Monday, December 26, 2011

Savvy Trash Talk

When I moved to my new community and started pricing out garbage collection, I had a little bit of sticker shock.  In the small community I was leaving, the city contracted the garbage collection and it was a flat monthly fee of about $12.  After some research, however, I discovered that my new community offered free recycling and what couldn't be recylcled I could take to the dump in a large (35 gallon) black garbage bag for $1 per bag.  This was like the winning the lottery of waste managment!

I'm fortunate enough to have space in my kitchen to keep bins for recycling.  On the inside of the closet door where I keep my bins, I hung a list of what can and cannot be recycled for quick and easy reference (the list also has the address and hours of the landfill and the recycling center).  Once the bins are full I load them in my car and take them to the recycling center.  It takes me about a half an hour total every other month to do this.

I'm also fortunate enough to have a garbage disposal in my kitchen.  This is great because food is obviously not recycleable and it prevents me from having to throw food in my garbage.  This means that the only things I'm actually throwing away are things that can't be recycled or put down my garbage disposal.  Because of this, it takes me a long time to fill up one of those 35-gallon bags to take to the dump.  Usually, I wait until I have about three bags ($3 worth) before I make a trip to the county landfill which is about 6 miles outside of town.

Now, I might ruffle some feathers here, but if it were not for the cost savings I probably would not recycle.  Not because I don't think its important but because doing this is a time committment and a lifestyle adjustment.  Sure, it's great for the environment, but it's even better for my pocket book.

The garbage in our house has become a family affair.  My kids have been quick learners about what is and isn't recyclable and if they're not sure they are pretty good about asking me before they just throw it in the trash can.  They know that uneaten food, or things like orange peels, goes in the sink for me to take care of with the disposal.  They also help me haul the full bins to the recycling center and bags to the dump.  Although, sometimes getting them to help is a chore... especially when I sing my silly 'dump song' - "to the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump dump" to the tune of The William Tell Overature! :D

I encourage anyone who is looking to trim some monthly expenses to check out waste disposal alternatives in your community.  There may be great savings in it for you as well as pride in doing something good for the environment.

Full & Ready to go to the recycling center.

All loaded up (and fits nicely) in the trunk of my 4-door sedan.

The List.

Ready for more!
**Notice the hanging clothes... I also use this closet to hang dry my laundry.  This closet is located right in my kitchen and I absolutely love it.  If I ever get the chance to build my dream kitchen it will have a closet (or two) just like this!


Zippered Garment Bags

Hi All,

How many of you are like me when you purchase a new comforter, sheet set or something that comes in those clear zippered garment bags and you hate to just throw the bags away because you know there must be a great use for them?  I have become somewhat of a hoarder of these bags because they have too much useful potentialKeeping and using these bags is a great frugal alternative to purchasing bags or containers for the purposes I mention below.

I use large bags for the obvious like storing extra blankets, linens, and winter hats and mittens.  This is great because it keeps my seldom used blankets, tablecloths, etc. dust free and neatly organized.  It's so easy to just pull out a whole bag from the closet and not have to worry about knocking over stacks of folded items.  I use the smaller bags for toys like Legos.

The uses are unlimited... craft supplies, school supplies, hair accessories, doll/barbie clothes, Christmas decorations, etc., etc., etc....


Monday, December 19, 2011

Chocolate peanut clusters recipe

Peanut clusters seem to be a popular item here in the Midwest around the holidays, I got this recipe from a gal at my moms group and had to make them myself!
If you like a little salt with your sweet, this recipe is for you! I love to whip these up for gifts. They are so simple to make and  yummy to eat too!

What you Need: 1 bag of semi-chocolate chips, 1 bag of butterscotch chips, 1 container of party peanuts (16oz).

1st: Melt chocolate & butterscotch chips together in a pan on low. (Do not get impatient, keep temp. on low) Stir constantly.
2nd: Once chips are melted & are smooth, add whole container of peanuts and stir.

3rd: Use a spoon or a cookie dough scoop and place clusters onto wax paper and let set for 20 minutes! Simple!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Simple Lasagna Recipe

I almost always make lasagna when it is my turn to bring a meal to someone as a ministry or a housewarming meal. You can freeze it, reheat it, and it taste just as good as the next day. I often times have someone ask me for my recipe, and honestly its almost too simple that I feel guilty giving the recipe out! So let’s get started!

