Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DIY Organic Chicken Tortilla Soup


DIY Chicken Tortilla Soup

Need:
2 Organic Chicken Wings or Drumsticks 
Water
2 cups Organic Brown Rice
1 cup Organic Bell Peppers chopped
1/2 Organic Onion chopped
1 cup Organic Corn
2 Organic Garlic Cloves minced 
1 cup Organic Pinto Beans
1 cup Stale Tortilla Chips 
3 tbsp Chili Powder
2 tbsp Cumin Powder
1 tbsp Tomato Powder or 1 cup stewed tomatoes
3 tsp Salt

Optional:
Cilantro 

First get a big pot and fill it with water. Next add your chicken pieces, your brown rice and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 30 minutes with a lid on. Once done pull the chicken out and let cool on a plate. 

Now add your bell peppers, onion, corn, garlic, beans and stale tortilla chips. Mix well then add chili powder, cumin, tomato powder (or stewed tomatoes) and salt. Put lid back on and keep simmering. 

Last but not least pull all the meat off the chicken and add it back to the soup. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy! 


DIY Sesame Noodles



My husband was coming home from lunch and I wanted to make him something simple but different than anything I have made before.  Low cost and healthy? Yes it can be done! 

Here is what you will need but feel free to substitute with what you have or to your own dietary needs.




I used:
1 lb Whole Wheat Organic Pasta
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Organic Red Pepper Flakes
4 Organic Green Onion Chopped
1/4 cup Organic Sesame Tahini 
3 tbsp Rice Vinegar
3 tbsp Liquid Aminos

Optional:
pinch of Sesame Seeds
3 tbsp water if using left over pasta

Boil the pasta as instructions state.  Once boiled strain them and let them cool off in the pot.  In a small pan heat up the oil and toss in those red pepper flakes.  Let simmer on medium for a minute or two then turn off the heat.  Next add in half your green onions, sesame tahini, rice wine vinegar and liquid aminos. This is also where you would add in the water if you were using left over pasta.  Once pasta has cooled completely add in the sauce and you're done!  Be a little extra fancy and add the rest of the chopped green onion on top for garnish. 

Here is my pricing breakdown.

$1.39 organic pasta
25 cents Whole Foods olive oil (totally guessing here because I buy large containers and refill my own bottle)
5 cents red pepper flakes (again guessing)
FREE green onions I picked right from my front yard. Woot!
25 cents sesame tahini (bought from Grocery Outlet $1.99 a jar)
25 cents (guessing again)
25 cents liquid aminos (you guessed it...guessing)

Total-$2.44 give or take since I guessed or should I say was too lazy to remember or calculate how much I paid for those spices etc.  But you can see its very low cost to make this dish. In fact this could easily feed 4 people making it 61 cents a person. Now thats FRUGAL! 

JUST REMEMBER!!!! This can be altered to anyones preference! Add in some fresh veggies.  Serve this cold or hot.  Use any type of noodles you want here.  Left over rice noodles from last night? Sure toss those in.  Want it more spicy? Add more pepper flakes.  Too salty? Add less liquid aminos. Don't have liquid minos? Use soy sauce but only use 3 tsp of it.  No tahini paste? Try some nut butter. Don't use organic ingredients? Thats whats great about this. use what you have!  See the pattern here? Just have fun with it! 









Thursday, April 10, 2014

Infused Simple Syrup




In the beginning of the summer I bought a 6 pack of herbs by Drunken Botanist.  My 6 pack included two mint plants, one lavender, one anise, one scented geranium and one Angelia.  They smelled so darn good! At $9.99 a pack it was a high price but as long as the plants last a long time I was okay with it.  Not only are they great smelling but they also can be infused in simple syrups! I had great intentions ha ha. Well I just now got around to doing something with them. 


I ripped off some leaves and the instructions say to add 50/50 water and sugar ratio. Feel free to  use any herb you like.   So I grabbed my organic sugar, water and my herbs and headed into the kitchen.  I did just as it said. 2 cups of water with 2 cup of organic sugar. One herb I did't have many leaves so I made a small batch.  Heat mixture with herbs till water comes to a boil and sugar has dissolved.  I then turned off the heat and covered with a lid.  Let set for one hour.  

Once cooled I poured each simple syrup into their own mason jar. I made sure to strain all the leaves out and put lids on them.  Again I let them completely cool before putting them in the fridge.  Also make sure to write on each one what it is because they all look the same.  Here is the end results. Beautiful golden colored simple syrups. 


Now go buy some carbonated water, add as little or much as your simple syrup as you want and enjoy your all natural soda! 






Thursday, April 3, 2014

Want Not Waste Not

You've heard the old expression "Waste not want not" right? Well in my case its want not waste not. I have called the paper service many times to tell them not to deliver this weekly food paper.  Yet each Tuesday this shows up on my driveway. UURRRRR!!!! So instead of just tossing them in the recycling I put them to use. I don't use coupons and this thing is loaded with them.  Coupons are usually for processed unhealthy food and we don't eat that stuff.  Don't get me wrong I still look just in case! And before you go emailing me I already asked around and no one wanted them.


