Monday, September 28, 2009

Homemade Goodness "Secret Pumpkin Muffins"

Okay, I know. I already posted a pumpkin muffin recipe a few weeks ago. Yes those were super yummy but to be honest, they were a runner up. My all time favorite pumpkin muffin is this recipe. I call them secret because I only give this recipe out to my best of friends. I was thinking about it and realized that you are my best friends. You read my every day thoughts, you try all my recipe's, and you obviously think like me or you would not be reading it everyday. lol.
So here's the deal. Now that you have this amazing recipe, you must only share it with your closest friends and family. The people who you love and trust most. And tell them the same thing. They can only give it to the people they love the most. And so on and so on. Okay, so here we go.

Secret Pumpkin Muffins

1 cup sugar (I use 1/2 c sugar 1/2 c brown sugar)
4 Large eggs (medium will do just fine too)
2 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin Puree (can use canned but I do not recommend it )
Not sure how to make pumpkin puree? I will give directions
2 cups shredded carrot (sneak veggies in where you can)
2 cups unbleached flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup of olive oil (can use veggie oil)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground flax seed

Mix pumpkin, sugar, eggs, carrot, and oil in a large glass bowl. In separate bowl mix both flours, baking soda, salt, flax seed and cinnamon. Add the two bowls together and mix till blended.
350 degree's and cook till you poke a fork in it and it comes out clean. 10-12 minutes.

Note: You can find unbleached muffin papers for around $1.25 at Whole Foods. Or so you do not cut any tree's down and like them rustic, just grease up the pan and cook without paper's.

Pumpkin Puree

Pick your favorite pumpkin and clean it. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Save them for next years garden simply by taking the seeds and let them dry on a brown paper bag or newspaper. Once dry (a few days) put in a paper envelope and label it. Once your done scooping seeds and stuff out (put in your compost silly), spray some olive oil around the cut edge so it wont stick to your pan. Lay flat on the sheet and put in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Poke with a fork and it should be soft. Take out and let completely cool. Scoop away!
Note: Any left over? Try your hand to make a pumpkin soup? Maybe put it in the freezer for later use? Maybe make a pasta sauce with it? Or maybe use it for a facial mask? Endless possibilities. Crazy thought, how about just eat it?

Wanna know another secret? You can use squash in any pumpkin recipe. The above picture is a squash called "Golden Nugget". This is what I used tonight in my secret pumpkin muffins. So think outside the box and get creative. But most of all, have fun with it!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Energy Saving Tips Plus more!

-Buy energy saving appliances if you can. A lot of stores offer rebates so look out for those. Our washer was over $700 but was actually only around $500 after rebates. It uses less water and energy. 2 ways to save money. We replace our old ones when they give out, and buy new energy ones.

-Air dry your dishes instead of heat drying.

-Clean out lint from lint trap to increase air circulation. You can throw lint in your compost as well.

-Consider buying a laptop. Use less energy and don't take up a huge amount of space. Plus most laptops turn themselves off when not in use.

-Don't over dry your clothes. Use the sensor if yours has one. Better yet, hang your clothes on a line to dry. Take advantage of warm or windy days. This will save you a bundle each month.

-Use power strips on appliances you don't use often. Household use 25% more power to power things not in use. So unplug when ever your not using or get a power strip so its easier and convenient.

-Invest in rechargeable batteries. If you use a lot of things that require batteries, it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Do not throw away batteries, recycle them. There are places that take them. Unplug charger when not in use. Do not forget.

-There is a myth that screen savers on your computer use less energy. This is not true. So turn your computer on sleep mode or turn it off completely at night or when your not using it.

-Clean warm air registers/baseboard heaters. make sure no furniture is blocking air from getting in.

-Install a programmable thermostat. We have ours at 60 at night and 65 during the day. Were used to this so it does not bother us. I turn if off during the day when the sun is out. I open up all our drapes and blinds to let the natural sun heat our home. Then turn it on later when the sun goes down and close my drapes to block any window breeze.

-Insulate your hot water heater and pipes. Cut down on heat loss.

-Maintain your heating furnace/water heater/or fireplace each year. No build up to start fires and your furnace/hot water heater will work properly saving you money

-Install new windows. That alone will save you so much money. Make sure you seal them correctly.

-Apply sun control or other reflective films on south facing windows to reduce solar gain.

-Close drapes, or blinds on south windows. They allow cold air to enter.

-Close drapes,blinds during the night. Open up during the day.

-Tape or frame in heavy duty plastic film on inside of your window during winter. Keeps cold air from getting in your home.

-You can save up to 30% more energy if you insulate your walls, attic, and under your home correctly. Check your home for this.

-Close fireplace dampers when not in use. They allow smoke out, and if your not using your fireplace then your allowing all that hot air you just paid to heat your house to escape.

-Plant trees to shade your home. They should start shading the first year but really shade after 5-10 years. Remember: your tree's have roots and take that in to account when planting. Don't want those roots to mess with your home. This will save you energy during the summer.

-Plant shrubs around your home. Plant at least 1 foot away from home. They will help insulate your home as well. Just remember to research how big these shrubs will get.

-During the winter, low lined or trees will block north or northeast wind from hitting your home.

-Use high intensity discharge (HID) or low pressure sodium lights. Look for the ones in recycled packaging. Not sure why they made them so Eco friendly just to put them in plastic packaging.

-Turn off any lights when your leaving the room.

-Use dimmers-less energy used is less on your bill

-f your air conditioner is old, consider buying an new one. It will reduce your energy to 50 % and save you money. Might pay itself off one day.

-Don't set lamps or lighting near your air conditioner. I will run longer

-Wash only full loads of dishes or dirty clothes.

-Take short showers instead of a bath. less water usage. Get a timer and see how short of a shower you can take.

-Drain a quart of water from your hot water heater to remove any sediment from it.

-Lower the temp on hot water heater, do you really need it that hot?

-Repair anything leaky. Just last month a renter of ours didn't tell us about the leaky toilet. Well our $600 water bill told us. EEK! Repair them immediately. And if your renting, tell your owners fast.One tiny leak can cost you big time.

-If heating a swimming pool, invest in a cover. Evaporation is the largest source of energy loss.

-Use a crock pot instead of your stove.


-Keep all lights off during the day until you absolutely have to use them.

-Switch out your old bulbs when they are done with energy efficient new ones. They can last up to 10 years.

-Hang dry your clothes if you can. I have 2 of these fold able racks that I use on a regular basis in our home.

