Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DIY Spicy Sausage Pumpkin Soup


Spicy sausage pumpkin soup I only made in the Fall so we look forward to it all year long.  This soup even converted my husband to liking pumpkin. SHOCK! It is made with just a few ingredients and really is very simple to make.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do.



Ingredients:
Pumpkin or squash you like
Spicy sausage of your choice
Milk or broth
Salt and pepper
Optional: bacon 

Instructions:
Cut the pumpkins/squash in half and scoop the seeds out.  Save those seeds and bake them for a yummy snack! Lay the pumpkin/squash flat on a cookie sheet lightly oiled with olive oil.  Bake at 350 degrees till you can poke the pumpkin with a fork and its goes straight in with no problem.  Bring the pumpkin/squash out and let them cool.  


2.  While the pumpkin/squash is cooking go ahead and cook up the spicy sausage.  I am using pork spicy chorizo sausage because it was on sale so go ahead and use what your budget allows.  If the sausage isn't spicy then add some red pepper flakes and spice that sucker up! My husband came up with the idea to add bacon so I threw that in as well.  Once done remove the meat from the pan and set aside.  


3.  Scoop all pumpkin/squash meat and put into the pot.  Here is where you can make it as thick or runny as you want.  Sometimes I just add almond milk and sometimes I just add any broth I have on hand.  Tonight I decided to add a little of both.  Tonight's choice is almond milk and mushroom broth because I had it in the fridge and they needed to be used.  Get creative and try different things.  Once you have done this get your emulsifier out and start getting that soup creamy. If you don't like chunks at all go ahead and add the meat into it as well.  We prefer a little bit of chunks so once I'm done with the creaming I add the meat back in.  Add salt and pepper to taste and there you have spicy sausage pumpkin soup.

Vegan? Don't add the meat.

Dairy free? Add any non dairy free milk you like. Heck just add broth.

Don't like spice? Don't add spicy sausage just add regular sausage.


Now go enjoy the soup.  You can thank me later

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

5 Frugal Things


1. My steal of a deal on dried beans at Whole Foods.  These Heirloom Jacob's Cattle Trout Beans were 50% off making them $2.25 a lb which is more affordable for my budget.  Trying new things also gets my girls to eat new foods.  Today I'm soaking one pound of them in hot water so I can cook them later on.  I make a batch of beans about once a month and freeze them in 1 cup sizes so they can be thawed out easily.  These beans are so beautiful and I'm pretty sure you could use them in just about any meal.  If you do the math I'm paying only about .37 cents compared to a can of beans (which they don't sell these types so I compared to other beans) for $1.  Now that is frugal! 



2. Its roasting fire season baby! Today we plan on having our first fire of the Fall season.  Its a annual thing we do each year.  Kids get home from school, I start making a hot yummy dinner and my husband gets home from work and starts a fire.  Can't wait for the smell...oh the smell! The sounds....oh the sounds! My girls will be happy to lay in front of the fire and putting their toes up to get warm.  LOVE!!! Also we turn off the heat and that saves us a bundle of $$.  We saved wood all year long so we can do this.  Free wood from neighbors, left over wood from projects and salvaged wood from everywhere.  Now that is frugal!


3.  Bulk section.  Each Fall I try to take advantage of seasonal sales.  Dried food in the bulk section is ALWAYS a money saver. It takes a tiny bit of preparation but its well worth it.  Not only is food cheaper but its straight up just food.  No fillers and no hidden ingredients as long as you buy just real food.  Some stores have some not so healthy things in there as well.  I buy all kinds of beans, lentils, herbs and even rice.  You see this also helps me save energy.  No storing food in my fridge! No need to hurry and use it up because these can last for months on end.  This is hands down the best way to save on organic food.  Now that is frugal.


4.  Second hand stores.  Now don't get me wrong.  I love going to antique stores to drool over all the vintage clothes, kitchen items and just about everything you can imagine.  But the sticker prices are shocking sometimes!  I like to hit little thrift stores that are out of the way or almost even look like they are out of business.  Thats where you find the good stuff.  Above is a slip from the 50's-60's.  Baby blue with white lace.  Antique store would charge me $10 easily for this. Since I found this at Goodwill Outlet (pay by the lb) I think I paid maybe 10 cents for this. Its as light as air!  Now that is frugal! 


