Tuesday, April 25, 2017

11 Ways Spring Cleaning Accidently Made Me Over $650 in Extra Money

I learned that the best way to deal with and beat my Cabin Fever that rolls into Spring Fever is to keep myself occupied with a project.

Getting a Travel Fund coin bank and offhandedly thinking that I will spend whatever stray coin I find on our trip to Germany. to corral my spare change weirdly became an incentive to clean out and organize junk drawers, my purses, and random clutter catches like the linen closet.


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I hate clutter and living in a condo helps with that. I expected to find a couple of doubles since I can’t always store like with like. I also expected to add more things to put in the charity shop donation box in the garage (which I could get a receipt and claim as a charitable deduction.)


What I didn’t expect was to make a bunch of extra money Spring Cleaning from finding, selling, recycling and using the stuff I already had and couldn’t find. Cleaning and reorganizing turned into shopping the house for unexpected profit.


For example:

Monday, April 17, 2017

10 Best Leftover Ham Recipes You Have to Try Right Now!

The great thing about making a ham for dinner is that it feeds a lot of people. Which also can be the not so great thing about ham, because you can end up with a ton of leftover ham after your guests have their fill and go home.


So why not mix it up a bit and use that leftover ham as ingredient in your recipes rather than the star of the show? Using meat as a condiment in a recipe is a fantastic way to stretch your grocery budget, save money on meat, and make sure everyone at the table eats their vegetables – high fives all around!

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10 Quick and Easy Ham Recipes


Monday, April 10, 2017

Nine Plastic Cling Wrap Alternatives

I never was a huge fan of wrapping leftovers in plastic wrap. Whether you call it cling film, cling wrap, food wrap, pliofilm, or by the brand name Saran wrap it never sticks fully and the food it is supposed to protect ends up drying out in the refrigerator – yuck.

Not to mention, plastic wrap itself isn’t very eco friendly, although when it actually works, it can keep food fresher longer and that is less wasteful. Food wise that is, not trash wise – especially when you do the toothpicks in deviled eggs on a plate to keep the plastic wrap from sticking to them kind of thing.

So it wasn’t much of a stretch for me to bypass the roll of food wrap in the kitchen drawer and store food and leftovers in a container with a lid and pop it into the refrigerator. Bingo! No more dried out science experiments in the refrigerator – especially when I use a clear container.

Save food, save money, and reduce our household kitchen trash. High fives all around.


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9 Easy Ways to Replace Plastic Wrap and Save Boatload of Cash

Monday, April 3, 2017

Vegtable Garden Birthday Cake


My in laws are dedicated and fantastic gardeners, mother-in-laws side in particular. Summer family gatherings are a special treat because everyone's offerings to dinner table are cock full of home grown vegetables.


Home grown vegetables and fishing trip bounty at a Four of July family pot luck.
I contributed the beet salad. Read my Russina Vinegrette Salad reipe on Lazy Budget Chef here!

So it made perfect sense, when gathering for birthday party to serve a gardening birthday cake to the guest of honor. Can you believe this is a homemade vegetable garden cake?!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

14 Ways Cooking in an Instant Pot Saves Money

Four months after Husband and I first took our Instant Pot electric pressure cooker out of the box we are still using to cook almost every. single. day. of. the. week, compared to our Crock Pot, which we use about once or twice a week.

For people like us who absolutely suck a meal planning until dinner time, buying an Instant Pot is worth its weight in gold. What we didn’t expect was how money our Instant Pot started saved us in more than one unusual way.

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How to Use an Instant Pot to Save Money


Monday, March 20, 2017

Cookie Butter Cookie Recipe

I’m trying to do small projects around the house to get me through my practically annual March Malaise Creative Slump. It is too windy and wet outside and too cold to smack things with hammers in the garage (and another reason I’m so antsy.)

So I’m doing some of the dumb projects I gotta do but put off like clearing and organizing a kitchen shelf, linen closet, etc.

I learned during our Eat From the Pantry Challenge my family has Out of Sight Out of Mind Disease and given that we live in a small condo and I can’t always store like with like, well…it’s best to rotate items from the back of the pantry shelves to the front because I always find a fun ingredient to make our current winter meals a little more interesting.

Case in point: Cookie Butter!

We love our peanut butter smoothies around here so it isn’t a surprise to find our jar of cookie butter in the bowels of a cupboard because I think it is too sweet to add to a breakfast smoothie but not too sweet to add to cookies!

