Make Your Own Fishtank Filter Cartridge

August 24, 2010

I am a huge Fish Geek.  Please don’t tell anyone. I wouldn’t want my reputation as a “cool kid” to be ruined :-D  This great idea came to me via Quiltie a couple of years ago to help diffuse the cost of my hobby. I just got around to taking pictures of the process🙂

Make Your Own Fishtank Filter Cartridge:

All you need to do this is the Old BioBag Cartridge you are replacing, Loose Fishtank Carbon ,Polyester Quilting Batting, Needle and Thread.

Your Cartridge will look like this to begin with (probably alot dirtier though):

Notice that at the top middle of the bag, located on the long plastic piece is a clip. Remove that clip, along with the plastic piece and peel off the mesh filter which will be full of carbon. Dispose of the filter and carbon.

You will be left with a frame that looks like this:

Cut a rectangle out of the Batting large enough so that you can fold it over the frame so that there is an inch or two extra material on all three open sides.

It will look like this (I cut mine uneven but when it’s finished it will not matter because the extra will be trimmed away. Sorry about the yucky table top I put it on for the picture. Painting that piece is next on my to do list):

Fold the material over the frame and hand stitch at the side and bottom. No need to stitch at the top, the plastic piece and clip you removed earlier will hold it. Cut extra Batting off, leaving about 1/2 an inch past your stitches. You will be left with a sleeve around the frame not unlike the one you disposed of earlier.

Depending on the size of your Cartridge pour in the Fishtank Carbon (I used about 3 TBSP for a small Cartridge). The kind I use looks like this:

Fold the top of the Batting over the top of the frame and replace the plastic piece and clip. Trim the extra batting from the top

It should look like this:

Rinse your Cartridge ,as you would any new one, to remove the dust from the carbon and put in your filter.

I bought my box of carbon about 5 years ago and my batting was free because I’m lucky enough to live beside a Quilter who often has scraps. So it costs me about .20 per filter change to our Filter every couple of months.

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Little Frugalista

Save Money with Bacon in My Pocket

August 12, 2010

You have got to check out Ma Bacon’s blog at Bacon in My Pocket. She says

“Bringing home the bacon is hard work. Keeping it is even harder!” Let her teach you a few tips and tricks for keeping your bacon in your pocket😉

Save Money with Bacon in My Pocket

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Little Frugalista

Homemade Reese Cups

July 29, 2010

These couldn’t be any easier!

Homemade Reese Cups

Ingredients:

1 Cup Peanut Butter

6 TBSP Butter (softened)

2 cups Powdered Sugar

24 ounces Almond Bark (Chocolate or Vanilla)

12-18 Aluminum Baking Cups

Instructions:
-Combine first 3 Ingredients. The mixture may look crumbly and that’s okJ *I use my Kitchenaid Mixer to combine but you can also use a  dough cutter to cut the ingredients together.*

-After you have combined the above, melt Almond Bark (chocolate or vanilla) in a Double Broiler, making sure to stir frequently (I use a makeshift one that I create from two pans, one obviously smaller then the other).

-Once your chocolate is melted, cover the bottom of 12-18 Baking Cups (the number you end up with depends on how big you make them).

– Make a Peanut Butter Mixture Ball from the combined ingredients and flatten slightly with your fingers. Place on top of the Chocolate in the Baking Cups.

-Fill the Baking Cup the rest of the way with Melted Chocolate, making sure to cover the Peanut Butter Mixture,  and smooth across the top.

-Chill for 10 minutes in the fridge and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

July 19, 2010

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1 cup chocolate chips 

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine JIF®, honey and cinnamon; heat through. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Place oats in a large, shallow roasting pan or a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Pour warm JIF® mixture over oats and stir gently until oats are coated. Spread evenly in pan.
  3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off oven.
  4. Stir in peanuts and return pan to oven and let dry 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Let miture cool and stir in chocolate chips. Store in covered containers.

*My kids love to eat this as a topping for yogurt. This recipe is very easy to change around and “make your own”. *

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Little Frugalista

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

July 18, 2010

These taste like brownies but hold together in slices like a bread. A great way to sneak veggies into something that tastes like a dessert😉

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup raisins

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Combine the eggs, oil, butter and extracts; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in zucchini, pecans and raisins. Pour into two greased and floured 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from the pans to wire racks.

