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Green and Frugal Household Tips and Substitutions
How I became a believer in Frugal, now Green, household tips and substitutions
Frugal just used to mean "How can I do this cheaper, and I don't care if it embarrasses (horrifies) the kids, husband, fill in the blank".
Now frugality has been reborn as the more acceptable GREEN way of living. YES!
Some of my best tips came out of last minute, newly-married-and-broke, what-can-I-use, gotta-have-it-now, need. I'm sure many more are to come as I get in that zone again...time and time again, so please stay tuned.
Substitutions are a must for most cooks who think they have an ingredient on hand, only to discover.... oh nooooo. There is a link shown at the end of this page, right above the comment section, but please read he rest if this article first as you might discover something useful. :)
Please leave a comment, idea, suggestion, or just say HI! in the guest at the bottom of this lens.
The Science of Raising Cookies from the Dead
Tips to Regenerate foods - Need it soft again? Or how about crispy?
~ Soft food restored ~
Place slice of bread in package and reseal. Leave overnight. Remove bread slice and reseal. (Reuse bread as breadcrumbs below)
~ Stale Foods Regenerated ~
Cookies and Animal Crackers
Bake at 350 for no more than 5 minutes or until just slightly browned. This will take a watchful eye. Remove from oven and let cool. Reseal in original packaging. Good as new!
~ Breadcrumbs ~
You can use almost any baked item to make breadcrumbs. Some work better than others. The following base items are just what I've have tried in the past. One of my Favorite Recipes uses these bread crumbs. Can you guess which one? :)
Cereals - plain for meatballs, meatloaf and savory dishes.
Sugared cereal can be used as a small addition to breadcrumbs for chicken like Shake n' Bake
Bake stale ingredients at 350 degrees until crisp, but no more than 5 minutes.
Add desired spices in small amounts, or to taste, to coffee grinder for small amounts or to food processor for larger quantities.
Process until fine.
Store unused portions in a labeled air-tight container.
~ Over-ripe Bananas ~
When your family refuses to eat a good, but brown-skinned banana, toss it in the freezer. They'll appreciate it when it's reborn as banana bread!
My favorite Banana Nut Loaf recipe:
2 c. flour
1 tsp. EACH baking powder & baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
Grated peel of 1 lemon (or 1 tsp. Lemon extract)
2 large or 3 small bananas, mashed, to equal 1 cup
1/2 c. margarine, softened
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 cup walnuts, chopped fine, but I like somewhat coarse :)
Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Combine bananas and lemon peel (or lemon extract). Set aside.
In large bowl cream margarine.
Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended.
Alternately stir in flour and banana mixtures until well blended.
Stir in walnuts.
Turn into well greased loaf pan.
Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean, but moist.
Cool on rack 5 minutes. Turn loaf out to complete cooling and serve.
General Kitchen Tips - Whatever will make the kitchen run smoother, huh?
More Tips or How to Make Due with what You Have
~ How to make a Funnel ~
Cut the top off a pop bottle. Comes in different sies for all your needs.
Need to pour old engine oil into a bottle? PERFECT!
~ Freezer burn ~
Invest in a sealer. It will save you tons of money.
If this is not affordable, second best is to squeeze the air out of the package and use chip clip or binder clip.
~ Clean Water ~
Purchase a water filter, whether it's installed or by pitcher. This will literally save you hundreds of dollar$. It may be much cleaner that the purchased bottles, too, which have come under question.
~ Food Containers in the Fridge ~
Turn containers like sour cream, spaghetti sauce and applesauce upside down.
~ Food Containers in the Cupboard~
Use sealer or squeeze the air out of the package and use chip clip or binder clip.
I'm not Cheap!
Office Supplies to Repurpose in a Pinch
~ Binder Clips ~
Use to re-seal cereal, crackers, and chips.
Keep that toothpaste tube neat. Rool up tube and clip.
Organize computer cables.
Use small clips as a favorite recipe marker.
~ Stapler ~
No Chip clips or Binder clips? As volume decreases cut top and re-staple to seal n the freshness.