-Use blanket warmers. We use them during the winter, why heat your home up when all you need warm is yourself. This is especially good when you have a larger home. You can get them after winter for pretty cheap. Mine was only $20 for a queen one. Get them for all your beds in use. Saves you money.

-Invest in flannel sheets for each bed. I have one flannel and one cotton set for each bed in use. Cotton ones keep heat off you during the summer. They stay nice and cold. During the winter use flannel ones. They keep you pretty warm. Again, you can get these after the winter for pretty cheap. I found my girls for only $12 a set.

-Slippers-I get cold during the day sometimes and I find that if I just put my slippers on , I feel warmer. So invest in these for everyone. Again you can get them for pretty cheap after winter. Buy and save them.

-Don't let the water run when brushing your teeth. Instead plug your sink up and put about 1/2 cup of water in it. Use this to rinse your toothbrush.

-Put a container full of water in your tank of the toilet. Saves on water for you. Try a small soda bottle filled with water.

-Cover a fireplace-we found that cold air leaked from our gas fireplace during the really cold nights. We covered it with just a quilt and it kept cold air out. Wasn't the prettiest but it worked. But I like quilts so it didn't bother me.

-Keep lap blankets near. We have a few around our living and sitting room for when we get a little cold. Saves you energy. So instead of turning up the heat, grab a blanket and your slippers. Give you an excuse to cuddle as well.

-Take a shower/bath every other day. Cuts your water bill in half. I used to take one everyday but now its every other day. Our bill went down pretty good after that. My husband and I take a shower one day. The next our 2 older girls take a shower and I give my twins a bath together. Sometimes they can go 3 days without a shower/bath. Depends on if they played hard.

-Have friends and family over-sounds weird but the more people in your home, the less energy you use to heat your home. So rotate having dinner at friends/family. They come to your home, you use less energy. You go to their home, turn off your heat. Use no energy that way. Win win situation. Plus saves you money on food as well.

-Got quilts? I find them at thrift stores. We use them at the foot of our beds to keep our feet warmer. Then we don't get cold at night. They are pretty cheap at thrift stores and most the time they are crazy quilts. Cool colors and patterns hand made which you cannot find in a store. They are super expensive in stores anyways. Cannot find a quilt? There are tons of crocheted blankets in thrift stores, these will work too.

-Have your kids run around playing before they go to bed. They will be hot and tired. They will be less likely to be fussy going to bed, and they will be plenty warm.

-Wear your clothes more than once. My mother taught this one to me. If there are no signs of wear, wear them again. We had to wash our clothes in a coin laundry room so to make money stretch we wear everything at least twice. This is especially helpful when you have kids. Kids (or at least mine) change their clothes many times a day. Just make sure to put them away again.

-Keep everything unplugged. Only plug it in when you are using them. Obviously some things have to be plugged in all the time but not the toaster,coffee pot, lamps, etc.

-A/C unit. To save on energy, close off all vents except in the living quarters. Keep all doors shut in each room you closed the vent. This will keep all the cold air in your living area's and not cool down rooms where there is no one in there. Be sure to keep all doors shut including the front/back door. You know and and out..

-Charge your phone in the car. This will save you some money. Not much but some. Maybe try charging it at work.

-Cook cold meals on cold days, hot meals on hot days. Make sense? When you cook hot meals on hot days, your house gets way too hot making your a/c work over time. During the cold, cook hot meals. This way when you cook, it heats up your home.

-Go solar! Have sidewalk lights hooked up? Get some solar ones and they use the suns energy to light up your walk way. They even sell solar seasonal lights now. Get them now since the season is over. (just bought my solar side walk lights for $4.95 at Target for a pk of 4).

-Stop blow drying your hair. This one is easy!

-National no TV week will save you some energy. Try it out!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary!!!!

Yes, its official. My baby blog is now 1 years old. Im still going strong and have many readers to thank for it. You guys really do keep me going. And I am still non profit which was a task in itself. But I stuck to my goal and made it with flying colors. Thank you so much for all the great comments and idea's. Keep them coming!
Today is all about celebrating for me. I am taking the day off to have some family time. I thought I would give this day to you my readers. Comment today on your favorite part of the blog. Comment about anything really. I want to hear from you what you love about this blog. Did you save a ton of money on something? Find a good deal and want to share it? Tried one of my easy recipe's? I want to hear from you this time!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Household Money Saving Tips

Household Money Saving Tips

1. Reuse-The lunch meat I buy comes in a reusable plastic container which we reuse for sending left overs home with friends and family. I do not buy ziplock type bags but if I receive them from friends or family , I simply wash them and use them over and over again until they fall apart.

2. Hand wash your dishes. Yes those hands you have actually do wash dishes. Crazy idea's I have! If you have just a small amount of dishes, just hand wash them. Do not load your dishes half full and waste water.

3. Your crock pot is your best friend. At least 3 times a week before lunch I make a meal and put it in our crock pot. By the time dinner is here, our dinner is done to perfection. And I don't have to slave away on the stove. Saves on energy bill and your energy. Less dishes as well.

4. Make your own cleaners. I take a spray bottle and fill it with water. Then I take Dr Bronners and add about 1/4 tsp of it to the water. This is a great simple cleaner and its non toxic. If you don't have the Dr Bronners soap, simply add water then about 1/2 cup of vinegar to that. This works just as well and is non toxic. Don't worry, once its dry , you will not smell the vinegar.

5. Sweep everyday. If you keep on top of sweeping all hard surfaces, the less you have to vacuum. And if you keep your shoes off in your home, again less vacuuming you have to do. And no added stains. Again, less energy used.

6. Check your factory settings on your fridge. Sometimes they are not correct and your using more energy than you need to. Keep your fridge and freezer full if you can. Again, using less energy.

7. Keep your pantry organized. Don't you hate it when you buy something and come home to find out you already have 2 of it? Yah, so keep it organized and you wont have that problem. Saving you money.

8. Teach your kids to use only a certain amount of toilet paper squares. If your kids are like mine, they think they need 20 and basically throws your money away. So at a early age, teach them how many squares they need. Teaches your kids how to count, and saves you money in the long run. I also make my girls go potty before they get in the bath, then simply lift them into the tub. No TP needed! Plus the twins will both go potty and take a bath together so I save a few gallons of water this way.