Here is what you Need: 1 jar (32oz) of you favorite spaghetti sauce, 1/2 lb Italian ground sausage, 1/2 lb ground beef, oven ready lasagna noodles, *3 cups mozzarella cheese, 1 cup of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese, 1-2 eggs, 1tsp Italian seasoning, salt & pepper to taste.

*1 cup shredded and the rest~ just slice.

1st: In a large skillet over medium heat brown the Italian sausage & ground beef. Drain the grease. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.

2nd: In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese or cottage cheese,1 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper.
3rd: To assemble, in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish evenly spread 3/4 cup of the sauce mixture. Cover with 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, & 1/4 cup sauce, & then *all of the cheese mixture.
*I only use cheese mixture in one layer~ it's easier & it all tastes the same!

4th: Now add 4 more noodles on top of cheese mixture. Then add about 3/4 cup of meat sauce. Top with sliced mozerella. Repeat noodles, reamaining meat sauce & sliced mozerella one more time. On the last layer add some italian seasoning & salt & pepper if you would like.

 Finally: Cover Lasagna with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 min and remove foil and continue to bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes until done. Remove from oven & let sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing into.

This recipe is one of those you can change it up and you will not mess it up. If you want to change the flavors of your cheeses, add a different kind. I often mix in Parmesan cheese. I often double this recipe & freeze the second pan. You can also add more sauce, more meat & more cheese. Just try it & make it your own! I hope you love it as much as we do.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Quiche Recipe

Here is a yummy, veggie packed quiche that is great for the Christmas season. This recipe is fun because you can switch it up a bit to your own personal liking. You could change the meat, or flavor of cheeses & you can try different veggies too. My husband loves quiches & I love the Christmas season. So, I put our two loves together and created a beautiful & yummy quiche! (Yes, that sounds a little cheesy).

What you Need: 2 -9-in. pie plates,  2 unbaked, refrigerated pie crusts, 2 cups of cubed ham,  1 medium onion (chopped),  3 cups Cheddar Jack cheese, shredded,  7 eggs,  2 1/4  cups milk, salt & pepper to taste, 2 Roma tomatoes sliced, 1 small green pepper, thinly sliced, 1 small bag of cooked broccoli & cauliflower.

1st: Line two 9-in. pie plates with unbaked pie crusts; flute edges. Set aside.

2nd: Spoon cubed ham and onion into pie crusts. Sprinkle with cheese. (Save some cheese for the end).

3rd: In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, broccoli & cauliflower & pepper; pour over cheese mixture. Top with sliced tomatoes and green peppers & sprinkle with remaining cheese.


Finally: Bake at 400°F for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

I hope you love this Christmas Quiche as much as I do!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Baked Buffalo Chicken Legs

My teenage son absolutely loves hot wings. But, wings have hardly any meat on them. So, to feed my family of 6, it would get pretty pricy to make just "wings". Anyway, as I was browsing our local grocery store one morning, I noticed they had chicken legs on all happened from there. Wallah...Buffalo Chicken Legs it is!

In my past experiences, with making hot wings, I experimented with a few sauce recipes and came up with one, that we all seem to love. So make tonight, a hot wings night...oops, I mean, a hot chicken legs night and enjoy!

What you need: Chicken legs, soy sauce, vinegar, *Franks Red Hot sauce.

1st: Lightly spray (non-stick cooking spray) foil covered cookie sheet (with edges). Rinse off chicken legs and pat dry & place chicken onto cookie sheet.

Set aside a few seconds and let’s make the sauce!

2nd: In a bowl, whisk together 1 bottle of Franks Red Hot sauce, a dash or two of vinegar & soy sauce. Super easy right? (Yes really only a dash or two)

Almost done:  Brush sauce onto chicken legs. Place in preheated oven at 400 degrees and cook for 20 minutes & turn. Brush sauce on other side. Continue to cook for 20 minutes.

Now to finish this masterpiece: Broil for 5 to 10 minutes until browned & a little crispy & there you have created a wonderful & easy supper that your kids are sure to love and you will too!

*(I also used a mild strength sauce). Franks brand makes all different kinds.