If I get up early I can get the paper dry and not soaked with water. It's much easier to use when not wet! I simply open this paper up and make two piles.  One pile for glossy paper and the plastic bag.  The other pile is for non glossy paper and ad's that cannot be burned.  


I put the few glossy items and plastic bag into the recycling because I have yet to find a use for them. The non glossy items I stack and collect in a area that you cannot see in my living room.  I will use these for starting my fire in the winter months and for making paper pots for my garden.  It's April now so by the time the winter months come I will have a good stack to work with.

Now when you get junk in the mail or an annoying paper that won't go away, think of these things.  Use what you can before you just toss in the recycling.

What things do you use extra papers for? Comment here or on my Facebook and join the conversation!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Don't Throw In The Towel

We've all been there.  You give your bathroom a make over or completely overhaul it like we did.  This means that you need to buy new bathroom linens right?  There goes another $100+  towards the bathroom debt.  Not me! 


If you have closed cabinets you can simply hide them and no one would be the wiser.  But as you can see we have open shelves and I had to get creative.  I only did two things and each thing saved me a bundle of money.

1.  I kept all my white linens and folded them so you can't see the colors.  Most I have had for years, some were given to me by my mama when she bought new ones but also some were gifts.  They are in excellent shape and I see no sense in buying new linens just so they match my new bathrooms decor.  

2.  I picked up some grey towels at my favorite thrift store that sells by the pound.  These towels are a major brand and are made really well.  I simply bought them and washed them on hot water.  Used towels are no big deal to me. I would much rather pay 50 cents each than pay $10-$15 for each towel brand new. Not only is this saving me money but I'm also avoiding new resources, packaging and it keeps me out of big box stores.  Woot! 

Now go check my Facebook page out and join the conversations were having!!
p.s.
We did our bathroom 100% DIY style which saves a ton of money! 



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Rain Rain Go Away!


I'm a Oregonian inside and out.  We love our rain.  Heck we don't even use umbrellas unless its a monsoon outside.  Oh and flip flops? Those we wear all year long.  But as you can see we have lots of water.  A few weeks ago we had a week of snow and the news channels said we were in a drought and there was no need to worry about flooding.  Well a few days ago my husband was checking under our house to make sure the gas guy would have no issues putting our gas line in for our new stove.  We had a little bit of water at that time under our home.  Well 2 days later he checked again and we had a lake. 


Ive noticed water pooling under our deck for a little while but honestly our backyard has always done this each Spring.  No red flags here.  


Our sidewalk is old and has looked this way forever.  But its never looked like a island. 


So my husband quickly went and picked up a temperary pump for under our house.   Since we cannot fix any foundation issues till the rain goes away we just needed something to be a quick fix.  Here is this blue hose which shoots out dirty water from under our home.  Yesterday I was holding this tube and letting water shoot out pointed towards our neighbors drainage hole.  Then I had my daughter hold it while I dug a trench to allow water to flow to the drainage hole.  This family is a team when it comes to fixing things. 

Well everything seemed fine till this afternoon when my husband came home from work.  The tube had fallen back under our house and water was coming back in. UURRRR!!!!! So we picked up another tube and came up with a different plan.   Here you can see the tube goes directly out to the front of our house and down our driveway.  



What does all this mean? It means maybe or maybe not will I get my new stove up and working this week.  Look how pretty and sad it looks.  We are doing all the work ourselves except for this gas line which may or may not be able to be put in.  If the gas guy says its too wet then we can't do anything till the rain goes away.  So for now I cook in my torn up kitchen.

So if you need me I will be doing my own rain dance singing "Rain rain go away!".
uurrrrrrrr


Monday, March 3, 2014

Green Review- Celebrating Home Bean Pot


Just look how beautiful this is.  I'm usually one to love colors in nature such as browns, blues and greens. But this thing was calling out my name. Swoon!  This is called the Celebration Bean Pot and is made by Celebrating Home.  My wonderful longtime friend Tonya sent me this beautiful piece of art for free in an exchange for a review.  Yes I said it. ART!!  There was no talking me into this at all.  Part of saving money is cooking food from scratch the easiest way possible.  This fits the bill!!!  

Just a little background about Tonya. Ive known Tonya since we were 12 years old in 6th grade.  If your counting that's 24 years.  On a side note Tonya holy moly that's a long time!  She is one of the nicest people I know to date. She grew up in Oregon but is now located in Utah.  Anytime I think of her I get a smile on my face.  She oozes sweetness. Literally.  

A huge part of my reason to review this is to concert easy to do recipes into healthy easy to do recipes.  Our challenge is making them dairy free, organic as possible and less packaging. Challenge accepted!
 I simply went onto her Facebook page and found the  recipe "Bean Pot Cowboy Casserole" to try out.  How I save money is looking at recipes and thinking of what I have on hand.  No running up to the store for ingredients! Creativity is using what you have.  

