Sunday, September 30, 2012

Single Girl Cooking

Ok so it’s not a surprise that I love cooking and baking (and any of my friends will tell you I’m darn good at both too Smile ).  The problem for me is….I am only cooking for one person 99% of the time!  Plus I also have to eat semi-early because of my medications I need to take in the evening.

So late one night, honestly probably early one morning, I came across a lady on Pintrest who does “Dump Cooking”.  The sound of it intrigued me and I thought I would take a look.  All she does is she spends 1 day preparing meals, placing the ingredients in Ziploc bags and freezes them. when the morning rolls around, she gets into her freezer, pulls out a bag and dumps it into her Crock Pot.  Why have I never heard of this before! Then a few weeks later I read a pin about a lady who “preps” her family's meals ahead of time and it takes the majority of the cooking out of preparing meals.  THIS is what I needed!  If I could cut an hour or 2 out of my cooking meals I would be set, and I could still eat semi-early, like 6-6:30.

So I went out and did my monthly shopping and got great deals on chicken and hamburger and started my cooking.

I boiled and shredded 7 chicken breasts which I got on sale for $1.99 /lb. and Smart & Final.  I seriously love this place.  Great prices AND they accept coupons too!


After it was shredded I divided it out into “me” size servings (quart bags), which in all honesty will give me 2-3 meals.  I got a total of 7 bags, one which I used to make Stir Fried Quinoa, which has turned into a comfort food for me.  Great flavor, super easy to make and SUPER healthy too!  So I threw these 6 bags into 1 gallon size bag and it is waiting for me to try any number of shredded chicken recipes, found here, here, here, and here.

Now, besides pretty much living on chicken I LOVE Italian food like lasagna and spaghetti but as you know if it impossible to make a small batch of it so…I have a friend who told me about making lasagna in a bread pan.  She says that she loves it, but her husband is not a huge fan so she makes it in a bread pan and freezes the rest for when he is working late.  this has become me new favorite way to make it.  I figured since I was going to make spaghetti sauce, why not make a double batch and freeze the rest for when I want spaghetti.

I thought I took a picture of the lasagna in the pan, but I guess not.  Basically I used a pound of hamburger, made the sauce, cut up a pound of mozzarella (I love cheese on anything) and boiled up 6 lasagna noodles.  I layered the first 2 noodles length wise in the pan then sauce and cheese.  Then the next layer I cut 2 noodles in half and laid them down width wise in the pan.  This helps the layer “stay together” and then repeated the sauce and cheese.  the last layer length wise again.  After it cooked I let it cook, covered and put in the fridge over night.  The next morning I took it out and cut it into 6 “slices”


So here are my 6 servings of lasagna all ready to go.  Turn the over to 350 and let it warm up for about 30-45 minutes (obviously less time if you microwave it, but I don’t have one).

Now with the left over sauce I divided it up into 2 cup Ziploc containers and put them in the freezer overnight


The next morning I found out that I had no hot water!  So as I was boiling water (shout out to mom & dad for taking me camping so many times as a kid.  This girl knows how to survive, lol) to wash the dished left over from the previous nights cooking I threw the container with the sauce into the water so I would be able to get the sauce out


And TA-DA……


Put that bad boy into a Ziploc bag and I am ready for a pasta night!


I also love baking and since I was on a kick of “freezing” things I thought what about cookie dough?  I mean we all buy it from the kids selling it for school fundraisers and lets be honest, it NEVER makes it to the oven.  So I decided to get out the “complimentary” ice trays I got with my new apartment and divided the cookie dough up into those and wouldn’t you know…I’M A BAKING GENIUS!


It took a few hours for them to harden up, but they kinda popped right out of the molds and viola!  Premade homemade cookies.  No more wondering if I have the ingredients to make a batch of cookies (which is funny because I always do).  Again I put them into a bag and labeled them with heating directions.


The last thing I prepared this weekend were breakfast burritos!  I love my oatmeal and protein shakes for breakfast, but sometimes I want eggs.  Granted it is easy to microwave them when I get to work, but I’m not a huge fan of carrying eggs to work already cracked.  I’m afraid its going to leak out into my lunch bag. Plus I have to shred cheese in the morning and I don’t get the sausage or potato either.  So I looked on Pintrest again and found this pin.  She give you step by step instructions to making them and freezing them!  So after a dozen eggs, a pound of sausage and a bag of shredded cheese (yep I cheated on that one) I got 8 burritos.  Well only 7 are frozen because let be honest, who doesn’t want a breakfast burrito when its freshly made.  I probably could’ve gotten 12 easy, but I piled the eggs and sausage on.


