Archive for the ‘Make your own’ Category

Make your own Chinese Five Spice Powder

Thursday, January 15, 2009 14:18 Comments Off on Make your own Chinese Five Spice Powder

If you are looking forward to making a Chinese style dish for Chinese New Year, you can make your own Chinese Five Spice powder without having to buy a jar of it pre-made.  This is good if you only make Chinese food occassionally, and don’t want to buy an entire jar.  And as a bonus, most of you will already have all the ingredients in your spice cupboard already!

Recipe for Chinese Five Spice Powder:

  • 1 tbsp ground star anise
  • 2 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Mix well and store in an airtight container or spice jar.

Don’t forget we have many other spice jar mixes at MomsBudget including veggie dips, fruit tips, popcorn seasonings and more!

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This was posted under category: Cooking, Make your own

How to stretch those instant oatmeal packs into larger servings

Friday, January 2, 2009 14:23 Comments Off on How to stretch those instant oatmeal packs into larger servings

Instant oatmeal packets are like a staple of many household’s breakfast routines.  But many people (unless your kids are about 6 or under) end up eating two packets at a time, since the serving sizes are pretty small.  But at two packets a day, and especially when you are multiplying by multiple family members, can add up to a budgeting disaster, and with this economy, the last thing you want to do is waste money!

Here are some tricks you can do to make those packets stretch – or do away with them altogether – when your family loves them so much!

Buy in bulk
the first key is to buy your Quaker (or whichever brand you prefer) instant oatmeal packs in the larger quantity sizes.  You will save a lot more money when you buy the boxes of 50+ packets than when you are buying the small boxes of only 8 packets at a time.

Supplement with Quaker Quick Oats
You can buy large backs of Quaker Quick Oats, which are the exact same oats used in Quaker’s Instant Oatmeal packs.  For every packet, add the same amount of plain Quaker Quick Oats to the bowl, and you now have double the amount of oatmeal, but are only use one of the expensive oatmeal packets.  And as a bonus, you are also reducing the amount of sugar the family is eating in your oatmeal, since there is only half the amount there would be if you were using two packets of instant instead.

Add extra “stuff”
If your kids complain about not having as many raisins or apple pieces, simple add some of your own from the pantry.  The raisins are exactly the same (except for all that added sugar powder on them) or chop up dried applie slices into small pieces and toss into the oatmeal before cooking.  You can use any kind of dried fruit, just cut the pieces up small enough so they will cook.

Skip the instant oatmeal packets all together
You don’t actually have to use the packets at all.  Use Quaker Quick Oats, or your preferred brand of quick cooking oats and make your own oatmeal packets.  Doing it this way you can double the portion size for family members as needed, and you can ensure what you include in the oatmeal is healthier.  Experiment with different types of dried fruit to make your own creative oatmeal blends.  If your grocery store doesn’t have a wide variety of dried fruit, check out your local health food store, which will also have more unusual dried fruit such as canteloupe, mango and pineapple.  Just remember to chop them in very small pieces so they have time to rehydrate in the microwave.

Use coupons
Keep your eye out for coupons to cut your costs on oatmeal.  We have some Quaker coupons (both for quick oats and for instant oatmeal packets) right now in our coupon section, on a first come, first served basis.

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This was posted under category: Grocery shopping, Make your own

Make your own homemade linen sprays

Saturday, December 6, 2008 19:01 Comments Off on Make your own homemade linen sprays

If you have loved those scented linen sprays, but not really loved the price, here is how to make your own.  There are three scents, and these would make excellent homemade gifts for those wanting to make something useful that isn’t food.

JASMINE BERGAMOT A heady combination of potent floral and clean citrus, this is a gift for your most romantic and flower-loving friends.

LAVENDER SANDALWOOD Help soothe stress with the relaxing scent of lavender, rooted in the earthiness of sandalwood.

VANILLA GINGER Give the comforting aroma of vanilla, spiced up with a hint of ginger, to welcome the chilly weather.

Here are the full instructions from Hallmark.

Hat tip to Lauren!

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This was posted under category: Make your own

Make your own crystalized ginger for gifts in a jar

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 1:37 Comments Off on Make your own crystalized ginger for gifts in a jar

This is a great gift to give this Christmas season, especially since it is pretty inexpensive to make, but buying crystalized ginger in the store is an expensive treat.

1 lb fresh gingerroot

Carefully peel gingerroot and slice into thin slices.  Place gingerroot in a medium saucepan, add enough water to cover gingerroot and cook at medium low heat for 30 minutes.  Drain water and weight gingerroot on a scale.  Return to saucepan and add the same weight in sugar, using the scale to weight the sugar.  Add 3 tbsp of water and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent burning.  When the ginger is transparent and the liquid has nearly all been cooked off, remove from heat.  Toss ginger with enough sugar to coat the ginger.  Store in airtight container, such as a canning jar for gift giving.  Ginger will keep in airtight container for up to three months.

When you make your tag to attach to ginger, make sure to include a note that ginger must be stored in the airtight container for up to three months.  If you are making it several weeks before giving, you might want to put an expiry date on it instead, so the dating is accurate.

