Archive for Domestic Arts

The Easiest Recipe In The World

I do love to cook but sometimes I just want to curl up on the couch and relax. My husband loves a good roast chicken and I love it because it can make multiple meals. Think chicken soup and chicken salad! Aren’t I a good vegetarian wife…

Try this easy recipe:photo

Ingredients:

1 small chicken

1/2 cup fresh chopped herbs, or 2 tbsp dried

1/2 cup olive oil

4 garlic cloves minced

1 small onion, peeled

5 carrots, peeled, trimmed  and halved

Salt & Pepper

Clean the chicken and stuff with small onion. Place in a small baking dish. Rub on olive oil , garlic and salt and pepper, sprinkle with herbs and line carrots around the chicken. Cover with foil and place in the oven on 350 for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake for additional 10 min to brown.

That’s it!!!!

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Top Ways We Save Moola.

One of my favorite blogs did a blog post about cutting down on waste. It inspired me to talk about the top 5 ways we save money in our home. I hope this encourages you to share your tips!

As I have now been home for 8  months( wow,  has it been 8 months ?)  I have had the opportunity to reconnect with home life and really take the time to take a look at our budget.

Top 5 Ways We Save Money

1) Green Cleaning:

About a year ago I purchased a mega bottle of Simple Green cleaner for my home. I am still working on it. I think the bottle cost me $8? I use a vinegar and water mixture for sterilizing toys. I also have a few Seventh Gen, Sun & Earth and Caldrea products from sales and coupons.

We have put a serious dent in our paper towel buying by using rags made of my husband’s old undershirts. Cut em’ up, bleach em’ out and use em’. This was one of our New Year’s resolutions and we really don’t miss them. I do keep a roll in the house for puppy accidents or guests ( even though I always offer up a clean rag for them. )

2) Cooking

We cook every night. If we don’t, we don’t eat. Easy as that. I can not remember the last time we ordered out. It’s difficult cooking for a vegetarian, a meat eater and a baby eating solids but somehow I get it done. Cooking in not only saves loads it’s much healthier in the long run.

I make a menu every two weeks ( conincides with paychecks) and plan what we are going to make. I use leftovers and try not to be wasteful.

If you do opt to eat out try Restaurant.com for discounted giftcards.

3)redbox:

Top movies for $1 a night- enough said. Enter code BREAKROOM or DVDONME for free rentals. ( FYI- They only work once per card.) Sign up for their weekly newsletter to recieve  more free codes.

4) Cloth Diapers:

As you know we cloth diaper. It doesn’t take up as much time as one would think. I do a load every 2-3 days. I was using regular, non-green ( gasp!) laundry detergent but I recently switched to a natural homemade blend. ( Just call me Mrs. Duggar) a great recipe recommended by a fellow mom.

The investment in cloth diapers was a bit hairy but we do save by not having to purchase as many disposeables. I keep one pack of disposables in the house just incase we run out of cloths and its laundry day.

One way to save on creating your diaper stash is buying diapers secondhand. I would say that we have apromixatley 40% secondhand cloths. Check your local Craigslist or DiaperSwappers.

5) Making Gifts:

I always say my husband is the luckiest SOB I have ever met because he has not had to purchase a gift for anyone in the last 7 years. For Christmas last year we gave out hand stamped muslin cedar bags and small glass herb jars filled with organic French herbs.  They were a hit and were very inexpensive to assemble.The year before we took Mason jars and planted paperwhite bulbs with river rocks. Everyone loved that gift.  T Kids birthdays I make T-Shirts with cupcakes or bibs from ROBAY STUDIO.

BONUS) Water, water everywhere…. DRINK IT.

We have saved hundreds by elimnating juice and soda from our house! We drink water all the time. Over the summer we did splurge on some lemonade here and there but for the most part water is number one. No calories and best of all its virtually FREE. We installed a PUR water filter on our tap. Opt for the one that takes out 99% of pharmaceuticals.

6) Coupons ( We call them ‘Coups’ to make them sound a little more fun 😉

My mother did coupons when I was a wee little one and I always dreaded Sunday because she used to make me cut them. ( Can’t wait til Bay is old enough!) I recently have rediscovered the power of these magical pieces of paper. You cut them out and it saves you DOLLAR BILLS. Really they do.

The kicker is you have to get coups for what you actually use. I just put ink in our printer and have started printing them online. It’s important to call your stores and see if they accept them. Most do.

