Monday, August 31, 2009

Tenderize meat

You can make a cheap, tough cut of meat as tender as an expensive one by mixing a tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Make as much as you need to barely cover the meat, pour it over and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, rinse the meat thoroughly and then cook.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cookie and biscuit cutter

Need a cookie cutter? or a biscuit cutter? Save the next tuna or cat food can. They're the perfect size, wash well and last forever. If you're handy, you can even drill a hole and attach a handle to the center of the bottom (which would be the top when you use it for a dough cutter) with a small screw and nut.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Corn silk tea

In the spirit of using it all up, save the silk from sweet corn that you buy in the husk (or grow yourself). A handful, about equal to the silk from two ears of corn, boiled in a cup and a half of water for about 15 minutes, makes a delightful drink. Try it. If you like it, you can dry the silk in a dehydrator, in the hot sun or on very low in the oven, and save it for cold weather. Use a little less of the dried silk, but it doesn't shrink much.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Don't like that tea?

If you buy tea or coffee and don't care for it, use it to dye fabric. Even herbal teas can tint white cotton - good for scarves, light curtains, etc. Just make it up as if you were going to drink it, then put the material into it while it's still hot. Let it set for 30 minutes or so and rinse in cool water. Set the dye with salt and always wash in cold water.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Drink Mix Sherbet

I came across this somewhere... don't remember where, so if anyone knows, let me know so I can give proper credit.

1 cup sugar
1 package of Kool Aid or generic drink mix
3 cups of milk

Stir all together until sugar is dissolved, then pour into a shallow freezer container. Freeze for about an hour, then beat until smooth and freeze until firm. Let it stand at room temperature a few minutes before serving.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dehydrating food with free solar energy

If you come up with too much food, whether it's cooked or fresh, fruit or vegetable, the chances are that you can dehydrate it for future use. If you have a vehicle, place food (check to see if it needs pretreatment first) on trays or food safe screens (screens with cloth placed over them are fine) and set them inside a vehicle parked in the sun. Open a couple of windows an inch or so. Or set trays directly in the sun and cover them with loosely woven cloth to keep insects off of them. Sun drying takes a little longer, but it's a lot cheaper (as in free)!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Get the most from farmer's markets

If you have a local farmer's market, go (or stick around until) nearly closing time. When the vendors begin packing up leftover produce to take back home is the time to strike good deals. Don't be shy about asking and don't be put off if they decline. You'll never know until you ask. Most producers would rather sell their stuff than take it home to feed to the chickens.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Putting freebies to work

If you have samples of shampoo that you don't like, don't toss them. Put them in a pump bottle, add half again as much water or even as much water as you have shampoo and use it for hand soap at the sink. Bonus is that some of it smells great! Each sample is usually around 2 tablespoons, so if you add 2 tablespoons of water, you'll have around a quarter of a cup of free liquid soap for each sample.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Save the zucchini!

Got zucchini? Even with the unusual weather this year, many gardeners (and their friends!) have a glut of zucchini. A good way to eat up the bigger ones is to scrape out the seed cavity, stuff it with a cooked ground meat mixture and bake. Don't throw out the seed/pulp, though! Add it back to the stuffing mixture and it will stretch the meat, but nobody but you will even know it's there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Witch hazel

Witch hazel is very inexpensive and one thing you should have around all the time. It can't be beat for skin irritations, insect bites, sore muscles and poison ivy. It will immediately take the pain out of a bee or hornet sting, and reduce the swelling. And as a bonus, it's a mild astringent so it's great for a quick face cleanser. It's also a very good aftershave, I'm told.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Quick, cheap sachet

Put dry potpourri in the middle of a napkin or handkerchief, bring up all four corners and put a rubber band around it, then tie a ribbon around that. Use for a lingerie sachet, or use it in the car - or even give it as a gift. A small bag of potpourri (if you buy it) will make many sachets.