Tag Archives: frugal tips

Funny the things you grow up with and the things you don’t. In my house growing up I don’t ever remember my mother making any sort of Chex Mix at Christmas, she made other things such as delicious Christmas cookies which we loved to decorate. In the collection of recipes my mother-in-law gave me when I was to be married was a recipe for “Snax Mix” which I think I have made every year since I received it! It is so much a tradition in our family that my daughter says it isn’t Christmas without the Snax Mix! I usually make several batches and give them away to friends and neighbors.

One of the containers I use to package up this Snax Mix is coffee cans. I collect them over the year and even have my mom saving them for me. I wrap a piece of wrapping paper around the can, put a bow on the top and it’s an instant Christmassy package. Very easy and very inexpensive!

coffee cans, inexpensive gift container

Coffee cans transformed!

coffee cans, gift wrap, prudent living

Wrapping paper can transform an ordinary coffee can.

Here is the recipe for Snax Mix. I’ve changed it ever so slightly to add more cereal, I figure adding more cereal without increasing the butter mix means it’s less fattening!

dried cereal, snack mix, munchies

Cereals are placed in a large roasting pan.

 

pretzels, dried cereal, snack mix

All ingredients combined.

Snax Mix

½ lb butter (2 sticks)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp onion salt
½ tsp garlic salt
4 cups popped corn (1/2 cup un-popped popcorn)
2 cups unsalted nuts
4 cups cheerios
3 cups rice chex
3 cups corn chex
2 cups wheat chex
2 cups bite size-shredded wheat
Pretzel sticks
Mini bagel chips (optional)

Melt butter over low heat and add Worcestershire, celery salt, onion salt and garlic salt. Stir until combined. Place the popcorn, nuts, cereals, pretzels and mini bagel chips in a large roasting pan and pour the butter mix over; stir to make sure everything is coated. Bake 2 hours at 250 degrees, stirring every so often. Let cool and keep in an airtight container. I insert a plastic bag in the cleaned coffee can and then fill with the snax mix.

coffee can wrapped, gift idea

Snax mix in coffee can ready for gifting.

snack mix, gift ideas

The finished product, ready for snacking!

 

Linked to: HomegrownOnTheHill

nuts, homemade candied pecans, recipes, prudent living, frugal tips

Ingredients for candied pecans.

Candied nuts make a great DIY gift, are a delicious, portable snack and are wonderful on salads! Here are a few recipes for a no-fail method for a crunchy, toothsome treat but secretly cost you only minutes in the kitchen! If you have a membership to a food club like Costco or BJ’s I would suggest stocking up on a large bag of nuts. My favorites are peanuts or pecans. Almonds and cashews also work well. You can make spiced nuts or sweetened nuts depending on whether you are using cinnamon and sugar or other spices such as cayenne pepper and garlic salt. Try a few this holiday season, make them to enjoy as a family or give away as gifts! Friday I will be giving you another recipe using candied nuts, a delicious pear and blue cheese salad!

Candied Pecans

1 egg white
1 Tbsp. water
1 pound of pecans or walnut halves or pieces
⅓ – ½ cup sweetened (I used ⅓ cup maple syrup)
Pinch of salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat egg white together with water until it becomes stiff and fluffy. Fold in sweetener, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Add pecans and toss to coat. Spread out on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, rotating every 15 minutes.

Spicy Cashews

4 cups roasted cashews
¼ cup butter
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ Tbsp. cayenne pepper
½ Tbsp. garlic salt
½ Tbsp. red pepper (optional)

Preheat an oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Set nuts aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the remaining ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the nuts and butter mixture. Toss until the nuts are thoroughly coated. Spread the nuts onto the baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Serve warm or let cool and store in an airtight container.

Honey-Roasted Peanuts

4 cups peanuts
2 Tbsp. butter
⅓ cup honey
½ tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. salt
⅓ cup superfine or baking sugar

Preheat an oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. In a small saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Add the honey, vanilla and 1 tsp. salt and stir until combined. In a large bowl, combine the nuts and honey-butter mixture. Toss thoroughly to coat the nuts. Spread the nuts onto the baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes or until browned, stirring every 5 minutes.

Remove the nuts from the oven and stir and sprinkle generously and evenly with the sugar and remaining salt, shaking pan as you go to coat the nuts completely. Let cool, then stir once more, breaking up any large chunks. Store in an airtight container.

This time of year I am always trying to think of things I can make to give as presents. One idea is a good homemade Italian Salad Dressing Mix. This can be made up and placed into a jar. Include a recipe for salad dressing and for a marinade and the gift recipient will have two ways to enjoy your gift! Here is my homemade alternative to packaged store-bought Italian dressing mixes, it makes about 2/3 cup:

1 ½ Tbsp dried oregano
1 ½ Tbsp dried basil
1 ½ Tbsp garlic salt
1 ½ Tbsp onion powder
1 ½ Tbsp salt
¾ Tbsp paprika
¾ Tbsp dried dillweed
¾ Tbsp dried rosemary
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper

Combine all herbs and spices thoroughly.

