Monthly Archives: February 2016

Simple Crockpot Recipes: BBQ Kielbasa & Rice

Simple Crockpot Recipes BBQ Kielbasa & Rice

Welcome to My Crockpot Series! Throughout this series, I will be sharing my favorite recipes to toss together and throw in the crockpot! Not only are these recipes simple to make but they are also frugal! Most of the ingredients you probably already have in your pantry or freezer.

Life is so busy for so many of us and when you come home from a long day at work, there is no better feeling than to know that dinner is already made! I love walking in the door and the smell of dinner greeting me at the door…Best thing ever!

This is one of my favorite crockpot recipes. It has limited, simple ingredients and it is super easy to throw together!

BBQ Kielbasa & Rice

1 onion-finely chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 lb Kielbasa-cut in 1/4-inch slices
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Ingredients

Onions & Butter
In a skillet, saute the chopped onion in butter until tender.
Saute Onions
Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire and onion in the crockpot.
Stir together and then add the kielbasa. Stir again until kielbasa is covered in sauce.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.Ingredients in Crockpot

Sliced KielbasaPrepare 1 cup of rice per package instructions. Serve kielbasa over rice.BBQ Kielbasa & RIceNow, the only step left is to sit down, relax and enjoy this delicious, easy-to-make meal with your family! Simple Crockpot Recipes BBQ Kielbasa & Rice

 

 

Homemade Window Cleaner

Homemade Window Cleaner

Earlier this week, I shared my first recipe for natural homemade cleaners: Homemade Furniture Polish. Today, I am sharing my recipe for homemade window cleaner. I shared how important it is to me that I am using natural products in my home that are safe for my family and pets. So here are a few other reasons why I’m hooked on homemade cleaners.

Homemade Cleaners

The first reason that I love to make my own cleaners is because of how easy it is. Making your own natural household cleaning products is a very simple process and doesn’t take much time at all. Adding a few ingredients to a spray bottle and shaking them together is not only simple but it is completely worth the small amount of effort that you are putting into it.

You all know that frugality is very important to me. So of course, another reason to make your own cleaners is because you will save so-o-o-o-o much money!! Most recipes that I use are extremely inexpensive to make. The main ingredients for most cleaning products are cheap and easy to find, things like white vinegar, baking soda, water and essential oils. I purchase my white vinegar in a 2 pack of 1 gallon jugs at Sam’s Club for under $5.00. And those 2 gallons make a lot of cleaner! The most expensive ingredient is typically the essential oils, however, you use such a small amount that this method is still very cost-effective.

essential oils

Homemade Window Cleaner

1 cup white vinegar
2 cups water
8 drops of citrus essential oil (optional-I personally do not add this but if you want a fresh scent you can add this too!)

Combine these ingredients in a 32 oz spray bottle (I also purchase these at Sam’s Club). Shake well and get to cleaning those windows!;)

Homemade Window Cleaner

Homemade Furniture Polish

Homemade Furniture Polish

I think there is one thing that most of us can agree on when it comes to products that we use in our home, we want them to be safe for our family and pets. We want them to be made from natural ingredients and void of harmful chemicals. I think another thing we can agree on is that we want frugal options, we don’t want to break the bank by buying these natural products.

So in an effort to be both frugal and natural in my cleaning, I have started using homemade cleaners. I am fairly new to making my own products, so I have started with basic cleaners. The first recipe I will share with you is for homemade furniture polish. I personally have been using this polish for 2-3 months now and I love it! It of course cleans dust away but it also brings out the beautiful shine in all of my wood furniture!

essential oils

I am thrilled that I have a product that I know exactly what is in it, all of the ingredients are safe for use with my family and pets, and it is so inexpensive to make! Frugal, healthy and super simple to make….What else could I ask for? I can use this product and feel good about it!

(This recipe is enough to fill a 32 oz spray bottle-I bought a 6 pack of spray bottles at Sam’s Club for around $5! The ones I purchased are a little larger than 32 ounces. The “32 ounces” is measured to the bottom of the neck of the bottle. If you are using a different kind of bottle or a smaller size, you can cut the recipe in half!)

Furniture Polish Closeup

Homemade Furniture Polish

4 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
10 drops of citrus essential oil (I use grapefruit or lemon)

Place all of the ingredients in the spray bottle and shake them well. Always label your bottles to ensure that you don’t forget which is which. And voila’ you have your very own homemade furniture polish!