5.  Loved gifts. While I was at Goodwill Outlet I found this beautiful loved book.  My twins 10th birthday is coming up next month and one of them is in love with Raggedy Ann and Andy.  I paid $2 for this 1925 GOLDEN BOOK.  Its old, smelly and been used a ton.  SHE WILL LOVE IT!  I could of paid $14 for it at Powells, $4.99 at a regular Goodwill store but nope I paid $2 at the Goodwill Outlet.  Now that is frugal! 

And I saved the best reason for this book. 


Just look at these illustrations!  Look at the vivid colors! Look at the characters! I mean really.....

This post was inspired by The Non Consumer Advocate and I had her permission to write this.

Now its your turn.  What frugal things have you been up to?



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Free DIY Upcycle Art

I helped a friend Sue move & reorganize at her shop and in exchange she gave me some art canvases. These have no signatures and probably some older kids art work. Which means I can paint over them without ruining some works of art worth who knows what. 
I dug around our paint pile and found some water based primer and a old paint brush. 10 minutes later and we have a blank canvas. Free! 
Once dry I'm letting my twins paint till their hearts content. Can't wait to see what my little Picasso's do with these. 

Perfect project that cost me zero dollars and in return endless hours of fun and some beautiful art work. Talk about non consumerism! 

Big thanks to Sue! 




Friday, August 15, 2014

20 Things You Didn't Know About Me

1. I never plan anything. Why? Because I'm awful at it. My brain works in one mode and one mode only.  Anymore and it overloads.

2.  I'm 37 but act 15 and look 25.

3.  I'm a old school nerd when it comes to records.  I have 2 record players and many albums. Seriously nothing beats the sound of a record. Nothing.

4.  I don't eat raw carrots or apples. Its a texture thing. I will eat them cooked but keep those raw things away from me.

5.  Ive eaten steak 2 times in my life.  I don't get the hoopla about steak at all.  Its good but not worth $15+ a pound for.

6.  I wear flip flops 80% of the year and I live in Oregon.

7.  I love old things and this includes my husband. Just kidding he's only a year older than me. But a year is a year baby! From old kitchen items, furniture and even clothes.  LOVE IT!

8.  I'm addicted to liquid energy. MMMMM COFFEE!

9.  I'm just as in love with my husband as the day I laid eyes on him. Its pretty sickening to people.  Mostly our daughters.  Only when we make out in front of them.  In a week its our 15th wedding anniversary.

10.  Although I grew up pretty poor in a single mother household I can honestly say I never felt deprived at all.  My mama is and always has been the most amazing mother ever. Ever!

11.  My favorite juice is grape juice. Hands down.

12.  I rarely buy anything for myself.  Well unless you count sweet sweet handmade pottery I score in thrift stores.

13.  My best friends name is Dulcimer. Yes you read that correct. Dulcimer is an instrument.  She is the most beautiful person inside and out.

14.  When I was a kid I had pet rats, parakeets and a cactus.

15.  I am a half full glass kind of gal.

16.  I can't see at night. I'm blind. Even in my own home. Ive lost count how many times I have jammed my toes on furniture.

17.  Ive been the same size since middle school.  From shoe's to clothes nothing has changed.

18.  I'm a big chicken. No scary movies for me unless its real paranormal stuff which for some reason excites me and scares the pee out of me.

19.  I laugh till I cray. At a certain point my body says sure lets cry now.  AFV gets me every single week.

20.  I care too much. So much that I get anxiety about it. Mostly stuff that I have no control over like global warming, toxic chemicals and where the world is going to.  I'm afraid for my children but know if I continue to be a good example just one day maybe my kids will be the new green leaders and will keep the fight going.

Now share one thing about you that I don't know. Go!

Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Save Money on School Supplies


I have learned over the years many different ways to save money on school supplies.  Having four daughters you can just imagine how expensive it can be.  Maybe these tips can help you out. Enjoy!



