Archives for September 2011

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Let’s jump into fall, shall we? These baked donuts were sooooo delicious! And I love that they use whole wheat flour!

I’ve had trouble with baked donuts in the past. Too dry. This recipe calls for an apple cider glaze that really moistens the baked donuts. Don’t leave it out, k?

Ingredients

2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

1/2 cup organic light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup organic cane sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 C organic unsweetened applesauce

Cider Glaze

2 T butter

1/2 C apple cider or apple juice

Instructions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prep two baked donut pans.

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In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and both sugars.  Whisk together ingredients until combined.

In a small bowl, whisk together butter, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, buttermilk, and applesauce.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Spread donut batter evenly into baked donut pans.  Bake 12- to 15 minutes or until donuts are slightly golden.

Remove donuts and set onto a cooling rack placed above a jelly roll pan.

Apple Baked Donuts

Prick the donuts with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat the butter and apple cider over medium-low heat and allow to cook until slightly thickened. Pour the glaze over the donuts before serving!

Frugal Living: Building Your Stockpile

 

Stockpiling a a common practice for those of us that live a frugal lifestyle.  It can save you lots of money.  If you are tired of paying full price for your groceries, pay attention and I will give you the steps to help you start building your stockpile and saving money.

1.  Make A Master List

Start by making a list of items that you use on a regular basis such as food, toiletries, paper products, cleaning items and pet supplied.

2.  Create a Price Book

List the items that you use on a regular basis in a notebook.  Begin keeping track of how much the items cost.  Pay special attention to any sales that you find for the product and make a note of the price and store that the item was purchased at.  After a few weeks, your price book will show you that the items that you purchase will go on sale and reach their lowest price approximately every 12 weeks.

3.  Shop the Sales

In order to save the most money, purchase items that you use on a regular basis at it’s rock bottom price or when it’s FREE.  Pay close attention to the loss leaders in your weekly sales flyer and combine them with coupons.  Whenever possible combine manufacturers coupons and store coupons for even more savings.  Be sure to take advantage of any rebate offers available.

4.  Don’t Be Extreme

Stockpiling can be addictive; however, you don’t want to overdue it.  You will need to take in to consideration your families habits and; also, the amount of room that you have for storage.  Some stockpilers buy just enough to get them through to the next sale, while other stockpilers prefer to keep enough of each item to get them through a certain number of months.   Whatever you do, be sure to watch the expiration dates.  From my own experience I can tell you that if you purchase so much that it’s not used by the expiration date, you are not saving money.

5.  Only Buy What You Use

As your shopping skills improve, you’ll find more free or nearly free items.  A good piece of advice is to only stockpile what you and your family will use.  Even if the item is free, if your family is not going to eat it, don’t purchase it.  There’s no need to take up valuable stockpiling space with products your family won’t eat.

6.  Organize Your Stockpile

Once you start accumulating products, keep them organized.  Designate one spot in your home for your stockpile.  Extra closets and basements are great places for stockpiles; as well as, under beds and in empty drawers.

Be sure to keep your stockpile orderly so that you know what you have.  Keep like items together.  Whenever possible, write the expiration date on each item with a permanent marker.  Rotate your stockpile to keep older items up front where they are easily accessible.

By using the above tips, you’ll have your stockpiling growing in a matter of weeks and you, too, will be on your way to a frugal living lifestyle.

Eat in Season: September

Go Green Save Green 2

I’m excited to be participating in the Go Green & Save Green Series with several other green bloggers this week!  We’ll be talking about different areas of green and natural living, showing you how to go green while saving money at the same time!  Be sure to check out the great links at the end of this post! And on Saturday I’ll link up to every post in this series so you can read them all!

If you’ve read The Natural Green Mom for any length of time, you know that each month I post what is in season, how to buy it, and how to store it. Buying fruits and vegetables in season saves you money because it is not being imported from another hemisphere. Buying in season takes discipline. Sometimes we want what we want when we want it. If that is the case, we will pay for it – as prices can sometimes be double or triple!

Since this month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in addition to talking about what is in season, I’d like to highlight how these seasonal foods fit into a breast cancer prevention diet. I know we’re looking for a cure. What I’d love to see is more steps taken towards prevention. Food can be a huge preventative step.

What’s In Season in September?

Apples – When buying apples, avoid any brown or mushy spots. Store your apples in the refrigerator and they should last several weeks. Recent studies have shown apples have antioxidants that help to prevent breast cancer – so eat that apple a day!

Bell Peppers – Bell peppers contain the antioxidant Vitamin C. A high amount of vitamin C is linked to disease prevention. Look for firm peppers without any wrinkling and store in the fridge.

