo and rinse.

I keep Tea Tree oil on hand for many things to include: head cold or stuffy nose (add a few drops to about 4 cups of warm water, drape your head and bowl with towel and breath deeply),you can add a few drops to your regular shampoo to combat dandruff, add a drop to your skin on a bug bite, Boils, cysts, and acne, use a warm compress to open the pore and them apply tea tree oil directly to the area. Please keep in mind that if you have sensitive skin you may not be able to use tea tree oil. There are hundreds of uses for this oil, but these are some that I actually have used.

These are just a few of the frugal home remedies that I have used. What works for you?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Not Going to the Store and an Easy Frugal Bread Recipe

I peered into my bread basket this morning and what did I see.... Well nothing and that had me immediately thinking that I should run to the grocery store and while I was there I could also pick up some more fresh fruit and......... I am sure that if I had chosen to go to the grocery store this morning I would have come back home with a minimum of $30 worth of items. Instead I took a walk in the cool morning air and thought about the ways that I could make do with what I have and not go to the store and here is what I came up with..

When I got back home from my walk I went over and opened the pantry door and examined it's contents. I noticed that I had some dried fruits (raisins and apricots), applesauce, can fruits and veggies, and plenty of flour among other things.

I felt like I needed to pick up some fresh fruit because I like for my oldest to have a fresh fruit in his school lunch bag. Well whats wrong with apple sauce, dried fruits and can fruits? Absolutely nothing. OK solved that issue. What about the bread???

A few years ago I found a recipe that was published by Amy Dacyczyn (Tightwad Gazette) called Easy Cuban Bread, perfect for the occasion and completely easy and quick to make.

Easy Cuban Bread : Yields 2 loafs

5-6 cups all purp flour (you can use whole wheat or even a combination)
2Tbsp. dry yeast
2Tbsp. sugar
1Tbsp. salt
2cups hot water
1Tbsp. sesame or poppy seeds (optional)

Mix 4 cups of flour with yeast, sugar, and salt. Pour in hot water and beat for 100 stokes. stir in remaining flour until dough is no longer sticky. Knead for 8 min. (I set a timer and let my kids do this:) Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise for 15 min. Punch down. Shape into 2 round or rectangular loafs, place on baking sheet. Cut an "X" in the top of each loaf (if using round loaf) brush with water and sprinkle with seeds if you have any. Place on mid shelf in a cold oven. Place a cake pan of water on the low rack in the oven. Heat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 40-50 min.

The smell is divine!!! Enjoy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

An easy chili powder recipe

Upon filling my crock pot this morning for my delicious pot of chili beans I realized that I did not have an chili powder. So whats a girl gotta do... Hit the web for a quick easy chili powder recipe. I found this recipe on southern foods. I will let you know how it turns out:

An easy homemade chili powder recipe.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder

Preparation:Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

Here is what I plan on feeding my hungry brood this week:

Breakfast: Banana Smoothies made with soy milk, Homemade pan bread with honey
Lunch: Leftovers or PBJ sandwich
Dinner: Large pot of Chili beans with fresh chopped onion and sweet cornbread, sweet tea

Breakfast: Baked oatmeal with chopped apples and milk
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Chicken cacciatore with brown rice, green beans, crusty homemade bread, sweet tea

Breakfast: Toast with egg, orange wedges, milk
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Texas Cowboy Pie ( mashed potatoes topped with shredded B-Q beef topped with cheese and baked in oven) sweet peas, fresh warm homemade rolls, sweet tea

Breakfast: Homemade cinnamon raisin muffins with milk
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Split pea soup with a nice warm loaf of crusty bread, sweet tea

Breakfast: Hot Grits and toast with jam, scrambled eggs, milk
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Pizza Night (every Friday) Spicy chicken pizza, carrot sticks, sweet tea

Breakfast: Pancakes with homemade (cheap) syrup, milk
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, homemade yeast rolls, sweet tea

Breakfast: Sausage Biscuits, juice and milk
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Barbecue Chicken (crock pot), southern batter bread, sweet peas, sweet tea

Lunches are always leftovers or sandwiches, I do add a piece of fruit and fresh veggies if I have any on hand. My oldest son takes a bag lunch to school and I always pack his lunch immediately after dinner with leftovers.