Another reason I wanted to try this out was for the travel Oval Bean Pot Basket.  Its made out of metal and sea grass which  made my "plastic free" self squeal like a little girl.  I can now cook a healthy meal and take it anywhere I want.  Unlike other pots (starts with a P and ends with a Chef) that are expensive ($89) and have no way of traveling with it.   With Celebrating Home you can get the Bean Pot and the Oval Bean Pot Basket for less than the cost of other stoneware pots. Once again a no brainer for me.  



Here you can see Ive changed a few things.  Instead of using a can of mushroom soup I made my own roux by using mushroom stock, flour and butter.  Learn how to make a roux here.  Remember you can add any milk type product you want to keep it dairy free.  I used flax milk as shown in the picture.  But by all means use what you like.  Just make sure it has no sugar in it. 

I also substituted kidney beans for my own black beans.  You could literally use any beans you like in this recipe. I make my own to have less waste and more importantly save me money. One can of organic beans cost about $1 when you make your own and it is only about 50 cents. Its a no brainer! 

Another substation I made was the Mrs.Dash.  I bought Bragg seasoning mix years ago and when it ran out I looked at the ingredients and noticed I have all these spices.  Why buy more when I can make my own. Its so easy peasy! Just put a teaspoon of every spice you own into a mortar and pestle. Grind till its a course mixture and put into a container easy to sprinkle the spices out. In my case it was my Bragg spice bottle.  Done! 

I also want to mention our meat portions.  In the picture you can see I only used half a pound of ground beef.  Yes you read that correct.  Half a pound! We cut our meat budget in half just but doing this small step.  You might be thinking how can one do this??  It's easier than you think.  I just add more vegetables or grains to our meals.

Last but not least we didn't add any dairy cheese at all.  Because of the DIY mushroom soup I added it really didn't need any cheese. It was thick and creamy all on its own.  But once done we did add nutritional yeast.  I find it in the bulk section for about $6-$7 a pound.  You can buy it in a shaker like shown in the picture but its way more expensive.  I reuse my original container over and over again because its easier to sprinkle onto your food.  We sprinkle this onto any food we feel cheese would be a good flavor to add.  Which is pretty much everything! 


Just look how beautiful these colors are! Oh and the smell was so wonderful! 


Once out of the oven it looked like this.  Let it sit out for 15 minutes and it will continue to thicken up.  So you might be thinking "Did everyone like this recipe?" Lets just say it was quiet during dinner because everyone was stuffing their faces. It was that good.  If its quiet at dinner, that's a good sign.  No one asked about where the cheese was.  No one complained about the lack of meat.  No one complained at all.  Well one did but it was because they burned their tongue because they couldn't wait to eat it.  I'm taking that as a good sign! 


Now here is my favorite part of this bean pot.  It can be washed in the dishwasher!!!! I used a sponge to get the chunks of food out and then it went right into the dishwasher and came out spic and span!

-Its oven, dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe
-This pottery is fired at over 2,000 degrees
-You can cook, serve and store in the same container. Less clean up!
-Non-stick naturally. No need to spray with oils. Once food is out simply add a tiny bit of water to the          still warm pot.  It will loosen up any food and easily rinse out.  
-Once cooked it will stay warm for 3 hours
-Once frozen it will keep cold for 3 hours
-4 qt capacity. This sizes feeds my family of 6 easily.
-Has a 5 start rating. Highest quality pottery available in the marketplace today!

My Review
I'm giving this Celebrating Home Bean Pot a HUGE thumbs up!  Easy to use and easy to clean up.  LOVE IT!!!!
One small thing I didn't like was that there was a tiny bit of plastic in the box it came in. I can see why because its pottery.  It all was recycled easily! I keep my cardboard boxes that the actual pottery was in so I can easily store it when not in use.  This was a tiny thing compared to its uses and amazing quality. I'm okay with that.

Now here are the details

To find which bean pot makes you happy go to Celebrating Home. There are so many beautiful Bean Pots to choose from! Also lots of cookbooks and other travel accessories such as beautiful totes to carry your Bean Pot in.

Looking for new and yummy recipes to use in your new bean pot? Check out Celebrating Home Bean Pot Cookbook. Don't forget to cater these recipes to your likings.  All can be converted to dairy free or even gluten free.  Use what you have, whats in season and last but not least HAVE FUN WITH IT!!!! 

Also don't forget to check out Tonya's Celebrating Home Bean Pot Facebook page  where you can chat with others, find new recipes from Tonya or her fans, ask Tonya anything you are curious about and to get inspired.  FYI- I didn't even get into the dessert part of this amazing product. So many yummy amazing recipes to choose from!

Have a question about this amazing bean pot?
You can find Tonya easily!
Twitter
Facebook
email her at rgiesbers@juno.com
or call her at (877)269-6126

Note-I was sent this product for free in exchange for a free review. This blog is non profit in every aspect and all reviews are written in my honest opinion good or bad.  I am not swayed by any company or person.  Any review of mine is honest 100% truth.  And this is why people like my reviews.  I make not one cent off this product. Not even links! I turn down products all the time and only review things relevant to this blog.