So there are my “cheating” steps so surviving Singledom and still cooking a full meal, but just cutting it down to a manageable amount for me Smile  I also like to think of this as preparing me for the married life with kids.  If it can cut down on time I have to sped each night cooking and away from the family, I’m all for it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

DIY Body wash…kinda

So again I am trying something I saw on Pintrest…weird I know.  I am always looking for ways to save a few dollars here and there and I love me some Dove body wash but I have a REALLY hard time paying $6-$7 for a bottle.  Granted it lasts me about 2 months, but still.  So one night while I was looking on Pintrest as I way trying to fall asleep (yep, I’m a multi-tasker like that) I saw “Make your own body wash”.  I pinned it on my Cleaning/DIY board and figured I would take a peek at it in the morning. 
She costed it out using a 6 pack of Dove bar soap and it came out to $1.72 for 24 oz bottle.  Now this is our in Utah so of course I knew it would be a little bit more here so I decided to go hunting for Dove bar soap.  First stop (should’ve been my only) was Big Lots.  I found a 2 pack of soap for $2 (well 2.16 with tax)!!!!
She originally used 3 bars to 6 cups of water so for mine I cut it down to 4 cups for the 2 bars.  I started to heat up the water on medium heat so that the soap would melt instead of just floating when I put it in. 
While the water was heating up, I started grating the soap with my cheese grater.  I mean its soap so it will wash off, just make sure that it is really clean before I go using it for my cheese on nachos, lol.
Once it was all grated (I used the fine part when the bar got really small and I was afraid I was going to leave a part of my finger in the soap) I put it into the water and started stirring until it was all melted, about 5-7 minutes. ***Side note:  She also made another batch using her microwave to “break down” the soap, right here***
Once it was completely melted I transferred it to a glass bowl.  she says it takes about 24 hours for it to thicken up so I have to wait until tomorrow to see what it ACTUALLY looks like, but right now it looks like I have a big bowl of milk sitting on my counter

I'm a BIG clutz so I poured it into the old bottle of body wash I had over the sink.  Good thing too because right after I snapped this pic, I moved my hand a little bit and it started pouring down the back of the bottle.  It was still a little bit runny but it should continue to thincken up.  but even still, it had the consistancy of body wash!

So what is the final cost on this?  I basically made 1.5 bottles (1 bottle is 24oz) for $2! That is a savings of about $4, even with the Target brand of Sensitive skin body wash.  Granted it is not a HUGE savings but right now with everyone saving money and pinching pennies, it’s a savings Smile

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Easiest Dinner for Cheap!

Earlier this year I wanted to start eating healthier and honestly cheaper too.  Getting take out is way too expensive (and calories…WOW!) and you only get 1 meal out of it.  I found this site called 100 Days of Real Food where she and her family eat NO PROCESSED FOODS!  That kind of got me thinking about all of the money I’m buying on “chemicals” that come in the food I eat.  Yes, it is a little bit more time consuming and it can be expensive, but if you look around you can find some great deals.
Take this recipe for example, it literally cost me $4! And I will get 3-4 meals out of 1 chicken.
Chicken from Fresh & Easy. I bargain shop pretty much everything else, but I get my meat from F&E. It is all natural, no hormones and the serving sizes you get are enormous.  Plus with their coupons and my Friends card I can and have saved $20 on 1 shopping trip without buying a shopping cart full of things.
And the seasonings I already had in my cupboard (so…free!)
Oh and 1 thing you will always find in my kitchen is a Crock Pot.  If you do not have one of these…you need one!  It is the easiest way to cook, and honestly, if you don’t know how to cook, it does it for you Smile
Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot – courtesy of 100 Days of Real Food
If you can, rub down the chicken either the night before or a few hours prior to cooking.  It allows the meat to “marinate” in the seasonings…yummy!


  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large chicken


  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
  2. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
  4. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
  5. Cook for 4 – 5 hours (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken), on low for 8 hours or until the chicken is falling off the bone.
Seriously it tastes BETTER than the store bought rotisserie chickens but you know exactly what is used instead of getting a chicken that was frozen, un frozen, rubbed with some sort of seasoning, cooked and then placed under a heat lamp until you grab it. Put this on before you go to work and come home to a great smelling house and make up some sides.  BOOM! Dinner is done!

Look at that! In 5 hours the house smells delicious and just to make sure that everything was juicy, I based the top with some of the juice (which you can't relly see, but it comes up 3/4 of the way of the thigh!) and the skin just fell off on the legs!

