Posts Tagged ‘budget’

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 😀  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.

$$$

Little Frugalista

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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 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.

$$$

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

    Leftover Hambone Soup

    June 22, 2010

    We are not huge Ham eaters but every year at Christmas our Jewish Financial Advisor sends us one. I tell you he’s Jewish because I think it’s ironic and hilarious that he sends a ham instead of a turkey considering most Jews don’t eat pork. Anyway… He sends us a Harry and David Ham and it is the most delicious ham EVER. I’m pretty sure the fact that it’s free adds the best spice 😉  I cook it on Christmas Eve and we eat what we want of it on that day. The rest of it I freeze in various portions (cubed ham,bone,soup ham etc..) and since we eat so little ham it does us through the summer.
    The whole point to this was that this year with the leftover Ham Bone I made this soup and it was REALLY good. Also a big plus that it made alot and was cheap….

    After the Holidays Ham Bone Soup
    1 ham bone with some meat
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
    1 (14 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables (I used the veggies from dinners I’d frozen in my veggie container in the freezer), thawed
    3 potatoes, peeled and diced
    1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
    3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
    1 cup chopped cooked ham, or amount leftover
    1 (10 ounce) can tomato sauce
    Directions
    Place the ham bone into a large pot and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Add the onion and tomatoes, then stir in the frozen mixed vegetables and potatoes. Simmer for about 20 minutes, then add the macaroni, rice, and chopped ham. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Any ham on the bone should come off easily. Remove the meat and discard bone. Stir in the tomato sauce and let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

    Nutritional Information
    Amount Per Serving  Calories: 195 | Total Fat: 2.7g | Cholesterol: 6mg

    $$$

    Little Frugalista

    Frugal Garden Slow Waterer

    June 21, 2010

    My favorite style of Gardening is anything I can get and/or make for free so of course I was thrilled when Quiltie asked me if I’d like to dig up some of her Brown Eyed Susans and Daisies to place in my own yard. I’m pretty sure my Gardening and Frugal Lifestyle roots from my Grandmother who used to say “My name is Jimmy. I’ll take whatcha Give Me!” (Guess she couldn’t come up with anything to rhyme with Ellen since that was her actual name) On a total tangent…. Visiting with friends one day they commented on their “Cottage Style”  of decoration for their home. Upon asking me what my Gardening and Household Style was I replied “Jimmy”. They thought it was some sort of Middle Eastern Feng Shui thing until I relayed the saying above to them.

    I dug up 2 large clumps of the Free Flowers to place on the corner of my property where 2 Pompous Grasses I had placed last year had died. I placed them in those holes and prayed they would fare better then the grass had.

    Last week however I noticed that they were beginning to wilt and therefore I had to start watering them. After a few days of taking the time to water them I got a little tired of the chore. I was wishing that I had a couple of Aquaglobes to place at each plant to keep them watered.

    Well being as cheap as I am I set out to create a cheap Slow Waterer from things that I already had on hand.

    See look how wilted they are looking behind the Waterer!

    Little Dude is a HUGE juice drinker and goes through a 64 ounce bottle of Walmart Apple Juice every week. I just happened to have an empty bottle he had finished on hand so I decided to create the Slow Waterer from that.

    I had read more then once about people making Waterers from Milk Jugs. They had punched very small holes in the bottom of the jugs, placed them beside their plants and filled them with water. This allowed the plant to be watered slowly at the root as God had intended.

    I decided that this was a great idea, however I was failry sure my neighbors wouldn’t want to stare at milk jugs every time they were out in their front yard. So I set out to think of something to cover the Apple Juice Bottle with. That is when I remembered the Earring/Brooch Holder I had made from a picture frame and the fact that I had leftover Burlap from that Project.

    So I set out to cover the Container with Burlap after I had punched 2 tiny little holes in the bottom with a knife…

    I used Floral Wire ,which I always keep on hand because it is soooo handy, to create a loose stitch on the edge of the Fabric…

    I pulled the Fabric so that it bunched and hooked it around the top of the bottle. I then took the Floral Wire and stitched a small spot at the bottom to keep the fabric closed there.

    I made sure to cut the fabric off about a 1/2 an inch from the ground so that the water coming from the bottom of the Bottle wouldn’t get soaked into the fabric instead of the ground. I turned the side pictured above towards the plant so that you can’t see it.

    Hope this inspires you to use what you have on hand to create what you need in the Garden 🙂

    $$$

    Little Frugalista

    *Hydrogen Peroxide* The Best .50 You’ll Ever Spend

    June 14, 2010

    I know you’ve seen the adds that pop up on the side of your screen that say “One Mom Found a Super Cheap Effective Way to Whiten Teeth! Click here to find out what it is!”. Well this Mom is giving the info. away for free ;)… Hydrogen Peroxide. I get comments now and then about how white my teeth are. After a barrage of questioning about what sorts of things I use the questioner is usually disbelieving that, no I do not use those $30 Boxes of “White Strips, Gels,Rinses etc..” but rather use the .50 active ingredient they use… Hydrogen Peroxide. The trick to Whitening your teeth with Peroxide is to rinse your mouth before brushing with a 1:1 (once again with pity for the math challenged as I, a half and half solution) of water and Peroxide. Then Brush your teeth as normal.

    I’m sure at this point you are thinking YUCK I bet that tastes like foot but I assure you that it tastes like nothing. The only real difference between pure water and Peroxide ,taste wise, is that it will Fizz once you spit it out. The Fizz always thrills me though because that means it’s Fizzing out all of the crud I don’t want in there in the first place.

