With Thanksgiving came a much-deserved break! I had a paid holiday and took off the next day but of course, rest and relaxation are never for moms.
We do not have a traditional oven in our home, instead, we have this thing that has 7 different options to bake, air fry, etc. I hate it. I attempted to make things for our feast and the electricity went out about 10 times. The mashed potatoes got messed up and I felt like crying. So after everyone left and we cleaned up, I did what everyone does and hit amazon to see if there was something I could use to bake that won’t completely screw up my hard work.
What I found was this Omnia Oven. No lie I was drooling over it. However, another $70 purchase is just not in my budget. It’s hard out there for a hustler! So I got to thinking, and as they say, necessity is the mother of all inventions, I put together a makeshift oven with 2 aluminum roasting pans, and viola I had a tool to bake that cost me a whole $4.
Sadly I haven’t perfected it, but I have been documenting my experiments on TikTok and I am really hoping that I can make some real food in it soon!
For the Makeshift Oven:
2 Roasting pans
1 Electric Roaster or Stovetop
Cut holes in one of the pans on the bottom to let air flow. Put whatever you are baking on a tray and into the pan with holes. Put the other pan on top and either put it on your stovetop or into your roaster.
Once I perfect this, I am going to try baking in the slow cooker so stay tuned!
I cannot take credit for this as it is something I never even heard of before a friend told me about it but living frugally is about finding creative ways to stretch things as far as they can go. So I am always on the lookout for new ideas.
Blanching is a process used when you are going to freeze vegetables to preserve their flavor and nutrients. It is relatively simple but does require that you have freezer space, which I didn’t have until I picked up a chest freezer on clearance.
You will need:
- Freezer bags
- Vegetables batched out for use in each meal
- large bowel
- Boil Water
- Add a batch of vegetables to blanch
- Set timer for 5 minutes
- Drain after 5 minutes
- Put vegetables in ice-cold water to cool
- Once Cool put in freezer bags and freeze
Yes, it really is that simple. Today I am blanching Carrots & Potatoes. For the visual folks:
I broke down and bought an Insta-Pot last night, an XL version as my family is a bit bigger than most. I feel like a kid with a new toy, so I had to try it out. ($79 for an off-brand)
I started with a super basic chicken leg roasting “recipe” that I use when I am lazy and do not feel like making fried chicken. It can be torn up and made into sandwiches, added to salads, or virtually anything your heart desires. I tore up a piece and added it to some leftover Mexican, and it was delish!
The best part about this is you can freeze the chicken for a later meal or turn it into something else. You can use this for any type of chicken you make as well so it is completely versatile!
As you can see, I started with some spices from my cabinet. Again, you can choose whatever your favorites are and use more or less to taste. Sprinkle your spices over the chicken. In this case, the legs were still partially frozen.
⏩Don’t forget to add a cup of water to the bottom of the pot before you add the chicken!⏪
Once you have sprinkled the chicken with all of your favorite herbs and spices, stack them on top of the metal rack in the pot. I stacked these like a campfire! I also put a chunk of homemade butter on top.
Plug in your pot and push the poultry button. Set the timer for 20 min. You should add more time if you are cooking it completely from frozen, at least another 5 min if not more.
Once the pot is done cooking push the stop button and let it sit. It will naturally cool down and still be warm enough to eat!
And that’s it! I made sixteen chicken legs for less than $5.
Total cost: About $5
$4.85 for a family pack of chicken legs.
Pennies for spices bought at the dollar store
Total time: 1 hour
The newest “craze” is going green by cleaning your home with all-natural products. Being the cool hippie mamma I am, I am all about saving the environment and eliminating toxic chemicals. However, the cost of these products is hard to swallow when you’re also a frugal mamma!
I have seen a lot of companies spring up-selling “Non-Toxic, Chemical Free” products. The price tags compared to other products on the market are not at all frugal mamma friendly. So I took to the internet and found vinegar to be the most talked-about cleaning solution. There does seem to be some disagreement as to whether it truly cleans as well as a chemical such as bleach, but I was willing to give it a try.
For the sake of this series, my family and I have intentionally left certain areas of our home to get dirty enough to see a difference. In this post, we left one side of the toilet and our shower alone for a few weeks. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to get this part out of the way, although I am quite sure the teen boys were ecstatic that I wasn’t yelling at them about missing the toilet every day!
So for your viewing pleasure here are some before and after pics of our first experiment in “going green”.
Not bad if I do say so myself. The pics aren’t great, but I hope it shows the big difference that vinegar, water, and a microfiber cloth from the store starting with a Wal and ending with a Mart. My bathroom doesn’t even wreak of vinegar!
Experiment with this for yourself:
1/4 cup vinegar
1 bucket of hot water
1 clean microfiber cloth
This experiment cost about $1.50, not as cheap as a bottle of bleach at the dollar store but since I can use this in any part of my house and on dishes, and it took me less than 10 min to clean my entire bathroom, it gets a Thumbs Up on the frugal mamma scale.