Overnight Chicken Stock – again from 100 Days of Real Food
Now, I have never made this before because I bought some Better Than Bullion Chicken stock that I love (thanks Holly) and I started using that before I found this chicken recipe, but I am working my way thru the BTB so I will be making the stock next time I make the chicken.


  • Leftover chicken bones or carcass roughly equivalent to one small or medium sized chicken
  • 1 onion, peeled and loosely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Salt, to taste
    Note: If you are missing any of these ingredients I wouldn’t let that stop you from making it anyway.

Stock Directions

  1. After removing all edible meat from the chicken put/leave the bones, skin, cooking juices, etc. in the crock pot. If you are using the chicken carcass from the “The Best Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot” recipe just leave every single thing that’s leftover (except the good meat of course) in the crock pot including the original onion and spices you used when making the chicken.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrot and spices on top of the bones and fill the crock pot almost to the top with tap water (leaving about 1/2” at the top).
  3. Turn the slow cooker onto “low” after dinner and cook all night long or alternatively you could start it in the morning and cook on “low” for 8 – 10 hours during the day.
  4. After the stock is done cooking turn off the heat and, using a soup ladle, pass the stock through a fine sieve to remove all herbs/bones/etc. Either refrigerate or freeze the stock for future use. I usually freeze some in both 1 and 2-cup portions, and I also sometimes freeze stock in ice cube trays just in case I just “need a little” for making sauce or rice.
  5. This stock is great in soups like chicken noodle soup and also in rice like risotto. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Save money on laundry?????

***WARNING***Today there are some every embarrassing pictures on here, so in advance…I’m sorry.
Laundry, the one chore we all have to do, and the one we hate the most
And it can be so expensive!  Why should I pay good hard earned money for something I hate to do!  And even more since I have to go to the community laundry room in my complex. I mean this week at Target you can get a 150oz liquid or 102 load powder or 62 count Boost Duo Pacs ON SALE for $17.99 or 100oz liquid from Wal-mart for $11.97.  Sounds like a great deal right?  Well if you go to the Tide website it breaks down how many loads you get for the liquid.  150oz is 90 loads and the 100oz is only 60 loads!  Don’t even get me started with stain removers!  I have tried Shout, OxyClean and even the new Tide one (yes I used to be a Tide girl.  Keyword…USED).  Nothing ever got the stain out 100%.  Money down the drain Sad smile, literally.
Well I found a few different sites that showed how to make my own laundry soap and stain remover for seriously pennies or even better FREE with items I had around the house!
DIY Stain Remover
Adapted from Once Good Thing By Jillee
What you need:
Hydrogen Peroxide (have it around the house already don’t you. See…FREE! My favorite 4-letter word)
Dawn Dish Soap (have it (fav. word), or swing by the store and grab some for $2-$3 and still wash your dishes)
Spray bottle (either have 1 laying around the house (fav. word again!) or grab one at the 0.99 store or I got mine at Big Lots for a buck I think)
The ratio of peroxide to Dawn is 2:1.  I had the peroxide already so I measured that out and found I had 1.2 cups left in the bottle so I just divided 1.5 in half and that gave me a total of 3/4 cup of Dawn.  Or better yet 2 cups of peroxide to 1 cup Dawn Smile
Swirl the mixture around and you have the best stain remover!  Spray on the area that you want to remove the stain, scrub with a brush (I used a nail brush I had laying around or you could use an old toothbrush) and let it sit for awhile  The blog I found this on she said to let it sit for an hour.  I only let mine sit for about 20 minutes while I sprayed it on all of my whites.  I wanted to try to get rid of those nasty (!!!!) armpit stains that have been on my white tank tops for a long time (some even a year or so).  I had tried ever thing out there to remove the stains and seriously it got rid of some of it, but the yellowing was still there.  Here is the proof that this stuff works.  Again this is embarrassing
This is before!  Thank goodness I would ONLY wear this under other shirts so no one would ever see this disgusting stain!
And drumroll please…da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da (yep that’s my drumroll on the keyboard)

