Category Archives: Frugal Living

Irish Potato Cheddar Soup

Standard

Four years ago (the last time I was in Ireland) I was almost three months pregnant with my oldest daughter. I was sicker than a dog. I could hardly eat a bite and survived most of the trip on cereal and toast. One afternoon, we headed to a local pub for a bite and I had the most amazing veggie soup I’d ever had. I was so thrilled to be able to keep something down and this soup hit the spot. I knew it had leeks and potatoes in it but I couldn’t figure out what else there was (because the person had blended it all together). I came across this recipe from Whole Foods and I must say, it’s better than the original I’ve been pining over for all these years!

70

 

Irish Potato Cheddar Soup

3TBS. Unsalted Butter

3  large leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped

2  pounds medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

1 (48 ounce) box Chicken Broth

3  cups 2% milk

1 1/2  teaspoon fine sea salt

6   sprigs fresh thyme

1  pound asparagus, ends trimmed, thinly sliced into coins

2  cups (1/2 lb) grated Kilaree Cheddar, divided (I used Dubliner but really, anything will work).

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add potatoes, broth, milk, salt and thyme; bring just to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes; discard thyme.

Working in batches, carefully purée soup in a blender until smooth (or use a hand blender), and then return to pot. (Note: I am more of the kind that likes having the nice chunks of asparagus and potatoes so I skipped this step). Return to a simmer, add asparagus and cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, gently stir in 1 1/2 cups cheddar and ladle into bowls. Garnish with remaining cheddar and serve.

This recipe is AMAZING with some nice hot bread out of the oven.

Honey, nutmeg, cinnamon facial mask

Standard

I hardly ever buy beauty products. They are SO expensive and I usually don’t feel like I see much of a difference. So, I always love finding DIY versions on Pinterest. I came across a recipefor a cinnamon, nutmeg, honey beauty mask. It stated that nutmeg and honey reduce swelling and redness in your skin, as well as soothe acne scars and prevent infection. So, as I always have all three of those on hand, I decided to give it a try.

20130420-212835.jpg

Facial Mask
1TBS. Honey
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

Mix all together into a paste. Apply on skin and leave on for 30 minutes. Mine became kinda drippy at the end. I hopped in the shower and took it off by rubbing in a circular motion and it really exfoliated my skin as well. This recipe is a winner. My skin looks brighter, feels softer and much shiner. Let me know how it works for you!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Standard

We LOVE tacos in our home and typically eat them once per week. I used to buy a taco seasoning blend from a local spice manufacturer–but I noticed that their regular blend and even their bold were a little to blah for my tastes. Plus it was SUPER expensive given the amount we use. I found this recipe online a year ago and have been using it ever since. It’s fun to play with a bit (I like more garlic then is normally calls for). The family LOVES it. Even my toddler eats it. I will say I usually double or triple the recipe to make enough to last for a while.

908717_10151561307965042_1318113712_n

Homemade Taco Seasoning

This recipe makes 1 oz.

INGREDIENTS:

1TBS Chili Powder

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/4 tsp. Onion Powder

1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (I just use crushed red pepper)

1/4 tsp. Dried Oregano

1/2 tsp. Paprika

1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin

1 tsp. Sea Salt

1 tsp. Black Pepper

Just mix it all together and store in an airtight container.

 

Homemade Scented Laundry Fabric Softner Crystals

Standard

I LOVE Downy Unstoppables. They make our clothes smells AMAZING. There’s only three minor problems:

1. They are insanely expensive

2. The girls and I are pretty much allergic to any and all fragrances.

3. They are full of all sorts of junk.

 

Because of the whole allergic issue before I started making my own detergent I used a “free and clear” detergent. Which was rather boring and made my clothes smell like nothing. My homemade detergent doesn’t really have a scent either…enter this dandy little recipe I found on Pinterest. I’ve been making these for a couple of months now and I love them.