Which lead to my next gray and rainy day project: make a cookie butter cookie recipe!

Let’s Bake!

How to Bake Cookie Butter Cookies

 

Pin this yummy, quick, and easy cookie recipe for later!
 
 
I originally baked this recipe with Earth Balance dairy free butter to make my cookie milk allergy friendly. Feel free to use regular butter if you are lucky enough not to have a food allergy.

You will need these ingredients:


1/3 Cup of Cookie Butter

3/4 Cup of Peanut Butter

1/2 Cup of butter – regular or dairy free

1/2 Cup brown sugar

1/2 Cup of white sugar

1 Egg

1/2 Teaspoon of salt

1/2 Teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups of flour

Disclosure: I included affiliate links in this post for your convenience

 

How to Make this Recipe:

 

 

You really should follow the recipe and mix some of the cookie ingredients separately. It will make a difference in the taste of the cookie, not to mention it will be easier to ensure everything is thoroughly mixed together before you pop it into the oven!

1. Thoroughly mix together the softened butter, white and brown sugars in a mixing bowl (this is called creaming.)

Lazy baker tip: I’m impatient and don’t have a lot of hand strength (too much time working at the computer) to do this with a spoon by hand. You don’t need a big fancy kitchen stand mixer to do the job for you, I use a basic electric hand mixer similar to this one


2. Thoroughly mix the following ingredients into the creamy butter and sugar mix: egg, peanut butter, cookie butter, salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract. This is where using a hand mixer comes in handy!


3. Finally add and thoroughly mix the flour to the mixture.


4. Use your hands to roll the cookie dough into small balls, place them on a cookie sheet ( I use a baking stone like this one for more evenly baked cookies), and press the balls flat with a clean fork.
5. Bake the cookies in a 375 degree (F ) oven for 10 minutes.


6. Carefully remove the cookies from the oven, place them on a cooling rack and allow them to cool.

Warning: My cookies were a little crumbly when I used a spatula to remove them from the baking stone and onto the cooling racks most likely due to the dairy free butter and I should have let the cookies cool slightly. If this happens to you and you have folks who hate to eat broken cookie, I suggest you eat the evidence.

7. Unleash your inner Cookie Monster! Nom! Nom! Nom! Nom! Nom!

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How to Preserve Kale the Easy Way: Make Kale Powder!

I usually start my day with a smoothie for breakfast. I kinda wing the ingredients in my smoothie recipes. I fell into a general formula of fortified dairy free milk, fruit (often frozen to fake me into pretending it is a milkshake,) a protein, and an extra like like leafy greens, spices, or honey.

It is the lazy way to eat a quick and healthy breakfast, especially if I make a double batch the day before. In that way it works great.

Do you know what doesn't work? How long those leafy greens, kale in particular, stay fresh in my refrigerator. I swear the minute I put kale in my shopping cart, it starts to turn (no matter where I buy it.)
 
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How to Dehydrate Kale

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Quick and Easy Whole Wheat Irish Bread Recipe

Coffee and whole wheat toast are one of my breakfast mainstays. St. Patrick’s Day is coming up so why not whip up a loaf of Irish Soda Bread one of the greatest gifts this Lazy Budget Chef (who can’t proof bread to save her life)  – the bread machine.

As luck would have it I have more whole wheat flour than white and more raisins than normal because I went to a bulk bin without a container and bought more raisin than I thought.

No problem. I’ll make a Irish style whole wheat bread featuring those those happy raisins sitting in my kitchen.

I am using the bread machine to make and proof the dough for this recipe and baking the bread in the oven because I want the round shape of a traditional Irish style bread.

You can bake it that way or you can bake the whole wheat Irish bread from start to finish in a bread machine. It will taste just the same although I personally think baking bread in the bread maker makes it a little more dense than when I bake bread machine dough in the oven. Do what is easiest for you.

My whole wheat Irish bread makes fantastic toast!

Easy Whole Wheat Irish Bread Recipe
  Pin this recipe for year round whole wheat bread goodness!

Monday, February 20, 2017

25 Ways to Recycle Empty Medicine Bottles

 One of our unwritten household rules is to try to get an extra reuse out of something before throwing it away to sit in a landfill for a million years. Often that second use comes by the way of our city recycling bin and local business who accept hard to recycle items like electronics and batteries.