LOOK AT THAT!!!!! I swear this is the same tank top!!!!!  I used it on all of my white tank tops, sports bras and even socks.  All clean and white!!!!  And what did it cost me? $3.47! $1.00 for the bottle, $2.47 for the Dawn and nothing for the peroxide!  I found on the Wal-mart site that Tide Stain remover is $3.97, but that product 1) can only be used for one thing and 2) I have found does not work as well.  I will NEVER buy another clothing stain remover ever again!
DIY Laundry detergent
Adapted from Being Creative to Keep My Sanity
So as you saw that the beginning the cost and amount of loads of detergent you get for your money for $17.99 you can get 102 loads of laundry (we will compare powders since that is what I make).  If you cost it out that is 0.17/load.  Not that bad you think.  But what is I told you for $20 you could easily make 2 gallons of laundry detergent and it will work just as good and you will not be paying for all the chemicals that are in name brand detergent?
Here is what you need (prices are current, not from when I originally bought the items):
One 4lb box of Borax (I found mine at Smart & Final for $3.99)
One 4lb box of Baking Soda (again Smart & Final for $3.29)
One box of Super Washing Soda (I couldn’t find it at ANY store here so I ordered on Amazon for $8.72 or I found a site where it shows you how to make your own out of baking soda here)
3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap or 2 bars of Zote soap (the Zote is cheaper at $0.99/bar where the Fels-Naptha was $1.49 at Stater Bros)
2 small containers of Oxy Clean or store brand Oxy Clean (I got the small Stater Bros. kind when I first made this, but I could not find them today.  The 3.5lb container today was $4.99)
Ok so before we go any further lets add this all up.  The total for the ingredients (4-5 total) is $17.98! ( I did not add the Oxy Clean since like I said I got the smaller containers and could not get a current price on it) That is the same as the 102 load of Tide, but lets cost it out.  The total weight of everything (minus the Oxy) is 220.24oz and the site says to use 1-2 tablespoons, which is 0.5oz (I used the scoop that came with the OXY and I just measured it out and its 1 tablespoon) so take 220.24 (amount made) and divide that by 0.5 (amount used) you get 440.48 uses.  You see that!!! 440 USES!!!!!!! And cost that out 17.98/440 is $0.04! 4 pennies for a single load of laundry!  Not only is it a 0.13 savings per load but that’s 4 containers of the detergent which is $17.99 (on sale remind you) times 4 is $71.96 compared to $17.98 Smile
Ok so now onto the fun part, making it:
Grate the Zote soap with a cheese grater.  I used the super fine side so that it would break up easier in the washing machine
Line a 5 gallon bucket with a trash bag and I started layering the items and mixing with my hands.  So the box of baking soda and then 1 bar of soap, mix. Add the Borax and another bar of soap and mix again. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
This is what it looks like finished:
Not the best picture but you can see the pink Zote soap in there.  I use the baking soda container for when I go to the laundry room and have hardly put a dent in it even though it looks like half empty, it wasn’t filled all the way and I have given away quite a lot to friends and family.
And my trusty scoop Smile
The soap is safe on HE machines as it is a low sudsing product.  And don’t let the lack of bubbles freak you out if you open the washing machine.  It will still get super clean, I promise Winking smile
So, now that you’ve read all of this are you ready to save money and get super clean clothes? Of course you are!  Now if there was just a product that would fold and put the clothes away!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

DIY Foaming Soap

Over the past few months I have been trying to find way to cut corners and save some money.  When It came time for me to refill my soap dispensers I went to the store to buy the “Foaming” soap refills.  I took a look at the cost of a small one and thought there HAS  to be a way to make my own. Well thank goodness for The Frugal Girls!  They have so many great ideas for saving some dinero Smile

I found the DIY Foaming Soap recipe and remembered that when I moved I had a HUGE container of regular Dial hand soap that I bought like 5 years ago at Costco.  I stopped using it when I fell in love with foaming soap, so full circle, it is getting much love again and I get the product I love!

Here ya go:

What you need:

  • Liquid soap (any kind works)
  • Empty Foaming Soap bottle AND the dispenser.  That is what “froths” up the soap


Add 1 inch of liquid soap to dispenser


Fill up dispenser to the “Fill Line” slowly with water (if you add it too quickly, it’ll just bubble up

Now…the tricky part.  DO NOT SHAKE BOTTLE!!!! You need to invert it slowly about 5-6 times until it is mixed


As much as you might want to shake the bottle it will just get all foamy and will not mix the soap and water.

TA-DA!!!!! You have your fancy Foaming Soap that works just as well as the refill kind you buy and for this batch (and until the huge bottle is gone) it didn’t cost me a single penny!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day Oatmeal and Banana Obsession