    If you want to REALLY clean your teeth you can create a paste of Baking Soda and Peroxide. The added abrasion of the Soda helps to scrub the gunk off of your teeth. I can not promise however that this concoction will taste pleasant, though it is very survivable because I have done and will continue to do it myself 😉

    Do these (either just Peroxide or Peroxide with Baking Soda), according to my dentist, once a week only.

    All of that being said I need to add to this post…. Please consult your dentist before following this advice because, though my dentist gave me the ok, your teeth may have special needs with which this advice may not work. Do I sound like one of the announcers at the end of a drug commercial that lists off 200 things that may go wrong if you take their medication? “Possible side effects may include, listening to Wayne Newton Music, Cranial Implosion, Negative Karma, Coloring Outside the Lines etc..” 😀

    Now since I’ve created a whole posting touting my love affair with Peroxide I will give you other great uses for this Store Bought Wonder…

    1. To clean and sanitize the kitchen – clean countertops and sanitize lunch boxes. As with all cleaning I try to use things that are EcoFriendly and won’t adversely effect my family’s health and Peroxide fits the bill.
    2. To clean vegetables and fruits and prolong the freshness and taste – Add 1/4 cup of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to a sink full of cold water. Add vegetables and fruits wash, then rinse with cool water.
    3. Cut and Wound care – Misting a wound with hydrogen peroxide will help clean it while speeding the healing process.
    4. For your toothbrush – Soaking your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide between uses can help keep it clean and prevent transfer of germs. Particularly useful when you or someone in your household has a cold.
    5. As an astringent – Dabbing 3% hydrogen peroxide on pimples can help promote clearer skin.
    6. Fresh blood stains – use 3% H202 to remove fresh blood stains in clothing. Then rinse fabric with soap/water. Also works for most other stains.
    7. For canker sores and toothaches – use 3% hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash to kill germs and allow any sores to heal.
    8. Athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, and skin infections – Soak the affected area in 3% hydrogen peroxide once or twice daily.
    9. Sinus infections – Mix one tablespoon of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide with one cup of distilled water for use as a sinus spray to kill and prevent sinus infections.
    10. Window and mirror cleaning – Hydrogen peroxide provides a streak free shine on glass surfaces. Simply use a spray bottle to wet the surface with 3% hydrogen peroxide, and wipe with a lint free cloth. This can also help disinfect, which is important in homes with children who like to put their mouths on the glass.
    11. Shower disinfectant – Keep a spray bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide in the shower for spraying down the shower to kill bacteria and viruses.
    12. Humidifier disinfectant – Use 1 pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water.
    13. Laundry Bleach replacement – Add 8 ounces of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your wash. (Does the name Oxyclean ring a bell?)
    14. Pets – For dogs and cats, use 1 ounce 3% hydrogen peroxide to 1 quart water for their drinking and bath water.
    15. Home & Garden Plants – Use 1 ounce 3% hydrogen peroxide per quart of water.
    16. Bathtub detox – Add one pint or quart bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide to warm bath water and soak for 20-25 min.
    17. And last but not least My second Favorite Use after Teeth Whitening… Pour a little around your faucets and watch the nasty dirt and bacteria fizz out. Take a Toothbrush (One you use solely for cleaning. I don’t care how mad you are at him, don’t use his toothbrush. I’m fairly sure there is one lady out there in cyberland right now who thinks I’m psychic and can see her through the screen.) and scrub the remaining junk around the faucet and rinse with clear water.

    If those weren’t enough uses for this Cheap Wonder and you would love to read more, including how to cure an Earache, Clean out Earwax, Prevent Swimmers Ear etc… Click HERE to visit Tip King.

    $$$

    Little Frugalista

    Hillbilly Housewife

    June 13, 2010

    I was taken to task yesterday by Quiltie for not posting here on my blog 🙂 She told me she had been checking every morning and night only to find that I hadn’t posted anything new. This past week was the first week of my kids summer vacation and my schedule has been juggled quite a bit. Instead of running at 10am I end up running at 6:30 am (shock to my system!). I also plan at least 4 free activities for my kids to do during the week so that they don’t get bored and kill each other 😉 Hopefully things will calm down and I will be able to fit blogging in better.

    For those of you that hunger for more Cheapness check out this site….

    Hillbilly Housewife is another great site I like to visit. Some of my favorite things on this site include:

     –an Emergency $45 meal plan for 4-6 for a week

     –Homemade Convenience Foods

    Recipes

    -For those of you that participate in  Angel Food Ministries here are Angel Food Recipes. For those of you that don’t and have no idea what it is, check out the clickable link above and find out if you might be interested in buying inexpensive food this way.

    $$$

    Little Frugalista

    Chicken Tortilla Soup

    June 9, 2010

    Chicken Tortilla Soup:

    1lb chicken, cooked and chopped (I use leftover Chicken I’ve frozen from other dinners)
    1 T olive oil
    1 small onion, diced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tsp chili powder
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1 can 28 oz crushed tomatoes
    1 can 10.5 oz low-sodium chicken broth
    1 1/4 cups water
    1 can 4.5 oz chopped green chile peppers
    1 can 15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed (I cook my own on the stove and freeze them in 1 cup portions in baggies)
    1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped * I didn’t have this and it turned out fine*

    In large saucepan, heat olive oil and saute onion and garlic until soft. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Optional toppings include baked tortilla chips, low-fat sour cream, cheddar cheese, etc.

    Nutritional Info per serving (w/o toppings): 278 calories, 4.9 g fat, .5g saturated fat, 46 mg cholesterol, 30 g carbohydrates, 23 g protein, 466 mg sodium.

    This is a healthy protein packed meal that is sure to fill you up and is great the next day for lunch.

    $$$

    Little Frugalista