Sunday, January 25, 2015

Homemade Laundry Soap

I started making this when my husband was in graduate school. It was cheap and easy. I really stuck. I only have to make it every 9 months or so. My kids think it is fun to make. I can find everything at the grocery store for less than $25. Or a kit is available on amazon. You can add essential oils for a custom smell.

Homemade Laundry Soap

1 box of washing soda

1 box of borax

4 bars of fels-naptha soap

Grate the bars of soap. Smash the lumps in borax and washing soda. Mix together. Store in an air tight container. I store mine in an old icing bucket.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Homemade Seasoning Mixes


One way that I same money and time is making my own seasoning blends instead of buying them premade. Also, you are not eating silica. We use the taco seasoning all the time. I can season the meat, the rice and even the sour cream with taco seasoning. I mix the onion and ranch mixes with low fat sour cream for a healthy dip. Any mix can be used to season meat before it hits the grill. Remember to shake before each use because the contents will settle.

Taco Seasoning:

1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1/8 cup ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon sea salt

Put ingredients into a jar and shake. I use this to season taco meat, add it to soups, and add it to rice.

Dry Onion Soup Mix:

2/3 cup dried, minced onion
3 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Mix all ingredients in a jar. This is great to season meat for the grill. But, also makes a great dip.


5 tablespoons dried minced onions
7 teaspoons parsley flakes
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Mix together and store in an air tight container.
For low fat dressing: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 1 cup Sour Cream and 1 cup buttermilk or regular milk. Add squirt or two to add a zing that replaces the mayo.
For dip:  Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 2 cups sour cream and add a squirt of lemon juice.

Friday, January 9, 2015

What I buy at Aldi

Image result for aldi

If you have never been to Aldi, you should!  They are a huge money saver for my family. They are building a new one on my commute home and I am so excited.  

What to bring: A quarter and some reusable bags. The grocery carts require a quarter to release them. But, when you return the cart you get the quarter back. Aldi says this saves you money. If the carts are put away, cars cannot get dinged and Aldi is not required to purchase insurance.  Also, they do not give you bags in which to put your stuff. You can purchase bags or use left over boxes. This is a perfect use of those trendy reusable bags.  

Products I love
1. Cheese
2. Milk
3. Eggs (We eat a ton of eggs)
4. Produce!!! (There are great prices on produce)
5. Pizza crust
6. Cinnamon rolls and biscuits
7. Bread
8. Juice (frozen concentrate)
9. Frozen fruit
10. Dog food
11. Baking supplies
12. Holiday ham

What I don't love (Although, they have a double guaranty)

1. Canned fruits and veggies
2. Beauty products (unless you find name brand, which I've found before)
3) Cheez-its (The off-brand; they're a little waxy)

Other helpful hints: 

1) They usually have name-brand products at prices lower than the grocery store, but they aren't always in stock. So, get them while you can! I usually try to stock up on those items when they have them. 
2) Every once in a while I LEAVE the quarter in the grocery cart. Makes me think I'm making someone's day. Cause, come on, I would get pretty excited if I got a cart that already had a quarter in it. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

$5 Dinner Cabbage Soup

When you are on a budget, a delicious dinner for $5, really hits the spot. We tried this recipe for the first time over the summer when the boys were visiting grandparents. Now we crave it all the time. We just told our picky eater that the cabbage was lettuce.

Cabbage Soup

1 lb ground beef  $2.50
1 Cabbage, chopped  $0.69
2 cans diced tomatoes with basil and oregano $0.69 each
1 tsp Beef bouillon $3.69 for 38 servings equals $0.10 per tsp
6 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste
any other veggies laying around

Total cost $4.67

optional ingredients
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped

Brown ground beef and onions. Drain meat. Return meat to pot and add other ingredients. Leave on medium heat for 45 minutes. Serves a family of four with left overs. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Asian Lettace Wraps

My husband and I grew up in Oklahoma were you eat black eyed peas for luck on New Years Day. Here in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Dutch eat pork and sauerkraut . They choose pork because pigs push their snouts forward to forage for food. That is considered good luck looking forward. I am not sure why they eat sauerkraut. This is a spin on that tradition and a healthy meal for your lunch.

This blog post was inspired by

Asian Lettuce Wraps

3 Teaspoons sesame oil
1 lb of ground beef or pork
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 lb thinly sliced mushrooms
½ cup of shredded carrots ( I used 3)
1-2 cups shredded cabbage
2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 head of romaine lettuce

Begin by browning the meat with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil .Use the smallest amount of oil possible, it has a very strong flavor.  But, it is the key to making Chinese food at home. Then remove meat from the pan.
 Add another teaspoon of oil, and add onions, carrots, and cabbage. Sauté until onions and cabbage are translucent. Remove from skillet. Add more oil if needed. Sauté mushrooms. While the mushrooms cook, make a dressing with soy sauce, water, garlic and ginger.
In a large bowl, combine meat and all vegetables. Top with dressing and combine well. Place a couple spoon fulls of mixture in lettuce leaf. Roll up and enjoy.