9. Make or buy used furniture. Everything in my home (except sofa's) are either used, or made. My husband made me a bed that I wanted out of the Pottery Barn catalog. We paid all together maybe $75 for ours. Paint and wood, and we reused our rails from our other bed. The bed in the catalog was $2,000. So its worth it. And most of our furniture is from thrift stores or I have found. I like to find a diamond in the rough. Most items just need some furniture wax, or a coat of paint. Easy things to do. Most things are super easy to do. But things that are distressed are very in now so half the time I leave them as is. My coffee table is an old trunk that I found on the side of the road with a free sign on it. I carried it home and did nothing to it. Its cool the way it is. It was free, functional, and I can store things inside. Plus don't have to worry about my kids damaging it. I have a art cabinet that I found as well. Bought some cheap spray paint and just painted it. Done. So its super easy, just have a imagination.

10. Hooks, hooks and more hooks. I have hooks that I have found, bought, and were given that I use for storage everywhere. I have decorative hooks in my living room for jackets, hooks in our closets hung low for my kids to hand jackets and back packs, and hooks in every door. They are a space saving miracle!

11. Rethink things before you toss them. Think "How can I use this differently?" or "where else can I put this?" . Every once in a while, I move things around because I get bored with the room. Just yesterday I took items from around my home and brought them into my room. Spiced my room up. Freestyle all the way. Free! Baskets is a huge item people throw away. I use baskets for a magazine holder in our sitting room, toilet paper storage in the bathroom, organizer in my kids closets, organizer everywhere pretty much, and for under our beds.

12. Buy things even when you don't need them. I was always taught the other way. The hubby thinks you don't buy things you don't need. But in some case's, its a must. Like candles. To me, I have to have my home smelling good. Or for some reason I think my home is dirty. I'm weird I guess. So I will buy candles 90% off after holidays that I can use all year round.I have a cabinet specifically for them so I can save them until needed. I only burn the ones in glass or containers year round, only burn the pillars on holidays or when we have friends and family around. Candles make a room feel like home, they constantly smell, and are so pretty. So its a free room spray sorta. Or maybe you find a certain item for super cheap that you can use. Like a packaged item that was opened but not used in the half off bin. Yah, I used to buy diapers this way. Usually I would get them for half price. Worth it to me. Even if I didn't need them at the time. So hit your half off bins first when you enter a store, remember all those places no matter where you shop. I save tons of money this way.

13. Use only what you need. For instance, laundry soap. I use half a cap full, not a full like they state on the bottle. My kids don't like dirt on them, and we don't usually get dirty at all. So we only use half. So our soap I can get usually 50 loads, instead of 25. I bought dryer balls so I never had to buy dryer sheets again. No more random dryer sheets floating around our rooms. Don't you get annoyed when you find our you had a dryer sheet stuck to the back of your shirt and you left your home? UUHH!

14. Hang dry items. Currently I hang dry everything. Its been amazing weather here so I'm able to get a ton of laundry done. When its windy, its the best time to hang your clothes. They are much softer. When the weather is not so nice, I use my collapsible wooden clothes rack. These are hard to come by so when college type items go on sale, this is usually in there. Maybe you could hang up a line in your garage. I save over $20 a month on our energy bill this way.

15. Improvise when ever possible. Need a band aid but have none? Just use painters tape and a piece of toilet paper. Need seasonal decorations? Just hand your kids some paper and let them go nuts . Saves you money and your children will love their art work on the wall.

16. Borrow and lend toys out. One kids toys are another kids enjoyment. Ever go to a friends house and your kids play with an exact toy they already have but wont play with at home? UURR. We have a huge container of Lego's (bought at thrift shop for $5, what a deal!) that our neighbors are borrowing. These will keep their kids entertained for hours. Our children borrowed a few of their boys in return.

17. Sweep. Have a driveway that gets a bunch of random dirt or leaves. Instead of pulling out the hose and using your water to clean it, just sweep. When we rented an apartment years ago, I would sweep the carpet then vacuum the next time. Our current home has a sunken living room so I'm not able to do that anymore. This saved on our energy bill.

18. Ditch the disposable wipe mop. You will have to replace the wipe and spend money. Use a good old cotton mop. Instead of replacing the mop head with a new one, simply let it soak in bleach water for a while or toss in your washer. This will save a ton of money over the long run.

19. Ditch the air fresheners. Not only are they expensive after a while but they are super toxic. All that smelly toxic stuff goes into your lungs. Try burning a candle, opening up your windows, or use herbs like I do. Simply cut some wonderful mint and tie into a bundle. Take a small fan and put it on low. Then put the herb bundle by the fan and let it suck up the smelly oils and distribute it into the air. Natural air freshener! I love it!

20. Walk or bike. Simple sounding huh? If you need to go somewhere and its with in 1-2 miles of you, simply walk or bike there. This will save on your gas bill. Plus help our your mother earth! Hey and its also free exercise!

Have any helpful hints you want to share? Simply leave a comment and don't forget to read everyone Else's too.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Slash your grocery bill in half

I have to feed a family of 6 plus 2 pet children. We are a 1 income family so every little bit to save is needed. The following is a list of tips that I use on a regular basis. I hope you can take something from this and use it for your life.

1.Make a list but don't always stick to it. I know, can you believe I just wrote that? Sometimes if it will save us some money if I switch things up a bit. You have to be open to trying new products. Maybe you planned on getting chicken for a meal but turkey was cheaper. Turkey works with any chicken recipe. Or maybe you need red onion but white onion is cheaper. We really do not have any items we purchase on a regular basis. Its what ever I can get on sale or for super cheap. Which makes my life more interesting.

2. Research research research-Get on the Internet or find your local ad's to all the places near your home. Go through and write down how much the things are that are on your list. Then when your done, make a new list of what you need from what stores. Remember to clip your coupons, but don't forget that just because you have a coupon doesn't mean its a better value. I will only get an item if its cheaper, coupon or not. I compare like crazy. Usually the only coupons I use is for seasonal items like BBQ sauce, or produce. Things that can be put in my pantry and we use a lot of.

3. To save on gas, carpool with a friend. I do this sometimes, we just switch back and forth. Plus its fun to hang out and help each other with tips and idea's. I find that I don't forget things when I'm with a friend. Just yesterday I almost forgot chicken until my friend reminded me. Yes I forgot my list....Don't forget your list!

4. DON'T FORGET YOUR CALCULATOR! You will need it to calculate whats a good value and whats not. Or you can use your phone calculator. Some stores tell you how much it cost per ounce which makes it easier. Winco is great for this one. This way you don't have to pull the calculator out.

