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!