It’s a no-brainer that if you want to save money and eat healthier then homemade is the best option! I have found this theory true over and over in my own kitchen. So I try, as much as I can, to do most everything from scratch. Whether it is bread, sandwich meat or a birthday cake, I try to cut my costs and improve the quality of the food by making it myself.
Now, I will admit there are many things which I avoid doing because the process is long and sometimes tedious. I spent many summers on my parents’ patio shucking peas for hours and despite my love of peas, the work was laborious. As an adult I have avoided growing peas which need to be shucked.
My eight year-old had a great time with the new cherrypitter.
Another chore I remember is pitting cherries with a small, handheld pitter. Like the peas, it was fun for the first 3 but then the novelty wore off and there I was facing a huge box of cherries.
So, this last week when I had the opportunity to purchase some Flathead Lake Cherries at a ridiculously low bulk rate, I broke down and got multiple pounds. As I looked at the box in my refrigerator, I knew the clock was ticking and I needed to process them soon.
I headed out to buy the loathed Cherry pitter. Seeing that our local Ace Hardware was having a great canning sale, I headed there. No little hand-held pitters only a large countertop model was available and it was on sale for a good price. So, it came home with me and I set it up. Then I began what I thought was going to be a long, drawn-out ordeal–the pitting. In about 30 minutes, I had knocked out 10lbs of cherries! It was amazing! Nothing laborious or monotonous about it at all! In fact, it was so entertaining my 8 year-old son even got in on the fun!
What I realized then and there is the importance of good, effective and time-saving kitchen gadgets. When you have a good gadget it makes the job smoother and faster. Thus making you want to do that task again. In my case, wanting to pit those cherries saves me money because now I have lots of jars of Cherry Jam and other Cherry delights which my family will enjoy this winter! So, my cherries didn’t go to waste by sitting in the refrigerator while I avoided the long and laborious task of pitting them.
I LOVE my Pampered Chef Corn Knife for stripping the kernels from thecob.
It’s long been preached that a tool will make or break the success of a job. Think about screwing in a screw…if you only have a screwdriver how likely will you complete a job with just using that? But imagine you had an electric screwdriver, now how likely will you complete the job? Much better odds, huh?
The same principle holds true in the frugal kitchen. If we are to be productive and efficient then the right tool makes or breaks our success in providing healthy, homemade, budget-friendly meals.
So, what are my favorite kitchen gadgets which save me money? Obviously, the cherry pitter is now at the top of my list. But I also have saved oodles of time and money with my Pampered Chef Corn knife which strips the kernels from the cob, lickety-split! Thus, motivating me to freeze more corn for my family.
I would be lost without my Pyrex measuring bowls…4 of them from 1 cup up to ½ gallon with pour spouts! Life savers! Also, I have to say I depend almost daily on my Kitchen-Aid mixer. It makes all my kitchen chores so much easier and faster, from kneading bread to whipping butter to making cookies.
My Kitchen-Aid mixer is a must-have gadget in mykitchen.
Now, if you’re like I was early on, you are probably thinking about the cost of these effective tools. I will agree that many of them are high priced but if you think of it as an investment which will have a high return then it makes it worth it. But I wouldn’t be true to my frugal heart if I didn’t suggest a few ways to save when buying these items!
First of all, don’t just buy to buy. Make sure it is a gadget you KNOW is effective and will be used and don’t buy them all at once. Secondly, wait until it goes on sale and even then price shop and don’t forget to check online! Save up rewards at a particular store and use the rewards on a higher priced gadget. Finally, use these gadgets as ideas for your Christmas or birthday wish list. Most people would be delighted to buy you something which would be useful in your frugal kitchen!
If being frugal is your goal, then making your kitchen highly efficient is critical. Having gadgets that increase your productivity, cut time and MAKE you want to tackle a project will reward you with high quality, healthful and frugal meals for your family!
Save Hundreds with a $20 Coffee Maker
To say I love coffee is an understatement. I drink the stuff all day long — yes, sometimes to the detriment of my water consumption — and if I had it my way, I’d drink iced coffee over hot every time. (As it turns out, you spend more energy and therefore generate more warmth digesting iced coffee once it enters your system than you do digesting hot coffee — to that end, it’s never too cold for iced coffee.) But even my beloved bottle of iced coffee concentrate from Trader Joe’s can add up — and lugging those bottles from the store to my apartment gets heavy, quickly.