5. When you enter the store try to hit your stores mark down section first. You save at least 50% off on those items in those places. Bakery, and meat sections always have an area. You can just freeze these items when you get home. I know where every mark down section is at every store I go to. If I find that its not a savings, I just don't get it. And don't forget, you can use your coupons on items that are clearanced or marked down too. This makes it a even better value and possibly free. I find things like candles, glad plug in's from last season, natural beauty items, and lots of pet food that has been opened up and marked down.

6. Some stores have little magazine of their own (ex.Fred Meyers health food section) and there will be coupons in there. And usually it is on a item that's already on sale so you save more.

7. Buy in bulk first-I wouldn't say all bulks are cheaper. Haggen's, New Seasons, and Fred Meyers are usually more expensive. Winco is your best friend when it comes to bulk. They have an excellent place to buy in bulk. Your paying for food, not packaging. Plus most places are getting huge varieties. I buy so much stuff from the bulk section. My usual are brown rice, sugar, dried beans, noodles and flours. This is not only a cheap alternative, but these items will last forever in your kitchen.

8. I don't buy prepared anything. You are paying usually 30% more, and are adding many unwanted things into your body. Whenever you buy anything that is already done and you just have to heat it up, there are preservatives, tons of sodium, and who knows what else. So make it yourself. Plan ahead. Take the time to do these things, your children will thank you. So no more mac n cheese, hamburger helper, or frozen meals. Just try it and you will see a difference and feel the difference.

9. Bring your own grocery bags. You know, those things they sell by the register? Those things save you money and keep plastic bags out of your home. Most stores how actually give you like 6-8 cents per bag you reuse. So its like having coupons in a way. They pay you to bring your own bags. Loving that! If you cannot afford to buy those bags, use paper bags you have, fabric bags you have, any bag will do. They don't care, they just are trying to do their part in helping mother earth. Finally! Update:Goodwill is starting to get a bunch of reusable bags and have a area just for them. They are cheaper than the stores so stock up!

10. If you see something on sale but they are out, remember to ask for a rain check! Yes, you can do this. Especially on things like ground turkey, and staples that you always eat. Most stores don't have a huge section of turkey, so it sells out often. Stock up on it if you can, or get a rain check to get it for that sale price later. Always tell them you need more than you actually need. I usually buy 5 things of ground turkey, but tell them I need 10. That way I get that price for more. Plus I just freeze them.

11. Meat- you can buy inexpensive cuts of meat if you have a crock pot. Just cook it for a few hours in your crock pot, and its so tender. Plus its cheaper for you. Low cost and you can feed more people. Makes your money go longer. If you can get mark down meat, just freeze it for later. Plus don't be afraid to buy meat mark downs. We live off of meat markdowns to be honest. My girls are vegetarians so I really do not need much meat anymore. I can buy less now and this saves a bundle. So the small amount of meat I do buy is usually from Safeway in their mark down section. I buy it 50% off, take it home and freeze it. Sometimes I cook it and put it into smaller containers so all I have to do it pull it out from the freezer and reheat it.

12. Buy store brand. I have found and tried just about every cracker store brand out there. My ultimate favorite cracker that taste just like cheese nips are at Walmart. They are only $1.30 a box. Compared to cheese nips that are $2-$3 a box. So try out store brands. Winco and Walmart have excellent store brand crystal light. Only $1.88 when the real crystal light is $3-$4. So try these things out, they taste the same almost all of the time. Plus it saves you money.

13. Buy seasonal. In the fall its lots of squash, pumpkin, apples and pears. Plan your cooking around these items. My girls know that when its fall, its soup time. They look forward to it and actually count down the months till its here. Seasonal produce will be super cheap so stock up when the go on sale. Currently grapes are 88 cents per lb so grapes are in their lunches each day. An added bonus is that you can freeze them. My girls love to snack on frozen grapes.

14. Find your local markets and farmers. Farmers are almost always willing to sell you their items for cheaper than stores. Eggs are super cheap this way. Markets are not always open all year round but when they are open, shop there. I travel about 15 miles to our local island that has a market. I get my veggies and fruit super cheap and organic. Or if you really want to get them cheap, do a U-pick. Yep, you can pick your own and pay even less. Last summer we picked blueberries and paid only 99 cents a lb. Later we picked beans for the same price. So check around, ask friends, ask family, even ask stores. Most people are local and know where these places are. We make a day trip of it too. Our local market has a animal barn so the kids want to visit them each time we visit. Bring your camera too! Its so beautiful on the farm so take advantage of it. Just think of all the wonderful pictures you will have for a life time.

15. Programs-usually each town has many food programs. When I was younger, my mom was part of the brown bag program at our local church. $20 a year gives you about 2 bags of free groceries a month. There was every type of food item in there. In a nearby town they have a place called the bread shop. They gather all bread that stores give away and bring it there. You can have all you want, they just ask for a simple donation. I donated $2 last time and came out with 4 loafs of Daves Killer whole wheat bread (a local company and usually $4.50 each), 1 box of donuts(shouldn't have but oh well), whole wheat bagels, and much more. I would of had to pay over $20 at the store for these. So again, ask around. People know things usually.

16. Be kind to your friends and family. If you don't like a particular item you bought, give it away. In return your friends, neighbors etc. will do the same. I brought over a valentines card to our neighbors, in return she gave me a cheese cake she made. Free treats! So be kind to others and they will be kind to you. If you have a neighbor with a produce garden, do the same. I trade produce with my neighbor all the time. Just 2 days ago she gave me a huge bowl of green beans. So yummy!

17. Grow your own garden. To save money I buy seeds when they go on sale after the season is over.I just bought seed packets for 8 cents at Walgreens. I bought 2 of each flower packet they had and 2 packets of each veggie they had. Only spend around $3. Just think of all that produce from each seed in each packet. Seeds will last forever if you keep them in a dark dry spot. I also get garden tools this way. Great way to pick up those items you just didn't have the money for. When my garden is in full bloom I cook around what ever I picked that day. Anything I cannot use I will either give to my neighbors or dehydrate for later use. I also donate produce to the bread store I told you about. Families in need can use anything so its nice to be able to give. Think of others when your garden is giving plenty.