Eggplant – Look for eggplants that are on the small side. These tend to have less seeds and to be less bitter. Avoid any brown spots. Store in the fridge but plan to use quickly. Women who eat more plant foods – like eggplant – are less likely to develop breast cancer.

Grapes – Look for green stems and plump grapes. Grapes should be kept in the fridge. Grapes are reported to lower estrogen levels and therefore to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

Pomegranate – This is perhaps my favorite food on all the earth. They never seem to drop in price in this part of the world. It is believed that eating and drinking pomegranate juice may stall the progression of breast cancer. Since they are picked ripe, you need to eat them soon after purchasing. And buy pomegranates that are heavy for their size.

Winter Squash – Another yummy food in my book! High in beta carotene, winter squash is capable of preventing cell mutations that can cause cancer! Store these at cool temperatures and they can last for several weeks. If you have a root cellar, they can last through a winter. Look for a hard skin and no soft spots.

Check Out These Other Great Posts in the Go Green & Save Green Series:

10 Tips for Making Baby Food by Simply Rebekah

Go “Green” With Food by Open Eye Health

Easy Recipes: 8 Crockpot Dinners for Busy Families

I’m so excited to have Crystal guest post here on my site. Crystal & Company is my go-to site for kids activities. She’s sharing some of her favorite crockpot recipes. If you find you still need more, check out PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps Copycat Recipe and my 25 Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup.

Hi there. My name is Crystal and I blog over at Crystal & Co.– your mommy resource site. I am a mom of five boys and life gets kind of hectic sometimes. I am thrilled to be here today sharing with Andrea’s readers one thing that makes my life less hectic, and that is easy recipes.

Are you busy during the school week? Me too. And if I do not have a meal plan lined up for the week, dinner time is hectic and we end up in the drive-thru lane. This is not budget friendly or healthy.

When I meal plan, all of the entrees I am cooking for the week must meet my recipe criteria. One of the most important elements is whatever I’m cooking can not have a long list of ingredients and can not require babysitting on my part, otherwise it is just not a good fit.  I like to dump it and forget it- which is why the crockpot is my saving grace.

Here are eight simple dinners, all of which can be made in the crockpot. How amazing would it be to come home from a long day at work, or a hectic after school schedule, and dinner is done? You just add a veggie and some fruit or a nice salad and before you know it bellies are full.

8 Easy Recipes

  1. Crockpot Ravioli who knew you could make ravioli in the crockpot. You can. And, toss it in frozen too. Such an easy dinner.
  2. Crockpot BBQ Chicken so simple you will pinch yourself.
  3. Crockpot Lemon Chicken this is very tasty and while simple, it is more of a gourmet crockpot meal in my book.
  4. Crockpot Spicy Apricot Chicken this is a recipe Andrea shared on my site with my readers. Excellent. You can also choose to kick down the spice a bit- that is what I did since I have little ones.
  5. Easy Chicken Cacciatore in the Crockpot there is something delicious and tender about a tomato based sauce cooked over chicken. Serve with noodles and fruit and dinner is done.
  6. Crockpot Sloppy Joe’s again, few steps, few ingredients, full bellies.
  7. Taco Soup Tostadas this is an excellent way to re-purpose soup (that has been made in the crockpot) into a completely different meal. Cook once, serve twice kind of thing.
  8. Spaghetti and Meatballs in the Crockpot– another toss it in the crock and forget about it meals. Serve with spaghetti noodles, which take 9 minutes to cook, and a dinner salad, and dinner is ready in no time.

What is your favorite go- to- easy- recipe? What criteria does a recipe need to meet in order for it to be a good fit for you and your family?

 

For more easy recipes, weekly meal planning ideas and craft ideas, hop over and check out Crystal’s mommy resource site- Crystal & Co. Make sure you check in every Wednesday where mommy’s everywhere linkup and share their solutions and ideas!

Don’t Toss It! Repurpose It!

Go Green Save Green 2

I’m excited to be participating in the Go Green & Save Green Series with several other green bloggers this week!  We’ll be talking about different areas of green and natural living, showing you how to go green while saving money at the same time!  Be sure to check out the great links at the end of this post! And on Saturday I’ll link up to every post in this series so you can read them all!

Repurposing. It is a new word for a very old concept. Taking an object you once might have tossed in the garbage and using it for another purpose. It not only is a green way of living, but it can be a great money saver!

Once you’ve started on the repurposing journey, you’d be amazed at how many objects can be used in ways that are totally different from the original intention.

Behold the tennis ball canister & some stray cupcake baking liners:

Tennis Ball canister and cupcake liners

Each of these items can be repurposed!

Repurposed Item #1:  The tennis balls were flat. They went to my grandmother to be cut open and put over the bottom of her walker. This helps it glide along the floor better.

