Make These Fox Shaped Sugar Cookies

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:49 am on Thursday, October 16, 2014

These Fox Shaped Sugar Cookies are so cute. And they don’t look hard to make. The tutorial shows you how.

Reducing Food Waste Round-Up

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:12 am on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I’ve talked about reducing food waste quite a bit on this blog, but it looks like the issue is getting worse. A new study says that Americans waste 40%–almost half!–of their food, according to the Natural Resources Defence Council. An average family of four wastes $2,275 in food each year, or 20 pounds per person per month.

Wow.

This is especially crazy at a time when food prices are skyrocketing and many families are struggling to pay their bills.

Even though my food waste isn’t anywhere near half of my food bill, this is an issue everyone can do better on. This month, I’m going to write down everything I throw out and then use that to get a sense of how much I’m really wasting. After that, I’ll take steps to rectify it.

I’m already doing better, too. Instead of tossing some old pears to the chickens today, I put them in the food dehydrator and am making dried pears instead. However, there was no saving that 1/3 of a watermelon that had mold on it. Into the compost it went!

Stay tuned for an update on this situation. In the meantime, here are some posts on reducing food waste:

How to Reduce Food Waste

Using Up Commonly Wasted Foods

Fridge Eat Me First Box

10 Things To Do With Overripe Fruit

100 Things To Do With Lemons

5 Things To Do With Stale Bread

What To Do With Milk and Cream

How To Freeze Tomatoes

Use It Up

Use It Up II

Turning Old Sewing Machines Into Furniture

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:39 am on Tuesday, October 14, 2014

RecyclArt has a round-up of examples of people Turning An Old Sewing Machine Into Furniture. I see these old machines in thrift stores all the time, and there is something captivating and lovely about them. So why not turn them into furniture?

Like this:

And this:

And this:

See the rest here.

Make Your Own Floor Lamp

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:29 am on Monday, October 13, 2014

You know what? I cannot find a floor lamp I like within my budget. Maybe the solution is to make my own.

Like this one.

Or this one.

Or this one with copper pipes.

Or my favorite: this one.

Monster Hooded Towel Tutorial

Filed under: Kids — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:16 am on Thursday, October 9, 2014

I love this tutorial to sew this Monster Hooded Towel Tutorial. What a great baby shower present.

Lego Brick Crochet Scarf

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:11 am on Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Here’s a free tutorial to make a Lego Brick Crochet Scarf. Great gift potential.

Real Macaroni and Cheese

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:16 am on Tuesday, October 7, 2014

savvyhousekeeping real macaroni and cheese mac recipe comfort food fall kids

Here’s my recipe for real macaroni and cheese. I call it real because it has no bread crumbs, no peas, no ham, and certainly no powdered dairy substances in it. It’s just cheese, elbow macaroni noodles, milk, butter, flour, salt, and pepper. It’s the ultimate in comfort food and perfect for fall. No kid will turn it down.

Much of the time when you get macaroni and cheese in a restaurant–even in a nice restaurant–you end up with an orange-colored puddle at the bottom of your bowl. That’s because of one of two thing: 1. the restaurant was cheap and didn’t use enough cheese or 2. they didn’t let the sauce thicken before putting it in the macaroni.

That’s a shame. Macaroni and cheese is all about texture. You want the crust on top, the cheesy/creamy sauce below, and the noodles balancing everything out. To insure the last point, I buy the large-sized macaroni noodles. They seem to hold the cheese better and are more satisfying to eat.

Now for the million dollar question: what kind of cheese? In this recipe, I use cheddar, jack, and mozzarella, but there are lots of combinations you can go with. For example, if you want to go fancy, try mozzarella, Gruy√®re, and a touch of Gouda. Or add in some Parmesan or Edam or even goat cheese. In fact, any cheese that melts will work, but I wouldn’t put in more than three at a time. More than that and the flavors tend to get a little muddled.

savvyhousekeeping real macaroni and cheese mac recipe comfort food fall kids


Real Macaroni and Cheese
(serves 3-4 people)

Ingredients:

    3 1/2 c cheese, broken down like so: 1 1/4 c cheddar, 1 1/4 c jack, 1 cup mozzarella
    2 c large elbow macaroni
    2 c milk
    3 Tbs butter
    3 Tbs flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put on a pot of salted, boiling water and cook the pasta until done, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer the pasta to a casserole dish.

