Recipe: Apple Pie “French Fries”

By Jess on September 9th, 2014

Apple Pie French Fies

Okay, so maybe these Apple Pie “French Fries” aren’t the healthiest snack, but how cute are they? They look like real French fries with salt and shape. These would be really fun to have at a birthday party. The recipe below from Oh Bite It! serves 25-30 “fries”, so you may need more than that for parties.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg of Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts (2 ct., but brand doesn’t matter)
  • 1.5 cups of Apple Pie Filling
  • 1 Egg
  • Sparkle sugar for sprinkling “salt” onto the fries
  • Caramel sauce and/or ice cream for dipping
  • Optional: Food processor, Decorative edge roll-cutter

Directions:

  1. Chop up apple pie filling as best as you can, or use food processor and save tons of time.
  2. Unroll the 2 pie crusts. On 1 of the crusts, spread the apple filling around leaving 1/8″ at edge, then lightly press the other crust onto the top of it to secure it.
  3. Make egg wash by combining an egg with a splash of water.
  4. Brush egg wash across the entire top of the crust and sprinkle with the sparkle sugar.
  5. Cut the crust into  1/2″ strips then again into “fries” shape and size. Place very carefully onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 350-degrees for 12 minutes or until slightly golden and firm.
  7. Serve with caramel and/or ice cream for dipping.

Fall Owl Wreath Tutorial

By Jess on September 9th, 2014

fall-owl-wreath

Try something new for your Fall decorations this year by making this simple owl wreath from Country Living. Here’s how:

Wreath base: Wrap burlap ribbon around a 16″ Styrofoam wreath form.

Eyes:

  1. For the first eye, using utility scissors, cut a 5″ circle from a sisal linen doormat.
  2. Trim a 2″ strip from the edge of a raffia table skirt, then hot glue along the outer edge.
  3. Next, hot glue the outer ring of a 4 1/2″-inch Mason jar lid inside the raffia, securing it to the sisal circle.
  4. Hot glue a metal bottle cap at the center of the ring and glue the circle with dried pumpkin seeds.
  5. Hot-glue a red wood bead inside bottle cap.
  6. Repeat for second eye.

Wings: Cut two 8″x 5″ teardrop shaped pieces from the sisal linen doormat.

Beak: Cut a 3″ triangle from the doormat, then hot glue with dried pumpkin seeds.

Assembly: In this order, attach the beak, then the eyes, and then wings, with hot glue. Enjoy your new Fall wreath!

DIY Cloth & Disposable Baby Wipes Tutorial

By Jess on September 5th, 2014

DIY Cloth & Disposable Baby Wipes Tutorial

Did you know the average parent uses 4,400 baby wipes and spends $150 or more EVERY YEAR on a baby? That alone is crazy, but also a majority of baby wipes aren’t biodegradable, so they are harmful to the environment. Also, they can contain chemicals like chlorine, synthetic preservatives, fragrances, and dioxin. To save money, baby’s skin, and the environment, you can make your own washable wipes with just a few ingredients and cloths.
See below for DISPOSABLE wipes directions.

What You’ll Need:

  • 15-20 pieces of  approx. 10″x 10″ cloth cut from old receiving blankets or shirts (many use husband’s old white undershirts)
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 cup baby wash
  • 2 tsp baby oil
  • Plastic container with lid or old plastic wipes container OR Spray bottle
  • Optional: Lavender oil for fragrance
    Note: Other recipes use  ingredients like aloe vera juice, apple cider vinegar, other essential oils, soap, and more. Experiment with what you like best.

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, add ingredients and mix gently. 
  2. Next you have the choice:
    1. In the container to store wipes, stack all the cloth into it, pour the mixture over them, then close the lid, OR
    2. Put the mixture into a spray bottle, then just spray baby’s bottom and use a clean, dry cloth to wipe them clean.
  3. When wipes are dirty, store in a plastic or wetbag, then wash with cloth diapers or as a load by themselves.

If you do not want to use cloth/reusable wipes, or you want to have disposable ones in case of really big messes, you can put all the ingredients in a large cylindrical container with a lid (i.e., washed out cleaning wipes container, like Clorox wipes, or cleaned 4 qt ice cream container), mix the ingredients, take the cardboard out of the center of a roll of paper towel of your choice and place the paper into the solution. Cover the container, shake to get the ingredients into the whole paper towel.

DIY Recycled T-Shirt Bag Tutorial

By Jess on September 5th, 2014

t-shirt-tote-bag

This GENIUS and nearly free recycled t-shirt bag from One Good Thing by Jillee and Instructables would be a fun thing to make for gifts, to use at the grocery store, or just to carry a lunch instead of a paper bag.

What You’ll Need:

  • Heavy weight cotton T-shirt (heavy weight fabric is best)
  • 3- 5 straight pins
  • Pencil or pen
  • Dinner plate
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

Here is a picture tutorial. If you want the full step-by-step tutorial, visit Instructables.