Husband and I are relatively healthy people but every once and awhile we get sick enough to require prescription medicine. More often than not the medicine comes comes in a plastic pill bottle that isn't always recyclable.

But don't throw those empty medicine bottles away! It is so easy to recycle pill bottles into something insanely useful!



 Pop on over to my DIY blog Condo Blues and learn how to upcycle, reuse, recycle, and hack empty plastic prescription and vitamin bottles into:

25 of the Best Ways to Reuse Old Pill Bottles

 After reading so many clever organizing ideas you'll never look at an empty pill bottle as trash again!

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

How to Find the Unit Price for Toilet Paper the Easy Way!

Most items are easy to compare the unit prices by calculating and comparing the price per unit or per ounce with the exception of toilet paper.

Sheet and roll size vary by brand and/or packaging. Not to mention all of the variations within the brand itself. Is the regular size roll of TP with Fluffy Butt Wiping Technology more or less expensive than the Mega Roll Pack Made From Fluffy Kitten Tears? Who knows?

You do!

What Grocery Stores Don’t Want You To Know: How to Save Money by Comparing Toilet Paper  Unit Prices  

 

The only way to compare the unit price of toilet paper is to calculate and compare the price of toilet paper per square foot inside of the package.



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This post has affiliate links for your convenience.






Thursday, February 2, 2017

10 Quick, Easy, and Delicious Instant Pot Soup Recipes You Have to Try!

We recently added an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker to the Lazy Budget Chef Kitchen and Thunderdome and have been cooking food and meals with it on an almost daily basis since we unboxed it last month. Yes, the Instapot lives up the the hype! It is the perfect thing for our never gets around to meal planning family to make dinner from I don’t have any ideas what do you want to eat? to done in 30 minutes.

Well, OK. If you pull frozen meat from the freezer and cook it for dinner in the Instant Pot it will take 45 minutes or so. I’m not quibbling about it because see above about not making a meal plan and not having ideas what to make for dinner on the fly.

 
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For anyone who doesn’t know, the Instant Pot is a kitchen tool that can replace seven appliances with one: stove top pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pot, steamer, warming pot, and yogurt maker (this post contains affiliate links for your convenience.) I still haven’t gotten the hang of cooking in a stove top pressure cooker but after guessing my way through my first electric pressure cooker soup recipe I felt like an expert. That. Easy.

10 Ridiculously Easy Instant Pot Soup Recipes to Make for Dinner Tonight

Thursday, January 26, 2017

10 Extreme Cheapskate Money Saving Tips You Won’t be Embarrassed to Try

Last weekend I was sick and got sucked into watching several reruns of the show Extreme Cheapskates (affiliate links in this post for your convenience) because I couldn’t find the TV remote buried somewhere in my blanket nest on the sofa.

It confirmed my sneaking suspicion that The Learning Channel turned into The Laugh at Freaks Channel. Jordan the bartering guy confirms Extreme Cheapskates set up scenarios to make him look like he won’t pay for anything (when he actually does) in his blog post My Media Guy TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates: The True Story.

Worse is Broke Rich Girl’s experience that TLC lied to her when she declined to apply to be on the show. Production said they wanted her to “be the voice of reason” and later in the process wanted her to sign up for on line dating as a way to get free meals.  How sleazy is that?!

She declined. You go girl!

10 Not So Extreme Budget Lessons from Extreme Cheapskates

 

10 Not So Extreme Budget Lessons from Extreme Cheapskates
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If you strip away the fake jacked up borderline illegal and craziness, there are some general budgeting ideas that will help you save money and keep your ethics intact. Some may not be new to you. Others may be something that don’t apply or you don’t want to do. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What Do You Make in an Instapot?

I added an Instapot to the Lazy Budget Chef Kitchen and Thunderdome this Christmas. Both Husband and I read the instruction manual that, let’s face it, is written for people who already know how to cook in an electric pressure cooker – which isn’t us.

So exactly, how do you use an Instapot and what do you cook in it?


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Monday, January 2, 2017

The 10 Best Budget and Food Hacks of 2016

Hello 2017! It is a brand spanking new year full of brand spanking new possibilities.

It is always interesting when I take a look at which Lazy Budget Chef blog posts are the most popular posts of the previous year because I am almost always surprised!

In 2016 was the year of budget cleaning, shopping, travel, and food allergy hacks. And wowzers folks I want to come to your next party because you really, really love my vodka watermelon hack!

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The Ten Most Popular Lazy Budget Chef Post in 2016