Grate the cheese. Next, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until it thickens into a paste-like substance. Pour about half a cup of milk into the flour/butter and stir until that thickens. Repeat until you have added the entire 2 cups of milk. Add the salt and pepper and taste.

Next, add all but 1/2 cup of the cheese to the sauce. Slowly stir until the cheese has melted. If you have done this right, the sauce will almost have the consistency of Velveeta (but it won’t taste like it!). If it is watery, simply let it sit on the stove for a moment or two, stirring until it thickens. Taste the sauce. If you want to eat the whole thing right then, it is ready.

Pour the sauce over the macaroni and cheese. With a spoon, gently stir so that the cheese distributes around the noodles. If it still looks watery, you can add a little grated cheese to absorb the extra moisture. Finally, top the whole thing with the remaining half cup of cheese for the crust.

Stick the macaroni and cheese in the oven and let cook 30-35 minutes. Next, put the oven on broil and let the macaroni and cheese sit for about 5 minutes more. Make sure to keep an eye on it. When the top starts to get golden brown, it’s done.

Remove from the oven. Let sit 7-10 minutes. This last step is important for the cheese to congeal and the crust to form, so don’t skip it. And, as always, enjoy!

5 Halloween-Themed Snacks

Filed under: Kids — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:53 am on Monday, October 6, 2014

Here’s some fun after-school Halloween-themed snacks that are easy to make (more or less) and healthy too.

Bat Bites: Grape “bats” with black tortilla chip “wings” perched above cheese cubes.

Monster Sandwiches: Round sandwich bread, olive eyes, and cheese teeth.

Spider Deviled Eggs: Deviled eggs with olive “spiders” on top.

Apple Mouths: Slice apples, hold them together with peanut butter, and add marshmallows for the teeth.

Tangerine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts: Tangerines with celery stems make good pumpkins and banana ghosts with chocolate chips for eyes.

The Many Lives of My Dumpster-Dived Bureau

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:09 am on Friday, October 3, 2014

savvyhousekeeping dumpster dive diving bureau

Awhile ago, I found the above bureau in a dumpster. Someone had decided to get rid of it, and instead of selling it or donating it, they decided it should end up at the dump instead.

There was nothing wrong with it, and I happened to need a bureau, so we brought it home, cleaned it up, and used it in our bedroom. Use number 1.

Not long after that, I refinished the bureau. In fact, it was the first thing I ever refinished, which means that not only did I gain a bureau from this dumpster dive, I learned a new skill. (I kind of did a crappy job, to be honest, but this is how you learn, right?) Use number 2.

We used the bureau for four years, then we upgraded our bedroom set and no longer needed it. But my husband needed something to hold his tools, so we moved the bureau to the garage and loaded it up. Use number 3.

Then last August, someone gave my husband a nifty cabinet for tool storage, so we decided to get rid of the bureau. I put an ad on Craigslist and we sold it that same day for cold hard cash. Use number 4.

So to recap: we got the bureau for free and used it for six years. During that time, it had four separate uses that benefited us, not the least of which is that we came out of the endeavor with a profit!

Compare that to people who buy furniture for high prices and then throw it out when they are done with it. This is frugality in action, don’t you think?

If you have a similar story, please share!

Halloween Decoration Round-Up

Filed under: Cleaning/Decorating — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:31 am on Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy October! To get you in the mood for the season, here’s Halloween Decoration Round-Up:

Fireplace Pumpkin Arrangement

Bats As Halloween Decor

Pac-man Halloween Garland

Ghosts from tissue-paper bells

Construction paper rats on the stairs

Cardboard Window Monster

That one is just brilliant.

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