Hem loose? Refold and use a stapler until it can be re-sewn.
~ White-Out ~
Dirty scuff marks on your white running shoes or dress shoe heels. (Thanks to my daughter for this tip. She did this in grade school.)
Wood (painted white) scratches
~ Permanent marker ~
(in appropriate color. I find I use black the most.)
Dress shoe heel scuffs.
~ Post-it notes ~
Use a book marker. Even if your 2 year-old drops your book, it will keep you from losing your place.
Stretch it! - You may be surprised to find when these products are diluted they work BETTER!
Add water to:
I like adding at least 30-40% water.
Frugal just used to mean "How can I do this cheaper, and I don't care if it embarrasses (horrifies) the kids or husband!
Now frugality has been reborn as the more acceptable GREEN way of living. YES!
For the Love of Happy (and Clean) Kids
~ Kids paint pallet~
For multiple colors use an old ice cube tray. For a single color use a pie pan. Reusable, or for short term, cover with plastic wrap.
~ Repurpose Advertising magnets~
Peal off glossy paper layer, and:
* Glue your child's photo to a magnet and cut out the image to make a picture magnet. Trim to fit.
* Glue a piece of a magnet to a hinged wooden clothes pin to hold the latest art on the fridge.
* Print a children's Nap Time note to stick to a metal door. Attach to magnet with white glue or double sided tape. Trim to fit, or overlap as long as it is not heavier than the magnet will hold.
~ Bath Toy Sling & Drainer ~
* Save a mesh bag from oranges or other produce item.
* Cut 1 inch vertical slice near handle. Adjust as needed for toy size, but underestimate and adjust. They will stretch much more than you may expect.
* Hang by original loop closure or loop over large suction cup.
First Aid - Alternatives to Store bought products
~ Warm Pack ~
Fill a cotton sock (tube socks work well) with plain white rice 3/4 full. Tie off end.
Heat 1-2 minutes in microwave oven. Let cool a few minutes to be warm to the touch (not HOT). Place on affected area. Reusable.
~ Cold Pack ~
Fill desired size of Ziplock bag with 2/3 water and 1/3 isopropyl alcohol. Place in another ziplock bag. Freeze.
Squeeze until pack has some give. Place on affected area. Return to freezer for future use.
~ Bee Stings & Acne relief ~
Make thick paste of baking soda moistened with water. Let dry, then rinse.
Gardening - Alternatives to the usual
Garden slings or staking ties. You could use Pantyhose in your garden this way, but I've only used them to tie plants to stakes myself. :D
Other gardening tips
Plant name stakes: Plastic Knives or cut old Vinyl Blinds work great with labels written in permanent marker.
Weed Control: Place at least 3-4 sheets of newspaper over soil. Top with 3-6 inches of mulch. The only weeds that may appear will likely be growing in the mulch and are easy to pluck as you go by on your tour of your beautiful summer blooms or veggies.
BONUS: The newspaper and mulch will help keep your soil moist in even the hottest time of the summer.
Double BONUS: Less water used for non-essential uses. :D
Seed starters: Egg Cartons, or unused ice cube trays if you have an ice maker
Can you identify what I used to make this Clematis Trellis?
Actually this is more like a Garden Obelisk
Not growing tomatoes or other climbing vegetable plant this year? Need a support for a climbing flower? Clematis, honeysuckle, climbing hydrangea, morning glories, and more.
Upcycle one of your unused tomato cages. Flip upside down and stake to the ground over an immature climbing plant. They'll love you for it.
Decorate or not. I did use high temp BBQ spray paint on mine, wire-tied a stained glass ball thing-a-ma-jig, and it looks great.
Need to use your trellis for tomatoes again? Easy to Reporpose it back to it's originally intended use. Unadorn it, untie it, and now it's just a tomato cage with a pretty paint job.
I recently saw an extra large tomato cage. Oooh, even better.
Picture Credit: Me :D
HUGE List of Cooking Substitutions from Land O'Lakes, Inc.
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© 2009 BW Duerr