To make an Italian salad dressing, combine 1 ½ Tbsp of the herb mix with ¼ cup vinegar, 2 ½ Tbsp water, and ¾ cup oil in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well. Let stand for at least one hour to blend flavors.

To make a marinade, combine 1 ½ Tbsp of the herb mix with ½ cup red wine, 2 tsp thyme, ½ pound sliced fresh mushrooms and l large onion, sliced. Delicious on steak!

This simple recipe makes enough to give as a gift or to just keep on hand for those cold winter months.

10 2/3 cups dry milk
6 oz non-dairy coffee creamer
1 lb Nestle’s Quik
1/3 cup confectioners sugar

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. To use mix ½ cup with 1 cup of hot water.

For the cheapest way to make a single serving of hot chocolate use the following recipe:

For one serving of Hot Chocolate combine:

1/3 cup dry milk
1 tsp cocoa
1 tsp sugar

Add to 1 cup of ot water.

 

 

Making your own laundry detergent is one way to save money on an ongoing basis. The recipe basically uses three items: a soap of some sort, washing soda and borax.

The most typical type of soap used is Fels Naptha. This is an old fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle. You can also use Ivory.

Washing soda is not to be confused with baking soda; they are not the same thing! It is a white powder and its purpose is to help remove dirt and odors. The brand to look for is Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. You can usually find it in the laundry section at the grocery store.

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral, used as a whitener and deodorizer. The brand to look for is 20 Mule Team, this should also be found in the laundry section. That’s it! Mixed with water you can make a liquid laundry detergent or don’t add water and just have a powder form, whatever your preference. The recipe I used also called for baking soda, which is also used as a deodorizer.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

1 bar of Fels Naptha soap, shaved
4 cups of hot water to melt the soap
3 gallons of hot water
1 cup of borax
2 cups of washing soda
1 cup of baking soda
1 large container about 4-5 gallons size

Here’s what you do: 
Grate the soap into a saucepan. Add 4 cups of hot water to the pan.  Simmer on low until the soap melts completely into the water. Add borax, washing soda and baking soda to the hot water. Simmer on low until it dissolves with the soap. If the mixture is not melting, add more water if needed. Add 3 gallons of hot water to your large container.  I used a large 5-gallon bucket. Add the mixture to the hot water. Mix with a large spoon until it
completely dissolves, let cool overnight. You will notice that it turns into a thick gel.

I do have an HE washing machine so after reading numerous recommendations I will only use a small amount. This is a low sudsing detergent and should work fine! Due to the gel like consistency I read that the mixture should be stirred well each time before using. I will fill a large Mason jar or old laundry detergent bottle with 1/2 – 3/4 of the liquid mixture and the rest with water. I will shake it really well before each use and should not have any problems with my HE washer doing it this way. It smells wonderful!

When you compare the prices of cleaning products in the stores with the cost of making them at home you’d be surprised at how much you can really save! If you were to add up the toilet cleaner, kitchen cleaner, window cleaner etc. it seems the average clean household requires close to $150 worth of chemical supplies at all times. You can switch to the healthier alternatives sold in the stores but they are also expensive. The best choice for your budget and your health is to make them yourself.

One of the first products I began to make myself was a window cleaner. A good friend shared her recipe years ago and I’ve been using it ever since! With just several basic products you probably already have in your home you can make a window cleaner that really does get your windows clean! In researching various homemade window cleaners I found there are two main recipes; one uses vinegar and the other ammonia. I’ve been using the one with ammonia, I’ll have to make both and compare!

Window Cleaner #1: This can be made right in your spray bottle. Mix ½ tsp dish detergent, 3 Tbsp vinegar and 2 cups of water. Shake it up and use like any commercial variety.

Window Cleaner #2: This can also be made in your spray bottle. Combine 3 Tbsp ammonia, 1 Tbsp vinegar and fill the rest of the way up with water.

Let me know which one you think is better! Or do you have your own unique recipe?

A good all purpose cleaner:
16oz spray bottle
2 Tbsp distilled vinegar
1 tsp borax
water (if you have hard water this needs to be distilled or purified water, otherwise use tap water)
2 Tbsp mild liquid dish soap

Mix the vinegar and borax with 1 cup of hot water until dissolved. Let the mixture cool and then pour into your spray bottle. Add enough water to the bottle leaving just enough room for your dishwashing detergent. Then add the liquid soap.

Next  weeks frugal tip will be making your own laundry detergent! Stay tuned!

ammonium, vinegar, cleaners

Ingredients to make household cleaners!

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