Sunday, July 18, 2010


Morning everyone. How are you doing this morning? Its an early morning for me today... actually haven't been to bed yet. Didn't get to go with my mom yesterday. so I am pretty bummed out. I got a couple of emails asking if I was ok because my blogs seem a bit "rough". Well I am sorry if they come off stiff or whatnot. I am not ok. I am going through some rough personal issues, so just bare with me and life will be straight again eventually. (I thought I was doing a pretty good job of not letting you all know LOL.)

Ok, I have more frugal tips for you today. Trying to retain the title of "The Frugal Mom". Today they are for a room that I normally spend alot of time in... yep you guessed it- The Kitchen! I figure everyone can use a little bit of help now and then... So here is your Frugal bits for today!

Frugal Kitchen Tips

1. Nearly everything can be cut in half -- use only half a dryer softener sheet, half the recommended amount of detergent, half a cotton ball, etc. Try it on anything you can think of - if it works, you save money, if it doesn't, what do you lose?

The same idea goes for quick dinners. If you're putting together, for example, Hamburger Helper (or another "instant" meal), consider using a 1/2 pound of meat per box (or just make up 2 boxes at a time, with a full pound of meat). Most of us actually get far more protein in a day than we need, so cutting back to a 1/2 pound of meat doesn't hurt any of us.

How about instant drink mixes? If you're buying mixes that don't have the sugar added (which, by the way, is cheaper than buying the mixes with sugar already in them), think seriously about how much sugar you mix in. Do you REALLY need to use a full cup of sugar with that small packet of flavoring? Or could you cut it back to 1/3 or 1/2 cup and decrease the amount of sugar your children are getting in each serving?

The next time you're simply following directions on any grocery item, take a moment to evaluate the claim before you do as it says. You may save yourself some money!

2. Disposing of grease and fat from foods. I save the jars and lids that I get whenever I purchase tomato sauce and mayonnaise. When I have bacon drippings or old oil from fried foods, I pour the fat into these jars. When the jar gets full, I put the top back on and put the jar in the trash. This will prevent your drains from being clogged with this oil and keep your trash cans from getting messy inside.

3. Save plastic milk containers, fill with water and freeze. Use in camper iceboxes or coolers. Also these can be used to freeze colored water or juices in for later use in a punch bowl.

4. To avoid tears when peeling onions, slice first, then slip the bands of skin off.

5. Use an egg slicer to slice apples or mushrooms.

6. Leftover pancake batter makes good fried onion rings. Separate and let soak in batter for fifteen minutes. Fry in hot oil.

7. Don’t throw out leftover coffee. Freeze it in icecube trays, and when you don’t want to make an entire pot, you can get your cubes out of the freezer and pop them in the microwave.

8. Dry Mustard will remove onion odors from your hands or cutting board. Rub in, then rinse off.

9. Use plain baking soda or salt as a fire extinguisher.

10. Put rice in your salt shaker to keep the salt from getting hard. **Thank you Lisa!

11. Remove odors from your fridge by placing a vanilla extract soaked cotton ball inside. Another popular method is to leave a cup of baking soda or a slice of lemon in the fridge at all times.

12. Cleaning behind your refrigerator will keep it running longer and more efficiently. Another fridge cleaning tip: Make sure the unit is level. An unlevel refrigerator works harder than it needs to and wastes energy.

13. Store plastic wrap in refrigerator - it will prevent it from sticking.

14. A good trick when you go away on vacation is to place a baggie with a few ice cubes in the freezer. If a power failure occurs while you are gone and the food thaws and then refreezes you will know about it when you get home.

15. Use a powder puff to dust flour on rolling pins, pastry boards and cookie sheets. Store puff in a margarine tub with a small amount of flour for quick dusting jobs.

16. Leftover Safety - If food has been contaminated with germs from a person's mouth, it should be tossed. For instance saving baby food when you have fed the baby from the jar is hazardous.

17. You can reheat small portions of leftovers in the same pan. Wrap individually in foil and place in enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.

18. When converting your favorite recipe for microwave cooking reduce the liquid by one-fourth. Liquid does not evaporate in a microwave as much as it does in a conventional oven.

19. To save on electric and water only run your dishwasher when full. When adding dishes take a handful of baking soda and sprinkle the dishes and bottom of dishwasher to absorb odors. When you run the dishwasher there is no need to add detergent to the first cylce receptacle only to the 2nd one that stays shut until the second cycle starts. The baking soda will take the place of the detergent in the first cycle.

