Posts Tagged "homemade"

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade vanilla extract is the best. And the cheapest! With what we’d spend to buy a few ounces of vanilla extract at the store, we made two large jars full. (Over a year later and we and others are still have barely made a dent!) . One ounce of vanilla beans, sliced open (we bought ours here) One L of vodka or bourbon (any cheap brand will do) Two quart-size mason jars . . Add the alcohol to the jars and the vanilla to the alcohol. Shake on occasion. Don’t take the beans out. Do your best to keep your cocktail-lovin’ husband out of it for at least 6 weeks or until it smells scumptious. . . Enjoy more vanilla extract than you will ever use in a lifetime. Bottle some up, with a bean thrown in for pizazz and give it away as a gift. Use it in your homemade…

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Meal Plan Monthly

Because I can neither meander through commonality, nor tolerate excessive time among crowds and cash registers, the weekly meal plans I’ve seen gracing the pages of blogs don’t appeal. For several months my goal was bi-weekly meal plans and shopping, but even that’s been irking my nerves, giving my over-achieving tendencies a chance to kick in. I went grocery shopping once for the month of April. I planned breakfast, lunch and dinner with enough flexibility to accommodate our whims or possible mishaps. And I held my breath for good luck. Even the cashier had little faith in my memory or my list making skills (Psha!). He placed money on seeing me before the end of the month but I guess I showed him. Here’s how I did it: A Well-Organized Meal Plan: I wouldn’t have dreamed of attempting this without a meal plan. In fact, it is highly discourage to attempt any…

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Homemade Toothpaste

We’ve been using Tom’s of Maine for awhile. While I prefer it (and it’s fluoride-free recipe) over conventional toothpaste, I was tired of the price. I was also tired of running out and forgetting to get more at the store. Since we’ve switched to homemade toothpaste, we’ve not only saved oodles of money but we’ve both noticed a difference in bad breath and morning breath after several weeks of use. And my hygienist (er, aunt) swears this is better than any toothpaste on the market and habitually prescribes it for her patients. I’ve been tinkering with the recipe for awhile now and I think I have it perfected. The “parts” for me refers to teaspoons. Because I don’t know the shelf life of these ingredients once mixed and only two of us use this toothpaste, I prefer to only make a small batch at a time. If you have more people using…

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Homemade Yogurt!

Learning how to make homemade yogurt is so incredibly simple to do and SO inexpensive, I’m actually mesmerized it’s not more popular. First, I boiled a half gallon of organic milk. I used the suggested water jacket so I didn’t scald the bottom. My instructions said to get it to 185 degrees. Then I chilled it to 110 degrees, which is the temp the cultures multiply at. I’m actually wondering if the boiling was necessary or if I could have just brought it to 110 degrees. Anyone know? After that, I added a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt with live cultures. I accidentally bought the Vanilla yogurt instead of Plain yogurt, but I used it anyway and it still turned out great. Lastly I stuck it on a heating pad for the day. My instructions said 7 hours, but recommended taste-testing it before that time. It can also be left…

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Homebrewing

When we first talked about becoming self-sufficient and contemplated setting the goal of not buying anything we can make at home, we discussed all the things that would we have to give up. I foolishly mentioned he might have to cut back on the beer. To which he informed me that he could in fact, brew his own. His excitement grew from there and when asked what sustainable gift he’d like for Father’s Day, a home brew kit was top of the list. (Yu-Gi-Oh cards from Ebay for he and Zeb to play with was a close second.) So he’s done it. He ordered his beer brewing kit. And he’s so excited about it. He purchased a top-of-the-line *organic* homebrewing kit, complete with glass carboys (instead of plastic) and organic Oktoberfest brew ingredients. He used up an about-to-expire bookstore gift certificate (since we rarely buy new books) on a “How…

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