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Can you really save money making your own laundry detergent?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4:58 10 Comments

If you have wondered if you could actually save much money by making your own laundry detergent, we have done the math for you :)

We checked out Tide Liquid, 2x concentrate in the original scent, and it checks in at $18 for a bottle of 48 loads at Netgrocer.  Expensive, especially if your family is large and you are doing many loads of laundry each week.

Now, let’s compare it to our own liquid laundry detergent recipe.  It is enough for about 50 loads of laundry.

But how much does it cost to make?

One box of Washing Soda is $9.28 (6 cups in the box, enough for 3 batches, so $3.09 per batch)
Fels-Naptha Soap is $1.79 for two bars.
Borax is $3.98 (8 cups in the box, enough for 4 batches, so $1 per batch)

All prices taken from today, for the most accurate pricing, and this comes in at $15.05 to buy the supplies initially… BUT remember the boxes of washing soda and borax make multiple batches… so what is the real cost per batch?   $5.88 for 50 loads of laundry… which works out to TWELVE CENTS per load!  And Tide?  THIRTY-EIGHT CENTS per load.

So for maybe 10 or 15 of work, you are saving two and a half times the cost of commercial detergent, simply by making your own at home.

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Make your own Reusable Sandwich Wrap

Saturday, October 25, 2008 1:16 2 Comments

Do you like the idea of Wrap-n-Mat so you don’t have to use so many plastic baggies, use up plastic wrap or wash as many plastic containers? Unfortunately, Wrap-n-Mats can be hard to find – I have yet to actually see one in a store!  They are quite economical to purchase, but you can also make your own version for lunches if you want some different fabric styles.

There are several tutorials available online. Crazy Mumma has intructions along with photos of her version of reusable sandwich wrap, CraftZine has one (which totally reminds me of the unbleached earth-friendly fabric with a bit of a print on it and eHow has one too.  Blog with Alex used a vinyl table cloth, red checkered of course, to line hers with, so it was very easy to wipe down and reuse. 

And, there is an added bonus, these also act like a placemat, which is good if your child (or hubby!) tends to be one who drops crumbs all over the place!

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Homemade Febreze recipes you can make yourself

Saturday, October 25, 2008 1:06 3 Comments

Frebreeze can be expensive to buy, especially since families can go through it quite quickly when they are trying to make sure everything smells nice and fresh!  Here is how you can make it yourself, with a variety of scents.

Regular scented febreze
4 tbsp Ultra Downy fabric softener
32 oz spray bottle (clean!)

Fill the remainder of spray bottle with water, leaving a small amount of space at the top.  To use, give it a quick shake first, then use as you would Febreze.

For other scents, use other Ultra Downey scents… there are even several Downy’s with Febreze, if you love the smell of Febreze, including their Fresh Scent, Citrus & Light, Spring & Renewal, and Meadows & Rain.  But only buy these if you would use the fabric softener as well, or if you go through enough Febreze that using only four tablespoons at a time is worth it for you (you will still save A LOT of money buying the Febreze fabric softener and making it yourself than buying bottles of regular Febreze.

If you already have another brand of fabric softener in your house already, or a coupon for one, feel free to use that.  And please let us know which fabric softeners you used, and how they smelled :)


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Make your own Hot Pockets – pizza recipe

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 0:09 5 Comments

If your kids love Hot Pockets for a treat, it can be hard to spurge when they are not only expensive, but not very healthy!  But here is an easy recipe so you can make your own hot pockets right at home, meaning you can control the filling… and maybe even sneak some finely chopped up vegetables into the insides without your kids noticing :)

2 tbsp margarine
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
Dash pepper
1/2 cup milk
2 cups shredded lunchmeat (ie. ham, turkey, chicken)
1 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 can of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits (the larger size biscuits)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups Frosted Flakes, crushed (a great job for the kids!)

Heat oven to 375F

In one bowl, combine shredded lunch meat with cheese.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat.  Add flour, salt and pepper, mixing until well mixed with the melted butter.  Add milk and cook for 1 minute or until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat, then add the lunch meat and cheese mixture, stirring again until well combined.

Pop the Pillsbury biscuit can, and roll out each biscuit so it is about 5″ across.  Using a measuring cup, scoop about 1/4 to 1/3 of the mixture ino the middle of each biscuit.  Fold the biscuit over in half and pinch the edges together so they stick (they will be shaped like the real hot pockets you buy).

Brush each biscuit with egg, then dip in Frosted Flakes until both sides are coated.  Bake on a tin foil lined cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes or until the Pillsbury dough is golden and fully cooked through.  Serve!

Make Healthier Hot Pockets: Use Corn Flakes rather than frosted flakes.  Add finely chopped pieces of brocolli or zucchini in the meat/cheese mixture.  Use low fat cheese.

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Make your own lime margaritas bath salts for gifts

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 17:39 1 Comment

If you love the rare indulgence of a margarita on a night out to a Mexican restaurant, you will probably love to have a bath immersed in margarita bath salts – hold the tequila, of course!  But even better, these make fabulous gifts for friends.  You can even put them in a margarita glass as a gift basket for a great feel good present for a girlfriend’s birthday/ 

Want to know what is even better?  You only need three inexpensive ingredients to make multiple batches of them, so you can make plenty for many gifts, even for Christmas.

For instructions: Make your own Lime Margaritas Bath Salts

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