Thursday, January 24, 2013

Homemade Vegetable Stock

There are some recipes that I make that I do not want to use any chicken stock in it. Basically anything that will be vegetarian.

Because I am into spending less and wasting little, I make my own stocks. During the warm months, I compost all my peelings and normal veggie parts one would toss into the trash. However, in the cold months, when I can not compost, I use those peelings to make my veggie broth.

Every time you peel, cut, etc, save those trimmings into a gallon sized bag. Make sure the veggies are cleaned and the trimmings are relatively dry. I pat them down with paper towels. You can also use a salad spinner if you have one. Store the trimmings in the fridge.

Some good trimmings to use:

Stems from herbs
Leafy celery tops
Potato peelings
Carrot peelings
Bell Pepper scraps (no seeds)
Any parts of an Onion
Tomato cores

Some bad trimmings to not use:

Brussel Sprouts

Basically anything that is bitter, do not use.

After about 4 days, it is time to make your broth. Try to have about 3/4 of the bag full of trimmings. If not quite there yet, just add some limp celery or other veggies you have on hand that have seen better days.

I make mine in my crock pot and have it cooking on low over night for about 8-12 hours. Make sure to cover the veggies in water. In this batch I happen to have a bunch of potato peels and my gallon bag was full. I had to keep pushing my veggies down (they tend to float) to make sure I had plenty of water in the crock pot.

After the stock has cooked, strain  & toss out the veggies. I strain the broth again through some cheese cloth to catch anything small that might have snuck through.

From here, I can the broth for a later use. Process pints for 30 minutes and quarts for 35 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. Do not use the boiling water bath method, only the pressure canner is safe to can broth of any kind.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Car Headlight Lens Restorer Kit

My car headlights have been really foggy and really suck. They are not bright at all. As a joke, the hubby got me one of those lens restorer kits for Christmas. You know the as seen on TV ones you can get from Walmart?

Well, seeing how the other day it was freaking 60 in the middle of January up here, I decided to use it and see. It smells horrid, kind of like paint thinner. I forgot to take a picture of both headlights before, so the before shot is of the left and the after is of the right.

So you can see that it is really gross and foggy. It really doesn't shine bright at night. I have to turn my high beams on to see anything. After following the directions on the box (really easy 2 step process), this is what it looked like:

Not perfect, but much clearer. The sponge thing the kit came with was nasty dirty even though I cleaned the lenses before like the directions said to. I can still see a few foggy areas, but it is on the inside and I am not going to bother taking the lens off to clean it.

I have yet to drive at night to see how much brighter it really is. I did turn the lights on to see how much brighter, and they do seem much brighter.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Coupon Binder

I have seen many different ways to make a coupon binder. I have tried a few different ways, like cutting out every coupon and putting them in baseball card pocket sheets. That was annoying and hurt my hands with all the cutting. So, here is how I do my coupon binder. 

I use a 1 inch binder, but I do need up upgrade it to a 2 inch. I made a little cover sheet to slip inside the clear cover.

Inside the left side of the cover, I put in the coupons that I either printed from the web or have yet to add to my binder. On the right hand side, I have a pencil pouch that holds loose coupons I got from magazines, mail or other outside the newspaper means. It also holds a pen (to make my shopping lists), scissors (to cut out the coupons I need) and a Sharpy marker (to date the coupon packets).

The first pages hold all the coupon policy's for all the stores that I can use coupons at. For me, those stores are: CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Dollar Tree, Stop & Shop, Shaws, Target, and Walmart. 

This is a must to have with you. There have been a couple of times where I have had to point out the policy of a certain drug store. I have yet to use any coupons at Dollar Tree, because honestly, it is not worth it. My store carries very little name brand stuff and what they do carry (like Hefty storage bags) has such a little amount in them, it is not worth buying. But, I have the policy just in case.

Every Sunday, when the coupons come out, the hubby heads to the store for me and buys me 2 papers. I am not an extreme couponer and hate that some people take out the coupons before the papers are sold. The store near me has to return any unsold papers with the coupons intact in order to get a refund. The hubby makes sure that the papers he buys has the correct amount of coupon packets. 

For each coupon packet (RedPlum, SmartSource, or P&G), I put the date they came out in the upper right hand side. Then I go through each packet, separating the pages. Then I staple the upper left hand corner as close to the top of the page as I can get. Then I slip the packets into clear page protectors. I use CouponMom to make up my shopping lists and she lists the date that the particular coupon you need comes out and what packet it comes from. So, if I need a certain coupon, I cut out just that coupon.

I keep my binder in my Hello Kitty tote bag. It makes it easier to carry (I have like no wrist or arm strength thanks to my RA) and it also has inside pockets to hold my phone and keys. I also keep the current store add in there to compare with what is at the store. There is a few times an item is advertised in the paper at a lower price than they show at the store. It helps to have the paper with you to get the lower price.

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