At the end of the year teachers send home extra supplies that didn't get used and everything from the students desk they get to take home.  I empty all their backpacks and keep everything I know they will use again.  So here you can see we had plenty of left over pencils which came in handy. This year the teacher asked for 36 pencils for 4th graders which they share. Since I have twins this means I needed 74 pencils.  And can you believe it that I actually had that many? I did.  They are able to reuse scissors, calculators, pink erasers, pens, and pencil pouches. Woot! 


My next stop is to write down everything we didn't have at home onto a paper and head over to a thrift store.  Each of my twins needed a 1.5 inch binder and these easily can cost about $5 a piece.  I found 2 perfectly good binders for .99 cents and $1.99.  Saving myself  about $7 or so. Its recycling, its reusing and its saving me money. Woot!


Next after that we stopped by Office Max to get what I couldn't find at home or the thrift store.  4 folders at .25 cents each, 3 composition books on sale for $1 each, and pencil erasers for a penny a pack.  
We also needed spirals and it was a lesson for my girls in how to save $$.  My oldest was pointing out just to buy a pack of 10 for $3.50.  Yes a good price but we don't need 10 we just needed 4.  I was going to wait to buy these till I found a good price but I was lucky enough to see they were selling them single and a great price.  40 cents each! So instead of spending $3.50 I only spent $1.60.  Yes its a small amount of savings but its savings! 


Once I looked around and things were too pricey for other stuff I left and headed to Target which is in the same parking lot.  Tissue is always a must and only $1.39.  Sharpies were $1.99 (unlike Office Max which were $1.79 each!). Glue sticks .39 cents each, crayons .50 cents each (Office Max $1 each) and colored pencils .99 cents each.  
My girls have eczema so they cannot use any antibacterial hand sanitizer because they break out in a rash and itch.  Last year the school wanted hand liquid but I talked to the teacher and explained our issues.  I ended up buying toxic free hand soap for the whole class and replaced it anytime it ran out.  This year they want wipes and even the "green" ones have some not so good ingredients.  So I headed on over to the baby section and found these Seventh Generation wipes that will work just as well as the ones they wanted us to buy.  They were $2.49 which is around the same price as the mainstream bleach kinds.  

And here is what I came up with.  Everything the school list ask for but at a big price savings.

Tissue- $1.39
Wipes-$2.49
Composition books-$3
Spiral Notebooks-.80
Crayons-.50
Glue sticks-.39
Erasers-.1
Colored Pencils-.99
Folders-$1
Binders-.$1.50 (different prices so I made it even)
4 Sharpies- .99 (2 we had & were free)
Pencils-FREE from last year
Pink erasers-FREE from last year
Scissors-FREE from last year
Calculator-FREE from last year
Zipper Pouch-FREE used ones we found
Ball Point Pens-FREE we had them

Total $13.06

Could of cost us this much more
Average prices I saw today

Pencils would easily cost us $6
2 Sharpies-$1.99
Erasers-.99
Scissors-$4
Calculator-$1.99
Zipper Pouch-$3
Ball Point Pens-.99
New Binder-$4.99

Total $23.95
Add the total above and your looking at $37.04 for one kid.
That's $74.02 for my twins. YOWZERS!

For my older girls who are in middle and high school we don't have to buy anything just yet.  They do have a suggested list on their school website but honestly they never use any of those items so we don't buy them.  We instead wait till they go to school the first couple of days and my girls ask what they specifically need for the class and then we buy those items.

Lets not forget this doesn't even include backpacks, lunches, clothes and shoes.  For us we reuse our backpacks and lunch boxes each year.  I buy fabric that's good quality so I know it will last many years.

So how do you save money on school supplies? Share in the comments below and lets inspire each other!



Friday, August 1, 2014

No Fuss No Muss Clean Face plus DIY Skin Toner


For some reason memories of me in high school reminds me of clowns.  I admit it. I used make up.  At fist I dabbled and then it turned into a full blown problem.  It was awful just awful. I'm sorry everyone from high school.  I mean really.

These days my skin routine is pretty simple.  Just 3 items! 

1.  Good Soap made by Allafia sold by Whole Foods 3 for $6. Comes packaging free (love!) and is made somewhat local in Washington.  Coconut is my personal favorite but they have many other scents and even one unscented. 

