**Correction made in the link for the laundry soap!!!!!!!!!!
Have I mentioned before that I’m a cheap skate? No? Really? Oh, well…I am. That’s part of the reason I cook so much from scratch. If I get a hankering for something foreign, I buy the ingredients, whip it up, and am still out less money than if I went out and bought it. Through trial and error I have discovered that there are things I am not so good at making and buy them when I can. For example, I don’t make very good pita breads. I’m really not much of a baker, unless it’s simpler sweets…cakes, cookies, brownies, muffins, quick breads, that kind of thing. Bread is not my forte. I usually leave that up to the Hubby. He’s a champ. He’s actually sold his bread in the past. Me, people would eat it, it’s okay, but they wouldn’t pay for it. Maybe it’s a lack of practice. Maybe I just don’t have a knack for yeast dough. Any way, back to being a cheap skate….I have been trying to “make do” when I find I’m lacking something in the kitchen, instead of running out mid-grocery cycle to pick up an item. Because I can never just pick up ONE thing at the store. So, tonight, while throwing together a lasagna where you don’t have to boil the noodles (I’ll share the recipe at the end) I realized I was out of aluminum foil. Oh, how does that happen? Honestly, I don’t use a lot of it, and if I don’t write it down immediately on my shopping list, it gets over looked. So what is a girl to do when making something where the moisture needs to stay in? You run a JawsieBelle kitchen experiment. Right now my lasagna is in the oven, under a sheet of parchment paper with a cookie sheet full of dried pinto beans on top of that. My fingers are crossed. I’ll let you know what happens….
In other areas of my penny-pinching swagger, I’ve begun making my own laundry soap. I got the recipe **here and used the Fels-Naptha. It has been working great. I also discovered that washing soda is a fantabulous stain remover. You have a pile of laundry that needs some extra attention? Fill your rinsed out mop bucket full of hot water, add 1/2 c. of washing soda, stir to dissolve (I keep a ratty old wooden spoon on the shelf of the laundry area, because I can’t stick my bare hands into laundry soap water, let alone the water with washing soda in it) and add your clothes. Let soak at least a half an hour. Really tough stains, like dried blood, let it soak over night. Works like a dream. It’s a really handy trick to have up your sleeve if you have a kid like my Pally whose nose bleeds if you look at her cross-eyed. This same solution is amazing for cleaning your stove top, which at my house seems to always need a little extra attention. I have also started using a Downy Ball 1/2 full of vinegar as my fabric softener. Works pretty well, not as good as a dryer sheet, but a heck of a lot cheaper, and no, our clothes don’t smell like vinegar. I did decide that spending the money on a Swiffer sweeper/mop combo was worth the money. It picks up dog hair like a dream. Yes, I still have to use the regular broom and dustpan if we need to swipe up big dirt (cereal, beans, glass, etc.) but my floors have never been cleaner. It was always a chore to haul out the mop bucket full of water, and I never enjoyed letting the kids mop, because either the bucket got sloshed or they didn’t wring out the mop and the floor stayed wet for ages. So, it’s a trade-off. What’s worth the expense, and what isn’t. I’m not saying that being a tightwad is for everyone, but I do suggest those that aren’t already, find ONE thing you can do cheaper, you can make do, you can improvise, or reuse. Sure, it’s good for the environment, but it’s even better for you wallet. I want to share another link, it’s one of my favorite sites right now, and have found lots of good ideas here. As the women of the Depression would say, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
P.S. The parchment paper/cookie sheet of beans idea worked. Score one for a recorded JawsieBelle kitchen experiment. “I love it when a plan comes together.” –Hannibal, from The A-Team.