If you use waterless hand sanitizer (I have a little bottle in every handbag, one in the car, one in my overnight bag, one in the picnic basket, one in my desk drawer and one in my briefcase) you'll know how convenient it is. And how expensive.
It is very easy to MOO, and if you have an aloe vera plant with cost around 40 cents to make approximately 275ml. Aloe Vera is a very easy plant to grow, it seems to almost thrive on neglect and is one that should be in every backyard so if you don't have one, get a cutting from a friend and grow your own, you won't regret it.
You will need:
1 cup aloe vera gel
1 tsp rubbing alcohol
2 tsp glycerin
8-10 drops tea tree essential oil* or lavender essential oil*
Simply blend all of the ingredients together and store. To use put a blob about the size of a 10 cent coin in the palm of your hand and rub together. This sanitizer won't melt as the commercial products do, so don't be tempted to squirt a large amount into your hands, you'll be rubbing for hours!
You can use pump bottles or squirt bottles, small pots or even pretty glass jars to store your hand sanitizer as long as they have good lids.
*Please use pure essential oils. They are worth the expense and a little goes a very long way, they will last you a long, long time.
How Long Does Food Last?
Before you fill your cupboards with bulk items, you may want to review the average "life" of those products you are considering purchasing. Ask yourself if you have adequate storage space, freezer space, and how much your family enjoys the products you are purchasing. This is a list of the average life of some common pantry and fridge/freezer foods.
Meat & Poultry - Uncooked:
Chicken/Turkey - 9 months
Steaks, beef - 6 to 12 months
Chops, pork - 4 to 6 months
Chops, lamb - 6 to 9 months
Roasts, beef - 6 to 12 months
Roasts, lamb - 6 to 9 months
Roasts, pork and veal - 4 to 6 months
Stew Meats - 3 to 4 months
Ground meats - 3 to 4 months
Organ meats - 3 to 4 months
Butter/margarine - 6-9 months
Cheese, soft and spreads, dips - 1 months
Cheese, hard or semi-hard - 6 months
Eggs in shell- Do not freeze
Ice cream - 1 months
Milk / Cream- 3 weeks
Dried Food Items - Shelf Life:
Baking powder/bi-carb soda - 18 months
Bread Crumbs - 6 months
Cereals - 6 months
Flour/cake mixes - 1 year
Gelatin/pudding mixes - 1 year
Herbs/spices - 6-12 months
Milk, nonfat dry - 6 months
Pancake/pastry mixes - 6 months
Pasta/noodles - 2 years
Potatoes, instant - 18 months
Rice, white - 2 years
Sugar, white - 2 years
Sugar, brown, - 4 months
From Debt Free, Cashed Up and Laughing
This cake came about because until the kitchen renovation is complete, I don't have a working oven. I saw this pie maker in Kmart for $15 and decided to try it to make a meat pie for our dinner. I figured if it didn't work, then it was only $15 I had wasted.
As Hannah says "best $15 spent ever!"
So far we've made pies, quiches and cakes.
One of the cakes I tried was a pineapple upside down cake. I found the recipe in Mum's recipe book, and of course adapted it to suit my style of baking (and the pie maker!).
It turned out perfectly, and one recipe makes two cakes, one to eat and one to freeze (yes, it freezes!).
1 vanilla cake mix
30ml vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
3-1/2 pineapple slices in juice, drained and let dry a little on paper towel
4 tbsp brown sugar
Line the base of the pie maker with baking paper. This isn't necessary for baking pies, cakes or quiches as a rule, but this recipe makes a toffee, so it's easier to tip the cake out if the base is lined.
Sprinkle the brown sugar over the baking paper. Dot with the teaspoon of butter.
Keep one pineapple ring whole, and cut the others in half. Arrange them over the brown sugar. Put a cherry in the centre of each piece of pineapple.
Turn the pie maker on to start heating.
Beat the cake mix, eggs, oil and water until smooth.
Pour 1 cup cake batter evenly over the pineapple. Smooth it over, if you think it needs a little more batter, add another 1/4 cup.
Close and clip the lid.
Cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the pie maker and let the cake sit with the lid closed for 5 minutes.
Carefully turn the cake out onto a cake rack to cool.
Watch me make Pineapple Upside Down Cake live.
Chicken Mushroom Crepes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
200ml sour cream
200g mushrooms sliced
1/4 cup sliced black olives
2 spring onions, finely sliced, including the green, about 1/4 cup
2 stalks very finely chopped celery
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup grated cheese, divided
To make the crepe batter, beat the eggs, salt, flour and milk together until smooth. This is a very thin batter, you're making crepes, not regular pancakes.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the base with a butter. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan and swirl it around to cover the base. Cook 1 minute. Carefully flip. Cook 1 minute. Repeat until all the batter has been used.
To make the filling:
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Spray a lasagne dish with cooking spray.
Combine the sour cream, mushrooms, olives, spring onion, celery, chicken and 1 cup of the cheese in a bowl. Mix to combine. Place a heaped tablespoon of the filling in the centre of each crepe. Fold ends over and roll up. Place in baking dish. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top, return to oven and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
Cheesy Potato Bites
These little bite-sized morsels of cheesy goodness are great fingerfood for a party, a nice starter to a meal or the perfect nibbly to enjoy with drinks. Serve them warm with a sauce for dipping - tomato or sweet chilli are good - and watch them disappear.
Cheesy Potato Bites
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups oil to fry
1/2 tsp. paprika
Boil or steam the potatoes until fork tender.
When the potatoes are cooked, mash well, adding salt, pepper and paprika.
Drop a tablespoon of the mashed potato on your hand and make it into a shape of a ball, now press the edges so it becomes flat.
Shape it into a well shape so you can fill it in with the cheese.