In search of a better and more cost-efficient way, I spent a not-insignificant amount of time last year trying to find the ideal iced coffee system for me. I was specifically in the market for the kind of contraption that would allow me to put in the least amount of effort in the morning. That’s when I stumbled across the kind of cold-brew pitchers that steep your beans in water overnight, and it was love at first sip.
One of the most popular versions of this pitcher is the Takeya cold brew coffee maker, which boasts plenty of rave reviews. I wound up buying a similar version made from glass and stainless steel by the company Brew to a Tea — the pitcher works for both cold brew coffee and iced tea, and at $19.99, it’s about five dollars cheaper than the plastic Takeya version.
It’s straightforward enough to use: Fill the pitcher with water as far up as its top line, fill the mesh filter with the coffee of your choice, and submerge the filter into the water. I’ve found it’s helpful to fill the water about 3/4 of the way, insert the filter and the coffee, and then top the pitcher off with more water so that the coffee grounds are fully saturated in water. Then, leave the pitcher in your fridge overnight or up to 24 hours, remove the filter, and boom! Cold brew coffee, ready to dilute to whatever strength you need.
Sure, it takes some foresight to prepare, and if you run out without brewing more, you might need to reach for the hot coffee as a backup. To that end, I’ve taken to storing my brewed cold brew in glass milk bottles once it’s done brewing, to free up my pitcher for a regular rotation.
Even so, the best benefit is the amount of money I’ve saved. Because I was curious, I did the math:
A bottle of Trader Joe’s cold brew coffee concentrate lasts me about a week (OK, sometimes it’s less than that), and costs $7.99.
A bag of Trader Joe’s French roast ground coffee costs $4.99.
If I use one cup of coffee grounds each time I brew a pitcher of cold brew, that means my coffee bag will last me for about five to six pitchers.
A comparable amount of cold brew concentrate would cost me anywhere from $39.95 to $47.94.To that end, the iced coffee pitcher saves me, on average, $35 to $42, for each bag of coffee I use, if I were to buy the same amount of coffee concentrate bottles.
10 Cleaning Products that work Miracles for Under $10
You can get your cleaning done thoroughly and cheaply.
Because we spend a good chunk of our time cleaning, it makes sense to spend money on things that make the process more pleasant and easier. There are many sensible cleaning investments you can make. From nice-looking brooms that make your home prettier as well as cleaner to Dyson stick vacuums, here are some of the purchases you can consider.
I haven’t always been a fan of the Scrub Daddy. The name sounded kind of weird and the toothless grin didn’t exactly give me a pleasant feeling. But my grandma always has one at her sink. So sooner or later, I had to try it out.
I have to admit that Scrub Daddys are nothing short of amazing. They are better than sponges or scrub brushes. They do such a good job that I have finally made peace with the grin.
Scrub Daddies work well in hot or cold water and they never stink which is so nice. You don’t have to get the orange or neon green versions. They also come in a milder gray color that won’t interfere with your kitchen’s color scheme.
Clean Magic Erasers
After using them for a while, the ‘Magic’ part of the name doesn’t sound like a marketing gimmick anymore. These blocks clean wall scuffs, scum in the bathtub, grout, and even stains on stainless steel like a charm.
Shannon Muldoon, the Director of Studio52 loves Mr. Clean Magic Erasers for a good reason. Whenever you find that a rag and a spray do not quite do the job, reach for these Magic Erasers and you will get the job done.
One of the worst things about shower doors is the filth that builds up in their tracks. The worst part about them is that they can be hard to get rid of without cramping your fingers and running through several paper towels. So when I came across these groove cleaners on Instagram (of all places) I had to try them out.
Not only do they remove the gunk effectively, but they are also easy on my hands and reusable. These groove cleaners are amazing for cleaning anything that has grooves, from baseboards and shower doors to window tracks.
Wash the sponge in your dishwasher and it is as good as new.
Rubber gloves are probably your best defensive weapon when it comes to cleaning. Household cleaning products are amazing for your house but not-so-nice for your skin. You still want to have soft and supple hands when you are done cleaning.
Never take on deep cleaning without wearing rubber gloves. They are especially important in winter when skin dryness is such a huge problem. Invest in one of these and you will pinch yourself for taking so long to buy them.