18. Storage-Another great way to save money is to store your deals the best you can. I have a huge collection of Tupperware that I keep all my baking goods in. I'm gathering a glass storage collection to keep all my root veggies and dried goods in. For example:My neighbor gave me a 5 lb bag of carrots that needed to be used soon. I simply peeled them, cut them and dehydrated them. Once that was done I put them into canning jars. I did this with zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, and cherry tomato's. They just need to be stored in a dark pantry. When fall comes and I'm in the mood for veggie soup, I simply pull out my dehydrated veggies. Just take 1/2 cup of your veggies of choice with about 1-2 cups of water and boil for 20 minutes. Yummy soup! Another option for storage is freezing. If I buy a ton of red bell peppers on a super deal, I take them home and prepare them to freeze. Wash them, cut them up, lay them flat on a cookie sheet(make sure they don't touch each other), freeze for a few hours, take out and put into a freezer container, and your done. Much cheaper than buying pre-cut frozen veggies. You can do this with just about any fruit or veggie.

19. Stop buying sugar drinks. You know those drinks you crave? Those alone will bust your budget. No more soda, Gatorade, specialty coffee's, fruit smoothies, energy drinks, etc. Those drinks are only for special times in our home. When we have friends or family at our home or on holidays. They are more of a treat now for us. Used to be it was just too expensive but now we will only get them if they are free. Sometimes not even that. I just went to a huge soccer game and they gave out a energy drink for free. The next day we were at my own daughters soccer game and shared the drink. My husband and I had the biggest tummy ache for the rest of the day. No more energy drinks for us. You can get around not buying these drinks in a few ways. Soda's can be bought on special occasions or drank at family functions or what not. Specialty coffee's are a big no no unless we are camping. I asked for a coffee/espresso machine for Christmas 5 yrs ago and use it each day. I make my own and use my reusable coffee cup. Fruit smoothies can be made with any frozen fruit and yogurt. Energy drinks can be cut out all together. Just drink coffee or tea. Water is the most cheap drink around and we drink a lot of it. We pack water anywhere we go.

20. Make it yourself. I have lots of easy to do recipes on my blog called "Homemade Goodness". From granola to pumpkin cookies. These will save you a bundle and your kids will thank you. My girls love when I make any muffin or cookie. I control what goes into each item and know what is going into our bodies. They just love them because they are sweet. Yes it has chocolate but they don't know that I put in flax seed, apple sauce instead of all the sugar, whole wheat flour, carob chips instead of chocolate chips, etc. They just know its chocolate chip cookies. lol.

Thank You!

In 4 days it's my 1st Anniversary in the blogger world. Can you believe it? I have had such a wonderful year in my venture to help people save money. What makes me proud most is that this is still a non-profit blog. It would be so easy for me to add lots of side bar's, advertisements, and things like that. I choose not to for a few reasons. My main reason is that I just want to help you and not make money off of you. I am in a great place right now with my family and making money off my loyal readers would really would just defeat the purpose of saving you money. There are so many bloggers out there who really do need the money to support their family and blogging is really a good way to do it. You do what you have to do to get by. One important last thing is that I just get plain annoyed when I try to read a blog and it takes forever for the page to load. OOuuuyyyy! I promise not to do that to you!

My main goal when I started this blog was to give myself something to do, help others save money, and to live a greener lifestyle. I truly believe I reached my goal. And its to all of you I owe thanks to. It is you who reads my thoughts, you who takes in everything, and it is you who supports me through my journey. So a big THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

To celebrate my year anniversary here in the blogger world, I thought I would recap on my money saving list. In the next few days you will be able to read a great list of ways to save money. I have moved since I made this list and have lots more ways of saving money. So each list will be a new and improved list for you. I cant wait to get them up for you to read.

I also wanted to let you know that I'm working on some fantastic giveaways for you. I cant spill the beans yet but I have some amazing green product companies working with me on this. I am super stoked! I'm hoping to have the giveaway in a few weeks so keep coming back to check. Just have a few things more that are on their way to me. I'm so gitty!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Frugal things to love

1. A cool breeze. Not only can you enjoy it on a hot day but you can hang your clothes to dry in it. Save on energy and save on your bill. I wash my clothes in our energy efficient washer so I use way less water and energy. Then just hang dry my clothes outside. Everything is air dried. I just love my sheets and the way they smell. Brings back memories of my childhood. Grandma's house to hang dry our clothes and help out in the garden.

2. Vegetable Garden. Grow your own food can be so rewarding. Not only can you eat fresh produce each day, but you can freeze and dehydrate for later use. This way you can enjoy pumpkin cookies, vegetable soup, or zucchini muffins all year long. Plus it wont cost you a penny! Another good thing I do is give extra produce to my neighbors. I always have a plant that just goes nuts so I am happy to give away things. Helps them save money too.

3. Samples samples samples. These are great because they are free! Also you can use them when you travel. I get so many sanitary napkins and tampons in the mail that I rarely have to buy any. Plus if I do have to buy them, I always have a coupon (came with sample) and get them for cheap! Plus you get to try products without spending the money. No more frustrations of buying a large box of something and not end up liking them and having to use it up anyways because you paid for it.

4. Free TV. No cable bills come to our house so we save at least $50 each month by just watching regular TV. Now days you get about 20 channels including a 24 hr kids channel. We no longer feel the need to watch TV because were paying for it. Now we just turn it off, read a book or get yard work done.

5. Annual clothing bill for a family of 6 $100. How you may ask? About 2-3 times a year I go to my local Goodwill Outlet and buy about 50lbs of clothes. Cost me about $35 each visit. I get clothes, kitchen items, shoe's, and just about everything you can imagine. Throughout the year I give our clothes to friends and family and they do the same in return. So we constantly have clothing and shoes coming our way. These are all FREE! Rarely do we ever buy anything new. Just undergarments and socks are bought new. You wouldn't tell by looking at us though. These days you can find any name brand used.

6. Free Movies. Red box and a few others are now having free movie codes. These are great for us because we just would never go to the movies and pay $40 for the family to see it. This way we can run up and get a movie and make homemade popcorn. My girls get their movie pillow and blankets (they made each other for Christmas) and change into pj's. Comfy time watching a movie is the best.

7. Making food from scratch. I feel so good about cooking healthy for my family. I buy bulk food (super cheap) and make grandma family style meals for my family. Each recipe I try to make healthy. Cut out half sugar with all natural apple sauce. Cut out half the butter with yogurt. Add ground flax seed to all baked goods. And not only am I cooking healthy food for my family, I'm saving a ton by doing it myself. Plus our food isn't filled with preservatives. All food is fresh from local farmers. You get the idea.