Homemade Downey Unstoppables

Homemade Scented Laundry Fabric Softener Crystals

Stuff you need:

– Epsom Salt (or Ice Cream Salt or Coarse Sea Salt)

– Your favorite essential oil (I’ve made batches of Lemongrass and Orange–they both came out amazing.)

– Something to stir or blend with (I just use a fork)

– An airtight container and scoop. (I use an old formula container and it’s scoop)

– A bowl for mixing. (I just use the container I’m storing it in)

 

Directions:

Pour salt (as much as you want to make–I used about 2lbs. the last time). Drop in 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil (more or less depending on your preference). Stir (or use a handheld blender a few pulses). Store in air tight container until use. I have an HE machine and I use two small scoops (about 2 tbs.) per load right into the drum of the washing machine. It’s not overpowering scent but it leaves a little refreshing scent.

 

 

How To Clean A Microfiber Couch/Sofa

Standard

When we bought our Microfiber couch two years ago I figured it was the first new couch I’d ever had as an adult. I was so excited by the purchase that I never stopped to think about my kids destroying it. So, here we are two years later and it was starting to look (and smell!) not so new. When I found this tip on Pinterest I HAD to try it. My results were not nearly as noticeable as the results from Pinterest but there’s a couple reasons for that . 1. My couch is only two years old 2. It isn’t as light of a color 3. I don’t have pets (the Pinterest link photos involve dogs). Needless to say, I noticed a difference in the look of my couch and the smell! It really neutralized the odors.

20130414-223046.jpg
This one you could easily already own the needed materials. A vacuum, spray bottle, rubbing alcohol, a white sponge and a white scrub brush. Note: They should be white in order to insure that no color bleeding occurs.

1. Fill the spray bottle with rubbing alcohol.
2. Vacuum the couch to rid it of all loose particles.
3. Work I’m sections spraying an area with the rubbing alcohol and then using the sponge to clean it. I worked in a circular motion and it worked well and actually rather quickly.
4. Let it dry and then if your material is stiff once dry use the scrub brush to loosen it up again.

Before Picture:

20130414-223441.jpg

After Picture:

20130414-223505.jpg

Gross, but here’s the proof it worked:

20130414-223529.jpg

No, the sofa doesn’t smell like rubbing alcohol. It really neutralized the odors in the couch. It also got rid of a two month old formula stain.

Homemade Mattress Deodorizer

Standard

If you couldn’t tell already–I’m on a huge essential oils kick. This next one was a super easy leap for me. I’m a co-sleeping mom to a baby with severe acid reflux. This means I get spit up on my bed nightly (among other gross baby stuff). Plus, I was grossed out about dust mites, etc. I’d never cleaned/deodorized my mattress (yes, that’s gross). So, I found this Pinterestlink and knew I had to try it.

It’s insanely simple. I used about two cups of baking soda and 10 drops of essential oil.

20130411-205544.jpg

Mixed this all together and use something to sprinkle the mixture all over your mattress (I used my powdered sugar shifter). Leave it on for an hour or longer and then use your vacuum attachment to vacuum it off.

Next time I’ll try lavender as it’s supposed to be calming but I must say lemongrass smells AMAZING. It just makes me happy.

Homemade Carpet Deodorizer

Standard

Rory had the typical toddler reaction to having a sister–she reverted back to having potty accidents. ALL THE TIME. ALL OVER HER FLOOR. Needless to say I’m not ready to pay to shampoo them because I’m not yet sure she’s finished with the accidents but I needed something to make her room no longer smell like a urinal. Using three of my favorite ingredients I hit the mother load of deodorizers and I owe it all to yet another Pinterest find.

20130410-171144.jpg

Homemade Carpet Deodorizer

1/2c Borax
1/2c Baking Soda
20-25 Drops of your favorite essential oil OR 1tsp. Ground Spices

Mix it all together, pour into a shaker or some sorts (an empty Parmesan Cheese shaker is perfect). Sprinkle onto the carpet and let it sit for 20 minutes before you vacuum up. I used lemongrass (one of my favs) and it smells so clean and fresh upstairs. I’m seriously in love with how easy this is and how clean it all smells.