Repurposed Item #2: The canister was no longer needed, but I didn’t want to toss it. I have a daughter who loves to bake cupcakes. I recently bought a lot of liners that were inexpensive, so they didn’t come in a canister. They fit perfectly in the tennis ball canister!

Baking Liners in Old Tennis Canister

 Repurposed Item #3: Once we’ve used the cupcake liner, we don’t toss it in the trash. We toss it on the compost pile! Those cupcake liners will break down and become part of the soil for my garden bed.

The key to repurposing is to “Stop Before You Toss” and think about how to reuse it.

It can be as simple as using an egg carton to hold delicate Christmas ornaments:

Egg Carton Holding Ornaments

Or as elaborate as lining your garden bed with old bottles:

Upcycled glass garden border

Once you’ve figured out a new way to use something, share that idea! You never know – you may just provide a solution someone else was looking for!

So, what repurposing ideas do you have?

Check Out These Other Great Posts in the Go Green & Save Green Series:

Reusing and Repurposing From Kinda Crunchy Kate
How to Save the Planet & Your Money When Home Decorating From Simply Rebekah

 

Using Natural Cleaning Recipes for your Home – Essential Oils

Natural Cleaning Recipes for your home - sunflower picture

Natural Cleaning Recipes - Sunflower

Today, Heidi from Little People Wealth is guest posting!

Many of my natural cleaning recipes for your home contain essential oils. Essential oils are a great way to clean your home! They smell wonderful and can be both safe and effective to use in your home.

Lemon essential oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It can be used straight to disinfect almost anything and it can be used as an addition to your natural cleaning recipes to increase their efficiency. I add 5-10 drops to the water I use to mop the floor. Lemon oil also has the added benefit of having an uplifting smell. Since a lemon scent is used in many store bought cleaners it is a great “gateway” essential oil for people just beginning to switch their store bought cleaners with natural cleaning recipes.

Like the lemon essential oil, orange essential oil also has a scent we are used to when we think of “clean”. Orange essential oil is one of my favorite oils to use in my natural cleaning recipes for this reason and because it is one of the cheapest essential oils you can buy. I like to add it to floor and counter top cleaners and it also works great when you diffuse it into a room (even if it is smoky).

You can purchase essential oil at a health or natural food store, but you will get a better price if you look online. One of my favorite places to find my essential oils is on Amazon. There are many third party vendors who sell through Amazon, but you can still use your free amazon gift cards to pay for the essential oils! It is the cheapest way to purchase essential oils.

Using natural cleaning recipes for your home is a great way to get harsh (and unsafe) cleaners out of your home.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I write for Frugal Tips by Little People Wealth and I hope to see you there soon!

Homeschooling Freebies: Art Supplies

For those of you who homeschool, today my friend Kelli from 3 Boys and a Dog Deals is guest posting on ways to be green when homeschooling!

Back-to-School Shopping Items

Everyone tries really hard to be a little greener, but have you taken steps within your homeschool to shrink your footprint?  Here are some great ideas to help your homeschool be a bit better for the environment and easier on your wallet!

The following ideas will help you begin looking around your house for homeschooling freebies to cut the cost of your art supplies and reduce the amount of waste you are feeding to Mother Earth!

Homemade Art Supply Recipes:

Bath crayons – Grate a bar of soap until you have about 1 cup. Mix with 1 cup of hot water until the gratings are melted and you have a stiff dough. Mix in a few drops of food coloring for color. Press the dough into molds (you can use candy or soap molds from a craft store) and allow to harden.

Bubble mix – Mix together 6 cups of water, 2 cups of liquid dishwashing soap, and 3/4 cup corn syrup. Allow to sit for a couple of hours before using to blow bubbles!

Fingerpaint – In a small saucepan, mix together 1/4 cup cornflour and 2 cups of water. Add food coloring to get to desired color. Boil until mixture thickens, then allow to cool. Pour into lidded containers to store.

Playdough – Combine 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and a cup of boiling water until you get a playdough consistency. Store in a ziplock bag when not in use. You can add a few drops of food coloring for color, or a packet of Kool-aid for color and scent!

Watercolor paint – Simply mix together 3 tablespoons corn starch, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup, 3 tablespoons baking soda, and 3 tablespoons white vinegar. Pour into separate containers with lids for use & storage. Mix in a few drops of food coloring into each container to make different colors.

Have fun during your next art lesson with your handmade homeschooling freebies!

Kelli gives you hints and tips on how you can save money homeschooling and homemaking! At Deals_3BD she posts coupon/ad matchups, the best homeschooling deals, printable coupons, and kid friendly recipes.