2.  Skin Toner which I make. Keep reading to find out how I make mine.

3.  Acure Argan Oil that I purchased at Whole Foods for $10 on sale.  I bought this a year ago and I still have half a bottle.  This stuff goes far! Its also multi use which I love.  Adds shine to your hair and makes your skin feel amazing but not oily.  

My no fuss no muss clean routine

1.  In the shower wash your body and face with Allafia Good Soap.  For extra cleaning use a wash cloth but for sensitive skin just rinse with water from the shower.  Need some extra cleansing? Use a tad bit of baking soda in your hands with the soap to scrub your face. 

2.  Once out of the shower/bath you can pat dry your face with the towel.

3.  Spray your face with DIY Skin Toner.  It will dry when you get dressed.  

4.  Get your hands wet and add a couple of drops of Acure Argan oil.  Rub all over your face completely including your neck.  If your hair is a bit frizzy also rub your hands on your hair.  It adds such a beautiful shine without making your hair oily. Just don't add drops to your hair directly or it will do that.  Tiny tiny TINY bit will do ya.  

5. That's it! 



DIY Toner

What you need:
Witch Hazel
Rosewater
Glass spray bottle 
All can be purchased at Whole Foods or New Seasons (or any natural store)

Directions:
Fill the bottle half way up with witch hazel. Fill the other half with rose water.  Done!

Note: Now days you can find rose water/witch hazel in one bottle but I don't think its smells as lovely as when you mix it yourself.  Plus you can use the rose water to spritz on your face at bedtime. Its lovely and feels amazing. 



As you can see I have no skin issues at all.  I get the usual pimples when my monthly visitor comes but that's how it goes. Otherwise this is how I look.  I wear no make up because I have no skin issues to cover.  I'm not saying this is the miracle cure or anything its just what works for me.

NOTE: Again I'm non profit and these products are things I love and purchased with my own money. All links are not affiliate and are simply here to show you what they are. I'm not getting paid to write this or promote these products. I just love them.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

DIY Zucchini Bread


Whats a girl to do with a huge zucchini that mysteriously showed up in my garden today? Zucchini bread of course!  I really don't get where these things hide because I'm pretty good at harvesting every few days and very well I might add.  3 times now these sneaky zucchini have hidden on me and then WHAM there they are. WHHHAATT???? I mean really. 



Zucchini Bread

Preheat oven at 350 degrees

2 cups of all purpose flour  ( I used Arrowhead Mills organic flour that I found on sale at Grocery Outlet $1.49 a bag which is a steal of a deal so I bought a case of them)

1 tsp cinnamon (although you can add more if you like. I'm not a huge cinnamon fan)

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 salt

1 cup sugar (I use Wholesome Sweeteners which I buy from Costco for $11 a 10 lb bag. WAY cheap this way. Wholesome Sweeteners are my favorite and only brand of sugar I buy. Ive worked with them many times over the years and they rock! )

3/4 cup of oil ( I used olive oil)

3 large eggs (1 egg from Mary, 1 egg from Cleo and 1 from Gladys. I love them so!)

2 tsp vanilla 

3 cups shredded zucchini (from my garden today)


Butter and flour your cake pan or if you use a stoneware pan then no need to do that.  First 5 ingredients mix in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Mix in zucchini in this mixture as well.  Once mixed well you can add this wet mix into the dry mix.  

Pour batter into your standard sized cake pan.  Bake about 40-45 minutes or until a fork is poked in and comes out clean.  Let cool and enjoy.  

And as usually you can add anything you want or alter as you will.  Don't have regular sugar then use brown sugar.  Just have whole wheat flour then just use that.  Get creative and have fun with this! 

$$ saving tip-Buy in bulk whenever possible! Its cheaper usually and no packaging to toss or recycle. Plus any chance I can show off my food in mason jars i'm all over that. lol.  But serious. I'm a little obsessed with mason jars.....

I found this recipe here and altered it to my likings. It called to bake for 1 hr 20 minutes but mine didn't take that long.  t love Epicurious recipes!  Go take a peek and see how you can alter it to your likings. Life is way more fun when you change things up. 

NOTE:I'm a non profit blogger and I do this all in my free time. I get no money from any of these companies I just share what I love.  Links are not affiliates!