This past Monday morning, Memorial day, I woke up with a major hankering for something with banana in it.  I had a bunch of bananas that were right at the “getting to nasty to do anything with” and I remember that I had a yummy recipe for some Banana oatmeal pancakes that I found in a magazine last year.  And after that, my search for using the rest of the bunch was on for the day.
Banana Oatmeal Pancakes
Ok they may sound kinda gross, but they are so good and filling
In a blender combine:
1 banana
1/4 rolled oats
2 tablespoons cottage cheese (see doesn’t that sound funky to be in pancakes? But I promise you its delish!)
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend until smooth and stir in 2 teaspoons of chopped walnuts.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with nonstick cooking spray.  Pour batter into skillet to make two 4-inch pancakes. 
I always end up with more than two pancakes, but they can be frozen and reheated for a quick breakfast.  And the two pancakes are about 300 calories!
Individual “Banana Bread” Baked Oatmeal
This and the following recipes I picked up from Pintrest (seriously what a great site).  These are moist and delicious little muffins that clock in at about 145 calories per muffin (that is with all 12 tins filled.  The recipe says that it’ll make 9 but I was able to get 12 from my batter. Maybe I don’t fill them up as much as she does).  And these freeze great!  I take one out and put it in my bag for work, throw it in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds and a yummy breakfast Smile
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup nonfat milk (or “milk” of your choice)
2 medium bananas, mashed
1 large egg
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Extras: nuts and chocolate chips (soooooo yummy!)
Spray cupcake tin with nonstick spray and preheat over to 350. In a large bowl stir together the oats, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon until well combined.  In a separate bowl mash the bananas and add the milk, egg, oil and vanilla until combined.  Add to the dry ingredients and stir well.  Divide into tins (I just use a 1/2 cup measuring cup for the entire thing and I divide it up using between 1/4 to just under 1/2 cup for each tin).  Bake for about 20-25 minutes.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Squares
See what I mean about OB-SESSION!!!! This is a great one!  I mean who doesn’t love bananas and peanut butter?  Another great treat or even a quick breakfast bar, depending on how big you cut the squares (1/16th is about 85 calories!)
1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk (or “milk” of your choice)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large mashed banana
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
Lightly spray an 8”x8” metal baking pan (glass works too, you just have to cook it a little bit longer) and preheat the over to 350.
Mix together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Add in the vanilla, milk and egg.  Mix until combined.  Then add in the mashed bananas and peanut butter.  Combine all ingredients and pour into pan. 
Bake for about 20 minutes or until done.
(Yes that is a corner missing.  I mean I HAD to try them out before posting it here)
So needless to say my place was smelling like banana bread all day long and I have been enjoying the fruits of my labor (hahaha get it…fruit…banana!)
But most importantly I want to thank the men and women who serve and have served our country to keep us free!  God Bless America!!!!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

CURE Knit Pray Love

As promised, here is the video about Knit, Pray, Love :)

My new craft

So for a month before Christmas I got a HUGE urge to learn how to knit and crochet (thank you Pintrest).  I saw so many cool things to make on there using looms, knitting and crocheting!  So for Christmas I asked for knitting looms and a book called “Stich ‘n Bitch”.  Well mom came through (of course she did, her and dad are my “Santa”)!


As soon as I could I went to Michaels and bought a skein of yarn so I could play with my new toy.  The looms came with instructions, but I am not one for reading instructions and trying to figure out how to make something unless its for putting something together.  So I went to good ol’ YouTube.  I searched looms, found a video and I was off and running!  After about 4 hours (over the course of 2 days) I had my very first scarf!  I have to say, it is my very favorite thing I have ever made!  It is super soft and so warm.


So after I did the loom I went back to Michaels and after returning items I didn’t get around to using for Christmas I got some more yard and needles so I could start learning to knit.  I met a lady in the store and as we were looking at yard we started talking.  I told her I got a book and was going to learn how to knit from the book and YouTube (YouTube to the rescue again!)  She told me there was no way I could learn how to knit by just watching a video.  Well that lit the fire under my butt and that night I knitted my first item, a “coaster” as a friend refers to it.  Jumping up and down in my apartment with Hunny looking at me I said, “Haha! I’ll show you lady!  Don’t tell me what I can’t learn on YouTube and from a book!”  And yes, I did say it out loud!


Next attempt, make a scarf.  Well I am proud to say I am almost finished with it after only 1 week!


So now talk about finding out why things are laid on our hearts. A few days ago I was listening to Air1, they were talking about a DJ, Bryant Hansen, going to Afghanistan with Cure.  They are partnering with Air 1 and he is taking KNITTED AND CROCHETED ITEMS to babies and children over there!  HELLO!!!! I started getting all teary eyed in my office.  I had no idea back in November I would have the opportunity to show Gods love to mother’s and their babies just by knitting a simple beanie or blanket! (Ok, I’m crying now.  But such happy tears.)  

So for the next few weeks, or until I run out of yarn whichever comes first, I will be crocheting baby beanies and looming some blankets (fastest and easiest) for babies and their moms for a country we are fighting and defending on the other side of the world.  Jesus told us to “Love the little children” right?  Well I’m doing my part!


Oh P.S.  I will post the video that has posted on their site with Bryant explaining his trip.