When your shape is right, add a teaspoon of grated cheese and shape the potato around it to make a ball so the cheese is completely enclosed in the potato.
Heat the oil on medium heat.
Fry the potato balls until they are golden brown.
Drain on brown paper or paper towel.
From the Vegetables Recipe File
Hairspray in the Cleaning Cupboard
Keep a can of hairspray in the cleaning cupboard. It will remove ink, marking pen, even the sticky residue left after stickers and labels have been removed. It can be used on clothing, walls, floors and furniture. You don't need to buy the expensive sprays you would use on your hair, the cheapest you can find will do the job. Just remember to do a test in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it won't take the colour or finish off whatever you are trying to clean.
Do you love gardening (or know someone who does)? Do you have a lot of coffee grounds to compost each week (or know someone who does)? Then take those used coffee grounds into an amazing gift for yourself (or the other gardeners in your life) and turn them into Gardener's Soap.
This soap uses recycled coffee grounds as the "scrubber" element, leaving dirty hands, elbows and knees (yes, I am a very messy gardener) clean and soft.
You will need:
500g block of clear melt-n-pour soap base
3 - 4 used and dried coffee pods
A little isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle
Soap mould (I used an old block cake tin lined with clingwrap)
A 2 litre Pyrex (or other microwave safe) bowl
Step 1. Prepare your soap mould. I used and old block cake tin that was lined with clingfilm. You could use silicone cake or cup cake moulds, they won't need lining.
Step 2. Cut the block of soap base into 1cm cubes. Drop them into a Pyrex bowl.
Step 3. Microwave on Medium-High for 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave another 1 minute and remove from the microwave. Stir continuously until all the soap base has melted. I suggest taking the soap base out of the microwave before it has all melted so the temperature doesn't go above 50 degrees Celsius (if it goes over 50 degrees the soap can become cloudy).
Step 4. Drop the coffee grounds into the bowl and mix. Be sure to stir everything in thoroughly, so the grounds are evenly distributed throughout the mix.
Step 5. Pour into the prepared soap mould/s. Use a spatula to scrape every last drop of soap out of the Pyrex dish.
Step 6. Spritz the top of the soap with the rubbing alcohol. This removes the little bubbles that are on the surface and leaves the top of the soap with a nice sheen.
Step 7. Let the soap set overnight. The next day turn it out onto a chopping board, remove the clingwrap and cut into blocks.
From Debt Free, Cashed Up and Laughing
These brownies are perfect!
I have all the ingredients, I know everyone loves chocolate and honestly they really are the best brownies ever. They're moist and gooey, fudgey, rich, delicious and cost just $3.40 to make!
I'll clarify the cost and let you know that all the ingredients, apart from the cocoa and the choc chips, were from Aldi. The cocoa is Woolworths generic and the choc chips are Cadbury that were bought on half-price sale at Coles. If you use full-price and/or brand name ingredients then the cost will rise - substantially. Unfortunately the end result won't reflect that increase in cost so go generic ingredients if you can.
I am generous and cut this dessert into 10 squares, although the original recipe said it would make 12. For 34 cents a serve, it's a budget friendly but extravagant dessert for special occasions.
And lastly, I serve them with a dollop of cream, but you could use ice-cream or a nice thick dollop of Greek yoghurt (I like this, it cuts the sweetness beautifully).
Best Ever Need a Great Dessert Brownies
¾ cup cocoa powder
1- ½ cups sugar
1 cup plain flour
½ cup dark chocolate chips (or milk or white - whatever you like, they're all good)
225g butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a 20cm square tin or casserole dish with baking paper. Sift dry ingredients, then add eggs, melted butter and vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon to combine. Pour into pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven while centre is still moist and gooey - DO NOT OVER BAKE! Let cool in tin before cutting.
Serves: 10 - 12 (go on, be indulgent - cut it into 10, you know you want to!)
From the Cakes & Muffins Recipe File
Grandma's Worcestershire Sauce
This is a recipe from my mother's recipe book. It was originally in pints and ounces, I converted the measurements to metric when I started making it. It really is as easy as mix and let it steep. I like it because it doesn't have the traditional anchovies in it, but still has a good bite. The longer the sauce matures the hotter it becomes.
2 L vinegar
30g chopped garlic
30g cayenne pepper
30g whole cloves
1 tin treacle
2 large lemons
Mix all ingredients together in a plastic bucket and stir to dissolve salt. Chop the 2 lemons and add to the mixture (skin and all). Cover with a tea towel or a cheesecloth. Stir daily for 6 days. Strain and bottle. Leave at least two weeks in a cool, dark cupboard to mature.
I use the glass 3 litre Ocean Spray cranberry juice bottles to store the sauce and decant into a smaller bottle for kitchen use.
This sauce just improves with age - the longer you leave it, the better it gets.
Fruity Tea Cake
This is the quickest and easiest fruit cake you'll ever make and it tastes great! Slice and serve with butter or freeze for a quick grab-n-go snack. It's cheap too. This tea cake costs $1.80 to make. I buy my baking ingredients from Aldi.
Fruity Tea CakeIngredients:
2 cups cold tea
2 cups mixed dried fruit
2 cups SR flour
Soak the fruit in the cold tea for 10 minutes. Beat in the self-raising flour. Pour into a greased and baking paper lined loaf tin. Bake at 180 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let stand in tin for five minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to cool.
Chocolate Tea Cake: Use 2 cups chocolate milk to replace the cold tea.
Orange Tea Cake: Use 2 cups orange juice to replace the cold tea.
Spicy Tea Cake: Add 1 teaspoon mixed spice with the flour.
Sultana Cake: Add 1 teaspoon lemon essence with the cold tea. Use 2 cups sultanas to replace the mixed fruit.