8. Candles candles candles. No air freshener sprays or carpet powders in my home. We are allergic to all of these and my daughters get nose bleeds from them. My way of getting around this is to buy candles. I get candles all year round for super cheap. After each season I watch for name brand good quality candles to be on sale. When they hit almost free, I stock them up. Right now I'm burning Yankee fall candles in a cute turkey tea light holder I bought for $1 each (crazy deal! ) about 5 months ago. Just saw them for $9.99 each at the same store. They burn any smells that might be lingering and freshen up my home.

9. No clutter. I know have no clutter in my home annoying me. Since Ive became very frugal, I have given away most things that I do not use. I think before I buy anything "Do I really need this?" and the answer is usually no.

10. No toxins in my home. I have no toxic cleaners in my home, I use no toxic plastics or metals, and I think "green" when I buy. I try to buy recycled products, gifts, and everyday items. If its toxic in any way, its out of my home. Out with the zip lock, aluminum foil and plastic wrap. I feel good about my kids and the environment they live in.

11. Family time. Instead of going to some pay to entertain place (arcade, air filled slides, etc.) we choose to go somewhere in nature. From the beach, to a park, to the school down the street. Not only is this getting us lots of family time, but its saving us a bundle. We try to find local places so we don't have to spend a ton of money on gas. Plus I pack our lunch and or snacks. This alone saves us a bundle. Finding local healthy places is not easy so I usually pack it. This way I control how much sugar and healthy food we eat.

12. Packing a lunch. I pack my girls each day full of healthy food they love. From salads, to peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Our cherry tomato's, raw green beans, lemon cucumbers or carrots from the garden. And a surprise treat usually consist of a cookie Ive made or fruit salad. I also get request of tortilla soup or black bean soup. What? Soups? Yes my kids love them. I enjoy making them a lunch they look forward to eating. This also saves me a bundle.

13. Saving money. I get a kick out of saving 50% more off my bill. I even keep the recipe for a day or two so I can gloat to myself. Its kinda a sickness if you think about it. lol. My husband even comes home and tells me his good deals. I get so proud! I get so excited about any little savings I get. From buying local, from the market, from our local store to even online sales. Currently I bought a pair of undies and a tote from Victoria's secret for only $2.99 shipped to my house. Cant wait for those to arrive! See what I mean?

14. Free things. I find things free at garage sales, on the side of the road (seriously..found some good stuff this way) to friends giving us things. Just received a great wooden corner shelf for free from a friend who lives by us. Just gonna paint it and its perfect. FREE! Needed a wagon to let my twins ride in when we get my daughter from school. My neighbor had a old (very very old) red metal wagon that just needed some cleaning and oil. Perfect! And it was free. If I need anything I let all my friends and family know I'm on the hunt for it and will take anything for free. Just the other day my next door neighbor gave me hanging pots with the moss too. I keep an eye out for friends and family as well.

15. Mrs.Fix it. Yes that what I am now. Instead of just throwing something away, I try to fix it no matter what. I'm testing duct tape on my plastic laundry basket right now. I'm awaiting a good deal on a wooden basket so until then, this one is gonna have to do. Taped it up and looks good so far. We will see. Our fence is very very old and falling down. Instead of buying a new one, were going to replace all post and reuse all the old slats. This will save us a ton of money. My husband is pretty creative too so between the two of us were good.

16. Free printer paper. All 8x11 paper with one blank side that comes my way is reused in our printer. All school papers, junk mail, etc. This alone saves us a bundle.

17. Free snack/book time for my children. Barns and noble has children reading times for free each week in their stores. For 30 minutes my children get to listen to a few books being read, craft time and a free snack. Plus my girls get to wander around with me looking at all the great books. They love looking at all the colorful books and the current seasons new books out. Check their website for a store near you and their schedule.

18. Free daycare. Well almost free. I live in a cult a sack and there are 3 other families with children. During the summer we alternated between houses play dates. 2 moms would watch the others children for 2 hours. Those moms were free to go run errands. This gave us each time to get stuff done or groceries bought with no children distracting us. In return we would watch their children. Free for sure but you would need to return the favor. Now that school is in we do play dates and each week we have a smores night. Last night the kids played while the adults chatted. They supplied smores and I supplied fresh cantaloupe and tomato's from my garden along with fresh pumpkin cookies. Win win situation!

19. Sacrifices. Yes even those can be loved. We moved from a almost new home twice the size as this home. But we were unhappy. It never felt like home. Just felt like a in between home. We don't own any brand new furniture or anything so our belongings were kinda out of place. We decided to find a home we loved and move. We we sold our almost new home and bought a almost 50 yr old home half the size and never updated so we could be in a neighborhood we loved and dreamed about. And guess what? We love all those old details and probably wont change them. Old harvest gold counters are growing on me. Old faux marble bathroom counters and wall are looking pretty nice now. This house was built to last forever unlike the newer homes. No more extra goodies when I went grocery shopping. Mortgage was higher in our new old house. We keep thinking about how lucky we are instead of I wish I had this or that. Its the sacrifices we do that keep us in check.

20. Money in our pocket. Saving money by being frugal has helped us have some green left over in our wallets. Were able to own some duplex's/property, our 2 vehicles are paid off, we have no visa bills, and have no people calling us asking for money for unpaid bills. We also are so much happier now that we live in our home. When I say "home" I really mean this place feels like home. I have a healthy and happy family. What more could I ask for?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Crazy Talk

No plastic wrap, aluminum foil and no Baggies? That's just crazy talk! Well no, I'm serious. I don't use any of these at all. Well to be honest, I do have 1 roll of plastic wrap in my home. I do not use it, it sits there collecting dust and I'm not sure whether to give it away (which I feel like I'm giving them toxins) or to throw it away. Throwing it away would be putting it in the landfill which is what would also happen if I gave it away. Oh how my mind wanders...
What started me on this whole thing was the fact that we used a ton of Baggies for our girls lunches. I felt guilty for using these only one time and throwing them in the garbage. My 2 girls alone were using 3 each lunch per day. That's 1,440 a year. I was throwing plastic Baggies in landfills each year and those probably are still there not breaking down. Makes my stomach ill thinking about it. Well I decided to stop buying them and washing the ones we had over and over again. Then I started hearing about plastics leaching toxins into your food. Then aluminum toxicity was the talk of the town. And I really started getting paranoid. Long story short, I decided to stop using everything all together. No aluminum foil, no plastic wrap and no Baggies.