20. When you have a spill in your oven, sprinkle some salt on it right away. Then when the oven cools wipe it off.

21. Spray your Tupperware with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces--no more stains.

22. Transfer your jelly to a small plastic squeeze bottle--no more messy, sticky jars or knives. This also works well for homemade salad dressing.

23. To aid in washing dishes, add a tablespoon of baking soda to your soapy water--it softens hands while cutting through grease.

24. Save your store-bought-bread bags and ties--they make perfect storage bags for homemade bread. (Don't turn them inside out. The labels are painted on the out sides of the bags with lead-based paint.)

25. If you have problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

Ok, time to make something wonderful! And if you have been with me long enough, you know I have a purse fetish LOL! So I saw this instructional and I was like OMG I have so used placemats to do this! So I wanted to share with you. If you find some tapestry mats clearanced after the holidays (or anyday) that have a cute picture, consider picking some up and doing this craft! (Remember you can also make a casserole dish cover with them too!)

Craft Idea of the Day: Placemat Purse

1. Fold in half so that the long side is folded. Put the two edges right next to each other and sew a very short zigzag stitch down as far as your machine can go. There will probably be about 1-2 inches not sewn, this is ok. Do this on both sides.

2. Turn inside out. It should be a rectangular shape with a fold on the bottom. Fold one side down so that the seam lays against the bottom fold. This will form a triangle at the bottom of the seam. You want to sew across this from one side to another about 2 inches from the tip. The distance from one side to the other is going to be how wide your purse is.

3. Turn your purse right side out and take the tip of the triangle and push the corner of the purse out and tack the tip of the triangle down to the bottom of the purse. I use a zigzag stitch to do this and just go back and forth a few times to hold it down. It's important to make sure that the edges are pulled out as far as they can go and you sew this tightly because it hold your purse open so the corners don't fold in.

4. I like to use a matching napkin to make the straps but ribbons are a lot easier way to go. To make the straps cut the napkin into 2 strips about 5' wide. On this purse I used 2 colors so the strips only had to be about 2-3'. Using one color: fold the rough edges in and then fold in half so the 2 folded edges meet. It's much easier if you use an iron for this part. You may need to play around with this so you get the width that you like. Sew along each edge. I've also used a different color thread and/or a decorative stitch to add a cool effect to the strap.
For two tone strap: Fold the rough edges in making it as wide as you want the strap. Make sure both colors are the exact same width. Sew along edges to hold them together.

5. To attach the strap it looks best if you are using a place mat that has 2 layers sewn together on the sides. You can open the edge up with a seam ripper, sandwich the strap inside and sew closed again. If you do not have this option you can just use a zig zag stitch to attach it to the inside of the purse.

6. I also sewed a pocket for a cell phone in this one. Just cut out a a rectangle of fabric out of a napkin , fold over the edges and sew it into the purse. I hand sewed it to the inside layer so it wouldn't show on the outside.

7. I also got a magnetic snap from the store and added this so the purse will close on the top. You can buy these at most sewing/fabric stores for a couple dollars.

8. Put your stuff in and you're ready to go.

You can also experiment with different purse straps sold at craft stores. Have fun with it and make it your own. I get compliments on mine everywhere I go and I've had many friends have me make them one or ask me how. Its a great easy and very cheap way to make a fun purse. Enjoy!

Okie dokie kids, its the last day for TERRIFIC TOMATOES. Have you enjoyed it? I hope so. I will be contemplating the next theme to present to you throughout the day, but If you have an idea, then please post a comment and let me know. Now I may have posted some of these facts this week, but here is a compiled list of some tasty trivia about tomatoes!

Some interesting tomato facts:

Tomatoes were first introduced to Europeans by explorers returning from the New World. In about 700 AD, the Aztecs began to cultivate tomatoes and it was through them that the rest of the world got tomatoes.

Today China is the largest producer of tomatoes. This nation accounts for 16% of all tomatoes grown around the world.

A lot of people don’t realize that tomatoes are actually a fruit and not a vegetable. Although classified as a fruit, tomatoes have nutrients found in both vegetables and fruit.

Tomatoes are a natural antioxidant that can help prevent a number of diseases, including heart disease and some cancers.

Did you know that if you make a habit of eating tomatoes in the form of tomato sauce, ketchup, or tomato paste, you can reduce your chances of getting cancer? In fact, men can reduce their risk for developing prostate cancer by up to 43%.