Last week I did a test to see how much using printed coups could really save me. Here’s the loot:

IMG_1907Cost for this shopping trip: $7.08

(2) Healthy Choice Meals priced at $2.50 used two $2 off coups=.50$ each

Nature Source Bathroom Cleaner priced at 2.99 used one Target $1 off coup + a manufacturers coup for $1 off. =$.99

Up & Up Target brand disenfecting wipes priced at 1.99 used a Target $1 off coup =$.99

* Note I usually don’t buy these but the world has gotten even germier. I keep them in the car and use after the library and grocery shopping.

Whole Wheat Pasta Priced at 1.19 used one$1 off coup=$1.38 for two!

Chef Michael’s Dog Food Products, used a few buy one get one coups plus a few free coups.

* I usually buy Trader Joes canned but these were a great deal!

Silk Soy Milk priced at $2 used a $.50 coup=$1.50

As you can see I saved a lot of $$$. I am so excited to do grocery shopping this week with our printed coups!

Now I ask you , what are your tips? How does your family or household save cash?

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When life gives you lemons…Make Shoes.

My little one went to the library this week and all the kids were wearing shoes. It was a crisp fall day so I could see why. There my little Baylen sat, shoeless.  I looked at him and said , ” Well kid, money is tight and you don’t even walk yet. When you are old enough Mama will buy you the best shoes money can buy.” He looked back at me as if to say, ‘ Screw you, I need some new Robeez.’ That little look launched me into a creative spin of course and I found a great pattern for shoes. Tada:

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My husband( my dear sweet patient husband) made the trek with me to Joann’s today to buy some fabric for Bay’s shoes. He got into it, dodging all the crazy quilters with our bolts of fabric. We decided on this really cute robot print lined with red and smoky grey cordoroy soles ( mostly because leather was out of our price range.) We also bought a green mod print I adore and a fall orange for another pair. We spent about $8.00 and went home happy.  I have enough for more pairs too!

I spent all night making these shoes. I lie, we ate dinner and made lactation cookies. Total time maybe 3 hours- but I was watching tv too. Ugh, I forgot photos of the cookie  process, but I am sure you get it. Oatmeal cookies with brewers yeast, flax meal and of course oatmeal. Here’s the finished product:

IMG_1779I have been bitching about our lack of funds but I have to say I have become ridiculously resourceful. It’s a better life this living simply and we are better for it. I do miss getting a pedi and buying shoes but hey, I get to be with Bay all day and that is payment enough. And Hey-  I can say I MADE shoes?! Who else can do that. Elves…

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Now they have thought of everything!

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Well hello blog, how have you been?! Its been a while.

So Bay is officially 7 months and practically to the day a friend came by. Ugh. I feel like garbage. Really I do.I have been petrified about my milk supply plummeting with the return of this dear friend so I sought some advice from a fabulous group of women on the Boston Nesties board.

Prescription? Cookies. Lactation cookies that is. No, not cookies made with breastmilk. Wow, if only I could have cookies for a headache. This weekend I will be making my first batch of Lactation Cookies! They contain oatmeal, brewers yeast and flax- all things to keep the milk flowing so to speak.  Very excited!  People swear by these things. I’ll be sure to take photos!

Its been a busy few weeks with ROBAY kicking off again. We are working on getting into a few stores locally. Plus, I have been sewing like a mad woman for some upcoming showers.

I took some time out for me today and made my first homemade banana bread. Came out awesome! SO yummy with a cup of tea. I was in heaven. Sorry no pictures.

Today, well yesterday as its 12, was 9/11. 8 years ago I was sitting in my dorm room and the world changed in a second. I have been thinking a lot about college recently and how the event rocked our lives. My prayers to those who lost their lives that day, the courage that came from it all and the families who still grieve. We have to work together to make this world  a peaceful place for generations to come.

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Recipe & Revelation!

Last night I invited a bunch of girlfriends  over for drinks as we all  needed a night out. When I came home I started freaking out over the fact that we had no ‘ good booze’ in the house or food to make appetizers with.

I ran to the store and pulled together some quick ingredients ( sadly I have no photos!!!) BUT I came to a revelation when I had an hour and a half to clean up my house and a  mere $15 – I LOVE ENTERTAINING. I think its what I want to do with my life. I want to entertain and teach people how to entertain.

I made pom spritzers with organic pomegranate juice and Korbel ( I know, yuck!) They came out really good! The second bottle I used a Martini de Rossi Asti ( Again, double yuck!) with pom and it also came out yummy.