I must admit that this sounds like a big task.
At first it felt this way but it really was not that hard. First step is to NOT buy these products. You will save so much money by doing this step. $1.99 a box of 100, $1.99 for 50ft roll, and $2.99 for 25 ft roll really do add up. That's about $7 for products that will last your family about 2 weeks if your lucky. Don't you want $167 back in
your wallet? I thought so. So to make your life easier I thought I would tell you all the ways I get around not using these items. It took me several months to figure these things out and every once in a while I have to stop and think.
1. Start looking for glass dishes with lids. (above pic which is not mind but oh how I would love to own them) Thrift stores, garage sales and grandparents are a great place to start. Glass will be your first choice because you can heat it in the microwave or oven. Plus you can use them to store left overs in the fridge, just be sure to keep the lid on it.
You can use vintage Tupperware (above pic is a vintage AD but I do own the cereal bowls shown) but do not heat in the microwave! Heating plastic leaches toxins in your food. Wash your Tupperware with warm water and soap. I have read that its the item they put into plastic to make plastic clear that is toxic. Almost all of Tupperware is not clear and is some very vibrant color so most should be A ok! I throw mine in the dishwasher each night. If its a soft plastic Tupperware then I would hand wash it. Otherwise just toss it in the dishwasher. Softer plastic will melt and warp. Again...oops!

2. What about oven cooking? If I'm cooking dinner in a glass dish I simply use a metal lid from my pan set to cover it. It doesn't have to cover completely and you wont have to worry about your food drying out. Just needs to be mostly covered. If your worried about it drying out, just add a little extra water. If you do not have metal lids then you can use a baking sheet. Anything will work.

3. What about wrapping meat for the freezer? Use butcher paper with NO WAX! Wax paper cannot be recycled to just use good old butcher paper. Make sure to ask your butcher at the store if they use the wax paper and if they do request your meat on non waxed paper. Ive heard stories of people using just newspaper which freak's me the heck out. Toxins in ink and who knows what else can leach into your food. I use vintage Tupperware containers in my freezer and it works just fine. Just make sure not to drop them or they will brake. I'm just saying...oops.

4. What about my kids lunches? Again look for small Tupperware containers. I used them until I had the extra money to buy reusable fabric sandwich bags. The fabric bags are much lighter and your kids will thank you for them. There are so many options now when it comes to reusable fabric bags. is a great place to find them and you can pick from lots of cute fabrics. They can be hand washed or just thrown in your laundry. Super easy to keep clean. Just look up reusable fabric bags on google and you would be amazed how many people are selling them.

5. What about left overs? Again use those glass containers with lids or Tupperware containers. I have a extensive collection of Tupperware and use each and every one of mine. From tiny ones for my kiddo's lunches, medium ones for left overs, and large ones for salads. I even have party platters, gravy boats, pickle holders, and salt n pepper shakers. All were bought used and from thrift stores or garage sales. I do buy glass containers but they are very hard to find. I run across one of those per 10 Tupperware I find. People just do not give them up. I wouldn't! Grandparents have them so give them a call and ask if they have any they don't use. Plus they came in pretty colors years ago. Now days you get clear glass and they are expensive. But they do carry them so that's always an option. My mother keeps her eye out for Tupperware for me. So tell your friends and family to keep their eyes out for you. Each time I see my mother its a new surprise for me! Yipee!

6. Realize that yes you will survive without these items and your family will be better off without them! I promise your life will not be any harder and yes you will save a bundle by not having these in your home.

Now having all that said I am not against using Baggies all together. I still have a few roaming around in my home. But they were given with items in them to us by other people. I just wash them and reuse them till they truly fall apart. First they are used for food until they cannot hold liquids. Then onto my kids and their barbie toys and tiny rubber Polly clothes. Once they fall apart I cut them into small pieces and throw them in the garbage. Mentally I think they will break down quicker by doing this but who knows. At least no animal will choke on them or get hurt by them. I also own 1 roll of recycled aluminum foil. I basically got this for free or close to it and wanted to try it out. Then I realized I was still using it and then my mind wandered to aluminium toxicity and now it sits in a drawer collecting dust. Notice the pattern here? My mind wanders a lot? Well yes it does. Its a bad habit I have. lol

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vinegar and why its our handy friend

I have a very large bottle of vinegar that I had bought from Costco. I use it for so many things that I just had to buy a larger bottle of it. Its a secret that's been around for years and years to follow. Here are a few uses that might come in handy.

1. Stains-soak 50% water to 50% vinegar. Should get any stains out.

2. Mustard Stains-dab some on before you throw in the wash.

3. Forget your clothes in the washer? Just throw 2 cupfuls of vinegar in the wash and rewash them in hot water.

4. Removes any smoke Oder's when used in the wash.

5. Kills weeds in unwanted places. Pour directly on the weed in the mid morning and the sun will heat it up and kill the plant.

6. Keeps cats away from sand boxes. Just pour a gallon of water with 1 cup of vinegar mixed in it.

7. Eliminate ant hills. Pour directly onto the ant hill and should get rid of them. hint-do this in the heat of the day.

8. Wash fresh produce with water/vinegar mixture.

9. Scouring cleaner. Combine 1/4 baking soda with 1 tbsp of liquid detergent and then just enough vinegar to make a thick paste. Use to clean toilet's or any hard to clean surface.

10. Deodorize and clean garbage disposal.

11. Cleans the microwave. In a glass bowl heat up water mixed with vinegar for 1 minute. Let sit in the microwave for 5 minutes. Open up and all food should be soft and easy to clean up.

12. Everyday cleanser-Fill a spray bottle with water and 2 cupfuls of vinegar. Use to clean any surface and gets rid of smells.

13. Spray shower doors. Use at 100% and spray any glass doors. Let set for 5 minutes then all hard water stains or everyday grime should come off easily.

14. Smelly sponge? Soak over night in a glass of water and a cupful of vinegar.

15. Removes wallpaper. Simply scratch wallpaper with a fork. Take a spray bottle with a water and vinegar mixture and spray the wall paper. Let set for 2 minutes and try scraping off the wall paper. Should make the glue sticky again and easily pull off.

