Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Onions, Bell Peppers and more!

So I don't know about anyone else, but I NEVER use a whole onion in a recipe. I mean, my husband isn't a huge onion fan whether it's cooked in or not, and while I like onions I can't imagine using a whole onion at once. I can't even count the number of times a recipe will call for a whole or even 1/2 an onion. I will say maybe I don't totally understand, and there are smaller onions out there, but as of now I just use some of the onion and put the rest in the fridge.  
I also run into this problem with bell peppers and celery. I really love bell peppers in a salad or on a homemade pizza, but when I'm the only one that eats them in the house it's hard to keep up before they go bad.  

Although I'm trying to save them, storage becomes another whole problem. No matter how hard I plan to make recipes with vegetables so that they don't go bad, I fail. Then I have 3/4 of an onion wasted, and not only is that food that's money. So, I have devised a plan and it works well for me.

After I buy the produce I wait until the first time I need to use it. Then I cut and chop up the whole thing. That's right, I even chop up the whole onion at once. 

bell pepper after chopped up. 

Then place all the chopped pieces on a cookie sheet that is lined with wax paper (or what used to be cereal bags, you can reference my post about Wax Paper )  let it sit in the freezer for a hour or so.

Then I pour them all into a mason pint jar and store it in my freezer. That way, when I need anything for a recipe, I just go to my freezer and pour out the amount I need. The onion pieces in the freezer will last for months compared to storing them in the fridge. So with just a little bit of work in the beginning, I can save time and money for months.  

I can honestly say that this isn't something that takes a lot of time, I did this when I was still working and it was one of the things that I could do to save time and money later on.     I hope that this post comes in helpful. Please share any ideas of ways you save produce. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

How to make your breastmilk last

First of all let me start off by saying this isn't going to be a post about how breastmilk is so much healthier. While I do think if you CAN breastfeed it's beneficial, I don't want you to think if you CAN'T you aren't a good mom. So many things in life can make us women feel inadequate, espeically when it comes to being a mother. When my first daughter was bornI ended up having a c-section because after 2 1/2 hours of pushing it wasn't safe to keep trying via the birth canal. There were many times afterwards that I felt there was something wrong with me. I mean, I had many family and friends that were supportive and told me that it was okay, but inside I struggled for a a few months. There was even a moment when I overheard another mom make a comment about how the doctors wanted to c-section her baby, but she said she refused and said she wasn't going to just give up. She had no idea that I had a c-section and that what she said hurt. She wasn't trying to hurt me, but as a woman I thought I had failed in my main duty of life. So with that, if you are able to breastfeed, you are blessed! Below is a how-to on making that breastmilk  last a little farther. I hope it helps. 

Breastmilk, or as some like to call it liquid gold.  Let's be honest, that is the best term for it. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to make breastmilk and those that can aren't always able to make enough. I've seen endless tips on how to make you produce more milk, that is not what this post is going to be about. Instead, I'm going to show you how to make the milk you are able to pump go farther.  

This tip came from some close friends of ours, they were told it by a nurse/family member of theirs. We ended up having the same nurse when Baby Girl was born and she gave us this same tip. It was really helpful when I went back to work, because we were able to make my milk go a little farther than it would have. 

So what's the tip?  Ice cube trays. Remember my baby food post?  If you didn't see it, you can check it out here.   

You can do the same thing for your breastmilk. Pump your milk like normal, then pour it into ice cube trays. If you can't do it right away, just stick your milk in the fridge until you can. I usually would wait until the evening to add all my pumped milk into the trays at one time.  

Each cube is about 1oz, depending on your ice cube trays. I let them freeze for 12-24 hours, but try not to longer than that, milk get freezer burn easier than baby food. After they are frozen I place them in freezer bags & mark approx. ounces. I just mark based on 1 cube = 1 onuce.  Then I throw them in our deep freezer and then they can last for up to a year.  

What I like about using cubes instead of nursing bags is that I can pull them out ounce by ounce.  With bags, you freeze in sets of bottles, 4oz, 6oz, 8oz etc.  However, you may have too many 6oz bags and not enough 4oz and so you ahve 2oz that go to waste each time.  With the cubes I can take out what Peanut will eat almost to the exact amount.  Now, I will say it's not always perfect, she can be a stinker and still leave an ounce or 2, but when I know she eats only 7oz, I can take out just 7oz.  


To defrost, there are different ways you can defrost the milk.  If we know we will need it ahead of time, I can set it into different bowls and let them defrost in the fridge.

Another way to defrost them, is put the amount of cubes you need in a bowl and place that bowl in luke warm water, replacing the water as you need. After a few minutes you can break up the cubes with a fork and then they will defrost faster.  