I served two chopped bars of chocolate ( Cadbury) one dark, one milk with fresh strawberries. They were devoured.

I remembered reading inReal Simple about the beautiful veggie tart with feta. It looked impressive and I wanted to impress so I made it. It came out awesome! I am including the recipe down below.

The tart is the most simple and sinful thing to make it literally took me 5 minutes. You can use any ingredient you have around the house. Meats, veggies, cheeses- anything!

Here is the Real Simple tart:

image from Real Simple.com, Potato, Leel and Feta Tart

image from Real Simple.com, Potato, Leek and Feta Tart

Sweet Hours Goat Cheese, Tomato, Portobella Tart

1 store bought pie crust 9″

1 half log of goat cheese

Toppings:

1 portabella mushroom

1/2 jar of marinated artichokes

1 organic tomato

Cabinet Staples:

Butter, S&P,  EVOO, fresh herbs

Preheat oven to 375. Unwrap the pie crust and place on a cookie sheet. Spread on goat cheese. Place on toppings as you would a pizza. Leave a 2 inch border around the sides. Sprinkle S&P and fresh herbs. Fold the sides in towards the center. Bake for 5 mintutes. Brush on butter.  Be sure to keep checking so the tart doesn’t burn. Should take about 12 mintutes total to cook, depending on your oven.  Before serving drizzle on EVOO.

The tart will be crumbly. Be sure to use a spatula or two to transfer onto a serving dish or platter. Cut into slices or squares.

Variations:

~ cream cheese, top with rasins and honey.

~ricotta, fresh peaches and honey

~spinach and feta

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Mom Friendly: Floral Waters

IMG_1265Ok moms, this is quite the splurge, BUT if you get a gift card and have the chance to buy this stuff do it!

I had a gift card to Bella Sante in Boston and with the lack of time in the city and the little one I had to spend the card on products instead of fabulous services. I know– poor me.

Well, Julie Hewett is a makeup designer in LA and has a gorgeous line of products. I purchased this Pure Persian Rose Water for $24 and am in love. I use it all the time!  Yes, I know its just water infused with rose petals but a girl as to feel pretty right ? It is a great face refresher for tired eyes as well as dry skin. Last night I went out for my birthday and used it to set bronzer. It is a definite must have and splurge.

As I won’t always have lovely gift cards to utilize I plan on making my own spritzer in the coming months. Here is a recipe from Tip Nut!  I  have a ton of lavender in the garden and may try that too!

Items Needed:

Fresh rose petals
Distilled Water

For every 1 firmly packed cup of rose petals, pour 2 cups boiling water over top. Cover and steep until the liquid is cool. Strain, squeeze out the liquid from the petals, and refrigerate the rose water in a sterilized jar

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I baked again and you get to hear about it.

IMG_0987Today, I baked again. I actually made a real chocolate cake. I am so impressed with myself I can hardly stand it. Yes I had a baby and that was hard but there is something about the combination of flour, sugar, butter and eggs that freaked me out to no end. The Kitchen-aid Mixer gave me chills.

In any case I worked up the courage as I was on a tight budget for my husbands 33rd, yes 33rd birthday. Normally, I would have just gone to the baking aisle, grabbed a Duncan Heinz box and had at it, but this time was different. I purchased coca powder and butter. Real butter. Not half fat, organic , vegan or any other, real store brand butter. My son looked at me as if to say, ‘ Get ready mom, I’m going to have a ton of birthdays.’

I searched online for the perfect recipe and decided on the Hershey’s recipe. The only mistake I made was not melting the butter before I made the frosting. It called specifically for melted butter, and I being me thought, ‘who the heck are they to tell me to melt my butter. ‘ Well, I guess I should have as it was a little chunky… I nuked it.. then had to recongeal it in the freezer. BUT, it came out wonderfully. I am actually enjoying a piece as I type.

I think the fear of baking comes from my dad. He was infact a wonderful baker, professional baker who made all sorts of pies, cakes, breads etc. He used to make me these apple turnovers that I devoured until I reached childhood obesity. I kid I kid. No really. But in any case, baking was always his thing. I have fond memories of him letting me and a friend cut lose in the kitchen by making ‘everthing’ pizzas with everything on them. Sprinkles, chocolate chips, pizza cheese, cherries, apple filling, pumpkin. You name it, it was on it. Absolutely disgusting, but  I had the time of my life.

As I have spent the past 5 and a half months at home I have had the privilege to explore the domestic arts. I am loving every minute of it.

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