Stepbystepshirtbag

DIY Laundry Powder Detergent

By Jess on September 5th, 2014

diy-laundry-powder

You can save tons of money by making your own laundry detergent. It is surprisingly easy to do so, and actually pretty fun! Here’s how to make laundry detergent at home. This recipe makes approximately 5 cups.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups (finely) grated castile soap in scent of your choice (peppermint is a great one!)
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup soda ash (washing soda)

Directions:

  1. Using a cheese grater, grate the castile soap into a powder.
  2. Mix everything together and store in a tight jar.
  3. Depending on your washer, you may need to adjust the soda a bit, and the measurements per load. Try using about 1/8 cup and adjust from there. Also, be sure to shake a little every once in a while to shake the soap back into the powder.

Thanks to SouleMama for the recipe!

Recipe: Easy Ragu Stuffed Peppers

By Jess on September 5th, 2014

RaguStuffedPeppers

It’s nearly fall and we’re all looking for warm, simple, and filling meals. Here’s an easy recipe for Ragu Stuffed Peppers from The Food Channel that can also be great to be in a tailgating potluck!

Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers (red, yellow or a mix), halved lengthwise with seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • About 3 cups Ragu sauce (or equivalent)
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup grated asiago or fontina cheese
  • 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450*F. Toss the bell pepper halves with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Cover bowl and microwave them until the peppers soften, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Mix the Ragu (or other sauce), couscous, raisins, 1/2 cup cheese, 3 teaspoons vinegar, the parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl.
  4. Whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon vinegar, the tomato paste and 3/4 cup water in the bottom of a large nonreactive baking dish.
  5. Carefully move the peppers, cut-side up, to the baking dish & fill with the couscous mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
  6. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is hot, or about 20 minutes.
  7. Transfer the stuffed peppers to plates and drizzle with the cooking liquid from the dish.

Recipe: Turtle Cheesecake Dip

By Jess on September 4th, 2014

Turtle-Cheesecake-Dip

I had another idea for today’s blog, then I found THIS recipe. I am going to hurry and share it and hopefully forget about it or else I can see this being my “hiding in a corner so my kids can’t see me eating it” meal tonight. This delicious dip is from Bubbly Nature Creations. She has a ton of yummy recipes over there. Just a fair warning in case you are trying to watch what you eat. :)

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese softened
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 box of cheesecake pudding mix
  • 2 cups whipped cream
  • ¼ cup and 1 Tbsp. chopped and toasted pecans
  • ¼ cup of Hershey’s™ Spreads in Chocolate
  • ¼ cup caramel sauce

Directions:

  1. Place cream cheese, powdered sugar, pudding, and whipped cream in a mixing bowl and mix on high until light and fluffy.
  2. Add ¼ cup of the toasted pecans and mix on low speed until evenly incorporated.
  3. Place the mixture into your serving bowl and drizzle the Hershey’s Spreads and caramel sauce on top.
  4. Sprinkle on the remainder of the toasted pecans on top and serve immediately or place in refrigerator up to 2 days.

Homemade Fabric Softener

By Dan on September 3rd, 2014

Homemade Fabric Softener

You may already be making Homemade Body Wash and DIY Hand Soap… but if you’ve been wanting to cut costs on Fabric Softener you might want to give this a try.  I love my homemade fabric softener and it saves me a ton!  I have to say… you’re going to love this Homemade Fabric Softener from Food.com because it is quick and easy.  Plus, you can pick your own scent, which is nice!  I love apple in the fall!

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 cups hot water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups hair conditioner

How to Make & Use:

  • Mix water, vinegar, and hair conditioner in a 1 gallon container; stir. Do not shake it –  it will cause foaming.
  • Use the same amount you normally use in a rinse cycle or spritz it on a wash cloth and throw in dryer.

This is a frugal way to save on things that you use every day!  We love our homemade fabric softener and have even given it as gifts!

Recipe: Gluten-Free Coconut Banana Bread

By Jess on September 1st, 2014

GF Coconut Banana Bread

From the book, Food Matters, comes a delicious and wheat and gluten-free bread that can be used for breakfast and dessert! In my opinion, you could toast it and also use it as french toast!

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas; at least 1 heaped cup of chopped banana
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 4 organic free-range eggs
  • 4 fresh dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup or raw honey
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp aluminium-free baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Mash bananas with the chopped dates.
  2. In another bowl, whisk the eggs until fluffy and then combine with the mash. Stir through the oil and maple syrup or honey. Add the dry ingredients and combine well.
  3. Transfer the batter to a loaf pan, greased and lined. The mixture will be quite thick; flatten and smooth with a spatula.
  4. Bake 35-40 minutes. Ready when a knife comes out clean and the edges are browned. Eat while still warm, or allow to cool completely on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.

Note: 
It’s best to use overripe bananas in banana bread! Coconut flourit doesn’t have the glycemic load of grain flours, has no gluten or anti-nutrients, but it also doesn’t yield the ‘fluffiness’ of regular glutenous flours, so it might take some getting used to. This recipe gives the best bread texture without using wheat.

DIY Dry Shampoo For Both Light & Dark Hair

By Jess on September 1st, 2014

DIY Dry Shampoo Both Hair Colors

From Blossom Everyday, find this and many other tutorials and hints for style and beauty! This recipe for dry shampoo will save you A LOT of money on dry shampoo (that stuff can cost $5 for a tiny bottle!). Just store this mixture in an old plastic container or some prefer spice containers to place directly onto your head.

To make it more “your hair shade” add as little or as much cocoa powder as you need. Medium brunettes may not need as much as someone with dark hair. Experiment and enjoy!

DIY Dry Shampoo