Take a funnel and pour the milk into the bottle, and there you have it. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016


So I've been trying to eat healthier. Once our first daughter started eating real food, we both decided to try and eat healthier. Lately, I've gotten back into eating smoothies.  I have always loved smoothies!  But to eat healthy isn't always the cheapest, and fruit is one of the more expensive healthy foods.

One day my friend Diane and I were talking about making smoothies and she gave me the best idea. She buys fruit when its on sale, or cheaper because its in season and then divides it up into smoothie packages and freezes them.

I dedcided to google some smoothie recipes, but I never found any that I truly liked, so I took what I read and changed them to work for me.  I wanted to make a thick smoothie, but use the least amount of ingrediants.  More fruit, less sugar.  I wasn't  a big fan of using juice either.  The following recipes use only 3 ingrediants, water, frozen fruit and frozen yogurt.  I also buy yogurt in bulk when its on sale and freeze it as well.  

So pick a recipe and take all your ingredients and freeze in a bag or glass jar. You can also buy frozen fruit in the large bags and then divide it up into smoothie jars too. Then when you are ready to make a smoothie all you have to do is dump & blend. The frozen fruit or ingredients will help to make the smoothie texture you want.

So when fruit is on sale, you can stock up and make different smoothie packets.

Here are some to get you started that I have tried and enjoy!

Strawberry Raspberry ~ 
1 cup strawberries
1 cup red raspberries

Strawberry Banana ~  
2 cups strawberries
1 banana

Mixed Berries ~  
1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup black raspberries
1/2 cup red raspberries

To make Smoothie: 

I like to let my fruit thaw for about 30min. (This helps it blend better) Don't let it thaw all the way though, because if the fruit is frozen you don't need to add any ice. 

Then I toss the fruit combo into blender. I use the ice crush button on my blender to make sure all the fruit is crushed up.   

Add a 6oz container of yogurt your choice. I like mine pretty thick so I like to use the yoplait whips. I buy them when they are really on sale and freeze them. Then I let one thaw a little before hand like I do the fruit and the combo makes it the consistency I prefer.

Add 1 C water.

Blend together until desired texture.

Voila!  You have a healthy smoothie. We love to pair ours with pizza night.
Makes about 2 glasses. 

Another way to make it even more healthier, use greek or noosa yogurt. Honestly, I'm not a fan of either of these yogurts. I have tried them, but even though I know they're better for you... less sugar and all, I just can't get on board with the taste. However; mixing it in a smoothie, I don't even notice the difference! So if you want to make it healthier and are willing to spend a little more on the yogurt since you're getting the fruit cheap, then go for it!  What I love about this recipe is it doesn't have any added sugar, other than the yogurt so it's fairly healthy.

Do you like to make smoothies?  What are you favorite recipes?  How are some ways you make it healthy?  

Saturday, March 5, 2016


Although they can be the best part of a salad, the cost of croutons can add up. Plus, they really aren't that good for you. But homemade ones cost less and can be a lot healthier. My friend Lisa told me about how she makes her own. She takes the ends of bread loaves and freezes them until she needs them. Not only is she saving money by making her own croutons, but she is using parts of the bread that doesn't usually get eaten.

Also, if your kiddo doesn't like the crust on their bread, (which all kids don't at one point it seems like) you can save the crust that you cut off, freeze it and then use that to make croutons as well.  While most of the times I eat the crust, sometimes    I just don't want to, so I might as well save it for something else right? 

Here's the recipe:

1. Cut pieces to desired size
2. Melt some butter and add a little Italian seasoning 
3. Mix in bowl 
4. Spread out on a cookie sheet & bake @ 350 for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 min or so.  

I changed it a little and used coconut oil instead of butter. One time I didn't have either on hand (crazy I know), but I used vegetable oil and it worked just fine too. The best part is you can experiment with what works for you!  You can even try different seasonings!  

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Life gets busy and it's so easy to forget how long that mayo has been in the fridge. Mayo is one of those things that doesn't work well in our house. Neither the hubby nor I like mayo by itself. The only time I buy mayo is when I need it for a recipe and then the rest ends up going to waste because apparently the sellers don't want you to be able to just buy the amount you need, but rather want you to buy more. Anyways, I try to plan out recipes to use up the rest of the mayo, but life gets busy and I forget and then I don't want to risk the mayo being bad.

So one day I decided to look up how long mayo lasts.  Did you know that it can last up to 2-3months in the fridge opened?! Not only that but it can last up to 2 years in the fridge unopened, compared to only 2-3 months in the pantry.

Now that I know, I'd hate to throw out mayo that is still good.  Looking or smelling it doesn't work for me because since I'm not a big mayo fan I would just assume it's bad, but I can mark on the lid. Why haven't I thought of this before? Then it got me thinking, if I can write on the lid of mayo why not other things?

Do you have things in your house that you don't use as often?  How do you use them up? Anyone have some good recipes that use mayo? I'm always looking!