If you cook tomatoes in oil you can help to increase your body’s natural absorption of the nutrients in tomatoes. Another of the interesting tomato facts is that cooking tomatoes in oil will also increase the plasma lycopene in them.

Tomatoes are thought to be very beneficial for helping to treat aggressive cancers, even if they have spread to other areas of the body. Although tomatoes are helpful, this is a condition that needs medical supervision so you should always let your doctor decide on your treatment.

Tomatoes are among the foods that contain the highest amount of lycopene, the concentration is increased when tomatoes are processed into other foods, such as ketchup, tomato sauce and soup. Other foods that have a high concentration of lycopene include tomato juice, pink grapefruit and vegetable soups.

The lycopene contained in tomato products is thought to help prevent the development of cervical and breast cancer in women. It has also been known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in lung cancer.

The lycopene in tomatoes is also known to help prevent such conditions as heart disease, plus it is very good for the eyes. Age related issues with the eyes might be prevented if you eat enough tomato products throughout your life.

Tomatoes are an excellent source of potassium, calcium, and vitamin A and C. All of these are important nutrients needed for optimal health.

Among the tomato facts include the fact that tomatoes can also be very good for the skin. When you eat enough foods that contain cooked tomatoes, what you will get is protection against UV damage. Studies have shown that when you eat tomato products, you would have 33% more protection from sunburn.

Tomatoes can protect your skin; researchers now believe that the lycopene in cooked tomatoes help to naturalize free radicals on the skin caused by UV light; therefore they can help to prevent skin cancer. Although you will get some protection from the sun by eating tomato products, it is not enough by itself. You will also need to use sunscreen for maximum protection.

Now what week would be complete without a pie or something sweet?? I have both to finish out your week! A savory pie and a sweet cake. Eat & Enjoy!

Tomato Pie


4 tomatoes , peeled and sliced
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.

Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
To serve, cut into slices and serve warm.

Green Tomato Cake with Brown Butter Icing


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups diced green tomatoes
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts


Browned Butter Icing, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. (Batter will be soft.) Stir in tomatoes, raisins, and walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 70 to 75 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely. Spoon Browned Butter Icing over cake.

Browned Butter Icing:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until butter is lightly browned. Whisk in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Alright everyone. that's all for me today. I hope you enjoyed the crafts and food I have brought you today and that you will join me again tomorrow for more food and fun! Until then... HUGS!


  1. I have noticed your vibe has been a bit off too but wasn't going to say anything. Whatever it is, I hope you get the results you want. Until then, let your entries distract you and have some fun with us. How are your animals doing? My cat is getting huge HAHA. And where is your mom? I hope she is ok. I love the frugal tips. Do you have any more? Ok I have to go for now. Take care.

  2. Debbie "MOM"July 18, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    Tomatoes are some of my favorite foods. Especially fresh, sliced and salted slightly. In fact, I like a lot of veggies that way; brocolli, califlower, cucumbers, celery, radishes, you get the picture. A lot of the things I like to eat have tomatoes in them; spaghetti, salsa, B L T sandwiches, salads, and more. But the best thing I like about tomatoes is watching them grow, really big and juicy! Because then they are best, big and red and ready to pick, but you want to wait until just the right moment to pick it because you want it to taste like the best tomato in the world. LOL I like tomatoes. LOL
    I'm here Tabitha. Been here almost every day except yesterday. Its been tough though because DH has got a couple of computer repairs going on in my front room and he snags the broad band a lot to download all those anti-viruses and such; so I have to grab the internet when he's not looking! LOL I'm glad to hear your kitty is doing good. That is a sure sign of a responsible pet owner. You should be proud. Hope you still get a chance to go to the Animal Rescue Site and click for all the little animals as much as you can. They all need us now for sure. I saw a news report on t.v. last night about how some families that have been affected by this disastrous oil spill are having to give up their pets to shelters because they cant afford to feed them any more. GIVE UP THEIR PETS!! How heart breaking. I started to cry. It would be like losing a family member to me. I cant even fathom it! I'm devastated for them. People have a lot of problems and it seems like the pets are always the ones who get the worst of it. Shame on B.P.!! Shame on the government for not making them pay sooner for their mishap!! And pray for the animals who are without homes now, for they are victims just as much as the people.
    I have to go now. I have made myself ill thinking about all of it. Remember this, there is always someone who has it much worse off, so count your blessings and be a positive role model for everyone around you. Til next time......