Snacks.. We snack on popcorn that we pop on the stove, fruit, veggie sticks, raisins, chocolate milk, cinnamon toast, PBJ sandwiches

Drinks are always Milk, sweet tea, water and the baby gets apple juice with dinner.

Stretching Meats and Adding Volume to your food

I have a family full of very hearty eaters. Putting a pound of meat on my table with a vegetable and a bread would be gobbled up quickly leaving my husband and boys looking for a second dinner. This left me looking for frugal and healthful ways of stretching our meat and our budget. Here are some of the ways that I have found to add volume and sneak in more nutrition in my family's food:

Soups and stews are always good ways to stretch your budget. I often have a large crock pot of soup cooking on Saturdays. I go through my fridge and freezer for leftovers and vegetables that need to be eaten. These are great with a homemade bread. These make the house smell divine!

Rice is a fantastic way to plump your dinners. The possibilities are endless. I always use rice combined with ground beef or turkey to make tacos and burritos. Another family favorite is fried rice. This is the ultimate frugal dish. Add a few tablespoons of oil (sesame is the best but anything that you have on hand would work) to a large skillet add your veggies (any leftovers, frozen peas, carrots, onions etc.) also add in your left over meat and rice. Then crack and egg and add 1-2 tbsp. soy sauce to taste, ginger if you have any. Get wild and crazy with this, there is no wrong way to make this and it is always very filling.

Pasta is a guilty pleasure mine and also another great way to make a large filling dinner. Go ahead and stir your pasta sauce into the noodles and not on the side. This helps our family out, they tend to get a little heavy handed with the sauce ladle. Add pasta to soups and stews to make more filling.

Potatoes, who doesn't just love potatoes. Potatoes often fill a void when making soups and stews, but also they can be added to casseroles and even served as the main course with a veggie and meat filling. I like to buy small beef roasts when they are on sale, put it in my crock pot and then load in the potatoes, carrots, onions and any other suitable veggies that I have on hand. This along with a nice crusty bread will put a smile on a big burly mans face. (OK, well at least for my big burly man it does:)

Beans, beans, beans. I use to turn up my nose to beans, but I have found them to be a delicious, healthy, and filling way to get the most out of my food dollars. Once a week I cook a large pot of beans with a small piece of smoked or salt cured meat and spices with a homemade bread. Beans are also very versatile and can be used in soups, stews, salads, casseroles, main dish, stirfrys, and the list goes on and on...

Oatmeal can also be used to stretch meat. You can add it to meatballs, stir in a handful while browning ground beef. I often add it to meatloaf. If you don't tell your family it is there they will never notice!

Well this is one way that I stretch our hard earned food dollars. What do you do?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Welcome to Frugal Family Blog!

Welcome to my goal here is to encourage the modern family to appreciate, maintain, and use the items that you already have, and to explore the many different ways to be frugal. I am also on a personal mission to cook good healthy food while being on a small budget. I will be posting my family’s menus and recipes along with my weekly grocery bill totals. I normally spend about $50 per week for grocery and paper goods for my family of four. I am a work at home Mom of two who is tired of the chaotic way that most Americans live and consume. I have decided to work from home on a part-time basis while my Husband works full time outside the home. We have 2 boys, one who is 10 in school and a 2.5 year old. I have been on this adventure for almost a year now and I have discovered many new ways to stretch our hard earned income. I also have an interest in all things green and sustainable. I will post on these topics as they relate to being frugal. I am very excited about starting this blog and I hope that you will come back daily to see what’s new and feel free to make comments and share your ideas and feelings on the posts.