Bar Keeper’s Friend
There is a good reason why so many people love the Bar Keeper’s Friend. It is a near-universal cleaner that polishes off stainless steel cookware and utensils as well as clears up rust, scum, grimy wheels, hard water stains, and cleans sports equipment.
Bar Keeper’s Friend works for so many items that it would be difficult to list all of them. All you need to know is that you need to make the Bar Keeper’s Friend your friend too.
Reusable Swiffer Pads
These eco-friendly pads have lasted so long in the market because they are so popular. The only downside of these Swiffer pads is that you can’t refill the bottle of cleaning solution so you have to keep buying new plastic bottles which are wasteful.
But there are reusable microfiber pads that are just as good as the Swiffer and are even more robust. They can tolerate harder scrubbing. Afterward, you can wash the microfiber pads by hand or throw them into the laundry.
Deep Cleaning Brush Set from OXO
Remember using an old toothbrush to wash away grout and scrub sneakers clean? This set has amazing mini scrub brushes that work for all kinds of cleaning tasks.
What makes them even better than a toothbrush is the wiper blade made from rubber that effectively removes all the dirt hidden inside the crevices and corners.
Pink Stuff Cleaning Paste
Pink stuff Cleaning paste has an amazing power to remove grout from your home. So many people swear by vinegar and baking soda. But sometimes you need something stronger. And this is it.
Full Circle Coffee Machine Descaling Liquid
If you want nice tasting coffee, you want to clean your coffee maker. A lot of people use white vinegar for the job. But when you want to go all out, invest in a descaling product that will take out the grime that has built up within your coffee machine.
Drill Brush Attachments
I am obsessed with these brushes that go inside my drill and thoroughly clean it without leaving me exhausted. They work beautifully on grout, grease on hubcaps, bathtubs, as well as patio furniture when it is crunchy with dirt. Use these drill brushes to scrub all the filth away.If you are trying to cut down on your use of paper towels, you may want to consider using compostable sponge cloths instead. And work with blinds brushes to dust windows. Wipe the cloth over your couch to remove pills and leave it perfect.
How to Care for Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel is one of the most ubiquitous kitchen staples that serve a variety of uses. Stainless steel pans get hot really fast because they have cores of aluminum or copper that respond quickly to heat.
Stainless steel pots and pans are also nice looking. So you can usually use them as serving dishes as well. Stainless steel is incredibly light when you compare it to cast-iron, and they are easy to clean with a dishwasher in addition.
Read on to find out more about stainless steel cookware. One of the best gifts you can receive is a gorgeous set of stainless steel cookware.
Cooking with Stainless Steel
Stainless steel heats up quickly, so you don’t want to leave it sitting on a hot stove empty. Put some high quality oil on the pan first before you turn on the heat.
Remember that heating an empty stainless steel pan can warp it. Cheap cooking oils and fats are a no-no. Use a small amount of good quality fat. If want to go for nonstick stainless steel, choose one that is coated with silicone, wooden, or nylon stirring tools and avoid cooking sprays.
Because stainless steel heats up so fast, you don’t want to set the temperature so high because the food might burn or stick to the pan.
If you use stainless steel in the oven or broiler, the temperature should be no higher than of 600°F. Nonstick stainless steel is not oven-safe for temperatures higher than 400°F.
Stainless steel works well with most cook tops as well as induction systems. Some are not. You want to see if your magnet attaches itself to the stainless steel pan base. If they stick together, it is a sign that you are good to go.
Stainless Steel Cookware Storage
If your stainless steel cookware is lined with nonstick, you might want to invest in a cookware protector to shield it from scratching. This cookware should last long as long as you take good care of it.
Invert the lids and stack the cooking pots and pans in order of size. You can hand the pretty ones – or the most often used ones – on a pegboard. Keep them somewhere within reach because you will be cooking with them on the regular.
Cleaning Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel is dishwasher safe, but to get it to last decades, you want to wash it by hand and avoid using high heat.
Harsh chemicals and steel wool are bad for stainless steel. Soak it overnight using soapy water and some vinegar. Lemon and baking soda helps remove the toughest stains. Invest in a special cleaning product to help get rid of discoloration or to remove foods that get burnt on the pan and don’t come out easily. One such product is the Bar Keeper’s Friend.
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