Happy dusting!!

Homemade Furniture Polish

How to Harvest & Dry Herbs

How to Harvest & Dry HerbsLast month I shared my recommendations for planning your herb garden for spring. If you missed it, check it out here! I hope that I inspired you to pull out a notebook, research what herbs you would like to plant and plan your herb garden!  So, now you are probably thinking to yourself, “OK, so I’m going to plant my herb garden in the spring…Then what do I do with it?!?” Well I am here today to teach you how to harvest and dry your herbs!

I follow a few simple steps in the harvesting and drying process. Before I cut back any of my herbs, I always research the individual herb to ensure I am not damaging the plant. However, these are a few of my general guidelines for harvesting that work for most of my herbs:

  • Never allow your herbs to flower, if you see flowers forming, pinch them off or harvest at this time. (Unless of course it’s an herb that you use the flower, like lavender or dill)
  • Harvest frequently, about 2-3 times throughout the growing season.
  • Cut back about 2/3 of the plant.

Clipping HerbsSo, once you’ve cut your herbs take them inside for a little bit of prep work! I lightly rinse off all of the leaves with cool water  to ensure no dirt, bugs, etc have made their way inside with me. Note that I said lightly rinse-do not drown your herbs and also do not use hot water as this will wilt the leaves. You are just making sure the leaves are clean!

The method I use for drying my herbs is laying them out on trays. So I get out my cookie sheets, line them with paper towels to absorb any dripping water and then lay my herbs out over the sheets. During the drying process, I usually toss the herbs once or twice a day to ensure that they are drying properly and not just sitting in dampness. If you notice dampness, replace the paper towels and make sure that the herbs are spread out enough. The last thing you want is for your beautiful herbs (that you’ve been cultivating all spring and summer) to mold when you are preparing them for use.

After about a week, your herbs should be dried enough to finish prepping for storage. Make sure the herbs seem “crunchy” like they would crumble easily. Dried PeppermintNow this is the most time consuming part of the whole process. Strip the leaves off of the branches and crumble the leaves, for herbs like peppermint, oregano, and lemon balm. Make sure there are no hard stems or branches in your crumbled leaves because this will be what you are using in your cooking. For herbs like rosemary, simply remove the leaves from the stems, you do not have to crush the leaves further.Preparing HerbsNow, you just need to store your herbs until you are ready to use them! My favorite way to store mine are in pint size or (smaller) mason jars. BALL has awesome shaker lids that you can buy at Walmart or Target. Or for a cheaper, more frugal solution, you can also save your parmesan cheese lids-They fit perfectly onto the top of regular mouth mason jars! Best discovery ever!!! 🙂 Make sure you label each jar so you know what it contains. Store the jars in a cool, dark place so that the herbs retain their color and flavor! Herb StorageStay tuned…I will also be sharing many tips and ideas in the future on different uses for your herbs, recipes, and more! So stay tuned for some other creative ways to use herbs in your home!How to Harvest & Dry Herbs

Banana Nut Donuts

Banana Nut Donuts

I am always on the search for new delicious treats to try for weekend morning breakfast! When I am looking for new recipes (especially breakfast recipes) I look for limited ingredients and simple preparation. This one definitely fits the bill! My hubby typically prefers the standard eggs and toast, but every once in a while I change it up on him and throw in a sweet treat! This is one sweet treat that he really enjoyed!!

Banana Nut Donuts1

With a light flavor and a delicious banana glaze, these donuts are a delicious way to start out your day! So try out this recipe, it is sure to be a keeper in your home too!!

Banana Nut Donuts

*Preheat oven to 350*

Dough Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 ripe banana, mashed
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

Combine all of the dry ingredients-flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and chopped walnuts in a bowl and stir together. In another bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients-banana, butter, egg, milk and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir together.

Banana Nut Donuts2

Prepare your donut pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into each donut form. This recipe will make approximately 6-8 depending on your pan. Bake the donuts for 13-15 minutes. While the donuts are in the oven, prepare the glaze:

Glaze Ingredients:

1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp milk
1/4 banana, mashed
3/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon

Combine all of these ingredients in a bowl and mix until they form a smooth glaze.

When the donuts are done, let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Lay down a layer of wax paper under a cooling rack. Then flip the donuts out onto the cooling rack.

Banana Nut Donuts3

Drizzle the delicious banana glaze over each donut and top with finely chopped walnuts. Enjoy!!

Banana Nut Donuts