*If 2 Loaves are too much to consume for you at one time, freeze the second to eat later.*

$$$

Little Frugalista

Vegetarian Artichoke Spinach Pitas

July 15, 2010

Vegetarian Artichoke Spinach Pitas

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used sour cream because I don’t like mayo)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled (or 2 TBSP minced garlic)
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried dill weed (I used instead fresh basil from my garden)
  • 8 oz frozen Spinach

Throw all of the ingredients in your crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. This can be served in Pitas with your favorite veggies, cheese etc… or can be used as a dip with Crackers or Heavy Dipping Bread pieces.

These would be great to send cold in a lunchbox:)

$$$

Little Frugalista

Vegetarian Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

July 14, 2010

Vegetarian Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 (16 ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used sour cream because I don’t like mayo)
  • 10 ounces dry bread stuffing mix (boxed or make your own)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cook broccoli according to package instructions. Lightly Grease a large baking dish.
  2. In a bowl, mix the cheese, eggs, onion, cream of mushroom soup, and mayonnaise (sour cream).
  3. Arrange the cooked broccoli in the prepared baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over broccoli. Spread stuffing mix over the sauce.
  4. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly browned.

**NOTES: This recipe makes enough to serve 4 adult and 2 children and still have leftovers to freeze for later.

$$$

Little Frugalista

Make Your Own Gatorade/Electrolyte Drink

July 7, 2010

A friend of mine and I were having a conversation the other day that made me remember I had not posted these recipes on here….

Little Interesting Tidbits of Info. about Electrolyte Drinks: The importance of an electrolyte Drink is to replace the Water, Sugar (Calories) and Electrolytes that you lose through sweating, vomiting etc…. Sports drinks have quite a lot of sugar, but interestingly they have only about half the sugar of most other commercial beverages. This is because if you load in too much sugar at once, it slows down water absorption. The Electrolytes most Sports drinks focus on include ions of calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and chloride.

Don’t want to waste money on expensive Sports Drinks? Want to know exactly what you are ingesting and be in control of the amounts? Make your own Electrolyte Drink with these Recipes:

 

Regular Electrolyte Drink aka Gatorade

  • 1 package unsweetened Kool Aid (any flavor)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice

 

Low Calorie/Carb Electrolyte Drink Aka Propel

It turns out that two tablespoons of lemon juice contain almost exactly the amount of potassium in 8 oz of a typical sports drink. So, if you want to make your own low-carb sports drink, it’s quite easy. Just mix together:

  • 1 cup (8 oz) water (not carbonated)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • small pinch of salt
  • Flavoring and sweetener to taste

Flavoring Ideas:

  • Crystal Light Drink Mix
  • Sugar Free Kool Aid

 

These Mixes can also be made up and frozen in an ice cube tray, crushed in a Food Processor and eaten like an Icee as well.

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Little Frugalista

Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers

July 6, 2010

Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers

  • 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed  (I cook my own and freeze in 2 cup portions/ if you use the canned ones make sure they are drained very well)
  • 1/2 cup frozen green or red bell pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or 1/2 cup rolled oats (I use oats to lower insulin reaction. Chop them in your food processor to a fine texture)
  • Directions

    1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.
    2. In a food processor chop black beans into a fine texture and transfer to a big bowl. 
    3. In the food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
    4. Add to the bowl the eggs, chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce.
    5. Mix in bread crumbs or oats until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into six patties.
    6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

     

    In my opinion these are even tastier then the Morning Star or Boca Burgers. Plus they are cheaper to make and you know exactly what’s in them🙂

    These can be cooked and then frozen to heat up later.

    $$$

    Little Frugalista

    Eat Like No One Else

    June 29, 2010

    Check out this guy… I happened upon his blog tonight and discovered that he shares a very similar food philosophy as me. He also has tons of great tips for Growing your own food and choosing food at the store, as well as great Recipes for cooking it.

    Do have to wonder with his blog name whether he is a Dave Ramsey fan. Maybe he will happen upon this post and tell me🙂

    Eat Like No One Else

    $$$

    Little Frugalista