16. Stops but bites from itching. Take a cotton ball and dab the bite with vinegar.

17. Face toner

18. Removes unwanted decals from car's.

19. Animal coats gleaming-spray with vinegar and water mixture and animal coats will gleam.

20. Removes skunk odors

21. Tenderize meats-Use in a marinade with low cost cuts of meat.

22. Steaming veggies? Add a cupful of vinegar to keep your veggies color bright and pretty

23. Cleans urine stains from carpets. Do not use at full strength.

24. Fresh flowers last longer with a 1/2 cupful of vinegar in the water.

Have I given you enough reasons to go out and buy some?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Gathering for the winter

My husband compared me to a squirrel yesterday. Ive been dehydrating things for 2 days now and putting them in Ball glass jars. This doesn't look like much but remember, they are dehydrated. This in fact is 5 lbs of carrots, 5 large cremini mushrooms, 2 days worth of cherry tomato's from my garden, 1 large zucchini, and 1 small yellow squash.
You may be wondering why I am doing this. Well I guess it is my inner self telling me to start gathering for the winter. I want to be able to have summer produce anytime I want. I am a huge fan of soups and so are my girls so this will come in handy later. Just thinking about it makes me happy. Just wait when its Fall or Winter, too cold to go outside, sitting by the fireplace getting warm, sipping on cocoa and eating yummy vegetable soup. Oh how yummy it will be.
Did I mention this will save you money? Here is a break down of how much I spent so far on what Ive dehydrated as of now.

1. Carrot's-Free from my neighbor.
2. Mushroom's-bought at Winco for $1 a piece. $5 investment. Super cheap so hurry and get some! They are usually $2 each.
3. Cherry Tomato's-Free from my garden
4. Zucchini and squash-Free from my neighbor.

I plan on dehydrating much more depending on what comes my way. This fall will bring lots of apples, pumpkins, squash, etc. Who knows but I will be ready for them.

My favorite soup to make is super easy and anyone can make it.

1/2 cup of your favorite dehydrated veggies
enough water to cover
salt is optional

Boil for 20 minutes. Done.

See? Isn't that easy? My mouth is watering right now thinking about it. Did I mention how cute this looks in glass jars? Not only is it cute but it keeps your food fresher for longer once you put them in a dark pantry. They can keep forever.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Generosity utilized at its best

Once in a while we run across a great freebie, good deal or something is given to us and we just don't know what to do with it. We cannot eat it fast enough or have no place to store it. Over the years Ive picked up things in garage stores and put it in storage with a use in mind but no use for it at that moment. I picked up a dehydrator 2 years ago in a garage sale for only $3 and had to have it. What a deal! These things are pricey when bought new so I snatched it up fast. I took it home, cleaned it up and put it in my pantry.
This week my daughters are working for my neighbors who are on vacation. They have a huge garden which takes about an hour to water each day. They are also taking care of their dog by feeding him, putting him in at night and playing with him during the day. So each day we pick anything ready and what we cannot eat, we put in their fridge. Well about 5 days have past now and so
me how each day I missed a post it note on the handle of the fridge. I don't know how I missed it but I did. Today I went to put in zucchini and found the note that read "Please take the carrots, oranges and wine". There was a large bag of juice carrots, about 2 dozen oranges and a bottle of wine that needed to be drank. Yipee!! Well that's a whole lot of stuff we cannot eat in one day so I had to think quick. Here is what I ended up doing.

Ive already frozen a bunch from my own garden so I had no room in my freezer for these. Ah ha! Remember my dehydrator? Finally I can use it!

I simply peeled the carrots and cut off the yucky ends. Cut up the pieces as if I was making soup and then laid them in the dehydrator. I have never dehydrated carrots so I'm not sure how long these will take. I think I will peek on them every few hours and once they are done they will be put into glass jar's for later use. To reuse them simply put them into water (along with any other veggies you dehydrated) and boil them for about 20 minutes. Yummy soup would be perfect on a fall day.
These oranges were about to be spoiled so I had to use them quickly. I cut off the bad ends and threw them in the compost along with all the others. I used my fancy 70's Tupperware juicer in another large square Tupperware container then squeezed all the juice I could out of them. Poured in a juice pitcher that had a strainer just in case a pesky seed decided to come with the juice. I ended up getting a whole pitcher of yummy orange juice. I could freeze it for later use but its the perfect amount for my girls to have at lunch and breakfast the next day.

I hope this inspires you to rethink your way of thinking next time a opportunity comes along. Don't ever deny food of any sort when its given to you. Freeze it, dehydrate it, or use it up quick. Maybe you can make something from it and give some to who ever gave you it to begin with. What a great gesture that would be!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Homemade Goodness "Pumpkin muffins and cookies*

I'm so happy Fall is almost here. Fall to my family means pumpkin muffins and cookies galore. We LOVE the taste of these. If you do not have pumpkins ready available, any large squash will work. I'm using acorn squash right now due to pumpkins not in season just yet. Plus acorn squash only cost about 50 cents each so its super budget friendly. I cook 2 at a time and freeze any extra I have. Just make sure to put about 2 cups in each container in the freezer. This way you don't have to measure later.
Steps to cooked pumpkin or squash puree
1. Start oven at 350 degree's
2. Cut pumpkin in half (or squash)
3. Take large spoon and scoop out seeds. You can
rinse and dry these for planting next year if you wish. Just rinse them and lay on paper towel to dry them. Store in air tight container.
4. Brush or drizzle olive oil on flesh that will be touching the pan. You will cook flesh side down.
5. Bake for about 30min-1 hr. Use a fork to poke the squash. If easily pokes in, then its done.
6. Let cook for 20 minutes flesh side up
7. Scoop all flesh out into freezer safe containers. 2 cups increments.
8. Done!
Note:You do not need to mash or put into a blender. When baked, baking does all the work for you. Pumpkins might need cooked one half at a time. Depends on the size of it.

Pumpkin Cornmeal Muffins

1/2 cup butter 2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar 1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk 1 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs 1/2 tsp salt
15 oz pumpkin puree 1/2 tsp cloves (optional)
1 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour 2 tbsp ground flax seed

Mix all wet ingredients together in a bowl. Mix all dry ingredients into a separate bowl and mix well. Mix the wet with the dry ingredients until blended. Do not over mix. Scoop into cupcake papers or oil up your cupcake pan for rustic muffins and save some tree's in the process.
Bake at 350 degree's for 20-30 minutes till golden brown. Poke with fork and if fork comes out clean, they are done.

Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 cup sugar 2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar 1 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter 1 tsp baking soda
1 cup cooked pumpkin puree 1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla 1/4 tsp salt
1 egg 3/4 cup of nuts (optional)
2 tbsp ground flax seed

Mix all wet ingredients till blended. In separate bowl mix all dry ingredients. Mix dry and wet ingredients till blended. Scoop spoonfuls on a pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes till golden brown.

Not only will you be making super healthy treats for the kids and you, you will also be making your house smell so yummy for a few hours. Who doesnt love the smell of Fall? I LOVE IT!